Government Schemes & Policies
- Number of beneficiaries enrolled under PMMVY crosses 22 lakhs
- 559 Swadhar Greh presently functional in the country with 17231 beneficiaries
- Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme to empower rural women through State and District Centres
- Ministry of Tribal Affairs to launch first ever “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra”
- RBI gives banks one more year to adopt Ind AS
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- India inks $420 m farmer project with World Bank
Science & Technology
- bans imports of hormone oxytocin
Key Facts for Prelims
- Exercise Gaganshakti 2018
- Chakravat HADR Exercise
- Sahyog-Hyeoblyeog 2018
- Global Logistics Summit 2018
- 7 April: World Health Day:
- 09-3X- Dynamic Tamping Express
- ICICI Bank becomes first to enable SWIFT’s cross-border payment
- RH300 sounding rocket
- GOBARdhan Yojna
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Government Schemes & Policies
Number of beneficiaries enrolled under PMMVY crosses 22 lakhs
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has made total payment of Rs. 271.66 crores to beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).
- The payment has been made to 11,47,386 beneficiaries across the country.
About the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY):
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
- It is a maternity benefit program run by the government of India.
- PMMVY is implemented by the Ministry of Women & Child Development in collaboration with State Governments.
- It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for first two live births.
- It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
- Under the scheme, the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.
- It was previously known as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).
- In 2013, the scheme was brought under the National Food Security Act, 2013 to implement the provision of cash maternity benefit of ₹6,000 stated in the Act.
559 Swadhar Greh presently functional in the country with 17231 beneficiaries
Recently released government data shows that there are 559 Swadhar Greh presently functional in the country with 17231 beneficiaries. Swadhar Greh is a DBT compliant scheme.
About Swadhar Greh Scheme:
The Swadhar scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2002 for rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances.
- The scheme provides shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women/girls who are in need.
- The beneficiaries include widows deserted by their families and relatives, women prisoners released from jail and without family support, women survivors of natural disasters, women victims of terrorist/extremist violence etc.
- The implementing agencies are mainly NGOs. An Evaluation Study conducted through Centre for Market Research and Social Development to assess the performance of the scheme observed that the scheme is successful for which it was formulated/implemented.
As per guidelines of the Swadhar Greh Scheme, to seek financial assistance the agency should meet following requirements:
- The agency should be either recognized by State/UT under existing law or should be well known with the experience or working in the field for at least 3 years and its work should be reported satisfactory by the State Govt./UT Administration concerned.
- It should ordinarily have been engaged in the field of women’s welfare/social welfare for a minimum period of two years.
- Its financial position should be sound.
- It should have facilities, resources, experience and personnel to undertake the management of such project.
- It should run Swadhar Greh on a no-profit basis.
- It should have facilities like computers, internet connection etc at Swadhar Greh.
Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme to empower rural women through State and District Centres
Government of India is implementing Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme to empower rural women through community participation.
- The scheme is envisaged to work at various levels, and at the National level (domain based knowledge support) and State level (State Resource Centre for Women) technical support to the respective governments on issues related to women is provided.
About Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme (PMMSK)
PMMSK scheme is part of Umbrella Scheme “Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women” of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- The scheme is envisioned as one-stop convergence support service for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, digital literacy, health and nutrition and employment.
- It aims to improve declining child sex ratio (CSR), ensure survival and protection of the girl child, ensuring her education and empowering her to fulfil her potential.
- It will provide an interface for rural women to approach government for getting their entitlements and for empowering them through training and capacity building.
- At the national level, the Mahila Shakti Kendra will provide domain-based knowledge support.
- At the state level, it will cater to State Resource Centre for Women that will provide technical support on issues related to women at district and block level centres.
- It will provide support to the PMMSK and also give a foothold to Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in 640 districts.
Significance of these Kendras:
- Setting up of institutions like Mahila Shakti Kendras will increase access of essential services for women.
- There is also an increase in employment opportunities for women with their participation increased from less than 48% to 55% in MGNREGA.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs to launch first ever “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra”
Ministry of Tribal Affairs is planning to launch first ever “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” at Bijapur, Chhattisgarh for value addition of Forest Produce.
- Value addition assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to the tribals in this approach.
About Van Dhan Scheme:
The Van Dhan scheme aims at economic development of tribals involved in collection of Minor Food Produces (MFPs) by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide them sustainable livelihood.
- Under it, 10 Self Help Groups (SHGs) of 30 Tribal gatherers will be constituted.
- The SHGs will then be trained and provided with working capital to add value to products they collect from forest.
- They will be able to market their products, by working under leadership of collector, not only within states but also outside states.
- TRIFED will be provide all required training and technical support to SHGs. They will be trained on sustainable harvesting, collection, primary processing and value addition.
- They will be formed into clusters to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and link them with facility of primary processing in Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.
About Van Dhan Vikas Kendra:
- Van Dhan Vikas Kendra will be established under the Van Dhan scheme will provide skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.
- It will be used for training of beneficiaries by providing them equipment and tools for primary level processing and infrastructure and building for housing.
- The selection of the tribal beneficiaries and formation of the SHGs under this has been undertaken by TRIFED.
Significance of Minor Forest Produce (MFP):
- Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.
- It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time.
- This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.
RBI gives banks one more year to adopt Ind AS
The Reserve Bank has deferred the implementation of the Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) by one year as many banks are not prepared to migrate to the new accounting system. The earlier deadline for banks to switch to the Ind AS was from April 1 2018.
What is it?
Ind AS or Indian Accounting Standards govern the accounting and recording of financial transactions as well as the presentation of statements such as profit and loss account and balance sheet of a company.
- Ind AS is global accounting practice that lender is mandated to adopt.
- Ind AS has been evolved as a compromise formula that tries to harmonise Indian accounting rules with the IFRS.
- The practice is on par with International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 9.
- The implementation of IndAS for public sector banks requires an amendment to the Banking Regulation Act. The schedule in BR Act relating to financial statement disclosures needs to be changed to the IndAS format.
- Section 29 of the BR Act deals with the accounts and balance sheets of public sector banks. Private sector banks are covered by the Companies Act, which is based on the new accounting standards.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
India inks $420 m farmer project with World Bank
Central Government, Maharashtra Government have signed US $420 million loan agreement with World Bank for Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture to help small and marginal farmers in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra.
The loan will be provided from World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
About Maharashtra Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture:
The project aims to help in increasing climate resilient practices in agriculture and ensuring that farming continues to remain a financially viable activity for them.
- It will be implemented in rural areas largely dependent upon rain fed agriculture.
- It will take up series of activities at farm and watershed level.
- It will help to scale up climate-resilient technologies such as micro irrigation systems, expand surface water storage and facilitate aquifer recharge, directly contributing to more efficient use of scarce water resources.
- It will help reduce risks of climate-related crop failure and enhance farmer’s income by adopting climate-resilient seed varieties that are drought, salt tolerant and heat resistant.
- It will help to mainstream climate resilient agriculture agenda in various local institutions that deliver agricultural services to farming community. It will also help to improve capacity of farmer producers organizations to operate as sustainable, market-oriented enterprises.
Science & Technology
Govt. bans imports of hormone oxytocin
The Union government has banned imports of the hormone oxytocin to stop its misuse in the livestock industry, where activists say it causes hormonal imbalances and shortens the lives of milch animals.
- The government has also asked customs officials to step up vigilance against those likely to try and smuggle oxytocin into India.
- The government has decided to rely on domestic production to satisfy requirements of the hormone.
What is Oxytocin?
- Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.
- Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
- It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
- The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.
What are the concerns?
- The drug is used by diary owners and farmers to boost milk production and make vegetables look bigger and fresher. But, it was found that indiscriminate use of Oxytocin in milch animals and by farmers was causing irreversible hormone damage.
- The drug’s abuse in animals shortens their lives and makes them barren sooner.
- Implications to human health are humongous, from reproductive complications to hormonal imbalances.
- Even its misuse is reported among trafficked children, injected to accelerate puberty among girls. It is also being misused to speed up deliveries for pregnant women in overcrowded government hospitals.
- A panel of top drug experts had recommended an import ban in February. It also recommended that sale be limited to registered government hospitals and clinics, a bar code system used on all forms of the drug to ensure tracking and prevent abuse.
Key Facts for Prelims
Exercise Gaganshakti 2018
- Indian Air Force (IAF) is going to conduct Exercise Gaganshakti 2018, biggest air combat exercise along Pakistan, China borders.
- The aim of this exercise is real time coordination, deployment and employment of air power in short and intense battle scenario. Though it is IAF centric exercise, it will also be executed keeping in mind “Joint Operational Doctrine” so that requirements of other services are also met.
Chakravat HADR Exercise
- Kochi along with Indian Navy is hosting multi-agency rescue exercise- Chakravat.
- It is for the first time that the yearly exercise is being conducted in Kochi.
- It is a multi-agency humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exercise to review the response mechanism in the event of a cyclonic storm.
- Chakravat’ meaning ‘cyclone’ will see participation by the three Services, the Coast Guard, State administration, State Disaster Management Authority, National Disaster Response Force, Fisheries Department, Coastal Police, and members of the fishing community.
- Recently, India, South Korea joint anti-piracy, search and rescue exercise ‘Sahyog-Hyeoblyeog 2018’ was conducted in Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast in Tamil Nadu.
- The joint exercise is part of a proposed establishment of a MoU between the two Coast Guards to improve maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
- The recently held exercise included scenarios of the hijacking of a merchant vessel and its subsequent rescue, interdiction of a pirate vessel, cross boarding, external fire fighting and the SAR (search and rescue) demonstration.
Global Logistics Summit 2018
- The Global Logistics Summit (GLS-2018) was held in New Delhi to improve logistics and connectivity which are vital for increasing intra-state and international trade flows.
- The summit was organised by Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry along with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and World Bank Group.
- It provided platform to hold discussions for global experts, academics, government officials and private sector and industry representatives.
7 April: World Health Day:
- The World Health Day (WHD) is observed every year on 7 April to mark anniversary of founding of World Health Organization (WHO) on this day in 1948.
- The theme for year 2018 is “Universal Health Coverage: Health For All’.
- On this day in 1948, the first World Health Assembly was held Geneva, Switzerland. The World Health Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year with effect from 1950 as the World Health Day.
- World Health Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by WHO along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World AIDS Day, World Blood Donor Day, and World Hepatitis Day.
09-3X- Dynamic Tamping Express
- It is latest high output integrated tamping machine having multiple functions, so far being carried out by different machines.
- It can measure pre and post track geometry, correct track to required geometry tamp three sleepers simultaneously, stabilize and measure post tamping track parameters under load to ensure quality of work done.
- This eliminates need for separate stabilisation machine which reduces operating costs and track possession time.
- This machine can also vibrate and compact loose stone ballast after tamping for safe movements of trains.
Why in news?
- The Indian Railways has inducted three 09-3x Dynamic Tamping Express machines for improved mechanised Track Maintenanc. This advanced technology simulator is presently only available in five countries including India.
ICICI Bank becomes first to enable SWIFT’s cross-border payment
- India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank became first Indian bank to go live on SWIFT’s (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication System) Global Payment Innovation (GPI), an improved cross-border payments service.
- It improves customer experience by increasing speed, transparency and automatically provides status updates to all GPI banks involved in any GPI payment chain.
- SWFIT GPI was launched in May 2017 to help banks to track their global transactions at all times, keeping full vigil on payments activity.
- It covers all payment instructions sent across network, enabling GPI banks to track all their SWIFT payment instructions at all times, and giving them full visibility over all their payments activity.
RH300 sounding rocket
- The RH-300 MKII sounding rocket developed by IRSO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) was successfully launched from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
- The rocket was launched by VSSC under Sounding Rocket Experiment (SOUREX) programmefor atmospheric studies.
- It utilizes this rocket to study Equatorial E and lower ionosphere regions of atmosphere.
- The study will enrich available atmospheric data and refine models used for tropical weather prediction.
- The objective of experiment is to measure neutral wind in dynamo region (80-120 km) of equatorial ionosphere using indigenously developed Electron Density and Neutral Wind Probe (ENWi).
- It will also perform cross-validation using an independent Tri Methyl Aluminium (TMA) release technique.
- The Union Government will launch GOBARdhan (Galvanising Organic Bio Agro Resources) Yojana, a central government scheme nationally from Karnal district of Haryana by end of April 2018.
- The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2018 budget speech.
- The scheme focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste from farms and fields to useful compost, biogas and bio-CNG.
- It will also help in keeping villages clean and generate energy while increasing income of farmers and cattle herders.
- The central and state governments will provide funds in the ratio of 60:40, which will depend upon the number of households in villages. They will also provide assistance of experts for setting up the plants.
- Gram panchayats will play key role in implementation of this scheme under which bio-gas plants from cattle dung will be set up at individual or community level and also at level of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and NGOs like Gaushalas.