National Bio-fuel Policy – 2018 seems to be chasing ambitious targets based on unclear plans and questionable technologies. Moreover, the pollution levels and fuel prices are only rising and our biofuels programme is becoming irrelevant because of the lack of effective implementation.
India’s participation in the mega-trade agreement, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has long been debated and sentiments around the subject are quite divided and divergent. Critics warned that India must exercise caution before signing RCEP which goes far beyond trade liberalisation to impose a common set of rules on investment and IPRs.
Recently, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry reviewed and amended the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy in e-commerce in order to ensure a level playing field between offline and online sectors. E-commerce firms are needed to comply with the new guidelines by February 1, 2019.
The Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers has recently released the Drugs (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019 which prescribes that the drugmaker who has brought in an innovative patented drug will be exempt from the price control rules for 5 years from the date of marketing. It is meant to strike the right balance between consumer and producer interests. However, it falls short of addressing certain concerns regarding the drug pricing regulation in India.
Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) is the financial turnaround and revival package for the electricity distribution companies of India (DISCOMS). It was launched with an aim to find a permanent solution to the financial struggle of the power distribution companies. However, even after 3 years of its implementation, the discoms continue to perform poorly. Therefore, urgent reforms are needed to address this issue and strengthen the power sector in India.
PM Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) has made sure that the universal access to a bank account a near reality. However, the level of utilisation of such accounts is very low, which calls for promoting financial literacy in the country as well as radically reforming the financial inclusion agenda.
According to the Asia-Pacific wealth report, Japan’s richest persons have the largest wealth accumulation in the Asia-Pacific region, however, Chinese millionaires are also catching up to them. Meanwhile, Indian millionaires are adding wealth at the fastest in the region, which India can take pride in it. But the reality is that the bottom 60%, the majority of the population, owns less than 5% of the country’s wealth. This growing inequality threatens to destroy the fabric of Indian democracy.