UPSC 2017 IAS Exam: Important PIB Articles – April 22

1st ‘India Indonesia Energy Forum’ held in Jakarta 
  • Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal and H.E. Mr. Ignasius Jonan, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Republic of Indonesia met on 20th April, 2017 for the 1st ‘India Indonesia Energy Forum’, held in Jakarta, Indonesia
  • India is third largest importer of coal from Indonesia
  • India’s imports of coal from Indonesia amounted to US$ 3.5 billion in 2016

 

Significant Achievements of NITI Aayog over the last three years

Vision Document, Strategy & Action Agenda beyond 12th Five Year Plan:

  • Has replaced the Five Year Plans beyond 31st March, 2017
  • NITI Aayog is in the process of preparing the 15-year vision document keeping in view the social goals set and/ or proposed for a period of 15 years; A 7-year strategy document spanning 2017-18 to 2023-24 to convert the longer-term vision into implementable policy and action as a part of a “National Development Agenda” is also being worked upon. The 3-year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, aligned to the predictability of financial resources during the 14th Finance Commission Award period, has been completed

Reforms in Agriculture

  • Model Land Leasing Law
    • NITI Aayog has formulated a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016
    • The objective is to recognize the rights of the tenant and safeguard interest of landowners
    • A dedicated cell for land reforms was also set up in NITI
    • Based on the model act, Madhya Pradesh has enacted separate land leasing law and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have modified their land leasing laws. Some States, including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are already at an advance stage of formulating legislations to enact their land leasing laws for agriculture
  • Reforms of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act
    • Agricultural marketing reforms
    • Felling and transit laws for tree produce grown at private land
    • Agricultural land leasing

Subsequently, Model APMC Act version 2 prepared. States are being consulted to adopt APMC Act version 2

  • Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index
    • NITI Aayog has developed the first ever ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ to sensitise states about the need to undertake reforms in the three key areas of Agriculture Market Reforms, Land Lease Reforms and Forestry on Private Land (Felling and Transit of Trees). The index carries a score with a minimum value “0” implying no reforms and maximum value “100” implying complete reforms in the selected areas
    • As per NITI Aayog’s index, Maharashtra ranks highest in implementation of various agricultural reforms.  Gujarat ranks second closely followed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
    • Almost two third States have not been able to reach even the halfway mark of reforms score, in the year 2016-17
    • The index aims to induce a healthy competition between States and percolate best practices in implementing farmer-friendly reforms

Digital Payments Movement

  • NITI Aayog constituted a Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments on 30th November 2016 with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, as the Convener to promote transparency, financial inclusion and a healthy financial ecosystem nationwide.  The Committee submitted its interim report to Hon’ble Prime Minister in January 2017
  • To incentivize the States/UTs for promotion of digital transactions, Central assistance of Rs. 50 crore would be provided to the districts for undertaking Information, Education and Communication activities to bring 5 crore Jan Dhan accounts to digital platform
  • Cashback and referral bonus schemes were launched by the  Prime Minister on 14.4.2017 to promote the use of digital payments through the BHIM App
  • Niti Aayog also launched two incentive schemes to to promote digital payments across all sections of society – the Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana  

Atal Innovation Mission: The Government has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in NITI Aayog with a view to strengthen the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem by creating institutions and programs that spur innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general. In 2016-17, the following major schemes were rolled out

  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): To foster creativity and scientific temper in students, AIM is helping to establish 500 ATLs in schools across India, where students can design and make small prototypes to solve challenges they see around them, using rapid prototyping technologies that have emerged in recent years
  • Atal Incubation Centres (AICs): AIM will provide financial support of  ₹ 10 crore and capacity building for setting AICs across India, which will help start-ups expand quicker and enable innovation-entrepreneurship, in core sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc

Indices Measuring States’ Performance in Health, Education and Water Management

  • As part of the Prime Minister’s Focus on outcomes, NITI has come out with indices to measure incremental annual outcomes in critical social sectors like health, education and water with a view to nudge the states into competing with each other for better outcomes
  • At the same time, states will share best practices & innovations to help each other – an example of competitive and cooperative federalism

Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Based on the recommendations of this Sub-Group, a Cabinet note was prepared by NITI Aayog which was approved by the Cabinet on 3rd August, 2016. Among several key decision, the sub-group led to the rationalization of the existing CSSs into 28 umbrella schemes

  • Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
    • Constituted by NITI Aayog on 9th March, 2015
    • The Sub-Group has submitted its report to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in October, 2015 and most of its recommendations have been accepted
  • Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development
    • Constituted on 9th March, 2015 
    • The report of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development was presented before the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31/12/2015
    • The recommendation and actionable points emerging from the Report were approved by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and are in implementation by the Ministry of Skill Development
  • Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India
    • Constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya
    • the report of the Task Force was finalized and submitted to the Prime Minister on 11th July, 2016
    • The report of the Task Force primarily focusses on issues of measurement of poverty and strategies to combat poverty
    • Regarding estimation of poverty, the report of the Task Force states that “a consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge. Therefore, the Task Force has concluded that the matter be considered in greater depth by the country’s top experts on poverty before a final decision is made
    • Accordingly, it is recommended that an expert committee be set up to arrive at an informed decision on the level at which the poverty line should be set.” With respect to strategies to combat poverty, the Task Force has made recommendations on faster poverty reduction through employment intensive sustained rapid growth and effective implementation of anti-poverty programs

Task Force on Agriculture Development

  • The Task Force on Agricultural development was constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog
  • The Task Force based on its works prepared an occasional paper entitled “Raising Agricultural Productivity and Making Farming Remunerative for Farmers” focusing on 5 critical areas of Indian Agriculture
    • Raising Productivity
    • Remunerative  Prices to Farmers
    • Land Leasing, Land Records  & Land Titles
    • Second Green Revolution-Focus on Eastern States
    • Responding to Farmers’ Distress