Amitabh Kant Current Affairs - 2019

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5,645 electric buses sanctioned for 65 cities: NITI Aayog

According to NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog an Inter-Ministerial Panel has sanctioned 5645 electric buses for operations in 65 cities and for inter-city operations to 8 state transport undertakings. The announcement in this regard was made by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. The move will give huge impetus to automobile sector, clean up cities & drive Make in India intiative.

Niti Aayog has also proposed that all two-wheelers below capacity of 150cc sold in country after March 31, 2025, should be electric only while three-wheelers sold in country after March 31, 2023 should be electric ones.

Steps taken by Centre to popularise Environment-Friendly Electric Vehicles

Tax Rebate: GST Council decided to cut tax rates on e-vehicles from 12% to 5% with effect from 1 August 2019.

In Union Budget 2019-20, Central government proposed additional income tax deduction of Rs.1.5 lakh on Interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles. Also, certain parts of EVs have been exempted from customs duty to further incentivise e-mobility in India.

FAME II: Centre has also approved Rs.10,000 crore under Phase II of FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles) scheme, which aims to encourage faster adoption of such vehicles by right incentives and charging infrastructure.

Amitabh Kant Committee constituted to address NPAs in power sector

The Union Government has constituted high-level committee headed by NITI Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant to address problem of Non-performing assets (NPAs) or stressed assets in India’s power sector. It comprises secretaries in the ministries of power, coal and department of financial services as it members. The Government is also planning to investigate whether private developers have inflated project costs to show higher debt.

Background

According to second volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 released in August 2017, NPAs in power generation accounted for around 5.9% of the banking sector’s total outstanding advances of Rs. 4.73 trillion. Tackling issues that afflict so-called stranded power assets will provide much-needed relief for Indian banks weighed down by bad loans. Besides, weak financial health of state-owned power distribution companies (discoms) is also hampering process of signing long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) through competitive bidding.

So far, a total of 34 coal-fuelled power projects, with an estimated debt of Rs. 1.77 trillion were reviewed by government after being identified by department of financial services. Issues faced by these projects include paucity of funds, lack of PPAs and absence of fuel security.