Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 3rd Feb to 9th Feb – 2019
National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE)
(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population)
Objective: The objective of the scheme is to establish an enabling environment to reduce the drop outs and to promote the enrolment of girl child belonging to SC/ST communities in secondary schools and ensure their retention up to the 18 years of age.
Features of the scheme:
- According to the scheme, an amount of Rs.3000/- is deposited in the name of eligible unmarried girls as fixed deposit on enrolment in class IX, who are entitled to withdraw it along with interest thereon reaching on 18 years of age and passing class 10th class examination.
- The scheme is covered under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme.
- The scheme is on-boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP) since 2015-16.
The scheme covers:
- All girls belonging to SC/ST communities who pass class VIII and
- All girls who pass class VIII examination from Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalayas (irrespective of whether they belong to SC/ ST) and enroll in class IX in State/ UT Government, Government-aided and Local Body schools.
Facts and figures
- The ASER surveys estimate that national attendance in primary and upper primary schools is 71.4 per cent and 73.2 per cent respectively, with considerable differences across states. The retention rates in elementary school are 70.7 per cent. The retention rates amongst scheduled tribes (STs) is 50.1 per cent.
- Data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that student suicides have increased from about 6,600 in 2012 to about 9,000 in 2015, many of these because of stress related to examinations and careers. Thus, there is a need to reduce the mental stress students suffer from.
- It is Centrally Sponsored Scheme aims to promote enrollment of girl child in the age group of 14-18 at secondary stage, especially those who passed Class VIII and to encourage the secondary education of such girls. State/ UT Governments, Schools controlled and managed by State Governments, Local Bodies and Aided Private Schools and Panchayati Raj Institutions will be the implementing partners. The amount of incentive may be released to the State/ UT Governments for depositing, the same in favour of the eligible girls.
Other schemes promoting girls education are__
- The Central board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is implementing Merit Scholarship Schemes for single girl child to provide scholarships to the meritorious Single Girl Students, who are the only child of their parents. It provide Rupees Five Hundred (Rs.500/‐) per month to Single Girl Child who is pursuing further studies for class XI & XII and have passed the CBSE class Xth exam with 60% / 6.2 CGPA or more marks/grades.
- The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education is implementing the Central Sector Scheme of Scholarship for College and University Students since 2008. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided to meritorious students whose family income of less than Rs.8 lakhs per annum for pursuing higher studies. The scheme envisages 82000 fresh scholarships award of every year, of which 50% is earmarked for girls.
- University Grant Commission (UGC) is implementing the scheme of Post Graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship for Single Girl Child since 2006 for providing financial assistance to selected students for pursuing Post-Graduation in Universities/Institutions/Colleges in India. This scheme has been on boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP) since 2017-18.
- UGC is also implementing the schemes namely 1) Swami Vivekananda Single Girl Child Fellowship for Research in Social Sciences. 2) Post-Doctoral fellowship for Women for providing financial assistance to selected candidates for pursuing research / higher research on full time/regular basis in University/Institute/Colleges in India.
- The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is implementing “Pragati Scholarship Scheme for Girls Student” to provide assistance for advancement of girl’s participation in Technical Education. Under the scheme, 4000 scholarships are granted annually on “one girl, per family” basis where the family income is Rs.6 Lakhs/ annum or less.
Digitalisation of schools across the country
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.)
The Central Government has launched an Integrated Scheme for school education- Samagra Shiksha, which subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education, from the year 2018-19.
Government has undertaken various initiatives for providing education through digital means such as.
- ICT in Education Curriculum for School System – ICT curriculum for teachers and students has been developed by NCERT. Students’ curriculum was piloted in 588 Navodaya Vidyalayas for one year.
- e-pathshala –Developed by NCERT for showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials.
- National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) – is an initiative to bring together all digital and digitisable resources across all stages of school education and teacher education. States/ UTs are motivated to contribute resources on NROER and create OERs for their own State/ UT.
- SWAYAM– The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) is an integrated platform for online courses, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and covering school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate Level. It offers online courses for students, teachers and teacher educators.
- SWAYAM PRABHA– A programme for utilization of satellite communication technologies for transmission of educational e-contents through 32 National Channels i.e. SWAYAM PRABHA DTH-TV has been launched.
- CBSE initiatives- SARANSH is a tool for comprehensive self review and analysis for CBSE affiliated schools and parents. It enables them to analyse students’ performance in order to take remedial measures.
- KVS initiatives– ICT Skills are imparted in all the Kendriya Vidyalayas to the students of classes III to XII
- Operation Digital Board– An initiative has been taken by Government of India to provide interactive digital boards to nearly 15 lakh classrooms across the country for 9th standard to post graduate level, where they can receive lectures from best teachers/professors and access quality e-content, in order to enhance overall learning process and experience of the students.
Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme
(Topic: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth)
In order to facilitate import of capital goods for producing quality goods and services and enhance India’s manufacturing competitiveness, the Central Government has been implementing a Scheme called the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme under the Foreign Trade Policy for manufacturer exporters with or without supporting manufacturer(s), merchant exporters tied to supporting manufacturer(s) and service providers.
Features of the scheme
- Under the Scheme, EPCG Authorizations are issued with actual user condition and import validity of 24 months to import capital goods (except those specified in negative list) for pre-production, production and post-production at zero customs duty, and subject to fulfilment of specific Export Obligation equivalent to 6 times of duties, taxes and cess saved on capital goods, to be fulfilled in 6 years from date of issue of Authorization.
- In addition, the Authorization holder is required to fulfil Average Export Obligation achieved by him in the preceding three licensing years for the same and similar products.
- However, if minimum 75% of specific Export Obligation and 100% of Average Export Obligation is fulfilled within half the original export obligation period, remaining export obligation can be condoned.
- Further, in case of indigenous sourcing of capital goods and for exports of Green Technology products, specific EO is only 75%.
- For Units located in North East Region and Jammu & Kashmir, specific EO is only 25%.
- Presently, capital goods imported for physical exports are also exempt from IGST and Compensation Cess up to 31.03.2019.
What is EPCG?
- EPCG is a zero duty scheme which allows the import of capital goods such as machinery for preproduction, production and post-production of export items.
- The duty free import by an exporter has to be paid back in the form of an export obligation equivalent to 6 times of duty saved on capital goods imported under EPCG scheme, to be fulfilled in 6 years reckoned from Authorization issue-date.
EPCG Scheme Eligibility – Applicant
- Manufacturer exporters with or without supporting manufacturer(s), merchant exporters tied to supporting manufacturer(s) and service providers are eligible under the EPCG scheme. EPCG scheme also covers Common Service Provider (CSP).
Report of Shekatkar Committee
(Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas)
The Committee of Experts (CoE) constituted by the Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces, submitted its report.
The Report was taken up by the Ministry of Defence to frame key action points and roadmap for implementation.
Measures as recommended by the Committee and taken up for implementation include:
- Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
- Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
- Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
- Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport units.
- Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
- Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
- Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
- The National Cadet Corps is a voluntary organization which recruits cadets from high schools, colleges and universities all over India. The Cadets are given basic military training in small arms and parades. The officers and cadets have no liability for active military service once they complete their course.
- The NCC is the world’s largest uniformed youth organization. Its motto is ‘Unity and Discipline’.
GSAT-31 launched successfully
(Topic: science and technology)
India’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana. GSAT-31 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands
About GSAT satellites
- GSAT satellites are India’s indigenously developed communications satellites, used for digital audio, data and video broadcasting.
- The GSAT series of geosynchronous satellites is a system developed by ISRO with an objective to make India self-reliant in broadcasting services.
- The repertoire of 10 GSAT satellites, a total of 168 transponders (out of which 95 transponders are leased out to provide services to the broadcasters) in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster warning and search and rescue operations.
Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog
Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for Conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.
- The setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will lead to conservation, protection and development of cattle population in the country including development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
- It will result in increased growth of livestock sector which is more inclusive, benefitting women, and small and marginal farmers.
- The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will work in collaboration with Veterinary, Animal Sciences or Agriculture University or departments or organizations of the Central/State Government engaged in the task of research in the field of breeding and rearing of cow, organic manure, biogas etc.
- The creation of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for the conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny.
- It will provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country and for ensuring proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.
- It is in pursuance of the announcement of setting up of the Aayog in the Union Budget 2019-20.
About Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog
- Under this scheme, the government will give Kisan credit card for the purpose of promoting animal husbandry, in which the cow cohort will be given 500 rupees per month.
- The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog would be responsible for effective implementation of laws and welfare schemes for cows.
Banking Sector Reforms
(Topic: Economic development)
To strengthen banks and foster a culture of clean and responsible banking, the Government has followed a comprehensive 4 R’s approach of recognition, resolution, recapitalization and reforms. A number of steps have been taken to promote the functioning of PSBs, including, inter alia, the following:
Reforms, as per the PSB Reforms Agenda adopted by PSBs-
- Increasing access to banking services from home and mobile through digital banking and enhanced customer ease.
- Enabling easy accessibility to senior citizens and the differently-abled, through online update of pension life certificates, etc.
- Instituting efficient practices for effective coordination in large consortium loans by restricting number of lenders in consortium and by adoption of standard operating procedures,
- Strict segregation of pre- and post-sanction roles and responsibilities for enhanced accountability.
- Ring-fencing of cash flows and use of technology and analytics for comprehensive diligence across data sources for prudent lending.
- Institution of transparent and robust one-time settlement mechanism with automated escalation and monitoring.
- Monitoring of loans above ₹250 crore through specialised agencies for effective vigil,
- Establishment of stressed asset management verticals in banks for focused recovery and timely and effective management of stressed accounts.
- Institution and implementation of a risk appetite framework for a structured approach to manage, measure and control risk and check aggressive and imprudent lending.
- Monetisation of non-core assets for strengthening capital base,
- Enabling faster bill realisation for MSMEs through discounting by banks on the Trade Receivables electronic Discounting System (TReDS),
- Enabling proactive reach-out to borrowers and stepping-up cluster-based financing to MSMEs, and
- Developing human resources by rewarding top performers and enabling specialisation through job-families, and role based learning for executives.
IBA issues advisory guidelines on Kisan Credit Card/crop loans
(Topic e-technology in the aid of farmers)
In yet another move to provide direct benefit to farmers and ease the pressure on them, the Indian Banking Association issued advisory guidelines requesting banks to waive off the processing, documentation, inspection, ledger folio charges and all other service charges for Kisan Credit Card /crop loans upto 3 Lakhs.
Small and Marginal farmers in India
- In India, Land Holding pattern is dominated by Small and Marginal farmers (SMF) category Roughly 85 per cent of the total operational holding I the country (about 43 percent of the gross cropped area) are in the SMF category.
- There are around 21.6 crore small and marginal farmers (or 4.3 crore families). Providing timely and affordable credit to this resource constrained group is the key to attaining inclusive growth.
- The small and Marginal farmers are the most affected during times of floods, droughts, and other natural calamities.
- As per parliamentary standing committee on Agriculture the losses due to climate change account for overall GDP loss of 1.5% of agriculture economy.
- The instability in income of the farmers due to various types of risks involved in production, low bargaining power, etc, add more distress to the already affected farmers.
Kisan Credit Card and IBA guidelines
- The Kisan Credit Card Scheme aims at providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system under a single window with flexible and simplified procedure to the farmers to meet the short term credit requirements for cultivation of crops, investment credit requirements for agriculture and allied activities and other needs.
- In this context, it was learnt that some of scheduled commercial banks are collecting a nominal amount of service charges towards processing, documentation, inspection, etc. for agriculture loans.
- However, some of the banks are collecting service charges which are at a bit higher. This is not irrespective of whether the loan is sanctioned or not. This often acts as a deterrent for the farmers to approach the banks for loans.
- Kisan Credit Card (KCC) is a credit delivery mechanism that is aimed at enabling farmers to have quick and timely access to affordable credit. It was launched in 1998 by the Reserve Bank of India and NABARD.
- The scheme aims to reduce farmer dependence on the informal banking sector for credit – which can be very expensive and suck them into a debt spiral. The card is offered by cooperative banks, regional rural banks and public sector banks.
- First State Level Awareness Programme on Agri Export Policy Held in Pune:
- Agriculture Export Policy has been prepared jointly with the state governments and will be implemented by the concerned state agriculture and horticulture departments.
- Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council:
- The Government is supporting the process of setting up of Domestic Council for Gems and Jewellery, to encourage and boost domestic gems and jewellery sector.
- An Ad-hoc National Committee of Domestic Council for Gems and Jewellery consisting 14 Members representing various associations of Gems and Jewellery Sector has been constituted to draft Memorandum and Article of Association and other Rules/Bye-laws of the Domestic Council.
- Data-Adequacy Status for Indian Companies:
- A Data Security Expert Group was set up by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) to resolve the Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (IT/ ITES) business issues relating to Data adequacy/ security with the European Union.
- Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS): Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports is implementing Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) within overall ambit of National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) for providing financial assistance to elite athletes included in TOPS for their customized training in world class training institutes/academies within the country and abroad.
- FDI Policy on E-Commerce: In order to ensure due compliance of the FDI policy on e-Commerce, certain conditions are included. These conditions are:
- An entity having equity participation by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, or having control on its inventory by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, will not be permitted to sell its products on the platform run by such marketplace entity.
- e-Commerce marketplace entity will not mandate any seller to sell any product exclusively on its platform only.
- National Virtual Library of India (NVLI): is to facilitate creation of a comprehensive database on digital resources of India on information about India in an open access environment under the Ministry of Culture.
Salient features of NVLI are:
- Federated searching through multilingual user interfaces.
- Virtual learning environment
- E-Governance platform facilitating data analytics
- Multilingual searching and retrieval on ontology/thesaurus based.
- Mashoka5 – Mobile App Launched:
- The mobile app for booking of Bungalow No.5, Ashoka Road, which has been launched. This app does away with the requirement of the physical presence of the applicant at the Directorate for either submitting form/getting a challan for making payments or obtaining authority slip.
- One of the focus areas of developing this app is reducing the decision-making layers to minimum while allowing the faster means of information sharing/dissemination and simplification of the procedure.
- Draft National River Ganga Bill, 2018:
- Provides for the constitution of Ganga Protection Corps as an armed forces of the union.
- The Ganga Protection Corps is proposed to be empowered to arrest or caused to be arrested for offence under the Act, and to take the person to the nearest police station.
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has introduced a scheme for providing physical aids and Assisted Living Devices for Senior Citizens belonging to BPL category named “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)” .
- National Institutes of Food Technology, Enterpreneurship and Management Bill, 2019: The objective of the bill is to confer the status of Institutions of National Importance to National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) at Kundli, Haryana, and the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
- The legislation would provide for functional autonomy to the institutes to design and develop courses, undertake research activities and leverage enhanced status in their academic pursuits, so that they become world class institutes.
- The institutes would implement the reservation policy of the Government and would also undertake special outreach activities for the benefits of concerned stakeholders.
- It would enable the institutes to provide world class teaching and research experience by adopting innovative practices.
- K. Exercise ‘CUTLASS EXPRESS – 19’ : The aim of the exercise was to improve law enforcement capacity, promote regional security and progress inter-operability between the armed forces of the participating nations for the purpose of interdicting illegal maritime activity in the Western Indian Ocean.
- New Scientific Standard of Kg: The prototype of one kilogram (NPK-57) is already available in India and placed at National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi as per the provisions made under the Legal Metrology (National Standards) Rules, 2011. There is no such proposal at present before the Government to achieve the new prototype of kilogram through physical constants.
The previous definition of kilogram was based on the mass of the international prototype ‘kilogram’ which is an artefact, however, the new definition is based on physical constants of nature. The change is in the definition of kilogram and will not have any practical implications.
- Know My India Programme: It is a unique programme initiated by National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) to bring together financially assisted children of the Foundation from different States/Regions of the country to promote oneness, fraternity and national integration. The programme is all about familiarization with the environment, family life, social customs, etc. of the people living in different parts of the country; developing understanding of the common historical and cultural heritage of the country.
- The NFCH is an autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The main objective of the Foundation is to provide assistance to the children / youth rendered orphan / destitute in communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence for their rehabilitation besides promoting communal harmony and national integration through various activities.
- unified authority for regulating all financial services in IFSCs: Cabinet approves establishment of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India through International Financial Srvices Centres Authority Bill, 2019.
- An IFSC caters to customers outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy. Such centres deal with flows of finance, financial products and services across borders. London, New York and Singapore can be counted as global financial centres.
- The first IFSC in India has been set up at GIFT City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- Abolition of Institution of Income-Tax Ombudsman and Indirect Tax Ombudsman: The approval comes in the wake of alternative complaint redressal mechanisms chosen by public and the institution of Ombudsman could not prove to be more effective than regular existing parallel channels of grievance redressal, both the institutions of Income-Tax Ombudsman as well as Indirect Tax Ombudsman have been abolished.
- The Institution of Income-Tax Ombudsman was created in the year 2003 to deal with grievances of public related to settlement of complaints relating to Income Tax. However, the Institution of Ombudsman failed to achieve its objectives.
- It was observed that institution of new complaints have in turn fallen to single digits.
- Also, tax payers started preferring alternate methods of grievance redressal like CPGRAMS (Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System), AaykarSevaKendras etc. further, it was also decided in 2011 to close vacant offices of Indirect Tax Ombudsman.
Vice President of India Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu
- An ideal educational institution must focus on making a student into a holistic individuals by equipping them to face the challenges of life with equanimity and stability.
- Education should make students think innovatively and come out with bright, out-of-box solutions to overcome challenges.
- Educational institutions to employ counsellors to provide support and guidance to students during challenging times.
- Need to revamp our education system to improve standards and impart world class learning.
- Education must lay the foundation for developing a society that is strongly grounded in morals, ethics and value systems.
President of India Shri. Ram Nath Kovind
- The PIL tradition is an Indian contribution to the practice of law and the process of justice delivery. This has been admired by other democracies and other legal systems as well.
- The very definition of justice as well as the roads by which justice is reached have evolved and grown through the course of human history. Over three decades ago, Justice Bhagwati and his generation of jurists spread the horizons of justice. Today, at our stage of development, there are new challenges in the realisation of social and economic justice, and of climate and technology justice.