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Current Affairs > English > 2019-01-11 > Editorial

Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza

The Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza (SIDCOP), an initiative to bring Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform was launched.

         It is a partnership by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) with Municipal Governments of Guiyang and Dalian. A Joint Venture comprising of one Indian and Chinese company has been tasked with the running of the platform.

         SIDCOP, which is a boundary-less marketplace offers opportunity for Chinese enterprises in order to assist them in operational optimization and adopting industry best practices in business solutions.

         It could be useful to connect with top providers from India and help Chinese enterprises source the right solution providers for their projects.


Key words: SIDCOP, India-China Collaboration, Software



National Clean Air Programme


A time bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner in the form of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

         Collaborative and participatory approach involving relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other Stakeholders with focus on all sources of pollution forms the crux of the Programme.

         The tentative national level target of 20%30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.

Overall objective of the NCAP is comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.



         The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year.

         The approach for NCAP includes collaborative, multi-scale and cross-sectoral coordination between the relevant central ministries, state governments and local bodies. Dovetailing of the existing policies and programmes including the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and other initiatives of Government of India in reference to climate change will be done while execution of NCAP.

         There will be use of the Smart Cities program to launch the NCAP in the 43 smart cities falling in the list of the 102 non-attainment cities.

         City specific action plans are being formulated for 102 non-attainment cities identified for implementing mitigation actions under NCAP.

         The NCAP will be institutionalized by respective ministries and will be organized through inter-sectoral groups, which include, Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, NITI Aayog, CPCB, experts from the industry, academia, and civil society.

         The program will partner with multilateral and bilateral international organizations, and philanthropic foundations and leading technical institutions to achieve its outcomes.

         In addition, sectoral working groups, national level Project Monitoring Unit, Project Implementation Unit, state level project monitoring unit, city level review committee under the Municipal Commissioner and DM level Committee in the Districts are to be constituted under NCAP for effective implementation and success of the Programme.

         Other features of NCAP include, increasing number of monitoring stations in the country including rural monitoring stations, technology support, emphasis on awareness and capacity building initiatives, setting up of certification agencies for monitoring equipment, source apportionment studies, emphasis on enforcement, specific sectoral interventions etc.


Key words: NCAP, Air Pollution, Particulate Matter



Sahayak Containers


Why in News

The Navy has successfully tested containers that can be air-dropped to enhance its operational logistics capability at sea.



         Successful trials of Sahayak Air Droppable Containers was undertaken from an IL-38 aircraft off the coast of Goa

         Having a test payload of 50 kg, these containers, equipped to carry spares for ships up to 2,000 km away from the coast, were air-dropped into the Arabian Sea which descended to the sea with the help of a parachute.

         This will reduce the requirement of ships to be close to the coast for collecting spares and stores, thereby increasing the duration of their deployment.

These cylindrical containers have been indigenously developed by the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory and the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.


Keywords : Indian Navy, Sahayk Containers, Make in India


GST Council

Why in news?

The GST Council in its 32nd meeting took a slew of decisions aimed at reducing the tax and compliance burden on small and medium enterprises.

         The measures include increasing the threshold limit below which companies are exempt from GST, extending the Composition Scheme to small service providers, and allowing small companies to file annual returns.

         The Council also raised the annual turnover limit under which companies would be exempt from GST to ₹40 lakh for most States and ₹20 lakh for the North Eastern and hill states, from the earlier limit of ₹20 lakh and ₹10 lakh, respectively.

         A very large part of GST revenue comes from the formal sector and large companies.

         The decisions taken the Council have been done to help the small and medium companies. The revenue impact due to these will be minimal.

         The limit for eligibility for the Composition Scheme would be raised to an annual turnover of ₹1.5 crore from April 1, 2019.

         The companies opting for the Composition Scheme would be allowed to file annual returns and pay taxes quarterly from April 1.

         The Composition Scheme currently allows companies with an annual turnover of up to ₹1 crore to opt for it, and file returns on a quarterly basis at a nominal rate of 1%. So far, only manufacturers and traders were eligible for this scheme.

         The Council had decided to extend the Composition Scheme to small service providers with an annual turnover of up to ₹50 lakh, at a tax rate of 6%.

Kerala cess

The GST Council also decided to allow Kerala to levy a cess of up to 1% for up to two years on intra-State supplies to help finance the disaster relief efforts following the recent floods in the state.

Keywords: GST council, Kerala cess,


Capital Conservation Buffer

Why in news?

The Reserve Bank deferred the implementation of the last tranche of Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) by a year, a move that would leave about an estimated ₹37,000 crore capital in the hands of banks.

         This would help banks increase lending by over ₹3.5 lakh crore by leveraging ten times the capital.

         It has been decided to defer the implementation of the last tranche of 0.625% of CCB from March 31, 2019 to March 31, 2020, the RBI said in a notification. Currently, the CCB of banks stands at 1.875% of the core capital.

         Minimum capital conservation ratios of 2.5% would be applicable from March 31, 2020.

         Further, it said, the pre-specified trigger for loss absorption through conversion or write-down of additional tier 1 instruments will remain at 5.5% of risk-weighted asset (RWA) and will rise to 6.125% of RWAs on March 31, 2020.

         The CCB is the capital buffer that banks have to accumulate in normal times to be used for offsetting losses during periods of stress. It was introduced after the 2008 global financial crisis to improve the ability of banks to withstand adverse economic conditions.

Keywords: RBI, Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB).




Crop Colonies


Why in News

A high-level meeting held in Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University has decided to prepare maps of crop colonies proposed by the State government based on the local weather conditions, nature of soils, water and other resources.

         It was decided to prepare maps on mandal-wise cropping patterns, production and productivity and also a roadmap on the area-wise possibility of establishing food processing units with the help of National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM).

Further, it was decided to conduct an extensive workshop in the month of February, to discuss the report prepared by the Agriculture Department, PJTSAU and NBSS&LUP to finalise the crop colonies.

The suggestions and recommendations of the workshop would be submitted to the State government by February-end for taking a decision.


Key words: Crop colonies, PJTSAU, Telangana