24th Sep, 2020


Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020 passed

Parliament has passed the Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020 with the Rajya Sabha approving it.

The bill provides a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts.

Applicable to: Qualified Financial Contracts between two qualified financial market participants where at least one party is an entity regulated by the specified authorities RBI, SEBI, IRDAI, PFRDA or the IFSCA.

Without bilateral netting, Indian banks have had to set aside higher capital against their trades in the over-the-counter market, which impacts their ability to participate in the market. Moreover, it also increases the systemic risk during defaults.

Bilateral netting would also help reduce hedging costs and liquidity needs for banks, primary dealers and other market-makers, thereby encouraging participation in the over-the-counter derivatives market. 

It would also help develop the corporate default swaps market, which, in turn, would provide support to the development of the corporate bond market.

It would also improve investor confidence and to expand the scope of credit default swaps.

Bilateral netting is a legally enforceable arrangement between a bank and a counterparty that creates a single legal obligation covering all included individual contracts. 

This means that a bank’s obligation, in the event of the default or insolvency of one of the parties, would be the net sum of all positive and negative fair values of contracts included in the bilateral netting arrangement.

Netting refers to offsetting of all claims arising from dealings between two parties to determine a net amount payable or receivable from one party to another.


State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)

Recently, the limit of using the State Disaster Response Fund for COVID-19 specific infrastructure has been increased from 35% to 50%. 

The decision will help States have more finances at their disposal to fight the virus.

The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)

It was constituted under Section 48 (1) (a) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

It is the primary fund available with State Governments for responses to notified disasters.

The Central Government contributes 75% of SDRF allocation for general category States/UTs and 90% for special category States/UTs (NE States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir). 


Laser Guided ATGM successfully test fired

Laser Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test fired from MBT Arjun Tank at KK Ranges, Ahmednagar recently.

Developed by: Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) Pune, and Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE) Dehradun 

Lasers guided ATGMs lock and track the targets with the help of laser designation to ensure precision hit accuracy.

The missile employs a tandem HEAT warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles. 

It has been developed with multiple-platform launch capability.

It is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from gun of MBT Arjun.


Successful flight-tests of Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target conducted

Recently, successful flight-tests of the indigenously-designed Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) in Balasore (Odisha) were conducted.

Conducted by: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) 

Designed and developed by: Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO

Two demonstrator vehicles of Abhyas cleared all the evaluation parameters like 5 km flying altitude, vehicle speed of 0.5 mach (half the speed of sound), endurance of 30 minutes etc.

Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT)

It is a drone (UAV) that will be used as a target for various missile systems.

It is powered by a small gas turbine engine.

Navigation by: Micro-electromechanical (MEMS) systems based Inertial Navigation System (INS).

It is lightweight and reliable, consumes less power and is cost-effective.

It is programmed for fully autonomous flight.

MEMS is a process technology used to create tiny integrated devices or systems that combine mechanical and electrical components.


KRITAGYA hackathon planned for enhancing farm mechanization

A hackathon named “KRITAGYA” has been planned by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).

Objective: To promote potential technology solutions for enhancing farm mechanization with special emphasis on women friendly equipment.

Eligibiliy: Students, faculties and innovators/entrepreneurs from any university / technical institution across the country can apply and participate in the form of a group.

Participating students can collaborate with local start-ups, students from technology institutes. 

Cash prizes are included.

National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP)

The ICAR commenced NAHEP in 2017.

It is a Government of India and World Bank project.

Objective: To support the National Agricultural Research and Education System providing more relevant and better quality education to the students.


Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020

Lok Sabha passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020.

The Bill seeks to provide for regulation, operation and planning of major ports in the country and provide greater autonomy to these ports. 

It seeks to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.

The legislation provides for the creation of a Board of Major Port Authority for each major port. 

These Boards will replace the existing Port Trusts.

The bill will help the ports develop world class infrastructure.

It will also enhance transparency in their functioning.


YuWaah Platform launched

Recently, the Government has launched YuWaah.

It is a multi-stakeholder platform to make young people career ready.

Launched by: The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

A ‘Statement of Intent’ has also been signed to establish Generation Unlimited in India (YuWaah).

Objectives of YuWaah

Providing career guidance support to young people through career portal.

Job-readiness and self-exploration sessions to make young people career-ready.

Supporting young people by providing entrepreneurship classes with successful entrepreneurs and experts.

Creating linkages with aspirational economic opportunities to connect young people with jobs or self-employment. For this, innovative solutions and technology platforms will be engaged to maximize the scale and reach.

Upskilling young people on 21st century skills, life skills, digital skills and supporting them through self-learning, for their productive lives and the future of work.

Generation Unlimited in India (GenU – YuWaah)

It was founded in September 2018.

Aim: To transform education, employment and entrepreneurial outcomes for young people around the world at a global and local level

It was launched by UNICEF at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.



The Indian and the Australian navies are undertaking Passage Exercise or PASSEX exercises on September 23-24 in the Indian Ocean.

From the Indian side, Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Karmuk will be present and Australia will be represented by HMAS Hobart.

PASSEXs are regularly conducted by the Indian Navy with units of friendly foreign navies.

Australia is the third country, since June, with which India has conducted conduct the exercises. 

The first was with US Navy’s USS Nimitz and the second was the Russian Navy.