Expressing concerns over the empty coffers of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), India urged rich countries to give their consent to a road-map for its capitalization by 2015 – the year the world will have a universal global climate treaty.
Speaking at the ‘Major Economies Forum’ (MEF) in Paris, India’s Environment minister Prakash Javadekar also suggested that part of GCF, which was launched in 2009-10, should be used for funding critical technologies and buying Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) so that it can be made available to developing nations free of cost.
He referred to the annual Budget to inform that India had had taken a number of measures to fight climate change including earmarking Rs 100 crore for National Adaptation Fund, launching of mission for Himalayan region, Clean Ganga mission and hike in cess on coal from Rs 50 a tonne to Rs 100 a tonne.
Green Climate Fund (GCF)
GCF is a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC set up as a mechanism to transfer money from the developed nations to the developing countries, in order to help the developing nations in adaptation and mitigation practices to tackle climate change. The GCF is based in the new Songdo district of Incheon, South Korea. It is managed by a Board of 24 members.
The GCF will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing nations. It intends to be the fulcrum of efforts to increase Climate Finance of $100 billion a year by 2020.
Reacting to this, Pakistan said that such steps would not change the legal status of the Kashmir dispute and that it never accepted Kashmir’s accession to India. It said that as long as the Kashmir dispute is not resolved, the UN Security Council mandate remains.
In response to Pakistan’s statements, India said that it believes in moving forward than looking behind and discussing decade old issues. India clarified that the move on UNMOGIP was consistent with efforts to rationalize the UN body’s presence in India. It said that the measure was in line with India’s long-standing view that UNMOGIP has outlived its relevance.
India believes that the UN body had little significance after India and Pakistan inked the Shimla pact in 1972 on resolving the Kashmir dispute bilaterally. However, UN held that UN Security Council resolution mandates the body to monitor and observe the border and report violations of a cease-fire agreement between India and Pakistan.
UNMOGIP in India insisted that it will continue its operations in India in line with its original mandate. The body is now searching for new office to rent.
India had provided UNMOGIP a plush accommodation in New Delhi free of charge 40 years ago. The UN body also has offices in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad, the main city in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir.
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has set up an advisory group on REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), which seeks to attract long-term funds to the investment-deficient realty sector from both foreign as well as domestic investors. The Budget 2014-15 also offers incentives like exemption from long-term capital gains tax to promote REITs, which could be listed on the bourses like company shares and permits retail and institutional investors to trade in those securities.
The BSE has decided to make an 11-member advisory group of experts from real estate, securities market participants like merchant bankers, legal professionals and consultants in real estate to orderly help develop the REITs and to make it popular among investors and advise them newly proposed framework on REITs.
As per experts, REITs can attract humungous $10 billion foreign funds into the real estate sector.
From 2016-17 FY, it will be mandatory for Indian corporate sector to migrate to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from the current indigenous Indian Accounting Standards. The new system has been necessitated by the need to be consistent with global practices.
IFRS is essential to facilitate the foreign firms make accurate interpretation of the balance sheets of Indian companies in order to make a correct assessment of their performance which mirrors the state of the economy.
As per the direction of the Supreme Court, Government must implement its February 2014 notification fixing higher average daily wages to workers of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The order came a day after the proposed Budget announcement by the Government, which while reviving the MGNREGS allocated Rs34,000 crore, a hike of Rs1,000 crore over year 2013. The Centre had, in its February 13, 2014 notification, announced higher wage scale for MGNREGA workers in the range of Rs118 to Rs181, varying from State to State. With the Court direction, the financial load on the Centre is likely to increase by more than Rs1,000 crore.
The direction from the apex court to the Centre comes after the SC was faced with an order from Karnataka High Court directing Centre to pay daily wages under MGNREGS commensurate with the minimum wage fixed by the State. The HC, in its order, noted that the workers were paid less than even the minimum wage of Rs119 prescribed under the Karnataka Minimum Wages Act.
As per the ruling of the Karnataka HC, Section 6(1) of the MGNREGA could not be invoked to fix wage rate lower than what was prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and scrapped the Government notification on wage rate of January 2009 and ordered payment of arrears to the workers in Karnataka.
The order was challenged by the Centre as there is substantial difference between MGNREGS wages and minimum wages in some States. Besides, it argued that as on date, the minimum wages under MGNREGA were linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of agricultural laborers.