1. State power distribution companies (discoms) get power at lesser rates
- State power distribution companies (discoms) are getting power at lesser rates due to a decrease in power purchase rates.
- Power purchase rates in spot market have declined due to decrease in demand caused by COVID-19 lockdown.
- Average power purchase prices reached to Rs 2.40 per kWh between March 15-April 10, 2020. In 2019, they were Rs 3.18 per kWh.
- Due to lower demand and uninterrupted power supply, discoms can purchase power through the trading platform of Power Exchange of India Limited (PXIL) and fulfill their requirements.
- In January 2020, PXIL has introduced PRATYAY. It is a 24x7 web-enabled trading platform that uses web-based transaction model.
- PXIL is one of India's two operational power exchanges. Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) is second such power exchange.
- National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) and National Commodity and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX) are joint promoters of PXIL.
2. ICRA estimates decline in collections from highway tolls
- ICRA Limited (ICRA) has estimated collections from highway tolls for 2019-20 will decline by 2-3%.
- 2-3% decline for 2019-20 will be in comparison to tolls collected during last financial year.
- One reason for the decline in toll collection is new axle load norms as they allow vehicles to carry more cargo.
- COVID-19 lockdown and economic slowdown are other reasons for the expected decline in toll collection.
- Toll collection for next financial year may decline by 6.5 %.
- ICRA has also estimated GDP growth at 2 % for fiscal 2020-21.
3. Digital transactions increase by more than 31%
- As per data available on Digidhan Dashboard, digital transactions for fiscal year 2019-20 have increased by more than 31% from fiscal year 2018-19.
- During fiscal year 2019-20, digital transactions increased to Rs 4,116.74 crore from Rs 3,134 crore in fiscal year 2018-19.
- Government's target for digital transactions in fiscal year 2019-20 is 4,000 crore. This has been achieved.
- 30.19 % of total digital transactions or Rs 1,242.98 crore worth digital transactions was done through BHIM UPI.
- BHIM UPI was most used mode for digital transactions in fiscal year 2019-20. BHIM UPI was followed by prepaid payment instruments and debit cards.
- 12.7 % of total digital transactions or Rs 522.78 crore worth digital transactions was done through prepaid payment instruments.
- Debit cards were used for 12.1% of total digital transactions or Rs 497.73 crore worth digital transactions.
- The target of Rs 4,000 crore included sub-targets for different banks. In February, 27 banks crossed their sub-targets.
- Digidhan Dashboard was developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It monitors 16 different modes of digital payments.
4. Types of Custom duties- Basic Custom Duty, Safeguard Duty, Anti-dumping duty, Countervailing duty
- Basic Custom Duty (BCD):
- It is a type of import duty.
- It is based on the value of imported goods.
- A product's Harmonised System of Nomenclature (HSN) code and country of import determine basic custom duty.
- It differs from 0% to 100%.
- In Budget 2020-21, the government has proposed to lower BCD on import of paper used for news printing from 10% to 5%.
- On 9 April 2020, the government has exempted medical equipment (ventilators, masks and test kits) required for fight against COVID-19 from BCD till September 30.
- Safeguard Duty:
- Safeguard duty is applied if imports of any item suddenly increase and cause harm to domestic industry.
- Director General (Safeguards) is the authority for administering safeguard duty. It comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance.
- Safeguard duty is not country specific. Unlike anti-dumping duty, safeguard duty does not differently treat different countries of import.
- Anti-dumping duty:
- It is imposed by custom authorities over normal customs duty in order to prevent cheaper export of goods from a country to another country.
- Dumping or cheaper export of goods from a country may distort trade in another country.
- Anti-dumping duty is recommended by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) and imposed by the Ministry of Finance.
- In May 2015, anti-dumping duty was imposed by the department of revenue on import of Chinese calculators till May, 2020.
- Recently, DGTR has recommended continuation of anti-dumping duty on Chinese calculators.
- Countervailing duty:
- Countervailing duty is imposed by importing countries to counter subsidies provided by exporting countries to its exporters.
- Export subsidies provided by exporting countries make exports cheaper and affect domestic producers of importing countries.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
1. Which of the following is/are promoters of Power Exchange of India Limited (PXIL)?
- Indian Energy Exchange (IEX)
- National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE)
- National Commodity and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX)
- B and C
- A, B and C
2. How much GDP growth has been estimated by ICRA recently?
3. Which of the following is the most used mode of digital transactions for fiscal year 2019-20 as per data available on Digidhan Dashboard?
- BHIM UPI
- Prepaid payment instruments
- Debit cards
- Internet banking
4. Recently, the government has exempted medical equipment (ventilators, masks and test kits) required for fight against COVID-19 from Basic Customs Duty till
- July 30
- August 30
- September 30
- October 30
- November 30