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Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

ICDS ProgrammeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ICDS and its components

Mains level : Forms of malnutrition in urban areas and their preventive measures


 

Centre seeks to revamp the ICDS scheme in urban areas. For this NITI Aayog will develop draft policy, which will be circulated to the Ministries for consultations.

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

  • The ICDS is a government programme in India which provides food, preschool education, primary healthcare, immunization, health check-up and referral services to children under 6 years of age and their mothers.
  • The scheme was launched in 1975, discontinued in 1978 by the government of Morarji Desai, and then relaunched by the Tenth Five Year Plan.
  • Tenth FYP also linked ICDS to Anganwadi centres established mainly in rural areas and staffed with frontline workers.
  • The ICDS provide for anganwadis or day-care centres which deliver a package of six services including:
  1. Immunization
  2. Supplementary nutrition
  3. Health checkup
  4. Referral services
  5. Pre-school education(Non-Formal)
  6. Nutrition and Health information

Implementation

  • For nutritional purposes ICDS provides 500 kilocalories (with 12-15 grams of protein) every day to every child below 6 years of age.
  • For adolescent girls it is up to 500 kilo calories with up to 25 grams of protein every day.
  • The services of Immunisation, Health Check-up and Referral Services delivered through Public Health Infrastructure under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Revamp for Urban Areas

  • Health and ICDS models that work in rural areas may not work in urban areas because of higher population density, transportation challenges and migration.
  • Children in urban areas were overweight and obese as indicated by subscapular skinfold thickness (SSFT) for their age.
  • The first-ever pan-India survey on the nutrition status of children, highlighted that malnutrition among children in urban India.
  • It found a higher prevalence of obesity because of relative prosperity and lifestyle patterns, along with iron and Vitamin D deficiency.
  • According to government data from 2018, of the 14 lakh anganwadis across the country there are only 1.38 lakh anganwadis in urban areas.
Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

National E-Mobility Mission Plan 2020Govt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National E-Mobility Mission Plan, 2020

Mains level : FAME Scheme and its progress


 

The Supreme Court has sought the response of the government on a petition that alleges the non-implementation of the National E-Mobility Mission Plan, 2020 (NEMMP), which came out in 2012.

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020

  • The plan was launched by the Government of India in 2013 with the objective of achieving national fuel security by promoting electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • It had set a target of achieving a sale of seven million EVs by 2020 and thereby aimed to cut total carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent from the ‘do nothing’ scenario.
  • The government would provide fiscal and monetary incentives for this industry.
  • The plan had made several recommendations for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), including electric-powered government fleets and public transportation and subsidies for those who opt for EVs.

What was the petition about?

  • The petition contended that the governmental apathy has violated the fundamental rights of citizens to health and clean environment guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • The government had failed in its obligation to mitigate the impact of climate change and air pollution partly attributable to emissions from vehicles that burn fossil fuels.
  • Government’s failure to suitably implement these recommendations is the direct cause of air pollution levels that have turned our cities into virtual ‘gas chambers’.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

National Policy for the treatment of 450 ‘Rare Diseases’Govt. SchemesPriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rare Diseases

Mains level : Highlights of the saif policy for ‘Rare Diseases’


The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has published a national policy for the treatment of 450 ‘rare diseases’.

About the Policy

  • The Centre first prepared such a policy in 2017 and appointed a committee in 2018 to review it.
  • It was created on the direction of the Delhi High Court to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • This was in response to writ petitions for free treatment of such diseases, due to their “prohibitively” high cost of treatment.
  • Hence, a policy was deemed necessary to devise a “multipronged” and “multisectoral” approach to build India’s capacity for tackling such ailments.

Why need such a policy?

  • As per the policy, out of all rare diseases in the world, less than five per cent have therapies available to treat them.
  • In India, roughly 450 rare diseases have been recorded from tertiary hospitals, of which the most common are Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle-cell anemia, auto-immune diseases, Gaucher’s disease, and cystic fibrosis.

Features of the policy

  • While the policy has not yet put down a detailed roadmap of how rare diseases will be treated.
  • It has mentioned some measures, which include creating a patient registry for rare diseases, arriving at a definition for rare diseases that is suited to India, taking legal and other measures to control the prices of their drugs etc.
  • It intends to kickstart a registry of rare diseases, which will be maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • Under the policy, there are three categories of rare diseases — requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases that require long-term treatment but where the cost is low, and those needing long-term treatments with high cost.
  • Some of the diseases in the first category include osteopetrosis and immune deficiency disorders, among others.
  • As per the policy, the assistance of Rs 15 lakh will be provided to patients suffering from rare diseases that require a one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme.
  • The treatment will be limited to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

What are rare diseases?

  • Broadly, a ‘rare disease’ is defined as a health condition of low prevalence that affects a small number of people when compared with other prevalent diseases in the general population. Many cases of rare diseases may be serious, chronic and life-threatening.
  • While a majority of rare diseases are believed to be genetic, many — such as some rare cancers and some autoimmune diseases — are not inherited, as per the NIH.
  • According to the policy, rare diseases include genetic diseases, rare cancers, infectious tropical diseases, and degenerative diseases.

Definition

  • India does not have a definition of rare diseases because there is a lack of epidemiological data on its incidence and prevalence.
  • While there is no universally accepted definition of rare diseases, countries typically arrive at their own descriptions, taking into consideration disease prevalence, its severity and the existence of alternative therapeutic options.
  • In the US, for instance, a rare disease is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people.
  • The same definition is used by the National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD) in India.
Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

Green Credit SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green Credit Scheme, CAMPA

Mains level : CAMPA


The Forest Advisory Committee has approved a scheme that could allow “forests” to be traded as a commodity.  FAC is an apex body tasked with adjudicating requests by the industry to raze forest land for commercial ends.

Green Credit Scheme

  • The proposed ‘Green Credit Scheme’, as it is called, allows agencies — they could be private companies, village forest communities — to identify land and begin growing plantations.
  • After three years, they would be eligible to be considered as compensatory forest land if they met the Forest Department’s criteria.
  • An industry needing forest land could then approach the agency and pay it for parcels of such forested land, and this would then be transferred to the Forest Department and be recorded as forest land.
  • The participating agency will be free to trade its asset, that is plantation, in parcels, with project proponents who need forest land.
  • This is not the first time that such a scheme has been mooted.
  • In 2015, a ‘Green Credit Scheme’ for degraded forest land with public-private participation was recommended, but it was not approved by the Union Environment Minister, the final authority.

Impact

  • In the current system, industry needs to make good the loss of forest by finding appropriate non-forest land — equal to that which would be razed.
  • It also must pay the State Forest Department the current economic equivalent — called Net Present Value — of the forest land.
  • It’s then the Forest Department’s responsibility to grow appropriate vegetation that, over time, would grow into forests.
  • Industries have often complained that they find it hard to acquire appropriate non-forest land, which has to be contiguous to existing forest.
  • If implemented it allows the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies.

 Individuals outside

  • One of India’s prongs to combat climate change is the Green India Mission that aims to sequester 2.523 billion tonnes of carbon by 2020-30, and this involves adding 30 million hectares in addition to existing forest.
  • Critics held that it does not solve the core problems of compensatory afforestation.
  • It creates problems of privatizing multi-use forest areas as monoculture plantation plots. Forests are treated as a mere commodity without any social or ecological character.
Digital India Initiatives

National Broadband MissionGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Features of the mission

Mains level : Various initiatives for digital empowerment of rural India


The union government has launched the National Broadband Mission (NBM).

National Broadband Mission (NBM)

  • It is aimed at providing broadband access in all villages in the country by 2022, entailing investments of around ₹7 lakh crore from various stakeholders.
  • The vision of the NBM is to fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all.

Objectives of the mission

Some of the objectives of the Mission which is structured with strong emphasis on the three principles of universality, affordability and quality are:

  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022
  • Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable and increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024
  • Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.
  • Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

JAGA MissionGovt. SchemesStates in News

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : JAGA mission

Mains level : Problems of Slum Dwellers



World Habitat Mission has recognised the Odisha state government’s Jaga Mission that uses drones to survey slums. The Odisha government has become the first in the country to bag this award.

Jaga (Land) Mission

  • Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission “JAGA” is a society under Housing & Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha, headed by the Chief Secretary, Odisha as Chairman.
  • “JAGA” aims at transforming the slums into liveable habitat with all necessary civic infrastructure and services at par with the better off areas within the same urban local body (ULB).
  • It would work continuously to improve the standard of the infrastructure and services and access to livelihood opportunities.
  • It is the world’s largest slum land title project.
  • It involves the government surveying and awarding slum dwellers a legal land title.

Why land rights for slums matter

  • More often than not, slums are seen as encroachments and slum dwellers, even if they stay in slums for decades, are not provided with any legal rights over the land.
  • This illegality further condemns slums — which are an urban reality in Indian cities — to unsanitary conditions. Formal recognition of land rights allows for cleaner cities and better living conditions for slum dwellers.
NPA Crisis

[pib] Partial Credit Guarantee SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme

Mains level : NPA issue



The Union Cabinet has approved a partial credit guarantee scheme for public sector banks (PSBs) to purchase high-rated pooled assets from financially sound NBFCs and housing finance companies.

What is the decision about?

  • PSBs can purchase high-rated pooled assets from financially sound NBFCs/Housing Finance Companies (HFCs), with the amount of overall guarantee provided by government till the first loss of up to 10 per cent of fair value of assets being purchased by banks or Rs 10,000 crore, whichever is lower.
  • The scheme would cover NBFCs / HFCs that may have slipped into SMA-0 category during the one year period prior to 1.8.2018, and asset pools rated “BBB+” or higher.

Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme

  • The Union Government had issued the PCG Scheme in the Union Budget this year to provide a one-time partial credit guarantee to PSBs for purchase of pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs.
  • It aims to address temporary asset liability mismatches of otherwise solvent NBFCs/HFCs without having to resort to distress sale of their assets for meeting their commitments.
  • It allows PSBs to purchase pooled assets enabled by Government guarantee support under the Scheme to addressing temporary liquidity / cash flow mismatch issues of otherwise solvent NBFCs / HFCs.
  • This pooling would allow NBFCs without them having to resort to distress sale of their assets for meeting their commitments.
  • This will provide liquidity to the NBFC / HFC concerned for financing the credit demand of the economy, and also protect the financial system of the country from any adverse contagion effect that may arise due to the failure of such NBFCs / HFCs.

Validity of the scheme

  • The window for one-time partial credit guarantee offered by GoI will open from the date of issuance of the Scheme by the Government for a period of six months, or till such date by which Rupees One lakh crore assets get purchased by banks, whichever is earlier.

Major Impact

  • The proposed Guarantee support and resultant pool buyouts will help address NBFCs/HFCs resolve their temporary liquidity or cash flow mismatch issues.
  • It will enable them to continue contributing to credit creation and providing last mile lending to borrowers, thereby spurring economic growth.
Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

[pib] “Development of PVTGs” SchemeGovt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGs

Mains level : Tribal development measures


The Union Minister of Tribal Affairs has informed about the funds released under the aforesaid scheme, to the Parliament.

Development of PVTGs Scheme

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing the scheme of “Development of PVTGs”.
  • It covers 75 PVTGs for the activities like education, housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, construction of link roads, etc. for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs.
  • Under the scheme, State Governments submits Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) Plans on the basis of their requirement.
  • 100% grants-in-aid are made available to States as per the provisions of the scheme.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

  • 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).

Statewise list of PVTGs 

Name of the State Name of PVTGs
Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana) 1.      Bodo Gadaba
2.      Bondo Poroja
3.      Chenchu
4.      Dongria Khond
5.      Gutob Gadaba
6.      Khond Poroja
7.      Kolam
8.      Kondareddis
9.      Konda Savaras
10.  Kutia Khond
11.  Parengi Poroja
12.  Thoti
Bihar (including Jharkhand) 13.  Asurs
14.   Birhor
15.  Birjia
16.  Hill Kharia
17.  Korwas
18.  Mal Paharia
19.  Parhaiyas
20.  Sauria Paharia
21.  Savar
Gujarat 22.  Kathodi
23.  Kotwalia
24.  Padhar
25.  Siddi
26.  Kolgha
Karnataka 27.  JenuKuruba
28.  Koraga
Kerala 29.  Cholanaikayan
30.  Kadar
31.  Kattunayakan
32.  Kurumbas
33.  Koraga
Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh) 34.  Abujh Marias
35.  Baigas
36.  Bharias
37.  Hill Korbas
38.  Kamars
39.  Saharias
40.  Birhor
Maharashtra 41.  Katkaria (Kathodia)
42.  Kolam
43.  Maria Gond
Manipur 44.  Marram Nagas
Orissa 45.  Birhor
46.  Bondo
47.  Didayi
48.  Dongria-Khond
49.  Juangs
50.  Kharias
51.  Kutia Kondh
52.  Lanjia Sauras
53.  Lodhas
54.  Mankidias
55.  Paudi Bhuyans
56.  Soura
57.  Chuktia Bhunjia
Rajasthan 58.   Seharias
Tamil Nadu 59.  Kattu Nayakans
60.  Kotas
61.  Kurumbas
62.  Irulas
63.  Paniyans
64.  Todas
Tripura 65.   Reangs
Uttar Pradesh (including Uttarakhand) 66.  Buxas
67.  Rajis
West Bengal 68.  Birhor
69.   Lodhas
70.  Totos
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 71.  Great Andamanese
72.  Jarawas
73.  Onges
74.  Sentinelese
75.  Shom Pens

 

Roads, Highways, Cargo, Air-Cargo and Logistics infrastructure – Bharatmala, LEEP, SetuBharatam, etc.

Explained: FASTagsGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RFID technology

Mains level : FASTags



From December 1, lanes on NH toll plazas across India will accept toll only through FASTag. One hybrid lane will continue to accept cash in addition to being tag-enabled.

What is ‘FASTag’?

  • FASTags are stickers that are affixed to the windscreen of vehicles and use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to enable digital, contactless payment of tolls without having to stop at toll gates.
  • The tags are linked to bank accounts and other payment methods.
  • As a car crosses a toll plaza, the amount is automatically deducted, and a notification is sent to the registered mobile phone number.

How does it work?

  • The device employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.
  • It is affixed on the windscreen, so the vehicle can drive through plazas without stopping.
  • RFID technology is similar to that used in transport access-control systems, like Metro smart card.
  • If the tag is linked to a prepaid account like a wallet, or a debit/credit card, then owners need to recharge/top up the tag.
  • If it is linked to a savings account, rthen money will get deducted automatically after the balance goes below a pre-defined threshold.
  • Once a vehicle crosses the toll, the owner will get an SMS alert on the deduction. In that it is like a prepaid e-wallet.

How can one buy it?

  • E-commerce portals like Amazon and PayTM sell these tags issued by various banks.
  • Places, where these counters are set up, include Road Transport Authority offices, transport hubs, bank branches, and selected petrol pumps.
  • A FASTag bought from NHAI comes with a one-time fee of Rs 100 besides a refundable security deposit of Rs 150.
  • Apart from the currently free tags at NHAI booths, there is also a cashback of 2.5 per cent on FASTag transactions as an offer.
  • In the tag taken from NHAI, the Rs 150 security deposit, which the government is bearing as a promotion, comes back to the user as wallet value if the FASTag is linked to the NHAI e-wallet in the “My FASTag app” mobile app.
  • So in this particular scheme, the user gets Rs 150 back without even paying it.

Penalties

  • A FASTag is valid for five years, and can be recharged as and when required.
  • Vehicles entering FASTag lanes without FASTag will be charged twice the toll amount.

Will those living close to toll roads not end up paying more frequently?

  • As per a government notification, users living within 10 km of a toll plaza can avail a concession on toll to be paid via FASTag.
  • They need to submit proof of residence and nearest point-of-sale location to validate.
  • Once the address is verified, the concession is ensured via FASTag affixed on the vehicle.

Is it working smoothly?

  • The tags sold by banks are not “bank-neutral”.
  • A FASTag bought from one bank can be recharged through that particular bank only and not through other banks.
  • However, tags sold/distributed by NHAI are bank-neutral as one can use any bank account to recharge/top up the value in the tag.

What about state highways?

  • Under a new “One Nation One FASTag” scheme, the NHAI is trying to get states on board so that one tag can be used seamlessly across highways, irrespective of whether it is the state or the Centre that owns/manages it.
  • Recently as part of a pilot, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana signed MoUs with the Centre to accept FASTags in state highways also.
Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

[pib] Food Safety Mitra (FSM) SchemeGovt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FSM Scheme

Mains level : Food safety measures



  • Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the ‘Food Safety Mitra (FSM)’ scheme, along with the ‘Eat Right Jacket’, and ‘Eat Right Jhola’ to strengthen food safety administration and scale up the ‘Eat Right India’ movement.

FSM scheme

  • The scheme will support small and medium scale food businesses to comply with the food safety laws and facilitate licensing and registration, hygiene ratings and training.
  • Apart from strengthening food safety, this scheme would also create new employment opportunities for youth, particularly with food and nutrition background.
  • The FSMs would undergo training and certification by FSSAI to do their work and get paid by food businesses for their services.

Eat Right Jacket

  • The ‘Eat Right Jacket’ will be used by the field staff.
  • This jacket has a smart design to hold tech devices like tablets/smart phone, a QR code and RFID tag for identification and tracking.

Eat Right Jhola

  • The ‘Eat Right Jhola’, a reusable cloth bag shall replace plastic bags for grocery shopping in various retail chains.
  • Since on repeated use, bags are often contaminated with microorganisms and bacteria, proper and regular washing of cloth bags is essential to ensure safety and hygiene.
  • These cloth bags are being provided on rental basis through a private textile rental service company.
Roads, Highways, Cargo, Air-Cargo and Logistics infrastructure – Bharatmala, LEEP, SetuBharatam, etc.

One Nation One FASTag SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RFID technology

Mains level : One Nation One FASTag Scheme



  • Minister of Road Transport and Highways inaugurated the scheme.

One Nation One FASTag scheme

  • The ‘One Nation One FASTag’ scheme will be implemented from December 1.
  • The plan aims to integrate the collection of toll digitally and ensure seamless mobility of vehicles across India.
  • It can be availed upon activation by new cars having Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on national and state highways throughout the country.

Why such scheme?

  • At present, 60 lakh vehicles in India have FASTags.
  • According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), these devices will make passing through tolls considerably smoother since drivers will no longer have to carry cash or stop to make a transaction.

What is ‘FASTag’?

  • FASTags are stickers that are affixed to the windscreen of vehicles and use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to enable digital, contactless payment of tolls without having to stop at toll gates.
  • The tags are linked to bank accounts and other payment methods.
  • As a car crosses a toll plaza, the amount is automatically deducted, and a notification is sent to the registered mobile phone number.
  • Sensors are placed on toll barriers, and the barriers open for vehicles having valid FASTags.
  • A FASTag is valid for five years and needs to be recharged only as per requirement.
Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

Government launches SUMAN scheme, assures free medicines for pregnant womenGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SUMAN scheme

Mains level : Nothing much


News

The central government launched the Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (SUMAN) scheme aiming zero preventable maternal and newborn deaths in India.

Provisions

    • Under the scheme, pregnant women, mothers up to 6 months after delivery, and all sick newborns will be able to avail of free healthcare benefits.
    • The beneficiaries visiting public health facilities are entitled to several free services. 
    • These include at least four antenatal check-ups that also includes:
      • one checkup during the 1st trimester
      • at least one checkup under Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan
      • Iron Folic Acid supplementation
      • Tetanus Diptheria injection 
      • other components of comprehensive ANC package
      • six home-based newborn care visits
    • There will be zero expense access to the identification and management of complications during and after the pregnancy. 
    • The government will also provide free transport from home to health institutions.
    • There will be assured referral services with the scope of reaching health facility within one hour of any critical case emergency and Drop back from institution to home after due discharge (minimum 48 hrs). 
    • The pregnant women will have a zero expense delivery and C-section facility in case of complications at public health facilities.
    • It will ensure respectful care with privacy and dignity, with early initiation and support for breastfeeding, zero dose vaccination and free and zero expense services for sick newborns and neonates.

Benefits

    • It will help in bringing down maternal and infant mortality rates in the country. 
    • According to the government, India’s maternal mortality rate has declined from 254 per 1,00,000 live births in 2004-06 to 130 in 2014-16. 
    • Between 2001 and 2016, the infant mortality rate came down from 66 per 1,000 live births to 34.
    • WHO defines the quality of care for mothers and newborns as “the extent to which health care services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes. In order to achieve this, health care must be safe, effective, timely, efficiently integrated, equitable and people-centered.”
Swachh Bharat Mission

Govt launches new framework to sustain India’s ‘100% ODF status’Govt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SBM

Mains level : Making India ODF


  • The Union Jal Shakti Ministry’s Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), launched a 10-year national rural sanitation strategy to sustain India’s 100 per cent Open Defecation Free (ODF).

About the framework

  • The framework, to be in place from 2019 to 2029, will ensure that people sustain their usage of toilets.
  • It will also focus on proper implementation of solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) — plastic waste, organic waste, grey water, and faecal sludge — in rural areas.

 Steps to be undertaken

  • They include the retrofitting of single pit toilets to twin pits or making provisions to empty pits every five years, repair of defunct ones, and construction of soak pits for septic tanks wherever not already present.
  • A district-level training management unit (TMU) will be set up to provide oversight and support to gram panchayats (GPs) so that they ensure the operation and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
  • The GPs are also supposed to conduct rapid assessment of water and sanitation gaps.

Alternative financing

  • The government funding is the primary source of financing in the sanitation sector.
  • The above strategy mentioned in the framework also suggests alternative self-financing by gradual leveraging of community resources in the form of tariffs for ODF plus activities.
  • It will follow the same 60:40 financing model as being followed till now in Swachh Bharat. It will be finalised after the cabinet’s approval.

Focus on personal hygiene

  • The framework also talks about state-specific strategies on menstrual hygiene management, including menstrual waste management, which may be supported under the ODF plus strategy.
Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Explained:  Participatory Guarantee SchemeExplainedGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PGS

Mains level : Read the attached story



  • The head of India’s food safety regulator has said that she expects the Union Agriculture Ministry’s Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) to incentivise more farmers to grow organic food.

Participatory Guarantee Scheme

  • PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • PGS is is an internationally applicable organic quality assurance initiative that  emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers, and operate outside the framework of third-party certification.
  • PGSs are “locally focused quality assurance systems” that “certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange”.
  • PGS, according to the definition, is “a process in which people in similar situations (in this case small holder producers) assess, inspect and verify the production practices of each other and take decisions on organic certification”.

Four pillars of PGS

  • The government’s 2015 PGS manual underlines that the system in India is based on “participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust”.

PARTICIPATION

  • Stakeholders such as producers, consumers, retailers, traders, NGOs, Gram Panchayats, and government organisations and agencies are collectively responsible for designing, operating, and decision-making.
  • Direct communication among the stakeholders helps create an integrity- and trust-based approach with transparency in decision-making, easy access to databases and, where possible, visits to farms b consumers.

SHARED VISION

  • Collective responsibility for implementation and decision making is driven by a common shared vision.
  • Each stakeholder organisation or PGS group can adopt its own vision conforming to the overall vision and standards of the PGS-India programme.

TRANSPARENCY

  • At the grassroots level, transparency is maintained through the active participation of producers in the organic guarantee process.
  • It can include information-sharing at meetings and workshops, peer reviews, and involvement in decision making.

TRUST

  • A fundamental premise of PGS is the idea that producers can be trusted, and that the organic guarantee system can be an expression and verification of this trust.
  • The mechanisms for trustworthiness include a producer pledge made through a witnessed signing of a declaration, and written collective undertakings by the group to abide by the norms, principles and standards of PGS.

Advantages of PGS

Among the advantages of PGS over third-party certification, identified by the government document, are:

  • Procedures are simple, documents are basic, and farmers understand the local language used.
  • All members live close to each other and are known to each other. As practising organic farmers themselves, they understand the processes well.
  • Because peer appraisers live in the same village, they have better access to surveillance; peer appraisal instead of third-party inspections also reduces costs
  • Mutual recognition and support between regional PGS groups ensures better networking for processing and marketing.
  • Unlike the grower group certification system, PGS offers every farmer individual certificates, and the farmer is free to market his own produce independent of the group.

Limitations

  • PGS certification is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of continuous villages.
  • It is applicable only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing “by PGS farmers of their direct products”.
  • Individual farmers or group of farmers smaller than five members are not covered under PGS.
  • They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.
  • PGS ensures traceability until the product is in the custody of the PGS group, which makes PGS ideal for local direct sales and direct trade between producers and consumers.
Air Pollution

Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) of GujaratGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ETS, Carbon trading

Mains level : About the Scheme


Context

Emission trading in Gujarat

  • Last week, the Gujarat government launched what is being described as the world’s first market for trading in particulate matter emissions.
  • While trading mechanisms for pollution control do exist in many parts of the world, none of them is for particulate matter emissions.
  • For example, the CDM (clean development mechanism) under the Kyoto Protocol allows trade in ‘carbon credits’; the EU’s Emission Trading System is for greenhouse gas emission; and India has a scheme run by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency that enables trading in energy units.

Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

  • Launched in Surat, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a regulatory tool that is aimed at reducing the pollution load in an area and at the same time minimising the cost of compliance for the industry.
  • ETS is a market in which the traded commodity is particulate matter emissions.
  • The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) sets a cap on the total emission load from all industries.
  • Various industries can buy and sell the ability to emit particulate matter, by trading permits (in kilograms) under this cap.
  • For this reason, ETS is also called a cap-and-trade market.

Why was Surat chosen for the scheme?

  • In the last five years, the quality of air in Surat has deteriorated.
  • In 2013, when the project was conceptualised, the PM10 level at Air India Building in Surat was 86 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • According to GPCB annual reports, pollution levels have increased between 120-220 per cent, with PM10 in 2018 reaching upto 261 µg/cu. M.
  • Surat was chosen because its industrial associations agreed to run the pilot scheme.
  • Also, industries in Surat had already installed Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems, which makes it possible to estimate the mass of particulate matter being released.

Trading process

  • At the beginning of every one-month compliance period (during which one emission permit is valid), 80 per cent of the total cap of 280 tonnes for that period is distributed free to all participant units.
  • These permits are allocated based on an industry’s emission sources (boilers, heaters, generators) as this determines the amount of particulate matter emitted.
  • GPCB will offer the remaining 20 per cent of the permits during the first auction of the compliance period, at a floor price of Rs 5 per kilogram.
  • Participating units may buy and sell permits among each other during the period.
  • The price is not allowed to cross a ceiling of Rs 100 per kilogram or fall below Rs 5 per kg, both of which may be adjusted after a review.

Auctions

  • These take place on the ETS-PM trading platform hosted by the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange e-Markets Limited (NeML).
  • All participants must register a trading account with NeML. Transactions are linked to the bank accounts of the users, who can view updates through these accounts.
  • There are two types of auctions. In the Uniform Price Auction, the week’s permit price is discovered by participating members through bidding.
  • Second, there is a continuous market between Wednesday where members will buy and sell permits whose prices were fixed on Tuesday.
  • For a true-up period of 2-7 days before the completion of the compliance period, units may continue to buy and sell any remaining permits at the final auction price to meet their compliance obligations.

Punitive actions for non-compliance

  • Based on permits held by units at the close of the compliance and true-up periods, units will be declared compliant or non-compliant.
  • Environmental damage compensation at Rs 200/kg will be imposed for emissions in excess of a unit’s permit holdings at the end of the compliance period.
  • This amount will be deducted from an environmental damage compensation deposit that each unit has to submit before the start of the scheme — Rs 2 lakh for small units, Rs 3 lakh for medium ones and Rs 10 lakh for large units.
  • After any deduction, a unit will have to deposit extra money to meet that shortfall.
  • To prevent any participant from hoarding permits, an upper limit has been set — 1.5 times the initial allocation for the compliance period, or 3 per cent of the market cap for the compliance period.
  • Also, no unit may sell more than 90 per cent of its initial allocation.

Significance of ETS

  • These permits are not a way to allow industries to keep polluting.
  • Purchasing permits is only an interim measure for many of these units who find it financially difficult to install air pollution control measures.
  • In other words it helps buy some time and make investments later.
  • So the idea of this scheme is also to make sure that some units realise that it is cheaper to install APCM and reduce emissions rather than buy permits at a higher cost that will vary due to the bidding process.
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

[pib] NEAT SchemeGovt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NEAT Scheme

Mains level : Applications of AI in HRD


  • Ministry of HRD has announced a new PPP Scheme, National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) for using technology for better learning outcomes in Higher Education.

NEAT Scheme

  • MHRD proposes to launch and operationalize NEAT in early November 2019.
  • The objective is to use Artificial Intelligence to make learning more personalized and customised as per the requirements of the learner.
  • This requires development of technologies in Adaptive Learning to address the diversity of learners.
  • There are a number of start-up companies developing this and MHRD would like to recognise such efforts and bring them under a common platform so that learners can access it easily.
  • Educating the youth is a National effort and MHRD proposes to create a National Alliance with such technology developing EdTech Companies through a PPP model.

 Role of MoHRD

  • MHRD would act as a facilitator to ensure that the solutions are freely available to a large number of economically backward students.
  • MHRD would create and maintain a National NEAT platform that would provide one-stop access to these technological solutions.
  • EdTech companies would be responsible for developing solutions and manage registration of learners through the NEAT portal. They would be free to charge fees as per their policy.
  • As their contribution towards the National cause, they would have to offer free coupons to the extent of 25% of the total registrations for their solution through NEAT portal.
  • MHRD would distribute the free coupons for learning to the most socially/economically backward students.

Implementation

  • AICTE would be the implementing agency for NEAT programme.
  • The scheme shall be administered under the guidance of an Apex Committee constituted by MHRD.
  • Independent Expert Committees would be constituted for evaluating and selecting the EdTech solutions.
Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc.

Nirvik SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Export promotion


  • To enhance the loan availability of exporters, and the MSME sector the Export Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) has launched a new scheme called ‘Nirvik’.
  • To revive the export sector, Commerce Ministry also launched the common digital platform for the issuance of certificates of origin

Nirvik Scheme

  • If there is any loss, then ECGC provided credit guarantee of up to 60% loss approximately.
  • Now under new scheme Nirvik consumers and exporters will covered up to 90% and if there is any loss then in that case ECGC will refund 90% to the banks including principal and interest.
  • Both pre and post shipment credit will also be covered under the new scheme.
  • Banks will get up to 50 % within 30 days of complain lodge.
  • Enhanced cover will ensure that Foreign and Rupee export credit interest rates will be below 4% and 8% respectively for exporters.
  • The scheme envisages simplified procedure for settlement of claim and for provisional payment up to 50% within 30 days on production of proof of end-use of the advances in default by the Insured Bank.

Electronic Certificates of Origin (CoO)

  • This platform will be a single access point for all exporters, for all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)/ Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) and for all agencies concerned.
  • As we know, for exports to countries with which India has free trade agreements (FTA), exporters have to show a certificate that the consignment originated in India.
  • With the launch of this platform, these certificates can be obtained online and all the issuing authorities will be on the same portal.
  • Certificate of Origin will be issued electronically which can be in paperless format if agreed to by the partner countries.
  • Authorities of partner countries will be able to verify the authenticity of certificates from the website.

[pib] National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed PersonsGovt. SchemesPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Benefits and coverage of Pension Schemes in India



  • PM has launched the National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons, a pension scheme for the Vyaparis (shopkeepers/retail traders and self-employed persons),

About the Scheme

  • It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for entry age of 18 to 40 years with a provision for minimum assured pension of Rs 3,000/- monthly on attaining the age of 60 years.
  • The eligible Vyaparis can visit their nearest CSCs and get enrolled under the scheme. In addition people can also self-enroll by visiting its portal.
  • At the time of enrollment, the beneficiary is required to have an Aadhaar card and a saving bank/ Jan-dhan Account passbook only.
  • He/ She should be within 18 to 40 years of age group. GSTIN is required only for those with turnover above Rs. 40 lakhs.
  • The enrolment under the scheme is free of cost for the beneficiaries. The enrolment is based upon self-certification.
  • An estimated 3 crore Vyaparis in the country are expected to be benefitted under the pension scheme.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Vyaparis with annual turnover not exceeding Rs 1.5 crore are eligible for the pension.
  • The beneficiary should not be income tax payer and also not a member of EPFO/ESIC/NPS (Govt.)/PM-SYM.
  • The Central Government shall give 50 % share of the monthly contribution and remaining 50% contribution shall be made by the beneficiary.
  • The monthly contribution is kept low to make it affordable. For example, a beneficiary is required to contribute as little as Rs.100/- per month at a median entry age of 29 years.
Agricultural Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

Market Intervention Price SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • Kashmir’s famed apple is battling to get exported outside the State this year as militants are campaigning against the fruit’s trade.
  • The government is planning to procure almost 12 lakh metric tonnes of apple this season, under the MISP, with the help of the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).

About the Market Intervention Price Scheme

  • MIP is a price support mechanism implemented on the request of State Governments for procurement of perishable and horticultural commodities in the event of a fall in market prices.
  • The Scheme is implemented when there is at least 10% increase in production or 10% decrease in the ruling rates over the previous normal year.
  • MIP works in a similar fashion to Minimum Support Price based procurement mechanism for food grains, but is an adhoc mechanism.
  • Its objective is to protect the growers of these horticultural/agricultural commodities from making distress sale in the event of bumper crop during the peak arrival period when prices fall to very low level.
  • Thus it provides remunerative prices to the farmers in case of glut in production and fall in prices.

Working

  • Proposal of MIP is approved on the specific request of State/UT Government, if the State/UT Government is ready to bear 50% loss (25% in case of North-Eastern States), if any, incurred on its implementation.
  • Further, the extent of total amount of loss shared is restricted to 25% of the total procurement value which includes cost of the commodity procured plus permitted overhead expenses.

Implementation of MIS

  • The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation is implementing the scheme.
  • Under MIP, funds are not allocated to the States.
  • Instead, central share of losses as per the guidelines of MIP is released to the State Governments/UTs, for which MIP has been approved, based on specific proposals received from them.

Procurement

  • Under the Scheme, a pre-determined quantity at a fixed Market Intervention Price (MIP) is procured by NAFED as the Central agency and the agencies designated by the state government for a fixed period or till the prices are stabilized above the MIP whichever is earlier.
  • The area of operation is restricted to the concerned state only.
  • The MIS has been implemented in case of commodities like apples, kinnoo/malta, garlic, oranges, galgal, grapes, mushrooms, clove, black pepper, pineapple, ginger, red-chillies, coriander seed etc.
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Institution of Eminence SchemeGovt. Schemes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Outreach of the scheme


Status granted to new institutions

  • The HRD Ministry has awarded the status of Institute of Eminence to the IIT-Madras, the IIT-Kharagpur, Delhi University, Benares Hindu University and the University of Hyderabad.
  • Four private universities — the Vellore Institute of Technology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Jamia Hamdard University and the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology — were issued Letters of Intent to grant them the status.
  • The new greenfield Bharti Institute, a project of Satya Bharti Foundation, has also been issued the letter.

Significance

  • These institutions will not be subject to UGC inspections, and are free to set their own courses and curriculum, fee structure and merit-based admission systems.
  • Each university will be required to sign a MoU with the Ministry, laying out its plan to achieve the objective of becoming a world-class institution.
  • They will have complete academic, administrative and financial autonomy.
  • The public institutions on the list will then be eligible for a government grant of ₹1,000 crore.

Back2Basics

Institutions of Eminence scheme

  • This scheme under the Union HRD ministry aims to project Indian institutes to global recognition.
  • The selected institutes will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.
  • Only higher education institutions currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are eligible to apply for the eminence tag.
  • The private Institutions of Eminence can also come up as greenfield ventures provided the sponsoring organisation submits a convincing perspective plan for 15 years.

What will be the benefit for such institutions?

  1. It will ensure complete autonomy to the selected institutions and facilitate them to grow more rapidly
  2. They will get more opportunity to scale up their operations with more skills and quality improvement so that they become World Class Institutions in the field of education
  3. To achieve the top world ranking, these Institutions shall be provided with
  • greater autonomy  to admit foreign students up to 30% of admitted students
  • to recruit foreign faculty up to 25% of faculty strength; to offer online courses up to 20% of its programmes
  • to enter into academic collaboration with top 500 in the world ranking Institutions without permission of UGC
  • free to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction
  • the flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to take a degree
  • complete flexibility in fixing of curriculum and syllabus