UPSC Exam Preparation: Gist of Yojana July 2018 Issue: Resurgent India
2. Affordable Housing: Future of Urban Development
3.Universal Village Electrification In 1000 Days: The Journey
4. Meeting The Energy Needs Of The Future
5. Involving Youth In Community Welfare
6. Farmers’ Welfare: Priority With Commitment
7. Giving Wings To Small Town India
8. Targeting Economic Offenders
Chapter 1- Introduction
The development agenda of a nation includes diverse parameters. Each factor is important in itself and often these have to be dove-tailed with each other to reach the goal of total development. The government’s recent initiatives have sought to achieve this goal of overall development.
Yojana July Issue talks about various initiatives of the government for
- Ensuring affordable Housing
- Universal Village Electrification
- Meeting the energy needs of the future
- Involving the youth in community welfare
- Farmer’s Welfare
- Ensuring regional connectivity
- Targeting the Economic Offenders
Chapter 2 – Affordable Housing: Future of Urban Development
The 21st century is called the urban century because for the first time, since dawn of civilization, more people are residing in urban India than in rural areas. The most important problem in all cities has been housing due to sudden and large scale influx of migrants from rural areas to urban areas. Because of the housing shortage in every city almost fifty percent of the population live in slums. Whilst the overall population growth has declined over the last decade, urban population growth continues to be almost twice the annual national population growth rate.
Further, the urban share of the GDP is projected to increase to 75 per cent in 2031 from an estimated 62-63 percent in 2009-2010 (The High Powered Expert Committee (HPEC),2011), Consequently, there is a dire need to improve the quality of life in our cities and to address the current and anticipated future shortage of housing along with other infrastructure deficit issues prevalent in our urban centers.
The government estimated the total urban housing shortage at 18.78 million units in the 12th year plan (The Technical Group on Urban Housing, 2011). Within these 18,78 million units, the housing shortage amongst the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and the Lower Income Group (LIG) is extraordinarily high with a 96 per cent share of the total shortage.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), or Affordable Housing for All Mission is divided into two parts:
- PMAY (Gramin), which comes under the ambit of the Ministry of Rural Development and
- PMAY (Urban), which falls under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
- The target for PMAY is to build approximately 1.2 crore affordable homes in urban centers by the year 2022 in 4 years.
- PMAY has already quadrupled the number of affordable house sanctioned when compared to the previous 10 years of JNNURM.
Today, while agriculture continues to employ over 40 per cent of India’s workforce, its contribution to India’s Gross Value Added has fallen to 16.4 per cent. On the other hand, the contribution of services has significantly increased, and is today at 55.2 per cent. By its very nature, the services sector resides in urban areas. Given the growing aspirations of India’s citizens, they would seek employment in services, and thereby seek out urban centres. It is estimated that by 2030, almost 600 million Indians or 40 per cent of India’s population will live in Indian cities. Given this demographic shift in India, Elements of Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) titled “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, were incorporated by India in its development efforts and plans even before the SDGs and the 2030 developmental agenda were formally adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
What is an affordable house?
Under PMAY(U), an affordable house goes beyond the construction of four walls using bricks and cement. A PMAY (U) home, by its very definition, must have a functioning toilet, an electricity connection, a tapped water connection, and door waste collection, the title of a PMAY (U) home can be registered under the lady of the house, or co-jointly through a PMAY(U) home, families have access to all amenities that will allow them to lead a life of dignity, security and prosperity.
The implementation of PMAY(U) is undertaken through four verticals
- In-situ slum redevelopment.
- Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP).
- Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).
- Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC).
A – In – situ slum redevelopment (ISSR)
This uses land as a resource. The scheme aims to provide houses to eligible slum dwellers by redeveloping the existing slums on public/private land. A grant of INR 1 lac per house is provided by the central government to the planning and implementing authorities of the states/UTs under this scheme.
B – Affordable housing in partnership(AHP):
This aims to provide financial assistance to private developers to boost private participation in affordable housing projects; central assistance is provided at the rate of INR 1.5 lac per EWS house in private projects where at least 35 percent of the hoUses are constructed for the EWS category.
C – Credit – linked subsidy scheme (CLSS):
This scheme facilitates easy institutional credit to EWS, LIG and MIG households for the purchase of homes with interest subsidy credited upfront to the borrower’s account routed through primary lending institutions (PLIs). This effectively reduces housing loan and equated monthly instalments (EMI).
D – Beneficiary – led construction or enhancement )BLC):
This scheme involves central assistance of INR 1.5 lakh per family for new construction or extension of existing houses for the EWS/LIG.
- Holding period for capital gains tax for immovable property reduced form 3 years to 2 years.
- Indira Awaas Yojana will be extended to 600 districts.
Through these verticals, the Mission covers the entire canvas of affordable housing -from the slum dweller living in the most inhumane conditions; to those belonging to the economically weaker sections and middle income groups who need affordable banking finance; and to those belonging to the economically weaker sections and middle income groups who need affordable banking finance; and to those who own a piece of land, but require additional funding to build their house.
PMAY (U) makes a significant departure from previous top-down models. The Mission trusts the judgment of the beneficiary to make the most optimal decisions, based her needs.
PMAY(U) is one of several flagship programmes, which is anchored in, and thriving under, the cooperative federalism model. Under PMAY(U), the state governments themselves accord these approvals, with only minor suggestions, if any, made at the central level.
Under the scheme, government has announced that an interest rate of only 4 per cent would be charged on loans above Rs 9 lakh and 3 per cent on amount above Rs 12 Lakhs. However, there is ambiguity whether those not falling under EWS (Economically Weaker Section) or the LIG (Low Income Group) segments would be the beneficiaries. More projects will now be eligible for profit-linked income tax exemptions.
Government as Catalyst:
- In the budget for 2017-18, affordable housing was given infrastructure status.
- The budget for 2018 -19 institutionalized an Affordable Housing Fund under the National Housing Banks, to boost financing in the sector.
- In addition to these, measures, Section 80-IBA of the Income Tax now provides for 100 percent deduction of profits for Affordable Housing Projects, to encourage private participation in the mission.
Regulatory Framework (RERA):
- The government enacted the Real Estate (Regulation and Deregulation) Act or RERA in 2016.
- RERA is institutionalized in the country for the first time in 70 years, as a regulator for the real estate sector.
- As a result of this Act of Parliament, the hard earned life savings of a homebuyer are no longer at the mercy of a corrupt system, which was designed to circumvent and undermine India’s legal framework.
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which bars willful defaulters from submitting a resolution plan, and which puts the home-buyer alongside financial creditors, has given a further fillip to weed out corrupt actors in the sector.
- The Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission, has today become a Jan Andolan, or a social movement. Its emphasis on ODF seeks to not only build the requisite number of toilets, but bring about behavioral change in the country.
- The 500 cities under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), which will have universal water supply coverage and improved sewage networks, will further improve the quality of life of those living in affordable homes.
- Under the Smart Cities Mission, the 99 cities selected have had extensive citizen engagement to ensure those living in affordable homes too have an equal say in the development of their city.
- Estimates suggest for India to meet its urban demand, the country will have to build 700 to 900 million square meters of residential and commercial space every year till 2030. To put this in perspective, between now and 2030, India will have to build a new Chicago every year, if it has to meet its citizen demand for urban living.
- Given this context, the success of PMAY(U) needs to be viewed in conjunction with entire gamut of planned urbanization underway in the country.
The PMAY(U) epitomizes the seismic shifts taking place in our urban centres and the efforts that are being made to make Indian cities best in their class.
TID – BITS:
Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission:
- To create 300 such Rurban growth clusters over the next 3 years, which will be ODF, green and also create agro based and thematic clusters based on skilled manpower and access to economic opportunities.
- 267 clusters already identified. 153 integrated Cluster Action Plans (ICAPs), which are the blueprints of investment for 29 states and one UT of Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
Land – pooling Mechanism
The budget announced that the new stage capital of Andhra Pradesh is being constructed by an innovative land – pooling mechanism without the use of the Land Acquisition Act. It is a significant step in the light of the Land Acquisition Bill.Land acquisition remained a much – debated issue and a major hurdle with respect to large-scale developments and it was also affecting the affordable housing segment. The new land pooling mechanism may significantly reduce land related disputes and increase the speed of development. The exemption of capital gains tax will uplift the confidence of landowners whose land is being pooled for the creation of the capital city under the government scheme. However, the exemption is only limited to those who were the owners of such land as of June 2014, the date on which the state of Andhra Pradesh was reorganized.
Chapter 3 – Universal Village Electrification In 1000 Days: The Journey
Electricity is one of the basic necessities for all of us now. Ministry of power was assigned task to complete electrification of all the remaining un-electrified villages within the targeted time frame. The primary recognised administrative unit in rural areas is a census village and therefore ensuring access to electricity in all census village i.e, 100 per cent village electrification made first step to move towards universal access. Besides, access to electricity, ensuring quality and reliability of power supply; especially in rural areas, is an important aspect to meet the expectation of people at large. Therefore, an integrated scheme, covering all aspects of power distribution in rural areas was conceptualised and launched by the Government of India for rural areas namely ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana’ (DDUGJY).
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY):
The scheme envisages:
(i) Electrification of un-electrified villages,
(ii) Intensive electrification of already electrified villages to provide access to households.
(iii) Strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure to improve quality and reliability of power supply,
(iv) Feeder separation to provide assured power supply of farmers and
(v) Metering of feeders distribution transformers and consumers to facilitate energy audit and reduction of losses.
The erstwhile rural electrification scheme was subsumed in DDUGJY as a separate rural electrification component.
To expedite the process of electrification, the following steps were taken:
i) Proper identification of villages with Census 2011 Code: To exactly find out the name, geographical location, demography etc. for robust planning.
ii) Solar PV based offgrid solutions for remote/ inaccessible villages: It was observed that many of these remaining un-electrified villages are located in remote areas, areas with difficult terrain in snow bound hills or in deep forest and in Left Wing Extremism affected areas etc. Reaching these villages, transportation of material and erection of necessary electricity infrastructure was a real challenge. Therefore, it was decided that in or cost effective, such villages would be electrified through off-grid mode using Solar Photovoltaic based solutions.
iii) Standard Bidding Documents: And e-tender were focused on.
iv) Innovative Financing: In addition to the budgetary support, Ministry of Finance also allowed Ministry of Power to raise money from the market, in the form of bonds, through financial institutions like PFC and REC.
v) Flexibility to States for execution of works: Strait jacket approach or one size fits all may not work and therefore, States were given adequate liberty to execute projects on turnkey/ partial turnkey /departmental mode as per the suitability and their choice.
vi) Handholding States/Discoms: Necessary help was provided to the discom wherever required.
vii) Milestone based monitoring: The entire process of village electrification was divided in 12 steps/milestones with stipulated timelines for monitoring and capturing progress. These milestones include the entire process right from award of work, survey, material procurement, material delivery at site, erection and commissioning and energisation etc. Rigorous use of project management tools was undertaken to ensure completion of project and energization of village.
viii) Transparency and accountability: Mobile App “Garv” was launched.
ix) Regular review and monitoring: The issues impeding progress in field are highlighted in such review and resolved at the earliest.
Implementation Challenges and Remedial Measures:
- Inaccessibility and non-feasibility of conventional Grid system
- Difficult hilly terrain
- Head loading of materials over 1-10 days
- Material transportation by choppers
- Areas affected with Left Wing Extremism (LWE) activities
- Forest Clearance
- Railway Clearance
The journey for Ministry of Power, however, still continues. Its next target is to electrify all the households in the electrify all the households in the country For this it has launched ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – Saubgaya to provide last mile connectivity and service connections to all remaining households in both rural and service connections to all remaining households in both rural and urban areas to achieve universal household electrification in the country by 31st March 2019.
Chapter 4 – Meeting The Energy Needs Of The Future
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has taken several steps for a clean energy future by taking up the largest renewable capacity expansion programme in the world. The renewable energy sector in India has emerged as an integral part of the solution to meet the nation’s energy needs. There has been a visible impact of renewable energy in the Indian energy scenario during the last few years as India is on its way to achieving the 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched schemes on development of wind-solar hybrid power projects, onshore wind power projects, biomass power and bagasse cogeneration, biomass gasifier for industries, scheme for development of solar parks an ultra-mega solar power projects, grid-connected solar PV power plants on canal banks and canal tops and biogas based grid power generation programme.
Among all, the National Solar Mission is the most ambitious program which aims to promote solar energy for power generation with an aim of making levelized cost of solar energy competent with coal/gas based power generation. Historic low tariffs for solar and winds were achieved through transparent bidding and facilitation giving a big push to the renewable sector.
The Government of India is promoting renewable energy by generation-based incentives (GBIs), capital and interest subsidies, viability gap funding, concessional finance, fiscal incentives etc. for providing financial support to various schemes.
1) Solar Power
- Capacity of the scheme for “Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects” has been enhanced from 20 GW to 40 GW.
- Amendments in building by-laws for mandatory provision of roof top solar for new construction or higher floor area ratio and making roof top solar as a part of housing loan by banks/NHB
- Provision of roof top solar photovoltaic system and 10 per cent renewable energy as mandatory under mission statement and guidelines for development of smart cities.
- Raising tax free solar bonds for managing equity to setup solar projects.
- Tariff based competitive bidding process for purchase of solar power.
- Surya-Mitra programme has been launched for creation of a qualified technical workforce and over 11 thousand persons have been trained under the programme.
2) Wind Power
- In terms of wind power installed capacity, India is globally placed at 4th position after China, USA and Germany.
- India has a long coastline where there is a good possibility for developing offshore wind power projects. The cabinet has cleared the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy.
- Central financial assistance for biomass power projects includes installations from biomass combustion, biomass gasification and bagasse co-generation.
- Promotion of off-grid biogas power project for captive power generation.
- Family Size Biogas Plants mainly for rural and semi-urban households are set up under the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP).
4) Amendments in Tariff Policy
- Enhancement in solar renewable purchase obligation to 8 per cent by March 2022.
- Introduction of renewable generation obligation for new coal/lignite based thermal plants.
- Bundling of renewable power for ensuring affordable renewable electricity.
- Waving off inter-state transmission charges for solar and wind power.
5) Green Energy Corridor
- Intra-State Transmission System is being implemented by eight renewable rich States (Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh)
6) Other Initiatives
- Formation of International Solar Alliance (ISA) which became a legal entity in December 2017. India has been playing a leading role in the International Renewable Community along with France, with its headquarters in India. ISA is an international body of 121 countries lying between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
- Bank loans up to a limit of Rs. 15 crores will be given to borrowers for purposes like solar based power generators, biomass based power generators, wind power systems, micro-hydel plants and for renewable energy based public utilities viz. Street lighting systems, and remote village electrification. For individual households, the loan limit will be Rs. 10 lakh per borrower.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) upto 100 per cent is permitted under the automatic route for renewable energy generation and distribution projects subject to provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003.
Chapter 5 – Involving Youth In Community Welfare
Definition of Youth:
Youth has been defined in the National Youth Policy, 2014, as a person in the age group of 15 to 29 years.
In the context of youth, what is most important is that this is the age group that witnesses transition from adolescence to adulthood and from skill or education to employment. This is the age group in which the youth organizes himself/ herself. In the process, he/she may receive skill training or education in his/her desired skill and may seek to establish a livelihood course through his/her desired vocation.
Priority Areas for the Group:
Here, two of the priority areas are discussed:-
(i) Promotion of social values;
(ii) Community engagement.
1. Create a productive workforce that can make a sustainable contribution to India’s
Employment and Skill Development
2. Develop a strong and healthy generation equipped to take on future challenges
Health and Healthy Lifestyle
3. Instil social values and promote community service to build national ownership
Promotion of Social Values
4. Facilitate participation and civic engagement at all levels of governance
Participation in politics and governance
5. Support youth at risk and create equitable opportunity for all disadvantaged & marginalized youth
Promotion of Social Values
The youth today talks about development, communication, engagements, opportunities to demonstrate his potential in similar tone, irrespective of his nativity or ethnicity. This similarity obtains mainly because India as a nation has one distinct culture and centres around certain traditions and customs that have been preserved through the ages, which constitute the social values. These social values are the binding material for the Indian society in general and the Indian society in general and the Indian youth in particular.
The second priority area is community engagement for the youth. Department of Youth Affairs two main organizations under it, namely, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS) which help organize community engagement of the youth, on voluntary basis. It is community engagement of youth on voluntary basis.
Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS):
NYKS, launched in 1972, is one of the largest youth organizations in the world. The objective is to develop the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and to engage them in nation-building activities. The activities of NYKS are carried out through a District youth Coordinator in each District and 2 National Youth volunteers in each Block.
Out of a number of activities, a few ones are briefly indicated below:
i) Training on Youth Leadership and Community Development: The Programme aims at enhancing the capacity of young people to take up leadership roles.
ii) Youth Convention and Yuva Kriti: The Programme is organized annually by all District NYKs, to provide opportunity and platform to rural youth readers to display products and express themselves, share experiences and suggest best practices for youth empowerment.
iii) Yuva Aadarsh Gram Vikas Karyakram: The Programme aims at developing one village in selected Districts as a model village by the youth for the youth.
iv) Tribal Youth Exchange Programme (TYEP): The Programme is organized every year with funding from the Ministry of Home Affairs. In this Programme, tribal youth drawn from areas, affected by Left-wing extremist activities are taken to other parts of the country to sensitize them to the rich cultural heritage of the country, to expose them to development activities and to enable them to develop emotional linkage with the people in other parts of the country.
v) Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (Inter State Youth Exchange Programme) : Was announced in 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel main objective of this programme is to celebrate the Unity in Diversity of our Nation and to maintain and strengthen the fabric of traditionally existing emotional bonds between the people of our country. It aims to promote of National Integration through deep and structured engagement between all Indian States and Union Territories through a yearlong planned engagement between States, to showcase the rich heritage and culture, customs and traditions of either state for enabling people to understand and appreciate the diversity of India. Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan had initiated Inter State Youth Exchange Programme Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat for the year 2017-18 in 15 paired states.
vi) Other Activities: NYKS also takes up various activities in collaboration with other Ministries such as plantations, blood donation camps and enrolment of voluntary blood donors, immunization of children (Operation Indradhanush), immunization of mother, observance of International Yoga Day, etc. Similarly, under the aegis of Ministry of Water Resources, NYKS youth are engaged in Namami Ganga Programme under the Mission for Clean Ganga.
National Service Scheme (NSS):
NSS was launched in 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service, ‘Education through Service’ is the purpose of the NSS. The ideological orientation of the NSS is inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Very appropriately, the motto of NSS is “Not Me, But You”. Each NSS unit adopts a village or slum for taking up its activities.
Activities under NSS: The core activity of NSS is to render community service. The precise nature of activities continues to evolve in response to the needs of the community.
Voluntary social engagement has some enviable benefits. It helps the youth to know and understand the community, its surroundings and difficulties as well a its advantages. This enhances his field exposure that helps him develop a comparative approach in analyzing a given problem or situation. Once having seen the ground realities himself, the youth will have an expanded vision of the issue. This also helps him in being logical and fair. He starts understanding that a situation could be diametrically opposite to what he had seen elsewhere and both could be true depending upon the situation voluntarism contributes in enhancing the “emotional quotient” that is instrumental in handling the issues facing the adolescent’s transition to adulthood.
The Project provides congenial studying environment, educational and co-curricular facilities to the SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate)/+2 failed ST students to enable them to pass the examinations by providing 10 months residential coaching. It also aims to remove feelings of inferiority from the minds of the tribals, mould their personality by inculcating the vital aspects of living like hygiene, discipline and hardwork.
Besides the regular SSLC syllabus the students are taught English and Computer Application; undertake yoga, sports and cultural activities; exposed to various aspects of health and social issues and get an opportunity to listen to talks delivered by social thinkers, eminent literary figures, political leaders and officials as well as interact with them.
Prevention of Drug Abuse and Alcoholism:
The project focused on adolescents and youth, high risk and vulnerable groups as well as their family and community members on the one hand and mobilized support and partnership of variety of stakeholders.
The principal objective of the project was to generate awareness, educate target audiences and stakeholders about the consequences and impact of alcohol and drug dependency and methods of prevention as well as need of professional help to treat dependency to lead a healthy and meaningful life.
Namami Gange Youth:
Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangthan has signed an MOU with National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for creating awareness on abatement of pollution, rejuvenation of National River Ganga and accordingly implementing the project entitled “Involvement of Youth in Namami Gange Programme”.
The objective of the project is to develop a cadre of trained and highly motivated local youth, sensitize and mobilize support of people from all walks of life, generate awareness and educate target audiences about the consequences and impact of polluted Ganga and provide information on existing government schemes and services pertaining to clean Ganga.
Is a mass movement to promote a culture of sports and fitness among the youth. The annual financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakh per annum is provided for 8 years to talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels.
Chapter 6 – Farmers’ Welfare: Priority With Commitment
Millions of diligent farmers are the mainstay of Indian economy; however, their welfare remained a marginalized issue for long. A clarion calls to double farmers ‘income by 2022 has been made when India celebrates its 75th year of independence. In pursuance, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers ‘welfare devised a seven -point strategy which includes various critical and potential components for increasing the income of farmers.
In the current Union Budget (2018-2019), the Government took a bold and much desired step by declaring to keep MSP of all 23 major rabi and kharif crops at least at one and half times of third production cost. However, it is essential to back up this announcement by devising a mechanism that ensures purchase at MSP even if price of the agricultural produce falls below the MSP in open market. Taking a note NITI Aayog has been mandated to develop a mechanism, in consultation with Central and State Governments, to protect the interest of farmers in such adverse market situations.
- Government has also committed to buy the surplus produce of farmers in case of glut or glute-like situations.
- ‘Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana’ (Price-deficit financing scheme) launched by Madhya Pradesh Government hedges price risk of eight agricultural commodities in case of market fluctuations.
- More than 85 per cent of our farmers belong to the small and marginal category who have less marketable surplus and have to bear high transaction cost. Hence, the Government launched electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) in 2015 with the objective of easing licensing and taxation obstacles and enhance farmers’ suppressed returns.
- The facility provides transactions in various regional languages as well.
- However, farmers having no access to APMCs were deprived of e-NAM benefits.
- Recently, the Government took a right step by taking up development and up gradation of 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GRAMS).
- These GRAM, electronically linked to e-NAM, will be exempted from regulations of APMCs so that farmers of even remote areas may have access to e-NAM benefits. Government has sanctioned an Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs. 2,000 crore for the purpose.
Value Addition Facilities:
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana is another flagship programme which aims at welfare and prosperity of farmers by providing processing and value addition facilities along with marketing support.
- Under this scheme, agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management for marketing of these crops will be promoted to safeguard interest of farmers and consumers as well.
- Government is steadily increasing the volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector.
- Recently, the facility of Kisan Credit Cards was extended to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers also to help them meet their working capital needs.
- Besides, interest subvention for short-term crop loans, enhancement of collateral-free crop loans, and enhancement of collateral -free farm loans and promotion of Joint Liability. Groups are some other notable initiatives to ensure that all eligible farmers are provided with hassle -free and timely credit.
- Government has significantly enhanced allocation to National Development Corporation for providing financial assistance to cooperative societies and its members.
- NITI Aayog, on the instructions of Government of India, constituted an expert panel to develop model law to formalize leasing of agricultural lands. Thus, a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 came into being offering a bunch of benefits to lessee cultivators.
- Land tenants are entitled to obtain loans from financial institutions, crop insurance, disaster relief or any other benefits provided by Central or State Government.
- Government is also promoting Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and women self-help groups by increasing income of associated small holders.
Towards Secured Livelihood:
- In order to protect farmers’ livelihood against risks due to natural calamities, attack of pests and diseases, variable weather conditions, a new and improved Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was launched in 2016 with a very low premium rate and wide coverage of crops.
- Farmers share in premium has been reduced to merely 1.5 per cent for rabi crops, 2 per cent for kharif crops and maximum 5 per cent for annual horticultural crops. Insurance cover has been extended to even post-harvest risks and losses upto 14 days.
- Inundation has been incorporated as a localized calamity for individual farmer level assessment.
- Use of remote sensing technology and IT tools have expedited payment of claims with enhanced accuracy and transparency.
- On the other hand, farmers of all ecological zones are being trained to face the challenges of climate change.
- The far and wide network of Kisan Vikas Kendras (KVKs) is regularly organizing trainings and demonstrations at field level on identified climate smart technologies.
- Besides, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture is also active on dissemination of climate change related information and knowledge through its networks.
Integrated Farming Models:
Integrated farming models or systems, which appropriately and synergically blend field crops with horticulture, animal husbandry and aquaculture, have potential to secure livelihood of farmers even during adverse conditions. Otherwise also, this new farming approach increases profitability per unit of land and minimizes risk by assuring income from one or other farming component.
Add – ons to Income:
- Government is focusing on various ancillary agricultural activities which have shown promise in adding income to farmers. Increased financial allocations and establishment of integrated Beekeeping Development Centres have given a fresh impetus to honey production.
- Similarly, Bamboo often referred to as tree even in non-forest areas. Government re-classified it as ‘Grass’ when grown outside forest areas making it free for cultivation, harvest, transport and its use as raw material for handicrafts.
- Mushroom is another ‘crop’ with immense business potential due to its high demand and remunerative price in domestic and overseas markets. To unlock its untapped potential for increasing income of farmers, financial and technical support is being provided to farmers for growing mushroom mainly under indoor conditions, with very limited resources.
- Government is also encouraging backyard poultry, goatery, piggery and pisciculture in ponds for additional income to farmers.
- Under an innovative scheme, Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav; agricultural scientists in groups of four each, are selecting and adopting five villages for demonstration of new technologies in agriculture and allied activities.
- Taking a path – breaking step, the Government is working on modalities to encourage farmers for using their fallow land to harvest solar energy. It will serve a dual purpose -installation of solar pumps to irrigate their fields and supply of surplus power to grid for additional income.
- Government of India launched ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ farming and develop network for organic to promote organic a marketing products.
- Organic clusters are being especially developed in tribal, rainfed, hilly and remote areas for the welfare of disadvantaged farmers of these regions.
- Organic practices are reducing cost of cultivation up to 20 percent which results in enhancement of net profit by 20 percent 25 percent.
- In view of most favoring conditions, Government has launched a dedicated ‘Mission for Development of Organic Value Chain in North East Region’.
- North – East region is fast emerging as the Indian Hub for organic products with an eye on exports.
Chapter 7 – Giving Wings To Small Town India
India has a unique phenomenon in having hundreds of ‘ghost’ airports, which always had the potential to service flights but have remained unused because a variety of reasons. We have 400 airports and air strips, in all, only about 75 of these were in flights till last year. Some ghost airports were constructed during two World Wars and fell into disuse later, some have basic infrastructure but need incremental investment become operational and some others were simply built due to political considerations without having any commercial viability – flights from and to such airports never took off or stopped shortly after take-off because such routes were not viable.
- Six airports – handle two-thirds of the country’s air traffic in terms of passengers and almost 60 per cent of the total aircraft movements, according to data from the Airports Authority of India. Needless to say, these airports are already saturated.
- Giving wings to small towns means launching flights to tier II and tier III cities and ensuring that fares remain affordable. This not only allows redundant airport infrastructure to become useful but also provides air connectivity to businesses and individuals residing in India’s hinterland.
- Small towns, unaccessible hilly regions and the North-East of the country-all these virgin air territories are being slowly brought onto the aviation map under the UDAN scheme.
- ‘UDAN’ is an acronym for ‘Ude Desh Kaa Aam Naagrik’.
- The UDAN scheme has had two rounds of bidding by interested airlines; in the first round, the target was to make 31 ghost airports come alive while in the second, another 29 ghost airports were to see flight movement.
- Under the new UDAN scheme, state government and the centre are committed to providing subsidy as per a pre-decided formula as Viability Gap Funding (VGF).
- The subsidy amount for this flight was a little over Rs 3,300 per seat.
- Under the VGF formula worked out for UDAN flights, there is subsidy for 50 per cent of the seats on each flight, exclusive route monopoly for the airline for three years and a host of other concessions at the landing airports (cheaper fuel, airport charges etc).
- In turn, the airline operator is bound to cap fares for the UDAN seats at Rs 2500 per seat per hour or for about 500 kms of flying.
And how is the VGF being funded?
The aircraft taking off from the busy metro airports are expected to pay Rs 5000 to the government per departure so that UDAN fares are cross-subsidized. This levy is applicable only on “profitable” routes, according to government officials.
- India is the world’s fastest growing domestic aviation market and regional connectivity is critical if this high growth is to be sustained.
- Adding airport capacity at metros is important, but for high growth, developing regional connectivity is the way forward.
- Not all the underserved unserved (ghost) airports which were envisaged to become operational have been revived.
- Some of the airlines which came alive under UDAN have little previous experience, are short on funding and seem to be struggling with the economics and logistics of offering connectivity from remote locations.
- Then, even the quality of under UDAN is not quite upto mark.
- The new airlines are struggling with infrastructure issues and perhaps need wait a bit more to generate adequate demand.
- Another dampener for UDAN has been the non-starter helicopter services. No bids came in during the initial round because of insufficient VGF (potential bidders gave this feedback) and now, in the second round, regulations for scheduled helicopter operations are still being devised by the regulator.
- Till now, there have been no scheduled helicopter services anywhere in the country so norms have to be laid down from scratch.
The operators, who have bagged UDAN routes of their choice, may find it tough to sustain these after the VGF period of three years ends, especially since oil prices are already heading north. To make UDAN flights more attractive the government has already begun allowing waiver of the three-year exclusivity clause, if the operator working the route does not object, but still concerns on long term viability remain.
Chapter 8 – Targeting Economic Offenders
The present economic scenario worldwide is volatile. Coupled with this, our country has thrown open our doors to globalization, hence the tremors are felt here. The government felt that despite the existence of the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, a specific act targeting economic offenders is the need of the hour.
After Punjab National Bank was hit by the fraud Union Cabinet immediately approved the Bill to deliver a death knell on financial fraudsters and to further boost the confidence of the investors and bank customers in the banking system.
Fugitive Economic Offender means:
“Any individual against whom a warrant of arrest in relation to a Scheduled Offence has been issued by any court in India who (i) has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or (ii) being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.”
Rationale and Preamble:
- Many of these defaulting fraudsters cleverly leave the Indian shores anticipating punitive action before the law enforcing authorities and regulators get after them.
- The existing civil and criminal provisions of law are not entirely adequate to deal with these severe problems that have a critical impact on the economy.
- The legal mechanism of extradition is a tedious and long drawn out process that takes years.
- The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 12th March, 2018.
- The preamble of the Bill clearly says “To provide for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian Courts, to preserve the sanctity of the rule of law in India and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”
- This Bill brings under purview those cases where the total value of the economic offences is Rs. 100 crores or more.
- This bill is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to absconding fugitive economic offenders who will be forced to return to India and face trial for their offences. The Bill allows for attachment of the properties of the fugitive economic offender.
- The Bill proposes to give relief to the alleged offender if in case he returns to India prior to declaring him as a fugitive economic offender and if he submits to the appropriate jurisdictional court proceedings under the Act then proceedings under this Act would cease.
- Provision has been made for appointment of an Administrator to manage and dispose off the property in compliance with the provisions of law.
- This Bill is cogent with the earlier acts like Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Evidence Act, IPC etc.
- The Director means the Director appointed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 u/s 49(1). Deputy Director means the Deputy Director appointed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 u/s 49 (1).
- The Director or Deputy Director before a Special Court designated under PMLA 2002 to declare a person as fugitive economic offender. Application made should contain:
- the reasons to believe that an individual is a fugitive economic offender
- any information of his whereabouts
- list of properties believed to be proceeds of a crime for which confiscation is sought
- list of benami properties or foreign properties for which confiscation is sought and
- a list of persons having interest in these properties. (i.e. all such persons claiming or entitled to claim any interest in the property).
- On receipt of this application with all the details, the special court will issue a Notice (u/s 10 of the Bill) to the individual requiring him to appear at a specified place and time not less than six weeks from date of issue of the notice and state that failure to appear on the specified place and time shall result in the Declaration of the individual as a fugitive economic offender and the individual appears before the special court at the specified place and time, then the court will terminate its proceedings under the provisions of this Bill.
Salient features of the Bill:
- Application before the Special Court for a declaration that an individual is a fugitive economic offender
- Attachment of the property of a fugitive economic offender;
- Issue of a notice by the Special Court to the individual alleged to be a fugitive economic offender;
- Confiscation of the property of an individual declared as a fugitive economic offender resulting from the proceeds of crime;
- Confiscation of other property belonging to such offender in india and abroad, includin benami property;
- Disentitlement of the fugitive economic offender from defending any civil claim; and
- An Administrator will be appointed to manage and dispose of the confiscated property under the Act.
Powers of the Director:
The Director or any other officer authorised by him will have the powers vested in a Civil Court.
Declaration as Fugitive Economic Offender:
After hearing the application the Special Court may declare an individual as a fugitive economic offender. It may confiscate his properties which are proceeds of crime/benami properties in India or abroad or any other property in India or abroad. Upon confiscation all rights and title of the property will vest in the Central government free from all encumbrances.
Under Section 15 of the Act the Central Government may appoint as many of its officers (not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India) to perform the functions of an Administrator. The Administrator so appointed shall receive and manage the property in relation to which the order has been made. He shall take such measures as the Central Government may direct to dispose of the property vested in the Central Government. Provided that the Central Government or administrator shall not dispose of any property for a period of 90 days from date of order.
An appeal against the order of the Special Court shall lie before the High Court.
It is hoped that the Bill will help the Central Government recover the properties of those high net worth individuals who have fled from the country to avoid prosecution and other legal proceedings after committing economic frauds. The Exchequer will be bolstered after recovery from the sale proceeds. It is also expected to act as a deterrent to those who are contemplating or who are in the brink of committing economic offences and evading law.