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Current Affairs - 26 May 2018

General Affairs 

Army Chief Promises Exemplary Action Against Major Leetul Gogoi If He's Guilty
  • Days after an army officer was detained by the police in Srinagar after a row in a hotel involving a Kashmiri woman, Army Chief Bipin Rawat said today that "strictest action would be taken" if anyone in the army did any wrong.

    The officer who was detained is Major Leetul Gogoi, backed by the army amid a major row last year when he tied a Kashmiri man to his jeep as a "human shield" during by-polls. The army has ordered a court of inquiry.

    "If anyone in the Indian Army, at any rank, does any wrong and it comes to our notice, then strictest action will be taken. If Major Gogoi has done something wrong then I can say that he will be given due punishment and the punishment will be such that it will set an example," said the Army Chief, who was on a visit to Srinagar to review the ground situation and open goodwill schools run by the army.

    After his detention on Wednesday, Major Gogoi was handed over to his army unit. A senior police officer was asked to investigate what happened.

    According to some reports, a room was booked online for him at a hotel near Dal Lake and he had checked into the hotel on Wednesday morning.

    After some time, a woman came with a man, apparently to meet the officer, but weren't allowed to go to the room. When Major Gogoi allegedly got into a row with the hotel staff, the police was called in and all three were taken to a police station.

    A report by news agency Press Trust of India said the army officer, along with his driver and a woman had approached the front desk to check in but was told that he could not go to his room with the woman because she was a local resident. The officer told the police he had come for a "source meeting".

    Major Gogoi had made headlines when he tied a Kashmiri man, Farooq Ahmed Dar, to his jeep, reportedly to ensure that crowds don't throw stones at polling staff he was escorting to safety.

    The act was widely criticised by political parties, activists and others but the army gave him an award, saying he had saved lives.

PM Modi Underlines Centre's Commitment Towards Education
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted the Central government's commitment towards revitalising the educational infrastructure and boost an innovative mindset among students.

    Addressing the 49th convocation of the Visva-Bharati University, PM Modi said Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was still a global citizen and recalled his vision for education.

    "During my foreign visits, I have witnessed how people there fondly remember their association with Tagore and his visits. Tagore was, and even to this day, continues to be a global citizen," said PM Modi, also the Chancellor of the university built by Tagore in Bolpur sub-division in West Bengal's Birbhum district.

    "Gurudev used to believe every human being is here with a distinct aim and education plays a very significant role in enabling him or her to achieve that target. That is why, he used to say education is not just only which is imparted in schools," said PM Modi.

    "He wanted the students to learn about how things are happening across the world, how people live in foreign countries, their social values and cultural ethos. But at the same time, he also wanted people to retain their Indian-ness," said the Prime Minister. 

    Talking about his own vision of a new India by 2022, PM Modi detailed his government's commitment in building up the country's educational infrastructure.

    The Prime Minister said "125 crore Indians have resolved to build a new India by 2022 and eminent institutions like these have a major role to play. Such institutions provide new energy, new directions to the youth".

    He said the Central government will be spending Rs. 1 lakh crore in the next four years under Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE), a scheme to shore up educational facilities.

    "Besides spending Rs. 1 lakh crore under RISE for strengthening the education system, the government has initiated the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) with Rs. 1,000 crore investment to give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions," he said.

    An initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), HEFA would be formed as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) within a public sector undertaking (PSU) bank/government-owned Non Banking Financial Company.

    He also said 2,400 schools have been identified under the Atal Tinkering Labs to promote an innovative mindset among young students.

    Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated work spaces where students (Class 6-12) learn innovation skills and develop ideas. The labs are powered to acquaint students with the state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics and electronics development tools, Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors.

    The lab activities are designed to light the spark of creativity, and go beyond regular curriculum and text book learning.

    PM Modi, along with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, also inaugurated the Bangladesh Bhavan within the campus. It features a museum that showcases Tagore's association with the country, the Liberation War of Bangladesh and Indo-Bangla relations.

    "Rarely do you see two Prime Ministers attending a convocation," said PM Modi, pointing towards Hasina.

    "India and Bangladesh are two nations but are linked through cooperation and coordination. Be it culture or public policy, we can learn much from each other. The example of that is Bangladesh Bhavan," added PM Modi.

    Reminding students about Tagore's immortal song "Ekla Cholo Re",PM  Modi exhorted them to make efforts towards nation building.

'Hafiz Saeed Gave Us Pep Talks': Captured Terrorist To Probe Agency
  • Hafiz Saeed, Jamaat-ud Dawa chief wanted by India for plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, gives terrorists a pep talk before sending them across the border into Kashmir, a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Zaibullah arrested last month has told investigators.

    Zaibullah, also known as Hamza, has also told the federal anti-terror probe agency, National Investigation Agency, that they had also started smuggling weapons into India.

    Zaibullah has given the agency a detailed account of the arms training that they were put through including the two-month course about surviving in the snow-clad mountains that his group had passed,

    NIA officials say they were surprised by Zaibullah's revelation about the terror group venturing into arms smuggling at a large scale, a claim that contradicts the widely-held belief that terror groups were lately relying on firearms looted from security forces.

    According to NIA, an arms consignment is sent to Jammu and Kashmir with every two infiltration operations. The cargo is then taken to an area demarcated by Lashkar by porters or guides, who then cross back to Pakistan.

    In an indicator of how closely Hafiz Saeed and other top terror group leaders in Pakistan were involved with the terror camps and launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Zaibullah told NIA that his batch had received two pep talks by them to keep the batch motivated.

    Zaibullah was arrested after an encounter in April.

    Hafiz Saeed was the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks in 2008, in which more than 160 people lost their lives. The international community, led by the United Nations and the United States, has declared Hafiz Saeed a global terrorist. In 2012, the US placed a $10 million bounty for evidence that could convict him.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Speeches In Bengal's Santiniketan: Highlights
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today attended the convocation of Visva Bharati University and inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan in Bengal's Santiniketan. During his visit, PM Modi addressed the students at Visva Bharati as well as gave a speech after inaugurating Bangladesh Bhavan. The prime minister fondly remembered Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in both speeches.

    Here are the highlights of PM Narendra Modi's speeches in Bengal's Santiniketan:

    We are here to honour tradition today. I congratulate the ones who have got a degree today and wish them the best for the future.

    Your degree is the proof of your educational prowess. But you haven't just got a degree here, you have received something much more unique. You are the custodians of a great legacy.

    You all are custodians of a culture that is both ancient and modern.
    Gurdev (Rabindranath Tagore) said the world is one nest, one home. Gurudev gave his entire life to the belief that 'world is one family' (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam).

    Rarely has there been a convocation where the prime minister's of two countries have been present.

    Our countries (India and Bangladesh) are joined in cooperation and collaboration.

    During my travels abroad I found people everywhere treat Rabindranath Tagore with so much respect.

    Rabindranath Tagore was a global citizen. His brother Satyendranath Tagore was the first Indian to join the civil services. He worked as a commissioner in Ahemdabad. There, for six months, he taught English literature to Gurudev (Rabindranath Tagore).

    Rabindranath Tagore always stressed on holding on to his Indian-ness. He had written about this in a letter to his son-in-law.

    Simplicity is the main principle of education at Shantiniketan.
    In 2021, this institution will complete 100 years. By then can you take the partnership for progress you have with 50 villages to a 100 or 200?
    Bangladesh and India bonded by cooperation and understanding.

    Be it about culture or public policy, Bangladesh and India can learn a lot of things from each other.

    India and Bangladesh have many bonds of unity. This (Santiniketan) is that symbol of unity that could not be divided by the British nor the politics of partition.

    Mujibur Rehman is equally respected in India as he is in Bangladesh.
    Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, and many others are respected very much in Bangladesh. Just like Rabindranath Tagore is celebrated in Bangladesh, Kazi Nazrul is revered in West Bengal.

    Gurudev was a man of independent thoughts. As much as he was of India's, he was of Bangladesh's too. Bangbandhu himself was a great admirer of Tagore.

    The fight for Bangladesh's freedom might have been across the border, but the inspiration came from this side. The pain of bloodshed on that side was felt here too.

    For some time now, the Golden Period of India-Bangladesh ties has been underway.

    I congratulate Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and people of Bangladesh for having launched their first satellite. I am sure our countries will cooperate even more in the future in the arena of space technology.
    Both India and Bangladesh face similar challenges like climate change. But our goals are similar too - like electrifying every last home, ensuring affordable healthcare to all, etc.

    I would like to thank Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Bangladesh's participation in the International Solar Alliance summit.

PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina To Inaugarate Bangladesh Bhavan in Bengal's Santiniketan
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, will inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan within the campus on Friday. 

    The Bangladesh Bhavan is a symbol of the cultural ties between the two countries.

    The Bangladesh Bhavan features a museum that showcases Rabindranath Tagore's association with the country, the Liberation War of Bangladesh and Indo-Bangla relations.

    It was built at a cost of Rs. 25 crore, which was provided by the Bangladesh government.

    A fund of Rs. 10 crore would be given to help to maintain the museum premises.

    Reportedly, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will also be signed between Visva-Bharati and the Secondary and Higher Secondary Division of the education ministry of Bangladesh.

    Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina will arrive in India today to embark on her two-day visit to West Bengal on the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also present at the event.

    Prime Minister Hasina is also scheduled to visit Netaji Bhawan in Kolkata, the ancestral home of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. 

    As per certain reports, both Prime Ministers will likely hold bilateral meetings.

    Further, Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Education Minister, Cultural Affairs Minister will be accompanying Prime Minister Hasina, as per The Daily Star.

    A formal meeting is expected to be conducted between the two Prime Ministers.

    She will return to Bangladesh on Saturday night.

    Following the visit to West Bengal, Prime Minister Modi will be visiting Jharkhand's Sindri on May 25 to lay the foundation stone of various projects of the Indian government and the state government.

Business Affairs

TCS becomes first Indian company to cross Rs 7 lakh crore market cap mark
  • Setting records seems to come easy to India's largest software services exporter. A month after Tata Consultancy Services made history as the first listed Indian IT firm to hit market capitalisation of over $100 billion (Rs 6.78 lakh crore), it has now become the first desi company ever to breach the Rs 7 lakh crore mark, albeit briefly.

    Buoyed by an early rally in its share price - it jumped nearly 2 per cent - the market valuation of TCS jumped to Rs 7,03,309 crore in intra-day session on the BSE, when the stock hit its 52-week high price of Rs 3,674 apiece. Though the share price has since steadily come down to Rs 3,577, the important thing to note is that TCS has gained nearly 35 per cent in the year so far while the Sensex has gone up just 3 per cent.

    To remind you, on April 23, TCS had similarly entered the coveted $100 billion market cap club within the first hour of trade. Its shares had jumped 4.4 per cent to hit an intra-day high of Rs 3,557 apiece on BSE but it lost the position by end of the trading day. Nonetheless, the feat gave the Tata Group flagship firm entry into the list of the world's 100 most valued organisations, ranking at 97. There are 96 firms with over $100 billion market cap, according to Bloomberg data. Reliance Industries (RIL), led by the country's richest man Mukesh Ambani, was the last Indian firm to make it past the mark way back in 2007.

    In fact, according to BloombergQuint TCS stock has rallied nearly 14.5 per cent since the company touched $100 billion market value, mainly on the back of a weakening rupee, which has slid 3.2 per cent against the dollar in the last one month.

    In a nutshell, here is the Mumbai-based company's milestones so far: It started trading in 2004 and its market cap reached $10 billion the following year. It took nearly five years for TCS to become a $25-billion company. In 2013, it crossed the $50 billion mark and is now the country's most valued firm. The other four companies in the Top 5 most valued companies list are Reliance Industries with a market cap of Rs 5.84 lakh crore, HDFC Bank (Rs 5.19 lakh crore), HUL (Rs 3.42 lakh crore) and ITC (Rs 3.31 lakh crore).

    The big question now is whether TCS can sustain its growth momentum in the near future. It had reported a 4.4 per cent rise in its March quarter net profit at Rs 6,904 crore and a revenue growth of 8.2 per cent at Rs 32,075 crore. "With robust deal wins and green-shoots in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, there is definite possibility of double-digit revenue growth. With growth acceleration, scale up in digital and support from currency, margins are ready for uptick as well, implying return of double-digit revenue/earnings growth after 3 years," Edelweiss Research said in an April note.

    The company is now looking forward to its 23rd Annual General Meeting, to be held on June 15. Among the items on the agenda is to declare a final dividend of Rs 29 per equity share for the financial year 2017-18 and to appoint a director in place of N. Chandrasekaran, "who retires by rotation and, being eligible, offers himself for re-appointment". Chandrasekaran is the current chairman of Tata Sons.

ICICI-Videocon loan: Sebi sends notice to Chanda Kochhar, seeks response on Nupower link
  • Market regulatory body Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) on Friday sent a notice to ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, seeking her response on the alleged dealings of the private lender with Videocon Group and Nupower Renewables, a company co-founded by her husband Deepak Kochhar.

    The ICICI Bank, in a BSE filing, said the MD & CEO and the bank received a notice from Sebi on May 24, seeking responses on matters relating to alleged non-compliance with certain provisions of the erstwhile Listing Agreement and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015.

    The statement said the notice has been issued based on information furnished by the bank or its MD & CEO to diverse queries made by Sebi concerning dealings between the bank and Videocon Group and certain dealings allegedly between Videocon Group and Nupower, in which Deepak Kochhar holds economic interests. The bank said an "appropriate response" would be submitted to Sebi.

    The country's second-largest private lender has been embroiled in controversies ever since investor and whistleblower Arvind Gupta alleged a 'quid pro quo' in ICICI Bank's Rs 3,250 crore plus Rs 660 crore loans to Venugopal Dhoot-owned Videocon Industries. He had alleged that it was the time when an identical 10 per cent foreign funding (Rs 325 crore and Rs 66 crore) made its way to NuPower Renewables. The bank has denied the allegations, saying the loans were part of a consortium of lenders that extended the facility to Videocon.

    Gupta had first levelled allegations in 2016. At that time, ICICI Bank Chairman MK Sharma, in an internal inquiry, had denied having any conflict of interest and cleared Chanda Kochhar of any wrongdoing charge. The report findings were also shared with the Prime Minister's Office and the CBI. 
    In March, ICICI Bank Chairman MK Sharma had said the board has full confidence in Chanda Kochhar and ruled out any 'quid pro quo' as alleged with regard to a "certain loan given to Videocon group".

    The bank even clarified that none of the investors of NuPower Renewables is a borrower of ICICI Bank. Deepak Kochhar, during an interview with India Today TV, had said he had not disclosed his ties with Dhoot to Chanda Kochhar. "Chanda did not know when I set up NuPower. I knew Dhoot through social circles. I told her when Dhoot exited."

    Breaking silence on the controversy, Chanda Kochhar , during a press conference on ICICI Bank Q4 results on May 8, said she had nothing more to add as the bank board had made its stand clear on the issue. She added the bank had always co-operated with the regulatory and investigating agencies and would continue to do so.

How ONGC can help govt control petrol, diesel prices
  • Given the spurt in global crude prices, oil producers have made huge profits in recent times. For instance, the country's largest oil and gas explorer ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited) posted net profit of Rs 5,015 crore in the third quarter of the last fiscal, a jump of over 15 per cent over the September quarter. The much smaller Oil India Limited (OIL) fared even better, posting a 55 per cent quarterly growth in profit-after-tax (PAT) in the same period.

    So the government is reportedly now mulling a 'windfall tax' on all oil producers in the country, public and private alike, in an attempt to moderate fuel prices that have continued to scale new peaks for 12th day in a row today. Sources privy to the development told PTI that the tax, which may come in form of a cess, will kick in the moment oil prices cross $70 per barrel. In other words, oil producers, who get paid international rates for the oil they produce from domestic fields, would have to part with any revenue they earn from prices crossing $70 per barrel mark. The revenue collected under the scheme would be used to pay fuel retailers so that they absorb price spikes beyond the threshold levels, bringing much needed relief for the public.

    This is not the first time that the PSUs will be asked to take a hit. ONGC and OIL had paid as much as 40 per cent of the under-recoveries arising from fuel retailers selling petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene at a government-mandated price that was way lower than actual cost. And they bore the burden for more than 13 years till the subsidy sharing ended in June 2015, after global oil prices started plummeting. A similar tax was considered in 2008 when oil prices were on the rise but the idea was dropped after stiff opposition from private sector firms like Cairn India.

    But this time the government is again contemplating bringing private oil explorers under the scheme so as not to attract criticism of stifling the state-owned explorers. In any case they are among the most profitable cognate groups in the Public Enterprises Survey 2016-17, after oil refining and marketing companies and coal. The survey also showed that the total loss notched up by 82 loss-making Central Public Sector Enterprises during the year stood at a whopping Rs 25,045 crore. The government would not want to push more PSUs in that direction.

    India is not the only country to consider levying a windfall tax on oil producers. In 2011, the UK raised the tax rate to be applied to North Sea oil and gas profits when the price was above $75 per barrel. China began levying the special upstream profit tax on domestic oil producers in April 2006 to redistribute and allocate the windfall income enjoyed by them and subsidise disadvantaged industry and social groups most affected by soaring crude oil prices.

    Sources in the know also added that this is one of the options being considered by the government as a permanent solution to dealing with the problem of spike in oil prices. The petroleum ministry has stepped in to bat given the reluctance of the Finance Ministry to cut excise duty on fuels.

    In the face of the double whammy of a depreciating rupee and high global crude prices, which are inflating India's import bill and threatening the fiscal position, the FinMin is afraid to risk rocking the boat. Besides, it has to ensure adequate funds are available to social welfare schemes in the election year. In particular, resources have to be arranged for the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) that aims to provide health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to every eligible household.

    However, the sources claimed that the windfall tax may well be accompanied by a minor tinkering with excise duty rates to give immediate relief to consumers. States too would be asked to cut sales tax or VAT to show a visible impact on retail prices. But the Centre will need to crack the whip hard on this one. Just four states - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh - and one union territory had heeded the government's call to lower VAT in line with its October excise duty cut of Rs 2 per litre of fuel and diesel. Currently, the excise duty on petrol stands at Rs 19.48 per litre and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel.

PSB unions call for two-day bank strike to protest against 'meagre' wage hike
  • The employees of public sector banks will go on a two-day strike from May 30-31 to protest against a 'meagre' 2 per cent wage hike offered by the Indian Banks' Association (IBA). The nationwide strike is likely to affect the normal banking operations of several state-run lenders.

    The pan-India strike has been called by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), which is an umbrella body of bank unions including All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI).

    Earlier, SBI had said its services may be impacted on May 30 and May 31 if the proposed strike by various bank employees unions take place. Pressing for various demands, the unions have opposed IBAs delay in resolving a charter of demands, governments casual approach to wage revision for bank employees, a meagre offer of 2 per cent hike in wage revision.

    "All India State Bank Officers Federation and All India State Bank of India Staff Federation are members of UFBU. Thus, it is likely that our bank will also be impacted to some extent by the said strike calls," SBI had said in a regulatory filing.

    UFBU has demanded an expeditious and early wage revision settlement, adequate increase in salary and improvement in other service conditions and wage revision settlement to include all officers up to scale VII.

    Several others banks, including Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank and Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB), have also said that their services and functioning are likely to be impacted if the strike takes place.

    In the wage negotiation meeting held on May 5, 2018, IBA made a propositions to offer 2 per cent hike in the wage bill cost as on March 31, 2017. It also maintained that the negotiations on officers demands would be restricted up to scale III officers only.

    "It is only because of provisions towards NPA that banks have booked losses, and for this, bank employees are not responsible," United Forum of Bank Unions' convener Devidas Tuljapurkar said.

    Tuljapurkar told reporters here. He said in the last two-three years, bank employees have worked tirelessly for implementation of government initiatives such as Jan-Dhan, demonetisation, Mudra and Atal Pension Yojana, among others.

    "This has resulted into huge increase in their workloads," he said.

    In the last wage settlement, which was for the period November 1, 2012 to October 31, 2017, IBA had give a wage hike of 15 per cent.

If govt includes fuel under highest GST slab, petrol, diesel prices would come down by Rs 27, Rs 15
  • Petrol and diesel prices are touching new highs and several solutions are being presented in front of the government by economists and industry experts on ways to pull the plug. Reluctant to cut losses, the government is weighing on options before taking a step that could either provide a relief to the consumers or hamper its revenue prospects. In the midst of all this is an argument that the government can reduce petrol and diesel prices by Rs 26 and Rs 15, respectively, provided it includes the fuel under the GST.

    Many people have criticised the government for collecting huge revenues by levying over 100 per cent taxes on petrol and over 68 per cent on diesel, at a time when people across the country are crying for some relief measures.  Before this, the former finance minister P Chidambaram had also said that it is possible to reduce petrol and diesel price up to Rs 25 per litre, and that the government will "cheat people" by cutting price by Re 1 or Rs 2 per litre.

    So do these arguments hold ground? Let's breakup the fuel cost scenario for petrol and diesel by considering the government includes transportation fuel under the highest tax slab of 28 per cent. The basic cost of fuel after it comes out of refinery is Rs 36.93. Add  28 per cent (14 per cent CGST and 14 per cent SGST) of GST in it and also the dealer commissioner of Rs 3.6, the price comes out to be around Rs 50.87. On diesel, the basic cost of fuel after it comes out of the refinery is Rs 39.78 per litre. Add 28 per cent GST, combining both CGST and SGST, to it plus Rs 2.5 per litre as dealer commission, the price comes out to be around Rs 53.3. As per the Indian Oil Corporation's revised fuel pricing for, let's say, Delhi, the current price of petrol is Rs 77.83 per litre while diesel is Rs 68.75 per litre.

    If the government includes transportation fuel under the GST, and applies the highest tax slab of 28 per cent, the petrol and diesel price would be reduced by Rs 26.9 and Rs 15.4, respectively.

    Four years ago in 2014, when the Narendra Modi government took power at the centre, international crude oil price hovered around $100 per barrel, though the current crude oil price on the Brent crude benchmark is around $80. Despite this, the current retail price for petrol and diesel is around Rs 4.36 and Rs 7 more than the year Modi government came to power. The subsequent increase in central as well as state levies has taken the fuel prices to a new level. The excise duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014.

    So if not for raking in more revenue on transportation fuel, the government has no reason not to include petrol and diesel under the GST, which is why keeping fuel prices at an all-time high seems a conscious decision than a compulsion, suggest experts. Any attempt to replace the multi-layered tax levied on fuel with a uniform tax regime of GST would affect its revenue. Though external factors have affected fuel prices in the country, the taxes levied by the Centre and state governments have also contributed significantly to the overall retail fuel prices.

    General Awareness

    Women Entrepreneurship Platform
    • Context: NITI Aayog and actor Sushant Singh Rajput have decided to collaborate towards promoting the Women Entrepreneurship Platform launched by the NITI Aayog.

      About the Women Entrepreneurship Platform:

      Aim: The initiative is aimed at building an ecosystem for women across India to realize their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses. This will be done through an enabling network of industry collaborations, partnerships, mentors and peer-to-peer connect.

      What it does? From providing unique services such as credit evaluation of women-led startups by CRISIL and potential equity investments through an INR 10 crore fund established by DICE Districts, the WEP opens up avenues of growth and opportunity for women entrepreneurs.

      As an enabling platform, WEP is built on three pillars- Iccha Shakti, Gyaan Shakti & Karma Shakti where:

      Iccha Shakti represents motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their business.
      Gyaan Shakti represents providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs to help them foster entrepreneurship.
      Karma Shakti represents providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses.


      According to Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, India scored an overall 41.7 points, ranking 49 among 54 economies globally with comparatively low in Women Business Ownership percentages.

      Need for economic empowerment of women:

      Economically empowered women are major catalysts for development. There is greater recognition of the positive relationship between increased economic activity by women and improved social outcomes. Women often tend to reinvest their income in their children’s education, health and nutrition. This has a positive impact on the potential for economic growth


      India presents lower opportunities for women to assume leadership roles, participation in the workforce or engagement in entrepreneurial activities. Lack of education, technological know-how and cultural bias coupled with stringent business and government regulations are some key impediments that happen to undermine women’s ability to rise to positions of leadership and take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities in India.

      What’s important?

      For Prelims: WEP and its aim, Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs.
      For Mains: Significance of women entrepreneurs for the overall growth of the country.

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