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FAME India Scheme

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Why in the news?

  • The Department of Heavy Industry has approved the sanction of 5595 electric buses to 64 Cities, State Government Entities,State Transport Undertakings (STUs) for intra-city and intercity operation under FAME India scheme phase II in order to give a further push to clean mobility in public transportation.
  • These buses will run about 4 billion kilometers during their contract period and are expected to save cumulatively about 1.2 billion liters of fuel over the contract period, which will result into avoidance of 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 emission.

What is FAME India Scheme?

  • FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid ) Electric Vehicles) India was a scheme launched in April, 2015 under the National Electric Mobility Mission (NEMM). It is being run by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
  • FAME Scheme India phase II is expanded scheme of FAME phase I and also aims to encourage faster adoption of Electric and hybrid vehicle. Also, to establish a necessary charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. 
  • The outlay of ₹10,000 crore has been made for three years till 2022 for FAME 2 scheme. The centre has sanctioned ₹8,596 crore for incentives, of which ₹1,000 crore has been earmarked for setting up charging stations for electric vehicles in India. 
  • The government will offer incentives for electric buses, three-wheelers and four-wheelers to be used for commercial purposes. Plug-in hybrid vehicles and those with a sizeable lithium-ion battery and electric motor will also be included in the scheme and fiscal support offered depending on the size of the battery.
  • The centre will invest in setting up charging stations, with the active participation of public sector units and private players. It has also been proposed to provide one slow-charging unit for every electric bus and one fast-charging station for 10 electric buses. Projects for charging infrastructure will include those needed to extend electrification for running vehicles such as pantograph charging and flash charging, says a notification by the heavy industries ministry. 
  • FAME 2 will also encourage interlinking of renewable energy sources with charging infrastructure.
  • The centre may incentivize the purchase of 7,090 electric buses with an outlay of ₹3,545 crore, 20,000 hybrids with ₹26 crore, 35,000 four-wheelers with ₹525 crore and 500,000 three-wheelers with ₹2,500 crore.
  • The centre plans to roll out an incentive of ₹10,000 per kilowatt (kW) for two-, three- and four-wheelers, based on the size of their batteries. To encourage state transport units (STUs) to buy more electric buses, ₹20,000 per kW will be offered as an incentive. The incentives may further be subject to bidding by original equipment manufacturers. A committee will review the incentives after a certain period. Electric buses will be offered incentives on the basis of the operational expenditure model adopted by STUs.

 

National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

Why in the news?

  • A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by the Cabinet Secretary was held to review the prevailing flood situation in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat.
  • Cabinet Secretary took stock of the current situation, preparedness, rescue and relief operations and directed that immediate assistance, as sought by the states, be provided to meet the crisis.
  • As of now 55 teams of the NDRF are deployed in these states and 19 more are expected to reach tonight / tomorrow morning. 16 columns of the Army, 30 rescue teams of the Navy and Coast Guard, alongwith helicopters, aircrafts and boats, have been pressed into service. Additional boats are also being deployed in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

What is the National Crisis Management Committee?

  • A National Crisis Management Committee is a temporary committee set up by the Government of India in the wake of a natural calamity for effective coordination and implementation of relief measures and operations. 
  • It is headed by Cabinet Secretary.

 

Prevention of Money Laundering Act

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: money-laundering and its prevention

Why in the news?

  • The Centre has issued a notification on certain changes in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 some of which tend to treat money laundering as a stand-alone crime and also expand the ambit of “proceeds of crime” to assets that may have been derived from any other criminal activity related to scheduled offences.

What are the major changes introduced?

  • The most crucial amendments are the deletion of provisos in sub-sections (1) of Section 17 (Search and Seizure) and Section 18 (Search of Persons), doing away with the prerequisite of an FIR or chargesheet by other agencies that are authorised to probe the offences listed in the PMLA schedule.
  • Another important change is the insertion of an explanation in Section 44. “The jurisdiction of the Special Court, while dealing with the offence under this Act, during investigation, enquiry or trial under this Act, shall not be dependent upon any orders passed in respect of the scheduled offence, and the trial of both sets of offences by the same court shall not be construed as joint trial.
  • An explanation added to Section 45 clarifies that all PMLA offences will be cognisable and non-bailable. Therefore, ED officers are empowered to arrest an accused without warrant, subject to certain conditions.
  • The scope of “proceeds of crime”, under Section 2, has been expanded to empower the agency to act against even those properties which “may directly or indirectly be derived or obtained as a result of any criminal activity relatable to the scheduled offence”.
  • Another vital amendment to Section 3 makes concealment of proceeds of crime, possession, acquisition, use, projecting as untainted money, or claiming as untainted property as independent and complete offences under the Act. These activities have been explicitly declared to be continuing offences until such time a person is directly or indirectly “enjoying the proceeds of crime”.
  • Section 72 now includes a part, giving power to the Centre to set up an Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee for inter-departmental and inter-agency coordination for operational and policy level cooperation, besides consultation with all stakeholders on anti-money laundering and counter-terror funding initiatives.

What is the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002?

In India, the specific legislation dealing with money laundering is the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 (for short ‘PMLA’). The law was enacted to combat money laundering in India and has three main objectives :

  • To prevent and control money laundering;
  • To provide for confiscation and seizure of property obtained from laundered money; and
  • To deal with any other issue connected with money-laundering in India.

Apart from the provisions of PMLA, there are other specialised provisions such as RBI/SEBI/IRDA anti money laundering regulations. Many of these authorities are bound to provide suspicious transaction reports, which are in-turn analysed by Financial Intelligence Units established by the Central Government.

What is money laundering?

  • The process of creating the appearance that large amounts of money obtained from serious crimes has originated from a legitimate source.
  • Illegal arms sales, smuggling, and other organized crime, including drug trafficking and prostitution rings, can generate huge amounts of money. Embezzlement, insider trading, bribery and computer fraud schemes can also produce large profits and create the incentive to “legitimize” the ill-gotten gains through money laundering. 
  • The money so generated is tainted and is in the nature of ‘dirty money’. Money Laundering is the process of conversion of such proceeds of crime, that is to say the ‘dirty money’, to make it appear as ‘legitimate’ money.

 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new UN report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself. 
  • The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday by the IPCC, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.
  • Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration.
  • A particular danger is that food crises could develop on several continents at once – multi bread basket failure.
  • The report also offered a measure of hope, laying out pathways to addressing the looming food crisis, though they would require a major re-evaluation of land use and agriculture worldwide as well as consumer behaviour. Proposals include increasing the productivity of land, wasting less food and persuading more people to shift their diets away from cattle and other types of meat.

What is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

  • Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations.
  • The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or WMO. The IPCC currently has 195 members. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. 
  • For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks. Thus, they do not conduct original research.
  • An open and transparent review by experts and governments around the world is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment and to reflect a diverse range of views and expertise. Through its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreement in different areas and indicates where further research is needed. 

 

Prelims Specific

  • Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of a Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (NGMMCB) for the Indian Navy. The NGMMCB will be fitted with BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missiles and deployed along the coast.