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Daily PIB Analysis For UPSC/IAS | Download PDF

Date: 04 April 2019

MCQ 1

  1. Ways and means Advances(WMA) is a facility for banks by RBI
  2. The interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate
  • Choose correct

(A) Only 1

(B) Only 2

(C) Both

(D)None

  • Ways and means advances (WMA) is a mechanism used by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under its credit policy to provide to States, banking with it, to help them tide over temporary mismatches in the cash flow of their receipts and payments. This is guided under Section 17(5) of RBI Act, 1934, and are '..repayable in each case not later than three months from the date of making that advance’.
  • There are two types of WMA – normal and special. While Normal WMA are clean advances, Special WMA are secured advances provided against the pledge of government of India–dated securities.
  • The operative limit for special WMA for a state is subject to its holdings of central government dated securities up to a maximum of limit sanctioned. In addition, the RBI has determined limits for normal and special WMA for each state as multiples of the prescribed minimum balance required to be maintained with the RBI by that state. These limits have been revised periodically.
  •  The WMA needs to be vacated after 90 days. The interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate. The limits for WMA are decided by the RBI
  • These are temporary advances (overdrafts) extended by RBI to the govt. Section 17(5) of RBI Act allows RBI to make WMA both to the Central and State Govt. Objective – to bridge the interval between expenditure and receipts.
  • They are not a sources of finance but are meant to provide support, for purely temporary difficulties that arise on account of mismatch/shortfall in revenue or other receipts for meeting the govt. liabilities.
  • They have to be periodically adjusted to enable use of such financing for future mismatches. On 26 March 1997, Govt. of India and RBI signed an agreement putting the ad hoc T-bills system to end w.e.f 1 April 1997.

MCQ 2

Tip line, recently in news is a

  1. Defence satellite
  2. Navigation satellite
  3. Move by whatsapp to curb fake news
  4. Hotline facility between P5 countries
  • WhatsApp is working with India-based media skilling startup PROTO for the helpline
  • Whatsapp on Tuesday launched a 'tipline’ in India using which citizens can submit possible rumours and misinformation for verification, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • “Starting today, people in India can submit uncertain information or rumours they have received to the Checkpoint Tipline on WhatsApp +91-9643-000-888,” the Facebook-owned firm said in a statement.
  •  “When a WhatsApp user shares a suspicious message with the tipline, PROTO’s verification center will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in message shared is verified or not,” the company explained.
  •  The response, it added, will indicate if information is classified as true, false, misleading, disputed or out of scope and include any other related information that is available.
  •  “This center can review rumours in the form of pictures, video links or text and will cover four regional languages including Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam, other than English.”
  •  PROTO will also encourage grass-roots organisations to submit rumours circulating across different regions in India during the election period.

MCQ 3

  • Global food crisis report is released by
  1. UNDP
  2. OXFAM
  3. FAO
  4. OPHI institute
  • Global Report on Food Crises: acute hunger still affecting over 100 million people worldwide
  • A report presented today jointly by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) finds that around 113 million people in 53 countries experienced acute food insecurity in 2018, compared to 124 million in 2017.

Key findings:

  • However, the number of people in the world facing food crises has remained well over 100 million in the last three years, and the number of countries affected has risen. Moreover, an additional 143 million people in another 42 countries are just one step away from facing acute hunger.
  • Nearly two-thirds of those facing acute hunger are in just 8 countries: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
  • In 17 countries, acute hunger either remained the same or increased.
  • Climate and natural disasters pushed another 29 million people into acute food insecurity in 2018.
  • And 13 countries – including North Korea and Venezuela – are not in the analysis because of data gaps.
  • Background
  • The Global Report is produced each year by the Global Network Against Food Crises, which is made up of international humanitarian and development partners. This year's report is being presented at a two-day high-level event, ‘Food and agriculture in times of crisis', that begins in Brussels today and will look at innovative approaches and solutions for preventing and addressing food crises, plus a roadmap for joint future action. For more key findings from the report, see here.
  • Acute food insecurity is when a person's inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger. It draws on internationally accepted measures of extreme hunger, such as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and the Cadre Harmonisé.
  • Chronic hunger is when a person is unable to consume enough food to maintain a normal, active lifestyle over an extended period. The FAO's most recent State of Food Security and Nutrition report, in September 2018, found that 821 million people on the planet are going hungry.
  • Partners involved in producing the Global Report on Food Crises 2019 are: the Autorité Intergouvernementale pour le Développement (IGAD), Le Comité Permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS), the European Union, FAO, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Global Support Unit, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), the Global Food Security Cluster, the Global Nutrition Cluster, OCHA, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), UNICEF, USAID and WFP.

MCQ 4

  1. India is the 3rd largest manufacturer of mobiles
  2. India exports lithium ion batteries to many countries
  • Choose correct

(A)Only 1

(B)Only 2

(C)Both

(D)None

  • India and Bolivia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and industrial use of lithium for the production of lithium-ion batteries. As part of the MoU, Bolivia will support supplies of lithium and lithium carbonate to India, as well as joint ventures between the two countries for lithium battery production plants in India.
  •  Bolivia is estimated to hold over 60 per cent of the world's reserves for lithium, the lightest known metal, which is required for lithium-ion batteries for portable electronics, and electric vehicles, but has not yet started producing it commerically.
  •  India, as the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world, and with the ambitious goal of 30 per cent electric vehicles by 2030, imports all its lithium-ion batteries.
  • To put it alternatively, India has no known sources of lithium, and zero lithiumion battery manufacturing capabilities currently.
  •  India is heavily dependent on China, Taiwan and Japan for import, especially of batteries required for portable electronics.
  • With the MoU, the possibility of Indian companies setting up production capabilities in Bolivia goes up, as well as the import of lithium to India. Domestic production is also set to see a boost, from the automotive perspective. The arrival of hybrids and electric vehicles from as early as 2020 onwards, will force manufacturers to look at local production.

MCQ 5

  1. IREC is a series of high-level political conferences exclusively dedicated to the renewable energy sector. The conference is held on a biennial basis, hosted by a national government, and convened by REN21.
  2. In 2010 the conference was held in Mumbai
  • Choose correct

(A)Only 1

(B)Only 2

(C)Both

(D)None

New Delhi

  • The Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC 2010) was held 27-29 October 2010, in New Delhi, India.
  • REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century) is a think tank and global multi-stakeholder network which is focused on renewable energy policy.
  • Initiated at the renewables2004 conference in Bonn, IREC is a high-level political conference series dedicated to renewable energy policy worldwide.
  • Dedicated exclusively to the renewable energy sector, IRECs are hosted by alternate Governments every two years and convened by REN21.
  • One of the major accomplishments of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, was the recognition that renewable energy is a critical component of sustainable development, energy security, climate change, and air quality.
  • Worldwide enthusiasm for renewable energy has increased dramatically since WSSD

Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises

  • NuGen Mobility Summit 2019
  • The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) is organizing a NuGen Mobility Summit, 2019, at Manesar, NCR, from 27th to 29th November 2019. The objective of the Summit is to share new ideas, learnings, global experiences, innovations and future technology trends for faster adoption, assimilation and development of advanced automotive technologies for a smarter and greener future. This event will help in building a platform for bringing together all stakeholders in the automotive industry to understand global advancements in technologies.
  • The Summit is being organized in association with SAENIS, SAE INDIA, SAE International, NATRiP, DIMTS, Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, SIAM and ACMA.
  • Experts working with leading international scientific and research organizations and testing laboratories from various countries like USA, Europe, Japan and other Asian countries will also participate in the event and share their experiences and knowledge on development of smart and green technologies and the challenges that the industry needs to overcome. The event aims to bring together the automotive OEMs, professionals, researchers, academic experts, vehicle system suppliers, test equipment supplier, quality managers, product planners, component developers, SAE members and students from all over the world.
  • Track demonstrations, drive-touch-feel activity and lab demonstrations on upcoming vehicle technologies like connected mobility, autonomous vehicles, electric mobility, alternate fuels, intelligent transportation system, hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen IC engine, vehicle dynamics, advance materials and lightweighting , end of life vehicles and recycling are uniqueness of this event.
  • ICAT Centre-II is under brisk renovation to create a world-class state-of-the-art facility for organizing such significant and sizeable events for the automotive fraternity. Several kinds of tracks such as coast down track, oval track, abs track, hill track and flood track will be available for demonstrations and events.
  • ICAT Manesar is a division of NATRIP Implementation Society (NATIS) under the Department of Heavy Industries, Government of India. It provides services for testing, validation, design and homologation of all categories of vehicles and has a mission to assist the automotive industry in adopting cutting edge technologies in vehicle evaluation and component development to ensure reliability, durability and compliance to the current and future regulations in new generation mobility solutions.

National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP),

  • the largest and one of the most significant initiatives in Automotive sector so far, represents a unique joining of hands between the Government of India, a number of State Governments and Indian Automotive Industry to create a state of the art Testing, Validation and R&D infrastructure in the country.
  • The Project aims at creating core global competencies in Automotive sector in India and facilitate seamless integration of Indian Automotive industry with the world as also to position the country prominently on the global automotive map.

Finance Commission

  • 15th Finance Commission holds high level discussions on ‘Fiscal Relations across levels of Government’
  • The 15th Finance Commission today held a high level roundtable on ‘Fiscal Relations across levels of government’. It was moderated by Shri N. K. Singh, Chairman of the Commission.
  • The roundtable is being organized in partnership with the World Bank, OECD and ADB. This is the culmination of significant works that all the three organizations have undertaken for the FC.
  • Addressing the gathering the Chairman set the tone of the discussions by briefly elaborating on the four technical sessions of the meeting:
  •  Sub-national debt
  •  Transfer design incentives and fiscal equalization.
  •  Sub-national budget and Public financial management system, and
  •  Finances of third-tier of Government.
  • Earlier, the Commission had held separate workshops with the OECD in April, 2018 and the World Bank in July, 2018 to discuss the initial thoughts and country experiences on the issues related to fiscal federalism and inter-governmental transfers. Today’s roundtable is a concluding session of the work being done by the World Bank, OECD and ADB for the Commission. The discussions were about the findings coming out of the research work and analysis done by their teams.
  • Sub-national debt, fiscal rules and sustainability ·
  • One of the Terms of Reference made to this Finance Commission is to review the current level of debt of the Union and the States and recommend a fiscal consolidation roadmap for sound fiscal management. ·
  • As per the amended FRBM Act, the Central Government shall take appropriate steps to ensure that:
  •  The general government debt does not exceed 60%;
  •  The Central Government debt does not exceed 40% of GDP by the end of FY 2024-25. ·
  •  The Central Government debt is estimated at 48.9 per cent as a percentage of GDP for 2018-19. It is expected that Central Government liabilities will come down to 47.3 per cent of GDP in 2019-20 (As per Budget 2019-2020). ·
  •  The outstanding liabilities of the State Governments stands at 23.4 per cent of GSDP at end-March 2017, with a range of 46.3 per cent in Punjab and 15.1 per cent in Chhattisgarh (as the RBI Study on State Budgets). ·
  •  These developments have posed an important and challenging task for the Commission to arrive at a roadmap for Commission’s award period from 2020 to 2025.

Today’s discussions focused on:

  •  What should the distribution of this 60% be between centre and states, given the current trends in their debts.
  •  How to arrive at the inter se distribution of aggregate state debt between states.
  • Intergovernmental transfer design, incentives and fiscal equalization
  • Addressing vertical and horizontal imbalance in the fiscal resources between Union and States is one of the major tasks of the Commission.
  • While designing formula-based transfers to sub-national governments, equalization is one of the important considerations.
  • In this context; the roundtable discussed the options available to design an equalization scheme for the Indian federation, given the constraints of data on unit cost of service delivery and on the taxable potential of the Centre States and
  • The Commission’s Terms of Reference requires it to recommend performance-based incentives to states. Some of the items in this indicative list are efforts on GST, population control, increasing capital expenditure, implementation of flagship programs, etc. The meeting discussed –
  • o Whether it should be incentive for prospective performance or rewards for past accomplishments
  • o The need for balance between equity and efficiency, considering that the better-off States will generally score better in efficiency consideration.
  • · International experiences of related cases were also discussed.
  • Public Financial Management
  • Reforms in PFM systems are a continuous process. Previous Finance Commissions recommended on various aspects of PFM systems of both Union and States with focus on budgetary and accounting processes, financial reporting, etc.
  • Pace of implementation of such reforms have been slow. Possible causes may be lack of institutional framework to operationalize and implement these recommendations either at Union level or State level, and others likely reasons were discussed.

Revenue generation in third-tier of government

  • The discussions centered around how to make the 3rd tier self sufficient specially now when the GST has subsumed many taxes which earlier used to generate revenue for them.
  • Raising own revenue by the third tier of the government is a serious concern for India’s decentralised administrative structure.
  • One of the major sources of raising revenue is property taxation by local bodies.
  • Some local bodies have attempted different models to streamline and systematize property collection within their jurisdiction. However, very few have been successful in improving revenue collection through property taxes.
  • The reforms required in this field, global practices, ways to help local governments to raise their own revenue through the scheme of devolution, grants, and others were discussed