Topic: World Economy
1. WTO’s 164 members approved trade agreements on 17 June 2022.
- WTO reached a trade deal at 12 Ministerial Conference in Geneva, seven years after a deal was reached at Nairobi Ministerial Conference in 2015.
- The details of agreements are given next.
- E-commerce Moratorium:
- The moratorium on placing customs duties on electronic transmissions (from streaming services to financial transactions and corporate data flows) has been extended by WTO members.
- The moratorium has been in place since 1998. India had initially opposed the extension.
- The moratorium will continue till the next Ministerial Conference, but will expire on March 31, 2024.
- WTO Reforms:
- WTO committed to carry out discussions so as to have a fully functioning dispute settlement system by 2024.
- All WTO members agreed that it needs reform, although they disagree on what changes are required.
- Food Security: WTO members agreed to a binding decision not to curb exports to the World Food Programme (WFP).
- Pandemic Response:
- Developing countries can authorise the use of a patent for production and supply without the patent holder's consent for five years, subject to a possible extension.
- The production need not be predominantly for the domestic market. This means more exports are permitted to ensure equitable access.
- Within six months, WTO members are required to think and decided on extending the waiver to therapeutics and diagnostics.
- In the area of intellectual property, the TRIPS waiver is limited to only vaccines.
- India, South Africa and the over 60 countries had been insisting that it was also needed on therapeutics and diagnostics.
- WTO members reached agreement to cut down subsidies that contribute to over-fishing.
- As per the agreement, no WTO member shall grant any subsidy for vessels or operator engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing or for fishing of an over-fished stock.
- The agreement on fisheries is only the second multilateral agreement on new global trade rules that the WTO has agreed upon in its 27-year history.
- WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies were launched in 2001 at the Doha Ministerial Conference.
- Developing countries will be exempted for two years. Talks will continue for a more comprehensive agreement at next Ministerial Conference.
2. Union Minister of Steel Ram Chandra Prasad Singh participated in an interaction meet held in Surat, Gujarat on 16 June 2022.
- This interaction meet was held to understand the challenges faced by the secondary steel sector and steel consumers of Gujarat steel.
- During the meet, the Minister stressed on the need for providing the right ecosystem to meet the target of achieving 300 million tonnes of steel production capacity by the year 2030.
- The Steel Minister also visited Diamond Bourse. This is World’s Largest Business Complex established for all Diamond Business activities under one roof.
Topic: Reports and Indices
3. India’s renewable power capacity addition is third-highest globally after China and US as per REN21’s Renewables 2022 Global Status Report (GSR).
- India added 15.4 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity in 2021. China added 136 GW. US added 43 GW.
- As per the report, India added 843 MW of hydropower capacity. This increased the total capacity to 45.3 GW.
- In Asia, India was the second-largest market for new solar photovoltaic capacity. It was the third-largest market globally.
- India overtook Germany for the first time. India ranked third globally in terms of the total installed capacity of wind power.
- The report provides proof that the overall share of renewables in the world’s final energy consumption has stagnated.
- This has increased minimally from 10.6% in 2009 to 11.7% in 2019.
- Additions in renewable power capacity could not meet the overall increase in electricity consumption of 6%.
- In heating and cooling, the share of renewable power in final energy consumption increased.
- For the first time, the GSR 2022 includes a global map of renewable energy shares by country, as well as highlights the progress in leading countries.
- REN21’s Renewables 2022 Global Status Report (GSR) is the world’s only crowd-sourced report on renewable energy. 2022 report is the 17th edition.
Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market
4. India’s overall exports increase 24% in May 2022.
- In May 2022, India’s overall exports are estimated to be USD 62.21 Billion.
- In May 2022, India’s merchandise exports were USD 38.94 Billion. In May 2021, it was USD 32.30 Billion.
- Merchandise exports grew by 20%. Services exports grew by 30%.
- In May 2022, estimated value of services export is USD 23.28 Billion. In May 2021, it was USD 17.86 Billion.
- In April-May 2022, India’s overall exports are estimated to be USD 124.59 Billion.
- The merchandise exports for the same period were USD 78.72 Billion.
- The estimated value of services export for the same period is USD 45.87 Billion.
- The overall imports in May 2022 are estimated to be USD 77.65 Billion. They grew 59.19%.
- The overall imports in April-May 2022 are estimated to be USD 151.89 Billion.
Topic: Banking System
5. OmniCard has launched facility for cash withdrawal across all ATMs via e-wallet.
- OmniCard has become the first RBI licensed prepaid payment instrument (PPI) to launch a cash withdrawal facility through a RuPay-powered card from any ATMs across the country.
- RBI has permitted non-bank licensed entities to enable cash withdrawals from the digital wallet.
- Omnicard is a RuPay powered prepaid card with a mobile app. It is run by Noida-based Eroute Technologies.
6. RBI has removed restrictions on Mastercard on expanding its customer base.
- RBI has placed restrictions on Mastercard after it failed to comply with RBI’s order on storing data locally.
- RBI had restricted Mastercard from on-boarding new domestic customers onto its card network from July 22, 2021.
- RBI had made it mandatory for banks to store all data relating to payment systems in India.
- The data can be stored abroad for the foreign leg of the transaction.
- It is also mandatory for the banks to report compliance to the RBI and submit a Board-approved System Audit Report conducted by a CERT-In empanelled auditor.
- RBI had also imposed restrictions on American Express Banking Corp and Diners Club International from on-boarding new domestic customers onto their card networks from May 1, 2021.
- Mastercard is an American multinational financial services corporation.
7. RBI releases Payments Vision 2025 with the core theme of ‘E-Payments for Everyone, Everywhere, Everytime’ (4Es).
- It aims to provide every user with safe, secure, fast, convenient, accessible and affordable e-payment options.
- The activities to be taken up during the period up to 2025 as part of Vision 2025 cover 47 specific initiatives and 10 expected outcomes.
- They are captured across five anchor goalposts of Integrity, Inclusion, Innovation, Institutionalisation and Internationalisation.
- RBI said Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system processes more than two-thirds of over 26 crore digital payment transactions processed daily by our payment systems.
- Payments Vision 2025 mentions ten expected outcomes during the vision period. Ten expected outcomes are provided next.
Ten Expected Outcomes in RBI’s Payments Vision 2025
Volume of cheque-based payments to be less than 0.25% of the total retail payments
More than 3 times increase in number of digital payment transactions
UPI to register average annualised growth of 50% and IMPS / NEFT at 20%
Increase of payment transaction turnover vis-à-vis GDP to 8
Increase in debit card transactions at PoS by 20%
Debit card usage to surpass credit cards in terms of value
Increase in PPI transactions by 150%
Card acceptance infrastructure to increase to 250 lakh
Increase of registered customer base for mobile based transactions by 50% CAGR
Reduction in Cash in Circulation (CIC) as a percentage of GDP
- Payments Vision 2025 builds on the initiatives of Payments Vision 2019-21.
- RBI has been bringing out Payments Vision documents right from the year 2001.
8. Bharat Gaurav train service from Madurai to Prayagraj Sangam will start from 23 July.
- This will be Southern Railway’s (SR) second theme-based Bharat Gaurav train service.
- Travel Times (India) Pvt Ltd, a Chennai-based registered service provider will operate the service.
- The first service from Coimbatore North to Sainagar Shirdi commenced on 14 June 2022.
- Bharat Gaurav Trains scheme allows private players to operate trains on theme-based circuits.
- Bharat Gaurav Trains scheme was introduced by Indian railway in November 2021 to showcase India’s rich cultural heritage and historical places.