January 2013 Current Affairs

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SC prohibits tourists from entering Jarawa tribe habitat

The apex court banned all tourist movements in the habitat of extremely endangered Jarawa tribe in Andaman and Nicobar and also sought to know from Andaman & Nicobar Island administration whether it intended to keep the tribe, which has a thin population of just over 300, in isolation or to be assimilated in the mainstream.

The court banned the movement of all tourist vehicles through the 46-km Andaman Trunk Road that links North Andaman to its southern part passing through the tribe’s habitat till February 26, 2013.

What is the issue?

The matter dates back to January, 2012, when two British dailies had released outraging videos showing semi-naked Jarawa men and women dancing before tourists as part of alleged ‘human safari’. In the video, the tourists were seen throwing money, food and bananas at the tribal people. After this incidence, the government ordered inquiry.

In May 2012, the court had upheld the island administration’s decision to ban private tour operators from the 5-km buffer zone but sternly warned that no government operated tours would be permitted in the area either.

The notification had declared an area up to 5 km radius of Jarawa Tribal Reserve, from boundary line starting from Constance Bay in South Andaman to Lewis Inlet Bay in Middle Andaman, as buffer zone.

Where do Jarawas live and why they are being protected?

Jarawas are highly vulnerable to diseases and viruses carried by the urban population and they live in forests in the western coasts of South and Middle Andaman Islands.


RBI panel suggests banks to encourage long-tenor FD schemes

A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) committee which studied the feasibility of introducing more long-term fixed rate loan products by banks, made following suggestions:

  • Banks should popularize Fixed Deposit (FD) schemes with tenors of above 5 years as they are eligible for tax exemption. It would help banks in meeting their long-term funding requirements.
  • Besides plain vanilla fixed rate loan products, banks can offer fixed rate long-term loan products with periodic interest reset provision (say every 7-10 years). However, the resetting of interest rate should be in line with the regulatory guidelines on base rate.
  • Banks which have not fully exploited the sector of long-term bonds (minimum maturity of five years) to the infrastructure sector (minimum residual maturity of five years) could make use of the room available to issue more long-term bonds which would aid release resources for extending long-term fixed rate loan products.
  • Banks can consider offering longer-tenor fixed rate loans, say up to 30 years, which would help reduce the EMIs of borrowers.
  • Banks can also workout the option of take-out financing and can also explore promoting securitization market for better asset liability management.
  • Banks should charge pre-payment penalty on fixed rate loan products on the outstanding amount only.