Dubai Emerges as India’s Top Choice for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
According to the latest fDi Markets Report and the Dubai FDI Monitor, Dubai has secured its position as the leading destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) from India in the calendar year 2022. India ranked among the top five source countries for announced FDI projects and estimated FDI capital in Dubai, solidifying the emirate’s appeal to Indian investors. This article examines the key findings and highlights the sectors and trends contributing to this growing partnership.
Dubai: India’s Preferred FDI Destination
Dubai has surpassed other cities worldwide to become the preferred FDI destination for Indian investors. In 2022, India accounted for 12 percent of the announced FDI projects in Dubai, placing it third behind the United States (20 percent) and the United Kingdom (13 percent). With a significant increase in FDI projects from 78 in 2021 to 142 in 2022, India’s confidence in Dubai’s investment potential is evident.
Rapid Growth in FDI Capital
The estimated FDI capital from India to Dubai witnessed substantial growth, reaching $545.52 million in 2022 compared to $363.85 million in 2021. This surge indicates the increasing willingness of Indian investors to explore opportunities and expand their business presence in Dubai.
Dominant Sectors for FDI Projects
Dubai’s attractiveness to Indian investors is evident from the dominant sectors attracting FDI projects. The top sectors in terms of FDI projects from India to Dubai in 2022 were: a. Software & IT Services (32 percent): Reflecting Dubai’s robust technology ecosystem and digital transformation initiatives. b. Business Services (19 percent): Emphasizing Dubai’s status as a global business hub. c. Consumer Products (9 percent): Highlighting the growing consumer market in Dubai. d. Real Estate (6 percent): Demonstrating the opportunities in the thriving real estate sector. e. Financial Services (5 percent): Indicating confidence in Dubai’s financial infrastructure.
High-Value Sectors for FDI Capital
The sectors that attracted significant FDI capital from India to Dubai in 2022 were: a. Consumer Products (28 percent): Signifying the demand for consumer goods and retail in Dubai. b. Software & IT Services (20 percent): Reinforcing Dubai’s focus on innovation and digital solutions. c. Communications (19 percent): Reflecting the telecommunications sector’s importance in Dubai’s economy. d. Pharmaceuticals (8 percent): Indicating the growth potential in the healthcare sector. e. Business Services (8 percent): Affirming Dubai’s position as a global business services hub.
Dubai’s Global FDI Leadership
Dubai not only emerged as India’s top choice for FDI but also retained its position as the leading global city for attracting greenfield FDI projects in 2022. With an 89.5 percent YoY growth in announced FDI projects and an 80.3 percent increase in FDI capital, Dubai solidified its status as one of the world’s top three cities. This achievement aligns with the goals set by the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
WMO gets Celeste Saulo as its 1st female Secretary-General
Celeste Saulo of Argentina has been appointed as the first female Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Saulo won a landslide vote at the UN Climate and weather agency’s Congress in Geneva. Saulo has served as the director of Argentina’s National Meteorological Service since 2014.
The leadership election of the World Meteorological Congress takes place every four years. The agency plays a key role in coordinating international meteorological work. It relies on satellites and thousands of weather stations to measure key parameters of the atmosphere, land and ocean.
About the World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for international cooperation in the field of meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. The WMO was founded in 1950 and has 193 Member States. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WMO’s main goals are to:
Provide a framework for international cooperation in meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences;
Promote the establishment of networks for the observation of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land surface;
Facilitate the exchange of meteorological and hydrological data and products;
Provide technical assistance to developing countries;
Promote the application of meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences to the benefit of humanity.
‘GOBARdhan’ Scheme: Govt launches unified registration portal for biogas projects
Why the scheme is news?
The “GOBARdhan” scheme launched by the Government of India is in the news for its unified registration portal, which acts as a one-stop repository for assessing investment and participation in the biogas/CBG (Compressed Biogas) sector. The scheme aims to convert organic waste, such as cattle dung and agricultural residue, into biogas, CBG, and bio-fertilizers, thus promoting a circular economy and waste-to-wealth generation.
Here are the details about the scheme:
Introduction: The GOBARdhan scheme is an umbrella initiative of the Government of India, focused on converting waste into wealth. It aims to build a robust ecosystem for setting up biogas/CBG/Bio-CNG plants, driving sustainable economic growth and promoting a circular economy.
The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, is the nodal department for implementing the GOBARdhan scheme.
Unified Registration Portal
The recently launched portal serves as a centralized platform for registering and obtaining a unique registration number for biogas/CBG projects in India. Government, cooperative, and private entities intending to set up biogas/CBG/Bio-CNG plants can enroll on this portal to avail themselves of various benefits and support from the Ministries and Departments of the Government of India.
Objective and Features
The primary objective of the GOBARdhan scheme is to generate wealth and energy by utilizing organic waste. The scheme encompasses various programs and initiatives under different Ministries and Departments, such as the Waste to Energy Scheme, SATAT scheme, SBM(G) Phase II, Agri Infrastructure Fund, and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund, among others. The scheme aims to contribute to India’s climate action goals, provide energy security, enhance entrepreneurship, create rural employment, improve health outcomes, and promote sustainable development.
Impact and Benefits
The GOBARdhan scheme has already resulted in the establishment of over 650 GOBARdhan plants. The unified registration portal is expected to streamline the process of setting up CBG/Biogas plants in India and attract greater investment from private players. The scheme’s implementation will contribute to the reduction of emissions, provide clean energy, enhance sanitation and hygiene in rural areas, create job opportunities, and align with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Challenges and the Way Forward
The specific challenges and future plans for the GOBARdhan scheme are not mentioned in the provided information.
The scheme aligns with the government’s vision of achieving a circular economy, waste-to-wealth generation, and net-zero emissions by 2070. It aims to promote sustainable development, improve health and well-being, provide clean water and sanitation, and ensure affordable and clean energy.
RBI Launches ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ Campaign to Settle Unclaimed Deposits
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently initiated the ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign, aimed at tracing and settling the top 100 unclaimed deposits of every bank in every district within a span of 100 days. This campaign is part of the RBI’s ongoing efforts to reduce the quantum of unclaimed deposits in the banking system and ensure their rightful return to owners or claimants. With the launch of this campaign, the RBI hopes to bring attention to the issue of unclaimed deposits and facilitate their resolution.
Understanding Unclaimed Deposits
Unclaimed deposits refer to funds that have remained untouched or inactive for a period of ten years or longer. When such deposits exhibit no activity, banks transfer the funds to the “Depositor Education and Awareness” (DEA) Fund, which is maintained by the RBI. However, depositors retain the right to claim their deposits, along with applicable interest, from the bank(s) where these deposits were held, even after they have been transferred to the DEA Fund.
Reasons for Accumulation of Unclaimed Deposits
The accumulation of unclaimed deposits primarily occurs due to several reasons. One common reason is the non-closure of savings or current accounts that depositors no longer intend to operate. Additionally, depositors may fail to submit redemption claims for matured fixed deposits, leading to the transfer of funds to the DEA Fund. There are also instances where deposits belong to deceased individuals, and their nominees or legal heirs do not come forward to make a claim on the respective bank(s).
Magnitude of Unclaimed Deposits
As of February 2023, the total amount of unclaimed deposits transferred to the RBI by public sector banks (PSBs) reached Rs 35,012 crore. Among the PSBs, the State Bank of India (SBI) holds the highest value of unclaimed deposits, amounting to Rs 8,086 crore, followed by Punjab National Bank with Rs 5,340 crore, Canara Bank with Rs 4,558 crore, and Bank of Baroda with Rs 3,904 crore.
Process to Claim Deposits
To facilitate the claiming process, every bank is required to display details of unclaimed accounts on their websites, including identifiable information. Upon reviewing these details on the bank’s website, customers can visit the respective bank branch with a completed claim form, deposit receipts, and relevant Know Your Customer (KYC) documents to initiate the process of reclaiming their money.
In addition to the ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign, the RBI has announced the establishment of a centralized web portal designed for the public to search for unclaimed deposits across multiple banks. The RBI plans to enhance search results using artificial intelligence (AI) tools, thereby improving access to deposit-related information for claimants or beneficiaries. This web portal will eliminate the need for bank customers to navigate multiple bank websites, enabling them to locate their unclaimed deposits at a single point.
Implications and Expert Insights
Industry experts, such as Sanchit Garg, Co-founder and CEO at GLC Wealth Advisor LLP, believe that the RBI’s initiatives will significantly reduce the number of unclaimed cases and grant access to old unclaimed funds for millions of deposit holders across the country. These initiatives also raise awareness among bank account holders about the importance of tracking their money and maintaining updated nomination and KYC details. While initial challenges in terms of human resource constraints may arise for bank branches, following the directives diligently will streamline the process for future claimants.
NATO launches Arctic exercises, pledges protection of Finland
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries have kicked off military exercises with a pledge to defend their newest member, Finland, which is hosting its first joint training in the Arctic region since becoming part of the Western alliance in April. Nearly 1,000 allied forces from Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as NATO applicant Sweden – joined approximately 6,500 Finnish troops and some 1,000 vehicles for exercises this week, which mark Finland’s biggest modern-time land-force drill above the Arctic Circle.
Overseeing NATO exercises just a two-hour drive from the Russian border at one of Europe’s largest artillery training grounds in Rovajarvi, northern Finland, US Army Major-General Gregory Anderson from the 10th Mountain Division said his country stood ready to defend Finland.Some 150 aircraft from 14 NATO members and partner countries are also participating in Arctic Challenge 2023 exercises, according to NATO Air Command.
The addition of Finland to the NATO bloc has more than doubled the length of the border the military alliance shares with Russia amid increasing tension between Moscow and the West following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Sweden is Finland’s closest military partner and it was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that convinced Sweden and Finland last year to ditch long-held policies of military non-alignment and seek the security of NATO’s collective defence commitment.
Finland formally joined NATO on April 4, drawing a threat from Moscow of “counter-measures”. Sweden hopes to be a NATO member by the time of the alliance’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.
PM-Kisan Scheme: Empowering Indian Farmers for a Resilient Agriculture Sector
At Pathikonda in Kurnool district, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, provided financial aid to farmers for the fifth consecutive year through the YSR Rythu Bharosa-PM Kisan program. In this year’s initial installment, CM Jagan distributed a total of Rs 3,923.21 crore to 52,30,939 farmers.
Consequently, each farmer received Rs 5,500 directly into their bank accounts from the YSRCP state government, in addition to an extra Rs 2,000 from the Centre as a component of the PM Kisan Yojana.
In a country where agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy and the livelihoods of millions, ensuring the welfare of farmers becomes paramount. In 2019, the Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, a transformative initiative aimed at providing direct income support to small and marginal farmers across the nation. With its ambitious goals and widespread reach, the PM-Kisan scheme has emerged as a significant driver of agricultural growth and rural development.
About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme
The PM-Kisan scheme, also known as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, is an initiative of the Government of India launched in February 2019. The scheme aims to provide income support to small and marginal farmers in the country. The scheme is implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
Objective and Features of PM-Kisan Scheme
The primary objective of the PM-Kisan scheme is to augment the income of small and marginal farmers by providing them with direct financial assistance.
The scheme seeks to provide income support of Rs. 6,000 per year to eligible farmers in three equal installments, deposited directly into their bank accounts.
The funds provided under the scheme can be utilized by farmers to meet their agricultural and household expenses, purchase seeds, fertilizers, and other necessary inputs, and invest in improving farm productivity.
The PM-Kisan scheme covers all farmers, irrespective of their landholding size, across the entire country.
Unlike previous schemes, it does not differentiate between irrigated and non-irrigated land, ensuring equal benefits for all farmers.
The scheme also recognizes the crucial role played by women in agriculture and extends its benefits to women farmers, including widows and divorcees.
Additionally, the scheme employs technology-driven mechanisms to ensure transparency and efficiency, using the Aadhaar identification system to authenticate beneficiaries and prevent leakages.
PM-Kisan Scheme: Impact and Benefits
Since its inception, the PM-Kisan scheme has made significant strides in transforming the lives of farmers and enhancing their economic well-being. Here are some key benefits and impacts of the scheme:
1. Income Support: The direct income support of Rs. 6,000 per year provides much-needed financial assistance to farmers, helping them meet their immediate expenses and reducing their dependence on informal credit sources.
2. Poverty Alleviation: By ensuring a stable income for farmers, the scheme contributes to poverty reduction, especially in rural areas where agriculture is the primary source of livelihood.
3. Boosting Agricultural Investment: The financial assistance provided through the PM-Kisan scheme enables farmers to make necessary investments in their farms, including purchasing modern equipment, adopting advanced farming techniques, and diversifying their crops.
4. Enhancing Agricultural Productivity: With improved access to financial resources, farmers can invest in high-quality seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation facilities, leading to increased agricultural productivity and overall crop yield.
5. Empowering Women Farmers: The inclusion of women farmers in the PM-Kisan scheme recognizes their valuable contribution to the agricultural sector and ensures their economic empowerment.
6. Social Security for Farmers: The scheme offers a sense of social security to farmers by providing them with a stable income, reducing their vulnerability to market fluctuations and natural disasters.
7. Rural Development: The PM-Kisan scheme plays a crucial role in driving rural development by infusing funds directly into the rural economy, stimulating local businesses, and creating employment opportunities.
PM-Kisan Scheme: Challenges and the Way Forward
While the PM-Kisan scheme has been successful in improving the lives of many farmers, there are certain challenges that need to be addressed to maximize its impact:
1. Identification and Inclusion: Ensuring that all eligible farmers are identified and included in the scheme remains a challenge. Efforts should be made to streamline the beneficiary identification process and address any issues related to coverage gaps.
2. Awareness and Outreach: Increasing awareness about the scheme and its benefits among farmers, especially those in remote areas, is crucial. Effective communication strategies and grassroots-level outreach programs can help bridge the awareness gap.
3. Strengthening Last-Mile Delivery: TimTimely and efficient disbursal of funds to farmers is essential to maximize the impact of the PM-Kisan scheme. Efforts should be made to improve the delivery mechanisms, including robust banking infrastructure in rural areas, effective coordination between various stakeholders, and leveraging technology to expedite the transfer of funds.
4. Strengthening Last-Mile Delivery: Timely and efficient delivery of the financial assistance to farmers is essential. The government should continue to invest in strengthening the infrastructure and systems required for seamless fund transfer, ensuring that farmers receive their installments without any delays.
5. Agricultural Reforms: While the PM-Kisan scheme provides much-needed income support, complementary agricultural reforms are necessary to address the structural challenges faced by farmers. Initiatives to improve access to credit, enhance market linkages, promote agri-infrastructure development, and encourage agricultural diversification will further amplify the impact of the scheme.
6. Monitoring and Evaluation: Regular monitoring and evaluation of the scheme’s implementation are vital to assess its effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. The government should continue to gather feedback from farmers and stakeholders and make necessary adjustments to enhance the scheme’s outcomes.
7. Climate Resilience: Climate change poses significant challenges to Indian agriculture. It is imperative to incorporate climate-resilient practices and technologies into the PM-Kisan scheme. Promoting sustainable farming methods, water conservation, and providing support for climate-smart agriculture can help farmers adapt to changing climatic conditions and mitigate risks.
PM-Kisan Scheme: Vision
The PM-Kisan scheme has emerged as a game-changer in India’s agricultural landscape, providing direct income support to millions of farmers across the country. By augmenting their income and enhancing their financial stability, the scheme contributes to poverty alleviation, rural development, and agricultural growth. However, to maximize its impact, continuous efforts are required to address challenges related to identification, outreach, delivery, and agricultural reforms. By ensuring the welfare of farmers and empowering them with the necessary resources, the PM-Kisan scheme paves the way for a resilient and prosperous agricultural sector in India.
Coromandel Express Derails and Collides with Two Other Trains in Odisha
A devastating train accident occurred in Odisha, resulting in a tragic triple train crash involving Coromandel Express and two other trains. The incident claimed the lives of at least 233 people and left approximately 900 injured. The details surrounding the cause of the Coromandel Express derailment and subsequent collisions are still under investigation. The state government has declared a day of mourning, and rescue operations are underway to aid the victims and their families.
The Sequence of Events
The accident unfolded when the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, en route to Howrah, experienced several coach derailments, causing them to fall onto adjacent tracks.
Coromandel Express Collision
The Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, bound for Chennai, collided with the derailed coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express. The impact of the collision resulted in further damage and casualties.
Involvement of a Goods Train
Following the collision, the derailed coaches of the Coromandel Express struck the wagons of a parked goods train. This additional impact added to the severity of the incident.
Location and Timelines
The triple train crash occurred near the Bahanga Baazar station in the Balasore district of Odisha, situated approximately 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express derailed at around 6:55 PM, and the Coromandel Express derailed at approximately 7:00 PM.
Eyewitnesses described the horrific scene, with one passenger on the Coromandel Express recounting witnessing over 200-250 deaths. The accident left families crushed, bodies dismembered, and blood strewn across the train tracks. The eyewitness expressed condolences to the affected families.
Rescue and Assistance Efforts
Rescue teams from neighboring districts were swiftly mobilized by the Odisha government to aid in the rescue operations. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw requested the assistance of the Air Force in the ongoing rescue efforts. Injured passengers were transported to various hospitals in Gopalpur, Khantapara, Balasore, Bhadrak, and Soro.
State Mourning and Helpline Information
To express solidarity with the victims and their families, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared a one-day state mourning. The government has also established helplines for those seeking information and assistance: 06782-262286 (Odisha government helpline), 033-26382217 (Howrah railway helpline), 8972073925 (Kharagpur railway helpline), 8249591559 (Balasore railway helpline), and 044-25330952 (Chennai railway helpline).