1)Economic Advisory Council of the 15th Finance Commission to meet Tomorrow:
Context: The Chairman Shri N K Singh and the Members of Fifteenth Finance Commission will hold a daylong meeting with the Economic Advisory Council of the Commission tomorrow.
The meeting is for a “Final discussion on GDP growth, tax buoyancy of the Centre and the States, GST compensation, revenue deficit grant and fiscal consolidation.”
15th finance commission:
The Finance Commission is a constitutional body formed by the President of India to give suggestions on centre-state financial relations. The 15th Finance Commission (Chair: Mr N. K. Singh) was required to submit two reports.
15th F.C constituted in 2107, recomendations for tax devolutions from 2020 for 5 years. The first report, consisting of recommendations for the financial year 2020-21, was tabled in Parliament on February 1, 2020. The final report with recommendations for the 2021-26 period will be submitted by October 30, 2020.
Key recommendations in the first report (2020-21 period) include:
- Devolution of taxes to states: The share of states in the centre’s taxes is recommended to be decreased from 42% during the 2015-20 period to 41% for 2020-21. The 1% decrease is to provide for the newly formed union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh from the resources of the central government. The individual shares of states from the divisible pool of central taxes are provided in Table 3 in the annexure.
Criteria for devolution
Table 1 below shows the criteria used by the Commission to determine each state’s share in central taxes, and the weight assigned to each criterion. We explain some of the indicators below.
Table 1: Criteria for devolution (2020-21)
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2) Nutraceutical-immunity boosting
Context: Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri DV SadanandaGowdalaunched 8 immunity boosting products under Pradhan MantriBhartiya Janaushadhi Priyojana (PMBJP) for sale through Janaushadhi Kendras across country.
Jan aushadi protein
- The launch of new nutraceuticals today is significant in view of the Corona-19 pandemic.
- These products will help in boosting immunity of the people.
- Products are comparable in quality and are cheaper by over 26% than the market price
- He hoped that through the massive network of Janaushadhi Kendras, the immunity boosting- protein products will reach a large population promoting good health.
- That Government is also now providing many nutraceuticals like protein supplements, malt-based nutrition drinks, immunity booster etc for improving overall health and nutritional condition of people.
- This scheme is becoming a boon for patients who are supposed to take medicines for chronic ailments like diabetes, blood pressure, psychotropic, etc.
- Janaushadhi Kendras selling Sanitary Napkins at Rs.1 per pad under the name of SuvidhaScheme to ensure women menstrual hygiene and for safe periods. The material which is used in the pad is having oxo-biodegradable properties, thus making it not only affordable, but also environment friendly.
- The Janaushadhi Kendras have played important role in providing cheaper but qualiting generic medicines whose sale and use went up sharply after these Kendras were revamped by the present government.
Jan Aushadhi Poshan is a malt-based food fortified with Vitamin A, D, E, C, B1, B2, B6, B12, Iron, Calcium and Folic acid, etc. to support immunity and growth. It can be taken with milk or water (Hot or cold).
Jan Aushadhi Protein Powder is a protein supplement fortified with natural and nature identical flavours (Chocolate / Vanilla / KesarPista), whey protein, Milk Solid, Skimmed milk powder, Soya protein isolate, Peanut protein hydrolysate, Malt extract, sugar Cocoa powder (for chocolate flavour), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Vitamins (Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Folic acid, Thiamine (vitamin B1), Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Biotin), Taurine, Choline, Minerals (Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Selenium, Molybdenum), etc.
Jan Aushadhi Janani is a protein rich supplement to fulfil requirement of extra nutrition in females during pregnancy
Jan Aushadhi Protein Bar is a convenient source of nutrition, in today’s busy & active lifestyle. These protein bars are the best way to add quick protein to one’s midday snack. It is a nutraceutical food supplement fortified with micronutrients viz. dark compound (Sugar, edible vegetable fat (hydrogenated), cocoa solids & emulsifiers INS 491, INS322, natural vanilla flavouring substances), Isolated Soy protein, Rice crispy (Rice flour), Milk compound (Sugar, edible vegetable fat (hydrogenated), milk solids, cocoa solids & emulsifiers INS322, natural vanilla flavouring substances, etc.
3) Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS):
Context: Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. NirmalaSitharaman held a review meeting with the heads of Scheduled Commercial Banks and NBFCs through Video Conferencing today to review their state of preparedness for implementation of the loans resolution framework for COVID-19 related stress.
- The Finance Minister also reviewed the progress made by various lenders under ECLGS, PCGS 2.0 and Sub-ordinate Debt Schemes announced as part of the ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’, and advised lenders to try and extend the maximum possible relief to borrowers before the festive season.
- An amount of Rs. 1.58 lakh crore has been sanctioned as on 31.8.2020 under ECLGS, out of which more than Rs. 1.11 lakh crore has also been disbursed. Under PCGS 2.0, Bonds/CPs of Rs. 25,055.5 crore have been approved for purchase by Public Sector Banks so far, out of which Rs. 13,318.5 crore amounting to more than 53% of the portfolio pertains to Bonds/CPs rated below AA-.
- The Scheme has thus been a crucial intervention for lower rated Bonds/CPs.The ECLGS provides for the Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.
The GECL is a loan for which 100% guarantee is provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC) to Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) – banks, financial institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).
- The loans are extended in the form of additional working capital term loan facility in case of banks and additional term loan facility in case of NBFCs to eligible Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)/business enterprises and interested Pradhan(PMMY)borrowers.
- First-time borrowers and Non-Performing Asset (NPA) accounts cannot raise funds under the scheme.
- The tenor of loans provided under the GECL facility is four years from the date of disbursement.
- A moratorium period of one year on the principal amount is provided.
4) JalJeevan Mission:
On completion of 1st year of JalJeevan Mission, announced by the Prime Minister in his Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on 15th August, 2020; in the whole country, 2 Crore households have been provided tap water connection in this period. More than 1 lakh families are given tap water connections daily.
- JalJeevan Mission is being implemented in partnership with States, to enable every household in villages to have functional household tap connection by 2024.
- This Mission aims at ensuring potable water supply in adequate quantity (@ the rate of 55 litres per person per day) and of prescribed quality to every rural household on regular and long-term basis.
- The rural drinking water supply is a complex subject with various social, environmental and technical challenges like geo-genic and anthropogenic water quality issues, long-term potable water supply in harsh edapho-climatic conditions and disaster-prone areas, measurement and monitoring of water service delivery, behaviour change management, cost-effective grey-water treatment and reuse etc.
- Thus, given the challenges and the knowledge gaps being faced while implementing the JalJeevan Mission with speed and scale along with the future of rural water security, there is a pressing need for significant research and innovation in the water supply sector.
- Now, more than ever, National JalJeevan Mission will be supporting, promoting and cultivating research and innovation to solve the issue faced by water supply sector in rural areas.
- National Jal Jeevan Mission is inviting proposals from young innovators, researchers, academia, entrepreneurs, start-ups working in this sector to provide cost-effective solutions and fill knowledge gaps.
- Further, the Department/ National Mission/ SWSM will conduct action research and concurrent evaluation studies for adopting evidence-based technical interventionto manage rural water supply efficiently, effectively and economically.
- These R&D projects under JalJeevan Mission will facilitate in building partnership with scientists and R&D institutions, innovators, entrepreneurs and create useful knowledge that will help in in addressing various challenges in the drinking water sector so as to improve the lives of people.
5) Electric Vehicles:
Context: Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a Super Energy Service Company (ESCO) under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, Government of India, will procure 250 electric vehicles from Tata Motors and Hyundai Motor India.
- The electric vehicles will replace the existing fleet of petrol and diesel vehicles of the Central and State Governments
- “A shift to EVs, facilitated by our e-mobility programme will reduce dependence on oil imports and promote power capacity addition in India.
- This will greatly enhance the energy security of the country and will also lead to reduction in GHG emissions from the transport sector.
- Furthermore, we’re also working on rapid establishment of EV charging stations, which will give a fillip to the electric vehicle sales, going forward”
- EESL is driven by the objective of facilitating faster adoption of disruptive technology solutions, while balancing economic development and environmental sustainability. With this specific initiative, EESL seeks to create the market for electric vehicles, through its unique business model of aggregation of demand and bulk procurement.
- EESL plans to leverage efficiencies of scale and drive down costs through its innovative business model, while supporting local manufacturing facilities, gaining technical competencies for the long-term growth of the EV industry and enabling Indian EV manufacturers to emerge as major global players.
6) National Management Games:
- National Management Games, an online Business Simulation Game conducted every year is aimed at ensuring that participating executives from various industries get an introduction to the complexities of running an organisation and gain expertise and skills from this event.
- National Management Games (NMG) is one of its kind platform for Corporate Managers to face the thrill of Managing Business in a competitive mode. It is one of the most anticipated and reputable annual events based on Business Management Simulation, conducted by AIMA (All India Management Association).
- The participants experience the complexities of running a company by focusing on resource management, market trends, cost analysis, product positioning, production planning, and inventory control.
- NMG is conducted in 2 levels; one at the Regional round (includes two sub-levels: Preliminary and Regional Final), and the second is the Final round.
Context: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified draft notification GSR 541 (E) dated 1st September, 2020 to seek comments and suggestions from the stakeholders on making FASTag mandatory for old vehicles sold before 1st December, 2017.
- Further, it is proposed to make having a valid FASTag mandatory while getting a new 3rd Party Insurance through an amendment in FORM 51 (certificate of Insurance), wherein the details of FASTag ID shall be captured. This is proposed to be put in force w.e.f. 1 April 2021.
- As per Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, FASTag had been made mandatory since 2017 for registration of new four wheeled Vehicles, and is to be supplied by the Vehicle Manufacturer or their dealers.
- It had further been mandated that the renewal of fitness certificate will be done only after the fitment of FASTag for the Transport Vehicles. Further that, for National Permit Vehicles, the fitment of FASTag has been mandated since 1st oct 2019.
What is FASTag:
- It is the Electronic Toll Collection program on toll plazas by National Highway Authority of India.
- Works on the principle of Radio Frequency Identification
Process: The tag needs to be affixed to the windscreen of the vehicle in such a way that the sensor at the toll plaza can read it.
- The tag can be purchased from official Tag issuers or participating Banks and if it is linked to a prepaid account, then recharging or top-up can be as per requirement.
- As per NHAI, FASTag has unlimited validity.
- A FASTag is linked to a bank account. When a vehicle passes through a toll, an SMS with date, time and place of transaction will be sent to the owner of the vehicle
8) National Training Academy for Rural Self Employment Training Institutes:
Context: E-Foundation stone laying ceremony of the new training Institute building of National Academy of RUDSETI (NAR) was held yesterday.
- The NAR undertakes monitoring, mentoring and capacity building of the Rural Self Employment Training Institutes staff, State/UT Rural Livelihood Mission staff and the concerned Bank officials on behalf of the Ministry of Rural Development.
- RSETIs are unique initiative where State Governments, the Union Govt. and the commercial Banks are working together to address the issue of rural poverty.
- He also mentioned about the importance of RSETI setup in furthering the efforts of mitigating the problem of unemployment in the country.
- At present, these trainings are conducted in rented premises in Bengaluru or different premises in States/UTs. This proposed campus development being undertaken in the beautiful garden city of Bengaluru
- He acknowledged the great role of the Ministry of Rural Development in ensuring all the Banks in the country accept the RSETI model. This has resulted in establishment of one of the largest network of entrepreneurship development training in the country.
- Ministry of Tribal Affairs has taken unique initiative in solving water problems and Livelihood problems of the area.
- Action Research project has been given to SECMOL-LADAKH, wherein they would establish Ice stupa in 50 villages and which will solve problem of drinking water and water required for agriculture.
- SECMOL will also plant trees through community participation.
- UNDP is working on 1000 springs project with community participation to revive drying streams