*Note:- We barely have anything to prune from this article and it should be read in full, hence the link.
South China Sea tensions surge as China lands plane on artificial island
Background:-China’s first landing of a plane on one of its new island runways in the South China Sea shows Beijing’s facilities in the disputed region are being completed on schedule and military flights will inevitably follow, foreign officials and analysts have said.China’s increasing military presence in the disputed sea could effectively lead to a Beijing-controlled air defence zone, they said, ratcheting up tensions with other claimants and with the United States in one of the world’s most volatile areas.
The Complete South China Sea issue covered here – Click Here
Lodha Panel Report on BCCI
Background:- Supreme Court-appointed R.M.Lodha Committee has recommended reforms for the controversy-ridden BCCI.
One state, one cricket body: One association for each state with a full member and have right to vote. One unit should represent one state.
CEO-run organization: Proposed appointment CEO accountable to a nine-member apex council.
Under RTI:- Proposed BCCI should come under Right to Information Act.
Ethics officer:Recommended an Ethics Officer, who would be responsible for resolving issues related to the conflict of interest. Ethics officer would be a former High Court judge.
Electoral officer: Recommended an Electoral Officer to conduct the Board elections. The electoral officer would oversee the entire election process relating to the office-bearers namely, preparation of voters list, publication, dispute about eligibility of the office-bearers
Ombudsman: The panel has also proposed an Ombudsman for dealing with internal conflicts.
Legalize betting:-To curb corruption in the game. It is a good step as it is appreciation of realities on the ground.By legalizing it aims to break the backbone of smugglers, bookies etc.
Background:- Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar & Orissa Joined “UDAY” .
UDAY :-UjjwalDiscom Assurance Yojana
UDAY provides for the financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs), and importantly also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem.
The weakest link in the value chain is distribution, wherein DISCOMs in the country have accumulated losses of approximately Rs. 3.8 lakh crore and outstanding debt of approximately Rs. 4.3 lakh crore (as on March, 2015)
Financially stressed DISCOMs are not able to supply adequate power at affordable rates, which hampers quality of life and overall economic growth and development. Efforts towards 100% village electrification, 24X7 power supply and clean energy cannot be achieved without performing DISCOMs. Power outages also adversely affect national priorities like “Make in India” and “Digital India”. In addition, default on bank loans by financially stressed DISCOMs has the potential to seriously impact the banking sector and the economy at large.
UDAY assures the rise of vibrant and efficient DISCOMs through a permanent resolution of past as well as potential future issues of the sector. It empowers DISCOMs with the opportunity to break even in the next 2-3 years. This is through four initiatives:-
(i) Improving operational efficiencies of DISCOMs;
(ii) Reduction of cost of power;
(iii) Reduction in interest cost of DISCOMs;
(iv) Enforcing financial discipline on DISCOMs through alignment with State finances
Salient Features of UDAY :-
States shall take over 75% of DISCOM debt as on 30 September 2015 over two years – 50% of DISCOM debt shall be taken over in 2015-16 and 25% in 2016-17.
Government of India will not include the debt taken over by the States as per the above scheme in the calculation of fiscal deficit of respective States in the financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
States will issue non-SLR including SDL bonds in the market or directly to the respective banks / Financial Institutions (FIs) holding the DISCOM debt to the appropriate extent.
DISCOM debt not taken over by the State shall be converted by the Banks / FIs into loans or bonds with interest rate not more than the bank’s base rate plus 0.1%. Alternately, this debt may be fully or partly issued by the DISCOM as State guaranteed DISCOM bonds at the prevailing market rates which shall be equal to or less than bank base rate plus 0.1%.
States shall take over the future losses of DISCOMs in a graded manner and shall fund them.
State DISCOMs will comply with the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) outstanding since 1st April, 2012, within a period to be decided in consultation with Ministry of Power.
States accepting UDAY and performing as per operational milestones will be given additional / priority funding through Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY),Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), Power Sector Development Fund (PSDF) or other such schemes of Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Such States shall also be supported with additional coal at notified prices and, in case of availability through higher capacity utilization, low cost power from NTPC and other Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs).
States not meeting operational milestones will be liable to forfeit their claim on IPDS and DDUGJY grants.
UDAY is optional for all States. However, States are encouraged to take the benefit at the earliest as benefits are dependent on the performance.