3rd December 2020

Imparting technical education in Mother Tongue

Recently, the Union Education Minister has set up a task force for preparing a roadmap on imparting technical education in Mother Tongue.

  • The task force set up under the chairmanship of Secretary, Higher Education will take into consideration the suggestions made by various stakeholders.
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) will start offering engineering courses in mother tongue from next academic year.
  • The task force is part of the National Education Policy (NEP) which suggests teaching in regional language till class 8 and enabling teaching the curriculum in a language which a student is comfortable in.

Constitutional Provisions on use of Language

Article 29 Protection of interests of minorities

  • Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
  • No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

Article 30 Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions

  • All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

Article 120 Language to be used in Parliament

  • Notwithstanding anything in Part XVII, but subject to the provisions of Article 348 i.e. business in Parliament shall be transacted in Hindi or in English.

Article 343 Official language of the Union

  • The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.

Article 344 Commission and Committee of Parliament on official language

  • It shall be the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to
    • The progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purposes of the Union;
    • Restrictions on the use of the English language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union;
    • The language to be used for all or any of the purposes mentioned in article 348; and
    • The form of numerals to be used for any one or more specified purposes of the Union.

Article 350A Facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage

  • It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.

 

Committee for implementation of Paris Agreement

Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has constituted a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA).

  • The purpose of AIPA is to generate a coordinated response on climate change matters that ensures India is on track towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement including its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
  • The senior officials from fourteen ministries will serve as Members to AIPA who will oversee the progress in implementation of India’s NDC.
  • The key function of AIPA would be to operate as a National Authority to regulate carbon markets in India under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
  • The other functions of AIPA are:
    • Formulate guidelines for consideration of projects or activities under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement,
    • Issue guidelines on carbon pricing, market mechanism and similar instruments that have a bearing on climate change and NDCs.
    • The committee will take note of the contributions of the private sector as well as multi-/bi-lateral agencies in the field of climate change and provide guidance for aligning their climate actions with national priorities.

Significance of AIPA

  • The year 2021 would mark the beginning of implementation of the Paris Agreement and constitution of AIPA is central to strengthening the national systems and institutional arrangements for implementation and monitoring of climate actions.
  • It will also ensure that India maintains its climate leadership as one the few countries in the world whose climate actions are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Commitments of India’s NDC

  • There are 8 commitments made by India under the NDC, under which there are three quantitative goals:
    • Reduction in the emissions intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels;
    • Achieving about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030; and
    • Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

 

International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)

Recently, the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) obtained membership of International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

  • It is a voluntary membership organization of insurance supervisors and regulators from more than 200 jurisdictions, constituting 97% of the world’s insurance premiums.
  • It is established in 1994 with its headquarter in Switzerland.
  • It is the international standard-setting body responsible for developing and assisting in the implementation of principles, standards and other supporting material for the supervision of the insurance sector.
  • It provides a forum for Members to share their experiences and understanding of insurance supervision and insurance markets.
  • The leading members of IAIS are:
    • United Kingdom-Financial Conduct Authority (FCA),
    • USA-National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NIAC) and Federal Insurance Office of the Insurance of the United States Department of Treasury (FIO),
    • Singapore-Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS),
    • India-Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

Significance of IAIS Membership

  • The IFSCA would have access to IAIS’s global network and would be able to exchange ideas and information with other global regulators.
  • It would help in developing a vibrant global Insurance hub in IFSC at GIFT City.
  • The membership would go a long way in connecting IFSC with global insurance institutions and would facilitate IFSCA in joint development of global insurance business with other global centres.

 

Municipal BondStock Exchange

Recently, Rs. 200 crore municipal bonds of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) were listed at Bombay Stock Exchange.

  • Lucknow has become the 9th city in the country to have raised municipal bonds, which has been incentivized by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs under the mission AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation).
  • The bonds issue will ensure that the LMC will get ₹26 cr to subsidise its interest burden.
  • It will help in improving financial & municipal governance, make city move on the path of self-dependence and provide necessary support for developing civic infrastructure.
  • The bond issue from Lucknow Municipal Corporation is rated ‘AA’ by India Ratings and ‘AA (CE)’ by Brickwork Ratings.
  • The tenure of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation bond is 10 years and it is structured as a ‘strip’ bond with 7 STRRPs (A to G) and principal repayment to happen in 7 equal annual payments from the 4th year to the 10th year.

Municipal Bonds

  • Municipal bonds are debt securities issued by states, cities, counties and other governmental entities.
  • It aims to fund day-to-day obligations and to finance capital projects such as building schools, highways or sewer systems.
  • Municipal bonds in India enjoy tax-free status if they conform to certain rules and their interest rates will be market-linked.
  • Municipal bonds exist in India since the year 1997 and Bangalore Municipal Corporation is the first urban local body to issue municipal bonds in India.
  • The municipality should meet the following eligibility criteria to issue municipal bonds in India:
    • The municipality must not have a negative net worth in each of the three previous years.
    • The municipality must have no default in the repayment of debt securities and loans availed from the banks or non-banking financial companies in the last year.
    • The municipality, promoter and directors must not be enlisted in the wilful defaulters published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    • The municipality should have no record of default in the payment of interest and repayment of principal with respect to debt instruments.

Advantages of Municipal Bond

  • Transparency: Municipal bonds that are issued to the public are rated by renowned agencies such as CRISIL, which allows investors transparency regarding the credibility of the investment option.
  • Minimal risk: Municipal bonds are issued by municipal authorities, implying involvement of minimal risk with these securities.

Disadvantages of Municipal Bonds

  • Long maturity period: Municipal bonds come with a lock-in period of three years, imposing a burden on the liquidity requirements of investors.
  • Low-interest rates: Even though interest rates on municipal bonds, in some cases, are higher than other debt instruments, these rates are considerably low when compared to returns from market-linked financial instruments such as equity shares.

 

India-Suriname Joint Commission Meeting

Recently, the 7th India-Suriname Joint Commission Meeting was held.

  • The meeting underscored the importance of the mechanism in deepening political dialogue, reviewing bilateral ties, and exchanging views on regional and multilateral cooperation.
  • The meeting highlighted that India-Suriname relations, which have strong cultural and historical bonds, are marked by cordiality and a high degree of understanding and convergence of views on a range of issues.
  • The Ministers acknowledged the importance of undertaking developmental projects under concessional conditions, including through Lines of Credits, in the spirit of South-South cooperation.

 

Guidelines for dematerialisation of re-lodged physical shares

Recently, the markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) came out with operational guidelines to credit physical shares in demat account of investors following re-lodged transfer request.

  • The shares in demat form would help in maintaining a transparent record of shareholding of companies amid rising concerns over beneficial ownership of entities.
  • The subsequent to processing of re-lodged transfer request, the RTA (registrar to an issue and share transfer agent) would retain physical shares and intimate the investor about the execution of transfer through a letter of confirmation.
  • The investor would have to submit the demat request, within 90 days of issue of letter of confirmation, to depository participant along with the letter of confirmation.
  • The RTA would also issue a reminder at the end of 60 days of issue of letter of confirmation, informing the investor to submit the demat request.
  • In case of shares that are required to be locked-in, the RTA, while confirming the demat request, will also intimate the depository about the lock-in and its period.
  • In case of non-receipt of demat request from the investor within 90 days of the date of letter of confirmation, the shares will be credited to suspense escrow demat account of the company.
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