- Consumers upfront in tale of two reforms in Andhra
- Andhra Pradesh’s (AP) power sector is going through a second phase of reforms. While the first phase (1999 – 2004) was widely seen as focused on privatisation on electricity distribution, this time the goal is to ensure affordable and reliable power supply for all.
- At present, there is a strong Central government push to raise retail tariffs to reflect the rising costs of supply — a target set for states under the UDAY scheme for discoms’ financial turnaround. This makes and hr a pradesh’ s plan to improve electricity without any additional cost burden on the consumers particularly intriguing.
- The reform relies on disruptive technologies to bring down the power bills of discoms through a fivepoint strategy: improve supply through enhanced renewable energy (RE) generation, energy storage technologies, and full capacity utilisation of conventional power plants; implement energy efficiency measures; strengthen the transmission and distribution (T&D) network to bring down losses to below 6%; adopt IT for better consumer services; and lastly, improve financial management of power projects including loan swaps.
ð The state has achieved 7 GW RE installed capacity, which is 10% of the national RE capacity and 30% of the state’s total generation capacity. To complement RE capacity, Andhra Pradesh has inaugurated the first thermal battery plant of India and allocated over 100 acres land for energy storage projects. The state has set a target of 1 million electric vehicles on road by 2023 backed by a dedicated electric mobility policy and planned investment of ₹30,000 crores. Andhra Pradesh has emerged as a national frontrunner in the State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index.
· India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project inaugurated
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the construction of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project through video conferencing.
- The 130-kilometre-long pipeline will connect Siliguriin West Bengal and Parbatipur in Bangladesh’s Dinajpur district, and will be used for importing oil.
- The third and fourth Dual Gauge line of Dhaka-Tongisection and Dual Gauge Double line of Tongi-Joydevpur section of Bangladesh Railway were also inaugurated.
- Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurates ‘All India Pension Adalat’
- The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the ‘Pension Adalat’.
- It was organised by the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India.
- He also presented the ‘Anubhav’ awards 2018 to six pensioners for their contribution towards creating institutional memory for the departments.
· DAC approved for the enhancement of Akash missiles
- The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave its approval for the upgradation of the indigenously developed Akash short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) system. Akash missile was to be inducted by the Army. This approval will let Akash missile to be upgraded
- The upgraded version will have theseeker technology and the coverage will be of 360-degree. It will have a compact configuration. To provide protection to vital assets, the operation of the missile has been made critical.
- Akash missile was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme initiated in 1984
- It was manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
- The range of the missile is 25 km and can engage multiple targets at a time in all-weather conditions.
· NaMo app introduces micro donation platform
- In NaMo app, the BJP has launched three new features, a volunteer platform, merchandise and micro-donations for the persistent demand from active users of the platform. The volunteer can donate starting from a minimum of Rs.5 with amounts of Rs.50, Rs.500 and Rs.1,000. The fund will be used for the Clean Ganga project. This new volunteer platform has been introduced for the general 2019 elections.
- It also has other sections that have multiple items like T-shirts, mugs, caps, notebooks, etc. This app will act as a central avenue for all volunteering activities and give multiple options for online and on-ground volunteering activities.
· No Withholding Tax On Interest Payment Of Masala Bonds
- TheCentral Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) announced that no withholding tax will apply on interest payments made by an Indian company or a business trust to a non-resident in respect of offshore rupee-denominated bonds issued between September 17, 2018 and March 31, 2019.
- The move is expected to incentivise foreign exchange inflows into India through low-cost offshore rupee-denominated bonds, popularly referred to as masala bonds.
Gk bit – Withholding Tax
- Withholding tax is an amount that is directly deducted from the employee’s earnings by the employer and paid to the government as a part of individual’s tax liability. These taxes are paid to the central government of India.
- Cabinet nod likely for new mechanism for MSP, focus to be on all 23 crops under MSP
- The Union cabinet is likely to approve on Wednesday a new mechanism to procure farmers’ produce on minimum support price (MSP). States will get additional financial support from the Centre for procurement under a new system which may also allow private agencies to pitch in for the task
- The proposals expected to come up for approval include market assurance scheme (MAS) which involves decentralised procurement and disposal by state agencies. The procurement under the new mechanism will be effective from the upcoming Kharif marketing season, beginning October.
- The focus of the new mechanism is likely to be on all 23 crops which come within the ambit of the MSP, unlike the existing practice where two major foodgrains – wheat and paddy.
- Under the MAS, the state agencies will procure farmers’ produce and the governments will be required to ensure direct payment of MSP into Aadhaar-linked farmers’ accounts. The Centre will bear the cost of expenditure to an extent and there will be some sharing between the Centre and states beyond that point.
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