Current Affairs 14-11-2017

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answered Nov 14 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)

India, Philippines ink deals on defence, agriculture(GS 2,International Relation:Bilateral Realtions)

Context-Four agreements were signed between the two countries, which covered areas of defence, agriculture, small and medium enterprises and tie-up between think-tanks.

Introducation-1.This is the first bilateral visit by an Indian PM to this Southeast Asian nation in 36 years after the visit of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981, though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Philippines in 2007 for the ASEAN summit.

2.Four agreements were signed between the two countries, which covered areas of defence, agriculture, small and medium enterprises and tie-up between think-tanks.

Agreement signed between countries-1.Four agreements were signed between the two countries, which covered areas of defence, agriculture, small and medium enterprises and tie-up between think-tanks.

2.The idea is to have private and public enterprises to cooperate in the defence sector, including on the off-shore patrolling vessels.

3.Philippines also committed to improving the public health system and wants Indian infrastructure companies to pitch in his flagship “build, build and build programme.

Other Highlights of the visit-1. India contributed two Indian rice seed varieties to the gene bank of the international rice research centre in the Philippines which he said is working towards mitigating global poverty and hunger by improving the cultivation of the key grain.

2.  Flood-tolerant rice varieties which can withstand 14-18 days of submergence and provide 1-3 tonnes more yield per hectare in flood-affected areas.

3.This would help the farmers to enhance their income.

4. A ‘rice field laboratory’ named after PM Modi was also inaugurated by  at IRRI institute.

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answered Nov 14 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)

Demonetisation, GST could have helped India cut greenhouse gas emissions in 2017: Report

Context-1. The growth in India’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 was substantially lower than the average in the last one decade,

2. and it seems demonetisation and the introduction of goods and services tax also had some role to play in it.

-The 2017 Global Carbon Budget report, published simultaneously in the journals Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters, and Earth System Science Data Discussion says that by the end of this year, global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industrial use was likely to increase by 2 per cent compared to last year, ending a three-year period of almost zero growth.

Rise in Global Emission- 1.The rise in global emissions could be attributed to a 3.5 per cent projected increase in the emissions of China, which had remained almost flat last year, and relatively lower reductions in the United States and the European Union compared to last year.

2.China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the United States, European Union and India.

3.The return to growth in global emissions in 2017 is largely due to a return to growth in Chinese emissions, projected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2017 after two years with declining emissions.

4.The use of coal, the main fuel source in China, may rise by 3 per cent due to stronger growth in industrial production and lower hydro-power generation due to less rainfall.

India`s GHG emission- 1.Though India’s emissions in 2017 is also projected to rise, this increase is likely to be only 2 per cent over last year

2. In the last one decade, India’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased on an average of almost six per cent every year, it says.

3. Last year, India’s emissions had grown by 6.7 per cent.

Reason for Low emission in India-1. The report acknowledges the rapid progress made in installation of solar energy in India but says the substantially lower growth rate could be attributed to a slowdown in economy as well.

2. India’s installed solar capacity almost doubled in 2016 to 12 GW (gigawatts).

3.The reduction in this year’s growth is attributable to many factors, including reduced exports,

-a declining share of industrial and agricultural production in GDP,

- reduced consumer demand,

-and both a sudden fall in money circulation attributable to demonetisation late in 2016 and a goods and services tax introduced in 2017.

-If India’s economy was able to recover quickly from these interventions, the annual growth in greenhouse gas emissions was once again likely to go over 5 per cent in 2018.

Global GHG emission-1.India’s greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and industrial use was likely to be 2.5 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

2. On the other hand, global greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 from fossil fuels and industrial use was projected to be 36.8 Gt of CO2 equivalent, with an error margin of 1.8 Gt.

3. Of this, China would account for 10.5 Gt, the United States 5.3 Gt, and the European Union 3.5 Gt. Rest of the world would contribute 15.1 Gt of CO2 equivalent.

Main contributor of Pollution-1.Fossil fuel burning and industrial use account for nearly 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions by human activities.

2.The third big contribution comes from changes in land use.

3. Deforestation, for example, would lead to increased emissions.

4. The total emissions from all sources, including the contribution from land-use change, was projected to reach about 41 Gt of CO2 equivalent in 2017, the report says.It says economic projections for the major emitters showed that the growth in emissions was likely to continue in 2018 as well.

Conclusion-The increased emission could have very important consequences for the global efforts to contain the rise in temperatures to within two degree celsius from pre-industrial times, which is the objective of the Paris Agreement.

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answered Nov 14 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)

Loan waiver is not the solution(GS 2,Government Policies and interventions)

Context- We need to revisit the credit policy with a focus on the outreach of banks and financial inclusion.

Introduction- Since Independence, one of the primary objectives of India’s agricultural policy has been to improve farmers’ access to institutional credit and reduce their dependence on informal credit. 

Government Initiative-1.As informal sources of credit are mostly usurious, the government has improved the flow of adequate credit through the nationalisation of commercial banks, and the establishment of Regional Rural Banks and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

2.It has also launched various farm credit programmes over the years

- the Kisan Credit Card scheme in 1998,

- the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme in 2008,

- the Interest Subvention Scheme in 2010-11,

-and the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana in 2014.

-It is encouraging to see a robust increase in institutional credit from ₹8 lakh crore in 2014-15 to ₹10 lakh crore in 2017-18.

3.Of this, ₹3.15 lakh crore is meant for capital investment, while the remaining is for crop loans. Actual credit flow has considerably exceeded the target.

4.The result is that the share of institutional credit to agricultural gross domestic product has increased from 10% in 1999-2000 to nearly 41% in 2015-16.

However There are large no. of farmers who are out of formal mode of institutional credit.

-While the flow of institutional farm credit has gone up, the rolling out of the farm waiver scheme in recent months may slow down its pace and pose a challenge to increasing agricultural growth.

- At the global level, studies indicate that access to formal credit contributes to an increase in agricultural productivity and household income. However, such links have not been well documented in India.

Various report suggested-1.48% of agricultural households do not avail a loan from any source. Among the borrowing households, 36% take credit from informal sources, especially from moneylenders who charge exorbitant rates of interest in the 25%-70% range per annum.

Why Formal Credit-1.Compared to non-institutional borrowers, institutional borrowers earn a much higher return from farming (17%)

2.Return form the borrowing of formal sector is significantly higher than the borrowing of informal sector.

3. Access to institutional credit is associated with higher per capita monthly consumption expenditures.

4.  Access to formal institutional credit also tends to enhance farmers’ risk-bearing ability and may induce them to take up risky ventures and investments that could yield higher incomes.

Conerns-1. A negative relationship between the size of farm and per capita consumption expenditure (a proxy for income) further underscores the importance of formal credit in assisting marginal and poor farm households in reducing poverty.

2. While 63.4% of agricultural investments are done through institutional credit, landless, marginal and small farmers’ investment demand is met through informal sources to the tune of 40.6%, 52.1%, and 30.8%, respectively. 

3. Those farmers, who are residing in the less developed States ,are more vulnerable.

Why Loan waiver is not helping Farmers?-

  1. Clearly, a major proportion of farmers remain outside the ambit of a policy of a subsidised rate of interest, and, for that matter, of loan waiver schemes .
  2. This sop provides relief to the relatively better off and lesser-in-number medium and large farmers without having much impact on their income and consumption. 
  3. To what extent this relief measure can help bring farmers out of indebtedness and distress remains a question. This is because farmers’ loan requirement is for non-agricultural purposes as well, and often goes up at the time of calamity when the state offers minimal help.
  4. It should be understood that writing off loans would not only put pressure on already constrained fiscal resources but also bring in the challenge of identifying eligible beneficiaries and distributing the amount.

Way Forward-1.The anomaly of major farmers remain outside of loan waiver scheme can be rectified only if the credit market is expanded to include agricultural labourers, marginal and small land holders.

It is, therefore, important to revisit the credit policy with a focus on the outreach of banks and financial inclusion.

2. The government along with the farmers’ lobby should desist from clamouring for loan waivers as it provides instant temporary relief from debt but largely fails to contribute to farmers’ welfare in the long run.

3.Government must direct sincere efforts to protect them from incessant natural disasters and price volatility through crop insurance and better marketing systems.

 A diversion of money towards debt relief, which is in fact unproductive, will adversely impinge on state finances, may dissuade lending by the banks, and hence prove counterproductive to the government’s broader mandate of doubling farmers’ income by 2022-23.

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answered Nov 14 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)

National Conference on BharatNet

  • BharatNet aimed at providing broadband connectivity to rural areas.
  • Under the phase I, optical Fibre connectivity was made available at 1 lakh Gram Panchayats.
  • Department of Telecommunication organized National Conference on BharatNet where MoU was signed for the launching of phase II.
  • DoT has initiated discussions on delivering Broadband enabled Citizen Services in 1 lakh gram panchayats.
  • Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is the special purpose vehicle created as a PSU for execution of National Optical Fibre Network.
  • It is funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund.
  • It will implemented by the respective state government.

Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana launched to promote philately

  1. It will be a Pan India scholarship program for school children called Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana to increase the reach of Philately
  2. Under the scheme of SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby), it is proposed to award annual scholarships to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles
  3. To avail this scholarship, a child must be a student of a recognized school within India and the concerned school should have a Philately Club and the candidate should be a member of the Club
  4. In case the school Philately Club hasn’t been established a student having his own Philately Deposit Account will also be considered

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