November 2019
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[pib] Food Safety Mitra (FSM) Scheme

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FSM Scheme

Mains level : Food safety measures



News

  • 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.
Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

One Nation One FASTag Scheme

Mains Paper 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc. |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RFID technology

Mains level : One Nation One FASTag Scheme



News

  • 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.
Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

Government launches SUMAN scheme, assures free medicines for pregnant women

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

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.”
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

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

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SBM

Mains level : Making India ODF


News

  • 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.
Swachh Bharat Mission

Explained:  Participatory Guarantee Scheme

Mains Paper 3 : Food Processing & Related Industries In India |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PGS

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

  • 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.
Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) of Gujarat

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

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.
Air Pollution

[pib] NEAT Scheme

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NEAT Scheme

Mains level : Applications of AI in HRD


News

  • 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.
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Nirvik Scheme

Mains Paper 3 : Effects Of Liberalization On The Economy, Changes In Industrial Policy and their effects on Industrial Growth |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Export promotion


News

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

[pib] National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Benefits and coverage of Pension Schemes in India



News

  • 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.

Market Intervention Price Scheme

Mains Paper 3 : Issues Related To Farm Subsidies & Msp |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Read the attached story


News

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

Institution of Eminence Scheme

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Outreach of the scheme


News

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
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

[pib] Sabka Vishwas – Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme

Mains Paper 3 : Indian Economy |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the scheme

Mains level : Read the attached story


News

  • In the Union Budget 2019-20, the Finance Minister announced the Sabka Vishwas-Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019.
  • The Scheme has now been notified and will be operationalized from 1st September 2019 and would continue till 31st December 2019.

Sabka Vishwas-Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme

  • This Scheme is introduced to resolve and settle legacy cases of the Central Excise and Service Tax.
  • The proposed Scheme would cover all the past disputes of taxes which may have got subsumed in GST; namely Central Excise, Service Tax and Cesses.
  • Government expects the Scheme to be availed by large number of taxpayers for closing their pending disputes relating to legacy Service Tax and Central Excise cases that are now subsumed under GST so they can focus on GST.
  • The Scheme is especially tailored to free the large number of small taxpayers of their pending disputes with the tax administration.

Details

  • For all the cases pending in adjudication or appeal – in any forum – this Scheme offers a relief of 70% from the duty demand if it is Rs.50 lakhs or less and 50% if it is more than Rs. 50 lakhs.
  • The same relief is available for cases under investigation and audit where the duty involved is quantified and communicated to the party or admitted by him in a statement on or before 30th June, 2019.
  • Further, in cases of confirmed duty demand, where there is no appeal pending, the relief offered is 60% of the confirmed duty amount if the same is Rs. 50 lakhs or less and it is 40%, if the confirmed duty amount is more than Rs. 50 lakhs.
  • Finally, in cases of voluntary disclosure, the person availing the Scheme will have to pay only the full amount of disclosed duty.

Components of the Scheme

  • The two main components of the Scheme are dispute resolution and amnesty.
  • The dispute resolution component is aimed at liquidating the legacy cases of Central Excise and Service Tax that are subsumed in GST and are pending in litigation at various forums.
  • The amnesty component of the Scheme offers an opportunity to the taxpayers to pay the outstanding tax and be free of any other consequence under the law.
  • The most attractive aspect of the Scheme is that it provides substantial relief in the tax dues for all categories of cases as well as full waiver of interest, fine, penalty,
  • In all these cases, there would be no other liability of interest, fine or penalty. There is also a complete amnesty from prosecution.
Tax Reforms

One Nation, One Ration Card scheme: a boon for poor migrants

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ONORC Scheme

Mains level : Benefits of ONORC



News

  • Recently the government has launched the pilot project for the inter-state portability of ration cards between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and between Maharashtra and Gujarat, as part of its ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme.

What is a ration card?

  • A ration card is issued to the head of the family, depending on the number of members in a family and the financial status of the applicant.
  • It is used by households to get essential food grains at subsidised prices from designated ratio shops (also called fair price shops) under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
  • Over the years, different types of ration cards were issued depending on the level of deprivation.
  • Later, in 2013, when the National Food Security Bill (NFSA) was passed, different ration cards were compressed to just two — priority and Antyodaya (for the most poor).
  • The responsibility of identifying eligible families and issuing ration cards to them rests with the state/UT government.

What is a ration shop?

  • Ration shops can be privately owned or owned by cooperative societies or by the government.
  • Ownership licenses are issued by the concerned state government.
  • Presently, commodities including wheat, sugar, rice and kerosene are being allocated as part of the TPDS.
  • State governments have the discretion to provide additional commodities.

 ‘One Nation, One Ration card’ scheme

  • Since ration cards are issued by state governments, this implied that beneficiaries could procure food grains only from the designated ration shops within the concerned state.
  • If a beneficiary were to shift to another state, he/she would need to apply for a new ration card in the second state. There were other complications.
  • For instance, after marriage, a woman needed to get her name removed from the ration card issued to her parents, and get it added to the ration card issued to her husband’s family.
  • The ONORC scheme attempts to address this gap in TPDS delivery.
  • Essentially, the scheme has been launched keeping in mind the internal migration of our country, since people keep moving to different states in search of better job opportunities and higher standards of living.
  • As per Census 2011, 4.1 crore people were inter-state migrants and 1.4 crore people migrated (inter- and intra-state) for employment.

Good signs of implementation

  • With the ONORC scheme being implemented in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the beneficiary can buy food grains from ration shops located in either of the states.
  • The same is the case with Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • The government hopes to implement the scheme across India by June 1, 2020.
Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

SBM 2.0 focussed on ODF sustainability: Govt

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SBM 2.0

Mains level : Shift from IEC to BCC


Background

  1. Nearly 93.1% of rural Indian households have access to toilets and 96.5% of these toilets are in constant usage, according to the second edition of NARSS in 2018-19

SBM 2.0

  1. Sustaining investment on ODF
  2. Faecal sludge management dedicated programme, which will ensure that each district will have FSTP (faecal sludge treatment plant)
  3. Plastic waste management by creating material recovery facility and plastic treatment and management facility in each gram panchayat
  4. Solid and liquid waste management support to villages for safe disposal of solid and liquid waste
  5. Investing funds for behaviour change through IEC (Information, Education and Communication) ­exercise, training masons to promote retrofitting of toilets and panchayat pradhans to sustain ODF status

Way ahead

  1. The government should make a paradigm shift from IEC to BCC – behaviour change communication approach
  2. While IEC collects information on the use of toilets, BCC talks about underlying factors of why they are not using the toilets and tries to address them through behavioural science

B2B

The NARSS is a third-party survey that was conducted by the Independent Verification Agency (IVA) under the World Bank support project.

Swachh Bharat Mission

Every child to get Rota virus vaccine by September

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rotavirus

Mains level : Nothing much


NEWS

Health Ministry has decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September 2019.

Background

  1. Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers in children and Rotavirus was one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age.
  2. Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, handwashing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children.
  3. In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born are unable to celebrate their 5th birthday, and one of the major reasons for this is diarrhoeal deaths. 
  4. Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age.
  5. Rotavirus diarrhoea can be prevented through vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation.

Rotavirus Vaccine

  1. Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 2016 and is now available in 28 States/Union Territories. It is expected to be available in all 36 States/Union Territories by September 2019.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

‘Samagra Shiksha-Jal Suraksha’

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Details of the scheme

Mains level : Nothing much


The Department of School Education & Literacy, MHRD has launched the ‘Samagra Shiksha-Jal Suraksha’ drive to promote water conservation activities for School Students.

Five Major Objectives:

  1. To educate Students learn about conservation of water
  2. To sensitize Students about the impact of scarcity of water
  3. To empower Students to learn to protect the natural sources of water
  4. To help every Student to save at least one litre of water per day
  5. To encourage Students towards judicious use and minimum wastage of water at home and school level

Target

One Student            –       One Day      –       To Save One Litre of Water

One Student            –       One Year     –       To Save 365 Litres of Water

One Student            –       10 Years      –       To Save 3650 Litres of Water

Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

One nation, one ration card: Govt launches pilot project

Mains Paper 3 : PDS, Buffer Stock & Food Security |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : One Nation One Ration card

Mains level : Nothing much


The government launched inter-state portability of ration cards between Telangana-Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra-Gujarat as a pilot project to implement ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’.

In detail

  1. Beneficiaries in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Maharasthra and Gujarat, can now buy their quota of ration from ration shops in either state.
  2. Government is planning to roll out ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ across the country by June 1, 2020.
Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana

Mains Paper 3 : Issues Related To Farm Subsidies & Msp |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Details of the scheme

Mains level : Nothing much


The scheme has been envisioned with an aim to improve the lives of small and marginal farmers of the country.

Features of the scheme

  1. It is voluntary and contributory for farmers in the entry age group of 18 to 40 years
  2. Monthly pension of Rs. 3000/- will be provided to them on attaining the age of 60 years
  3. Farmers will have to make a monthly contribution of Rs.55 to Rs.200, depending on their age of entry till they reach the retirement date i.e. 60 years
  4. Central Government will also make an equal contribution of the same amount in the pension fund
  5. Spouse is also eligible to get a separate pension of Rs.3000/- upon making separate contributions to the Fund
  6. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) shall be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension payout
  7. In case of death of the farmer before retirement date, the spouse may continue in the scheme by paying the remaining contributions until the remaining age of the deceased farmer
  8. If the spouse does not wish to continue, the total contribution made by the farmer along with interest will be paid to the spouse
  9. If there is no spouse, then total contribution along with interest will be paid to the nominee
  10. If the farmer dies after the retirement date, the spouse will receive 50% of the pension as Family Pension
  11. After the death of both the farmer and the spouse, the accumulated corpus shall be credited back to the Pension Fund
  12. The beneficiaries may opt voluntarily to exit the Scheme after a minimum period of 5 years of regular contributions. On exit, their entire contribution shall be returned by LIC with an interest equivalent to prevailing saving bank rates
  13. The farmers who are also beneficiaries of PM-Kisan Scheme will have the option to allow their contribution debited from the benefit of that Scheme directly
  14. In case of default in making regular contributions, the beneficiaries are allowed to regularize the contributions by paying the outstanding dues along with prescribed interest
  15. The initial enrollment to the Scheme is being done through the Common Service Centres in various states
  16. The enrollment is free of cost. The Common Service Centres will charge Rs.30/- per enrolment which will be borne by the Government.
  17. Target of 10 crore beneficiaries for this year.
Rural Distress, Farmer Suicides, Drought Measures

Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Coastal Regulation Zones

Mains level : Coastal management and development


NEWS

The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan that will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.

Plan

  1. The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is part of a World Bank-funded project.
  2. It lays out guidelines for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.
  3. It seeks to assist the Government of India in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience by building capacity for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches
  4. The document was prepared by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management, a Ministry-affiliated body.
  5. As per the report, Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has to be a continuous process rather than a “one-off” investment action.
  6. The key activities proposed for coastal zone development include: 
    1. mangrove afforestation/shelter beds
    2.  habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows
    3. eco-restoration of sacred groves
    4. development of hatcheries
    5. rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals
    6. creation of infrastructure for tourism
    7. restoration and recharge of water bodies
    8. beach cleaning and development
    9. small infrastructure facilities
  7. Livelihood improvement projects include
    1. demonstration of climate-resilient or salinity resistant agriculture
    2. water harvesting and recharge/storage
    3. creation of infrastructure and facilities to support eco-tourism
    4. community-based small-scale mariculture
    5. seaweed cultivation
    6. aquaponics
  8. Environmental and social aspects ought to be integrated into the planning, design, implementation of projects.
  9. Projects should avoid or minimise impacts on cultural properties and natural habitats, compensate any loss of livelihood or assets, adopt higher work safety standards, occupational and community health and safety

Action so far

  1. So far three coastal States, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.
  2. Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches in other States/UT.
  3. Inadequate planning has often obstructed coastal zone development projects
Coastal Zones Management and Regulations

Now, also an Aadhaar card for cattle and buffaloes

Mains Paper 3 : Economics Of Animal-Rearing |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pashu Aadhaar

Mains level : Animal husbandry and using technology


NEWS

India has the world’s largest livestock population and is also its biggest milk producer. A giant database relating to livestock information is currently being created in India. It issues an animal UID or Pashu Aadhaar to the animals. So far, nearly 22.3 million cows and buffaloes have been assigned UIDs. 

Facts

  1. The nodal agency and repository for this – Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health or INAPH is the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
  2. The similarities with Aadhaar are:
    1. INAPH too assigns a unique random identification number to each animal
    2. It captures a host of data and information useful for the effective and scientific management of India’s livestock resources
    3. It will be the biggest global database of animals when fully captured
  3. The first phase of the INAPH project would cover the country’s 94 million-odd productive “in milk” female cow and buffalo population.
  4. It covers all indigenous, nondescript, crossbred as well as exotic milch animals.
  5. The exercise will subsequently be extended to all bovines, including males, calves and heifers, old and stray animals.
  6. Each animal will be provided a thermoplastic polyurethane ear tag bearing a 12-digit UID.
  7. The data being captured includes the species, breed and pedigree of the particular animal, information relating to its calving, milk production, artificial insemination (AI), vaccination and feeding/nutrition history.

Challenges so far

  1. Low productivity, poor animal health, the prevalence of economically debilitating diseases, and genome selection based on non-scientific and anecdotal methods

Objective

  1. Enable proper identification of animals and traceability of their products, be it milk or meat
  2. Farmers, processors, animal husbandry department officials and healthcare professionals can devise appropriate strategies for livestock management
  3. A major cause of zoonotic diseases and challenges in addressing them today is the absence of animal identification and traceability mechanisms
  4. If our dairy and livestock industry has to meet internationally-accepted sanitary and phytosanitary standards, a robust and comprehensive animal information system that allows traceability of products to their source is sine qua non
  5. The products obtained from healthy or premium animals can be separated from those originating from diseased or nondescript ones
  6. Leverage this data for scientific and risk-based management of animals to deliver better health and reproduction outcomes, enhanced productivity and improved livestock product quality.
  7. The information through INAPH, including the ancestry and production performance of animals, would help identify healthy and productive livestock for breeding, rejuvenation of weaker ones, plan for better nutritional management and systematically manage diseases.
  8. The data can be used to select disease-free, high genetic merit bulls and fertile cows for breeding indigenous breeds that are low on productivity

Step ahead than identity

  1. Artificial Insemination has so far met with limited success in terms of boosting overall animal productivity. One reason is the use of not-so-good quality semen from low genetic merit bulls. The poor records of AI status of most cows or the donor bulls is a caus. AI programme will get a shot in the arm with more reliable data on the insemination history of each animal.
  2. More efficient nutrition management through ration balancing can be achieved based on information on the feeding status of each animal.
  3. The entire chain, from inputs (AI/breeding, vaccination, feed and fodder, and nutrition) to output (milk and meat) can be managed to assure enhanced animal productivity and improved product quality.

The database should be seen as a significant step in heralding the next White Revolution and making livestock a vehicle of rural prosperity.

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