20, September 2016

1.Centre sends BS-V auto emission norms for a ‘six’

source: The Hindu

The Centre has notified the Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission standards for two-wheelers and four-wheelers from April 2020 across the country.

BHARAT STAGE V:

With this, the government has decided to skip the BS-V emission standards and move directly to BS-VI from the BS-IV norms currently being followed in various cities.

The government had earlier planned to implement BS-V norms from 2020 and BS-VI norms from 2022. However, it decided to skip BS-V norms and advance the implementation of BS-VI norms following the Supreme Court’s intervention.

Ministry of Road Transport & Highways:

The Ministry is now introducing BS-VI fuel norms after due consultation with Ministry of Petroleum and National Gas, Department of Heavy industry and Ministry of Environment and Forest all over the country by 01.04.2020.

At present:

BS-VI is the Indian equivalent of the Euro-VI norms. At present, BS-IV norms are being followed in over 30 cities while the rest of the country follow BS-III norms.

Currently, BS IV fuel is being made available across the country in stages, with the entire nation expected to be covered by April1 2017.

What are Bharat norms?

Introduced in the year 2000, the Bharat norms are emission control standards put in place by the government to keep a check on air pollution. Based on the European regulations (Euro norms), these standards set specifications/limits for the release of air pollutants from equipment using internal combustion engines, including vehicles. Typically, the higher the stage, the more stringent the norms.

BS-VI Norms:

  • The particulate matter emission in BS-V and BS-VI is same for diesel cars though it is 80% less than BS IV.
  • The nitrogen oxide (NOx) level is, however, 55% less in BS-VI over BS-V which in itself is 28% lower than BS IV.
  • The sulphur content in fuel norms for diesel and petrol under both BS-V and -VI standards does not change at 10 ppm, though it is substantially less than 50 mandated for both the fuels under BS-IV.

2.Emerging signs of mass extinction?

Source: The Hindu

Large-sized marine animals, more than the smaller ones, face a greater threat of extinction.

1.The study gathers importance in its relevance to environmental change

2.In the geological record, all of the major mass extinction events are associated with evidence for large and rapid environmental change

3.Singular force: Therefore, each mass extinction appears to have been caused by a single, large, triggering event

4.It is still possible that different species died out for different proximal reasons, but the overall driver appears to be singular for most, if not all, of these events

5.The dominant threat identified in today’s case are human fishing and hunting, rather than climate change itself.

Extinction biased towards large animals:

  • Previous mass extinctions: Body size was either inversely associated with extinction probability or not at all
  • Present extinction threat: Large-sized marine animals face a greater threat of extinction than the smaller ones.
  • This is a crucial difference because of the importance of large animals’ role in the ecosystem.

Mass extinction:

The authors base the analysis on comparisons with fossil records and similar situations that were encountered during the five massive extinction events that have taken place in the last 55 million years.

The end-Permian event that happened 252 million years ago when reef-building animals were exterminated and the end-Cretaceous one (66 million years ago) when non-avian dinosaurs were eliminated are the two biggest extinction events.

3.Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras (PMJAY) – Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Source: PIB

A countrywide campaign, for ensuring availability of generic medicines at affordable prices for all, under the project title “Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana (PMJAY)” was initiated by the Department of Pharmaceuticals in association with Central Pharma Public Sector Undertakings. It envisages key initiative of opening of dedicated outlets Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras (PMJAK) where high quality generic medicines are sold at low prices. Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is implementing the scheme.

4.Western Fleet Ships visit South Africa

Source: PIB

1.India’s commitment to its ties with South Africa and to the maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region, Indian Naval Ships Kolkata, Trikand and Aditya under the Command of the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.

 2.During the warships will have professional interactions with the South African Naval Forces (SAN) for enhancing co-operation and sharing the nuances of naval operations including combating maritime threats of terrorism and piracy.

India and South Africa:

1.India and South Africa have very close and cordial political and diplomatic relations with a sizeable settlement of people of Indian origin in South Africa.

2.The frequent cross visits by high level delegations including the Heads of State have further strengthened the bilateral relations.

3.The last visit by an Indian Naval ship to South Africa was in November 2014, when Indian Naval Ship Teg made port call at Simon’s Town and Cape Town as part of Exercise IBSAMAR, a trilateral maritime exercise involving navies of Brazil, India and South Africa.

4.SAN also participated in International Fleet Review hosted by India in February 2016 and was represented by SAN ship.

5.The current visit seeks to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and South Africa and underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries of the region.

5.Mumbai awaits nod for global financial centre

  Source: The Hindu

IFSC:

The Centre will consider Maharashtra Government’s request to ease land norms to facilitate the establishment of an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Mumbai.

If approved, the IFSC — proposed to be set up at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in the country’s financial capital — will be the second such centre in India after the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar. 

The proposed IFSC at BKC will also be a multi-services Special Economic Zone (SEZ) like the GIFT City.

Nodal body:

  • The commerce ministry has been roped in as it is the nodal body at the Centre for SEZ-related matters.
  • While the guidelines concerning IFSC come under the purview of financial sector regulators such as the RBI, IRDA and SEBI as well as the finance ministry.
  • The SEZ Act is also applicable in this case as IFSC is set up in an SEZ.

Approval:

According to the SEZ Act, the Centre can approve the establishment of an IFSC in an SEZ and prescribe the requirements for its setting up and operation. However, the rider is that the Centre can approve only one IFSC in an SEZ.

It will require an amendment to the SEZ Rules for which further inter-ministerial consultations will be needed in addition to circulation of a Cabinet note for approval of the Cabinet at a later stage.

Arguments giving approval:

Now arguments for and against giving approval for setting up more than one IFSC in the country.

Those against the proposal for a second IFSC in India (at BKC) have contended that examples from across the world show that most countries have been able to produce only one major international financial centre in their territory – for instance, London (U.K.), New York (U.S.), Tokyo (Japan), Zurich (Switzerland), Shanghai (China), Frankfurt (Germany), Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.

 Those favouring another IFSC have pointed out that the SEZ Act does not prohibit more than one IFSC in the country.

Special Economic Zone:

  • India was one of the first in Asia to recognize the effectiveness of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) model in promoting exports, with Asia’s first EPZ set up in Kandla in 1965.
  • The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Policy was announced in April 2000.
  • This policy intended to make SEZs an engine for economic growth supported by quality infrastructure complemented by an attractive fiscal package, both at the Centre and the State level, with the minimum possible regulations.

The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005- Minister for Commerce and Industry.

The main objectives of the SEZ Act are:

  1. Generation of additional economic activity
  2. Promotion of exports of goods and services;
  3. Promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources;
  4. Creation of employment opportunities;
  5. Development of infrastructure facilities;

The SEZ Rules provide for:

  1. Simplified procedures for development, operation, and maintenance
  2. Single window clearance for setting up of an SEZ;
  3. Single window clearance for setting up a unit in a Special Economic Zone;
  4. Single Window clearance on matters relating to Central as well as State Governments;
  5. Simplified compliance procedures and documentation with an emphasis on self certification.

Approval mechanism and Administrative set up of SEZs:

  • Devolpers proposal for establishment of SEZ to the concerned State Government
  • The State Government has to forward the proposal with its recommendation within 45 days from the date of receipt of such proposal to the Board of Approval. The applicant also has the option to submit the proposal directly to the Board of Approval.
  • The Board of Approval has been constituted by the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred under the SEZ Act.

Administrative set up:

  • The Board of Approval is the apex body and is headed by the Secretary, Department of Commerce.
  • Once an SEZ has been approved by the Board of Approval and Central Government has notified the area of the SEZ, units are allowed to be set up in the SEZ.
  • All the proposals for setting up of units in the SEZ are approved at the Zone level by the Approval Committee consisting of Development Commissioner, Customs Authorities and representatives of State Government.
  • The performance of the SEZ units are periodically monitored by the Approval Committee and units are liable for penal action under the provision of Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, in case of violation of the conditions of the approval.


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