- US wins WTO dispute against India’s solar power rules
- SBI Launches SBI e Smart SME to offer Ecommerce Loan
- E-tourist visa extended to 37 more nations
- India dispatches relief material to cyclone hit Fiji
US wins WTO dispute against India’s solar power rules
The United States has won a ruling against India at the World Trade Organization after challenging the rules on the origin of solar cells and solar modules used in India’s national solar power programme.
What’s the issue?
- The United States complained to the WTO in 2013 about the Indian solar programme, which sought to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia’s third-largest economy without creating pollution.
- But a requirement that certain cells and modules be made in India fell afoul of WTO rules on discriminating against imports.
- The United States said its solar exports to India had fallen by 90% from 2011, when India imposed the rules.
The WTO ruling, which can be appealed within 60 days, was repeatedly delayed as the two sides tried to negotiate a settlement.
About National Solar Mission:
- National Solar Mission, launched in 2010, aims to establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country as quickly as possible.
- The Mission has set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 and aims at reducing the cost of solar power generation in the country.
It should be noted here that the US primarily exports thin film technology for the solar panel.
SBI Launches SBI e Smart SME to offer Ecommerce Loan
India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has launched SBI e-Smart SME to provide a working capital loan for sellers on ecommerce platforms.
- It was launched by SBI in partnership with ecommerce platform Snapdeal.
About SBI e-Smart SME:
- Sellers on ecommerce platforms can apply for the loan online and get instant sanctioning of the loan with KYC documents.
- In order to assess the sellers’ creditworthiness for loan sanctioning, the bank will use proprietary platform data and surrogates information from public domain.
- It is exclusive and easy finance that will be made available at lowest interest rates.
- Collateral free loan will be granted upto 10 Lakh rupees under MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) scheme.
- Women entrepreneurs will be given concession of 0.25% on the loans.
E-tourist visa extended to 37 more nations
The Union home ministry has decided to extend e-tourist visa scheme to 37 more nations, taking the number of beneficiary countries to 150.
- The countries added in the latest round include Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Namibia, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- Until the latest addition, the scheme covered 113 countries with nine airports designated for providing e-tourist visa service.
- Over 7.5 lakh visas have been issued since the e-tourist visa scheme was launched. This translates to an average of 3,500 e-tourist visas on a daily basis to foreign nationals.
About the scheme:
TVoA (tourist visa on arrival), enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), popularly known as e-Tourist Visa scheme, was launched on November 27, 2014.
- Under the e-Tourist Visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation.
- On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.
- The visas would have a validity of 30 days from the date of arrival. Biometric details of the applicant will be mandatorily captured on arrival in India. The facility can be availed for a maximum of two visits to the country in a calendar year.
E-Tourist Visa scheme is
- Not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders.
- Not available to individuals endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport i.e. each individual should have a separate passport.
- Not available to International Travel Document Holders.
India dispatches relief material to cyclone hit Fiji
India has dispatched relief material to cyclone hit Fiji as part of its Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief efforts in the neighbourhood.
- Dispatched relief material to the island nation includes food, medicines and tents.
- Fiji was hit by a massive cyclone ‘Winston’ last week. The island nation had also requested foreign aid.
- India has already announced aid in the aftermath of the disaster. It extended USD one million in immediate assistance to Fiji after devastating Cyclone Winston hits.
About Cyclone Winston:
Cyclone Winston was the most powerful tempest recorded in the southern hemisphere and hit Fiji at speeds of 200 miles per hour, causing extensive flooding and rendering thousands homeless.