Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 21st May 2020

 

COMPLETE SOLARISATION OF KONARK SUN TEMPLE AND KONARK TOWN


Focus: GS1.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

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Context

  • Government of India has launched a scheme for 100 % solarisation of Konark sun temple & Konark town in Odisha.

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has taken up the Complete Solarisation of Konark sun temple and Konark town in Odisha. The implementation of this project will be done by the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA).

 

About the scheme

  • The Scheme envisages setting up of 10 MW grid-connected solar projects and various solar off-grid applications like solar trees, solar drinking water kiosks, off-grid solar power plants with battery storage etc.

  • There will be 100% Central Financial Assistance (CFA) support of around Rs. 25 Crores from Government of India through Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE).

  • The scheme will meet all the energy requirements of Konark town with solar energy.

 

Source: Indian Express.

 

STAR RATING OF GARBAGE FREE CITIES


Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

6 Cities rated 5 Star, 65 Cities rated 3 Star and 70 Cities rated ...

Context

Recently, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MOHUA) has announced the results of the Star Rating of Garbage Free Cities for the assessment year 2019-2020.

 

Background

  • The Star Rating Protocol was launched by the Ministry in 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve Garbage Free status, and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of sustainable cleanliness.

  • It is one of the various initiatives which intends to make Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) as a successful project.

 

About the project

  • It is based on 12 parameters which follow a SMART framework – Single metric, Measurable, Achievable, Rigorous verification mechanism and Targeted towards outcomes.

  • It is a comprehensive framework that assesses cities across 24 different components of Solid Waste Management (SWM) and is graded based on overall marks received.

  • The Star Rating is supported by self-assessment and self-verification for achieving a certain star rating.

  • It also ensures the involvement of citizen groups for a transparent system of self-declaration.

  • Further, the self-declaration is further verified through an independent third party agency appointed by MoHUA.

About the findings

 

  • A total of six cities have been certified as 5-Star, 65 cities as 3-Star and 70 cities as 1-Star.

  • The 5-Star cities include Ambikapur (Chattisgarh), Surat and Rajkot (Gujarat), Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra).

 

About the significance

  • The performance of cities under the Star Rating Protocol is crucial as it carries significant weightage for their final assessment in Swachh Survekshan.

  • It also ensures certain minimum standards of sanitation through a set of prerequisites defined in the framework.

  • Since the rating is conducted at a city level, it makes the process easier to implement and helps the cities incrementally improve their overall cleanliness.

  • The rating protocol is an outcome-based tool that helps MoHUA and other stakeholders to evaluate cities on the basis of this single rating.


Source: PIB.


PRADHAN MANTRI VAYA VANDANA YOJANA


Focus: GS2.

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

Investment limit for Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana doubled ...

Context

  • In order to ensure the welfare of the Senior Citizens and to ensure their old age income security, Government of India approves the extension of Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY).

  • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) has been extended for another period of 3 years beyond 31st March 2020, up to 31st March, 2023.

 

About the new extension

  • As per the government notification, following approvals have been given with respect to the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana. 

  • Apart from following mentioned changes, all other terms and conditions of the scheme remain the same.

  • Initially an assured rate of return of 7.40 % per annum for the year 2020-21 per annum has been allowed for the approval. However, it would have to be reset every year thereafter.

  • Approval has also been provided for the annual reset of the assured rate of interest with effect from 1st April of the financial year in line with the revised rate of returns of Senior Citizens Saving Scheme (SCSS) up to a ceiling of 7.75% with a fresh appraisal of the scheme on breach of this threshold at any point.

  • The difference between the market rate of return generated by LIC (net of expenses) and the guaranteed rate of return under the scheme are to be considered while looking up to the expenditures to be incurred.

  • Approval has also been provided for the Capping Management expenses at 0.5% p.a. of funds of the scheme for the first year of scheme in respect of new policies issued and thereafter 0.3% p.a. for second year onwards for the next 9 years.

  • As part of the approval, the Finance Minister has been authorized to approve an annual reset rate of return at the beginning of every financial year.

  • The minimum investment has also been revised to Rs.1,56,658 for pension of Rs.12,000/- per annum and Rs.1,62,162/- for getting a minimum pension amount of Rs.1000/- per month under the scheme.

 

Source: PIB.


INTERNATIONAL TEA DAY

 

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

International Tea Day has recently been officially recognized by the United Nations and will henceforth be celebrated every year on 21st May. This is a proud moment for every Indian and an achievement of the Indian tea industry.

Background

  • India first moved the proposal for designating International Tea Day at the FAO-IGG Inter-Sessional meeting held in Milan in the year 2016. 

  • Due to the continued efforts of India, the United Nations General Assembly, passed a resolution on 19 December 2019 designating this day as ‘International Tea Day’. 

  • Undoubtedly this is a significant day for tea and for those who are directly or indirectly associated with the industry across the world. 

  • It is especially significant in the Indian context since the demand for a designated day to celebrate tea had been brewing for a while.


About the day

  • United Nations states, “The Day will promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favor of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.”

  • The Indian Tea Industry is almost two centuries old with more than 1500 established tea gardens employing over 1 million workers. 

  • In addition, there are more than 2 lakh Small Tea Growers, who form a sizable chunk of the Indian Tea Industry. 

  • May 21st is therefore a noteworthy day and the euphoria around this day in India is huge and Tea Board India, which is responsible for the promotion of India tea has been planning for this day for months. 

  • After all, being one of the major producers of tea in the world, is no mean feat. 

  • Not only the volume of the produce, the different varieties, outstanding quality of tea that India produces is what sets it apart from the rest of the world. 

  • The country accounts for 23% of the total tea production of the world and is the world’s largest producer and consumer of black tea in the world.


Source: India Today.


PARTIAL CREDIT GUARANTEE SCHEME


Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

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Context

As part of the extension of the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Union Cabinet has approved the Sovereign portfolio guarantee of up to 20% of first loss for purchase of Bonds or Commercial Papers (CPs) with a rating of AA and below issued by NBFCs/ MFCs/Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) by Public Sector Banks (PSBs). These commercial papers also include an unrated paper with original/ initial maturity of up to one year.

 

Background

  • The previously existing Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme was issued in December 2019.

  • It offered sovereign guarantee of up to 10% of first loss to PSBs for purchasing pooled assets worth rated BBB+ or above worth up to Rs. 1,00,000 crore, from financially sound NBFCs/ MFCs.

  • Following the COVID-19 outbreak along with lockdown of business activity, it became necessary to adopt additional measures to support NBFCs and HFCs.

  • On the liabilities side by providing a sovereign guarantee to cover the purchase of Bonds/CPs issued by NBFCs/HFCs as well as MFIs which also play a critical role in extending credit to small borrowers;

  • On the assets side by modifying the existing PCGS to widen its coverage.

 

About the scheme

  • As part of the recent modifications in PCGS, a sovereign guarantee of up to 20% of first loss will be provided to state-owned banks for purchase of bonds or commercial papers of NBFCs, MFIs, and housing finance companies (HFCs) having a credit rating of AA or below, including unrated paper with an original maturity of up to one year.

  • The time period of the Scheme has also been extended by the Cabinet from June 30, 2020 to March 31, 2021 for purchase of pooled assets of the distressed entities.

 

About the key modifications

  • The modified PCGS has made eligible the NBFCs/HFCs which are reported under Special Mention Account (SMA-1) category on technical reasons alone during the last one year period prior to 1st August 2018.

    • Earlier NBFCs/HFCs reported as SMA-1 or SMA-2 during this period were ineligible under the Scheme.

  • The net profit criteria has been relaxed to the extent that the concerned NBFC/HFC should now have made a profit in at least one of the financial years of FY 2017-18, FY 2018-19 and 2019-20.

    • Earlier, the NBFC/HFC should have made a net profit in at least one of the financial years of FY 2017-18 and 2018-19.

  • This relaxation in the criteria regarding date of origination of assets will include new assets originating up to at least six months prior to the date of initial pool rating.

    • Earlier, only assets originated up to 31st March 2019 were eligible under the Scheme.

 

Source: Economic Times.


SCHEME FOR FORMALISATION OF MICRO FOOD PROCESSING ENTERPRISES


Focus: GS3.

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

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Context


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the “Scheme for the formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (FME)”, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the unorganized sector.

 

About the objectives

  • To increase access to finance by micro food processing units.

  • Further, an increase in revenues of target enterprises.

  • To ensure enhanced compliance with food quality and safety standards.

  • Strengthening capacities of support systems.

  • To ensure a transition from the unorganized sector to the formal sector.

  • Provide a special focus on women entrepreneurs and Aspirational districts.

  • To encourage Waste to Wealth activities.

  • To enlarge its focus on minor forest produce in Tribal Districts.

 

About the scheme

  • The Scheme has been launched on an all India basis with an overall outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.

  • Being a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, the expenditure would be shared by the GoI and the States in the ratio of 60:40.

  • As part of the Scheme, approximately 2,00,000 micro-enterprises are to be assisted with credit-linked subsidies.

  • This Scheme will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

  • Further, the scheme will follow a cluster approach and will focus on the perishables.

  • Support to Individual Micro Units:

    • As part of the Scheme, the micro-enterprises will get a credit-linked subsidy @ 35% of the eligible project cost with ceiling of Rs.10 lakh.

    • Further, the beneficiary contribution will be a minimum 10% and the remaining balance from the loan.

    • There will be facilities for on-site skill training & Handholding for DPR and technical upgradation.

  • Support to FPOs/SHGs/Cooperatives:

    • The Scheme provides seed capital to SHGs for loan to members for working capital and small tools.

    • It also ensures a grant for backward/ forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing & branding.

    • Further, it provides the necessary Skill training & Handholding support.

    • There is also provision for the Credit linked capital subsidy.

 

Source: PIB.


METHODOLOGY FOR AUCTION OF COAL & LIGNITE MINES/ BLOCKS


Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Context

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the methodology for auction of coal and lignite mines or blocks for sale of coal or lignite on revenue sharing basis and increasing the tenure of coking coal linkage.

 

About the methodology

  • This methodology provides that the bid parameter will be on revenue sharing basis. The bidders would be required to bid for a percentage share of revenue payable to the Government.

  • The floor price shall be 4 percent of the revenue share.

  • Bids would be accepted in multiples of 0.5 percent of the revenue share till the percentage of revenue share is up to 10 percent and thereafter bids would be accepted in multiples of 0.25 percent of the revenue share.

  • There shall be no restriction on the sale or utilization of coal from the coal mine.

  • The entire revenue from the auction or allotment of coal mines would accrue to the coal-bearing States.

  • Tenure of coking coal linkage in the non-regulated sector linkage auction has been increased up to 30 years. 

 

About the upfront amount

  • Successful Bidder shall be required to make monthly payments which shall be determined as the product of:

    • percentage of revenue share (final bid),

    • quantity of coal on which the statutory royalty is payable during the month and

    • Notional price or actual price whichever is higher.

  • The Upfront-Amount shall be 0.25 percent of the value of estimated geological reserves of the coal mine payable in 4 equal installments. However, the upfront amount payable shall be as per actual calculation as per above method or as per ceiling mentioned here, whichever is lower.

  • If Geological Reserves in mine up to 200s tonne, the upper ceiling of upfront amount will be Rs. 100 crore.

  • If Geological Reserves in mine is over 200 tonnes, the upper ceiling of the upfront amount will be Rs. 500 crore. 

  • It also permits commercial exploitation of the CBM present in the mining lease area. 


Source: AIR.


COIR GEO TEXTILES

 

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

Context

Coir Geo textiles, a permeable fabric, natural, strong, highly durable, resistant to rots, moulds and moisture, free from any microbial attack, has finally been accepted as a good material for rural road construction under the PMGSY-III.


About the scheme

  • As per the PMGSY new technology guidelines for road construction, 15% length in each batch of proposals, is to be constructed using new technologies. 

  • Out of this 5% roads are to be constructed using IRC accredited technology.

  • The IRC has now accredited coir Geotextiles for the construction of rural roads. 

  • As per these instructions, 5% length of the rural roads under PMGSY-III will be constructed using Coir Geotextiles.

  • The decision opens up a huge market potential for Coir Geotextiles in the Country and will be a boon to the Covid-19 hit Coir Industry. 


Source: DD News.


Map of the Day–82.5 degree E

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Quote for the Day


“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” - Julius Caesar 

 

Mains Answer Writing


  1. Explain the key problems in implementing social security for women especially in the informal sector and the need to address the social security aspects in the country with a special focus on women. (250 Words).

  2. Briefly explain the issue of Terrorism in the region and the world over. (250 Words).

  3. Explain the key features, objectives of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020. (250 Words).


Test your Knowledge



1. Consider the following statements wrt Tea:

  1. Tea is a beverage made from the Camellia sinesis plant.

  2. Tea is the world’s most consumed drink, after milk.

  3. It is believed that tea originated in northeast India, north Myanmar and southwest China, but the exact place where the plant first grew is not known.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    1. 1 and 2 only

    2. 2 and 3 only

    3. 1 and 3 only

    4. AOTA


  1. With reference to the International Tea Day (ITD), consider the following statements:

    1. The first International Tea Day (ITD) is being celebrated by United Nations on 21 May.

    2. The Day aims to raise awareness of the long history and the deep cultural and economic significance of tea around the world.

    3. India is the top producer of tea in the world.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

    1. 1 and 2 only

    2. 2 and 3 only

    3. 1 and 3 only

    4. AOTA

 

  1. With reference to the Kallakkadal, consider the following statements:

    1. It is a colloquial term used by Odisha fishermen to refer to the freaky flooding episodes and in 2012 UNESCO formally accepted this term for scientific use.

    2. Kallakkadal are caused by meteorological conditions in the Southern Ocean, south of 30°S.

    3. Kallakadal/Swell surge are flash-flood events that take place without any noticeable advance change in local winds or any other apparent signature in the coastal environment.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 only

      2. 1 and 2 only

      3. 2 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. With reference to the Scheme for Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises, consider the following statements:

    1. It is central sector scheme.

    2. Micro enterprises will get credit linked subsidy at 35 per cent of the eligible project cost with ceiling of Rs. 10 lakh.

    3. The objectives of the scheme is to increase in access to finance by micro food processing units and enhanced compliance with food quality and safety standards.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 and 2 only

      2. 1 and 3 only

      3. 2 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. Which of the following statement is not correct about Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)?

      1. The Scheme will be implemented during a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.

      2. It will be implemented as a central sector scheme.

      3. ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.

      4. Collectivization of fishers and fish farmers through Fish Farmer Producer Organizations (FFPOs) to increase bargaining power of fishers and fish farmers is a key feature of PMMSY.

 

  1. A new Special Liquidity Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) to improve liquidity position of the NBFCs/HFCs will be administered by the:

      1. Department of Financial Services

      2. Department of Economic Affairs

      3. Department of Expenditure

      4. Department of Commerce


Answers

  1. C 2.A 3.C4.B 5.A


 
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