FACT # 1
Why in news? A New species of snake has been found in Western Ghats.
- Bhupathy’s shieldtail is currently found only in the Anaikatty Hills of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district.
- Just 40 cm long and iridescent brown, Bhupathy’s shieldtail is the latest addition to the snake fauna of the Western Ghats.
- The reptile belongs to a family of snakes found only in peninsular India and Sri Lanka.
- They are non-venomous, burrowing and mostly earthworm-eating.
- They are called shieldtails after the large, flat tips of their tails, which make them appear almost sliced off.
- The new species has more than 200 scales which is its most characteristic distinguishing feature.
- Threats to the new species include road traffic at the Anaikatty-Coimbatore State Highway passes through its habitat and soil is being extracted for brick manufacturing.
- The discovery takes the number of known species of shieldtails in India to 41.
- The country is home to more than 300 snake species.
- New species of snakes are being discovered worldwide too, and Central and South America are considered the regions with the highest snake diversity: 886 of the approximately 3500 snake species in the world are seen there.
FACT # 2
FDI CONFIDENCE INDEX 2018
Why in news? India has slipped by three notches to 11th position in the FDI Confidence Index 2018 of global consultancy firm A T Kearney.
A.T. Kearney: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index:
- The Foreign Direct Investment Confidence (FDI) Index prepared by A.T. Kearney is an annual survey.
- It tracks the impact of likely political, economic, and regulatory changes on the foreign direct investment intentions and preferences of CEOs, CFOs, and other top executives of Global 1000 companies.
- The report includes detailed commentary on the markets and the impact a variety of global trade issues have on their FDI attractiveness.
- It also gives a ranking of the top 25 countries.
FDI confidence index 2018:
- India has slipped by three notches to 11th position in the FDI Confidence Index 2018 of global consultancy firm A T Kearney.
- India has fell out of the top 10 for the first time since 2015.
- China (5), India (11), and Singapore (12) all rank lower this year, while Australia rises to 8th and New Zealand jumps to the 16th spot in only its second year on the Index.
- Japan and South Korea hold steady at 6th and 18th, respectively.
- India was ranked 8th in 2017, while it was at 9th rank in the previous year.
- According to the report, this confidence may be a result of the governments Make in India initiative, which aims to boost investment in India’s manufacturing sector as well as its pursuit of closer ties with the US.
- Reforms that have had a positive impact on India’s attractiveness include:
- the elimination of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board
- a government agency responsible for reviewing all potential foreign investment
- the liberalisation of overseas investment thresholds for the retail, aviation, and biomedical industries
FACT # 3
PRADHAN MANTRI JAN VIKAS KARYAKRAM
Why in news? The cabinet has approved restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme for its continuation during remaining period of 14th Finance Commission as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram:
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK).
- CCEA has also approved its continuation during the remaining period of the 14th Finance Commission.
- The restructured programme would provide better socio economic infrastructure facilities to the minority communities particularly in the field of education, health & skill.
- The flexibility in the programme will result in speedier implementation leading to greater inclusiveness of the minority communities.
- The criteria for identification of Minority Concentration Towns and Clusters of Villages have been rationalized as follows:
- Earlier only those Towns which were found backward in terms of both in Basic Amenities and Socio-economic parameters were taken up as MCTs. Now, the Towns which were found backward in either or both of the criteria have been taken up as MCT.
- Earlier only those Cluster of Villages which were having at-least 50% population of Minority Community were taken. Now the population criteria has been lowered to 25%.
- The area to be covered under PMJVK would be 57% more as compared to the existing MsDP.
- The MsDP covered 196 district of the country whereas PMJVK will cover 308 districts of the country.
- Special focus by earmarking funds:
- 80% of the resources under the PMJVK would be earmarked for projects related to education, health and skill development.
- 33 to 40% of resources under the PMJVK would be specifically allocated for women centric projects.
- Monitoring of the Programme strengthened:
- Provisions related to Monitoring Mechanism, Transparency and Publicity of Information have been strengthened by including an online module along with geo-tagging.
- A provision to bring all implementing agencies under Public Finance Management System (PFMS) and its effective use ensured to monitor fund utilization has been made in PMJVK.
Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP):
- MsDP was launched in 2008-09 in 90 identified Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) having at least 25% minority population and below national average with objective of developing assets for socio-economic and basic amenities.
- It was designed primarily to address developmental gaps and deficits in identified backward minority concentration areas by topping up of existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes of various Central ministries and departments without any change in norms, guidelines and funding pattern.
- It was one of Core Schemes under Centrally Sponsored Schemes constituted by NITI Aayog.