Why in news?The Union Commerce ministry has set up panel to make SEZ policy compatible with WTO rules.
Baba Kalyani panel on SEZ policy:
Government of India has constituted a group of eminent persons headed by Baba Kalyani to study the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Policy of India.
The group will evaluate the SEZ policy, suggest measures to cater to the needs of exporters in the present economic scenario and make the SEZ policy WTO compatible.
The group will suggest course correction in SEZ policy, make comparative analysis of the SEZ scheme and dovetail the SEZ policy with other similar schemes.
The Group is required to submit its recommendation in 3 Months’ time.
Special Economic Zone:
Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a specifically delineated duty-free enclave and shall be deemed to be foreign territory for the purposes of trade operations and duties and tariffs.
It is a geographical region that has economic laws different from a country’s typical economic laws.
Its goal is to increase foreign investments.
SEZs have been established in several countries, including China, India, Jordan, Poland, Kazakhstan, Philippines and Russia.
North Korea has also attempted this to a degree.
Special Economic Zones in India:
The SEZ Policy in India was implemented from 01st April, 2000.
Subsequently the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 was passed by Parliament in May, 2005.
At present there are eight functional SEZs located at:
Santa Cruz (Maharashtra)
Kandla and Surat (Gujarat)
Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)
Falta (West Bengal)
Noida (Uttar Pradesh)
Any private/public/joint sector or state government or its agencies can set up an SEZ.
Also, a foreign agency can set up SEZs in India.
FACT # 2
Why in news?The NITI Aayog is working on a roadmap for full-scale implementation of methanol economy in the country in near future.
The methanol economy is a suggested future economyin which methanol and dimethyl ether replace fossil fuels as a means of energy storage, ground transportation fuel, and raw material for synthetic hydrocarbons and their products.
It offers an alternative to the proposed hydrogen economyor ethanol economy.
Methanol is important because it is a clean burning drop in fuel which can replace both petrol & diesel in transportation & LPG, Wood, Kerosene in cooking fuel.
It can also replace diesel in Railways, Marine Sector, Gensets, Power Generation and Methanol based reformers could be the ideal compliment to Hybrid and Electric Mobility.
Methanol Economy is the “Bridge” to the dream of a complete “Hydrogen based fuel systems”.
Methanol burns efficiently in all internal combustion engines, produces no particulate matter, no soot, almost nil SOX and NOX emissions (NEAR ZERO POLLUTION).
The gaseous version of Methanol – DME can blended with LPG and can be excellent substitute for diesel in large buses and trucks.
Methanol can be produced from a wide variety of sources including still-abundant fossil fuels (natural gas, coal, oil shale, tar sands, etc.) as well as agricultural products and municipal waste, woodand varied biomass.
It can also be made from chemical recycling of carbon dioxide.
NITI Aayog’s road map for Methanol Economy comprises:
Production of methanol from Indian high ash coal from indigenous Technology, in Large quantities and adopting regional production strategies and produce Methanol in large quantities @ Rs. 19 a litre.
India will adopt Co2 capturing technology to make the use of coal fully environment friendly and our commitments to COP21.
Bio-mass, Stranded Gas & MSW for methanol production:
Almost 40% of Methanol Production can be through these feed stocks.
Utilization of methanol as well as DME in transportation for rail, road, marine and defence.
Industrial Boilers, Diesel Gensets & Power generation & Mobile towers are other applications.
Utilization of methanol and DME as domestic cooking fuel- cook stoves . LPG = DME blending program.
Utilization of methanol in fuel cell applications in Marine, Gensets and Transportation
FACT # 3
Chalukyan Sculpture Of Siva
Why in news?A Chalukyan sculpture of Siva has been found in Andhra Pradesh recently.
Chalukyan sculpture of Siva:
A rare sculpture of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati dating back to the 7th century was discovered at a Chalukyan temple in Satyavolu village of Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh.
The red sandstone sculpture portrays Lord Siva as the therapeutic physician (Rudra Bhaishajana) as described in Rigveda.
In the sculpture he holds a bowl in his left hand, which contains medicine from herbs to revive the ailing horse lying at his feet.
Lord Siva is portrayed as a physician, who discovered medicine for certain chronic ailments.
He is the last member of the divine trinity and is considered as the destroyer of the world.
Culture under Chalukyas:
Society and Religion:
The people of South India in general were religious.
They followed the traditional Hindu ways of life in the society, with a liberal attitude.
The Brahimns occupied a highly respectable position.
They acted as ministers and advisers to the king as well as priests.
Even though casteism within its social and economic implications were universally recognised, yet the spirit of catholicity and the feeling of mutual understanding was prevailing in the society.
Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang visited India during the reign of Pulakesin II.
He described the social life and manner of the people.
People were simple, honest and faithful. They always regarded the morality and truthfulness in public life.
The Aihole inscription states that the general attitude of the society was unorthodox towards all communities.
The Chalukya rulers patronised all the religions and did not impose restrictions on social and religious practices.
This policy of religious toleration helped towards the spread of Buddhism and Jainism.
The land grants were given to Buddhist Monks, Jaina Arahatas and the Brahmins.
Brahnianism reached its zenith under the Chalukyas.
They performed religious sacrifices such as the Asvamedha, the Vajapeya etc.
The sacrificial form of worship was prevailing and the puranic deities rose into prominence.
The sacrifical form of worship were sanctioned by Pulakesin I, Kirtivarman, Mangalesha and Pulakesin II.
They performed vedic sacrifices themselves and honourd learned Brahmans.
Art and Architecture:
The Chalukys were great patron of art and architecture.
The Chalukyan structural architecture is represented by the old brick temples at Tel, and more fully by several shrines at Aihole, Pattakadal and Badami.
Aihole represents the best of Chalukyan architecture.
There are several temples at Aihol which speak of the Chalukyan love for art and architecture.
Among those may be mentioned the famous Ladkhan temple, the Durga temple and Huchchimaltigudi temple.
The Ladkhan temple has a rare characteristics of Chalukyan art.
It is very low and flat.
The walls consist of stone slabs, set between heavy square pilasters with a bracket capital.
The windows are made of stone slabs, and the pillars are decorated with figures of river goddesses such as Ganga, Jamuna and Gomati etc.
The famous Virupaksha temple, dedicated to Siva as Lokeshvara by the queen of Vikramaditya II, is a beautiful specimen of Chalukyan architecture.
The sculptures of this temple include representations from stories of Ramayana and of lord Siva and the Nagas.
The temple is built of very large, closely jointed blocks of stone and without mortar, as noted Dravidian style.
The Vaishnava cave tempel at Badami is the earliest cave temple of Southern India.
Elegant sculptural works and paintings were done under the Chalukyas.
The Brahmnical caves at Ellora date from the early Chalukyan period.
The rock-cut shrines of Ajanta and Ellora are supposed to have been executed in the time of the early Western Chalukyas.
The Prasasti of Pulakesin II written by Ravi Kirti gives a decorative description of temple architecture of Chalukyan period.