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05 October Current Affairs

What is the production linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturers?

In News:

Three Apple Inc.’s top contract manufacturers are planning to invest a total of almost $900 million in India in the next five years to tap into a new production-linked incentive plan.

About the PLI scheme:

Notified on April 1 as a part of the National Policy on Electronics.

It proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain.

Key features of the scheme:

The scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies, for a period of five (5) years with financial year (FY) 2019-20 considered as the base year for calculation of incentives.

The Scheme will be implemented through a Nodal Agency which shall act as a Project Management Agency (PMA) and be responsible for providing secretarial, managerial and implementation support and carrying out other responsibilities as assigned by MeitY from time to time.

Eligibility:

According to the scheme, companies that make mobile phones which sell for Rs 15,000 or more will get an incentive of up to 6 per cent on incremental sales of all such mobile phones made in India.

In the same category, companies which are owned by Indian nationals and make such mobile phones, the incentive has been kept at Rs 200 crore for the next four years.

What kind of investments will be considered?

All electronic manufacturing companies which are either Indian or have a registered unit in India will be eligible to apply for the scheme.

These companies can either create a new unit or seek incentives for their existing units from one or more locations in India.

However, all investment done by companies on land and buildings for the project will not be considered for any incentives or determine eligibility of the scheme.

Hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas (HCNG)

In News:

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has allowed use of H-CNG (18% mix of hydrogen) in CNG engines.

A notification for amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, for inclusion of H-CNG as an automotive fuel has already been published.

Background:

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has also developed specifications (IS 17314:2019) of Hydrogen enriched Compressed Natural Gas (H-CNG) for automotive purposes, as a fuel.

What is HCNG?

The blending of hydrogen with CNG provides a blended gas termed as HCNG.

It can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel and propane (C3H8) / LPG and its combustion produces fewer undesirable gases.

Advantages of HCNG:

  • HCNG reduces emissions of CO up to 70%.
  • Enables up to 5 % savings in fuel.
  • First step towards future Hydrogen economy.
  • Engines can be calibrated to release lower amounts of NO.
  • Engines need minimum modification to run on HCNG.
  • Ideal fuel for high load applications and heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Better performance due to higher Octane rating of H2.

Disadvantages of using HCNG:

  • Determining the most optimized H2/ NG (Natural Gas) ratio.
  • It requires new infrastructures for preparing HCNG.
  • Many steps need to be taken for commercializing it at a large scale.
  • Current cost of H2 is more than the cost of Natural Gas. So, HCNG’s cost is more than CNG.

Fugitive economic offenders (FEO)

In News:

A special court has declared three people fugitive economic offenders (FEO) in the Sterling Biotech case on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) request.

What’s the issue?

The ED is conducting the money laundering probe based on two FIRs registered by the CBI against Sterling Biotech and others in October 2017. In one case, the agencies have alleged routing of undisclosed funds belonging to unknown Income-Tax Department officials, while the second case pertains to bank loan defaults of ₹8,100 crore.

Who is a Fugitive Economic Offender?

A person can be named an offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, if there is an arrest warrant against him or her for involvement in economic offences involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has fled from India to escape legal action.

The procedure:

  • The investigating agencies have to file an application in a Special Court under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.
  • The Special Court will issue a notice for the person to appear at a specified place and date at least six weeks from the issue of notice.
  • Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. If not the person would be declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender based on the evidence filed by the investigating agencies.
  • The person who is declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender can challenge the proclamation in the High Court within 30 days of such declaration according to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

NSO time-use survey

In News:

The National Statistical Office (NSO), which is a wing of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, has conducted the first Time Use Survey (TUS) in India during January to December 2019.

About the Survey:

The primary objective is to measure participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities.

It is an important source of information on the time spent in unpaid caregiving activities, volunteer work, unpaid domestic service producing activities of the household members.

It also provides information on time spent on learning, socializing, leisure activities, self-care activities, etc., by the household members.

Average time spent:

Average Indian woman spends 243 minutes, a little over four hours, on these , which is almost ten times the 25 minutes the average man does.

An average Indian woman spends 19.5% of her time engaged in either unpaid domestic work or unpaid care-giving services.

Men spend just 2.5% of a 24-hour period on these activities. In every other group of activities – from employment and learning to socializing, leisure, and self-care activities like sleeping and eating – men spend a higher share of their daily time than women.

There seems to be an inverse relationship between age and the amount of time spent by women on household chores, but a direct one between age and the time spent by men on these.

While women above the age of 60 see a sharp fall in their domestic work burden, men tend to devote a greater time to domestic work when they cross 60.

Other Key findings:

Total percentage of employed population: As much as 2 per cent of persons who were of the age of six years or above were engaged in employment and related activities in the country in 2019.

Proportion of males and females: 57.3 per cent males were engaged in employment and related activities while the proportion was 18.4 per cent for females in the country.

Women in rural areas: In rural areas, the proportion of women engaged in employment and related activities was higher at 19.2 per cent compared to 16.7 per cent in cities.

Gainful employment: Proportion of males above the age of six years engaged in gainful employment or related activities was higher in cities at 59.8 compared 56.1 per cent in rural areas.

Unpaid domestic services: 53.2 per cent of participants in the survey were engaged in unpaid domestic services for household members. The proportion of females in the category was higher at 81.2 per cent compared to 26.1 per cent for males. This figure for both men and women is higher in rural areas.

People engaged in production of goods for own final use: 1 per cent in the country. The proportion of such males was 14.3 per cent while it was 20 per cent for women in the country.