June 2020
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

PM Swanidhi Scheme for street vendorsGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PM Swanidhi Scheme

Mains level : Atmanirbhar Package


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched a micro-credit facility for street vendors under the Swanidhi Scheme.

Try this question from CSP 2016:

Q.Rashtriya Garima Abhiyaan’ is a national campaign to

(a) rehabilitate the homeless and destitute persons and provide then with suitable sources of livelihood

(b) release the sex workers from the practice and provide them with alternative sources of livelihood

(c) eradicate the practice of manual scavenging and rehabilitate the manual scavenger

(d) release the bonded labourers free their bondage and rehabilitate them

PM Swanidhi Scheme

  • The Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi Scheme is aimed at benefiting over 50 lakh vendors who had their businesses operational on or before March 24.
  • The scheme was announced by Finance Minister as a part of the economic package for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
  • The loans are meant to help kick-start activity for vendors who have been left without any income since the lockdown was implemented on March 25.
  • The scheme is valid until March 2022.

Expected beneficiaries

  • This loan will be given to those who run shops on the roadside, handcart or streetcar.
  • Fruit-vegetable, laundry, saloon and paan shops are also included in this category.

Facilities provided under the scheme

  • The vendors will be able to apply for a working capital loan of up to ₹10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments within a year.
  • On timely/early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy of 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer on a six-monthly basis.
  • The loans would be without collateral. There will be no penalty on early repayment of the loan.
Posted on | The Hindu
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

‘Rozgar Setu’ Scheme for skilled workersGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ‘Rozgar Setu’ Scheme

Mains level : Various employment measures


The Madhya Pradesh has announced the launch of the ‘Rozgar Setu’ Scheme to help secure employment for skilled workers who have returned.

State schemes are quite often seen in the news. They are very important from the prelims perspective:

Rytha Bandu (Telangana): Cash transfer scheme of Rs 5,000/acre, per season

KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) Scheme (Odisha)

Mukhya Mantri Krishi Aashirwad Yojana (Jharkhand)

Krishak Bandhu Scheme (West Bengal)

‘Rozgar Setu’ Scheme

  • The ‘Rozgar Setu’ scheme to provide work to the maximum number of returned skilled workers.
  • After such workers requiring employment are identified, the government will contact factory and workshop owners and contractors overseeing infrastructure projects such as road and bridge construction.
  • This would fulfil the manpower requirement of industries as well as provide employment to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Posted on | The Hindu
Tribes in News

[pib] Shahapur’s Katkari TribeGovt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Katkari Tribe, Van Dhan Yojana

Mains level : Various initiaitves for Tribal uplift


The newscard is based on the PIB news which discusses the success story of Katkari Tribe, a PVTG in Maharashtra regarding the implementation of Van Dhan Yojana.

Try this:

Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

1) PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.

2) A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.

3) There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.

4) Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (CSP 2019)

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Katkari Tribe

  • The Katkari is an Scheduled Tribe mostly belonging to the state of Maharashtra.
  • They are bilingual, speaking the Katkari language, a dialect of the Marathi-Konkani languages, with each other; they speak Marathi with the Marathi speakers, who are a majority in the populace where they live.
  • In Maharashtra, the Katkari has been designated a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), along with two other groups included in this sub-category: the Madia Gond and the Kolam.
  • In the case of the Katkari this vulnerability derives from their history as a nomadic, forest-dwelling people listed by the British Raj under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, a stigma that continues to this day.

What are PVTGs?

  • There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.
  • They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development.
  • 75 such groups have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Back2Basics: Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY)

  • It is a retail marketing-led value addition plan for Minor Forest Produce (MFP), meant for forest-based tribes to optimize the tribal income, locally.
  • Under the program, MFP-based tribal groups/enterprises of around 300 members are formed for collection, value addition, packaging & marketing of Minor Forest Produces (MFPs).
  • These tribal enterprises will be in the form of Van Dhan SHGs which will be a group of 15-20 members and such 15 SHG groups will further be federated into a larger group of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKS) of around 300 members.
  • TRIFED will support the VDVKs through providing them with model business plans, processing plans & tentative list of equipment for carrying out the value-added work of MFPs.

Also read:

[pib] “Development of PVTGs” Scheme

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

[pib] Scheme for formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (FME)Govt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Scheme for formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (FME)

Mains level : Food processing industry and the required reforms


The Union Cabinet has given its approval to a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme – “Scheme for Formalization of Micro food processing Enterprises (FME)” for the Unorganized Sector on All India basis.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Discuss the scope and significance of Food Processing Industries in India.  Also discuss how can it benefit India becoming the global food store.

Background

  • There are about 25 lakh unregistered food processing enterprises which constitute 98% of the sector and are unorganized and informal.
  •  Nearly 66 % of these units are located in rural areas and about 80% of them are family-based enterprises.
  • This sector faces a number of challenges including the inability to access credit, high cost of institutional credit, lack of access to modern technology, inability to integrate with the food supply chain and compliance with the health & safety standards.
  • Strengthening this segment will lead to a reduction in wastage, creation of off-farm job opportunities and aid in achieving the overarching Government objective of doubling farmers’ income.

Details of the Scheme for FME

  • The Union Cabinet has sanctioned an outlay of Rs.10,000 crore.
  • The expenditure will be shared by GOI and the States in the ratio of 60:40.

Salient features

  • It will be a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. Expenditure to be shared by the Government of India and States at 60:40.
  • 2, 00,000 micro-enterprises are to be assisted with credit linked subsidy.
  • The scheme will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • Cluster approach.
  • Focus on perishables.

Support for Individual micro-units:

  • Micro enterprises will get credit-linked subsidy @ 35% of the eligible project cost with a ceiling of Rs.10 lakh.
  • The beneficiary contribution will be a minimum of 10% and balance from the loan.
  • On-site skill training & Handholding for DPR and technical upgradation.

Implementation strategy

  • The scheme will be rolled out on All India basis.
  • Seed capital will be given to SHGs (@Rs. 4 lakh per SHG) for the loan to members for working capital and small tools.
  • Grant will be provided to FPOs for backward/forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing & branding.

Administrative and Implementation Mechanisms

  • The Scheme would be monitored at Centre by an Inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee (IMEC) under the Chairmanship of Minister, FPI.
  • A State/ UT Level Committee (SLC) chaired by the Chief Secretary will monitor and sanction/ recommend proposals for expansion of micro-units and setting up of new units by the SHGs/ FPOs/ Cooperatives.
  • The States/ UTs will prepare Annual Action Plans covering various activities for implementation of the scheme, which will be approved by the Government of India.
  • A third-party evaluation and mid-term review mechanism would be built in the programme.
  • The State/ UT Government will notify a Nodal Department and Agency for implementation of the Scheme.

Establishment of a National Portal & MIS

  • A National level portal would be set-up wherein the applicants/ individual enterprise could apply to participate in the Scheme.
  • All the scheme activities would be undertaken on the National portal.

Benefits of the Scheme

  • Nearly eight lakh micro-enterprises will benefit through access to information, better exposure and formalization.
  • Credit linked subsidy support and hand-holding will be extended to 2,00,000 micro-enterprises for expansion and upgradation.
  • It will enable them to formalize, grow and become competitive.
  • The project is likely to generate nine lakh skilled and semi-skilled jobs.
  • The scheme envisages increased access to credit by existing micro food processing entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the Aspirational Districts.
  • Better integration with organized markets.
  • Increased access to common services like sorting, grading, processing, packaging, storage etc.
Microfinance Story of India

[pib] Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)Govt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

Mains level : Reviving MSME Sector of India


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for MSMEs and MUDRA borrowers.

Practice question for Mains :

Q. Discuss how the nationwide lockdown to control the coronavirus outbreak has led to the resurfacing of inherent bottlenecks in India’s MSME Sector.

About ECLGS

  • Under the Scheme, 100% guarantee coverage to be provided by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) for additional funding of up to Rs. 3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested MUDRA borrowers.
  • The credit will be provided in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.
  • The Scheme would be applicable to all loans sanctioned under GECL Facility during the period from the date of announcement of the Scheme to 31.10.2020.

Aims and objectives

  • The Scheme aims at mitigating the economic distress faced by MSMEs by providing them additional funding in the form of a fully guaranteed emergency credit line.
  • The main objective is to provide an incentive to Member Lending Institutions (MLIs), i.e., Banks, Financial Institutions (FIs) and NBFCs to increase access to, and enable the availability of additional funding facility to MSME borrowers.
  • It aims to provide a 100 per cent guarantee for any losses suffered by them due to non-repayment of the GECL funding by borrowers.

Salient features

  • The entire funding provided under GECL shall be provided with a 100% credit guarantee by NCGTC to MLIs under ECLGS.
  • Tenor of the loan under Scheme shall be four years with a moratorium period of one year on the principal amount.
  • No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from the Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.
  • Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, and at 14% for NBFCs.

Benefits of the scheme

  • The scheme aims to mitigate the distress caused by COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown, which has severely impacted manufacturing and other activities in the MSME sector.
  • The scheme is expected to provide credit to the sector at a low cost, thereby enabling MSMEs to meet their operational liabilities and restart their businesses.
  • By supporting MSMEs to continue functioning during the current unprecedented situation, the Scheme is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.

Must read

[Burning Issues] Fiscal Push for MSME Sector of India (Part I)

Posted on | Custom
Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

[pib] Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PM-MSY) for boosting fisheries sectorGovt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

Mains level : Fisheries sector of India


The Union Cabinet has approved the “Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana”.

Practice question for Mains:

Q. Only after the Indian Independence, has fisheries together with agriculture been recognized as an important sector. Examine the scope & challenges of aquaculture in India.

About the PMMSY

  • The PMMSY aims to bring about the Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector in India.
  • With the scheme, highest ever investment of Rs. 20050 crores are being made in the fisheries sector.
  • It will be implemented over a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories.

Aims and objectives of PMMSY

  • Harnessing of fisheries potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner
  • Enhancing of fish production and productivity through expansion, intensification, diversification and productive utilization of land and water
  • Modernizing and strengthening of the value chain – post-harvest management and quality improvement
  • Doubling fishers and fish farmers incomes and generation of employment
  • Enhancing contribution to Agriculture GVA and exports
  • Social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers
  • Robust fisheries management and regulatory framework

Implementation strategy

The PMMSY will be implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely:

(a) Central Sector Scheme and

(b) Centrally Sponsored Scheme

  • Majority of the activities under the Scheme would be implemented with the active participation of States/UTs.
  • A well-structured implementation framework would be established for the effective planning and implementation of PMMSY.
  • For optimal outcomes, ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.

Back2Basics: Fisheries sector of India

  • Fisheries and aquaculture are an important source of food, nutrition, employment and income in India.
  • The sector provides livelihood to more than 20 million fishers and fish farmers at the primary level and twice the number along the value chain.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) of the fisheries sector in the national economy during 2018-19 stood at 1.24% of the total National GVA and 7.28% share of Agricultural GVA.
  • The sector has immense potential to double the fishers and fish farmers’ incomes as envisioned by government and usher in economic prosperity.
  • Fisheries sector in India has shown impressive growth with an average annual growth rate of 10.88% during the year from 2014-15 to 2018-19.
Posted on | Custom
Agricultural Sector and Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana in ChhattisgarhGovt. SchemesStates in News

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana

Mains level : Various income support mechanisms for farmer


The Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana has been approved by the Chhattisgarh state govt. on 19th death anniversary of the former Prime Minister, yesterday.

Practice question for Mains:

Q. Various income support mechanisms for farmers are more of a populist measure with no impact on ground zero. Critically examine.

Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana

  • It is a new income support programme under which Farmers in Chhattisgarh would get up to ₹13,000 an acre a year.
  • Rice and maize farmers would get ₹10,000 an acre while sugarcane farmers would get ₹13,000. The money would be distributed in four instalments.
  • In the first instalment, ₹1,500 crores would be distributed among 18 lakh farmers, more than 80% of the small and marginal.
  • The scheme would cover rice, maize and sugarcane farmers to begin with, and would expand to other crops later.

Benefits of the scheme

  • This will help farmers through the agricultural cycle and hopefully help with extension activities.
  • The injection of cash among the rural population would generate a demand that shielded Chhattisgarh from the economic slowdown last year.
  • This will reduce distress migration, and enhance food security for the State.
Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ SystemGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ONORC Scheme

Mains level : Assurance of Food Security with the ONORC Scheme


Finance Minister has announced the nationwide rollout of a ‘One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC)’ system in all states and UTRs by March 2021. As of now, about 20 states have come on board to implement the inter-state ration card portability.

Practice question for mains:

Q. The  ‘One nation one ration card ‘scheme would bring perceptible changes to the lives of India’s internal migrant workers. Comment.

What is PDS?

  • The Public distribution system (PDS) is an Indian food Security System established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.
  • PDS evolved as a system of management of scarcity through distribution of food grains at affordable prices.
  • PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State Governments. 
  • The Central Government, through Food Corporation of India (FCI), has assumed the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains to the State Governments.
  • The operational responsibilities including allocation within the State, identification of eligible families, issue of Ration Cards and supervision of the functioning of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) etc., rest with the State Governments.
  • Under the PDS, presently the commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene are being allocated to the States/UTs for distribution. Some States/UTs also distribute additional items of mass consumption through the PDS outlets such as pulses, edible oils, iodized salt, spices, etc.

Evolution of PDS in India

  • PDS was introduced around World War II as a war-time rationing measure. Before the 1960s, distribution through PDS was generally dependant on imports of food grains.
  • It was expanded in the 1960s as a response to the food shortages of the time; subsequently, the government set up the Agriculture Prices Commission and the FCIto improve domestic procurement and storage of food grains for PDS.
  • By the 1970s, PDS had evolved into a universal scheme for the distribution of subsidised food
  • Till 1992, PDS was a general entitlement scheme for all consumers without any specific target.
  • The Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was launched in June, 1992 with a view to strengthen and streamline the PDS as well as to improve its reach in the far-flung, hilly, remote and inaccessible areas where a substantial section of the underprivileged classes lives.
  • In June, 1997, the Government of India launched the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) with a focus on the poor.
  • Under TPDS, beneficiaries were divided into two categories: Households below the poverty line or BPL; and Households above the poverty line or APL.
  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY): AAY was a step in the direction of making TPDS aim at reducing hunger among the poorest segments of the BPL population.
  • A National Sample Survey exercise pointed towards the fact that about 5% of the total population in the country sleeps without two square meals a day. In order to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards this category of population, the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for one crore poorest of the poor families.
  • In September 2013, Parliament enacted the National Food Security Act, 2013. The Act relies largely on the existing TPDS to deliver food grains as legal entitlements to poor households. This marks a shift by making the right to food a justiciable right.

How does the PDS system function?

  • The Central and State Governments share responsibilities in order to provide food grains to the identified beneficiaries.
  • The centre procures food grains from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP)and sells it to states at central issue prices. It is responsible for transporting the grains to godowns in each state.
  • States bear the responsibility of transporting food grains from these godowns to each fair price shop (ration shop), where the beneficiary buys the food grains at the lower central issue price. Many states further subsidise the price of food grains before selling it to beneficiaries.

Importance of PDS

  • It helps in ensuring Food and Nutritional Security of the nation.
  • It has helped in stabilising food prices and making food available to the poor at affordable prices.
  • It maintains the buffer stock of food grains in the warehouse so that the flow of food remains active even during the period of less agricultural food production.
  • It has helped in the redistribution of grains by supplying food from surplus regions of the country to deficient regions.
  • The system of minimum support price and procurement has contributed to the increase in food grain production.

Issues Associated with PDS System in India

  • Identification of beneficiaries: Studies have shown that targeting mechanisms such as TPDS are prone to large inclusion and exclusion errors. This implies that entitled beneficiaries are not getting food grains while those that are ineligible are getting undue benefits.
  • According to the estimation of an expert group set up in 2009, PDS suffers from nearly 61% error of exclusion and 25% inclusion of beneficiaries, i.e. the misclassification of the poor as non-poor and vice versa.
  • Leakage of food grains: (Transportation leakages + Black Marketing by FPS owners) TPDS suffers from large leakages of food grains during transportation to and from ration shops into the open market. In an evaluation of TPDS, the erstwhile Planning Commission found 36% leakage of PDS rice and wheat at the all-India level.
  • Issue with procurement: Open-ended Procurement i.e., all incoming grains accepted even if buffer stock is filled, creates a shortage in the open market.
  • Issues with storage: A performance audit by the CAG has revealed a serious shortfall in the government’s storage capacity.
  • Given the increasing procurement and incidents of rotting food grains, the lack of adequate covered storage is bound to be a cause for concern.
  • The provision of minimum support price (MSP) has encouraged farmers to divert land from production of coarse grains that are consumed by the poor, to rice and wheat and thus, discourages crop diversification.
  • Environmental issues: The over-emphasis on attaining self-sufficiency and a surplus in food grains, which are water-intensive, has been found to be environmentally unsustainable.
  • Procuring states such as Punjab and Haryana are under environmental stress, including rapid groundwater depletion, deteriorating soil and water conditions from overuse of fertilisers.
  • It was found that due to the cultivation of rice in north-west India, the water table went down by 33 cm per year during 2002-08.

What is the one ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system?

  • Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, about 81 crore persons are entitled to buy subsidized foodgrain — rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg, and coarse grains at Re 1/kg — from their designated Fair Price Shops (FPS) of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
  • Currently, about 23 crore ration cards have been issued to nearly 80 crore beneficiaries of NFSA in all states and UTs.
  • In the present system, a ration cardholder can buy foodgrains only from an FPS that has been assigned to her in the locality in which she lives.
  • However, this will change once the ONORC system becomes operational nationally.

How would that work?

  • Under the ONORC system, the beneficiary will be able to buy subsidised foodgrains from any FPS across the country.
  • The new system, based on a technological solution, will identify a beneficiary through biometric authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices installed at the FPSs.
  • This would enable that person to purchase the number of foodgrains to which she is entitled under the NFSA.

How will the system of ration card portability work?

  • Ration card portability is aimed at providing intra-state as well as inter-state portability of ration cards.
  • While the Integrated Management of PDS portal provides the technological platform for the inter-state portability of ration cards.
  • It enables a migrant worker to buy foodgrains from any FPS across the country.
  • The Annavitaran portal hosts the data of the distribution of foodgrains through E-PoS devices within a state.
  • The portal enables a migrant worker or his family to avail the benefits of PDS outside their district but within their state.
  • While a person can buy her share of foodgrains as per her entitlement under the NFSA, wherever she is based, the rest of her family members can purchase subsidised foodgrains from their ration dealer back home.

Revamping of the PDS

  • The PDS system was marred with inefficiency leading to leakages in the system. To plug the leakages and make the system better, the government started the reform process.
  • For, this purpose it used a technological solution involving the use of Aadhaar to identify beneficiaries. Under the scheme, the seeding of ration cards with Aadhaar is being done.
  • Simultaneously, PoS machines are being installed at all FPSs across the country.
  • Once 100 per cent of Aadhaar seeding and 100 per cent installation of PoS devices is achieved, the national portability of ration cards will become a reality.
  • It will enable migrant workers to buy foodgrains from any FPS by using their existing/same ration card.

How many states have come on board?

  • It was initially proposed to nationally roll out the ONORC scheme by June 1, 2020.
  • So far, 17 major states and UTs have come on board to roll out the inter-state portability of ration cards under the NFSA.
  • Three more states — Odisha, Mizoram, and Nagaland — are expected to come on board by June 1, taking the number of States and UTs to 20 under the One Nation, Once Ration Card System.

How has been the experience of Ration Card Portability so far?

  • The facility of inter-state ration card portability is available in 20 states as of now but the number of transactions done through using this facility has been low so far.
  • According to data available on the IMPDS portal, only 275 transactions have been done until May 14.
  • However, the number of transactions in the intra-state ration card portability is quite high.
  • The data available on the Annavitaran portal shows that about one crore transactions took place using the facility last month.
  • It means that usages of intra-state ration card portability are way higher than the inter-state portability.

Back2Basics: National Food Security Act, 2013

  • The NFS Act, 2013 (also Right to Food Act) aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
  • It was signed into law on 12 September 2013, retroactive to 5 July 2013.
  • The NFSA 2013 converted into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes.
  • It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System.
  • Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme and the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
  • Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.
Indian Army Updates

“Tour of Duty (ToD) Scheme” for Short Service in Indian ArmyGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ToD Scheme

Mains level : Need for restructure of the armed forces


The Indian Army has planned to take civilians on a three-year “Tour of Duty” (ToD) or short service” on a trial basis to serve as officers and in other ranks initially for a limited number of vacancies which will be expanded later.

Practice question for mains:

Q. The “Tour of Duty” (ToD) Scheme is a significant move to free up funds for the Army’s modernization. Comment.

Tour of Duty Scheme

  • Indian Army is thinking to induct youngsters for three-year “Tour of Duty (ToD) tenure as both officers and jawans.
  • The ToD scheme, in case approved, will initially be launched with around 100 vacancies for officers and 1,000 for jawans.
  • As per Army, a ToD officer will earn Rs 80,000-90,000 per month. After ToD tenure, youngsters can find lucrative private and public sector jobs.
  • The Army says it will restructure the cadre and help modernize the force.

Advantages of ToD Scheme

  • ToD is expected to result in a significant reduction in the expenditure on pay and pensions and free up funds for the Army’s modernization.
  • The overall purpose of the ToD concept is ‘internship/temporary experience’.
  • There will be no requirement of attractive severance packages, resettlement courses, professional encashment training leave, ex-servicemen status, ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme for ToD officers and other ranks.
  • Analysing the cost of training incurred on each personnel compared with the limited employment of the manpower for three years, the proposal calculates that it will indeed have a positive benefit.

The cost factor

  • The approximate cost incurred is nearly ₹5.12 crore and ₹6.83 crores for a Short Service Commission (SSC) officer if he or she is released from service after 10 and 14 years, respectively.
  • The costs for those released after a three-year ToD is just ₹80-85 lakh.
  • Similarly, estimates for a jawan with 17 years of service as compared to a ToD recruit with three years’ service shows that the prospective lifetime savings of just one jawan are ₹11.5 crores.
  • Thus, savings for only 1,000 jawans could be ₹11,000 crores, which could be used for the much-needed modernization of the Army.

Other benefits

  • This scheme is for those who did not want a full career in the Army but still wanted to put on the uniform.
  • Individuals who opted for ToD would get a much higher salary than their peers in the corporate sector.
  • They would also have an edge after leaving the service and going to the corporate sector.
  • The Army hoped that this would attract individuals from the best colleges, including the Indian Institutes of Technology.

Back2Basics: Permanent Commission (PC) Vs. Short Service Commission (SSC)

  • SSC means an officer’s career will be of a limited period in the Indian Armed Forces whereas a PC means they shall continue to serve in the Indian Armed Forces, till they retire.
  • The officers inducted through the SSC usually serve for a period of 14 years. At the end of 10 years, the officers have three options.
  • A PC entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till he/she retires unlike SSC, which is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years, or a total of 14 years.
  • They can either select for a PC or opt-out or have the option of a 4-years extension. They can resign at any time during this period of 4 years extension.
Posted on | The Hindu
Coronavirus – Economic Issues

[pib] Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Mission)Govt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

Mains level : Significance and need for such a mission


The PM has announced the Atma-nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (or Self-reliant India Mission) and said that in the days to come the government would unveil the details of an economic package — worth Rs 20 lakh crore or 10% of India’s GDP in 2019-20 — aimed towards achieving this mission.

Try a question:

‘Doubling Farmer’s Income’ and ‘USD 5 trillion economy’  seems more like slogans today in wake of COVID pandemic. Comment on the statement with keeping in view the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan of the government.

Atmanirbhar Bharat: With a special package

  • PM has announced a special economic package and gave a clarion call for Self-reliant India.
  • The package will provide a much-needed boost towards achieving self-reliance.
  • This package, taken together with earlier announcements by the government during COVID crisis and decisions taken by RBI, is to the tune of Rs 20 lakh crore, which is equivalent to almost 10% of India’s GDP.
  • The package will also focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, labourers, middle class, and industries, among others.

Five pillars of a self-reliant India

PM iterated that a self-reliant India will stand on five pillars viz.

1) Economy, which brings in quantum jump and not incremental change

2) Infrastructure, which should become the identity of India

3) System, based on 21st-century technology-driven arrangements

4) Vibrant Demography, which is our source of energy for a self-reliant India and

5) Demand, whereby the strength of our demand and supply chain should be utilized to full capacity

Is this a new package?

  • The PM did not give the details, but he specified that this calculation of Rs 20 lakh crore includes what the government has already announced and the steps taken by the RBI.
  • This means the total amount of additional money — that is over and above what the government would have spent even in the absence of a Covid crisis — will not be Rs 20 lakh crore.
  • It would be substantially less.

Why?

  • That’s because the PM has included the actions of RBI, India’s central bank, as part of the government’s “fiscal” package, even though only the government controls the fiscal policy and not the RBI (which controls the ‘monetary’ policy).
  • Government expenditure and RBI’s actions are neither the same nor can they be added in this manner.

What did the RBI provide earlier?

  • A rough estimate suggests that the RBI’s decisions have provided additional liquidity of Rs 5-6 lakh crore since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Add this to the Rs 1.7 lakh crore of the first fiscal relief package announced by the Centre on March 26. Together, the two already account for 40 per cent of the Rs 20-lakh crore package.
  • That leaves an effective amount of Rs 12 lakh crore.
  • However, if the government is including RBI’s liquidity decisions in the calculation, then the actual fresh spending by the government could be considerably lower than Rs 12 lakh crore.
  • That’s because RBI has been coming out with long term bond-buying operations (long term repo operation or LTRO, to infuse liquidity into the banking system) worth Rs 1 lakh crore at a time.
  • If for argument’s sake, RBI comes out with another LTRO of Rs 1 lakh crore, then the overall fiscal help falls by the same amount.

Why shouldn’t RBI’s package be included in the overall package?

  • That is because direct expenditure by a government — either by way of wage subsidy or direct benefit transfer or any, immediately and necessarily stimulates the economy.
  • In other words, that money necessarily reaches the people — either as someone’s salary or someone’s purchase.
  • But credit easing by the RBI — that is, making more money available to the banks so that they can lend to the broader economy — is not like government expenditure.
  • That’s because, especially in times of crisis, banks may take that money from RBI and elsewhere and, instead of lending it, park it back with the RBI.

Back2Basics: Long Term Repo Operations (LTRO)

  • The LTRO is a tool under which the RBI provides 1-3 year money to banks at the prevailing repo rate, accepting government securities with matching or higher tenure as the collateral.
  • Funds through LTRO are provided at the repo rate.
  • But usually, loans with higher maturity period (here like 1 year and 3 years) will have a higher interest rate compared to short term (repo) loans.
  • According to the RBI, the LTRO scheme will be in addition to the existing Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) operations.
  • The LAF and MSF are the two sets of liquidity operations by the RBI with the LAF having a number of tools like repo, reverse repo, term repo etc.

What are Repo and Reverse Repo rates?

  • The repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to the banking system (or banks) for short durations.
  • The reverse repo rate is the rate at which banks can park their money with the RBI.
  • With both kinds of the repo, which is short for repurchase agreement, transactions happen via bonds — one party sells bonds to the other with the promise to buy them back (or repurchase them) at a later specified date.
  • In a growing economy, commercial banks need funds to lend to businesses.
  • One source of funds for such lending is the money they receive from common people who maintain savings deposits with the banks. Repo is another option.
Financial Inclusion in India and Its Challenges

[pib] Atal Pension Yojana:  Marking 5 Years of ImplementationGovt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : APY, NPS, PFRDA

Mains level : Old age security concerns addressed by APY


The flagship social security scheme ‘Atal Pension Yojana’ (APY) has completed five years of successful implementation.

Five years of successfull implemention of APY is a significant feat. A statement based prelims question on terms of enrolment of the APY can be asked.

Atal Pension Yojana

  • APY is a government-backed pension scheme, primarily targeted at the unorganised sector.
  • It is a social security scheme launched by the government on 9th May 2015 to provide a defined pension between Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.
  • It aims of delivering old age income security particularly to the workers in the unorganised sector with a guarantee of minimum pension after 60 years of age.

Terms of enrolment

  • APY can be subscribed by any Indian citizen in the age group of 18-40 years having a bank account and its uniqueness is attributable to three distinctive benefits.
  • First, it provides a minimum guaranteed pension ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 on attaining 60 years of age,
  • Secondly, the amount of pension is guaranteed for a lifetime to spouse on death of the subscriber.
  • And lastly, in the event of the death of both the subscriber and the spouse, entire pension corpus is paid to the nominee.

Success of the scheme

  • The scheme has now 2.23 crores enrolment.
  • Apart from remarkable enrolments, the scheme has been implemented comprehensively across the country covering all states and UTs with male to a female subscription ratio of 57:43.

About PFRDA

  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the statutory authority established by an enactment of the Parliament.
  • It aims to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the National Pension System (NPS) and pension schemes to which this Act applies.
  • NPS was initially notified for central government employees recruits w.e.f. 1st Jan 2004 and subsequently adopted by almost all State Governments for its employees.
  • NPS was extended to all Indian citizens (resident/non-resident/overseas) on a voluntary basis and to corporates for its employees.
Land Reforms

SWAMITVA Scheme to map rural inhabited landsGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Swamitva Scheme, e-Gramswaraj Portal

Mains level : Land records management and its significance for urban and rural planning


The Prime Minister has launched the Swamitva Scheme and e-Gramswaraj Portal & mobile app as a portal to prepare and plan Gram Panchayat Development Plans.

Swamitva Scheme

  • SWAMITVA stands for Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas.
  • Under the scheme, the latest surveying technology such as drones will be used for measuring the inhabited land in villages and rural areas.
  • The mapping and survey will be conducted in collaboration with the Survey of India, State Revenue Department and State Panchayati Raj Department under the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
  • The drones will draw the digital map of every property falling in the geographical limit of each Indian village.
  • Property Cards will be prepared and given to the respective owners.

Benefits

  • The scheme will create records of land ownership in villages and these records will further facilitate tax collection, new building plan and issuance of permits.
  • It will enable the government to effectively plan for the infrastructural programs in villages.
  • It would help in reducing the disputes over property.

What is e-Gramswaraj Portal?

  • E Gram Swaraj portal is the official portal of central govt for the implementation of Swamitva scheme.
  • By visiting this portal people can check their Panchayat profile easily. It will also contain the details of ongoing development works and the fund allocated for them.
  • Any citizen can create his or her account on the portal and can know about the developmental works of villages.
  • The user of E Gram Swaraj portal can also access all work of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
  • This single interface will help speed-up the implementation of projects in rural areas from planning to completion.
Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

MPLADS funds suspended over COVID-19 crisisGovt. SchemesPriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MPLADS

Mains level : MPLADS and its implementation


The Union Cabinet gave its nod to the temporary suspension of MPLAD Funds during 2020-21 and 2021-22 in view of the adverse impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 in India.

Why suspend MPLAD?

  • The consolidated amount of MPLAD Funds for 2 years – Rs 7,900 crores – will go to Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The Cabinet has also approved an ordinance to reduce the salaries, allowances and pensions of Members of Parliament (MPs), including the Prime Minister, by 30 per cent for one year.
  • The amount so collected would be utilized in the fight against coronavirus.

What is the MPLAD scheme?

  • The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is a programme 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 which 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 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 per cent of their entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by ST population.
  • It layy down a number of development works including construction of railway halt stations, providing financial assistance to recognised bodies, cooperative societies, installing CCTV cameras etc.
Coronavirus – Economic Issues

PM Gareeb Kalyan SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PM Gareeb Kalyan Scheme

Mains level : Coronovirus outbreak and its mitigation


Union Finance Minister has announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Scheme, under which the government would provide a relief package of Rs 1.7 trillion to the underprivileged, poor and migrant workers affected by a lockdown amid the Covid-19 crisis.

PM Garib Kalyan Scheme

  • PM Gareeb Kalyan scheme is to have two parts — cash transfer and food security.
  • The package aims to take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and migrant workers who have been suffering because of a nationwide lockdown.

Two silos of the scheme

1) PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana

  • 800 million poor people in the country to get 5 kg of rice/wheat per month free of cost, in addition to the 5 kg they already get.
  • Additionally, each household to get 1 kg of preferred dal for free for the next three months

2) Cash transfer scheme

It has nine sub-parts

  • Farmers: First instalment of the PM-KISAN payment of Rs 2,000 to be frontloaded; move to benefit 87 million
  • MGNREGS: Wage increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day. A wage increase to benefit 50 million families, as there will be about 2000 increase in their income
  • Poor widows, aged, and divyang: Ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 for the next three months, in two instalments. 30 million people to benefit. transfers to be done through direct benefits transfer (DBT)
  • Women with Jan Dhan Yojana accounts: 200 million to benefit from Rs 500 ex-gratia for the next 3 months
  • Beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme: 80 million households benefit from the gas cylinders provided under the scheme. These beneficiaries will get free cylinders for three months in view of the disruption the coronavirus lockdown will cause.
  • Women in self-help groups: 6.3 million SHGs get up to Rs 10 lakh collateral-free loans under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme. The cap has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh. The move will benefit 70 million households
  • Organised sector workers: Two parts to this. First, the Government of India will pay the EPF contribution of both employee and employer for the next three months. This will be for all those establishments which have up to 100 employees, 90 per cent of whom earn less than Rs 15,000 a month
  • Construction workers: States to be directed to utilise the Rs 31,000 crore welfare fund for building and construction workers for the benefit of 35 million workers in the midst of the coronavirus crisis
  • District mineral fund: State govts. to be urged to utilise this fund for medical screening, medical testing and providing health care services in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

Other initiatives

  • Insurance cover for healthcare workers attending to Covid-19 patients: Rs 50 lakh per person.
  • Two million health workers to benefit from the insurance scheme.
  • In what will benefit 8 million employees and 400,000 establishments, the EPFO regulation will be amended to allow the withdrawal of up to 75 per cent of their corpus as non-refundable advance, or three months’ salary, whichever is less.
Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Produce

MSP for Minor Forest Produce SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MSP for MFP Scheme

Mains level : MSP for MFP Scheme


The Union government’s ‘mechanism for the marketing of minor forest produce (MFP) through minimum support price (MSP) and development of value chain for MFP’ scheme can offer respite to forest-dependent labourers in the wake of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to experts.

About MSP for MFP Scheme

  • The scheme, launched by the Centre in August 2013, provides fair price for MFP collected by tribals through MSP.
  • It is designed as a social safety net for improvement of livelihood of MFP gatherers by providing them fair price for the MFPs they collect.
  • MFP comprises all non-timber forest produce of plant origin such as bamboo, brush wood, stumps, cane, tussar, cocoons, honey, wax, lac, tendu or kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tubers, etc, according to the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
  • The Scheme was been implemented in eight States having Schedule areas as listed in the Fifth Schedule of the constitution of India.
  • From November 2016, the scheme is applicable in all States.

Issues in implementation

  • Almost 60-70 per cent income of forest dwellers depends on collection and sale of MFP, according to the tribal affairs ministry.
  • However, the scheme has not been activated because in most cases, states have not given their 25 per cent share.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

[pib] Employees’ Pension Scheme (Amendment) Scheme, 2020Govt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : EPS Scheme

Mains level : Scope and benefits of EPS


The Union Ministry of Labour & Employment has informed about the total enrollments under EPS.

Employees Pension Scheme (EPS)

  • EPS is a social security scheme that was launched in 1995 and is facilitated by EPFO.
  • The scheme makes provisions for pensions for the employees in the organized sector after retirement at the age of 58 years.
  • Employees who are members of EPFO automatically become eligible for EPS.
  • Both employer and employee contribute 12% of employee’s monthly salary (basic wages plus dearness allowance) to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme.
  • EPF scheme is mandatory for employees who draw a basic wage of Rs. 15,000 per month.
  • Of the employer’s share of 12 %, 8.33 % is diverted towards the EPS.

Features of the 2020 Amendment

  • EPS pensioners will get normal pension even after getting a reduced pension due to commutation.
  • On retirement, if the employee opts for commutation of pension, a portion is paid as a lump sum based on the commutation factor while on the balance the pension begins.
  • In simple terms, commutation means a lump sum payment in lieu of periodic payments of pension.
  • In such a case, the amount of pension will be lower than the amount of pension without any commutation.
  • The amendment seeks to restore the original amount of pension as per the commutation table, after 15 years equal to the same amount as it would have been without commutation.

[pib] Various schemes implemented by Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs)Govt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various initiaitives mentioned in the newscard

Mains level : Schemes for cultural promotion


The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has informed about its various schemes in the Lok Sabha.

Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs)

  • To preserve & promote various forms of folk art and culture of the tribals throughout the country including West Bengal, the govt. has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs).
  • These are headquartered at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur.
  • These ZCCs organize various cultural activities and programmes all over the country on regular basis.

These ZCCs under Ministry of Culture are also implementing a number of schemes for promoting the folk/tribal art and culture, details of which are as below –

1) Award to Young Talented Artists:

  • The Scheme “Young Talented Artists” is carried out to encourage and recognize the young talents especially in the field of rare art forms.
  • Talented youngsters of the age group of 18-30 years are selected and given a one-time  cash award of Rs. 10,000/-.

2) Guru Shishya Parampara:

  • This scheme envisages transmitting our valued traditions to the coming generations. Disciples are trained under veterans in art forms which are rare and vanishing.
  • Rare and vanishing art forms of the region are identified and eminent exponents are selected to carry out the training programmes in ‘Gurukula’ tradition.
  • The monthly remuneration for Guru – Rs. 7,500/-, Accompanist – Rs. 3,750/- and        Pupils – Rs. 1,500/- each for the period of six month to maximum 1 year for one scheme.
  • The names of the Gurus are recommended by the State Cultural Affairs Departments.

3) National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP):

  • It can be termed as the lifeline of the Zonal Cultural Centers. Under this scheme, various festivals of performing arts, exhibitions, yatras etc are organized in member States.
  • Artists from other zones/states are invited to participate in these programmes. Participation of artists from the Zone in festivals held in other parts of the country are also facilitated.
  • Zonal centres also participate in Major festivals happening in member States by arranging performances during these festivals where large number of audience get chance to enjoy and understand art forms of other regions.
  • These festivals provide opportunity to taste and understand various cultures of our country.

4) Preservation of Languages

  • Sahitya Akademi, an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, encourages the preservation and promotion of languages, especially the unrecognized and tribal languages.
  • The Akademi periodically organizes language conventions throughout the country in this regard.

5) Theatre Rejuvenation:

  • To promote theatre activities including stage shows and Production oriented workshops, etc. Honorarium Up to Rs. 30,000/- per show excluding TA & DA is paid.
  • The groups finalized on the basis their credentials as well as the merit of project submitted by them.

6) Research & Documentation:

  • To preserve promote and propagate vanishing visual and performing art forms including folk, tribal and classical in the field of music, dance, theatre, literature, fine arts etc. in print/ audio – visual media.
  • The art form is finalized in consultation with state Cultural Department.

7) Shilpgram:  To promote folk and tribal art and crafts of the zone by organizing seminar, workshops, exhibitions, craft fairs, design development and marketing support to the artisans living in the rural areas.

8) Octave:  To promote and propagate the rich cultural heritage of North East region comprising of eight States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura to the rest of India.

Posted on | Custom
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Jalyukta Shivar AbhiyanGovt. SchemesStates in News

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan

Mains level : Various schemes for drought management


 

Jalyukta Shivar, the flagship water conservation project launched by the earlier government has been officially scrapped by the present Maha government.

What is Jalyukta Shivar?

  • Launched in December 2014 after Maharashtra experienced consecutive droughts, the project aimed at rolling out measures that could potentially mitigate water scarcity in the most drought-prone villages in a systematic manner.
  • Nearly 52 per cent of the state’s geographical area is prone to drought, either naturally or due to poor rainfall.
  • This includes Marathwada and adjoining areas of Madhya Maharashtra and large parts of Vidarbha.
  • The project targeted strengthening and streamlining existing water resources like canals, bunds and ponds by arresting maximum run-off rainwater during monsoon.
  • Tasks to widen and deepen natural water streams and connect them to nearby water storage facilities like earthen or concrete check-dams were proposed.
  • In the first phase, planned during 2015 – 2019, Jalyukta Shivar envisaged making 5,000 villages drought-free, every year.
  • During its proposed tenure, the government eyed at making 25,000 drought-prone villages water-sufficient.

Was Jalyukta Shivar beneficial?

  • While the exact number of villages that were declared drought-free remains unknown, the programme attempted to bring water stress down in a majority of the most water-scarce villages in the state.
  • In January last year, then CM had announced that the scheme had transformed 16,000 drought-prone villages of Maharashtra.

What is the future of water conservation in the state?

  • Geologists and hydrologists, who worked on implementing the project, shared similar views and hailed Jalyukta Shivar.
  • This was mainly due to the interventions undertaken in the existing water reserves, planned de-silting activities, among many others.
  • However, experts agreed that the scheme was not appropriately implemented.
  • Now with Jalyukta Shivar no longer in existence, focused efforts of the past five years, in most likelihood, will go down the drain unless a similar scheme is introduced.
  • With rainfall variations getting more pronounced, in addition to depleting groundwater reserves, the state will need concrete interventions to tackle future water requirements.
Crop Insurance – PMFBY, etc.

Changes in Crop Insurance SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Crop insurrance schemes in India

Mains level : Impacts of the said changes


The Centre has decided to restrict its premium subsidy in its flagship crop insurance schemes to 30% for unirrigated areas and 25% for irrigated areas (from the existing unlimited), and to make enrolment of farmers in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) voluntary from the 2020 Kharif season.

 Other changes in crop insurance schemes

  • The government has given flexibility to states/UTs to implement PMFBY and RWBCIS, and given them the option to select any number of additional risk covers/features like prevented sowing, localised calamity, mid-season adversity, and post-harvest losses.
  • Earlier, these risk covers were mandatory.

Why such a move?

By capping the subsidy for premium rates up to 30%, the Centre wants to dis-incentivize certain crops in such areas where growing these crops involve high risks in terms of crop insurance premiums.

What were the schemes?

  • At present, under PMFBY and RWBCIS, farmers pay a premium of 2% of the sum insured for all foodgrains and oilseeds crops of Kharif; 1.5% for all foodgrains and oilseeds crops of Rabi; and 5% for all horticultural crops.
  • The difference between actual premium rate and the rate of insurance premium payable by farmers, which is called the Rate of Normal Premium Subsidy, is shared equally between the Centre and the states.
  • However, states and UTs are free to extend additional subsidy over and above the normal subsidy from their budgets.
  • Until now, there was no upper limit for the central subsidy.
  • The Cabinet decided to cap the Centre’s premium subsidy under these schemes for premium rates up to 30% for unirrigated areas/crops and 25% for irrigated areas/crops.

How many farmers are covered under these two schemes?

  • During 2018-19, about 5.64 crore farmers are enrolled with PMFBY for an insured sum of Rs 2,35,277 crore, and 30% of the gross cropped is insured.
  • When the government approved PMFBY four years ago, it was described as a path-breaking scheme for farmers’ welfare” under which there was no upper limit on government subsidy.
  • Even if balance premium was 90%, it was to be borne by the Government
  • While PMFBY is based on yield, RWBCIS is based on proxies and farmers are provided insurance protection against adverse weather conditions such as excess rainfall, wind and temperature.
  • The number of insured farmers under RWBCIS is relatively low.

Impact of the move

This change will have two main implications.

  • First, it may bring down the rates of overall premium as the state governments now will not be required to invite bids factoring these risks.
  • Second, it will make these schemes less attractive for farmers.
  • However, states/UTs can offer specific single peril risk/insurance covers like hailstorm etc under PMFBY.

Burden of premium

  • One interpretation of this decision is that the burden of premium subsidy will go up for the states.
  • Example: In the old regime, if a farmer’s Kharif crop was insured for Rs 1,00,000 and the rate of actuarial premium was 40%, then the premium paid by the farmer was 2% (Rs 2,000), and the remaining premium was shared by the Centre and the state equally (19% or Rs 19,000).
  • In the new regime, for the same sum insured (Rs 1,00,000) and the same rate of premium (40%), the Centre will give subsidy for premium rates up to 30%.
  • This means that from the Kharif 2020 season , the Centre will have to pay premium at the rate of 14% (out of 30%, the farmer’s share is 2%, and the Centre’s and state’s 14% each).
  • The state has to bear the entire burden of the premium subsidy in cases where the rate of premium goes beyond the threshold of 30%.

No insurance of certain crops

  • Another interpretation is that the Centre may stop supporting insurance of certain crops in certain areas where the rate of premium is more than 30%.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare in consultation with other stakeholders/agencies will have to prepare State specific, alternative risk mitigation programme for crops/areas having high rate of premium.
  • While the average premium rate under PMFBY and RWBCIS at the national level was 12.32% for 2018-19, for some crops in certain districts, the rate of premium has been higher than 30% in recent years.
  • For instance, the rate of premium for Kharif groundnut has reached 49% in Rajkot of Gujarat, and the rate for Rabi paddy crop Ramnathapuram (Tamil Nadu) has reached 42%.

Impact on states

  • The states are already defaulting on their share, and the Centre’s new cap will put an additional financial burden on them.
  • Madhya Pradesh has not paid its share of premium even for Kharif 2018, which comes to Rs 1,500 crore. As a result, farmers have not got their claims.
  • In fact, most states have delayed the payment of their share of premium.
  • Sources said that in some states, the expenditure on premium of PMFBY is more than 50% of their budget for agriculture.

Immediate implications

  • That move will lead to a rise in the rates of premium, as the area covered under insurance and the number of enrolled farmers is expected to come down significantly.
  • As of now the schemes are compulsory for all loanee farmers and optional for other farmers.
  • Non-loanee farmers under the crop insurance schemes are much fewer than loanee farmers.
  • If the latter opt out of the schemes, the number of insured farmers will drastically come down.
  • In such a scenario the rate of premium of certain crops in some areas may go beyond 30%.

Back2Basics

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana – Min Premium, Max Insurance

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

[pib] Scheme for formation and promotion of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)Govt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)

Mains level : Role of FPOs


The Cabinet Committee has given its approval for 10,000 FPOs to be formed in five years period from 2019-20 to 2023-24 to ensure economies of scale for farmers.

What are Farmer Producer Organizations?

  • A Producer Organisation (PO) is a legal entity formed by primary producers, viz. farmers, milk producers, fishermen, weavers, rural artisans, craftsmen.
  • A PO can be a producer company, a cooperative society or any other legal form which provides for sharing of profits/benefits among the members.
  • In some forms like producer companies, institutions of primary producers can also become member of PO.
  • FPO is one type of PO where the members are farmers. Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is providing support forthe promotion of FPOs.

About the Scheme

  • It would be a new Central Sector Scheme titled “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Produce Organizations (FPOs)” to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs.
  • Initially there will be three implementing Agencies to form and promote FPOs, namely Small Farmers Agri-business Consortium (SFAC), National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
  • States may also, if so desire, nominate their Implementing Agency in consultation with DAC&FW.
  • DAC&FW will allocate Cluster/States to Implementing Agencies which in turn will form the Cluster-Based Business Organization in the States.

Modes for promotion

  • FPOs will be promoted under “One District One Product” cluster to promote specialization and better processing, marketing, branding & export by FPOs.
  • There will be a provision of Equity Grant for strengthening equity base of FPOs.
  • There will be a Credit Guarantee Fund of up to Rs. 1,000.00 crore in NABARD.

Benefits

  • Small and marginal farmers do not have the economic strength to apply production technology, services and marketing including value addition.
  • Through the formation of FPOs, farmers will have better collective strength for better access to quality input, technology, credit and better marketing access through economies of scale for better realization of income.