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Type: Govt. Schemes

Govt. doubles PMVVY pension investment limit to ₹ 15 lakh; extends scheme by two years


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)

Mains level: Condition of elderly persons and need for care and rehabilitation


Extending subscription and investment limit

  1. The government has doubled the investment limit to ₹ 15 lakh under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) pension scheme
  2. It has also extended the subscription period by two years
  3. The move will enable up to ₹ 10,000 pension per month for the senior citizen


Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)

  1. The government has launched the PMVVY to provide social security during old age and to protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions
  2. The PMVVY is being implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)
  3. The scheme provides an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8 percent per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for the pension on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis
  4. The difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8 percent annually will be borne by the government of as a yearly subsidy
Tourism Sector Governance

Govt launches e-FRRO scheme to provide hassle-free travel for foreigners


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: e-FRRO scheme

Mains level: Various initiatives to revive tourism sector


e-FRRO scheme

  1. The Union home ministry has flagged off the e-FRRO (e-Foreigners Regional Registration Office) scheme to expedite visa services for foreigners visiting India
  2. The e-FRRO scheme is aimed at building a centralized, transparent online platform for foreigners to avail visa related services and to provide faceless, cashless and paperless services to the foreigners with a user-friendly experience

Services provided

  1. In the new system, foreigners would be able to get as many as 27 visa and immigration-related services in India from the comfort of their place of stay
  2. Using the e-FRRO application, foreigners can apply online and obtain the services through email or post without appearing in person at the FRRO office
Electoral Reforms In India Indian Polity

[pib] Electoral Bond Scheme 2018


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Electoral Bonds, Representation of the People Act, 1951

Mains level: Reforms for ensuring transparency in political funding


  • Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.
  • A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
  • Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one percent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.
  • The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible Political Party only through a Bank account with the Authorized Bank.

Guidelines for sale:

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorized to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 11 Authorised Branches
  • Electoral Bonds shall be valid for fifteen days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after the expiry of the validity period
  • The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account shall be credited on the same day
Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc. Human Resource Development

Cabinet approves Integrated Scheme on School Education, subsumes existing schemes


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Integrated Scheme on School Education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE), RTE Act

Mains level: Improving school education standards and various schemes related to it


Integrated Scheme on School Education

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved the proposal of the Department of School Education and Literacy to formulate an Integrated Scheme on School Education
  2. It will be implemented by subsuming the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE) from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2020

About the scheme

  1. The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from nursery to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal for Education
  2. The main emphasis of the Integrated Scheme is on improving quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology

Objectives of scheme

  1. Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students
  2. Bridging social and gender gaps in school education
  3. Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education
  4. Ensuring minimum standards in schooling provisions
  5. Promoting vocationalisation of education
  6. Support states in the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009

Flexibility available to states

  1. The Scheme gives flexibility to the states and UTs to plan and prioritize their interventions within the scheme norms and the overall resource envelope available to them
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc. Health

Union Cabinet approves Ayushman Bharat health scheme

Image source


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ayushman Bharat scheme, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme, SECC

Mains level: Universal health coverage and related issues


Scheme for Universal Health Coverage

  1. The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the launch of the Ayushman BharatNational Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM)
  2. The scheme was announced in the Budget 2018

About the scheme

  1. The scheme will provide a cover of ₹5 lakh per family per year
  2. It would take care of almost all secondary care and most of the tertiary care procedures
  3. There will be no cap on family size and age
  4. The benefits cover will include pre and post-hospitalization expenses
  5. All pre-existing conditions will be covered from day one of the policy
  6. A defined transport allowance per hospitalization will also be paid to the beneficiary

Inclusions in the scheme

  1. The target beneficiaries will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database
  2. AB-NHPM will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes — Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS)
Internal Security Architecture Shortcomings – Key Forces, NIA, IB, CCTNS, etc. Security Issues

[op-ed snap] Keep The Army Out Of It


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: Not much

Mains level: The article talks about an important issue. It shows how military contribution in civilian duties can negatively effect any country.



  1. Diversion of the armed forces for routine civilian tasks has long-term costs.

Historical Background

  1. In 1953, following riots against Ahmadiyyas, martial law was imposed in Lahore
  2. After bringing the law and order situation under control, the Pakistan army proceeded to launch the “Cleaner Lahore Campaign”
  3. This initiative created a positive image of army efficiency
  4. In 1958, Ayub Khan became the military dictator of Pakistan
  5. Around the same time, in India, 4 Infantry Division was undertaking the construction of 1,450 barracks and family accommodation in Ambala using troop labour
  6. The construction was completed in a record seven months
  7. By end-1959, 4 Infantry Division was moved to NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh)
  8. And when India and China went to war in October-November 1962, it faced the brunt of Chinese assault and suffered a humiliating loss

Link between two incidents given above

  1. These two incidents are not directly linked but both hold lessons to be kept in mind while employing soldiers for routine civilian tasks
  2. Recent announcement of using army engineers to construct three railway footbridges in Mumbai has brought the issue into the spotlight
  3. This is, however, not the first time the army has been used for such tasks

How Mumbai situation is different?

  1. One, it is not an area where civilian agencies are unavailable
  2. The Railways in Mumbai have the engineering resources, technical expertise, funds and experience of constructing such a bridge
  3. Even private infrastructure creation agencies are available
  4. Two, this is a permanent infrastructure while the army is employed to make bridges which are needed temporarily(say for Kumbh)
  5. Three, the army comes in a public emergency where relief is needed in days, if not hours
  6. A month has already passed since the incident at Elphinstone Bridge

It is tempting to employ army in civilian duties

  1. Before the 1962 war, soldiers were growing crops in vast swathes of military lands
  2. And recently, the army was asked to clean the trash left behind by civilian tourists as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign
  3. But this violates a fundamental premise of a modern military that during peace-time, it must be left free to prepare for war

The way forward

  1. The government must also realise the institutional dangers inherent in employing soldiers in non-emergency civilian duties
  2. Such employment is an acknowledgement of civilian institutional failure
  3. An unthinking diversion of the armed forces for routine civilian tasks seems highly affordable but has long-term costs for the country
  4. The government should remember the lessons from the 1950s

Centre mulling new ₹200 note

  • The Centre is examining a proposal from the RBI to introduce Rs. 200 denomination currency notes
  • A smaller denomination note will improve liquidity
  • Background: In November last year, the Centre announced the demonetisation of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes
  • While a new Rs. 500 note was introduced with added security features, a new Rs. 1,000 note was not reintroduced
  • Instead, a new Rs. 2,000 denomination currency note was introduced

Note4students: Not very important. Just to keep abreast of the happenings. Do revisit the functions of RBI for prelims- economy section.

[pib] 17 Administrative Reforms implemented by Government

  1. e-Samiksha– A real time online system for monitoring and follow up action on the decisions taken by the Government at the apex level in respect of implementation of important Government’s programmes / projects
  2. e-Office- e-Office Mission Mode Project (MMP) has been strengthened for enabling Ministries/Department to switchover to paperless office
  3. Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT) payment, e-Payments – All payments to the beneficiary is to be made directly to their bank account through electronic mode under DBT
  4. Aadhaar enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS) –AEBAS was introduced in the Central Government Offices located in Delhi to monitor punctuality of government officials. This has improved the punctuality of the Government servant in offices
  5. Smart Performance Appraisal Report Recording Online Window (SPARROW) –Annual Performance Appraisal Report of All India Service Officers and some other services are being submitted online in the SPARROW portal. The system ensures timely submission and easy access of APAR
  6. Legal Information Management Based System (LIMBS) – This is an online court case monitoring system to ensure speedy disposal of disputes
  7. JeevanPramaan – The system provides authenticity to Digital Life Certificate without the necessity of the pensioner being present in person before his/ her Pension Dispensing Authority (PDA)
  8. UMAN– Unified Mobile App for New – age Governance is an initiative to build a common, unified platform and mobile app to facilitate single point of access for government services through mobile
  9. e-Sign– This framework has been developed as an integrated service, which facilitates issuing a Digital Signature Certificate and performing signing of requested document by authenticating the Aadhaar card holder
  10. Digital Locker-This provides an ecosystem with collection of repositories and gateways for issuers to upload the documents in the digital repositories. It will eliminate the usage of physical documents and enable sharing of e-documents across agencies.The System serves as a platform to enable citizens to securely store and share their documents with service providers who can directly access them electronically
  11. e-Hospital– Online Registration Framework (ORF) is an initiative to facilitate the patients to take online OPD appointments with government hospitals. This framework also covers patient care, laboratory services and medical record management
  12. Mobile Seva– Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has implemented a countrywide initiative on mobile governance, called Mobile Seva, to provide government services to the people through mobile phones and tablets
  13. National Centre of Geo-informatics (NCoG)- Under this project, Geographic Information System (GIS) platform for sharing, collaboration, location based analytics and decision support system for Departments has been developed. Currently, 8 applications across various domains are operational
  14. M-Kisan Portal – All Central and State Government organizations in agriculture and allied sectors to give information/services/advisories to farmers by SMS in their language, preference of agricultural practices and location
  15. Kisan Call Centres – Government setup call centres to respond to the queries of farmers on all seven days a week from 6.00 AM to 10.00 PM through toll free telephone No. 1XXX-XX-1551
  16. Kisan Suvidha Mobile App – on five critical parameters – weather, input dealers, market price, plant protection and expert advisories
  17. e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) – Connecting 21 wholesale markets (Mandis) in eight states


Might come in Prelims but we don’t expect you to remember all of them in one go. Just read and move on. These themes/ policies will keep recurring and we will keep putting them for your revision. PIB prints answers to LS/ RS questions and this gives us an oppty to revisit our basics.


[pib] Know about ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’

  1. Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan: To encourage, create awareness and motivate all people around them to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund
  2. Vittiya = Financial
  3. Emphasized that technology can be leveraged to bring financial digital literacy and a step forward toward digital economy
  4. Appealed to higher education institutes to receive nothing in cash, pay nothing in cash and develop a cashless campus (covering shops/canteens/services)
  5. Appealed to adapt to technology easily and quickly, to educate at home and in their surroundings to create digital financial literacy
  6. Highlighted that these digital platforms are easy to use, convenient, secure and anytime accessible by anyone anywhere


Since Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan is in tune with the government’s Digital India project, it holds significance for UPSC Prelims. Sometimes such Hindi/ Sanskrit terms are used as direct question. Remember that Vittiya = Financial.



[pib] Portal ‘E-Box’ launched by WCD Ministry to register online complaints of child sexual abuse

  1. What? An outreach service under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) for children in distress including children requiring assistance for protection from abuse
  2. This service is available through a dedicated toll free number, 1098 and can be accessed by children in crisis or by adults on their behalf.
  3. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has launched a portal ‘E-BOX’ in August 2016 to register online, complaints of child sexual abuse.


Relevance only for Prelims. That too if UPSC asks you a direct question on what is E-box. Don’t confuse it with any IPR regime term or worse an e-commerce terminology!

[pib] Rivers Under National River Conservation Programme. What’s that?

  1. The Water Resources Information System (WRIS) database developed by Central Water Commission along with Indian Space Research Organisation includes 15,615 numbers of identified rivers/streams in the country.
  2. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the State Pollution Control Boards is monitoring the water quality of rivers
  3. Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) level in rivers is a key indicator of organic pollution.
  4. Programs for river conservation are being implemented under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and NGRBA (National Ganga River Basin Authority)
  5. The PIB article mentions that there is no proposal of this Ministry to bring all rivers under the ambit of NRCP. That means only selected few rivers of India would be entertained


What is BOD?

  1. Biochemical oxygen demand is a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms (e.g., aerobic bacteria) in the oxidation of organic matter.
  2. Initial DO – Final DO = BOD | DO = Dissolved Oxygen
  3. Natural sources of organic matter include plant decay and leaf fall.
  4. The bacteria then begins the process of breaking down this waste.
  5. When this happens, much of the available dissolved oxygen is consumed by aerobic bacteria, robbing other aquatic organisms of the oxygen they need to live.

Brief history of river conservation in India

  1. 1985: The river conservation programme in the country was initiated with the launching of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP)
  2. 1995: The Ganga Action Plan was expanded to cover other rivers under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)
  3. NRCP, excluding the GAP-I, GAP-II and National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme presently covers polluted stretches of 40 rivers in 121 towns spread over 19 States
  4. 2014: The work relating to Ganga and its tributaries had been allotted to Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR).
  5. NRCP is under Ministry of Enviro

Various Sources of Pollution in Rivers, Lakes and Wetlands

  1. 75% from Domestic sources and 25% from Industrial effluents.
  2. Point sources: These are organized sources of pollution where the pollution load can be measured, e.g. surface drains carrying municipal sewage or industrial effluents
  3. Non-point sources: These are non-measurable sources of pollution such as run-off from agricultural fields carrying chemicals and fertilizers, run-off from solid waste dumps


Prelims worthy. Make notes of the stakeholders involved in these progs. Note the diff between 2 kinds of sources. Now that you know about BOD, what’s COD?

[pib] Extension of Mining Surveillance System

  1. Mining Surveillance System (MSS) = Ministry of Mines + Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) + Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG)
  2. MSS is a satellite-based monitoring system which aims to establish a regime of responsive mineral administration, through public participation, by facilitating State Governments in curbing instances of illegal mining.
  3. The MSS also includes user-friendly mobile-app for use of mining officials which will receive alerts, do field verification and submit inspection reports.
  4. This mobile app also aims to establish a participative monitoring system where the citizens also can use this app and report unusual mining activity which will be generated as a trigger.


The participatory feature is quite laudable. Remember this as nifty innovations in sarkar setup which you can use in your essay and answers.

[pib] Introduction of District Mineral Foundation Levy

  1. The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act, 1957) was amended through the MMDR Amendment Act, 2015.
  2. Imp Amendment: Establishment of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in any district affected by mining related operations.
  3. The objective of the DMF is to work for the interest and benefit of persons, and areas affected by mining related operations.
  4. The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) has been launched by the Government which will be implemented through funds collected under DMF.
  5. Objective of PMKKY: To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas.
  6. To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.
  7. To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.


There was a question on DMF in 2016 around its utility. They might just ask about the objectives of PMKKY in next year or so. Keep an eye on new amendments & bodies created out of them.

Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc. Industries

[pib] What are the schemes and measures to increase India’s share in global trade?

  1. The Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) was introduced in the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20
  2. The Government is implementing the Niryat Bandhu Scheme with an objective to reach out to the new and potential exporters
  3. Interest Equalization Scheme on pre & post shipment credit launched to provide cheaper credit to exporters.
  4. By way of trade facilitation and enhancing the ease of doing business, Government reduced the number of mandatory documents required for exports and imports
Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc. Industries

[pib] What is Min of Commerce doing for Plantation crops?

  1. Department of Commerce has recently approved the Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops  (RISPC)
  2. Aim: Protecting growers of tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and tobacco from the twin risks of weather and price arising from yield loss due to adverse weather parameters, pest attacks etc.
  3. Scheme is to be implemented on pilot basis in eight districts in the States of West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu
  4. It will be implemented by the Commodity Boards through selected insurance companies.
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