Personal Data Protection Bill
- The Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB), is right now under consideration by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC).
- PDPB is big, in its sweep, intent and implications.
- Future competitiveness of the economy
- Data being available to train algorithms that would drive artificial intelligence
- Individual citizens – protected from harm arising from misuse of their data
- The JPC would do well to take it slowly and take suggestions from as many stakeholders as possible.
- Right now, civil society groups, several large companies and even some members of the committee complain that they have not been given a chance to present their views.
- The wording of the regulation should not give scope for babus to penalise companies for no fault of theirs.
- Unlike Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, India’s PDPB subsumes collection of data under processing of data.
- Giving a detailed notice on data collection and obtaining consent might sound noble, but is likely to be observed more in the breach vis-à-vis illiterate or semi-literate or time-starved rural folk.
- Financially autonomous youngsters who are not yet 18 need their parents’ permission for their data to be collected, whereas social media accounts merely require reaching the age of 13.
- Holding those who collect data responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the data is unreasonable.
- Distinctions between sensitive data and critical data.
Recoveries under IBC
- Lenders could recover ₹12,600 crore through the bankruptcy courts in the first six months of FY21.
- Only 42 companies have seen a resolution plan being approved under the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP).
- The number of CIRPs closed during the first half was 60% lower than that of the year-ago period.
- Rating company ICRA said that annual recovery through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code could be restricted to about ₹60,000-65,000 crore as compared to about ₹1 lakh crore realised last fiscal year.
- This is due to the fall in the number of resolutions and also because of the fact that banks are taking bigger haircuts.
- The pandemic and suspension of new proceedings under IBC have resulted in a sharp slowdown in the resolution process and accordingly the realisation for financial creditors has declined, ICRA said.
- Realisations for financial creditors in FY22 are also uncertain due to the suspension of fresh insolvency proceedings for a year.
- ICRA also said recovery through resolution plans could continue to suffer in FY22 as fresh insolvency proceedings have been suspended until December 25 for accounts that defaulted after March 25.
- Indian Railways’ freight loading of 109.68 million tonnes (mt) for the month of November crossed last year’s loading and earnings for the same period and also registered its highest loading for the current fiscal.
- In this period, the Indian Railways earned ₹10,657.66 crore from freight loading, which is also ₹449.79 crore (4%) higher as compared to last year’s earnings for the same period (₹10,207.87 crore).
- The loading this November included 48.48 mt of coal, 13.77 mt of iron ore, 5.1 mt of foodgrains, 5.41 mt of fertilisers and 6.62 mt of cement (excluding clinker).
- “This is the highest loading that we have done this year. In fact, in the last four days of November, we have loaded 4 mt of goods every day,” said Railway Board chairman and CEO VK Yadav
OECD on Global Economy
- The global economy may get back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year as vaccines help propel recovery.
- Signs that vaccines could now be weeks away from distribution have injected cautious optimism as the year limps to a close with Covid-19 having claimed some 1.4 million lives.
- “For the first time since the pandemic began, there is now hope for a brighter future,” OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone
- “The road ahead is brighter but challenging,” Boone added.
- The OECD, which advises its 37 member nations on stimulating economic progress and world trade, credited the quick recovery to “unprecedented” action by governments and central banks.
- But that rebound is likely to be uneven and may lead to lasting changes in the world economy, the OECD warned.
- China is likely to be the only major economy to escape a contraction this year., with its economy growing by 1.8% and then surging by 8.0% in 2021.
- Diesel demand dropped 7% in November from a year earlier after rebounding to above pre-pandemic levels in October, showing uneven recovery trajectory.
- Petrol sales, however, grew 5% year-on-year, as per the provisional sales data by state-run oil companies that control nearly 90% of the country’s fuel retail market.
- Diesel accounts for nearly 40% of the total refined fuel demand in the country, and the rate of its consumption is a broad indicator of the nation’s economic activity.
- A slip in diesel consumption means less demand from transport as well as industry.
- Jet fuel demand recovery stayed sluggish with sales 48% lower in November from a year earlier as international flights remain restricted.
- Cooking gas consumption rose 4.6%.
- In October, diesel sales had grown 7.4% and petrol 4.3% year-on-year, signalling strong recovery.
- But a reversal this month in diesel showed a full recovery may take longer.
- Executives, however, said the economy was on a rebound and the fuel demand will get restored quickly despite the pandemic.
- Petrol sales are strong as more and more people, offices and factories have resumed normal life.
- It has also been aided by strong auto sales.
- Passenger vehicle sales rose 9% year-on-year in November but were down 14% compared with October.