Economy and Banking Current Affairs February 2016
NABARD and NRSC Signed MoU for Monitoring of Watershed Projects
1) National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed a Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) on January 1, 2015 for web-based monitoring of watershed projects.
2) Under the MoU, Hyderabad-based NRSC, will create a separate page for NABARD on Bhuvan web-portal, develop customised software tool and mobile application for real time monitoring, online comparison and visualisation with respect to activities implemented in the projects sanctioned by Nabard.
3) NABARD had assisted watershed projects under Watershed Development Fund (WDF). The web-based monitoring of Indo-German Watershed Development (IGWDP) projects will happen in three states, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana.
Government Announced to about LPG-like DBT Scheme for Kerosene
1) The government announced on January 1, 2015 that it will from April 1, 2016 roll out a LPG-like DBT scheme for kerosene where the users will buy the cooking fuel at market rate but will get , financial support directly in their bank accounts.
2)The cash subsidy to be paid to users will be equivalent to the difference between current PDS price of about Rs. 12 and market rate of Rs. 43 per litre.
3) The move will help curtail subsidy outgo for kerosene. In 2014-15, it was about Rs. 24799 crore.
4) The scheme will be rolled out initially in Raipur, Durg and Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, Panipat and Panchkula in Haryana, Shimla, Solan and Una in Himachal Pradesh, Chhatra, Giridih, East Singbhum, Hazaribagh, Jamtara and Khunti in Jharkhand.
Panel Formed to Study Wage Structure of Gramin Dak Sevaks
1) The Union government has constituted a one-man committee on January 1, 2015 to examine the wage structure and service conditions of gramin dak sevaks in the Department of Posts which has 2.6 lakh gramin dak sevaks.
2)Kamlesh Chandra, a retired member of the postal services board, will constitute the committee, which will be assisted by TQ Mohammad, a senior administrative grade officer, who will act as secretary.
3) The terms of reference of the committee include examining the system of branch post offices, engagement conditions and the existing structure of wage and emoluments paid to gramin sevaks and recommend necessary changes.
Petronet Inked Significant Gas Pact with Qatar’s RasGas
1)Petronet LNG, India’s biggest gas importer, signed a revised contract with RasGas of Qatar on December 31, 2015 to import gas at a significantly lower price to reflect falling global prices.
2) The new contract will save downstream consumers in India around ? 4000 crore a year.
3) The penalty of ? 12000 crore imposed on Petronet for importing less gas in 2015 was agreed in the previous contract has been waived.
4) The need for re-negotiation became apparent when global crude and petroleum prices crashed.
5) The new pricing formula under the reworked contract came into effect on January 1, 2016.
6) It would apply to 7.5 million tonnes gas which LNG India has agreed to buy from RasGas until the long-term contract ending in April, 2028. Petronet has agreed to purchase an additional 1 million tonnes under the revised contract.