India gets wide support on TRIPS waiver for Covid-19 vaccines at G-7 meet
Shreya Nandi | 14/06/2021 | 6 hours ago
India is a “natural ally” of the G-7 nations in defending the shared values from a host of threats stemming from authoritarianism, terrorism, violent extremism, and economic coercion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at an outreach session of the summit in Cornwall, UK, on Sunday.
He said open societies were particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber-attacks, and stressed the need to ensure that cyberspace remained an avenue for advancing democratic values and not of subverting them.
Over the last two days, Modi spoke in three sessions on issues ranging from health, climate change, and open societies.
The prime minister also found widespread support from leaders, including the Australian prime minister, the director general of the WTO, as well as the UN Secretary General, for text-based negotiations for a temporary patent waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, proposed by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
He sought “strong support” for the proposal, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs P Harish told reporters. ALSO READ: America is back at the table, says Joe Biden as G7 summit concludes
“(French) President Emmanuel Macron also highlighted the need to focus on ramping up production capacities in Africa and called on India to lend its expertise globally,” Harish said, adding that the UN secretary general identified the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver as an important element of his global vaccination plan, a road map to vaccinate the global population by doubling vaccine production.
The proposal for waiving some sections of the TRIPS agreement is expected to help more countries, especially middle- and low-income nations, to access vaccines, amid the Covid-19 crisis. However, it is yet to get a consensus from all WTO member nations.
As lead speaker in the session “Open Societies”, Modi on Sunday highlighted the non-democratic and unequal nature of global governance institutions, and made a strong pitch for the reform of the multilateral system based on the same principles of openness, democracy, transparency, and inclusion. ALSO READ: UK's Boris Johnson confirms G7 pledge to donate 1 billion vaccine doses
Talking about India’s achievements on climate action, he pointed out that India was the only G20 country on track to meet its (COP21) Paris commitments. He further said that the planet’s atmosphere, biodiversity and oceans could be protected by countries acting in silos, and called for collective action on climate change.
“The Prime Minister’s message of global solidarity and unity, especially between open and democratic societies and economies, in tackling the global challenges of health, climate change and economic recovery was well received by the Leaders at the Summit,” an official statement said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had invited the leaders of Australia, South Africa, and South Korea to the outreach sessions at the summit.
The G-7 nations have pledged to donate an additional 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines within the next year.
“We will remain deeply engaged with the G-7 and guest partners on all major issues, health governance, and access to vaccines, climate action and climate justice, diversification of supply chains and building economic resilience, to name just a few,” Harish said.
🛑Centre opens cash tap for Uttar Pradesh: Rs 10K crore under Jal Jeevan
Subhomoy Bhattacharjee | 14/06/2021 | 6 hours ago
The fourfold increase in the drinking water mission budget to Rs 10,870 crore for Uttar Pradesh (UP) announced by the Centre on Saturday makes it the biggest allocation for any scheme for the state this fiscal year.
The sharp rise has happened even though the state government was unable to spend 40 per cent of the Rs 3,348-crore purse it got in 2020-21 (FY21). It had underspent in 2019-20 as well. UP will elect a new legislature in early 2022.
Usually in the Budget exercise, if a state or central government department is unable to spend the money allocated, the following year’s total is accordingly adjusted downward by the Union finance ministry.
In FY21 for instance, the state had returned around 30 per cent of its Jal Jeevan Mission. The principal thrust of the Jal Jeevan Mission is to ensure tapwater to all rural homes in India.
The substantial jump in allocation to all states could mean the Centre may have to expand the budget for the Jal Shakti ministry this year.
The ministry has already got Rs 50,011 crore in Budget 2021-22 (FY22) - more than a threefold jump for its Jal Jeevan Mission in FY22.
The officer said each state has been assured a 4x rise. While all states were asked to present their action plan to the Centre, UP is yet to do so.
The spending, if implemented, will have a strong multiplier effect on the infrastructure build-up.
“The Jal Jeevan Mission has a strong positive effect on the local economy in terms of additional employment, supply of material, and on public health,” said a senior government officer.
The state has 26.3 million households in 97,455 villages. Of these, just 11.3 per cent households have tapwater supply in their homes, revealed the central government data.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised his government would ensure piped water to all rural homes by 2024.
For FY22, the target is to provide tapwater to one-third of the remaining 7.8 million homes. For this, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has also advised the state government to begin groundwork on water supply projects in more than 60,000 villages.
In terms of allotment, the Jal Jeevan Mission has definitely upped the ante. To ensure that money does not come back unspent, UP and other states have been asked to go for item-rate contracts and keep a large pool of contractors engaged for three years. This will also keep the momentum going for continuous allotment of work, the officer explained.
Item-rate contract has the contractor getting paid for any bit of work he completes unlike a turnkey project where payment is made in lump sum at the end.
Waterworks project in rural areas, the government estimates, will only reel in local contractors who otherwise find it impossible to expand their operations, if they do not get paid frequently.
UP has retained Anurag Srivastava, a 1992 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, as head of the Namami Gange and rural water supply department since 2017 when Yogi Adityanath came to power. He is now principal secretary, enjoying an almost five-year long stint.
🛑DHFL insolvency case: NCLT appoints panel to oversee resolution plan
Subrata Panda | 14/06/2021 | 7 hours ago
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), while approving the resolution plan of Piramal Group for Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) has named a seven-member supervision committee, which will be given the power to manage and control the beleaguered housing financier during the period between the approval of the plan and its implementation.
The panel will have three representatives from the committee of creditors (CoC), two representatives nominated by the Piramal Group, and the administrator, provided that if the administrator has not provided his consent in this regard, then an insolvency professional or an industry expert as nominated by the Piramal Group in consultation with the CoC and EY.
In addition, the bankruptcy tribunal will appoint an observer-cum-permanent invitee in the monitoring committee to ensure smooth functioning and change over to the successful resolution applicant. NCLT has appointed Ashok Kakkar, (Retd.) chief commissioner of Income Tax, former executive director, Sebi. “As per the plan, the costs and expenses which may be incurred by the monitoring committee in discharging their duties as set out above till the implementation date shall be funded from the cash flows of the corporate debtor,” the NCLT written order said.
The Mumbai bench of the NCLT approved Piramal Group’s resolution plan for the beleaguered DHFL on June 7. The plan put forward by Piramal Group, which has offered to pay Rs 37,250 crore, has been approved by the CoC, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
While the bankruptcy tribunal approved the overall plan, it had asked for reallocating funds to fixed-deposit holders and small investors. That said, it did not send the plan back to the CoC; rather, it has said the final decision is left to the lenders.
“With regard to the decision on distribution to public depositors, fixed deposit holders, subscribers to NCDs, we also suggest, request the CoC to reconsider their grievances, plights and they did not oppose the resolution plan and their request is only to enhance the percentage of payment made in the plan and the same should be increased to the level of secured financial creditors i.e. approximately 40 per cent the financial creditors would be getting in this plan,” the NCLT order said.
According to the resolution plan, of the total consideration of Rs 37,250 crore, Rs 14,700 crore is upfront payment, cash recovery, of which Rs 4002 crore is brought in by the Piramal Group and balance Rs 10,968 crore is cash balance available with DHFL as on 31.04.2021, and Rs 19,550 crore is debt securities (NCD) issued to CoC members with coupon rate of 6.75 per cent.