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

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AIF

Mains level : Economic stimulus for Agri sector

PM has launched a new financing scheme under the ₹1 lakh crore AIF.

Note the following things about AIF:

1) It is a Central Sector Scheme

2) Duration of the scheme

3)Target beneficiaries

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF)

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

What exactly is the AIF?

  • The AIF is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.
  • The duration of the scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).
  • Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum.
  • It will provide credit guarantee coverage under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) for loans up to Rs. 2 Crore.

Target beneficiaries

The beneficiaries will include farmers:

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

MGNREGA Scheme

In news: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MGNREGA, Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

Mains level : MGNREGA, Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

  • One-third of the way through the financial year, government data shows that the MGNREGA scheme has used up almost half its allocated funds.
  • Its spending has been more than ₹48,500 crores out of the expanded ₹1 lakh crore allocations announced following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Try this question for mains:

Q.Discuss how the MGNREG Scheme has been providing a minimum basic income since the Covid pandemic. Also discuss how it can prove to be a game-changer if coupled with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

About MGNREGA

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

Its objectives

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

Features of the Scheme

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

Also read:

[Burning Issue] Reorienting MGNREGA in times of COVID

Electronic System Design and Manufacturing Sector – M-SIPS, National Policy on Electronics, etc.

Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for electronics manufacturers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI)

Mains level : Electronic manufacturing promotion under Make in India

Global electronics giants are set to expand their presence in India under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for making mobile phones and certain other specified electronic components.

Try this question for mains:

Q. What is the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme? Describe its various features and benefits.

What is the PLI scheme?

  • As a part of the National Policy on Electronics, the IT ministry had notified the PLI scheme on April 1 this year.
  • The scheme will, on one hand, attract big foreign investment in the sector, while also encouraging domestic mobile phone makers to expand their units and presence in India.
  • It would give incentives of 4-6 per cent to electronics companies which manufacture mobile phones and other electronic components.
  • A/c to the scheme, companies that make mobile phones which sell for Rs 15,000 or more will get an incentive of up to 6 per cent on incremental sales of all such mobile phones made in India.
  • In the same category, companies which are owned by Indian nationals and make such mobile phones, the incentive has been kept at Rs 200 crore for the next four years.

Tenure of the scheme

  • The PLI scheme will be active for five years with financial year (FY) 2019-20 considered as the base year for calculation of incentives.
  • This means that all investments and incremental sales registered after FY20 shall be taken into account while computing the incentive to be given to each company.

Which companies and what kind of investments will be considered?

  • All electronic manufacturing companies which are either Indian or have a registered unit in India will be eligible to apply for the scheme.
  • These companies can either create a new unit or seek incentives for their existing units from one or more locations in India.
  • Any additional expenditure incurred on the plant, machinery, equipment, research and development and transfer of technology for the manufacture of mobile phones and related electronic items will be eligible for the incentive.
  • However, all investment done by companies on land and buildings for the project will not be considered for any incentives or determine the eligibility of the scheme.

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

What is Green-Ag Project?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green-Ag Project

Mains level : Sustainable agriculture and its significance

The Union government has launched the Green-Ag Project in Mizoram, to reduce emissions from agriculture and ensure sustainable agricultural practices.

Note the following things about Green-Ag Project:

1)Core objective

2)Implementing agencies

3)Regions of Implementation

Green-Ag Project

  • The Green-Ag project is designed to achieve multiple global environmental benefits in at least 1.8 million hectares (ha) of land in five landscapes, with mixed land-use systems.
  • It aims to bring at least 104,070 ha of farms under sustainable land and water management.
  • The project will also ensure 49 million Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) sequestered or reduced through sustainable land use and agricultural practices.

Implementing agencies

  • The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility, while the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW) is the national executing agency.
  • Other key players involved in its implementation are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Environment Ministry (MoEF&CC).

Regions of implementation

The project has been launched in high-conservation-value landscapes of five States namely

  • Madhya Pradesh: Chambal Landscape
  • Mizoram: Dampa Landscape
  • Odisha: Similipal Landscape
  • Rajasthan: Desert National Park Landscape
  • Uttarakhand: Corbett-Rajaji Landscape

Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

Godhan Nyay Yojana to boost rural economy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Godhan Nyay Yojana

Mains level : Animal husbandary sector of India

Chhattisgarh is set to launch ‘Godhan Nyay Yojana’. The scheme aims to put money in the pockets of people living in rural areas and also solve the problem of stray cattle.

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Consider the following statements

  1. Agricultural soils release nitrogen oxides into the environment.
  2. Cattle release ammonia into the environment.
  3. Poultry industry releases reactive nitrogen compounds into the environment.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Godhan Nyay Yojana

  • Under the scheme, the Chhattisgarh government will purchase cow dung at the rate of Rs 2 per kg.
  • This scheme will turn cow dung into a profitable commodity.
  • The scheme also aims to make cow rearing economically profitable and to prevent open grazing in the state, as well as help with the problem of stray animals on roads and in urban areas.

How will the scheme help the rural economy?

  • The scheme will generate additional income and increase employment opportunities.
  • The government will procure cow dung and prepare vermicompost in order to move towards organic farming.
  • There is a huge market for organic farming. Vermicompost will be sold by cooperative societies.
  • Distribution of vermicompost fertilizer to farmers will be done as a commodity loan by cooperative societies, banks.

Preventing strays in urban areas

  • In urban areas, the scheme will prevent movement of stray animals on roads and highways, and also improve urban sanitation with proper disposal of waste produced by cattle.
  • Cattle will be tagged with the owner’s name, address, mobile number to the neck of each animal after the survey to ensure accountability of cattle owners if their cattle are found in the open.

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

[pib] Central Sector Scheme: Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CSS-AIF

Mains level : AIF

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to a new pan India Central Sector Scheme-Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (CSS-AIF).

Try this question from CSP 2018:

Q.Increase in absolute and per capita real GNP does not connote a higher level of economic development, if:

(a) Industrial output fails to keep pace with agriculture output.

(b) Agriculture output fails to keep pace with industrial output.

(c) Poverty and unemployment increase.

(d) Imports grow faster than exports.

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

  • AIF aims to provide a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.
  • Under the scheme, Rs. One Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans.
  • The beneficiaries will include Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), SHGs, Farmers etc among others.
  • The moratorium for repayment under this financing facility may vary subject to a minimum of 6 months and maximum of 2 years.

Management of AIF

  • Agri Infra fund will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform.
  • The National, State and District level Monitoring Committees will be set up to ensure real-time monitoring and effective feedback.
  • The duration of the Scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).

Benefits of the scheme

  • The Project by way of facilitating formal credit to farm and farm processing-based activities is expected to create numerous job opportunities in rural areas.
  • It will enable all the qualified entities to apply for a loan under the fund.

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

[pib] Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PMGKAY

Mains level : Assurance of Food Security

The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) as part of Economic Response to COVID-19, for another five months from July to November 2020.

Practice question for mains:

Q.Discuss how the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana has helped to ensure food security to the vulnerable sections of India during the Covid-19 induced lockdown period.

PM- Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana

  • Under the scheme it is proposed to distribute 9.7 Lakh MT cleaned whole Chana to States/UTs for distribution to all beneficiary households under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
  • Thus it would 1kg per month free of cost under for the next five months -July to November 2020.
  • All expenses on the extended PMGKAY are to be borne by the Central Government.
  • About 19.4 crore households would be covered under the Scheme.

Benefits of the scheme

  • Extension of the scheme is in line with the commitments of the GOI to allow anybody, especially any poor family, to suffer on account of non-availability of food grains due to disruption during next five months.
  • Free distribution of whole Chana will also ensure adequate availability of protein to all the above-mentioned individuals during these five months.

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

‘Accelerate Vigyan’ Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ‘Accelerate Vigyan’ Scheme

Mains level : Research facilitation schemes in India

To provide a single platform for research internships, capacity building programs and workshops across the country, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has launched a new scheme called ‘Accelerate Vigyan’ (AV).

Note the following things about the ‘Accelerate Vigyan’ Scheme:

1) Implementing agency/ Nodal Ministry

2) Primary objective

3) Target beneficiaries

4) Its components

‘Accelerate Vigyan’ Scheme

  • Accelerate Vigyan (AV) strives to provide a big push to high-end scientific research and prepare scientific manpower which can venture into research careers and knowledge-based economy.
  • The primary objective of this scheme is to give more thrust on encouraging high-end scientific research and preparing scientific manpower, which can lead to research careers and knowledge-based economy.
  • AV will initiate and strengthen mechanisms of identifying research potential, mentoring, training and hands-on workshop on a national scale.
  • The aim is to expand the research base in the country, with three broad goals – consolidation / aggregation of all scientific training programs, initiating High-end Orientation Workshops and creating opportunities for Research Internships.

Components of AV

1) ABHYAAS

  • It is an attempt to boost research and development in the country by enabling and grooming potential PG/PhD students by means of developing their research skills in selected areas across different disciplines or fields.
  • It has two components: High-End Workshops (‘KARYASHALA’) and Research Internships (‘VRITIKA’).
  • This is especially important for those researchers who have limited opportunities to access such learning capacities/facilities/infrastructure.

2) SAMOOHAN

  • Mission ‘SAMOOHAN’ marks the beginning of Accelerate Vigyan.
  • It aims to encourage, aggregate and consolidate all scientific interactions in the country under one common roof.
  • It has been sub-divided into ‘SAYONJIKA’ and ‘SANGOSHTI’.
  • SAYONJIKA is an open-ended program to catalogue the capacity building activities in science and technology supported by all government funding agencies in the country.
  • SANGOSHTI is a pre-existing program of SERB.

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PM-FME scheme

Mains level : Food processing industry and the required reforms

The Ministry for Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has launched the PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) as a part of “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”.

Practice question for mains:

Q.What is the PM FME Scheme? Discuss its potential to neutralize various challenges faced by India’s unorganized food industries.

PM FME Scheme

  • It aims to provide financial, technical and business support for upgradation of existing micro food processing enterprises.
  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme to be implemented over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.
  • The expenditure under the scheme would to be shared in 60:40 ratios between Central and State Governments, in 90:10 ratios with NE and the Himalayan States, 60:40 ratio with UTs with the legislature and 100% by Centre for other UTs.

Features of the scheme

  • The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODODP) approach to reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.
  • The States would identify food product for a district keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.
  • The ODOP product could be a perishable produce based product or cereal-based products or a food product widely produced in a district and their allied sectors.
  • An illustrative list of such products includes mango, potato, litchi, tomato, tapioca, kinnu, bhujia, petha, papad, pickle, millet-based products, fisheries, poultry, meat as well as animal feed among others.
  • The Scheme also place focus on waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts.

Credit facility provided

  • Existing Individual micro food processing units desirous of upgradation of their unit can avail credit-linked capital subsidy @35% of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lakh per unit.
  • Seed capital @ Rs. 40,000/- per SHG member would be provided for working capital and purchase of small tools.
  • FPOs/ SHGs/ producer cooperatives would be provided a credit-linked grant of 35% for capital investment along the value chain.
  • Support for marketing & branding would be provided to develop brands for micro-units and groups with 50% grant at State or regional level which could benefit a large number of micro-units in clusters.

Why need such a scheme?

  • The unorganized food processing sector comprising nearly 25 lakh units contribute to 74% of employment in the food processing sector.
  • Nearly 66% of these units are located in rural areas and about 80% of them are family-based enterprises supporting livelihood rural household and minimizing their migration to urban areas.

Challenges faced

  • The unorganised food processing sector faces a number of challenges which limit their performance and their growth.
  • These challenges include lack of access to modern technology & equipment, training, access institutional credit, lack of basic awareness on quality control of products; and lack of branding & marketing skills etc.
  • Owing to these challenges; the unorganised food processing sector contributes much less in terms of value addition and output despite its huge potential.

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MGNREGA, Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

Mains level : Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

PM Modi has launched the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, an employment scheme for migrant workers.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Discuss the silent success of MGNREGA in COVID-19 times.

Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

  • It is a skill-based employment scheme aimed primarily at migrant workers who have returned to their villages to escape the COVID lockdown distress.
  • With a 125-workday mandate to create public infrastructure, with the involvement of 11 central departments, the Rs 50,000-crore initiative will focus on job creation.
  • It will be implemented in 116 districts in six states — UP, MP, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan and Bihar — that saw the maximum number of migrant workers returning over the last three months.

Works under the scheme

  • The government has identified 25 work areas for employment in villages, for the development of various works.
  • These 25 works or projects are related to meet the needs of the villages like rural housing for the poor, Plantations, provision of drinking water through Jal Jeevan mission,  Panchayat Bhavans, community toilets, rural mandis, rural roads, other infrastructure like Cattle Sheds, Anganwadi Bhavans etc.

Must read:

[Burning Issue] Reorienting MGNREGA in times of COVID

Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Sahakar Mitra Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sahakar Mitra Scheme

Mains level : Not Much

The Union Ministry for Agriculture has launched Sahakar Mitra: Scheme on Internship Programme (SIP).

Note: Article 19 states that the Right to form co-operative societies is a Fundamental Right and DPSP Article 43-B provides for the promotion of co-operative societies.

Sahakar Mitra Scheme

  • The scheme is an initiative by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), the cooperative sector development finance organization.
  • It aims to help cooperative institutions access innovative ideas of young professionals while the interns will gain experience of working in the field to be self-reliant.
  • The scheme is expected to assist cooperative institutions to access new and innovative ideas of young professionals while the interns gain experience of working in the field giving the confidence to be self-reliant.
  • Professional graduates in disciplines such as Agriculture and allied areas, IT etc. will be eligible for an internship.
  • Professionals who are pursuing or have completed their MBA degrees in Agri-business, Cooperation, Finance, International Trade, Forestry, Rural Development, Project Management etc. will also be eligible.
  • Each intern will get financial support over a 4 months internship period.

Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

PM Swanidhi Scheme for street vendors

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.

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

‘Rozgar Setu’ Scheme for skilled workers

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.

Tribes in News

[pib] Shahapur’s Katkari Tribe

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)

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)

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.

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

Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

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

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.

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

Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana in Chhattisgarh

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’ System

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 Army

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.