Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)
- The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) is a non-statutory apex council under the Ministry of Finance constituted by the Executive Order in 2010.The Raghuram Rajan committee (2008) on financial sector reforms first proposed the creation of FSDC.
- It is chaired by the Finance Minister and its members include the heads of all Financial Sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA & IRDA), Finance Secretary, Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Secretary of Department of Financial Services (DFS), and Chief Economic Adviser.
- In 2018, the government reconstituted FSDC to include the Minister of State responsible for the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Secretary of Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Chairperson of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) and the Revenue Secretary.
- FSDC sub-committee is headed by the Governor of RBI.The Council can invite experts to its meeting if required.
- The objective of FSDC is to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development.
- It also intends to monitor macro-prudential supervision of the economy. It will assess the functioning of the large financial conglomerates.
Deebar beel and ESZ
Why in news?
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the eco-sensitive zone of Deepar Beel Wildlife Sanctuary on the southwestern edge of Guwahati.
- The zonation should help, but Deepar Beel’s water has become toxic and lost many of its aquatic plants that elephants would feed on. The wetlands can breathe easier only if the railway track is diverted,”
About Deepar Beel
- Deepar Beel is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Assam and the State’s only Ramsar Site, besides being an Important Bird Area.
- Dipor Bil, also spelt Deepor Beel is located to the south-west of Guwahati city, in Kamrup Metropolitan district of Assam, India
- It is a permanent freshwater lake, in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River, to the south of the main river.
- It is also called a wetland under the Ramsar Convention which has listed the lake in November 2002, as a Ramsar Site for undertaking conservation measures on the basis of its biological and environmental importance.
- it is categorised as representative of the wetland type under the Burma monsoon forest biogeographic region
- Eco-Sensitive Zone means the fragile area that exists within 10 kilometres of protected areas like National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- The purpose of marking an Eco-Sensitive Zone is to create a kind of shock-absorber around the protected areas.
- The Eco-Sensitive Zone around protected areas are declared by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India.
- They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
- An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.
- Moreover, in the case where sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, are beyond 10 km width, these should be included in the ESZs.
- The Government has announced an ambitious programme of asset monetisation. It hopes to earn ₹6 trillion in revenues over a four-year period.
- At a time when the Government’s finances are in bad shape, that is money the Government can certainly use
- In asset monetisation, the Government parts with its assets — such as roads, coal mines — for a specified period of time in exchange for a lump sum payment.
- At the end of the period, the assets return to the Government. Unlike in privatisation, no sale of government assets is involved.
- By monetising assets it has already built, the Government can earn revenues to build more infrastructure.
- Asset monetisation will happen mainly in three sectors: roads, railways and power.
- Other assets to be monetised include: airports, ports, telecom, stadiums and power transmission.
- The focus will be on under-utilised assets.
- Two, monetisation will happen through public-private partnerships (PPP) and Investment Trusts.
- Example-Suppose a port or airport or stadium or even an empty piece of land is not being used adequately because it has not been properly developed or marketed well enough.
- A private party may judge that it can put the assets to better use. It will pay the Government a price equal to the present value of cash flows at the current level of utilisation.
Good utilised assets
- Matters could be very different in monetisation of an asset that is being properly utilised, say, a highway that has good traffic.
- In this case, the private player has little incentive to invest and improve efficiency.
- It simply needs to operate the assets as they are
Case of highway
- For a road or highway, growth in traffic would also depend on factors other than the growth of the economy, such as the level of economic activity in the area, the prices of fuel and vehicles, alternative modes of transport and their relative prices, etc.
- If the rate of growth of traffic turns out to be higher than assessed by the Government in valuing the asset, the private operator will reap windfall gain
- Alternatively, if the winning bidder pays what turns out to be a steep price for the asset, it will raise the toll price steeply.
- The consumer ends up bearing the cost. If transporters have to pay more, the economy suffers
- there is no incentive for the private player to invest in the asset towards the end of the tenure of monetisation.
- The life of the asset, when it is returned to the Government, may not be long. In that event, asset moneti
- InvITs are mutual fund-like vehicles in which investors can subscribe to units that give dividends.
- The sponsor of the Trust is required to hold a minimum prescribed proportion of the total units issued.
- InvITs offer a portfolio of assets, so investors get the benefit of diversification.
- Assets can be transferred at the construction stage or after they have started earning revenues.
- In the InvIT route to monetisation, the public authority continues to own the rights to a significant portion of the cash flows and to operate the assets
Animal Discoveries 2020, a document published recently by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)
- India has added 557 new species to its fauna, which includes 407 new species and 150 new records, reveals Animal Discoveries 2020, a document published recently by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- The number of faunal species in India has climbed to 1,02,718 species with the discovery of the new species.
- Among the new species, some interesting species discovered in 2020 are Trimeresurus salazar, a green pit viper discovered in Arunachal Pradesh; Lycodon deccanensis,
- the Deccan wolf snake discovered in Karnataka; and Sphaerotheca Bengaluru, a burrowing frog named after the city of Bengaluru.
- The list also includes Xyrias anjaalai, a deep water species of snake eel from Kerala;
- Glyptothorax giudikyensis, a species of catfish from Manipur;
- and Clyster galateansis, a species of scarab beetle from the Great Nicobar Biosphere
Merging of three black holes
- A rare merging of three supermassive black holes has been spotted by a team of astrophysicists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA),
- The team were observing the merging of two galaxies — NGC7733 and NGC7734 — in the earth’s celestial neighbourhood when they detected unusual emissions from the centre of the latter .
- Inferring that this was a separate galaxy, the scientists named it NGC7733N.
- All three merging black holes were part of galaxies in the Toucan constellation.
- They are quite far away given that the earth’s nearest galactic neighbour — the Andromeda galaxy — is 2.5 million light years away
- Compared to our nearest neighbour Andromeda galaxy, the galaxies NGC7733, 7734 and 7733 N are quite far away, but compared to the size of universe, they are nearby galaxies.
Final Parsec Problem
- if two galaxies collide, their black holes will also come closer by transferring the kinetic energy to the surrounding gas.
- The distance between the black holes decreases with time until the separation is around one parsec (3.26 light-years).
- The two black holes, however, are then unable to lose any further kinetic energy to get even closer and merge.
- This is known as the final parsec problem.
- But the presence of a third black hole can solve this problem.
- “The two can come closer when another black hole or a star passes by and takes away some of their combined angular momentum,”
- Thus, the dual merging black holes merge with each other in the presence of a third.
- Many Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), or supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy, pairs have been detected in the past, but triple AGN are extremely rare,
Early Harvest Trade pact
- Early harvest agreements are used to liberalise tariffs on the trade of certain goods between two countries or trading blocs before a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is concluded.