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PIB Economy

JUNE - 2020

“DekhoApnaDesh” Webinar

About DekhoApnaDesh:

  • The Ministry of Tourism has launched its “DekhoApnaDesh” webinar series to provide information on the many destinations and the sheer depth and expanse of the culture and heritage of India.
  • Under this, a series of webinars will showcase the diverse and remarkable history and culture of India through a documentary series on various cities.
  • It will be including various monuments, cuisine, arts, dance forms, natural landscapes, festivals and many other aspects of the rich Indian civilization.
  • The core of the webinar is based on tourism awareness and social history.
  • The webinar will be available in the public domain through the Ministry’s social media handles- “Incredible India” on Instagram and Facebook.
  • The first webinar, which was part of a series that shall unfold, touched upon the long history of Delhi as it has unfolded as 8 cities.

 

Source: PIB

“DekhoApnaDesh” Webinar

About DekhoApnaDesh:

  • The Ministry of Tourism has launched its “DekhoApnaDesh” webinar series to provide information on the many destinations and the sheer depth and expanse of the culture and heritage of India.
  • Under this, a series of webinars will showcase the diverse and remarkable history and culture of India through a documentary series on various cities.
  • It will be including various monuments, cuisine, arts, dance forms, natural landscapes, festivals and many other aspects of the rich Indian civilization.
  • The core of the webinar is based on tourism awareness and social history.
  • The webinar will be available in the public domain through the Ministry’s social media handles- “Incredible India” on Instagram and Facebook.
  • The first webinar, which was part of a series that shall unfold, touched upon the long history of Delhi as it has unfolded as 8 cities.

 

Source: PIB

MAY - 2020

“DekhoApnaDesh” Webinar

Dekho Apna Desh

About DekhoApnaDesh:

  • The Ministry of Tourism has launched its “DekhoApnaDesh” webinar series to provide information on the many destinations and the sheer depth and expanse of the culture and heritage of India.
  • Under this, a series of webinars will showcase the diverse and remarkable history and culture of India through a documentary series on various cities.
  • It will be including various monuments, cuisine, arts, dance forms, natural landscapes, festivals and many other aspects of the rich Indian civilization.
  • The core of the webinar is based on tourism awareness and social history.
  • The webinar will be available in the public domain through the Ministry’s social media handles- “Incredible India” on Instagram and Facebook.
  • The first webinar, which was part of a series that shall unfold, touched upon the long history of Delhi as it has unfolded as 8 cities.

 

Source: PIB

Operation Lifeline UDAN

“DekhoApnaDesh” Webinar

About Operation Lifeline Udan:

  • To ensure a steady supply of essentials, even in the most remote locations, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry launched ‘Lifeline Udan’.
  • Under this operation, flights are being operated to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country amid the lockdown to support India’s fight against Covid-19.
  • The flights have been operated by Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force, Pawan Hans and private carriers.
  • The cargo compulsorily supplies goods such as regents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits and PPE, masks, gloves and other essential items as applicable by the State and UT Governments.
  • Air India is shouldered to operate dedicated scheduled cargo flights to other countries for transfer of critical medical supplies, as per the requirement.

 

Source: PIB

Madhuban Gajar: Biofortified Variety

Madhuban Gajar Biofortified Variety
  • It is a bio-fortified carrot variety with high β-carotene and iron content developed by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist from Junagadh district, Gujarat.
  • The variety is being cultivated in more than 1000 hectares of land in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh during the last three years.
  • It is a highly nutritious carrot variety developed through the selection method with higher β-carotene content (277.75 mg/kg) and iron content (276.7 mg/kg) dry basis.
  • It is used for various value-added products like carrot chips, juices, and pickles.
  • This carrot variety possesses a significantly higher root yield (74.2 t/ha) and plant biomass (275 gm per plant) as compared to check variety.

 

Source: PIB

CCI Green Channel Route

Competition Commission of IndiaGovernment of India Green Channel Route​

What is a Green Channel Route?

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has received a request for merger of a company following green channel combination route.
  • The ‘green channel automatic approval upon notification route’ is a right step by CCI towards the propaganda of ease of doing business in India.
  • In a bid to facilitate mergers and acquisitions (combination) in the country, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has taken inspiration from the customs department and established a ‘green channel’.
  • Every Combination above a certain threshold, seeking to be sanctioned has to necessarily pass the CCI scanner in order to be approved.
  • The CCI characterizes the ‘green channel’ as an automatic system of approval for Combinations wherein the Combination is deemed to be approved upon filing the notice in the format prescribed.

 

Source: PIB

Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 extended for one year

Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 extended for one year

Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20:

  • The Union Commerce and Industry Ministry has announced changes in India’s Foreign Trade Policy (FTP).
  • The Government has decided to continue relief under various export promotion schemes by granting an extension of the existing Policy.
  • It provided a framework for increasing exports of goods and services as well as generation of employment and increasing value addition in the country, in keeping with the “Make in India” vision of Prime Minister.
  • The focus of the new policy is to support both the manufacturing and services sectors, with a special emphasis on improving the ‘Ease of doing Business’.
  • It described the market and product strategy and measures required for trade promotion, infrastructure development and overall enhancement of the trade ecosystem.

Features of the FTP:

  • It introduced two new schemes, namely “Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)” for export of specified goods to specified markets and “Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)” for increasing exports of notified services.
  • It replaced a plethora of schemes earlier having different conditions for eligibility and usage with MEIS and SEIS.
  • There would be no conditionality attached to any scrips issued under these schemes.
  • For grant of rewards under MEIS, the countries have been categorized into 3 Groups, whereas the rates of rewards under MEIS range from 2% to 5%.
  • Under SEIS the selected Services would be rewarded at the rates of 3% and 5%.

 

Source: PIB

Bio-fortified Wheat variety – MACS 4028

Bio fortified Wheat variety – MACS 4028

MACS 4028:

  • Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology have developed a bio-fortified durum wheat variety MACS 4028, which shows the high protein content.
  • MACS 4028 is a semi-dwarf variety, which matures in 102 days and has shown the superior and stable yielding ability of 19.3 quintals per hectare.
  • It is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust, foliar aphids, root aphids, and brown wheat mite.
  • It has a high protein content of about 14.7%, better nutritional quality having zinc 40.3 ppm, and iron content of 40.3ppm and 46.1ppm respectively, good milling quality and overall acceptability.
  • The MACS 4028 variety is also included by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) programme for UNICEF to alleviate malnutrition.

 

[Bio-fortification is the idea of breeding crops to increase their nutritional value. This can be done either through conventional selective breeding, or through genetic engineering.]

 

Source: PIB

Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR)

Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of the process of recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) by providing minimum regulatory capital to RRBs which are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the RBI.

 

What is CRAR?

  • CRAR also known as Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is the ratio of a bank’s capital to its risk.
  • CRAR is decided by the Central banks and bank regulators to prevent commercial banks from taking excess leverage and becoming insolvent in the process.
  • The Basel III norms stipulated a capital to risk-weighted assets of 8%.
  • In India, scheduled commercial banks are required to maintain a CAR of 9% while Indian public sector banks are emphasized to maintain a CAR of 12% as per RBI norms.
  • It is arrived at by dividing the capital of the bank with aggregated risk-weighted assets for credit risk, market risk, and operational risk.
  • RBI tracks CRAR of a bank to ensure that the bank can absorb a reasonable amount of loss and complies with statutory Capital requirements.
  • The higher the CRAR of a bank the better capitalized it is.

 

Why recapitalize RRBs?

  • RRBs are primarily catering to the credit and banking requirements of agriculture sector and rural areas with focus on small and marginal farmers, micro & small enterprises, rural artisans and weaker sections of the society.
  • A financially stronger and robust RRB with improved CRAR will enable them to meet the credit requirement in the rural areas.
  • As per RBI guidelines, the RRBs have to provide 75% of their total credit under PSL (Priority Sector Lending).
  • In addition, RRBs also provide lending to micro/small enterprises and small entrepreneurs in rural areas.
  • With the recapitalization support to augment CRAR, RRBs would be able to continue their lending to these categories of borrowers under their PSL target, and thus, continue to support rural livelihoods.

 

Regional Rural Banks:

  • RRBs are Scheduled Commercial Banks operating at regional level in different States of India. They are recognized under the Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976 Act.
  • They have been created with a view of serving primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.
  • However, RRBs may have branches set up for urban operations and their area of operation may include urban areas too.
  • The area of operation of RRBs is limited to the area covering one or more districts in the State.

 

RRBs also perform a variety of different functions. RRBs perform various functions in following heads:

  • Providing banking facilities to rural and semi-urban areas
  • Carrying out government operations like disbursement of wages of MGNREGA workers, distribution of pensions etc.
  • Providing Para-Banking facilities like locker facilities, debit and credit cards, mobile banking, internet banking, UPI etc.
  • Small financial banks etc.

 

Source: PIB

GreenCo Rating System

greenco rating system

GreenCo Ratings:

  • The Union Ministry of Railways has informed about the applications of GreenCo Ratings on Workshops and Production Units of Indian Railways.
  • GreenCo Rating is the “first of its kind in the World” holistic framework that evaluates companies on the environmental friendliness of their activities using life cycle approach.
  • Implementation of GreenCo rating provides leadership and guidance to companies on how to make products, services and operations greener.
  • It is developed by Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre.
  • It has been acknowledged in India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document, submitted to UNFCCC in 2015.
  • GreenCo rating is applicable to both manufacturing facilities and service sector units.
  • The rating is implemented at unit or facility level. The unit or facility has to be in operation for a minimum period of 3 years. In case of new plants/ facilities minimum 2 years operation is required.
  • It helps the industrial units in identifying and implementing various possible measures in terms of energy conservation, material conservation, recycling, utilization of renewable energy, GHG reduction, water conservation, solid and liquid waste management, green cover etc.

 

Source: PIB

Essential Commodities

Essential Commodities Act, 1955

Essential Commodities Act, 1955:

  • The Price Monitoring Division (PMD) in the Department of Consumer Affairs is monitoring the retail and wholesale prices of 22 essential food commodities due to increased panic buying by customers.
  • The ECA is an act which was established to ensure the delivery of certain commodities or products, the supply of which if obstructed owing to hoarding or black-marketing would affect the normal life of the people.
  • This includes foodstuff, drugs, fuel (petroleum products) etc.
  • It has since been used by the Government to regulate the production, supply and distribution of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices.
  • Additionally, the government can also fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.
  • The list of items under the Act includes drugs, fertilizers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products.
  • The Centre can include new commodities as and when the need arises, and takes them off the list once the situation improves.

 

How Essential Commodities Act works?

  • If the Centre finds that a certain commodity is in short supply and its price is spiking, it can notify stock-holding limits on it for a specified period.
  • The States act on this notification to specify limits and take steps to ensure that these are adhered to.
  • Anybody trading or dealing in the commodity, be it wholesalers, retailers or even importers are prevented from stockpiling it beyond a certain quantity.
  • A State can, however, choose not to impose any restrictions. But once it does, traders have to immediately sell into the market any stocks held beyond the mandated quantity.
  • This improves supplies and brings down prices. As not all shopkeepers and traders comply, State agencies conduct raids to get everyone to toe the line and the errant are punished.
  • The excess stocks are auctioned or sold through fair price shops.
  • Ex: The Union Government has brought masks and hand-sanitisers under the ECA to make sure that these products, key for preventing the spread of Covid-19 infection, are available to people at the right price and in the right quality.

 

What about Food Items?

  • The items covered include rice, wheat, atta, gram dal, arhar dal, moong dal, urad dal, masoor, dal, tea, sugar, salt, Vanaspati, groundnut oil, mustard oil, milk, soya oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, gur, potato, onion and tomato.
  • Based on the deliberations, Government takes various measures from time to time to stabilize prices of essential food items which, inter-alia, include appropriately utilizing trade and fiscal policy instruments like import duty.
  • The government can impose stock limits and advise State for effective action against hoarders & black marketers etc. to regulate domestic availability and moderate prices.
  • The government utilizes the buffer of Agri-horticultural commodities like pulses, onion, etc. built under Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) to help moderate the volatility in prices.

 

[Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) –

  • The PSF was set up in 2014-15 under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Famers Welfare (DAC&FW) to help regulate the price volatility of important Agri-horticultural commodities like onion, potatoes and pulses were also added subsequently.
  • Procurement of these commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers’ organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers.
  • Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.
  • PSF provides for advancing interest-free loans to State Governments/ UTs and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses they might incur on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities.
  • The scheme provides for maintaining a strategic buffer of the commodities for subsequent calibrated release to moderate price volatility and discourages hoarding and unscrupulous speculation.
  • The PSF is managed centrally by a Price Stabilization Fund Management Committee (PSFMC) which will approve all proposals from State Governments and Central Agencies.
  • The PSF is maintained as a Central Corpus Fund by Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), a society promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture for linking agriculture to private businesses and investments and technology.]

 

Source: PIB

The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Mines & Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957:

  • Parliament has passed The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for amendments in Mines & Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
  • The bill will transform the mining sector in the country boosting coal production and reducing dependence on imports.
  • The MMDR Act, 1957 regulates the overall mining sector in India.
  • The CMSP Act, 2015 provides for the auction and allocation of mines whose allocation was cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2014.
  • Schedule I of the Act provides a list of all such mines; Schedule II and III are sub-classes of the mines listed in the Schedule I.
  • Schedule II mines are those where production had already started.
  • Schedule III mines are ones that had been earmarked for a specified end-use.

 

Features of the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • Removal of restriction on end-use of coal.
  • Currently, companies acquiring Schedule II and Schedule III coal mines through auctions can use the coal produced only for specified end-uses such as power generation and steel production.
  • The Bill removes this restriction on the use of coal mined by such companies.
  • Companies will be allowed to carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale or for any other purposes, as may be specified by the central government.

 

Eligibility for auction of coal and lignite blocks:

  • The Bill clarifies that the companies need not possess any prior coal mining experience in India in order to participate in the auction of coal and lignite blocks.

 

Further, the competitive bidding process for auction of coal and lignite blocks will not apply to mines considered for allotment to:

  • a government company or its joint venture for own consumption, sale or any other specified purpose;
  • a company that has been awarded a power project on the basis of a competitive bid for tariff.

 

Composite license for prospecting and mining:

  • Currently, separate licenses are provided for prospecting and mining of coal and lignite, called prospecting license, and mining lease, respectively.
  • Prospecting includes exploring, locating, or finding mineral deposit. The Bill adds a new type of license, called prospecting license-cum-mining lease.
  • This will be a composite license providing for both prospecting and mining activities.

 

Non-exclusive reconnaissance permits holders to get other licenses:

  • Currently, the holders of non-exclusive reconnaissance permit for exploration of certain specified minerals are not entitled to obtain a prospecting license or mining lease.
  • Reconnaissance means preliminary prospecting of a mineral through certain surveys.
  • The Bill provides that the holders of such permits may apply for a prospecting license-cum-mining lease or mining lease.
  • This will apply to certain licensees as prescribed in the Bill.

 

Transfer of statutory clearances to new bidders:

  • Currently, upon expiry, mining leases for specified minerals (minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) can be transferred to new persons through auction.
  • This new lessee is required to obtain statutory clearances before starting mining operations.
  • The Bill provides that the various approvals, licenses, and clearances given to the previous lessee will be extended to the successful bidder for a period of two years.

 

Reallocation after termination of the allocations:

  • The CMSP Act provides for the termination of allotment orders of coal mines in certain cases.
  • The Bill adds that such mines may be reallocated through auction or allotment as may be determined by the central government.
  • The central government will appoint a designated custodian to manage these mines until they are reallocated.

 

Prior approval from the Central government:

  • Under the MMDR Act, state governments require prior approval of the central government for granting reconnaissance permit, prospecting license, or mining lease for coal and lignite.
  • The Bill provides that prior approval of the central government will not be required in granting these licenses for coal and lignite, in certain cases.
  • These include cases where:

(i) the allocation has been done by the central government, and

(ii) the mining block has been reserved to conserve a mineral.

 

Advance action for auction:

  • Under the MMDR Act, mining leases for specified minerals (minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) are auctioned on the expiry of the lease period.
  • The Bill provides that state governments can take advance action for auction of a mining lease before its expiry.

 

Source: PIB

Ro-Pax Ferry Service

Ro-Pax Ferry Service

Ro-Pax Ferry:

  • Ro-Pax Ferry is a ferry that combines the features of a cruise ship and a roll-on/roll-off service.
  • Mumbai – the first metropolitan city in India has introduced Ro-Pax service to its transport infrastructure.
  • M2M1 Ferry Vessel has commenced operations between Mumbai and Mandwa.
  • This service has brought much to the relief of daily commuters, job seekers and holiday-goers travelling between Mumbai and Mandwa and also other parts of Alibaug.
  • Ro-Pax service enables people to ferry along with their vehicles on board, between Mumbai and Mandwa.
  • With this, Mumbai, Alibaug and the adjoining Konkan region will experience a boost in tourism, hinterland connectivity and also job opportunities.

 

Source: PIB

Mega Consolidation in Public Sector Banks

Mega Consolidation in Public Sector Banks

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the mega consolidation of ten PSBs into four which include the –

  • Amalgamation of Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India into Punjab National Bank
  • Amalgamation of Syndicate Bank into Canara Bank
  • Amalgamation of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank into Union Bank of India
  • Amalgamation of Allahabad Bank into Indian Bank

 

About the merger:

  • The amalgamation would be effective from 1.4.2020 and would result in creation of seven large PSBs with scale and national reach with each amalgamated entity having a business of over Rupees Eight lakh crore.
  • The Mega consolidation would help create banks with scale comparable to global banks and capable of competing effectively in India and globally.
  • Greater scale and synergy through consolidation would lead to cost benefits which should enable the PSBs enhance their competitiveness and positively impact the Indian banking system.

 

Source: PIB

Star Labelling Programme

Star Labelling Programme
  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has included Deep Freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC) under its Star Rating Programme on a voluntary basis.
  • The program will be initially launched in voluntary mode from 2nd March, 2020 to 31st December, 2021.
  • Thereafter, it will be made mandatory after reviewing the degree of market transformation in this particular segment of appliances.
  • In order to cover split ACs beyond the scope of existing BEE star labelling program up to a cooling capacity of 18kW, BEE has prepared a star labelling program for split ACs having cooling capacities in excess of 10.5kW and up to 18.0 kW.
  • This category of Air conditioners is termed as Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC) primarily due to their application in commercial air conditioning.
  • Through this initiative, it is expected to save around 2.8 Billion Units by FY2030, which is equivalent to GHG reduction of 2.4-million-ton Carbon Dioxide.

 

Why this move?

  • Energy Efficiency has the maximum GHG abatement potential of around 51% followed by renewables (32%), biofuels (1%), nuclear (8%), carbon capture and storage (8%) as per the World Energy Outlook (WEO 2010).
  • India can avoid building 300 GW of new power generation up to 2040 with the implementation of ambitious energy efficiency policies (IEA – India 2020).
  • Successful implementation of Energy Efficiency Measures contributed to electricity savings of 86.60 BUs i.e. 7.14% of total electricity consumption of the country and emission reduction of 108.28 million tonnes of CO2 during 2017-18.

 

About Star Labelling Programme:

  • The programme has been formulated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency, as part of its mandate, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • Under this Programme, BEE has covered 24 appliances till date wherein 10 appliances are under the mandatory regime.
  • The existing BEE star labelling program for Air Conditioners is based on Indian Standard IS 1391 part 1, part 2 and covers AC with cooling capacities up to 10.5kW.

 

[UDIT – Urja Dakshata Information Tool (udit.beeindia.gov.in), a first-ever initiative taken by BEE with the World Resources Institute (WRI), to facilitate a database on energy e­fficiency was also launched.

  • UDIT is a user-friendly platform that explains the energy efficiency landscape of India across industry, appliances, building, transport, municipal and agriculture sectors.
  • UDIT will also showcase the capacity building and new initiatives taken up by the Government across the sectors in the increasing energy efficiency domain.]

 

Source: PIB