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Current Affairs 04 April 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Foreign Trade Policy 2023
  2. PM SVANidhi
  3. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
  4. Capulopsyche keralensis

Foreign Trade Policy 2023


Context:

Recently, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles launched the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023 which came into effect from April 1, 2023.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Overview of FTP 2023
  2. Approach and Goals of FTP 2023
  3. Highlights of FTP 2023

Overview of FTP 2023

FTP 2023, also known as the Foreign Trade Policy 2023, is a policy document aimed at facilitating exports and improving ease of doing business for exporters. Below are some key points about this policy:

  • Continuity of Time-Tested Schemes: The policy document is based on the continuity of the time-tested schemes that have been facilitating exports so far. These schemes have been successful in promoting foreign trade and will continue to be a part of the policy.
  • Nimble and Responsive: FTP 2023 is a nimble and responsive document that will cater to the requirements of trade. It is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of Indian exporters in the global market.
  • Trust and Partnership: The policy is based on the principles of trust and partnership with exporters. It aims to establish a strong bond between the government and exporters to promote foreign trade.
  • Process Re-engineering: The policy focuses on process re-engineering to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the export-related processes. This will facilitate ease of doing business for exporters.
  • Automation: The policy also aims at automation of various export-related processes to reduce the time and cost involved. This will help in enhancing the competitiveness of Indian exporters.

Approach and Goals of FTP 2023

The Foreign Trade Policy 2023 (FTP 2023) is based on four key pillars, which are:

  • Incentive to Remission: The policy provides incentives to exporters through remission of duties and taxes, to promote foreign trade and increase competitiveness.
  • Export Promotion through Collaboration: The policy focuses on collaboration between exporters, states, districts, and Indian missions to promote exports and improve market access.
  • Ease of Doing Business and E-initiatives: The policy aims at reducing transaction costs and improving ease of doing business for exporters through e-initiatives.
  • Emerging Areas: The policy seeks to develop emerging areas such as e-commerce, developing districts as export hubs, and streamlining the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies (SCOMET) policy.
Goals and targets
  • The government aims to increase India’s overall exports to USD 2 trillion by 2030, with equal contributions from the merchandise and services sectors.
  • To achieve this, the government intends to encourage the use of the Indian currency in cross-border trade, aided by a new payment settlement framework introduced by the RBI in July 2022.
  • This move could be particularly advantageous in the case of countries with which India enjoys a trade surplus.

Highlights of FTP 2023

Process Re-Engineering and Automation:
  • FTP 2023 emphasizes export promotion and development through technology interface and collaboration.
  • Ongoing schemes like Advance Authorisation and EPCG will continue with substantial process re-engineering and technology enablement.
  • Implementation of duty exemption schemes for export production will be done through Regional Offices in a rule-based IT system environment.
  • Reduction in fee structures and IT-based schemes will make it easier for MSMEs and others to access export benefits.
  • All processes under the Advance and EPCG Schemes will be covered in a phased manner.
  • Cases identified under risk management framework will be scrutinized manually, while majority of the applicants are expected to be covered under the ‘automatic’ route initially.
Towns of Export Excellence:
  • Four new towns, Faridabad, Mirzapur, Moradabad, and Varanasi, have been designated as Towns of Export Excellence (TEE).
  • TEEs will have priority access to export promotion funds under the MAI scheme and will be able to avail CSP benefits for export fulfillment under the EPCG Scheme.
  • This addition is expected to boost the exports of handlooms, handicrafts, and carpets.
Recognition of Exporters:
  • Exporter firms recognized with ‘status’ based on export performance will now be partners in capacity-building initiatives on a best-endeavor basis.
  • 2-star and above status holders would be encouraged to provide trade-related training to interested individuals based on a model curriculum.
  • Status recognition norms have been re-calibrated to enable more exporting firms to achieve 4 and 5-star ratings, leading to better branding opportunities in export markets.
Promoting export from the districts:
  • The FTP aims at building partnerships with State governments and taking forward the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative to promote exports at the district level.
  • State Export Promotion Committee and District Export Promotion Committee at the State and District level, respectively, will resolve concerns at the district level and identify export-worthy products & services.
  • District-specific export action plans to be prepared for each district outlining the district specific strategy to promote export of identified products and services.
Streamlining SCOMET Policy
  • India is placing more emphasis on the “export control” regime as its integration with export control regime countries strengthens
  • The policy regime is being made more robust to implement international treaties and agreements entered into by India
  • A robust export control system in India would provide access of dual-use High end goods and technologies to Indian exporters while facilitating exports of controlled items/technologies under SCOMET from India
Facilitating E-Commerce Exports
  • E-commerce exports have a potential of $200 to $300 billion by 2030
  • FTP 2023 outlines the roadmap for establishing e-commerce hubs and related elements such as payment reconciliation, book-keeping, returns policy, and export entitlements
  • Consignment wise cap on E-Commerce exports through courier has been raised from ₹5Lakh to ₹10 Lakh in the FTP 2023
  • Integration of Courier and Postal exports with ICEGATE will enable exporters to claim benefits under FTP
  • The comprehensive e-commerce policy addressing the export/import ecosystem would be elaborated soon
  • Outreach and training activities will be taken up to build capacity of artisans, weavers, garment manufacturers, gems and jewellery designers to onboard them on E-Commerce platforms and facilitate higher exports
Facilitation under Export Promotion of Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme
  • EPCG Scheme is being further rationalized.
  • Prime Minister Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel Parks (PM MITRA) scheme has been added as an additional scheme eligible to claim benefits under CSP(Common Service Provider) Scheme of Export Promotion capital Goods Scheme(EPCG)
  • Dairy sector to be exempted from maintaining Average Export Obligation – to support dairy sector to upgrade the technology
  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) of all types, Vertical Farming equipment, Wastewater Treatment and Recycling, Rainwater harvesting system and Rainwater Filters, and Green Hydrogen are added to Green Technology products
Facilitation under Advance authorization Scheme
  • Advance authorisation Scheme accessed by DTA  (Domestic tariff area) units provides duty-free import of raw materials for manufacturing export items
  • Special Advance Authorisation Scheme extended to export of Apparel and Clothing sector under para 4.07 of HBP on self-declaration basis to facilitate prompt execution of export orders
  • Benefits of Self-Ratification Scheme for fixation of Input-Output Norms extended to 2 star and above status holders in addition to Authorised Economic Operators at present.
Merchanting Trade
  • Merchanting trade of restricted and prohibited items under export policy is now allowed.
  • Merchanting trade involves the shipment of goods from one foreign country to another foreign country without touching Indian ports, with the involvement of an Indian intermediary.
  • Compliance with RBI guidelines is mandatory for merchanting trade.
  • Goods/items classified in the CITES and SCOMET list are not eligible for merchanting trade.
  • Indian entrepreneurs can leverage this opportunity to develop places like GIFT city into major merchanting hubs, as seen in Dubai, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Amnesty Scheme
  • The scheme is intended to provide relief to exporters burdened by high duty and interest costs associated with pending cases of default on Export Obligations (EO) under EPCG and Advance Authorizations.
  • All pending cases of default in meeting Export Obligation (EO) of authorizations can be regularized on payment of all customs duties that were exempted in proportion to unfulfilled Export Obligation.
  • The interest payable is capped at 100% of these exempted duties under this scheme.
  • No interest is payable on the portion of Additional Customs Duty and Special Additional Customs Duty, providing significant relief to exporters.
  • The amnesty scheme aims to give exporters a fresh start and an opportunity to come into compliance, aligning with the “Vivaad se Vishwaas” initiative to settle tax disputes amicably.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB


PM SVANidhi


Context:

A total of 42.7 lakh loans amounting to ₹5,152.37 crore has been disbursed to street vendors under the PM SVANidhi scheme, out of which only 3.98 lakh, or 9.3%, were to hawkers from the minority communities, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told the Rajya Sabha.

Relevance:

GS II- Government policies and interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. PM Street Vendor’s Atmanitbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)
  2. PM SVANidhi and SIDBI
  3. Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE)
  4. About SVANidhi se Samriddhi

PM Street Vendor’s Atmanitbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)

  • PM SVANidhi is a Special Micro-Credit Facility.
  • PM SVANidhi was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for providing affordable Working Capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year.
  • The scheme promotes digital transactions through cash back incentives.
  • Beneficiaries: 50 lakh Street Vendors.
  • The Government of India has extended the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme beyond March, 2022 with the following provisions:
    • Extension of lending period till December 2024;
    • Introduction of 3rd loan of upto ₹50,000 in addition to 1st & 2nd loans of ₹10,000 and ₹20,000 respectively.
    • To extend ‘SVANidhi Se Samriddhi’ component for all beneficiaries of PM SVANidhi scheme across the country
The eligible vendors are identified as per following criteria:
  • Street vendors in possession of Certificate of Vending / Identity Card issued by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs);
  • The vendors, who have been identified in the survey but have not been issued Certificate of Vending / Identity Card;
  • Street Vendors, left out of the ULB led identification survey or who have started vending after completion of the survey and have been issued Letter of Recommendation (LoR) to that effect by the ULB / Town Vending Committee (TVC); and
  • The vendors of surrounding development/ peri-urban / rural areas vending in the geographical limits of the ULBs and have been issued Letter of Recommendation (LoR) to that effect by the ULB / TVC.
PM SVANidhi and SIDBI
  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is the Implementation Agency for PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)
  • SIDBI will also manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).
  • SIDBI will leverage the network of lending Institutions like Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs), Co-operative Banks etc., for the Scheme implementation.

Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE)

  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, GoI and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), established a Trust named Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) to implement the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises.
  • Beneficiaries: New and existing Micro and Small Enterprises engaged in manufacturing or service activity excluding Educational Institutions, Agriculture, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Training Institutions etc., are eligible.
  • Fund and non-fund based (Letters of Credit, Bank Guarantee etc.) credit facilities up to Rs 200 lakh per eligible borrower are covered under the guarantee scheme provided they are extended on the project viability without collateral security or third-party guarantee.

About SVANidhi se Samriddhi

  • It is an additional program of PMSVANidhi was launched on 4th January 2021 in 125 cities in Phase 1, covering approximately 35 Lakh Street vendors and their families.
  • 22.5 lakh scheme sanctions have been extended to them including 16 lakh insurance benefits under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeeban Jyoti Yojana and 2.7 Lakh pension benefits under Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana, amongst other such benefits. 
  • Considering the success of Phase I, MoHUA launched the program expansion to additional 126 cities with an aim to cover 28 Lakh Street vendors and their families, with a total target of 20 Lakh scheme sanctions for FY 2022-23. The remaining cities would be gradually added to the program.
  •  SVANidhi se Samriddhi program was started to provide social security benefits to street vendors for their holistic development and socio-economic upliftment.

-Source: The Hindu


Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries


Context:

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies including Russia shook markets by announcing further production cuts of about 1.16 million barrels per day (bpd)

Relevance:

GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India’s crude oil imports from OPEC
  2. About Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
  3. What is OPEC+?

India’s crude oil imports from OPEC

  • In FY08, OPEC oil accounted for almost 88 percent of India’s crude imports.
  • Because refiners in Asia’s third-largest economy are buying cheaper Russian oil, its percentage of India’s overall imports may drop.
  • Russian oil, on the other hand, continues to account for less than 1% of India’s crude imports in FY22.

About Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is an intergovernmental organization of 14 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria.
  • As of 2018, the 14 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and almost 82% of the world’s “proven” oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so-called “Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies.
  • The stated mission of the organization is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.”

What is OPEC+?

  • OPEC + countries are non-OPEC countries that export crude oil alongside the 14 OPEC countries.
  • Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan, and Sudan are among the OPEC plus countries.
What are their goals?
  • The OPEC and non OPEC producers first formed the alliance at a historic meeting in Algiers in 2016.
  • The aim was to undertake production restrictions to help resuscitate a flailing market.

-Source: The Hindu


Capulopsyche Keralensis


Context:

Recently, researchers from the Zoology Department at St. Thomas College Thrissur have discovered the bagworm moth from the coffee plantations of Kerala.

Relevance:

GS III: Species in News

Newly Found “Coffee Moth of Kerala”: Capulopsyche keralensis

  • Capulopsyche keralensis belongs to the moth family Psychidae, which consists of very small moths.
  • It is characterized by the case-building behavior of larvae and a high degree of sexual dimorphism.
    • Sexual dimorphism is the differences in appearance between males and females of the same species, such as in color, shape, size, and structure, that are caused by the inheritance of one or the other sexual pattern in the genetic material.
  • Females of many Psychid species never develop into a moth and retain larval appearance.
  • This is the first genus and species of the subfamily Taleporiinae reported from India.
  • The subfamily Taleporiinae is characterized by extreme sexual dimorphism.
  • The females are pale yellowish, wingless, with short legs and antennae.
  • The larvae of this species were found scraping on the bark of trees, they seem to feed on the bark tissues and depositions (algae) on the bark.
  • The pupal cases are attached by a thread to the branches and underside of the leaves.
  • The life span of an emerged male adult is up to 4 to 5 days.
Translation of the Name:
  • The newly found bagworm moth species was named Capulopsyche keralensis.
  • Capulo means coffee and psyche means moth or butterfly.
  • Therefore, the name translates as ‘Coffee moth of Kerala’ as it was found in coffee plantations.

-Source: The Hindu


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