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Only 10 of 100 Ganga sewage projects Completed

Paper : General Studies 2, General Studies 3


Why in news?

  • Based on records, only 10 of the 100 sewage infrastructure projects commissioned after 2015 under Namami Gange mission have been finished.
  • The bulk of the projects completed were those commissioned before the Ganga mission began work under Ganga Action Plan – I & II
  • As of March 2018, over Rs. 28,000 crore has been sanctioned but only about Rs. 6,700 crore has been spent.


What is Namami Gange?

  • Namami Gange mission is an umbrella scheme which aims at integrating previous & currently ongoing initiatives by enhancing efficiency, extracting synergies and supplementing them with more comprehensive & better coordinated interventions.
  • Namami Gange Programme has eight pillars viz., sewage treatment infrastructure, river-surface cleaning, afforestation, industrial effluent monitoring, river-front development, biodiversity, public awareness and Ganga Gram.
  • It is 100% Centrally funded scheme
  • It has a ₹20,000-crore, Centrally-funded, non-lapsable corpus and consists of nearly 288 projects
  • It is overseen by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) which is an executive and regulatory body under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.


25 lawmakers urged Trump Administration not to end GSP benefits to India

Paper : General Studies 2


Why in news?

  • The U.S. should not terminate the GSP programme with India after the expiry of the 60-day notice period on Friday, a group of 25 influential American lawmakers urged the U.S. Trade Representative, warning that companies seeking to expand their exports to India could be hit.
  • India’s termination from GSP follows its failure to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors, said the President of the US clarifying his position.


What are Generalised System of Preferences?

  • The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. GSP was instituted on January 1, 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974.
  • Developed countries including the US, EU, UK, Japan etc., gives GSPs to imports from developing countries. GSP involves reduced/zero tariffs of eligible products exported by beneficiary countries to the markets of GSP providing countries.
  • According to the USTR, “GSP also boosts American competitiveness by reducing costs of imported inputs used by U.S. companies to manufacture goods in the United States.”
  • The beneficiaries of GSP are around 120 developing countries. As of 2017, India and Brazil were the major beneficiaries in terms of export volume realized under GSP. Imports from China and some developing countries are ineligible for GSP benefits.
  • The products covered under GSP are mainly agricultural products including animal husbandry, meat and fisheries and handicraft products. These products are generally the specialized products of the developing countries.


How will India be impacted by the removal of GSP?

  • India exports nearly 50 products of the 94 products on which GSP benefits are stopped.
  • The GSP removal will leave a reasonable impact on India as the country enjoyed preferential tariff on exports worth of nearly $ 5. 6 billion under the GSP route out of the total exports of $48 bn in 2017-18.
  • In total India exports nearly 1,937 products to the US under GSP.


Asia-Pacific to grow 5.7% this year : ADB

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • The Asia-Pacific region is expected to power ahead growing at 5.7% this year but escalating trade tensions are a source of worry, according to Asian Development Bank.
  • This was said during ADB’s meeting at Fiji, its first meeting in the Pacific region.


What is the Asian Development Bank (ADB)?

  • It is an international finance institution headquartered in Manila, Philippines to foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world.
  • ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.
  • ADB is composed of 68 members, 49 of which are from the Asia and Pacific region.
  • India has the fourth largest share of voting capital. Japan has the largest, followed by USA and China. India is a founding member of the ADB


India again extends retaliatory tariff deadline on US products till May 16

Paper : General Studies 3


Why in news?

  • A notification of the finance ministry has said that implementation of increased customs duty on specified imports originating in the US has been postponed from May 2 to May 16 this year.
  • These deadlines were extended several times since June 2018, when India decided to impose these duties in retaliation to a move by the US to impose high customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.
  • This extension comes in the backdrop of the US decision to withdraw export incentives being provided to them to Indian exporters under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, which is expected to impact India’s exports to the US worth USD 5.6 billion under this scheme. America has given 60 days notice, which would end this week, to withdraw these benefits.