bharat ias - Launch of Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)

Launch of Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)

Launch of Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)  Why in news: ·         Commerce and Industry Minister launched the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) today .   Features: ·         the Scheme is focussed on addressing the needs of the exporters.Tthe focus is not just to create infrastructure but to make sure it is professionally run and sustained. ·         There will be an Empowered Committee to periodically review the progress of the approved projects in the Scheme and will take necessary steps to ensure achievement of the objectives of the Scheme. ·         The proposals of the implementing agencies for funding will be considered by an inter ministerial Empowered Committee specially constituted for this Scheme to be chaired by the Commerce Secretary. ·         While appraising the project the justification, including the intended benefit in terms of addressing the specific export bottlenecks, would be evaluated.  ·         the scheme would provide assistance for setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages like the Border Haats, Land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, SEZs and ports/airports cargo terminuses   About TIES-  ·         After delinking of the ASIDE Scheme in 2015, the State Governments have been consistently requesting the support of the Centre in creation of export infrastructure. This support is imperative to act as an inducement to the States to channelize funds from their increased devolution towards creation of export infrastructure. ·         The objective of the proposed scheme is to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure, first mile and last mile connectivity for export-oriented projects and addressing quality and certification measures.  ·         The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ Authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the EXIM policy of Government of India; are eligible for financial support under this scheme.  ·         The Central Government funding will be in the form of grant-in-aid, normally not more than the equity being put in by the implementing agency or 50% of the total equity in the project. (In case of projects located in North Eastern States and Himalayan States including J&K, this grant can be upto 80% of the total equity).The grant in aid shall, normally, be subject to a ceiling of Rs 20 Cr for each infrastructure project.  ·         The implementing agencies shall provide details of the financing tie-ups for the projects which will be considered before approval of the project. Disbursement of funds shall be done after financial closure is achieved.   ...

Publishes on : 16-Mar-2017 07:24 AM
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bharat ias - Cabinet approves Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane Gas Marketing and Pricing Freedom for CBM Gas

Cabinet approves Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane Gas Marketing and Pricing Freedom for CBM Gas

Cabinet approves Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane Gas Marketing and Pricing Freedom for CBM Gas  Information: ·         The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister today gave its approval for marketing and pricing freedom to the Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Contractors to sell the CBM at Arm's Length Price in the domestic market. ·         While discovering the market price for Arms Length Sales, the Contractor has to ensure a fully transparent and competitive process for sale of CBM with the objective that the best possible price is realized for the gas without any restrictive commercial practices.  ·         CBM contractors have also been permitted to sell the CBM to its any affiliate, in the event contractor cannot identify any buyer. ·         Royalty and other dues to the Government, however, shall be payable on the basis of Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) notified prices or selling prices, whichever is higher.    Significance: ·         The policy is expected to incentivize the CBM operation in the country to boost gas production and will generate economic activities which in turn will be beneficial for creating more employment opportunities in CBM operations and related activities.     ...

Publishes on : 16-Mar-2017 07:22 AM
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bharat ias - Chief of Defense Staff system

Chief of Defense Staff system

Chief of Defense Staff system  ·         Chief of Defense Staff is to be the head of the armed forces, army, navy, air force combined, and they are responsible for policy making. ·         All major democracies like UK, France, Australia, Brazil, China, etc have Chief of Defense Staff. ·         India has Chief of Army, Chief of Navy and Chief of Airforce who do not play any role in policy making. ·         After Kargil War in 2001 there was a demand for the creation of CDS but to no effect. ·         PM earlier in April 2016 called for Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (PC COSC) to establish ground rules in this matter and generate a report. Defense Minister has hinted that it is no longer a distant dream and that India could soon have its Chief of Defense Staff. ·         The 11-member committee has presented report to the Defense Ministry which might soon announce our very first Chief of Defense Staff. The CDS will act as an advisor to the defense ministry on all military matters. He will hold an authority over the three respective chiefs. Cyber space command and Special Forces command will also be included. Issues in the Current System in India 1. The higher defense management in India is currently along the lines of the Joint Chief of Staff model of the USA, with the senior most chief (Army, Navy and Air force) appointed as Chairman JSOC. The Defense Secretary acts as an interface between the armed forces and the political executive. 2. The Armed Forces are still considered as "Attached Offices" of the Ministry of Defense and it is the Defense Secretary who is responsible for the defense of the country. This invariably leads to greater gap between the civilian and military bureaucracy. 3. It’s the Defense Secretary who represents India in all professional forums and acts as the adviser to the Raksha Mantri, consequently depriving the political executive of the expert advice of the service Chiefs. 4 The problem with the existing separate military headquarters is that there is a turf war between the three wings with each seeing things with its own perspective and requirement.    Advantages Of Cds

1. More coordination: The three armed forces of our nation function separately with hardly any coordination amongst them. There is an Integrated Defense Staff Headquarters which was set in 2001 in the aftermath of Kargil war but since there is no CDS, there is no effectual functioning in the system which is supposed to act as a single point advisory of all the three.

2. Separating bureaucracy: Currently all policy and coordination making is at the hand of defense ministry which leaves a wide gap between civilians and military heads. Their recommendations and views are not given the required weight in the vicinity of CDS. It usually leads to major delays in policy-making and operations.

3. Faster process: Since we lack a common head of defense, there is usually some loss of time between the passage of ideas and orders from army chiefs to defense ministry. At current situation when border security and force with neighboring nation are at peak, it is important that a common medium of conversation is developed.

4. Long pending need: CDS has been the need of our nation since a decade. The overwhelming responsibility of the chief of three defense services often results in neglect of one of the other role. The system will otherwise continue to remain disintegrated and lead to newer problems in times to come when special force needs and cyber space commands are to be taken into consideration.

5. Cost effective: There will be no additional cost in setting up office for CDS as the joint headquarters were already established. Making strategies and implementing them will also save on cost as they become more synergized and standardized. There will be capital acquisition plans within inexpensive financial regime. 6 Policy-making on operations, procurement and joint logistics proposals therefore either gets delayed or stuck, without justification and accountability in the absence of background knowledge. This is worrying as the security environment in India’s neighborhood is rapidly deteriorating. 5. Current structure in India is that The senior most Service chief holds the post of Chairman Chief of Staff Committee  is inadequate Since he has dual role as he is also the Chief of his own service Combined responsibility is not only overwhelming, often resulting in neglect and delay, but it can also place two roles in conflict. Appointing either the CDS or Permanent Chairman COSC would separate the two roles and bring the requisite professional focus to each 6. All support organisations for either the CDS or PC COSC, including the IDS Headquarters and tri-service Commands, are already established and functional. Hence, there are no cost implications. 7. The organisational advantages expected to accrue from the proposed reform include holistic management of national security for optimised results, and single point military advice on matters of national security including nuclear weapons. 8. The proposition also augurs well for strategising of a cost effective and robust national defence policy; synergised and calibrated triservice contingency planning; capital acquisition plan within an affordable fiscal regime.

Disadvantages  Of Cds

1. Glitches: CDS will have equal voting rights as the service chiefs but when the two service chiefs differ in opinion on a matter, the ministry of defense will intervene and settle the issue. The whole point of single point advisory will be a lost cause when two chiefs differ in opinion and defense ministry gets the final rule in the matter.

2. No operational power: The PC COSC is expected to bring coordination within the three defense services but he will have no operational power which is another confusion that has no solution in the Indian context. Simply copying idea from the West if not going to be productive for a nation that has an entirely different system and functioning.

3. The same functioning: Our existing system has the arrangement of rotational chairman of the COSC ever since the HQ IDS was set up. They are also in the same way responsible for military hardware acquisition process, tri-service commands, and jointmanship which are expected of the CDS, the only difference being the less than two year tenure.

4. Bureaucracy will still rule: It is evident already that the bureaucracy does let HQ IDS to merge with defense ministry and hence the whole point of military synergy is lost. The intervention of bureaucracy will still continue even with the new system.

About Shekatkar Committee ·         The Lt Gen DB Shekatkar Committee—appointed by the government to enhance the combat potential of the armed forces and re-balancing defence expenditure—has recommended a number of measures to trim, redeploy and integrate manpower under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a gradual manner to meet the objective of an agile but effective military to meet current and future threats that India faces
the report has apparently noted: the redeployment of manpower from and downsizing of some of the organisations under the MoD will have to be across the board and ruthless to be effective. ·         Moreover, the Shekatkar Committee has made it clear that the saving made as a result of its recommendations must be redeployed in enhancing the combat capabilities of the Indian armed forces and not be merged in the general budget.
After taking into account the nature threats that the country is likely to face in coming decades, the committee has in fact recommended that the defence budget should be in the range of 2.5 and three per cent of the GDP ·         One of the major recommendations of the committee is to review the definition of ‘Capital’ and ‘Revenue’ budget heads in the funds allocated to the three armed forces, particularly the Indian Army. ·         The panel notes that the Indian Army—unlike the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force—will have to remain a manpower-intensive force because of its major deployment in the mountains against both its major adversaries, China and Pakistan. As a result the sustenance budget of the Indian Army will be higher than the other two services leaving very little money for capital acquisition. The panel has reportedly therefore recommended that a ‘roll on’ plan for fresh acquisitions be introduced so as to overcome the practice of ‘surrendering’ funds at the end of every financial year. ·         The panel has also suggested a review of the financial management system of the MoD in which the defence finance wing is seen to be more of an impediment in clearing projects and has recommended that the financial powers of all the three chiefs and vice chiefs be enhanced further to quicken the pace of acquisitions.
As for redeployment and rationalising of manpower, the Shekatkar Committee has recommended that the role of non-combat organisations paid for and sustained by the defence budget be subjected to a performance audit. ·         Some of these organisations mentioned in the report are Defence Estates, Defence Accounts, DGQA, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), DRDO, and the National Cadet Corps (NCC). Once a professional and objective review is carried out, the committee said, substantial savings can be achieved by downsizing or rationalising the manpower in these organizations ·         The committee has also suggested the establishment of a Joint Services War College for training for middle level officers (the higher command course for instance), even as the three separate War Colleges—currently at Mhow, Secunderabad and Goa—for Army, Air Force and Navy could continue to train younger officers for their respective service. Similarly it has recommended that the Military Intelligence School at Pune be converted to a tri-service Intelligence training establishment. ·         Another aspect highlighted by the committee is the increasing reluctance on part of the state governments to renew lease of land for crucial firing ranges for the troops. Increasing urbanisation and pressure on land has meant that the armed forces have to battle political and bureaucratic pressure to retain the existing firing ranges. The panel has therefore suggested better coordination between the MoD and state governments to overcome this problem. ·         However the Committee has also suggested that the armed forces ramp up the quantum of training on various simulators. The new recruits can do about 60 per cent of their firing training on simulators, resulting in substantial savings to the tune of Rs 20-25 crore per annum in expenditure of training ammunition, the committee has suggested. ·         There are several other suggestions to improve efficiency of Border Roads Organisation (BRO), re-orienting the training staff of NCC by utilising more ex-servicemen and Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) to free young serving officers for more mainline jobs and even recommending the possibility of shifting NCC under the Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry. ·         Like the previous such reviews ordered by the government, notably the Naresh Chandra Committee, the Shekatkar Committee too has said a 4-star Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)—or a Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee—be appointed as a ‘chief coordinator’ between the military and the Ministry of Defence. It has however stressed on retaining the primacy of the three service chiefs in operational and administrative roles even while suggesting establishment of three or four integrated commands in medium to long term. This aspect will however need further deliberation at the highest level, the committee has suggested. ·         he entire report, it appears is focussed on shedding the flab in the MoD and make India’s armed forces more agile and technology-oriented to meet current and future national security objectives.          ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:43 AM
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bharat ias - BrahMos missile successfully test-fired

BrahMos missile successfully test-fired

BrahMos missile successfully test-fired ·         The land-attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with an extended range increased from 290 km to 450 km was successfully test fired. ·          The missile was test fired from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha. It met its mission parameters fully by achieving 100% results.  About BrahMos missile ·          BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia. ·         It name has been derived from the names of two rivers, India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.  Features: ·         It has top supersonic speed of Mach 2. ·         It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant. ·         It is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kilogram, both conventional and nuclear. ·          Range: Its earlier strike range was 290 km. But after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016, missile’s range has been increased beyond 300km in the same configuration. ·         Another version of the missile with a strike range of 800 km is under development. ·          Deployment: It has already been inducted into the Indian Army and Navy, while the Air Force version is in the final stage of trials. Navy’s first version was inducted in 2005 on INS Rajput. ·          The Indian Army is already equipped with three regiments of Block III version of Brahmos missiles. Now, it is fully operational with two regiments of the Army.

MTCR: Top five things to know » MTCR membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. » MTCR aims at restricting the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogramme payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). » India’s efforts to get into the MTCR also got a boost after it agreed to join the Hague Code of Conduct, dealing with the ballistic missile non-proliferation arrangement. » India’s membership had been blocked in 2015 by Italy, which seemed to link it to the standoff over the detention of the Italian marines » China, which stonewalled India’s entry into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the just-concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of 34-nation MTCR.    ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:40 AM
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bharat ias - Madhukar Gupta Committee Report

Madhukar Gupta Committee Report

Madhukar Gupta Committee Report     ·         Ministry of Home affairs  had constituted a High Level committee to suggest ways to tighten security along Pakistan Border. Headed by Madhukar Gupta.    Background: ·         MHA decision to constitute this committee comes after two terrorist attacks in Punjab. First was in July 2015 on Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district and second was in January 2016 on strategic Pathankot airbase.   Terms of References ·     Study all types of gaps in the fencing and all other vulnerabilities along the India-Pakistan border. ·     Suggest a comprehensive approach to fix them on interim and permanent basis.   Information ·     4 Indian states share 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan. ·     1,225 km falls in Jammu and Kashmir (including Line of Control) ·     1,037 km in Rajasthan ·     553 km in Punjab and ·     508 km in Gujarat   Suggestions ·     The committee has examined security mechanisms of all four Indian states sharing border with Pakistan keeping in mind challenges of different climate and topography. ·     It has given separate recommendations for four states as each of them has different topography and problems. ·     It has flagged gaps and vulnerabilities in border fencing and suggested use of technology and heightened vigil on riverine frontiers. ·     It has expressed displeasure over not installing laser walls in many infiltration-prone areas due to treacherous and marshy terrain.    ...

Publishes on : 15-Mar-2017 08:38 AM
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