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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-28th July 2023

PM inaugurates International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre – ‘Bharat Mandapam’

On a recent occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the newly revamped Pragati Maidan complex in Delhi, unveiling the impressive International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC), also known as ‘Bharat Mandapam.’ The IECC is set to become the largest conference and exhibition site in India and will be the venue for the upcoming G-20 Summit in September.

Developed at a cost of approximately Rs 2,700 crore, the project was designed by renowned international firm Aedas, known for their work on the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, along with Indian firm Arcop, which played a role in the design of IGI Airport Terminal 3.

Impressive Features of IECC

PM inaugurates International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre – ‘Bharat Mandapam

  • Spans over an area of 53,399 sq m with a cost of around Rs 2,700 crore.

  • Accommodates 7,000 people in its multi-purpose and plenary halls combined.

  • Larger seating capacity than the iconic Sydney Opera House, accommodating around 5,900 people.

  • Designed by Aedas, the architect of Marina Bay Sands, and Indian firm Arcop, involved in IGI Airport Terminal 3.

Inspired Architectural Design

  • The building’s elliptical shape draws inspiration from the shankha or conch shell.

  • Integration of traditional art elements on walls and facades.

  • Magnificent amphitheater with a seating capacity of 3,000 individuals, comparable to 3 PVR theaters combined.

Banks write off bad loans worth Rs 2.09 lakh crore in 2022-23: RBI

In the fiscal year ending March 2023, Indian banks wrote off bad loans amounting to Rs 2.09 lakh crore, bringing the total loan write-off by the banking sector to Rs 10.57 lakh crore in the past five years. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) disclosed this information in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query.

These massive loan write-offs contributed to a significant reduction in gross non-performing assets (GNPA) for banks, which declined to a 10-year low of 3.9% of advances by March 2023. However, it is essential to note that the loans written off by banks will still be recorded as unrecovered loans on their books. The recovery rate for these write-offs during the last three years was quite low, with banks managing to recover only 18.60% of the written-off amount.

Loan Write-offs Reduce Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) to a 10-year Low

  • Banks wrote off bad loans worth Rs 2.09 lakh crore in the fiscal year ending March 2023.

  • Total loan write-off by the banking sector reached Rs 10.57 lakh crore in the last five years.

  • Gross non-performing assets (GNPA) decreased to 3.9% of advances in March 2023.

  • GNPA had fallen from Rs 10.21 lakh crore in FY2018 to Rs 5.55 lakh crore by March 2023, largely due to loan write-offs

Abysmal Recovery Rate Despite Loan Write-off

  • Banks recovered only Rs 109,186 crore from Rs 586,891 crore loans written off in the last three years (18.60% recovery rate).

  • The total defaulted loans (including write-offs but excluding recovered loans) amount to Rs 10.32 lakh crore.

  • If including write-offs, the total NPA ratio would have been 7.47% of advances instead of the reported 3.9%

Trends in Loan Write-offs

  • Loan write-offs by banks increased to Rs 209,144 crore in FY2023, compared to Rs 174,966 crore in FY2022 and Rs 202,781 crore in FY2021.

  • Banks write off defaulted loans to reduce non-performing assets (NPAs) in their books

Borrower Identity Kept Confidential

  • Banks and the RBI have never disclosed the identities of borrowers whose loans were written off.

Loan Write-offs by Individual Banks

  • In FY2023, State Bank of India reduced NPAs due to write-offs by Rs 24,061 crore, Punjab National Bank by Rs 16,578 crore, Union Bank by Rs 19,175 crore, Central Bank of India by Rs 10,258 crore, and Bank of Baroda by Rs 17,998 crore.

RBI’s Guidance on Loan Write-offs

  • RBI provides guidance on write-offs and advises banks to take credit-related decisions based on their commercial assessment of loan viability, adhering to board-approved policies and prudential norms.

  • Policies on loan recoveries lay down the manner of recovery of dues, norms for permitted waivers, decision levels, reporting to higher authorities, and monitoring of write-off and waiver cases.

Future GNPA Scenarios

  • According to RBI’s Financial Stability Report for June 2023, in a medium or severe stress scenario, the GNPA ratio may rise to 4.1% and 5.1%, respectively.

What is a Loan Write-Off?

A loan write-off refers to the process by which a bank removes a defaulted loan from its balance sheet, considering it as a loss. When a borrower fails to make repayments for an extended period, typically 90 days, the loan becomes a non-performing asset (NPA). To clean up their balance sheets and manage their NPAs, banks write off such loans, effectively declaring them as unrecoverable.

Purpose of Loan Write-Offs

The primary objective of loan write-offs is to address the issue of rising NPAs and improve the overall financial health of the bank. By removing defaulted loans from their assets, banks can present a more favorable financial picture to stakeholders and investors. Additionally, writing off loans helps banks reduce their tax liability, as they can claim the written-off amount as a loss during tax calculations.

Recovery Efforts After Write-Off

Even after a loan is written off, banks do not give up on recovery efforts. They continue to pursue various options to recover the defaulted amount from the borrower. While the written-off loan is no longer considered an asset, the bank aims to reclaim the money through legal actions, asset seizure, or negotiations with the borrower.

Impact on Bank’s Balance Sheet

Writing off NPAs helps banks improve their balance sheets by reducing the burden of bad loans. By removing these distressed assets, the bank’s financial position appears healthier, making it more attractive to investors and creditors. However, it is essential to note that loan write-offs do not mean the bank has abandoned the pursuit of recovering the defaulted amount.

Provisions and Write-Offs

Before writing off a loan, banks set aside provisions as a precautionary measure to cover potential losses on their balance sheets. Provisions act as a buffer against potential defaults and help banks manage risks. When a loan is eventually written off, the bank can utilize these provisions to absorb the loss.

Impact on NPAs Ratio

Loan write-offs significantly impact the calculation of gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio. Removing defaulted loans from the assets side of the balance sheet lowers the GNPA ratio, creating an impression of reduced NPAs. This improved ratio can boost investor confidence and enhance the bank’s reputation in the market.

India launched international Big Cat Alliance for conserving 7 big cats

India has recently launched the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) with the aim of conserving seven major big cat species on Earth. Inspired by the success of Project Tiger, which has contributed to India being home to 70% of the world’s tigers, the IBCA will focus on protecting and conserving key big cat species, including Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and Cheetah.

The idea for the alliance originated in July 2019, when Prime Minister Modi called for a coalition of global leaders to join forces against poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia on Global Tiger Day. The establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance is a testament to the commitment to this initiative’s principles. According to Modi, the alliance will play a vital role in mobilizing financial and technical resources to support the entire ecosystem associated with big cats, thereby ensuring their conservation and protection.

Aim of IBCA

The alliance aims to reach out to 97 range countries covering the natural habitats. IBCA would further strengthen global cooperation and efforts to conserve the wild denizens, especially the big cats.

Significance of big cats alliance:

The alliance seeks to bring together countries, conservationists, and experts from around the world to collaborate on conservation efforts for these seven big cat species.

Through IBCA, India hopes to share knowledge, expertise, and best practices in conserving these species with other countries that have significant big cat populations, such as Indonesia, Brazil, and South Africa.

The alliance also aims to facilitate collaborations between governments, NGOs, and the private sector to create sustainable solutions for conservation.

The launch of IBCA marks a significant step towards the conservation of these magnificent animals, as their populations face unprecedented threats from habitat loss, poaching, and human-animal conflicts.

International Tiger Day 2023: Date, Significance, and History

International Tiger Day has been observed annually on July 29th since its inception in 2010 during the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. The main purpose of this day is to bring attention to the drastic decline in wild tiger populations, which has pushed them to the edge of extinction. By celebrating this occasion, we aim to create awareness about the crucial efforts of tiger conservation.

The global celebration of International Tiger Day allows people from all corners of the world to come together and raise awareness about the plight of tigers. The ultimate goal is to establish a comprehensive international system dedicated to safeguarding tigers and their natural habitats. When we ensure a safe and flourishing environment for tigers, it also means preserving other species and protecting our forests.

Through the observance of International Tiger Day, we strive for a future where humans and tigers can coexist harmoniously. By working towards tiger conservation, we contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and foster an environment where both humans and wildlife thrive side by side.

Here are some key reasons why International Tiger Day 2023 is significant:

Tiger Conservation Awareness: International Tiger Day serves as a global platform to spread awareness about the threats faced by tigers, including habitat loss, poaching, illegal wildlife trade, and human-wildlife conflict. It emphasizes the importance of protecting and conserving tigers to ensure their survival for future generations.

Tiger Population Monitoring: The day allows conservation organizations and governments to share updates on tiger population numbers and conservation efforts. This data is crucial in evaluating the success of conservation initiatives and identifying areas that require more attention and support.

Global Collaboration: International Tiger Day encourages countries to come together and collaborate on tiger conservation. As tigers inhabit various regions across Asia, cooperation between countries is essential to protect tiger populations that often cross national borders.

Policy Advocacy: On this day, stakeholders, including NGOs, governments, and wildlife organizations, can advocate for stronger policies and measures to protect tigers and their habitats. It highlights the need for stricter law enforcement against poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Public Engagement: International Tiger Day engages the public, motivating them to get involved in tiger conservation efforts. People are encouraged to participate in awareness campaigns, support conservation projects, and contribute to the protection of tigers.

Ecosystem Preservation: Tigers are apex predators, and their presence helps maintain the balance of their ecosystems. By conserving tigers and their habitats, we also protect numerous other species and the overall biodiversity of the ecosystems they inhabit.

Cultural and Symbolic Significance: Tigers have deep cultural and symbolic importance in many Asian countries. They are revered and considered symbols of power, strength, and beauty. International Tiger Day acknowledges the cultural significance of tigers while promoting their conservation.

Overall, International Tiger Day is a significant annual event that strives to draw attention to the plight of tigers and the critical need for conservation efforts. By working together globally, we can make a positive impact on tiger populations and ensure the survival of these iconic big cats in the wild.

History of International Tiger Day

International Tiger Day was first celebrated in 2010 after it was found that 97% of all wild tigers had disappeared in the last century, with about only 3,000 of them remaining. It’s not news that tigers are on the brink of extinction and International World Tiger Day aims to halt the numbers from worsening. Habitat loss, climate change, hunting, and poaching are only some of the factors that are responsible for the decline in the tiger population. Along with the preservation of these species, the day also aims to protect and expand their habitats. Many international organizations such as the WWF, the IFAW, and the Smithsonian Institute also observe International Tiger Day.

With the loss of habitat and climate change, tigers are increasingly coming into conflict with humans. Poaching and the illegal trade industry is also a very serious threat that wild tigers face. Demand for tiger bone, skin, and other body parts is leading to increased cases of poaching and trafficking.

This is resulting in localized extinctions, which has made the revival of the tiger population next to impossible. Another threat that has negatively impacted the tiger population is the loss of habitat. All across the world, we are witnessing a loss of tiger habitats due to access routes, human settlements, timber logging, plantations, and agriculture. In fact, only about 7% of the original tiger habitats are still intact today. Experts also worry that the lack of genetic diversity among tigers can lead to inbreeding in small populations. The ever-increasing habitat loss means that the conflicts between tigers and humans are on the rise. Tigers may wander into the human population which is worrying for people as well as these majestic cats.

SC extends ED chief SK Mishra’s tenure until Sept 15

A three-judge bench led by Justice B R Gavai has granted an extension to the term of SK Mishra, the Director of the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) until September 15. According to the previous judgment, Mishra’s term was set to conclude on July 31, as previous extensions provided to him were deemed unlawful. The bench clarified that this extension was made in the ‘interest of the larger public’ and will be the final one allowed for him.

Sanjay Kumar Mishra as ED Director

Sanjay Kumar Mishra, an officer of the 1984 batch of the Indian Revenue Service, initially assumed the position of ED Director for a two-year term starting in November 2018. His term concluded in November 2020 when he reached the retirement age of 60 in May 2020. However, on November 13, 2020, the Central government issued an office order stating that the President had amended the 2018 order, extending the term from ‘two years’ to ‘three years.’

About The Directorate of Enforcement

The Directorate of Enforcement is a multi-disciplinary organization tasked with investigating money laundering offenses and foreign exchange law violations. Its main goal is to enforce three key acts related to these matters:

  1. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA)

  2. The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA)

  3. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA)

Phangnon Konyak becomes first woman MP from Nagaland to preside over Rajya Sabha

S Phangnon Konyak, a distinguished BJP leader and Nagaland’s first female Rajya Sabha MP, achieved a historic feat as she took on the role of presiding over the Rajya Sabha. This remarkable milestone in her political journey marks her as the first woman from Nagaland to assume this prestigious position.

S. Phangnon Konyak: Pioneering Politician from Nagaland Making Historic Strides

  • S. Phangnon Konyak, an Indian politician hailing from Nagaland, holds the position of State President of BJP Mahila Morcha in her region. In a historic moment, she earned the distinction of being the first woman from Nagaland to secure a seat as a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha.

  • In addition to being the first female Rajya Sabha MP in April 2022, S. Phangnon Konyak achieved another groundbreaking milestone on July 17, 2023, by becoming the inaugural woman member to be appointed to the panel of vice-chairpersons.

Historic Step towards Gender Equality: Women Members Nominated to Panel of Vice-Chairpersons in Rajya Sabha

  • To promote gender equality, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, took a remarkable initiative by nominating four women members, constituting 50% of the total, to the panel of Vice-Chairpersons.

  • This marks the first instance in the history of the Upper House where women members have received equal representation in the panel of Vice-Chairpersons.

  • The other accomplished women members appointed to the panel include PT Usha, S Phangnon Konyak, Dr. Fauzia Khan from the Nationalist Congress Party, and Sulata Deo from the Biju Janata Dal.

Female Leaders from Nagaland

Earlier this year on 7 March, Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu, both representing the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, became the first women candidates to be elected in the state assembly election. This achievement holds particular significance as it marks the first time in 60 years since Nagaland attained statehood that two women candidates have been elected.

Gujarat govt completes SAUNI Yojana

Under the SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation) scheme, the Government of Gujarat has successfully completed the construction of Package 8 and Package 9 of Link-3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate and dedicate this significant project to the people of Saurashtra in the near future

SAUNI Yojana: Empowering Gujarat’s Farmers with Day-Time Electricity and Smart Water Management

The Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana, initiated by the Prime Minister, seeks to supply daytime electricity to farmers in Gujarat for agricultural and irrigation needs. Its primary goal is to channelize excess floodwaters from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, located along the Narmada river, and use them to replenish 115 major dams in drought-prone regions.

SAUNI Yojana: An Innovative Approach to Address Water Shortage and Land Acquisition Challenges in Saurashtra

The SAUNI project functions as a linking endeavor with the purpose of supplying water to regions where the irrigation dams are already integrated into canal networks. This initiative proves highly advantageous for these areas, especially considering the severe drought conditions prevailing in Saurashtra. A significant distinction lies in the use of pipelines instead of the conventional open canals employed in most irrigation projects. This approach addresses the land acquisition disputes and challenges that are commonly encountered, making the SAUNI project feasible and viable.

SAUNI Yojana: Saurashtra Region

Situated on the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat, India, Saurashtra is a peninsular region covering about a third of the state and including 11 districts, notably Rajkot District. Geographically, Saurashtra poses several challenges, such as low groundwater levels and limited reservoir storage capacity. Additionally, the region suffers from insufficient and irregular rainfall, leading to reduced rainwater storage. In order to tackle these challenges, the SAUNI Yojana was conceptualized.

Links under SAUNI Yojana

Link 1: This link connects Machhu-II dam in Morbi district to Sani Dam in Jamnagar District. With a carrying capacity of 1200 cusecs, it will fill 30 reservoirs in Rajkot, Morbi, Devbhoomi Dwarka, and Jamnagar Districts, benefiting an area of 2,02,100 acres.

Link 2: Connecting Limbdi Bhogavo-II Dam in Surendranagar District to Raidi Dam in Amreli District, this link has a carrying capacity of 1050 cusecs. It will benefit 17 reservoirs in Bhavnagar, Botad, and Amreli Districts, covering an area of 2,74,700 acres.

Link 3: This link links Dholidhaja Dam in Surendranagar District to Venu-I Dam in Rajkot District, with a carrying capacity of 1200 cusecs. It will provide water to 28 reservoirs in Rajkot, Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Morbi, and Surendranagar Districts, benefiting an area of 1,98,067 acres.

Link 4: Connecting Limbdi Bhogavo-II Dam in Surendranagar District to Hiran-II Irrigation Scheme in Junagadh, this link has a carrying capacity of 1200 cusecs. It will benefit 40 reservoirs in Rajkot, Surendranagar, Junagadh, Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Amreli, and Botad Districts, covering an area of 3,47,722 acres.

In total, Sauni Yojana encompasses the development of a approximately 1300-km pipeline network, which will effectively channel water into farms and significantly improve water availability and irrigation opportunities in the region.

SAUNI Yojana: Transforming Drought-Prone Saurashtra with Extensive Water Network and Vital Benefit

The SAUNI Yojana is a lifeline for drought-prone Saurashtra, aiming to store 1 million acre-feet of water in 115 reservoirs across 11 districts. 1203 kms of pipelines have been laid in the last 7 years and it has provided 71,206 million cubic feet of water, benefiting 95 reservoirs, 146 ponds, and 927 check dams, enhancing irrigation on 6.50 lakh acres and supplying potable water to 80 lakh people.

When completed, it will benefit more than 970 villages with irrigation, covering 8,24,872 acres, and provide drinking water to 82 lakh people. 95 % of SAUNI project has been completed at an expenditure of rupees 18,563 crore and the remaining work is progressing rapidly.


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