Economy Current Affairs
Economy Current Affairs January 1st week 2016
Category : Economy Current Affairs
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1) DBT for kerosene in 26 districts from April 1

  • After the success of paying subsidy to LPG users in their bank accounts, the government will from April 1 roll out a similar programme for kerosene, where the users will buy the cooking fuel at the market rate and get the subsidy money directly in their bank accounts.

  • The cash subsidy will be equivalent to the difference between the current public distribution system (PDS) price of about Rs 12 and the market rate of Rs 43 per litre. The move will help curtail subsidy outgo for kerosene, which in 2014-15 was Rs 24,799 crore.
  • The scheme will be rolled out in 26 districts across eight states — Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Centre has allocated 8.6 million kilolitre of PDS kerosene to states for FY16, though total annual consumption is only 7.13 million kilolitres.
  • The states will be given 75 per cent of subsidy savings during the first two years, 50 per cent in the third year and 25 per cent in the fourth year.
  • If some states voluntarily agree to cut kerosene allocation beyond the savings due to DBT, a similar incentive will be given to them. The calculation will be based on net savings in consumption at the state level. Kerosene demand for both lighting and cooking has come down thanks to rural electrification and the rise in LPG connections. Nearly 4.5 million new LPG connections have also been given to the poor.
  • The government also advised states to take all necessary steps to ensure eligible beneficiaries, particularly in rural areas, are able to access their full entitlement.
  • To ensure the intended beneficiaries don’t suffer while switching to the new scheme, subsidy will be credited to their bank accounts in advance during the initial purchase
In a nut shell:
  1. Cash subsidy on kerosene will be equivalent to the difference between current subsidised price of Rs 12 and market rate of Rs 43 per litre
  2. Subsidy outgo for kerosene in 2014-15 was Rs 24,799 crore
  3. Centre to give states 75 per cent of subsidy savings during the first two years, 50 per cent in the third year and 25 per cent in the fourth year
  4. Nearly 4.5 million new LPG connections have been given to the poor to reduce dependence on kerosene.
  • Govt to make LPG available to all in 3 years: Government 1st January declared 2016 as the `Year of LPG Consumers` while unveiling plans to make the clean cooking fuel available to all households by end of 2018 and rol out online bill payment facility and transparent gas cylinders.
  • The Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched LPG emergency helpline number 1906 for the cooking gas consumers across the country. The consumers can call on this helpline to seek assistance to deal with gas leakage.
  • About the availability of LPG in the country, the minister said that there are 27 crore subscribers in the country, of which 16.5 crore are active subscribers and oil marketing companies cover about 60 per cent of the population.


2) Annual solar power capacity to quadruple

  • According to Union Minister of Coal, power and Renewable Energy PIyush goel India might increase its solar energy capacity four-fold during the next fiscal year ending March 2017. At present India’s solar capacity is about 4,500 MW and the capacity addition target for this year is about 2,000 MW. During 2016-17, government is hoping to add 12,000 MW in solar sector alone. Thus, including other renewable sources, there will be a total capacity addition of about 15,000 MW during next fiscal
  • The government is focusing on speed, skill and scale rather than subsidies to drive reforms and progress in the energy sector. The minister said water heaters that ran on solar energy had subsidy components some years ago.
  • Minister highlighted the pace with which LED bulbs were distributed in the country as part of government’s energy efficiency drive initiative. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a public sector entity engaged in distribution of LED bulbs, is expected to contribute about seven crore bulbs this year.

3) E-commerce industry to cross $38 billion this year: Assocham

  • India’s e-commerce market is likely to touch $38-billion-mark in 2016, a 67 per cent jump over the $23 billion revenue it clocked last year, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).
The report also said that:
  1. Increasing internet and mobile penetration, growing acceptability of online payments and favourable demographics has provided the e-commerce sector in India the unique opportunity to companies connect with their customers
  2. Buying trends during 2015 have witnessed a significant upward movement due to aggressive online discounts. India’s e-commerce market was worth about $3.8 billion in 2009, it went up to $17 billion in 2014 and to $23 billion in 2015 and is expected to touch $38-billion mark by 2016
  3. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is growing rapidly as a stable and secure supplement to the e-commerce industry. Shopping online through smart phones is proving to be a game changer and industry leaders believe that m-commerce could contribute up to 70 per cent of their total revenues
  4. Mumbaikars had left behind all other cities in India shopping online in 2015. While Delhi residents rank second, Ahemdabad came third, Bangalore fourth and Kolkata fifth in their preference for online shopping in 2015.
  5. The customer is connected 24x7 through their smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices which is leading to a gradual evolution of e-commerce into mobile commerce and there is an issue of convenience which also leads to impulsive buying.
  6. The browsing trends, which have broadly shifted from the desktop to mobile devices in India, online shopping is also expected to follow suit, as one out of three customers currently makes transactions through mobiles in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. In 2015, 78 per cent of shopping queries were made through mobile devices, compared to 46 per cent in 2013
  7. The highest growth rate was seen in the apparel segment, almost 69.5 per cent over last year followed by electronic items by 62 per cent, baby care products at 53 per cent, beauty and personal care products at 52 per cent and home furnishings at 49 per cent. The most important contributing factor to the rapid growth of digital commerce in India is the increase in the use of smartphones. Mobiles and mobile accessories have taken up the maximum share of the digital commerce market in India, according to the paper.
  8. Almost 45 per cent of online shoppers reportedly preferred cash on delivery mode of payment over credit cards (16 per cent) and debit cards (21 per cent).
  9. Only ten per cent opted for internet banking and a scanty seven per cent preferred cash cards, mobile wallets and other such modes of payment.
  10. As per the findings, many small companies have also established online stores for group buying, which enable customers to obtain goods at a discount so long as a certain number of people make the purchases.
  11. Shopping centres, whole sale markets and supermarkets should create their online stores to reduce costs and develop product-tracking systems
  12. Among the age segments, the 18-25 years age group was the fastest growing age segment online with user growth being contributed by both male and female segments, it was said in the paper.
  13. The survey highlights that three per cent of regular shoppers are in 18-25 age group, 52 per cent in 26-35, eight per cent in 36-45 and two per cent in the age group of 45-60.
  14. Sixty-five per cent of online shoppers are male with females constituting 35 per cent. The products that were sold most in 2015 were mobile phones, iPad and accessories, MP3 players, digital cameras and jewellery, among others.