Finance Current Affairs - 2019
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Union Government has signed $200 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Bihar State Highways III Project (BSHP-III). It will finance widening and upgrading of about 230 kms state highways in Bihar to all-weather standards with road safety features. Since 2008, ADB has provided four loans to Bihar amounting to $1.43 billion to upgrade about 1,453 km of State Highways and to construct new bridge over Ganga River near Patna (on completion it will be the India’s longest river bridge).
Bihar State Highways III Project (BSHP-III)
It was approved by ADB Board in October 2018. It aims at upgrading State Highways to standard two-lane width with road safety features and paved shoulders including reconstructing, widening and strengthening culverts and bridges. It also seeks to build institutional capacity of State for road design and maintenance and incorporate appropriate new technologies in the State’s road sub-sector. The improved roads under the Project will contribute to savings in vehicle operating cost and travel time, reduce vehicle emissions and improve road safety. This loan will complement efforts of Bihar Government to upgrade all state highways to meet minimum two-lane standard with better surfaces and improved road safety leading to improved connectivity. It will also establish State-level Road Research Institute to improve technical and management capacity of Road Agency Staff.
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
ADB is a regional development bank based out of Asia. It aims to promote social and economic development in Asia by achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. It was established in December 1966. It is headquartered at Ortigas Centre in Manila, Philippines. It has total 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside
The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Committee has submitted its 4 volume report on changes in FRBM Act, 2013 to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The 5 member committee was headed by N.K. Singh, former Revenue and Expenditure Secretary and former MP. Its member included RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, former Finance Secretary Sumit Bose, and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy Director Rathin Roy.
- The committee was constituted in May 2016 following Finance Minister Budget 2016-17 announcement. It was assigned task to review the working of the FRBM Act over last 12 years to suggest the way forward.
- It was also tasked to examine the need and feasibility of having a ‘fiscal deficit range’ as the target in place of the existing fixed numbers (percentage of GDP) as fiscal deficit target.
- The committee has kept in view the broad objective of fiscal consolidation and prudence and has suggested changes required in the context of the uncertainty and volatility in the global economy.
- The first volume of the report addresses the issue of the fiscal roadmap, fiscal policy, international experience and recommendations therein.
- The second volume refers to international experience especially from a lot of international organisations particularly OECD, the World Bank, ILO.
- The third volume deals with Centre-State issues. The fourth volume deals with views of domain experts both from national and international appropriate for fiscal policy