Type: Govt. Schemes


Cashless Society Economic Planning

BharatQR: One step closer to e-payments

  1. India has reached a new milestone in cashless transaction by launching BharatQR
  2. BharatQR is the world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution
  3. This is the second big ticket initiative from the Centre, after BHIM, towards pushing digital transactions.

Note4students:

Very important for prelims as it is the world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution. See b2b for details.

Back2basics:

About QR code:

  1. Quick Response Code (QRCode) is a two-dimensional machine-readable unique pattern that contains information on a specific task
  2. A common example is QR codes in newspaper advertisements or billboards
  3. When scanned using a smartphone, it will direct you to the advertiser’s website
  4. How does it work? In case of retail payments, QR code eliminates the need of a Point of Sale (PoS, or card swipe) machine for carrying out electronic transaction
  5. If the merchant and the customer are using the same payment application, such as PayTM or a bank’s app, then the customer can scan the merchant’s QR code to make the payment

About BharatQR code:

  1. BharatQR code is an interoperable payment acceptance solution
  2. Even if the merchant and customer are on different payment platforms, BharatQR will enable payment from one to the other
  3. This means that merchants need to display only one QR code instead of multiple ones for different payment platforms
  4. It has been jointly developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Mastercard, and Visa
  5. All banks associated with the NPCI are already operationally ready to deploy BharatQR
  6. The BharatQR is currently rolled out only for smartphone users
  7. But the NCPI is working on Aadhaar-based and UPI address-based payment services
Ministry of Home Affairs: Schemes, Policies & Missions Governance

Scheme for modernization of police still a work in progress

  1. Union budget increased the budgetary allocation for modernization of the police from Rs1,685 crore in 2016-17 to Rs2,022 crore in 2017-18
  2. The allocation for police infrastructure went up even more sharply, from Rs3,265 crore to Rs4,447 crore
  3. Handed a 30% increase in its budget, the home ministry is scrambling to complete projects aimed at modernizing the country’s police force and improving police infrastructure
  4. MPF Scheme: In 2000, the ministry of home affairs rolled out the Modernization of Police Force (MPF) scheme that would give a makeover to the police and reduce dependence on paramilitary troops
  5. The scheme was designed to equip the police with the latest equipment and infrastructure. Seventeen years on, it remains a work in progress
  6. The scheme focuses on improving police mobility, weapons, equipment, training infrastructure, computerization and forensic science facilities
  7. The MPF scheme is a home ministry project alongside the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) scheme which, seven years after being cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), is also far from completion
  8. Digitisation: In states such as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where towns are far flung, digitization is proving to be difficult
  9. Women: In states such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, which have a significant Maoist presence, state police bodies are working to ensure 33% representation of women, and also improve safety for officials

Note4students:

The news is important as in 2016, the Prakash Singh case on Police Reforms completed 10 years. Thus the issues of police reforms can be on UPSC agenda of questions.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: Schemes, Policies & Missions Health, Education & Human Resources

[pib] Know about SAATHIYA

  1. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the SAATHIYA Resource Kit including ‘Saathiya Salah’ Mobile App for adolescents, as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program
  2. One of the key interventions under the programme is introduction of the Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who act as a catalyst for generating demand for the adolescent health services and imparting age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer groups
  3. RKSK identifies six strategic priorities for adolescents i.e. nutrition, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), non-communicable diseases (NCDs), substance misuse, injuries and violence (including gender-based violence) and mental health
  4. Fact check: India is home to 253 million adolescents which is largest in the world in terms of absolute numbers

Note4Students:

Important for prelims. Note the key points highlighted above.

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Issues and Judgments related to SC Indian Polity

Supreme Court makes legal services affordable

  1. The Supreme Court has introduced a self-supporting scheme for providing legal services to the middle and relatively lower income groups
  2. The Middle Income Group Scheme is meant to provide legal services to litigants in the Supreme Court whose gross income does not exceed ₹60,000 per month or ₹7.5 lakh per annum
  3. Features: They can avail themselves of the services for a nominal amount
  4. As per the Supreme Court guidelines, cases can be filed before it only through Advocates On Record
  5. A sum of ₹500 shall be payable to the Supreme Court Middle Income Group (MIG) Legal Aid Society as service charges
  6. The applicant shall have to deposit the fee indicated by the secretary, which will be in accordance with the schedule attached to the scheme
  7. It is the secretary who will register the case under the MIG Legal Aid Scheme and forward the papers to the Advocate On Record, Arguing Counsel or Senior Counsel on the panel for opinion
  8. The view expressed by the Advocate On Record will be final insofar as the eligibility of the applicant for obtaining the benefit of the scheme is concerned
  9. The Society: The members of the governing body, to whom the management of the Society is entrusted as required under Section 2 of the Societies Registration Act, include the Chief Justice of India as patron-in-chief, the Attorney General as ex-officio vice-president, the Solicitor General as honorary secretary and other senior advocates as its members
  10. Contingent fund: As per the scheme, a contingent fund will be created to meet the miscellaneous expenditure in connection with the case
  11. Funds: By collecting a deposit of ₹750 from the applicant at the stage of admission, in addition to the charges required to be deposited with the Society, out of the contingent fund
  12. If the case is not found fit for an appeal to the Supreme Court, the entire amount — after deducting the minimum service charges of ₹750 — will be refunded to the applicant through cheque
  13. If the advocate, who is appointed under the Scheme, is found negligent in the conduct of the case entrusted to him, then he will be required to return the brief together with the fee which he may have received from the applicant
  14. Further, the Society will not be responsible for the negligent conduct of the case
  15. But the entire responsibility will be that of the advocate vis-a-vis the client and the advocate’s name will be struck off from the panel

Note4students:

Very important for prelims and mains too. Just remember the key features of the scheme which have been highlighted and not too many details.

Start-up Ecosystem In India Industrial Economics

Manohar Parrikar pledges innovation fund to encourage defence start-ups

  1. Context: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar at the 11th Aero India show
  2. What? The government will create a new technology innovation fund for defence aerospace aimed to prop up start-ups
  3. A defence innovation fund with an initial contribution from HAL and BEL has been initiated
  4. The fund will support innovation and technology development in identifying areas
  5. It will be open to both Indian and foreign firms
  6. The focus will be on start-ups to enable a culture of innovation

 

NPA Crisis Economic Planning

Second PSB recapitalisation plan on the anvil

  1. Indradhanush 2.0: The government plans to come out with ‘Indradhanush 2.0’, a comprehensive plan for recapitalisation of public sector lenders
  2. Purpose: To make sure they remain solvent and fully comply with the global capital adequacy norms, Basel-III
  3. Indradhanush 2.0 will be finalised after completion of the Asset Quality Review (AQR) by the Reserve Bank; the review is likely to be completed by March-end
  4. AQR: The RBI had embarked on the AQR exercise from December 2015 and had asked banks to recognise some top defaulting accounts as non-performing assets (NPAs) and make adequate provisions for them
  5. It has had a debilitating impact on banks’ numbers and their stocks
  6. Indradhanush: Under ‘Indradhanush’ roadmap announced in 2015, the government had announced an infusion of ₹70,000 crore in state-run banks over four years while they will have to raise a further ₹1.1 lakh crore from the markets to meet their capital requirement in line with global risk norms, known as Basel-III
  7. Recapitalisation so far: In line with the plan, public sector banks were given ₹25,000 crore in 2015-16, and a similar amount has been earmarked for the current fiscal. Besides, ₹10,000 crore each would be infused in 2017-18 and 2018-19
  8. The government has already announced fund infusion of ₹22,915 crore, out of the ₹25,000 crore earmarked for 13 PSBs for the current fiscal. Of this, 75% has already been released to them

Note4students:

Govt schemes like Indradhanush are important for prelims. Make sure you understand terms such as Basel-III, AQR etc. Numbers/ data need to be remembered at few points like these where you can quote the recapitalisation done and required to assess the progress of the reform.

Digital India Initiatives: What’s Buzzing! Schemes, Policies & Missions

Cabinet nod for rural digital literacy programme

  1. The Cabinet approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ or PMGDISHA
  2. Aim: To make six crore rural households digitally literate
  3. The outlay for the project is ₹2,351.38 crore
  4. The programme aims to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March 2019
  5. This is in line with the announcement made by Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2016-17
  6. PMGDISHA is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world
  7. As many as 25 lakh candidates will be trained in FY 2016-17, 275 lakh in FY 2017-18 and 300 lakh candidates in FY 2018-19
  8. Further, to ensure equitable geographical reach, each of the 250,000 gram panchayats in the country will be expected to register an average of 200-300 candidates
  9. Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers and digital access devices such as tablets and smart phones, send and receive emails, browse internet, access government services, search for information, undertake cashless transactions, among other things
  10. The implementation of the scheme would be carried out under the overall supervision of Ministry of Electronics and IT in active collaboration with States/UTs through their designated state implementing agencies, District e-Governance Society (DeGS), etc.
  11. Fact check: As per the 71st NSSO Survey on Education 2014, only 6% of rural households have a computer, highlighting that more than 15 crore rural households do not have computers and a significant number of these households are likely to be digitally illiterate

Note4students:

Very important for prelims. Can be a part of mains answer too.

Women Empowerment: Policy Wise Social Justice

Nirbhaya Fund lies unused, SC told

  1. Issue: Crores allocated for the Nirbhaya Fund for initiatives to support women’s safety and dignity lie unused as crime against women continue to peak
  2. The annual budgetary allocation made to the fund hardly reached the ones needed it for various women welfare schemes

Note4students:

A point for mains answer on women safety issues. Know about the fund for prelims from b2b.

Back2basics:

The Nirbhaya Fund:

  1. The government had announced the Nirbhaya Fund in 2013 to accelerate programmes for women safety
  2. This was after the December 16, 2012 brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old which had shocked the conscience of the entire nation and exposed the vulnerabilities suffered by women in the National Capital
  3. Corpus: Rs. 10 billion
  4. The fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India
  5. The Fund is administered by Department of Economic Affairs of the finance ministry
Policy Wise: India’s Health Sector Health, Education & Human Resources

Universal screening for diabetes, hypertension and cancer

  1. The Union Health Ministry has decided to implement universal screening for diabetes, hypertension and three types of cancer for everyone over 30 years in 100 districts where the original UPA plan for a similar screening exercise failed to take off
  2. The project is known to have been pushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who last year had set a deadline for the Ministry to come up with a screening framework for cancer
  3. The target is to ensure that once there is a fullscale rollout, every Indian is screened for these diseases at least once in three years

Note4students:

The info about the programme is important for prelims. See b2b about status of different diseases. It can be quoted in mains answer to bring objectivity.

Back2basics:

  1. Hypertension and diabetes are the first warning signs of heart disease and stroke, commonly referred to as cardiovascular diseases
  2. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs): Have now become the leading cause of mortality in India
  3. A quarter of all mortality is attributable to CVD. Ischemic heart disease and stroke are the predominant causes and are responsible for more than 80% of CVD deaths
  4. The Global Burden of Disease study estimate of age-standardized CVD death rate of 272 per 100,000 population in India is higher than the global average of 235 per 100,000 population
  5. Cancer: India’s cancer burden is also a growing concern
  6. Data compiled by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) shows that in 2012 the total number of cancer cases reported in India were 10,57,204
  7. In 2013 that figure rose to 10,86,783, in 2014 it was 11,17,269, and in 2015 it stood at 11,48,692
  8. According to projections by Universal screening in 100 districts for diabetes, hypertension, cancer CBHI, which analysed cancer time trends, in five years, the total number of cases in men will touch 6,22,203, while in women the figure will stand at 6,98,725
  9. Pre-cancerous lesions in case of mouth and cervix and growths in case of breast can be detected early enough to ensure intervention
  10. While India does have a programme for screening of non-communicable diseases, cancer screening has been a virtual non-starter despite successive health reports presenting a grim picture of India’s cancer burden
  11. India’s National Cancer Control Programme: Was initiated in 1975-76
  12. In 2010, it was integrated with the national programmes for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 100 districts where screening was to be done for some forms of cancer
  13. Status unknown: Five years on, the Ministry of Health does not know how many people have been screened for cancer
  14. Dearth of trained personnel is one of the main reasons for the screening programme’s failure
Indian Tribals: Issues and Concern Indian Society

[pib] Tribal Health Care Project

Context:

  1. The Tribal Health Care Research Program (THCRP) was started by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS)
  2. CCRAS: It is an autonomous organization under Central Government

Scope of work:

  1. The project involves studies of the living condition of tribal people including Health Traditions (LHT)
  2. Use of common medicinal plants in the area are researched
  3. Propagation of knowledge about hygiene and prevention of diseases
  4. Extending medical aid at door steps

The objectives of the project:

  1. Provide health care facility to tribal population
  2. Promote healthy living among tribes
  3. Collect and document the folk claims and local health traditions to enable research etc.

Note4Students:

The information is important for Prelims. Sometimes the objectives of a scheme are asked.

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[pib] What is PRAGATI?

  1. PRAGATI aims at Pro-Active Governance and Timely implementation
  2. The meeting provides a robust platform for clear understanding of the bottlenecks and issues involved in such projects/programme and for evolving measures for taking them ahead
  3. Through such review meetings, various projects, public grievances, and programmes and schemes are discussed in detail and measures for fast tracking the same are evolved and implemented

Note4Students:

The PIB information is important for Prelims.

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Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises: Schemes, Policies & Missions Industrial Economics

Union Budget 2017: tax relief for the common man, MSMEs

  1. Higher taxation of MSMEs: With the use of analytics, the Finance Minister made an interesting observation that the effective tax rate of MSME is much higher than that of larger companies
  2. This, in spite of the fact that these companies contribute immensely towards economic growth and employment generation
  3. Step taken: To give a big boost to the MSMEs to thrive in a competitive environment, budget has proposed to reduce the tax rate of MSMEs reporting turnover of less than ₹50 crore to 25% from the existing 30%
  4. This benefit would cover 96% of the total companies in India that are filing tax returns
  5. Also, in a drive to promote digital way of doing business, a lower rate of 6% from the existing 8% has been proposed to small companies having turnover less than ₹2 crore to the extent their sale proceeds are realised through banking channels
  6. Similarly, the threshold for mandatory tax audit compliance has been raised to ₹2 crore, which would ease the compliance burden

Noe4students:

Prelims worthy information from budget. Whole budget is to be comprehensively covered in time to come. Keep updated.

Infra status to boost low cost housing

  1. Budget 2017-18 has proposed to grant ‘affordable housing’ the coveted infrastructure status
  2. Purpose: To facilitate higher investment in the sector and, in turn, achieve the government’s ambitious goal of ‘Housing for All’
  3. Benefits: The grant of infrastructure status would mean builders will be eligible for many government tax and subsidy incentives, and institutional funding at affordable rates for low cost homes
  4. With the infrastructure status, the sector can look at funding through insurance companies, which is a huge alternate sector and opens up a new avenue for real estate funding
  5. Issue of land cost: However the infrastructure status will truly see a big impact only if these lower cost funds are actually made available for acquisition of land
  6. Without this, a large part of the funds required for the affordable segment for the construction will be provided by the end consumer
  7. Large scale capital is not required once the land acquisition is completed and approvals are in place

Note4students:

This is an important tit-bit for prelims. It is part of a push by the govt to provide housing for all (link). Houses are an aspirational goal of most people, the construction sector is also provides many employment opportunities for people.

For practical purposes, “infrastructure” status gives easier access to funds, and more relaxed financing norms in terms of debt:equity ratio, repayment periods, moratorium periods for loan repayment etc.

Digital India Initiatives: What’s Buzzing! Schemes, Policies & Missions

Centre to push connectivity to aid digital life

  1. Context: The Budget has earmarked funds and drawn up schemes for helping a digital citizen as the government tries to push its digitalisation move through smart cities, digital payments and Digital India
  2. BharatNet: Stepped up allocation for the BharatNet Project, formerly called as the National Optical Fibre Network to ₹10,000 crore in 2017-18
  3. The BharatNet Project has been initiated to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh gram panchayats in the country at an initial cost of ₹20,000 crore
  4. DigiGaon: The government will also introduce another initiative called as DigiGaon
  5. Aim: to provide tele-medicine, education and skills through digital technology to the people
  6. CERT-Fin: Proposed to set up a Computer Emergency Response Team for Financial Sector (CERT-Fin)
  7. This entity will work in close coordination with all financial sector regulators and other stakeholders
  8. Regulation: The boldest move is the decision to institute an independent and robust regulatory framework
  9. It will hopefully bring much needed focus on customer protection and fair competition that must go hand in hand with any mass digitisation project

Note4students:

These are few important bits for Digital-economy from Budget. Budget will be covered as a whole, comprehensively, in time to come.

Some of the terms used here – BharatNet and CERT are frequently in the news. If you have been revising your notes, then half your job in reading this article is done!

[pib] Know about Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS)

Context:

  1. Extension of tenure of loans under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) vertical of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Mission from 15 to 20 years
  2. This will be renamed as CLSS for EWS/LIG (CLSS for economically weaker sections of society / Lower Income Group)
  3. Introduction of a new Credit-Linked Subsidy Scheme for MIG” for targeting the MIG category

Objectives:

  1. Increase the off-take in EWS and LIG segments under existing Pradhan MantriAwasYojana (Urban) – Housing for All Mission
  2. Outreach to the Middle Income Group (MIG)
  3. Make procedures easy for the Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs)
  4. Provide an incentive to PLIs for increased participation in the housing and urban development sector

Advantages:

  1. The outreach of the schemes will ensure greater participation amongst the EWS, LIG and MIG segment of the society to provide Housing for All by 2022, thereby ensuring equity and inclusiveness
  2. The interest subsidy to be disbursed to the beneficiaries will be credited to their home loan accounts after the PLIs have satisfied the eligibility criteria through their due diligence processes
  3. The proposed interest subsidy scheme for the MIG is an innovative approach to address the needs of housing of this category

Note4Students:

An important step towards ‘Housing for All’, don’t forget to make notes for your Mains Answer. Some factual points are important for Prelims as well. Also read in detail about the scheme here.

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