Insights Daily Current Affairs, 01 June 2017
Insights Daily Current Affairs, 01 June 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
ADB and PNB sign $100 million loan to finance Solar Rooftop projects
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Punjab National Bank (PNB) have signed a $100 million loan — to be guaranteed by the Government of India — that will finance large solar rooftop systems on industrial and commercial buildings throughout India. The PNB will use the ADB funds to make further loans to various developers and end users to install rooftop solar systems.
- This is the first tranche loan of the $500 million multi tranche finance facility Solar Rooftop Investment Program (SRIP) approved by ADB in 2016. The financing includes $330 million from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and $170 million from the multi donor Clean Technology Fund (CTF) administered by ADB. The first tranche loan of $100 million would be financed entirely from the CTF.
The entire Solar Rooftop Investment Program will cost $1 billion, inclusive of ADB $500 million funding, and the projects financed under the program will install solar rooftop system of around 1 GW capacity. This will contribute to the climate change goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 11 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the typical 25-year lifetime of rooftop solar systems. The project is aligned with the goal set by Government of India to increase the country’s solar rooftop capacity by 40 GW by 2022.
Know about ADB:
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.
- The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.
- It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans. The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.
- ADB focuses on five core areas of operations: infrastructure; the environment, including climate change; regional cooperation and integration; finance sector development; and education.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
India is no longer the fastest-growing economy
According to the latest data, India lost its fastest-growing major economy tag in the fourth quarter of 2016-17, with GDP growth coming in at 6.1% compared with China’s 6.9% in the same period.
- GDP of India grew 7.1% in the financial year 2016-17, slower than the 8% registered in 2015-16. Gross value added (GVA) growth was 6.6% for 2016-17 and 5.6% in the fourth quarter, compared with 7.9% in 2015-16 and 8.7% in Q4 of that year.
- The data indicate that post-demonetisation there has been a slowdown. The GDP growth rate is slightly higher (than GVA growth) because of a more than proportionate increase in indirect tax net of subsidies. But the GDP also shows a reduction in Q3 and Q4 numbers compared with the beginning of the year. So demonetisation has clearly had a tangible and adverse impact.
- Looking deeper, GVA growth slowed in almost every sector in Q4 of 2016-17 compared to the growth witnessed in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Investment models.
Plan for Indian SEZs in Bangladesh hits bump
India’s plan to step up investments in Bangladesh by setting up three mega Special Economic Zones (SEZ) exclusively for Indian companies in the latter’s territory has hit a major hurdle.
What’s the issue?
Indian companies have cited various constraints including inadequate infrastructure and lack of uninterrupted power supply” at Mongla, Bheramara and Mirsarai – the sites in Bangladesh for the proposed Indian SEZs. For better connectivity and business prospects, they sought alternative sites close to the Chittagong Port and the capital city of Dhaka — similar to those been allocated by Bangladesh for Chinese SEZs.
India and Bangladesh had inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in June 2015 — during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh — for cooperation on establishing Indian SEZs in Bangladesh.
The plan was to develop Indian SEZs at Mirsarai (1,005 acres), Bheramara (about 480 acres) and Mongla (200 acres). The construction of these SEZs and Indian investment in the zones were to be facilitated through concessional Line of Credit extended by India to Bangladesh.
What is a SEZ?
A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a geographical region that has economic laws more liberal than a country’s typical economic laws. They are established with an aim to purport development , promote rapid economic growth by providing tax and business incentives for attracting foreign technology along with investment. These are not merely SEZ’s but may be called as “favorite Investment destinations” for foreign establishments. Such units would be future sources of employment, hubs of latest technologies and equipped with the best infrastructure.
The incentives and facilities offered to the units in SEZs for attracting investments into the SEZs, including foreign investment include:
- Duty free import/domestic procurement of goods for development, operation and maintenance of SEZ units
- 100% Income Tax exemption on export income for SEZ units under Section 10AA of the Income Tax Act for first 5 years, 50% for next 5 years thereafter and 50% of the ploughed back export profit for next 5 years.
- Exemption from minimum alternate tax.
- External commercial borrowing by SEZ units upto US $ 500 million in a year without any maturity restriction through recognized banking channels.
- Exemption from Central Sales Tax.
- Exemption from Service Tax.
- Single window clearance for Central and State level approvals.
- Exemption from State sales tax and other levies as extended by the respective State Governments.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
First Scorpene submarine Kalvari to be commissioned by July
The first of the six Scorpene submarines- Kalvari, being built in India under technology transfer is likely to join the Navy by end of July. Kalvari is going through its final phase of trials.
What you need to know about INS Kalvari?
Kalvari is named after a deep-sea tiger shark. The Scorpene is part of the ambitious Project 75 of Indian Navy’s submarine programme.
- This type of submarine is designed to operate in all theatres including the Tropics. It can undertake various types of missions that are undertaken by any modern submarine including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, mine laying, intelligence gathering, surveillance, etc.
- With its superior stealth capability, it can launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons. The attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as tube launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on surface.
Six Scorpene submarines are being built under Project-75 by Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL) with technology transfer from France. All the six submarines under this projects will be indigenously built at Mumbai’s Mazagaon Dockyard Ltd. These attack submarines have diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Preventive detention no quick fix
Supreme Court of India, in a case, has observed that preventive detention of a person by a State after branding him a ‘goonda’ merely because the normal legal process is ineffective and time-consuming in ‘curbing the evil he spreads’ is illegal.
- The judgment dealt with the case of a seed manufacturer in Telangana who was taken into preventive detention by the authorities on the allegation that he is selling spurious chilli seeds to poor farmers.
Important observations made by the court:
- Detention of a person was a serious matter affecting the liberty of the citizen. Hence, preventive detention cannot be resorted to when sufficient remedies are available under the general laws of the land for any omission or commission under such laws.
- The order of preventive detention, though based on the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority, is nonetheless a serious matter, affecting the life and liberty of the citizen under Articles 14, 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution. The power being statutory in nature, its exercise has to be within the limitations of the statute, and must be exercised for the purpose the power is conferred.
- If the power is misused, or abused for collateral purposes, and is based on grounds beyond the statute, takes into consideration extraneous or irrelevant materials, it will stand vitiated as being in colourable exercise of power.
What you need to know about preventive detention?
Preventive Detention is the most contentious part of the scheme fundamental rights in the Indian constitutions. The Article 22 (3) of the Indian constitution provides that if a person is arrested or detained under a law providing for preventive detention, then the protection against arrest and detention under Article 22 (1) and 22 (2) shall not be available.
The grounds for Preventive detention are:
- Security of state.
- Maintenance of public order.
- Maintenance of supplies and essential services and defence.
- Foreign affairs or security of India.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Smart Performance Appraisal Report Recording Online Window was recently to enable the Indian Trade Service (ITS) officers to fill their Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) online for the year 2016-17 onwards.
- The APARs would be generated and transmitted online to the concerned officers for filling up of the self appraisal. The officer can then submit the self appraisal online through Digitally Signed Signature (DSC) or through E-sign.
- The subsequent processes of reporting and reviewing would also be done online by the Reporting and Reviewing Officer by using DSC or E-sign. The timelines have been drawn up for each stage of the process. The entire process of filling up of APAR would have to be completed by 31st December and no remarks can be added after that date.