1. New technical standards for imports and domestic manufacture
- The government may form 252 new technical standards for imports and domestic manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, toys, footwear, sports, telecom and industrial equipment.
- Currently, India is having 452 technical and sanitary standards and regulates less than 10 % of its national tariff lines (products included in the lists of tariff rates).
- New standards are to be developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
- Although tariffs (taxes imposed on imports) all over the world have decreased due to trade liberalization, developed countries have imposed non-tariff measures (NTMs) like Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) measures.
- Trade liberalization means removal or lowering of restrictions or barriers to international trade.
- Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures are measures that are based on risks to human or animal life due to food contaminants, toxins or organisms that cause disease.
- Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) measures are based on technical details of the product like size, weight and electricity consumption on labelling of refrigerators.
2. Five-months high growth in Indian services industry
- Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) produced by IHS Markit increased from 52.7 in November to 53.3 in December.
- Composite PMI increased from 52.7 in November to 53.7 in December. PMI above 50 means the growth of the sector and PMI above 50 means contraction of the sector.
- Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI):
- It is developed on the basis of monthly surveys of private sector companies only.
- On the basis of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM)'s work, IHS Markit Ltd or Markit group produces PMI for more than 30 countries.
3. Ceiling prices of seven new drugs fixed
- NPPA has decided ceiling prices of new high-end antibiotics, anti-HIV medicines and anti-epileptic medicines.
- If the manufacturer or marketing company of these medicines will not comply with a newly fixed price and overcharges, the manufacturer or marketing company has to submit an overcharged amount with interests under Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013 and Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
- The government fixes the prices of new drugs on the basis of the recommendation of a Standing Committee of Experts that is formed under Para 15 of the DPCO.
4. 24°C starting temperature made mandatory for all star-labelled room air-conditioners
- From January 1, all brands and types of BEE star-labelled room ACs will have starting temperature fixed at 24°C.
- In October 2019, new energy performance standards for room ACs were notified and the default setting of 24°C starting temperature is part of these standards.
- Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) between 3.30 - 5.00 for split ACs and 2.70 – 3.50 for window ACs was also part of energy performance standards notified in October. ISEER will be put into effect from January 1, 2021, onwards.
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE):
- It is a statutory body that was formed as per the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
- It was formed in 2002 and comes under the Ministry of Power.
5. Supervisory Action Framework (SAF) of UCBs revised
- RBI has revised SAF of Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) and as per revised SAF, a UCB will be placed under SAF if its Net NPAs become more than 6% of its net advances, suffers losses for two continuous financial years or CRAR declines below 9%.
- Revised norms have come into effect immediately and if the above thresholds given under revised SAF are breached, RBI will take actions against UCB.
- Capital to Risk-weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR):
- It is the ratio of the capital of the bank to its assets weighted according to risk. It is also called the capital adequacy ratio.
- Higher CRAR means less risk to banks.
- As per Basel III norms, banks should have a CRAR of 8%.
- As per RBI norms, scheduled commercial banks should have CRAR of 9%, and Indian public sector banks should have a CRAR of 12%.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
1. How many technical and sanitary standards are currently imposed by India?
2. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is produced by
- Institute for Supply Management (ISM)
- National Institute of Supply Management (NISM)
- IHS Markit Ltd
- Reserve Bank of India
- Ministry of Finance
3. Prices of new drugs in India are fixed on the basis of the recommendation of the Standing Committee of Experts. This committee is formed under
- Para 15 of Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO)
- Para 19 of Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO)
- Para 24 of Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO)
- Para 28 of Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO)
- Para 29 of Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO)
4. Government of India formed the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in
5. RBI has recently revised the Supervisory Action Framework (SAF) of
- Urban Cooperative Banks
- Scheduled Commercial Banks
- Public Sector Banks
- Private Sector Banks
- Foreign Banks