PIB Analysis : 6th July 2020

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. World Bank Emergency Response Programme
  2. NHAI to Rank Roads for Quality Service
  3. National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO)

1 . World Bank Emergency Response Programme


Context : The World Bank and the Government of India 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.

Background

  • COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the MSME sector leading to loss of livelihoods and jobs.
  • The Government of India is focused on ensuring that the abundant financial sector liquidity available flow to NBFCs, and that banks which have turned extremely risk averse, continue taking exposures in the economy by lending to NBFCs.
  • 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 has to date committed $2.75 billion to support India’s emergency COVID-19 response, including the new MSME project.The first $1 billion emergency support was announced in April this year for immediate support to India’s health sectorAnother $1billion project was approved in May to increase cash transfers and food benefits to the poor and vulnerable, including a more consolidated delivery platform – accessible to both rural and urban populations across state boundaries.
  • The $750 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 19 years including a 5-year grace period.

About World Banks MSME Emergency Response Programme

  • 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 is the first step among a broader set of reforms that are needed to propel the MSME sector over time.
  • 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:
    • Unlocking liquidity : India’s financial system benefited from early and decisive measures taken by the RBI and the Government of India (GOI) to infuse liquidity into the market. Give current uncertainties, lenders remain concerned about borrowers’ ability to repay – resulting in limited flow of credit even to the viable enterprises in the sector. 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 : Today, only about 8 percent of MSMEs are served by formal credit channels. 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.

Importance

  • MSME sector is central to India’s growth and job creation and will be key to the pace of India’s economic recovery, post COVID-19.
  • The immediate need is to ensure that the liquidity infused into the system by the government is accessed by MSMEs.
  • Equally important is to strengthen the overall financing ecosystem for MSMEs.
  • This operation seeks to achieve both these objectives by furthering the role of NBFCs and SCBs as effective financial intermediaries and leveraging fintech to broaden the reach of finance into the MSME sector.

2 . NHAI to Rank Roads for Quality Service


Context : In its effort to improve the quality of roads, the 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.

Assessment Parameters

  • The assessment parameters are based on different international practices and studies for benchmarking highway performances in Indian context.
  • 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.
  • The ranking of the corridors will be dynamic and the concessionaire/ contractor/ operator will get the opportunity to improve upon their ranking by improving the services on that corridor.
  • Apart from overall ranking of all the corridors, separate ranking for BOT, HAM and EPC projects will also be done.

Importance

  • The score obtained by each Corridor in each of the parameter will provide a feedback and corrective recourse for higher standards of operation, better safety and user experience to improve existing highways.
  • This will also help in identifying and filling gaps of design, standards, practices, guidelines and contract agreements for other NHAI projects.
  • Process of ranking will bring out operational efficiency and ensure high quality maintenance of roads.

3 . National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO)


Context : 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.

About NATMO Covid Dashboard

  • To spread awareness among citizens and to overcome an anxious and worrisome panic most popular approach is the visualisation of situation analysis through Dashboard.
  • NATMO took an initiative to host its COVID19 Dashboard 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.

About NATMO

  • National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization is a specialized institution of its kind in the world.
  • This organization was assigned with responsibility in the field of thematic cartography and geographical research at national level.
  • A subordinate office under Department of Science & Technology, it  is the sole authority for  depicting National framework data in the form of thematic maps and atlases to cater the actual picture of the development and planning initiatives of the country among the users.

Timeline

  • The plan of compiling a National Atlas of India was formulated for the first time in this country by Prof. S.P.Chatterjee, the then Professor of Geography, Calcutta University. A discussion on this subject with late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1953 resulted in his instant approval of the project. The then Ministry of Natural Resources & Scientific Research after consultations with other Ministries decided to set up an Advisory Board in March 1954 for formulating a scheme for preparation of National Atlas of India. The Advisory Board gave a favourable report and also provided a tentative guideline about the scope and contents of the atlas.
  • The small group of workers officially known as National Atlas Unit drafted maps on various topics for the proposed atlas. These were examined by different experts in Planning Commission and in the Ministries. The authorities were eventually impressed and convinced about the essentiality of the project and on August 18, 1956 an order from the Government of India issued by the Ministry of N.R. & S.R. sanctioned a budget grant of Rs. 12.43 lakhs for 1956-57 .
  • The first National Atlas of India in Hindipopularly known as Bharat: Rashtriya Atlas having a 26 multi-colour maps with a scale of 1:5 million portraying a comprehensive physical and socio-cultural structure of the country was published in 1957 and was acclaimed the world over as a unique publication.
  • Consequent upon the success of Bharat: Rashtriya Atlas, the organization  decided to prepare an ambitious project containing 300 plates which covered all the aspects of the land, people and economy of the country. This atlas was issued in 8 volumes. Apart from the above project, the organization also took up various projects either from  outside agencies or its own.
  • The order also sanctioned creation of additional 56 temporary posts and  Padma Bhusan Prof. S.P.Chatterjee was appointed as the Honorary Director of the Project. The institution thus created was named National Atlas Organization from that date. The Geography Department of the Calcutta University located at Senate House in those days provided the first shelter to the organization.  
  • The organization grew in strength in the successive plan periods and took up projects of great national importance. The Government appointed a Review Committee in December 1975 under the Chairmanship of Prof. George Kurian and as per recommendation of the Committee, the Department of Science and Technology through an order dated 9th August 1978, modified the name of the Organization as “National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO)”.
  • The Organization is now  engaged in scientific pursuits for thematic mapping at local, regional, national & international levels. It employs a large number of highly qualified professional geographers, perhaps largest, under one roof anywhere in the world.