Comprehensive News Analysis - 02 January 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Large scale achievements made under various Schemes

2. North Korea close to launching ICBM

3. Jaitapur to witness anti-nuclear plant protest again

C. GS3 Related:

1. Finance minister sais ‘Hoarded black money to be converted into cheaper loans’

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The Hindu

1. Obama’s parting shot at Russia

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
I. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
  1. Large scale achievements made under various Schemes

Category: Centre programs and policies

Topic: Achievements

Key Points:

  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) –

Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi launched the National Mission on Financial Inclusion, named as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) with a view to increasing banking penetration and promoting financial inclusion and with the main objective of covering all households with at least one bank account per household across the country.

Objectives of PMJDY –

  • Universal access to banking facilities for all households across the country through a bank branch or a fixed point Business Correspondent (BC) within a reasonable distance
  • To cover all households with atleast one Basic Bank  Account with RuPay Debit card having inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs.1 lakh
  • An overdraft facility upto Rs.5000 after satisfactory operation in the account for 6 months
  • A Life Cover of Rs.30,000 to those beneficiaries who open their accounts for the first time
  • Financial literacy programme which aims to take financial literacy upto village level
  • The Mission also envisages expansion of Direct Benefit Transfer under various Government Schemes through bank accounts of the beneficiaries
  • Providing micro –insurance to the people
  • Unorganised sector Pension schemes through the Business Correspondents 

Achievements under PMJDY –

  • 03 crore accounts have been opened under PMJDY (15.86 crore accounts in rural areas and 10.17 crore in urban areas)
  • Deposits of Rs. 71,557.90 crore has been mobilized and 19.93 crore RuPay Debit cards have been issued under PMJDY
  • Aadhaar seeding in PMJDY close to 14.5 crore
  • Zero balance accounts has been reduced to 23.86%
  • Household Coverage:99% households out of the 21.22 crore households surveyed have been covered under PMJDY
  • Jan Suraksha schemes –

Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi launched 3 Social Security Schemes in the Insurance and Pension sectors; namely the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and the Atal Pension Yojana on Pan India basis to create a universal social security system for all Indians, especially the poor and the under-privileged.

  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) It is available to people in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank account who give their consent to join / enable auto-debit.

The life cover of Rs. 2 lakhs shall be for the one year period stretching from 1st June to 31st May and will be renewable.  Risk coverage under this scheme is for Rs. 2 Lakh in case of death of the insured, due to any reason.

The premium is Rs. 330 per annum which is to be auto-debited in one installment from the subscriber’s bank account as per the option given by him on or before 31st May of each annual coverage period under the scheme.

The scheme is being offered by Life Insurance Corporation

Achievements: Till date, Cumulative Gross enrolment reported by Banks, subject to verification of eligibility, etc. is over 3.08 crore under PMJJBY

  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha BimaYojana (PMSBY) – The Scheme is available to people in the age group 18 to 70 years with a bank account who give their consent to join / enable auto-debit on or before 31st May for the coverage period 1st June to 31st May on an annual renewal basis.

The risk coverage under the scheme is Rs. 2 lakh for accidental death and full disability and Rs. 1 lakh for partial disability

The premium of Rs. 12 per annum is to be deducted from the account holder’s bank account through ‘auto-debit’ facility in one instalment

The scheme is being offered by Public Sector General Insurance Companies or any other General Insurance Company who are willing to offer the product on similar terms with necessary approvals and tie up with banks for this purpose

Achievements: Till date, Cumulative Gross enrolment reported by Banks, subject to verification of eligibility, etc. is over 9.88 crore under PMSBY

  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) – applicable to all bank account holders in the age group of 18 to 40 years and the contributions differ, based on pension amount chosen.

Subscribers would receive the guaranteed minimum monthly pension of Rs. 1000 or Rs. 2000 or Rs. 3000 or Rs. 4000 or Rs. 5000 at the age of 60 years

Under the scheme, the monthly pension would be available to the subscriber, and after him to his spouse and after their death, the pension corpus, as accumulated at age 60 of the subscriber, would be returned to the nominee of the subscriber.

The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, for a period of 5 years for those eligible subscribers joining the scheme between the period 1st June, 2015 and 31st March, 2016 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not income-tax payers.

Achievements: A total of 38.23 lakh subscribers have been enrolled under APY with a total pension wealth of Rs. 1344.70 crore.

  • Skill development and Start-ups:
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) The scheme aims to provide formal access of financial facilities to Non Corporate Small Business Sector – The main objective of the scheme is to promote & ensure bank finance to unfunded segments of the economy

Who are covered – Non Corporate Small Business Sector, comprising of proprietorship / partnership firms running as small manufacturing units, service sector units, shopkeepers, fruits / vegetable vendors, truck operators, food-service units, repair shops, machine operators, small industries, artisans, food processors and others, in rural and urban areas

Borrowers can avail loan facility from any Public/Private/ Regional Rural Banks, NBFCs and MFIs and no processing fee for loans up to Rs.50000 (Shishu)

‘Activities allied to Agriculture’ which promote livelihood or are income generating have been included under PMMY

3 types of loans under PMMY –

  1. Shishu (Up to Rs.50000)
  2. Kishore (Above Rs.50000/- and up to Rs. 5 Lakh)
  3. Tarun (Above Rs. 5 lakh and up to Rs.10 lakh)

Note – All loans sanctioned on or after April 08, 2015 upto a loan size of Rs.10 lakh for non-farm income generating activities will be branded as PMMY loans

  • Stand-Up India Scheme – The scheme envisages extending bank loans between Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 1 crore for Greenfield Enterprises set-up by SC, ST and Women entrepreneurs and extending effective handholding support to them.

Each bank branch is to extend loans to at least one SC/ST and one woman entrepreneur. Enterprises covered under the scheme may be in manufacturing, services or the trading sector.

The Scheme shall be implemented through 1.25 lakh bank branches of all Scheduled Commercial Banks

Provision of convergence with State/ Central Government Schemes has been identified in the Scheme. Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Stand-Up India (CGFSI) is operational with a corpus fund of Rs.5,000 crore

Achievements: total number of loans sanctioned under Stand up India Scheme is 15341 (Women: 12055, SC: 2568 and ST: 718)

  • Education related schemes:
  • Loan Scheme – It is formulated by Indian Banks Association, aims to provide financial support from the banking system to deserving/ meritorious students for pursuing higher education in India and abroad.

The main emphasis is that every meritorious student though poor is provided with an opportunity to pursue education, with the financial support from the banking system, on affordable terms and conditions, and, that no deserving student is denied an opportunity to pursue higher education for want of financial support. 

Achievements: The outstanding Educational Loan Portfolio of Public Sector Banks has increasedto Rs 68,783 crore on 30th September, 2016

  • Vidya Lakshmi Portal – The portal has been developed and is being maintained by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited.

Students can view, apply and track the education loan applications made to banks anytime, anywhere by accessing the portal

2. North Korea close to launching ICBM

Category: International issues

Topic: North Korea

Key Points:

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that the isolated nuclear capable country was close to test-launching an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). North Korea tested ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate during 2016, although some experts have said it is years away from developing an ICBM fitted with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the United States.
  • North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The sanctions were tightened recently, after North Korea conducted its 5th and largest nuclear test in Sept, 2016

A successful ICBM test launch would mark a significant step forward for secretive Pyongyang’s weapons capability.

Note – ICBMs have a minimum range of about 5,500 km, but some are designed to travel 10,000 km or further. The U.S. State of California is roughly 9,000 km from North Korea. However, North Korea has struggled to reliably deploy its intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, succeeding just once in 8 attempted launches in 2016

  1. Jaitapur to witness anti-nuclear plant protest again

Category: National issues

Topic: Nuclear power plant

Key Points:

  • The group opposing a nuclear power plant at Jaitapur has announced a one-day protest on January 25, following reports of the Centre asking French and American nuclear companies interested in building atomic plants in the country to furnish details of functional reactors designed by them.

French company EDF proposes to build 6 European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of 1,600 MW each in Jaitapur (1600 * 6 MW power). The project was earlier with another French company – Areva, in whose reactor business EDF has now acquired a 51 per cent share

  • Interestingly, despite the environmental clearance given to the project 6 years ago and completion of the land acquisition process, no nuclear plant was set up at Jaitapur as the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited – NPCIL and the French company are yet to sign certain techno-commerical agreements.
  • Jan Hakka Seva Samiti, an umbrella organisation for groups fighting the project said “What the government is doing now is ridiculous. If the DAE wants to inspect functional EPR, they should have placed this demand before giving environmental clearance. This only proves how badly the whole project was designed”


C. GS3 Related
  1. Finance minister sais ‘Hoarded black money to be converted into cheaper loans’

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Demonetization

Key Points:

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, the future agenda of the government, as stated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his most recent speech is to channel the wealth that was previously being hoarded as black money into cheaper capital for affordable housing, women’s health, the agriculture sector, and medium and small enterprises.

Cheaper loans for affordable housing, women’s health, for the agricultural sector, for the MSMEs, and therefore cheaper capital and the transfer of this wealth which was being hoarded as black money now as cheaper capital in these areas is the future agenda of the government

  • Major reforms of the Centre – 2016 saw several major economic reforms like the passage of the insolvency law, the creation of the Monetary Policy Committee (Inflation control), and the passage of the constitutional amendment bill on the Goods and Services Tax.


D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. Obama’s parting shot at Russia
  • President Barack Obama’s decision to slap more sanctions on Russia and sack 35 diplomats from the U.S. is the latest flashpoint in the bilateral relations of the former Cold War foes. Though the immediate trigger for Mr. Obama’s action are the cyberattacks on Democratic Party systems, which U.S. intelligence agencies believe were carried out by Russians to influence the results of the presidential election, the action must be seen against the deteriorating relationship between the two countries.
  • Ironically, Russia-U.S. relations have hit the lowest point since the collapse of the Soviet Union under a president who had promised a reset of ties. At home Mr. Obama faces criticism for not acting decisively against Russian interventions that go against American interests.
  • The sanctions the U.S. and its European allies have imposed on Russia after it annexed Crimea had little impact on Moscow’s foreign policy decisions.
  • In Syria, Russia made a military intervention to boost the regime of Bashar al-Assad against armed rebels who had U.S. support. Obama remained largely a spectator when Russia reshaped the Syrian conflict, first through a brutal military campaign and then through multilateral diplomacy. Ties plunged to a new low with the allegations of hacking into the Democratic Party systems. By taking the toughest actions yet against Russia in his final weeks in office, Mr. Obama may be trying to mute criticism of his Russia policy.
  • But Mr. Obama’s policy will have long-term implications for U.S.-Russia ties. The rising tensions have reignited fears of a new Cold War. Though today’s Russia doesn’t have the economic resources of the Soviet Union, its actions in Syria and Ukraine show that Moscow is not afraid of upping the ante in a unipolar world. Second, Obama is further complicating matters of foreign policy for his successor.
  • Given that President-elect Donald Trump had promised during the campaign to have better relations with Russia and closer coordination in the fight against the Islamic State, Mr. Obama’s last-minute intervention is being interpreted as an attempt to tie Mr. Trump’s hands. The Washington establishment is also happy with the President’s decisions. For now, Mr. Putin has deftly avoided a tit-for-tat response, saying that Moscow will assess the policies of the next administration. The question is, what will Mr. Trump do? If he goes completely against the Obama administration’s policies, he will upset the establishment, including leaders from his own party. If he doesn’t, he will fail on his promise of reshaping ties with Russia and potentially raise tensions further. Either way, Russia is back as a top challenge on the U.S. foreign policy landscape.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Social security
  • Skill development and Entrepreneurship
  • Nuclear reactors
  • Demonetization



H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: ‘Fixed point Business Correspondent’ is associated with  

a) Prime Minister Universal Financial Inclusion program

b) Swabhimaan campaign

c) Swavalamban scheme

d) MUDRA yojana

Question 2: Which of the following loans is not a part of Pradhan Mantri Mudra yojana?

a) Shishu

b) Bala

c) Tarun

d) Kishor

Question 3: Which of the following statements are correct regarding the ‘National Payments Corporation of India’?
    (i) It is the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in India
    (ii) It is a not-for-profit organisation registered under section 25 of the Companies Act 1956
    (iii) It aims to allow all Indian citizens to have unrestricted access to e-payment services.

a) (i) only

b) (i) and (ii) only

c) (ii) and (iii) only

d) All 3 are correctly matched

Question 4: Which of the following statements are correct regarding the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon – SAAW?
  1. It is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kms.
  2. It is indigenously developed by DRDO

a) (1) only

b) (2) only

c) Both (1) & (2)

d) Neither (1) nor (2)

Question 5: ‘Department of Public Investment and Asset Management’ – DIPAM works under
a) Union Ministry of Disinvestment

b) Union Ministry of Finance

c) Union Ministry of Trade and Commerce

d) PM’s Office

Check Your Answers

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