Karnataka: Centre’s loan offer to fund Gati Shakti evokes mixed response
The Centre’s proposal to extend financial assistance to states in the form of interest-free loan to invest on infrastructure projects under the PM Gati Shakti scheme has evoked mixed response in Karnataka. Some experts even sought to call it a ‘money lending scheme’.
Union minister Nirmala Sitaraman in her budget speech on Tuesday said that the Centre has proposed to allocate Rs 1 lakh crore to assist the states in catalysing overall investment in the economy for 2022-23. This comes as an interest-free loan for 50 years and the states are allowed to avail this over and above their borrowing limits allowed under the Fiscal Responsible and Budget management (FRBM) norms.
A state cannot borrow more than 3% of its gross state domestic product (GSDP), but it was relaxed in the backdrop of the covid-induced slowdown. The 15th Finance Commission has allowed the state to borrow up to 4% of its gross state domestic product (GSDP), which is around Rs 17 lakh crore, and Karnataka has proposed to borrow Rs 17,332 crore for 2021-22. Of this 0.5% is linked to power sector reforms.
The Centre has apparently intended to continue the borrowing scheme as it introduced during the first and second wave of pandemic to pay GST compensation and allowed the states to borrow under a special window provided by the Reserve Bank of India. While the Centre will repay principal and interest on behalf of the states, Karnataka has availed Rs 12,407 crore in 2020-21 under the scheme and it is entitled to get Rs 18,109 crore in 2021-22.
The budget has fixed the Centre’s fiscal deficit target for 2022-23 at 6.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) and some observers said the Centre would not be able to stick to the target if it takes the debt burden of Rs 1 lakh crore and hence it has transferred it to states.
UNESCO Heritage List – Nordic Clinker Boats
In December 2021, the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, inscribed the Nordic “clinker boats” to its Heritage List.
For thousands of years, wooden sailboats have allowed northern Europeans to spread influence, trade, and even conflict across continents and seas.
The UNESCO designation was requested jointly by Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
The term “clinker” is said to refer to the way the building’s wooden boards were attached.
The use of overlapping longitudinal hardwood hull planks distinguishes wooden clinker boats.
These planks are held together by stitched or riveted seams. Internally, boats are fortified with additional wooden components, particularly tall oak trees.
Gaps are filled with a mixture of tar or tallow, animal hair, moss, and wool.
India-UAE Capital Funds to Support Start Ups
India and the United Arab Emirates have pooled their resources to create a $150 million fund to support startups.
Within the next ten years, the fund will assist in creating ten unicorns. Unicorns are companies with a market capitalization of more than one billion dollars.
The fund was announced at the Dubai EXPO 2020. The fund will act as a catalyst for the startups’ development.
It will be highly beneficial to startups in their early stages of development.
In both countries, the fund will support at least fifty startups. The fund’s Indian representative is NASSCOM.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between India and the United Arab Emirates to raise the fund.
Digital Rights And Principles Proposed By EU
The European Union is the first to propose digital rights in the world. The rights are intended to promote democracy and protect people’s rights.
It ensures a secure internet experience. The rights aspire to give all of its member countries affordable digital connectivity.
It also intends to improve the internet’s speed. The rights will equip the classrooms and hire digitally adept teachers.
In addition, digital rights will allow for seamless access to government services. It will give children a secure atmosphere.
NIPER Research Portal
The Ministry of Chemicals recently launched the NIPER Portal to help the pharmaceutical industry innovate and research.
NIPER is the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research.
The NIPER Research Portal will provide information on the organization’s research efforts.
The portal will also provide a list of NIPER’s patents and publications. It will house all of the NIPERs’ research data in one location. This makes information more accessible.
Researchers will be able to contact appropriate organizations with the help of the site.
It will enable researchers to work with the appropriate institution and make their study more impactful.
The gateway will aid the pharmaceutical industry’s development. It will aid collaboration between industry and academia.
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