UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Nov 18

National Highways Authority of India going Strong

  • Moody’s upgrades ratings of NHAI to Baa2 from Baa3.
  • CRISIL says reforms have led to decline in percentage of high risk highways projects
  • Following the upgrade of India’s sovereign rating from Baa3 positive to Baa2 stable on 16th November 2017, Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded the issuer ratings of National Highways Authority of India to Baa2 from Baa3 and revised outlook to stable from positive.
  • The ratings of NTPC, NHPC and GAIL have also been upgraded.
  • Meanwhile, a report of the global rating agency CRISIL has also said that reforms by NHAI have resulted in a steep decline in the percentage of high risk highways projects from 53 percent two years back to 21 percent now.
  • The reforms that have made this possible include quicker approvals, loan support for languishing projects, termination of stuck projects and their subsequent re-awarding, and affording a change in sponsor.
  • According to CRISIL about 80 % of the operational portfolio comprising nearly 100 BOT projects are at low risk today in terms of debt servicing.
  • The CRISIL report also acknowledges that NHAI reforms have resulted in doubling of highways construction rate from 12 km per day in 2015 to 23 km per day in 2017.
  • It says, the awarding of contracts is expected to sustain given the announcement and subsequent implementation of Bharatmala project.
  • The CRISIL report goes on to say that with the improved ground situation both debt and equity investors are showing more interest in the road sector.

 

Swachh Bharat Central Team assist in building twin pits in Champaran to mark World Toilet Day

  • In the run up to World Toilet Day , behaviour change and toilet construction activities are being undertaken by the States and districts around the country.

Aim

  • One of the aims of the exercise was to give the officials an opportunity to stay in the village for an extended period of time, interact with villagers directly, join in trigger behavior change and discuss their challenges and aspirations over the course of three days, in one of the lowest sanitation coverage districts in the country.

Why was Champaran selected?

  • The team chose Champaran as the district to visit for this exercise as part of the Champaran centenary year, “Satyagrah se Swachhagrahtak” celebrations.

What was done to inculcate change?

  • The team encouraged villagers to build and use twin pit toilets in their homes.
  • A screening of the movie, Toilet EkPrem Katha, was also organized for the villagers at a ratrichaupal after the first day of shramdaan.
  • The joint team of the Ministry and the State of Bihar, joined the villagers to dig twin pits for the toilets in the village including brick laying inside the pits and building of toilet.
  • The village will be declared ODF tomorrow on World Toilet Day.The team also  paid homage at various memorials to Gandhiji at Champaran.
  • The team also participated in a Master Sanitation Trainers’ Workshop organised by the State Government.
  • The team led by Secretary ShriParameswaranIyer began morning vigil exercise in the villages together with local NigraniSamities to assess the extent of open defecation.
  • An intense interpersonal communication exercise was undertaken with the people who had come out to defecate in open.
  • The team also visited households to motivate people to build their own toilets.
  • Village women and children enthusiastically participated in the interaction.
  • The World Toilet Day initiative in Champaran is expected to give an impetus to the Swachh Bharat programme in Bihar which is making special efforts to accelerate it’s sanitation programme.
  • In their interaction with the villagers, Secretary Iyer and his team emphasized the need to community’s behaviour change and usage of toilet.
  • The call was enthusiastically supported by the villagers who promised to make their villages ODF soon.

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