Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Current Affairs - 2020

New Development Bank’s financial assistance of 1 billion USD to India

On April 20, 2020, Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitaraman attended the fifth annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the National Development Bank through a video conference.

Outcomes

The New Development Bank of the BRICS grouping is to provide a financial assistance of 1 billion USD of COVID-19 funds to India. India has pitched for 10 billion USD from the bank.

About NDB

The bank was established in 2014 by BRICS member countries Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa and China. It mobilizes resources of infrastructure and sustainable development projects. It works to complement efforts of regional and multilateral financial institutions to enhance global growth and development. It supports both public and private projects. The initial authorized capital of the bank was 100 billion USD.

Till date, the New Development Bank has approved 14 Indian projects of 4,183 million USD. The bank has so far signed strategic cooperation agreements with World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Govt. may review List of Iconic Tourist Sites

Government of India’s plan to develop 17 Iconic Tourist Sites could possibly see some changes. Recently, Union Culture and Tourism Minister of State (independent charge) Prahlad Singh Patel ordered setting up of a committee to review sites included in project.

Changes sought: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan aked Minirty to include Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple and Jagannath Temple, Puri.

List of Iconic Tourist Sites Project

Background: In July 2018, K.J. Alphons then Tourism Minister announced 17 Iconic Tourist Sites under List of Iconic Tourist Sites Project would be developed. List of Iconic Tourist Sites Project was mentioned by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden Budget 2019-2020 Speech on 5 July 2019. As per the project, 17 Iconic Tourist Sites in country would be developed by government into world class tourist destinations, to serve as a model for other tourism sites. It is aimed at enhancing India’s soft power.

The Names of these 17 sites were-

Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar (Delhi), Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta and Ellora caves (Maharashtra), Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Hampi (Karnataka), Colva Beach (Goa), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga (Assam), Kumarakom (Kerala) and Mahabodhi (Bihar).

Significance: Government is looking at overall development from tourism point of view in and around these sites including roads and infrastructure, hotels and lodges, connectivity and access.

Nodal Agency: for project will be Tourism Ministry while Railways Ministry and Civil Aviation Ministry will be involved.

Funding: Tourism Ministry has been allocated Rs.1,378 crore for development of tourism infrastructure.