Top Current Affairs of the Day: 01 August 2019
Consumer protection bill
Why in news?
Lok Sabha has passed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019 after due consideration and discussion.
- It was passed for the protection of the interests of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ dispute and also simplify the entire process of redressal of consumer grievances.
- Under this proposal Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has established to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers and will be empowered to investigate, recall, refund and impose penalties.
- It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
Salient Features of the Bill
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): Executive Agency to provide relief to a class of consumers. The CCPA will be empowered to-
- Conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute Complaints /Prosecution
- Order recall of unsafe goods and services
- Order discontinuance of Unfair Trade Practices and Misleading Advertisements
- Impose penalties on Manufactures /Endorsers /Publishers of Misleading Advertisements
- Simplified Dispute Resolution process
- i) Pecuniary Jurisdiction enhanced to-
- District Commission –Up to Rs1 crore
- State Commission- Between Rs1 crore and Rs 10 crore
- National Commission –Above Rs.10 crore
- ii) Deemed admissibility after 21days of filing
iii) Empowerment of Consumer Commission to enforce their orders
- iv) Appeals only on the question of law after the second stage
- v) Ease of approaching consumer commission
- Filing from the place of residence
- Videoconferencing for hearing
- An Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism
- Reference to Mediation by Consumer Forum wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.
- Mediation cells to be attached to Consumer Forum
- No appeal against settlement through mediation
- Product Liability
A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller to be responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services
The Basis for product liability action will be:
- Manufacturing defect
- Design defect
- Deviation from manufacturing specifications
- Not conforming to express warranty
- Failing to contain adequate instruction for correct use
- Services provided are faulty, imperfect or deficient
New Bill- Benefit to Consumers
- Presently Consumer only has a single point of access to justice, which is time-consuming. Additional swift executive remedies are proposed in the bill through the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
- Deterrent punishment to check misleading advertisements and adulteration of products
- Product liability provision to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services
- Ease of approaching consumer Commission and Simplification of the Adjudication process
- Scope for early disposal of cases through mediation
- Provision for rules for new-age consumer issues: e-commerce & direct selling
RBI liberalizes ECB norms by relaxing end-use restrictions
Why in news?
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) liberalized the norms related to external commercial borrowing (ECB) by relaxing the end-use restrictions with regard to working capital, general corporate purpose, and repayment of rupee loans.
What is external commercial borrowing (ECB)?
- External commercial borrowing (ECBs) are loans in India made by non-resident lenders in foreign currency to Indian borrowers.
- They are used widely in India to facilitate access to foreign money by Indian corporations and PSUs (public sector undertakings).
Proposed change by RBI
- End-use stipulations for ECBs for both corporates as well as liquidity starved non-banking lenders has been liberalized
- Liberalization will be applicable to ECBs taken for general corporate purpose loans, working capital or repayment of rupee loans.
- It allows eligible borrowers to raise ECBs from recognized lenders, except foreign branches and overseas subsidiaries of Indian banks, with a minimum average maturity period of ten years for working capital purposes and general corporate purposes.
- It also allows ECBs to raise with a minimum average maturity period of 7 years for repayment of rupee loans availed domestically for capital expenditure.
- It also permits borrowing for on-lending by NBFCs for above maturity and end-uses. It also permits borrowings for on-lending by NBFCs for repayment of rupee loans.
- It also allows corporate borrowers to avail ECBs for repaying rupee loans taken for Capital expenditures if they are into infrastructure building/ manufacturing and classified as Special Mention Account (SMA-2) or Non-Performing Asset (NPA), under any one-time settlement arrangement with lenders.
The government aims to enroll 150 million workers under PM pension scheme
Why in news?
Union government enroll around 150 million workers over the next three years under the scheme Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM).
- The pension scheme will benefit a large pool of people who earn less but form a large part of the labour market.
- The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is targeting the bottom of the pyramid through various policy interventions, realizing that they are a significant political constituency.
About the scheme
- The government is likely to achieve the150 million number over the next two to three years.
- The total enrolment, 50-60 million workers will be from the construction sector.
- The government announced the scheme in February 2019 interim budget, promising to provide pension of ₹3,000 per month.
- There is a monthly contribution till the age of 60 years to get an assured pension of ₹3,000 every month.
- The 18-year-old starts out by paying ₹55 per month, which moves up to ₹80 at the age of 25, and ₹105, ₹150 and ₹200 for those aged 30, 35 and 40, respectively.
- When a regular contributor dies before the age of 60, the spouse will be entitled to join and continue the scheme by regular contribution or exit the scheme.
- Around 8% of the labor market are formal sector employees and social security benefits, including provident funds, pensions available.
India, Russia sign Rs 1,500 crore deal
Why in news?
- To boost the capabilities of Indian Air, India signed a deal worth Rs 1500 crore to buy R-27 air-to-air missiles from Russia. R-27 air-to-air missiles will be equipped on the Su-30MKI fighter jets.
About the R-27 Missile
- The Vympel R-27 missile is a medium-to-long-range air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union.
- It remains in service with the Russian Air Force and air forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- The R-27 is manufactured in infrared-homing (R-27T), semi-active-radar-homing (R-27R), and active-radar-homing (R-27EA) versions, in both Russia and Ukraine.
- The R-27 missile is carried by the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 fighters, and some of the later-model MiG-23MLD fighters have also been adapted to carry it.
- The R-27 missile is also license-produced in China though the production license was bought from Ukraine instead of Russia.
- The weight of the missile is 253 kilograms.There are six extended versions – R-27ER1, R-27R1, R-27ET1, R-27T1, R-27EP1, and R-27P1.
- The government gave emergency purchasing powers to all three military services.
- Indian army can buy whatever warfare equipment is important to safeguard our borders. The powers given to security forces within three months at a cost up to Rs 300 crore.