GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

United Nations Launches UN Road Safety Trust Fund.

Background

  • Citing tragic road accidents in India and Canada, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed termed traffic deaths an urgent global concern as the world body launched a trust fund aimed at spurring action to help save lives in road accidents.
  • During the General Assembly debate on road safety on 12th April, 2018, Mohammed said traffic accidents are the number one cause of death of young people and are responsible for keeping millions of people in poverty each year.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Road traffic deaths and injuries have become a serious and urgent global concern. Around 1.3 million drivers, passengers and pedestrians die each year, and up to 50 million are injured on the world’s roads, Amina said.
  • The United Nations took a major step to address the tragedy of road accidents by launching the UN Road Safety Trust Fund to spur action that could save lives and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents.
  • Highlighting the opportunities offered by the fund, Mohammed said there is a chance to save the lives of millions of people around the world, and to prevent injuries, suffering and the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents.
  • She urged all stakeholders to contribute to the trust fund and to step up their efforts to achieve global road safety targets.
  • According to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Organisation’s development arm in the continent, which is also the secretariat for the trust fund, every USD 1,500 contributed to the fund could save one life; prevent 10 serious injuries; and leverage USD 51,000 towards investments in road safety.
  • The Road Safety Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, UNECE head Olga Algayerova said.
  • Dealing specifically with road safety, two Sustainable Development Goals targets aim to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents and to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems as well as improve road safety for all, respectively.
  • Echoing these words, Jean Todt, the President of the Fdration Internationale de l’Automobile and the UN Special Envoy for Road Safety, also underlined the importance scaling up of resources to achieve global road safety targets.
  • The trust fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which include strengthened road safety management capacities; improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks; enhanced safety of vehicles; improved behaviour of road users; and improved post-crash care.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

Government Extends Phase-I Of FAME India Scheme

Background

  • The central government on 13th April, 2018 said that it has extended the phase-1 of FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles) India scheme for a further period of six months up to September 30, 2018.
  • According to a notification issued by the Department of Heavy Industry, the phase-1 of the FAME scheme was to run for two years 2015-16 and 2016-17, which commenced from April 1, 2015.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Initially, the phase-1 was extended for a period of six months up to September 30, 2017 or till approval of phase-II, whichever is earlier. It was further extended for another six month up to March 31, 2018.
  • Now, therefore, the period of the FAME India scheme is further extended for a further period of six months i.e. upto 30th September 2018 or till date of launching of phase-II of FAME India Scheme , whichever is earlier, the notification said.
  • The extension is deemed to have taken effect on 1st April 2018.
  • The FAME scheme provides incentives for purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles in particular areas.

Sources- Business-Standard.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

SBI Launches UK Subsidiary With 225 Million Pounds Capital Commitment.

Background

  • The SBI has announced the launch of its UK subsidiary, SBI (UK) Limited, with an initial capital commitment of 225 million pounds from its parent entity.
  • India’s largest state-owned bank, which celebrated the new subsidiary with a special event in London on 9th April, 2018, becomes the first foreign bank in the UK to ringfence its retail division from its wholesale business.
  • SBI said that the ringfencing and subsidiarisation of the retail franchise SBI UK, the bank’s largest overseas operation, offers UK customers stability and reassurance amidst continuing uncertainty around the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU).

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • They are extremely proud of how far the bank has come from the first time it opened its doors to UK residents in 1921, said Sanjiv Chadha, Regional Head of SBI UK.
  • The launch of their UK subsidiary shows their commitment to operate in the UK market. Many banks primarily see the UK as the gateway to Europe and are fazed by the impact of Brexit. Their calculus is different. They see London as the ideal launch pad for a global presence and have full faith that, despite Brexit, London will remain the premier international financial centre, he said.
  • The UK subsidiary of the SBI has been launched with an initial capital commitment of 225 million pounds from its parent entity.
  • The UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) wants foreign banks to establish UK subsidiaries to protect depositors in the UK from uncertainties in foreign markets.
  • It is aimed at preventing a repeat of the financial crisis, by ensuring that banks have enough capital to support their business.
  • The costly move has caused an industry uproar, leading many existing foreign-owned bank branches to reassess their presence in the UK.
  • However, SBI UK says it has chosen to view the restructuring as an endorsement for London as a financial capital of the world, despite uncertainty triggered by the Brexit.
  • Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said that the move is a reflection of the continued strength of UK-India ties, particularly in financial and professional services. He looks forward to further building on our 100-year relationship with India’s largest bank.
  • SBI UK, as the largest Indian bank in the UK, said it is confident that London will continue to remain the pre-eminent financial capital for institutions seeking a “gateway to a global presence”.
  • The subsidiary, which came into effect on April 1, means that all retail branches of SBI in the UK will fall under a new UK-incorporated banking entity instead of their previous status as overseas branches of the Indian entity.

Sources- The Hindu.