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Prelims Booster

26th March – Prelims Booster

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Omar Abdullah released after 232 days

Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah, who was released on Tuesday from a Srinagar sub-jail after 232 days.

What is ‘Public Safety Act’?

  • The law was introduced 1978. It was brought in to prevent timber smuggling, and keep the smugglers in prison.
  • This is a preventive detention law that allows the State government to detain a person up to two years without a trial.
  • It is similar to the National Security Act, but this was enacted two years before the NSA came into being.
  • Within four weeks of passing the detention order, the government has to refer the case to an Advisory Board. This Advisory Board will have to give its recommendations within eight weeks of the order. If the Board thinks that there is cause for preventive detention, the government can hold the person up to two years.
  • The person detained has limited rights. Usually when a person is arrested, they have the right to legal representation and can challenge the arrest. But, when a person is arrested under the PSA, they do not have these rights before the Advisory Board unless sufficient grounds can be established that the detention is illegal.
  • According to Section 13(2), the detaining authority need not even inform the detained individual as to the reason for the action, if it decides that it goes against public interest.

Cabinet approves recapitalisation of Regional Rural Banks

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of the process of recapitalisation of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) by providing minimum regulatory capital up to 2020-21 for those RRBs which are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India.

Background –

Consequent upon RBI’s decision to introduce disclosure norms for Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of RRBs with effect from March 2008, a committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Dr. K.C. Chakrabarty. Based on the Committee’s recommendations, a Scheme for Recapitalisation of RRBs was approved.

Implications –

  • A financially stronger and robust Regional Rural Banks with improved CRAR will enable them to meet the credit requirement in the rural areas.   
  • As per RBI guidelines, the RRBs have to provide 75% of their total credit under PSL (Priority Sector Lending)
  • RRBs are primarily catering to the credit and banking requirements of agriculture sector and rural areas with focus on small and marginal farmers, micro & small enterprises, rural artisans and weaker sections of the society.

What are Regional Rural Banks?

  • Regional Rural Banks are local level banking organisations operating in different States of India. They have been created with a view to serve primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.
  • Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) were set up as government-sponsored, regional based rural lending institutions under the Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976. RRBs were configured as hybrid micro banking institutions, combining the local orientation and small scale lending culture of the cooperatives and the business culture of commercial banks
  • These were set up on the recommendations of the M. Narasimham Working Group during the tenure of Indira Gandhi’s government with a view to include rural areas into economic mainstream since that time about 70% of the Indian population was of rural orientation.

Functions of Regional Rural Banks

  • Providing banking facilities to rural and semi-urban areas.
  • Carrying out government operations like disbursement of wages of MGNREGA workers, distribution of pensions etc.
  • Providing Para-Banking facilities like locker facilities, debit and credit cards.

Kurzabeit Scheme

Amid the all-round disruption caused to the economy by the novel coronavirus outbreak, a concern across the world is the possibility of loss of jobs. Germany’s Kurzabeit is being mentioned time and again in this context. Also, the German cabinet is planning to extend the benefit of short-time work allowance by the first half of April through legislation.

About Kurzarbeit –

  • Kurzarbeit is German for “short-work”.
  • The policy provides for a short-time work allowance, called kurzarbeitgeld, which partially compensates for lost earnings during uncertain economic situations.
  • The policy was rolled out during the 2008 economic crisis while its origins date back as far as the early 20th century, before and after World War I.

How it works?

  • The scheme aims to address workers who are impacted by loss of income due to shortened work hours during such times.
  • They can apply for short-term work benefits under the scheme, with the government stepping in to pay employees a part of their lost income.
  • This helps the companies retain their employees instead of laying them off, and allows the latter to sustain themselves for a period of up to 12 months.

Hantavirus

Case of hantavirus in Yunnan province of China.

What is Hantavirus?

  • The hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents.
  • A person can get infected if he/she comes in contact with a rodent that carries the virus.
  • It remains unclear whether human-to-human transmission of the virus is possible.
  • A person infected with the virus may show symptoms within the first to eighth week after they have been exposed to fresh urine, faeces or the saliva of infected rodents.
  • Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, chills and abdominal problems. Four to ten after being infected, late symptoms of HPS may start to appear, which include coughing and shortness of breath.

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