Criteria for ‘medium’ units to be revised

Paper: III

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News:

The government has decided to further revise the criteria for medium-sized units after changing the definition of MSMEs.

Key Points:

  • Unveiling the contours of the ₹20-lakh-crore stimulus package, the Finance Minister had announced a change in the definition of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • After the revision, the investment limit has been revised upwards and an additional criterion of turnover has been introduced.

As per the revised definition:

  • MICRO: Any firm with an investment of up to ₹1 crore and turnover under ₹5 crore will be classified as ‘micro.’
  • SMALL: A company with an investment of up to ₹10 crore and a turnover of up to ₹50 crore will be classified as ‘small’.
  • MEDIUM: A firm with an investment of up to ₹20 crore and a turnover under ₹100 crore will be classified as ‘medium.’

Details:

  • The government has now decided to further revise the criteria for ‘Medium sized units’ by enhancing the investment and turnover limits to up to ₹50 crore and ₹200 crore respectively.
  • The government plans to raise MSMEs’ contribution to India’s exports to 60% from the 48% at present, and also boost the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP from 29% currently to 50%.
  • It is also intended to create five crore new jobs.
  • The government plans to take advantage of the ‘blessing in disguise’ posed by the global ‘hatred against China’.

Significance:

  • Upward revision in their investment limit will help in the seamless expansion of small and medium businesses in the country. A robust MSME sector is key to improving the economic strength and resilience of the country and making it highly self-reliant and globally competitive.
  • There are around 6.3 crore MSME units in the country, with over 99 per cent categorised as small units.
  • The old definition that had a lower threshold prevented the companies to grow, thus, translating into losing out on benefits.
  • The new higher limits in investment and turnover may help companies grow.
  • It will help bring an increased number of MSME units’ access to institutional working capital.

This change matters for enterprises because there are benefits linked to it. These benefits range from loans under the priority sector lending scheme, a 25 per cent share in procurement by government and government-owned companies, promoters being allowed to bid for stressed assets under insolvency law as well as relief from the government and regulators from time to time.


CBI alerts authorities to malware threat

Paper: III

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sent alerts to all the States, Union Territories and the Central agencies on a malicious software threat that uses an update related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Points:

  • The alert related to banking Trojan and Cerberus has been sent on the basis of inputs received from the Interpol.
  • It is primarily used to steal financial data, such as credit card numbers.
  • Alerts have been sent informing that this malicious software takes advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to impersonate and send SMS using the lure of COVID-19-related content to download the embedded malicious link. It deploys its malicious application usually spread via phishing campaigns to trick users into installing it on their smartphones.
  • The Trojan can also use overlay attacks to trick victims into providing personal information and can capture two-factor authentication details.

INTERPOL Notices:

  • INTERPOL Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.
  • Red Notice: To seek the location/arrest of a person wanted by a judicial jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to his/her extradition.
  • Blue Notice: To locate, identify or obtain information on a person of interest in a criminal investigation.
  • Green Notice: To warn about a person’s criminal activities if that person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.
  • Yellow Notice: To locate a missing person or to identify a person unable to identify himself/herself.
  • Black Notice: To seek information on unidentified bodies.
  • Orange Notice: To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing an imminent threat and danger to persons or property.
  • Purple Notice: To provide information on modus operandi, procedures, objects, devices, or hiding places used by criminals.
  • Interpol – UNSC Special Notice: To inform Interpol’s members that an individual or an entity is subject to UN sanctions.

COVID-19 unlikely to affect illicit drug supply

Paper: III

General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news:

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released a report titled ‘Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia’.

Key Points:

According to the report, movement restrictions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to an initial statistical reduction in drug seizures, but without a real change in terms of supply in the East and Southeast Asia region.

  • The UNODC said a large proportion of methamphetamine, the main synthetic drug of concern in the region, was manufactured, trafficked and consumed without the need for globalized supply chains.
  • The report states that re-ordering of governments’ priorities and resources towards the pandemic could also jeopardize the efforts to strengthen drug prevention and treatment programmers.
  • Organised crime groups active in the region have shown a high degree of flexibility to respond to shortages of supplies, raising risk levels on certain trafficking routes.
  • It said that not every fluctuation in terms of drug seizures, prices, drug-related arrests or deaths would be a direct or indirect consequence of the outbreak.
  • It warned that the flexibility of the illicit economy, which does not have to wait for new rules and regulations to enter into force, must not be underestimated.
  • Where movements were significantly affected, for instance, couriers and body-packing through airports, methods would change quickly, leading to an initial statistical reduction in seizures, but without a real change in terms of supply.

It said that additional efforts would be required at the national, regional and international levels to carefully analyses methods and trends to understand changes to drug markets in the wake of the pandemic.


Behind new incidents, a changed dynamic along India-China border

Paper: II

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news:

A greater capability by India to patrol up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) coupled with an increasingly assertive Chinese posture is fueling new tensions along the border.

Key Points:

Indian and Chinese troops have been involved in as many as four incidents recently, along the undefined LAC.

  • Chinese state media said the People’s Liberation Army was tightening control in one of the flashpoints in Galwan Valley in the western sector, after it accused India of unilaterally changing the status quo by “illegal construction”. A build-up has also been reported in Demchok in Ladakh.
  • Troops from both sides were involved in fisticuffs that led to injuries following stand-off incidents near the Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh; subsequently, in Naku La in North Sikkim.
  • While face-off incidents occur routinely in the summer months when both sides are able to more frequently patrol up to their respective perceptions of the LAC, detailed protocols are in place for troops to handle such incidents.
  • According to the 2005 protocol on modalities for implementing confidence-building measures, neither of the countries shall use force or threaten to use force and both sides shall treat each other with courtesy and refrain from any provocative actions.
  • The 2013 Border Defence Cooperation Agreement said patrols “shall not follow or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding” of the LAC. It called for both sides to “exercise maximum self-restraint, refrain from any provocative actions, not use force or threaten to use force against the other side” in face-offs.
  • There is a larger pattern that the Chinese are becoming more assertive in pursuing their territorial claims in contested areas, that is happening both in the South China Sea and along the India-China border.

Developments in India:

  • India has been upgrading its infrastructure along the border, thereby allowing troops to patrol with greater depth and frequency into areas where the Chinese had, by virtue of favorable terrain and better infrastructure, established a more frequent presence. That is now being challenged.

By December 2022, all 61 strategic roads along the border, spread across Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, will be completed, adding up to 3,417 km in length.


‘India, U.S. to collaborate on vaccine trials’

Paper: III

Mains:

  • General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations
  • General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News:

India and the U.S. plan to work together on vaccine research and testing for COVID-19, U.S. health officials said, listing a number of other ways in which the two countries are working together.

Points:

U.S. and Indian scientists have been collaborating on key research questions fostering the development and testing of safe, cost-effective vaccines against a range of infectious diseases that could save innumerable lives in India, the United States, and around the world.

  • In the context of the current pandemic, partners under the Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) are planning to collaborate on the development and testing of vaccine candidates and diagnostics for COVID-19.
  • The U.S announced a donation of 200 ventilators to India. The ventilators, which will be paid for by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), are part of the $5.9 million in funding announced till date for India.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would separately fund the Government of India $3.6 million to support prevention, preparedness, and response activities in India, in collaboration with and concurrence from the GoI.

Vaccine Action Programme (VAP):

  • The VAP is also known as the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program (VAP).
  • It is 33-year collaboration between the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with other partners.