Related Topics: Environment, Government Policies & Interventions
- Union Minister for Environment has announced that India will shift to Bharat Stage Six (BS-VI) vehicular emission norms from BS-IV by April 2020.
- BS VI petrol/diesel is already available in Delhi/NCR.
What are Bharat Stage (BS) norms?
- They are standards instituted by the government to regulate emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles.
- The norms were introduced in 2000.
- These norms are applicable to all two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers and construction equipment vehicles.
- The Central Pollution Control Board, which is governed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change sets the standard for these emissions
- With appropriate fuel and technology, they limit the release of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides from vehicles using internal combustion engines.
- As the stage goes up, the control on emissions become stricter.
- It means that Bharat Stage VI norms are two stages ahead of the present Bharat Stage IV norms in regulating emissions.
- These norms are based on similar norms in Europe called Euro 4 and Euro 6.
Why is it important to leapfrog from the existing BS – IV to BS- VI?
- Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.
- Global automakers are betting big on India as vehicle penetration is still low here, when compared to developed countries.
- Cities such as Delhi are already being listed among those with the poorest air quality in the world.
- The national capital’s recent odd-even car experiment and judicial activism against the registration of big diesel cars shows that governments can no longer afford to relax on this front.
- With other developing countries such as China having already upgraded to the equivalent of Euro V emission norms a while ago, India has been lagging behind.
- The experience of countries such as China and Malaysia (which is currently grappling with haze) shows that poor air quality can be bad for business.
- Thus, leapfrogging to BS VI can put India ahead in the race for investments and is significant for addressing India’s environmental concerns.
How BS IV is different from BS VI?
- The extent of sulphur content is the major difference between BS IV and BS VI norms.
- BS-IV fuels contain 50 ppm sulphur, where as BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur.
- BS VI can bring Particulate matter (PM) in diesel cars down by 80 per cent.
- The new norms will bring down nitrogen oxides from diesel cars by 70 per cent and in petrol cars by 25 per cent.
- BS VI also make on-board diagnostics (OBD) mandatory for all vehicles.
- OBD device informs the vehicle owner or the repair how efficient the systems in the vehicle are.
Impact on Automakers
- Compliance with BS-VI norms will require higher investment in technology to upgrade vehicles in stock and making new vehicles.
- This will also mean fewer launches till the deadline.
- Those who buy Bharat Stage VI-compliant vehicles will have to pay more since such vehicles will cost automakers more and they will pass on the additional cost to the buyers.
- The Bharat Stage VI-compliant fuel too will be more expensive.
[Source: Economic Times, The Hindu, PIB]
Related Topics: Awards & Honours, Science & Technology
- The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 was awarded “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos”.
- Peebles, of Princeton University in the United States, was awarded half the 9-million-Swedish-crown ($910,000) prize while Mayor and Queloz, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, shared the other half.
The Nobel Winners
- James Peebles – for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology
- Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz – for discovering an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.
Award Winning Discovery
- Peebles was awarded for his theory on what happened after the Big Bang took place nearly 14 billion years ago.
- The Big Bang model describes the universe from its very first moments, almost 14 billion years ago, when it was extremely hot and dense.
- Since then, the universe has been expanding, becoming larger and colder.
- 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe had become transparent and light rays were able to travel through space.
- Even today, this ancient radiation is all around and, coded into it, many of the universe’s secrets are hiding.
- Using his theoretical tools and calculations developed since the mid-1960s, James Peebles was able to interpret these traces from the infancy of the universe and discover new physical processes.
- Peebles’ results showed a universe to humanity in which just five per cent of the content was known.
- Finding out the mysteries behind the remaining 95 per cent was a challenge to modern physics.
- In October 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz had announced the first discovery of a planet outside the solar system.
- The discovery of the planet ‘51 Pegasi b’ from the Haute-Provence Observatory in southern France, started a revolution in astronomy and over 4,000 exoplanets have since been found in the Milky Way’.
Related Topics: Money Laundering, Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
- India has got the first set of Swiss bank account details of its nationals under a new automatic information exchange pact, a major milestone in the government’s fight against black money stashed abroad.
- India is among 75 countries with which Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on AEOI
- The next exchange would take place in September 2020.
What is AEOI?
- It provides for the exchange of non-resident financial account information with the tax authorities in the account holders’ country of residence.
- Participating jurisdictions that implement AEOI send and receive pre-agreed information each year, without having to send a specific request.
Why AEOI is needed?
- It will enable the discovery of formerly undetected tax evasion.
- It will enable governments to recover tax revenue lost to non-compliant taxpayers, and will further strengthen international efforts to increase transparency, cooperation, and accountability among financial institutions and tax administrations.
- It will generate secondary benefits by increasing voluntary disclosures of concealed assets and by encouraging taxpayers to report all relevant information.
What India will get under AEOI?
- The details that Switzerland would share with Indian tax authorities under the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) framework would include account numbers, credit balance and all kinds of financial income for each Indian client of every Swiss financial institution.
- This would be in addition to details already being shared by Switzerland with India for nearly 100 Indian entities, including individuals and enterprises, on submission of prima facie evidence of their financial wrongdoings, under a bilateral pact for administrative assistance on tax matters.
- Under the AEOI framework, detailed financial information on all Indian residents that have an account maintained by a Swiss financial institution in 2018 will be provided for the first time to the Indian tax authorities in September 2019 and on a yearly basis thereafter.
- The information will include accounts that were closed during 2018.
- The step is likely to shed more light on the wealth, Indians have stashed away in Swiss bank accounts, for so long governed by strict local rules of secrecy.
- In 2018, data from Zurich-based Swiss National Bank (SNB) had shown that after declining for three years, money parked by Indians in Swiss Banks rose 50 per cent to CHF (Swiss Franc) 1.02 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017 over the previous year.
- According to Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), this is a significant step in the government’s fight against black money and the era of “Swiss bank secrecy” was finally over by September, 2019.
[Sources: The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times]
FACTS OF THE DAY
KERALA STARTUP MISSION INKS MOU WITH BAHRAIN
The Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), the Gulf country’s investment promotion agency, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for jointly promoting innovation in FinTech, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and related emerging fields. . The agreement aims at building business opportunities for each country’s start-ups in the other’s market. The initiative will facilitate development and growth of FinTech and ICT start-ups and centres through support from technology hubs such as Bahrain Fintech Bay, Brinc Batelco IoT Accelerator, Flat6 Labs Bahrain, Brilliant Lab and KSUM Hub. There will be collaboration on knowledge exchange and enhancing cooperation between financial and technological institutions, universities and research institutions, technology experts, and government agencies. The MoU is also meant for exploration of innovation projects in areas such as digital and mobile payments, Blockchain and distributed ledgers, Big Data and other emerging areas in FinTech and ICT.
BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND COMMERCIALISATION IN CANCER (BRIC)
The Cochin Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) will mentor a cancer-focussed incubator in the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) that will help in early cancer detection and diagnosis, cancer care delivery, and immunotherapy in the primary phase of the project. Named Biomedical Research, Innovation and Commercialisation in Cancer (BRIC), it will bring together oncologists and technologists to evolve solutions in cancer care. Starting with early detection tools using artificial intelligence and other technologies, BRIC will act as an incubator for various interlinking units such as biotechnology, biomedical, fin-tech (financing cancer treatment or research) and so on. This will be done in partnership with cancer centres of the National Cancer Grid and the Kerala Cancer Care Grid, industry leaders, and commercialisation experts. BRIC aims to reduce the technology gap in cancer care. The Kerala Technology Innovation Zone, Kinfra Hi-Tech Part, Kalamassery, is the proposed location of the incubator.