About Alternative Investment Fund Directive (AIFMD)
Context: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the proposal of Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to sign an updated Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) MoU signed between SEBI and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), UK, pursuant to UK's exit from the European Union on 31st January 2020.
What Is the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive?
- The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) is a European Union (EU) regulation that applies to hedge funds, private equity funds, and real estate funds.
- The AIFMD sets standards for marketing around raising private capital, remuneration policies, risk monitoring, and reporting, and overall accountability.
- The AIFMD is part of an increased push for investor protections that the EU undertook just prior to the 2007-08 financial crisis.
International collaboration: SEBI is also a signatory to the IOSCO Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information. (MMoU).
- The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is the worldwide association of national securities regulatory commissions, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom, and about 100 other similar bodies.
Significance: the existence of such cooperation agreements between EU and non- EU authorities is a precondition for allowing greater market access and cross border functioning of the AIF business.
- These MoUs would thus enable Indian fund managers to manage or market AIFs in the EU region and the EU fund managers to manage or market AIFs in India.
About Alternative Investment Fund ( AIF)
- It means any fund established or incorporated in India which is a privately pooled investment vehicle that collects funds from sophisticated investors, whether Indian or foreign, for investing it in accordance with a defined investment policy for the benefit of its investors.
What Is an Alternative Investment?
- Conventional categories include stocks, bonds, and cash.
- Alternative Investment Fund comprises pooled investment funds that invest in venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, managed futures, etc.
- Most alternative investment assets are held by institutional investors or accredited, high-net-worth individuals because of their complex nature, lack of regulation, and degree of risk.
- Alternative Investment Fund is described under Regulation 2(1)(b) of the Regulation Act, 2012 of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
- Generally, high net worth individuals and institutions invest in Alternative Investment Funds as it requires a high investment amount, unlike Mutual Funds.
What are Hedge Funds?
- To hedge means to safeguard against risks.
- A hedge fund uses the funds collected from accredited investors like banks, insurance firms, High Net-Worth Individuals (HNIs) & families, and endowments and pension funds.
- This is the reason why these funds often function as overseas investment corporations or private investment partnerships.
- They do not need to be registered with SEBI, nor do they need to disclose their NAV periodically like other mutual funds.
- Hedge funds are available only to high net worth investors. Whereas Mutual funds are accessible to a large group of people.
Context: Muslims set up special stalls of fish as a minuscule population of Kashmiri Pandits, celebrated the community’s most important festival Sivaratri, locally called ‘Herath’ — the first such festival since J&K was reduced to a Union Territory (UT) last year.
- The Pandits constituted around 2% of the population of the Valley in 1990 and witnessed a mass migration in the face of the 1989 armed rebellion.
- In Kashmir Shaivism, Mahashivaratri is called Har-Ratri or Herath.
- It is a festival celebrated annually to honor Lord Shiva and also marks the day of the marriage between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. As per legends, the festival also commemorates the day Shiva saved the world from the pot of poison that emerged during the great mythical churning of the ocean called Samudra Manthan.
- Prayers held on the day after a night-long Mahashivaratri is called 'salaam' in Kashmir.
- Walnuts and fish dishes are central to the festival.
- Kashmir Shaivism is a school of Śaivism identical with trika Śaivism categorized by various scholars as monistic idealism, transcendental materialism.
- These approaches suggest that Cit - consciousness - is the one reality and that matter is not distinct from consciousness, but rather different aspects of the same reality.
- There is no real separation between God and the world. They are one reality.
- Unlike what the Advaita proponents argue, the followers of Kashmir Shaivism hold the opinion that the world is not an illusion but very real.
Context:13th CoP to CMS
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals(CMS)
- It is a treaty agreed by 129 countries plus the European Union
- It functions under the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
- CMS provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.
- It works for the protection and conservation of species that migrate across frontiers and are facing threats of extinction or require urgent attention.
- As the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes, CMS complements and co-operates with a number of other international organizations, NGOs and partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector.
- CMS set up in 2014 an Energy Task Force; it advises contracting parties on how to keep their energy projects wildlife-friendly.
Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
National Heritage Animal of India
Grasslands, forests (moist, tropical or dry), and also cultivated forests and scrublands.
Continually shrinking, degraded and fragmented habitat and are frequently coming into conflict with people, apart from threats of poaching and illegal trade.
It is known to naturally migrate across international borders; it faces similar challenges in other range countries
Asian elephants were once used to range from west Asia to north of the Yangtze River in China but currently, the range has shrunk to 13 Asian countries and their population in India to 29,964 in 2017.
Great Indian Bustard
IUCN: Critically Endangered
Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972
It is a large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich-like appearance, this bird is among the heaviest of the flying birds.
Generally, favor flat open landscapes with minimal visual obstruction and disturbance, therefore adapt well in grasslands.
A small population of about 100–150 individuals that are largely restricted to the Thar desert in Rajasthan, India.
Hunting, and collision with power-lines during their migration to neighboring countries, especially Pakistan and Nepal
Its present habitat has shrunk to 10% of its historical range.
The species has disappeared from 90% of this range; their population has reduced by 90% within 50 years (six generations).
Source: The Wire
IUCN: Critically Endangered
Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972
The present habitat has been restricted to the Terai and Dooars grassland regions of the Indo-Gangetic and Brahmaputra floodplains.
The Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis), also called Bengal bustard, is a bustard species native to the Indian subcontinent, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
It exhibits transboundary movements, and its migration exposes it to threats such as land-use changes, collision with power transmission line at the boundary area of India-Nepal and probable power-line collisions.
Species no longer breeds outside Protected Areas in the Indian subcontinent, except in a few areas of Assam.
Context: Western disturbance brings rain to Delhi.
About Western Disturbances
- It is an extratropical storm originating in the Mediterranean region that brings sudden winter rain to the north-western parts of the Indian subcontinent.
- It develops in the north of the Tropic of Cancer (mid-latitude region), not in the tropical region, therefore they are called mid-latitude storms or extra-tropical storms.
- It is a non-monsoonal precipitation pattern driven by the westerlies.
- Extratropical storms are a global phenomenon with moisture usually carried in the upper atmosphere, unlike their tropical counterparts where the moisture is carried in the lower atmosphere.
What drives western disturbances?
- In the winter season, the subtropical jet (STJ) is bifurcated into two branches(one north and another south of Himalayas) due to physical obstruction of the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau.
- The winds tend to descend over the north-western parts of India, due to ridge formation of the jet stream that leads to anticyclonic (with clockwise air circulation) conditions over North-West India.
- The Subtropical Jet drives the temperate low pressures over the Mediterranean Sea towards east across Afghanistan, Pakistan and reaches north-west India.
- These storms are temperate cyclones that move at the height of 2000 meters from the mean sea level.
- On average, 4 to 6 cyclonic waves reach north-western India between October and April each year.
- It causes precipitation leading to an abrupt decrease in air temperature over North-West India.
- The weather becomes clear after it passes away.
- Also, bring heavy snowfall in the Himalayan Region and a cold wave to north Indian plains.
- Affect weather conditions during the winter season up to Patna (Bihar).
- Occasional rainfall which is highly beneficial for the standing rabi crops, wheat, barley, mustard, gram, lentil, etc.
About Article 371:
The assurance has come from the center that it does not go after Article 371 of the Constitution that grants special provisions to the region.
- To fulfill the aspirations of the people of backward regions of states
- To extend protection to the cultural and economic interests of the tribal people
- of the states
- To deal with the disturbed law and order condition in some parts of the states
- To protect the interests of the local people of the states.
Part of the Constitution
- Article 371 falls under part XXI of the Constitution - Temporary, Transitional, Special Provisions.
- Articles 371 was incorporated in the Constitution at the time of its commencement
- The Articles from 371A to 371J were added later to the constitution.
- The President is authorized to provide that the Governor of Maharashtra and that of Gujarat would have special responsibility for the establishment of separate development boards for
- (i) Vidarbha, Marathwada and the rest of Maharashtra,
- (ii) Saurashtra, Kutch and the rest of Gujarat
- The Governor of Nagaland shall have special responsibility for law and order in the state so long as internal disturbances caused by the hostile Nagas continue.
- The President is empowered to provide for the creation of a committee of the Assam Legislative Assembly consisting of the members elected from the Tribal Areas of the state and such other members as he may specify
- Article 371-C makes special provisions for Manipur.
- The President is authorized to provide for the creation of a committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly consisting of the members elected from the Hill Areas of the state.
- Special provisions with respect to the state of Andhra Pradesh
- The President is empowered to provide for equitable opportunities and facilities for the people belonging to different parts of the state in the matter of public employment and education and different provisions can be made for various parts of the state.
- Establishment of Central University in Andhra Pradesh
- Special provisions with respect to the state of Sikkim.
- The Sikkim Legislative Assembly is to consist of not less than 30 members.
Special provision with respect to the state of Mizoram.
- The Acts of Parliament relating to the following matters would not apply to Mizoram unless the State Legislative Assembly so decides.
(i) religious or social practices of the Mizos;
(ii) Mizo customary law and procedure;
(iii) administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law; and
(iv) ownership and transfer of land.
- The Mizoram Legislative Assembly is to consist of not less than 40 members.
- Special provision with respect to the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
- The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh shall have special responsibility for law and order in the state.
- Special provision with respect to the state of Goa.
- Article 371-I provides that the Goa Legislative Assembly is to consist of not less than 30 members.
The President is empowered to provide that the Governor of Karnataka would have special responsibility for the establishment of a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
More than 20 NGOs including the A.R. Rahman Foundation has been granted Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license by the Union Government.
- FCRA came into being after an act was passed for the same by the parliament in 2010.
- The mandate of the act includes regulation of receipt of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality and subsequent utilization of it by NGOs in India.
- The actin spirit seeks to prevent the use of external finances to harm the National interest.
- The Acta involves an element of Internal Security, so the Ministry of Home affairs takes charge of it rather than the popular perception of it being under the realm of RBI.
Definition of Foreign Contribution
- The foreign contribution is defined as receipts in the form of
- Articles which are not received as a gift for personal use
- Securities received from foreign sources.
- Foreign hospitality is seen as an offer that seeks to provide foreign travel, boarding, lodging, transportation or medical treatment cost.
- The offer should come from a foreign source to be considered as foreign hospitality.
Person/Entities eligible for receipts under FCRA
The provision for the act permits only those NGOs
- Which is having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social program?
- Registered with the Home Ministry
- Keeping an account of foreign donations
- Conducting an audit and subsequent submission of the report to the Home Ministry.
Person/Entities debarred from receipts under FCRA
- People associated with registered newspapers such as Editors, Publishers
- Political parties
- Candidates who are contesting an election
- Members who are part of any legislature
- Judicial Authorities like judges
- Individuals employed in Government service.
The Election Commission of India organized a 3-day Training and Certification Programme for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (AEROs).
- ECI has been endowed with ‘Silver’ for Excellence in Government Process re-engineering.
- The recognition is for digital transformation for the year 2019-20.
- ERO-NET serves as a database that is common for all States and UTs
- It holds a data set of all electors who form a group of 91 crore people.
- It provides a foundation of electoral roll that facilitates various web services to Conduct of Elections applications of ECI.
- It eases the process with standardization of forms processing, database schema, e-roll printing.
- It also undertakes automation of electoral roll management starting from elector registration, field verification of electors, decision support system for Electoral registration officers and for providing extensive integrated value-added services.
Ethnologue 22nd edition
Context: Recently, the 22nd edition of the world language database Ethnologue has been launched.the 23rd edition is released on Mother Language Day.
Key highlights of 22nd edition of Ethnologue:
- Hindi with 615 million speakers is the 3rd most spoken language of the world in 2019.
- English at the top of the list with 1,132 million speakers.
- With 1,117 million speakers Chinese Mandarin is in the second position.
- 7th most spoken language of the world is Bangla.
- The new edition is the result of over 18,000 updates that have been made to the Ethnologue database since the 22nd edition was released one year ago.
- This edition dropped 6 languages that were listed as living in the previous edition (1 being changed in status from living to extinct, 1 having been merged in the ISO standard into another language, and 4 having been removed because they were duplicates or could not be substantiated as ever having been a language).
- In an effort to bring attention to the plight of indigenous languages, 2019 has been declared by the United Nations to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
- It was established in 1951 and It brings out a yearly database of living languages of the world.
- This time the database covered 7,111 living languages of the world.
- Along with living languages, it also contains data on languages that have gone out of use in recent history. This time this list contains 348 languages.
- Ethnologue brings together more data than any other resource of its kind
- It helps to find what you need for any language – from populations to maps, dialects, usage, and more.
International Mother Language Day:
- It is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.
- First announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999.
- it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly with the adoption of UN resolution 56/262 Multilingualism in 2002.
- Mother Language Day is part of a broader initiative "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world" as adopted by the UN General Assembly on May 16, 2007.
Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund
Context: Recently, The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for upward revision of interest subvention from "up to 2%" to "up to 2.5% p.a." under Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF).
About Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development
- Scheme Area - The scheme will be implemented across the country.
- Union Budget 2017-18 has approved a Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund” (DIDF) with an outlay of Rs 10,881 crore during the period from 2017-18 to 2028-29.
- The project will be implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC) directly through the End Borrowers such as Milk Unions, State Dairy Federations, Multi-state Milk Cooperatives, Milk Producer Companies and NDDB subsidiaries meeting the eligibility criteria under the project.
- Loan to end borrowers @ 6.5% per annum: respective State Government will be the guarantor of loan repayment.
- Employment generation: It will generate direct and indirect employment opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower.
Objectives of the scheme - The scheme has been designed with the following objectives:
- To modernize the milk processing plants and machinery and to create additional infrastructure for processing more milk.
- To create additional milk processing capacity for increased value addition by producing more dairy products.
- To bring efficiency in dairy processing plants/producer-owned and controlled dairy institutions, thereby enabling optimum value of milk to milk producer farmers and supply of quality milk to consumers.
- To help the producer-owned and controlled institutions to increase their share of milk, thereby providing greater opportunities of ownership, management and market access to rural milk producers in the organized milk market.
- To help the producer-owned and controlled institutions to consolidate their position as the dominant players in the organised liquid milk market and to make increased price realization to milk producers.