1. RCEP signed at Hanoi regional summit
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has been signed at a regional summit held in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam.
- The ceremony for the signing of RCEP was held virtually due to Coronavirus pandemic. Vietnam hosted the ceremony.
- Vietnam is the ASEAN chair for 2020. Cohesive and Responsive is the theme for its ASEAN chairmanship.
- The ceremony was held on the sidelines of 37th ASEAN Summit held virtually. The leaders have left open the option for India. It can re-apply and restart negotiations for RCEP membership.
- Now, member countries will ratify RCEP and it will come into effect within two years.
- India and US are not part of the RCEP. India exited RCEP negotiations in November 2019.
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):
- RCEP negotiations were launched in 2012 during ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. It consists of 15 members. They are 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
- RCEP members stand for 30% of world economy and 30% of global population. It is the largest trade bloc.
- This is the first trade agreement involving China, Japan and South Korea.
(Source: The Hindu)
2. Labour Ministry releases draft rules for Code on Social Security 2020
- Ministry of Labour and Employment has released draft rules for Code on Social Security 2020 on 13 November.
- As per the draft rules, the workers will register with Aadhaar on a self-declaration basis on specific portal.
- Aadhaar-based registration on the government portal will be mandatory to get benefits under Social Security scheme. The registration can be done by any worker having 16-60 age.
- Unorganized workers, gig workers and platform workers should also update their details from time to time to remain eligible for social security benefits.
- As per the rules, Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) should also register with Aadhaar on the portal of Centre, state government or of State’s BOCW welfare board.
- In the draft rules, there is also provision for single electronic registration of an establishment and cancellation of registration if business closes.
- The rules provide for calculation of BOCW cess by the employer as per the cost of construction based on either of the following:
- Rates of the State Public Works Department
- Rates of Central Public Works Department
- Documents submitted to Real Estate Regulatory Authority
- The rules also reduce the rate of interest for delayed payment of BOCW cess from 2% to 1% every month or part of a month.
- The rules withdraw the power of assessing officers for indefinitely stopping construction work. Under the rules, assessing officer should have prior approval of the BOCW board secretary to visit the construction site.
- Code on Social Security 2020 was passed by Parliament in September. Parliament has also passed codes for Wages, Industrial Relations and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions.
- Government should make all four codes operational from April 1, 2021. They subsume 29 central laws.
3. FSSAI decides to form Food Safety Co-ordination Committee (FSCC)
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to form Food Safety Co-ordination Committee (FSCC).
- FSCC will manage food safety emergencies in the country. FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal will act as chairperson of the committee.
- FSCC will have 15 members. They will include joint secretaries from various Ministries and government departments. In addition to joint secretaries, FSCC will have the following members:
- Director of Export Inspection Council of India
- Director of National Centre for Disease Control
- A representative from Indian Council of Medical Research
- Four senior officials from the FSSAI
- The FSCC has been formed under the national Food Safety Emergency Response (FSER) system framework, which was developed by FSSAI.
- The framework gives a summary of procedures to be used for multi-sectorial co-ordination, roles, responsibilities and management actions at the time of food safety emergency situation.
- Section 16 (3) (v) & (vi) of FSS Act prescribes the actions related with food safety emergency situation.
- The actions under Section 16 (3) (v) & (vi) include the collection and analysis of scientific and technical data for the identification of emerging risks and the introduction of rapid alert system.
- Section 16 of Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006, provides for duties and roles of FSSAI.
4. Kerala’s first CNG powered smart bus service started in Kochi
- Kerala’s first CNG powered smart bus service has been started by Kochi Smart Bus Consortium in Kochi.
- Jaffar Malik, CEO of the newly established Kerala Metropolitan Transport Authority, launched the first service from Vyttila Mobility Hub.
- Kochi Smart Bus consortium consists of stage carriage bus operating companies.
- They have partnered with Axis Bank and Technovia Info Solutions to sign an agreement with Kochi Metro Rail Ltd.
- The agreement was for implementing smart facilities (Intelligent Transport Systems) in their fleets.
- Kochi Smart Bus consortium got the Best City Bus award from Ministry of Housing & Urban affairs in the 12th Urban Mobility India (UMI) conference. The conference was organized at Lucknow in 2019.
- Urban Mobility India (UMI) conference is an annual event held under the Ministry of Housing & Urban affairs.
- The ministry organized the 13th UMI conference 2020 on 9 November 2020 through video conferencing with the theme of Emerging Trends in Urban Mobility.
5. SBM Bank India to launch a neo banking platform
- A wholly-owned subsidiary of State Bank of Mauritius (SBM), SBM Bank India will launch a neo banking platform.
- In August 2020, SBM Bank has launched Goal-Based Recurring Deposit Platform, Nivesh, in partnership with fintech PayNearby.
- In January 2019, SBM bank became the first foreign bank in India, which received a universal banking licence from RBI to function as a Wholly Owned Subsidiary.
- Neo banks are completely digital banks. They do not have any branch. They are also known as fintech firms offering Banking as a Services (BaaS).
6. Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of five PSOs cancelled by RBI
- RBI has cancelled the certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of five Payment System Operators (PSOs) for different reasons.
- The Payment System Operators (PSOs) were issued CoA to operate prepaid payment instruments.
- RBI cancelled CoA of Card Pro Solutions Pvt Ltd and InCashMe Mobile Wallet Services Pvt Ltd due to non-compliance with a regulatory requirement.
- CoA of Aircel Smart Money was cancelled due to non-renewal. CoA of Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd and Pyro Networks Pvt Ltd was cancelled due to voluntary surrender.