Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020
▪️The Bill is expected to open a new era in Indian coal & mining sector especially to promote Ease of Doing Business
▪️Currently, companies acquiring Schedule II and Schedule III coal mines through auctions can use the coal produced only for specified end-uses such as power generation and steel production.
▪️The Bill removes this restriction on the use of coal mined by such companies. And thus companies will be allowed to carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale or for any other purposes, as may be specified by the central government
▪️The Bill adds a new type of license, called prospecting license-cum-mining lease. It will be a composite license providing for both prospecting and mining activities
Functioning of the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) in Assam
▪️In a report titled ‘Designed to Exclude’, Amnesty International has asserted that the Supreme Court and Gauhati High Court had enabled the FTs to create a statelessness crisis in Assam.
[There appear to be aberrations in some cases to the policy of assessing the performance of a FT member]
▪️Foreigners Tribunals in Assam: are quasi-judicial bodies, to determine if a person staying illegally is a “foreigner” or not.
▪️Every individual, whose name does not figure in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), can represent his/her case in front of the appellate authority i.e. Foreigners Tribunals (FT)
▪️Each Foreigners Tribunals member is appointed under the Foreigners Tribunal Act, 1941, and Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1984
▪️A member can be a retired judicial officer of the Assam Judicial Service, a retired civil servant not below the rank of secretary and additional secretary with judicial experience
Methanotrophs (methane-utilising bacteria)
▪️Recently, scientists at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have enriched, isolated and cultivated 45 different strains of methanotrophs (methane-utilising bacteria) and created the first indigenous methanotroph culture.
▪️They found that there was a decrease in methane emissions in inoculated plants with a positive or neutral effect on the growth of the rice
▪️Methanotrophs can effectively reduce the emission of methane from rice plants, which is the second most important greenhouse gas (GHG)
Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)
▪️It is a multi-disciplinary organization under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, consisting of experts in the field of accountancy, forensic auditing, law, information technology, investigation, company law, capital market and taxation for detecting and prosecuting or recommending for prosecution white-collar crimes/frauds.
▪️Section 211 of the Companies Act, 2013 has accorded statutory status to the SFIO.
▪️SFIO has powers to arrest people for the violation of the Company law
▪️HQ: New Delhi
▪️Government is set to more than double the manpower at the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to nearly 350 as the office continues efforts to curb corporate wrongdoings
What are Nidhi Companies?
▪️These are a class of Non-Banking Financial Company(NBFC) and Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has powers to issue directives for them related to their deposit acceptance activities.
▪️It works on the principle of mutual benefits that are regulated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. [It is a company registered under the Companies Act, 2013.]
▪️Central Government has amended the provisions related to Nidhi companies under the Companies Act, 2013 to make the regulatory regime for Nidhi Companies more effective.
▪️This will accomplish the objectives of transparency & investor friendliness in the corporate environment of the country
National Sports Development Fund
▪️It was established in 1998 under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1890
▪️The Fund helps sportspersons excel by providing them opportunities to train under coaches of international repute with technical, scientific and psychological support and giving them exposure to international competitions
▪️Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) has contributed ₹1 crore to the National Sports Development Fund under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
▪️The contribution has been made in line with the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) for the top athletes of India, selected for the Tokyo Olympics, 2020 and beyond
What are Bear Market ?
▪️Bear market refers to the market where share prices are continuously declining.
▪️Its downward trend makes investors believe that the trend will continue, which, in turn, perpetuates the downward spiral
▪️During a bear market, the economy slows down and unemployment rises as companies begin laying off workers
▪️Recently, the many Indian indices including NSE Nifty index have entered into ‘bear market’ territory in the backdrop of the declaration of COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
What are Additional tier-1 bonds(AT1)
▪️ These are a type of unsecured, perpetual bonds that banks issue to shore up their core capital base to meet the Basel-III norms
▪️The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) is the regulator of AT-1 bonds.
▪️AT1 Bonds are perpetual and carry no maturity date.Instead,they carry call options that allow banks to redeem them after five or 10 years.
[However, banks are not obliged to use this call option and can opt to pay only interest on these bonds for eternity]
▪️Reserve Bank of India’s reconstruction plan for Yes Bank has put at risk nearly Rs 9,000 crore worth of AT-1 bonds