Government Schemes and Programs

  • MeitY Startup Hub and Meta shortlists 120 Startups and Innovators for the XR Startup Program

    Source: The post is based on the articleMeitY Startup Hub and Meta shortlists 120 Startups and Innovators for the XR Startup Programpublished in PIB on 27th January 2023

    What is the News?

    MeitY Startup Hub(MSH), an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) and Meta have announced the list of 120 startups and innovators for the XR Startup Program.

    What is an XR Startup Program?

    Launched in: 2022

    Launched by: MeitY Startup Hub(MSH), an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) and Meta.

    Aim: To discover, nurture, and accelerate Extended Reality (XR) technology startups and innovators across India.

    Segments: It includes two segments namely:

    Accelerator Challenge: The Accelerator will nurture and foster 40 early-stage startups working with XR technologies through a well-designed 6-month program.

    – Each startup will get access to many benefits, including a grant of ₹ 20 lakhs, mentorship by industry experts and researchers, access to a network of potential strategic partners and investors and opportunities to participate and present at relevant industry events.

    Grand Challenge: It will encourage early-stage innovators in sectors like Education, Learning and Skills, Healthcare, Gaming and Entertainment, Agritech & Climate Action and Tourism & Sustainability.

    – The innovators will be provided support to upscale from the R&D phase to developing workable products and services.

  • ABCD campaign: Wayanad becomes country’s first district to provide basic documents to all tribal people

    Source: The post is based on the article “Wayanad becomes country’s first district to provide basic documents to all tribal people” published in The Hindu on 21st January 2023.

    What is the News?

    Wayanad from Kerala became the first district in the country to provide basic documents and facilities to all tribes people under the (Akshaya Big Campaign for Document Digitisation) ABCD campaign.

    What is the ABCD campaign?

    Under the ABCD campaign, Wayanad district administration has provided basic documents and facilities such as an Aadhaar card, ration card, birth/death certificates, election ID card, bank account and health insurance to all tribes people.

    Since all the relevant departments were brought under one roof in a camp, each beneficiary gets all the needed services at the camp itself, saving them the time and effort of visiting several offices.

    Apart from these, other services such as income certificates, ownership certificates, age certificates and applications for new pensions were also provided.

     

  • Govt to combine CGHS with Ayushman Bharat

    Source: The post is based on the article “Govt to combine CGHS with Ayushman Bharatpublished in Livemint on 21st January 2023.

    What is the News?

    National Health Authority(NHA) is in the process of integrating the Central Government Health Scheme(CGHS) with Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission(ABDM).

    What is the Central Government Health Scheme(CGHS)?

    CGHS was started in 1954 with the aim of providing comprehensive healthcare to central government employees and pensioners and their dependent family members. 

    The scheme currently covers more than 4.1 million beneficiaries in 75 cities.

    What is Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission(ABDM)?

    Click Here to read

    How is the government planning to integrate CGHS with ABDM?

    The government is planning to integrate CGHS with Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission(ABDM). This is aimed at creating digital health identification of CGHS beneficiaries and storing their digital health records, thus ensuring quick treatment to the needy.

    Under this process, beneficiaries’ CGHS numbers will be mapped with ABHA numbers and digital linking of all health will be recorded. 

    What is Ayushman Bharat Health Account(ABHA)?

    ABHA is a 14-digit number that allows citizens to access and manage their medical records digitally. 

    It creates comprehensive medical history across healthcare providers with citizens sharing relevant health records with ABDM-registered healthcare providers digitally.

     

  • PM launches Aspirational Block Programme aimed at spurring development parameters

    Source: The post is based on the article PM launches Aspirational Block Programme aimed at spurring development parameterspublished in Indian Express on 8th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Prime Minister has launched the Aspirational Block Programme (ABP).

    What is the Aspirational Block Programme(ABP)?

    The Aspirational Blocks Programme is on the lines of the Aspirational District Programme that was launched in 2018.

    Aim: To improve the performance of blocks lagging on various development parameters. This will enable holistic development in those areas that require added assistance.

    Coverage: The programme will cover 500 blocks across 31 states and Union Territories initially. Over half of these blocks are in 6 states—Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

    Ranking: NITI Aayog in partnership with the states will release a quarterly ranking of these blocks based on their performance on development indicators covering sectors such as health, education and nutrition among others.

    What is the Aspirational District Programme?

    Click Here to read

     

  • Cabinet approves continuation of Schemes of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region

    Source: The post is based on the article Cabinet approves continuation of Schemes of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Regionpublished in PIB on 5th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Schemes of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region for the balance period of the 15th Finance Commission (2022-23 to 2025-26).

    What are the schemes that will be continued in the North Eastern Region?

    North East Special Infrastructure Scheme(NESIDS)

    The scheme has been restructured having two components – NESIDS (Roads) and NESIDS (Other than Road Infrastructure).

    Prime Minister’s Development initiative for the north eastern region – PM-Devine

    What are the steps the Government of India has taken for the development of the North Eastern Region?

    Due to the efforts taken by the government, there has been a 74% reduction in insurgency incidents, a 60% reduction in incidents of attacks on security forces and an 89% reduction in civilian deaths. 

    Further, agreements with the national liberation front of Tripura in 2019, the BRU and bodo agreement in 2020 and the Karbi agreement in 2021 were agreed upon. The Assam-Meghalaya and Assam-Arunachal border disputes have also almost ended. With this, the north-east region is moving on the path of development.

    Since 2014, we have witnessed massive increase in the budgetary allocations to the region. More than 4 lakh crores have been allocated for the region.

    The North East Gas Grid (NEGG) project is underway and will improve the economy in NER.

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves Central Sector ‘Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND)’ Scheme

    Source: The post is based on the article Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves Central Sector ‘Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND)’ Schemepublished in PIB on 5th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s “Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development” (BIND) Scheme.

    What is the Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND) Scheme?

    Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting 

    Type: Central Sector Scheme

    Aim: To bring modernisation to the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati i.e. All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD). 

    Under the scheme, financial support will be provided to Prasar Bharati for expenses related to the expansion and upgradation of its broadcasting infrastructure, content development and civil work related to the organization.

    Significance of the scheme: The scheme will enable the public broadcaster to undertake a major upgradation of its facilities with better infrastructure which will widen its reach, including in the Left Wing Extremism border and strategic areas and provide high-quality content to the viewers. 

    What is Prasar Bharati?

    Prasar Bharati is India’s state-owned public broadcasting agency. It is a statutory autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament and comprises the Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio.

  • ‘SMART’ program for Ayurveda professionals to boost R&D in Ayurveda in the country

    Source: The post is based on the article SMART program for Ayurveda professionals to boost R&D in Ayurveda in the country published in PIB on 3rd January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Ayush has launched the ‘SMART’ (Scope for Mainstreaming Ayurveda Research in Teaching Professionals) program.

    What is a SMART program?

    Launched by: National Commission for Indian System of Medicine(NCISM) and the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences(CCRAS), the two prominent institutions under the Ministry of Ayush.

    Aim: To boost scientific research in priority healthcare research areas through Ayurveda colleges and hospitals.

    Under the program, the government will identify, support and promote innovative research ideas in healthcare research areas including osteoarthritis, iron deficiency anaemia, chronic bronchitis, dyslipidemia, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, generalised anxiety disorder and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease(NAFLD).

  • Vibrant Village Programme(VVP): Patriotic citizens in border villages can provide permanent security: Home Minister

    Source: The post is based on the article “Patriotic citizens in border villages can provide permanent security: Home Minister” published in The Hindu on 30th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Union Home Minister said that borders can be permanently secured only when border villages are populated by patriotic citizens who are concerned for the country asking the border-guarding forces to use the Vibrant Village Programme(VVP) for the same.

    What is the Vibrant Village Programme(VVP)?

    The Vibrant Villages Programme(VVP) has been announced in the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech 2022.

    Aim: To enhance infrastructure in villages along India’s border with China, in states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Arunachal Pradesh. 

    Activities under the VVP include: building infrastructures such as housing, tourist centres, road connectivity, providing decentralized renewable energy, direct-to-home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation.

    Coverage: The programme envisages coverage of border villages on the Northern border that have sparse populations, limited connectivity and infrastructure which often get left out of the development gains.

  • Integrated Food Security Scheme: Centre to roll out new integrated food security scheme starting 1 January 2023

    Source: The post is based on the article Centre to roll out new integrated food security scheme starting 1 January 2023published in PIB on 1st January,2023

    What is the News?

    The Government of India has rolled out the new integrated food security scheme from January 1, 2023. 

    What is the Integrated Food Security Scheme?

    Aim: To strengthen the provisions of the National Food Security Act (NFSA),2013 in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of food grains for the poor and the vulnerable.

    – To bring uniformity and clarity on food security under NFSA at the beneficiary level.

    Key Features of the scheme

    Subsumed schemes: The scheme will subsume two current food subsidy schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution- a) Food Subsidy to Food Subsidy to Food Corporation of India(FCI) for NFSA and b) Food Subsidy for decentralized procurement states, dealing with procurement, allocation and delivery of free foodgrains to the states under NFSA.

    Under the scheme, the Government of India will provide free foodgrains to all NFSA beneficiaries i.e. Antyodaya Anna Yojana(AAY) households & Priority Household(PHH) persons for the next one year through the widespread network of Fair Price Shops across the country. 

    – Free foodgrains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under One Nation One Ration Card(ONORC) across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform.

    Funding: Central Government will bear the entire food subsidy of more than Rs. 2 Lakh crore for the year 2023. 

  • Amrit Bharat Station Scheme for Indian Railways

    Source: The post is based on the article “Amrit Bharat Station Scheme for Indian Railwayspublished in the PIB on 28th December 2022. 

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Railways has formulated a new policy for the modernization of stations named Amrit Bharat Station scheme.

    About “Amrit Bharat Station” scheme

    The scheme envisages the development of stations on a continuous basis with a long-term vision. It is based on Master Planning for the long term and implementation of the elements of the Master Plan as per the needs and patronage of the station.

    Objectives of the scheme: a) Preparation of Master Plans of the Railway stations and implementation in phases to enhance the facilities including and beyond the Minimum Essential Amenities (MEA), b) Cater for the introduction of new amenities as well as upgradation and replacement of existing amenities, c) Relocate redundant/old buildings in a cost-efficient manner.

    Scope of work:

    -Master Plans will have elementary details of the most appropriate location of Roof Plaza to be created in future.

    -Cover the stations where detailed techno-economic feasibility studies have been conducted or are being conducted.

    -Existing building usage shall be reviewed and space should be released in favour of passengers.

    -Amenities for Divyangjan at stations.

    -Gradual shift to sustainable and environmental friendly solutions as per availability of funds and condition of existing assets.

    -At least one aesthetically designed hoarding(signage) on each side of the circulating area at a prominent location shall be erected for the display of important information etc.

  • One Rank One Pension(OROP): Union Cabinet approves revision of pension of Armed Forces Pensioners/family pensioners under One Rank One Pension

    Source: The post is based on the article Union Cabinet approves revision of pension of Armed Forces Pensioners/family pensioners under One Rank One Pension published in PIB on 24th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Union Cabinet has approved a pending pension revision for pensioners from the armed forces and their families under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme which has been delayed since July 2019.

    What is One Rank One Pension(OROP)?

    OROP implies a uniform pension for defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of their date of retirement.

    Why was there a need for OROP?

    In view of the need of the defence forces to maintain physical fitness, efficiency and effectiveness, personnel retire at an early age compared to other agencies of the government. 

    A sepoy in the army and equivalent rank in navy and air force retire after 17-19 years of service and officers retire before attaining the age of 60 years.

    Before the implementation of OROP, the computation of pension was linked to the pay drawn by the personnel in a particular pay scale at the time of his/her retirement. 

    Pay scales were revised to the higher side generally on the recommendation of Pay Commissions. As such, the personnel retiring after the revision of the pay scales got more pension than those who had already retired. Hence, the gap remained in the pension of the past and present retirees.

    OROP bridges this gap between the rates of pension of current and past pensioners at periodic intervals.

    The OROP scheme was implemented with retrospective effect from July 1st, 2014 with 2013 as the base year.

    What has happened now?

    The OROP scheme envisages revision of pension once every five years. The re-fixation of pension was to be done in the year 2019, but the matter was pending in court at the time.

    Now the OROP has been revised with effect from July 1, 2019 and the arrears will be paid for the period July 2019 to June 2022.

  • India Semiconductor Mission

    Source: The post is based on the article India Semiconductor Mission published in PIB on 22nd December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology has informed Lok Sabha about India Semiconductor Mission(ISM).

    What is the India Semiconductor Mission(ISM)?

    ISM has been set up as an Independent Business Division within Digital India Corporation. 

    Note: Digital India Corporation is a not-for-profit Company set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY) under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.

    Mandate: It has all the administrative and financial powers and is tasked with the responsibility of catalyzing the India Semiconductor ecosystem in manufacturing, packaging and design. 

    – It is also the nodal agency for the Schemes approved under Semicon India Programme. 

    Composition: It has an advisory board consisting of some of the leading global experts in the field of semiconductors. 

    What is the Semicon India Programme?

    Launched in: 2021 

    Aim: To develop the semiconductor and display manufacturing ecosystem in the country by providing financial support to companies investing in semiconductors, display manufacturing and design ecosystems. 

    Schemes under the programme

    – Modified Scheme for setting up of Semiconductor Fabs in India for attracting large investments for setting up semiconductor wafer fabrication facilities in the country to strengthen the electronics manufacturing ecosystem and help establish a trusted value chain. The scheme extends fiscal support of 50% of the project cost.

    – Modified Scheme for setting up Display Fabs in India for attracting large investments for manufacturing TFT, LCD or AMOLED-based display panels in the country to strengthen the electronics manufacturing ecosystem. The scheme extends fiscal support of 50% of Project Cost.

    – Scheme for setting up of Compound Semiconductors / Silicon Photonics / Sensors Fab / Discrete Semiconductors Fab and Semiconductor Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) / OSAT facilities in India extend fiscal support of 50% of the Capital Expenditure for setting up of these facilities in India.

    – Design Linked Incentive(DLI) Scheme: It offers financial incentives, design infrastructure support across various stages of development and deployment of semiconductor design for Integrated Circuits (ICs), Chipsets, System on Chips (SoCs), Systems & IP Cores and semiconductor linked to design. 

  • Status of centres of excellence scheme ‘AYURSWASTHYA Yojana’

    Source: The post is based on the article Status of centres of excellence scheme ‘AYURSWASTHYA Yojana’published in PIB on 20th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Minister of Ayush has informed Rajya Sabha about the AYURSWASTHYA Yojana.

    What is AYURSWASTHYA Yojana?

    Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Ayush

    Type: Central Sector Scheme

    Merged schemes: This scheme was launched by merging two erstwhile schemes (i) Central Sector Scheme of Grant-in-Aid for Promotion of AYUSH Intervention in Public Health Initiatives(PHI) and (ii) Central Sector Scheme for assistance to AYUSH organizations engaged in AYUSH Education/ Drug Development & Research for upgradation to Centre of Excellence (CoE).

    Components of the scheme: The scheme consists of two components: 

    – AYUSH and Public Health (PHI): Under this, AYUSH interventions are rolled out for common public health issues related to communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, MCH, Geriatric care, mental health etc.

    – Centre of Excellence (CoE): Under this, financial assistance is provided to eligible individual organizations/institutes for establishing and upgrading their functions & facilities and/or for research & development activities in AYUSH.

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Ko Kaam Karyakram (PMKKK) now named as Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan(PM VIKAS) Scheme

    Source: The post is based on the articlePradhan Mantri Kaushal Ko Kaam Karyakram (PMKKK) now named as Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan(PM VIKAS) Schemepublished in PIB on 15th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Minister of Minority Affairs has informed that the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Ko Kaam Karyakram (PMKKK) has now been named as Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme. 

    What is the Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme?

    Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Minority Affairs

    Type: Central Sector Scheme

    Aim: To improve livelihoods of the minorities, particularly the artisan communities, using the components of skill development, education, women leadership & entrepreneurship. 

    Merged schemes: The scheme combines ​​five (5) existing schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs under this: Seekho aur Kamao, USTTAD, Hamari Dharohar, Nai Roshni and Nai Manzil.

    Components of the scheme: There are four components under the scheme: 1) Skilling and Training, 2) Leadership and Entrepreneurship, 3) Education and 4) Infrastructure Development.

    – These components complement each other in the ultimate objective of the scheme to increase the incomes of the beneficiaries and provide support by facilitating credit and market linkages.

  • Year End Review 2022: Ministry of Culture

    Source: The post is based on the article Year End Review 2022: Ministry of Culturepublished in PIB on 14th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Culture has launched several initiatives and schemes in 2022.

    What are the schemes and initiatives launched by the Ministry of Culture in 2022?

    Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav: It is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of Independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.

    – It has five pillars namely Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75.

    Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya

    Installation of statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

    Har GharTiranga(HGT) campaign: It aims to encourage people to hoist/display the National Flag at their homes to celebrate the 75th year of India’s independence. 

    India International Centre for Buddhist Culture

    Holy Kapilvastu Relics of Lord Buddha in Mongolia

    Mangarh Dham ki Gaurav Gath: It is a programme held to pay homage to the sacrifices of the unsung tribal heroes and martyrs of the freedom struggle. During the programme, the Prime Minister paid homage to Bhil freedom fighter Shri Govind Guru and also addressed a gathering of Bhil Adivasis and other tribal populations of the region.

    Hyderabad Liberation Day: The 75th ‘Hyderabad Liberation Day’ was celebrated in Telangana on 17th September. The purpose was to revive the history of this great war of liberation from the Raj of Nizam and revive the tales of anonymous martyrs by reviving the flame of patriotism in the minds of the younger generation.

    400th Prakash Parv of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh

    Alluri Sitarama Raju

    Sri Aurobindo

    Raja Ram Mohun Roy

    UNESCO inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2021.

    Nominated site: The Sacred Ensembles of Hoysalas has been submitted to the World Heritage Committee for the cycle 2022-23. It is a serial nomination consisting of three monuments namely; a) Hoysaleshwar temple; Halebedu, b) Somanathpur temple c) Channakeshava temple, Belur, in Karnataka.

    Tentative List of UNESCO: Three monuments namely: 1) Geoglyphs of Konkan region, 2. Jing KiengJri, Living Root Bridge Cultural Landscapes, Meghalaya and 3. Sri Veerbhadra Temple and Monolithic Bull (Nandi) have been included as World Heritage in the Tentative List of UNESCO. 

    Devayatanam: an odyssey of India Temple Architecture

    Kala Kumbh

    Kalanjali: Under this, Cultural performances such as Storytelling, dance, theater, Puppetry are organized at Central Vista every week.

    Jyotirgamaya: To celebrate World Music Day, Sangeet Natak Akademi organized Jyotirgamaya – a musical event to showcase rare musical instruments from across the nation and performances by various artists and performers. 

    Sankalp Se Siddhi was planned between the Ministry of Culture and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to develop an Industry-Citizen Charter for Vision 2047. 

    Badhe Chalo

    Celebration of Bathukamma

  • Explained | Will new drug slow the progress of Alzheimer’s?

    Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | Will new drug slow the progress of Alzheimer’s?” published in The Hindu on 12th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Recently, detailed results from a clinical trial involving Lecanemab drug for Alzheimer’s disease were published.  

    The findings indicate the drug was effective in slowing cognitive decline for some patients with Alzheimer’s disease potentially representing the first significant treatment advance in decades.  

    What is Lecanemab?

    Lecanemab is a drug that is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

    Developed by: Pharma companies Biogen and Eisai.

    Type: Lecanemab belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. These antibody-mediated drugs target beta-amyloid, the protein deposition that is seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and disrupts cell function.

    What is Alzheimer disease?

    Click Here to read

  • Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana

    Source: The post is based on the articleAtal Vayo Abhyuday Yojanapublished in PIB on 13th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Minister of State Social Justice and Empowerment has informed Lok Sabha about Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana.

    What is Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana?

    Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

    Type: Central Sector Scheme

    Aim: To improve the quality of life of the Senior Citizens by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities and by encouraging productive and active ageing through providing support.

    Sub Schemes/Components: 1) Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC), 2) State Action Plan for Senior Citizens(SAPSrC), 3) Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana(RVY), 4) Senior Able Citizens for Re-employment in Dignity(SACRED), 5) Action Groups Aimed at Social Reconstruction (AGRASR), 6) Senior-care Aging Growth Engine (SAGE)-Silver economy for Senior Citizens, 7) Elderline – National Helpline for Senior Citizen, 8) Channelizing the CSR fund for elderly care and 9) Training and capacity building for senior citizens.

  • House panel flags ‘casual approach’ of government over setting up disability centres

    Source: The post is based on the article “House panel flags ‘casual approach’ of government over setting up disability centres” published in The Hindu on 14th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment has released a report on the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Firstly, only 55-60 District Disability Rehabilitation Centres(DDRC) have been made functional so far out of the targeted 269 in designated districts. This shows the government’s “somewhat casual” approach to completing its task. 

    Secondly, the government was yet to set up dedicated sports training facilities for persons with disabilities(Divyangjan). This is despite the government’s promise of setting up five such facilities in 2014-15.

    Thirdly, the government should publicize and make serious efforts to cover as many students as possible under the pre-matriculation, post-matriculation and top-class scholarship schemes for persons with disabilities. In 2021-22, only 16,000 students were paid against 25,000 slots for pre-matric scholarships.

    What are District Disability Rehabilitation Centres(DDRC)?

    District Disability Rehabilitation Centre(DDRC) is an initiative by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

    Aim: To facilitate comprehensive services to Persons with Disabilities in rural areas.  

    Services provided: These centers have a group of rehabilitation professionals for providing services like identification of Persons with Disabilities, Awareness Generation, Early Detection, and repairing of Assistive Devices among others.

    Setup by: DDRC is a joint venture of Central and State Governments wherein Central Government will establish, initiate, implement the centre for three years involving funding for manpower contingencies as well as required equipment and coordination.  

    The State Government will provide provisions for rent-free, well-connected building, monitoring.

    Managed by: These centres are run jointly by District Management Team headed by DM/Collector and a reputed NGO (Usually the Indian Red Cross Society). 

  • Only one-fourth of sanctioned solar power projects took off, says Minister

    Source: The post is based on the article “Only one-fourth of sanctioned solar power projects took off, says Minister” published in The Hindu on 14th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Minister for New and Renewable Energy has informed that only one-fourth of the solar projects sanctioned under the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects have been completed so far.

    Note: India had committed to installing 175,000 MW of renewable energy by 2022 of which 100,000 MW was to be solar power. As of October 2022, 61,000 MW of solar power had been installed so far.

    What is the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects?

    Launched in: 2014

    Nodal Ministry: Ministry for New and Renewable Energy

    Aim: To help solar project developers set up projects in a plug-and-play model.

    Key Features of the scheme: The scheme envisages supporting the States/UTs in setting up solar parks at various locations in the country with a view to create the required infrastructure for setting up of solar power projects.

    – The capacity of the solar parks shall be 500 MW and above. However, smaller parks are also considered where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of difficult terrain and where there is an acute shortage of non-agricultural land.

    – The solar parks are developed in collaboration with the State Governments and their agencies, CPSUs, and private entrepreneurs.

    Financial assistance: The scheme provides central financial assistance(CFA) of up to ₹20 lakh per MW or 30% of the project cost including grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower.

    What is the progress of the scheme?

    Under the scheme, the government has sanctioned the development of solar projects with a capacity of nearly 39,000 MW. But only one-fourth of these solar projects have actually been commissioned so far.

    The key challenges in the implementation of the scheme include: 1) hurdles in the acquisition of land with clear title, 2) a “mismatch” in the time taken to set up a project and the infrastructure to route the power produced to the grid, 3) environmental issues and 4) halt in economic activity due to COVID-19.  

  • Expedite approval to continue scheme for madrasas, minority institutes: Parliamentary panel tells government

    Source: The post is based on the article “Expedite approval to continue scheme for madrasas, minority institutes: Parliamentary panel tells government” published in The Hindu on 14th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment has pulled up the Union government for the delay in approving the continuation of the Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/Minorities(SPEMM).

    What is the Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/Minorities(SPEMM)?

    Nodal Ministry: Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education

    Sub-Schemes: It comprises of two sub schemes namely:

    Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas(SPQEM)

    It seeks to bring about qualitative improvement in Madrasas to enable Muslim children attain standards of the National education system in formal education subjects.

    The salient features of scheme are:

    – To provide financial assistance to traditional institutions like Madrasas and Maktabs to encourage them to introduce Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum.

    – To strengthen State Madrasa Boards opting for assistance by enabling them to monitor the Madrasa modernization programme.

    – To provide quality components in Madrasas such as remedial teaching, assessment and enhancement of learning outcomes etc.

    – To provide in-service training of teachers appointed under the scheme.

    Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes(IDMI)

    It has been operationalised to augment Infrastructure in Private Aided/Unaided Minority Schools/Institutions in order to enhance the quality of education for minority children.

    The salient features of scheme are:

    – To facilitate education of minorities by augmenting and strengthening school infrastructure in Minority Institutions.

    – To encourage educational facilities for girls, children with special needs and those who are most deprived educationally amongst the minorities.

  • Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna(PMAAGY): Govt. to turn 36,428 villages as ‘model tribal villages’

    Source: The post is based on the article “Govt. to turn 36,428 villages as model tribal villages” published in The Hindu on 13th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs is now working to develop 36,428 villages with at least 50% tribal population and 500 STs across the country into ‘model tribal’ villages.

    These efforts were part of the existing Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS) which has now been renamed to the Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna (PMAAGY).

    What is Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna(PMAAGY)?

    Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Tribal Affairs 

    Aim: To mitigate gaps and provide basic infrastructure in villages with the significant tribal populations in convergence with funds available under different schemes in Central Scheduled Tribe Component.

    Coverage: The scheme is envisaged to cover 36,428 villages having at least 50% ST population and 500 STs across States / UTs with notified STs during the period.

    Components of the scheme: The objective of this scheme is to achieve integrated socio-economic development of selected villages through a convergence approach. It includes the following components:

    – Preparing Village Development Plan based on the needs, potential, and aspirations;

    – Maximizing the coverage of individual/family benefit schemes of the Central/State Governments;

    – Improving the infrastructure in vital sectors like health, education, connectivity and livelihood.

  • NMCG Launches Project on ‘Capacity Building Programme for Leveraging Community and Local Resources Based on Technology’ Under Arth Ganga

    Source: The post is based on the article NMCG Launches Project on ‘Capacity Building Programme for Leveraging Community and Local Resources Based on Technology’ Under Arth Ganga published in PIB on 10th December 2022

    What is the News?

    National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) has launched the project ‘Capacity Building Programme for Leveraging Community and Local Resources Based on Technology’ under Arth Ganga.

    What is the “Capacity Building Programme for Leveraging Community and Local Resources Based on Technology”?

    Launched under: Arth Ganga

    Aim: To develop new need-based skills for the future amongst the local community along River Ganga and provide alternative solutions to the community members under Arth Ganga.

    Objectives of the Project: To empower the Ganga Basin’s local communities by working towards their economic upliftment through ecological perceptions. 

    – To establish Arth Ganga Centres (AGC) and three Ganga Resource Centres (GRC). 

    – To source the latest technologies and disseminate economically and ecologically viable interventions for the community. 

    Implementing bodies: National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) and Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization(HESCO).

  • Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products(RoDTEP) Scheme gets extended to Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Articles of Iron & Steel

    Source: The post is based on the articleRemission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products(RoDTEP) Scheme gets extended to Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Articles of Iron & Steelpublished in PIB on 7th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Department of Commerce has decided to expand the scope of the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products(RoDTEP) Scheme to include iron & steel, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

    What is the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products(RoDTEP) Scheme?

    The RoDTEP Scheme is based on the globally accepted principle that taxes and duties should not be exported, and taxes and levies borne on the exported products should be either exempted or remitted to exporters. 

    The scheme rebates/refunds the embedded Central, State and local duties/taxes to the exporters that were so far not being rebated/refunded.

    Click Here to read more

    What changes have been made to the scheme?

    The RoDTEP Scheme has now been expanded to the pharmaceuticals, chemicals and iron & steel sectors.

    Until now, the scheme was applicable to labour-intensive sectors such as agriculture, leather, gems & jewellery and textiles.

    These changes have been made against the backdrop of exports facing headwinds due to recessionary trends recession in some of the developed markets and supply chain disruptions triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

  • Union Minister for Civil Aviation Launches Digi Yatra for Three Airports in The Country

    Source: The post is based on the articleUnion Minister for Civil Aviation Launches Digi Yatra for Three Airports in The Countrypublished in PIB on 1st December 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Union Minister for Civil Aviation has launched Digi Yatra from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi for three airports in the country namely New Delhi, Varanasi and Bengaluru. 

    What is Digi Yatra?
    Digi Yatra
    Source: Hindustan Times

    Digi Yatra is conceived to achieve contactless, seamless processing of passengers at airports based on Facial Recognition Technology(FRT).

    With this, passenger data will be processed automatically based on a facial recognition system at various checkpoints at the airport.

    Nodal Body: The project is being implemented by the DigiYatra Foundation — a joint-venture company registered under the Companies Act, 2013.

    Note: Currently, Digi Yatra can be used only for domestic flights.

    How to get a Digi Yatra ID?

    After downloading the Digi Yatra app, passengers can get this ID by sharing details such as name, email address, mobile number, and details of an identification document (Aadhaar, driving license, voter ID etc.). 

    After entering this information, a Digi Yatra ID will be created. This ID has to be shared while booking tickets. Airline companies, in turn, will share this ID and passenger data with the departure airport.

    How to use the Digi Yatra facility at the airport?

    At the airport e-gate, scan the bar-coded boarding pass; the facial recognition system installed there will validate your identity as well as the travel document. After this, one can go inside, and follow the regular procedure to clear the security and board his/her flight.

    What are the benefits of Digi Yatra?

    No storage of data: There is no central storage of Personally Identifiable Information (PII).The passenger’s ID and travel credentials are stored in a secure wallet on the passenger’s smartphone itself. The uploaded data will utilize blockchain technology and all the data will be purged from the servers within 24 hours of use.

    Faster movement: ​​With the elimination of ID checks at check-in, passengers will be experiencing faster movement to boarding gates. For example at Dubai Airport where this technology is used, passenger saves time up to 40%.

    Reduces Frauds: This will also reduce frauds and only legitimate passengers will be allowed to board the plane.

    Enhanced security: The app will be tracking the air passenger with the PNR, enhancing security.

  • Centre’s low-cost WiFi scheme still buffering

    Source: The post is based on the article “Centre’s low-cost WiFi scheme still buffering” published in Business Standard on 30th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Nearly two years since the PM WANI scheme has been launched, the government has been able to activate 132,000 hotspots.

    What is the PM WANI Scheme?

    The PM WANI Scheme was launched in 2020 by the Department of Telecommunications.

    Aim: To expand the public WiFi network in the country and provide low-cost mass digital connectivity to the underserved in rural areas and the urban poor.

    Local micro-entrepreneurs in rural areas can open public data offices(PDOs) with BSNL to make WiFi services available at affordable rates to the rural populace.

    What has been the progress of the scheme?

    PM WANI aims to create up to 10 million public WiFi hotspots in India by the end of this year.

    However, the government has been able to activate only 132,000 WiFi hotspots till now.

    What are the reasons for the slow progress of the PM WANI Scheme?

    Firstly, a lack of interest in many areas primarily due to low financial incentives has contributed to the hesitancy in adopting the scheme.

    Secondly, the sluggish pace of migrating WiFi hotspots to the PM-WANI network by state-run entities, such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and the Indian Railways, has also impeded progress.

  • Nai Chetna campaign against gender-based violence gets under way in Kerala

    Source: The post is based on the article “Nai Chetna campaign against gender-based violence gets under way in Kerala” published in The Hindu on 29th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Urban Development launches the Nai Chetna-Pahal Badlav Ki Campaign.

    Note: The campaign is being implemented in Kerala under the umbrella of the Kudumbashree Mission.

    What is Nai Chetna-Pahal Badlav Ki Campaign?

    Launched by: Ministry of Urban Development 

    The campaign has been launched under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission(DAY-NRLM).

    Purpose: It is a community-led National Campaign Against Gender-Based Discrimination. This will be an annual campaign focussing on specific gender issues each year. 

    Focus area of this year: The focus area of the campaign this year is gender-based violence with the aim to equip women to recognise and prevent violence and make them aware of their rights.

    Implementing agency: This campaign will be implemented by all states in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSO) partners, and actively executed by all levels including the states, districts and blocks, engaging the community institutions along with the extended community.

    Significance: The campaign will bring together all line departments and stakeholders to create a concerted effort in acknowledging, identifying and addressing the issues of violence.

  • eGramSwaraj and Audit Online of Ministry of Panchayati Raj wins GOLD AWARD under the National Awards for e-Governance

    Source: The post is based on the article eGramSwaraj and Audit Online of Ministry of Panchayati Raj wins GOLD AWARD under the National Awards for e-Governancepublished in PIB on 28th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    eGramSwaraj and AuditOnline of Ministry of Panchayati Raj have won the GOLD AWARD under the category “Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering for Digital Transformation” of the National Awards for e-Governance. 

    What is eGramSwaraj?

    Launched by: Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) 

    Purpose: It is a user-friendly web-based portal launched to strengthen e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) across the country.

    Aim: To bring in better transparency and strengthen the e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) across the country through decentralized Profiling, Planning, Physical Progress, Reporting and Work-Based Accounting.

    What is AuditOnline?

    AuditOnline is an online application developed under the e-panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) initiated by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj(MoPR). 

    Purpose: To facilitate the financial audit of accounts at all three levels of Panchayats viz District, Block and Village Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Line department by Auditors (State AG/LFA). 

    This application not only facilitates the auditing of Panchayat accounts but also provides for maintaining audit records. 

  • Centre launches ‘Toilets 2.0’ campaign in Bengaluru

    Source: The post is based on the article “Centre launches ‘Toilets 2.0’ campaign in Bengaluru” published in The Hindu on 21st November.

    What is the News?

    The Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) has launched the Toilets 2.0 campaign in Bengaluru on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2022.

    What is Toilets 2.0 Campaign?

    Aim: To change the face of public and community toilets in urban India through collective action involving citizens and Urban Local Bodies.

    Thematic Areas: The campaign has five thematic areas:

    – The People for Toilets program: It is an inter-city competition envisaged for cleaning and maintaining community and public toilets in which top-performing cities will be recognised.

    – The Partners for Toilets theme: It aims to forge partnerships with potential organizations for the adoption of community and public toilets for interim cleaning, annual operations and maintenance, one-time financial aid, beautification activities, innovation, and feedback among others.

    – The Design Challenge: It is being organized in collaboration with the Council of Architecture through which entries will be invited from students of architecture and practising architects on designs for aspirational toilets in the two categories of Public toilets and Community toilets. The top designs will be turned into a compendium for cities’ consideration to adopt for their facilities.

    – Rate your Toilet is for promoting user feedback to improve public and community toilets

    – My thoughts – Our Toilets is a general public survey among citizens on public toilets across the country. A questionnaire on citizen aspiration for toilets will be available on the MyGov platform for the public to answer. The results from the survey are expected to help States and cities to understand gaps and provide course corrective measures.

  • Startup India launches Startup applications for MAARG Portal

    Source: The post is based on the articleStartup India launches Startup applications for MAARG Portalpublished in PIB on 25th November.

    What is the News?

    The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched a call for startup applications for registration on the MAARG portal.

    What is MAARG Portal?
    MAARG Portal
    Source: MAARG

    MAARG portal is the National Mentorship Platform by Startup India.

    Full-Form: MAARG stands for Mentorship, Advisory, Assistance, Resilience and Growth.

    Purpose: It is a one-stop platform to facilitate mentorship for startups across diverse sectors, functions, stages, geographies, and backgrounds.

    – Through this portal, startups can connect with academicians, industry experts, successful founders, seasoned investors and other experts from across the globe, through artificial intelligence(AI)-based matchmaking to get personalized guidance on growth and strategy.

    Key Features of the Portal: Customizable mentorship programs for ecosystem enablers, mobile-friendly user interface, recognition for contributing mentors, video and audio call options, etc.

    Phases: The MAARG Portal is being operationalized in three phases:

    Phase I – Mentor Onboarding: Successfully launched and executed, 400+ expert mentors are on boarded across sectors.

    Phase II – Startup Onboarding: DPIIT is launching the onboarding of startups on the MAARG Portal with effect from 14th November 2022.

    Phase III – MAARG Portal Launch and Mentor Matchmaking: Final launch where the mentors will be matched to the startups.

  • Jeevan Pramaan: 25 lakh Central govt. pensioners receive digital life certificates

    Source: The post is based on the article “25 lakh Central govt. pensioners receive digital life certificates” published in The Hindu on 22nd November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Around 25 lakh Central government pensioners have been provided Jeevan Pramaan certificates out of which 2.2 lakh certificates were enabled by facial authentication.

    What is Jeevan Pramaan?

    Jeevan Pramaan is a digital life certificate for pensioners that is biometrically enabled and based on Aadhaar.

    Aim: To streamline the process of getting the life certificate hassle-free and much easier for pensioners. 

    Eligibility: Pensioners of the Central Government, State Government or any other Government organization can take benefit from this facility.

    How is Jeevan Pramaan different from a traditional life certificate?

    For Jeevan Pramaan (Digital Life Certificate) the pensioner is not required to present himself/ herself personally before the Pension Disbursing Officer. 

    DLC also does not have to be submitted physically to the Pension Disbursing Agency (Bank/Post Office etc) as it is available to them digitally and is automatically processed by the Pension Disbursing Agency. Also each DLC has a unique id called the Pramaan-Id.

    What is the change the government has brought in the issuance of Jeevan Praman certificates?

    The government has been issuing Jeevan Pramaan certificates for pensioners through face recognition technology to ensure transparency and ‘ease of usage’.

    Pensioners can get this by using a web-based or mobile-based application ‘Jeevan Pramaan’ – accessible at www.jeevanpramaan.gov.in.

    The identity of a person is established through a face recognition techniques using the Aadhaar platform and a digital life certificate(DLC) gets generated.

  • NCPCR launches ‘GHAR’ to enable smooth repatriation of children to their native place

    Source: The post is based on the article NCPCR launches ‘GHAR’ to enable smooth repatriation of children to their native placepublished in TOI on 21st November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Union Minister of Women and Child Development has launched the GHAR – GO Home and Re-Unite Portal on the occasion of World Children’s Day (20th November).

    What is GHAR – GO Home and Re-Unite Portal?

    Launched by: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) 

    Purpose: It is a portal for restoration and repatriation of children.

    Key Features of the Portal: Digital tracking and monitoring of children who are in the Juvenile Justice(JJ) system and have to be repatriated to another Country/State/District.  

    – Digital transfer of cases of children to the concerned Child Welfare Committees(CWCs) of the State. It will help in the speedy repatriation of children. 

    – CWCs and District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) will ensure proper restoration and rehabilitation of children by digitally monitoring the progress of the case of the child.

    A checklist format will be provided in the forms so that the children who are being hard to repatriate or children who are not getting their entitled compensation or other monetary benefits can be identified. 

    – A list of Government implemented schemes will be provided so that at the time of restoration the CWCs can link the child with the schemes to strengthen the family and ensure that the child remains with his/her family.

  • NCW launches Digital Shakti 4.0 focussing on making women digitally skilled and aware

    Source: The post is based on the articleNCW launches Digital Shakti 4.0 focussing on making women digitally skilled and awarepublished in PIB on 16th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The National Commission for Women (NCW) launched the fourth phase of the Digital Shakti Campaign.

    What is the Digital Shakti Campaign?

    Launched in: 2018

    Aim: To help women across the nation to raise the awareness level on the digital front, to build resilience and fight cyber-crime in the most effective ways. 

    Through this campaign, over 3 Lakh women across India have been made aware of cyber safety tips and tricks, reporting & redressal mechanisms, data privacy and usage of technology for their benefit.

    What is the focus of the fourth phase of the Digital Shakti Campaign?

    Launched by: National Commission for Women(NCW) in collaboration with CyberPeace Foundation and Meta.

    Focus of the campaign: To make women digitally skilled and aware to stand up against any illegal/inappropriate activity online.

  • Shabd Shala Initiative: Finding Indian language equivalents for selfie, drones…

    Source: The post is based on the article “Finding Indian language equivalents for selfie, drones” published in The Hindu on 14th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology(CSTT) will soon launch the ‘Shabd Shala’ initiative.

    What is the Shabd Shala Initiative?

    Shabd Shala is a website which will invite suggestions for the translation of words that are recent additions to the English language and are used widely in India. 

    People across India can log onto the website and provide suggestions for possible translations of these words or the most prevalent usages in their respective languages.

    The suggestions will not be limited to only 22 languages (covered under the Eight Schedule). People can provide translations in other languages like Bhojpuri and Nagamese.

    Significance: ‘Selfie’, ‘drones’, ‘metaverse’, and ‘Artificial Intelligence’ are among the new “technical” English words that become a part of the Indian psyche and culture but have no formal translations into Indian languages.

    – This initiative will help in finding standardized vernacular versions of these words in common usage.

    What is the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology(CSTT)?

    Established in: 1961 by the Government of India under Article 344(4) of Indian Constitution.

    Mandate: To evolve technical terminology in all Indian Languages, propagate its use and distribute it widely.

    Nodal Ministry: Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education.

    Headquarters: New Delhi.

  • Renewable energy ministry to continue Bio Energy Programme till 2025-26, provides Rs 858 cr for phase-I

    Source: The post is based on the article “Renewable energy ministry to continue Bio Energy Programme till 2025-26, provides Rs 858 cr for phase-I” published in PIB on 8th November 2022. 

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has said that it will continue the National Bio Energy Programme till 2025-26.

    What is the National Bio Energy Programme?

    Nodal Ministry: Ministry of New & Renewable Energy

    Aim: To aid the use of huge surplus biomass, cattle dung, and industrial and urban biowaste available in the country for energy recovery.

    Sub-Schemes: It will include the three Sub-schemes:

    Waste to Energy Programme: It will support the setting up of large Biogas, BioCNG and Power plants (excluding MSW (municipal solid waste) to power projects).

    – Biomass Programme (Scheme to Support Manufacturing of Briquettes & Pellets and Promotion of Biomass (non-bagasse) based cogeneration in Industries) to support setting up of pellets and briquettes for use in power generation and non-bagasse based power generation projects.

    – Biogas Programme to support the setting up of family and medium size Biogas in rural areas.

  • Electoral Bond scheme amended, sale from tomorrow

    Source: The post is based on the article “Electoral Bond scheme amended, sale from tomorrow” published in The Hindu on 8th November 2022. 

    What is the News?

    The Government of India has notified several changes to the Electoral Bond Scheme.

    What is the Electoral Bond Scheme?

    Click Here to read

    What are the changes being made to the Electoral Bond Scheme?

    The government of India has amended the Electoral Bond Scheme. It has allowed the sale of Electoral Bonds for 15 extra days during the year of elections to the legislative assembly of states and Union territories with the legislature.

    Earlier, only an additional period of 30 days was allowed to be specified by the central government in the year of the Lok Sabha elections. 

  • Scheme for Financial Support for Project Development Expenses of PPP Projects – ‘IIPDF Scheme’

    Source: The post is based on the article Scheme for Financial Support for Project Development Expenses of PPP Projects – ‘IIPDF Schemepublished in PIB on 8th November 2022. 

    What is the News?

    The Department of Economic Affairs(DEA), Ministry of Finance notified the Scheme for Financial Support for Project Development Expenses of PPP Projects – India Infrastructure Project Development Fund Scheme(IIPDF Scheme). 

    What is India Infrastructure Project Development Fund Scheme (IIPDF Scheme)?

    Setup in: 2007

    Nodal Ministry: Department of Economic Affairs(DEA), Ministry of Finance

    Type: Central Sector Scheme

    Aim: To aid the development of quality PPP projects by providing necessary funding support to the Project Sponsoring Authorities(PSA) both in the Central and State Governments.

    Funding: The IIPDF will contribute upto 75% of the project development expenses to the Sponsoring Authority as an interest-free loan. The balance of 25% will be co-funded by the Sponsoring Authority.

    Significance: The fund will help the sponsoring authority to cover a portion of the PPP transaction costs thereby reducing the impact of costs related to procurement on their budgets.

  • Aibawk cluster in the Aizwal, Mizoram becomes the first cluster to be completed under the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission

    Source: The post is based on the article “Aibawk cluster in the Aizwal, Mizoram becomes the first cluster to be completed under the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission” published in PIB on 4th November 2022. 

    What is the News? 

    Aibawk cluster in the Aizwal district of Mizoram has become the first cluster to be completed under the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission(SPMRM). 

    What is Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission(SPMRM)? 

    Launched in: 2016 by the Ministry of Rural Development 

    Type: Centrally Sponsored Scheme 

    Aim: To preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life with a focus on equity and inclusiveness without compromising with the facilities perceived to be essentially urban in nature, thus creating a cluster of ‘Rurban villages’. 

    Objective: To stimulate local economic development, enhance basic services, and create well-planned Rurban clusters. 

    Target: To develop 300 clusters in the country holistically by provisioning economic, social and physical infrastructure facilities. 

    Identification of Rurban Clusters: Rurban Clusters are identified across the country’s rural areas showing increasing signs of urbanization – i.e. increase in population density, high levels of non-farm employment, presence of growing economic activities and other socioeconomic parameters. 

    – For the purposes of SPMRM, Rurban areas refer to a cluster of 15-20 villages having about 30 to 40 lakh population. 

    – The clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with a population of about 25000 to 50000 in plain and coastal areas and a population of 5000 to 15000 in desert, hilly or tribal areas. 

    Role of States: The State Government identifies the clusters in accordance with the Framework for Implementation prepared by the MoRD. 

    Funding: The mission has two fund streams: (1) Convergence through various Central sector schemes, centrally sponsored schemes, State sector/ sponsored schemes/ programmes, CSR funds, and (2) Critical Gap Funds (CGF): It provides for CGF upto Rs. 30 crores per cluster for Non-tribal clusters and upto Rs. 15 crores per cluster for Tribal and Hilly State clusters. 

  • India Post Payments Bank conducts India’s First Floating Financial Literacy Camp

    Source: The post is based on the articleIndia Post Payments Bank conducts India’s First Floating Financial Literacy Camp published in PIB on 2nd November 2022.

    What is the News?

    India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) has conducted India’s First Floating Financial Literacy Camp with an initiative called ‘Niveshak Didi’.

    What is Niveshak Didi?

    Launched by: India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) in collaboration with Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority(IEPFA) under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA).

    Aim: To promote Financial Literacy “By the women, for the women” concept. 

    – The initiative is based on the ideology of women for women as rural area women feel more comfortable to share their queries with a female itself. 

    – As part of the initiative, IPPB conducted India’s First Floating Financial Literacy Camp among the local residents around the world-famous Dal Lake of Srinagar, J&K.

  •  Decentralise MGNREGS for better implementation, says study

    Source: The post is based on the article “Decentralise MGNREGS for better implementation, says study” published in The Hindu on 1st November 2022.

    What is the News?

    An internal study commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development has argued for decentralization of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS) allowing for more “flexibility” at the ground level. 

    What is MGNREGA?

    Click Here to read

    About the study on MGNREGA

    The Ministry of Rural Development has commissioned an internal study to assess the implementation of all rural development schemes, including the MGNREGS. 

    The members of the study group surveyed seven States — Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Nagaland, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh — and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

    What are the problems found by the study on MGNREGA?

    Firstly, fund management has been centralized instead of paying the gram sabhas an advance enabling them to decide the work they want to undertake.

    Secondly, frequent delays in fund dispersal. The survey quoted various instances to underline this chronic problem. 

    – In the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, for example, the surveyors found that because of the delay in the material component the beneficiaries ended up buying the construction material themselves to complete the projects. 

    – In Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the delay in wages was by three or four months and the material component was delayed by six months. 

    Thirdly, MGNREGA wages were far below the market rate in many states defeating the purpose of acting as a safety net.

    – At present, the minimum wage of a farm labourer in Gujarat is ₹324.20 but the MGNREGA wage is ₹229. The private contractors pay far more. In Nagaland, the wage is ₹212 per day, which does not take into account the difficult terrain conditions. 

    What are the suggestions given by the study on MGNREGA?

    Decentralization of the MGNREGA scheme allowing for more “flexibility” at the ground level.

    Greater diversification of permissible works instead of listing the types of permissible works, broad categories of works may be listed out and flexibility should be given at ground level to select the type of works as per broad categories.

    Revolving funds can be setup. This fund can be utilized whenever there is a delay in the Central funds.

  • PM launches Rozgar Mela – recruitment drive for 10 lakh personnel

    Source: The post is based on the articlePM launches Rozgar Mela – recruitment drive for 10 lakh personnelpublished in PIB on 26th October 2022

    What is the News?

    The Prime Minister has launched the Rozgar Mela. 

    What is Rozgar Mela?

    Rozgar Mela is a recruitment drive to hire 10 lakh personnel. 

    Under this recruitment drive, all Ministries and Departments are working towards filling up existing vacancies against sanctioned posts in Mission Mode.

    The new recruits will join 38 Ministries/Departments of the Government of India. The appointees will join the government at various levels viz. Group – A, Group – B (Gazetted), Group – B (Non-Gazetted) and Group – C.  

    The posts on which appointments are being made include Central Armed Force Personnel, Sub Inspector, Constable, and Income Tax Inspectors among others.

  • Centre launches programme to strengthen Kashi-Tamil Nadu bond

    Source: The post is based on the article Centre launches programme to strengthen Kashi-Tamil Nadu bondpublished in The Hindu on 22nd October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Union Government has announced a month-long programme named ‘Kashi-Tamil Sangamam’.

    What is Kashi-Tamil Sangamam Programme?

    Aim: To rekindle the civilisational link between the new Kashi and Tamil Nadu — both deep centers of knowledge.

    Part of: The programme would be a part of the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.

    The programme would be held from November 16 to December 16, 2022.

    As part of the programme, 2,500 people divided into 12 groups would be travelling to Varanasi by train during the period.

    – The groups would include students, teachers, artisans and people from various walks of life.

    – The tours would include seminars, lectures, group meetings and visits to the Kashi Vishwanath temple and centres of important Tamil cultural heritage in Varanasi.

    Knowledge Partners: The knowledge partners for the programme would be IIT-Madras and the Banaras Hindu University, while the Uttar Pradesh government would be the host State.

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with Ministry of Home Affairs organises Tribal Youth Exchange Programme for the development of Tribal Yout

    Source: The post is based on the article “Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with Ministry of Home Affairs organises Tribal Youth Exchange Programme for the development of Tribal Youthpublished in PIB on 19th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs organised the 14th Tribal Youth Exchange Programme for the development of Tribal Youth.

    What is the Tribal Youth Exchange Programme?

    Organized by: Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan(NYKS) with the support of the Ministry of Home Affairs since 2006.

    Aim: 1) To sensitize Tribal Youth to the Rich Cultural Heritage of India and to enable them to appreciate the concept of unity in diversity, expose them to development activities and industrial advancement and 2) To help the tribal youth to develop emotional linkages with their peer groups in other parts of the country and enhance their self-esteem.

    Significance: The tribes who are residing in the remote corners of the nation do not have access to first-hand information about what is happening elsewhere in the country. With more interaction of students and youth communities with their peer groups in other parts of the country, the gap can be bridged. Tribal youth exchange programmes are designed to facilitate such interactions.

  • PM launches Mission LiFE in the presence of U.N. Secretary General

    Source: The post is based on the following articles

    a. “PM launches Mission LiFE in the presence of U.N. Secretary General” published in The Hindu on 20th October 2022.

    b. PM launches Mission LiFE at Statue of Unity in Ekta Nagar, Kevadia, Gujarat” published in PIB on 20th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Prime Minister in the presence of the U.N Secretary-General has launched ‘Mission LiFE’.

    What is the concept of LIFE?

    LIFE stands for LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment).

    The concept of LiFE was introduced by the Prime Minister —at COP26 in Glasgow on 1 November 2021.

    It aims to nudge individuals and communities to practice a lifestyle that is synchronous with nature and does not harm it. Those who practice such a lifestyle are recognised as Pro Planet People.

    On 5 June 2022, on World Environment Day, India furthered the vision of LiFE by launching the LiFE Global Movement inviting academicians, researchers and start-ups across the world to think about specific and scientific ways in which the full potential of collective action can be harnessed to address the environmental crisis. 

    What is Mission LIFE?

    Mission LiFE seeks to translate the vision of LiFE into measurable impact. 

    Aim: It is designed with the objective to mobilize at least one billion Indians and other global citizens to take individual and collective action for protecting and conserving the environment in the period 2022–28. 

    – Within India, at least 80% of all villages and urban local bodies are aimed to become environment-friendly by 2028.

    Duration: The mission is a 5-year programme.

    Strategy: The Mission LiFE aims at following a three-pronged strategy 1) Nudging individuals to practise simple yet effective environment-friendly actions in their daily lives (demand), 2) Enabling industries and markets to respond swiftly to the changing demand (supply) and 3) Influence government and industrial policy to support both sustainable consumption and production (policy).

    Implemented by: The mission will be incubated, curated and piloted by NITI Aayog and subsequently implemented by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

    Significance: Mission LiFE emboldens the spirit of the P3 model, i.e. Pro Planet People, as it is premised on the basic principles of ‘Lifestyle of the planet, for the planet and by the planet’.

    India’s contributions against Climate Change: The annual per capita carbon footprint in the country is only about 1.5 tons, compared to the world average of 4 tons per year.

    India has the fourth-largest capacity for renewable energy in the world. 

    India is ranked fourth in wind energy and fifth in solar energy. India’s renewable energy capacity has increased by about 290 % in the last 7-8 years. 

    India has also achieved the target of 40% of the electric capacity from non-fossil-fuel sources nine years ahead of the deadline.

  • Govt. to launch Swadesh Darshan 2 with chosen destinations from 15 States

    Source: The post is based on the article “Govt. to launch Swadesh Darshan 2 with chosen destinations from 15 States” published in The Hindu on 20th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    Government will launch the Swadesh Darshan Scheme 2.0 with chosen destinations from 15 States.

    What is the Swadesh Darshan Scheme? 

    Swadesh Darshan Scheme is a Central Sector scheme launched in 2014-15 by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for the integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits.

    Aim: To promote, develop and harness the potential of tourism in India.

    Under the scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance – CFA to State Governments, and Union Territory Administrations for the infrastructure development of circuits.

    The scheme was envisioned to synergise with other government schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India and Make in India with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation.

    Some of the prominent circuits launched under this were the Buddhist tourist circle, Ambedkar Tourist Circle and the North-East Tourist Circle.

    What is Swadesh Darshan 2.0?

    Swadesh Darshan 2.0 is the revamped version of the scheme.

    The scheme has been revamped with the mantra of “vocal for local”. It moves away from theme-based tourist circuits and focuses on reviving destination tourism.

    It aims to develop sustainable and responsible destinations with a tourist and destination-centric approach.

    Under the scheme, two to three destinations each have been selected from 15 states. Some of the prominent places identified are Jhansi and Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, Gwalior, Chitrakoot and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra.

    Tourism Sector in India

    According to the third Tourism Satellite Account for 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20, the contribution of tourism to the employment of the country is 14.78%, 14.87% and 15.34 % respectively. 

    The total jobs generated by tourism are 72.69 million (2017-18), 75.85 million (2018-19) and 79.86 million (2019-20). 

  • First 11 awardees of WISER programme to promote participation of women in international R&D and industry projects facilitated

    Source: The post is based on the article First 11 awardees of WISER programme to promote participationpublished in PIB on 18h October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The first 11 awardees of the Women Involvement in Science and Engineering Research (WISER) programme were felicitated in the presence of the German Ambassador to India & Bhutan and the Vice Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

    What is the WISER programme?

    Launched in: 2021

    Launched by: Indo-German Science & Technology Centre(IGSTC)

    Purpose: It is a first-of-its-kind programme to promote women in the field of research and development through lateral entry.

    Features: The program will support women scientists holding regular/long-term research positions in academia or research institutes/industry. 

    – The involvement in the program will be possible through lateral entry. There is neither requirement for a break-in-career nor any age limit, and it will enable easy participation.

    Financial Support: IGSTC is going to support the awardees with a maximum amounting to Rs. 39 Lakh from the Indian side & €48000 from the German side. The WISER program offers 20 awards per year.

  • PM inaugurated One Nation One Fertilizer Scheme

    Source: The post is based on the article “PM inaugurated One Nation One Fertilizer Scheme” published in The Hindu on 18th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Prime Minister has inaugurated 600 Kisan Samridhi Kendras and launched One Nation One Fertilizer Scheme and Indian Edge magazine.

    What is One Nation One Fertilizer Scheme?

    One Nation, One Fertilizer scheme is also known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Urvarak Pariyojana.

    Under this scheme, all type of fertilizers whether it is DAP, NPK or urea will be sold under the brand name of ‘Bharat’. 

    This will standardize fertilizer brands across the nation irrespective of the company that manufactures it.

    This will also help the farmers to get rid of all kinds of confusion about the quality of fertilizers and their availability. 

    What is PM-Kisan Samridhi Kendras(PM-KSK)?

    Launched by: Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers. 

    Under the scheme, the retail fertilizer shops in the country will be converted into PMKSK in a phased manner. 

    PMKSK will cater to a wide variety of needs of the farmers and provide agri-inputs (fertilizers, seeds, implements), testing facilities for soil, seeds, and fertilizers; generate awareness among farmers; provide information regarding various government schemes and ensure regular capacity building of retailers at block/district level outlets. 

    More than 3.3 lakh retail fertilizer shops are planned to be converted into PMKSK.

    Read more: Empowering farmers is essential for the broad prosperity of India
    What is Indian Edge?

    Indian Edge is an e-magazine on fertilizers. The magazine will provide information on domestic and international fertilizer scenarios, including recent developments, price trends analysis, availability and consumption, and success stories of farmers, among others.

  • What are Rythu Bharosa Kendras that are being visited by an Ethiopian delegation?

    Source: The post is based on the article “What are Rythu Bharosa Kendras that are being visited by an Ethiopian delegation?” published in the Indian Express on 14th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    An Ethiopian delegation led by the country’s Agricultural Minister is in Andhra Pradesh (AP) to study the first-of-its kind Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs).

    What are Rythu Bharosa Kendras?

    The RBKs are unique seeds-to-sales, single-window service centres for farmers that have been set up across the state.

    They are a one-stop solution to all farmers’ needs and grievances. For instance, 1)  RBKs sell pre-tested quality seeds, certified fertilisers and animal feed, 2) Farmers can purchase or hire farm equipment, and even sell their produce at the prevailing MSP in the RBKs, 3) RBKs provide services like soil testing and make recommendations — on which crops to sow, and the quantity and type of fertiliser to be used, 4) The state government also pays crop insurance, procures grains and makes payments to farmers through the RBKs.

    Read more: Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi(PM-KISAN) Scheme
    How RBKs are helpful for farmers?

    RBKs facilitate a) Interaction between farmers, agriculture scientists, and agriculture extension officers right at the village level, b) Demonstrate new farm equipment and provide training to farmers, c) Elimination of spurious seeds and uncertified and dangerous fertilisers, which can cause crop damage and failures, d) Assist in selling their produce at MSPs, through supporting systems of e-cropping, geo-tagging, and the CM App and e) Suggestions and advice will be given to farmers on agriculture and related areas like horticulture, sericulture, veterinary, fisheries and marketing related technical queries through scientists and experienced call centre executives.

    Read more: KALIA scheme of Odisha and its lesson for India
    How does the RBKs are recognised?

    -The Centre has recently nominated the RBK concept for the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s “Champion’’ award.

    -Several agrarian countries are expressing interest in understanding the RBK concept and seeking to implement it in their countries.

  • Centre to help set up paddy straw pellet units to arrest stubble burning

    Source: The post is based on the article “Centre to help set up paddy straw pellet units to arrest stubble burning” published in The Hindu on 14th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Union Environment Ministry announced a ₹50 crore scheme to incentivise industrialists and entrepreneurs to set up paddy straw pelletisation and torrefaction plants.

    What is the amount of paddy straw generated?

    About 27 million tonnes of paddy straw are generated in Punjab and Haryana. About 75% or 20 million tonnes is from non-basmati rice that cannot be fed to cattle because of its high silica content. About 11 million tonnes can be managed in the field and the rest is usually burnt which adds to the air pollution crisis in Delhi.

    Read more: Why stubble burning is so hard to fix
    About the paddy straw pelletisation and torrefaction plants scheme

    The estimated cost of setting up a regular pelletisation plant, which can process a tonne per hour, is ₹35 lakh. Under the scheme, the Centre will fund such plants to a maximum of ₹70 lakh subject to capacity.

    Similarly, the cost of establishing a torrefaction plant is ₹70 lakh. Under the scheme, it is eligible for maximum funding of ₹1.4 crores.

    Torrefaction is costlier but can deliver a product whose energy content is much higher and theoretically substitute for more coal in a power plant.

    The Centre has underlined that this would be a “one-time only” scheme and regular pellet plants would be eligible for ₹40 crores of the overall share.

    What are the advantages of the scheme?

    The scheme will help convert waste to wealth and provide job opportunities to rural youth in Punjab and Haryana.

    Paddy straw made into pellets or torrefied can be mixed with coal in thermal power plants. This saves coal as well as reduces carbon emissions that would otherwise have been emitted were the straw burnt in the fields.

    Read more: Stubble burning needs economic solutions
  • Cabinet approves new Scheme “Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) for the remaining four years of the 15th Finance Commission from 2022-23 to 2025-26

    Source: The post is based on the article “Cabinet approves new Scheme “Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) for the remaining four years of the 15th Finance Commission from 2022-23 to 2025-26” published in the PIB on 12th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Union Cabinet has approved a new Scheme, Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) for the remaining four years of the 15th Finance Commission from 2022-23 to 2025-26.

    What is PM-DevINE Scheme?

    Type: Central Sector Scheme with 100% Central funding

    Implemented by: Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).

    Objectives: a) Fund infrastructure convergently, in the spirit of PM Gati Shakti; b) Support social development projects based on felt needs of the NER; c) Enable livelihood activities for youth and women; and d) Fill the development gaps in various sectors.

    Read here: PM-DevINE Scheme
  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) notifies establishment of Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS)

    Source: The post is based on the article “Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) notifies establishment of Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS)” published in the PIB on 7th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry has notified the establishment of the Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS).

    About the Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS)

    The scheme will provide credit guarantees for Startups to loans extended by Scheduled Commercial Banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs).

    Aim: Providing credit guarantees up to a specified limit against loans extended by Member Institutions (MIs) to finance eligible borrowers.

    Eligibility: To all the startups as defined in the Gazette Notification issued by DPIIT.

    Credit guarantee cover: The cover under the Scheme would be transaction-based and umbrella based. The exposure to individual cases would be capped at Rs. 10 crores per case or the actual outstanding credit amount, whichever is less.

    Transaction-based guarantees will promote lending by Banks/ NBFCs to eligible startups. On the other hand, umbrella-based guarantee cover will provide guarantee to Venture Debt Funds (VDF) registered under AIF regulations of SEBI.

    Operational oversight: DPIIT will be constituting a Management Committee (MC) and a Risk Evaluation Committee (REC) for reviewing, supervising and operational oversight of the Scheme.

    Operating agency: The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) will be operating the Scheme.

    What is the need for a dedicated Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS)?

    Startup India Action Plan launched in 2016 lay the foundation of Government support, schemes and incentives envisaged creating a vibrant startup ecosystem in the country. This action plan envisaged a Credit Guarantee Scheme to catalyze entrepreneurship through credit to innovators and encourage banks and other member institutions in the ecosystem for providing venture debt to startups.

    The Scheme further reiterates Government’s focus towards promoting innovation and fostering entrepreneurship for making Indian startup ecosystem the best in the world.

    What are the advantages of a dedicated Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS)?

    The scheme will 1) Address the issue of unavailability of collateral free loans to startups, 2) Enable flow of financial assistance to innovative startups through their journey to becoming full-fledged business entities, 3) Mobilise domestic capital for Indian startups, 4) Act as a key enabler and risk mitigation measure for the lending institutions enabling collateral-free funding to startups, and 5) Complement the existing Schemes under Startup India initiative viz. Fund of Funds for Startups and Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.

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