25, October 2016

1.Doing Business Index: Centre to hold meeting with 17 ‘laggard’ States/UTs

Source: The Hindu

EASE OF DOING BUSINEES INDEX BY– WORLD BANK

The performance on this ‘action plan’ is being considered for a State-wise ‘ease of doing business’ ranking in the spirit of ‘competitive and cooperative federalism’. This year’s State-wise ranking will be released shortly by the Centre.

The 17 States/Union Territories that are laggards present a contrasting picture to the intense competition seen among the other States to grab top spots in the State-wise doing business index.

The Centre’s portal on the ‘business reform action plan’ has a ‘real time ranking and tracking of the States/UTs’ on the basis of the implementation of the reform action plan.

Key indicators:

The 340 reform areas are broadly under categories including construction permit, environmental and labour registration, obtaining electricity connection, online tax-return filing, inspection reform, access to information and transparency, single window, land availability and commercial dispute resolution.

Highlights of certain good practices:

  1. ‘construction permit’ criterion, Telengana’s good practice is that it has replaced the requirement of an official No-Objection Certificate (NOC) with self-certification.
  2. ‘obtaining electricity connection’-parameter, Rajasthan has a system that allows online application, payment and tracking and monitoring.
  3. ‘inspection reforms’, Gujarat has published a well-defined inspection procedure & checklist on its web site.
  4. ‘land availability’, Jharkhand has a GIS system providing details about the land earmarked for industrial use.
  5. ‘single window’, Uttar Pradesh has a good practice of having ensured that ‘NOC from Fire Department’ is provided as a service through the online.

Rank holders:

  1. At present, there are ten States that have an implementation percentage of 90 per cent or more, and these have been categorised as ‘leaders’— The number one rank is currently being held by two States — Andhra Pradesh and Telengana with a score of 99.09 per cent each.
  1. The next category is that of ‘aspiring leaders’ — those with an implementation rate between 60-90 per cent. — There are currently seven States in that category, of which five have an implementation rate of over 80 per cent.
  1. ‘acceleration required’ — those with an implementation percentage of 30-60 per cent. There are two States in this category.

The 17 poorly performing States/UTs are those falling in the last category called ‘jump-start needed’ with a 0-30 per cent implementation percentage.

They include Kerala (24.92 per cent), Goa (18.82 per cent), Tripura (16.18 per cent), Assam (14.45 per cent), Daman & Diu (14.41 per cent), Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Manipur (1.47 per cent each), Nagaland & Puducherry (1.18 per cent each), Mizoram & Sikkim (0.59 per cent each), Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Chandigarh, Meghalaya, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep (yet to implement any reform).

2.ISRO starts landing tests for Chandrayaan-2 mission

Source: The Hindu

ISRO has started a series of ground and aerial tests linked to the critical Moon landing of Chandrayaan-2.

ISRO Satellite Centre or ISAC, the lead centre for the second Moon mission, has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and test the Lander’s sensors.

It has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and test the Lander’s sensors

ISRO, along with a host of other scientific and strategic agencies, owns vast land for its future missions at Challakere, in a ‘Science City’

Chandrayaan-2 is tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018 and includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface.

The mission includes an Orbiter, a Lander and a Rover, all being readied at ISAC in Bengaluru. The Orbiter spacecraft when launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface — all three sending data and pictures to Earth.

  1. India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva

Source: The Hindu

India and the EFTA, a bloc of four European countries including Switzerland, will resume the long—stalled negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement in Geneva.

EFTA:

The Association is responsible for the management of:

  • The EFTA Convention, which forms the legal basis of the organisation and governs free trade relations between the EFTA States;
  • EFTA’s worldwide network of free trade and partnership agreements; and
  • The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, which enables three of the four EFTA Member States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to participate in the EU’s Internal Market.

The four EFTA members are – Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

 

A meeting between the chief negotiators of India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was held here to take stock of the ongoing negotiations for Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).

Keyfacts:

The proposed pact covers trade in goods and services, market access for investments, protection of intellectual property and public procurement.

Issues: EFTA wants India to commit more in IPR. They were also demanding for data exclusivity, which India is completely opposed to

The two way trade between the regions stood at USD 21.5 billion in 2015-16 as against USD 24.5 billion in the previous fiscal.

 

4.‘One India’ push for ease of business

Source: The Hindu

The Centre is working with State governments to introduce a ‘One India’ concept, the most ambitious ‘ease of doing business’ initiative so far.

What is it all about?

The ‘one-form-one-portal’ model is aimed at attracting huge investments. Under this model, the processes will be simplified to an extent where investors will need to fill only a single e-form for investing and doing business anywhere in India.

The proposed concept will make it easy for investors to even change plans midway and shift projects to different locations in India where it is easier to do business.

Currently, firm are mandated to complete multiple forms at the Central and State-levels, and it gets more complicated as each State has different requirements and regulations.

Background:

The reform plan is among steps aimed at helping raise India’s global ranking on the World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business’ index — from 130 in 2016 — to the top 50 among the 189 economies featured on the list.



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