26 October 2020

Notifications & Circulars

Reserve Bank of India



Digital Payment Transactions - Streamlining QR Code infrastructure


1.Reserve Bank had constituted a Committee (Chairperson : Prof Deepak Phatak) to review the current system of Quick Response (QR) Codes in India and suggest measures for moving towards interoperable QR Codes. The report of the Committee containing various recommendations was placed on the Reserve Bank website for public comments and feedback.

2. After examining the recommendations and the feedback received, the following has been decided:

i. The two interoperable QR codes in existence - UPI QR and Bharat QR - shall continue as at present.

ii. Payment System Operators (PSOs) that use proprietary QR codes shall shift to one or more interoperable QR codes; the process of migration shall be completed by March 31, 2022.

iii. No new proprietary QR codes shall henceforth be launched by any PSO for any payment transaction.

iv. RBI shall continue a consultative process to standardise and improve interoperable QR codes, to enable beneficial features identified by the Phatak Committee.

v. PSOs may take initiative to increase awareness about interoperable QR codes.

3. The above measures are expected to reinforce the acceptance infrastructure, provide better user convenience due to interoperability and enhance system efficiency.

4. This directive is issued under Section 10 (2) read with Section 18 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (Act 51 of 2007).

Tags : Digital Payment Transactions QR Code

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Reserve Bank of India



Review of regulatory framework for Housing Finance Companies


1.With reference to the Bank's Press Release No.2019-20/419 dated August 13, 2019 and draft regulatory framework placed in public domain on June 17, 2020 seeking comments from stakeholders. Based on the examination of the inputs received, it has been decided to issue the revised regulatory framework for HFCs.

2. In exercise of powers conferred under National Housing Bank Act, 1987, and Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, and in supersession of relevant regulations issued by National Housing Bank (NHB), the instructions as enumerated in the Annex will be applicable to all HFCs. HFCs shall continue to comply with all extant instructions issued by NHB, which are not covered in the Annex.

3. Exemption granted to HFCs from the provisions of Chapter III B of Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 except for section 45-IA (Requirement of registration & net owned funds) was withdrawn on November 11, 2019. On a review, it has been decided to additionally exempt HFCs from section 45-IB (Maintenance of percentage of assets) and section 45-IC (Reserve fund) of the Reserve Bank of India Act. Necessary Notification in this regard will be issued in due course. It is clarified that the corresponding provisions of section 29B and 29C of the National Housing Bank Act, 1987 will, however, be applicable to HFCs.

4. As mentioned in para 3 of the public document put out for consultation, further harmonisation between the regulations of HFCs and NBFCs will be taken up in a phased manner in the next two years so as to ensure that the transition is achieved with least disruption. Master Direction for HFCs covering all applicable instructions will be issued shortly.

Tags : Review Regulatory framework Housing Finance

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Press Information Bureau



Graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions


In view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February, 2020.

The Government has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India. Therefore, it has been decided to permit all OCI and PIO card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist Visa to enter by air or water routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts. This includes flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or by any non scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. All such travellers will, however have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/COVID-19 matters.

Under this graded relaxation, Government of India has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, Tourist Visa and Medical Visa). If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian Mission/Posts concerned. Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a Medical Visa including for their medical attendants. Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc.

Tags : Graded relaxation Visa Travel restrictions

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Press Information Bureau



Evidence-based Impact of National Deworming Day in India


Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH), also known as parasitic intestinal worm infection, is a significant public health concern mostly in low resource settings. These are known to have detrimental effects on children's physical growth and well being and can cause anemia and under-nutrition. Regular de-worming as advised by the World Health Organization eliminates worm infestation among children and adolescents living in areas with high STH burden, thereby contributing to achieve better nutrition and health.

Since its launch in 2015, the National De-worming Day (NDD), a flagship program of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is implemented as a biannual single day programme implemented through the platforms of schools and anganwadis. Albendazole tablet, approved by World Health Organization (WHO), is used for treatment of intestinal worms in children and adolescents as part of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programmes globally. In the last round of de-worming earlier this year in the country (which was halted due to the COVID pandemic), 11 crore children and adolescents were administered Albendazole tablet across 25 States/UTs.

As per WHO Report on STH published in 2012, in India there were an estimated 64% children in the age group (1-14 years) at risk of STH. The risk was estimated based on the hygiene and sanitation practices and limited STH prevalence data at that point of time. To assess the exact burden of STH in India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare appointed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the nodal agency to coordinate and conduct nationwide baseline STH mapping. In collaboration with partners and government agencies, NCDC completed the baseline STH mapping across the country by the end of 2016. The data showed varied prevalence ranging from 12.5% in Madhya Pradesh to 85% in Tamil Nadu.

To evaluate the impact of the consistently implemented high coverage NDD programme, the Health Ministry recently initiated follow-up prevalence surveys led by NCDC and partners. They were guided by the High Level Scientific Committee (HLSC) appointed by the Ministry. As on date, the follow-up surveys are completed in 14 States. All 14 States have shown reduction in the follow up survey compared to the baseline prevalence survey and the State of Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have shown substantial reduction in worm prevalence in the STH follow up prevalence survey.

For example, the State of Chhattisgarh has successfully conducted 10 rounds of NDD as on date, and the drop in prevalence has been significant from 74.6 in 2016 to 13.9 in 2018. Similarly, Sikkim, with 9 rounds, has seen reduction from 80.4 in 2015 to 50.9 in 2019; Andhra Pradesh has, however, seen limited reduction from 36 in 2016 to 34.3 in 2019 with a total of 9 rounds. Rajasthan, the State that implemented an annual round only due to low baseline of 21.1 in 2013 has seen significant reduction to the level of less than 1% in 2019 as per the survey.

While further analysis is being led by the HLSC and the experts at the NCDC, the recommendations of the WHO decision tree for STH control with regard to treatment frequency is being carefully considered, to align with the program factors and ability to sustain gains that have been made so far.

Implementation of NDD is led by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Education and technical assistance from WHO and the technical partners. This Health Ministry is committed to continuing essential health services while managing the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools and Anganwadis remain closed, frontline health workers are trained to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines while administering Albendazole tablets to children and adolescents (1-19 years) during home visits or through staggered Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Day (VHSND) based model between August and October 2020. The revised approach is applicable during COVID-19 to maintain continuity of de-worming efforts in the country while minimizing risks related to the pandemic.

Tags : Evidence Impact De-worming

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Press Information Bureau



Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Shri Narendra Singh Tomar unveils preparation framework for Block and District development plans


This framework will promote inclusive development at the block and district levels by focusing on locally available resources, local people's aspirations and priority areas

The preparation framework for Block and District development plans was unveiled today through video conference by the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj and Food Processing Industries Shri Narendra Singh Tomar. This framework is a step-by-step guide for Block and District Panchayats to formulate plans and will assist planners, concerned stakeholders at appropriate level.

Shri Tomar expressed hope that this framework will definitely promote inclusive development at the block and district levels by focusing on locally available resources, local people's aspirations and priority areas. The framework will serve as an important tool for all resource persons, stakeholders associated with decentralized planning in intermediate/block and district panchayats and will play an important role in transforming rural India by providing accelerated, participatory and inclusive growth.

State/UT representatives including Principal Secretary, Secretary, Director, Panchayati Raj Departments of all states/UTs, Directors of SIRDs and representatives of NIRDPR participated in the videoconference.

The 73rd amendment to the Constitution of India formalized the three-tier Panchayati Raj system, (i) Gram Panchayat at village level, (ii) intermediate Panchayat at Block 7a/taluka/mandapal level and (iii) District Panchayat at district level. The grants of the 15th Finance Commission are also being distributed to Intermediate and District Panchayats from 2020-21. A total of Rs. 60750 crore is to be distributed to the Panchayats in the year 2020-21. Out of which Rs. 45774.20 crore is for Gram Panchayats, Rs. 8750.95 crore for intermediate Panchayats and Rs. 6224.85 crore for District Panchayats. These institutions need to be assisted to in formulation of comprehensive Block Development and District Development Plans for rural areas.

Keeping this in mind, a detailed framework for planning for intermediate/block and district Panchayats has been prepared by a committee constituted by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India, headed by Dr. Bala Prasad Former Special Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj. The committee consists of representatives of the respective associate ministries, representatives of NIRDPR, SIRD, KILA, subject matter experts, representatives of state governments, elected representatives of district and block panchayats.

While preparing this framework, the committee discussed various aspects of the scheme at the upper levels of the Panchayats and interacted extensively with the stakeholders involved in the process. Detailed analysis of the process of preparation of plans, role of state governments and other agencies, convergence at various levels and scope of collective action will not only help in understanding between the agencies involved, but also the conditions of human planning enabling the lives of the people concerned also to improve.

Tags : Framework Development plans

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Press Information Bureau



Foreign Direct Investment Inflow


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a major driver of economic growth and an important source of non-debt finance for the economic development of India. It has been the endeavor of the Government to put in place an enabling and investor friendly FDI policy. The intent all this while has been to make the FDI policy more investor friendly and remove the policy bottlenecks that have been hindering the investment inflows into the country. The steps taken in this direction during the last six years have borne fruit as is evident from the ever increasing volumes of FDI inflows being received into the country. Continuing on the path of FDI liberalization and simplification, Government has carried out FDI reforms across various sectors.

Measures taken by the Government on the fronts of FDI policy reforms, investment facilitation and ease of doing business have resulted in increased FDI inflows into the country. The following trends in India's Foreign Direct Investment are an endorsement of its status as a preferred investment destination amongst global investors.

A. for the period of last 6 years (2014-15 to 2019-20)

Total FDI inflow grew by 55%, i.e. from US$ 231.37 billion in 2008-14 to US$ 358.29 billion in 2014-20.

FDI equity inflow also increased by 57% from US$ 160.46 billion during 2008-14 to US$ 252.42 billion (2014-20).

B.-Financial Year 2020-21 (April to August, 2020)

During April to August, 2020, total FDI inflow of US$ 35.73 billion is received. It is the highest ever for first 5 months of a financial year and 13% higher as compared to first five months of 2019-20 (US$ 31.60 billion).

FDI equity inflow received during F.Y. 2020-21 (April to August, 2020) is US$ 27.10 billion. It is also the highest ever for first 5 months of a financial year and 16% more compared to first five months of 2019-20 (US$ 23.35 billion).

Tags : FDI Inflow Measures

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Ministry of Finance 



Contactless delivery of international courier consignments


1.Representations have been received by the Board from the Express Courier Industry for allowing contactless delivery of international courier consignments in lines with the OTP based contactless delivery being adopted by the domestic courier companies. The said request is with a view to maintain the required social distancing considering the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. At present, the authorized courier, upon delivery of the import consignments obtains a "proof of delivery" from the consignees by taking their physical signature.

3. In light of the need for contactless delivery and also considering that the OTP based validation gives secure confirmation of delivery to the intended consignee through his registered mobile number, which also has the necessary KYC, Board, has decided to allow the delivery of international courier shipments, based on the OTP validation as follows:

(i) Consignee gets OTP on their mobile number which has been registered with the authorized courier. The authorized courier should exercise due diligence to ensure that the mobile number belongs to the consignee at the time of registering the phone number.

(ii) At the time of delivery, the authorised courier electronically validates the OTP from the consignee.

(iii) Upon successful validation, the shipment is delivered as per the instructions of the consignee. In case of failure to validate the OTP, the consignment will not be delivered.

3.1 The OTP based validation will be an alternative means of obtaining proof of delivery to the existing procedure of taking physical signatures. Thus, the authorized couriers will obtain the proof of delivery either by taking the physical signatures or through OTP based validation.

4. The Authorised courier shall maintain the data relating to generation and validation of OTP as a proof of delivery for a period of 5 years. The full audit trail of the process shall be made available to the officer of customs upon request.

5. Difficulties in implementation of the circular may be brought to the notice of the Board.

Tags : Contactless delivery International courier consignments

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