Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

[pib] PLI Scheme for White Goods

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : White Goods, PLI Scheme

Mains level : Success of the PLI Scheme

A total of  52 companies have filed their application with a committed investment of Rs 5,866 crore under the PLI scheme to incentivize the domestic manufacturing of components of White Goods.

What are White Goods?

  • White goods refer to heavy consumer durables or large home appliances, which were traditionally available only in white.
  • They include appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners, stoves, refrigerators, etc. The white goods industry in India is highly concentrated.

Why PLI scheme for white goods?

  • Indian appliance and consumer electronics (ACE) market reached INR 76,400 crore (~$10.93 bn) in 2019.
  • Appliances and consumer electronics industry is expected to double to reach INR 1.48 lakh crore (~$21.18 bn) by 2025.
  • The PLI Scheme on White Goods is designed to create complete component ecosystem for Air Conditioners and LED Lights Industry in India and make India an integral part of the global supply chains.
  • Only manufacturing of components of ACs and LED Lights will be incentivized under the Scheme.

What is PLI Scheme?

  • As the name suggests, the scheme provides incentives to companies for enhancing their domestic manufacturing apart from focusing on reducing import bills and improving the cost competitiveness of local goods.
  • PLI scheme offers incentives on incremental sales for products manufactured in India.
  • The scheme for respective sectors has to be implemented by the concerned ministries and departments.

Criteria laid for the scheme

  • Eligibility criteria for businesses under the PLI scheme vary based on the sector approved under the scheme.
  • For instance, the eligibility for telecom units is subject to the achievement of a minimum threshold of cumulative incremental investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods.
  • The minimum investment threshold for MSME is Rs 10 crore and Rs 100 crores for others.
  • Under food processing, SMEs and others must hold over 50 per cent of the stock of their subsidiaries, if any.
  • On the other hand, for businesses under pharmaceuticals, the project has to be a greenfield project while the net worth of the company should not be less than 30 per cent of the total committed investment.

What are the incentives offered?

  • An incentive of 4-6 per cent was offered last year on mobile and electronic components manufacturers such as resistors, transistors, diodes, etc.
  • Similarly, 10 percent incentives were offered for six years (FY22-27) of the scheme for the food processing industry.
  • For white goods too, the incentive of 4-6 per cent on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India for a period of five years was offered to companies engaged in the manufacturing of air conditioners and LED lights.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Textile Sector – Cotton, Jute, Wool, Silk, Handloom, etc.

PLI Scheme for Textiles

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PLI scheme for various sectors

Mains level : Textile sector of India

The Union Government has approved Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Textiles.  This move is a part of the overall announcement of PLI Schemes for 13 sectors made earlier during the Union Budget 2021-22.

What is PLI Scheme?

  • As the name suggests, the scheme provides incentives to companies for enhancing their domestic manufacturing apart from focusing on reducing import bills and improving the cost competitiveness of local goods.
  • PLI scheme offers incentives on incremental sales for products manufactured in India.
  • The scheme for respective sectors has to be implemented by the concerned ministries and departments.

Criteria laid for the scheme

  • Eligibility criteria for businesses under the PLI scheme vary based on the sector approved under the scheme.
  • For instance, the eligibility for telecom units is subject to the achievement of a minimum threshold of cumulative incremental investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods.
  • The minimum investment threshold for MSME is Rs 10 crore and Rs 100 crores for others.
  • Under food processing, SMEs and others must hold over 50 per cent of the stock of their subsidiaries, if any.
  • On the other hand, for businesses under pharmaceuticals, the project has to be a greenfield project while the net worth of the company should not be less than 30 per cent of the total committed investment.

What are the incentives involved?

  • An incentive of 4-6 per cent was offered last year on mobile and electronic components manufacturers such as resistors, transistors, diodes, etc.
  • Similarly, 10 percent incentives were offered for six years (FY22-27) of the scheme for the food processing industry.
  • For white goods too, the incentive of 4-6 per cent on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India for a period of five years was offered to companies engaged in the manufacturing of air conditioners and LED lights.

What is in the box for Textiles?

  • The PLI scheme for textiles aims to promote the production of high value Man-Made Fibre (MMF) fabrics, garments and technical textiles.
  • Any person or company willing to invest a minimum of Rs 300 crore in plant, machinery, equipment and civil works (excluding land and administrative building cost) to produce products of MMF fabrics, garments and products of technical textiles will be eligible.
  • Investors willing to spend a minimum of Rs 100 crore under the same conditions shall be eligible.

Benefits offered

  • PLI scheme for Textiles will promote production of high value MMF Fabric, Garments and Technical Textiles in country.
  • The incentive structure has been so formulated that the industry will be encouraged to invest in fresh capacities in these segments.
  • This will give a major push to the growing high-value MMF segment which will complement the efforts of the cotton and other natural fiber-based textiles industry.
  • This will help to generate new opportunities for employment and trade, resultantly helping India regain its historical dominant status in global textiles trade.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)


Back2Basics: India’s textile sector

  • The textile industry in India traditionally, after agriculture, is the only industry that has generated huge employment for both skilled and unskilled labour.
  • The domestic textiles and apparel industry contributes 5% to India’s GDP, 7% of industry output in value terms, and 12% of the country’s export earnings.
  • The textile industry continues to be the second-largest employment generating sector in India. It offers direct employment to over 35 million in the country.
  • India is first in global jute production and shares 63% of the global textile and garment market. India is second in global textile manufacturing and also second in silk and cotton production.
  • 100% FDI is allowed via automatic route in textile sector.

Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

What is Glue Grant Scheme?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Glue Grant Scheme

Mains level : Not Much

Forty Central universities will kick off the implementation of innovative measures such as the academic credit bank and the glue grant meant to encourage multidisciplinary in UG courses.

Glue Grant Scheme

  • Under the glue grant, announced in this year’s budget, institutions in the same city would be encouraged to share resources, equipment and even allow their students to take classes from each other.
  • This is the first step for multidisciplinary.
  • We intend to start this from the second semester of the current academic year.
  • Ultimately, faculty will be able to design joint courses.
  • This also meant that institutions need not duplicate work by developing the same capacities, but would be able to build on each other’s expertise.

Credit bank

  • The first step would be the academic credit bank, which would have to be adopted separately by the academic council of each university to kick off implementation.
  • To start with, the system would allow students to attain qualifications by amassing credits rather than specific durations on campus.
  • A certain number of credits would add up to a certificate, then a diploma and then a degree, allowing for multiple entries and exit points.
  • Students can earn up to 40% of their credits in online Swayam classes, rather than in the physical classroom. In the future, these credits will hold validity across different institutions.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

MGNREGA Scheme

[pib] Bhuvan Yuktdhara Portal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bhuvan Yuktdhara Portal

Mains level : MGNREGA

A new portal under Bhuvan “Yuktdhara” has been released to facilitate planning of new MGNREGA assets using Remote Sensing and GIS based information.

Bhuvan Yuktdhara Portal

  • Yuktdhara is a geospatial planning portal meant for facilitating Gram Panchayat level planning of MGNREGA activities across India.
  • Portal integrates a wide variety of spatial information contents to enable a holistic approach towards planning using open-source GIS tool.
  • Subsequent to pan Indian initiative of geo-tagging assets created under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, harnessing the strength of GIS for identifying upcoming activities and their locations was a natural corollary.

Features of the portal

  • The current level of integration under Yuktdhara, as part of Bhuvan, incorporates multi-temporal IRS satellite data of better than 3M detail in natural color, digital terrain, thematic layers as wed as locations of MGNREGA works and watershed management assets.
  • The interface currently has a Gram Panchayat-specific logo to address planning as well as approval mechanisms intended to ensure the evaluation and acceptance of proposed activities.
  • This will be enhanced for other levels of users gradually.
  • Access for other Gram Panchayat will be facilitated at the earliest, by addressing the case multiple logins created for geotagging and moderation.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)


Back2Basics: MGNREG Scheme

  • The MGNREGA stands for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005.
  • This is labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘Right to Work’.
  • The act was first proposed in 1991 by P.V. Narasimha Rao.

The objectives of the MGNREGA are:

  • To enhance the livelihood security of the rural poor by generating wage employment opportunities.
  • To create a rural asset base that would enhance productive ways of employment, augment and sustain a rural household income.

Features of the program

  • MGNREGA is unique in not only ensuring at least 100 days of employment to the willing unskilled workers, but also in ensuring an enforceable commitment on the implementing machinery i.e., the State Governments, and providing a bargaining power to the labourers.
  • The failure of provision for employment within 15 days of the receipt of job application from a prospective household will result in the payment of unemployment allowance to the job seekers.
  • Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.
  • Thus, employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.

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

What is RoDTEP Scheme?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MEIS, RODTEP Scheme

Mains level : Export promotion schemes in India

The Centre has notified the rates and norms for the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme asserting that it would put ‘direct cash in the pockets of exporters’ soon.

RoDTEP Scheme

  • RoDTEP is a scheme for Exporters to make Indian products cost-competitive and create a level playing field for them in the Global Market.
  • It has been kicked in from January 2021, replacing the earlier Merchandise and Services Export Incentive Schemes (MEIS and SEIS) that were in violation of WTO norms.
  • The new RoDTEP Scheme is a fully WTO compliant scheme.
  • It will reimburse all the taxes/duties/levies being charged at the Central/State/Local level which are not currently refunded under any of the existing schemes but are incurred at the manufacturing and distribution process.

Answer this PYQ:

Q.With reference to the international trade of India at present, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. India’s merchandise exports are less than its merchandise imports.
  2.  India’s imports of iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizers and machinery have decreased in recent years.
  3.  India’s exports of services ye more than its imports of services.
  4.  India suffers from an overall trade/current account deficit.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 3 and 4 only

 

Post your answers here (You need to sign-in for that).

Why need such a scheme?

  • The scheme was announced last year as a replacement for the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), which was not found not to be compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organisation.
  • Following a complaint by the US, a dispute settlement panel had ruled against India’s use of MEIS as it had found the duty credit scrips awarded under the scheme to be inconsistent with WTO norms.

Coverage of the scheme

  • It covers about 75% of traded items and 65% of India’s exports.
  • To enable zero-rating of exports by ensuring domestic taxes are not exported, all taxes, including those levied by States and even Gram Panchayats, will be refunded under the scheme.
  • Steel, pharma, and chemicals have not been included under the scheme because their exports have done well without incentives.

Back2Basics: Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)

  • MEIS was launched with an objective to enhance the export of notified goods manufactured in a country.
  • This scheme came into effect on 1 April 2015 through the Foreign Trade Policy and was in existence till 2020.
  • It intended to incentivize exports of goods manufactured in India or produced in India.
  • The incentives were for goods widely exported from India, industries producing or manufacturing such goods with a view to making Indian exports competitive.
  • The MEIS covered almost 5000 goods notified for the purpose of the scheme.

Oil and Gas Sector – HELP, Open Acreage Policy, etc.

Ujjwala 2.0 Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ujjwala Scheme

Mains level : Not Much

Prime Minister has launched the second phase of the Ujjwala gas connection scheme for the poor and said it would provide the biggest relief to lakhs of migrant worker families in the country.

Ujjwala 2.0

  • Under Ujjwala 2.0 migrant workers would no longer have to struggle to get address proof documents to get the gas connections, Mr. Modi said.
  • Now migrant workers would only be required to submit a self-declaration of their residential address to get the gas connection.
  • Along with a deposit-free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide the first refill and a hotplate free of cost to the beneficiaries.

About the PM Ujjwala Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched in 2016, with the aim to provide Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to five crore women members of below poverty line (BPL) households in the first phase.
  • he scheme was expanded in April 2018 to include women beneficiaries from seven more categories (SC/ST, PMAY, AAY, Most backward classes, tea garden, forest dwellers, Islands).
  • In the second phase the target was expanded to eight crore LPG connections.

Significance of Ujjwala 2.0

  • LPG infrastructure has expanded manifold in the country due to the Ujjwala scheme.
  • In the last six years, more than 11,000 new LPG distribution centres have opened across the country.
  • The LPG coverage in India is now very close to becoming 100 per cent.

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NMEO-OP

Mains level : Oilseeds and India

The Centre has increased the financial outlay for the National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).

About NMEO-OP

  • National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) was implemented during the 12th Five Year Plan, to expand the oil palm areas and increase the production of edible oils.
  • It was later merged with the National Food Security Mission.
  • NMEO-OP aims to resolve to allow India to be independent or self-reliant in edible oil production.
  • Through this mission, more than ₹11,000 crores will be invested in the edible oil ecosystem.
  • The government will ensure that farmers get all the needed facilities, from quality seeds to technology.
  • Along with promoting the cultivation of oil palm, this mission will also expand the cultivation of our other traditional oilseed crops.

Why such a mission?

  • India is one of the major oilseeds growers and importers of edible oils.
  • India’s vegetable oil economy is the world’s fourth-largest after the USA, China & Brazil.
  • The oilseed accounts for 13% of the Gross Cropped Area, 3% of the Gross National Product, and 10% value of all agricultural commodities.
  • During the last few years, the domestic consumption of edible oils has increased substantially and has touched the level of 18.90 million tonnes in 2011-12 and is likely to increase further.
  • A substantial portion of our requirement of edible oil is met through the import of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • It is, therefore, necessary to exploit domestic resources to maximize production to ensure edible oil security for the country.

Alternative sources

  • Oil Palm is comparatively a new crop in India and is the highest vegetable oil yielding perennial crop.
  • With quality planting materials, irrigation, and proper management, there is a potential of achieving 20-30 MT Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) per ha after attaining the age of 5 years.
  • Therefore, there is an urgent need to intensify efforts for area expansion under oil palm to enhance palm oil production in the country.
  • Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs), like Sal, Mahua, Simarouba, kokum, Olive, Karanja, Jatropha, Neem, Jojoba, Wild Apricot, Walnut, tung etc. are cultivated/grown in the country under different agro-climatic conditions.
  • These TBOs are also good sources of vegetable oil and therefore need to be supported for cultivation.

Try answering this PYQ:

Q.An objective of the National Food Security Mission is to increase the production of certain crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a sustainable manner in the identified districts of the country. What are those crops?

(a) Rice and wheat only

(b) Rice, wheat, and pulses only

(c) Rice, wheat, pulses, and oilseeds only

(d) Rice, wheat, pulses, oilseeds, and vegetables

 

Post your answers here:

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

[pib] Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Rural Development has taken several measures for the successful implementation of the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) Gram Panchayats.

Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)

  • SAGY is a village development project launched in October 2014, under which each Member of Parliament will take the responsibility of developing physical and institutional infrastructure in three villages by 2019.
  • SAGY aims at instilling certain values in the villages and their people so that they get transformed into models for others.

These values include:

  • Adopting people’s participation as an end in itself – ensuring the involvement of all sections of society in all aspects related to the life of village, especially in decision- making related to governance
  • Adhering to Antyodaya – enabling the “poorest and the weakest person” in the village to achieve well being
  • Affirming gender equality and ensuring respect for women
  • Guaranteeing social justice
  • Instilling dignity of labour and the spirit of community service and voluntarism
  • Promoting a culture of cleanliness
  • Living in consonance with nature – ensuring a balance between development and ecology
  • Preserving and promoting local cultural heritage
  • Inculcating mutual cooperation, self-help and self-reliance
  • Fostering peace and harmony in the village community
  • Bringing about transparency, accountability and probity in public life
  • Nurturing local self-governance
  • Adhering to the values enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties of the Indian Constitution

Identification of an Adarsh Gram

  • A Gram Panchayat would be the basic unit.
  • It will have a population of 3000-5000 in plain areas and 1000-3000 in hilly, tribal and difficult areas.
  • In districts where this unit size is not available, Gram Panchayats approximating the desirable population size may be chosen.
  • The MP would be free to identify a suitable Gram Panchayat for being developed as Adarsh Gram, other than his/her own village or that of his/her spouse.
  • Lok Sabha MP has to choose a Gram Panchayat from within his/her constituency and Rajya Sabha MP a from the rural area of a district of his/her choice in the State from which he/she is elected.
  • Nominated MPs may choose a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of any district in the country.
  • In the case of urban constituencies, (where there are no Gram Panchayats), the MP will identify a Gram Panchayat from a nearby rural constituency.
  • The newly elected MPs will have the option to select the GP of their choice.

Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MPLAD Scheme

Mains level : Not Much

Virtually, 50% of funds allotted for ongoing MPLADS projects have lapsed.

What is the MPLAD scheme?

  • The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is a program first launched during the Narasimha Rao Government in 1993.
  • It was aimed towards providing funds for developmental works recommended by individual MPs.

Funds available

  • The MPs then were entitled to recommend works to the tune of Rs 1 crore annually between 1994-95 and 1997-98, after which the annual entitlement was enhanced to Rs 2 crore.
  • The UPA government in 2011-12 raised the annual entitlement to Rs 5 crore per MP.

Implementation

  • To implement their plans in an area, MPs have to recommend them to the District Authority of the respective Nodal District.
  • The District Authorities then identify Implementing Agencies that execute the projects.
  • The respective District Authority is supposed to oversee the implementation and has to submit monthly reports, audit reports, and work completion reports to the Nodal District Authority.
  • The MPLADS funds can be merged with other schemes such as MGNREGA and Khelo India.

Guidelines for MPLADS implementation

  • The document ‘Guidelines on MPLADS’ was published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in June 2016 in this regard.
  • It stated the objective of the scheme to enable MPs to recommend works of developmental nature with emphasis on the creation of durable community assets based on the locally felt needs in their Constituencies.
  • Right from the inception of the Scheme, durable assets of national priorities viz. drinking water, primary education, public health, sanitation, and roads, etc. should be created.
  • It recommended MPs to works costing at least 15 percent of their entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 percent for areas inhabited by ST population.
  • It lays down a number of development works including construction of railway halt stations, providing financial assistance to recognized bodies, cooperative societies, installing CCTV cameras etc.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q. With reference to the funds under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), which of the following statements are correct? (CSP 2020)

  1. MPLADS funds must be used to create durable assets like physical infrastructure for health, education, etc.
  2. A specified portion of each MP’s fund must benefit SC/ST populations.
  3. MPLADS funds are sanctioned on a yearly basis and the unused funds cannot be carried forward to the next year.
  4. The district authority must inspect at least 10% of all works under implementation every year.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 4 only

“Post your answers here”

Microfinance Story of India

Telangana’s Dalit Bandhu Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dalitha Bandhu Scheme

Mains level : Not Much

Telangana CM has recently been informed to spend Rs 80,000 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore for Dalit Bandhu Scheme, touted as the country’s biggest direct benefit transfer scheme, to empower Dalits across the state.

Dalit Bandhu Scheme

  • Dalit Bandhu is the latest flagship program of the Telangana government.
  • It is envisioned as a welfare scheme for empowering Dalit families and enable entrepreneurship among them through a direct benefit transfer of Rs 10 lakh per family.
  • This is, once implemented on the ground, going to be the biggest cash transfer scheme in the country.
  • Apart from monetary assistance, the government plans to create a corpus called the Dalit Security Fund permanently to support the beneficiary in the event of any adversities.
  • This fund will be managed by the district collector concerned, along with a committee of beneficiaries.
  • The beneficiary would be issued an identity card with an electronic chip, which will help the government monitor the progress of the scheme.

Where is the scheme being implemented?

  • The CM decided to implement it on a pilot basis in the Huzurabad Assembly constituency.
  • Based on the experiences of implementation in Huzurabad, the scheme will be rolled out across the state in a phased manner.
  • Officials were asked to visit Dalit colonies and interact with Dalit families to find out their views and opinions before preparing guidelines for the scheme.
  • The pilot project will focus on monitoring the implementation of the scheme, evaluating the results, and also creating a safety fund for the beneficiaries with the government’s participation.

How is Dalitha Bandhu being implemented?

  • The CM has ensured that the Dalit Bandhu is free.
  • The governments in the past came out with some schemes and asked for bank guarantees.
  • This is not a loan. There is no need to repay it. There is no chance of any involvement of middlemen.
  • To promote Dalit entrepreneurship, the government has decided to start a system of reservations for Dalits in sectors where the government issues licenses.
  • The government will provide reservations for Dalits in issuing licenses for wine shops, medical shops, fertilizer shops, rice mills, etc.

LGBT Rights – Transgender Bill, Sec. 377, etc.

[pib] SMILE Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SMILE Scheme

Mains level : Transgenders rehabiliation

The Government has approved a comprehensive scheme named “Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE)” which includes a sub-scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons.

About SMILE Scheme

  • This scheme is a sub-scheme under the ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging’.
  • It also focuses on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities and intervention, counselling, education, skill development, economic linkages to transgender persons.
  • It covers several comprehensive measures including welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging.
  • The focus of the scheme is extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, basic documentation, education, skill development, economic linkages and so on.

Its implementation

  • The scheme would be implemented with the support of State/UT Governments/Local Urban Bodies, Voluntary Organizations, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), institutions and others.
  • The scheme provides for the use of the existing shelter homes available with the State/UT Governments and Urban local bodies for rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of Begging.
  • In case of the non-availability of existing shelter homes, new dedicated shelter homes are to be set up by the implementing agencies.

Agricultural Sector and Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

[pib] Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP)

Mains level : Promotion of Organic Farming

The Union Minister of Agriculture has provided useful information regarding the Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP).

Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP)

  • Natural farming is promoted as BPKP under a centrally sponsored scheme- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
  • The scheme mainly emphasizes the exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs and promotes on-farm biomass recycling.
  • It stresses biomass mulching; use of cow dung-urine formulations; plant-based preparations and time to time working of soil for aeration.
  • Under BPKP, financial assistance of Rs 12200/ha for 3 years is provided for cluster formation, capacity building, and continuous handholding by trained personnel, certification, and residue analysis.

About Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

  • “PKVY” is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) of the major project National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
  • Under PKVY Organic farming is promoted through the adoption of the organic village by cluster approach and PGS certification.

The Scheme envisages:

  • Promotion of commercial organic production through certified organic farming.
  • It will raise farmer’s income and create a potential market for traders.

Program implementation

  • Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50 acres of land to take up the organic farming under the scheme.
  • In this way, during three years 10,000 clusters will be formed covering a 5.0 lakh acre area under organic farming.
  • There will be no liability on the farmers for expenditure on certification.
  • Every farmer will be provided Rs. 20,000 per acre in three years for the seed to harvesting crops and to transport produce to the market.
  • Organic farming will be promoted by using traditional resources and organic products will be linked with the market.
  • It will increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.With reference to organic farming in India, consider the following statements:

  1. ‘The National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) is operated under the guidelines and directions of the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
  2. ‘The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) functions as the Secretariat for the implementation of NPOP.
  3. Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic State.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (CSP 2018)

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Agricultural Sector and Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

[pib] One District One Focus Product Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : One District One Focus Product

Mains level : Not Much

ODOFP programme

  • The ODOFP programme cover products of agriculture and allied sectors for 728 districts of the country.
  • The products have been identified from agricultural, horticultural, animal, poultry, milk, fisheries, aquaculture, marine sectors across the country.
  • These identified products will be supported under the PM-FME scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, which provides incentives to promoters and micro-enterprises
  • This scheme is being implemented for a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • The scheme adopts One District One Product (ODOP) approach to reap the benefits of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.

About ODOP

  • The ODOP scheme aims to identify one product per district based on the potential and strength of a district and national priorities.
  • A cluster for that product will be developed in the district and market linkage will be provided for that.
  • It is operationally merged with the ‘Districts as Export Hub’ initiative implemented by the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Department of Commerce.
  • Under the initial phase of the ODOP programme, 106 Products have been identified from 103 districts across 27 States.

Back2Basics: PMFME Scheme

  • A centrally sponsored scheme that aims to enhance the competitiveness of existing individual micro-enterprises in the unorganized segment of the food processing industry.
  • It aims to enhance the competitiveness of existing individual micro-enterprises in the unorganized segment of the food processing industry and promote formalization of the sector,
  • It further aims to promote formalization of the sector and provide support to Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups, and Producers Cooperatives along their entire value chain.
  • The scheme envisions directly assist the 2,00,000 micro food processing units in providing financial, technical, and business support for the up-gradation of existing micro food processing enterprises.

Agricultural Sector and Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

Cabinet extends Agri Infra Fund loans to APMCs

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) Schemes

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Centre has decided to allow state-run market yards to access financing facilities through its Agricultural Infrastructure Fund to calm the fears of protesting farmers that such market yards are being weakened.

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) Schemes

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme meant for setting up storage and processing facilities, which will help farmers, get higher prices for their crops.
  • The Union Cabinet approved this scheme in July 2020 for a period of 10 years.
  • It will support farmers, PACS, FPOs, Agri-entrepreneurs, etc. in building community farming assets and post-harvest agriculture infrastructure.
  • These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage and increase processing and value addition.

    Note the following things about AIF:

    1) It is a Central Sector Scheme

    2) Duration of the scheme

    3)Target beneficiaries

What exactly is the AIF?

  • The AIF is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.
  • Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with an interest subvention of 3% per annum.
  • It will provide credit guarantee coverage under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) for loans up to Rs. 2 Crore.

Target beneficiaries

The beneficiaries will include farmers:

  • PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, FPOs, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects

What are the new changes?

  • The Union Cabinet decided to extend the AIF to State agencies and Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs), as well as federations of cooperative organizations, Farmers Producers Organizations and self-help groups.
  • They will now be eligible for interest subvention for loans up to ₹2 crores, with APMCs allowed to access separate loans for different kinds of infrastructure projects to build cold storage, silos, sorting, grading and assaying units in their market yards.
  • The scheme has also been extended to 2032-33.

Why such a move?

  • The modifications in the Scheme will help to achieve a multiplier effect in generating investments while ensuring that the benefits reach small and marginal farmers.
  • The APMC markets are set up to provide market linkages and create an ecosystem of post-harvest public infrastructure open to all farmers.
  • This is also proof that APMC will not end as the farmers’ concern since the three farm laws.

Judicial Pendency

What is Tele-Law Scheme?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tele Law Scheme

Mains level : Pendency issue in Indian Judiciary

The Law Ministry recently commemorated an event to mark the coverage of more than nine lakh beneficiaries of the government’s tele-law scheme, using common service centres (CSCs) to provide justice across the country.

Tele-Law Scheme

  • The concept of Tele-Law is to facilitate the delivery of legal advice through a panel of lawyers stationed at the State Legal Services Authorities (SALSA) and CSC.
  • Tele-Law means the use of communications and information technology for the delivery of legal information and advice.
  • The project initiates to connect citizens with lawyers through video conferencing facilities by the Para-Legal Volunteers stationed at identified 50,000 CSCs.
  • This e-interaction between lawyers and people would be through the video-conferencing infrastructure available at the CSCs.

Features of the program

  • Under this programme, smart technology of video conferencing, telephone/instant calling facilities available at the vast network of CSC.
  • It enables anyone to seek legal advice without wasting precious time and money.
  • The service is free for those who are eligible for free legal Aid as mentioned under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987.
  • For all others, a nominal fee is charged.

Back2Basics: Free legal aid in India

  • Article 21 of the Constitution of India states, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.
  • Hence ensuring legal aid to everyone is necessary for ensuring substantive equality.
  • Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society, to promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity.
  • Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before the law and a legal system that promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.

Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

[pib] Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) for Phosphatic & Potassic (P&K) Fertilizers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme

Mains level : Fertilizer subsidies in India

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for fixation of Nutrient Based Subsidy Rates for P&K Fertilizers for the year 2021-22.

Key Points

About Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP):

  • DAP is the second most commonly used fertiliser in India after urea.
  • Farmers normally apply this fertiliser just before or at the beginning of sowing, as it is high in phosphorus (P) that stimulates root development.
  • DAP (46% P, 18% Nitrogen) is the preferred source of Phosphorus for farmers. This is similar to urea, which is their preferred nitrogenous fertiliser containing 46% N.

About Subsidy Scheme for Fertilisers:

    • Under the current scheme, the MRP of Urea is fixed but the subsidy can vary while MRP of DAP is decontrolled (i.e subsidy is fixed but the MRP can vary).
    • All Non-Urea based fertilisers are regulated under Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme.

About Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) Regime:

    • Under the NBS regime – fertilizers are provided to the farmers at the subsidized rates based on the nutrients (N, P, K & S) contained in these fertilizers.
    • Also, the fertilizers which are fortified with secondary and micronutrients such as molybdenum (Mo) and zinc are given additional subsidy.
    • The subsidy on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers is announced by the Government on an annual basis for each nutrient on a per kg basis – which are determined taking into account the international and domestic prices of P&K fertilizers, exchange rate, inventory level in the country etc.
    • NBS policy intends to increase the consumption of P&K fertilizers so that optimum balance (N:P:K= 4:2:1) of NPK fertilization is achieved.
      • This would improve soil health and as a result the yield from the crops would increase, resulting in enhanced income to the farmers.
      • Also, as the government expects rational use of fertilizers, this would also ease off the burden of fertilizer subsidy.
    • It is being implemented from April 2010 by the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.

Issues Related to NBS:

1.Imbalance in Price of Fertilisers:

  • Urea is left-out in the scheme and hence it remains under price control as NBS has been implemented only in other fertilizers.
  • There is an imbalance as the price of fertilizers (other than urea) — which were decontrolled have gone up from 2.5 to four times during the 2010-2020 decade.
  • However, since 2010, the price of urea has increased only by 11%. This has led to farmers using more urea than before, which has further worsened fertilizer imbalance.

2.Costs on Economy and Environment :

Fertilizer subsidy is the second-biggest subsidy after food subsidy, the NBS policy is not only damaging the fiscal health of the economy but also proving detrimental to the soil health of the country.

3.Black Marketing :

  • Subsidised urea is getting diverted to bulk buyers/traders or even non-agricultural users such as plywood and animal feed makers.
  • It is being smuggled to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Nepal.

Implications of Increasing the Subsidy on DAP :

  • As farmers will start sowing operations for Kharif Crops, it is highly important for them to get the fertilisers at subsidised rate so as to keep inflation at check.
  • Politically, too, to turn down the farmer protests, during the time of the Covid’s second wave, is the last thing the government would want.

Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

What is Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : OMSS Scheme

Mains level : Schemes related to food security

The Centre has informed the Supreme Court regarding the purchase of grains by the States and the UTs under the Open Market Sales Scheme (OMSS) in 2021-2022 while debunking apprehensions that those without ration cards may be left to die.

Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS)

  • OMSS refers to the selling of food grains by the government/government agencies at predetermined prices in the open market from time to time.
  • This scheme aims to enhance the supply of grains especially during the lean season and thereby to moderate the general open market prices, especially in the deficit regions.
  • The Food Corporation of India (FCI) on the instructions from the Government, sells wheat and rice in the open market from time to time.
  • This enhances the supply of wheat and rice especially during the lean season and moderates the open market prices, especially in the deficit regions.

Components of the scheme

The present form of OMSS comprises 3 schemes as under:

  1. Sale of wheat to bulk consumers/private traders through e-auction.
  2. Sale of wheat to bulk consumers/private traders through e-auction by dedicated movement.
  3. Sale of Raw Rice Grade ‘A’ to bulk consumers/private traders through e-auction.

Selling through a transparent process

  • For transparency in operations, the Corporation has switched over to e-auction for sale under Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic).
  • The FCI conducts a weekly auction to conduct this scheme in the open market using the platform of commodity exchange NCDEX (National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited).
  • The State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations are also allowed to participate in the e-auction if they require wheat and rice outside TPDS & OWS.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.The economic cost of food grains to the Food Corporation of India is Minimum Support Price and bonus (if any) paid to the farmers plus:

(a) Transportation cost only

(b) Interest cost only

(c) Procurement incidentals and distribution cost

(d) Procurement incidentals and charges for godowns

[pib] Aspirational Districts Programme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Aspirational Districts Programme

Mains level : Success of the ADP

In an independent appraisal report released today, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India has lauded the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) as a very successful model of local area development.

Aspirational Districts Programme

  • Launched in January 2018, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative aims to remove this heterogeneity through a mass movement to quickly and effectively transform these districts.
  • The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a spirit of mass Movement.
  • With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.

Selection of districts

  • A total of 117 Aspirational districts have been identified by NITI Aayog based upon composite indicators.
  • These include Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion and Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure which have an impact on Human Development Index.

Weightage has been accorded to these districts as below:

  • Health & Nutrition (30%)
  • Education (30%)
  • Agriculture & Water Resources (20%)
  • Financial Inclusion & Skill Development (10%)
  • Basic Infrastructure (10%)

‘Bell of Faith’ launched by Kerala for senior citizens

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bell of Faith’ scheme

Mains level : Old age security

The ‘Bell of Faith’ scheme will now be implemented for senior citizens staying alone in villages. Scheme to cover 250 houses in city in the first phase.

What is the ‘Bell of Faith’ scheme all about?

  • It is a safety project conceived under Kerala’s Community Policing Scheme.
  • It will help elderly citizens attract the attention of their neighbours using a loud, remote-controlled alarm in emergencies.
  • It has been under implementation in Kerala since 2018.
  • A welfare fund of ₹3.5 crore sanctioned by the State government would be used for the initiative that gives preference to those staying alone in their houses.
  • In the first phase, around 250 houses selected by the local Janamaithri scheme coordinators will be covered under the scheme

Significance of the Project:

  • It sets an example for community participation to ensure the well-being and safety of the elderly.
  • It can be of great support for the aged during the COVID-19 pandemic as many live in fear for their health.
  • The electronic bells, installed free of cost with wireless control mechanism, will help senior citizens in quickly seeking the support of neighbours during emergencies.

Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

Mid Day Meal Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Midday Meal Scheme

Mains level : Food and nutrition security measures

The Centre has decided to give about ₹100 each to children studying in Class 1 to Class 8 in government schools, who are beneficiaries of the Mid Day Meal scheme.

Mid Day Meal Scheme

  • The Midday Meal Scheme is a school meal programme in India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide.
  • It is a wholesome freshly-cooked lunch served to children in government and government-aided schools in India.
  • The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government-aided, local body and alternate innovative education centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs.
  • Serving 120,000,000 children in over 1,265,000 schools and Education Guarantee Scheme centres, it is the largest of its kind in the world.
  • The programme has undergone many changes since its launch in 1995. The Midday Meal Scheme is covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.

The scheme aims to:

  1. avoid classroom hunger
  2. increase school enrolment
  3. increase school attendance
  4. improve socialization among castes
  5. address malnutrition
  6. empower women through employment

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.An objective of the National Food Security Mission is to increase the production of certain crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a sustainable manner in the identified districts of the country. What are those crops?

(a) Rice and wheat only

(b) Rice, wheat, and pulses only

(c) Rice, wheat, pulses, and oilseeds only

(d) Rice, wheat, pulses, oilseeds, and vegetables

What is the new move?

  • The money, ₹1200 crore in total, will be given to 11.8 crore children through direct benefit transfer as a one-time payment.
  • The money comes from the cooking cost component of the scheme, it said.
  • This decision will help safeguard the nutritional levels of children and aid in protecting their immunity during challenging pandemic times.