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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Brief – 1st September 2016

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NATIONAL 

 

[1]. Return land to Singur farmers: SC 

The Hindu

Context:- Supreme Court on 31st Aug quashed the CPI (M)-led West Bengal government’s acquisition of 997 acres of agricultural land for Tata Motors’ Nano (small car) plant in Singur.

What did the judgment say?

Judgement clearly said that it is not against the acquiring of land by state government for industrial projects but care should be taken that in any such acquisition the poor agricultural workers are not the ones who face the brunt of it. They should not be robbed off their lands in an unjust manner, as it is their only source of income.

Judgement questioned government’s acquisition of the land over the objections raised by farmers and even proceeding to install equipment and factory machinery while the cultivators’ legal challenge was still pending.

 

Why the land acquisition was finally quashed?

The land acquisition at Singur faced resistance from the farmers, landowners and cultivators who had been fighting a legal battle for the last 10 years to get back their lands.

SC clearly said that it has quashed the acquisition because State government had not followed proper procedure laid down in Land Acquisition Act.

How did WB govt acquire 997acres of Singur land?

State government made use of the Land Acquisition act 1894’s “urgency clause” which states that any land could be acquired under the Act without even hearing objections to the planned acquisition.

So, is the Singur case finally over?

Not really. There are two major disputes here.

  1. acquisition of land in Singur by the erstwhile Left Front government in West Bengal for Tata Motors Ltd’s Nano car project
  2. Validity of the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, passed by the Mamata Banerjee government in 2011, with the aim of returning the land to owners.

The second case, which was separated from the first by the Supreme Court, is still pending.

 

INTERNATIONAL

[1]. Brazil impeaches Dilma Rousseff                   

The Hindu

Context:- Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, the first woman president of Brazil, was impeached by Senate in an impeachment vote by a 2/3rd majority (61 out of 81 senators supported), ending 13 years of Leftist rule in Latin America’s biggest economy

Why was she impeached?

Charge against her is that,

  • She illegally manipulated the national budget. She was accused of taking illegal state loans to fill in budget deficits in 2014, masking the country’s problems as it slid into its deepest recession in decades.

There is country-wide resentment against Rousseff for her poor management of Brazil’s double-digit inflation and unemployment.

The replacement

Her Vice-President-turned-bitter-political-enemy, Michel Temer, was to be sworn as her replacement.

 

[2]. After embassy attack, Kyrgyzstan and China to step up fight against terror

The Hindu

Context:- Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek came under attack by a suicide bomber on 30th Aug 2016

Impact

After the bombing, China said that it will “deepen anti-terrorism cooperation” with Kyrgyzstan to safeguard mutual security interests of the two countries

Terrorist organization responsible

Uighur terrorist groups active in Syria and carried out by a member of the East Turkestan Islamic movement as per Kyrgyzstan’s state security service

Why is China keen on securing ties with Kyrgyzstan?

Kyrgyzstan is a part of Belt and Road connectivity project, and China is keen to establish a cross-border railway with Kyrgyzstan, which connects with neighboring Uzbekistan.

 

[3]. Pak to acquire 8 submarines from China

The Hindu

Context:- Pakistan will acquire at least eight modified diesel-electric attack submarines from China by 2028 in a nearly $5 billion agreement. It is being said that this deal is the biggest arms export deal for Beijing.

Financial help

China is expected to extend a long term loan to Pakistan at a low interest rate to cover the cost of the project

Joint manufacture

China is Pakistan’s biggest supplier of military hardware and the two jointly manufacture J-17 Thunder warplane.

Concern for India

India should keep an eye on such developments as they provide a keen insight into the designs of the dragon. It is obviously trying to arm Pakistan to counter growing Indian influence in Asia. This deal is a part of the Beijing’s policy to negate India’s clout, on the lines of Gwadar port, which is being developed by China in Pakistan.

It is like a game of chess. Moves and counter moves.

 

OPINION/EDITORIAL

[1]. Republic of Unreason

The Hindu

 Context:- Government, recently, approved the draft of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016. Author makes the following point through this article,

  1. Why & How the proposed legislation goes against the constitutional framework?
  2. Why altruistic surrogacy is a bad policy? 

What is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child.

What is gestation?

It refers to the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside female viviparous (giving birth to living young that develop within the mother’s body rather than hatching from eggs) animals. It is typical for mammals, but also occurs for some non-mammals.

The time interval of a gestation is called the gestation period. 

What is commercial surrogacy?

Commercial surrogacy involves an agreement in which a woman, in exchange for money, agrees to carry a child for another person to whom she will surrender the child when it is born.

The woman can either be the child’s genetic mother or, alternatively, if implanted with an embryo, she could merely be a gestational carrier owning no genetic connection to the child whatsoever

 What is altruism? How is it related to surrogacy?

Meaning: unselfish regard or devotion to the welfare of others. All surrogate mothers must possess this quality to make the physical and emotional sacrifices demanded by surrogacy.

What is meant by altruistic surrogacy?

It refers to a situation where a surrogate mother is given no financial gain for carrying a child. Only realistic out of pocket expenses are covered by the intended parents. E.g. medical costs, travel, time off work, etc.

Arguments against the ban on commercial surrogacy

Two arguments have been made,

  1. A fundamental right: Any person, be a foreigner or an Indian has a fundamental right to procreate. It’s his prerogative to choose any method to achieve this objective.

Why this argument fails?

This argument fails because assisted-reproduction includes body of another person.

  1. Women have a fundamental right to personal liberty and a fundamental right to contract 

Arguments for ban

Exploitation: The terms of the surrogate contract, tend to undermine the surrogate mother’s freedom and sense of bodily autonomy are exploitative in nature. Any country mired by poverty, lack of economic growth and political suppression has automatically created a set of conditions where poor women are forced to look for other channels to look after their family. One of them is commercial surrogacy. In such cases, we cannot say that women enter the contract out of free will and government is right to ban surrogacy altogether.

Adoption of children: There are so many children in need of a good family. Those who are likely to be affected by the ban can opt for child adoption.

Why altruistic surrogacy goes against the constitutional framework?

Surrogacy Bill allows for altruistic surrogacy for certain classes of people. The condition is that,

  • The married couple is heterosexual
  • They have been married for at least 5 years
  • No money shall be exchanged except for medical expenses
  • A close relative, not specifically blood relative shall be engaged in surrogacy 

1). Violation of Article 14

Unequal treatment of equal persons: Author says that in Indian constitution whenever a law tries to treat equal persons differently, it should justify the classification with valid reasons like Right to Equality which is a Fundamental Right doesn’t limit the government to make provisions of reservation in education to members of Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe. The reason being their backwardness. It is responsibility of the State to establish a potent reason between the object a particular law seeks to achieve and the classification being made.

In the Surrogacy Bill, government has made a distinction between the married couples of 5years and live-in couples, LGBT couples or single parents etc but this classification has no relation whatsoever with the objective the bill itself, which seeks to limit exploitation of poor women acting as surrogate mothers.

So, if the bill is passed in its current form it shall violate the right to equal treatment enshrined in the constitution.

2). Flawed assumption: Bill also make a false assumption that if no money exchange is involved in the surrogacy i.e. altruistic surrogacy, then women won’t be exploited.

Conclusion

Instead of a haphazard law that seeks to ban commercial surrogacy altogether by allowing altruistic surrogacy, government should instead try to conduct a wider public deliberation on this issue.

 

[2]. Do we need a minimum wage law?

The Hindu 

Context:- In the wake of recent strike by the Central Trade Unions, author tries to ascertain as to whether it is time that Indian government takes the demands of the workers seriously and implement the Minimum Wage Act in its soul and essence. 

Author raises following questions

  • What is an appropriate minimum wage? How does one arrive at it?
  • Does India still need something like a minimum wage? 

Demands of the Trade Unions

To make the trade unions call of their strike government announced an increase of 42% in the minimum wages of unskilled nonagricultural workers of the central government, allied departments and undertakings.

Demands

  • Minimum wages should be increased to,

Rs 26,560 – Category A areas

Rs 22,320 – Category B areas

Rs 18000 – Category C areas

  • Amendment in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, to provide for universal coverage for minimum wages for both permanent and contract workers

Defining wage levels

The Tripartite Committee on Fair Wages, appointed in 1948 defined 3 wage levels,

  1. Living wage: A wage needed by a human being to get the basic essentials of food, shelter, clothing, protection against ill-health, security for old age, etc.
  2. Fair wage: It is lower than the living wage and takes into account efficiency, from the employer’s perspective. It is mean between living wage and minimum wage.
  3. Minimum wage: It is similar to the fair wage except in two respects: it is even lower, and has a statutory dimension meaning it is decided by the government. When the government fixes minimum wage in a particular trade, the main objective is not to control or determine wages in general but to prevent the employment of workers at a wage below an amount necessary to maintain the worker at the minimum level of subsistence.

Determination of minimum wage

The norms for determining the minimum wage were recommended by the Indian Labour Conference in 1957, which decided that the minimum wage should be need-based, and should ensure the minimum human needs of the industrial worker. Five norms were suggested:

  1. Wage should be such that a single earner can support 3 consumption units (individuals) in a standard working class family, irrespective of the earnings of women, children and adolescents.
  2. Net intake of 2,700 calories for an average Indian adult of moderate activity
  3. Per capita consumption of cloth of 18 yards per annum, which would mean for the average worker’s family of 4 a total 72 yards.
  4. Rent corresponding to the minimum area provided for under the Subsidized Industrial Housing Scheme for low-income groups.
  5. Fuel, lighting and other miscellaneous items of expenditure to constitute 20 per cent of the total minimum wage.

In 1991, the Supreme Court, in Raptakos & Co. Vs Its workers, ruled that children’s education, medical requirement, minimum recreation including festivals, ceremonies, provision for old age and marriage, should constitute 25%, and be used as a guide for fixing the minimum wage.

What the minimum wage would be if calculated as per the above provisions?

It is estimated to be around Rs  26000 which is what Unions are demanding

Present situation wrt minimum wage in India

Without any legal backing, minimum wages in India have dropped very low.

  • 1650 a month (Puducherry, agriculture, 2013)

Typically, the actual minimum wage is close to or less than the National Floor Level Minimum Wage, which is Rs 4800.

Reasons for scrapping of minimum wage

  1. Industry’s view: Market forces and not government should dictate as to how market should operate in this era of liberalization
  2. In contradiction to Make in India: We need foreign capital to ensure that make in india is a success. For this to happen, we need to keep our labor cheap as compared to other competing economies like Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and Cambodia
  3. India anyway has still not ratified the United Nations’ Convention No. 131 (adopted in 1970) on Minimum Wage Fixing so Minimum Wage Act, 1948 should be scrapped

 

Why there is no uniform wage rate in India?

Based on the recommendations of the National Commission on Rural Labor in 1991,

  • A National Floor Level Minimum Wage was proposed in order to have a uniform wage structure across the country.
  • In 1996, the National Floor Level Minimum Wage was fixed at Rs 35 per day, which was revised in subsequent years and currently stands at Rs 160 per day.
  • Since the National Floor Level Minimum Wage does not have statutory backing, it is not mandatory for states, although they are advised to fix minimum wages at not less than the National Floor Level Minimum Wage.

Conclusion

There is no reason as to why part time workers should be paid less than full time workers for the same amount of work. Such exploitation should not be allowed to continue any further. Government should amend the minimum wages act so that the conditions of workers all over India may improve. Setting of minimum wage is a reform which has universal consensus & it needs to be taken immediately.

[3]. A Green rap on the knuckles

 

The Hindu

 

Context

National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued bailable warrants to resident commissioners of Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab and Tripura for not appearing before it despite notices being issued to them.

The warrants were issued when NGT was hearing a plea alleging that various States and union territories had “failed” to pay attention to the unique biodiversity of the country and sought implementation of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and Biological Diversity Rules, 2004

 

In the present article, author states that India is suffering from a Biodiversity crisis and how the Biodiversity Act can help in this regard.

 

Biodiversity Act 2002

The act calls for the protection and management of biodiversity through the setting up of biodiversity management committees (BMC) for managing biodiversity, and managing peoples’ biodiversity registers (PBR) to document biodiversity in each district.

 

Biodiversity crisis

Scale of the crisis

Illegal diversion of forest land:

  • Each day, 333 acres of forest are legally diverted on an average under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. This figure does not include forests which are illegally felled or encroached.
  • The construction plan for Amaravati, the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, includes diverting 13,000 hectares, or 130 sq.km, of forest.
  • The Himalayas are today the world’s mountain range with the most number of dams.

 

Wildlife

  • In 2015, one rhinoceros was killed almost every two weeks in the Kaziranga National Park.
  • About 30 or less genetically pure wild buffaloes exist in central India while the number of Great Indian Bustards stands at a precarious 150 birds

 

How can the Biodiversity Act 2002 can help? What is its scope?

  • BDA has both centralized and decentralized mechanism for conservation of biodiversity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Institutional mechanism

The National Biodiversity authority – Apex level

State Biodiversity Boards – Intermediate level

Biodiversity Management Committee – Local level 

The problems

Inefficiency: At the local level i.e. BMCs have been tasked with huge number of responsibilities which they are not able to perform duly like maintenance of PBRs, conservation and promoting sustainable use of biodiversity

Circumvention of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA):Any project which can harm the environment in any way is mandated to go through EIA first but the process is routinely flouted due to reasons like not being on the list or being below the threshold limits of purported damage.

Examples:

  1. The Monpa community in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district had to struggle for three years to prove before the NGT that the riverine area proposed for the construction of a dam is the one of the two wintering sites of the black-necked crane, a protected species held sacred by Buddhists. The environmental consultant had deliberately avoided making a reference to the species
  2. Tribals in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, are struggling to protect the last remaining chilgoza(pine nut) trees from being lost to a series of hydropower projects. Forest Department records do not mention the significant role the tree species plays in providing livelihood security to people
  3. The Lakhwar-Vyasi hydroelectric project in Uttarakhand is almost the size of the Tehri hydroelectric project, which means that an EIA should be conducted. But it has been exempted because of an ingenious and questionable interpretation of the law, which states that the project was proposed in 1987 before the EIA Act of 2006. The project may result in curtailing the flow of more than 50 km of the Yamuna river, but no ecological studies have been done.

How loopholes have been used to circumvent EIA?

The law requires that only projects above 25 MW should undergo EIA studies. Therefore, it is no surprise that most mini-hydel power projects in India are of 24.99 MW capacity. It has resulted in number of mini-hydel projects being built in the Himalayas and Western Ghats

Remedy

  • People’s Biodiversity registers (PBRs) which are comprehensive records of biodiversity that occur under the jurisdiction of the BMC can be effectively used to counter the false and fraudulent claims of forest diversion proposals and EIA reports.
  • They can help a community to present the importance of the ecological entity in question to the decision taker.

Conclusion

As, Justice Kuldip Singh, had observed in ICELA v. Union of India, 1996 that “enacting of a law but tolerating its infringement is worse than not enacting a law at all”. Hence it is our duty to protect biodiversity so that our coming generations won’t have to endure harsh conditions perpetrated by its loss. Moreover, when we are not the creators of Biodiversity then how can we be the one to destroy it!

 

[4]. Outwards to Africa

The Hindu

Context:- Leading health researchers and policy makers from Africa and India will be meeting from 1st – 3rd Sept in New Delhi under the aegis of India-Africa Health Science Meet (IAHSM).

This meet is a follow up to the India-Africa summit held in October 2015

Some key announcements made by India during India-Africa summit

  1. a $100-million India-Africa Development Fund,
  2. a $10-million Health Fund
  3. 50,000 scholarships for African students to study in India.

Author tries to make a case for greater India-Africa collaboration in Health sector. Let us see how, 

What are shared assets and challenges that India & Africa share with each other? How can they both help one another in fighting with these problems? 

Shared challenges

Health burden

  • Both India and Africa shoulder over a third of the disease burden of the world. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, childhood diarrhoea and respiratory infections remain a big challenge for both
  • Both countries are seeing a gradual shift towards non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, mental illness etc.

Shared Assets

Demographic dividend: Like India, Africa also has most of its population below 25 years of age. This means that if this chunk of the population is imparted with quality knowledge & skills, both India and Africa will reap huge benefits in the coming years. 

Where this demographic dividend should be invested in?

As per author, Science & Technology is the one area which is the foundation of development and progress of a country. Scientific research and innovation can provide answers to many burning issues like health, energy, climate change, food, water and sanitation as well. 

Challenges wrt S&T sector in India-Africa

Low Expenditure on S&T: Both India & Africa spend 1 percent of their GDP on S&T and are home to very low number of researchers.

Against the U.S. and Europe, which have 2,640 and 1,990 researchers per million of the population, respectively, India and Africa have only 137 and 70. Not surprisingly, each contributes only about 2 per cent to the global knowledge pool. 

India’s investment in healthcare in Africa

India’s engagement with Africa is growing at a rapid pace in the sector of health care.

Government of India has invested in significantly in health care reflected through following initiatives like,

1).Focus Africa: This program was initially launched in 2002

  • The focus was on seven countries of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) Region, viz., South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia. In 2003 more countries like include Angola, Botswana, Ivory-Coast, Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe, along-with the six countries of North Africa, viz., Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco and Algeria were included
  • Under this Program, Government extends assistance to exporters and Export Promotion Councils etc. to undertake visits to countries in Africa to organize/participate in trade fairs and exhibitions, hold B-2-B meetings etc
  • African trade delegations are also sponsored to visit India. These export promotion activities are conducted by various Export Promotion Councils and Apex Chambers with grant under Market Development Assistance (MDA) and Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme.

2).Team-9 Initiative: Started in 2004

  • Stands for Techno-Economic Approach for Africa–India Movement (TEAM–9)
  • Aim is to expand the economic reach of India with eight energy- and resource-rich West African countries viz. Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal
  • The initiative was part of a broader policy to engage the underdeveloped, yet resource-wealthy countries of West Africa which required both low-cost technology and investment to develop their infrastructure
  • In particular, India increasingly wants to play an important role in helping Ivory Coast and other West African countries channel their energy resources more efficiently.

3). Pan-African e-Network Project:Started in Year 2008

  • Summit level relationship
  • It has provided an institutional framework for cooperation at continental, regional and bilateral levels
  • As a consequence, political understanding, security cooperation, trade and investment collaboration, energy partnership, development   partnership, and diaspora linkages between both regions have been enhanced.

The telemedicine initiative has enabled a number of super-specialty hospitals in India to be connected with physicians in Africa. 

Export of medicines: In 2014 India exported medicines worth $3.5 billion to Africa and the foreign direct investment (FDI) by Indian pharmaceutical companies in Africa was $67.4 million.

  • Affordable anti-retroviral drugs from India have been instrumental in containing Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

Medical Tourism: India is also a frequent destination for Africans seeking specialized treatment for cancer and other ailments. In 2013 about 14 per cent of African visitors arriving in India came for medical treatment.

What more can India do?

  • The India-Africa Health Fund should be used to build capacity by training African health-care workers and researchers in Indian hospitals and research laboratories.
  • Some of the 50,000 scholarships over the next five years should also be used to train African students in basic, clinical and public health research at Indian universities and institutes.

Why is there a special case for India and Africa to collaborate in health?

Both face similar challenges and India has sufficient and contemporary experience in tackling health-care issues in the context of a developing country.

Generic pharmaceutical industry of India is very strong in terms of manufacturing generic equivalents of costly branded medicines. With both India-Africa having millions below the poverty line coupled by the fact that no pharmaceutical major is willing to work against the challenges due to low profit margins, strengths of this indigenous generic industry could be leveraged to mutual benefit. 

Large human resource base: India has highly educated and skilled doctors and physicians. 

Developing traditional medicines: Both India & Africa have had a rich tradition of ancient medicine. This traditional medicine can be encouraged to develop in-house low cost medicines. 

India’s Open Source Drug Discovery (OSSD) model can be also be used by Africa as well.

Agenda for IAHSM

  • Indian Pharmaceutical sector should invest more in Africa
  • India should try and extend “Make in India” to Make with Africa by establishing enabling frameworks for Africa-based manufacturing & investment mechanisms
  • Leveraging funds announced at India-Africa summit last year in best possible way
  • Avenues for collaboration in health care sector should be looked into.

Health care is considered as a sunrise sector. What is a sunrise sector anyway?

It is used to refer to a sector or business that is in its infancy, but is growing at a rapid pace. A sunrise industry is typically characterized by high growth rates, numerous start-ups and an abundance of venture capital funding. 

Conclusion

India’s “Look Africa” policy will be a game changer if it simultaneously leads to knowledge creation in terms of innovative approaches to tackle shared challenges.

 

[5]. Advance the budget

The Hindu

Context:- Author tries to make a case in favor of the idea of presenting the budget a month before than it is presented now.

When is budget presented now?

At present the budget is presented by February end each year but the grants made under it are only available after the finance bill is passed by the end of May

As a result, the funds for different government schemes, highway projects and other infrastructural projects are delayed.

Advantages of shifting the budget to January

  • The Finance Bill, incorporating the Budget proposals, could be passed by February or March. So, government departments, agencies and state-owned companies would know their allocations right from April 1, when the financial year begins
  • No need for vote on account: Union budget is introduced in February end & it gets passed around May end but the financial year starts in April beginning.So, for March and April months, government has no source of finances as it cannot withdraw money from Consolidated Fund without Parliament’s approval i.e. passing of the finance bill. So, Parliament approves a lump sum to Executive for these 2 months. The grant is made through ‘vote on account’. Now, if Budget is shifted to January than it will be passed before the financial year begins thereby eliminating the need for a “Vote on Account”.

Disadvantages

Lack of comprehensive data: Budget preparation usually starts from December itself and Union Budget is ready by February mid. By then the data on revenue collections and expenditure trends is available for the first nine months of the financial year, i.e. April-December. Based on this data projections for the next full year can be made.

Presenting budget in January would mean its preparation would start in October itself. Data of only months i.e. from April till September would be available by then and making projections on  months of data will be a difficult task.

 

ECONOMY 

[1]. Meet on SEZs to address tax concerns under GST regime 

The Hindu

Context:- A stakeholder meeting convened by commerce ministry will be held on 5th Sept regarding the concerns expressed by the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) sector about the lack of clarity in the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

SEZ sector is losing investors. Why?

Investor interest in SEZs have diminished after government decided to

  • impose Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) including cess on SEZ developers and units
  • Divided Distribution Tax (DDT) on developers

Participants in the meeting

  • representatives from the Dubai-based World Free Zones Organization (World FZO) who will give their views on the future of SEZs in India under the GST regime as well as on global best practices relating to SEZs
  • Finance ministry officials
  • International SEZ experts
  • Officials from the Australian Trade & Investment Commission (or Austrade)
  • South Africa’s experts on SEZ & Value Added Tax

Purpose of the meeting

  • To get suggestions from global experts on India’s SEZ policy
  • suggestions for greater ease of doing business in SEZs
  • SEZ developers and units will try to convince the finance officials to grant them tax exemptions under the new GST regime.

SEZ push to Make in India

Government must identify the land lying idle in the Central/state-government SEZs, de-notify them as SEZ land and instead use it for creating infrastructure or for manufacturing units that would cater to the domestic market.

What is meant by SEZ?

A special economic zone (SEZ) refers to designated areas with special economic regulations that differ from other areas in the same country.

  • These regulations tend to contain measures that are conducive to foreign direct investment.
  • Conducting business in a SEZ usually means a company receives tax incentives and the opportunity to pay lower tariffs

China has been the most successful in using SEZs to attract foreign capital. In fact, China has even declared an entire province, Hainan, to be an SEZ, which is quite distinct, as most SEZs are cities.

 

[2]. Cabinet nod for permanent residency to FDI investors

The Hindu

New – The Union Cabinet approved

  • a scheme to grant permanent residency status (PRS) to all foreign investors, except those from Pakistan, subject to the relevant conditions
  • to create a Project Development Fund (PDF) with a corpus of Rs.500 Crore to accelerate Indian economic presence in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam as these countries are a gateway to access China/EU and other markets
  • Dissolution of Kolkata-based Central Inland Water Transport Corporation as the company has been incurring losses since its inception.

Features of PRS Scheme

  • The PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years with multiple entry. This can be reviewed for another 10 years if the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice.
  • PRS will serve as a multiple entry visa without any stay stipulation and PRS holders will be exempted from the registration requirements.
  • PRS holders will be allowed to purchase one residential property for dwelling purpose.
  • The spouse/ dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for Employment Visa) and undertake studies in India.

Conditions to avail the scheme

In order to avail this scheme,

  • the foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of Rs.10 crore to be brought within 18 months or Rs.25 crore to be brought within 36 months
  • the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians every financial year.

Project Development Fund (PDF)

  • PDF will be operated through EXIM bank
  • It will be governed by an inter-ministerial committee under the chairpersonship of the Commerce Secretary.

 

 

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