GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Moody’s Upgrades India’s Sovereign Bond Rating For First Time In 14 Years.

Background-

  • Moody’s Investors Service on 17th November, 2017 upgraded India’s sovereign bond rating by a notch for the first time in 14 years, showing confidence in the Narendra Modi government’s reform initiatives such as demonetisation, the goods and services tax (GST) and its efforts to resolve the bad debt asset crisis of banks.
  • Moody’s raised the rating from the lowest investment grade of Baa3 to Baa2, and changed the outlook from positive to stable.
  • Analysts said the upgrade would lead to higher capital inflows, strengthening the rupee, and ease India Inc’s access to overseas capital at lower rates. The markets cheered the move.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • Moody’s, however, warned the rating could be downgraded “if the health of the banking system deteriorated significantly or external vulnerability increased sharply”. While a number of reforms remain at the design phase, Moody’s believes that those implemented to date will advance the government’s objective of improving business climate, enhancing productivity, stimulating investment, and ultimately fostering strong and sustainable growth.
  • The upgrade comes six months after Moody’s cut China’s sovereign rating by a notch. Even then, China’s rating is four notches higher than India’s. India is now behind only China in the BRICS bloc.
  • The upgrade also comes just weeks after India improved its ranking by 30 places to 100th for the first time in the World Bank’s ease of doing business report.
  • Other global rating agencies were, however, more cautious in their outlook. Standard and Poor’s, which still assigns the lowest investment grade to India with a stable outlook, said India needed to address its weak fiscal position, indicating upgrades would take time.
  • India’s economic growth had slipped to an over three-year low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017. The second quarter’s numbers would be out by the end of this month.    
  • Moody’s pegged GDP growth at 6.7 per cent in FY18 and 7.5 per cent in FY19, with similarly robust levels of growth from FY20. Longer term, India’s growth potential is significantly higher than most other Baa-rated sovereigns, it said.
  • The government had been trying to convince the agencies to upgrade ratings but did not get much positive response — except when Moody’s raised the outlook on the lowest investment grade to positive in 2015.
  • Moody’s also upgraded ratings for a slew of public sector companies — State Bank of India, Export Import Bank of India and Indian Railways Finance Corporation — and the private sector lender HDFC Bank.

Sources- Business Standard.

GS Paper II- Governance, Social Justice.

India’s 1st Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit Organised At Dantewada.

Background

  • India’s first Global Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit organised at Dantewada district in south Chhattisgarh 14th November, 2017 stressed on fueling entrepreneurial spirit among tribal community, generating livelihood opportunities, effective packaging-branding of products from tribal belts and help facilitate global outreach of locally made organic products.
  • The summit highlighted the nation’s enabling environment for innovations and entrepreneurship — including actions by the government to empower the tribals, increase the ease of doing business and supporting startups.
  • Various sessions deliberated on how the invaluable knowledge of tribals can help with innovative ideas to improve livelihood and mainstream development.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • NITI Aayog chose Dantewada to host the first ever Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit with the objective to inspire, nurture and promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among tribals besides addressing the problems faced by the tribal community such poverty, malnutrition, low literacy and poor health.
  • The entrepreneurs from rural background shared their success stories and how Around 70 entrepreneurs from across the country and couple of participants from Afganishtan, Bangladesh were present during the day-long event in tribal dominated Dantewada district which also happens to be one of the hardest hit by Maoist violence.
  • The chief minister Raman Singh hoped such summit help reduce the gap between global market and local entrepreneurs.
  • The tribals who were cited to have huge potential to grow were seen as pioneers in making optimal use of natural resources.
  • Interactive session on ‘Alternative Livelihood Options’ and ‘Forest and Agro-based Entrepreneurship’ focused on promoting sustainable and inclusive development.

Sources- The New Indian Express.

 

GS Paper III- Technology.

India’s First Wave-Powered Navigational Buoy Launched.

Background

  • A wave-powered navigational buoy, developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), to guide ships in and out of ports, was launched on 13th November, 2017.
  • The buoy, deployed at Ennore Kamarajar Port, would help ships, moving in and out of the harbour, navigate through a designated channel.
  • According to the NIOT, the buoy’s beacon, for guiding ships, is powered by wave energy while conventional ones use solar power. The buoy stores energy generated by waves in a battery.
  • Also, the buoy would be able to record data on wind speed and direction various other aspects, which would be relayed to port authorities.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The buoy was launched by Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan on the eve of the 33rd executive committee meeting of International Energy Agency-Ocean Energy Systems Collaboration Programme (IEA-OES) and as part of a workshop ‘Harnessing Energy from the Oceans — A global Scenario’.
  • Rajeevan, along with Chairman of OES Henry Jeffrey and its Member-Secretary Ana e Brito Melo, also inaugurated an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) desalination test facility at the NIOT premises.
  • Head of Energy and Fresh Water, NIOT, Purnima Jalihal told that the buoy, designed for a lifespan of about 15-20 years, is fully indigenous and it costs less than imported buoys.
  • Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme is an intergovernmental collaboration between countries. It operates under the framework established by the International Energy Agency, a NIOT release said, adding India became a member of the forum in April 2017.
  • With the membership, India would have access to advanced research and development teams, technologies and data in the area of ocean energy across the world.
  • India would join working groups to partner with other countries in developing ocean energy technologies and this would help in testing indigenous prototypes in accordance with international requirements and norms.
  • OES brings together countries in advancing research and development of conversion technologies to harness energy from renewable resources such as tides, waves, currents, and temperature gradient for electricity generation and other uses such as desalination.

Sources- Business-Standard.