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[op-ed snap] Maximizing India’s development finance

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Fourth Industrial Revolution

Mains level: Interventions required by the government to diversify India’s infrastructure financing


Context

Demand for better services

  1. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, along with internet penetration and access to smartphones, has changed the outlook of people everywhere
  2. Everyone can see how others live and this has raised their aspirations and expectations
  3. People are demanding improved infrastructure to meet their aspirations
  4. This aspiration is particularly acute in the developing world, given the poor infrastructure and huge development financing needs

Infrastructure financing in developing nations

  1. It is estimated that infrastructure investments needed in energy, transport, telecommunications, water and sanitation, education, and health projects will amount to more than 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in developing countries
  2. Meeting the financing gap needed for infrastructure services will be one of the biggest challenges in development
  3. In developing economies, nearly 70% of the funding for infrastructure projects comes from the government budget, 20% from private players, and 10% from multilateral development banks

Potential for investment

  1. While the infrastructure financing gap is huge in the developing world, the potential for attracting private investment for infrastructure projects is also huge
  2. The basic traits of infrastructure projects, such as market size, long-term steady revenue stream, and investment returns that exceed inflation, make them attractive for institutional investors
  3. The funds managed by institutional investors in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries exceed $100 trillion
  4. Their allocation to emerging-market infrastructure projects is tiny

Reaping the benefits

  1. Many developing countries have launched programmes to attract private investments into infrastructure projects
  2. India has experienced a rapid increase in the number of public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects during the last two decades
  3. The government has established institutional structures in the ministry of finance and line ministries to scale up PPP projects
  4. A fast-growing economy and public-sector capabilities to prepare, procure and implement PPP projects have played a key role in creating markets and improving efficiency gains
  5. The electricity and road sectors have attracted the lion’s share of PPP investments in India
  6. India’s energy efficiency market, estimated to be more than $12 billion per year, is one of the largest untapped energy-efficiency markets in the world
  7. Ports and railways have also attracted investment but at the lower end

Challenges in financing

  1. Commercial banks have dominated the financing of infrastructure projects
  2. This amounts to the government transferring a huge amount of risk from public to the private sector
  3. With the structure of financing such that there is heavy reliance of private financing on the public sector and with heavy termination clauses included in PPP contracts, the government is potentially exposed to fiscal risks
  4. India and most of the developing world face a twin challenge—closing the infrastructure financing gap and changing the composition of financing
  5. Given rising global macroeconomic and trade concerns, changing the composition of financing is as important as maximizing infrastructure capital
  6. Changing the composition of capital flow also has the potential to increase the efficiency and sustainability of public finance and infrastructure projects

Other measures required

  1. There exists a huge potential for creating markets and improving the preparation and regulation of PPP projects in areas such as time taken to prepare projects, contract management, risk management, socioeconomic impact, affordability, and bankability of projects, and meeting the strategic importance of development goals
  2. While commercial banks will continue to be an important source of infrastructure finance, capital markets need to play a bigger role, given the increased demand for long-term sources of finance for infrastructure projects
  3. Bond markets, especially local currency bond markets, will be critical to filling the infrastructure-investment gap. There is also a need to avoid currency mismatches from borrowing in foreign currency for projects that generate revenues largely in local currency
  4. More fiscal reforms could also generate more revenues to bridge the infrastructure financing gap
  5. Taxation will play a key role in incentivizing investment and ensuring that the proceeds of investment are redistributed and reallocated in line with sustainable development priorities
  6. A lot more regulatory and institutional reforms are also needed to make infrastructure projects more attractive for private investors

Way forward

  1. No country can sustain growth and reduce poverty without maximizing development finance
  2. Maximizing finance for development, from billions to trillions, will not come from a single financing instrument
  3. Only by combining resources—international and domestic, public and private, corporate and philanthropic—will it be possible to achieve the necessary levels of financing
  4. The challenge is to increase both the scale and impact of financial resources, improve linkages, and build partnerships
  5. More can be done to strengthen the framework and tools needed to engage the private sector and maximize finance for development
PPP Investment Models: HAM, Swiss Challenge, Kelkar Committee

[op-ed snap] Short on nuance

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: B N Srikrishna committee, Draft data protection bill

Mains level: Concerns about data privacy and the role of government


Context

Draft data protection bill

  1. B N Srikrishna committee’s draft data protection bill is expected to be tabled soon in Parliament after final touches
  2. However, the committee has failed to develop an effective vocabulary to deal with the complex subject
  3. A data protection framework is unlikely to be grounded in reality without first formulating a data usage policy — this has been the discourse’s major lacuna

Inclusive functioning approach 

  1. The committee’s inclusive functioning style and seeking a public opinion at all stages are commendable
  2. Its recommendations pertaining to user-centric design, setting up of an independent data protection authority, regulating the government along with the private sector and a new law for intelligence gathering for national security are steps in the right direction
  3. Also welcome is the suggestion that the Aadhaar Act requires several modifications and provisions for regulatory oversight
  4. So is the recognition the committee has accorded to data portability

Some aberrations

  1. There is a suggestion that the UIDAI be both the data fiduciary and the regulator for Aadhaar
  2. There is also the curious suggestion that even though personal data can be transferred outside India, data fiduciaries will be required to store a local copy. Does this benefit the individual or is it a surveillance requirement of the state?
  3. The concepts of fair and reasonable processing, purpose and collection limitation, notice and consent, data quality and data storage limitation have largely failed to prevent identity thefts, unethical profiling and other privacy violations
  4. Dictums such as “personal data shall be processed in a fair and reasonable manner” are non-specific and they do not adequately define the contours of the required regulatory actions
  5. Ex-post accountability and punitive measures of the kind the committee has recommended may be largely ineffective, as they have been elsewhere
  6. The committee has not explored the ex-ante preventive measures adequately

Areas of omission

  • A data protection framework is incomplete without an investigation of the nuances of digital identity, and guidelines for the various use cases of authentication, authorisation and accounting
  1. It is also incomplete without an analysis of the extent to which personal information needs to be revealed for conducting businesses, and during eKYC processes
  2. In addition, effective protection requires an understanding of the possible pathways of information leaks, comprehending the limits of anonymisation with provable guarantees against re-identification attacks and a knowledge of the various possibilities with virtual identities
  3. Also required is an analysis of the possibilities of privacy preserving tools, techniques and protocols from computer science including hash functions, symmetric and public key cryptography, trust as negotiable protocols, selective disclosures, k\-anonymity, unlinkability and untraceability, one-time anonymous and dynamic credentials, zero-knowledge protocols, and quantifying information leak about individuals using techniques of differential privacy
  • The committee discusses about artificial intelligence and big-data analytics but fails to define clear-cut guidelines for their safe use
  1. But it ends up vaguely suggesting that no processing of personal data should result in taking decisions about a person without consent, but does not provide guidelines about enforcement
  2. Most theories for improving state efficiency in the delivery of welfare and health services using personal data will have to consider improved data processing methods for targeting, epidemiology, econometrics, tax compliance, corruption control, analytics, and topic discovery
  3. This, in turn, will require digitisation, surveillance and processing of large-scale personal transactional data
  4. Acquisition, storage and processing of personal health data will be crucial to such systems
  5. There should be detailed analyses of how such surveillance — targeted towards improving the efficiency of the state’s service delivery — can be achieved without enabling undesirable mass surveillance that may threaten civil liberty and democracy
  6. The committee needs to balance the seemingly conflicting requirements of individual privacy and the benefits of large-scale data processing, and it is not obvious that a trade-off is inevitable
  • A data protection framework is incomplete without defining the requirements and standards of access control, and protection against both external and insider attacks in large data establishments, both technically and legally
  1. The computer science sub-areas of security and automatic verification will certainly have a lot to offer

Way forward

  1. Civil society’s participation in discussions on data protection has been exemplary
  2. The institutions engaged in economics, public policy and computer science have to now wake up and produce comprehensive studies and white papers on all aspects of data usage and data protection for the framework to be successful
Right To Privacy

[op-ed snap] United colours of the ‘yellow vests’

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Gilets jaunes movement

Mains level: Causes of gilets jaunes movement in France and how a similar situation could occur in India


Context

Protests in Paris

  1. On November 17, about 3 lakh people from small towns and rural France descended on Paris, led by drivers wearing vests, to protest the rise in fuel prices caused by a new tax
  2. These are being called gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests
  3. The political violence in France follows well-worn patterns that have their roots in the country’s revolutionary past
  4. This means that the mere erection of a barricade can turn a tedious protest march into a pseudo-revolutionary action with powerful political ramifications

How did the violence erupt?

  1.  It is significant that the catalyst for the protests was rising fuel prices
  2. Those most reliant on their cars are those who live farthest from urban areas and do not have access to regular public transport
  3. In addition, there has been a complete policy reversal on diesel fuel
  4. After almost half a century of subsidies, the French state has been taking away financial incentives on diesel since the early 2000s
  5. This is a heavy blow for the 61% of French people whose cars run on diesel, and for the truckers and farmers who were used to getting their fuel on the cheap
  6. While fuel prices were clearly the catalyst and continue to be at the core of the leaderless, social media-organised movement’s core, issues of declining welfare services and unemployment allowance have also come to the fore

Uniqueness of the movement

  1. Some of the techniques used in the recent protests in France mirror those used by trade unions
  2. Shutdowns and blockades have been the stock-in-trade of the French labour movement for more than 150 years
  3. After the collapse of the French empire in the 1950s and 1960s, the French police did bring their peculiarly violent methods of control and interrogation back to metropolitan France, with sometimes devastating consequences
  4. None of these clichés really gets to the heart of the so-called gilets jaunes (yellow vest) protests that have rocked France for the past three weeks
  5. This is because the protests do not fit the usual historic parallels
  6. The movement is not led by any union or political party
  7. No one can say that it is a structured ‘movement’
  8. It also seems to combine elements of the right and left — and especially elements of the far-right and far-left — that make an ideological interpretation of the protests awkward
  9. The protesters’ demands are not clearly articulated: some want tax cuts (on fuel), some want tax rises (for the rich), some want more public services, some want more generous state benefits, some want to smash up symbols of capitalism, some want a stronger President, some think the current President is too strong, and some want all of these things at once
  10. Given this extraordinary dispersion of demands, it is hard to give a fixed reading of what the gilets jaunes represent

Double-bind of the French state

  • Obsessive focus on the French state
  1. From the beginning, the gilets jaunes have targeted the French state as both villain and saviour
  2. They have organised groups to protest outside government offices all over the country, especially in smaller provincial towns
  3. This has frequently been accompanied by violence and vandalism
  4. Almost all of the protesters agree that the state is not doing enough and has neglected their needs
  5. Yet, despite their ire, the gilets jaunes also demand redress from the very same state they abhor
  6. The state is held as sole responsible and sole guarantor
  • Wide geographical dispersion
  1. The focus on Paris has been misleading
  2. Recent events are spread out across metropolitan France and even overseas
  3. In the overseas territory of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, the entire island has been brought to a standstill by targeted traffic blockades
  4. This geographical reach reflects another long-standing structural pathology of the French economy, namely the sharp division between centre and periphery
  5. While urban areas in France have tended to develop better infrastructure and more integrated community structures, the withdrawal of state aid has had the opposite effect in peri-urban and rural areas, and in the highly unequal overseas territories

Way forward

  1. The most likely scenario is that the protests will peter out due to fatigue, demobilisation and a lack of leadership
  2. The protests also point to a deeper cleavage within French society that is likely to resurface unless the fundamental issues around models of development, the welfare state and national identity are addressed
  3. The people of France clearly need a deeper dialogue to address their sense of alienation
  4. The most urgent task facing France’s elite is to elaborate a more inclusive political project that will begin to reduce the country’s well-documented inequalities

With inputs from the article: France vs Paris

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India gets first witness protection scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the scheme

Mains level: Importance of protection for Witness in major trials


News

Background

  • The issue came up when the Supreme Court was hearing a PIL plea seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases, involving a self-proclaimed godman as key accused in Madhya Pradesh.

Supreme Court asks for implementation

  1. The Supreme Court has brought in place a witness protection regime in the country noting that one of the main reasons for witnesses turning hostile is that they are not given security by the State.
  2. A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and S. Abdul Nazeer said Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 will come into effect immediately across all States.
  3. The court said the scheme, which aimed to enable a witness to depose fearlessly and truthfully, would be the law of the land till Parliament enacted suitable legislation.

Witness Protection Scheme, 2018

  1. Under it, witness protection may be as simple as providing a police escort to the witness up to the courtroom.
  2. In more complex cases involving organised criminal group, extraordinary measures will be taken such as offering temporary residence in a safe house, giving a new identity, and relocation at an undisclosed place.
  3. The objective of this Scheme is to ensure that the investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences is not prejudiced because witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.
  4. The scheme shall extend to the whole of the India except the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
  5. During the  course  of  investigation  or  trial  of  any  serious  offence,  an application  for  seeking  identity  protection  can  be  filed  in  the  prescribed  form before the Competent Authority.
  6. The scheme has three categories of witnesses based on the threat perception, and the states should start enforcing it:

Category ‘A’

  • Where the threat extends to life of witness or his family members and their normal way of living is affected for a substantial period, during investigation/trial or even thereafter.

Category ‘B’

  • Where the threat extends to safety, reputation or property of the witness or his family members, only during the investigation process or trial.

Category ‘C’

  • Where the threat is moderate and extends to harassment or intimidation of the witness or his family member’s, reputation or property, during the investigation process.

Other Provisions

  1. Witness Protection Fund means the fund created for bearing the expenses incurred during the implementation of Witness Protection Order passed by the Competent Authority under this scheme;
  2. Witness Protection Order means an order passed by the Competent  Authority detailing the steps to be taken for ensuring the safety of witness from threats to his or his family member’s life, reputation or property.  *It also includes interim order, if any passed, during the pendency of Witness Protection Application;
  3. Witness Protection Cell means a dedicated Cell of State/UT Police or Central Police Agencies assigned the duty to implement the witness protection order. It shall be responsible for the security as per witness protection order.

Proposed Rights to be entitled to the Witness

  • Right to give evidence anonymously
  • Right to protection from intimidation and harm
  • Right to be treated with dignity and compassion and respect of privacy
  • Right to information of the status of the investigation and prosecution of the crime
  • Right to secure waiting place while at Court proceedings
  • Right to transportation and lodging arrangements

With inputs from official website of  NALSA

Judiciary Institutional Issues

India calls for constructive engagement to review OPCW

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Chemical Weapons Convention

Mains level: India’s track record in chemical disarmament.


News

  • At the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties held on November 23, India called for constructive engagement, dialogue and unity of purpose to reviewing the Operation of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Convention.

Unforeseen challenges

  1. There are daunting challenges ahead such as the discovery of new toxic chemicals, advancements in deployment and dissemination techniques.
  2. There is an increasing threat of use of chemical weapons by non-state actors such as IS and other terror outfits.
  3. The growing complexity of the global security environment calls for greater vigilance and continued efforts by both OPCW and the member states towards achieving general and complete chemical disarmament.
  4. Despite best efforts, there has been an increase in allegations and incidents of use of chemical weapons in different parts of the world such as Malaysia, UK and Northern Ireland, the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.

Need for long lasting solutions

  1. Any long-lasting and effective solution to the challenges being faced by the OPCW can only be found through wide-ranging consultations involving all States Parties.
  2. The aim of the Chemical Weapons Convention is to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons.

India’s stand on chemical weapons

  1. As a founding member of OPCW, India has always emphasized the importance of the principle of consensus enshrined in the Convention.
  2. The destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles nears completion.
  3. OPCW must continue to implement its disarmament mandate by focusing on preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons as well as the risk of their proliferation.
  4. This is vital in fulfilling the OPCW’s crucial role in enhancing international peace and security.

Way Forward

  1. The use of these weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances is unjustifiable.
  2. India bats for the perpetrators of these despicable acts must be held accountable.
  3. The efforts in the OPCW should be aimed at eliminating all the possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons.

Back2Basics

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

  1. The OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997.
  2. The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.
  3. The organisation promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction.
  4. Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections.
  5. The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
  6. The organisation is not an agency of the United Nations, but cooperates both on policy and practical issues.
  7. India is one of its founding members.*
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India Water Impact Summit 2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India Water Impact Summit 2018

Mains level: Strategy envisioned in the newscards


News

  • India Water Impact Summit 2018 was jointly organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies in New Delhi.

India Water Impact Summit

  1. It is an annual event where stakeholders get together to discuss, debate and develop model solutions for some of the biggest water-related problems in the country.
  2. The discussions this year will be on the rejuvenation of the Ganga River Basin.
  3. There will be multi-country dialogue on the subject, with showcasing of technological innovations, research, policy frameworks and funding models from India and abroad.
  4. The efforts may take various forms including (but not limited to): data collection (sensors, LIDAR, modelling etc), hydrology, e-flows, agriculture, wastewater and more.

Three key aspects on focus

Spotlight on 5 states

  • These include Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Bihar
  • The objective is to showcase the efforts and works going on within the respective states.

Ganga Financing Forum

  • The Summit introduces the inaugural Ganga Financing Forum that will bring a number of institutions to a common knowledge, information and partnership platform.
  • The Hybrid Annuity Model has redefined the economic landscape of water and waste-water treatment in India.
  • All tenders have been successfully bid out and financial closures being achieved.
  • The Financing Forum will bring together financial institutions and investors interested in Namami Gange programmes.

Technology and Innovation

  • Implementation of the pilot/demonstration programme known as the Environment Technology Verification (ETV) process.
  • This will provide an opportunity for technology and innovation companies from around the world to showcase their solutions for addressing the problems prevalent in the river basin.
Mission Clean Ganga

Accounting methods of climate fund questioned

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level:  Assessing developed countries ambitious climate actions


News

  • The Finance Ministry has issued a ‘discussion paper’ that has criticized the accounting methods used by developed countries to report how much money they have given, so far, to developing countries to address climate change.

Accounting methods under lens

  1. Accounting procedures, regarding the flow of climate finance, is one of the most controversial issues being debated at COP Katowice, Poland.
  2. Countries have gathered to agree upon a ‘Rule Book’ to implement the Paris Agreement of 2015, that commits countries to ensure the earth doesn’t warm 2C beyond pre-industrial levels.

Not delivering their Pledges

  1. In 2019, developed countries are expected to make available $100 billion annually to developing countries, according to a 2010 agreement in Cancun.
  2. In 2016, developed countries published a road map to $100 billion, which claimed that public climate finance levels had reached $41 billion per year in 2013-14.
  3. In 2015, India had disputed this figure arguing it was only $ 2.2 billion.
  4. The 2017 numbers also tell a similar story. Only around 12% of total pledges to climate funds have actually materialized into disbursements.

Discontent over meager Climate Funds

  1. India has argued that the definition of climate finance in the UNFCCC has remained “imprecise and incomplete.”
  2. There was no clarity on whether the developed countries’ commitment to ‘provide funds’ meant funds committed or those that made it to their intended recipients.
  3. The total pledges to the Green Climate Fund, the largest multilateral fund, were a “meagre” $10.3 billion.
  4. Further, most of the total climate finance has flowed into mitigation (a reference to preventing carbon dioxide from being emitted).
  5. The growth in the reported climate specific finance actually slowed down from 24% between 2014 and 2015 to 14% between 2015 and 2016, the paper notes, quoting a report by the finance committee of the UN that manages climate-affairs.
Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Micro satellite ExseedSAT1 launched to space

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ExseedSAT1

Mains level: Utilities of the ExseedSAT1


News

India’s first private Satellite

  1. The ‘Made in India’ micro satellite ExseedSAT1, built by a small start up is the first built in the private sector to go into space.
  2. It was launched through the Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX.
  3. So far building and launching satellites has been the exclusive preserve of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the main driver of the impressive space programme.
  4. Early this year, through its commercial arm Antrix Agency, ISRO had encouraged private participation and building of satellites.

ExseedSAT1 and its purpose

  1. The satellite is a major boost to the private radio operators in the country.
  2. The satellites of this form are called Cubesats as they are 10 cm across and 1kg weight.
  3. This satellite is freely available for all radio amateurs across the world.
  4. It is an open radio transponder that works on ham radio frequencies.
  5. The amateur radio services provide vital communication links during natural disasters.

Amateur Radio Licensing in India

  1. One has to pay just Rs 100 license from the WPC to communicate through this satellite.
  2. Amateur radio operators are granted license by a governmental regulatory authority after passing an examination on applicable regulations, electronics, radio theory, and radio operation.
  3. The Indian government has waived the need for security clearances for amateur radio, enabling a lot of students to quickly apply and obtain radio amateur license.
ISRO Missions and Discoveries

[pib] Soil Health Cards (SHC) for optimal utilization of fertilizers

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture| Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  SHC scheme

Mains level: Soil Health


News

  • Soil Health Card Scheme has been taken up for the first time in a comprehensive manner across the country.
  • Under the scheme soil health cards are provided to all farmers so as to enable the farmers to apply appropriate recommended dosages of nutrients for crop production and improving soil health and its fertility.

Unique features of SHC scheme

  1. Collecting soil samples at a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in un-irrigated areas.
  2. Uniform approach in soil testing adopted for  12 parameters viz. primary nutrients (NPK); secondary nutrient (S); micronutrients (B,Zn, Mn. Fe & Cu); and other (pH, EC & OC) for comprehensiveness.
  3. GPS enabled soil sampling to create a systematic database and allow monitoring of changes in the soil health over the years.

Phases of Implementation

  1. In the 1st cycle which was implemented in year 2015 to 2017, 2.53 crore soil samples were analysed and 10.73 crore soil health cards distributed to farmers.
  2. The 2nd cycle (2017-19) was started from 1st May, 2017 and against target of 2.73 crore soil samples, 1.98 crore samples tested and 6.73 crore cards have been distributed to farmers.
  3. The target is to cover 12.04 crore farmers.
  4. To enable quick soil sample testing and distribution of soil health cards, the soil test infrastructure has been upgraded, 9263 soil testing labs have been sanctioned to States.
  5. In addition, 1562 village level soil testing projects have been sanctioned to generate employment for rural youth.

Back2Basics

Soil Health Card Scheme

  1. Soil Health Card Scheme is a scheme launched by the Government of India in 19 February 2015.
  2. Under the scheme, the government plans to issue soil cards to farmers.
  3. The SHC will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms to help farmers to improve productivity through judicious use of inputs.
  4. All soil samples are to be tested in various soil testing labs across the country.
  5. Thereafter the experts will analyse the strength and weaknesses (micro-nutrients deficiency) of the soil and suggest measures to deal with it.
Soil Health Management – NMSA, Soil Health Card, etc.