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

WTO To Set Up A Compliance Panel For Solar Dispute Between India, US.

Background

  • The WTO’s dispute settlement body has agreed to set up a panel to determine whether India has complied with its ruling in a case against the US regarding domestic content requirements for solar cells and modules.
  • In 2016, New Delhi had lost a case against the US at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after the global trade body stated that power purchase agreements signed by the Indian government with solar firms for its National Solar Mission did not meet international trade norms.
  • The US, which is of the opinion that New Delhi continues to apply the “WTO-inconsistent measures”, had in December 2017 approached the Geneva-based multi-lateral organisation demanding action against India for non-compliance of the WTO ruling.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • India, however, has been maintaining that it has complied with the WTO’s ruling.
  • India had requested the WTO to set up a panel to determine its compliance with the rulings of the dispute.
  • At its meeting on 28 February, 2018, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) agreed to establish a panel to determine whether India has complied with a previous ruling regarding its domestic content requirements for solar cells and solar modules, the WTO has said in a statement.
  • The US in its complaint before the WTO had in 2014, alleged that a clause relating to domestic content requirement for the procurement of solar cells and modules under Phase-I and Phase-II of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission were discriminatory to American solar power developers.
  • On January 11, 2010, India had launched its national solar policy, named Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The country has an ambitious target of generating 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power by 2022.
  • Many US companies are interested in supplying solar equipment to tap the growing sector in India.

Sources- Business-Standard.

GS Paper II- Governance.

NITI Aayog Launches Women Entrepreneurship Platform.

Background

  • NITI Aayog launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), on the occasion of International Women’s Day on Thursday, 8th March, 2018.
  • The initiative is aimed at building an ecosystem for women across India to realise their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses.
  • Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, launched the WEP platform at NITI Aayog premises in the capital in presence of UN Resident Coordinator in IndiaYuri Afanasiev, Kailash Kher, industry leaders and supporting partners.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • WEP was envisaged by the CEO NITI Aayog during Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) last year (2017) in Hyderabad. It aims to power a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem through an enabling network of industry collaborations, partnerships, mentors and peer-to-peer connect.
  • From providing unique services such as credit evaluation of women-led start-ups by CRISIL and potential equity investments through an ₹10 crore fund established by DICE Districts, the WEP opens up avenues of growth and opportunity for women entrepreneurs.
  • Other partner commitments include ShopClues.com, which has offered to provide internship and dedicated mentorship and Mann Deshi Foundation to provide digital and financial literacy to aspiring women entrepreneurs.
  • Several other leading corporates and industry bodies viz. NASSCOM, CII, FICCI, SIDBI and Facebook have partnered with WEP to provide business acceleration, mentorship and other start-up support for women entrepreneurs, details of which can be accessed on https://wep.gov.in.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

OVL Signs Pact For Developing Susangerd Oilfield In Iran.

Background

  • ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has signed a pact with Irans IDRO Oil to jointly bid for a USD 1 billion contract for development of Susangerd oilfield in southern Iran.
  • The onland Susangerd field in the Khuzestan province is one of the newest finds, which Iran hopes will produce around 30,000 barrels per day of oil in two development phases.
  • OVL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate with IDRO Oil, which is a subsidiary of state-run Iranian Development and Renovation Organisation, in developing Susangerd field.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • IDRO Oil is one of 17 eligible contractors that have received the Iranian oil ministrys nod to be a lead partner in joint ventures with international to work in the country’s energy sector.
  • In May 2017, it signed an agreement with NIOC, which is the owner of all oil and gas in Iran, to study three fields including Susangerd. In December, IDRO Oil signed up Austrian consulting company HOT Engineering to prepare a master development plan for Susangerd. HOT Engineering Company will provide consultancy services, technical support and a master development plan.
  • Another Iranian contractor, Pasargad Energy, has also studied Susangerd.
  • Zarei expected USD 900 million would be required for the development of the oilfield.
  • Susangerd, located 45-kilometres west of the city of Ahvaz i Khuzestan, is estimated to hold more than 5 billion barrels of in-place oil reserves discovered in 2009. Of these, 500 million barrels are recoverable.
  • Separately, OVL is also bidding for development rights of Irans giant South Azadegan Oilfield in direct competition with the likes of global giants like Shell, Frances Total, Petronas of Malaysia and Russias Gazprom.
  • It is also reworking a USD 6.2 billion cost it had estimated for developing the Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf. OVL is doing recalculations to win rights to development the field it had discovered a decade back.
  • OVL is one of the 34 companies Iran pre-qualified last year for development of South Azadegan field, which contains an estimated 33 billion barrels of oil in place, of which 6 billion barrels are deemed recoverable. The field currently produces about 80,000 barrels of oil per day (4 million tonnes per annum) and output is envisaged to touch 320,000 barrels a day (16 million tonnes).
  • Farzad B was discovered by OVL in the Farsi block about 10 years ago. The field in the Farsi block has an in-place gas reserve of 21.7 trillion cubic feet, of which 12.5 tcf are recoverable.

Sources- Indiatoday.