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UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Aug 11

UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Aug 11 for IAS Exam Preparation.

Quality standards prescribed in the pharmacopoeias are mandatory for
manufacturing of AYUSH drugs: Shri Shripad Naik

As per the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945, quality standards prescribed in the pharmacopoeias are mandatory for the manufacturing of AYUSH drugs and the enforcement of these provisions is vested with the State Licensing Authorities/Drug Controllers appointed by the Government.

Medicinal Plants are the major resource base of raw materials used in the manufacturing of AYUSH medicines.

In order to augment the availability of plant raw materials, agro techniques for cultivation of medicinal plants and Good Agricultural & Collection Practices have been developed and financial support is provided to the states for large scale cultivation of medicinal plants under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission.

Incentives are given to Farmers for Cultivation of Medicinal
Plants: Shri Shripad Naik

The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), Government of India under its Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) is providing financial assistance as subsidy to farmers to encourage cultivation of herbs/medicinal plants throughout the country.

Presently, 140 medicinal plants species have been prioritized for supporting cultivation throughout the country for which the subsidy is provided to farmers in following pattern:

(i) 75% subsidy for cultivation of medicinal plants which are highly endangered.

(ii) 50% subsidy for cultivation of medicinal plants where sources of supply are critically declining.

(iii) 30% subsidy for cultivation of other medicinal plants species which need support.

Benefits of new Crop Insurance Schemes

Government of India has launched the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana ( PMFBY) with simplified provisions  making them more farmer friendly.  The scheme provides the farmers maximum financial protection against non-preventable natural risks.

Simplification of the Scheme

Following review of erstwhile crop insurance schemes PMFBY has been formulated, with simplified provisions and  reduced premium for farmers which has resulted in both increased awareness among farmers and increase in coverage of area and crops.

Reduction in Premium       

 The farmers premium has been reduced for all food and oilseeds crops  and kept at  a maximum of 1.5% for Rabi, 2% for Kharif and 5% for annual horticultural/commercial crops.

Increased coverage :

In 2016-17, 30% of Gross Cropped Area (GCA) has been covered in comparison to 23% in 2015-16.

In 2016-17, a total of 5.74 crore farmers were covered, including 1.35 crore non-loanees.  Thus, there was an increase of 0.89 crore in total coverage of farmers, an enhancement of 18.23% in comparison to the previous year.   Coverage of non-loanees has increased by 123.50%.

During 2016-17, 518.11 lakh ha. area was insured which is 56.56 lakh ha. more than in  the previous year, an enhancement of 10.78%.

In 2016-17, coverage of non-loanee farmers is up from 5% to 22.5% of total farmers insured.

Increase in sum insured

Due to capping of premium under erstwhile schemes, the sum insured was consequentially reduced, as a result of which the farmers were denied the expected benefits and complete compensation for their crop loss.  However, under PMFBY, in order to provide maximum risk coverage to farmers, sum insured has been equated to Scale of Finance (SOF).  As a result the farmers now get timely settlement of claims for entire sum insured, without any deduction and are being compensated for entire crop loss.

In 2016-17, the total area covered has been insured for a sum of Rs. 204779 crore, which is 78.14% more than that of Rs. 114951.81 crore in 2015-16.

Sum insured per ha. in Kharif 2015 was Rs. 20498 which increased to Rs. 34574 in Kharif 2016 and in Rabi 2015-16 was Rs. 8733 which increased to Rs. 39358 in Rabi 2016-17.

Increase in Risk Coverage

Comprehensive coverage has been provided against non-preventable natural risks from pre-sowing to post-harvest losses.  In addition, losses due to localised risks are estimated at the individual farm level for claim settlement.

Coverage of Losses due to Prevented Sowing : In 2016-17, in Tamil Nadu, claims worth Rs. 27.61 crore  (upto 25% of sum insured) were settled due to prevented sowing on account of  inclement weather.

25% advance relief due to mid-season adversity : In 2016-17, due to  adverse climatic conditions such as floods,  drought spell, severe drought, unseasonal rains etc., on account payments were made to the tune of Rs. 31.69 crore in Uttar Pradesh, Rs. 11 crore in Chhatisgarh, Rs. 11.19 crore in Maharashtra and Rs. 9.42 crore in Madhya Pradesh.

Coverage of localised claims : In 2016-17, due to localised calamities such as hailstorm, inundation and landslides, claims worth Rs. 0.11 crore in Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 0.09 crore in Chhatisgarh, Rs. 4.04 crore in Haryana, Rs. 1.55 crore in Maharashtra, Rs. 0.32 crore in Rajasthan and Rs. 0.80 crore in Uttar Pradesh were settled expeditiously before conduct of Crop Cutting Experiments.

Coverage of Post-Harvest Losses :  In 2016-17, claims on this account worth Rs. 0.11 crore in Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 0.66 crore in Manipur and Rs. 16.51 crore in Rajasthan were settled.

Use of Improved Technology

Under erstwhile crop insurance schemes due to non- adoption of improved technology there was considerable delay in settlement of claims.  Under the new scheme, the States are required to give Crop Cutting Experiment (CCE) data to insurance companies within one month of harvest and the companies have to settle the claims within three weeks of receiving the CCE data.  Under earlier schemes, estimation of yield data was done without using technology through manual means, due to which there was huge delay in obtaining CCE data.  Due to this the claim settlement, on an average took six months to one year.  To eliminate this delay and to promote transparency, it has been made mandatory to use smartphones/CCE Agri App for capture/transmission of yield data to the crop insurance portal.  Due to this innovation, subsequent to harvest of Kharif crops between November to December 2016, CCE data could be obtained from end December onward and by January end settlement of claims had been initiated.

From the first season itself States like Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha sent the complete yield data through CCE Agri App and others like Gujarat, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh did it partially.  For Kharif 2016, apart from certain areas where there is a dispute regarding yield data between States and insurance companies, for remaining State the claims have already been calculated.

In order to promote transparency and timeliness a Central Crop Insurance Portal has been developed which integrates farmers and other stakeholders and also provides for online registration of farmers.

All possible farmer friendly administrative initiatives and technology have been put in place to increase the coverage of non-laonee farmers including sharecroppers.  For example Common Service (CSC) has been engaged to facilitate enrolment of non-loanee farmers from Kharif 2017.

Approximately 12 lakh farmers have registered online for crop insurance during Kharif 2017.

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has been initiated to facilitate transmission of claims amount directly to the farmers account.

Provision has been made for use of advanced technology such as drone, remote sensing etc. for promoting transparency and immediate settlement of insurance claims.

Claim Settlement

In 2016-17 (Kharif 2016 and Rabi 2016-17), which was a good monsoon year, against the gross premium of Rs. 22,344.93 crore, total claims have been estimated at about Rs. 15100.68 crore (68%).   Of this amount,  claims of Rs. 9446.83 crore have been approved and claims of Rs. 6624.65 crore have already been settled/paid by Insurance companies.   It is to be noted that claim calculation for some crops/areas for Kharif 2016 and most of the areas/crops for Rabi 2016 is yet to be made by insurance companies.

In comparison under actuarial premium based erstwhile schemes during 2011-12, which was also an agriculturally favourable year, claims settled were only Rs. 1357.60 crore vis-a-vis premium of Rs. 2131.29 crore, i.e. 63.70%.

Likewise in 2015-16, against the gross premium of Rs. 3076.92 crore claims were to the tune of Rs. 4155.40 crore i.e. 133.75% of the gross premium.  As this was a drought year, therefore claims were more than the premium collected.

Make in India Initiative

Defence sector being a User driven sector, Defence Forces are actively involved in various policies & procedures related to procurement, indigenous design, development & manufacture of defence equipment, co-development & co-production with foreign OEMs, thus contributing towards ‘Make in India’ . Some of the major areas, where defence personnel are involved, are listed below:

‘Make Procedure’: ‘Make’ procedure as given out at Chapter-III of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016, envisages involvement of Defence personnel at various stages of development of a defence equipment.

The ‘Make’ projects are identified through a consultative process with involvement of members from Services Head Quarters (SHQs). Project Management Unit (PMU) headed by Service officer, established at SHQs, is responsible for monitoring the implementation of ‘Make’ projects of respective SHQ.

Technology Development Fund (TDF) Scheme: TDF scheme launched by the Government aims at funding the development of defence and dual use technologies that are currently not available with the Indian defence industry, or have not been developed so far, thus creating an Eco-system for enhancing cutting edge technology capability for Defence application

‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ and ‘Buy & Make’ Categories of Capital Acquisition: ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ and ‘Buy & Make’ categories of capital acquisition under DPP, envisage tie-up between Indian Vendor/ Indian Production Agency & foreign OEM, for indigenous production of defence equipment involving Transfer of Technology (ToT) of critical technologies to promote ‘Make in India’.

UPSC Mains Practice Questions:

GS Paper 3

  1. Given the vulnerability of Indian agriculture to vagaries of nature, discuss the need for crop insurance and bring out the salient features of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) (UPSC Mains 2016)
  2. Critically discuss the impact of Make in India in the defense sector.

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