Current Affairs Analysis

16th December 2015 Current Affairs Analysis

December 16, 2015



Social Issues

  • Atal Pension Yojana likely to miss December target


  • India Business Card for SAARC trade

Environment & Ecology

  • Farmers urge Centre to implement Forest Rights Act

Social Issues

Atal Pension Yojana likely to miss December target

Union government’s flagship scheme Atal Pension Yojana (APY), which aims to provide old age income security, is likely to miss the target with just about one million subscribers on board so far against 200 million aimed by December-end.


  • Pension plans are considered tough to sell compared to insurance schemes, as it is difficult to convince people to invest for their retirement, not considered a priority as against uncertainties like accident and life.
  • It is generally more difficult to convince people to invest in a scheme that will give them returns after 20-30 years.


The government is considering the sale of NPS and APY through post offices and business correspondents tied with banks to improve information dissemination and reach for widening of subscriber base.

Atal Pension Yojana (APY)

  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is a pension scheme for citizens of India focussed on the unorganised sector workers.
  • Under the APY, guaranteed minimum pension of Rs.1,000/-, 2,000/-, 3,000/-, 4,000 and 5,000/- per month will be given at the age of 60 years in turn for the contribution varying from Rs 42 to Rs 210 per month.
  • PFRDA is the nodal agency for APY and is working out plans to improve reach and information dissemination.
  • Any Citizen of India between 18 – 40 years of age can join APY scheme.
  • Government co-contribution is available for 5 years, i.e., from 2015-16 to 2019-20 for the subscribers who join the scheme during the period from 1st June, 2015 to 31st December, 2015 and who are not covered by any Statutory Social Security Schemes and are not income tax payers.

[Courtesy: Business Standard]


India Business Card for SAARC trade

India is all set to launch an “India Business Card” for the business community in SAARC countries.

Key Features:

  • The India Business Card will have a special logo and will be only given to businessmen of high repute.
  • It is being done with an aim of ease of business and concurs with the ‘Make in India’ policy of the government.


  • The stumbling block so far for issuance of this card had been Pakistan, but in the recent past, India and Pakistan have had two meetings at the level of National Security Adviser (NSA) and foreign ministers.
  • Moreover, earlier in July, India relaxed business visa norms for Pakistan, which is valid for three years now, up from one year earlier, and businessmen would be able to visit up to 15 places.
  • It is not clear whether Pakistan businessmen would be allowed in the manufacturing sector and given a green signal to open factories here.

[Courtesy: The Hindu]

Environment & Ecology

Farmers urge Centre to implement Forest Rights Act

Hundreds of landless farmers, agricultural workers and labourers from across 20 States has assembled at Jantar Mantar under a joint platform ‘Bhumi Adhikar Andolan’ (Land Rights Movement).

  • The members of the movement submitted a memorandum to the Centre asking implementation of Forest Rights Act to ensure collective rights of communities.
  • They also observed December 15 (Forest Rights Day) as ‘Chetavni Divas’ — day of challenge and warning.

Bone of contention:

Activists of the movement have pointed out that

  • Forest Rights Act (FRA) was enacted in 2006, but successive governments have never taken efforts to implement the Act. Rather things are moving in opposite direction.
  • Moreover, the present government at centre has introduced two dangerous moves by declaring a cut-off date for claiming of rights and also to involve corporates in plantation activities in degraded forest areas.
  • Both these steps were against the rules and provisions of the FRA and would endanger the rights of communities.
  • Schedule Tribe and other Forest Dwellers, Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2006 and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 which were meant to transfer the rights of resources back to people have not been implemented.
  • It was important to note that the comprehensive report of high level committee (HLC) on the status of Adivasis submitted in 2014 says that the implementation of these Acts have been weak despite the promising provisions.

About Forest Rights Act, 2006:

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs enacted the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 with the objective of remedying the historical injustice done to the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers.

It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act.

Eligibility to get rights under the Act:

Eligibility to get rights under the Act is confined to those who

  • “Primarily reside in forests” and who depend on forests and forest land for a livelihood.
  • Further, either the claimant must be a member of the Scheduled Tribes scheduled in that area or
  • Must have been residing in the forest for 75 years.

What kind of rights do forest dwellers get under this Act?

  • Title rights – i.e. ownership to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are granted.
  • Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
  • Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
  • Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.

Process of recognition of rights:

  • The Act provides that the gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised (i.e. which lands belong to whom, how much land was under the cultivation of each person.
  • This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level.
  • The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level.
  • These committees also hear appeals

[Courtesy: The Hindu, Wiki]

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