Ken-Betwa link hits green hurdle
- India’s apex forest advisory body has imposed tough conditions on the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project.
- Given the ecological and environmental impact posed by the project, it had to pass multiple authorities for clearance.
- Forest advisory clearance was seen to be the last step.
- In the case of the Ken-Betwa project, the FAC has refrained from explicitly giving its opinion either way and only seconded an earlier sub-committee’s report that had cleared the project subject to strict warning.
- The ₹18,000 crore river interlinking project requires 4,141 hectares of forest in the heart of the Panna Tiger reserve.
- Some more land is also needed to build a dam and a 230-km canal to transfer water to several drought-afflicted villages in Bundelkhand.
- As compensation the Water department had agreed to acquire about 8,000 hectares of forest land from the Madhya Pradesh government and revive them as forest.
- But the FAC said this land was not good enough as it was fragmented, and, to meaningfully revive a forest that is part of tiger habitat, the land acquired ought to be contiguous.
- Revenue lands/non-forest lands by way of purchase or otherwise by the project proponents and the government.
Why these recommendation can’t be made:
- Transferring private or revenue land is harder, time-consuming and costly.
- Water department says that these measures are impossible to comply with.
- Though department was already preparing a rebuttal to “contest” the FAC’s recommendations.
Source: The Hindu
Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
Civil nuclear cooperation
About the visit:
- The Bangladesh Prime Minister,Sheikh Hasina arrives on four-day visit.
- During Hasina’s visit, the two sides will be signing at least 25 pacts in various key sectors, including civil nuclear cooperation and defense.
- Any agreement on the Teesta water sharing issue is unlikely to be inked.
- Modi and Hasina will hold talks on Saturday, where India is set to announce a line of credit of $500 million to Bangladesh for military supplies.
- Hasina will visit Ajmer on Sunday and meet Indian business leaders the next day.
- The two side will ink of a framework agreement on civil nuclear energy which will provide for extensive cooperation in the sector, including setting up of nuclear reactors in Bangladesh by India.
- In a bid to strengthen trade, the two sides are likely to announce setting up of another set of trade facilitation huts along the borders in the Northeast.
Source: Indian Express
Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: – Indian Economy and issues relating to development
RBI proposes wholesale banks
You should know:
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed setting up wholesale and long-term finance (WLTF) banks.
- WLTF are made to finance industrial and infrastructure projects with higher capital and non-reliance on savings deposits.
- These banks are expected to be very large institutions ab initio to take on large exposure to industrial, commercial and infrastructure sector.
- They are expected to carry substantial credit-concentration and devise sophisticated financial products.
- The RBI has proposed a higher level of initial minimum paid-up equity capital, say Rs 1,000 crore or more, for these banks.
- For universal banks, it is fixed at Rs 500 crore and of payments banks (PBs) and small finance banks (SFBs) it is Rs 100 crore.
- RBIhave to heavily invest in information technology and skill building to mitigate the risks.
Working of WLTF:
- WLTF banks are not expected to have significant retail exposure.
- With regard to the sources of funding, WLTF banks are not expected to accept savings deposits.
- Current account and term deposits may be mobilized by these banks. A higher threshold for term deposits, say above Rs 10 crore, might be considered.
- There could be reasonable restrictions on premature withdrawal of these deposits
- Another major source of funds for WLTF banks will be issuance of bonds. These could be issued locally or abroad in rupee-denomination.
- Other funding sources such as commercial bank borrowing, certificate of deposits, securitization of assets etc. should be available for WLTF banks.
- Primary sources of funds for WLTF banks could be a combination of term deposits, debt / equity capital raised from primary market issues or private placement, and term borrowings from banks and other financial institutions.
- Whom WLTF lends to?
- WLTF banks will focus primarily on lending to infrastructure sector and small, medium and corporate businesses.
- Will mobilize liquidity for banks and financial institutions directly originating priority sector assets, through securitization of such assets and actively dealing in them as market makers.
- What is need of WLTF?
- The 12th 5 Year Plan had projected the infrastructure financing requirement at $ 1 trillion during the plan period and the funding gap is estimated to be above Rs 500,000 crore.
- The banks’ current processes and business models may not yet be adequately prepared to make, monitor and manage long-term project loans so WLTF came into picture.
Source: Indian Express