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Author: Arushi Pathak

All news available date-wise and month-wise. Click on the date to revise news.

February 2018
« Jan    

[pib] BARC technology to convert sewage into bio-fertilizer


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

Mains level: Use of biofertilizers in agriculture


  • Conventionally sewage treatment plant treats the sewage and the same is dried
  • The technology developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) subjects the dried sludge to crushing and exposure to 10 kGy radiation dose.
  • This kills the pathogens in the sludge and makes it safer for use. In the next step, BIO-NPK (Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium) microorganisms are sprayed on to it to make it biofertilizer.
  • The use of such bio-fertilizer provides organic carbon and other nutrients to the soil.
  • The process also helps in recycling of the waste material to useful Bio-fertilizer.

More on this:

  • A 100 ton/ day capacity facility has been constructed at Ahmedabad under Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
  • The cold trials have been completed successfully.
  • The facility is scheduled to be fully operational soon after radiation source loading.
  • Another similar facility of 100 ton/day capacity will be constructed at Indore under   MoU with BARC.

[pib] Indian Advance Pricing Agreement regime moves forward with signing of five UAPAs and two BAPAs by CBDT


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Advance Pricing Agreement

Mains level: Tax reforms


  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into five Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPA) and two Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (BAPA)
  • With the signing of these Agreements, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has gone up to 196.
  • This includes 178 Unilateral APAs and 18 Bilateral APAs.
  • In the current financial year, a total of 44 APAs (7 Bilateral and 37 Unilateral) have been signed
  • The 2 Bilateral Agreements signed in the month of January, 2018, inter alia, include the first BAPA signed with USA.

Sectors of the economy are:

  • Banking,
  • Insurance,
  • Investment Advisory,
  • Information Technology,
  • Chemicals and Engineering. The international transactions covered in these agreements include provision of IT enabled services, provision of software development services, contract manufacturing, payment of royalty, sale of goods, etc.


The progress of the APA scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime


Advance Pricing Agreement

  1. An advance pricing agreement (APA) is an ahead-of-time agreement between a taxpayer and a tax authority on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology (TPM) for a set of transactions at issue over a fixed period of time (called “Covered Transactions”)
  2. APAs are generally bi- or multilateral—i.e. they also include agreements between the taxpayer and one or more foreign tax administrations under the authority of the mutual agreement procedure (MAP) specified in income tax treaties
  3. The taxpayer benefits from such agreements since they are assured that income associated with covered transactions is not subject to double taxation by the home state and the relevant foreign tax authorities

[pib] NHAI to Launch Pilot Project for Implementation of “Pay as You Use” Tolling on Delhi-Mumbai Highway


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pay as you use tolling, FASTag

Mains level: Highway development and issues related to it


  • Paving the way for the implementation of the Budget announcement regarding “Pay as you use” tolling in India, the National Highways Authority of India is executing a pilot project to study the implement ability of the system in the country.
  • The pilot project involves implementing a satellite-based electronic toll collection system running on GPS/GSM technology for around 500 commercial vehicles on the Delhi Mumbai national highway.
  • The project will run for one year.

Working procedure:

  • Working on a combination of mobile telecommunications technology (GSM) and the satellite-based Global Positioning System, the proposed tolling system would be able to deduct money from a vehicle account, credit the money to the concessionaire within one day and open the toll gate.
  • In case of a failed transaction, it would be able to alert the toll operator to collect payment manually and not open the gate

Way Forward:

  • The pilot project will look at ways to integrate the new solution with the existing pre-paid wallet account offered by NHAI under the FASTag program.
  • It will also draw a comparison between distance-based tolling and the existing tolling system, as also virtual tolling Vs normal tolling

[pib] India Among Top Ten Nations in the World in Terms of Forest Area


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SFR 2017

Mains level: Forest cover in India


  • India ranks among the top ten countries of the world in terms of forest area, despite the fact that none of the other 9 countries has a population density of more than 150 persons per sq km, compared to India, which has a population density of 382 persons per sq km.
  • India is ranked 10th in the world, with 24.4% of land area under forest and tree cover, even though it accounts for 2.4 % of the world surface area and sustains the needs of 17 % of human and 18 % livestock population”
  • The increase in the forest cover has been observed as 6,778 sq km and that of tree cover as 1, 243 sq km.
  • The total forest and tree cover is 24.39 percent of the geographical area of the country”

State-wise break-up

  • Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km), followed by Karnataka (1101 sq km) and Kerala (1043 sq km) have shown the maximum increase in forest cover.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 66,964 sq km and Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq km).
  • In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep with (90.33 per cent) has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram (86.27 per cent) and Andaman & Nicobar Island (81.73 per cent)

[pib] India – UAE bilateral investments


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Energy Agency (IEA)

Mains level: Reducing India’s oil imports


  • UAE continues to be an important supplier of crude, LNG and LPG to Indian market.
  • Propelled by an economy that will grow to more than five-times its current size by 2040, Indian energy demand is forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to grow by more than any other country in the period to 2040 and account for one-third of total incremental growth.
  • This also provides for an ideal setting for India and the UAE to strengthen its hydrocarbon engagement.

Concession agreement

  • The signing of the Concession Agreement between an Indian Consortium and ADNOC for award of 10% stake in Lower Zakum Offshore oil field
  • An Agreement between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) and ADNOC to operationalize the filling up of a strategic petroleum reserve cavern


  • The oil storage facility will help boost India’s energy security,
  • as well as enable ADNOC to efficiently and competitively meet market demand in India and across the fast developing south-east Asian economies.
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