Thursday, 4th February 2021

Table of contents

1   News Snapshot


Steps taken to promote entrepreneurship in North-Eastern Region


Budget announced the plan of Asset Monetization


Union Ministers jointly launch Unified Portal of Gobardhan


India sets up its first wetland conservation Centre in Chennai

2   Featured News


Special Series - Budget, Survey and Finance Commission


Myanmar coup: Aung San Suu Kyi detained as military seizes control

3   Terms & Concepts


Digital Census


Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change


One District One Product (ODOP)

4   Editorial of the day


Theater Commands: Prospects and challenges


India, Russia and the Indo-Pacific: A Search for Congruence

5   Case Study of the Day


Shyam Sunder Paliwal – Inspiring Others

.... Show less Show more
News Snapshot

Steps taken to promote entrepreneurship in North-Eastern Region


·         The institutional framework: These institutes provide opportunity for skilling and nurturing young creative talent and design aspirants from North East Region and boost entrepreneurship.

o   Indian Institute of Entrpreneurship (IIE), Guwahati;

o   three Indian Institutes of Information Technology(IIIT) in NER,

o   National Institute of Design (NID), Jorhat, Assam. 

·         Schemes: to boost entrepreneurship, trade and commerce in NER.

o   North East Industrial Development Scheme.

o   Krishi Udaan Scheme to evacuate local produce.

o   Van Dhan Vikas Kendras and Zoram Mega Food Park.

o   PM Yuva Udyamita Vikas Abhiyaan (PM YUVA).

o   Stand Up India Scheme; Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana; Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme; Credit Guarantee Trust Fund of Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE), Interest Subvention Scheme for Incremental Credit to MSME; Start-up India.

·         Finance Institutions:

o   North East Development Finance Institution(NEDFI)

o   The North East Venture Fund (NEVF), the first dedicated Venture Fund for NE has approved investments across sectors including healthcare, mobility, IT &ITeS, food processing/food tech, adventure tourism, agri-allied services and handicraft.

o   Organizations such as North East Handicrafts & Handloom Corporation (NEHHDC), Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC) have launched E- Commerce portals which enable entrepreneurs including from North East to reach out to a wider market.


o   The organizations like NEHHDC and TRIFED are also supporting the marketing of NE products through other e-commerce platforms. 



Other Important projects

·         Development of Inland Waterways- National Waterways 2 and National Waterways 16 will provide connectivity to Haldia through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and greatly benefit the eco-system by reducing cost.

·         Bamboo which has the potential to change the NE economy has got a boost with setting up of bio-refinery at Numaligarh, Assam; Bamboo Industrial Park at Dima Hasao, Assam; with reduced imports following enhancement of import duty to 25% on bamboo sticks for Agarbattis and amendment in Indian Forest Act, 1927.





News Snapshot

Budget announced the plan of Asset Monetization

In News

A “National Monetization Pipeline” of potential brownfield infrastructure assets will be launched. An Asset Monetization dashboard will also be created for tracking the progress and to provide visibility to investors.


§  National Highways Authority of India and PGCIL each have sponsored one InvIT each that will attract international and domestic institutional investors for highways and powerlines.

§  Railways will monetise Dedicated Freight Corridor assets for operations and maintenance, after commissioning.

§  Other core infrastructure assets that will be rolled out under the Asset Monetization Programme are: Warehousing Assets of CPSEs such as Central Warehousing Corporation and NAFED among others, Airports, Sports Stadiums etc.


What is asset monetisation?

·         Asset monetisation is the process of creating new sources of revenue for the government by unlocking the economic value of unutilised or underutilised public assets by exploiting it commercially at a market valuation.

·         It can be done through a long-term lease, known as a concession agreement. There are several viable commercial models to facilitate this objective through adequate upfront premiums, regular revenue shares, standard service delivery parameters with defined penalties and termination clauses in the contract.



·         The government does not need to sell assets and it does well to protect assets which give healthy returns.

·         It creates an enabling environment for participation of long-term institutional investors and brings private sector efficiencies in the management of infrastructure assets.

·         Asset monetization offers a respite, where the revenue proceeds can be reinvested in newly needed infrastructure without resorting to public debt while better maintaining the existing infrastructure facility.

News Snapshot

Union Ministers jointly launch Unified Portal of Gobardhan

In News

Union Ministers of Agriculture, Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Jal Shakti, have jointly launched the Unified Portal of Gobardhan. The portal will ensure close coordination with different stakeholders for smooth implementation of Biogas schemes/initiatives and its real time tracking.

About the Scheme

·         The Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme is implemented under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin-Phase 2, by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Jal Shakti ministry.

·         The scheme aims to augment income of farmers by converting biodegradable waste into compressed biogas (CBG).

·         The initiative aims at attracting entrepreneurs for establishing community-based CBG plants in rural areas.

Benefits of the scheme

·         Helpful for the country as India is home to the highest cattle population in the world, close to 300 million in number, with a daily output of 3 million tonnes of dung. It encourages farmers to consider dung and other waste not just as a waste but as a source of income.

·         It will be easier to keep the village clean and sanitized, livestock health will improve and farm yields will increase.

·         Increase self-reliance in energy utilized for cooking and lighting.

·         Provides a stable fuel supply in the market for oil companies.

News Snapshot

India sets up its first wetland conservation Centre in Chennai

In News

On the occasion of the Wetland Conservation Day on February 2, India set up its first dedicated centre for conservation of wetlands in Chennai.

About the Wetland Conservation Centre

·         The Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management is a specialised institution that will be part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management under the MOEFCC.

·         It is expected to address specific research needs and knowledge gaps and will aid in the application of integrated approaches for conservation, management and wise use of the wetlands.

·         It would assist the national and regional governments in designing and implementing policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning and targeted research for conservation of wetlands.

About World Wetlands Day

·         World Wetlands Day is observed on February 2 every year to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet. This day also marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention).

·         Theme of World Wetlands Day 2021 is Wetlands and Water. The theme focuses on the importance of wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages actions to restore them and stop their loss.

Featured News

Special Series - Budget, Survey and Finance Commission

Topic 1 – Development Finance Institutions

In News

Budget has proposed a Development Financial Institution (DFI) (with paid up capital of Rs 20,000 crore) to enable long term funding worth Rs 5 lakh crore in 3 years for infrastructure projects.

What is DFI?

A DFI is an agency to fund infrastructure projects of national importance that may or may not conform to commercial return standards. The DFI not only lends money, it also does credit enhancement and project conception.

Why do we need DFI?

·         Infrastructure growth requires a mega DFI with a bigger risk appetite, that will provide the much needed long term financing to new as well as stalled projects with long gestation periods, and will ease out the burden of commercial banks.

o   National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) with projected investment of Rs. 111 lakh crore during 2020-25 requires large and sustainable financing of the projects.

o   DFIs can provide medium- and long-term credit, supplementing the commercial banks which usually offer short-term working capital financing.

o   Unlike commercial banks, DFIs do not operate with the primary objective of maximising profits. They combine profit-making with meeting development objectives. DFIs can remain commercially viable while fulfilling their non-commercial objectives.

o   Many commercial banks (both public and private) are already struggling to cope with rising bad loans and stretched balance sheets leading to sharp decline in long-term credit.

·         Their role is far more significant in the 21st century as the DFIs have the full potential to tackle big societal challenges such as climate change, food security, inequality, inclusive growth and long-term projects linked to the UN’s sustainable development goals.

·         DFIs can also provide counter-cyclical financing during financial crises as witnessed in Brazil and Germany during the 2008 crisis.

Experience of past DFIs

·         Before 1992, DFIs like IDBI, ICICI and IDFC enjoyed a set of benefits which made it easy for them to tap into long-term liabilities. They had access to funding at concessional rates from multilateral agencies.

·         DFI bonds enjoyed a statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) status, which meant that banks were a captive source of funds for these institutions. They also received direct funding from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through long-term operations (LTO). After liberalisation, the RBI’s window was closed and the DFIs had to depend on market borrowings to fund their business.


·         DFI won't be enough as it requires an easier regulatory framework and ability to raise money at lower cost to succeed and more.

·         Infrastructure projects have a long gestation period and India's political and judicial uncertainties can make that even longer, causing cost overruns.

·         The kind of structure as before liberalisation is difficult to implement today because any long-term moratorium earlier provided is considered loan restructuring now.

·         A good infrastructure financing institution will need a strong bench of specialists who can look through proposals and select the best possible borrower.

·         Since the government is the counterparty in a lot of infrastructure projects, the DFI would need to ensure that different departments work together and do not cause undue delays in the completion of the project.

Way forward


·         While initially they can well-capitalised with direct financing by the government and the RBI. To ensure long-term sustainability, later on DFIs should be funded by India’s gradually deepening and modernising corporate bond markets.

·         In addition to being able to better attract FDI in capital markets, it can also make a concerted effort to tap better local, untapped pools of capital in the form of pension funds, national savings, insurance companies and mutual funds.

·         It should also be able to tap multilateral development banks, including special infrastructure funds through co-financing from developed country bilateral agencies and sovereign government equity support. 


·         Since the government would be both the owner and the regulator of the new DFI, it should establish a clear ownership policy, ensuring that it will regulate the new entity in a transparent and accountable manner, avoiding any potential conflict of interest.

·         The quality of internal governance and management systems would also play an essential role in its functioning. It can also on-board private partners in order to establish a strong governance framework.

Featured News

Myanmar coup: Aung San Suu Kyi detained as military seizes control

In News

The Myanmar military grabbed power in a coup on February 1, ahead of a scheduled meeting of the country’s newly elected Parliament. After seizing power, the military has detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders.

What has led to the coup in Myanmar?

        The military has alleged that the general elections held in November 2020 were full of “irregularities” and that the results — a sweep for NLD (National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi) — are not valid. It has questioned the veracity of some 9 million votes cast in the election.

        The military had demanded that the United Elections Commission of Myanmar or the government or the outgoing parliamentarians prove at a special session before the new parliament convened on February 1 that the elections were free and fair. This demand was rejected.


Significance of Myanmar for India

        Strategic location of Myanmar - The geographically strategic location of Myanmar makes it a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and India needs a good working relationship with the Myanmar government for its diplomatic and strategic initiatives.

        India developed close ties with Myanmar during previous military rule - During the years when Myanmar was being ruled by the military junta, India had developed close ties with Tatmadaw (official name of the Myanmar military). Last year, India handed over the INS Sindhuvir, a submarine to the Myanmar Navy. The military responded well to Indian overtures and even allowed India to conduct counter-insurgency operations in the India-Myanmar border areas.

        China’s growing influence in Myanmar - China intends to use Myanmar in its string of pearls strategy. China accounts for nearly 25% of the FDI in Myanmar. Under the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is funding and developing many big projects in Myanmar. These infrastructure projects have put Myanmar in massive Chinese debt trap, and accounts for over 40 per cent of the current $10 billion national debt.

Terms & Concepts

Digital Census

·         The Union Budget 2021-22, has allocated Rs.3,768 crore for the upcoming census.

·         This will be the first ever digital census in the country.

·         Union Home Minister had earlier announced that the 2021 census will be conducted through a mobile phone application. The mobile application based census will enable people to upload the details of self and family members.

Terms & Concepts

Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change

·         It has been released by global maritime industry recently.

·         It focusses on recognizing seaworkers as key workers by all governments worldwide.

·         They have asked for priority access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Terms & Concepts

One District One Product (ODOP)

·         One District One Product (ODOP) scheme is an initiative towards realizing the true potential of a district.

·         Its objective is to:

o   Convert each District of the country into an Export Hub by identifying products with export potential in that District (106 Products from 103 districts across 27 States idenified)

o   Address the bottlenecks that supports local exporters/manufacturers to scale up manufacturing.

o   Aims to find potential buyers outside India to promote exports, manufacturing & services industry and generate employment in the District.

·         It is operationally merged with ‘Districts as Export Hub’ initiative being implemented by Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Department of Commerce, with Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as a major stakeholder.


Editorial of the day

Theater Commands: Prospects and challenges

Essence - The move toward JTCs is a much-needed move, and it appears that it will be the driving force going forward, especially under the CDS. In this context, this article highlights the debate on the actual implementation of the proposal of Theatre Commands, and the differing interpretations of the same. It also analyses multiple hurdles ranging from operational to conceptual that need to be taken into account, in order for these reforms to fully bear fruit and transform the Indian military.

You should read this article to understand-

·         The need for introduction of Theatre Commands (TCs) to the Indian Armed Forces’ organisational structure.

·         Facts and data related to Defense expenditure.

·         Criticism of the idea of introduction of TCs such as large increase in expenditure with doubtful returns, etc.

·         Benefits of creation of joint TCs such as ensuring better utilisation of scarce resources, by way of increasing levels of synergy and reducing redundancies, etc.

·         Comparision vis-à-vis reforms undertaken by China.

Link -

Editorial of the day

India, Russia and the Indo-Pacific: A Search for Congruence

Essence – The article throws light on the India and Russia’s increasingly divergent outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The article argues that litmus test of this traditional partnership will be to harmonise each other’s viewpoints. As India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar had stated in 2019, “Russia is a Pacific Power which has Indian Ocean interests” while “India is an Indian Ocean power with very strong and growing Pacific interest”.

Why you should read this article?

·         Provides a brief overview on the conceptualization of Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific.

·         While identifying the reasons as to why Russia opposes usage of Indo-Pacific, it identifies opportunities for Russia in the region.

·         It also talks about how India and Russia can cooperate in the region.

Link -

Case Study of the Day

Shyam Sunder Paliwal – Inspiring Others

·         A former Piplantri village council head in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, he lost his daughter in 2006. After that, he began a campaign in her memory of planting 111 saplings to celebrate the birth of every new-born girl.


·         The parents of the girls are supposed to nurture the saplings and also sign an affidavit saying they would not marry off their daughters before 18 or practising female foeticide.

·         The Piplantri village has, as a result, survived Rajasthan’s chronic drought and water scarcity thanks to the campaign.

·         He was recently awarded Padma Shri.

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