Government Schemes & Policies
- Skill development centre in Hyderabad to be set up by UNDP
- Meeting of Stakeholders on ‘Samarth’- Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector
- MoU signed with States for implementing PMRSSM
- MNRE issues National Wind-solar Hybrid Policy
- ADNOC ships first cargo for Indian strategic oil reserve at Mangalore
- Frozen Semen Station being set up in Maranga,Purnea under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission
- Chinese state-run bank launches India-dedicated investment fund
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Union Environment Ministry launches Green Skill Development Programme
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
Government Schemes & Policies
Skill development centre in Hyderabad to be set up by UNDP
Aimed at empowering vulnerable and marginalised women by imparting skills training, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will soon set up a skill development centre at ‘Bharosa,’ an integrated support centre for distressed women and children in Hyderabad.
- ‘Bharosa,’ an initiative of Hyderabad City Police, is a state-of-the-art centre to support women and children who are victims of violence.
- Since its inception in 2016, a total of 3,560 victims have approached ‘Bharosa’ centre with a range of problems.
- ‘Bharosa’ provides under one roof, 24X7 services related to police, medical, legal, prosecution, psycho-therapeutic counselling and relief and rehabilitation services in completely private counselling rooms to maintain confidentiality and privacy.
- The centre is equipped with well-trained staff and modern gadgets, including facilities like video conferencing, so that the victims need not go to the court.
About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network.
- UNDP was established in 1965 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Status of UNDP:
- The status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly.
- The UNDP Administrator is the third highest-ranking official of the United Nations after the United Nations Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General.
UNDP’s work is concentrated on four main focus areas:
- Poverty Reduction and Achievement of the MDGs
- Democratic Governance
- Crisis Prevention and Recovery
- Environment and Energy for Sustainable Development
- UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from member nations.
- The organization operates in 177 countries, where it works with local governments to meet development challenges and develop local capacity.
- Additionally, the UNDP works internationally to help countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
- Currently, the UNDP is one of the main UN agencies involved in the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
- UNDP provides expert advice, training, and grant support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.
- To accomplish the MDGs and encourage global development, UNDP focuses on poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS, democratic governance, energy and environment, social development, and crisis prevention and recovery.
- UNDP also encourages the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women in all of its programs.
- UNDP publishes an annual Human Development Report (since 1990) to measure and analyse developmental progress.
Meeting of Stakeholders on ‘Samarth’- Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector
A meeting of stakeholders on Samarth – Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector under the Skill India Mission was recently held in New Delhi to familiarize the stakeholders about the scheme and its guidelines.
- The meeting was chaired by Union Minister of Textiles, Smt Smriti Zubin Irani.
About Samarth scheme:
- The broad objective of the scheme is to skill the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector covering the entire value chain of textiles, excluding spinning and weaving.
- The scheme is intended to provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant skilling programmes to incentivize and supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the textiles sectors.
- The scheme targets to train 10 lakh persons (9 lakh in organised and 1 lakh in traditional sector) over a period of 3 years (2017-20), with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore.
- Biometric processes are used under this scheme for selection of candidates for training purpose. Moreover, government is also creating attendance system integrated with centralized Management Information System (MIS) to ensure real time attendance.
About National Skill Qualification Framework (NSOF):
The National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) is a competency-based framework that organizes all qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude.
- These levels, graded from one to ten, are defined in terms of learning Outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they are obtained through formal, non-formal or informal learning.
- NSQF in India was notified on 27th December 2013.
- All other frameworks, including the NVEQF (National Vocational Educational Qualification Framework) released by the Ministry of HRD, stand superseded by the NSQF.
- Under NSQF, the learner can acquire the certification for competency needed at any level through formal, non-formal or informal learning. In that sense, the NSQF is a quality assurance framework.
- The NSQF is anchored at the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) and is being implemented through the National Skills Qualifications Committee (NSQC) which comprises of all key stakeholders.
- The NSQC’s functions amongst others include approving NOSs/QPs, approving accreditation norms, prescribing guidelines to address the needs of disadvantages sections, reviewing inter-agency disputes and alignment of NSQF with international qualification frameworks.
Specific outcomes expected from implementation of NSQF are:
- Mobility between vocational and general education by alignment of degrees with NSQF
- Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), allowing transition from non-formal to organised job market
- Standardised, consistent, nationally acceptable outcomes of training across the country through a national quality assurance framework
- Global mobility of skilled workforce from India, through international equivalence of NSQF
- Mapping of progression pathways within sectors and cross-sectorally
- Approval of NOS/QPs as national standards for skill training
Significance of NSQF:
- The NSQF would also help shift emphasis to outcome based learning – both in the general and vocational space.
- NSQF will also facilitate Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) that is largely lacking in the present education and training scenario. Additionally, it would help alignment of Indian qualifications to international qualifications.
- The credit accumulation and transfer system that will be integrated in the NSQF will allow people to move between education, vocational training and work at different stages in their lives according to their needs and convenience.
MoU signed with States for implementing PMRSSM
The Centre has signed MoU with four States – Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Union Territory of Chandigarh for implementing Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) or Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
Key Features of AB-NHPM:
- The scheme will integrate two on-going centrally sponsored schemes viz. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
- AB-NHPM aims to target over 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC) database.
- It will cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year, taking care of almost all secondary care and tertiary care procedures. There will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme.
- It includes pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.
- It will cover all pre-existing conditions from beginning of the policy.
- It will also pay defined transport allowance per hospitalization to the beneficiary.
- The scheme allows the beneficiary to take cashless benefits from any public or private empanelled hospitals across the country.
- The payment for treatment will be done on package rate which will be defined by Government in advance basis. The package rates will include all the costs associated with treatment.
- To ensure that funds reach SHA on time, transfer of funds from Central Government through AB-NHPMA to State Health Agencies may be done through an escrow account directly.
- The scheme will work in partnership with NITI Aayog to operationalise a robust, modular and interoperable IT platform which will involve a paperless and cashless transaction.
- For giving policy directions and fostering coordination between Centre and States, Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) will be set up at apex level. It will be chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister.
- It is entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on basis of deprivation criteria in SECC database.
- Different categories of families covered under scheme are Families having only one room with kucha walls and kucha roof, families having no adult member between age 16 to 59, female headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59, disabled member and no able bodied adult member in family, SC/ST households, landless households deriving major part of their income from manual casual labour.
- It will also automatically include families in rural areas having any one of the following- households without shelter, destitute, living on alms, manual scavenger families, primitive tribal groups or legally released bonded labour.
- For urban areas, 11 defined occupational categories will be entitled under scheme.
- States/UTs will have also flexibility to modify these rates within limited bandwidth. For beneficiaries, it will be cashless and paper less transaction.
- States will be required to form State Health Agency (SHA) to implement scheme and at district level also, a structure for implementation of the scheme will be set up
Role of state governments:
- They will be allowed to expand the scheme both horizontally and vertically. They will be free to choose modalities for implementation.
- They can implement through insurance company or directly through Trust/ Society or a mixed model.
MNRE issues National Wind-solar Hybrid Policy
Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy with an aim to boost renewable power generation by promoting new projects as well as hybridisation of existing ones.
- Government is also going to launch scheme for new hybrid projects under this policy.
The objectives of policy are:
- To provide comprehensive framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar Photo Voltaic (PV) hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land.
- Reduce variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability.
- Encourage new technologies, methods and way-outs involving combined operation of wind and solar PV plants.
Key features of the Policy:
- It has been provided in hybrid project, subject to condition that, rated power capacity of one resource be at least 25% of rated power capacity of other resource for it to be recognised hybrid project.
- Policy provides for integration of both energy sources i.e. wind and solar at alternating current (AC) as well as direct current (DC) level.
- The policy seeks to promote new hybrid projects as well as hybridisation of existing wind and solar projects. It allows hybridisation of existing projects (wind or solar) with higher transmission capacity than sanctioned one, subject to availability of margin in existing transmission capacity.
- It will be on tariff based transparent bidding process for which Government entities may invite bids.
- The policy permits use of battery storage in hybrid project for optimising output and reduce variability.
- It mandates the regulatory authorities to formulate necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar hybrid systems.
- The Union government has set ambitious target of achieving 175 GigaWatt (GW) of installed capacity from renewable energy sources by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind power capacity.
- The total renewable power installed capacity in the country stood at about 70 GW in financial year 2017-18.
ADNOC ships first cargo for Indian strategic oil reserve at Mangalore
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has shipped the first oil cargo for India’s strategic petroleum reserve at Mangalore
- Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) had then signed an agreement with ADNOC which allows the firm to store 5.86 million barrels of crude in the strategic facility at Mangalore at its own cost.
- India can use the entire available crude oil stored by ADNOC in the Mangalore facility during an emergency situation. The Agreement with ISPRL also allows ADNOC to sell part of the crude oil to Indian refineries on commercial basis while adhering to mutually agreed minimum crude storage which is for the exclusive use of the Indian government.
About India’s SPR programme:
- To ensure energy security, the Government of India had decided to set up 5 million metric tons (MMT) of strategic crude oil storages at three locations namely, Visakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur (near Udupi).
- These strategic storages would be in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and would serve as a cushion during any external supply disruptions.
- In the 2017-18 budget, it was announced that two more such caverns will be set up Chandikhole in Jajpur district of Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan as part of the second phase.
- The construction of the Strategic Crude Oil Storage facilities is being managed by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), a Special Purpose Vehicle, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
India’s need for strategic oil reserves:
- In 1990, as the Gulf war engulfed West Asia, India was in the throes of a major energy crisis. By all accounts India’s oil reserves at the time were adequate for only three days.
- While India managed to avert the crisis then, the threat of energy disruption continues to present a real danger even today.
- It is unlikely that India’s energy needs will dramatically move away from fossil fuels in the near future.
- Over 80% of these fuels come from imports, a majority of which is sourced from West Asia. This is a major strategic risk and poses a massive financial drain for an embattled economy and its growing current account deficit.
- To address energy insecurity, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government mooted the concept of strategic petroleum reserves in 1998.
- Today, with India consuming upwards of four million barrels of crude every day (January 2015 figures), the case for creating such reserves grows stronger.
Frozen Semen Station being set up in Maranga,Purnea under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission
Frozen Semen Station is being set up in Maranga, Purnea in Bihar under the RashtriyaGokul Mission with 100% contribution from the Central Government.
- The frozen semen station in Purnea will be the first state-of-the-art semen production center of the country.
- The center will develop highly modern bull shade, semen processing lab, feed and godown, agricultural equipment, and other facilities.
About Rashtriya Gokul Mission:
Rashtriya Gokul Mission, 2014 is a focussed project under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development.
- Its objective is to conserve and propagate indigenous breeds in an organized and scientific manner.
- Under this programme, 1250 MAITRI centres are being set up to facilitate artificial insemination for cattle on the doorstep. This will also give a new direction to the conservation of the indigenous breeds.
- Along with other components, setting up of Gokul Gram is also included under Rashtriya Gokul Mission. One Gokul Gram will have 500 animals with high genetic quality, out of which 300 will be reproductive animals. The Gokul Grams will rear Lal Sindhi, Sahiwal and Gir breeds along with Bachaur.
The Mission will be implemented with the objectives to:
- development and conservation of indigenous breeds
- undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds so as to improve the genetic makeup and increase the stock;
- enhance milk production and productivity;
- upgrade nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi and
- distribute disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.
- The Rashtriya Gokul Mission will be implemented through the “State Implementing Agency (SIA viz Livestock Development Boards).
- State Gauseva Ayogs will be given the mandate to sponsor proposals to the SIA’s (LDB’s) and monitor implementation of the sponsored proposal.
- All Agencies having a role in indigenous cattle development will be the “Participating Agencies” like CFSPTI, CCBFs, ICAR, Universities, Colleges, NGO’s, Cooperative Societies and Gaushalas with best germplasm.
- Scheme is implemented on 100% grant-in-aid basis
Area of Operation:
- Throughout the country
- Rural cattle and buffalo keepers irrespective of caste, class and gender.
Funds under the scheme are allocated for:
- establishment of Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres viz “Gokul Gram”;
- strengthening of bull mother farms to conserve high genetic merit Indigenous Breeds;
- establishment of Field Performance Recording (FPR) in the breeding tract
- assistance to Institutions/Institutes which are repositories of best germplasm;
- implementation of Pedigree Selection Programme for the Indigenous Breeds with large population;
- Establishment of Breeder‟s Societies: Gopalan Sangh
- distribution of disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service
- incentive to farmers maintaining elite animals of indigenous breeds;
- heifer rearing programme; award to Farmers (“Gopal Ratna” ) and Breeders‟ Societies (“Kamadhenu” );
- organization of Milk Yield Competitions for indigenous breeds and
- organization of Training Programme for technical and non technical personnel working at the Institute/Institutions engaged in indigenous cattle development.
About Gokul Gram:
- Funds under the scheme will be allocated for the establishment of Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres viz “Gokul Gram”.
- Gokul Grams will be established in: i) the native breeding tracts and ii) near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle.
- Gokul Gram will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds and a dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract.
- The Gokul Gram will be self sustaining and will generate economic resources from sale of A2 milk, organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and production of electricity from bio gas for in house consumption and sale of animal products.
- The Gokul Gram will also function as state of the art in situ training centre for Farmers, Breeders and MAITRI’s.
- The Gokul Gram will maintain milch and unproductive animals in the ratio of 60:40 and will have the capacity to maintain about 1000 animals. Nutritional requirements of the animals will be provided in the Gokul Gram through in house fodder production.
- Gokul Gram will also be set up near to metropolitan cities for managing urban cattle. Metropolitan Gokul Gram will focus on genetic upgradation of urban cattle.
Chinese state-run bank launches India-dedicated investment fund
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), a top state-run Chinese bank has launched China’s first India-dedicated publicly offered investment fund.
- The fund has been named as Industrial and Commercial Bank Credit Suisse India Market Fund.
- ICBC is the largest in the world with over $3.6 trillion in assets.
- The ICBC Credit Suisse Indian Market Fund (LOF) will invest in exchange-traded funds listed on more than 20 exchanges in Europe and US that are based on the Indian market.
- It will invest in future of Indian economy and track distribution of industrial structure across Indian market. For this, ICBC has listed sectors for investments specifically, in terms of the major industries weighted distribution of the index.
- The financial industry accounts for highest proportion, followed by information technology, alternative consumption, energy, essential consumption, raw materials, medicine, healthcare and other industries.
Significance of the fund:
- The fund opens way for Chinese investors and provided good tool for low-threshold investment in India.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Union Environment Ministry launches Green Skill Development Programme
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) launched full-fledged Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP).
- It aims to train over 5.5 lakh workers in environment and forest sectors in the country through 30 courses by 2021 for sustainable conservation and management of natural resources.
- GSDP-ENVIS mobile application was also launched to provide more information and applying to courses under GSDP programme.
What are Green Skills?
- Green skills are those skills required to adapt processes, services and products to climate change and the environmental rules and necessities related to it.
- They embrace the information, abilities, values and attitudes required to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.
India is the second most populous country in the world is bestowed with a large working population.
Why Green Skills?
- Even though India has an advantage of reaping this demographic dividend but high drop-out rates from school coupled with poor vocational skills may hinder in reaping this dividend. There exists a demand-supply gap of skill sets, both cognitive and practical, at various levels in the Environment/ Forest fields in India.
- Green skilling is crucial for making a transition from energy and emissions – intensive economy to cleaner and greener production and service patterns. It also prepares people for green jobs that contribute to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment, while improving human well being and social equity.
- These skills are needed in areas like sewer water treatment, Climate resilient cities, green construction, Solid waste management etc.
About Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP):
- GSDP was launched as pilot project in 2017 by MoEFCC in partnership with National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) to develop green skilled workers having technical knowledge and commitment to sustainable development.
- Under it, skilling of youth (especially 10th and 12th dropouts) will be undertaken for increasing availability of skilled workforce in environment and forest sector to provide them gainful employment or self-employment.
- The green skills under it will be imparted in more than 30 programmes in diverse fields identified, which will be conducted in 84 institutions across country.
- Moreover, vast network and expertise of Environmental Information System (ENVIS) hubs and Resource Partners (RPs) will be utilized for implementation of this programme.
- In the first stage, pool of master trainers and specialists is being created, who can further train youth across the country. All skilling courses under this programme will be National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant. The MoEFCC will give certificates indicating skilling levels to all successful candidates.
Significance of the GSDP:
- The programme endeavours to develop green skilled workers having technical knowledge and commitment to sustainable development.
- It will go long way in reaping demographic dividend in the country and filling the skill gaps in environment and forest sector.
- It will help in attainment of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs) and Waste Management Rules 2016).