1. ROAD AND INFRASTRUCTURE CESS
- News: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Sunday, said the entire duty reduction in petrol and diesel announced on Saturday had been done out of the road and infrastructure cess (RIC) component of the taxes levied on petroleum products, and the entire burden of the tax cuts was hence being borne by the Centre.
- The Government of India under the Finance Act, 2018 introduced a cess namely ‘Road and Infrastructure Cess’ under section 109 and 110 of the Finance Act, 2018 to be collected and levied on specified imported goods and on excisable goods as specified in the Sixth schedule of the said Act.
- The said goods are motor spirit commonly known as petrol and high-speed diesel oil.
- Vide the above amendment, the ‘Road Cess’ is rechristened as “Road and Infrastructure cess”.
- The definition of Road and Infrastructure is wide as compared to the earlier definition of the “road” as in the CRFA.
- The list of activities that count as “infrastructure” are much wider under the amended CRFA.
- The funds can be used for various purposes such as national highways, rural roads, inter-State connectivities to other infrastructure projects etc.
- It is also to be noted that the size of this fund has grown over the years due to two factors—
- More vehicles on road (collected from users of diesel and petrol by levying an extra cess on the amount of fuel they bought)
- Increasing the levy amount.
- About Road Infrastructure in India:
- India has a network of over 6,215,797 kilometres (3,862,317 mi) of roads as of 31 March 2020.
- This is the second-largest road network in the world, after the United States with 6,853,024 kilometres (4,258,272 mi).
- At (1.90 km, 1.18 mi) of roads per square kilometre of land, the quantitative density of India’s road network is equal to that of Hong Kong, and substantially higher than the United States (0.71 km, 0.44 mi), China (0.54 km, 0.34 mi), Brazil (0.23 km, 0.14 mi) and Russia (0.09 km, 0.056 mi).
- Adjusted for its large population, India has approximately 5.13 kilometres (3.19 mi) of roads per 1,000 people, which is much lower than United States 20.5 kilometres (12.7 mi) but higher than that of China 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi).
- India’s road network carries over 71 percent of its freight and about 85 percent of passenger traffic.
2. PM GATI SHAKTI
- News: All logistics and connectivity infrastructure projects, entailing investment of over ₹500 crore, would now route through the network planning group (NPG) constituted under the PM GatiShakti initiative with the Finance Ministry issuing the necessary instructions and creation of the national master plan digital platform.
- About PM Gati Shakti:
- PM GatiShakti National Master Plan (PMGS-NMP) was launched on 13th October 2021 for providing multimodal connectivity infrastructure to various economic zones. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) accorded approval for the implementation of PM GatiShakti National Master Plan on 21st October 2021.
- PM GatiShakti is a transformative approach for economic growth and sustainable development. The approach is driven by 7 engines, namely:
- Mass Transport
- Logistics Infrastructure
- All 7 engines will pull forward the economy in unison. These engines are supported by the complementary roles of Energy Transmission, IT Communication, Bulk Water & Sewerage, and Social Infrastructure. The approach is powered by Clean Energy and Sabka Prayas – the efforts of the Central Government, the state governments, and the private sector together – leading to huge job and entrepreneurial opportunities for all, especially the youth.
- The scope of PM GatiShakti National Master Plan will encompass the 7 engines for economic transformation, seamless multimodal connectivity and logistics efficiency. It will also include the infrastructure developed by the State Governments, as per the GatiShakti Master Plan. The focus will be on planning, financing including through innovative ways, use of technology and speedier implementation.
- The projects pertaining to these 7 engines in the “National Infrastructure Pipeline” will be aligned with PM GatiShakti framework. The touchstone of the Master Plan will be world-class modern infrastructure and logistics synergy among different modes of movement – both of people and goods – and location of projects. This will help raise productivity and accelerate economic growth and development.
- The plan has been developed as a Digital Master Planning tool by BISAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics) and has been prepared in dynamic Geographic Information System (GIS) platform wherein data on specific action plan of all the Ministries/Departments have been incorporated within a comprehensive database.
- Dynamic mapping of all infrastructure projects with real- time updation will be provided by way of a map developed by BISAG-N. The map will be built on open-source technologies and hosted securely on MEGHRAJ i.e. cloud of Govt. of India. It will use satellite imagery available from ISRO and base maps from Survey of India. The comprehensive database of the ongoing & future projects of various Ministries has been integrated with 200+ GIS layers thereby facilitating planning, designing and execution of the infrastructure projects with a common vision.
- The digital system is a software where individual Ministries will be given separate user identification (login ids) to update their data on a periodic basis. The data of all the individual Ministries will be integrated in one platform which will be available for planning, review and monitoring. The Logistics Division, Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MOCI) will further assist all the stakeholders through BISAG-N for creating and updating their required layers in the system and update their database through Application Programming Interface (APIs).
3. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
- News: With nearly 100 CEOs and over a dozen government leaders here for a rare springtime annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Indian contingent at this Swiss ski resort town is brimming with confidence when it comes to sharing their story of fighting the pandemic and attracting investments.
- About World Economic Forum:
- The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental and lobbying organisation based in Cologny, canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded on 24 January 1971 by German engineer and economist Klaus Schwab.
- The foundation, which is mostly funded by its 1,000 member companies – typically global enterprises with more than five billion US dollars in turnover – as well as public subsidies, views its own mission as “improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.
- The WEF is mostly known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland.
- The meeting brings together some 3,000 paying members and selected participants – among which are investors, business leaders, political leaders, economists, celebrities and journalists – for up to five days to discuss global issues across 500 sessions.
MCQS FOR PRACTICE
- Consider the following statements regarding road network in India
- India has world’s largest road network
- India has highest quantitative density of roads among nations
Choose the correct option from below
Both I and II
Neither I nor II
- PM Gati Shakti Initiative is being implemented as master plan for
- High speed Railway Network
- Connectivity to border areas
- Multi modal connectivity infrastructure
- Development of Major ports
- World Economic Forum (WEF) is based is
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Paris, France
- London, Britain
- New York, USA