8th January 2021

New Industrial Development Scheme for Jammu & Kashmir

Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade for New Industrial Development Scheme for Jammu & Kashmir.

  • The development of reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir into UT of Jammu & Kashmir under the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 is considered as historic development.

Key Features of New Industrial Development Scheme for Jammu & Kashmir

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme for the development of Industries in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • The scheme is approved with a total outlay of Rs. 28,400 crore upto the year 2037.
  • The main purpose of the scheme is to generate employment which directly leads to the socio economic development of the area.
  • The smaller units with an investment in plant & machinery upto Rs. 50 crore will get a capital incentive upto Rs. 7.5 crore and get capital interest subvention at the rate of 6% for maximum 7 years.
  • The scheme aims to take industrial development to the block level in UT of J&K,which is first time in any Industrial Incentive Scheme of the Government of India and attempts for a more sustained and balanced industrial growth in the entire UT.
  • The scheme has been simplified on the lines of ease of doing business by bringing one major incentive i.e. GST Linked Incentive that will ensure less compliance burden without compromising on transparency.
  • The scheme envisages greater role of the UT of J&K in registration and implementation of the scheme while having proper checks and balances by having an independent audit agency before the claims are approved.
  • It is not a reimbursement or refund of GST but gross GST is used to measure eligibility for industrial incentive to offset the disadvantages that the UT of J&K faces.

Incentives provided under New Industrial Development Scheme for Jammu & Kashmir

  • Capital Investment Incentive: At the rate of 30% in Zone A and 50% in Zone B on investment made in Plant & Machinery (in manufacturing) or construction of building and other durable physical assets (in service sector) is available.
  • Capital Interest subvention: At the annual rate of 6% for maximum 7 years on loan amount up to Rs. 500 crore for investment in plant and machinery (in manufacturing) or construction of building and all other durable physical assets (in service sector).
  • GST Linked Incentive: 300% of the eligible value of actual investment made in plant and machinery (in manufacturing) or construction in building and all other durable physical assets(in service sector) for 10 years.
    • The amount of incentive in a financial year will not exceed one-tenth of the total eligible amount of incentive.
  • Working Capital Interest Incentive: All existing units at the annual rate of 5% for maximum 5 years.
    • The maximum limit of incentive is Rs 1 crore.

Need for Industrial Development of J&K 

  • The present scheme is being implemented with the vision that industry and service led development of J&K needs to be given a fresh thrust.
  • The scheme emphasizes on job creation, skill development and sustainable development by attracting new investment and nurturing the existing ones.
  • It is anticipated that the proposed scheme is likely to attract unprecedented investment and give direct and indirect employment to about 4.5 lakh persons.

 

International Akhand Conference EDUCON 2020 

Recently, the Union Education Minister has inaugurated the two-day Virtual International Akhand Conference ‘EDUCON 2020’.

Highlights

  • It is being organized by Central University of Punjab, Bathinda (CUPB) in collaboration with the Global Educational Research Association (GERA).
  • The focal theme of EDUCON-2020 is Envisioning Education for Transforming Youth to Restore Global Peace.
  • The Akhand Conference will pass on the message to the researchers and students across the globe that the research is a 24X7 exercise and requires strong perseverance.
  • The international conference will help the prospective teachers to become familiar with different technologies and their functioning to bring transformational change in the field of education.
  • The conference is the first of its kind in India where scholars across the world would be continuously having non-stop marathon dialogue sessions for 31 hours exploring the possibilities of the use of ICT in the higher education.
  • The conference will also provide a platform for discussions on emerging trends in education viz.:
    • Likely scenario of higher education and school education by 2050;
    • Developing disruptive technologies for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Education;
    • Training youth for strategic future jobs in Universities;
    • Skill training programme for future graduates; and
    • Relevance of ancient education system in 21st century

Global Educational Research Association (GERA)

  • It is a Society having its own constitution.
  • It was founded in 2010 under the leadership of Late Prof. B. K. Passi.
  • The objectives of GERA are to develop and promote educational research:
    • to provide an international forum for discussion of problems related
    • to conduct workshops, seminars, conference etc.
    • to disseminate findings of research,
    • to publish journals, monographs and other types of literature on educational research,
    • to co-operate with organisations engaged in educational research, and 
    • to carry out all such other activities as may be conducive to the attainment of the objectives

 

India to chair three-key subsidiary bodies of UNSC

Recently, the Permanent Representative of India at the United Nations Security Council has announced that India will be chairing three-key subsidiary bodies of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

  • The three-key subsidiary bodies are Counter-Terrorism Committee (for 2022), Taliban Sanctions Committee, and Libya Sanctions committee.
  • The chairing of the Counter-Terrorism Committee has a special resonance for India which has not only been at the forefront of fighting terrorism especially cross border terrorism but has also been one of its biggest victims.
    • The Counter-Terrorism Committee was formed in September 2001 soon after thetragic terrorist attack of 9/11 in New York, while India had chaired this Committee in the Security Council in 2011-12.
  • The Taliban Sanctions Committee (1988 Sanctions Committee) has always been a high priority for India keeping in mind its strong interest and commitment to peace, security, development, and progress of Afghanistan.
  • India will be assuming the chair of the Libya Sanctions Committee (1970 Sanctions Committee) at a critical juncture when there is an international focus on Libya and on the peace process.

 

Committee to protect language, culture & land of Ladakh

Recently, the Union Cabinet has decided to form a committee to protect language, culture & land of Ladakh.

  • The committee is aimed at protecting the language, culture and land of Ladakh and ensuring citizen’s participation in the Union Territory’s development.
  • The Committee will be headed by the Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.
  • The Committee will include elected representatives from Ladakh, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, central government, and the Ladakh administration.

Need for Protection of Language, Culture and Land of Ladakh

  • The decision to form the Committee came after Union Home Minister met a 10-member delegation from Ladakh who expressed their views about the need to protect Ladakh’s unique cultural identity.
  • The delegations stressed upon the geographic location and strategic importance of Ladakh, its demographic changes and the need for generating more employment opportunities in the UT.
  • The Union Home Minister said that the delegation that the government under PM Modi is entirely committed to the development of the Ladakh region and for protecting its fascinating culture and land.

 

Regulation S Bond

Recently, the State Bank of India (SBI) has raised $600 million of ‘Regulation S’ bonds via its London branch at a coupon rate of 1.8%.

  • The Regulation S Bond is priced at a spread of 140 basis points over the 5-year U.S. Treasury rate and will be listed on SGX-ST and India INX.
  • The issuance represented SBI’s return to the international public bond markets after a gap of close to two years.
  • The successful issuance demonstrates the strong investor base SBI has created for itself in offshore capital markets.

Regulation S Bond

  • Regulation S is a “safe harbor” that defines when an offering of securities is deemed to be executed in another country and therefore not be subject to the registration requirement under section 5 of the 1933 Act.
  • Regulation S offerings are typically referred to as “Offshore Offering” because they mainly have to either do with a foreign company creating an offering, or an US company that is offerings its debt or equity overseas, i.e. outside the United States.
  • A Reg S offering is typical of many European offerings and the larger clearing firms in Europe often grant access to their systems via a Regulation S offering.
  • The Rule 144A modifies the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) restrictions on trades of privately placed securities so that these investments can be traded among qualified institutional buyers.

 

Key takeaways from India’s latest GDP data

Recently, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released the First Advance Estimates (FAE) for the current financial year.

  • India’s economy had grown at 4.2% in 2019-20, but entered a recessionary phase with two successive quarters of sharp contraction triggered by the COVID-19 national lockdowns beginning March 2020.
  • Following a 23.9% collapse in the economy between April to June 2020 period, the GDP fell by 7.5% in the second quarter, leading to a real GDP contraction of 15.7% in the first half of 2020-21.

Highlights

  • According to MoSPI, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) i.e. the total value of all final goods and services produced within the country in one financial year, will contract by 7.7 per cent in 2020-21.
  • The advance estimate suggests that the second half of the year will surface to record near-zero growth or a mere 0.1% contraction.
  • The sector-wise estimates are obtained by extrapolating indicators such as:
    • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) of first 7 months of the financial year
    • Financial performance of listed companies in the private corporate sector available up to quarter ending September, 2020
    • The 1st Advance Estimates of crop production,
    • The accounts of central & state governments,
    • Information on indicators like deposits & credits, passenger and freight earnings of Railways, passengers and cargo handled by civil aviation, cargo handled at major sea ports, sales of commercial vehicles, etc., available for first 8 months of the financial year.

Seven key takeaways from the First Advance Estimates for 2020-21

  • GDP Growth Rate: In the context of recent history, the 7.7 per cent contraction in GDP is a sharp one considering that India has registered an average annual GDP growth rate of 6.8 per cent since the start of economic liberalisation in 1992-93.
    • The big reason for the contraction has been the disruption caused by Covid-induced lockdowns which saw the economy contract by almost 24 per cent in the first quarter and by 15.7 per cent during the first half (H1) of the year.
    • The government expects the economy will produce almost exactly the same amount of goods and services that it produced in the second half of the last financial year (2019-20).
    • In the H1 of 2020-21, India produced goods and services worth Rs 60 lakh crore which is much lower than the Rs 71 lakh crore worth of goods produced in H1 of 2019-20.
  • Absolute level of real GDP: India’s real GDP i.e. GDP without the influence of inflation in 2020-21 will be lower than the 2018-19 level.
  • Per Capita GDP: While the GDP provides an all-India aggregate, per capita GDP is a better variable if one wants to understand how an average India has been impacted.
    • While the overall real GDP will fall by 7.7 per cent, per capita real GDP will fall by 8.7 per cent.
  • Absolute level of real Gross Value Added (or GVA): The Gross Value Added provides a picture of the economy from the supply side.
    • It maps the value-added by different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, industry and services.
    • The GVA provides a proxy for the income earned by people involved in the various sectors.
    • According to MoSPI’s First Advance Estimates, India’s real GVA level will fall below the 2018-19 level.
  • Absolute level of Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE): The biggest demand for goods and services comes from private individuals trying to satisfy their consumption needs.
  • Per capita PFCE: The per capita PFCE is a relevant metric as it shows how much an average Indian spends in his/her private capacity.
  • Absolute level of Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF): The second biggest component of GDP is called GFCF and it measures all the expenditures on goods and services that businesses and firms make as they invest in their productive capacity.

 

25th Amendment of the US Constitution

Recently, the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump supporters storming the US Capitol building, there are calls by many to either impeach President Trump or invoke the 25th Amendment.

What is the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution?

  • The amendment lays out how a US president and vice president may be succeeded or replaced.
  • The Twenty-fifth Amendment was an effort to resolve some of the continuing issuesrevolving about the office of the President.
    • The issues included what happens upon the death, removal, or resignation of the President and what is the course to follow if for some reason the President becomes disabled to such a degree that he cannot fulfill his responsibilities.
  • The amendment has four sections:
    • The first section codified the traditionally observed process of succession in the event of the death of the president that the vice president would succeed to the office.
      • It also introduced a change regarding the ascent of the vice president to president should the latter resign from office.
      • In the event of resignation, the vice president would assume the title and position of president (not acting president) effectively prohibiting the departing president from returning to office.
    • The second section of the amendment addresses vacancies in the office of the vice president.
    • The third section of the amendment set forth the formal process for determining the capacity of the president to discharge the powers and duties of office.
    • In case the president is unable to declare his/her incompetence, the fourth section of the amendment requires the vice president and the cabinet to jointly ascertain this and if they do so, then the vice president immediately assumes the position of acting president.

Background of 25th Amendment of the US Constitution

  • In the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the 25th Amendment was proposed by Congress in 1965, and ratified by the states in 1967.
  • The Watergate scandal of the 1970s saw the application of these procedures, first when Gerald Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as Vice President, then when he replaced Richard Nixon as President, and then when Nelson Rockefeller filled the resulting vacancy to become the Vice President.
  • The fourth section of the 25th Amendment has never been invoked.

Removal of President of India

  • The President can be removed from office by a process of impeachment for ‘violation of the Constitution’.
    • The Constitution does not define the meaning of the phrase ‘violation of the Constitution’.
  • The impeachment charges can be initiated by both House of Parliament and these charges should be signed by one-fourth members of the House.
  • After the impeachment resolution is passed by a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of that House, it is sent to the other House, which should investigate the charges.
  • If the other House also sustains the charges and passes the impeachment resolution by a majority of two-thirds of the total membership, then the President stands removed from his office from the date on which the resolution is so passed.
  • An impeachment of President of India is a quasi-judicial procedure in the Parliament.
  • The two things should be noted that:
    • The nominated members of either House of Parliament can participate in the impeachment of the President though they do not participate in his election;
    • The elected members of the legislative assemblies of states and the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry do not participate in the impeachment of the President though they participate in his election.
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