Topic: Banking/Financial Schemes
1. Government launched the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.
- Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal launched the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) on 19 April 2021.
- It was announced by the Prime Minister on 16 January 2021 during ‘Prarambh: StartupIndia International Summit’.
- It will provide financial assistance of 945 Crore to startups over the next four years. It will provide financial aid for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization.
- It will support 3,600 startups through 300 incubators. It will help in creating a robust startup ecosystem in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns of India.
- It will mainly focus on the innovators of rural areas. The scheme will act as a bridge between ideas and their implementation.
- An online portal has also been created for this scheme. An Experts Advisory Committee (EAC) set up by DPIIT will execute and monitor the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.
- The selected incubators will receive grants of up to Rs 20 lakhs for validation of Proof of Concept or prototype development.
Topic: Regulatory Bodies
2. FSSAI Chairperson, Rita Teaotia, inaugurates 5th session of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH).
- FSSAI Chairperson, Rita Teaotia, inaugurated the 5th session of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) set up under Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).
- She said that regulatory bodies need to be more vigilant to ensure food safety and quality.
- 5th session of CCSCH started on April 20. It will end on 29 April. At the 5th session, the committee is considering quality standards for dried or dehydrated forms of ginger, cloves, saffron and others.
- In its past four sessions, CCSCH developed and finalized standards for four spices. They are dried or dehydrated forms of black/white/green pepper, cumin, thyme, and garlic.
- Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs was set up at a session of Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in 2013. It is responsible for elaborating standards for spices and culinary herbs.
- Codex Alimentarius Commission is an international intergovernmental food standards body. Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) established it jointly in 1963.
- It is headquartered in Rome, Italy. Guilherme da Costa Jr is Chairperson of Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Topic: Indian Economy
3. CARE Ratings lowers India’s FY22 GDP forecast to 10.2%.
- CARE Ratings has lowered India’s FY22 GDP forecast to 10.2%.
- The rating agency has lowered GDP forecast a second time within a month.
- The GDP forecast was earlier lowered from 11.0-11.2 % to 10.7-10.9 % on 5 April.
- Credit Analysis & Research (CARE) Rating was started in 1993. It is the second-largest credit rating agency in India. Its head office is in Mumbai.
4. Ratan Tata makes an investment in Mailit.
- Ratan Tata made an investment in Mailit, technology-driven mailroom management and logistics company.
- Mailit provides courier, cargo, 3PL (Third-party logistics), mailroom management digital solutions and postal services.
- Tata Sons chairman emeritus, Ratan Tata, has earlier supported companies such as Snapdeal, Kaaryah, DogSpot, Urban Ladder, Bluestone, CarDekho, Sabse Technologies, Xiaomi and Ola.
- Mahesh Shirodkar is the founder and CMD of Mailit. Mailit plans to start 500 mail rooms across India and establish fully mechanised warehouse and distribution centres in the next five years.
5. Union Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval for amendments to Finance Bill 2021.
- Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for amendments to Finance Bill 2021.
- The bill was already enacted as Finance Act 2021. Finance Bill 2021 was passed in Parliament in March with 127 amendments.
- The amendments aimed to clarify and rationalize tax proposals for 2021-22. Government said that amendments were essential to address stakeholder’s concerns related to proposals in Finance Bill.
- It granted a 10-year income tax exemption to the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development.
- It granted a five-year tax exemption to private development finance institutions. The exemption can be extended by another five years.
- Finance Bill:
- Finance bills are those bills that deal with money.
- There are three financial bills mentioned in the Indian constitution which are described under Articles 110, 117 (1) and 117 (3).
- The money bill under Article 110 is also a type of financial bill.
Topic: Indian Economy
6. India’s crude oil production and natural gas production decline.
- As per data released by the government, India’s crude oil production and natural gas production have declined by 5% and 8%, respectively.
- Crude oil production declined from 32.17 million tonnes a year back to 30.5 million tonnes in 2020-21.
- The oil produced by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was over 2% less at 20.2 million tonnes than a year back. Oil India Ltd (OIL) produced 5.4 % less oil.
- Natural gas production stood at 28.67 billion cubic meters (bcm). This was over 8% less than 31.18 bcm output in 2019-20.
- However, gas production was higher in March 2021 as gas production from the new field D-34 (KG-D6 block of Reliance-BP) increased.
- India’s public and private sector refiners processed nearly 13 % less crude oil at 221.7 million tonnes in 2020-21.
- India meets 85% of its crude oil needs from imports. In 2020-21, India’s import bill was lower than the previous fiscal.