27, December 2016

Sagarmala Development Company

Source: PIB

The Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways inaugurate the Sagarmala Development Company.

  • The Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The Cabinet had approved the formation of the SDC under the administrative control of the Ministry of Shipping in July 2016


The main objective SDC is to identify port-led development projects under the ambitious Sagarmala programme.

  • It will provide equity support for project Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) set up by the Ports, State, Central Ministries and funding window.
  • It will implement only those residual projects which cannot be funded by any other means mode.
  • It will mainly help in structuring activities, bidding out projects for private sector participation, identifying suitable risk management measures for strategic projects across multiple States, regions and obtaining requisite approvals and clearances.

The implementation of the identified projects would be taken up by the relevant Ports, State Governments/Maritime Boards, Central Ministries, through private or PPP mode.


  • The Company would act as the nodal agency for coordination and monitoring of all the currently identified projects under Sagarmala as well as other projects emerging from the master plans or other sources.
  • It would also undertake the preparation of the detailed master plans for the Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) identified as part of the National Perspective Plan (NPP) SDC would be raising funds as debt/equity (as long term capital), as per the project requirements, by leveraging resources provided by the Government of India and from multi-lateral and bilateral funding agencies.
  • It would also aim to increase the scope of private sector participation in project development.


Union Government had launched Sagarmala Project with a view to achieve the broad objective of promoting port-led economic development in India. The ambitious Project seeks to harness vast potential of India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways, and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.

  • As part of it, a NPP for the comprehensive development of the coastline and maritime sector was prepared.
  • The NPP has identified more than 150 projects across the areas Port Connectivity Enhancement, of Port Modernization & New Port Development, Port-led Industrialization and Coastal Community Development.

  1. Scientists identify world’s most heat resistant material

Source: Indian Express

Refractory ceramics could be used in thermal protection systems due to their extraordinary resistance to heat.

Scientists have identified materials that can withstand temperatures of nearly 4,000 degrees Celsius, an advance that may pave the way for improved heat resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles.

Hafnium Carbide

Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK discovered that the melting point of hafnium carbide is the highest ever recorded for a material.

Tantalum carbide (TaC) and hafnium carbide (HfC) are refractory ceramics, meaning they are extraordinarily resistant to heat.

Their ability to withstand extremely harsh environments means that refractory ceramics could be used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors.

  1. Google to launch online safety campaign for digital consumers in India

Source: Indian Express

Google has teamed up with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in India to launch a country-wide ‘Digitally Safe Consumer’ campaign

  • Google has teamed up with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in India to launch a country-wide ‘Digitally Safe Consumer’ campaign in order to raise awareness and protect consumer interest on the internet.
  • As part of the campaign, Google will work on educating consumer organisations in India, help in training members of the Consumer Affairs department, and also work with officials in the National Consumer Helpline.

Key facts:

  • Google will start rolling out this year-long campaign in January 2017, and it will work towards organising ‘Digital Literacy, Safety & Security’ workshops.
  • Google will rely on the ‘Train the Trainer’ model for this exercise, and plans to train around 500 people, including 250 consumer organisations across the country.
  • The educational campaign will also feature write ups, posters, interactive quizzes and audio-visuals that will help educate users about the challenges of Internet safety and security.
  • With the rapid increase in digitisation across all spheres, the message of internet safety needs to be integrated into the everyday tasks that the consumer undertakes online.

This won’t be Google’s first campaign around internet safety in India.

The company is already working with schools to help spread awareness about the practice of safe surfing among young internet users; it is also working with Data Security Council of India to run a security and awareness program for SMEs in the country.

  1. Rs 120 crore new malaria control drive for southern part of Odisha

Source: Indian Express

The state government has decided to launch a new malaria control programme, DAMAN, in inaccessible areas with annual expenditure of Rs 24 crore from the state budget.

DAMAN will compliment the routine malaria control activities and bridge the gaps in case findings and treatment among the high risk population of inaccessible villages of high endemic areas.

  1. Assam launches health insurance scheme Atal-Amrit Abhiyan

Source: Times of India

Assam’s  government on rolled out ‘Atal-Amrit Abhiyan’ health insurance scheme which will provide coverage against several critical illnesses.

Launched to mark the 92nd birthday of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the scheme will offer coverage against 437 illnesses in six disease groups, namely, cardiovascular, cancer, kidney, neo-natal, neurological conditions and burns.

Key facts:

  • Both Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) families, with annual income below Rs 5 lakh, are eligible for the scheme.
  • Health always remains a commitment of Government and with the launching of Atal-Amrit Abhiyan access to quality treatment will become a reality for the all the citizens.”
  • Atal-Amrit Abhiyan is an endeavour of the government to make quality health care affordable to every individual member of a family.
  • A separate society will also be set up under the Department of Health and Family Welfare which will be responsible for administration of the scheme.

  1. What are benami properties? All you need to know

source: Indian Express

After attacking black money by demonetisation of high value curency notes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to take on ‘benami’ properties to check corruption

Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016:

  • The government has already enacted the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 which provides for rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years, and a fine which may extend to 25 per cent of the fair market value of the benami property.
  • It also empowers the government to confiscate deposits of people using others accounts to convert unaccounted wealth into white money.
  • But it seems its hasn’t deterred the corrupt from amassing benami properties.
  • Hopefully, the government will make further amendment in the existing law, or may bring a new act, as said by the prime minister.

What is benami property?

Benami in Hindi means without name. So, a property bought by an individual not under his or her name is benami property. It can include property held in the name of spouse or child for which the amount is paid out of known sources of income.

  • A joint property with brother, sister or other relatives for which the amount is paid out of known sources of income also falls under benami property.
  • The transaction involved in the same is called benami transaction.
  • As a usual practice, to evade taxation, people invest their black money in buying benami property.
  • The real owner of these properties are hard to trace due to fake names and identities.
  • The person on whose name the property is purhcased is called benamdar.
  • The benami transactions include buying assets of any kind — movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, any right or interest, or legal documents.

What are the laws against benami properties?

The first act against benami properties ws passed in 1988 as the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.

  • To curb black money, the Modi government in July 2016 decided to amend the original act.
  • So after further amendment, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 came into force on November 1, 2016.
  • The PBPT Act defines benami transactions, prohibits them and further provides that violation of the PBPT Act is punishable with imprisonment and fine.
  • The PBPT Act prohibits recovery of the property held benami from benamidar by the real owner. Properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government without payment of compensation.

Affect of benami transactions on people and need for tough law

  • Rather than hoarding the black money in cash, the tax evader invest their accumulated illegal money in buying benami properties.
  • The whole process affects the revenue generation of government hampering growth and development of the state.

Since the percentage of tax payer in the country is a dismal low, the government fails to successfully implement its policies and schemes due to lack of resources. A tough law against benami properties is the need of the hour to check corruption.

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