1) $750 million Agreement for Emergency Response Programme for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises signed
- The World Bank and the Government of India today signed the $750 million agreement for the MSME Emergency Response Programme to support increased flow of finance into the hands of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
- The World Bank’s MSME Emergency Response Programme will address the immediate liquidity and credit needs of some 1.5 million viable MSMEs to help them withstand the impact of the current shock and protect millions of jobs.
- This project will support the Government in providing targeted guarantees to incentivize NBFCs and banks to continue lending to viable MSMEs to help sustain them through the crisis.
The World Bank Group, including its private sector arm – the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will support the government’s initiatives to protect the MSME sector by:
This program will support government’s efforts to channel that liquidity to the MSME sector by de-risking lending from banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to MSMEs through a range of instruments, including credit guarantees.
Strengthening NBFCs and SFBs
Improving the funding capacity of key market-oriented channels of credit, such as the NBFCs and Small Finance Bank (SFBs), will help them respond to the urgent and varied needs of the MSMEs. This will include supporting government’s refinance facility for NBFCs. In parallel, the IFC is also providing direct support to SFBs through loans and equity.
Enabling financial innovations
The program will incentivize and mainstream the use of fintech and digital financial services in MSME lending and payments. Digital platforms will play an important role by enabling lenders, suppliers, and buyers to reach firms faster and at a lower cost, especially small enterprises who currently may not have access to the formal channels.
2) Indian Railways takes decisive steps to transform itself as ‘Net Zero’ Carbon Emission Mass Transportation Network by 2030
Railway is committed to utilize solar energy for meeting its traction power requirements and become a complete ‘Green mode of transportation’. The Ministry of Railways has decided to install solar power plants on its vacant unused lands on mega scale.
- It has started energy procurement from various solar projects like 3 MWp solar plant set up at MCF Raebareilly (UP).
- About 100 MWp rooftop solar systems have already been commissioned on various stations and buildings of Indian Railways.
- One project of 1.7 MWp at Bina (Madhya Pradesh) which shall be connected directly to Overhead Traction System has already been installed and is presently under extensive testing. This is the first of its kind project in the world commissioned by Indian Railways in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
- In addition to this, two pilot projects for the scheme of land based solar plants for meeting electric traction energy requirements of Indian Railways are under implementation.
- One of them is a 50 MWp solar power plant on vacant unused land at Bhilai (Chhattisgarh) which shall be connected with Central Transmission Utility (CTU) and is targeted to be commissioned before 31st March, 2021.
- The 2 MWp solar plant at Diwana (Haryana) which shall be connected to State Transmission utility (STU) is expected to be commissioned before 31st August, 2020.
3) NHAI to Rank Roads for Quality Service
- National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to undertake performance assessment and ranking of the highways in the country.
- The assessment audit and ranking of the NHs is aimed to take corrective recourse, wherever needed, to improve the quality and provide higher level of service to highway commuters.
- The criteria for the assessment have been broadly categorised in three main heads: Highway Efficiency (45%), Highway Safety (35%) and User Services (20%).
- On the basis of outcome of the assessment, the authority will undertake a comprehensive analysis and decide on the level of intervention required to enhance the overall service quality.
- Additionally, important parameters like operating speed, access control, time taken at toll plaza, road signages, road markings, accident rate, incident response time, crash barriers, illumination, availability of Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), functionality of structures, provision for grade separated intersections, cleanliness, plantation, wayside amenities and customer satisfaction will also be considered while conducting the assessment.
- Apart from overall ranking of all the corridors, separate ranking for BOT, HAM and EPC projects will also be done. This process of ranking will bring out operational efficiency and ensure high quality maintenance of roads.
4) NATMO publishes 4th updated version of its COVID 19 Dashboard
National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO) functioning as a subordinate department under the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India published the 4th updated version of COVID-19 Dashboard on its official Portal.
The 4th update of COVID19 Dashboard has special attributes like:
- A single Map Window through which a user may get a wide range of information related with COVID-19.
- COVID Statistics: Confirmed Cases, Recovered, Deceased, Rate of Recovery, and Rate of Death information have been given state and district wise, while the health facilities Information like – Hospitals, Test Labs, Blood Banks also shown on the same map frame.
- ‘Drill Down’ approach has been adopted to represent the data. Users may select a state to see District wise distribution of COVID cases and available health infrastructural facilities. Users may find individual health facility info at a higher zoomed level.
- States Scenario with an emphasis to last 14 days has been illustrated through charts. First two dominant states in terms of maximum Confirmed Cases are shown by default, and a user may opt to see any other state by choosing the same from the drop-down.
- NATMO took an initiative to host its COVID19 Dashboard on 14th April 2020 under the guidance of Geospatial Group, Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, to create a single-window platform to integrate all Government Department data including COVID19 combat initiatives.
- It has been observed commonly that the other COVID dashboards focus on state/district-wise distribution of COVID cases only.
- But NATMO, in its dashboard, provisioned dissemination of health infrastructure-related information that may help common people to find relevant information on the issue.
- After the initial hosting of COVID19 Dashboard, it has been updated from time to time to keep pace with the changing situation, depending on availability of authenticated thematic information.