Centre OKs Rs 3,000 crore project for 8th bridge over Brahmaputra river
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced the Centre’s approval to an over Rs 3,000-crore externally aided project (EAP) for building the eighth bridge over the Brahmaputra river near Guwahati and also performed the ‘bhoomi pujan’ for another EAP worth Rs 2,200 crore for a 120-MW hydel project in Assam’s Dima Hasao district. In a day-long visit to the state, Sitharaman also laid the foundation of improvement and upgrading work of a 90-km road from Haflong Tinali to Lower Haflong at an estimated cost of Rs 900 crore to be implemented under ADB-aided Assam Road Network Improvement Project (ARNIP).
In her last engagement, she launched the Assam’s Right to Public Services portal. Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the portal is a way forward for electronic delivery of ARTPS notified public services to people. “Our government is committed to bringing about fast, effective and resilient reforms in governance in tandem with the rapidly transforming world,” he added.
This run-of-the-river project over Kopili river will help increase electricity supplied from clean energy by 469 gigawatt hour (GWh) by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 360,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Three northeast states hit CAPEX target of finance ministry
Three northeastern states — Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland — are among 11 states in the country, which have achieved the target set by the finance ministry for capital expenditure (CAPEX) in the first quarter of 2021-22. As an incentive, they have been given permission for additional open market borrowings by the expenditure department.
The other states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. While the additional borrowing permitted for Manipur is Rs 90 crore, for Meghalaya it is Rs 96 crore and Rs 89 crore for Nagaland.
It said the capital expenditure had a high multiplier effect, enhancing future productive capacity of the economy and resulting in a higher rate of economic growth. “Accordingly, out of the net borrowing ceiling of 4% of GSDP for the states for 2021-22, 0.50% of GSDP was earmarked for incremental capital expenditure to be incurred by states during 2021-22. The target for incremental capital expenditure for each state to qualify for this incremental borrowing was fixed by expenditure department .
World Bank Report- Shifting Gears: Digitization and Services-Led Development
As per World Bank’s report titled “Shifting Gears: Digitization and Services-Led Development”, Indian economy is expected to increase by 8.3% in the fiscal year 2021-2022.
As per report, in the next financial year, India’s economic prospects will be determined by its pace of vaccination against covid-19 and successful implementation of agriculture & labour reforms.
India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 20.1% in first quarter (April-June quarter) of financial year 2021-22 in the backdrop of “a significant base effect, limited damage to domestic demand and strong export growth”.
In the first quarter of financial year 2020-21, GDP of India was contracted by 24.4% because of nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
The World Bank also observed that the disruption in India’s economy during the second wave of the pandemic was limited, compared to the first.
Moody’s upgrades outlook on India’s sovereign rating to Stable
Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the sovereign rating outlook of India to stable from negative.
This rating was upgraded citing reduced risks from COVID-19 as well as negative feedback between real economy & financial system.
Moddy’s has retained India’s rating at Baa3. It reflects the lowest investment grade rating.
Moody’s further expects that real GDP will surpass pre-pandemic levels of 2019-20 in the year 2021 itself. This is because the ongoing economic recovery is picking up as the activity are broadening across sectors.
Moody’s expects that 2021-22 will record a growth of 9.3% in GDP.
Pandora papers leak case
Pandora Papers have come to spotlight after millions of documents related to hidden world of offshore wealth got leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ).
These are the 11.9 million leaked papers from 14 companies, in offshore tax havens, comprising of details of ownership of 29,000 offshore companies and trusts from countries like Vietnam, Belize and Singapore. These documents highlight the ownership of assets has been settled in private offshore trusts and investments like cash, shareholding, and real estate properties are held by the offshore entities. In this case, around 380 people of Indian nationality have been named.
Pandora Papers investigation
A global network comprising of reporters, publication houses and International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) took two-year effort to go through 11.9 million leaked documents. About 600 journalists from 150 media outlets are a part of the ongoing investigation.
Ministry of Tourism organising conference on Buddhist Crcuit
The Ministry of Tourism is organising a “Buddhist Circuit Train FAM Tour and Conference from October 4 to October 8, 2021 in a bid to tap the potential of the Buddhist tourism.
The FAM tour will comprise of the visit of prominent Buddhist sites as well as conferences at Bodh Gaya and Varanasi.
This conference is likely to be attended by 125 delegates including tour operators, media, hoteliers, and officials of Ministry of Tourism & State Governments.
Around 100 local tour operators and other stakeholders of tourism & hospitality sector will attend the event at Bodh Gaya and Varanasi for discussing the key issues with respect to the development and promotion of tourism in the circuit.
‘Made in India’ drone used to transport COVID-19 vaccine
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya launched an initiative on October 4, 2021 to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine delivery using “made in India drones” in the tough & hard-to-reach terrains of Northeast.
For the purpose, ICMR has designed a delivery model called “Drone Response and Outreach in North East (i-Drone)”.
This delivery model has been designed to endure that life-saving COVID-19 vaccines reach everyone.
This initiative was launched in line with government’s commitment to “Antyodaya in health” that makes healthcare accessible to every citizens in India.
Significance of the initiative
This was the first time that a “Make in India’ drone has been used in South Asia for transporting COVID-19 vaccine for an aerial distance of 15 km. This distance was covered in 12-15 mins from Bishnupur district hospital to Loktak lake, Karang island in Manipur. Road distance between both the locations is 26 kms.
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