LPG subsidy linked to income – (Governance)
- In a move that is bound to raise the hackles of a sizeable number of consumers, the government has declared that those who earned over Rs. 10 lakh in the previous financial year will be ineligible for LPG subsidy from January.
- “The government has decided that the benefit of the LPG subsidy will not be available for LPG consumers if the consumer or his/her spouse had a taxable income of more than Rs. 10,00,000/- during the previous financial year computed as per the Income Tax Act, 1961,” the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said in a release on Monday.
Cars are not the biggest polluters in Delhi – (Environment)
- Delhi is gearing up for the odd-even scheme to check vehicular pollution, but road dust, burning of biomass and municipal solid waste, and industrial stacks contribute a far greater share of the city’s air pollution, according to a study by the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur.
- The draft report found that particulate matter (PM) pollution from road dust, from various sources, was the highest in both categories: PM10 and PM2.5. Road dust contributed 56% of all PM10 pollution while it was 38% for PM2.5.
Seed bank will be key to food security: experts – (Environment)
- Representatives of six SAARC countries attending a regional consultation meeting which began here on Monday are discussing the establishment of a regional seed bank to ensure food security and address the shortages caused by natural calamities.
- The meeting has been organised by the SAARC Agriculture Centre, Dhaka, to assess the common crop varieties and their demand and supply for the proposed seed bank.
Ramakrishna Mission-UNESCO establish ‘official ties’ – (International Relation)
- The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has established an ‘official relationship’ with the Ramakrishna Mission in the areas of inter-cultural dialogue, social cohesion and for promoting peace and non-violence, according to the latest governing body report of the Mission.
- The bonding between the Paris-based world body and the over 100-year old Ramakrishna Mission started in 2002 with the former funding certain projects.
Bihar debacle may weigh on economic policy – (Economics)
- After the BJP’s debacle in Bihar and the setback to the reforms in Parliament, the Union government is set to tweak its economic policy.
- The Union Budget 2016, to be presented in February, will focus on farmers and unorganised workers, traditionally not the BJP’s constituencies.
SIT to probe death of four tiger cubs – (Environment)
- A Special Investigation Team (SIT) will probe the death of four one-month-old tiger cubs in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district. While the reason for the death is said to be severe malnourishment, the authorities are searching for the missing tigress.
- “It is most unfortunate that the cubs died due to malnourishment. I have directed my officers to look for the missing mother tigress. A proposal has been sent to form an SIT to look in to this matter,” state’s Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told The Hindu .
Letting startups scale up – (Governance)
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Sunday that the government will unveil, in January, a comprehensive plan to help make India the world leader in startups is noteworthy.
- A part of the plan is to link all the IIMs and IITs, central universities and National Institutes of Technology via ‘live connectivity’.
Hunger brews in Bengal’s tea estates – (Governance)
- North Bengal’s tea estates are witnessing an unfolding human tragedy as more deaths of tea garden workers were reported this month from the region.
- With the industry as a whole struggling from soft prices and a drop in output as climate change affects rainfall and weather conditions across the country’s tea-growing regions, several estates are reportedly being unofficially shut, leaving thousands of hapless workers in the lurch.
Free run for the rent-seekers – (Economics)
- The 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which also marked the completion of two decades of functioning of the most recent of the multilateral institutions, ended with an agreement among trade ministers of the member countries that may have pushed the organisation to the precipice.
- The WTO faces this existential threat for two reasons: the post-Nairobi work programme has very few substantive issues that can meaningfully engage its 162 members, and, more importantly, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), that has been the lifeline of the WTO for nearly a decade and a half, now faces the imminent threat of closure.
Working through the bankruptcy maze – (Economics)
- India’s financial distress resolution mechanism is broken. Companies that fall into hard times spend six or eight years trying to resolve the situation. Banks are saddled with massive amounts of non-performing loans that are a drain on their resources and also affect their willingness to lend to new and deserving projects.
- Ultimately, the honest and successful companies and individuals that borrow from the banks pay for these inefficiencies in terms of higher interest rates. In light of this, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill, 2015, which has now been referred to a joint committee of Parliament, is a significant step in the right direction.
Panel refuses ‘Swiss Challenge’; wants changes in corruption law – (Economics)
- An expert panel led by former Finance Secretary, Vijay Kelkar, has called for swift amendments to the anti-corruption law and an endorsement from the Parliament for a new policy for public private partnerships or PPPs that balances risk-sharing between private and public partners, in order to spur infrastructure building.
India Post payment bank to be operational by March 2017 – (Economics)
- India Post, which was among the eleven applicants to have received approval from RBI for payment banks in August, will start its service by March 2017, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
- About 40 international financial conglomerates including World Bank, Barclays and ICICI have shown interest to partner with the Postal Department for the payment bank, the minister said.
Interest subvention should be phased out: central bank panel – (Economics)
- The government must do away with the interest subvention scheme and plough back the subsidy into a universal crop insurance scheme for small and marginal farmers, according to a recommendation from a panel constituted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- The move can transform the agriculture sector and promote financial inclusion, according to the panel headed by Deepak Mohanty, executive director, RBI, said digitisation of land records for clear titles and credit linkage are necessary to establish evidence of cultivation. The committee.