Government Schemes & Policies
- DoNER Secretary chairs meeting of Nodal officers of Aspirational districts of North Eastern region
- Bharatmala Projects along Indo-Nepal Border areas
- NIIF to invest equity in road projects in India
Bilateral & International Relations
- Union Minister Launches Coffee Table Book
Key Facts for Prelims
- Kaushal Yuva Samwaad
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Government Schemes & Policies
DoNER Secretary chairs meeting of Nodal officers of Aspirational districts of North Eastern region
The Secretary, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) chaired a meeting with the Chief Nodal officers of Aspirational districts of North Eastern region.
- In the meeting, it has been decided to identify the common issues, challenges and thrust areas of all the Aspirational districts.
WHAT IS TRANSFORMATION OF ASPIRATIONAL DISTRICTS PROGRAMME?
- ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ was launched in January, 2018 with an aim to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts in the country.
- The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan.
- The three core principles of the programme are – Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (among citizens and functionaries of Central & State Governments including district teams), and Competition among districts.
- NITI Aayog in partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh has created a dashboard for monitoring the real-time progress of the districts.
The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts based on 49 indicators from the 6 identified thematic areas:
- Health and Nutrition
- Agriculture & Water resources
- Basic Infrastructure
- Financial inclusion
- Skill Development
To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SCHEME:
- If these districts are transformed, there would be tremendous improvement in the internal security environment of the country.
- If Prabhari officers can bring convergence in the development efforts of different Ministries and state Governments and the schemes specially launched by Home Ministry in these districts, it would serve as a great opportunity to ensure rapid development in the country.
- With states as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify opportunities for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
- Under the programme, identified districts are encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country by competing with others.
DELTA RANKING OF ASPIRATIONAL DISTRICTS:
- The NITI Aayog during June 2018 launched the first Delta ranking (incremental progress) for the Aspirational Districts across above five developmental areas.
- In December 2018, it again released the Second Delta ranking for the Aspirational Districts.
- The ranking factors validated data from Household Surveys conducted by NITI Aayog’s knowledge partners, namely, TATA Trusts and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (IDInsight).
- The programme relies on convergence of existing schemes for its funding.
- In addition, funds and other resources made available by the private sector under Corporate Social Responsibility and some local funds like the District Mineral Funds are to be utilised for critical gap funding.
Bharatmala Projects along Indo-Nepal Border areas
Government of India has approved Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojana with financial outlay of Rs 5,35,000 crore to develop 24,800 km Highways along with 10,000 km residual National Highways Development Project (NHDP) which stretches over a period of five years.
DEVELOPMENT OF BHARATMALA PARIYOJANA: PHASE-I
- Along Indo-Nepal Border, the project i.e. balance work of Piprakothi-Motihari-Raxaul has been commenced in February, 2019 with scheduled completion period of 12 months.
- Moreover, development of Border & International Connectivity roads for a length of 2000 km has been envisaged.
WHAT IS BHARATMALA PARIYOJANA?
- Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country.
- It is a centrally-sponsored and funded road and highways project of the Government of India.
- Due to the sheer magnitude and spread of the scheme, the project is divided into seven distinct phases.
- Bharatmala project starts in Gujarat and Rajasthan, followed by Punjab and subsequently traversing the Himalayan belt through Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and then to Mizoram.
ABOUT BHARATMALA PARIYOJANA: PHASE-I
- A total of around 24,800 kms are being considered in Phase I of Bharatmala along with 10,000 kms of balance road works under NHDP, taking the total to 34,800 km at an estimated cost of Rs.5.35 crores.
- It is to be implemented over a five years period of i.e. 2017-18 to 2021-22.
- This includes the construction of National Corridors, Economic Corridors, Feeder Corridors and Inter-Corridors, Border Roads, Coastal Roads and Port Connectivity Roads and Green-field Expressways.
- Under this, the government also decided to build 3300 kms of Border Roads of strategic importance along international boundaries and 2000 kms of International Connectivity roads to promote trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Out of this around 2000 km is taken up under Phase-I.
- Improvement in efficiency of existing corridors through development of Multimodal Logistics Parks and elimination of choke point.
- Enhance focus on improving connectivity in North East and leveraging synergies with Inland Waterways.
- Emphasis on use of technology & scientific planning for Project Preparation and Asset Monitoring.
- It will significantly boost highway infrastructure:
- Raise 6 National corridors to 50 corridors (6 National and 44 Economic Corridor)
- Raise 40% freight to 80% freight on National Highways
- Raise 300 districts to 550 districts connected by minimum 4-lane highways.
- The phase II of this programme will focus on building expressways which allow uninterrupted traffic flow.
- Under the second phase, the government has proposed to build nearly 3,000 km of expressways, including Varanasi-Ranchi-Kolkata, Indore-Mumbai, Bengaluru-Pune and Chennai-Trichy.
- The year 2018-19 was declared by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways as the ‘Year of Construction’.
- The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous agency of the Government of India.
- It is responsible for management of a network of over 70,000 km of National Highways in India.
- It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
- The NHAI was created through the promulgation of the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. In February 1995, the Authority was formally made an autonomous body.
- It is responsible for the development, maintenance, management and operation of National Highways.
NIIF to invest equity in road projects in India
National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has entered into an agreement with the national highways building authority to invest equity in road projects, a move that will help the government fill the gap in funding the sector.
ABOUT THE AGREEMENT:
- NIIF signed an MoU with the national highways authority of India (NHAI) to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to execute fund arrangement for large sized road projects, particularly green field.
- The SPV will allow NIIF to take sovereign funds on board and can co-invest in projects being built by NHAI.
- This arrangement of innovative alternate source of funding is being looked into by NHAI to attract international investors and fund houses who are willing to invest in road projects in India but not very keen to take risk related to the project execution.
- The MoU with NIIF will provide innovative financial models including for the 24,000 km Bharatmala Pariyojana.
- NIIF will also explore projects offered on Toll-operate-transfer (TOT) basis by NHAI. Under the TOT model, investors make a one-time lump sum payment in return for long-term toll collection rights.
ABOUT NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE FUND (NIIF):
- NIIF is a professional fund manager, anchored by the Government of India along with participation from institutional investors such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and leading Indian private financial institutions.
- NIIF was set up as an alternative investment fund (AIF) in December 2016 with a planned corpus of ₹40,000 crore.
- The Indian government has 49 per cent stake in NIIF with the rest held by marquee foreign and domestic investors such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
- With the Central government’s significant stake, NIIF is considered India’s quasi sovereign wealth fund.
- It intends to be a key channel of investment into Indian infrastructure with a focus on transportation (roads, ports and airports), energy, urban planning and other infrastructure and allied segments.
- Managing $3 billion of capital, its portfolio includes investments in ports and logistics, real estate and renewables.
OBJECTIVE OF NIIF:
- The objective of NIIF is to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield and stalled projects.
- The Fund aims to attract investment from both domestic and international sources.
- NIIF manages three funds with distinctive investment mandates.
- These funds are registered as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
The three types of funds are master funds, funds of funds and strategic funds.
- It is an infrastructure fund primarily investing in operating assets in core infrastructure sectors such as roads, ports, airports, power etc.
- The Master Fund invests in mature businesses with long-term track record, often operating in regulated environments or under concession or long-term agreements.
Funds of Funds:
- It seeks to invest with experienced fund managers who have a strong track record and have demonstrated their ability to execute their investment strategy successfully.
- Fund of Funds invests across infrastructure services and allied sectors (traditional infrastructure, green energy, social infrastructure, manufacturing, and services), product strategies (equity, mezzanine, debt) and investment styles (early stage, growth, control).
- It is aimed at growth and development stage investments in projects/companies in a broad range of sectors that are of economic and commercial importance and are likely to benefit from India’s growth trajectory over the medium to long-term.
Bilateral & International Relations
Union Minister Launches Coffee Table Book
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare launched a Coffee Table Book along with UN World Food Programme to commemorate 50 years of partnership between the Ministry and the agency towards addressing food and nutritional security in India.
- ‘The Coffee Table Book – 50 years of Partnership for Change’ showcases key milestones achieved by the Government of India in its efforts to make the nation free from hunger and malnutrition and WFP’s role in this endeavour.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME (WFP):
- The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
- It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
- Established in 1961, it strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
- The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
- The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
- WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
FOCUS AREAS OF WFP:
- Climate action
- Disaster risk reduction
- Gender equality
- Smallholder market support
- Social protection and safety nets
- Sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems
OBJECTIVES OF THE WEP:
- Zero Hunger in 2030.
- Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.
- Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.
- Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.
- Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.
ABOUT “WORLD HUNGER MAP”:
- Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba will work with WFP to develop digital “World Hunger Map”.
- The map will help to monitor global hunger and operations to end scourge by 2030 which is one of UN’s key Sustainable Development goals.
- It also aims to boost efficiency of interventions and shorten emergency response times.
WFP IN INDIA:
- WFP is working in India since 1963 for improved nutritional effectiveness of the Government’s food-based safety nets in alignment with the priorities of the National Food Security Act (NFSA 2013).
- WFP has signed an MoU with the Department of Women and Child Development of the Government of Kerala to initiate rice fortification on a pilot basis in Kannur District.
- In the state of Odisha, WFP is working with Department of School and Mass Education to scale up rice fortification.
- WFP is supporting MoSPI to build a network of experts for the development of methodologies for measuring tier II and tier III indicators for SDG 2 in the context of India.
- In India, Chronic malnutrition in children between 6-59 months of age is 38%.
Key Facts for Prelims
Kaushal Yuva Samwaad
Commemorating World Youth Skills Day on July 15, 2019 and celebrating 4th Anniversary of the Skill India Mission, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has announced launch of ‘Kaushal Yuva Samwaad (A Youth Dialogue).
ABOUT KAUSHAL YUVA SAMWAAD:
- Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is aimed at creating an open dialogue with the youth across all skill training centres to hear their views and recommendations which could help the Ministry in scaling and improving the existing programs.
- Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is being organized across all Skill India training centres, namely, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Polytechnics, Institutes under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Jan Shikshan Sansthans, DDU-GKY Centres and other fee-based training centres across the country.
- Selected candidates will do open dialogue with the Ministers of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship to identify the gaps so that all skill development programs are aligned to the current demands.
ABOUT WORLD YOUTH SKILLS DAY :
- To raise awareness about the importance of investing in youth skills development, the United Nations General Assembly commemorates July 15th every year, as World Youth Skills Day (WYSD).
THE NATIONAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT MISSION
- The National Skill Development Mission (Skill India Mission) was launched on July 15, 2015.
- It is implemented through a streamlined institutional mechanism driven by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
- Key institutional mechanisms are Governing Council for policy guidance at apex level, a Steering Committee and a Mission Directorate (along with an Executive Committee).
- Mission Directorate will be supported by National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), and Directorate General of Training (DGT).
- The mission also envisages convergence of the various Ministries through the instruments of Common norms, implementation of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), and quality assurance through the SMART (Skill Management and Accreditation of Training Centre) portal.
Seven sub-missions have been proposed initially to act as building blocks for achieving overall objectives of the Mission. They are:
- Institutional Training
- Overseas Employment
- Sustainable Livelihoods
- Leveraging Public Infrastructure