committees and commissions Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union government has constituted a time-bound inter-disciplinary committee to come up with an action plan for dealing with virtual currencies so as to fix the regulatory gaps in the existing framework governing virtual currencies. The committee is required to submit its report within three months.
The circulation of virtual currencies, of late, has become a cause of concern. With respect to the virtual currencies, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also cautioned the users, holders and traders of Virtual currencies about the potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks through press releases in December 2013 and February 2017.
Virtual Currencies, also called as digital/crypto-currencies, are a type of unregulated digital money that is neither issued by a central bank/public authority, nor is necessarily attached to a fiat currency, but is used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community. They are capable of being transferred, stored or traded electronically. The examples of virtual currencies are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Darkcoin, Peercoin, Dogecoin, Primecoin etc.
The nine-member inter-disciplinary committee will be chaired by Dinesh Sharma, special secretary in the economic affairs department. The committee will also have representatives from the Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Financial Services, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Home Affairs, IT ministry, Reserve Bank of India, NITI Aayog and State Bank of India.
The committee is mandated to:
- Take stock of the current status of Virtual Currencies both in India and globally;
- Examine the present global regulatory and legal structures governing Virtual Currencies;
- Suggest measures for tackling the issues related to Virtual Currencies including issues like consumer protection, money laundering etc;
- Examine other relevant issues related to Virtual Currencies.
The High Level Committee (HLC) for Restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI) chaired by Shanta Kumar has submitted its report to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Some Recommendations of Shanta Kumar Committee
On procurement related issues:
- FCI should hand over all procurement operations of wheat, paddy and rice to Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Punjab as they have sufficient experience and reasonable infrastructure for procurement.
- FCI procurement should focus on eastern belt, where farmers do not get minimum support price.
On stocking and movement related issues:
- FCI should outsource its stocking operations to various agencies such as Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC), State Warehousing Corporation (SWC), Private Sector under Private Entrepreneur Guarantee (PEG) scheme.
- It should be done on competitive bidding basis, inviting various stakeholders and creating competition to bring down costs of storage.
- Movement of grains should be containerized in order to reduce transit losses. While, railways should have faster turn-around-time by having more mechanized facilities.
NFSA and PDS related issues
- Restructuring the National Food Security Act (NFSA) by virtually diluting its scope and coverage from 67 per cent of population to about 40 per cent population.
- In order to curtail leakages in PDS, government should defer implementation of NFSA in states that have not done end to end computerization.
End to end computerization:
- It recommends end to end computerization of the entire food management system, starting from procurement from farmers, to stocking, movement and finally distribution through PDS.
- It will help for real time basis monitoring in order to curb leakages.
In August 2014, Union government had set up 8 members High Level Committee (HLC) on FCI restructuring. It was restructuring chaired by Shanta Kumar.
Other members are: FCI Chairman-cum-Managing Director C Viswanath, Electronic and IT Secretary Ram Sewak Sharma, Former Chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) Ashok Gulati, Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Chhattisgarh; and Academicians G Raghuram and Gunmadi Nancharaiah of IIM-Ahmedabad.