11th April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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(GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will interact with over 100 MUDRA beneficiaries from across the country at a function in the capital
About the scheme
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) has been one of the flagship initiatives of the Government to promote entrepreneurship spirit among the youth by providing easy loans without guarantees. As on 23rd March, 2018, 4,53,51,509 loans have been sanctioned, amounting to Rs. 2,28,144.72 Crore. The total amount disbursed under this scheme is Rs. 220596.05 Crore
The scheme was launched on 8th April 2015 to promote and ensure access of financial facilities to Non –Corporate Small Business Sector (NCSBS). The loans provided are easily accessible and in three categories- Shishu, Kishore and Tarun.
Under the scheme all loans upto Rs.10 lakh for income generating activities will be extended as PMMY loans. Loan of upto Rs. 50000 is given under sub-scheme ‘Shishu’ between Rs. 50,000 to 5 Lakhs under sub-scheme ‘Kishore’ and between Rs. 5 Lakhs to Rs.10 Lakhs under sub-scheme ‘Tarun’.
Activities allied to Agriculture (excluding crop loans, land improvement such as canals, irrigation, wells) and services supporting these, which promote livelihood or are income generating, have also been included under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana from April, 2016 onwards.
The bank will have an initial capital of ₹200 billion (US$3.1 billion) and a credit guarantee fund of ₹30 billion (US$460 million). The bank will initially function as a non-banking financial company and a subsidiary of the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). Later, it will be made into a separate company. However, it will regulate Micro Finance institutions.
Ministry of Finance is the nodal ministry for implementing this programme
(GS2: International Relations)
Issue: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet leaders of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark & Iceland for the first India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm on April 17.
Importance of this summit
1. The six leaders will exchange views on regional and global issues such as environment and climate, trade and investment and discuss areas of future cooperation
2. This exercise will reflect upon the importance of rule of law in the international order besides attempting to harness the bilateral economic potential.
3. The India-Nordic Summit symbolizes shared democratic values between the two sides.
4. Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund is probably one of the biggest single investors in India, having invested over $11.7 billion in India at the end of 2017 in 275 different Indian companies and in Indian bonds.
5. PM Modi will meet the Indian diaspora at the end of the visit. There are 25,000 living in Sweden, with industries like tech in particular attracting skilled labour. Over 170 Swedish companies have invested $1.4 billion since 2000. Around 70 Indian companies have invested in Sweden. India-Sweden annual bilateral trade stands at around $1.8 billion, according to MEA statement. India-Nordic trade $ 5.3 billion in 2016-17, with Cumulative FDI to India at $ 2.5 billion.
About Nordic countries
The Nordic countries or the Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, where they are most commonly known as Norden (literally “the North”). The term includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, including Greenland and Faroe Islands—which are both constituent countries within the Kingdom of Denmark—and the Åland Islands.
Each of the Nordic countries has its own economic and social models, sometimes with large differences from its neighbors, but to varying degrees the Nordic countries share the Nordic model of economy and social structure: market economy is combined with strong labour unions and a universalist welfare sector financed by heavy taxes. There is a high degree of income redistribution and little social unrest and these include support for said “universalist” welfare state aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy and promoting social mobility; a corporatist system involving a tripartite arrangement where representatives of labor and employers negotiate wages and labor market policy mediated by the government; and a commitment to widespread private ownership, free markets and free trade
‘Pollution in Bengaluru’
(GS3: Environmental pollution)
Issue: Researchers of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) have tabulated that by 2030, if ‘business as usual’ continues, the city will see an increase in carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles by nearly 24 times.
By 2030, the cumulative vehicular kilometres travelled (which accounts for number of vehicles as well as potential trips for work and pleasure to be taken) will touch 48 million kilometres daily, up from 31 million kilometres currently. Clearly, if nothing is done, pollution and congestion will drastically rise.
Suggestions by researchers to fight pollution
1. the best is to increase the coverage of public transit
2. declaring car-free roads
3. introducing a steep congestion charge
4. introducing cycling and walking facilities
5. encouraging car-pooling lanes
Ensuring mixed development of commercial and development to lower travel distances of those going to work. Coupled with an additional tax on fuel-guzzling vehicles and ensuring all vehicles run on electric motors, the results will change the face of Bengaluru
‘ISRO’s Navigation satellite’
Issue: The space port of Sriharikota is set to launch navigation satellite IRNSS-1I ] on Thursday, its second mission in a fortnight. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said it will be launched at 4.04 a.m. from the coastal Satish Dhawan Space Centre, about 80 km from Chennai.
About the new satellite
1. The 1,425-kg replacement spacecraft will join and support the older seven Indian navigation satellites, 1A to 1G, that were put in orbit between July 2013 and April 2016
2. ISRO has built its own regional navigation satellite fleet — akin to the US GPS — to get the best locational details for its mobility activities, civil as well as military.
3. The launch of IRNSS-1I is important for ISRO and users. The satellites were built to last for 10 years each; but all three rubidium atomic clocks on the first satellite IRNSS-1A reportedly failed almost two years back; and the first spare or back-up, IRNSS-1H, flopped at launch on August 31, 2017.All seven navigation satellites must work to give the planned 24-hour, precise information of location and time of persons or objects.
4. it will be the eighth in the ring of NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) and is slated to be launched to space on a PSLV rocket in its extended XL version.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) with an operational name of NAVIC (“sailor” or “navigator” in Sanskrit, Hindi and many other Indian languages, which also stands for NAVigation with Indian Constellation) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system, that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services. It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km (930 mi) around it, with plans for further extension. The system at-present consist of a constellation of 7 satellites, with two additional satellites on ground as stand-by. NAVIC will provide two levels of service, the ‘standard positioning service’ will be open for civilian use, and a ‘restricted service’ (an encrypted one) for authorized users (including military). Due to the failures of one of the satellites and its replacement no new dates for operational status has been set.
‘Google and Anti-trust case’
(GS2: Statutory body)
Issue: Online search giant Google has filed an appeal at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against a judgment from India’s competition watchdog that found it guilty of “search bias”
In February, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had imposed a ₹1.36 billion ($20.95 million) fine on Google, saying it was abusing its dominance in online web search and online search advertising markets.
The Indian watchdog’s judgment is the latest antitrust setback for the world’s most popular search engine. Last year, The European Commission imposed a record €2.4 billion ($3 billion) fine on the company for favoring its shopping service and demoting rival offerings. Google has appealed against the verdict.
About National Company Law Appellate Tribunal
National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT)
NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by NCLT(s) under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC.
NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI)
About Competition Commission of India
Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘Aam Aadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices. With increased competition, producers will have maximum incentive to innovate and specialize. This would result in reduced costs and wider choice to consumers. A fair competition in market is essential to achieve this objective. Our goal is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers.
The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003. CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
To promote and sustain an enabling competition culture through engagement and enforcement that would inspire businesses to be fair, competitive and innovative; enhance consumer welfare; and support economic growth.
Competition Commission of India aims to establish a robust competitive environment through:
- Proactive engagement with all stakeholders, including consumers, industry, government and international jurisdictions.
- Being a knowledge intensive organization with high competence level.
- Professionalism, transparency, resolve and wisdom in enforcement.
Issue: A remote Iranian port could be the next trigger for geopolitical tensions between rivals China and India. India has pledged more than $500 million to develop the strategically located port of Chabahar— roughly 1,800 kilometers (1,110 miles) from the capital Tehran—since it first expressed interest in 2003. Yet repeated delays have prompted Iran to turn to China in the hope of speeding up construction.
India’s concerns towards this situation
1. The shift makes sense for Iran, which wants to ensure Chabahar is an economic success. But it could be a strategic loss for India, which opposes China’s expansion in the Indian Ocean and is already worried that Gwadar could one day be used as a military base—along with other China-backed ports from Myanmar to Bangladesh to Sri Lanka.
2. Any formal investment from Beijing would further weaken the strategic advantage for New Delhi to invest in Chabahar, which is close to Pakistan’s western border. The Gwadar port is part of Xi’s plan to finance $50 billion in infrastructure investments in Pakistan, and Chinese merchants already have a strong foothold in Chabahar.
3. Cooperation between the two ports could be awkward. India and Pakistan are historic foes that have fought several wars, while India and China—which recently faced off in the Himalayas—are battling for geopolitical influence in South Asia.
Refinery-cum-petrochemical project in Maharashtra
(GS3: Infrastructure related to Energy)
Issue: Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, today signed an agreement to pick up 50 per cent stake in a planned USD 44-billion refinery-cum-petrochemical project in Maharashtra, a move that will give it an assured customer for additional 30 million tonnes of its crude oil.
UAE and Kuwait too are looking at investing in projects in return for getting an assured off-take of their crude oil. Saudi Arabia was the biggest oil supplier to India till 2016-17 fiscal year, but slipped behind Iraq last fiscal. It had supplied 39.5 million tonnes of crude oil to India in 2016-17, ahead of 37.5 million tonnes by Iraq.