Daily Current Affairs March 25
Mains Topic – GS Paper III – Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources
- FMCG COMPANIES
Why in News?
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies see a spurt in COVID-19 sales as the pandemic has led to a spike in the demand of consumer staples like milk, milk products, biscuits etc. along with hand sanitizers as people are stocking up essentials amid a complete lockdown like scenario.
About Fast Moving Consumer Goods
Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost. FMCGs represent the fourth-largest sector in the Indian economy and generate employment for more than three million people in downstream activities. FMCGs play a large part in the economy, as they are inelastic products that touch every part of consumer life. Businesses that supply FMCGs to a rural community can help in providing employment opportunities and drive down the cost of products in the rural areas.
The main characteristics of FMCGs include:
- From the consumer perspective: Frequent purchases, Low engagement (no effort to choose the item), Low prices, Short shelf life, Rapid consumption, Price comparison over online purchase by customer.
- From the marketer perspective: High volumes, Low contribution margins, Extensive distribution, High inventory turnover.
Effect of COVID-19 over FMCG Companies
- Products have seen a 10-15% jump in demand and ramped up production to meet the growing demand.
- As the country initiated a complete lockdown which would push up the demand for the products.
- Some States have imposed stern restrictions on people movement, along with a lockdown, which has made consumers wary of essential products going out of stock, thereby leading to panic buying.
- Apart from food essentials, products like hand washes have also seen an increase in sales as authorities have been highlighting the importance of sanitising hands at regular intervals.
To meet the increased demand, companies have ramped up their production of essential items as the virus threat is not showing any signs of abating as of now. Companies have also begun strategic campaigns to raise awareness about hand washing, at a time when the globe is battling with the virus outbreak.
Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning and Conduct of Business
- RAJYA SABHA ELECTIONS
Why in News?
The Election Commission has postponed elections to 18 Rajya Sabha seats scheduled on March 26 in view of the lockdown imposed across India due to coronavirus.
More in news
The elections are to be held for 18 seats to the Rajya Sabha in seven States including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The 18 seats are part of the 55 seats that fell vacant in 17 States where Rajya Sabha MPs are retiring in April this year. Of the 55 seats, 37 seats from 10 States have been filled uncontested.
Election to the Upper House (Rajya Sabha)
- Article 80 of the Constitution has provisions for members of the Rajya Sabha. Currently, it has 245 members, including 233 elected members and 12 nominated. As per the constitutional limit, the Upper House strength cannot exceed 250.
- The number of Rajya Sabha members of a stated depends on its population. Hence, the number of elected seat changes as states are merged, bifurcated or new ones is created.
- Rajya Sabha members are elected indirectly by the people, that is, by the MLAs.
- Members of a state’s Legislative Assembly vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in proportional representation with the Single Transferable Vote system. Each MLA’s vote is counted only once.
- To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate should get a required number of votes. That number is found out using the formula: Required vote = Total number of votes / (Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1) +1.
The poll process in the elections would necessarily include the gathering of polling officials, agents of political parties, support official and members of respective legislative assemblies on the poll day, which may not be suitable in view of the prevailing unforeseen situation and related advisories in the country. The Election Commission has informed that they will review the situation and announce fresh dates later.
Mains Topic – GS Paper III – Indian Economy and Service Sector; Banking Sector.
- REGIONAL RURAL BANKS
Why in news?
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has given its approval for continuation of the process of recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) by providing minimum regulatory capital up to 2020-21 for those RRBs which are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India.
About Regional Rural Banks (RRB)
Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) are Indian Scheduled Commercial Banks (Government Banks) operating at regional level in different States of India. They have been created with a view of serving primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services. However, RRBs may have branches set up for urban operations and their area of operation may include urban areas too. Regional Rural Banks are regulated by RBI and supervised by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
RRBs perform various functions in following heads:
- Providing banking facilities to rural and semi-urban areas.
- Provide lending to micro/small enterprises and small entrepreneurs in rural areas
- Catering to the credit and banking requirements of agriculture sector and rural areas with focus on small and marginal farmers, micro & small enterprises, rural artisans and weaker sections of the society
- Carrying out government operations like disbursement of wages of MGNREGA workers, distribution of pensions etc.
- Providing Para-Banking facilities like locker facilities, mobile banking, internet banking, UPI etc.
- Provide 75% of their total credit under PSL (Priority Sector Lending).
Benefits of improved CRAR
A financially stronger and robust Regional Rural Banks with improved CRAR will enable them to meet the credit requirement in the rural areas. With the recapitalization support to augment CRAR, RRBs would be able to continue their lending to these categories of borrowers under their PSL target, and thus, continue to support rural livelihoods..
During this period, Government has also taken various initiatives for making the RRBs economically viable and sustainable institutions. With a view to enable RRBs to minimize their overhead expenses, optimize the use of technology, enhance the capital base and area of operation and increase their exposure, the Government has initiated structural consolidation of RRBs by reducing the number of RRBs from 196 in 2005 to the present 45.