Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 May 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 May 2017


 

Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

Fund for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs)

 

The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval today to a proposal jointly mooted by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) for amendment of Central Road Fund Act, 2000 to allocate 2.5% of the proceeds of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) and a reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways.

  • In this regard, the Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 would be moved by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in the ensuing Monsoon Session, 2017 of the Parliament.

 

national waterways

Significance of this move:

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has estimated that approximately Rs. 25,000 crores would be required for development of identified projects on NWs till 2022-23. An allocation of 2.5% of CRF proceeds would provide approximately Rs.2000 crore per annum for the development and maintenance of NWs at existing rates of duties funding the CRF.

 

What you need to know about Central Road Fund?

The Central Road Fund was established by the government as per the Central road fund act 2000 to fund the development and maintenance of National Highways, State Highways and Rural roads.

  • In order to mobilise the fund, the Central Road Fund Act 2000 proposed to levy and collect by way of cess, a duty of excise and duty of customs on petrol and high speed diesel oil.
  • The fund is utilised for the development and maintenance of National highways, State roads, Rural roads and for provision of road overbridges/under bridges and other safety features at unmanned Railway Crossings.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Cabinet approves setting up of new AIIMS in Kamrup, Assam

 

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for establishment of new AIIMS at Kamrup (North Guwahati Revenue circle). The cost of the project is Rs.1123 crore and it will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

  • The establishment of new AIIMS is aimed at serving the dual purpose of providing super speciality health care to the population while also help create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that can be available for primary and secondary level institutions / facilities being created under National Health Mission (NHM).

 

kamrup

What you need to know about PMSSY?

The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.

  • The scheme has two components: Setting up of new AIIMS and upgradation of government medical colleges.
  • Under this scheme, AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Patna while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli is in progress. Also, three AIIMS in Nagpur (Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) have been sanctioned in 2015 and two AIIMS have been sanctioned at Bathinda and Gorakhpur in 2016.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Cabinet approves phasing out Foreign Investment Promotion Board

 

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the phasing out of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The proposal entails abolishing the FIPB and allowing administrative Ministries/Departments to process applications for FDI requiring government approval.

fipb

 

Who will perform FIPB’s duties?

Henceforth, the work relating to processing of applications for FDI and approval of the Government thereon under the extant FDI Policy and FEMA, shall now be handled by the concerned Ministries/Departments in consultation with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion(DIPP), Ministry of Commerce, which will also issue the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for processing of applications and decision of the Government under the extant FDI policy.

 

Significance of this move:

With this, Foreign Investors will find India more attractive destination and this will result in more inflow of FDI. The move will provide ease of doing business and will help in promoting the principle of Maximum Governance and Minimum Government.

 

About FIPB:

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), housed in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, is an inter-ministerial body, responsible for processing of FDI proposals and making recommendations for Government approval.

 

Main tasks:

  • It considers and recommends foreign direct investment (FDI) which does not come under the automatic route.
  • It provides a single window clearance for proposals on FDI in India.

 

FIPB comprises of the following Secretaries to the Government of India:

  • Secretary to Government, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance – Chairperson
  • Secretary to Government, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
  • Secretary to Government, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
  • Secretary to Government, Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs
  • Secretary to Government, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

 

On what basis decisions on FDI are taken by the FIPB?

The extant FDI Policy, Press Notes and other related notified guidelines formulated by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry are the bases of the FIPB decisions.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

 

Preference to ‘Make in India’ in Government procurements

 

The Union Cabinet has approved a policy for providing preference to ‘Make in India’ in government procurements.

 

makeinindia

What you need to know about the new policy?

  • The policy will be implemented through an Order pursuant to Rule 153(iii) of the General Financial Rules, 2017 to provide purchase preference (linked with local content) in Government procurements.
  • Under the policy, preference in Government procurement will be given to local suppliers. Local suppliers are those whose goods or services meet prescribed minimum thresholds (ordinarily 50%) for local content. Local content is essentially domestic value addition.
  • In procurement of goods for Rs. 50 lakhs and less, and where the Nodal Ministry determines that there is sufficient local capacity and local competition, only local suppliers will be eligible.
  • For procurements valued at more than Rs. 50 lakhs (or where there is insufficient local capacity/ competition) if the lowest bid is not from a non-local supplier, the lowest-cost local supplier who is within a margin of 20% of the lowest bid, will be given the opportunity to match the lowest bid.
  • If the procurement is of a type that the order can be divided and given to more than one supplier, the non-local supplier who is the lowest bidder will get half of the order and the local supplier will get the other half if it agrees to match the price of the lowest bid. If the procurement cannot be divided, then the lowest cost local supplier will be given the order if it agrees to match the lowest bid.
  • Small purchases of less than Rs.5 lakhs are exempted. The order also covers autonomous bodies, government companies/ entities under the government’s control.
  • The policy also requires that specifications in tenders must not be restrictive e.g. should not require proof of supply in other countries or proof of exports in respect of previous experience. They must not result in unreasonable exclusion of local suppliers who would otherwise be eligible, beyond what is essential for ensuring quality or creditworthiness of the supplier.
  • The policy lays down a procedure for verification of local content relying primarily on self-certification. There will be penal consequences for false declarations. In some cases, verification by statutory / cost auditors etc. will be required.
  • A Standing Committee in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will oversee the implementation of this order and issues arising therefrom, and make recommendations to Nodal Ministries and procuring entities.  

 

Significance of this move:

  • The new policy will give a substantial boost to domestic manufacturing and service provision, thereby creating employment.
  • It will stimulate the flow of capital and technology into domestic manufacturing and services.
  • It will also provide a further thrust towards manufacture of parts, components, sub-components etc. of these items, in line with the vision of ‘Make in India’.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Joint Declaration of Intent between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine

 

The Union Cabinet has approved the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine.

  • The financial resources necessary to conduct research, training courses, conferences / meetings will be met from the existing allocated budget and existing plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH.

 

Significance of this move:

The signing of the JDl will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of traditional/alternative medicine. Initiation of collaborative research, training and scientific capacity building in the field of alternative medicine under the JDI between the two countries would contribute to the enhanced employment opportunities in the AYUSH sector.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Defence buys model comes into force

 

The government’s ambitious Strategic Partnership (SP) model for promoting Indian private industry participation in defence manufacturing has come into effect.

 

What you need to know about SP model?

Under the “Strategic Partnership” model, the government will shortlist and then pick Indian companies to join forces with foreign firms to supply fighter jets, helicopters, armoured vehicles and submarines. For each platform, one private sector strategic partner will be chosen.

Seen as a major initiative, the strategic partnership model aims to create a vibrant defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country through involvement of both the major Indian corporates as well as the MSME sector.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

WHO elects Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new director general:

  • Ethiopia’s former health minister has been elected to serve as the next director-general of the World Health Organization — the first African picked to lead the global health agency.
  • Appointment: The World Health Assembly is the legislative and supreme body of WHO. Based in Geneva, it typically meets yearly in May. It appoints the Director-General every five years.

 

Airlander 10, World’s Largest Aircraft, Completes Test Flight:

  • The world’s largest aircraft has successfully completed a test flight, bringing the massive helium-filled airship one step closer to commercial use.
  • The hybrid aircraft dubbed the Airlander 10 combines technology from airplanes, helicopters and airships.
  • It is designed to fly at altitudes of 6,100 meters for up to five days when manned. With a length of 92 metres, it is the largest aircraft currently flying.

 

SBI launches national hackathon:

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a national hackathon for developers, start-ups and students to come up with innovative ideas and solutions for the banking sector.
  • The hackathon, named ‘Code For Bank’, will focus on the business value driven by technologies like predictive analytics, fin-tech/blockchain, digital payments, IOT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, BOTS and robotic process automation.