News: A $500-million loan agreement was signed between the Union government, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited and the New Development Bank (NDB) on Thursday for the ‘Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Project’to provide fast, reliable, safe and comfortable public transport system in the NCR.
About New Development Bank:
The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
The idea for setting up the bank was proposed by India at the 4th BRICS summit in 2012 held in Delhi. The creation of a new development bank was the main theme of the meeting. BRICS leaders agreed to set up a Development bank at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa on 27 March 2013.
According to the Agreement on the NDB, “the Bank shall support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.” Moreover, the NDB “shall cooperate with international organizations and other financial entities, and provide technical assistance for projects to be supported by the Bank.”
The initial authorized capital of the bank is $100 billion divided into 1 million shares having a par value of $100,000 each. The initial subscribed capital of the NDB is $50 billion divided into paid-in shares ($10 billion) and callable shares ($40 billion). The initial subscribed capital of the bank was equally distributed among the founding members. The Agreement on the NDB specifies that every member will have one vote no one would have any veto powers.
The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China. The first regional office of the NDB is in Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to the Articles of Agreement, the main organs of the bank are:
Board of Governors
Board of Directors
President and Vice-Presidents
The NDB President is elected on a rotational basis from one of the founding members, and there are four Vice Presidents from each of the other four founding members.
The New Development Bank has an initial subscribed capital of US$50 billion and an initial authorized capital of US$100 billion.
The initial subscribed capital is be equally distributed among the founding members.
The payment of the amount initially subscribed by each founding member to the paid-in capital stock of the Bank will made in dollars in 7 instalments
Each member cannot increase its share of capital without all other four members agreeing. The bank will allow new members to join but the BRICS capital share cannot fall below 55%.
The bank aims to contribute to the development plans established nationally through projects that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. Taking this into account, the main objectives of the NDB can be summarized as follows
Promote infrastructure and sustainable development projects with a significant development impact in member countries.
Establish an extensive network of global partnerships with other multilateral development institutions and national development banks.
Build a balanced project portfolio giving a proper respect to their geographic location, financing requirements and other factors.
2. WILLOW WARNLER
News: The willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), one of the longest migrating small birds that breeds throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic, has been sighted for the first time in the country in Thiruvanathapuram.
About Willow Warnler:
The bird weighs around 10 g and it has long wing feathers that help it fly long distances.
Usually seen in European and the Palearctic regions, the birds migrate to sub-Saharan Africa during early winter.
Warblers are generally difficult to identify owing to the small size and change in plumage twice a year.
3. DIGITAL INDIA
News: Digital India mission, launched five years ago, is not being seen as any regular government initiative and has now become a way of life, especially for the poor and marginalised and those in the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday. He asserted that ‘technology first’ was their governance model.
About Digital India:
Digital India is a campaign launched by the Government of India in order to ensure the Government’s services are made available to citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology.
The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks.
Digital India consists of three core components: the development of secure and stable digital infrastructure, delivering government services digitally, and universal digital literacy.