ISRO Set to launch its TV Channel :-
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will have an year-long Vikram Sarabhai centenary celebration starting in August 2019 to honour the visionary scientist and legendary founding father.
- In a few months’ time, ISRO plans to roll out a dedicated ISRO TV channel, showcasing space applications, developments and science issues, targeting young viewers and people in remote areas in their language.
- Vikram Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space programme, the first ISRO chief and renowned cosmic ray scientist, was born on August 12, 1919. Sarabhai was only 28 when he sowed the seeds of a space agency around the late 1940s and 1950s.
Public satellite launches
As it strengthens its public outreach, ISRO will shortly start allowing the public to watch satellite launches from its Sriharikota launch centre.
More banks report tightening of credit standards, shows survey :-
According to a survey conducted by FICCI and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) showed more respondents claiming they had tightened credit standards during January-June 2018, the period in which survey was conducted.
Cautioned over NPAs :-
- 67% respondents among participating banks have reported tightening of standards, steeply increasing from 28% in the last round of the survey.
- A total of 22 public sector, private sector and foreign banks participated in the survey, which is conducted twice a year. These banks together represent 64% of the banking industry, as classified by asset size.
- This round has been conducted at a time when NPAs have shot past the Rs. 10-lakh crore marks and continue to rise.
IBC effect :- The survey noted that with stressed assets rising, banks have generally adopted a cautious approach in lending, to prevent fresh slippages.
- As was the case in the previous round of the survey, 59% of the respondent banks reported a rise in NPAs in the current round of the survey.
- Infrastructure, metals and engineering goods were the key sectors reported with the highest NPAs. More than two-thirds of the respondents have cited these as sectors with high NPAs.
- At the same time, most participating banks agreed that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) had made the recovery process faster and improved the recovery position of banks.
- To improve the resolution rate, bankers suggested strengthening of the judiciary, enhancing capacity, empowerment of local level government officials, among other suggestions.
- They also said that extension of the moratorium beyond 270 days for any reason should not be permitted.
Bill to allow proxy voting by NRIs passed by Lok Sabha :-
- A Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2017 to extend the facility of ‘proxy voting’ to overseas Indians, on the lines of service voters, was passed by the Lok Sabha.
- The Bill was passed by a voice vote in the Lower House, proposes that overseas Indians, who are entitled to vote in India, could now appoint a proxy voter to cast their votes.
Present Situation :-
As of now, overseas Indians were free to cast their votes in the constituencies where they were registered. The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which until now was only available to service personnel.
Provision related to Spouses of Service Voters
- As of now, an army man’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law. The bill proposes to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, thus making the provision gender neutral.
- Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the centre posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters.
Concerns with the Bill
- This facility could be misused by political parties by persuading the proxies appointed by the NRIs. The foreign missions attempts to elections of India by distributing literature to influence the voting pattern in favour of the ruling party.
- There should be e-voting for NRIs to prevent misuse but provision for e-voting has several difficulties in implementing in a large country like India due to security concerns.