1 . Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna
The Maharashtra government has approved a Rs 4,000-crore project aimed at promoting climate-resilient agriculture, to be partially funded by the World Bank .It will be implemented in 5,142 villages across 15 districts.
Period of the Project
It will roll out in 2018-19 and continue till 2023-24 .
Cost of the project
The total cost of the project is Rs 4,000 crore, 70 per cent of which will be borne by the World Bank while the state will contribute 30 per cent over six years .
The scheme would cover small- and medium- scale farmers, who are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
Objectives of the project are to improve soil quality, develop foodgrain varieties which can sustain climate variations and effect necessary changes in the crop pattern as per the availability of water in a particular region.
2 . US, EU, Japan object to India raising Duty on electronics
The EU, Japan and the US have objected to India’s move of raising import duties on mobile phones, TVs and projectors.
Why they have objected?
They have sought an explanation from India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as under the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) signatories can’t impose import duties on many IT products including mobile phones.
What is the issue?
Last month, India had raised customs duties on mobile phones, TV sets, digital cameras, microwave ovens, LED bulbs and a number of other electronics goods to boost local manufacturing.
With last month’s notification, imported smartphones cost more with customs duty on them being increased to 15% while customs duty on television sets was doubled to 20% and LED lamps are charged with a 20% import duty.
Why China has not objected to the move?
Though China is the largest exporter of electronics to India, it has not objected to the move . China has not raised the issue of raising duties. Chinese companies have set shop here and they bring components in completely knocked down condition here. This is a case of tariff jumping as they assemble phones after importing components .
Future course of action
Delhi is preparing for any likely dispute because if countries are dissatisfied with India’s explanation, they may drag the country to dispute settlement at the WTO post which a panel would decide whether India bent any rules.
3 . ‘Indus Food’
- It is an international food and beverage trade show at Greater Noida.
- It is organised by Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) along with the commerce ministry .
- The show is witnessing participation from over 400 exhibitors, including representations from 12 states. Global buyers from 43 nations are attending the event.
- The show will provide a platform to Indian exporters to access global market without having the trouble of going to overseas trade fairs.
- In terms of market size, the Indian food market was worth USD 193 billion in 2016 and is expected to cross USD 540 billion by 2020.
4 . FY’19 growth at 7.1% : India Ratings
India’s economic growth is set to bounce back to 7.1 per cent next fiscal, from the estimated 6.5 per cent in 2017-18, aided by robust consumption demand, rating agency Ind-Ra has said .
In its outlook for 2018-19, the agency projected average retail inflation at 4.6 per cent and said inflation trajectory has reversed on rising commodity, especially crude oil prices.
The 7.1 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth projected for 2018-19 is a tad lower than the forecast of 7.3 per cent and 7.4 per cent by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), respectively.
5 . Linking of rivers may get ‘national projects’ tag
All inter-linking of river (ILR) projects in the country may be declared as ‘national projects’ in a bid to expedite their implementation through quick flow of funds and better monitoring on the ground.
Though the Ken-Betwa link has already been declared as a ‘national project’, the remaining ILR projects are yet to be clubbed in this category. The three projects which are ready for implementation are: Ken-Betwa link in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and Damanganga-Pinjal link and Par-Tapi-Narmada link in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
The Ken-Betwa link project alone will require over Rs 18,000 crore. It would be difficult for UP and MP to go ahead with it under the existing 60 (Centre):40 (State) funding pattern as 90 (Centre):10 (State) pattern is yet to be finalised for this project
Significance of declaring ILR projects as ‘national projects’
1 . Once the ILR projects are declared as ‘national projects’, the states would be spared from funding obligation on major heads.
2 . The national project is eligible for 90% grant for the cost of work of irrigation and drinking water components of the project.
3 . Besides, the progress of work on ‘national project’ is monitored by a high-powered steering committee chaired by Union water resources secretary.
Present ‘national projects’
At present, 16 projects across the country are declared as ‘national projects’. It includes one ILR (Ken-Betwa link) project and 15 other dam and multi-purpose projects such as Teesta Barrage project in West Bengal, Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh, Gosikhurd irrigation project in Maharashtra and Renuka Dam project in Himachal Pradesh among others
6 . Electoral bonds will not solve transparency issues in political funding: Chief Election Commissioner
Electoral bonds will not solve all problems pertaining to transparency in political funding, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti had said , but hoped that it will be a step in the “right direction”.
Electoral bonds, which were introduced by the government to make funding to political parties transparent, will allow a political donor to purchase bonds from authorised banks and can be redeemed by parties only through registered accounts in a prescribed time frame.
There will be a banking trail of the donations which will be made. That is one step in the right direction.
However the amendment in section 29 C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 making it no longer necessary to report details of donations received through electoral bonds is a retrograde step as transparency of political funding would be compromised as a result of the change.
About electoral bond
An electoral bond can be purchased by any citizen of India or a body incorporated in India.
The bonds will be issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore, and will be available at specified branches of the State Bank of India.
Donors can donate the bonds to their party of choice which can then be cashed via the party’s verified account within 15 days.
Every party that is registered under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and has secured at least one per cent of the votes polled in the most recent Lok Sabha or assembly election will be allotted a verified account by the Election Commission. Electoral bond transactions can be made only via that account.