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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Aug 09, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Constitutes expert body of stakeholders on issue of election ‘freebies.’

 

The Apex Court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the petitioner on the issue of election freebies by political parties.

In Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs. Union of India & Anr., the petitioner contended that irrational freebies violate the purity of electoral processes, and unduly influence voter behaviour thereby distorting the level playing field in the electoral process. The petition sought a ban on such political favour seeking populist measures to preserve democratic values and ethics.

The petitioner also pointed out that the Supreme Court’s Judgement in S. Subramaniam Balaji vs. The Government of Tamil Nadu and Ors. gave effect to the Election Commission’s guidelines on electoral freebies had no effect on the political parties.

The Chief Justice of India remarked that the issue of freebies has become more serious now, and the parties are going beyond their regular budgets to accommodate freebies. But the CJI was sceptical about the legality of the issue and the role of the judiciary in such issues.

After hearing the counsel, petitioners and Election Commission of India, the bench remarked that political parties would not oppose freebies, and thereby it feels appropriate for the judiciary to form an expert body with all the stakeholders to comprehensively consider the issue and make suitable recommendations. It also directed the parties to suggest names for the constitution of such an expert body.

Current Affair 2:
Digital lending norms by RBI

 

News:

'Digital Lenders' are classified into three groups:

(1) Entities regulated by the RBI and permitted to carry out lending business; Example Banks and NBFCs

(2) Entities authorized to carry out lending as per other statutory/regulatory provisions but not regulated by RBI. For example, Rural cooperatives like 'Primary Agriculture Credit Societies' (PACS) regulated by State Governments

(3) Entities lending outside the purview of any statutory/ regulatory provisions. For example informal lenders.

Read bit history:

The Reserve Bank is statutorily mandated to operate the credit system of the country to its advantage. In this endeavour, the Reserve Bank has encouraged innovation in the financial system, products and credit delivery methods while ensuring their orderly growth, preserving financing stability and ensuring protection of depositors’ and customers’ interest.

Recently, innovative methods of designing and delivery of credit products and their servicing through Digital Lending route have acquired prominence. However, certain concerns have also emerged which, if not mitigated, may erode the confidence of members of public in the digital lending ecosystem.

Against this background, the Reserve Bank had constituted a Working Group on ‘digital lending including lending through online platforms and mobile apps’ (WGDL) on January 13, 2021.

This working group has given its guidelines which are applicable for the first category of lenders. And these guidelines have been accepted by RBI and has become effective. These recommendations/guidelines are:

  1. All loan disbursals and repayments are required to be executed only between the bank accounts of borrower and the Regulated Entity (RE) [like banks, NBFCs] without any pass-through/ pool account of the Lending Service Providers (LSP) or any third party.
  2. Any fees, charges, etc., payable to LSPs in the credit intermediation process shall be paid directly by RE and not by the borrower
  3. A standardized Key Fact Statement (KFS) must be provided to the borrower before executing the loan contract
  4. All-inclusive cost of digital loans in the form of Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is required to be disclosed to the borrowers. APR shall also form part of KFS.
  5. Automatic increase in credit limit without explicit consent of borrower is prohibited
  6. A cooling-off/ look-up period during which the borrowers can exit digital loans by paying the principal and the proportionate APR without any penalty shall be provided as part of the loan contract.
  7. REs shall ensure that they and the LSPs engaged by them shall have a suitable nodal grievance redressal officer to deal with FinTech/ digital lending related complaints.
  8. Data collected by Digital Lending Apps (DLAs) should be need based, should have clear audit trails and should be only done with prior explicit consent of the borrower.
  9. Any lending sourced through Digital Lending Apps (DLAs) is required to be reported to Credit Information Companies (CICs) by REs irrespective of its nature or tenor.
  10. All new digital lending products extended by REs over merchant platforms (example, when you buy a product by EMI facility) involving short term credit or deferred payments are required to be reported to CICs by the REs. [Credit Information Companies are also called Credit Bureaus]

For second category of digital lenders, their regulators can bring rules. For third category, Govt. can bring in some law.

Current Affair 3:
What are Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)?

 

News:

Recently, member of NITI Aayog V K Saraswat suggested the government to focus on setting up small modular reactors (SMRs).

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors. SMRs, which can produce a large amount of low-carbon electricity, are:

Advantages of SMRs

Many of the benefits of SMRs are inherently linked to the nature of their design – small and modular. Given their smaller footprint, SMRs can be sited on locations not suitable for larger nuclear power plants.

  1. Prefabricated units of SMRs can be manufactured and then shipped and installed on site, making them more affordable to build than large power reactors, which are often custom designed for a particular location, sometimes leading to construction delays.
  2. SMRs offer savings in cost and construction time, and they can be deployed incrementally to match increasing energy demand.
  3. One of the challenges to accelerating access to energy is infrastructure – limited grid coverage in rural areas – and the costs of grid connection for rural electrification. A single power plant should represent no more than 10 per cent of the total installed grid capacity.
  4. In areas lacking sufficient lines of transmission and grid capacity, SMRs can be installed into an existing grid or remotely off-grid, as a function of its smaller electrical output, providing low-carbon power for industry and the population.
  5. In comparison to existing reactors, proposed SMR designs are generally simpler, and the safety concept for SMRs often relies more on passive systems and inherent safety characteristics of the reactor, such as low power and operating pressure. This means that in such cases no human intervention or external power or force is required to shut down systems, because passive systems rely on physical phenomena, such as natural circulation, convection, gravity and self-pressurization.
  6. These increased safety margins, in some cases, eliminate or significantly lower the potential for unsafe releases of radioactivity to the environment and the public in case of an accident.
  7. SMRs have reduced fuel requirements. Power plants based on SMRs may require less frequent refuelling, every 3 to 7 years, in comparison to between 1 and 2 years for conventional plants. Some SMRs are designed to operate for up to 30 years without refuelling.

Current Affair 4:
Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)

 

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