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[pib] NABL launches Quality Assurance Scheme for Basic Composite Medical Laboratories

Note4students

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: QAS, NABL

Mains level: Promoting quality healthcare services


News

Quality Assurance Scheme

  • NABL has launched a voluntary scheme called Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS) for Basic Composite (BC) Medical Laboratories.
  • The laboratories performing only basic routine tests like blood glucose, blood counts, and rapid tests for common infections, liver & kidney function tests and routine tests of urine will be eligible to apply under this scheme.
  • These changes have been made in the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012.
  • The scheme requires minimal documentation and a nominal fee has been prescribed for availing the scheme.

Aim and Objectives

  • The scheme will help to bring quality at the grass root level of India’s health system where laboratories follow the imperatives of quality in all their processes.
  • Through this scheme, patients availing services of small labs in primary health centers, community health centers, doctor’s clinic etc. will also have access to quality lab results.
  • This scheme will enhance the intent of AB-NHPM of universal access to quality healthcare for majority of citizens especially those residing in villages and small towns by providing them access to quality diagnostics.
  • This will ensure end-to-end sample integrity leading to reliable test results and help laboratories to gain patient’s trust and satisfaction.

About NABL

  • National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is a constituent board of Quality Council of India (QCI) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • NABL is Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) signatory to International bodies like International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Accreditation Co-operation (APAC) for accreditation of Testing including Medical and Calibration laboratories.
  • MRA are based on evaluation by peer Accreditation Bodies and facilitates acceptance of test/ calibration results between countries which MRA partners represent.
  • Thus NABL accredited laboratory results are accepted across more than 80 economies around the world.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] PM Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) Scheme

Note4students

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 Shram- Yogi Maandhan Yojana

Mains level: Pension Scheme for Unorganised sector workers


News

  • The PM Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) was formally inaugurated by PM Modi.

PM Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) 

  1. PM-SYM will be a Central Sector Scheme administered by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India and CSCs.
  2. LIC will be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension pay out.
  3. The amount collected under PM-SYM pension scheme shall be invested as per the investment pattern specified by GoI.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The unorganised workers mostly engaged as home based workers, street vendors, mid-day meal workers, head loaders, brick kiln workers, cobblers, rag pickers, domestic workers, washer men, rickshaw pullers, landless labourers, etc. whose monthly income is Rs 15,000/ per month or less and belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years are eligible for the scheme.
  2. They should not be covered under New Pension Scheme (NPS), Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme or Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
  3. Further, he/she should not be an income tax payer.

Features of PM-SYM

Pension Pay out

  1. Once the beneficiary joins the scheme at the entry age of 18-40 years, the beneficiary has to contribute till 60 years of age.
  2. On attaining the age of 60 years, the subscriber will get the assured monthly pension of Rs.3000/- with benefit of family pension, as the case may be.

Family Pension

  • During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension.
  • Family pension is applicable only to spouse.

Contribution by the Subscriber

  • The subscriber’s contributions to PM-SYM shall be made through ‘auto-debit’ facility from his/ her savings bank account/ Jan- Dhan account.
  • The subscriber is required to contribute the prescribed contribution amount from the age of joining PM-SYM till the age of 60 years.

Matching contribution by the Central Government  

  • PM-SYM is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme on a 50:50 basis where prescribed age-specific contribution shall be made by the beneficiary and the matching contribution by the Central Government.
  • For example, if a person enters the scheme at an age of 29 years, he is required to contribute Rs 100/ – per month till the age of 60 years.
  • An equal amount of Rs 100/- will be contributed by the Central Government.

Enrolment Process

  • The enrolment will be carried out by all the Community Service Centers (CSCs).
  • The subscriber will be required to have a mobile phone, savings bank account and Aadhaar number.
  • The eligible subscriber may visit the nearest CSCs and get enrolled for PM-SYM using Aadhaar number and savings bank account/ Jan-Dhan account number on self-certification basis.

Facilitation Centres

  • All the branch offices of LIC, the offices of ESIC/EPFO and all Labour offices of Central and State Governments will facilitate the unorganised workers about the Scheme.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Second phase of fame to electrify public transport

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FAME Scheme

Mains level:  Issues related to the (possible) early adoption of the EVs in India.


News

  • The second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid) Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme will come into force from April 1, 2019 with the Union Cabinet nod.
  • The scheme will be in effect for a period of three years at a proposed budget of Rs 10,000 crore.

FAME India II Scheme

  • The scheme is the expanded version of the present scheme titled ‘FAME India 1’ which was launched in April 2015.
  • The phase two of the scheme plans to support ten lakhs electric two-wheelers, five lakhs electric three-wheelers, 55 thousands four-wheelers and 7,000 buses.
  • The main objective is to encourage faster adoption of EVs by way of offering upfront incentive on the purchase and also by way of establishing a necessary charging Infrastructure.
  • The largely increased allocation for the new phase is a sign of the critical importance that India’s policy makers are currently placing on shifting to an all-electric Indian mobility sector.

Focus areas

  • In this phase two, emphasis is on electrification of the public transportation that includes shared transport.
  • The second phase will also not provide any incentive for passenger cars used for personal use.
  • In the two-wheelers segment, however, the focus will be on the private vehicles.
  • Demand Incentives on operational expenditure mode for electric buses will be delivered through State/city transport corporation (STUs).
  • In 3W and 4W segment incentives will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes.
  • To encourage advanced technologies, the benefits of incentives will be extended to only those vehicles which are fitted with advanced batteries like a Lithium Ion.

Necessary charging infrastructure

  • It also proposes for establishment of charging infrastructure, whereby about 2700 charging stations will be established in metros, other million-plus cities, smart cities and cities of hilly states across the country.
  • It will ensure availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km.

Impact

  • Inclusion of buses, taxi and e-rickshaws under Fame 2 will play a critical role to promote EVs.
  • The transition to electric buses is expected to not only help reduce carbon footprint but also save fuel.
Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

[pib] Pradhan Mantri Jl-VAN Yojana

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PM JIVAN Yojana

Mains level: Aim and particulars of the Scheme


News

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana.
  • It aims for providing financial support to Integrated Bio-ethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.

PM JI-VAN Scheme

  • Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has targeted to achieve 10% blending percentage of Ethanol in petrol by 2022.
  • Therefore, an alternate route viz. Second Generation (2G) Ethanol from biomass and other wastes is being explored by MoP&NG to bridge the supply gap for EBP programme.
  • The PM JI-VAN Yojana is being launched as a tool to create 2G Ethanol capacity in the country and attract investments in this new sector.
  • Centre for High Technology (CHT), a technical body under the aegis of MoP&NG, will be the implementation Agency for the scheme.
  • The policy allows procurement of ethanol produced from molasses and non-food feed stock like celluloses and lignocelluloses material including petrochemical route.

Features of the Scheme

  1. The scheme focuses to incentivise 2G Ethanol sector and support this nascent industry by creating a suitable ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and increasing Research & Development in this area.
  2. The ethanol produced by the scheme beneficiaries will be mandatorily supplied to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to further enhance the blending percentage under EBP Programme.
  3. Apart from supplementing the targets envisaged by the Government under EBP programme, the scheme will also have the following benefits:
  • Meeting Government of India vision of reducing import dependence by way of substituting fossil fuels with Biofuels.
  • Achieving the GHG emissions reduction targets through progressive blending/ substitution of fossil fuels.
  • Addressing environment concerns caused due to burning of biomass/ crop residues & improve health of citizens.
  • Improving farmer income by providing them remunerative income for their otherwise waste agriculture residues.
  • Creating rural & urban employment opportunities in 2G Ethanol projects and Biomass supply chain.
  • Contributing to Swacch Bharat Mission by supporting the aggregation of non­food biofuel feedstocks such as waste biomass and urban waste.
  • Indigenizing of Second Generation Biomass to Ethanol technologies.

Implementation

  1. The JI-VAN Yojana will be supported with total financial outlay of Rs.1969.50 crore for the period from 2018-19 to 2023-24.
  2. Under this project, 12 Commercial Scale and 10 demonstration scale Second Generation (2G) ethanol Projects will be provided a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support in two phases:
  • Phase-I  (2018-19  to  2022-23)
  • Phase-II (2020-21 to 2023-24)

Back2Basics

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme

  1. Government of India launched Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme in 2003 for undertaking blending of ethanol in Petrol.
  2. It aimed to address environmental concerns due to fossil fuel burning, provide remuneration to farmers, subsidize crude imports and achieve forex savings.
  3. Presently, EBP is being run in 21 States and 4 UTs of the country.
  4. Under EBP programme, OMCs are to blend upto 10% of ethanol in Petrol.
Biofuel Policy

[pib] SHREYAS Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Shreyas Scheme

Mains level: Skill Education in India


News

  • The Ministry of HRD has launched the Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS) for providing industry apprenticeship opportunities.

SHREYAS Scheme

  • It is a programme conceived for students in degree courses, primarily non-technical, with a view to introduce employable skills into their learning, promote apprenticeship and also amalgamate employment facilitating.
  • SHREYAS portal will enable educational institutions and industry to log in and provide their respective demand and supply of apprenticeship.
  • The matching of students with apprenticeship avenues will take place as per pre-specified eligibility criteria.

Objectives of the Scheme

  • To improve employability of students by introducing employment relevance into the learning process of the higher education system
  • To forge a close functional link  between education and industry/service sectors on a sustainable basis
  • To provide skills which are in demand, to the students in a dynamic manner
  • To establish an ‘earn while you learn’ system into higher education
  • To help business/industry in securing good quality manpower
  • To link student community with employment facilitating efforts of the Government

Operation of the Scheme

  • The primary scheme will be operated in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) which provides for placing of apprentices upto 10% of the total work force in every business/industry.
  • The scheme will be implemented by the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) , initially the Banking Finance Insurance Services (BFSI), Retail, Health care, Telecom, Logistics, Media, Management services, ITeS and Apparel.

Financing

  • Under the NAPS scheme, Central Government shares 25% of the stipend per month subject to a maximum of Rs.1500 p.m during the period of the apprenticeship.
  • Apart from that, an amount upto Rs.7500 will be met towards basic training cost, where needed.

Implementation

1st Track:  Add-on apprenticeship

  • The students who are currently completing the degree programme would be invited to choose a job role of their choice from a selected list of apprenticeship job roles given by the Sector Skill Councils of the MoSDE.
  • At the end of the apprenticeship period, there would be a test conducted by the Sector Skill Council concerned and successful students would get skills certificate in addition to their degree certificate.

2nd track: Embedded Apprenticeship

  • Under this approach, the existing B.Voc programmes would be restructured into B.A (Professional), B.Sc (Professional) or B.Com (Professional) courses – which would include a mandatory apprenticeship ranging from 6 to 10 months depending on the requirement of the skill.
  • During the apprenticeship period, the student would get a monthly stipend of about Rs. 6,000 per month by the industry, 25% of which would be reimbursed under the NAPS programme.

3rd Track: Linking National Career Service with Colleges

  • Under this, the National Career Service (NCS) portal of Ministry of Labour& Employment would be linked with the Higher Education institutions.
  • As of now, more than 9,000 employers have posted requirement of more than 2 lakh vacancies, for which the students can get considered.
Skilling India – Skill India Mission,PMKVY, NSDC, etc.

[pib] Yuva Sahakar Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Promoting cooperatives business venture


News

Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme

  1. To cater to the needs and aspirations of the youth, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has come up with a youth-friendly this scheme for attracting them to cooperative business ventures.
  2. The newly launched scheme would encourage cooperatives to venture into new and innovative areas.
  3. The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC.

Funding

  • The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others.
  • The scheme envisages 2% less than the applicable rate of interest on term loan for the project cost up to Rs 3 crore including 2 years moratorium on payment of principal.

Eligibility

  • It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members.
  • All types of cooperatives in operation for at least one year are eligible.

Back2Basics

NCDC

  1. Nodal Agency: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
  2. The NCDC has the unique distinction of being the sole statutory organisation functioning as an apex financial and developmental institution exclusively devoted to cooperative sector.
  3. It supports cooperatives in diverse fields apart from agriculture and allied sectors.
  4. It is an ISO 9001:2015 compliant organisation and has a distinctive edge of competitive financing.
Innovation Ecosystem in India

Ayushman Bharat will not cover cataract ops, dialysis and normal deliveries

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Ayushman Bharat Programme

Mains level: Everything about Ayushman Bharat Programme


News

  • The National Health Authority (NHA) is planning to remove procedures covered under existing national programmes from the list of packages approved for reimbursement under PMJAY (Ayushman Bharat).
  • Certain procedures like cataract surgeries, dialysis and normal deliveries will not be covered by the flagship health scheme.

Avoiding Duplication

  • Procedures or diseases for which there is already an existing national programme, do not need to be covered under AB packages.
  • Diseases for which there are existing national programmes and for which treatment is reimbursed under PMJAY for specified rates include tuberculosis, chronic kidney disease (dialysis), leprosy, malaria, HIV-AIDS and mental health disorders.
  • For many diseases like malaria, where surgeries are not established protocol for treatment, PMJAY approves a daily hospitalization cost of Rs 2,000.

I. Cataract

  • Cataract surgeries have topped the list of claims submitted under PMJAY.
  • In the first three months of PMJAY until Nov 2018 — 6,900 claims had been submitted for cataract surgeries.
  • However they are done for free under the National Blindness Control Programme (NBCP).

II. Normal Delivery

  • The NHA is planning to leave out normal deliveries from the ambit of PMJAY.
  • There are a host of national programmes for mother and child health, high-risk deliveries will continue to be covered.

III. Dialysis

  • The Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme was rolled out in 2016 under which dialysis is already provided free of cost.

Bringing Implants under AB-NHPM

  • The NHA is also in talks with the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to negotiate special rates for implants or other devices that are used under PMJAY to further bring down costs.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] KUSUM Scheme

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the KUSUM

Mains level: Possible benefits and outcomes of the scheme discussed in the newscard.


News

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved launch of Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) Scheme with the objective of providing financial and water security to farmers.

 KUSUM Scheme

  1. The scheme would provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
  2. It was announced in the Union Budget 2018-19.

Component of KUSUM Scheme

The proposed scheme consists of three components:

Component-A

  • Renewable power plants of capacity 500 KW to 2 MW will be setup by individual farmers/ cooperatives/panchayats /farmer producer organisations (FPO) on their barren or cultivable lands.
  • The power generated will be purchased by the DISCOMs at Feed in tariffs determined by respective SERC.

Component-B

  • Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.
  • Individual farmers will be supported to install standalone solar pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP. Solar PV capacity in kW equal to the pump capacity in HP is allowed under the scheme.

Component-C

  • Solarization of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps is included in this component,
  • Individual farmers will be supported to solarise pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP.
  • Solar PV capacity up to two times of pump capacity in kW is allowed under the scheme.
  • The excess available energy will be sold to DISCOM.

Expected outcomes

  1. The Scheme will have substantial environmental impact in terms of savings of CO2 emissions.
  2. All three components of the Scheme combined together are likely to result in saving of about 27 million tonnes of CO2 emission per annum.
  3. Further, Component-B of the Scheme on standalone solar pumps may result in saving of 1.2 billion liters of diesel per annum and associated savings in the foreign exchange due to reduction of import of crude oil.
  4. Besides increasing self-employment the proposal is likely to generate employment opportunity equivalent to 6.31 lakh job years for skilled and unskilled workers.
Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.

[pib] Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DDRS

Mains level: Welfare Schemes for Divyangjans


News

  • For the overall empowerment of Divyangajan, a Regional Conference on Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) was organized by the Dept. of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) 

  1. The umbrella Central Sector Scheme called the “Scheme to Promote Voluntary Action for Persons with Disabilities” was revised in 2003 and was renamed as the DDRS.
  2. The approach of this Scheme is to provide financial assistance to voluntary organizations to make available the whole range of services necessary for rehabilitation of PwD.
  3. The recommendation from the District Social Welfare Officer and State Government is required in release of grant-in-aid to NGOs.
  4. The list of model projects which have been optimized, includes, Pre-Schools, Early Intervention and Training; Special Schools for:
  • Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Hearing and Speech Disabilities
  • Visual Disabilities
  • Project for Cerebral Palsied children
  • Rehabilitation of Leprosy cured persons
  • Half Way Home for psycho-Social Rehabilitation of treated and controlled mentally ill persons
  • Home based Rehabilitation and Home Management etc.

Objectives of the scheme

  1. To create an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities, equity, social justice and empowerment of persons with disabilities.
  2. To encourage voluntary action for ensuring effective implementation of the People with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities and Protection of Rights) Act of 1995.

Impact

  1. Under the scheme, every year more than 600 NGOs are provided with financial assistance for running their projects for the rehabilitation of PwD.
  2. The NGOs being funded are catering the rehabilitative services to more than 35000 to 40000 beneficiaries every year.

Government to continue credit linked capital subsidy scheme

Note4Students

Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy | Planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Various initiatives for supporting MSME Sector

Mains level: Facilitating MSMEs in India


News

  • The Central government will continue the “Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme” for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) beyond the 12th Plan period for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

CCLS for Technology

  1. The objective of the Scheme is to facilitate technology up-gradation in MSEs by providing an upfront capital subsidy of 15 per cent (on institutional finance of upto Rs 1 crore availed by them).
  2. This is provided for induction of well-established and improved technology in the specified 51 sub-sectors/products approved.
  3. The major objective is to upgrade their plant & machinery with state-of-the-art technology, with or without expansion.
  4. The Scheme is a demand driven one without any upper limit on overall annual spending on the subsidy disbursal.

Nature of assistance

  • The revised scheme aims at facilitating technology up-gradation by providing 15% up front capital subsidy to MSEs, including tiny, khadi, village and coir industrial units, on institutional finance availed by them.
Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

[pib] Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM- SYM)

Note4students

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 Shram- Yogi Maandhan Yojana

Mains level: Pension Scheme for Unorganised sector workers


News

  • The PM Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM)will be rolled out by the Ministry of Labour and Employment from. 15th Feb, 2019.

PM Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) 

  1. PM-SYM will be a Central Sector Scheme administered by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India and CSCs.
  2. LIC will be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension pay out.
  3. The amount collected under PM-SYM pension scheme shall be invested as per the investment pattern specified by GoI.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The unorganised workers mostly engaged as home based workers, street vendors, mid-day meal workers, head loaders, brick kiln workers, cobblers, rag pickers, domestic workers, washer men, rickshaw pullers, landless labourers, etc. whose monthly income is Rs 15,000/ per month or less and belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years are eligible for the scheme.
  2. They should not be covered under New Pension Scheme (NPS), Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme or Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
  3. Further, he/she should not be an income tax payer.

Salient Features of PM-SYM

Pension Pay out

  1. Once the beneficiary joins the scheme at the entry age of 18-40 years, the beneficiary has to contribute till 60 years of age.
  2. On attaining the age of 60 years, the subscriber will get the assured monthly pension of Rs.3000/- with benefit of family pension, as the case may be.

Family Pension

  • During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension.
  • Family pension is applicable only to spouse.

Contribution by the Subscriber

  • The subscriber’s contributions to PM-SYM shall be made through ‘auto-debit’ facility from his/ her savings bank account/ Jan- Dhan account.
  • The subscriber is required to contribute the prescribed contribution amount from the age of joining PM-SYM till the age of 60 years.

Matching contribution by the Central Government  

  • PM-SYM is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme on a 50:50 basis where prescribed age-specific contribution shall be made by the beneficiary and the matching contribution by the Central Government.
  • For example, if a person enters the scheme at an age of 29 years, he is required to contribute Rs 100/ – per month till the age of 60 years.
  • An equal amount of Rs 100/- will be contributed by the Central Government.

Enrolment Process

  • The enrolment will be carried out by all the Community Service Centers (CSCs).
  • The subscriber will be required to have a mobile phone, savings bank account and Aadhaar number.
  • The eligible subscriber may visit the nearest CSCs and get enrolled for PM-SYM using Aadhaar number and savings bank account/ Jan-Dhan account number on self-certification basis.

Facilitation Centres

  • All the branch offices of LIC, the offices of ESIC/EPFO and all Labour offices of Central and State Governments will facilitate the unorganised workers about the Scheme.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

[op-ed snap] Next wave of reforms needed to achieve the objectives of Ujjwala

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance| Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).

Mains level: The news-card analyses the success story of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), in a brief manner.


Context

  • The astounding success of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in distributing deposit-free LPG cylinder connections to women is the result of the political will and a well-meaning execution machinery.

Background

  • It is rare to find a scheme that has so successfully involved stakeholders down to the level of panchayats and had a perfect programme governance.
  • It is learnt that the minister of petroleum and natural gas, the secretaries in the ministries and the chairpersons and managing directors of oil marketing companies personally supervised the work.
  • They visited at least one district to understand the issues on the ground coming in the way and provided solutions.

Success of the scheme

  • The scheme took the household coverage from about 56% to about 81% in just three years.
  • That was unimaginable a few years ago when, even for an urban consumer, getting a cylinder was a wait in frustration.
  • Almost everyone in the beneficiary segment and the industry is complementing the doers most deservedly.
  • Despite being a social scheme, the delivery was cost-effective with numbers indicating about ₹1,600 spend per beneficiary.
  • The Ujjwala scheme was possible only because of the robust foundation created by the subsidy payment scheme, direct benefits transfer (DBT), which was another significant achievement of the government.
  • The government plans to cover more women with additional budgetary provisions made in the interim budget of 2019.

Objective of PMUY

  • The objective of the scheme was to make the rural households climb the energy ladder and stop using agro-waste as fuel at homes.
  • The argument was that women face a health hazard, spend time of the day collecting agro-waste fuel, and are unduly held responsible for collecting fuel when men arguably are earning bread.

Challenges: necessity for the next wave of reforms

  • However, the excellent delivery of the Ujjwala scheme is inadequate to achieve the objectives. The next wave of reforms is necessary.
  • Agro-waste usage cannot be done away with yet because of unaffordability and often non-availability of refill, though cylinders are already at home.
  • The subsidy against that refill is credited to their bank accounts with no delay.
  • However, many newly enrolled consumers do not have the capacity to make upfront payment for the refill.
  • Many micro issues lead to the consumers not updating their phone numbers and a vast majority of them, in turn, cannot order a refill with ease.
  • Delivering low volumes, especially in sparsely populated, hilly and far flung areas, is not feasible and costly.
  • Also, strengthening supply chain in new areas will take time.

Efficiency of the private sector will make PMUY sustainable

  • The public sector has the strength to make these social schemes succeed.
  • The efficiency of the private sector will make it sustainable.
  • The size of the sector and the growth it promises makes it imperative to assess the possibility of courageously unbundling, decentralizing, and democratizing activities.
  • The scope is in the whole value chain from sourcing infrastructure to storage and transportation, and from bottling to distribution.

Issues and possible Solutions

  • Aggregation of demand from low-demand areas using technology, servicing them by vehicles that also carry other goods, and using private sector services may be a solution.
  • Tech-enabled, Aadhaar-based micro-financing may help bridge the finance gap for refill purchase.
  • The possibility of avoiding full payment, as subsidy follows immediately, can be explored in case of digital payments as the payer’s credentials are established while paying.
  • Refill bookings need to become easy and quicker by making the interface simpler, including possibly by voice.
  • Start-ups and tech companies have a potential to demonstrate their prowess here.

Other issues being put across by social analysts

  • If women had the freedom to come out of homes and indulge in recreation while gathering agro-waste, how can we ensure they find other avenues of recreation instead of being restricted to their homes as they are in some sections of society.
  • Also, the argument is that men benefit as much as women, as the indoor combustion of agro-waste is a health hazard for them as well.
  • In most households the economic benefits of subsidy are accruing to the earning members i.e. the men.

Conclusion

  • For success of any scheme, social reforms are necessary too.
  •  The DBT and PMUY are all set to be followed by reforms which will be far reaching in meeting the objectives.
  • The success of PMUY is already a benchmark, with many countries reaching out to India to help them replicate it.
Direct Benefits Transfers

[op-ed snap] The solution is universal

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of comparison of MGNREGA and PM-KISAN .

Mains level: The news-card analyses how strengthening the MGNREGA would be more prudent than a targeted cash transfer plan like PM-KISAN, in a brief manner.


Context

  • According to several experts, strengthening the MGNREGA would be more prudent than a targeted cash transfer plan like PM-KISAN.

Background

  • Rural distress has hit unprecedented levels.
  • According to news reports, unemployment is the highest in 45 years.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

  • To allay some misgivings of the distress, one of the announcements in the Budget speech was that vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of ₹ 6,000 per year.
  • This cash transfer scheme has been called Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
  • The Ministry of Agriculture has written to State governments to prepare a database of all eligible beneficiaries along with their Aadhaar numbers, and update land records “expeditiously”.
  • The letter further states that changes in land records after February 1, 2019 shall not be considered for this scheme.

Is PM-KISAN a reasonable solution?: Comparison with MGNREGA

  • Undoubtedly, farmers’ distress needs urgent attention but one need to analyse if the PM-KISAN is a reasonable solution.
  • Let us first compare some basic numbers with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  1. MGNREGA earnings for a household is more than a year’s income support through PM-KISAN
  • For example, if two members of a household in Jharkhand work under MGNREGA (picture) for 30 days, they would earn ₹10,080 and a household of two in Haryana would earn ₹16,860 in 30 days.
  • Jharkhand has the lowest daily MGNREGA wage rate, and Haryana the highest.
  • Put simply, a month of MGNREGA earnings for a household is more than a year’s income support through PM-KISAN anywhere in the country.

2. MGNREGA is a universal programme

  • PM-KISAN is a targeted cash transfer programme and MGNREGA is a universal programme.
  • Any rural household willing to do manual work is eligible under the Act.
  • According to the 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census, around 40% of rural households are landless and depend on manual labour.
  • The landless can earn through the MGNREGA but are not eligible for the PM-KISAN scheme.
  • Notwithstanding the meagre amount, the PM-KISAN might be pitting the landless against a small farmer.

Other factors that strengthen the case for an existing universal programme

  • It is unclear how tenant farmers, those without titles, and women farmers would be within the ambit of the PM-KISAN scheme.
  • There is also substantial evidence to demonstrate that universal schemes are less prone to corruption than targeted schemes.
  • In targeted programmes, it is very common to have errors of exclusion, i.e., genuine beneficiaries get left out.
  • Such errors go unrecorded and people continue to be left out.
  • It is in some of these contexts that strengthening an existing universal programme such as the MGNREGA would have been a prudent move instead of introducing a hasty targeted cash transfer programme.

Lessons to be learned from the MGNREGA implementation

  • The Agriculture Ministry’s letter states that “funds will be electronically transferred to the beneficiary’s bank account by Government of India through State Notional Account on a pattern similar to MGNREGS”.
  • There are important lessons to be learned from the MGNREGA implementation.
  • The Centre has frequently tinkered with the wage payments system in the MGNREGA.
  • It’s creditable that timely generation of pay-orders have improved, but contrary to the Centre’s claims, less than a third of the payments were made on time.
  • And in contempt of the Supreme Court orders, the Centre alone has been causing a delay of more than 50 days in disbursing wages.

Field realities: hurried bureaucratic reorientation on the ground

  • Moreover, repeated changes in processes result in a hurried bureaucratic reorientation on the ground, and much chaos among workers and field functionaries alike.
  • Field functionaries are pushed to meet stiff targets.
  • Being short-staffed and inadequately trained, this results in many technical and unforeseen errors.

Aadhaar hastily implementation for the MGNREGA

  • A case in point is the rushed manner in which Aadhaar has been implemented for the MGNREGA.
  • Several MGNREGA payments have been rejected, diverted, or frozen as a consequence.
  • In the last four years alone, more than ₹1,300 crore of the MGNREGS wage payments have been rejected due to technical errors such as incorrect account numbers or faulty Aadhaar mapping.
  • There have been no clear national guidelines to rectify these.

MGNREGS payments getting diverted

  • There are numerous cases of MGNREGS payments getting diverted to Airtel wallets and ICICI bank accounts.
  • In a recently concluded survey on common service centres in Jharkhand for Aadhaar-based payments, it was found that 42% of the biometric authentications failed in the first attempt, compelling them to come later.
  • This continued harassment faced by people would have been a more humane question to address rather than brushing them aside as “teething problems” and build a new scheme on similar shaky platforms.

Concerns

  • The success of the PM-KISAN is contingent on there being reliable digital land records and reliable rural banking infrastructure, which are both are questionable.
  • While ₹75,000 crore has been earmarked for this scheme, the MGNREGA continues to be pushed to a severe crisis.
  • The MGNREGA allocation for 2019-20 is ₹60,000 crore, lower than the revised budget of ₹61,084 crore in 2018-19.
  • In the last four years, on an average, around 20% of the Budget allocation has been unpaid pending payments from previous years.
  • Thus, subtracting the pending liabilities, in real terms, the Budget allocation has been lower than 2010-11.
  • Despite a letter to the Prime Minister by citizens and MPs in January 2019, (as of February 8) all MGNREGA funds have been exhausted.
  • While the country stares at an impending drought, workers languish in unemployment.

MGNREGA not a panacea for all

  • The MGNREGA is neither an income support programme nor just an asset creation programme.
  • It is a labour programme meant to strengthen participatory democracy through community works.
  • It is a legislative mechanism to strengthen the constitutional principle of the right to life.
  • That the MGNREGA works have demonstrably strong multiplier effects are yet another reason to improve its implementation.
  • Despite all this, the MGNREGA wage rates in 18 States have been kept lower than the States’ minimum agricultural wage rates.
  • This acts as a deterrent for the landless.
  • Yet, work demand has been 33% more than the employment provided this year — underscoring the desperation to work.

Way Forward

  • By routinely under-funding this Act, the present government continues to undermine the constitutional guarantee.
  • In an employment programme, adequacy of fund allocation and respectable wages are crucial, so meaningless claims of “highest ever allocation” and other dubious claims are unhealthy for democracy.
  • The Central government should focus on improving the existing universal infrastructure of the MGNREGA before plunging into a programme pretending to augment farmers’ income.
MGNREGA Scheme

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PM-KISAN

Mains level: PM-KISAN and its mandate


News

  • To provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers, the Government is launching the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi

  1. Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
  2. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.
  3. This programme will be funded by Government of India.
  4. Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this.
  5. The programme would be made effective from 1st December 2018 and the first installment for the period upto 31st March 2019 would be paid during this year itself.
  6. It will entail an annual expenditure of Rs.75, 000 crore.

Expected Outcome

  1. It would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season.
  2. It would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.
Agricultural Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan Yojana

Note4students

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 Shram- Yogi Maandhan Yojana

Mains level: Pension Scheme for Unorganised sector workers


News

Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan Yojana

  1. The scheme announced in the Budget 2019 has proposed to launch the scheme for the unorganised sector workers with monthly income upto Rs 15,000.
  2. The Government will deposit equal matching share in the pension account of the worker every month.
  3. It is expected that at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector will avail the benefit of the scheme within next five years making it one of the largest pension schemes of the world.
  4. A sum of Rs 500 crore has been allocated for the Scheme.
  5. The scheme will also be implemented from the current year.

Criteria

  1. This pension yojana shall provide an assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 from the age of 60 years on a monthly contribution of a small affordable amount during their working age.
  2. An unorganised sector worker joining pension yojana at the age of 29 years will have to contribute only Rs 100 per month till the age of 60 years.
  3. A worker joining the pension yojana at 18 years, will have to contribute as little as Rs 55 per month only.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

UGC defers decision to grant tag to more Institutes of Eminence

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Institute of Eminence tag

Mains level: Impact of having the tag


News

  1. The University Grants Commission has deferred its decision on granting the Institute of Eminence tag to more educational institutions.
  2. The expert committee has recommended more than the mandated number that the scheme allowed.

Background

  1. In July, the HRD Ministry hass granted the Institution of Eminence status to three public and three private educational institutions in India after the empowered expert committee recommended 11 names.
  2. The six institutions included the Jio Institute, which is yet to be set up.
  3. In December, the committee recommended 19 more names, taking the total list to 30.
  4. Now the empowered expert committee has recommended 30 names – 15 in each category.

What hinders granting more institutions?

  1. It was not just a question of naming the institutions, but also granting public institutions Rs 1,000 crore in special funds.
  2. The committee had not put its list of names in any preferential order or ranking.

About Institute of Eminence Scheme

[Burning Issue] Institute of Excellence Debate

Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Skill Ministry strengthens Jan Shikshan Sansthans

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & Employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Jan Shikshan Sansthan, NSQF

Mains level: State of skill development institutes in the country


News

  • The government unveiled new guidelines for Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) aligning them to the National Skills Qualification Framework with an aim to providing standardised training across sectors.

About Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS)

  1. The scheme of JSS was initially launched in 1967 as Shramik Vidyapeeth, a polyvalent or multi-faceted adult education institution.
  2. Formerly under the Ministry of Human Resources Development, JSS was transferred to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in 2018.
  3. It was aimed at improving the vocational skills and quality of life of the industrial workers and their family members as well as those persons who had been migrating from rural to urban settings.
  4. Now it has challenging mandate of providing vocational skills to non-literate, neo-literates as well as school drop-outs by identifying skills that have a market in the region of their establishment.

Scope of work of JSS includes:

  • Develop/Source appropriate curriculum and training modules covering vocational elements general awareness and life enrichment components.
  • Wherever possible, JSSs are encouraged to undertake training equivalent to courses designed by the Directorate of Adult Education, National Institute of Open Schooling and Director General, Employment & Training.
  • Provide training to a pool of resource persons and master trainers for conducting training as also availability of infrastructure and training – specific equipment.
  • Administer simple tests and award certificates.
  • Network with employers and industries for trainees to get suitable placements

Benefits of new Norms

  1. JSS guidelines have been reformed keeping in mind the diverse stake-holders engaged in running these institutions.
  2. The JSS can play an important role in bridging information asymmetry between skill training and market opportunities thereby giving an impetus to the creation of a workforce equipped in technology-driven skills.
  3. By aligning JSSs to the National Skill Framework, the government aims to provide standardised training across sectors.

Impactful progress till now

  1. Out of the 247 active JSSs, 43 have been established across 42 Aspirational Districts identified by NITI Aayog.
  2. The ministry will soon be introducing a few more in the LWE (left-wing extremism affected) regions to promote skill development of the youth in the region.
  3. In the past five years, over eight lakh people have benefitted from the JSS scheme. More than 86,000 men have been registered.
  4. More importantly there has been an unprecedented surge in the registration of women, with over 7 lakh registrations.
  5. It further said the JSSs have helped open over 1 lakh bank accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana and mobilised around 7.5 lakh beneficiaries who were enrolled in PM Suraksha Bima Yojana.
  6. With a substantial rise in establishment of more than 1 lakh entrepreneurs, JSS has successfully generated employment across various sectors.

Back2Basics

National Skills Qualification Framework

  1. The National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) is a competency-based framework that organizes all qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude.
  2. These levels, graded from one to ten, are defined in terms of learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they are obtained through formal, non-formal or informal learning.
  3. NSQF in India was notified on 27th December 2013.
  4. All other frameworks, including the NVEQF (National Vocational Educational Qualification Framework) released by the Ministry of HRD, stand superceded by the NSQF.
Skilling India – Skill India Mission,PMKVY, NSDC, etc.

Yuva Swabhiman Yojana

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Yuva Swabhiman Yojana

Mains level:  Various initiatives for EWS


News

  • The Madhya Pradesh government has announced the launch of a scheme to ensure temporary employment to the youths from the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the urban areas.

Yuva Swabhiman Yojana

  1. The Scheme would guarantee 100 days of employment every year to the EWS youths.
  2. During their employment, youths would be given skills training of their choice, so that they can take benefits of the available job opportunities.
  3. While those in rural areas get employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), the urban poor youth are left out.
  4. This scheme will effectively cover them.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

PM launches Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Indian Diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana

Mains level: Various initiatives for Indian Diaspora


News

Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana

  1. Hon’ble PM has launched the scheme under which a group of Indian diaspora will be taken on a government-sponsored tour of religious places in India twice a year.
  2. The first batch of 40 Indian-origin people at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will begin their tour.
  3. They will be taken to religious places of all major religions in India and the government will bear all the expenses including the airfare from their country of residence.
  4. All people of Indian-origin aged 45 to 65 can apply and a group will be selected out of them with first preference given to people from ‘Girmitiya countries’ such as Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.

Who are the Girmitiya ?

  1. Girmityas or Jahajis are descendants of indentured Indian labourers brought to Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, East Africa, the Malay Peninsula, Caribbean and South America (Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname).
  2. They were hired to work on sugarcane plantations for the prosperity of the European settlers and save the Fijians from having to work on these plantations and thus to preserve their culture.
  3. “Agreement” is the term that has been coined into “Girmit”, referring to the “Agreement” of the British Government with the Indian labourers.
  4. It was termed to the length of stay in Fiji and the Caribbean, and when they would be allowed to go back to India.
Tourism Sector

Govt must learn from its failure before launching UDAY 2.0

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UDAY Scheme

Mains level: The newscard critically evaluates UDAY Scheme


News

  • While the Centre plans to come up with Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) 2.0 after the first one failed, experts highlights certain issues to prevent it against failure.
  • The Ministry of Power has put its faith in the second leg of power distribution company reforms under the UDAY 2.0.

UDAY 1.0 was a failure

  1. When the government launched UDAY in 2015, it wanted to improve the financial health and operational efficiency of the country’s debt-ridden power distribution companies.
  2. However, the scheme failed to achieve this target.
  3. According to the latest numbers, the nationwide AT&C losses stood at 18.6 per cent at the end 2017-18.
  4. So far, only seven states including, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Himachal Pradesh, have registered losses below 15 per cent while rest of the states have failed to achieve even this.
  5. The scheme also requires DISCOMs to bring down the gap between average cost of supply and average revenue realized to zero.
  6. Instead of reducing this gap, a number of states — Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Goa — have seen this gap widen in the last few years.
  7. It added that only few states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana have performed well on most parameters of the scheme.

Way Forward

  1. UDAY 2 addresses the problems of meter reading, billing, collections and leakages or theft.
  2. The government should ensure that short-term borrowings by DISCOMS are monitored.
  3. DISCOMS should get regular payments.
  4. All states should follow one methodology to measure aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C).

Read more about UDAY Scheme at:

UDAY scheme for financial turnaround of Power Distribution Companies

UDAY Scheme for Discoms