Current Affairs Agreements

 A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by NTPC Limited, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to set up a Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy business. This partnership will enable both the companies to accelerate their mark in the field of Renewable Energy. With this tie-up, the two companies will explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India as well as overseas. They will also seek opportunities in the area of sustainability, storage, E-mobility, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) compliant projects. This tie-up will enhance NTPC’s Renewable Energy capacity addition program and also the presence of ONGC in the Renewable Power business. It will also help ONGC in achieving its ambition of adding 10 GW of renewable power to its portfolio by 2040.

  Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd in partnership with Paytm has launched a QR-code-based metro ticketing system at Rasoolpura metro station Hyderabad, Telangana. The new service will enable commuters to travel seamlessly and avoid queues to buy tokens at the metro stations. They can now simply purchase a QR ticket on their Paytm app, which can be displayed at the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates to proceed for the journey. The feature will help over 14 lakh smartcard holders using the metro service. The company plans to extend the service to metro-feeder buses to ensure last-mile connectivity in the city. The QR-code-based ticket booking on our app will help in reducing congestion at the ticket counters.

  E-commerce giant Amazon has partnered with the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The partnership aims to facilitate e-marketing of products which are made by Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the nation in urban areas. It also aims to provide access of the products made by SHGs to the wider customer base. It will also strengthen the mission of creating sustainable livelihoods in urban areas. The partnership is also having an underlying narrative of women empowerment which will be instrumental in unleashing the natural entrepreneurial capability of urban women. The collaboration will also help in documenting and preserving the unique traditional art and crafts of different states. This kind of partnership was also done by DAY-NULM with Flipkart in the past.
  • About Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM):
DAY-NULM was launched under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households. This programme enable the urban poor households to access gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities. This accessibility to self-employment results in an appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis.

  The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi & Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK) Society has inked a tripartite deal with the National Bank For Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for setting up three Farmer Producer Organization in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. NABARD has sanctioned an amount of Rs 35 lakhs to EWOK Society and IIT Mandi for 3 FPOs to be established in the next 3 years.
  • What is Farmer Producer Organization (FPO)?
Farmer Producer Organization is basically a group of farm producers, with members as the shareholders in an organization. It is a registered body that deals with business activities related to farm produce and also works for the benefit of the member producers.
  • What is Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK)?
Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK), is an initiative of IIT Mandi Women’s Center to aid rural women set up small enterprises in 5 panchayats of Kataula, Katindhi, Navlaya, Batheri and Kamand in Mandi by giving them proper guidance, training & information. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the three sides, IIT Mandi & EWOK Society will identify clusters to set up Farmer Producer Organizations, help establish and register the FPOs, train the CEO & Board of Directors of FPOs, besides making the business development plan & helping them in raising credit.

  India private sector bank, RBL Bank (formerly known as Ratnakar Bank ltd) inks partnership with Online food ordering and delivery app Zomato to launch co-branded credit cards, powered by Mastercard. This partnership will help the online food delivery platform further cement its position in India’s dining market by offering benefits such as Zomato credits on purchases, and increase the reach of its flagship membership program Zomato Gold. In the first twenty-four months, RBL, and Zomato are aiming to issue 1 million credit cards to Zomato’s users in India. The card that starts with an annual membership of ?500 (plus taxes) for the basic edition will also offer a complimentary Zomato Gold membership to its credit cardholders, apart from offering Zomato credits on online and offline spends. The premium edition is priced at Rs3,000 plus taxes. The card comes under two variants, the basic Edition Classic card and a more premium Edition Card. The key features of the basic card include Zomato credits with every use—that are linked to online and offline spend of the credit card users and can be redeemed at restaurants listed on Zomato; and those that accept Gold on dine-in; apart from a complimentary Zomato Gold membership (city variant).

  India bagged a deal to supply 4 indigenously built radars (capable of locating weapons) to Armenia in Europe. The deal was worth 40 million USD. The move by GoI is to boost the defence sector of the country. The deal is a major achievement for the ‘Make in India’ programme in the defence sector. Under the deal, India will supply 4 SWATHI weapon locating radars. The weapon is to be developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). Armenians had conducted trials of systems offered by Russia and Poland but they approved the Indian system, which was developed by DRDO. India began the supply of the equipment to Armenia.

  The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Patanjali Bio Research Institute, Haridwar. As per the MoU, the specific work plans will be developed to work on the collaborative research programmes in the areas of national interest related to sustainable agriculture development suitable to different agro-ecologies of the country. The ICAR and PBRI will collaborate in mutually identified areas of training and education where the Post Graduate students of Deemed Universities & Research Institutes of ICAR may undertake internships in various areas of specialization with PBRI. The ICAR will support PBRI in technology demonstration, capacity building, seed production for scaling up of the popular varieties developed by the ICAR and transferring them among the farming community of the country. The MoU aims to foster close interaction in research, capacity building, seed production, entrepreneurship and skill development.

  HDFC Bank, Mastercard and SAP Concur have joined hands for spending management services for the corporate sector. HDFC Bank will offer a corporate credit card for business travellers, providing a one-stop solution for payment and expense management during business trips. The corporate credit card will enable the seamless integration of all business-related to spend into SAP Concur offerings, enhancing the employee experience, increasing visibility, saving money, and improving corporate efficiency. The card is supported by Mastercard. SAP Concur is a travel, expense, and invoice management solutions provider. HDFC is headquartered in Mumbai and has more than 100,000 employees. It’s India’s largest private sector lender when viewed by assets, and it’s the largest bank in India by market capitalization.

  The Goverment of India has signed USD 450 million loan agreement with the World Bank. The loan agreement of USD 450 million aims to support the national programme “Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY): National Groundwater Management Improvement Programme“. It will help the Union Government to curb the country’s depleting groundwater levels along with strengthening of the groundwater institutions.
  • More Details about loan:
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will provide the loan amount on behalf of the World Bank. According to the loan agreement signed between Indian Government and the World Bank, the loan amount will be having a grace period of 6 years, along with the maturity period of 18 years.
  • Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY): National Groundwater Management Improvement Programme
The Atal Bhujal Yojana aims to provide strength to the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and to encourage behavioural changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management. With this, it will curb the country’s depleting groundwater levels along with strengthening of the groundwater institutions.
  • Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY) Implementation:
ABHY will be implemented in 7 states and cover 78 districts. The 7 states are: Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The ABHY programme will increase the recharge of aquifers and introduce water conservation practices. It will also promote water harvesting, crop alignment, and water management activities. The above targets are expected to be achieved with the use of cutting-edge technology along with Artificial Intelligence and space technology which will further help in better implementation of the programme.

 On February 12, 2020 the Union Cabinet approved the protocol to amend the DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) that was signed between India and Sri Lanka. The DTAA with respect to prevention of fiscal evasion is to be amended.
  • Highlights
Under the amendment, an anti-abuse provision is to be included. Also, the amendment will include Principle Purpose Test. This will help in curbing strategies that exploit gaps in tax rules.
  • Significance
Both Indian and Sri Lanka are members of major multilateral organizations such as OECD, G20, BEPS. Therefore, it is essential for both the countries to implement standards based on Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty related measures.
  • Why Principle Purpose Test?
India is a signatory of MLI, whereas Sri Lanka is not. Therefore, it is essential for the countries to insert Principle Purpose Test to meet the minimum standards
  • What is MLI?
In 2016, around 100 countries signed Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty. The treaty includes features that help to prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. This is called Multilateral Instrument or MLI. If a country has signed MLI along with India, it is not important to include Principle Purpose Test in the DTAA. As Sri Lanka is not a signatory, DTAA has been included.

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