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Public Credit Registry

Relevancy

  • G.S. Paper 2

Why in news?

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is about to set up a public credit registry—an information repository that collates all loan information of individuals and corporate borrowers.

Public Credit Registry:

  • A credit repository will help banks distinguish between a bad and a good borrower.
  • It will help the banks to offer attractive interest rates to good borrowers and higher interest rates to bad borrowers accordingly.
  • It has been set up on the recommendations of Y.M. Deosthalee committee.
  • The public credit repository will address information asymmetry, improve access to credit and strengthen the credit culture among consumers.
  • It will help solve the bad loans problem facing the banking system, as corporate borrowers will be unable to lend from multiple banks without disclosing their existing debt.
  • It will also help improve India’s rankings in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.

Other suggestions of the Y.M. Deosthalee committee:

  • The task force has recommended that the registry should be set up by RBI and in due course, the central bank may consider moving the registry to a separate non-profit entity.
  • It has envisaged it as a registry of all credit contracts, for all lending in India and any lending by an Indian financial institution to “an Indian natural or legal person.”
  • PCR is to serve as a registry of all credit contracts irrespective of any threshold amount and it should be backed by a legal framework.
  • The committee has also recommended that registry should also capture data such as external commercial borrowings, market borrowings, and all contingent liabilities to provide a holistic picture about the borrower’s indebtedness.
  • It has also suggested that the registry should capture both positive and negative information for all loans and borrowers be able to access their own history.
  • The data will be available to stakeholders like banks strictly on a need-to-know basis and privacy of data will be protected.
  • It has placed the onus of data quality on the reporting entities and suggested action against the institutions in case of any violations in rules.
  • To ensure a comprehensive database, the committee has also proposed linkages with other defaulter databases like the wilful defaulter’s list, goods and services tax network data and utility and insurance payments data, etc.

Precision Agriculture

Recently

  • G.S. Paper 1,3

Why in news?

  • NITI Aayog has signed Statement of Intent (SoI) with IBM to develop precision agriculture using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Precision agriculture:

  • Precision agriculture(PA) is also known as satellite farming or site specific crop management (SSCM).
  • It is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.
  • The goal of precision agriculture research is to define a decision support system (DSS) for whole farm management with the goal of optimizing returns on inputs while preserving resources.
  • The first wave of the precision agricultural revolution will come in the forms of satellite and aerial imagery, weather prediction, variable rate fertilizer application, and crop health indicators.
  • The second wave will aggregate the machine data for even more precise planting, topographical mapping, and soil data.
  • Aims of Precision agriculture are to optimize field-level management with regard to:
    • Crop science: by matching farming practices more closely to crop needs (e.g. Fertilizer inputs)
    • Environmental protection: by reducing environmental risks and footprint of farming (e.g. Limiting leaching of nitrogen)
    • Economics: by boosting competitiveness through more efficient practices (e.g. improved management of fertilizer usage and other inputs)
  • Precision agriculture also provides farmers with a wealth of information to:
    • Build up a record of their farm
    • Improve decision-making
    • Foster greater traceability
    • Enhance marketing of farm products
    • Improve lease arrangements and relationship with landlords
    • Enhance the inherent quality of farm products (e.g. protein level in bread-flour wheat)

Precision agriculture using Artificial intelligence:

  • The practice of precision agriculture has been enabled by the advent of GPS and GNSS or artificial intelligence.
  • The farmer’s and/or researcher’s ability to locate their precise position in a field allows for the creation of maps of the spatial variability of as many variables as can be measured (e.g. crop yield, terrain features/topography, organic matter content, moisture levels, nitrogen levels, pH, EC, Mg, K, and others).
  • Similar data is collected by sensor arrays mounted on GPS-equipped combine harvesters.
  • These arrays consist of real-time sensors that measure everything from chlorophyll levels to plant water status, along with multispectral imagery.
  • This data is used in conjunction with satellite imagery by variable rate technology (VRT) including seeders, sprayers, etc. to optimally distribute resources.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

Relevancy

  • G.S. Paper 2

Why in news?

  • Border Roads Organisation (BRO), is celebrating its Raising Day on 07 May 2018.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO):

  • BRO is a leader in the arena of infrastructural development in the border areas of the country.
  • It is celebrating its 58 years of glorious service to the nation in 2018.
  • Since its inception in 1960, so far the Organisation has grown from 02 to 19 projects.
  • It is currently headed by Lt General SK Shrivastava who is the 25th Director General Border Roads (DGBR).
  • Focus areas of BRO:
    • The works executed have ensured the territorial integrity and the socio-economic upliftment of the most inaccessible regions of the country as well as India’s neighbourhood.
    • Works executed in friendly foreign countries are a message of the Organisation’s ideology ‘Shramena Sarvam Sadhyam’.
    • BRO shall endeavour to explore new frontiers while it undertakes systematic modernisation of its construction techniques.
    • Its focus shall remain enhanced productivity and quality construction.
    • The BRO has its job in task forces aka PROJECTS.
    • The task forces/PROJECTS of BRO are:
    • Arunank, Beacon, Brahmank, Chetak, Deepak, Dantak, Himank, Hirak, Pushpak, Sampark, Setuk, Sewak, Shivalik, Swastik, Udayak, Vartak, and Vijayak.
  • Constitution of BRO:
    • The BRO is staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Military Police and army personnel on extra regimental employment.
    • Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.
  • Operational areas of BRO:
    • Currently, the organisation maintains operations in twenty-one states, one UT (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
    • The BRO operates and maintains over 32,885 kilometres of roads and about 12,200 meters of permanent bridges in the country.
    • Presently, BRO is also involved in the construction of a tunnel at the Rohtang passwhich is estimated to be ready by 2019.

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