Topic: Committees/ Commissions/ Taskforces
1. Centre appointed digital panel completed stakeholders’ consultations.
- The 10 member panel was appointed by the Corporate Affairs Ministry to frame a draft Digital Competition Bill.
- It will review the existing competition laws and the need for new legislation.
- The panel is mandated to submit its report by May 2023.
- The terms of the reference of the Committee are to review whether existing provisions in the Competition Act, 2002 and the rules and regulations framed thereunder are sufficient to deal with the challenges that have emerged from the digital economy.
- The committee is chaired by Corporate Affairs Secretary Manoj Govil and comprises chairperson of CCI Sangeeta Verma, Chairman of Indian Angel Network and NASSCOM cofounder Saurabh Srivastava, and others.
- In December 2022, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance asked the Centre to introduce a new digital competition law in its recommendation in a report titled “Anti-competitive practices by Big Tech companies”.
Topic: World Economy
2. Second round of IPEF negotiations is being held in Bali on 13-19 March 2023.
- India is going to oppose any attempt to weave in mandatory commitments on labour and environment standards in three pillars- supply chains, clean energy and infrastructure and fair economy- of the IPEF.
- India does not have an issue with labour provisions such as non-exploitation of workers, prevention of child labour and payment of minimum wages.
- Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is 14 member alliance that was launched by US President Joe Biden in 2022 to challenge China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Its members include Australia, Brunei, Fiji, Indonesia, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.
- IPEF’s four pillars of discussions are trade, supply chains, clean economy and fair economy.
Topic: World Economy
3. Japan joined the Multi-party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA).
- The MPIA is an alternative mechanism for resolving WTO disputes.
- It was set up by the EU and their key partners. 26 WTO members are currently part of MPIA.
- Under MPIA, the first appeal will be heard on anti-dumping duties imposed by Colombia on frozen fries from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
- WTO members are committed to place a reformed and fully functioning dispute settlement system by 2024.
- Generally, disputes are resolved through negotiations. If negotiations failed, then WTO Members can request the establishment of a panel to settle the dispute.
- The report of the panel can be appealed before the WTO's Appellate Body.
- World Trade Organization:
- It set the global rules of trade between nations.
- 164 countries are its members which represent more than 98% of global trade and global GDP.
- It started its operation on 1 January 1995 after Marrakesh Agreement.
- Its headquarters is located at Geneva, Switzerland.
- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the current Director-General.
4. Union Minister Narayan Rane launched MSME Competitive (LEAN) scheme.
- The main aim of the MSME Competitive (LEAN) scheme is to provide a roadmap for global competitiveness for MSMEs.
- The main aim of scheme is to improve the quality, productivity and performance of MSMEs and to change the mindset of manufacturers.
- It is an initiative to create awareness among MSMEs about LEAN manufacturing practices.
- It motivates and incentivizes MSMEs to attain LEAN levels and encourages them to become MSME champions.
- LEAN manufacturing tools like 5S, Kaizen, KANBAN, visual workplace, and Poka Yoka will be implemented under the scheme.
- LEAN manufacturing tools will be used under the able guidance of trained and competent LEAN consultants to attain LEAN levels.
- These will help in reducing wastage and improve quality and make MSMEs competitive.
Topic: Indian Economy
5. India's net direct tax collection up 17% to Rs 13.73 lakh crore till March 10.
- So far this fiscal year, net direct tax collection has reached 13.73 lakh crore rupees, which is around 17% higher than net collections for the same period last year.
- This collection is over 97% of the total budget projections and more than 83% of the total revised estimates of Direct Taxes for Fiscal Year 2022-23.
- The gross collection so far is ₹16.68 lakh crore, which is 22% higher than the gross collection for the same period last year, according to Central Board of Direct Taxes.
- From April 1, 2022 to March 10, 2023, Rs 2.95 lakh crore in refunds were issued, which is 59 percent more than the refunds issued during the same period last year.
- The net growth in corporate income tax collections, after refund adjustments, is 13.62%, while the net growth in personal income tax collections, including Securities Transaction Tax, is 20.06%.
Topic: Banking/Financial System
6. Kochi Metro has become the first metro to accept digital currency in its parking facilities.
- IDFC First Bank has entered into partnership with Anantham Online to enable acceptance of digital rupee at Kochi Metro’s parking facilities.
- Anantham Online is a technology startup focused on digital parking.
- With the help of this initiative, Kochi Metro users will be able to pay from their respective bank’s CBDC wallet.
- Presently, CBDC is in the first phase of implementation with four banks. IDFC First Bank is one of them.
- Recently, RBI announced launch of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for retail users.
Topic: Infrastructure and Energy
7. PM Modi dedicated the world’s longest railway platform to the nation.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the "longest railway platform in the world" at Shree Siddharoodha Swamiji Hubballi Station of Karnataka.
- It is a 1,507 m long platform which has been built at a cost of about Rs 20 crore.
- Platform number 8 measuring 1,507 m has got the recognition of the longest railway platform in the world.
- The platform is a part of the Hubballi Yard re-modeling project.
- The Guinness Book of World Records recognized this as the longest railway platform globally on 2nd March 2023.
- Gorakhpur Junction railway station in Uttar Pradesh has the world's second-longest railway platform in the world.
- During the event, PM Modi dedicated the electrification of Hosapete Hubballi Tinaighat section and the upgradation of the Hosapete station.
- It will improve connectivity in the region and has been developed at a cost of Rs 530 crore.
- He also laid the foundation stone for various projects of Hubballi-Dharwad smart city.
- He also laid the foundation stone of the Jayadeva Hospital and Research Centre.
- He also laid the foundation stone for Tupparihalla Flood Damage Control Project. It will help in reducing the damage caused by floods.
Topic: Banking/ Finance
8. Silicon Valley Bank is shut down by United States regulators.
- Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the 16th largest bank in US, has been shut down by regulators due to the sudden shutdown of Silvergate Capital Corp and the unmindful fundraising of SVB.
- It is the second biggest bank failure in U.S history after the collapse of Washington Mutual in 2008.
- Due to the shutdown of SVB, there has been a loss of more than $ 100 billion in the market value of the shares of American banks.
- The main office and all branches of Silicon Valley Bank will reopen on March 13.
- Financial regulators have taken control of its deposits. According to the FDIC, 89% of the bank's $175 billion in deposits were uninsured by the end of 2022.
- FDIC has created the Deposit Insurance National Bank of Santa Clara.
- The FDIC’s standard insurance covers up to $250,000 per depositor.
- SVB is a key player in the tech and venture capital community. Around half of the U.S. technology and healthcare companies were Silicon Valley Bank customers.
- In the last 18 months, Technology sector stocks have declined sharply. It added troubles for Silicon Valley Bank.
- It suffered a major loss due to the increase in interest rates by the US central bank.
- Silicon Valley Bank is based in Santa Clara, California. Its total asset was $209 billion.