The Hindu NOTES – 18th Nov 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
📰 THE HINDU NEWSPAPER– DAILY Hindu Current Affairs Analysis 18th Nov 2017
Date:- 18-NOV, 2017
📰 SC for nationwide ban on furnace oil, pet coke
The Supreme Court on Friday requested all States and Union Territories to move forward towards a nationwide ban on the use of pet coke and furnace oil to power up industries, in a bid to fight pollution. The Environment Bench of the Supreme Court had already ordered a ban on the industrial use of pet coke and furnace oil in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan
We may note that the pollution caused by pet coke and furnace oil is not a problem confined only to NCR but appears to be a problem faced by almost all the States and Union Territories in the country.
However, senior advocate and amicus curiae Harish Salve submitted that such a prohibition would only partly solve the pollution problem in these States. He said the actual source of these pollutants should be stopped. For this, the very sale of pet coke and furnace oil for use as fuel should come to an end in U.P., Haryana and Rajasthan.
- This ban specifically came after an Environment Pollution Control Authority Report recommended the ban on sale, distribution and use of furnace oil and pet coke in the National Capital Region (NCR). Their use is already prohibited in Delhi.
- On October 24, the apex court also imposed a fine of ₹2 lakh on the Ministry of Environment for not fixing any emission standards for industries using pet coke and furnace oil in the NCR.
📰 PSLV built by domestic industry by 2020’
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to hand over the entire gamut of launch vehicle manufacture to domestic industry by 2020.
- Efforts are on to set up a consortium of companies for the purpose
Contributions of Private Industry in ISRO’s missions
- Until now, public and private industries have only supplied devices, components and sub-systems for ISRO’s launch vehicles, including the PSLV and the GSLV. Our effort is to give a push to industry for production of end-to-end systems. By 2020, we hope to have the first completely industry-built PSLV
- ISRO already has a partnership with private industry to produce satellites. The IRNSS-1H communication satellite aboard the ill-fated PSLV C-39 was the first to be produced by a consortium of six companies. About 80% of the cost of launch vehicles and 40% of satellites are handled by these industries.
- ISRO stressed on the need for industry to reduce the manufacturing and material cost without compromising on quality to bring down the launch cost
- ISRO had tightened tolerance to error following the failure of the PSLV- C39 mission
📰 Economy gets Moody’s thumbs up
- Moody’s upgrades sovereign rating, expects high growth to continue as a result of ongoing reforms
- Global credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Services raised India’s sovereign rating for the first time in 13 years, citing the country’s high growth potential in the years to come, thanks to economic and institutional reforms.
- Main inference: The continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhance India’s high growth potential and its large and stable financing base for government debt, and will likely contribute to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term.
- The Indian government’s rating as a local and foreign currency issuer from Baa3 with a positive outlook to Baa2 with a stable outlook.
- Borrowing obligations rated Baa2 are subject to moderate credit risk. They are considered medium grade and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.
- Baa3, by contrast, was the lowest investment grade rating.
On debt-to-GDP ratio
- Moody’s expects India’s debt-to-GDP ratio to rise by about one percentage point this fiscal year to 69% of GDP
Other comments by the rating agency
- The rating agency agreed that a lot remains to be done such as fixing the GST’s implementation challenges, weak private sector investment and the slow resolution of banking bad loans
- Moody’s said it expects at least some of these issues to be addressed over time and will help further improve the Indian government’s effectiveness and overall institutional framework
Moody’s Investors Service
- Moody’s Investors Service, often referred to as Moody’s, is the bond credit rating business of Moody’s Corporation, representing the company’s traditional line of business and its historical name
- Moody’s Investors Service provides international financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government entities
- Moody’s, along with Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Group, is considered one of the Big Three credit rating agencies
- The company ranks the creditworthiness of borrowers using a standardized ratings scale which measures expected investor loss in the event of default. Moody’s Investors Service rates debt securities in several bond market segments
- These include government, municipal and corporate bonds; managed investments such as money market funds and fixed-income funds; financial institutions including banks and non-bank finance companies; and asset classes in structured finance
- In Moody’s Investors Service’s ratings system, securities are assigned a rating from Aaa to C, with Aaa being the highest quality and C the lowest quality.
📰 After Moody’s, all eyes on S&P, Fitch Ratings
Rating agency Moody’s upgraded India’s sovereign rating after a gap of almost 14 years
- The attention is now on the other two global rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings
Chief Economic Advisor’s views
- Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian hopes that rating agencies might not be inconsistent amongst each other
- Subramanian had earlier observed that ratings agencies followed inconsistent policies while rating India as opposed to awarding ratings to China
S&P’s view about the upgrade
- In October, S&P had said the country needed to improve its fiscal position for a rating upgrade
- For an upgrade, India would have to address its weak fiscal balance sheet and weak fiscal performance
- India has one of the highest general government debt-to-GDP levels (68%) among emerging market sovereigns
- A potential rating upgrade is likely to come from improved fiscal performance
- Year after year, the fiscal deficit remains relatively large with the interest burden and subsidies taking a big chunk of government spending
- So there’s not a lot of room for the government to maneuver, despite pressing infrastructure needs.
📰 China proposes alternative routes for CPEC via J&K, Nepal
- China may consider alternative routes through Jammu and Kashmir to address India’s concerns regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- “We can change the name of CPEC [China Pakistan Economic Corridor]. Create an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir, Nathu La pass or Nepal to deal with India’s concerns,” said a Chinese envoy.
- The Ambassador made a detailed presentation of the expectations on both sides and said that while the Dalai Lama’s presence and activities remain an issue for China, Beijing recognised that India’s expectations on the CPEC and Masood Azhar were also issues that both sides need to be deal with.
📰 India’s Heritage City Races To Save Icons From Polluted Ruin
Traffic chokes the centuries-old stone archway into Ahmedabad’s historic quarter, the snarl of honking rickshaws and sputtering buses coats the monuments of India’s only heritage city in a greasy layer of soot.
Conservation experts warn Ahmedabad, one of the world’s most polluted cities, faces a mammoth task defending its newly won UNESCO status as its fragile cultural icons decay under neglect, traffic and trash.
The 600-year-old enclave was named India’s first ‘World Heritage City’ in July — despite warnings from some of UNESCO’s own experts that it lacked a convincing plan for protecting its ancient citadels, mosques and tombs.
Ahmedabad hosts the towering Bhadra fort, the legendary stone latticework of the 16th-century Sidi Saiyyed mosque, and countless relics fusing the unique Hindu and Muslim architectural styles of its conquerors.
But it is the pressures of modern Ahmedabad — the chronic air pollution, crushing traffic and chaotic urban sprawl — that experts say are also rapidly eroding its cultural capital. The cramped heritage district was never built for cars, yet today thousands of trucks and rickshaws are diverted through its narrow lanes and alleys.
The grinding congestion tears apart roads and fouls the air with fumes, streaking stone-carved monuments with black exhaust stains. Many traditional ‘pols’ — clusters of settlements identified by UNESCO as bearing “enormous” historical value — are all but abandoned, the iconic wooden homes collapsing from neglect.
Ahmedabad’s conservation committee has three years to document close to 3,000 buildings of heritage value to strict UNESCO standards — a monumental task for Ghosh’s small team. UNESCO could revoke or downgrade Ahmedabad’s listing to “heritage in danger” should the deadline be missed and the committee fail to show it has slowed the decline and destruction of the old city.
📰 U.S. will allow elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia
- American hunters will be allowed to bring home elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, as the Donald Trump administration lifted a ban imposed by the previous Barack Obama administration.
- Elephant parts from South Africa and Namibia are allowed to be imported even now.
- The administration is also reviewing an existing ban on import from Tanzania.
- Imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia were banned after the Obama administration concluded that these countries were unable to establish that hunting was helping conservation of African elephants that are listed as a threatened specifies under the Endangered Species Act.
- Rich American hunters travel the world on expeditions. The U.S has argued that the large amounts paid in license fees to local governments helped conservation efforts.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cited the same reason for lifting the ban.
- The agency has said it allows the import of a sport-hunted elephant trophy only when the killing of the trophy animal will enhance the survival of the species.
- The permits will be granted on a case by case basis and will be limited to two per hunter in a calendar year.