Current Affairs June 2013

NSSO released data on household consumer expenditure

As per the latest data on household consumer expenditure for 2011-12 released by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO)families (both urban and rural) are spending more than half of their monthly spend on non-food items on an average.

Key points in the data:

  • Households spent over 51% of non-food items in their monthly bills worth Rs.1,430 in rural areas and about 62% out of an urban monthly spend of Rs.2,630.
  • In 1993-94, Indian families’ non-food bill was almost 37% in rural areas and about 45% in urban areas.
  • Although there has come some change in the percentage of food to non-food expenditure, people’s absolute consumption of food had increased over the years.
  • The consumption pattern of food sub-groups such as cereals has changed to some extent.
  • Country’s workforce increased by 14 million b/w 2009 and 2011-12 which took the total workforce of India to 472.9 million by January 1, 2012.
  • Rate of unemployment was 2% at the all-India level and rural areas; and 3% in urban regions.
  • Only about 10% of the urban population reported an MPCE (Monthly Per Capita Expenditure) above Rs.4,610.
  • Non-food categories span tobacco/cigarettes and ‘pan’, fuel, light, clothing, bedding, footwear, education, medical bills, entertainment and durable goods.
  • The percentage of labor force aged b/w 15-39 was 37% in urban and 41% in rural areas.
  • Ratio of Men/Women in labor force was 55:25 in urban and 56:16 in rural areas.
  • Around 41.1% people in urban areas and 54.2% in rural areas were self-employed.
  • The percentage of salaried people is urban areas was 41.4% whereas it was 7.3% in rural areas.
  • Monthly per capita expenditure was Rs 2,630 in urban whereas Rs 1,430 in rural.


Mechanism for coal supply to power producers approved by CCEA

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the following mechanism for supply of coal to power producers:

  • Coal India Ltd. (CIL) to sign Fuel Supply Agreements (FSA) for a total capacity of 78000 MW including cases of tapering linkage, which are likely to be commissioned by 31.03.2015. Actual coal supplies would however commence when long term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are tied up.
  • Taking into consideration the overall domestic availability and actual requirements, FSAs to be signed for domestic coal quantity of 65%, 65%, 67% and 75% of Annual Contracted Quantity (ACQ) for the remaining four years of the 12th Five Year Plan.
  • To meet its balance FSA obligations, CIL may import coal and supply the same to the willing Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) on cost plus basis. TPPs may also import coal themselves.
  • As suggested by CERC, higher cost of imported coal to be considered for pass through. Ministry of Coal to issue suitable orders supplementing the New Coal Distribution Policy (NCDP).
  • Ministry of Power to issue appropriate advisory to CERC/SERCs including modifications if any in the bidding guidelines to enable the appropriate Commissions to decide the pass through of higher cost of imported coal on case to case basis.
  • Mechanism will be devised to supply coal subject to its availability to the TPPs with 4660 MW capacity and other similar cases which are not having any coal linkage but are likely to be commissioned by 31.03.2015, having long term PPAs and a high Bank exposure and without affecting the above decisions.

Why this mechanism?

This mechanism has been devised to enable import of coal by CIL in order to meet the shortfall in the domestic coal requirement of the TPPs from time to time. Earlier, the CCEA had suggested certain guidelines for import of coal on cost plus basis/pooling of prices and also directed formation of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to consider the cases of power plants with aggregate capacity of about 16000 MW which would be commissioned by 31.03.2015 but are not having any linkage for supply of coal. On the basis of the recommendations of IMC, the matter was further considered by CCEA. The CCEA inter-alia directed to consider the feasibility of higher cost of imported coal being allowed as a pass through in case of PPAs signed on competitive bid basis.


Military engineers develop ‘Smart Mine Field’ Application to detect friendly mines

Engineers from the Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME) have developed a ‘Smart Mine Field’ application which will pinpoint the location of friendly mines, whose position might have shifted over a period of time.

What are Friendly Mines?

  • Friendly Mines are mines fitted at a strategic site to gain advantage and whose locations are well known to those who have planted it.

How would this application help?

Mines are usually placed in several locations at a strategic site and left there for long. Sometimes, owing to rain or for some other reason, their location shift. Due to this change in their location, it becomes difficult to anticipate its position which in turn can cause accidental stepping on one’s own mine.

It has been observed that almost all injuries Indian soldiers suffered in mine-related incidents were due to friendly mines. With the help of this application which proposes to fit all mines used by the Indian Army with radio frequency tags, the detection of the friendly mines will become easier by using a computer or even a tablet. This will be easier than using a metal detector.