Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020
The Bill was recently passed by the Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to widen the scope of entities that can engage in factoring business.
What is factoring?
- Factoring is a transaction where an entity (like MSMEs) ‘sells’ its receivables (dues from a customer) to a third party (a ‘factor’ like a bank or NBFC) for immediate funds (partial or full).
- Currently, seven non-bank finance companies called NBFC factors do the majority of the factoring through the principal business condition.
- The Bill has done away with threshold for NBFCs to get into the factoring business.
- It widens the scope of financiers and to permit other non banking finance companies also to undertake factoring business and participate on the Trade Receivables Discounting System platform for discounting the invoices of micro, small and medium enterprises.
- It reduces the time period for registration of invoice and satisfaction of charge upon it, in order to avoid possibility of dual financing.
- It empowers the Reserve Bank of India to make regulations with respect to factoring business.
- Allowing non-NBFC factors and other entities to undertake factoring is expected to increase the supply of funds available to small businesses.
- This may result in bringing down the cost of funds and enable greater access to the credit-starved small businesses, ensuring timely payments against their receivables.
- Steps like integration with GSTN, mandatory listing of the government dues and direct filing of charges will improve the operational efficiency and acceptability of the platforms among the financiers.
Plea to acquire papers of Bhagat Singh’s trial from Pakistan:
The Punjab government has been asked to take up the issue of acquiring files relating to the court cases of Bhagat Singh presently at the Punjab Archives in Anarkali tomb, Lahore in Pakistan.
- Pakistan is preserving legacy of Bhagat Singh in a proper manner and is allowing even foreign scholars to consult these.
Bhagat Singh’s trial and execution:
- He executed on March 23, 1931 at the Lahore Central Jail along with Rajguru and Sukhdev.
- The most significant part of Bhagat Singh’s life is that spent in jail since his arrest on April 8, 1929 from the Central Assembly in Delhi, where he and B.K. Dutt offered themselves to be arrested after throwing harmless bombs in the Assembly to ‘make the deaf hear.’
- They were first trialed in the Delhi bomb case. Both were convicted and transported for life.
- He was also tried in the Lahore conspiracy case, related to the murder of Saunders.
- He was also involved in a hunger strike demanding the status of political prisoners.
About Bhagat Singh:
- Born in September, 1907.
- Gandhi’s influence: Initially, he supported Mahatma Gandhi and the Non-Cooperation Movement. However, when Gandhi withdrew the movement in the wake of the Chauri Chaura incident, Bhagat Singh turned to revolutionary nationalism.
- Political ideology: His azaadi freedom was not limited to the expelling of the British; instead he desired azaadi from poverty, azaadi from untouchability, azaadi from communal strife, and azaadi from every form of discrimination and exploitation.
- In 1923, Bhagat Singh joined the National College, Lahore which was founded and managed by Lala Lajpat Rai and Bhai Parmanand.
Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on plea saying right to health has taken back seat:
A petition filed in the Supreme Court has said fundamental right to health had taken a back seat as patients were forced to choose between expensive private care and an “inadequate” public health sector, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to respond to the petition.
What are the demands by the petitioners?
They have asked for the proper implementation of the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act of 2010, the Clinical Establishment (Central Government) Rules of 2012 and the Patients’ Rights Charter.
How has the “Right to Health” taken backseat during Covid times?
- The regulation of standards in clinical establishments adopted as a national policy goal by the Government of India nearly two decades ago is yet to be effectively implemented across the country. This is a denial of the right to a dignified life.
- Minimum healthcare is also assured under Articles 21, 41 and 47 of the Constitution and the international covenants. These rights were not available to the citizens because of inadequate public healthcare Infrastructure.
- The “situation today is that more than 70% patient care is provided by the private sector and less than 30% patients use the public sector”.
What needs to be done?
- There are reports of skyrocketing private hospital charges for COVID-19 treatment.
- Therefore, a grievance redressal mechanism should be made available to patients at district, State and national levels.
- This mechanism would look into grievances of the patients at different levels.
- This would include denial of patients’ rights by the hospitals/ clinics and failure to provide minimum care and facilities as provided under the Clinical Establishments Act and Rules.
Basis of Right to Health:
- Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees a fundamental right to life & personal liberty. The right to health is inherent to a life with dignity.
- Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP): Articles 38, 39, 42, 43, & 47 put the obligation on the state in order to ensure the effective realization of the right to health.
- The Supreme Court in Paschim Bangal Khet Mazdoor Samity case (1996) held that in a welfare state, the primary duty of the government is to secure the welfare of the people and moreover it is the obligation of the government to provide adequate medical facilities for its people.
- India is also a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) by the United Nations that grants the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being to humans including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.
US counters China’s sea claims:
In the backdrop of China’s growing assertiveness in the hotly contested waters, the US has said that Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea have “no basis in international law”.
What’s the issue?
- Beijing has overlapping territorial claims with several Southeast Asian states in the South China Sea.
- China claims almost all of the resource-rich sea, through which trillions of dollars in shipping trade passes annually, with competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
- Beijing has also been accused of deploying a range of military hardware, including anti-ship missiles and surface-to-air missiles there, and ignored a 2016 international tribunal decision that declared its historical claim over most of the waters to be without basis.
Recent in News-
- Hundreds of Chinese boats were spotted inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
- Chinese military aircraft appeared off Malaysia’s coast.
US – China relations:
The U.S.-China relationship has deteriorated over a range of issues from cyber security and tech supremacy to human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The US sees China as the pre-eminent challenge.
Where is the South China Sea?
- The South China Sea is an arm of western Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia.
- It is south of China, east & south of Vietnam, west of the Philippines and north of the island of Borneo.
- It is connected by Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea.
- Bordering states & territories: the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.
- This sea holds tremendous strategic importance for its location as it is the connecting link between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean (Strait of Malacca).
- According to the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) one-third of the global shipping passes through it, carrying trillions of trade which makes it a significant geopolitical water body.
Contesting Claims Over Islands:
- The Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
- The Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Philippines.
- The Scarborough Shoal is claimed by the Philippines, China and Taiwan.
- Since 2010, China has been converting uninhabited islets into artificial islets to bring it under UNCLOS (For example, Haven Reef, Johnson South Reef and Fiery Cross Reef).
The 12th Edition of Indo-Russia joint military Exercise INDRA will be held at Volgograd, Russia in August 2021.
About Exercise INDRA:
- The exercise will entail conduct of counter terror operations under the United Nations mandate by a joint force against international terror groups.
- The INDRA series of exercises began in 2003 and was conducted as a bilateral naval exercise alternately between the two countries. However, the first joint Tri-Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
- The last joint, tri-services exercise between India and Russia was conducted in India in December 2019. It was held simultaneously at Babina (near Jhansi), Pune, and Goa.
Significance of Military Exercises:
- In the domain of international relations, military diplomacy has, in recent years, emerged as a major tool to further diplomatic interests of nations.
- Participation in international level military exercises is an indication of the highest level of trust and confidence between the member nations.
- On the operational side, military exercises enable militaries to understand each other’s drills and procedures, overcome language barriers, and facilitate familiarisation with equipment capabilities.
- This is particularly useful in the event of joint operations whether in war or in Operations Other Than War (OOTW) like, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, anti-piracy, etc – when nations come together for a common cause.
- Perhaps, the most important advantage of joint military exercises is ‘strategic signalling’.
- A joint exercise with one or more nations serves the purpose of signalling to a third country the influence we have in the region and a demonstration of our resolve to further our diplomatic objectives.
- On the intangible side, military exercises promote brotherhood and camaraderie between soldiers and militaries.
- Besides goodwill, it is a tool for projection of a nation’s soft power – culture, language, customs, beliefs, food habits and lifestyle.
|Joint Military Exercises of India with Other Countries|
|Name of Exercise||Country|
|Mitra Shakti||Sri Lanka|
Joint actions in Afghanistan : China – Pakistan
- Recently, China and Pakistan have decided to launch Joint Actions in Afghanistan to stop the war-torn country from becoming a hotbed for terrorism.
- The recent withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has been matched by the swift advance of the Taliban across the nation.
Joint Action: It has been outlined in five areas:
- To avoid the expansion of war and prevent Afghanistan from falling into a full-scale civil war.
- To promote the intra-Afghan negotiations between the government and the Taliban and establish “a broad and inclusive political structure”.
- To resolutely combat terrorist forces and push all major forces in Afghanistan to draw a clear line against terrorism.
- To promote cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbours and to explore the construction of a platform for cooperation among them.
- To closely work on international fora on the Afghan issue.
- If the situation in Afghanistan further deteriorates, Pakistan as well as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be in danger. Also many other Chinese projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan will be in danger.
- There was a recent bomb attack on a shuttle bus carrying Chinese engineers at Dasu area of Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan where a Chinese company is building a 4320-mw dam on the Indus river.
- India has opposed the CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), although China has pushed ahead with projects and stepped up its investments in PoK.
- Protecting its investments, which run into billions of rupees, in Afghanistan.
- Preventing a future Taliban regime from being a pawn of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Terror Base:
- Making sure that the Pakistan-backed anti-India terrorist groups do not get support from the Taliban.
- India’s Afghan policy is at a major crossroads; to safeguard its assets there as well as to stay relevant in the unfolding ‘great game’ in and around Afghanistan, India must fundamentally reset its Afghanistan policy.
- India needs to re-evaluate its decisions and be more omnidirectional in its approach to deal with all forces that are central to the future of Afghanistan.
- India must, in its own national interest, begin ‘open talks’ with the Taliban before it is too late. The time for hesitant, half-embarrassed backchannel parleys is over.
- The changing political and security situation requires India to be more open to adapting its maximalist position and starting a dialogue with the Taliban.