GoI introduces Ayush visa category for foreign nationals seeking medical treatment in India
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) introduced a new Ayush (AY) visa for foreign nationals for treatment under Ayush systems/Indian systems of medicine like therapeutic care, wellness and Yoga. With this, a new chapter i.e. chapter 11A – Ayush Visa has been incorporated after Chapter 11 – Medical visa of the Visa Manual, which deals with treatment under the Indian systems of medicine and accordingly necessary amendments has been made in various chapters of the Visa Manual, 2019. AYUSH is an acronym for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.
The Ayush Visa aims to attract foreigners who wish to undergo Ayush therapy, wellness, and Yoga in India.
The introduction of this visa aligns with Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s announcement at the at Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit (GAIIS) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in April 2022.
This will boost Medical Value Travel in India, and also stregthen the vision of making Indian traditional medicine a global phenomenon.
Ministry of AYUSH and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) are collaborating to develop a one stop Heal in India portal to promote India as a global Medical tourism destination. Ministry of AYUSH is promoting Ayush system of treatment national and globally. Recently, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Ministry of Tourism, GoI for the promotion ofMedical Value Travel in Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine.
As per the report ‘The Global Wellness Economy: Looking beyond COVID’ by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the Global Wellness economy will grow at 9.9% annually. Ayush based healthcare & Wellness economy is estimated to grow to $70 billion by 2025.
Axis Bank Partners with Kiwi to Bolster ‘Credit on UPI’ on RuPay Credit Cards
Kiwi, a fintech company specializing in enabling credit on UPI, has partnered with Axis Bank to introduce a lifetime free Axis Bank KWIK credit cards through its app.
This unique partnership of Kiwi and Axis Bank aims to offer customers the convenience of UPI’s fast and secure payments while enjoying the benefits of credit and card rewards. With a focus on simplicity and innovation, Kiwi aims to provide seamless onboarding and instant virtual credit cards to one million users within the next 18 months.
Benefit to the customers
The unique partnership of Kiwi and Axis Bank will bring the following benefits:
Kiwi users gain access to a virtual credit card that offers two edge rewards for every Rs.200 spent. This feature enables customers to earn rewards while making transactions.
Customers using the credit card on UPI to make scan & pay transactions enjoy a 1% cashbook benefit, adding to the value and saving for users.
The virtual credit card provides a waiver of the 1% fuel surcharge usually applied by petrol pumps on card payments.
The partnership between Kiwi and Axis Bank holds great significance as it combines fintech innovation with traditional banking, creating a seamless payment solution for users. By offering credit card rewards on UPI transactions, the collaboration aims to promote digital payments and enhance financial inclusion. Customers benefit from a secure and rewarding payment experience, while Axis Bank strengthens its position as an innovative bank.
About the Kiwi company
Kiwi is a fintech company that specializes in enabling credit on UPI (Unified Payments Interface), a popular digital payments platform in India. Kiwi was founded by senior fintech experts and banking industry veterans, Siddharth Mehta, Mohit Bedi and Anup Agrawal.
The company’s primary focus lies in merging the features of credit cards with the convenience and security of UPI, offering users a comprehensive and seamless payment solution.
98,911 No of entities recognised by Govt as startups
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has recognized 98,911 entities under the Startup India initiative since its launch on January 16, 2016.
The primary goal behind this initiative is to create a robust ecosystem that fosters innovation, encourages entrepreneurship, and attracts private investments in the startup sector, thereby driving sustainable economic growth and generating employment opportunities on a large scale.
Recognizing Startups under Startup India Initiative
Entities that meet the eligibility conditions, as per the notification dated February 19, 2019, were recognized as ‘startups’ under the Startup India initiative by the DPIIT.
This recognition provides them with various benefits, including tax exemptions, access to funding opportunities, and easier compliance procedures.
By facilitating an environment conducive to startups, the government aims to propel the growth of these innovative ventures and support them in their early stages.
Below is a table presenting the number of entities recognized as startups by DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) as of the year 2023:
YearNumber of Recognized Startups20188,635201911,279202014,498202120,046202226,542202317,911
Challenges in Measuring Startup Success
Unlike traditional businesses, measuring the success or failure of startups is a complex task. Regular businesses are often evaluated based on their performance over a specific number of years of operation. However, startups and scale-ups, which are established startups, operate differently. They undergo various stages of growth, and their success or failure is more accurately measured in different phases of their development.
The Startup India initiative
The Startup India initiative aims to build a strong ecosystem that supports and nurtures innovation. The initiative provides startups with access to mentorship, networking opportunities, and incubation facilities to help them refine their business models and strategies. The government has also facilitated access to funding through various channels, including venture capital, angel investors, and government-funded schemes. By fostering innovation, the initiative aims to propel India to the forefront of global innovation hubs.
Pakistan Approves New Security Pact with the US, Signaling a Fresh Start in Defense Cooperation
In a significant development, the federal cabinet of Pakistan has quietly approved the signing of a new security pact with the United States. The Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CIS-MOA) will pave the way for enhanced defense ties between the two nations and may allow Pakistan to procure military hardware from Washington DC. This move comes after the previous agreement, signed in 2005, expired in 2020.
Renewing Defense Ties:
The new CIS-MOA is a foundational agreement that the US signs with its allies and partners to maintain close military and defense cooperation. It grants legal cover to the US Department of Defense for selling military equipment and hardware to other countries. By signing this pact, both Pakistan and the US are expressing their commitment to maintaining strong institutional mechanisms for defense collaboration.
Potential Military Hardware Procurement:
With the agreement in place, the United States may consider selling military hardware to Pakistan in the coming years. However, a retired senior Army officer with experience dealing with the US highlighted that despite the agreement, it might not be straightforward for Pakistan to purchase military equipment from the US. The strategic interests of the US are increasingly aligned with India, given the challenge posed by China, which has affected the US-Pakistan defense relationship.
Strained History and Renewed Ties:
In the past, the US and Pakistan experienced strains in their defense cooperation, primarily due to differences over Afghanistan-related issues. Incidents like the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and an airstrike on a Pakistani military outpost added to the complexities in their relationship. Former President Donald Trump also accused Pakistan of not doing enough in the fight against militants.
However, since the new government under Shehbaz Sharif took office in Pakistan, there have been efforts to improve relations with the US. The recent meeting between US Central Command chief General Michael Erik Kurilla and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir signifies a desire to enhance bilateral relations, including in defense.
Lok Sabha Passes Delhi Ordinance Bill Amid Protests
The Lok Sabha passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, replacing the ordinance on control of services in Delhi. The passage of the Bill was met with protests and a walkout by some Opposition parties.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched a scathing attack on the Opposition during the debate on the Bill, accusing them of being more concerned about their alliance than democracy or the welfare of the people. He expressed confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would secure a complete majority in the 2024 elections despite any Opposition alliance.
Altercation in the House:
During the proceedings, the AAP’s lone Lok Sabha member, Sushil Singh Rinku, created a disturbance by going to the well of the House, tearing papers, and throwing them towards the Speaker, Om Birla. As a consequence, Rinku was suspended for the rest of the session.
Opposition’s Return to House Proceedings:
The Opposition parties, who had been protesting to demand a statement from PM Modi on Manipur, returned to participate in House proceedings for the first time during this session.
Shah’s Criticism of the Opposition:
Union Home Minister Amit Shah criticized the Opposition for its double standards and stated that they only sought the PM’s statement when important Bills were being passed. He accused the Opposition of not genuinely caring about democracy or the country’s interests.
The Delhi Ordinance Bill and the Opposition’s Stand:
Shah defended the Bill, emphasizing that Delhi is a Union Territory and not a state, and Parliament has the right to make laws related to it. He referred to a Supreme Court interpretation that necessitated bringing a law to deal with service-related matters in Delhi.
Opposition’s Allegations and Shah’s Response:
The Opposition had alleged that the Centre was interfering in Delhi’s affairs. Shah countered by stating that Article 239AA allows the Centre to intervene in Delhi’s administration. He asserted that the AAP government’s way of functioning had led to this situation.
Controversial Cabinet Notes:
Shah criticized the former Delhi government for not adhering to rules and procedures while handling Cabinet notes and claimed that this led to the necessity of framing new rules.
Supreme Court’s Ruling and the AAP Government’s Actions:
Shah cited a Supreme Court ruling that recognized Delhi’s unique status and granted elected governments control over bureaucrats. However, he mentioned that the Delhi government had taken actions to transfer officials before the matter was fully decided by the Court.
Legal Challenge to the Ordinance:
The AAP government in Delhi has challenged the constitutional validity of the ordinance in the Supreme Court, and the Court has referred the plea to a Constitution Bench.
Shohini Sinha To Head FBI’s Field Office In Salt Lake City
Shohini Sinha, an Indian-American, has been selected by FBI Director Christopher Wray as the new special agent in charge of the Salt Lake City Field Office. She previously held the position of executive special assistant to the Director at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC. Sinha started her career with the FBI in 2001 as a special agent and was initially assigned to the Milwaukee Field Office, where she focused on counterterrorism investigations. She also served in temporary assignments at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, the FBI Legal Attaché Office in London, and the Baghdad Operations Center.
Career and Experience of Shohini Sinha
She also served in temporary assignments at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, the FBI Legal Attaché Office in London, and the Baghdad Operations Center.
Sinha was in 2009 promoted to supervisory special agent and transferred to the Counterterrorism Division in Washington, DC. She served as program manager of Canada-based extraterritorial investigations and facilitated liaison efforts with Washington, DC-based Canadian liaison officers, according to the FBI release.
In 2012, Sinha was promoted to assistant legal attaché in Ottawa, Canada, working counterterrorism matters in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. In 2015, she was promoted to field supervisor in the Detroit Field Office, where she led squads responsible for investigating international terrorism matters.
Sinha was in early 2020, transferred to the cyber intrusion squad, which worked both national security and criminal cyber intrusion matters. Later in 2020, she was promoted to assistant special agent in charge for national security matters, and later criminal matters, in the Portland Field Office.
In 2021, she was selected to serve as the executive special assistant to the FBI Director.
Before her employment with the FBI, Sinha worked as a therapist and later as an administrator for a private, not-for-profit clinic in Lafayette, Indiana. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Purdue University in Indiana.
About the FBI
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States. The FBI is an intelligence-driven and threat-focused national security organization with both intelligence and law enforcement responsibilities. It is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Justice and a full member of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The FBI has the authority and responsibility to investigate specific crimes assigned to it and to provide other law enforcement agencies with cooperative services, such as fingerprint identification, laboratory examinations, and training. The FBI also gathers, shares, and analyzes intelligence, both to support its own investigations and those of its partners and to better understand and combat the security threats facing the United States.
SBI Raises ₹10,000 Crore through 15-Year Infrastructure Bonds at 7.54% Coupon Rate
State Bank of India (SBI) successfully raised Rs 10,000 crore through its third infrastructure bond issuance. The bonds have a tenor of 15 years and were auctioned on July 31, attracting an overwhelming response from investors.
Coupon Rate and Spread
The coupon rate of the infrastructure bonds is set at 7.54 per cent.
This rate represents a spread of 13 basis points over the corresponding FBIL (Financial Benchmarks India Pvt. Ltd.) G-Sec (Government Securities) par curve.
Purpose of Fundraising
The proceeds from the bond issuance will be utilized to enhance long-term resources for funding infrastructure and affordable housing projects.
The move aligns with SBI’s commitment to supporting development initiatives in India.
Strong Investor Response
The issue attracted a substantial interest from investors, with total bids amounting to Rs 21,698 crore.
The issue was oversubscribed 4.34 times against the initial base issue size of Rs 5,000 crore.
A total of 115 bids were received from various entities, including provident funds, pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and corporates.
This marks the first issuance of a long-term bond with a 15-year tenor by any bank in the current financial year.
Prior to this, SBI had raised infrastructure bonds worth Rs 9,718 crore on January 19, 2023, with a spread of 17 basis points over the corresponding FBIL G-Sec par curve.
Additionally, in the previous month, the bank had raised Rs 3,101 crore via tier-I bonds (under Basel III) at a coupon rate of 8.10 per cent against an issue size of Rs 10,000 crore (including a green shoe option of Rs 7,000 crore).