Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related
1. PIB update:
Useful News Articles
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today folks!
B. GS2 Related
Category: Social sector initiatives
Location: The Hindu
- Prime Minister launched the PradhanMantriUjjwalaYojana, which aims to provide five crore LPG connections to women in Below Poverty Line (BPL) households over the next three financial years, at a cost of Rs. 8,000 crore The households will be selected using the socio-economic and caste census data
- The new users who receive LPG connections under the scheme will not have to pay the security deposit, while the Rs. 1,600 administrative costs, cost of pressure regulator booklet and safety hose will be borne by the government.Consumers will have the option to purchase gas stove and refills on EMI.
- According to World Health Organisation estimates, about 5 lakh deaths occur in India alone due to unclean cooking fuels. Experts say having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour
Tags: PradhanMantriUjjwalaYojana, WHO
Topic: India’s Neighbourhood
Location: The Hindu
- The Islamic State (IS) terror group has claimed responsibility of killing a Hindu tailor, Nikhil in Bangladesh’s Tangail district
- Nikhil earlier served three-month in jail in a case over slandering of Prophet Muhammad.
- Several people including, foreign nationals, bloggers, human rights activists and university teachers were hacked to death in the last one year and in most of the cases, Al-Qaeda or the IS have claimed responsibility
Location: The Hindu
- At least one investigating officer (IO) has complained to the CBI director of “huge amounts” of money having “exchanged hands” and “corrupt” senior officers misleading the coal scam investigation
- It is alleged that some seniors in the agency are taking bribes from companies to fix cases and are pressuring IOs to “weaken” cases where payoffs have been purportedly made
RC: Regular Cases
Tags: CVC ,ED ,CBI, Special Court
Category: governmental schemes
Location: The Hindu
- Prime Minister during his Varanasi visit launched a scheme for environment-friendly solar-powered ‘e-boats’ at the AssiGhat
- The scheme to distribute e-boats is an attempt to reduce pollution and keep the Ganga river cleaner
C. GS3 Related
Topic: Disaster Management
Category: Fire control
Location: The Hindu
- IAF helicopters joined the fight to put out the inferno across 2,269 hectares of forests in Uttarakhand
- With fires raging in the Uttarakhand forests, the wildlife is either perishing or entering human habitations, increasing the possibility of man-animal conflicts
- The Cheer Pheasant, which is declared ‘vulnerable’ and is listed in IUCN Red Data Book is under threat due to the fire ( National Parks nearby:Rajaji National Park , Corbett NationalPark)
Tags: Cheer Pheasant, IUCN Red Data Book
Category: Payment Systems
Location: The Hindu
- Consumers are opting for digital payments for not just e-commerce and auto rides but to make big-ticket purchases such as gold and motorbikes.
- The growth is because of the increasing reach of smartphones and the Internet
- A mobile wallet is the digital equivalent of a physical wallet where one can store money and then use it for payments or transferring money
D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
Category: taxation reform
- Only 2.9 crore Indians filed personal income tax returns for the assessment year 2012-13 — that is less than 4 per cent of the 76 crore adults enumerated in the 2011 Census. More than half these 2.9 crore individuals paid no tax at all (source:CBDT data)
- In 2015-16, direct taxes contributed only 51 per cent of the tax revenue, lower than in recent years (and even the government’s expectations) and the lowest since 2007-08
- the time series data published by the CBDT (2001-10 to 2014-15) should nudge policymakers to reframe tax governance priorities and rejig the direct-indirect tax ratio more equitably and progressively
- Just 18,358 individuals declared incomes of over Rs.1 crore in 2012-13, and that 1.5 per cent of taxpayers accounted for over half the personal taxes due. These numbers do not square up with sales of luxury cars, high-end accessories, gold and real estate
- The government needs to push through meaningful reform like taxing large farm incomes and rationalising bounties enjoyed by the well-off, to widen the base
- Most importantly, however, it needs to match the databases already available to prevent tax evasion
Tags: CBDT, Direct tax, Indirect tax
Note: Why is indirect taxation regressive?
Category: space technology
- India has an independent regional navigation satellite capability that covers the entire country and an area extending about 1,500 sq. km beyond its border
- A navigation system can be achieved using a certain number of satellites for specific constellations. ISRO opted for seven satellites — three in geostationary and four (as two pairs) in geosynchronous orbits — to provide the best navigation services
- With satellite positioning becoming the standard way of navigating and many civilian utilities reliant on it, the implications of signal failure, whether deliberate or accidental, will be enormous
- The availability of reliable, encrypted, accurate positioning and navigation information from IRNSS will mean that Indian military operations will not have to rely on GPS data
- During normal times, the interoperability (where an instrument can receive signals from multiple systems of satellites) of IRNSS, GPS and GLONASS will mean that civilian users will have additional sources of data, especially in urban areas and mountainous regions. This will allow them greater accuracy in timing or position measurement
- As the IRNSS constellation becomes operational, the focus should shift to making sure that industry rises to the occasion to manufacture receivers. To begin with, smartphones sold in the country should be able to receive the IRNSS signal
Tags: IRNSS, GPS, GLONASS
Note: What is the difference between geostationary and geosynchronous orbits?
- Responding to an increase in the prices of pulses, the Maharashtra cabinet adopted a draft legislation aimed at regulating and capping them
- The Centre asked states to crack down on hoarding by imposing stockholding limits for traders on all varieties of pulses. A day later, the Centre issued a similar decision on sugar, empowering Central agencies and state governments to control prices by imposing stock limits, and regulating its supply, distribution, storage and trade
- It is easy to characterise hoarding as an unjust activity that robs the farmer, increases prices for consumers, and benefits only the middlemen
- But essentially, the government is the biggest hoarder in the agricultural market. Indeed, timely hoarding of commodities, enabled by proper warehousing facilities in the country, can go a long way in stabilising price fluctuations
- Thanks to the fluctuations in the government’s arbitrarily set minimum export price for onions, there is, at present, a glut in the market. Prices have crashed to below Re 1 per kg and farmers are justifiably despondent
- This is when hoarding, or creating a buffer stock, helps the farmer and smooth prices, both for consumers and producers
- Instead of cracking down on hoarding and arbitrarily controlling prices, neither of which is a sustainable solution, the government should allow greater play of market forces in agriculture
- Prices signal the direction in which farmers must move to remain profitable. Government band-aid is a poor alternative
Tags: Minimum Exports Price
- The NitiAayog has placed on the internet a 25-slide presentation entitled “Creating a movement for change”- It has set out a thematic roadmap for quintupling the GDP from the current $2 trillion to $10 trillion and for removing poverty by 2032
- The presentation concludes with a vision statement that the “way forward” will be linked to the attainment of “sustainable development goals”. It doesn’t, however, mention the word “environment” even once
- There’s no focused theme on managing the environmental consequences of 10 per cent annual growth
- India must accept certain hard truths. It will remain dependent on relatively polluting fossil fuels for the foreseeable future
- In consequence, India will face two sharp vulnerabilities. The first will be because of the growing import dependence on a geopolitically volatile Middle East for crude oil supplies and the second because of environmental stress
- The issue of oil supply security will require creative energy diplomacy – it will have to navigate the antagonisms that divide two of our most important strategic suppliers, Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran
- Sustainable growth will require the catalytic impetus of government for investments in clean energy and innovation. The NitiAayog’s movement for change requires a laser focus on weakening, if not breaking, the connect between energy demand and environmental degradation. It must now develop the roadmap for doing so
Tags: NITI Aayog, SDGs
1. PIB update:
i) Andhra Pradesh first state in the country to become Open Defecation Free in urban areas
- Andhra Pradesh is set to become the first State in the country to make all of its urban areas ‘Open Defecation Free’ by October 2nd this year.
- This was reported during the review of progress of urban missions like Smart city Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Swachh Bharat Mission.
- Andhra Pradesh is making good progress in terms of construction individual household toilets in urban areas, Community and Public Toilet seats, and
Solid Waste Management, waste to energy plants etc.
ii) PM launches PradhanMantriUjjwalaYojana at Ballia: 5 crore beneficiaries to be provided cooking gas connections in three years
- The Prime Minister, ShriNarendraModi, launched the PradhanMantriUjjwalaYojana at Ballia.
- The scheme aims to provide cooking gas connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries over the next three years.
- The Prime Minister recalled that Ballia is the land of the revolutionary MangalPandey, and said that while the development of Eastern Uttar Pradesh has suffered for decades, connectivity is now being strengthened in the region.
- He said the Union Government is allocating tremendous resources for the development of Uttar Pradesh.
- During the launch ,he also mentioned the rapid progress that has been made in rural electrification and said the fruits of development must reach the eastern part of India, for us to gain strength in the fight against poverty.
iii) Maiden sea trial of first Scorpene submarine started
- ‘Kalvari’, the first of the Scorpene class submarines, built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd Mumbai (MDL), went to sea for the trials.
- This important milestone was achieved by MDL after overcoming a number of challenges faced since launching of the submarine last year in October.
- During the next few months, the submarine will undergo a barrage of sea trials, including surface trials, diving trials, weapon trials, Noise trials etc.
- Thereafter she would be commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Kalvari.
(Note: Commissioning of Kalvari will be a re-affirmation of India’s capability to build submarines and a major boost for the ‘Make in India’ programme of the government)
Please see click here to read more about background of the project from Best of PIB section.
iv) ADMM Plus Exercise on Maritime Security and Counter Terrorism at Brunei and Singapore
- In consonance with India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and Indian Navy’s constant endeavour to enhance maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat arrived at Brunei.
- The ship will participate in the ADMM Plus (ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus) Exercise on Maritime Security and Counter Terrorism from 01 to 09 May 16.
Please click here to read more about the issue from Best of PIB section.
v) “WITHOUT LABOUR NOTHING PROSPERS” says The Minister of State(IC) for Labour& Employment ShriBandaruDattaraya on the occasion of International Labour Day.
- On the occasion of International Labour Day, ShriBandaruDattaraya said the mantra of “ShramevJayate” guides us in our endeavors towards creating an equitable labour market to provide best opportunities to every worker in the country.
Note: This issue not so important except for some of the important initiatives that the Minister mentioned during the above.
Please click here to go to Best of PIB section to read more on that.
Category: Pollution Control
- Given the polarised debates over the road-rationing scheme in Delhi, which is being closely watched by administrators in other cities, a definitive study covering the impacts of this policy on varied stakeholders is required
- The partially positive response to the scheme suggests that the policy has virtues. Making the scheme permanent, however, will only encourage rich people to game the system by buying alternately numbered cars
- So a more rounded approach may yield better results in controlling pollution. Since restricting car use is always desirable, augmenting the public transport system is an obvious solution, especially increasing the number of buses
- Improving traffic management through better synchronised traffic signals, altering office times and limiting the timing of construction activity are others
- In this context, the state government’s decision to ban peak-hour surge pricing by taxi aggregators is inexplicable and poorly judged
- the suggestion made by NandanNilekani and Viral Shah to allow customer auctions for taxi services is worth considering
- Finally, the state government should study the impact the scheme has on those who rely on car usage: parking attendants and drivers, who stand to forfeit income if the scheme is made permanent
- The experiences of other Asian cities have shown that road rationing alone is an inadequate response to pollution. A more broad-based approach will be necessary
Tags: Public Transport System
Note: How do you think individual exposure to pollutants caused by automobile emissions and engines idling in traffic jams and at signalsin cities can be brought down?
- The RBI recently released a discussion paper on regulating peer-to-peer (P2P) lending
- The business models of P2P lending platforms rely on fee income to generate revenues, rather than the spreads between borrowing and lending costs (banks and NBFCs)
- P2P platforms earn loan origination fees from borrowers and service fees from lenders for credit scoring, collection and recovery services
- India is said to have 20 online P2P platforms currently, with most of them facilitating unsecured loans to social projects or smaller borrowers who cannot easily access banks for credit
- A ‘no regulation’ approach may not work in India. Given the low levels of financial awareness, individuals transacting on the platforms may be unable to make the necessary distinction between the regulated financial firms and unregulated online marketplaces, and may therefore be at risk from fly-by-night online firms
- Also, as P2P platforms offer services such as curation and credit assessment of borrowers and loan recovery services, there are retail consumer interests to be protected
- The RBI’s discussion paper proposes a middle path on regulation, by not subjecting P2P platforms to stringent rules on provisioning, reserve ratios or capital adequacy rules which apply to banks
- But to protect consumers, the RBI does propose to register and permit only marketplace models, filter out non-serious players through minimum net worth and fit-and-proper criteria, and call for regular filings from them.
- Given that P2P lenders will be making actual recommendations to borrowers on their lending decisions, more safeguards may be needed to ensure that these platforms have the necessary skills to conduct credit assessments of borrowers
- Adequate fee disclosures are essential to avoid conflicts of interest. Such checks may in fact be more effective than minimum net worth (proposed at Rs2 crore) or RBI’s fit-and-proper criteria to ensure strong players
- The best approach may be to start out with light-touch regulations that specify entry criteria that allow only quality players into this business. Operational guidelines can be evolved on the fly as the players figure out their business models
Tags:P2P lending platform, RBI,NBFC
- The biggest scam in coal was that businesses that had a legitimate need for coal just could not buy enough of the stuff from the monopoly supplier, state-owned Coal India, and had to obtain coal either through expensive imports or through captive mines, which first had to be obtained, by hook or by crook
- Policy created a domestic coal shortage, in spite of India’s coal reserves, some of the world’s largest.
- State monopoly of coal mining, the resultant shortage and attempted mitigation via captive mines guaranteed undue benefits — to those who got captive mines, to those who got a firm supply commitment from Coal India and to Coal India itself.
- Such undue benefit did not depend on the method of allocation adopted but was inherent in the policy itself. Auctioning captive coal mines has not resolved the problem. Most of the auctioned mines remain idle and probably will need to be re-auctioned on renewed terms.
- The present government has scrapped state monopoly over coal mining, but refrained from permitting merchant mining, which is the only sensible way forward.
- Any company in need of coal should be able to buy its requirement from one of a set of capable, competing coal miners, without having to waste money and lobbying resources to obtain coal. Time the government got going on this
Tags: Coal India, captive mines
- The year ended March 2016 saw aggregate deposits with banks grow by just 9.9%year on year
- This fall in deposit growth to single digits — last recorded in 1962-63 — has confounded policymakers and economic commentators for at least three reasons
- First, most banks today are offering 7.25%-7.5% interest on one-year fixed deposits, which is more than the consumer price inflation of 4.8%
- Second, deposit flight from banks is, of course, possible if people have alternative avenues for parking savings but there was a slump in real estate, and fall in gold imports
- The third source of bafflement over the slowdown in bank deposits is that it has been accompanied by higher growth
- Answer-All savings, whether financial or physical, ultimately come from incomes. What if incomes themselves aren’t growing much? Is it possible we are in such a situation today, which official data isn’t adequately capturing?
- There is little doubt that incomes in rural areas are under terrible stress
- Barring in select sectors such as e-commerce, there isn’t much evidence of job creation
- In a scenario where jobs and incomes are under pressure, it requires no great insight to expect savings to be squeezed out. The CSO data, in fact, points to a decline in household savings from 6% to 19.1% of GDP between 2011-12 and 2014-15
6.Useful Info graphics
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
- P2P lending platform
- NITI Aayog
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1:Which of the following is/are correct about P2P lending platforms?
- Revenue is generated from user fees
- They are currently regulated by the RBI
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 2: Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about PradhanMantriUjjwalaYojana?
- It aims to provide electricity connectionsto all Below Poverty Line (BPL) households
- It aims to provide LPG connections to women in Below Poverty Line (BPL) households
- It aims to integrate solar electricity to the national grid
- It aims to promote use of renewable technology in rural areas
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) 3 only
d) 4 only
Question 3:Which of the following is/are categorized under Direct taxes?
- Minimum Alternate Tax
- Wealth Tax
- Tax from capital gains
- Import Duty
a) 1 and 2
b) 1 and 3
c) 1,2 and 3
d) All the Above
Question 4:Which of the following national park(s) is/are located in Uttarakhand ?
- Jim Corbett National Park
- Rajaji National Park
- Nanda Devi National Park
- Dudhwa National Park
a) 1 and 3
b) 1,2 and 3
c) 1,3 and 4
d) All the Above
Question 5:Which of the following is/are included in the direct goals under Sustainable Development Goals ?
- Quality Education
- Better Mental Health
- Better care for the old and differently abled
- Affordable and Clean Energy
a) 1 and 4
b) 1 and 3
c) 2, 3 and4
d) All the above
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