Launch of historic Support and Outreach Initiative for MSME sector

 

(Topic: Mains II and III – Govt. schemes and policies; Good Governance; Indian Economy – Investment; MSME sector)

Five key aspects for facilitating the MSME sector:

  • Access to credit
  • Access to market
  • Technology upgradation
  • Ease of doing business
  • A sense of security for employees

12 key initiatives which will help the growth, expansion and facilitation of MSMEs across the country were unveiledunder the 5 key aspects mentioned above –

  • Access to credit:
    • 59 minute loan portal to enable easy access to credit for MSMEs
    • 2 percent interest subvention for all GST registered MSMEs, on fresh or incremental loans
    • All companies with a turnover more than Rs. 500 crore, must now compulsorily be brought on the Trade Receivables e-Discounting System (TReDS) – will enable entrepreneurs to access credit from banks, based ontheir upcoming receivables. This will resolve their problems of cash cycle.
  • Access to market:
    • Public sector companies have now been asked to compulsorily procure 25 percent, instead of 20 percent of their total purchases, from MSMEs.
    • Out of the 25 percent procurement mandated from MSMEs, 3 percent must now be reserved for women entrepreneurs.
    • All public sector undertakings of the Union Government must now compulsorily be a part of GeM
  • Technology upgradation: 20 hubs will be formed across the country, and 100 spokes in the form of tool rooms will be established.
  • Ease of doing business:
    • Clusters will be formed of pharma MSMEs – 70 percent cost of establishing these clusters will be borne by the Union Government
    • The return under 8 labour laws and 10 Union regulations must now be filed only once a year.
    • The establishments to be visited by an Inspector will be decided through a computerised random allotment.
    • Under air pollution and water pollution laws, now both these have been merged as a single consent and the return will be accepted through self-certification.
    • An Ordinance has been brought, under which, for minor violations under the Companies Act, the entrepreneur will no longer have to approach the Courts, but can correct them through simple procedures.
  • A sense of security for employees: a mission will be launched to ensure that they have Jan Dhan Accounts, provident fund and insurance.

Solve: What is Zero Defect – Zero Effect (ZED) scheme? Examine its significance for India’s MSME sector.


Government exploring transport innovations that are pollution free and cost effective

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

Efforts are being undertaken for building a safe and efficient public transport system in the country would motivate people to shift from personal to public transport.

Government is exploring

  • Usage of new kinds of vehicles like hybrid aeroboats that combine land, water and aviation technology and can run on land, water and air at speeds greater than 80 km per hour.
  • Looking at the possibility of using aerial transport systems like ropeways, pods etc, especially for hilly terrains and as a last mile connectivity option in congested cities.
  • Start a campaign to promote the use of bicycles as the new expressways are being built with provisions for cycle tracks. Electric cycles will soon be in use. Taxi aggregators are being called upon to consider using bicycles for transporting single passengers.
  • Advocating the use of alternate fuels in this sector. By use of methanol, ethanol and electric sources, the country can save huge sums on petroleum imports. Also, people in backward areas can find an additional source of income by opting to generate bio-gas from local sources in a big way.

Solve:

  • What is intelligent transportation system? What are its components? Why is it needed badly in Indian cities? Examine.
  • What is hyper loop technology? Do you think this technology is really needed in India? Critically examine.

Cabinet approves

Agreement between India and Morocco on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters: The Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation between India and Morocco in investigation and prosecution of crime, tracing, restraint, forfeiture or confiscation or proceeds and instruments of crime. It aims to increase effectiveness in investigation and prosecution of crime, and in providing the necessary peaceful ambience which is a pre-requisite for the development of society as a whole. It will further be instrumental in gaining better inputs and insights in the modus operandi of organized criminals and terrorists, which in turn can be used to fine-tune policy decisions in the field of Internal Security.

MoU between India and Korea for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism:

  • To expand bilateral cooperation in tourism sector
  • To increase Exchange of information and data related to tourism
  • To encouraging cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour Operators
  • To establish exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resources Development
  • To encourage Investment in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors
  • To exchange visits of Tour Operators / Media / Opinion Makers for promotion of two-way tourism
  • To exchange experience in the areas of promotion, marketing destination development and management
  • To encourage participation in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country and
  • Promoting safe, honorable and sustainable tourism

Moving a Resolution in the first Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for amending the Framework Agreement of the ISA for opening up the ISA membership to all countries that are members of the United Nations:

  • Will put solar energy in global agenda with the universal appeal for developing and deploying solar energy
  • It will make ISA inclusive, whereby all member countries that are members of the United Nations could become member.
  • Expanding membership will lead to ISA initiative benefitting the world at large.
Prelims oriented news

Ayurveda Day: 5th November

Latest country to have decided to join the International Solar Alliance: Botswana

Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN 2018: A joint military exercise between Indian & Japanese Armies


World’s tallest statue: Statue of Unity, India – a 182 metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – the integration of India by Sardar Patel, has resulted today in India’s march towards becoming a big economic and strategic power.

  • The Statue of Unity is 177 feet higher than China’s Spring Temple Buddha, which was the tallest statue till now.
  • It is located on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla, Gujarat.

President gives assent to promulgation of the Companies Amendment (Ordinance), 2018: For

  • Promotion of Ease of Doing Business
  • Better corporate compliance

India’s Ranks in Ease of doing Business: As per the World Bank report 2019 on Ease of Doing Business, India has taken a huge leap of 23 ranks from 100 in 2017-18 to 77 in 2018-19 indicating it is continuing its steady shift towards global standards.

One of the key indices which has contributed immensely toward this growth is ‘Trading across borders’ which shows an impressive improvement from 146 rank last year to 80th rank this year. The Ministry of Shipping has been taking initiatives to improve the parameter of ‘Trading across border’ as 92% of India’s Export- Import trade by volume is handled at ports.

The report mentions that this is mainly due to India’s continued reform agenda, which has made it the top-ranked economy in the region:

  • Upgradation of port infrastructure
  • Improvement of processes
  • Digitization of document submission has substantially reduced
  • Export/Import cargo handling time at ports which has significantly contributed towards improving the trading across border parameter

The Government has initiated a series of steps to make India’s EXIM logistics more competitive in terms of time and cost. The focus has been on development of port infrastructure and capacity enhancement, improvement in last mile connectivity and development of multi-modal hubs to promote EXIM while reducing logistics cost and time. Under Sagarmala, port-led-development initiative of the Govt, 266 port modernization projects with an investment of more than Rs 1.45 lakh Crore has been identified for implementation over next 10 years

Indian Navy’s Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) Capability: This System has a Side Scan Sonar for locating the position of the submarine in distress at sea, providing immediate relief by way of posting Emergency Life Support Containers with the help of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and thereafter rescuing the crew of the submarine using the DSRV itself.

With this capability, India has joined a select league of nations which have this unique capability and we are now in a position to not only provide rescue cover to our own submarines but also to other friendly nations in the IOR and beyond. Our vision is to emerge as a centre of regional excellence for Submarine Rescue Services in line with the stature of our great nation.

World Cities Day: 1st November

NMCG & UN Habitat organize a policy dialogue – Urban Cafe: ‘River for Habitat’ on this occasion and discussed the deep association that rivers have with various aspects of human civilization – our cities, our economy and various facets of our  daily lives, the challenges to maintaining healthy river ecosystems and ways to deal with the same.

  • Innovations such as One City One Operator, Hybrid Annuity Model, 15 year Operations & Maintenance of sewerage infrastructure projects have been introduced
  • Other issues that are vital include managing flood plain encroachments, developing city-specific urban management plan, valuation of river services in economic terms, preserving biodiversity in Ganga, maintaining groundwater recharge, NMCG’s collaboration and convergence with all stakeholders and engaging public participation.
  • Emphasis was laid upon –
    • River and river basins should be seen as ‘national capital or asset’
    • Developing an Urban River Plan from where the river enters the city and where it exits.
    • Emphasizing the importance of ghats, the experts further noted that not only do ghats connect river to the people but also promote safety of the river and people.
    • Advocacy and resolve combined with public participation as vital elements for restoring our river ecosystems.

India’s first ease of Mobility Index: The Index offers a source of information to aid transit agencies and urban planners to make informed decisions and align solutions with the preference of commuters. The report has been prepared by Ola Mobility Institute – Ola’s research and social innovation arm.

  • Overall, 80 per cent of citizens believe that the transport ecosystem has improved over the last five years.
  • 60 per cent of respondents report using public modes of commute, signalling that integrating modes of first and last mile connectivity with mass transport could lead to improved usage.
  • In fact, 72 per cent of the respondents believe that this integration could lead to an improved public transport ecosystem.
  • A majority of Indians are willing to adopt electric mobility and are in agreement that electrification will reshape the transportation segment.
  • 75 per cent of respondents believe that electric vehicles could replace conventional vehicles by 2030.
  • Additionally, results indicate that urban mobility is going digital with 55 per cent of commuters who use public transport owning smart cards, and over 40 per cent transact digitally while using public transport including Intermediary Public Transport.
UDAN scheme: UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market. It is a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies.
  • This first-of-its-kind scheme globally will create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.
  • It will create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns. Under it, airlines will have complete freedom to enter into code sharing with larger airlines for connectivity and they will be exempted from various airport charges.

Solve: Critically examine the significance of regional connectivity for a developing economy like India. Also discuss the features of the UDAN scheme launched by the government.

Atal Pension Yojana (APY): Guaranteed Pension Scheme of Government of India administered by PFRDA. The Subscriber base under APY has crossed 1.24 crore mark.
  • For: The unorganised sector workers who do not have sufficient and reliable old age security
  • Earlier called: Swavalamban Yojana NPS (National Pension Scheme) Lite
  • Objective: To encourage unorganised workers to make regular small savings during their working years towards pension benefits later
  • Regulated by: Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)
Zika virus disease: An emerging disease currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide.
  • Symptoms of Zika virus disease are similar to other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. The virus causes only mild to moderate illness. The only vulnerable category is pregnant women.
  • In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January/February 2017 and second outbreak in July,2017 from Krishnagiri District in Tamilnadu. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management.
  • The Zika Virus has been identified decades back in Uganda where there is a river named Zika, the region around which the virus was first identified.

92% MGNREGA wage payments generated on time

Independent evaluation studies have indicated the success of Natural Resource Management in improving incomes, acreage, productivity, fodder availability, and water table.  Similarly, independent assessment of Individual Beneficiary Schemes especially for animal resources has acknowledged their contribution in livelihood diversification and poverty reduction.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA): a demand driven and additional resources will be made available as and when required to ensure that no one is denied work on demand.  Adequate steps have been taken to ensure timely payments and mobilization of additional resources when required. Reforms in the programme over the last 3 years have substantially improved the quality of durable assets and convergence for effective livelihood diversification.


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