The portal will provide a very simple, useful and transparent system to the beneficiary
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh launched a portal ENSURE- National Livestock Mission-EDEG developed by NABARD and operated under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries today. On this occasion, he informed that the National Livestock Mission has been conceived by Modi government for the sustainable development of the livestock sector.
Under the Mission’s component called Entrepreneurship Development and Employment Generation (EDEG), subsidy payment for activities related to poultry, small ruminants, pigs etc. through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) goes directly to the beneficiary’s account. In order to make it better, simpler and transparent, the NABARD has developed an online portal “ENSURE” (https://ensure.nabard.org) so that the information related to beneficiary and processing of application can be made readily available.
Shri Singh added that under the new process, controlling officer/branch manager of the bank, after scrutinizing & sanctioning of proposal, uploads the subsidy claims in the portal. The subsidy will be approved within 30 days from the date of sanction of loan. Earlier, even after the loan approval, subsidy took a long time to reach the beneficiary’s account. Through this process, the flow of information/funds will also be quicker and more accountable. The burden of extra interest due to delay in the disbursal of the subsidy would now be reduced after the launch of the portal. Access from the portal will also be on real-time basis and list of beneficiaries can be easily prepared.
Indian Ports Association (IPA), under the guidance of Ministry of Shipping launched the Port Community System ‘PCS1x’. The url www.indianpcs.gov.in was launched by Shri Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman IPA in the presence of various stakeholders from Mumbai today. It was attended by all Major Port Chairmen through video conference. Shri Bhatia, while launching the portal lauded the effort of all involved for completion of the project in record time of 6 months.
‘PCS 1x’ is a cloud based new generation technology, with user-friendly interface. This system seamlessly integrates 8 new stakeholders besides the 19 existing stakeholders from the maritime trade on a single platform.
The platform offers value added services such as notification engine, workflow, mobile application, track and trace, better user interface, better security features, improved inclusion by offering dashboard for those with no IT capability. A unique feature of ‘PCS1x’ is that it can latch on to third party software which provides services to the maritime industry thereby enabling the stakeholders to access wide network of services. The system enables single sign on facility to provide one stop interface to all the functionalities across all stakeholders. Another major feature is the deployment of a world class state of the art payment aggregator solution which removes dependency on bank specific payment eco system.
This system will enable trade to have an improved communication with the customs as they have also embarked on an Application Programming Interface (API) based architecture, thereby enabling real time interaction.
This System offers a database that acts as a single data point to all transactions. Itcaptures and stores data on its first occurrence thereby reducing manual intervention, the need to enter transaction data at various points and thereby reducing errors in the process. It is estimated that this feature alone will reduce 11/2 to 2 days in a life of transaction. The application will have a cascading effect in reducing dwell time and overall cost of transaction. The platform has the potential to revolutionize maritime trade in India and bring it at par with global best practices and pave the way to improve the Ease of Doing Business world ranking and Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranks.
A major training and outreach program is under way to educate the stakeholders about the uses and benefits of ‘PCS 1x’.
This system is also an initiative that supports green initiatives by reducing dependency on paper. The web-based platform has been developed indigenously and is a part of the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Gl logo and tagline have been launched by Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu for recognition of GI’s in India. 312 GI’s have been registered in past 1 year including famous GI like Bangla Rasgulla and Alphonso. It is one of the world's most popular fruit and is exported to countries like Japan and Korea and in Europe. New markets such as USA and Australia have recently opened up.
Alphonso from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and other adjoining areas in Maharashtra gets GI Tag
Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and TirupatiLaddus are some of the GIs. The first product to get a GI tag in India was the Darjeeling tea in 2004. There are a total of 325 products from India that carry this indication.
A massive GI campaign has been launched for increasing awareness of the GI. Farmers, artisans and craftsmen are the direct beneficiaries of this initiative.
GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen. Our rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.
The recent unilateral measures and counter measures by some members, the deepening impasse regarding the appointment of members in the appellate body and contentious debate on development has led the Department of Commerce to propose major initiatives on WTO reforms like the enhanced role of the secretariat and strengthening of Dispute Settlement Mechanism which India has co-sponsored with EU. India desires for a more participatory engagement in the WTO with likeminded countries in order to defend India’s interest.
RCEP: Second RCEP leaders’ summit was held on 14th November 2018, where leaders acknowledged substantial progress in the negotiations. During the RCEP Ministerial Round meeting on 12-13 November 2018, 3 more chapters were concluded, taking the total chapters successfully concluded so far to 7 out of 16.
As per Commerce Minister’s directions, 3 think-tanks are being engaged for undertaking comprehensive study on India’s approach to RCEP. ICRIER, CRT and IIM (Bangalore) and CWTOS have been selected for the purpose.
High Level Advisory Group(HLAG): A HLAG has been set up DoC to make recommendations on pursuing opportunities addressing challenges and finding a way forward amidst emergent issues in the contemporary global trade scenario.
The HLAG will consider ways for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations and mainstreaming new age policy making.
The terms of reference (ToR) of the HLAG are to examine the prevailing international trade dynamics, including, but not confined to, the rising protectionist tendencies, especially on the part of major economies, non-engagement by some countries on outstanding trade negotiation issues and commitments, including the Doha Development Agenda, and their insistence on pursuing negotiating mandates, in many cases prematurely and without efforts, to build consensus and common understanding.
On new issuesand in light of this examination,the HLAG will suggest a way forward for India, taking into account its interests and sensitivities, and provide options for a balanced approach for the global community to build on achievements thus far, in creating a conducive global trade framework and move forward in a harmonious and consensual manner that is acceptable to the larger global community.
The Group may consider possible approaches and suggest a pragmatic framework for India’s future engagement in international trade, and the manner in which it can play a proactive and constructive role in working with the community of Nations in exploring and building consensus on resolving emergent trade related issues. The group has met five times since October 2018 and will submit its report to the Commerce Minister by the end of this year.
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF FOREIGN TRADE (IIFT): IIFT is an autonomous public business school under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to help professionalize the country's foreign trade management and increase exports by developing human resources, generating, analyzing and disseminating data and conducting research.
The Centre for WTO Studies was set up in the year 1999 to be a permanent repository of WTO negotiations-related knowledge and documentation. It was also envisaged that the Centre would evolve into a research unit with interest in trade in general and WTO in particular to finally develop into an independent think tank in the area.
Over the years, the Centre has conducted a robust research programme with a series of papers in all spheres of interest at the WTO. It has also created a specialized e-repository of important WTO documents, especially related to India, in its Trade Resource Centre.
It has been regularly called upon by the Government of India to undertake research and provide independent analytical inputs to help it develop positions in its various trade negotiations, both at the WTO and other forums such as Free and Preferential Trade Agreements and Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements.
CRT is an autonomous Think-Tank established by the Department of Commerce under the Centre for Research on International Trade (CRIT) at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.
It undertakes research in economics with a focus on trade and investment related issues relevant to international cooperation of India with specific regions and countries, including Latin America, Africa, South Asia, ASEAN, China, EU, Japan, Korea and USA.
Established in the year 2016 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT)its primary objective is to provide sound and rigorous analysis of legal issues pertaining to international trade and investment law to the Government of India and other governmental agencies.
The Centre aims to create a dedicated pool of legal experts that who could provide technical inputs for enhancing India's participation in international trade and investment negotiations and dispute settlement. The Centre also aims to be a thought leader in the various domains of international economic law such as WTO law, international investment law and legal issues relating to economic integration.
Quality Council of India (QCI) is a non-profit autonomous society registered under Societies Registration Act to establish an accreditation structure in the country and to spread quality movement in the country by undertaking a National Quality Campaign.
The QCI is engaged in coal quality testing, assessment under Swachh Bharat Mission, Grievance analysis study and subsequent reform recommendations for the top 40 grievance receiving Ministries and Departments. The Council is also creating a dashboard to monitor quality of project implementation in CPSEs.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has initiated the process of formulation of a new Industrial Policy in May 2017 and may get Cabinet approval soon. This will replace the 27-year-old existing policy. Since the last Industrial Policy announced in 1991, India has transformed into one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With strong macro-economic fundamentals and several path breaking reforms in the last three years, India is equipped to deploy a different set of ideas and strategies to build a globally competitive Indian industry. The new Industrial Policy will subsume the National Manufacturing Policy.
A consultative approach was taken for the formulation of the new policy wherein six thematic focus groups and an online survey on DIPP website have been used to obtain inputs from stakeholders. Focus groups, with members from government departments, industry associations, academia, and think tanks were setup to examine the challenges faced by the industry in specific areas. The six thematic areas include manufacturing and MSME,technology and innovation, Ease of Doing Business,infrastructure, investment, trade and fiscal policy, and skills and employability for the future. A Task Force on artificial intelligence for India’s economic transformation was also been constituted to provide inputs for the policy.
It is proposed that the new Industrial Policy will aim at making India a manufacturing hub by promoting Make in India. It will also suitably incorporate the use of modern smart technologies such as IOT, artificial intelligence and robotics for advanced manufacturing.
Ranking of States: Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP),Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the World Bank conducts an annual reform exercise for all States and Union Territories (UTs) under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) to improve delivery of various Central Government regulatory functions and services in an efficient, effective and transparent manner. States and UTs have conducted reforms to ease their regulations and systems in areas like labour, environmental clearances, construction permits, contract enforcement, registering property and inspections. States have also enacted Public Service Delivery Guarantee Acts to enforce the timelines on registrations and approvals.
Improvement in Ease of Doing Business ranking have been possible because of the transformative measures taken by the Government of India which includes legislative and regulatory reforms. To support start-ups and lower tax rates for MSMEs quicker environmental clearances from 600 days to 140 days has been implemented, abolition of inter-state check post after implementation of GST has been done, enhanced input tax credit and electronic GST network has been put in place and the creation of commercial courts to fast track enforcement of contracts and faster security clearances has lent support to the start-ups in the country.
India has improved its rank among BRICS countries from 5th in 2010 to 3rd in 2018. The measures undertaken to ensure this improved ranking is issuance of construction permits where India’s rank is 52, in getting electricity connection India’s rank is 24 and in Trading Across Borders India now ranks at 84. In paying taxes India’s ranking is 121 and in resolving insolvency India’s ranking stands at 108.
Twenty-One regulatory changes have been made for ease of doing business for start-ups.
To optimise resource utilisation and enhance the efficiency of the manufacturing sector, DIPP launched the Industrial Information System (IIS), a GIS-enabled database of industrial areas and clusters across the country in May 2017. The portal serves as a one-stop solution to the free and easy accessibility of all industrial information including availability of raw material – agriculture, horticulture, minerals, natural resources, distance from key logistic nodes, layers of terrain and urban infrastructure.
IPRS is proposed to be translated into an annual exercise covering all the parks across India. Coverage would be widened and updated to bring in deeper qualitative assessment feedback, bring in technological intervention and develop it as a tool that helps effectively for demand driven and need based interventions both by policy makers and investors.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce has also developed a District level reforms plan. It has been shared with the State and UT Governments for implementation by Districts. The State and UT Governments have been requested to evaluate districts on the basis of achievements in implementation of this plan on the basis of users’ feedback.
With a focus on a bottom-up approach, the Ministry has identified six districts across five states to build the capacity of the district level administration. Whilst National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has been given the mandate to work closely with the District Administration of Solan in Himachal Pradesh, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, IIM Lucknow is working closely with the District Administration of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Muzaffarpur in Bihar and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The action-oriented plan will aim at increasing district level output by 3% with a focus on enhancing EODB at the district level which will give a massive boost to India’s overall GDP growth.
FDI INNEW GROWTH TRAJECTORY: Q1FY19 FDI inflows saw a 23% growth over Q1FY18 with Q1FY19 FDI inflow at USD 12.7 billion. India for the first time received FDI of more than highest ever FDI inflow of USD 61.96 billion in FY 2017-18. FDI equity inflows in automobiles & auto components increased by 13% during FY 2017-18, as compared to FY 2016-17. FDI equity inflows in textiles sector have increased by 18% during FY 2017-18, as compared to FY 2016-17.
Launched by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on 25th September 2014 to make India the hub of manufacturing, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies.
India has jumped 15 places on the Global Innovation Index (2015-16) (Source: World intellectual Property Organization) and moved 19 places ahead on the Logistics Performance Index (2015-16) (Source: World Bank).
In the Global Competitiveness Index (2014-16) India has jumped 32 places (Source: World Economic Forum).
Ministry of Commerce is making all efforts to ensure that in public procurement preference is given to Make in India:
Exemption is given where estimated value of procurement is less than Rs. 5 lakhs. The minimum local content shall ordinarily be 50%. The Nodal Ministry may prescribe a higher or lower percentage in respect of any particular item and may also prescribe the manner of calculation of local content. The margin of purchase preference shall be 20%. A Standing Committee in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, under the chairmanship of Secretary, DIPP oversee the implementation of the 2017 order giving preference to Make in India products.
So far, 14 Nodal Ministries and Departments have issued notifications for minimum local content for various product categories.State Governments have been requested to implement Public Procurement Order in their States.Implementation of the Order is being monitored vigorously. A Public Procurement Cell has been created in DIPP. Regular meetings of the Standing Committee are being held, apart from industry-specific meetings to sensitise and take feedback from industry.
Purchasing Managers’ Index signals a sparkling continuous expansion: Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of business activity both in the manufacturing and services sectors. PMI in October 2018 stood at 53.1 as against 50.3 in October 2017. October 2018 is the 15th consecutive month of PMI>50, indicating growth in the manufacturing sector.
Massive growth of Start-ups: Start-up India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of start-up businesses, to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. The Government through this initiative aims to empower start-ups to grow through innovation and design.
The number of DIPP recognised start-ups touched 14,545 in November 18 as compared to 4610 on October 2017 generating total employment for 130,424 persons.
Several programmes have been undertaken since the launch of the initiative on 16th of January, 2016 by Prime Minister, to transform India into a country of job creators instead of job seekers.
The 19-Point Start-up India Action Plan envisages several incubation centres, easier patent filing, tax exemptions, ease of setting-up of business, a Rs. 10,000 crore corpus fund and a faster exit mechanism.
Some of the achievements of the Start-up India action plan are (i) simplification and handholding for compliance regime based on self-certification, rolling out of mobile app and portal, setting up of Start-up India hub, legal support and fast-tracking patent examination at lower costs, relaxed norms of public procurement for start-ups and faster exit for start-ups, (ii) providing funding support through fund of funds with a corpus of Rs. 10,000 crore, tax exemption on capital gains, tax exemption to start-ups for 3 years, removal of angel tax, (iii) promoting industry-academia partnership and incubation through launch of Atal Innovation Mission, harnessing private sector expertise for incubator setup, building 11 Technology Business Incubators, setting up of 7 new research parks modelled on the research park setup at IIT Madras, promoting start-ups in the biotechnology sectors and (iv) launching of innovation focused programmes for students.
Support and outreach campaign for MSMEs by Department of Commerce (DoC): Due to the efforts of the Ministry of Commerce, interest subvention was enhanced by 2% for MSMEs and an exhibition on GeM and export promotion schemes was set up by DoC in 80 districts on 2nd November 2018 which was attended by nodal officers appointed by DoC from DGFT and GeM.
Department of Commerce has identified the following deliverables for MSMEs: Ease of excess to markets by bringing MSMEs on GeM platform and procurement from MSMEs via GeM, Quality certification by quality control of India to MSMEs products and districts identified for sectoral intervention so that MSMEs or rubber in Kottyam, gems and jewellery in Cuttack and Hyderabad and large cardamom plantations in West Sikkim are incentivised.
Further benefits of DGFT export promotion schemes are to be extended to MSMEs like MEIS, AA, EPCG, DFIA and interest equalisation. New exporters will be trained and guided on how to export and IOEC registration and workshops will be conducted for MSMEs on export opportunities under the FTA route and familiarization with portals like the FIEO managed India Trade Portal.
Multi -Modal Logistics Parks Policy: The Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) are a key policy initiatives of Government of India to improve the country’s logistics sector by lowering over freight costs, reducing vehicular pollution and congestion and cutting warehouse costs with a view to promoting moments of goods for domestic and global trade. At present there is no specific definition, specification and standardisation of multi-modal logistics parks.
Different Ministries like Railways, Shipping and Department of Industry Policy and Promotion are developing parks at the same location. This duplication is happening due to the lack of a comprehensive policy. The Commerce Ministry is consulting different stakeholders, States and UTs on the proposal on the multi-modal logistics park policy.
Developing Logistics Portal: India has improved its global rankings on trading across borders from 146th rank in 2017 to 80th rank in 2018. Department of Commerce is working on reducing the logistics cost from the current 14% of GDP to 10% by 2022 through an integrated approach. A National Logistics Portal is being developed which will serve as a transactional e-marketplace by connecting buyers, logistics service providers and relevant government agencies. The portal will be a single window market place to link all stakeholders.
Logistics Data Bank: A technology innovation project of India-Japan bilateral cooperation, Logistics Data Bank Project has already been commissioned to track containers on a ‘near-real-time’ basis. This is one of the initiatives of Government of India as part of its Ease of Doing Business initiative wherein RFID tags are placed on every container coming out of the ports to track its movement. The project has already expanded to various ports (JNPT, Mundra, Hazira, Chennai, Paradip, Kattupalli, Ennore, Krishnapatnam, Mumbai, Murmogao, Visakhapatnam, New Mangalore and Kolkata) in India and has covered around 90% of total container volumes in India.
The Baba Kalyani led committee constituted by the Ministry of Commerce& Industry to study the existing SEZ policy of India has submitted its report to the Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu.
The objectives of the committee were to evaluate the SEZ policy and make it WTO compatible, suggest measures for maximizing utilisation of vacant land in SEZs, suggest changes in the SEZ policy based on international experience and merge the SEZ policy with other Government schemes like coastal economic zones, Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, national industrial manufacturing zones and food and textiles parks.
While submitting the report to the Commerce Minister, Baba Kalyani, Chairman, Bharat Forge Ltd., said that if India is going to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 then the current environment of manufacturing competitiveness and services has to undergo a paradigm shift. The success seen by services sector like IT and ITeS has to be promoted in other services sector like health care, financial services, legal, repair and design services.
The Government of India has set a target of creating 100 million jobs and achieving 25% of GDP from the manufacturing sector by 2022, as part of its flagship ‘Make in India’ programme. Furthermore, the Government plans to increase manufacturing value to USD 1.2 trillion by 2025. While these are ambitious plans to propel India into a growth trajectory, it requires evaluation of existing policy frameworks to catalyse manufacturing sector growth. At the same time, policy needs to be complied with the relevant WTO regulations.
Industrial corridor programme envisages creation of world class infrastructure, connectivity and new greenfield smart cities as global manufacturing hubs which will create large employment opportunities. The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Project has made substantial progress with trunk infrastructure development activities nearing completion at four locations in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Allotment of developed land to industries has begun in these places and 56 plots constituting 335.51 acres have already been allotted. This is expected to bring an investment of about Rs. 8354 crore over a period of 3-5 years.
Based on the initial success of DMIC project, the Government has also started planning and development activities in four other industrial corridor projects i.e. Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC), Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC), Bengaluru Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC) and East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC) from Kolkata to Chennai. Trunk infrastructure activities in these corridor projects are planned to be initiated from next year.
India Trade Promotion Organisation: India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) is the trade promotion agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and is a venue for exhibitions and conventionsat its ground in PragatiMaidan in New Delhi. It has an area of nearly 150 acres and 625,000 square metres exhibition space. It was demolished in April, 2017 for re-development and after completion will be the biggest exhibition centre in Delhi. The ITPO holds the India International Trade Fair (IITF) since 1980 every year. It is a premier international trade fair and has evolved as a major event for business community.
Around 800 participants from States, government departments, domestic and international companies are taking part with considerable participation of rural artisans, craftsmen and SME entrepreneurs.The Fair received foreign participation from Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia, Vietnam and UAE.
India International Convention and Expo Centre: The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce is developing India International Convention and Expo Centre as a world class facility over an area of 221.37 acres in Sector 25 Dwarka, New Delhi at an estimated cost of Rs. 25,703 crore. The foundation stone for the Project was laid by the Prime Minister of India on 20th September 2018. Phase-I will be completed by December 2019 and the Phase-II will be completed by December 2024.
In January 2018, Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) and Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry organized a two-day international food and beverage expoIndusfood which saw Indian exporters bagging orders worth over USD 500 million.
Indusfood was able to find new markets for Indian tea and spices, besides getting huge orders for rice, soybean oil, fish products, fruits, vegetables, organic food and various other commodities. TPCI also organised exhibitions in Bangkok, Hanover, Johannesburg, Mexico City and Paris.
TPCI is organising Indusfood-II in Greater Noida, NCR, Delhi on 14th – 15th January, 2019. 600 global buyers from 50 countries and over 350 Indian exporters and producers are expected to participate at this World Food Supermarket.
The Central Government has approved a special package for employment generation in leather and footwear sector. The package involves implementation of Central Sector Scheme "Indian Footwear, Leather & Accessories Development Programme" with an approved expenditure of Rs. 2600 crore over the three financial years from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The scheme would lead to development of infrastructure for the leather sector, address environment concerns specific to the leather sector, facilitate additional investments, generate employment and increase production. Enhanced tax incentive would attract large scale investments in the sector and reform in labour law, in view of seasonal nature of the sector, will support economies of scale.
Government has approved Rs. 328.43 crore for upgradation of 9 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) for leather industry in Tamil Nadu and Rs. 129.62 crores for upgradation of seven Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) centers into Centres for Excellence (CoEs) and has given in-principle approval for setting up of Mega Leather, Footwear and Accessories Clusters (MLFACs) at Bantala, Kolkata. A target for providing primary skill development training to 1,40,000 unemployed persons and skill upgradation training to 20,000 workers during each year 2018-19 and 2019-20 has been assigned under Human Resource Development (HRD) sub-scheme of IFALDP.
During 2017-18, primary skill development training has been provided to 94,232 unemployed persons in leather & footwear sector and of them 71,125 trainees have been provided placement in the industry during 2017-18 under Human Resource Development (HRD) sub-scheme of IFLADP. Further, 25,643 persons have been trained under primary skill development training programme during 2018-19.
North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007/ Freight Subsidy Scheme,2013(FSS) and North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017.
With the purpose to boost industrialization of the States of North East region including Sikkim, the Government has been implementing industrial subsidy schemes such as North East Industrial Policy, (NEIP) (1997-2007), North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, (NEIIPP) (2007-2017), Transport Subsidy Scheme(TSS) (1971-2013) and Freight Subsidy Scheme(FSS) (2013-2016). Under NEIIPP cash subsidies aggregating to Rs.2045 crore have been released since inception. Rs.1598.53 crore has been released under NEIIPP and Rs.1455.59 crore under TSS and FSS in the last 4 years.
To continue extending benefits for the industrial units situated in the North Eastern Region, a new policy “North East Industrial Development Scheme” (NEIDS),2017 was notified on 01.04.2017 for a period of five years.
Special Package Scheme for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and J&K and Industrial Development Scheme for Himalayan States -2017 (IDS-2017)
Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) had introduced various concessions for the State of Jammu & Kashmir namely, J&K package-I and J&K package-II. from June, 2002 to till 14th June, 2017 to boost up industrialization. For the States of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand various concessions were introduced from June 2003 to 31st March, 2017. Resultant to these concessions, 75118 units were set up generating 6,52,757 employment and creating investment of Rs. 55,550.42 crore. Under the Special Package Scheme Rs.380.65 crore has been released during the last 4 years and total amount of Rs. 119.11 crore got released during the financial year 2018-19 (up to 30.09.2018).
Industrial Development Scheme for J&K from 15.06.2017 to 31.03.2022 and Industrial Development Scheme for Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2022 has been notified on 23.04.2018 with financial outlay of Rs. 194.90 crore.
Scheme of Budgetary Support Under GST Regime The Scheme of Budgetary Support to the eligible units located in the states of J&K, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and North Eastern States including Sikkim under GST regime was notified in October 2017 to continue committed liability for the residual period out of a total of 10 years. The scheme will remain in force from 01-07-2017 till 30-06-2027.
Under the scheme 1673 units have been registered. Rs 1500 crore has been authorized to CBIC for payment to the eligible units. Budget of Rs 4000 crorefor 2019-20 has also been sought.
Number of users (buyer & sellers) on GeM, the national e-public procurement portal, have grown 186% during last one year. Transactions have increased 772% in volume terms and 599% in value terms. More than 26% of vendors in GeM are MSMEs accounting for 56% of transactions by value, making it a truly open and inclusive platform.
During the 6-week National Mission of GeM (NMG) launched recently by Commerce Minister, GeM organized training in more than 220 districts and 180 towns, covering about 50,000 buyers and sellers.
During the mission, 1617 organizations have been on-boarded and 1405 new organizations have started transactions. As per road map emerging out of the national mission, railways have set a target to carry out annual procurement of Rs. 10,000 crore through GeM provision in IREPS during the next year.
Commerce Ministry is working closely with the Finance Ministry to ease credit flow to the export sector, especially small exporters to ensure adequate availability of funds to them.
The Commerce Minister has identified 15 strategic overseas locations where the Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) are proposed to be created. India has great potential to generate greater volumes of export with these countries but at present trade with them stands as single digit numbers.
The locations where TPOs are proposed : Astana (Kazakhstan), Beijing (China) Cape town (South Africa), Dubai (UAE), Frankfurt (Germany), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Jakarta (Indonesia) Lima (Peru), London (U.K.), Melbourne (Austrialia), Mexico City (Mexico), Moscow (Russia), New York (USA), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Tokyo (Japan).
India’s exports clocked highest growth in last 6 years. Sector specific interventions, focused export promotion initiatives, greater transparency and quick resolution of issues have led to an impressive export growth of 14.76% in 2017-18 (Oct-Sept) over previous year.
The Department of Commerce is making all efforts to diversify India’s export basket region wise and commodity wise. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are a means of correcting India’s balance of trade.
With the USA bilateral negotiations are on and with China, India has held three inter-ministerial delegations in June, August and November 2018 led by the Department of Commerce to pursue market access issues with Ministry of Commerce China (MOFCOM).
General Administration of Custom China (GACC) has approved total 24 Indian rice mills for exporting non-basmati rice to China and the first consignment of 100 tonnes of white rice (5% broken) was shipped on 28.09.2018 and 30.09.2018.
In October 2018 another 23 tonnes of rice was exported to China followed by 260 tonnes in November 2018. Export of rapeseed meal to China, which was discontinued in 2012, has been opened up now with consistent and continuous efforts of Department of Commerce and GACC has approved five rapeseed mills to supply rapeseed meal to China.
The GACC teams have also visited India to inspect soybean meal mills and pomegranate orchards and pack houses in December 2018. China will also begin importing 50,000 tonnes of raw sugar from India early next year.
MMTC is one of the two highest earners of foreign exchange for India and the largest public sector trading body.
During the first half of the year, MMTC has achieved revenue from operations of Rs.12511 crore as against Rs. 9969 crore during the corresponding period last year registering a growth of 26% over the same period last year on year on year basis.
The company has posted a Net Profit of Rs 41.62 crore during the period as compared to Rs. 29.76 crore during the same period last year registering an increase of 40%. The performance of the company during the second half of FY 2018-19 is likely to improve further.
The Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) provides assistance for setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages like the Border Haats, Land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, SEZs and ports, airports cargo terminuses.
The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ authorities and apex trade bodies recognised under the EXIM policy of Government of India, are eligible for financial support under this scheme.
Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has taken several measures to strengthen the IT platform and create ease of doing business for exporters:
An online grievance redressal service was launched on DGFT website in September 2017: Contact@DGFT. It’s single point contact for all foreign trade related issues of the exporters and importers. In the last year, over 60,000 grievances have been received on this platform, 97% of the grievances have been addressed.
DGFT’s EDI system provides facility for online application by exporters-importers for most of it’s schemes and authorisations – IEC, Advance Authorization Scheme, Annual Advance Authorization Scheme, DFIA, EPCG Scheme, Annual EPCG Scheme, MEIS, SEIS, a FPS, FMS, MLFPS, VKGUY, SFIS, SHIS, Incremental Export Incentivisation Scheme, Authorization for import and export of restricted items. The interface with other agencies (Customs and RBI) is also through EDI system.
An online view of Shipping Bill data, electronically received form Customs, has been created for all Shipping Bills issued since 1.4.2016 for regional offices. Now, the exporters will not require to file physical copy of shipping bill for redemption of EODC. DGFT regional Offices can use electronically transmitted SB data from Customs for various other purposes also.
Exporters can self-generate Importer Exporter Code (IEC) on online platform. Online auto approval of MEIS benefit has been introduced since September 2018 for 97% of product lines under MEIS. Now, MEIS applications are system approved and scrips are released within 3 days of the approval.
Call centre has been strengthened and now all telephone calls received on the help desk are closely monitored. An IVRS system has also been deployed.
India has made a leap of 23 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking this year to be ranked at 77. Upward move of 53 ranks in the last two years is the highest improvement in 2 years by any large country since 2011. India now ranks first in Ease of Doing Business Report among South Asian countries compared to 6th in 2014.
India has improved its rank in 6 out of 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices (Distance to Frontier score) on 7 out of the 10 indicators. The most dramatic improvements have been registered in the indicators related to construction permits and trading across borders. In grant of construction permits, India's rank improved from 181 in 2017 to 52 in 2018, an improvement of 129 ranks in a single year. In trading across borders, India's rank improved by 66 positions, moving from 146 in 2017 to 80 in 2018.
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry is creating an action-oriented plan which will highlight specific sector level interventions to bolster India’s march towards becoming a USD 5 trillion economy before 2025. The focused plans will be on boosting services sector contribution to USD 3 trillion, manufacturing to USD 1 trillion and Agriculture to USD 1 trillion.
The Ministry has created a corpus of USD 1 billion to boost 12 champion sectors in services and it is working on releasing the New Industrial Policy keeping in mind the demands of the future. Further all efforts of both the Department of Commerce and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion have been towards achieving the goal of India becoming USD 5 trillion economy.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister approved the proposal of the Department of Commerce to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential.
These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT &ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.
This initiative will enhance the competitiveness of India's service sectors through the implementation of focused and monitored Action Plans, thereby promoting GDP growth, creating more jobs and promoting exports to global markets.
Services sector in India has immense employment potential,it will enhance the competitiveness of India's service sectors through the implementation of focused and monitored Action Plans, thereby creating more jobs in India, contributing to a higher GDP and exports of services to global markets.
As the Services sector contributes significantly to India's GDP, exports and job creation, increased productivity and competitiveness of the Champion Services Sectors will further boost exports of various services from India. Embedded services are substantial part of 'Goods' as well. Thus, competitive services sector will add to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector as well.
The share of India's services sector in global services exports was 3.3% in 2015 compared to 3.1% in 2014. Based on this initiative, a goal of 4.2 % has been envisaged for 2022.
The share of services in Gross Value Added (GVA) was about 5 3% for India in 2015-16 (61 % including construction services). A goal of achieving a share of services in GVA of 60 % (67% including construction services) has also been envisaged by the year 2022
The Commerce Ministry has formulated India’s first ever Agricultural Export Policy with a focused plan to boost India’s agricultural exports to USD 60 billion by 2022 thereby assisting the Agriculture Ministry in achieving its target of USD 100 billion and to integrate Indian farmers and the high quality agricultural products with global value chains and to double India’s share in world agriculture.
The vision of the Agriculture Export Policy is to harness the export potential of Indian agriculture through suitable policy instruments and to make India a global power in agriculture and raise farmers’ income.
The Union government has reiterated the earlier stand of the Centre that Lingayat/Veerashaiva community is part of Hindu religion.
Background: The community has been demanding status of a separate religion for a long time. One part of the community demands the minority status for both Veerashaiva and Lingayats considering them the same, while another wants it only for the Lingayats as it considers Veershaivas to be Hindus.
The Karnataka government, in March this year, decided to declare Lingayats as a religious minority and include the Veerashaivas who follow Basavanna as a group within the community.
Who are Lingayats? Lingayats are followers of 12th-century social reformer Basavanna and his vachana (verses) philosophy. Their beliefs, practices and faith are different. Veerashaivas worship Lord Shiva, the one mentioned in Hindu mythology. However, the Shiva that Basavanna referred to in his vachanas (verses) is not the Hindu god Shiva but the ishtalinga (formless God), which people of the community wear around their neck.
Who are Veerashaivas? Veerashaivas are a sub-sect of Lingayats and ardent followers of Lord Shiva. They preceded Basavanna, the founder of Lingayatism. Veerashaivism has its roots in the Vedas and Agamas, and Veerashaivas do not worship any god other than Shiva; they can be found spread across Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Who is Basavanna? Basavanna was a 12th-century social reformer. The revolution that Basavanna led came years after the Buddha. It was Basavanna and his contemporary Sharanas who launched a very strong spiritual, social and religious rebellion against Brahminical hegemony. Basavanna had declared that “work is worship”. He gave women equal status in his movement through the vachanas (verses). In order to take the social movement closer to the people, Basavanna and all the other Sharanas voiced their concerns in simple Kannada vachanas so that even lay people could comprehend them.
What’s the issue? The activists have questioned the changes made to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (Land Acquisition Act), 2013 by Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. The petitioners have contended that the amendments by the states are identical and go against the “basic structure” of the central law.
According to the petition the states amended the act by way of ordinances to exempt broad categories of land projects from consent provisions, social impact assessment, objections by affected citizens and participation of local bodies. Projects exempted are linear category projects such as industrial corridors, expressways, highways etc.
Petitioners have challenged the power of the states to introduce such amendments that are conflicting with the central law and want them to be declared as illegal.
Petitioners contend that the amendments made by the states were in violation of Article 21, which guarantees the right to live with dignity and personal liberty.
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act):
Main features of act: Clearly defines various types of “public purpose” projects for which, Government can acquire private land.
Acquiring land: For private project, 80% affected families must agree. For PPP project, 70% affected families must agree. Only then land can be acquired.
Social impact assessment: Under Social impact assessment (SIA) even need to obtain consent of the affected artisans, labourers, share-croppers, tenant farmers etc whose (sustainable) livelihood will be affected because of the given project.
Compensation: Compensation proportion to market rates. 4 times the market rate in rural area. 2 times in urban area. Affected artisans, small traders, fishermen etc. will be given one-time payment, even if they don’t own any land.
To ensure food security: Fertile, irrigated, multi-cropped farmland can be acquired only in last resort. If such fertile land is acquired, then Government will have to develop equal size of wasteland for agriculture purpose.
Private entities: If Government acquires the lands for private company- the said private company will be responsible for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. Additional rehabilitation package for SC/ST owners.
Safeguards: State Governments have to setup dispute settlement Chairman must be a district judge or lawyer for 7 years.
Accountability: Head of the department will be made responsible, for any offense from Government’s side. If project doesn’t start in 5 years, land has to be returned to the original owner or the land bank. Establishment of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority for speedy disposal of disputes.
Limitations: The Central Act of 2013 was brought to give effect to pre-existing fundamental right to livelihood of citizens. It ensures that livelihood will not be taken away unless(i) it is in public interest and that is seen by social impact assessment (ii) The affected citizens are given rehabilitation. The amendments made without considering the above factors will take away fundamental rights of the citizens.
As of April, the CDSCO had approved 1,288 FDCs. This is disproportionately high compared with the availability in a tightly regulated market like USFDA, which has only a few hundred approved FDCs.
What’s the main concern now? The problem of unapproved FDCs mainly affects those who get treated in the private sector. In the absence of a strong pharmacovigilance mechanism in India, there is no data on adverse events of these unapproved FDCs.
What’s ailing the system? There are multiple deficiencies in the CDSCO’s approval process for FDCs. Main amongst them are institutional problems such as understaffing, lack of skills, and inadequate infrastructure. However, the most significant issue is the issuance of manufacturing licenses by the State Licensing Authority without the prior clearance of the Drug Controller General of India DCG(I), the head of CDSCO.
What are FDCs? An FDC is a cocktail of two or more active drug ingredients in a fixed ratio of doses. According to US healthcare provider IMS Health, almost half the drugs sold in India in 2014 were FDC, making it a world leader in combination drugs.
Why are they popular in India? FDCs’ popularity in India is due to advantages such as increased efficacy, better compliance, reduced cost and simpler logistics of distribution. FDCs have shown to be particularly useful in the treatment of infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, where giving multiple antimicrobial agents is the norm. FDCs are also useful for chronic conditions especially, when multiple disorders co-exist.
About CDSCO: The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India.
Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, CDSCO is responsible for approval of New Drugs, Conduct of Clinical Trials, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs in the country and coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organizations by providing expert advice with a view of bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
Further CDSCO along with state regulators, is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.
Impact: The Drug Controller-General of India (DCGI) would regulate the import, manufacture and sale of these devices from January 1, 2020.
All these devices will have to be registered under the quality parameters prescribed under Medical Devices Rules 2017 and other standards set by the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) certification.
Also, companies which are engaged in the manufacture and import of these equipment, will have to seek the necessary permission or license from the Drug Controller-General of India.
Currently, only 23 medical devices are monitored for quality by the country’s drug regulator. With four new devices being notified, 27 medical devices now fall under the definition of drugs under the Act. The other medical equipments are sold without any quality checks or clinical trials.
Background: The Drug Technical Advisory Body (DTAB), the country’s highest drug advisory body, had approved the proposal to include nebulizers, blood pressure monitoring devices, digital thermometers and glucometers under the purview of the Drug Law.
About DTAB: Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) is the highest decision-making body under the Union health ministry on technical matters. Director General of Health Services (DGHS) is the ex-officio chairman of this statutory body which is constituted by the ministry under section 5 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
Key features of the missile: Agni- 5 is the intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile. It is the latest in India’s “Agni” family of medium to intercontinental range missiles.
Agni-5 has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1500-kg warhead. It can target almost all of Asia including Pakistan and China and Europe.
The 17-metre long Agni-5 Missile weighs about 50 tonnes and is a very agile and modern weapon system.
The surface-to-surface missile is a fire-and-forget system that cannot be easily detected as it follows a ballistic trajectory. India describes the Agni – 5 missile system as a ‘weapon of peace’.
India has already joined an elite club of nations that possess the ICBM launch capability when the maiden test-firing of Agni-V was successfully conducted in April, 2012. Only the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United States and Britain, along with Israel, have so far possessed such long-range missiles.
Accomplishments so far: Voyager 2 is the only probe ever to study Neptune and Uranus during planetary flybys. It is the second man-made object to leave our planet. It is now 11 billion miles from Earth, following behind it’s sister spacecraft, Voyager 1, which is 6 years ahead of it. The probe is estimated to be travelling at 34,000 mph.
Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited all four gas giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — and discovered 16 moons, as well as phenomena like Neptune’s mysteriously transient Great Dark Spot, the cracks in Europa’s ice shell, and ring features at every planet.
What is Interstellar space? Scientists use the heliopause to mark where interstellar space begins, although depending on how you define our solar system it can stretch all the way to the Oort Cloud, which begins 1,000 times farther away from the sun than Earth’s orbit.
The Heliosphere: The heliosphere is a bubble around the sun created by the outward flow of the solar wind from the sun and the opposing inward flow of the interstellar wind. That heliosphere is the region influenced by the dynamic properties of the sun that are carried in the solar wind–such as magnetic fields, energetic particles and solar wind plasma. The heliopause marks the end of the heliosphere and the beginning of interstellar space.
About Voyager mission: The Voyager mission was launched in the 1970’s, and the probes sent by NASA were only meant to explore the outer planets – but they just kept on going. Voyager 1 departed Earth on 5 September 1977, a few days after Voyager 2 and left our solar system in 2013.
The mission objective of the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) is to extend the NASA exploration of the solar system beyond the neighborhood of the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun’s sphere of influence, and possibly beyond.
The Voyager spacecraft are the third and fourth human spacecraft to fly beyond all the planets in our solar system. Pioneers 10 and 11 preceded Voyager in outstripping the gravitational attraction of the Sun but on February 17, 1998, Voyager 1 passed Pioneer 10 to become the most distant human-made object in space.
Highlights of the report: Many of the world’s largest energy-consuming countries significantly improved their renewable energy regulations since 2010.
Progress was even more marked in energy efficiency, with the percentage of countries establishing advanced policy frameworks growing more than 10-fold between 2010 and 2017.
Among countries with large populations living without electricity, 75 per cent had by 2017 put in place the policies and regulations needed to expand energy access. But there were still significant barriers to global progress on sustainable energy.
While countries continue to be focused on clean energy policies for electricity, policies to decarbonize heating and transportation, which account for 80 per cent of global energy use, continued to be overlooked.
This momentum was particularly marked in renewable energy. Among the countries covered by RISE, only 37 per cent had a national renewable energy target in 2010. By 2017, that had grown to 93 per cent.
By last year, 84 per cent of countries had a legal framework in place to support renewable energy deployment, while 95 per cent allowed the private sector to own and operate renewable energy projects.
Among the four SDG7 target areas — renewable energy, energy efficiency, electricity access and access to clean cooking — the last one continued to be the most overlooked and underfunded by policymakers.
There has been little progress on standard-setting for cookstoves or on consumer and producer incentives to stimulate adoption of clean technologies.
Indian scenario: India has gained a great success in renewable energy auctions that delivered record-setting low prices for solar power. However, to realize its full potential, the country needs to address critical gaps, such as failing utilities, clean cooking, and the slow progress on decarbonizing heating and transport.
With the inauguration of the Kannur airport, Kerala has now become the first state in India to have four international airports, with Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode being the other three.
Kaiga power station-1 creates a world record yet again: Karnataka’s Kaiga has once again made the country proud by creating a world record for the longest uninterrupted operation for 941 days, thereby breaking the earlier record of 940 days by the United Kingdom.
Background: KGS-1 at Kaiga, located 56 km from Karwar has been generating electricity continuously since May 13, 2016. It isan indigenously-built PHWR run by domestic fuel (uranium). It began commercial operations on November 16, 2000, and has produced 500 cr. units of power so far. In June, KGS-1 had set a national record for continuous operation of 766 days.