India’s GDP growth expected to be slower at 7.1% in 2016-17: CSO
According to growth projection released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is expected to grow at a slower pace at 7.1% in 2016-17 as compared to 7.6% in 2015-16.
World Bank holds meet with India on Indus Water Treaty
India asked the World Bank not to rush in brokering a deal on its dispute with Pakistan over Ratle and Kishenganga projects coming up in Jammu and Kashmir. India conveyed its position during a meeting with World Bank representative in New Delhi. India asserted that the differences between India and Pakistan can be resolved bilaterally or through a neutral expert.
- India also maintained its position that the designs of the Ratle and Kishenganga projects do not violate the Indo-Pak Indus Water Treaty (IWT).
- Following this, the World Bank decided to set up a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to settle the disputes following Pakistan’s demand and also agreed to appoint a neutral expert as sought by India.
- However, India reacted strongly to the decision to appoint the CoA as earlier World Bank in December 2016 had announced that it will temporarily halt the two simultaneous processes to resolve the differences.
- IWT is a bilateral water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan signed in 1960. It was brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development).
- The treaty deals with sharing of water of Indus water system having six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between the two countries.
- It gives India control over three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and Pakistan control over three western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.
- It is most successful water treaty in world. Even, it has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil standoff besides Kashmir insurgency since 1990.
14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas begins in Bengaluru
About Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD)
- PBD is an annual event organised since 2003 by Ministry of External Affairs to foster greater interaction between the Indian Diaspora and Indian government.
- It is a very important platform for engagement of the Union Government and the state governments with the overseas Indian community.
- It provides the single platform to Indian diaspora to put forth their issues and grievances before the government and in turn government can leverage their resources in nation building activities.
- It is held annually on 9 January to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India i.e. on 9 January, 1915.
Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)
It was attended by heads of all financial sector regulators as its members. It reviewed the major issues and challenges facing the economy.
Highlights of the meeting
- Indian Economy: India appears to be much better placed because of improvement in its macroeconomic fundamental despite fragile world economy. It reviewed the major issues and challenges facing the economy.
- Banking: The status of NPAs of public sector banks and measures taken by the government and the RBI for tackling the stressed assets were reviewed. It also discussed about further action to be taken in this regard.
- Financial inclusion/ financial literacy: Discussed about the various initiatives taken by the government and regulators for promoting financial inclusion/ literacy. It also discussed further measures for promoting the same.
- Technology: Discussed issues pertaining to Fintech, digital innovations and cyber security. It also discussed on further steps to be taken.
- Demonetisation: It will help in eliminating the shadow economy and tax evasion. It will have a positive impact on GDP and fiscal consolidation in the long run.
Besides, a brief report on the activities undertaken by the FSDC sub-committee chaired by RBI Governor Urjit Patel was placed before the FSDC meeting.
About Financial Stability and Development Council
- The Central Government had established Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) in December 2010 with the Finance Minister as it Chairman.
- The idea to create it was first mooted by the Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial Sector Reforms in 2008.
- It is a super regulatory body for regulating financial sector which is a vital for bringing healthy and efficient financial system in the economy.
- The FSDC envisages to strengthen and institutionalise mechanism of (i) maintaining financial stability, (ii) Financial sector development, (iii) inter-regulatory coordination along with monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy.
Composition of FSDC
- Chairman: Union Finance Minister.
- Members: Heads of the financial sector regulatory authorities (i.e, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, PFRDA), Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (Union Finance Ministry), Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and Chief Economic Adviser.
- FSDC can invite experts to its meeting if required.
Two Core functions
- Act as an apex level forum to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability.
- Enhance inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development in the country.
- Focus on financial literacy and financial inclusion.
- Monitor macro-prudential supervision of the economy.
- Assess the functioning of the large financial conglomerates.
Dispute over party symbol and legal provisions:-
After the recent the political feud and vertical split in Samajwadi Party, the both warring factions are claiming their stakes on the party symbol, the ‘cycle’. Following this, Election Commission of India (ECI) has served notices to both factions to provide supporting documents and evidence in their favour for claiming the party symbol.
The legal procedure-
The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the ECI to recognise political parties and allot symbols. The Paragraph 15 of the Order allows ECI to decide disputes among rival groups or factions of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
Paragraph 15 of the 1968 Order –
This paragraph applies to disputes in recognised national and state parties. Under it, the ECI is the only authority to decide issues over claims of Party symbol in case of split. Even the Supreme Court in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI case (1971) had upheld its validity. However, in case of splits in registered but unrecognised parties, the ECI usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.
Considerations ECI takes in to account during such scenario-
The ECI primarily ascertains support enjoyed by a claimant within a political party in its organisational wing and in its legislative wing. First the commission examines party’s organisational wing by taking into consideration of support of office-bearers and finds out how many office-bearers, members or delegates support the rival claimants. If ECI fails to test the support strength to any faction based on support within the party organisation then it tests majority in legislative wing i.e. based on support of elected MPs and MLAs of party i.e. In case of the legislative wing, the ECI takes into consideration of majority of affidavits submitted by members for the support of group. Based on the majority support the symbol is allocated. So far, in almost all disputes decided by the EC, a clear majority of office bearers/party delegates, MPs and MLAs have supported one of the factions.
In case of uncertainty-
When the party is either vertically divided or it is no warring group has majority, then ECI may freeze the party symbol and allow the rival groups to register themselves with new names or add suffixes or prefixes to the party’s existing names. In case of immediate electoral purposes, ECI advise the rival groups to fight the elections in different names and on temporary symbols.
Niti Aayog may seek trial run of Hyperloop
We’re not selling transportation, we’re selling time
That’s what the CEO of Hyperloop says.A while back we published the idea of Metrino pod and Talgo train – Click Here
Now the transport ministry is toying with the idea of Hyperloop.
The travel time between Mumbai and Pune, about three hours by train now, would be cut to 25 minutes if Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has its way.
The Los Angeles-based company, which has designed a new way to move people, has asked the transport ministry for land to run a pilot project of its high-speed transportation service.
Hyperloop is a concept where a pod-like vehicle travels through a near-vacuum that’s contained within a tube. It can theoretically touch top speeds of close to 1,200 km an hour even when not running on full steam, using less energy than conventional modes of transportation. It is being heralded as the future of high-speed passenger and freight transportation the world over, with futurists such as Elon Musk backing the concept.
“We use a custom electric motor to accelerate and decelerate a levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle will glide silently for miles with no turbulence,” says its website. “We tested our motor in May, 2016, and will test the full system in early 2017. We’re developing routes in five countries. The goal is to be moving cargo by 2020 and passengers by 2021.”
Bipop Gresta, chairman and chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, says he met Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and made a formal proposal to set up a pilot project in the country. “We’re not asking for money right now, we’re asking for land. If they want to put money, we can do a public-private partnership. But if they don’t want that, we have private investors. In the second case, we need to have land that is meaningful and not something in the middle of nowhere.”
If the proposal goes through, Gresta says he estimates it will take eight months to do a feasibility study. It might take an additional 28 months from the time all the permits are acquired to roll out the transportation service.
Unlike traditional high-speed rail networks that need vast stretches of land for arrow-straight tracks, Hyperloops can be built alongside highways. The technology consumes much less energy owing to the lack of air resistance within the tubes.
Gresta says the concept will be an ideal fit for India, which lacks high-speed rail and air connectivity. “India is a country that has a very particular situation. It has a high density of population, lacks infrastructure and a political environment that is willing to invest in innovation,” Gresta had said on the sidelines of Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
Hyperloop Transportation Technology already has a 25-member team in India that is working on technology, mechanical engineering and other roles for its global ambitions. Further, the company is looking to partner with Indian educational institutes to have them solve engineering problems.
The company is also in talks with at least two Indian firms for outsourcing some part of its manufacturing and other technology services. Gresta did not divulge the details on the companies.
“We’re not selling transportation, we’re selling time,” says the company’s website