Odisha Current Affairs - 2020

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World Bank Group Approves USD 500 Million under STARS Program

On 28th June 2020, the World Bank Group has announced that a loan of USD 500 million (approx Rs 3700 crore) was approved by its Board of Executives on 24th June 2020 for improving the quality and governance of school education system in India. The loan approved will benefit 10 million teachers and 250 million school students across 1.5 million schools in 6 states of India. The loan was approved as a part of the STARS Program. The 6 Indian States are Rajasthan, Odisha, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

About the Loan

The loan of USD 500 million will be sanctioned by the lending arm of the World Bank Group- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development(IBRD). Including a grace period of 5 years, the loan has a final maturity of 14.5 years. With this loan of USD 500 million, the World Billion Group has approved total financial assistance of more than USD 3 billion for improving the education system in India to date.

STARS Program

STARS stands for Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program. Since 1994 the program has helped in establishing a long partnership between India and the World Bank. Through the program, the World Bank Group has provided greater flexibility to the vision of the Indian Government to provide ‘Education for All’. The Government of India has made significant strides in its vision over the years as the number of students going to school has increased to 248 million from 219 million between the 2004-05 to 2018-19 period.

The program will have a series of reform initiatives that will help in addressing the leaning outcome challenges that exist in the educational system in rural parts of the country.

MCL prepares Rs 60,000 Crores Investment Plan in Odisha

One of the eight subsidiaries of Coal India Limited, Sambalpur headquartered Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) on 20th June 2020 has informed that the company has prepared a Rs 60,000 crore investment plan for the state of Odisha. At present, about 30 coal mines are operated by MCL in Odisha. In the next few years, the company had set a target to enhance coal production to 300 million tonnes per annum for which it will develop and operate three new MDO (mine, develop and operate) projects in the state.

About the New Investment Plans

  • For the development of Mines and Social Infrastructure in the state( such as roads, flyovers, schools), MCL has planned to invest Rs 31,000 crore under its command areas in 4 districts of the state by 2013-24.
  • Out of 3 new MDO projects, one will be at Ib Valley Coalfield of Jharsuguda district. The other 2 projects will be at Talcher coalfield of Angul district.
  • At Sundergarh district, a supercritical power plant of 2X800 MW planned by the company at an estimated cost of Rs 11,363 crore.
  • MCL to set up solar power plants for improving the quality of life in areas affected by dust suppression due to coal mining in districts such as Sundergarh, Angul, etc, and will also strengthen coal evacuation infrastructure in its command areas. The company is also committed to introducing the latest technologies for developing greenery and adopting best practices for afforestation and agriculture.