1 . INDIA COULD PROVIDE UBI OF Rs 2600 A YEAR – IMF
SOURCE – ECONOMIC TIMES
RELEVANCE – GS MAINS II & III
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates India could provide a universal basic income (UBI) of Rs 2,600 a year to every person if it eliminates food and energy subsidies.
- Even such a modest level of UBI will incur a fiscal cost of about 3% of GDP, but would outperform the public food distribution and fuel subsidies on three counts.
- It will address the under coverage of the near 20% lower income groups in the PDS, address the issue of higher income groups cornering bigger subsidies and increase generosity benefits received by the lower income groups.
2 . INDO-BHUTAN TRADE INFRASTRUCTURE TO BE UPGRADED
SOURCE – ECONOMIC TIMES
RELEVANCE – GS MAINS II
To ensure seamless trade of Bhutan with India and other third parties, India is further widening its door for Bhutan.
Development and upgradation of new Indo-Bhutan cross border trade routes are expected to give a quantum jump to the commercial strata of economically backward Himalayan foothills region in northern West Bengal.
Planned LCS at Loksan and Nagrakata are being upgraded to permanent instead of keeping them seasonal.
In addition, other permanent LCS will be established at places including Birpara, Rangapani, Upper Khogla in Bengal adjoining foothills.
This decision follows an agreement of two countries to open up 16 other new trade routes.
Open international border between the two country facilitates opportunity for lakhs of Indians to get directly or indirectly involved into Bhutan’s trade activities.
Industrially deprived Himalayan foothills region is entirely dependent on agriculture and tea. But both of them face deep crisis due to meteorological whims or fragile geology.
INDO – BHUTAN RELATIONS
- Bhutan was one of the first to recognise India’s independence in 1947 and both nations fostered close relations, their importance augmented by the annexation of Tibet in 1950 by the People’s Republic of China and its border disputes with both Bhutan and India, which saw close ties with Nepal and Bhutan to be central to its “Himalayan frontier” security policy.
- India shares a 605 kilometres border with Bhutan and is its largest trading partner, accounting for 98 percent of its exports and 90 percent of its imports.
The bilateral relations between the HimalayanKingdom of Bhutan and the Republic of Indiahave been traditionally close and both countries share a ‘special relationship’ making Bhutan a protected state, but not a protectorate, of India.
India remains influential over Bhutan’s foreign policy, defence and commerce.
In 2015–16 Bhutan was the largest beneficiary of India’s foreign aid.
India operates 3 hydro power projects, of 1,416 MW in Bhutan and 3 more of 2,129 MW are under construction.
On August 8, 1949 Bhutan and India signed the Treaty of Friendship, calling for peace between the two nations and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
India re-negotiated the 1949 treaty with Bhutan and signed a new treaty of friendship in 2007. The new treaty replaced the provision requiring Bhutan to take India’s guidance on foreign policy with broader sovereignty and not require Bhutan to obtain India’s permission over arms imports.
3 . GOVERNMENT PLANS TO BOOST SOLAR CAPACITY IN A BIG WAY
SOURCE – FINANCIAL EXPRESS
RELEVANCE – GS MAINS III
- Solar power in India is a fast developing industry.
- As of September, 2017 the country’s solar grid had a cumulative capacity of 16.20 GW.
- India quadrupled its solar-generation capacity from 2,650 MW on 26 May 2014 to 12,289 MW on 31 March 2017.
- The country added 3.01 GW of solar capacity in 2015-2016 and 5.525 GW in 2016-2017, the highest of any year, with the average current price of solar electricity dropping to 18% below the average price of its coal-fired counterpart.
- In January 2015 the Indian government expanded its solar plans, targeting US$100 billion in investment and 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022.
- India’s initiative of 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 is an ambitious target, since the world’s installed solar-power capacity in 2014 was 181 GW.
- In January 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President François Hollande laid the foundation stone for the headquarters of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Gwal Pahari, Gurugram.
- The government intends to bring policies conducive to domestic solar equipment makers.
- The government is planning to enhance the solar capacity addition scheme by CPSU to 12,000 MW from 1,000 MW, which would be under domestic content requirement (DCR).