UK Sinha Committee (MSME Reforms)

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed an expert committee to look into the various challenges being faced by MSMEs and suggest ways and measures to rejuvenate them. Committee would be chaired by former Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman UK Sinha.

Terms of Reference of the Committee

The Terms of Reference of the Committee include:

  • Review the current institutional framework in place to support the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises).
  • Examine the factors affecting the timely and adequate availability of finance to the MSME sector.
  • Study the impact of the recent economic reforms on the sector and identify the structural problems affecting its growth.
  • Conduct a study about the best global practices with respect to MSMEs and recommend its adoption in India, wherever appropriate.
  • Review the existing MSME focused policies and its impact on the sector.
  • To propose measures for leveraging technology in accelerating the growth of the sector.

Significance of MSMEs for Indian Economy

The MSMEs are termed as engines of growth of India. MSMEs account for more than 80% of the total industrial enterprises in India creating more than 8000 value-added products and contribute about 8% to the GDP. About 45% of total manufacturing output and 40% of the total exports from the country are from MSMEs.

Engineering College Reforms

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Recommendations of the B V R Mohan Reddy Panel

The panel headed by B V R Mohan Reddy has made the following recommendations to the AICTE:

  • To stop setting up new colleges from 2020 and review the creation of new capacity every two years after that.
  • No additional seats should be approved in traditional engineering areas such as mechanical, electrical, civil and electronics and suggests that institutes should be encouraged to convert current capacity in traditional disciplines to emerging new technologies.
  • To introduce undergraduate engineering programmes exclusively for artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, quantum computing, data sciences, cybersecurity and 3D printing and design.

Why the recommendations are made?

The recommendations are due to the following reasons:

  • Current capacity utilisation in traditional disciplines is just 40% as opposed to 60% seat occupancy in branches such as computer science and engineering, aerospace engineering and mechatronics.
  • As per the reports, there were no takers for 51 per cent of the 15.5 lakh B.E/B.Tech seats in 3,291 engineering colleges in 2016-17.

The panel has said that concessions should be made for applications already in the pipeline while not allowing new engineering institutes should be set up from 2020.

Bimal Jalan Committee (RBI Reserves)

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up an expert committee, headed by its former governor Bimal Jalan, to suggest how the central bank should handle its reserves and whether it can transfer its surplus to the government.

RBI Reserves

  • RBIs contingency fund core reserve is only around 7% of its total assets and the rest of it is largely in revaluation reserves.
  • Revaluation reserves fluctuate with corresponding changes in currency and gold valuations.
  • In 2017-18, the central bank’s contingency funds and revaluation reserves stood at ₹2.32 trillion and ₹6.92 trillion respectively.
  • The data shows that the growth in revaluation reserves has far exceeded the growth in the contingency fund.
  • While revaluation reserves have more than tripled from ₹1.99 trillion in 2008-09 to ₹6.92 trillion in 2017-18, the contingency fund has grown 50% during the same period from ₹1.53 trillion to ₹2.32 trillion.

Core Reserve and Revaluation Reserve

  • Core Reserves are considered to be of highest quality and consists mainly of share capital and disclosed reserve.
  • They are fully available to cover losses.
  • Revaluation reserves arise from revaluation of assets that are undervalued in the bank’s books, Ex: Marketable Securities.
  • The Revaluation Reserves can be used as a cushion for unexpected losses and depends mainly upon the level of certainty that can be placed on estimates.

Why the committee was formed?

The RBI and the government were at loggerhead over the transfer of surplus. The committee has been formed to look into this issue. The committee will:

  • Decide whether RBI is holding provisions, reserves and buffers in the surplus of the required levels.
  • Propose a suitable profits distribution policy taking into account all the likely situations of the RBI, including the situations of holding more provisions than required and the RBI holding lesser provisions than required.
  • Suggest an adequate level of risk provisioning that the RBI needs to maintain.

The committee is expected to provide for an objective criterion to address the friction between the government and the RBI.

Rajiv Kumar Committee (Oil Fields selling)

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Union Government has constituted six-member committee to look at selling as many as 149 small and marginal oil and gas fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) to private and foreign companies to boost domestic output.

Why it was needed?

  • India wants to cut oil import dependence by 10% by 2022.
  • 149 smaller fields of ONGC, OIL and other explorers accounted for just 5% of domestic crude oil production.
  • 95% of domestic production comes from big oil fields.
  • So smaller fields could be given out to private and foreign firms, so that ONGC could concentrate on big ones where it could rope in technology partners through production enhancement contracts (PEC) or technical service arrangements.

 

M.S. Swaminathan Commission (Agriculture)

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Commission:

  • The government of India constituted the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) on November 18, 2004.
  • The NCF was chaired by Professor M.S. Swaminathan.
  • It submitted five reports to the government.
  • The reports had suggestions for “faster and more inclusive growth” for farmers as was envisaged in the Planning Commission’s Approach to 11th Five Year Plan.
  • The fifth report was the most crucial as it contained suggestions for inclusive growth of farmers and agriculture sector.
  • NCF’s Swaminathan Commission Report aimed at working out a system for food and nutrition security, sustainability in the farming system, enhancing quality and cost competitiveness of farm commodities and also to recommend measures for credit and other marketing related steps.
  • Dr Swaminathan had requested the government to implement the recommendations given in the report so that it could provide minimum support price for grains, safeguard the interest of small farmers and addressing the issue of increasing risk overtaking agriculture as a profession.

 

Observations

  • The Commission observed that farmers needed to have an assured access to and control over rightful basic resources. These basic resources include land, water, bioresources, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets.
  • It observed that agriculture must be implemented in the concurrent list from the state list — hence putting it as a matter of concern for both the Union and the states.

 

Recommendations

  • One of the key reforms was land reforms. It was aimed to address the issue of access to and for both crops and livestock. The commission said that the inequality in landholdings in shown starkly in land ownership. It said that in 1991-92, the share of the bottom 50 per cent of the rural households in the country’s total land ownership was only three per cent. The top 10 per cent owned as much as 54 per cent.
  • Land Reforms: Distribution of ceiling-surplus and waste lands; prevention of diversion of prime agricultural land and forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural use; to ensure grazing rights are provided and seasonal access is allowed in forests to tribals and pastoralists. It recommended access to common property resources. One main case was establishing a National Land Use Advisory Service. The purpose of this service would be to connect land usage decisions with ecological meteorological and marketing factors.
  • Irrigation Reforms: It recommended framing a set of reforms to provide farmers with “sustained and equitable” access to water for irrigation. Ensuring boost in water supply by rainwater harvesting, water level recharging by mandatory aquifers; Million Wells Recharge programme to be initiated targeted at private wells. To target increase in investment in irrigation sector under 11th five year plan.
  • Productivity Growth: NCF said that with the objective of achieving higher productivity growth, it recommended “Substantial increase in public investment in agriculture-related infrastructure particularly in irrigation, drainage, land development, water conservation, research development and road connectivity etc.” It also recommended a national network of advanced soil testing labs with an aim to test areas for apt micronutrient levels.
  • Credit and Insurance: Expand outreach of formal credit system; reduce crop loan interest rates to 4%; provide moratorium on debt recovery; agricultural risk fund; kisan credit cards for women farmers; integrated credit-cum-crop-livestock human health insurance package; crop insurance across country for all crops with reduced premiums; sustainable livelihoods for the poor, investment in human development; institutional development services etc
  • Food Security: The commission recommended Implementation of a universal public distribution system; reorganising delivery of nutrition support programmes on a life-cycle basis with panchayat participation and that of local bodies; elimination of micronutrient deficiency induced hunger and food cum fortification; community food and water banks to be operated by women self-help groups; help small and marginal farmers; formulate national food guarantee act with features as food for work and employment guarantee programmes.
  • Prevention of Farmer Suicides: Providing affordable health insurance at primary healthcare centres in villages; national rural health mission to be extended to suicide hotspots on priority basis; state level farmers’ commissions with representatives of farmers, restructuring of microfinance policies that may serve as a sort of livelihood finance; covering all crops by crop insurance; village to be the assessor and not the block, social security net that gives old age support with health insurance and aquifer recharge and rain water conservation; plans for decentralised water usage etc.

Injeti Srinivas Committee (Competition Law Review)

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Union Finance Ministry has constituted Competition Law Review Committee to ensure that legislation is in tune with changing business environment.

 

Committee’s Terms of references

  • The committee will review competition regulations in view of changing business environment and suggest the necessary changes to strengthen and re-calibrate existing law to promote best practices.
  • It will also look into international best practices in competition field with thrust on anti-trust laws, merger guidelines and handling cross-border competition issues.
  • It will also study other regulatory regimes, institutional mechanisms and government policies which overlap with Competition Act.
  • It will submit its report within three months of the date of its first meeting.

 

Why is it needed?

  • The Competition Act was passed in 2002 and Competition Commission of India (CCI) was set up in 2009.
  • However, since inception of the commission, the size of the economy has grown immensely making it one of the fifth largest economies in the world.
  • In this context, it was seen necessary to that Competition Law is strengthened and re-calibrated to promote best practices which result in the citizens of this country achieving their aspirations and value for money.

Amitava Roy Committee (Prison Reforms)

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The Supreme Court has formed a Committee on Prison Reforms chaired by former apex court judge, Justice Amitava Roy, to examine the various problems plaguing prisons in the country, from overcrowding to lack of legal advice to convicts to issues of remission and parole.

 

Issues in Prisons:

  • Overcrowding in prisons
  • Unnatural deaths of prisoners
  • Gross inadequacy of staff
  • Lack of staff

 

Terms of reference:

  • Apart from the above four issues, committee will comprehensively examine and respond to the dire necessity of reforms in prisons.
  • Committee to examine the extent of overcrowding in prisons and correctional homes and recommend remedial measures, including an examination of the functioning of Under Trial Review Committees, availability of legal aid and advice, grant of remission, parole and furlough.
  • The panel would also probe the reasons for violence in prisons and correctional homes and recommend preventive measures.

Injeti Srinivas Committee (CSR)

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The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has constituted High Level Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility which will review existing framework and guide and formulate roadmap for coherent policy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

 

Committee’s Terms of Reference

  • It will review existing CSR framework as per Act, Rules and Circulars issued from time to time and recommend guidelines for better enforcement of CSR provisions.
  • It will analyse outcomes of CSR activities, programmes and projects and suggest measures for effective monitoring and evaluation of CSR by companies.
  • It will also give suggestions on innovative solutions, use of technology, platform to connect stakeholders, and social audit.
  • It will submit its report to Government within three months from date of holding its first meeting.

ias4sure.com - Injeti Srinivas Committee (CSR)

AJ Paulraj committee

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The committee was set up by Government in September 2017 to suggest a road map for adoption of 5G.

 ias4sure.com - AJ Paulraj committee

Recommendations

  • It has proposed promulgation of key norms on regulatory matters by March 2019 in order to facilitate early deployment of 5G technology.
  • It expects commercial rollout of 5G in India by 2020.
  • It noted that 5G technologies will start entering service globally beginning 2019 and advance to full range of services by 2024.
  • It recommended that deployment of 5G in India should be classified into three phases based on technologies and use cases.
  • By early embracing 5G technology, India can accelerate its dividends and potentially also become innovator in 5G applications.
  • It expects that economic impact of 5G to be over $1 trillion.
  • The committee noted that vendor ecosystem for 5G is maturing as telecom tech giants like Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE have production ready equipment in trials based on 5G-NR standard.
  • China Telecom is doing a pilot deployment in six cities ahead of the full 5G commercial launch in 2020.
  • The committee also pointed out conflicting considerations faced by early adoption of 5G.
  • The early adoption will likely make equipment needed for 5G roll out more expensive and it will also be glitchy as needed for cost maturing.
  • However, early adoption will fast track India’s embrace of 5G’s benefits and increase opportunities to develop innovative use cases that support Indian needs.
  • The committee also noted that even after entry of 5G into Indian telecom sector, the earlier generation mobile technologies – 2G, 3G and 4G, will continue to remain in use and it may take 10 or more years to phase out

Rajiv Gauba Committee (Mob Lynching)

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Committee is created to suggest measures and legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching.

 

Why committee was formed?

  • The move came after recent Supreme Court direction to central government on the issue of mob violence and lynching.
  • The apex court had denounced sweeping incidents of lynching as an affront to the rule of law and called for law to deal with such horrendous acts of mobocracy.
  • It had passed a series of “preventive, remedial and punitive” measures to deal with lynching and mob vigilantism.
  • It had made Centre and state governments accountable for mob violence and lynching and had asked them to take steps to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive fake messages and videos on social media platforms which incite such incidents.

 

Key Recommendations:

  • FIR against officials : A senior government official said social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Twitter etc. would be made accountable for not blocking malicious posts and videos when brought to their notice and an “FIR could be lodged against their country heads” for not complying with government orders and they could be prosecuted under law.
  • Objectionable content:
    • Timely compliance of objectionable content removal requests should be ensured.
    • Some countries employ non-governmental organisations and volunteers who proactively surf the Internet.
  • Special task force: Appoint an officer in each district at the level of Superintendent of Police, set up a special task force to gather intelligence, and closely monitor social media contents to prevent mob attacks on people on the suspicion of being child-lifters or cattle smugglers.

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