NOBEL PRIZE 2020 GOES TO ..

The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories – Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, Economic science and Physiology or Medicine by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist Alfred Nobel established the five Nobel prizes in 1895. The prizes were first awarded in 1901. The prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards internationally available in their respective fields.

Physiology or Medicine

Drs. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice on Monday received the prize for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus. The Nobel committee said the three scientists had “made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.” Their research paved the way for not only making the highly sensitive blood tests for the virus available but also in the rapid development of antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis C virus.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1,118,000), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. The amount was increased recently to adjust for inflation.

Physics

Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez was awarded the Nobel Prize 2020 for their discoveries that have improved understanding of the universe, including work on black holes. The prize will be shared in half by Roger Penrose and the other half will be shared equally by Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez.

Roger Penrose invented ingenious mathematical methods to explore Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity to show that the theory leads to the formation of black holes, those monsters in time and space that capture everything that enters them.

Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez discovered that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the centre of our galaxy. A supermassive black hole is the only currently known explanation.

Chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded on Wednesday to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna, for developing the tools to edit DNA. This isthe first time a Nobel science prize has gone to a women-only team, for their work on the development of Crispr-Cas9, a method for genome editing.

Their discovery, known as Crispr-Cas9 “genetic scissors”, is a way of making specific and precise changes to the DNA contained in living cells. They will split the prize money of 10 million kronor ($1,110,400).

Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded on Thursday to Louise Glück, one of America’s most celebrated poets, “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Her poem collections include “The Triumph of Achilles” (1985) and “Ararat” (1990) 2006 collection “Averno” (2006) and “Snowdrops”. 

She is the fourth woman to win a Nobel Prize, after Olga TokarczukSvetlana Alexievich and Alice Munro — and only the 16th since the Nobel prizes were first awarded in 1901.

Peace

There were as many as 318 candidates nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, which is the fourth largest number in the history of the prize. 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 was awarded to the World Food Programme by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict. David Beasley, is currently the Executive Director of the World Food Programme. The UN entity World Food Programme, which provided food to 100 million people last year, was handed out this honor — the 101st time (Nobel Peace Prize).

Incidentally, for the first time in 1901, Nobel Peace Prize was shared by Henry Dunant, founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, with Frédéric Passy, a leading international pacifist of the time.

Economic Sciences

The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, officially known as The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is awarded to Stanford University professors  – Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson — who were recognized “for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.” They designed the auction the FCC used to sell radio spectrum to wireless telephone companies, raising more than $120 billion for something the government used to give away for free.

Milgrom and Wilson’s work “benefit/s sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world.” Auctions are now used to price all kinds of things including Internet advts, wholesale electricity, fishing permits and carbon pollution credits.

THE FOREIGN CONTRIBUTION (REGULATION) AMENDMENT ACT, 2020

An NGO is registered under the FCRA Act, 2010 or granted Prior Permission by Central government for receiving and utilising foreign funds/contribution. It can receive and utilize foreign funds/ contribution for a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme as provided under Section 11 of the Act.

The Act came into force on May 1, 2011 and has been amended twice. The first amendment was made by section 236 of the Finance Act, 2016 and the second by section 220 of the Finance Act, 2018.

Inflow of foreign contributions

A first-ever exercise conducted has revealed that India has at least 31 lakh registered NGOs — more than double the number of schools in the country, 250 times the number of government hospitals, and represent one NGO for 400 people as against one policeman for 709 people.

An amount of over Rs 58,000 crore foreign funds were received by NGOs registered under the FCRA between 2016-17 and 2018-19. The annual inflow of foreign contribution has almost doubled between years 2010 and 2019 but many NGOs/associations have not utilised the funds for the declared or approved purposes, as per their statement of objects.

Many of these were found wanting in ensuring basic statutory compliances such as submission of annual returns. As a result, the Govt. of India cancelled the FCRA certificates of over 19,000 organisations between 2011 and 2019. Besides, criminal investigation were also conducted against dozens of NGOs which indulged in outright misappropriation or misutilisation of foreign contribution.

Key Changes in the Act made now:

Prohibit public servants to receive foreign funds

The amendment bill prohibit ‘public servants’ from receiving any foreign funding. The competent authority, every arbitrator and every officer empowered by the Central Government or the competent authority, while exercising any power or performing any duty under this Act, shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).  This include a person holding a government office or job by election or appointment; person in public service.

No-sub-granting or transfer of funds

Section 7 of the principal Act stand amended as:

No person who —

(a) is registered and granted a certificate or has obtained prior permission under this Act; and

(b) receives any foreign contribution,

shall transfer such foreign contribution to any other person.

This means an institution registered or having prior permission under FCRA cannot make sub-grant/s to any other intuition from foreign contributions received in its designated FCRA Bank account even if the second recipient or sub-grantee has registration or prior permission under FCRA.  

This amendment will be a major blow to NGOs working collaboratively on projects and programs.

This may also place ‘foreign funding agencies’ or ‘foreign grant-making organizations’ registered under FCRA in difficulty.

Cap on Administrative expenditure

As per Section 8 of the principal Act, in sub-section (1), at present the institutions are allowed to spend up to fifty per cent of foreign funds received during the fiscal year on admin expenditure. The Act now reduce it to twenty percent (max).

This amendment will cause a major blow to the organisations in terms of payment of salaries, professional fees, utility bills, travel and other such expenditure.

Declaring the Bank Account

In section 12 of the principal Act, after sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely:  “(1A), Every person who makes an application under sub-section (1) shall be required to open FCRA Account in the manner specified in section 17 and mention details of such account in his application.”

Aadhaar of Board Members & Copy of passport and OCI card

The bill provides for the insertion of a new section 12A empowering the Central government to require Aadhaar number, etc. as an identification document.

Section 12(A) to read as : Person/Organisations applying for registration, prior permission or renewal of FCRA registration shall be required to “provide as identification document, the Aadhaar number of all its office bearers or Directors or other key functionaries, by whatever name called, issued under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, or a copy of the Passport or Overseas Citizen of India Card, in case of a foreigner.

Suspension in case of contravention

If the Ministry of Home Affairs “on the basis of any information or report, and after holding a summary inquiry, has reason to believe that a person (person includes an association) who has been granted prior permission has contravened any of the provisions of this Act, it may, pending any further inquiry, direct that such person (or association) shall not utilize the unutilized foreign contribution or receive the remaining portion of foreign contribution which has not been received or, as the case may be, any additional foreign contribution, without prior approval of the Central Government.”

As such, MHA will have the power to freeze the FCRA Bank account in case of any contravention of the FCRA law.

Suspension of registration

Currently the FCRA registration of an organization which violates the provisions of FCRA may be suspended for “such period not exceeding one hundred and eighty days as may be specified”.

Section 13 to read as: The Bill proposes to amend this to “one hundred and eighty days, or such further period, not exceeding one hundred and eighty days, as may be specified”.

This amendment will empower MHA to suspend FCRA registration of an organization for more than six months.

Voluntary surrendering FCRA registration

Under current law there is no provision for an organization to voluntarily surrender its FCRA registration. Section 14(A) of the Act now proposes that on a request being made in this behalf by the organization, MHA may permit any organization to surrender the certificate granted under this Act, if, after making such inquiry as it deems fit, MHA is satisfied that such organization has not contravened any of the provisions of FCRA, and the management of foreign contribution and asset, if any, created out of such contribution has been vested in the competent authority as provided in Section 15(1).

While this amendment will prove to be a boon for organisations no longer interested in receipt of foreign funds, it will be a bane for organisations which may have created assets (e.g. schools, hospitals, vocational training centers) out of foreign funds.

On surrendering FCRA registration, assets created out of foreign contributions may also have to be surrendered to the competent government authority.

Inquiry before renewal of FCRA

Generally, renewal of FCRA registration has been relatively easy for organisations who have been compliant with requirements under FCRA such as filing annual returns in online Form FC-4, quarterly intimation etc.

However, it is stipulated now that MHA, before renewing the certificate, shall make such inquiry, as it deems fit, to satisfy itself that such organization has fulfilled all conditions specified under Section 12(4) of FCRA 2010.

FCRA Bank Account with State Bank of India

Currently person/organisations are required to open their designated FCRA Bank account with any Core Banking Compliant Bank integrated with the Public Financial Management Systems (PFMS).

In Section 17 of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, as: —

Sec. 17. (1) Every person who has been granted certificate or prior permission under section 12 shall receive foreign contribution only in an account designated as “FCRA Account” by the bank, which shall be opened by him for the purpose of remittances of foreign contribution in such branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi, as the Central Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf:

Provided that such person may also open another FCRA Account in any of the scheduled bank of his choice for the purpose of keeping or utilising the foreign contribution which has been received from his FCRA Account in the specified branch of State Bank of India at New Delhi:

Provided further that such person may also open one or more accounts in one or more scheduled banks of his choice to which he may transfer for utilising any foreign contribution received by him in his FCRA account in the specified branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi or kept by him in another FCRA Account in a scheduled bank of his choice:

(1) Provided also that no funds other than foreign contribution shall be received or deposited in any such account.

(2) The specified branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi or the branch of the scheduled bank where the person referred to in sub-section (1) has opened his foreign contribution account or the authorised person in foreign exchange, shall report to such authority as may be specified,—

  • the prescribed amount of foreign remittance;
  • the source and manner in which the foreign remittance was received; and
  • other particulars,

in such form and manner as may be prescribed.”

The Bill now proposes that organisations granted registration or prior permission under FCRA shall receive foreign contribution only in an account designated as “FCRA Account” by the bank, which shall be opened by him for the purpose of remittances of foreign contribution in such branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi, as the Central Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf, provided that such organization may also open another FCRA Account in any other scheduled bank of their choice for the purpose of keeping or utilizing the foreign contribution which has been received from the FCRA Account in the specified branch of State Bank of India at New Delhi.

Thus, from the requirement of having designated FCRA Bank account with any Core Banking Compliant Bank integrated with the Public Financial Management Systems (PFMS) it has now been narrowed down to such branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi.

The Bill also makes it incumbent on the specified branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi or the branch of the scheduled bank where the organization has opened the foreign contribution account to report to the government of India, the prescribed amount of foreign remittance; the source and manner in which the foreign remittance was received; and other particulars, in such form and manner as may be prescribed.’.

Rationale for Amendment

The Government of India’s rationale for these draconian and cumbersome amendments can be found in the ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’. The statement avers:

  1. The annual inflow of foreign contribution has almost doubled between the years 2010 and 2019, but many recipients of foreign contribution have not utilized the same for the purpose for which they were registered or granted prior permission under the said Act.
  2. Many of them were also found wanting in ensuring basic statutory compliances such as submission of annual returns and maintenance of proper accounts. This has led to a situation where the Central Government had to cancel certificates of registration of more than 19,000 recipient organisations, including non-Governmental organisations, during the period between 2011 and 2019.
  3. Criminal investigations also had to be initiated against dozens of such non-Governmental organisations which indulged in outright misappropriation or misutilization of foreign contribution.

Cracking Bank Promotion Exams Made Easy

Banking sector is currently facing acute sortage of employees and thus most of the Public sector Banks are contemplating internal promotions to fill the vacuum with young and bright officers. The unabated growth of bad loans, tremendous pressure on profitability and almost stagnant growth of Banking sector has put pressure on Bank management to scout for fresh energy and recruit and place young banking professionals at strategic positions.

Banking – For Bank Promotion Exams. is a comprehensive book meant for the banking professionals who aspire to shape up their career in the banking sector and are about to appear for their internal Promotional exams, be it for Clerks cadre to Officers in JMG Scale –I to MMG Scale II or MMG Scale II to MMG Scale III in PSU Banks. The book provides in-depth knowledge about the banking sector, banking laws, credit theories and practices and would cover almost the whole gamut of banking and related concepts. The book is compiled by a Senior ex-banker and therefore, the content of the book are carefully assorted to help you succeed in the endeavour.

The book comprise of extensive 40 chapters in over 800 pages, which covers various aspects of banking. The author has taken extreme care to collate the most required topics at one place for you to prepare for the coveted career promotion exam. and that you do not waste time and resources and miss the golden opportunity that the time has endowed upon you.

The book is segmented into 4 modules which extensively cover the most relevant chapters suitable for bank promotion tests of banks under public sector, co-operative sector as wel as the private sector.

Module -A : GENERAL BANKING & FINANCE

Module -B : LENDING, FOREX AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Module -C : LEGAL ASPECTS OF BANKING

Module -D : GENERAL ADMINISTRATION,

PLUS

Section – 2 include 20 SETS of Test papers to help you practice well.

This is the most comprehensive book available today for Bank Promotion exams. in PSU Banks, Co-operative sector banks, Urban Co-operative Banks or RRBs. The rich content of the book shall not only help you excel in your career but also help you perform better in your day-to-day professional life.

INDEX OF CHAPTERS

Chapter-1    Bank and Bank Deposits
Chapter-2    Credit Facilities – Fund based and Non Funded
Chapter-3    Retail, Wholesale and International Banking
Chapter-4    Ancillary Services and E-Products
Chapter-5    Banker-Customer Relationship
Chapter-6    KYC Guidelines and Money Laundering
Chapter-7    Financial Inclusion And Self-Help Group
Chapter-8    Government Sponsored Schemes
Chapter-9    Priority Sector Lending Norms
Chapter-10   MSME Sector and Micro Credit
Chapter-11   NRI Deposits and Other Products
Chapter-12   Payment & Collection of Cheques and N I Act
Chapter-13  Money Markets, Capital Market and Forex Markets
Chapter-14  Retail Lending Products
Chapter-15  Ratio Analysis
Chapter-16   Assessment of Credit Limits
Chapter-17  Modes of Charging Securities
Chapter-18  Loan Documentations
Chapter-19  Risk Management & BASEL Accord
Chapter-20  Non-Performing Assets
Chapter-21  Management of Non-Performing Assets
Chapter-22  Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891
Chapter-23  SARFAESI Act
Chapter-24  Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993(DRT Act)
Chapter-25  The Law of Limitation
Chapter-26  Insolvency And Bankruptcy Code, 2016
Chapter-27  The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987
Chapter-28  Tax Laws
Chapter-29   Indian Contract Act, 1872
Chapter-30   Indian Partnership Act, 1932
Chapter-31   The Companies Act
Chapter-32  Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
Chapter-33   Transfer of Property Act, 1882
Chapter-34   The Right to Information Act, 2005
Chapter-35   The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
Chapter-36   The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and CERSAI
Chapter-37   Clean Note Policy and Cash Management
Chapter-38  Customer Service, BCSBI and Compensation Policy
Chapter-39  Current Banking Topics
Chapter-40  Abbreviations

About the Author

N K Gupta, a senior ex-banker with over 28 years of working experience with SBI group and various Private sector Banks, is the author of several popular books on banking competitive exams. These Books are a result of a careful research and continuous updation over the time.

Banking Awareness 2020 Edition – Book Review

Today’s book review article is about IBCA book on Banking & Financial Awareness subject, which is a top ranking book in fetching good marks and help you score high and qualify the coveted Banking exams.  I am going to talk about Banking Awareness – 2020 Edition released by IBC Academy Publication, which is a must have book for the serious candidates who wish to cover many important subjects with comprehensive coverage and virtually no error in content or typing.

Aspirants for a career in the banking sector have to sit for job recruitment exams conducted by the IBPS or individual banks. Whether they are taking Bank PO or Clerical post exams, candidates are expected to possess good knowledge of the sector. And, this book is a must for those appearing for interviews in the Banking or Financial sector.

Recently, the emphasis of the exams has been shifting to focus more on the aspirant’s knowledge of the financial sector, with special reference to the banking field. So, books like – Banking Awareness can help candidates acquire good knowledge of the functioning of banks. The book is divided into various sections covering fundamental concepts related to banking and financial sectors, such as Insurance, Mutual Funds, Stock Markets, various Govt. Sponsored Schemes, etc. The book also deal with cogent topics on the Indian Banking Sector, Financial Markets, Financial Products & Services, and Currency and Note-Issuing Policies.

5 reasons why you should buy only IBCA Book on Banking Awareness:

1. This is the most comprehensive book on this subject and contain accurate information on the select topics relevant for banking exams.
2. Unlike others, IBCA book on Banking Awareness is written by an Ex-Banker with 26 years of experience and who joined SBI group as a Probationary Officer (PO).
3. The book is updated continuously and what you get is most updated topics.
4. The Book has over 1500 MCQs which prepares you for the most of the competitive exams.
5. The content of the Book is very useful for Group discussions/Personal Interviews also.

The text also covers topics like Financial & Banking Sector Reforms, Bank Accounts & Negotiable Instruments, Customer Relationship, Developmental Institutions,Capital Markets, NBFC and Insurance Sectors, Co-operative Banks & Regional Rural Banks and Loans & Advance Products. The Book also contains a Glossary and Abbreviations list of Banking Terminology.

The book also contains 15 sets of Objective Type Questions, with answers.

The Objective Type Questions section contains 15 set of Mock Tests comprising of 1050 Multiple Choice Questions. This help the candidates prepare for all the different bank exams conducted by the IBPS and various institutions like RBI and SBI. The coverage of the study material is exhaustive.

The Book is written in a clear and lucid style, focusing on the important points and concepts that candidates need to understand in order to get a good score in the exam. The text also includes short notes sections which help the candidates do a quick review of concepts.

About The Author

N. K. Gupta is an experienced Banking Sector professional with over 26 years of experience. He has also written other books like Handbook on Computer Awareness, Handbook on Marketing Awareness, Cracking the Job Interviews … and many more.

N. K. Gupta is a management graduate. He is a senior ex-banker with over two and a half decades of experience working in the industry. He started his career as a Probationary Officer in the State Bank Group.

Demonetization Was A Master stroke by A Honest PM

Demonetization process may be construed as a huge elephant and with our limited vision, we tend to look at one side of it, one small aspect of it and sometime which suits our negative belief to look down the Govt.

My belief is that it was the most comprehensive action taken ever by any PM in India to detect and curb black money in India. No previous government in the independent history of 7 decades have taken such a daring action against black money and parellel economy in the country. The ball-park assumption was that the parellel black economy running in India was almost as big as the formal white economy. Terror money, counterfeit currency, Overseas slush money coming through various NGOs etc. were making the economy very hot, inflation soaring at unprecedented levels and anti-India – anti-social activities going on unabated as never before.

The Demonetization process made black money hoarders to sit up and take help of all sorts of  famous Indian”jugaad” methods and tools at “somehow” launder their ill-gotten, corruption money, black money and cash stashed in their homes and farms into bank accounts of known and “unknown” beneficiaries at a premium paid to them. Almost 9 lacs accounts with 6 lacs crores of black money was deposited illegally by ingenious, “Jugadu” Indians which are currently under a scrutiny by IT/ED.

This has provided enormous data to the Tax Authorities to keep them busy for the next 5-6 years – to find source of these cash funds and recover taxes and penalties for the Government. The Demonetization process has flushed out all the hoarders, Players, Tax Evaders in open and can no longer remain under veil of secrecy any longer. Many cases of seizures have popped out our eyes where 000’s of crores of cash and property accumulated with corruption and malpractices, and these are just tip of the huge iceburg. 

Immediate impact was also seen that the number of Tax payer which remained incredibly at about slightly over 1.3% to go up to nearly 5% in the next 2-3 years’ time. Not a mean achievement for NDA government.

Now, we all agree that over 50% of commerce in India was in cash and we Indian always cut corners and say in market that “we don’t want bill, save us taxes”. All property deals generate huge black economy. Corruption at all places generates huge cash.

So, if you all please think carefully, Demonetization followed by GST Bill were two very important measures back-to-back to hit black economy very hard.

Now, if 50% plus trade and deals which were happening in cash goes off the market, impact on markets and GDP is inevitable. This is quite expected also. All those who are badly affected .. Politicians, Bureaucrats, businessmen – these politically motivated “RUDALISs” are the one who are crying foul.

Making of New India is under-process and we all have to support the enormous job taken by NaMo government.

SUPER SUCCESS OF DEMONETISATION

* Scrutiny of suspected 18 lakh accounts done
* Cash deposits worth Rs 2.89 lakh crore under investigation
* Advance data analytics tools identified 5.56 lakhs new suspect cases
* 4,73,003 suspicious transactions detected
* Undisclosed income worth Rs. 29,213 crore detected and admitted.
* Black money worth Rs 16,000 crore did not return post demonetisation
* 21 per cent reduction in currency in circulation
* 56 lakh new tax payers added in the first year itself!!
* Number of returns filed increase 24.7 per cent compared to 9.9 per cent in previous year
* Advance tax collections of personal income tax grow at 41.79 per cent over same period of last year
* Personal income tax under self-assessment tax grow at 34.25 per cent over same period last year.
* Transactions of more than three lakh suspected shell companies under the radar
* Nearly 3 lakh shell companies were de-registered
* Around 450 companies delisted and 800 untraceable companies to be further delisted
* More than 400 benami transactions identified and properties worth more than Rs 800 crore attached
* Deposits in the banking system increased around Rs 3 lakh crore
* Additional liquidity helped reduce interest rates by 100 basis points
* Digital payments increase by 56 per cent from 71.27 crore transactions in October 2016 to 111.45 crore transaction in May,2017

READING IS A HEALTHY HABIT

Reading is a healthy habit, which not only improve your mental faculty but helps you in many other ways in your day-to-day life. Some feels that reading helps them score well academically and to get higher marks in exams., some gets a habit to read to help keep them busy and entertain themselves. While, for some it is therapeutically soothing as it helps their mental faculty strong and prevent disease like Alzheimer.

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.     

–Vera Nazarian

Reading is one of the most fundamental skills a child needs to learn to succeed in life. Developing good reading habits is vital to your child’s future not just academically, but in everyday life as well. What can good reading habits do for your child’s development?

Here are five good reasons you should develop reading habits:

  • Good reading habits prepare students excel academically: Students who spend a lot of time reading, prior to attending school or colleges will surely have an easier time adapting to the reading-focused learning environment in their classrooms.
  • Reading develops vocabulary: The more you read, the more new words will find their way into your vocabulary. Reading good books exposes you to words and phrases that you might not use as part of normal speech. If you remain sensitive and alert, it would surely expand your vocabulary and expand your horizon as how to use these new words into sentences, while you talk or debate as well as use these in your next essay or article.
  • Reading increases attention span: Encouraging good reading habits from an early age develops your child’s attention span and allows them to focus better and for longer periods of time. Reading combats the epidemic of poor attention span in today’s children.
  • Reading develops your thirst for knowledge: Good reading habits enable one to learn more about the world around them, appreciate the beauty and secrets of nature, find scientific and logical explanations to your doubts. It helps you develop an interest in other cultures and society. Reading leads to asking questions, and seeking answers, which means you learn more every day.
  • Developing reading habits early leads to a lifelong love of books:  Those who start reading regularly from an early age are more likely to enjoy reading later in life. This not only help them well throughout their education and career but beyond to develop their personality and intellect to a greater level.

Develop good reading habits and motivate your loved ones to read regularly by:

  1. Gifting books of their interest, be it a comic, fiction, spiritual, cookery or a yoga book
  2. Ensure that they finish one book at least in a month
  3. Encourage them to speak a few words about what they have read and learnt new recently
  4. Encourage them to gift the book to someone unfortunate who cannot afford to buy these. This would spread the reading worm.

“Read what you find interesting, and then follow your interests. You’ll find that in doing so you always generate enough to illuminate the next step.”
― Mark Helprin

Buying books has become so convenient these days with online webstores, which offers so many choices and great discounts. You do not have to navigate your way to a book store, share the burden of parking your vehicle half-a-mile away, choose among the limited variety of books and compromise with your choices. Simply log on to booknest.in and start exploring your world of happiness.

CORONAVIRUS – A CHINESE VIRUS

WCoronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Coronaviruses are a group of related RNA viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, these viruses cause respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to lethal. Mild illnesses include some cases of the common cold (which is also caused by other viruses, predominantly rhinoviruses), while more lethal varieties can cause SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Symptoms in other species vary: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory tract disease, while in cows and pigs they cause diarrhoea. There are as yet no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.

The scientific name for coronavirus is Orthocoronavirinae or Coronavirinae. Coronaviruses belong to the family of Coronaviridae, order Nidovirales, and realm Riboviria.

They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, one of the largest among RNA viruses. They have characteristic club-shaped spikes that project from their surface, which in electron micrographs create an image reminiscent of the solar corona, from which their name derives.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face. 

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.

COVID-19, a new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally.

HISTORY

Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1930s when an acute respiratory infection of domesticated chickens was shown to be caused by infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). Arthur Schalk and M.C. Hawn described in 1931 a new respiratory infection of chickens in North Dakota. The infection of new-born chicks was characterized by gasping and listlessness. The chicks’ mortality rate was 40–90%. Fred Beaudette and Charles Hudson six years later successfully isolated and cultivated the infectious bronchitis virus which caused the disease. In the 1940s, two more animal coronaviruses, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), were isolated. It was not realized at the time that these three different viruses were related.

Human coronaviruses were discovered in the 1960s. They were isolated using two different methods in the United Kingdom and the United States. E.C. Kendall, Malcom Byone, and David Tyrrell working at the Common Cold Unit of the British Medical Research Council in 1960 isolated from a boy a novel common cold virus B814. The virus was not able to be cultivated using standard techniques which had successfully cultivated rhinoviruses, adenoviruses and other known common cold viruses. In 1965, Tyrrell and Byone successfully cultivated the novel virus by serially passing it through organ culture of human embryonic trachea. The new cultivating method was introduced to the lab by Bertil Hoorn. The isolated virus when intra-nasally inoculated into volunteers caused a cold and was inactivated by ether which indicated it had a lipid envelope. Around the same time, Dorothy Hamre and John Procknow at the University of Chicago isolated a novel cold virus 229E from medical students, which they grew in kidney tissue culture. The novel virus 229E, like the virus strain B814, when inoculated into volunteers caused a cold and was inactivated by ether.

The two novel strains B814 and 229E were subsequently imaged by electron microscopy in 1967 by Scottish virologist June Almeida at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Almeida through electron microscopy was able to show that B814 and 229E were morphologically related by their distinctive club-like spikes. Not only were they related with each other, but they were morphologically related to infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). A research group at the National Institute of Health the same year was able to isolate another member of this new group of viruses using organ culture and named the virus strain OC43 (OC for organ culture). Like B814, 229E, and IBV, the novel cold virus OC43 had distinctive club-like spikes when observed with the electron microscope.

The IBV-like novel cold viruses were soon shown to be also morphologically related to the mouse hepatitis virus. This new group of IBV-like viruses came to be known as coronaviruses after their distinctive morphological appearance. Human coronavirus 229E and human coronavirus OC43 continued to be studied in subsequent decades. The coronavirus strain B814 was lost. It is not known which present human coronavirus it was. Other human coronaviruses have since been identified, including SARS-CoV in 2003, HCoV NL63 in 2004, HCoV HKU1 in 2005, MERS-CoV in 2012, and SARS-CoV-2 in 2019. There have also been a large number of animal coronaviruses identified since the 1960s.

The human coronavirus discovered in 2003, SARS-CoV, which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), has a unique pathogenesis because it causes both upper and lower respiratory tract infections.

Six species of human coronaviruses are known, with one species subdivided into two different strains, making seven strains of human coronaviruses altogether.

Four human coronaviruses produce symptoms that are generally mild:

  1. Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43), β-CoV
  2. Human c oronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1), β-CoV
  3. Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), α-CoV
  4. Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63), α-CoV

Three human coronaviruses produce symptoms that are potentially severe:

  1. Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), β-CoV
  2. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), β-CoV
  3. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), β-CoV, named covid-19

MERS

In September 2012, a new type of coronavirus was identified, initially called Novel Coronavirus 2012, and now officially named Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The World Health Organization issued a global alert soon after. The WHO update on 28 September 2012 said the virus did not seem to pass easily from person to person. However, on 12 May 2013, a case of human-to-human transmission in France was confirmed by the French Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. In addition, cases of human-to-human transmission were reported by the Ministry of Health in Tunisia. Two confirmed cases involved people who seemed to have caught the disease from their late father, who became ill after a visit to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Despite this, it appears the virus had trouble spreading from human to human, as most individuals who are infected do not transmit the virus. By 30 October 2013, there were 124 cases and 52 deaths in Saudi Arabia.

After the Dutch Erasmus Medical Centre sequenced the virus, the virus was given a new name, Human Coronavirus—Erasmus Medical Centre (HCoV-EMC). The final name for the virus is Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The only U.S. cases (both survived) were recorded in May 2014.

In May 2015, an outbreak of MERS-CoV occurred in the Republic of Korea, when a man who had travelled to the Middle East, visited four hospitals in the Seoul area to treat his illness. This caused one of the largest outbreaks of MERS-CoV outside the Middle East. As of December 2019, 2,468 cases of MERS-CoV infection had been confirmed by laboratory tests, 851 of which were fatal, a mortality rate of approximately 34.5%.

SARS

In 2003, following the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which had begun the prior year in Asia, and secondary cases elsewhere in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release stating that a novel coronavirus identified by a number of laboratories was the causative agent for SARS. The virus was officially named the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). More than 8,000 people were infected, about ten percent of whom died.

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19)

In December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China. On 31 December 2019, the outbreak was traced to a novel strain of coronavirus, which was given the interim name 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO), later renamed SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

As of 4th of June, 2020, there have been at least 386,091 confirmed deaths and more than 6,513,301 confirmed cases in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wuhan strain has been identified as a new strain of Betacoronavirus from group 2B with approximately 70% genetic similarity to the SARS-CoV. The virus has a 96% similarity to a bat coronavirus, so it is widely suspected to originate from bats as well. The pandemic has resulted in travel restrictions and nationwide lockdowns in many countries.

VIRUSES CARRIED BY BATS

Bats harbour several viruses that are zoonotic, meaning capable of infecting humans. Despite the abundance of viruses associated with bats, they rarely become ill from viral infections, Bats’ immune systems differ from other mammals and evidence indicates they are more tolerant of infection than other mammals. The zoonotic viruses found in bat include the rabies virus, SARS-CoV, Marburg virus, Nipah virus, and Hendra virus. While research clearly indicates that SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats,it is unknown how it was transmitted to humans, or if an intermediate host, possibly the Sunda pangolin, was involved in transmission. Bat viruses are transmitted by direct contact with infected bat fluids like urine, saliva, or through contact with an infected, non-bat intermediate host, such as Sunda pangolin.  It has also been speculated that bats may have a role in the ecology of Ebola virus, though this is unconfirmed. 

Bats host a diverse array of viruses, including all seven types of viruses described by the Baltimore classification:

  • Double-stranded DNA viruses;
    • Single-stranded DNA viruses;
    • Double-stranded RNA viruses;
    • Positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses;
    • Negative-sense single-stranded RNA viruses;
    • Positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses – that replicate through a DNA intermediate; and
    • Double-stranded DNA viruses – that replicate through a single-stranded RNA intermediate.

The majority of bat-associated viruses are RNA viruses rather than DNA viruses. A single bat can host several different kinds of viruses without becoming ill. Though bats harbour diverse viruses, they are rarely lethal to the bat host.

WUHAN INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences is a research institute on virology administered by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Located in Jiangxia District, Wuhan, Hubei, it opened mainland China’s first biosafety level 4 (BSL–4) laboratory in 2015. The Institute has strong ties to the Galveston National Laboratory in the United States, Centre International de Recherche en Infectiologie in France and the National Microbiology Laboratory in Canada. The Wuhan institute houses the largest virus bank in Asia which preserves more than 1,500 virus strains.

In January 2020, conspiracy theories circulated that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from viruses engineered by the WIV, which were refuted on the basis of scientific evidence that the virus has natural origins. In mid-January, U.S. intelligence agencies reported to U.S. officials that they had not detected any alarm within the Chinese government that would suggest the outbreak had emerged from a government laboratory. In an opinion column in the Washington Post, Josh Rogin wrote that US State Department cables from 2018 raised safety concerns about WIV’s research on bat coronaviruses. In April 2020, at the request of Trump administration officials, U.S. intelligence agencies began investigating whether the outbreak originated from the accidental exposure by WIV scientists studying natural coronaviruses in bats. The New York Times reported that senior officials in the Trump administration were pressuring intelligence agencies to find evidence for the unsubstantiated theory that the virus leaked from the laboratory, leading to concern among some intelligence analysts that intelligence assessments would be distorted to serve a political campaign to lay blame on China for the outbreak.

ORIGIN OF COVID-19

The first human cases of COVID-19 infection was first reported in a wholesale Wet market in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019, which incidentally is located close to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. However, the Chinese laboratory is accused by many nations of being the source of the coronavirus pandemic. The World Health Organisation however said that there was no evidence that the virus originated in a lab. 

STRUCTURE (OF CORONAVIRUSES)

Coronaviruses are large, roughly spherical, particles with bulbous surface projections. The average diameter of the virus particles is around 125 nm (.125 μm). The diameter of the envelope is 85 nm and the spikes are 20 nm long. The envelope of the virus in electron micrographs appears as a distinct pair of electron-dense shells (shells that are relatively opaque to the electron beam used to scan the virus particle). The viral envelope consists of a lipid bilayer, in which the membrane (M), envelope (E) and spike (S) structural proteins are anchored. The ratio of E:S:M in the lipid bilayer is approximately 1:20:300. On average a coronavirus particle has 74 surface spikes. 

Inside the envelope, there is the nucleocapsid, which is formed from multiple copies of the nucleocapsid (N) protein, which are bound to the positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome in a continuous beads-on-a-string type conformation. The lipid bilayer envelope, membrane proteins, and nucleocapsid protect the virus when it is outside the host cell.

Coronaviruses contain a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA genome. The genome size for coronaviruses ranges from 26.4 to 31.7 kilobases. The genome size is one of the largest among RNA viruses. 

Infection begins when the viral spike protein attaches to its complementary host cell receptor. After attachment, a protease of the host cell cleaves and activates the receptor-attached spike protein. Depending on the host cell protease available, cleavage and activation allows the virus to enter the host cell by endocytosis or direct fusion of the viral envelop with the host membrane.

Infected carriers are able to shed viruses into the environment. The interaction of the coronavirus spike protein with its complementary cell receptor is central in determining the tissue tropism, infectivity, and species range of the released virus. Coronaviruses mainly target epithelial cells. They are transmitted from one host to another host, depending on the coronavirus species, by either an aerosol, fomite, or faecal-oral route. On entry into the host cell, the virus particle is uncoated, and its genome enters the cell cytoplasm.

SYMPTOMS

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include aches and pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms.

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. Around 20% patients who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems, such as high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing serious illness.  However, anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill.   

HOW VIRUS SPREAD

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are relatively heavy, do not travel far and quickly sink to the ground. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets from a person infected with the virus.  

These droplets can land on objects and surfaces around the person such as tables, doorknobs and handrails.  People can become infectedby touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.  This is why it is important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand rub. This is why it is important to stay at least 1 meter) away from others.

While initial investigations suggest the virus may be present in faeces in some cases, to date, there have not been reports of faecal-oral transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, there is no evidence to date on the survival of the COVID-19 virus in water or sewage.

DISTINGUISHING QUARANTINE, ISOLATION AND PHYSICAL DISTANCING

Quarantine means restricting activities or separating people, who are not ill themselves but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal is to prevent spread of the disease at the time when people just develop symptoms.

Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and may be infectious to prevent the spread of the disease.

Physical distancing means being physically apart. WHO recommends keeping at least 1metre distance from others. This is a general measure that everyone should take even if they are well with no known exposure to COVID-19. 

HOW LONG VIRUS SURVIVE ON SURFACE

Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, but less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard. The coronavirus on surfaces can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus.

As, always clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

TREATMENT OF CORONAVIRUS

Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. In hospitals physicians will sometimes use antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections which can be a complication of COVID-19 in severely ill patients. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.

There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human corona virus infections. Treatment is only supportive. A number of anti-virial targets have been identified, such as viral proteases, polymerases, and entry proteins. Drugs are in development which target these proteins and the different steps of viral replication. A number of vaccines using different methods are also under development for different human coronaviruses.

The National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of China has approved the use of Favilavir, an anti-viral drug, as a treatment for coronavirus. The drug has reportedly shown efficacy in treating the disease with minimal side effects in a clinical trial.

An antiviral drug earlier developed for ebola, Remdesivir developed by Gilead Sciences that was found to be ineffective is now being tested for treatment of covid-19, in two phase III randomised clinical trials in Asian countries. This drug has been hailed as the frontrunner in the treatment of covid-19, for emergency treatment in critical cases. India has approved Remdesivir for emergency use for five doses in treating Covid-19 patients.

In France, the combination of drugs, Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Azithromycin (AZ) is successfully used in the treatment of COVID-19. Globally, there is a huge debate on the workability and efficacy of Hydrochloroquine for treatment of covid-19. India is one of the largest producers of the drug, HCQ and it is exporting the drug worldwide. India is using hydroxychloroquine as one of its treatment methods for COVID-19 cases in the country.

VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: PROGRESS SO FAR

As the virus spreads easily and rapidly, the majority of the world’s population is still vulnerable to it, and a vaccine would provide some protection by training people’s immune systems to fight the virus so they should not become sick. As such, research is happening at breakneck speed all over the globe. About 80 groups around the world are researching vaccines and some are now entering clinical trials.

  • The first human trial data appears positive showing the first eight patients all produced antibodies that could neutralise the virus.
  • In Oxford, the first human trial in Europe has started with more than 800 recruits and have signed a deal with Pharma company, AstraZeneca to supply 100 million doses (30 million for the UK) if it works.
  • Pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GSK have teamed up to develop a vaccine together.
  • Australian scientists have begun injecting ferrets with two potential vaccines. It is the first comprehensive pre-clinical trial involving animals, and the researchers hope to test humans by the end of April/May.
  • A vaccine would normally take years, if not decades, to develop. Researchers hope to achieve the same amount of work in only a few months.
  • Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become available by mid-2021, about 12-18 months after the new virus, Sars-CoV-2, first emerged.
  • That would be a huge scientific feat and there are no guarantees it will work.
  • Four coronaviruses already circulate in human beings. They cause common cold symptoms and we don’t have vaccines for any of them.

In India, there are eight Indian vaccines in the works which have been consented to by the WHO, some of which are also moved to the human clinical trial phase.

Serum Institute of India located at Pune, has partnered with Oxford University in their vaccine clinical trials.

The vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also reported to have shown positive developments. 

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali group has also entered the race to hunt for a preventive vaccine to fight COVID-19. The company, which is basing its trials on ayurvedic supplements have got the ready approvals and are now proceeding to start the tests. They reported to have screened over 1000 phytochemicals (including those with anti-viral properties like ashwagandha, giloy, tulsi) which could control or suppress virus entry into the cells. In the first phase, the tests will be done in cities like Indore and Jaipur.

The Chinese pharma company, Sinovac Biotech, has been working on producing a vaccine earmarked CoronaVac and is reported to have received good results. The vaccine is in stage-2 of the trials, after it has shown promising results in the first phase trials tested on monkeys. It is reported that, stage 3 trials will kickstart soon in the United Kingdom soon. 

IBC – 2016 IS A WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT FOR BANKING SECTOR

The enactment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 in May 2016 was a watershed development and it has far-reaching implications for the banking sector in India.  The fulcrum of a robust and resilient banking sector is a comprehensive bankruptcy regime. It enables a sound debtor-creditor relationship by protecting the rights of both, by promoting predictability and by ensuring efficient resolution of indebtedness.

In India, the extant legal and institutional machinery for dealing with debt default, either through the Indian Contract Act, 1872 or through special laws such as the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 and the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002 has not been utilised well by banks.

Similarly, action through the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985 and the winding up provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 have neither aided prompt recovery by lenders nor swift restructuring of indebted firms.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) is the bankruptcy law of India which seeks to consolidate the existing framework by creating a single law for insolvency and bankruptcy. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2015. It was passed by Lok Sabha on 11 May, 2016. The IBC Code received the assent of the President of India on 28 May, 2016.

The bankruptcy code is a one stop solution for resolving insolvencies which, earlier was a long drawn process and did not offer an economically viable arrangement. A strong insolvency framework where the cost and the time incurred is minimised in attaining liquidation has been long overdue in India.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) deals with insolvency and bankruptcy by consolidating and amending various laws relating to re-organisation and insolvency resolution. The IBC covers individuals, companies, limited liability partnerships, partnership firms and other legal entities as may be notified (except financial service providers) and is aimed at creating an overarching framework to facilitate the winding up of business or engineering a turnaround or exit. The IBC aims at insolvency resolution in a time-bound manner (180 days, extendable by another 90 days under certain circumstances) undertaken by insolvency professionals.

Salient Features of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC)

Under the provisions of the Code, insolvency resolution can be triggered at the first instance of default and the process of insolvency resolution has to be completed within the stipulated time limit. The institutional infrastructure under the IBC, 2016 rests on four pillars, namely:The first pillar of institutional infrastructure is a class of regulated persons – the ‘Insolvency Professionals’. They assist in the completion of insolvency resolution, liquidation and bankruptcy proceedings and are governed by ‘Insolvency Professional Agencies’, who will develop professional standards and code of ethics as first level regulators.

The second pillar of institutional infrastructure are ‘Information Utilities’, which would collect, collate, authenticate and disseminate financial information. They would maintain electronic databases on lenders and terms of lending, thereby eliminating delays and disputes when a default actually takes place.

The third pillar of the institutional infrastructure is adjudication. The NCLT is the forum where cases relating to insolvency of corporate persons will be heard, while DRTs are the forum for insolvency proceedings related to individuals and partnership firms. These institutions, along with their Appellate bodies, viz., the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), respectively, will seek to achieve smooth functioning of the bankruptcy process.

The fourth pillar is the regulator‘The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India’. This body has regulatory oversight over insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and information utilities.

For individuals, the Code provides for two distinct processes, namely, “Fresh Start” and “Insolvency Resolution”, and lays down the eligibility criteria for these processes. The Code also establishes a fund (the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Fund of India) for the purposes of insolvency resolution, liquidation and bankruptcy of persons. A default-based test for entry into the insolvency resolution process permits quick intervention when the corporate debtor shows early signs of financial distress.

On the distribution of proceeds from the sale of assets, the first priority is accorded to the costs of insolvency resolution and liquidation, followed by the secured debt together with workmen’s dues for the preceding 24 months. Central and State Governments’ dues are ranked lower in priority. The code proposes a paradigm shift from the existing ‘debtor in possession’ to a ‘creditor in control’ regime. Priority accorded to secured creditors is advantageous for entities such as banks.

When a firm defaults on its debt, control shifts from the shareholders / promoters to a Committee of Creditors to evaluate proposals from various players about resuscitating the company or taking it into liquidation. This is a complete departure from the experience under the Sick Industrial Companies Act under which delays led to erosion in the value of the firm.

Empirical evidence shows that a conducive institutional environment and an appropriate insolvency regime are key factors in recovery of stressed assets, apart from loan characteristics.

In order to further strengthen the insolvency resolution process, the Government has notified The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 on November 23, 2017. The Ordinance provides for prohibition of certain persons from submitting a resolution plan and specifies certain additional requirements for submission and consideration of the resolution plan before its approval by the committee of creditors.

These are excerpts of the few pages of ebook – Legal & Regulatory Aspects Of Banking by N K Gupta.

Read the complete chapter on IBC Code in Book – Legal & Regulatory Aspects Of Banking by N K Gupta.