GS Paper II – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

SC bans sale, registration of BS-III vehicles from April 1

What’s Happening-
Drawing a strong line on environmental issues, the   banned the sale and registration of Bharat Stage III (BS-III) vehicles from April 1, when  emission norms will come into force across the country, saying that health of citizens is more important than commercial interests.

Key Points discussed were:

  • In a major setback to automobile manufacturers, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta decided to take the “drastic” step, saying that BS-III vehicles could aggravate the already deteriorating air quality in the country and such a step was needed to handle the menace of pollution.

Health Factors:

  • Holding that the health of millions of people is more important, the court dismissed the plea of automakers to allow them to dispose of existing stocks of 8.2 lakh BS-III vehicles.
  • The companies have a stock of 8,24,275 BS-III vehicles, which include 96,724 commercial vehicles, 6,71,308 two-wheelers, 40,048 three-wheelers and 16,198 cars. Now, the companies have no option but to export the vehicles or turn them to scrap.

They admitted that it is not possible to make old stocks BS-IV compliant. Though the Centre had backed the companies and told the court that manufacturers be allowed to sell stocks as its notification was confined to a ban on manufacturing of BS-III vehicles after March 31 and was not meant to restrain them from disposing of existing stocks of BS-III vehicles, the court remained unmoved.

Critics:

  • Except Bajaj Auto, all companies, including their association -Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), opposed the plea for banning the sale of their stocks and sought 6-7 months to sell stocks.
  • The apex court refused to grant relief to the companies. It said the manufacturers were fully aware way back in 2010 that BS-IV norms would be enforced from April 1 but they chose not take sufficient pro-active steps

Background-
Bharat stage emission standards (BSES) are emission standards instituted by the  .
To regulate the output of  from  and  equipment, including .
The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change.
The standards, based on  were first introduced in 2000.
In 2016, the Indian government announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.
2005 – From 1 April Bharat Stage III (Equivalent to Euro III) Norms for 13 major cities.
2020 – Proposed date for country to adopt BS VI norms for cars, skipping BS V.

GS Paper III – Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

SBI to give banking services through SHGs

What’s Happening-
The Odisha government on Monday signed an agreement with the State Bank of India group to extend banking services in the unbanked areas through Self Help Groups – the first State in the country to adopt this financial exclusion model.

Key Points discussed were:

  • The agreement assumes significant as 70% of the gram panchayats in the State do not have brick and mortar bank branches.
  • The SHGs formed under the Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) will be eligible to provide banking services.

Agreement signed:

  • An agreement was signed between the OLM and the SBI in presence of State Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi and SBI (National Banking Group) Managing Director Rajnish Kumar.
  • Taking banking services to people in these remote areas has always been a concern of the government.
  • This agreement would go a long way in extending basic banking services to them.
  • This is a historic agreement. Odisha is a pioneer State in carrying forward the financial inclusion through close cooperation between SHGs and banks,” said Mr. Kumar.

Corporate agent:

  • As per the agreement, OLM would function as corporate agent and around 3 lakh SHGs operating under OLM would be the banking correspondents.
  • In the first phase SHGs would be engaged as BCs in around 1000 remote GPs in scheduled areas having no banking facilities. Gradually, it would be extended to 4000 non-banked GPs.
  • Subsequently entire State would be covered under the financial inclusion programme.

Conclusion:

OLM has put in place a dedicated and sensitive support structure, to take the rural poor households out of poverty line trough capacity building, financial assistance and self-reliant institutions.

Background-
In the year 2006, Government of Odisha formed a society named ‘Orissa Poverty Reduction Mission (OPRM)’ to implement various poverty reduction programmes in the state, which was reconstituted and renamed as ‘Odisha Livelihoods Mission (OLM)’.
It is an autonomous society under the aegis of Department of Panchayati Raj, Government of Odisha.
Presently it is implementing both National Rural Livelihoods Mission and National Rural Livelihoods Project.
Odisha was the first state in the country to launch National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) in its bid to bring down rural poverty by promoting diversified and gainful self-employment to the rural poor.
This is a centrally sponsored scheme with a proportionate ratio of 60:40 between Centre & State.

GS Paper II – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Govt., NDB ink $350 mn. loan pact

What’s Happening-
India signed its first loan agreement with the New Development Bank (NDB) for $350 million to be used in the development and upgradation of district roads in Madhya Pradesh.

Key Points discussed were:

Objective:

  • The objective of the project is the upgradation of major district roads in the state of Madhya Pradesh to improve connectivity of the interior areas of the state with the national and state highway networks.

Project Details:

  • The project would include upgradation, rehabilitation or reconstruction of approximately 1,500 km of district roads to intermediate lane, all-weather standards, with road safety features and improved road asset maintenance and management.
  • The project is to be implemented over five years with the Government of Madhya Pradesh and the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation acting as the implementing agencies.

Background-
About NDB:
The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank.
It is a  established by the   (, , ,  and ).
According to the Agreement on the NDB, “the  shall support public or private projects through , guarantees, equity participation and other ”
Moreover, the NDB “shall cooperate with  and other financial entities, and provide technical assistance for projects to be supported by the Bank.”
The initial  of the bank is $100 bln divided into 1 mln  having a par value of $100,000 each.
The initial subscribed capital of the NDB is $50 bln divided into paid-in shares ($10 bln) and callable shares ($40 bln). The initial subscribed capital of the bank was equally distributed among the founding members.
The Agreement on the NDB specifies that the voting power of each member will be equal to the number of its subscribed shares in the capital stock of the bank.
The bank is headquartered in , China.
The first regional office of the NDB will be opened in , South Africa.

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 17