Economy News-Daily Digest: 3 Key Updates
1. SBI, NABARD tie up to promote joint liability groups in Bengal
State Bank of India and NABARD have signed an agreement with five NGOs in Bengal for the promotion of 2,500 Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) in select districts of the State.
JLGs are informal groups of 4-10 members engaged in similar economic activities and willing to jointly undertake the responsibility to repay loans taken by the group from a bank. They are typically credit groups of small or marginal tenant farmers who do not have a proper title of their farmland. Through these JLGs, SBI plans to extend assistance to the financially excluded sections of the society, especially landless farmers in the districts of Purulia, Paschim Medinipur, Purba Medinipur, Burdwan and North 24 Parganas.
The bank hopes to be able to extend support to close to 12,500 tenant farmers under this arrangement. Plans are also afoot to scale up the project in a phased manner to cover the remaining districts.NABARD has fixed a target of credit linking 80,000 JLGs in West Bengal in 2017-18. It has sanctioned assistance for the promotion of 60,000 JLGs by various NGOs in the State through 339 projects in different districts till date.
2. Ministry gives final nod for Barak missiles, bombs
The Defence Ministry gave the final approvals for the procurement of 131 Barak missiles for the Navy and 240 Precision-Guided Munitions (PGM) for the Indian Air Force (IAF), together estimated at ₹1,714 crore.
This PGM is a variant of the KAB PGMs the IAF has in service and employed by Su-30 fighter jets. It is a regular procurement through the revenue expenditure. Due to the value of the contract, the approval of Defence Ministry was required.
The 240 KAB-1500 PGMs will be procured from Rosoboronexport of Russia at a cost of ₹1,254 crore.
The second proposal was the final contract for 131 Barak surface-to-air missiles (SAM), which are installed on all frontline warships of the Navy.
3. Cruise tourists with e-visa exempted from biometric enrolment till 2020
With a view to promote cruise tourism in India, cruise tourists with e-visas will now be exempted from the requirement of biometric enrolment till December 31, 2020.
This will make immigration clearance of such passengers faster, leaving them with more time to spend on shore. This is also an important factor that helps cruise lines decide whether or not to include a destination in their itinerary. The step assumes significance based on the schedule of arrivals of cruise ships for season 2017-18 and 2019-20. Many of the cruise ships coming to India are mega ships with 2,000-4,000 passengers on board