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Economic Current affairs 2021

Following the current events and news in the area of Economic is very very important for the general studies paper in the UPSC exam. In recent times questions are set on only those topics that have made news. Regular study of Economics from NCERT books or otherwise is no longer required. The idea is to follow the current affairs news related to Economics and understand the Economics behind those issues. This is true for all levels of teh IAS exam - prelims, mains and also the interview.




Current Affairs Quiz

Current Affairs in Economic - January 2021

ADB: It refers to Asian Development Bank. ADB and Government of India signed a 490 million dollars loan for public-private partnership (PPP) project to upgrade about 2600 kilometers of state highways and major district roads from single-lane to two-lane widths in Madhya Pradesh. The loan agreement was signed by the Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB) in Department of Economic Affairs in Finance Ministry Sameer Kumar Khare and Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission Kenichi Yokoyama. An additional $286 million investment will also be mobilized via private sector participation under PPP modality.

The projest aims to improve rural and peri-urban connectivity in state as well as improve access to markets and better services. It will also develop an e-maintenance system, which can record defects or required maintenance, along with a training program to develop capacity on contract implementation and project finance in the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation.

The project continues ADB's engagement with the state's road sector since 2002. This will open a new partnership by introducing PPP through the hybrid-annuity model (HAM), thereby leveraging government financing and improving sustainability of capital investments.

HAM: It refers to hybrid-annuity model. The HAM is a mix of engineering, procurement, construction, and build-operate-transfer. This passes the responsibility of design, implementation, and operation and maintenance obligations to the private sector, while attracting some private sector financing.

Under the HAM, the government will release 6o% of the total project cost during construction, to be paid to the concessionaire in tranches linked to completion milestones. The remaining 40% is arranged by the concessionaire in the form of equity and commercial debt. After the completion of the project, the government will repay concessionaire’s financial investment over a period of 10 years.

MSME: It refers to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Bank of Baroda signed an MoU with the Gujarat government to facilitate the flow of credit in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector. According to the agreement, the credit will be provided to the MSME sector for greenfield projects, startups, women entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs from backward areas under the Gujarat Single Window Clearance Act 2017 & Ordinance Number 1 of 2019 dated October 24, 2019.The MoU with the Gujarat government is a step forward for MSME entrepreneurs. The MoU would not only speed up the process of the credit off take but also speed up industrial development.

HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank Ltd. is an Indian banking and financial services company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is India’s largest private sector lender by assets. It is the largest bank in India by market capitalization as of February 2016. It was founded in August 1994 in India.

HDFC Bank has become only the third Indian company to cross $100 billion in market capitalization. It now a rank 110th in the list of world’s most valued firms and is now in league of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which has a market value of $140.74 billion, and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS) that has a market capitalization of $114.60 billion.

SEBI: It refers to Securities and Exchange Board of India. SEBI is responsible for regulating Securities market in India. It was founded in 1988 as a non-statutory body for regulating securities market. Statutory Powers was given to SEBI on 30 January 1992 through Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

Markets regulator SEBI has signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kazakhstan-based Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) for mutual co-operation and technical assistance.  The MoU was signed by SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi and the acting chief executive officer (CEO) of AFSA Mukhtar Bubeyev.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cross border co-operation in area of securities regulation. This would facilitate mutual assistance, contribute towards efficient performance of the supervisory functions, and enable effective enforcement of laws and regulations governing the securities markets.

eBkray: t is an e-auction platform to enable online auction of attached assets by banks. Finance Minister Sitharaman launched ‘eBkray’ auction platform. The platform provides navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, property search feature. It also presents single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction, comparison of similar properties, and also contains videos and photographs of the uploaded properties. The e-auction platform is now linked on Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal. IBAPI portal is an initiative of Indian Banks Association under the policy of the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance was launched to provide a platform to give details of mortgaged properties to be auctioned online by Banks, starting with PSBs. Buyers can search in the IBAPI portal to get properties details and participate in auction process.

India-China Imports: India is set to finalize stricter quality standards for 371 items by March 2020. The move is primarily aimed at curbing imports of non-essential items such as toys, plastic goods, sports items and furniture, especially from China. The proposed rules to be framed by ministries in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will ensure stricter inspection of imports. According to the commerce ministry estimates, non-essential items imports from China amounts to about ₹4 trillion a year.

The proposed rules are aimed at curbing imports from China and narrowing the trade deficit with India’s northern neighbor, the rules will also apply to Indian producers so as to make the regulations World Trade Organization-compliant.

Darjeeling Tea: It consists of some of the worlds costliest stress-busting brews which are grown in the tea gardens of Darjeeling in West Bengal. Recently, Darjeeling tea and White tea had received a GI tag but has fallen back in global prices due to legal and illegal influx of Nepal Tea into the country which is cheaper than Darjeeling Tea. Darjeeling Tea was already suffering due to the impact of climate change, scarcity of skilled labor and high production cost. Now Nepal is stealing the business and glory of the original Darjeeling brew.

GI Tag: It refers to Geographical Indication Tag. It is a tag used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess the qualities or reputation that are due to that origin. The Tag is provided to fetch an identity for the product international market and increase its exports. India enacted Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 under Article 22 of World Trade Organization.

Mani Mobile App: It is an acronym for Mobile Aided Note Identifier Mobile App. It helps the visually challenged people to identify denomination of currency notes.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das and other officials launched ‘MANI’ mobile app on January 1, 2020. The MANI app will work offline also once it is installed. The app is available both on Android and iOS operating systems. The users can scan the notes using the mobile camera and the audio output will give the result in Hindi as well as English.

However, as per the Central Bank the app does not authenticate a note as either genuine or counterfeit.

RBI: It refers to Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. RBI is the regulator of entire Banking in India. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. It regulates commercial banks and non-banking finance companies working in India. It serves as the leader of the banking system and the money market. It was founded on 1 April 1935 in Kolkata. It is headquartered in Mumbai. The 25th Governor of RBI is Shaktikant Das.

Recently, on 9th january 2020 The RBI amended the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for banks and other lending institutions. RBI, under the new amendments in KYC norms allows these lending institutions to use video-based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP).

The V-CIP is consent based alternate method of establishing the customer’s identity and for customer onboarding from remote areas while leveraging the digital channels for the Customer Identification Process (CIP) by Regulated Entities (REs). It also provides comfortability to banks and other regulated entities while holding to the RBI’s Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. The video files recorded as V-CIP are required to be stored bearing the date and time stamp while ensuring the safety and security of the video files.

RBI has advised banks to capture clear image of PAN card produced by the customer during the Customer Identification Process (CIP) and has also advised the banks and other regulated entities to record the customer’s location (Geotagging) to ensure the customer’s physical presence in India.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI): The Reserve Bank of India on Friday unveiled the five year (2019-24) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI). The NSFI has been formulated by RBI under the aegis of Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee (FIAC). The report has been ratified by the Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC).

According to the official report, the NSFI 2019-2024 sets forth the vision and key objectives of the financial inclusion policies in India to help expand and sustain the financial inclusion process at the national level through a broad convergence of action involving all the stakeholders in the financial sector. The financial inclusion is a key driver of growth and poverty alleviation world over. Access to formal finance can boost job creation, reduce vulnerability to economic shocks and increase investments in human capital.

It also aims to include all, particularly poor and underprivileged class, under formal access to finance which is a key goal of the government of India. As per the reports, the 6 pillars which is a part of strategic objectives to achieve the aim of financial inclusion are:

Universal Access to Financial Services

Providing basic bouquet of financial services

Access to livelihood and Skill Development

Financial Literacy and Education

Customer Protection and Grievance Redressal

Effective Co-ordination

RBBG scheme: It stands for residential builder finance with buyer guarantee’ (RBBG) scheme. Recently, the State Bank of India announced the RBBG scheme with an aim to increasing residential sales and improving homebuyers’ confidence. The SBI will issue a guarantee for completion of select residential projects to customers who have availed home loans from it.

Initially, the scheme will focus on housing projects that are affordable and priced up to 2.50 crore rupees in 10 cities. The bank, under this scheme will give guarantee until the project gets the occupation certificate (OC).

2nd National GST Conference: The 2nd edition of National GST Conference of the Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners of Central Tax held under the chairmanship of Revenue Secretary of Ministry of Finance, Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey. It was held on 7 January 2020.

The conference was held to take necessary action to streamline the GST (Goods and Service Tax) system and also to plug revenue leakages. The meeting included measures to curb fraudulent refund claims, linking foreign exchange remittances with IGST refund, investigation of fraudulent Input Tax Credit (ITC) cases by the IT Department and a single bank account for foreign remittance receipt. The committee for taking measure will come out with detailed Standard Operating Procedure within a week, which may be implemented across the country by January end.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed among the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the GST Network to exchange data through application program interface, from CBDT to GSTN and CBIC and vice-versa to be shared quarterly instead of being shared on a yearly basis.

All the chief commissioners of the Central Tax Zones, State Commissioners of State Taxes, Directors General (DG) of CBIC, members of CBIC, Chairman of CBDT and other officials were present in the conference.

The 1st National GST Conference of Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners/Director Generals of Central Tax was held on 25th November 2019. It was also held under the chairmanship of the Union Revenue Secretary Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, in New Delhi.

SBI: It refers to the State Bank of India. SBI is an Indian multinational, public sector banking and financial services statutory body. It is a government corporation statutory body. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was established in 1 July 1955. SBI is ranked as 236th in the Fortune Global 500 list of the world's biggest corporations of 2019. The current Chairperson is Rajnish Kumar

The South Central Zone (SCR) of Indian Railways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SBI for door step banking. Under the MoU, the bank will enables to collect earnings generated from all 585 stations of the zone. The traffic earnings will be collected by SBI and transferred to the Government account. The direct pick up of cash from all the railway stations on SCR by SBI will save the tiring and complex activity of movement of cash earnings through ‘cash safes’ by trains and it will also speed up the pace of financial transactions and digitize the remittance of cash earnings of the Railways. Furthermore, railway stations will have uniform cash remittance mechanism, unnecessary accumulation of cash at the railway stations can be avoided with the above facility and there will be better supervision and accountability of the cash deposited by different stations.

Gold Hallmarking: The process of certifying the purity of gold is called hallmarking. The BIS system of hallmarking of gold jewellery began in April 2000 and around 40% of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently. BIS is the National Standards Body of India established under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act 2016. It has provisions under Sections 14 and 16 for making hallmarking of mandatory by the Central Government. It certifies that the piece of jewellery conforms to a set of standards laid by the Bureau of Indian Standards, the national standards organization of India. India is the second biggest market for gold and its jewellery.

On January 14, 2020, The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan announced that Indian jewellers will be allowed to sell hallmarked gold artifacts made of 14, 18 and 22-carat gold only. It has now become mandatory for all the Indian Jewellers to get the hallmarking of Gold jewellery and artefacts with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to sell only hallmarked Gold jewellery & artefacts. The mandatory rule is to be implemented from 15 January 2021. Any violation in the new rule will result in one year imprisonment and a fine under the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016.

The purpose of making hallmarking mandatory is not only to curb frauds and fake gold but also to ensure that consumers are not cheated while buying gold ornaments and get the purity as marked on the ornaments.

GEFCO: It is an acronym for Griqualand Exploration and Finance Company Ltd. GEFCO Group is a world wxpert in supply chain solutions and the European leader in automotive logistics. It was founded in 1949 by the French car manufacturer Groupe PSA. It is headquartered in France. Its parent organization is the Russian Railways.

Global software major Infosys has signed a 5-year deal with leading European automotive logistics firm Gefco to digitize its worldwide operations. Infosys has partnered with GEFCO to strengthen its Digital Transformation. Infosys will help GEFCO to transform GEFCO’s next-generation business application management services. It will also help GEFCO to evolve into a ‘Digital Native’ organization. The main aim of the partnership is to support GEFCO to create new sustainable sources of competitive advantage and to constantly improve value for its customers.

Infosys: Infosys Limited is an Indian multinational corporation that provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services. It is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys is Salil Parekh.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee.The RBI carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. It was founded in 1st April 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 in Kolkata, west Bengal. Its headquarters is in Mumbai. The current Governor isShaktikanta Das and the Deputy Governors are N S Vishwanathan, B P Kanungo and M K Jain.

Recently, the Appointments committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of Michael Debabrata Patra as Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He has been appointed for the period of three years. He will be the fourth Deputy Governor of the RBI. The post fell vacant after Viral Acharya resigned on July 23 last year. Dr. Patra was Executive Director of the Reserve Bank before being elevated to the post of Deputy Governor. Mr. Patra is likely to retain the monetary policy department (MPC), which was handled by Mr. Acharya, as the deputy governor.

The RBI, headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, can have a maximum of four deputy governors. N S Vishwanathan, B P Kanungo and M K Jain are the other deputy governors working at the central bank.

MPC: It refers to Monetary Policy Committee. It ia a panel of six members with 3 members from RBI and other 3 members are elected by the Government of India(GoI). MPC was constituted on 27 June 2016. Its aim is to determine interest rates in a more useful and transparent manner.

NPCI: It refers to the National Payments Corporation of India. The NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India. it was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Mumbai. The main objective of NPCI is to consolidate and integrate multiple systems with varying service levels into nation-wide uniform and standard business process for all retail payment system. The current MD & CEO of National Payments Corporation of India is Dilip Asbe.

Recently, NPCI launched a blockchain-technology based payment system ‘Vajra Platform’. The newly launched platform is based on the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). It has been designed for automating payment clearing and settlement processes of NPCI products such as unified payments interface (UPI) and Rupay card.

The platform has three types of nodes, namely, Clearing House node (CHN) for NPCI, UIDAI node for Aadhaar authentication and Participant node (PN) for all banks.

ICICI Bank: ICICI Bank Limited is an Indian multinational banking and financial services company. It was established by the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), an Indian financial institution, as a wholly owned subsidiary in 1994. The bank was established as the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Bank, before it changed its name to the abbreviated ICICI Bank. it is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The current MD & CEO of ICICI Bank is Sandeep Bakhshi.

Recently, ICICI Bank launched a “Cardless Cash Withdrawal” service through ATM. This service can be used for cash withdrawal from its ATMs with a per-day transaction limit of Rs 20,000. The service will enable the ICICI customers to withdraw cash from the ATM by simply putting a request on ICICI Internet Banking App “iMobile”. The advantage of this service is that the customers can withdraw money without using a debit card without any inconvenience and it is also secure .

DPIIT: It refers to Department of Industry and Internal Trade. DPIIT is a central government department under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. it was founded in 1995 and its headquarters is in New Delhi. Its parent organization is the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is responsible for formulation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for growth of the industrial sector, keeping in view the national priorities and socio-economic objectives. While individual administrative ministries look after the production, distribution, development and planning aspects of specific industries allocated to them, DPIIT is responsible for the overall industrial policy. It is also responsible for facilitating and increasing the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the country. Initially known as Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion was renamed as Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) after internal trade was added to its mandate. The current Minister is Piyush Goyal while the top bureaucrat is Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra.

Recently, DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched paperless licensing process through Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) for petroleum service stations. It was launched through Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) under the Petroleum Rules, 2002. This initiative for petroleum pump licensing is directly going to benefit more than 70,000 petroleum pump owners and oil marketing companies and even benefit the petroleum and gas industry.

This initiative is in line with the government vision to promote Ease of Doing Business towards paperless and green India that will provide simpler mechanism, ease of living and business to the petroleum road tanker owners.

PESO: It refers to Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation. PESO is a department formed by Government of India under Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

PESO administers Explosives Act 1884,Explosive Substance Act, Petroleum Act 1934, Inflammable substance Act 1952 and Environment Protection Act 1986. The main function of PESO is to control import, export, transport, storage and usage of explosive materials,flammable materials, pressure vessels, cryogenic vessels, design and installation of all necessary and relevant infrastructure etc. It is a regulatory authority with autonomous status. The Department is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives and is headquartered at Nagpur in the State of Maharashtra in India. The authority has framed various rules like Cinematographic Films Rules, 1948, Calcium Carbide Rules 1987, Petroleum Rules 2002, Gas Cylinder Rules 2002, Explosive Rules 2008, Static & Mobile Pressure Vessels (Unfired) 2016, Ammonium Nitrate Rules, etc. It is headquartered in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Green National Highway Corridors: The World Bank and Government of India ( goI) recently signed a $500 Million(around Rs 3,692 crore) Green National Highways Corridors Project to build safe, green and resilient highways in states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The agreement between the Indian government and the World Bank was signed by an additional secretary, Department of economic affairs, CS Mohapatra, and World Bank acting country director of India, Sumila Gulyani.

The project will help reduce GHG emissions in the construction and maintenance of highways.

It will also support the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in the construction of 783 km of highways by combining safe and green technology designs such as industrial byproducts, local and marginal materials, and other bioengineering solutions.

World Bank: The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects. It comprises two institutions which are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It was founded on July 1944 by John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. Its main aim is providing financing, advice, and research to developing nations to aid their economic advancement. The bank predominantly acts as an organization that attempts to fight poverty by offering developmental assistance to middle- and low-income countries. The current President of World Bank is David Malpass.

 

Bharatskills Portal: The Directorate General of Training (DGT) along with Microsoft and NASSCOM Foundation recently launched a digital learning programme for around 1.2 lakh students from nearly 3,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in the country.

The digitized e-learning programme can be accessed on the Bharatskills portal, a central repository for skill development programmes.

The joint e-learning programme will provide ITI students with future-ready employability skilling content. The programme aims to enable digitization in education and impact thousands of students, and hopes to reach more students and teachers soon, the skill development and entrepreneurship.

About Bharatskills: The online portal called Bharatskills(https://bharatskills.gov.in) was launched by DGT  in Oct 2019.

It is a Central Repository for skills providing easy access for the trainees and trainers of the ITI ecosystem, to access updated curriculums and course content of all courses under the Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS), Question Banks, mock/practice papers, learning videos, etc., hence enabling anytime, anywhere learning outside the classrooms.

The teachers and students can access a centralized, scalable and prosperous support ecosystem throug its industrial partners who can now learn the newer IR 4.0 skills to meet the demands of the industry.

DGT: It refers to the Directorate General of Training. DGT is an apex organization for development and coordination at National level for the programmes relating to vocational training including women's Vocational Training. It is headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP). Its current Chairman is KK Natarajan.

Swachhata Abhiyan: It is a mobile application launched by the Minister of State at the Ministry of Social Justice Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar.

The Minister urged all citizens to download the app, ''Swachhata Abhiyan'', and through it provide the authorities concerned details of any insanitary latrine or manual scavenger they notice.

This would help in rehabilitating all manual scavengers and replace insanitary latrines with sanitary ones.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, mandates survey of insanitary latrines, their demolition and construction of sanitary ones in their place.

Note: The government has been implementing Swachh Bharat Mission for the same purpose. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, more than nine crore sanitary latrines have been constructed but still insanitary latrines and manual scavengers in some isolated parts of the country exist.

The reported insanitary latrines and manual scavengers will be rehabilitated to provide dignity of life to them.

DFC: It refers to the Dedicated Freight Corridor. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated a 351-km section between Khurja and Bhaupur in Uttar Pradesh for commercial operations of the DFC. He also dedicated to the nation a state-of-the-art Operation Control Centre in Prayagraj.

The DFC consists of two arms. The first section launched recently is part of the 1,839-km Eastern DFC that starts at Sohnewal (Ludhiana) in Punjab and ends at Dankuni in West Bengal. The other arm is the around 1,500-km Western DFC from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to JNPT in Mumbai, touching all major ports along the way.

The 351-km section stretches between Khurja, the 12th stop after Sohnewal in the North, to New Bhaupur, near Kanpur.

The other stretches are Sohnewal to Khurja (365 km), Bhaupur to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay (Mughalsarai) (400 km), then to Sonnagar in West Bengal (137 km), then to Dankuni via Gomoh in Jharkhand (538 km).

A section between Dadri and Khurja to connect the Eastern and Western arms is also under construction.

Built at a cost of Rs 5,750 crore at a cost of Rs 5,750 crore is important as around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains.

It is being built through a loan from World Bank (which is funding a majority of the EDFC; the WDFC is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency).

Tracks on DFC are designed to carry heavier loads than most of Indian Railways. DFC will get track access charge from the parent Indian Railways, and also generate its own freight business.

NCMC: It is an abbreviation for National Common Mobility Card. NCMC is an automatic fare collection system. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated fully operational NCMC service on the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro. The service was started in Ahmedabad last year.

The idea of NCMC was floated by the Nandan Nilekani committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The NCMC will enable the passengers to travel on the Airport Express Line using the RuPay-Debit Card issued from any part of the country.

This facility will become available on the entire Delhi Metro network by 2022.

This one card will give integrated access to the commuters wherever they travel, whichever public transport they take.

It will allow entry and exit from Metro stations with the help of a smartphone, known as the automatic fare collection (AFC) system.

The main objective of the Government is dwelling on the process of consolidating all the systems into One Nation, One system. 

The other examples under this system are as follows:

  1. One Nation, One Fastag has made travel seamless on highways across the country.
  2. One Nation, One Power Grid, is ensuring adequate and continuous power availability in every part of the country.
  3. One Nation, One Taxe. GST has ended the complications in the tax system and has brought uniformity in indirect tax system.
  4. With One Nation, One Gas Grid, Seamless Gas Connectivity is being ensured of the parts where gas-based life and economy used to be a dream earlier.
  5. One Nation, One Health Insurance Scheme e. Ayushman Bharat through which millions of people from India are taking advantage anywhere in the country.
  6. Citizens moving from one place to another have got freedom from the trouble of making new ration cards through One Nation, One Ration Card.
  7. One Agriculture Market due to new agricultural reforms and arrangements like e-NAM.

Note: Prime Minister also inaugurated India’s first-ever driverless train operations on Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line. It was inaugurated through video conferencing along with fully operational NCMC service on the Airport Express Line

SIB: It stands for Social Impact Bond. SIB is also called pay-for-success bond or pay-for-success financing or simply social bond. SIB is basically a contract with public sector authority, where it pays for better social outcomes. It is a form of outcome-based contracting and aims at improving social outcomes for a specific group of citizens.

Recently, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), Pune  signed an MoU with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to co-create India’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB).

It is for the first time that a government body will act as the 'outcome funder' in a bond contrary to convention. Earlier, traditionally most government-funded public projects required large and early investments by the government with a substantial gestation period of outcomes and involve various kinds of risks.

Under this unique investment tool, PCMC will only have to bear the costing of public welfare projects which are related to the bond if the pre-defined targets of the projects are achieved.

The introduction of the SIB aims attract more investors from public and private sectors to fund public welfare projects and thus help to meet the investment deficit currently hindering India's roadmap to SDGs.

UNDP: It refers to United Nations Development Programme. UNDP was founded on 22 November 1965 to help countries eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable human development, an approach to economic growth that emphasizes improving the quality of life of all citizens while conserving the environment and natural resources for future generations. It is headquartered in New York, New York, United States. The current head of UNDP is Achim Steiner.

Current Affairs in Economic - December 2020

  • Green National Highway Corridors : The World Bank and Government of India ( goI) recently signed a $500 Million(around Rs 3,692 crore) Green National Highways Corridors Project to build safe, green and resilient highways in states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
    The agreement between the Indian government and the World Bank was signed by an additional secretary, Department of economic affairs, CS Mohapatra, and World Bank acting country director of India, Sumila Gulyani.
    The project will help reduce GHG emissions in the construction and maintenance of highways. It will also support the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in the construction of 783 km of highways by combining safe and green technology designs such as industrial byproducts, local and marginal materials, and other bioengineering solutions.

    World Bank: The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects. It comprises two institutions which are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It was founded on July 1944 by John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. Its main aim is providing financing, advice, and research to developing nations to aid their economic advancement. The bank predominantly acts as an organization that attempts to fight poverty by offering developmental assistance to middle- and low-income countries. The current President of World Bank is David Malpass.
  • Bharatskills Portal :: The Directorate General of Training (DGT) along with Microsoft and NASSCOM Foundation recently launched a digital learning programme for around 1.2 lakh students from nearly 3,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in the country.
    The digitized e-learning programme can be accessed on the Bharatskills portal, a central repository for skill development programmes. The joint e-learning programme will provide ITI students with future-ready employability skilling content. The programme aims to enable digitization in education and impact thousands of students, and hopes to reach more students and teachers soon, the skill development and entrepreneurship.
    About Bharatskills: The online portal called Bharatskills(https://bharatskills.gov.in) was launched by DGT in Oct 2019. It is a Central Repository for skills providing easy access for the trainees and trainers of the ITI ecosystem, to access updated curriculums and course content of all courses under the Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS), Question Banks, mock/practice papers, learning videos, etc., hence enabling anytime, anywhere learning outside the classrooms. The teachers and students can access a centralized, scalable and prosperous support ecosystem throug its industrial partners who can now learn the newer IR 4.0 skills to meet the demands of the industry.

    DGT: It refers to the Directorate General of Training. DGT is an apex organization for development and coordination at National level for the programmes relating to vocational training including women's Vocational Training. It is headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP). Its current Chairman is KK Natarajan.
  • Swachhata Abhiyan: It is a mobile application launched by the Minister of State at the Ministry of Social Justice Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar.
    The Minister urged all citizens to download the app, ''Swachhata Abhiyan'', and through it provide the authorities concerned details of any insanitary latrine or manual scavenger they notice.
    This would help in rehabilitating all manual scavengers and replace insanitary latrines with sanitary ones.
    Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, mandates survey of insanitary latrines, their demolition and construction of sanitary ones in their place.
    Note: The government has been implementing Swachh Bharat Mission for the same purpose. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, more than nine crore sanitary latrines have been constructed but still insanitary latrines and manual scavengers in some isolated parts of the country exist.
    The reported insanitary latrines and manual scavengers will be rehabilitated to provide dignity of life to them.