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UPSC 2017: PIB Summary and Analysis July 25

Pharmacopoeias & Formularies containing monographs and formulations of 
AYUSH drugs are being published by the Government
  • The Government has established Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy under the Ministry of AYUSH.
  • Prime mandate of the Pharmacopoeia Commission is to steer the work of developing quality standards of Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic drugs and publish and revise Ayurvedic & other Pharmacopoeias, Formularies and regulatory compendia of these drugs. Pharmacopoeia Committees and Pharmacopoeia Laboratories of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy are in place for development of respective standards and to undertake quality analysis of Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic medicines.
  • National Medicinal Plants Board is established under the aegis of Ministry of AYUSH to coordinate and support cultivation, conservation, resource augmentation and sustainable development of medicinal plants for making available quality raw materials to the AYUSH drug industry.
  • Financial assistance is provided for these activities through Central Sector Scheme and Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission and technical guidelines have been published and disseminated to promote scientific development, cultivation and harvesting of medicinal plants.


Steps to Enhance the income of Farmers

Government is taking several steps to enhance the income of farmers including:-

  1. Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme by which the farmers can know the major and minor nutrients available in their soils which will ensure judicious use of fertiliser application and reduce cost of inputs and improve soil fertility.
  2. Neem Coated Urea is being promoted to regulate use of urea, enhance its availability to the crop and reduce cost of fertilizer application. The entire quantity of domestically manufactured and imported urea is now neem coated.
  3. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) is being implemented with a view to promote organic farming in the country.  This will improve soil health and organic matter content and increase net income of the farmer so as to realise premium prices.
  4. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) is being implemented to expand cultivated area with assured irrigation, reduce wastage of water and improve water use efficiency.
  5. The National Agriculture Market scheme (e-NAM) was launched on 14.04.2016. The Scheme envisages initiation of e-marketing platform at national level and will support creation of infrastructure to enable e-marketing in 585 regulated markets across the country by March 2018. So far, 455 markets of 13 States have been integrated with e-NAM. This innovative market process evisages better price discovery, transparency and competition to enable farmers to get improved remuneration for their produce and move towards ‘One Nation One Market’.
  6. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) is being implemented from Kharif 2016 season and is available to the farmers at low rates of premium. This scheme would provide insurance cover for all stages of the crop cycle including post-harvest risks in specified instances.
  7. The Government provides interest subvention of 3% on short-term crop loans up to Rs.3.00 lakh.  Presently, loan is available to farmers at an interest rate of 7% per annum, which gets reduced to 4% on prompt repayment.  Further, under Interest Subvention Scheme 2016-17, in order to provide relief to the farmers on occurrence of natural calamities, the interest subvention of 2% shall continue to be available to banks for the first year on the restructured amount. In order to discourage distress sale by farmers and to encourage them to store their produce in warehouses against warehouse receipts, the benefit of interest subvention will be available to small and marginal farmers having Kisan Credit Card for a further period of upto six months post harvest on the same rate as available to crop loan.
  8. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) enables Governments to further implement the scheme in the State as per its requirement in areas which requires focused attention for increasing production and productivity in the State. The States have been provided flexibility and autonomy for selection, planning approval and execution of projects/programs under the scheme as per their need, priorities and agro-climate requirements.
  9. Under National Food Security Mission (NFSM), a Centrally Sponsored scheme, NFSM-Pulses is being implemented in 638 districts of 29 States, NFSM-Rice in 194 districts of 25 States, NFSM-Wheat in 126 district of 11 States and NFSM-Coarse Cereals is being implemented in 265 districts of 28 States of the country for increasing the production and productivity of Rice, wheat, pulses and coarse cereal crops. Under NFSM, assistance is provided to farmers for distribution of Seeds (HYVs/Hybrids), production of seeds (only in pulses), INM and IPM techniques, resource conservation technologies/tools/farm mechanization, efficient water application tools, cropping system based trainings to farmers and also assistance for value addition.
  10. National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) programme, is being implemented since 2014-15. The objective of NMOOP is to increase production and productivity of oilseeds for meeting the domestic requirement of vegetable oil. The various interventions of this mission are implemented through the State Department of Agriculture/Horticulture.
  11. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, is being implemented w.e.f. 2014-15, for holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits,vegetable, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo. The Mission subsumes National Horticulture Mission (NHM), Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH), National Horticulture Board (NHB), Coconut Development Board (CDB) and Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland. All States and UTs are covered under MIDH.

The other steps taken by farmers to enhance the income of farmers are as under:

  1. The Government has drafted a new model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017, which was released on 24.04.2017 for adoption by the States through legislation of their respective Acts. The Act provides the options of alternate markets beyond the existing APMC regulated market yards including private markets, direct marketing, farmer-consumer markets, special commodity markets, declaring warehouses/silos/cold storages or such structures as market sub yards and Market Yards of National Importance (MNI) so as to reduce the number of intermediaries between producer and buyer and increase the share of the farmer in consumer’s rupee.
  2. The Government undertakes procurement of wheat and paddy under its ‘MSP operations’. In addition, Government implements Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for procurement of agricultural and horticultural commodities not covered under the Minimum Price Support Scheme on the request of State/UT Government. The MIS is implemented in order to protect the growers of these commodities from making distress sale in the event of bumper crop when the prices tend to fall below the economic level/cost of production.
  3. MSP is notified for both Kharif & Rabi crops based on the recommendations of the Commission on Agriculture Costs & Prices (CACP). The Commission collects & analyses data on cost of cultivation and recommends MSP.  To incentivise cultivation of pulses and oilseeds in the country, Government has announced bonus for Kharif 2017-18, over & above the approved MSP.  Even during last year, Government had offered bonus over & above the MSP, in the case of pulses and oilseeds.

Government led other market interventions such as Price Stabilization Fund and Food Corporation of India operations also supplement efforts to enhance the income of farmers.

Apart from the above, the Government is also focusing on ancillary activities like Bee-keeping for increasing of farmers’ income.

E-Commerce Market

  • The Government receives suggestions/ grievances on various issues in different sectors including e-commerce sector.
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, has been enacted to better protect the interests of the consumers. It covers all goods and services and all mode of transactions including e-commerce.
  • Under the provision of said Act, a three tier quasi-judicial mechanism, called Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission/ Forum, has been set up at the district, State and National levels to provide simple, quick and inexpensive redressal to consumer disputes.
  • E-commerce activities are governed by number of Regulations/Acts of the Government like the Shop and Establishment Act, Sales of Goods Act, Companies Act, Income Tax Laws, Information Technology Act, the Competition Act, the Consumer Protection Act, etc.
  • A Committee has been constituted to examine various issues relating to e-commerce under the Chairmanship of CEO, NITI Aayog.
  • The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, already introduced in Parliament, seeks to provide for establishment of a Central Consumer Protection Authority to look into, inter alia, unfair trade practices and take remedial action.


Private Sector involved in Defence Manufacturing

Some of the policy initiatives taken by the Government to ease the entry of private sector in defence manufacturing are as follows:

  • The parts / components, casting and forgings of defence equipments have been excluded from the purview of industrial licensing under Industries (Development & Regulation) [IDR] Act, 1951.
  • Initial validity of industrial licence for defence has been revised to fifteen years, further extendable upto eighteen years for existing as well as future licenses under IDR Act.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy in defence sector has been reviewed in June 2016, and as per the new policy, FDI up to 49% is allowed under automatic route and above 49% under Government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.
  • To further the ease of process of approvals, the Government has abolished Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The work of granting Government approvals for Foreign Investment under the extant FDI Policy has been entrusted to the concerned Administrative Ministries / Departments.
  • Since the opening of Defence Industry Sector for Private Sector Participation in 2001, the Government has issued 342 Industrial Licenses to 205 Indian Companies.

The Licenses have been issued with the major conditions such as:

  • Adequate safety & security procedure would need to be put in place by the licensee. The Companies shall comply with the security guidelines applicable to them based on the security categorization indicated in the licence.
  • The defence items produced by such companies will primarily be sold to the Ministry of Defence. However, they can also be sold to other Government Entities under the control of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Public Sector Undertakings, State Governments and other different Licensee Companies without the approval of Department of Defence Production (DDP).
  • The Companies shall furnish Half-Yearly Returns regarding details of items produced and entities to whom sold in the prescribed proforma to the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Department of Defence Production.
  • Till date, 66 Licensed Companies covering 109 Licenses have reported commencement of production.


GST Council forms a Selection Committee for appointment of the Chairman 
and Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST

National Anti-profiteering Authority

  • When constituted by the GST Council, the National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in the event of a reduction in rate of GST on supply of goods or services or, if the benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices. The National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be headed by a senior officer of the level of a Secretary to the Government of India and shall have four technical members from the Centre and/or the States.
  • In the event the National Anti-profiteering Authority confirms the necessity of applying anti-profiteering measures, it has the power to order the business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed alongwith interest to the recipient of the goods or services.
  • If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund. In extreme cases the National Anti-profiteering Authority can impose a penalty on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.
  • The constitution of the National Anti-profiteering Authority is expected to bolster consumer confidence and ensure all stakeholders reap the intended benefits of GST.


UPSC Mains Practice Question
  1. The government aims to double the farmer’s income by 2022. Critically discuss whether the measures taken by the government are adequate to achieve the objective.


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