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GS-2


A day in Delhi for Ghani and Tillerson (the hindu)

Context:

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani will visit India on October 24.

Introduction:

  • The visit by President Ghani comes within days of a visit to Kabul by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and recent Taliban attack on the Afghan National Army base in Kandahar province that killed more than 50 security personnel.
  • It was agreed to further strengthen strategic dialogue and consultations for achieving shared objectives.
  • Though there was no elaboration of the shared objectives, both sides were believed to have deliberated on challenges of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, ways to deepen bilateral defence and security ties and the fragile reconciliation process in the war-ravaged country.
  • Both the nations emphasized that bilateral and sincere regional cooperation is important for peace, security and stability in the region.
  • Both sides welcomed the opportunities created by the new US strategy for bringing peace and security in Afghanistan,”
  • Purpose of upcoming visit:
  • The visits will provide India opportunity to hold talks on crucial regional and security-related issues.
  • Mr. Ghani’s visit, which is likely to last for half-a-day, is significant as it comes two-months after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his government’s new Afghanistan policy for which he has urged India to do more.

Significance:

  • The visits of Mr. Ghani and Mr. Tillerson to Delhi indicate that they will provide all three — the U.S., Afghanistan and India — the opportunity to hold talks on crucial regional and security-related issues.
  • Mr Tillerson said “The world’s centre of gravity is shifting to the heart of the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. and India — with our shared goals of peace, security, freedom of navigation, and a free and open architecture — must serve as the eastern and western beacons of the Indo-Pacific.”
  • Mr. Tillerson had also pointed out that China’s rise as an international power had been “less peaceful.”
  • The Asia-Pacific component of the visit will unfold soon after the latest congress of the Communist Party of China which led to the consolidation of power of President Xi Jinping and his re-election for one more term.

India and Afghanistan present relations:

  • Defence and security ties between India and Afghanistan have been on an upswing.
  • India has given four military helicopters to Afghanistan which has been trying to strengthen its air power following a significant cut in NATO forces there.
  • The last of the four Mi 24 attack choppers was given in November 2016.
  • Afghanistan has also been seeking India’s assistance in making functional Soviet-era helicopters and transport aircraft which were not in a flying condition.
  • In 2016, India had announced taking up 116 new developmental projects in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, weeks after US President Donald Trump sought New Delhi’s help in the economic development of that country.
  • India has been playing a key role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and given it assistance worth $2 billion in the last few years.

Background:

India-Afghanistan ties:

  • Relations between the people of Afghanistan and India traces to the Indus Valley Civilisation.
  • In 1999, India became one of the key supporters of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.
  • In 2005, India proposed Afghanistan’s membership in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Both nations also developed strategic and military cooperation against Islamic militants.
  • Three memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for strengthening cooperation in the fields of rural development, education and standardisation during Hamid Karzai’s visit to India in April 2006.
  • During the 15th SAARC summit in Colombo, India pledged another $450 million alongside a further $750 million already pledged for ongoing and forthcoming projects.
  • India seeks to expand its economic presence in Afghanistan as the international coalition fighting the Taliban withdraws combat forces through 2014.
  • India, with a commitment of $1.2 billion through 2013, is already the sixth largest donor to Afghanistan. It has been involved in diverse development projects in infrastructure, education and agriculture.

Unravelling of the IRAN Deal (the hindu)

Context

  • U.S. President Donald Trump recently refused to certify the Iranian nuclear agreement with Iran and six other major world powers.

What is the significance of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)?

  • The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council Germany and the European Union.

What are the Major provisions of the agreement?

  • Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium,
  • Cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%
  • Reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.
  • For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%.
  • To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities.

How will the deal benefit Iran?

  • After the implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended.
  • Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets frozen in overseas banks
  • EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and will be lifted

What is IAEA?

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • It is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field.
  • It works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The programs of the IAEA encourage the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, provide international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and promote nuclear safety

Why were the sanctions imposed?

  • Iran signed the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.
  • In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities,
  • the Arak heavy-water production facility
  • the Natanz enrichment facility.
  • The IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.
  • In September 2009, U.S. President revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom
  • The decision to build nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime
  • On 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland.

What may be the implications of this decision?

  • The implications of the breakdown are not limited to U.S.-Iran relations.
  • Iran can make things difficult for the U.S. in Afghanistan as also in Iraq and Syria.
  • The U.S.’s ability to work with Russia in Syria or with China regarding North Korea will also be impacted.
  • Coming after the rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate change accord and the North American Free Trade Agreement, this decision further diminishes its credibility in managing its foreign policy
  • Trumps decision to discredit JCPOA shall implicit renegotiation of the deal, that would attract a veto by both Russia and China were it to be taken up in the UNSC.

GS-3


Most pollution linked deaths occurs in India (the hindu) 

Context:

  • Reports of the Lancet Commission on pollution and health concluded that deaths in India occur mostly because of pollution.

Pollution in the context of India: a report:

  • With 2.51 million deaths in 2015, India has been ranked No. 1 in pollution related deaths, according to a report by The Lancet Commission on pollution and health.
  • India accounted for about 28 per cent of an estimated nine million pollution linked deaths worldwide in 2015.
  • In the case of air pollution, the number of deaths in India from ambient air pollution is at the first place i.e. 1.09 million.

Effects of air pollution:

  • Deaths from air pollution were a result of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Pollution has been responsible for the most non-communicable disease deaths.

What is the Lancet Commission on pollution and health?

  • The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health is a two-year project that has involved more than 40 international health and environmental authors.

Functions:

  • The Lancet Commission on pollution and health addresses the health and economic costs of air, water, and soil pollution.
  • Through analyses of existing and emerging data, the Commission reveals pollution’s severe and underreported contribution to the Global Burden of Disease.
  • It uncovers the economic costs of pollution to low-income and middle-income countries.
  • The Commission informs key decision makers around the world about the burden that pollution places on health and economic development, and about available cost-effective pollution control solutions and strategies.

What are the recent steps taken by government to reduce pollution in India?

  • The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • Namami Gange Project: Under the project, the Government is planning to make the areas around the river Open Defecation Free and to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge into the river.
  • Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT project: Under these, the Government is planning to achieve 100 per cent sewage collection and its treatment before being discharged in river.
  • Promotion of renewable energy, enforcement of Renewable Purchase Obligations and Renewable Generation Obligations to increase the share of renewable energy in total generation capacity.
  • The Government has decided to enforce Bharat Stage VI norms from 2020.
  • Furthermore, the Ministry of Roadways has undertaken the project to plant trees along the all major highways.

What are measures to be taken?

  • This Lancet Commission should inform policy makers and serve as a timely call to action.
  • The country must prioritize pollution as an issue that affects all.
  • Integrating pollution into health planning, and increasing funding to allow more research into pollution, such as monitoring pollution and its effects, and developing are some of the other ways to control pollution.
  • Human activities, including industrialisation, urbanisation, and globalisation, are all drivers of pollution. Thus, strict legal initiatives actions are to be taken.

Government plans to boost rural employment

Context:

  • After an array of suicidal cases of the farmers in India, the Rural Development Ministry is in the midst of examining proposals that promises to leapfrog job creation for the rural youth.

What are the causes of rural unemployment in India?

  • According to the report, Rural Agricultural Commission, Indian Agriculturalists are unemployed for about 6 months in a year. Some of the reasons are as follows:
  • In India the population is excessively increasing: At this rate of increase in population, no country can guarantee full employment to its hands.
  • The employment planning of the government is not adequate: In comparison to population growth, employment opportunities did not increase.

Agricultural drawbacks:

  • India has a limited area of agricultural land: Attempt is being made to break the barren land and bring greater area under the orbit of the agriculture.
  • Agriculture in India is a seasonal affair: There is a season for sowing and harvesting. After that the farmers have no job.
  • Agricultural people are not educated: Due to lack of education, they are not able to utilise their energy in proper manner.
  • Agricultural holdings are small: the lands are scattered and fragmented. Because of these drawbacks, the agricultural product is not at all sufficient for the people who depend who depend on it.
  • Rural India depend directly on various cottage industries for their livelihood: But, now-a-days, these are adversely affected by the industrialisation process.
  • The present woes of agrarian distress is a result of having no vision for agriculture sector which is mostly dependent on farming and its failure is affecting other sectors including the banking.

Crop failure in India: An overview:

  • GM cotton, 2002, initially promising performance of GM cotton proved short-lived as crops experienced severe pest attacks.
  • Production costs rose threefold due to the more expensive pesticides needed to control problem insects and widespread crop failure.
  • Growing burden of credit on farming community and their inability of making repayment also is a reason of constant crop failures.
  • Even though Asian countries including India have often welcomed the use of genetically modified crops to boost productivity. Yet, monopolisation of markets and destruction of alternatives have destroyed many.
  • Only a third of the small and marginal farmers in the country have access to institutional credit. As a result, loan waivers may not be of significant help.

What are the government initiatives to generate rural employment in India?

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, MGNREGA): It is an Indian labour law and social securilty measure that aims to guarantee the right to work.
  • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana or DDU-GKY: It is Government of India youth employment scheme.
  • It aims to target youth, under the age group of 15–35 years. DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), tasked with the dual objectives of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and cater to the career aspirations of rural youth.
  • Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP): Jobs created by the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), generates employment in rural and urban areas by initiating new micro enterprises and small projects.
  • Make in India Programme: The main aim of the Make in India programme is to generate employment in the manufacturing sector.
  • Startup India: Under this programme, the government encouraged banks to provide finance to young entrepreneurs to start their own business ventures.

What is the way forward?

  • More cottage industries and other industries pertaining to agriculture need set up in the village.
  • Demand for the industrial manufacturing sector has to come from rural India which can be generated by increasing the purchasing power of rural population where farming remains the main activity of employment.
  • Unless the farming infrastructure receives significant boost, farmers in India will stop finding agriculture as a viable source of income.

Centre pushes for cash free campuses(Digital economy/cashless economy (the hindu) 

Context:

Public, private institutions to be within digital ambit

Introduction:

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development aims to make financial transactions completely digital in all higher education institutions.
  • In this regard, the Human Resource Development Minister is likely to write to the heads of all institutions to shift completely to digital transactions very soon.
  • The Centre aims to fully digitise all campus processes — including admissions, assistance, assessments, result declaration, admission, etc. — with all these processes going on an integrated IT platform

Rationale behind decision:

  • The move will promote cashless transactions in all institutions including Central and State universities  like IITs, NITs, business schools etc.
  • The move was a step towards cashless economy.

Cashless Economy

  • No liquid money is used by the society. All transactions are done  by using cards or by digital means
  • The people using the means of e-commerce, mobile banking or Internet banking for their purchase or for their transaction

Advantages of cashless economy:

Advantages for the society:

  • Reduces the circulation of liquid money
  • The black money or parallel money cannot be able to sustain
  • The transaction process and purchase will made easy
  • No need to carry cash. Just carrying the required cards or mobile banking will suffice.
  • More sense of safety with a PAN protected card etc.
  • No fear of being robbed unlike carrying cash and letting everyone know that there could be something worth snatching.
  • Now labour get their payment in their bank accounts therefore minimum wages as per Indian Labour Law can be ensured.

 Advantages for the economy:

  • Digital payments indirectly reduce expenditure in manufacturing currency notes and its transportation.
  • Electronic transactions also help in curbing corruption and black money flow which in ameliorate economic growth.
  • It becomes easier to determine how much was spent where, and one able to manage the budget.
  • Cashless economy increase transparency in the system

Advantages for the government:

  • The government can control the financial transactions in the society.
  • More transparency and easy to track money laundering and other such activities.
  • Helps to eliminate counterfeit currencies
  • If the government finds a person guilty government can block his/her transaction.

Disadvantage of cashless economy:

  • Higher risk of identity theft
  • Cashless transaction system is not widespread due to lack of education and technology gap which is a matter of concern and must be addressed by government or financial institutions.
  • Direct threat to cyber security and individual financial data.
  • Increase in online banking fraud.
  • As per the survey automation will cut 70,000 jobs in India.

Government’s initiatives towards cashless economy:

Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan  (VISAKA)

  • The Centre  had launched the Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan  (VISAKA), financial literacy campaign, for digital financial literacy early in 2017, enrolling lakhs of volunteers from among students to train families in their neighbourhood to conduct financial transactions digitally through the BHIM app.
  • They were also asked to go to major markets, talk to shopkeepers, vendors and merchants’ associations to help shift to digital transactions.
  • As many as 2000 higher education institutions were also made digital as part of this initiative.

Other initiatives:

  • The Digital India Programme is the flagship programme launched by the Government of India with a vision to transfer India into digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The progrmme has three components: The creation of digital infrastructure,Delivering services digitally and Digital Literacy
  • The government has come up with a rash of discounts and freebies on digital transaction
  • The Unified Payments Interface(UIP)-the payment system that allows mobile-enabled money transfer between bank accounts is also a welcome step
  • Many banks have launched UPI apps, the Bharat Interface for Money (Bhim), the common app that can be used by anyone who has a bank account with a linked mobile number. Bhim provides a smartphone front-end to make bank-to-bank payments.
  • The Finance minister in his budget speech announced two schemes for promoting Bhim- a referral scheme and a merchant cash-bank scheme
  • The government also unveiled two schemes –Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana for customers and trades alike to promote mobile banking and e-payments.
  • Finance minister Arun Jaitley proposed a slew of measures to hasten India’s movement to a cashless economy like ban on cash transactions more than Rs 3 lakh, tax breaks for the creation of a cashless infrastructure, greater usage of non-cash modes of payments and making Aadhaar based payments more widespread.
  • The budget proposed to ban all cash transactions above Rs 3 lakh, in line with the recommendations of the Special Investigative Team (SIT) on black money.
  • The budget also announced the setting up of a separate payments regulator within the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to regulate the payment space. A review of the Payments and Settlements Act will also undertake, aimed at its overhaul.
  • Aadhaar pay, a merchant version of Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AEPS), will be launched soon to enable those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets and mobile phones to make digital payments.
  • The budget also suggested additional cashless initiatives like Aadhaar-based smart cards for senior citizens.
  • The budget also announced a computer emergency response team for the financial sector (CERT-Fin) to increase of digital transactions.

Conclusion:

Cashless economy is the prerequisite for developing country like India. As transactions done without cash leads to generation of receipts/invoices which brings recording of income generated leading to more transparency in the economy.  The dream of cash less economy can be achieved with sufficient infrastructure and planning that are required for supporting an economy like India.

U.S.Starts anti-dumping probe into PTFE resin from India (the hindu)

Context:

  • The U.S. has initiated anti-dumping duty investigations against import of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin from India and China.

Why the step has been taken?

  • Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry.
  • They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.

What is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)?

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications.

Usage:

  • PTFE is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware.
  • It is non-reactive, partly because of the strength of carbon-fluorine bonds, and so it is often used in containers and pipework for reactive and corrosive chemicals.

Import and export between India and the U.S:

Exports

  • India was the United States’ 18th largest goods export market in 2016.
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: precious metal and stone (diamonds), machinery, optical and medical instruments, mineral fuels, and electrical machinery.
  • Leading agricultural domestic export categories include: tree nuts, cotton, pulses, fresh fruit, and planting seeds.
  • Leading services exports from the U.S. to India, in 2015, were in the travel, transport, and intellectual property (computer software, audio and visual related products) sectors.

Imports

  • India was the United States’ 9th largest supplier of goods imports in 2016.
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: precious metal and stone (diamonds), pharmaceuticals, mineral fuels, miscellaneous textile articles, and machinery.
  • Leading agricultural categories of imports include: spices, rice, tree nuts, essential oils, and processed fruit & vegetables.
  • Leading services imports from India to the U.S., in 2015, were in the telecommunications, computer, and information services, travel, and research and development sectors.

All major ports to get LDB services (the hindu) 

Context:

The Logistics Data Bank’s (LDB) services will soon be extended to all major ports in India.

Introduction:

  • The discussions in this regard have begun between the Government and the Indian Port Association (IPA).
  • The IPA is the apex body for India’s major ports under the shipping ministry’s supervisory control.
  • Till now, the LDB project covered only the India’s western logistics corridor.
  • The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Logistics Data Services Ltd.(DLDSL) provides, container tracking services to around 70% of the container traffic in India.
  • Indian cost to export is double as compared to Malaysia, Singapore, and China etc.

Objectives of LDB Project:

  • The LDB project’s objective is to ensure greater efficiency in the country’s logistics sector through the use of information technology.
  • To boost foreign trade: The LDB project was unveiled in July 2016 as an important ‘ease of doing business’ initiative to boost the country’s foreign trade and bring about greater transparency.
  • It helps in reducing the overall lead time of container movement, besides bringing down transaction costs that consignees and shippers incur.

Functions:

  • As part of the LDB project, each container is attached to a Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID) tag and tracked through RFID readers.
  • This, in turn, helps importers and exporters to track their goods in transit.
  • About 4.93 million containers have been tagged and de-tagged under the project.
  • The project is implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle called Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Logistics Data Services Ltd.(DLDSL)- jointly owned by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor(DMIC) Trust and Japanese IT services major NEC Corporation.

Advantages of LDB project:

  • The LDB project covers “the entire movement through rail or road till the Inland Container Depot and Container Freight Station”.
  • The services include providing users the ‘average delivery time’ as well as notifications through SMS and email.
  • The project also provides other services such as ‘congestion and bottleneck analysis’ as well as ‘performance bench-marking’ that aids the users to pinpoint supply chain inefficiencies, and in turn help improve the system.
  • The project will help in cutting down the overall lead time of container movement as well as reduced transaction costs that consignee and shippers incur
  • It is billed as a major ‘ease of doing business’ initiative aimed at boosting India’s foreign trade and ensuring greater transparency.
  • The service integrates information available with the agencies across the supply chain to provide detailed, real-time information within a single window.
  • The services include providing users the ‘average delivery time’ as well as notification through SMS and email
  • LDB will generate visibility for containers during their transition.
  • The visibility would bring in more transparency and open up competition among each logistics operators to provide better services to end-customers i.e. export/import related companies.
  • Competitive environment would help reducing lead-time and transaction cost for export/import process

Background:

  • On July1, 2016, the LDB project was launched at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Mumbai.
  • From May this year, its operations expanded to the container terminals at Adani Port Special Economic Zone, Mundra and Adani Hazira port, both in Gujarat.
  • Initial discussions on the LDB project were held in May 2012.
  • Talks were held on a regulatory framework from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to ensure that all logistics players share data to make the project viable.
  • Later on, meetings were held between the DGFT, the shipping ministry and other stakeholders including the Tariff Authority for Major Ports regarding the regulatory framework on Mandatory User Charges (MUC) as well.
  • In November 2014, TAMP passed an order for levy o f MUC for the project.

Logistics Sector in India:

  • The logistics sector broadly comprises the road transport sector (consisting of unorganized small businesses, trucking, fleets and large transport companies), the storage and warehousing sector and finally third-party logistics (3PL).
  • Logistic industry in India is evolving rapidly, it is the interplay of infrastructure, technology, and new types of service providers, which defines whether the logistic industry is able to help its customers reduce their costs in logic sector or provide effective services.

Challenges faced by the logistics industry in India:

  • Inadequate logistics infrastructure has an effect of creating bottlenecks in the growth of an economy.
  • The logistics management regimen has the capability of overcoming the disadvantages of the infrastructure in the short run while providing cutting edge competitiveness in the long term.
  • Higher transaction cost in logistics is one of the major issues for India.
  • Leading to poor workforce planning and operations not being streamlined eventually causing delays in the container movement.
  • The most serious challenge faced by the logistic industry today is insufficient integration of transport networks, information technology, and warehousing and distribution facilities.
  • Regulations exist at a number of different tiers, is imposed by national, regional and local authorities.
  • The regulations differ from city to city, hindering the creation of national networks.
  • The disorganized nature of the logistic sector in India, its perception as a manpower-heavy industry and lack of adequate training institutions has led to a shortfall in skilled management and client service personnel.
  • There is a lack of IT standard, equipment and poor system of integration.
  • Poor facilities and management are the reason for high levels of loss, damage and containers, but it is also partly down to lack of training.

Government initiatives:

  • The government’s ambitious Sagar Mala project would transform the logistic sector and change the lives of those living along the 7,500 km coastline in the country.
  • The industry anticipates more schemes under Make in India, Skill India, and Digital India initiatives, which would help in the boost of the upstream and downstream economic activities.
  • The Road Ministry has initiated a project for the development of Multimodal Logistic Parks at 15 identified locations at a cost of about Rs 30,000 crore, about one-third of which would be for land acquisition.
  • Another major development in the infrastructure sector is the enactment of the law on inland waterways, and the declared intention to promote cargo movement on these waterways.
  • The Central government has reiterated its commitment to promote coastal shipping. The Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 consolidated and/or modified several schemes and simplified the procedures for export.

Conclusion:

Logistics is regarded as the backbone of the economy, providing efficient and cost effective flow of goods on which other commercial sector depends. Therefore, there is urgent need for reduction in logistics costs in order to increase the international competitiveness and to promote the expansion of export. Focus has to be on research in process excellence which can help to eliminate inefficiencies and bring Indian logistics on part with global practices. 

Govt planning liberal norms for electric vehicle charging stations

Context

  • Government is set to put in place liberal rules for charging stations to power electric vehicles, seeking to facilitate rapid expansion of the infrastructure needed to support its ambition of an all-electric fleet on Indian roads by 2030.

Liberal proposal

  • The norms under preparation will not require government and private institutions that set up charging stations for captive use to possess an electricity retailing licence.
  • Only entities that get into the business of charging stations and retail electricity to third-party vehicles will require such a licence,
  • The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission is working on these norms.

Impact

  • To accelerate the expansion of the use of electric vehicles, which could bring economies of scale and could push prices down.

About the scheme

  • The government is now procuring 10,000 electric vehicles, the competitive bids for which resulted in a 25% reduction in the price of the contracted vehicles from their prevailing market price.
  • Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), which is procuring these vehicles, follows a business model of making upfront investments in energy-efficient equipment, which it recovers from customers over a period from the savings they make in energy consumption.
  • In the case of government vehicles (which EESL is procuring), charging stations are used for captive consumption of electricity. There is no sale of electricity. Hence it is a good idea not to require such infrastructure to have a power distribution licence.
  • India has set a target of making a complete shift to electric mobility by 2030.

What is electric vehicle?

  • The electric car (also known as electric vehicle or EV) uses energy stored in its rechargeable batteries, which are recharged by common household electricity.
  • An n electric car is powered by an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine
  • Unlike a hybrid car—which is fueled by gasoline and uses a battery and motor to improve efficiency—an electric car is powered exclusively by electricity.

Advantages of electric vehicle

environment

  • It will help India to achieve its  climate change goal of reducing the carbon emissions intensity of its gross domestic product by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 levels.
  • Reduce noise pollution in the cities

Economy

  • It will cut India’s oil imports vis-a-vis current account deficit.
  • Expected to boost electricity demand, helping underutilized thermal power plants as well as the surging number of clean energy projects in the country.
  • Electric cars are low maintenance.

Disadvantage

  • Recharge point are yet to be setup.
  • Short driving range and speed
  • India already faces a power shortage.

Why electric cars are not successful in india?

  • Lacking infrastructure such as charging point
  • High cost of electric vehicle
  • People mindset and stereotype like electric vehicle do not make noise so it is not good

Govt permits banks to sell more small savings schemes like NSCs, MIS

Context

  • The govt allows banks, including top 3 private lenders, to accept deposits under small savings schemes like national saving certificates (NSCs), Recurring deposits and Monthly income scheme (MIS). Until now, these small savings schemes were sold through post offices

About notification

  • According to a recent government notification, banks can also sell National Savings Time Deposit Scheme 1981, National Savings (Monthly Income Account) Scheme 1987, National Savings Recurring Deposit Scheme 1981 and NSC VIII issue
  • All public sector banks and top three in the private sector — ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank — to receive subscription from the expanded portfolios. So far, these banks were allowed to receive subscription under Public Provident Fund, Kisan Vikas Patra-2014, Sukanya Samriddhi Account, Senior Citizen Savings Scheme-2004

Impact

  • Increased outlets for selling small savings scheme would result in higher mobilisation under the scheme.

Interest rate on various schemes

  • Public provident fund (PPF) scheme will fetch annual rate of 7.8%
  • Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) investments will yield 7.5% and mature in 115 months.
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme will offer 8.3% annually.
  • The investment on 5-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme will yield 8.3%. The interest rate on the senior citizens scheme is paid quarterly.
  • Interest rates for small savings schemes are to be notified on a quarterly basis since 1 April 2016,
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