Type: Govt. Schemes

Parched Earth : The Water Crisis in India Conservation & Mitigation

[pib] Dream of ‘Har Ghar Jal’ will be realized by 2030

  1. Context: Government launched National Water Quality Sub Mission on Arsenic and Fluoride
  2. Aim: To provide safe drinking water to about 28,000 affected habitations in the country by March 2021 with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore
  3. Issues: West Bengal is badly affected by the problem of arsenic, Rajasthan suffers from presence of fluoride in drinking water with serious health hazards
  4. There will be no discrimination of funds against any state to address the twin challenges of drinking water and sanitation
  5. The Government is committed to providing tap water on a sustained basis in every household by 2030 as per the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for which Rs 23,000 crore of central fund will be required annually till the target is achieved


A Prelim tit-bit.

Start-up Ecosystem In India Industries

[pib] Cabinet approves of proposal to establish a Fund of Fund for Start-ups (FFS)

  1. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved proposals with regard to the Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) which was established in June, 2016 with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores
  2. FFS:
  • The Union Cabinet had earlier approved the proposal to establish a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) with a total corpus of Rs.10000 crore
  • The contribution spread over the 14th & 15th Finance Commission cycles based on progress of implementation and availability of funds
  • The FFS shall contribute to the corpus of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages
  • The FFS is being managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)


Important for Prelims.

Ministry of Commerce and Industries: Schemes, Policies & Missions Industries

₹600 crore scheme launched to create export-related infrastructure

  1. The Centre launched a new scheme- Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)
  2. The scheme would have a budgetary allocation of ₹600 crore, with an annual outlay of ₹200 crore per year, and it would be implemented from FY’18 till FY’20
  3. Aim: To enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure, first mile and last mile connectivity for export-oriented projects and addressing quality and certification measures
  4. Simply, to create export-related infrastructure and boost the competitiveness of India’s shipments
  5. It replaces a centrally sponsored scheme — Assistance to States for creating Infrastructure for the Development and growth of Exports (ASIDE)
  6. The focus is not just to create infrastructure, but to make sure it is professionally run and sustained
  7. There will be an Empowered Committee to periodically review the progress of the approved projects in the scheme and will take necessary steps to ensure achievement of the objectives of the scheme
  8. Benefits: The scheme would provide assistance for setting up and upgradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages — like the border haats, land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and ports/airports cargo terminuses
  9. Eligibility: The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the Centre’s Export-Import policy are eligible for financial support under this scheme
  10. Funding: The Centre’s funding will be in the form of grant-in-aid, normally not more than the equity being put in by the implementing agency or 50% of the total equity in the project
  11. In case of projects located in North Eastern States and Himalayan States including Jammu and Kashmir, this grant can be up to 80% of the total equity
  12. Ceiling: The grant in aid shall, normally, be subject to a ceiling of ₹20 crore for each infrastructure project
  13. Projects that can be covered under sector-specific schemes and not related to exports will not be supported under TIES


Important for pre and mains both. Note key features for prelims.

Minority issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc. Health, Education & Human Resources

[pib] Know about Nai Manzil scheme

  1. The Ministry of Minority Affairs has targeted to cover 70 thousand minority school drop outs under the Nai Manzil scheme during 2016-17
  2. For this the budget of Rs. 120 crore has been allocated
  3. The Nai Manzil scheme is an educational and livelihood initiative supported by the World Bank, which can be availed of by the school drop-outs belonging to six notified minority communities namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains including Muslim students studying in madarsas
  4. The scheme has been rolled from the current financial year i.e. during 2016-17 only


A Prelims tit bit.


Ministry of Commerce and Industries: Schemes, Policies & Missions Industries

[pib] Launch of Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)

  1. What? Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman launched the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)
  2. Focus of the scheme: on addressing the needs of the exporters
  3. The focus is not just to create infrastructure but to make sure it is professionally run and sustained
  4. The scheme would provide assistance for setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages like the Border Haats, Land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, SEZs and ports/airports cargo terminuses
  5. Objective: of the proposed scheme is to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure, first mile and last mile connectivity for export-oriented projects and addressing quality and certification measures
  6. Funding: The Central Government funding will be in the form of grant-in-aid, normally not more than the equity being put in by the implementing agency or 50% of the total equity in the project
  7. The grant in aid shall, normally, be subject to a ceiling of Rs 20 Cr for each infrastructure project


Very important for pre and mains. Such information often becomes useful while penning down Mains answer.

Disaster Management Disaster Management

[pib] Strengthening Disaster Management

National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP):

  1. National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) defines the roles and responsibilities of various stake holders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments, UT Administrations, District Authorities and local self Governments
  2. NDMP enjoins all stakeholders to develop detailed plans in accordance with roles and responsibilities

International help:

  1. As a matter of policy, the Government of India does not issue any appeal for foreign assistance in the wake of a disaster
  2. However, if the national Government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture in solidarity with the disaster victims, the Central Government may accept the offer
  3. In the case of an offer of assistance from UN Agencies, India will accept the offer only if the Government considers it necessary, based on various factors

Responsibility of disaster management:

  1. Primary responsibility of disaster management rests with the States
  2. The Central Government conducts regular mock drill, community training and awareness programme to prepare the civilian populations for disasters

Use of technologies:

The details of leveraging various technologies to enhance the efficiency of the disaster risk management efforts by the NDMA are as under:

  1. National Disaster Management Services (NDMS): was conceived for setting up of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Network connecting MHA, NDMA, NDRF, 36 State/ UT HQrs and 81 vulnerable districts (total 120 locations)
  2. The project is under implementation through BSNL
  3. The scope of the Pilot Project is to provide the failsafe communication infrastructure and technical support for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) operations across the country
  4. The NDMS Pilot Project envisages holding of workshops & imparting of training for the Capacity Building of disaster managers on usage of Communication equipments covered in the project
  5. Earthquake Disaster Risk Indexing (EDRI): This kind of indexing will be helpful for the administrative bodies in comparing the overall risk across large number of cities or region and also in prioritization of cities to implement appropriate disaster mitigation measures
  6. NDMA through Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) has prepared Upgraded Earthquake Hazard Maps and Atlases for the country upto district level with sub-district boundary showing major faults, earthquake zones, epicenter of past earthquakes of magnitude of 5 and above indicating State boundary, district boundary, and district names
  7. The BMTPC has executed the project in close collaboration with the inputs from various institutions/organizations and NDMA

Uses of these Maps and Atlases:

  • Land Use Zoning and better habitat planning
  • Useful for leaders and policy makers, engineers, architects, disaster management professionals etc.
  • Formulation of Public & Financial Policies dealing with DM and Emergency Planning
  • An aid for setting up techno-legal framework
  • Useful for Insurance Agencies
  • At the sub-district level shall be useful in preparing DPRs to be taken up under the Smart Cities Projects and various projects under the Housing for All (Urban) Mission of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana etc.
  • The concerned authorities may identify the districts requiring priority action in future planning, formulating integrated mitigating policies covering awareness, education and training, preventive and preparedness measures, improvement in warning systems
  1. Geographical Information System (GIS): NDMA have taken up a project for disaster risk management by establishing GIS Server and creation of database
  2. Objective of the project is to integrate data obtained from various stakeholders on GIS platform to increase disaster preparedness, mitigation, damage assessment, response and relief management efforts
  3. The Project envisages procurement of software and hardware, engagement of manpower, creation of data Inventory related to disaster management, integration of various other database system, development of Android Application for the responders, creation of applications and customization tools for better assessment of disaster scenario and creation of Decision Support System for the responders and decision makers etc.


This has important information on Disaster Management. Make note of the details for both Prelims and Mains.

Parched Earth : The Water Crisis in India Conservation & Mitigation

Saving tanks, the community way

  1. News: After nearly two decades, several waterbodies in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu will soon be rejuvenated with community support under the kudimaramath scheme
  2. The problems: The revival of the kudimaramath scheme has delighted farmers in many villages where the waterbodies that feed irrigation needs have not been desilted for many years
  3. Narthawada lake, which is the only source of irrigation for 100 farmers in the village, has been left neglected for 15 years
  4. Some farmers refrain from cultivation to escape crop damage during monsoon as the two sluice gates are damaged
  5. Benefits: The restoration of the lake and say it will help paddy cultivation across nearly 100 hectares
  6. A total of 46 waterbodies with an ayacut area of 4,000 hectares would be improved
  7. Besides desilting and de-weeding the lakes, the supply channels, surplus courses and sluice gates would also be improved
  8. Mud deposits in supply channels, which block free flow of water, would also be removed
  9. The silt removed from the lakes would be used to strengthen the bund
  10. The rejuvenation of the lakes would benefit a minimum of 200 farmers in several villages as they would have better storage capacity


The scheme is state specific but some regional schemes become important for their potential impact. Just go through it.

Agricultural Sector Agriculture

Tamil Nadu rolls out ₹800-crore plan for dry land farmers

The scheme:

Billed as the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu, a comprehensive scheme of over ₹800 crore, benefitting at least 12 lakh farmers engaged in dry land agriculture and targeting coverage of around 18 lakh hectares, has been launched in 25 districts

The scheme envisages:

  • mobilisation of agriculturists through farmers’ clubs, formation of 1,000 clusters
  • execution of land development activities and establishment of water harvesting structures
  • adoption of appropriate cropping system including the provision of quality seeds at 50% subsidy
  • crop insurance and enabling better marketability of the produce


  • The new initiative of the government attaches importance to the optimisation of nutrient profile, reproductive health and udder health of cattle owned by the farmers
  • Taking the help of primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS), machinery required for processing the produce such as dhal and millet will be set up
  • To be implemented over three years, the scheme will ensure the formation of 200 clusters initially, followed by 400 clusters annually for the subsequent two years

Paradigm shift:

  • The scheme marks a “paradigm shift” in the approach of the government vis-à-vis dry land farmers
  • Ordinarily, Cauvery delta farmers are given special packages of assistance for the short-term Kuruvai and the long term Samba crops, whereas dry land farmers have remained largely out of sight of the authorities
  • At present, there is only one scheme — rain-fed area development programme — that provides some assistance to these farmers on piece meal basis
  • But it is for the first time, the government has come out with a scheme to help the dry land farmers in a systematic way


This is a state specific scheme but still important for prelims. Also the issue as a whole of irrigation, dryland farming is important for mains.

Dry lands: Areas which receive an annual rainfall of 75 cm or less and there is no irrigation facility for raising crops. Click here to read more about it.

Q. The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce the human miseries. Explain. [GS-1, Mains 2016]

Q. What is water-use efficiency? Describe the role of micro-irrigation in increasing the water-use efficiency. [GS-3, Mains 2016]

Cashless Society Finance and Banking

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.


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


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


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


Important for prelims. Note the key points highlighted above.

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


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 Industries

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 Finance and Banking

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


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! Governance

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


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

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