UPSC Exam Preparation: Gist of Yojana June 2018 Issue: India On The Move
1. Development through Digitization
2. Making Development A Mass Movement
3.Offering A Protective Hand
4.Reflecting The True Spirit of Jan Andolan
5. New-age Skills – Generating Opportunities for Youth
6. Rationalising The Tax Structure
7. Making Quality Medicines Available to the Common Man
8. Multi-Pronged Approach to Bridge the Urban-Rural Divide
Development Through Digitization
For years, India has been a complex nation, making it difficult for the common man to access government services. The rapid adoption of digital technology across sectors is making things easy and eliminating all forms of human intervention. This has a major impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of governance.
The world is getting digitized a rapid pace. The pace of digital data generation, dropping costs of data storage and compute infrastructure have enabled digitalisation at unprecedented levels which is now being termed as the 4th Industrial revolution.
- In the last few years, governance in India across sectors has been redefined through business process reengineering, technology and data analytics. Technology is reshaping the way government is designing and implementing programmes.
- The government launched several major and minor e-governance and digitalisation programmers which were all later brought into the fold of “Digital India” programme. After the launch of 31 Mission Mode Projects under e- Kranti : National e-Governance Plan 2.0, due to growing adoption of new platforms such as “mobile” and “cloud ”,a need Programme with the vision of “Transforming e-Governance “. All e-Governance projects now follow the key principles of e- Kranti namely ‘ Transformation and not Translation’ ,Integrated Services and not Individual Services’, ‘Government Process Reengineering (GPR) to be mandatory in every MMP’, ‘ICT Infrastructure on Demand’, Cloud by Default’, Mobile First ‘, Fast Tracking Approvals’, ‘Language Localization’, ‘National GIS (Geo-Spatial Information System)’,Security and Electronic Data Preservation’.
- India has combined the use of unique biometric identifiers and financial inclusion for effectiveness in social benefits and to reduce the vast number of illegitimate beneficiaries. Under welfare programmes. The Direct benefit Transfer (DBT).
- The JAM (Jan Dhan – Aadhaar – Mobile) trinity forms the basic data infrastructure for the India Stack services consisting of e-KYC, eSign, instantaneous payments (UPI) and files storage (Dig locker).
- It has been the single largest factor for expansion of financial inclusion across the world. According to the Global Findex Report 2017 released by World Bank.
- 55 per cent of all bank accounts crated during 2014-17 were opened in India through the Jan Dhan Yojana.
- The proportion of Indian adults with bank accounts has increased from 53 per cent in 2014 to 80 per cent in 2017.
Public Finance and Public Procurement going Digital:
- The Public Financial Management System (PFMS) has led to the creation of a financial management platform for all plan schemes, a database of all recipient agencies, integration with core banking solution of banks, integration of state treasurers and tracking of fund flow to the lowest tier of implementation of plan schemes on real times basis. PFMS has also led to just in– time release of funds and efficient management in the use of funds.
- In 2016, Government e- marketplace (GeM) was launched for single window online procurement of commonly used, small value goods and services.
- GeM enables direct purchase, e – auctions, online registration facilities for government users, product sellers, and service providers and provides a market place for government purchase.
Pioneers in Innovative Consumer Payments:
- Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) have triggered a plethora of private sector – innovated apps, which have significantly eased citizens’ bill payments towards services provided by the government.
- Digitalisation of collection of direct taxes has led to huge benefits.
- The rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in unique indirect taxpayers compared with the pre – GST system.
- It has lead to a radical formalisation of the economy.
- In the Pro – Active Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI) programme, Prime Minister has used technology to cut across departmental silos and geographical boundaries to ensure speedy project implementation.
- The recently proposed Ayushman Bharat scheme will digitally link primary and community health centres with district hospitals.
Impact of Frontier Technologies:
- The government is exploring the use of new technologies and their potential adoption in government processes and schemes NITI Aayog, mandated with the task of developing the National Programme on Artificial Intelligence, has been engaged in discussion with ministries, academia, industry researchers and start-ups. This is a qualitative effort to understand the technologies, their utility for the economy and governance, risk they pose and their future development trajectory. Further, implementation.
- Proof – of – concept (PoC) projects and are being tested in areas of precision agriculture, using AI, land records on block chain, assistive healthcare diagnostics using AI etc. The effectiveness of the technologies in solving the feasibility of adopting frontier technologies in governance at a national scale.
- Rapid adoption of digital technology across sectors has a major impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of governance.
Making Development a Mass Movement
The government has reportedly announced that it has a 3 – pronged agenda: development, fast paced development, all round development. With the aim of promoting growth and development, the government has launched a slew of programmes: Jan Dhan Yojana, Digital India, Make in India, Skill India, MUDRA Bank Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Ayushman Bharat, and the list goes on and on.
Economist’s Perspective is that even the strongest proponents of markets believe that there are situations when market mechanism breaks down and therefore provide a rational for government intervention.
Addressing Market Failures:
- Strong push to infrastructure projects – not only to new projects is well meaning in so far as it addresses market failure in the provision of public goods .
- By being a founding member of the International Solar Alliance, the government has demonstrated a proactive role in the creation of global public goods too.
- Advancing the implementation of Bharat Stage emission norms from IV to VI with a view to curb the harmful effects of vehicular pollution or banning the sale and import of oxytocin to prevent its possible misuse, it is all about reducing the negative spill – overs.
- The government is also filling in for the ‘’ missing ‘’ markets, by rolling out programmes such as Jan Dhan Yojana aimed at financial inclusion, Housing for All programme aimed at subsidizing the cost of home loans for the lower – income class, Skill India Mission aimed at providing economic growth.
- Government has set for itself ambitious targets: doubling of farmers’ income by 2022, doubling of foreign tourist arrivals within next 3 years, generating 100 giga watts of electricity from solar by 2022
- The government is not only seeking to diversify sources of growth but also to democratize growth by unlocking the potential of people from all sections of society.
- In a market economy, one of the important functions of any government is to set standards and develop regulations so that markets can function well.
- Government has passed the Real Estate Act to bring greater transparency in the real estate transactions and to safeguard the interest of home buyers.
- Under its initiative – Minimum Government, Maximum Governance – the government in increasing the use of digital technology to substitute for human interface.
- To promote equity the government has pursued several initiatives that are specific to certain geographies as well as to certain population groups. Ex: Special emphasis on the development of the North – East (NE) region.
- The government has identified over 100 “aspirational” districts that are lagging on certain key development indicators. Special emphasis to accelerate the pace of development in these districts.
Schemes that promote equity among specific Population sub – Groups:
- Ujjwala Yojana under which free LPG (clean cooking fuel) connection is provided to women form BPL families.
- National Health Protection Scheme seeks to insulate the poor and the vulnerable families from the hospitalization expenses during illness.
- To improve governance and minimize leakages in cash incentives, Direct Benefit Transfer scheme has been put in place.
A newer rational comes from behavioural economics that justifies the role of government in influencing peoples, behaviour and choices.
Offering A Protective Hand
Women children make up two –thirds of our population. No country or culture can make real progress unless it upholds the rights of women and children, and gives them an equal place in society. Empowerment and protection are equally important and intrinsically linked. One cannot be achieved without the other. Only if women in India, feel safe and secure will they be able to completely participate in public life and contribute to economic growth. Similarly, children will not be able to grow positively if they are not assured violence free environment.
Listed below are a few initiatives of the government:
A change in mindset will help in bringing about a safe and positive environment.
- Bati Bachao Beti Padhao programme has been extended to all the districts of the country. Districts of initial intervention are showing an improvement in Sex Ratio at Birth.
- Gender Champions is being implemented through educational institutions to help students build an understanding of gender and prevent them from acting in ways detrimental to women and children.
Encouraging Reporting and Supporting Survivors:
- A nationwide network of 182 One Stop Centres (OSCs) under the Nirbhaya Fund has been set-up. OSCs offer a single window to services for women facing violence such as police, medical, legal and psychological assistance along with a secure place to stay for a few days.
- 181 women helpline is a universal toll – free number providing emergency and non- emergency response to women in distress.
- 1098 Child Line is a nationwide number for children in distress situations.
- 33 per cent reservation for women in the police force is likely to encourage especially women and children to approach the police and report crimes.
- An online portal ‘POCSO e-BOX ‘, has been set up to make reporting of traumatic and sensitive experience easier for children,.
Building a Strong Legal Framework:
- Ministry has recently drafted the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill about the bill 2018.
- It proposes to tackle trafficking by creating a strong legal, economic and social environment for victims by establishing dedicated institutions at District, State and National level.
- Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
- The Ministry is pursuing the proper implementation of closely monitoring the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
- Online portal ‘She-BOX’ has been launched for online complaints of sexual harassment at workplace for all women in the country.
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005 is being pushed across the country.
- Implementation of the Dowry Prohibition Act is being pursued vigorously. The Act defines dowry and penalizes the giving and taking of dowry.
- A media campaign on these laws has been formulated and is being rolled out over television, radio and online mediums.
Funding Innovative Projects:
- The Nirbhaya Fund is funding the roll-out of comprehensive plans to make 8 major cities in the county safer for women by attacking different aspects such as street lighting, improved policing etc. These cities will serve as models for others to follow.
- Enhancement of forensic capabilities of labs is also being taken up.
Leveraging IT for Protection:
- A Central Reporting Mechanism is being created to work as a hotline for anyone to report cyber-crime and easier processes are being put in place to remove Child Pornography, Rape and Gang rape imagery etc.
- ‘Khoya Paya’ – Information on missing or sighted children is posted to help identify them and reunite children with their families.
Rehabilitating Survivors of Violence:
- Central Victim Compensation Scheme under the Nirbhaya Fund provides additional assistance to State Governments to compensate women who have faced violence.
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 has included acid attack as a kind of disability which allows acid attack victims to avail disability benefits.
Covering the Last Mile:
- To ensure that the government’s protective mechanisms also reach rural women, the Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme has been recently launched.
Reflecting The True Spirit of Jan Andolan
Clean water and safe sanitation are critical to survival, and their absence can impact health food security and livelihoods of families across the world. As a basic requirement and a human right, sanitation campaigns have been rolled out by successive governments over the past few decades. These campaigns attempt to work towards:
- Achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), etc.
- The Swachh Bharat Mission, is an unprecedented one.
- It is the largest behavioural change campaign in the world. The programme aims to achieve “Swachh Bharat” by 2019 by bringing about a general improvement in the quality of life in rural areas, accelerate sanitation coverage, motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices and focus on Solid and Liquid Waste Management, among others.
- Since 2nd October 2014,the rural sanitation coverage in India has more than doubled.
- An output indicator of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) is toilet usage and limiting Open Defecation.
- Unless a village achieves a completely Open Defecation Free status, the oral – faecal contamination route continues. Thus the path to a healthier tomorrow is not an individual one but the community must work together and resolve towards habits.
- Important component of SBM – Grameen is Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLRM). To implement SLWM initiatives economically and efficiently, ownership a grass root level and community involvement at all stages is critical. One initiative for the same is the rolling out comprehensive self-assessment tool called Village Swachhata Index (VSI) developed to measure cleanliness. The VSI arrives at a Swachhata score based on percentage of households with access to safe toilets and usage, littering around the households and public places, and stagnant waste water around the households. The democratic self-assessment is made in Gram Sabha by the village people themselves.
- It has been observed repeatedly that when the community invests its own resources in sanitation interventions, the interventions are much more sustainable. Considered the toilet business the Swachh Bharat Mission goes beyond mere construction and bases its foundation in behaviour change.
- While behavioural change is intrinsic to India’s Swachh dream, it also remains the biggest challenge.
- The Mission looks to setting an example for the rest of the world to move towards improving sanitation for all and achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 in mission mode, ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
New Age-Skills – Generating Opportunities for Youth
India’s average age is 29. With swift technological advances, skilling the youth at scale with speed and standards is the key to yield the results of demographic dividend.
Can same strategy be followed across the country?
Our country has significant disparity in demographic profile of our youth population. There is a higher median age in the range of 29-31 years in southern states. States like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar have a low median age of 20-22 years amounting to a rising working age population. Thus, the paradigms of skilling youth require different approaches for access and relevance.
Reaping Fruits of Demographic Dividend:
- Industrial Training Institutes (ITSs) have a significant role in meeting the industry demand for skilled manpower.
- Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Pradhan Mantri Kaushal kemdras (PMKK), Recognition of Prior Learnig (RPL) and National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) can be realized to the full potential while the States and Centre work in partnerships .
- Power and Skill Development Miniseries have joined hands to launch a skill development programme to speed up the implementation of the Saubhagya Yojana.
Notables schemes for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship:
- Pradhan Mantri kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) – initiative by the Government of India to train youth to prepare them for global markets through industry relevant training.
- Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY – NULM) – sustainable livelihood through skilling and up-skilling of urban poor for salaried employment or self – employment opportunities.
- Director General of Training –Modular Employable Skills (DGT-MES) – scheme for school dropouts and existing workers in the unorganized sector for improving gainful employment through vocational training and apprenticeship programmes.
- Deen Dayal Upadyaya Grameen kaushalya Yojana (DDU – GKY) – Placement linked skill development programme for the rural youth.
- National skill Development Corporation (NSDC) –PPP model under Ministry of Sill Development and Entrepreneurship that aims to promote skill development by creation of large number and quality –oriented training institutes.
- National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) – autonomous body under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; coordinates skill development efforts of the Government and private sector for achieving skilling targets by 2022.
- Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) – initiative of Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India that aims to provide opportunities to youth from rural areas to upgrade their skills and provide placement support.
- Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) – initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by providing a platform for idea generation and incubator and mentor support.
- Start-up India – scheme to boost Indian start-up ecosystem. The action plan of this initiative is based on simplification and handholding of Start-ups, funding support and Incentives, industry – academia partnership and incubation support.
New Age Skilling in the Realm of Industry 4.0:
Industry 4.0 is characterized by increasing digitization, connected machines, amalgamation of emerging technologies, business analytics and cyber physical systems. This is the concept of ‘Smart Factory’ where machines talk to each other through sensors. This leads to productivity enhancement and resource optimization. In this regime, low – skilled jobs will be eliminated, but an increase in capacity will create new jobs requiring higher levels of skills. With fast emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution in India, emerging skills in domains like, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Robotics, Big Data Analytics and 3D Printing will be in much demand.
What has been done by the Government in this direction?
- Government has doubled the Digital India budget.
- There are plans to set up Centres of Excellence for research training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing big data analysis and IOT.
- STARTUP India programme is generating large scale employment and is building a vibrant ecosystem for nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Eligible start-ups are exempted from income tax levy on share premium received as well as given 100 per cent deduction of the profits and gains from income for there out of seven consecutive assessment years.
- Government of India has come out with a new draft for telecom policy – National Digital Communications Policy 2018 with the aim to create a roadmap for emerging technologies.
What more needs to be done?
- Re –skilling or up – skilling models of the existing workforce have to be designed to equip theme with the changed task/job roles.
- For this a collaborative effort between ministries, state governments and industry bodies is required to train youth for the future jobs.
- There are doubts that artificial intelligence and internet of things will kill many jobs, but historically it is observed that every new wave of technology has created more jobs.
- Integration of Industry 4.0 with Initiatives like ‘ Make in India’, ‘Skill India’ , ‘ start-up India’, ‘ Stand Up India’ and ‘ Digital India; are mechanisms that will create new opportunities.
- The IT sector is going through a period of disruption that features protectionism, automation, and global challenges; all this is a great opportunity for our technology savvy youth.
- There are rising tends in enrolments of online courses like big date, machine learning and cloud computing. Many companies have started accelerator programmes to foster talent to get innovative solutions for the problems they face.
Nurturing Innovation Climate:
- Strategic linkages between Academia Industry – Government can boost innovations and R & D in institutions.
- Youth capital management requires providing education and employable skills.
- A right exposure to seed funding, mentoring, network support and technology can unleash the potential.
- India is the sixth – largest manufacturing nation. It has also improved its rank on the Global Competitiveness Index and Global Innovation Index. There is optimism for the prospect of skills and job creation and combination of apt policies, choice of right skills, development of human capital and academia – industry linkages can translate the potential of youth in to real outcomes.
The Road Ahead:
- As per World Bank, India is the fastest growing major economy in the world and it will continue to sustain up to another decade.
- In line with futuristic skill demands and industry 4.0, the skills agenda has to be revisited as global manufacturing will see structural shifts.
- Cross functional skills will be the critical factor of production and driver of competitiveness; continuous employee re-skilling or up-skilling is the need of hour.
- For this the strategy that leapfrogs has to be put in place that is not a linear, but progressive transformation.
- The government should try to push the transformational change through various mode is and schemes and our youth is flexible enough to adapt to new opportunities.
Rationalising the Tax Structure
Any evolving economy needs massive investments from both within the country and overseas. But such investments will not come that easily unless it has a taxation system that is just, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory and motivating enough to enthuse investors to put their monies into productive purposes. This has been realised world over and most developed economies took to a very progressive taxation system particularly the United States and Australia. India is no exception. Successive governments looked at reforms aimed at expanding the tax base and rationalising the tax structure.
- Many research papers on the Indian taxation system broadly indicate one thing – that the Indian tax system has come a long way from the narrow based, complicated and confiscatory system to the one that is far more efficient.
- Over the years, the thrust and direction of reforms have been taken to improve revenue collection while minimising distortions.
- One of the first major reforms in the taxation system was to convert the state level sales tax into VAT. The change in focus paid rich dividends to the tax administration.
- In corporate tax, excise, customs and sales taxes, revenue concentration diesel and petrol had high efficiency costs. The personal income tax continued to be narrow based. Reform in the sales tax just begun and a lot remained to be done to evolve destination – based retail VAT.
Taxation Policy Reforms:
- Before 1991 India’s overall tax structure had been broadly inefficient and quite inequitable.
- The consumption tax base was narrow.
- Selected export duties reduced the international competitiveness of traditional exports.
- At the sub – national level, state sales taxes caused heavy excess burdens due to input taxes getting built into the prices of final commodities, resulting in tax – on – tax, or cascading taxes.
Sweeping Changes in Tax structure:
- When India had embarked on economic reforms, many developing countries had already emerged from the reform process with much lower and fewer income tax rates. India also legislated comparable rates of 10, 20 1nd 30% in 1997-98.
- Both the rates and their dispersion were reduced on efficiency grounds.
- The scaling back of corporate income tax rates reflected, the twin objectives of administrative feasibility and better tax compliance, but was forces of globalization and the increased international movement of capital.
- In India, corporate income tax rates for both foreign and domestic companies were reduced to 35% and 40% respectively.
Central Excises and Customs:
- Central excise essentially operates as a VAT that has evolved over almost two decades, with a small beginning n 1986 – 1987, when a VAT-type credit mechanism for selected raw materials was introduced for the production of specified goods. In 1994-1995, capital goods were made creditable.
- The emerging quasi-VAT structure was termed Modified VAT or MODVAT
- With a further effort to reduce the main rates to only two – 8 and 16 per cent – it was renamed the Central VAT, or CENVAT, in 2001.
- For any new tax policy reform to succeed, three elements were important, expanding the taxpayer base, computerisation, implementation of the state – level VAT.
- One of the biggest achievements in central tax administration was the impressive expansion of the taxpayer net for income tax.
- The government appointed in succession two committees under two very senior bureaucrats to come up with a plan that would substantially overhaul the taxation system and bring it on par or tune it with the international taxation system or rates. So the Raja Cheillah committee and the Vijay Kelkar committee came into being. Their recommendations are historic.
The Raja Chelliah Committee:
- The taxpayer services should be extended both in quality and quantity and taxpayers should get easy access through internet and email.
- PAN (Permanent Account Number) should be expanded and it should cover all citizens.
- Block assessment of search and seizure cases should be abolished.
- To clear the backlog, the department should outsource the data entry work.
- All returns and issue of refunds should be completed in a four month period. Dispatch of refunds should be outsourced.
- Government should establish a Tax Information Network to modernize, simplify and rationalize tax collection, particular TDS and TCS.
- Abolish the requirement of Tax Clearance Certificate on leaving the country.
- Empower CBDT with appropriate administrative and financial powers.
Vijay Kelkar Committee:
The latest impetus to direct tax reforms in India came with the recommendations of the Task Force on Direct and Indirect Taxes under the chairmanship of Vijay Kelkar in 2002.
Its Key Recommendations were:
Administration of Direct Tax:
- The tax payers’ service should be extended both in quality and quantity and tax payers should get easy access through internet and email.
- PAN should be extended to cover all the citizens.
- Block assessment of search and seizure cases should be abolished.
- The department must outsource the data entry work to clear the backlog
- All returns and issue of refunds should be completed in a four month period. Dispatch of refunds should be outsourced.
- A Tax Information Network should be established.
- Abolish the requirement of Tax Clearance Certificate on leaving the country.
- Empower CBDT with appropriate administrative and financial powers.
Personal Income Tax:
- Increase in exemption limit to Rs.1 lakh for the general categories of taxpayers and further exemption for senior citizens and widows.
- Rationalize income tax slabs, eliminate surcharge on personal income tax.
- Incentivise home loans by providing interest subsidy on home loans @2 per cent.
- Increase deduction under Section 80 CCC for contribution to pension funds.
- Reduce the Corporate tax to 30 per cent for domestic companies and 35 per cent for foreign companies.
- The listed companies should be exempted from tax on dividends and capital gains.
- Increase rate of depreciation for plant and machinery.
- Abolish Minimum Alternate Tax.
- Abolition of wealth tax.
- The DTC and GST have been the biggest reforms initiated by the Government in the direct and indirect tax regime respectively
Key Direct Tax Reforms:
Tax Information Network (TIN)
- On behalf of the Income Tax Department, the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) established Tax Information Network (TIN). This is a source of the countrywide tax related data. The basic idea behind establishing TIN was to modernise collection, processing, monitoring and accounting of direct taxes using information technology.
Electronic Return Acceptance And Consolidation System (ERACS)
- OLTAS is used for uploading to the central system the details of tax deposited in numerous tax collecting branches across the country every day. Central PAN Ledger Generation System (CPLGS).
e-TDS & e-TCS
- TDS refers to Tax Deduction at Source. The third parties deduct tax at source and then deposit it at pre-determined bank branched.
- Under the scheme named “Electronic Filing of Returns of Tax Collected at Source Scheme, 2005; the corporate and Government deductors have to pay electronically or physically to NSDL.
Other Initiatives in Direct Taxation:
eSahyog : Paperless Assessments
- CBDT recently came up with a proposal for paperless income tax assessment over emails.
Sevottam: Efficient Grievance Redressal
- To bring new life to the sluggish grievance redressal system, the department is using ‘Sevottam’ Platform that connects all income tax offices in the country. The idea is to address the queries and grievances in real time.
- The IT department is working towards processing and sending tax refunds within 10 working days.
Pre-filled ITR Forms
- The Department is now taking an initiative to offer pre-filled forms which are automatically populated with user/taxpayer data and are downloaded with most information filled already.
- To increase coverage of the PAN
Indirect Tax Reforms:
Reduction In Customs Duties
- In 1990, the customs duty on non-agricultural products was around 128 per cent. It was brought down gradually. Currently, the average customs duties are 11-12 per cent; however, they range from 0 to 150 per cent.
- Service tax was first introduced on some limited services in 1994-95 at 7 per cent. The rate was gradually increased and so was the number of taxable services. Currently, we pay 14 per cent service tax on around 100 services.
Goods And Services Tax
- The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is so far the biggest tax reform in the country.
Making Quality Medicines Available to the Common Man
It is an irony that even after 70 years of Independence, only around 40 per cent of the population are able to afford branded medicines.However, the bright side of the picture is, India is one of the leading countries to export world class generic medicines to around 200 countries.
Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariojana (PMBJP):
- PMBJP by Department of Pharmaceuticals Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers is a scheme designed to bridge the dichotomy. The intention is to provide health security to our country-men.
- The scheme, is being implemented through the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI).
- In September 2015, the ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme’ was revamped as ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana ’(PMJAY).
- To give impetus to the scheme and for greater outreach, the scheme was again renamed as ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’(PMBJP) in December 2016 which was followed by a media campaign in national and regional newspapers inviting individuals to participate in the scheme.
Silent features of the PMBJP:
- Ensure access to quality medicines for all sections of the population especially for the poor and the deprived ones.
- Extend coverage of quality generic medicines so as to reduce and thereby redefine the unit cost of treatment per person.
- Create awareness about generic medicines through education and publicity to counter the perception that quality is synonymous with high price.
- Be a public programme involving Government, PSUs, Private Sector, NGO, Societies, Co-operative Bodies and other Institutions.
- Create demand for generic medicine by improving access to better healthcare through low treatment cost and easy availability wherever needed in all therapeutic categories.
- Generate employment by engaging individual entrepreneurs In opening of Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
Benefits to the Entrepreneurs:
- Financial support of Rs.2.5 lakhs shall be extended where space is provided free of cost by State Government to operating agency.
- PMBJK opened by any individual entrepreneurs shall be extended an incentive up to Rs. 2.5 lakhs.
- SC/ST and differently abled persons shall be benefited with free medicines worth of R s. 50,000/- in the beginning.
- 700+ medicines and 154 surgical and consumables available in the basket for sale through. PMBJK.
- Implemented End to End supply system for ensuring better supply.
- PMBJP has drastically brought down the prices of quality medicines and made medicines available within the reach of large section of population especially the poor.
Multi-Pronged Approach to Bridge the Urban-Rural Divide
Rural development is vital for the development of Indian economy. Rural development also envisages growth of non -farm sector and development of infrastructural facilities in rural areas. The sector has been witnessing a gradual structural change in recent years.
National Agriculture Policy 2000:
- The first ever National Agriculture Policy announced in 2000 sought to utilize the vast untapped growth potential of India Agriculture, strengthen rural infrastructure to support faster agricultural development, promote value addition, accelerate the growth of agro-business to create employment in rural areas, secure standard of living for the farm families including agricultural labourers’ households, discourage migration to urban areas and face the challenges arising out of economic liberalization and globalization.
- The policy gave high priority to rural electrification, development of market infrastructure and setting up of agro-processing units to reduce wastage of agriculture and horticulture produce and enhance value addition to crate off – farm employment in rural areas.
National Food Security Mission (NFSM):
- The national Food Security Mission was launched by the Government of India during 2007-08.
- NFSM aims at increasing production and productivity of wheat, rice and pulses on a sustainable basis so as to ensure food security of the country.
- The focused and target oriented implementation of mission initiatives has resulted in bumper production of rice, wheat and pulses.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY):
- It is one of the important flagship programmes of Government of India in agriculture and allied sectors.
- The scheme was introduced in the year 2007-08.
- The ultimate aim is to significantly increase the productivity and eventually maximize the returns of farmers.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):
- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was launched in 2016 with an objective to provide a comprehensive insurance cover against failure of crops and help in stabilizing the income of the farmer.
- It also encourages farmers to adopt innovative agricultural practices and ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.
- PMFBY contributes to food security, crop diversification and enhancing growth and competitiveness of agriculture sector besides protecting farmers from production risks.
National Agriculture Market (NAM):
- National agriculture Market is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
- The NAM Portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services.
Soil Health Management (SHM):
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is implemented with the objective
- To make agriculture more productive, sustainable and climate resilient
- To conserve natural resources
- To adopt comprehensive soil health management practices
- To optimize utilization of water resources etc.
- Soil Health Management (SHM) is one of the most important interventions under NMSA.
- SHM aims at
- Promoting Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) through judicious use of chemical fertilisers including secondary and micro nutrients in conjunction with organic manures and bio-fertilisers for improving soil health and its productivity
- Strengthening of soil and fertiliser testing facilities to provide soil test based recommendations to farmers for improving soil fertility
- Ensuring quality control requirements of fertilisers, bio-fertilisers and organic fertilisers under Fertiliser Control Order, 1985
- Up gradation of skill and knowledge of soil testing laboratory staff, extension staff and farmers the through training and demonstrations
- Promoting organic farming practices.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY):
- The major objective of PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance the adoption of precision – irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop) enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal waste water for peri-urban agriculture and attract grater private investment in precision irrigation system.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY):
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana was launched in order to address the critical importance of soil and water for improving agricultural production.
- The government supports and improves the organic farming practices prevalent in India.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY):
- National Mission for Financial Inclusion was launched in 2014 to ensure access to financial services namely, Banking/Savings &Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, and Pension in an affordable.
- It mostly targets people who are below poverty line and people who don’t have a bank account.
Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana (DAY-NRLM):
- National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India in 2011.
- In 2015, the program was renamed Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana (DAY-NRLM).
- Aided in part through investment support by the World Bank, the Mission aims at crating efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor, enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.
- DAY-NRLM believes in harnessing the innate capabilities of the poor and complements them with capacities to participate in the growing economy of the country.
Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhaiyan (RGSA):
- The Rashrtiya Gram Swaraj Abhyan strengthens the Panchayati Raj system across the country and addresses critical gaps that constrain its success.
- RGSA seeks to
- Enhance capacities and effectiveness of Panchayts and the Gram Sabhas.
- Enable democratic decision – making and accountability in Panchayats and promote people’s participation.
- Strengthen the institutional structure for knowledge creation and capacity building of Panchayats.
- Promote devolution of powers and responsibilities to Panchayats according to the spirit of the Constitution and PESA Act. Strengthen Gram Sabhas to function effectively as the basic forum of people’s participation, transparency and accountability within the Panchayat system and create and strengthen democratic local self-government in areas where Pancyats do not exist.
- Mission Antyodaya is a convergence framework for measureable effective outcomes on parameters that transform lives and livelihoods.
- It is an effort to address the multidimensionality of poverty in a time bound manner through a convergence of resources both financial and human to provide an opportunity for transformational changes.
- The vision of the scheme is “Poverty Free India by 2022” by all round development in human development, social development, ecological development.
- Mission Antyodaya aims at “Poverty Quit India “.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS):
- MGNREGS is a social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’.
- The MGNREGA was initiated with the objective of “enhancing livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year, to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- MGNREGA is implemented mainly by Gram Panchayats (GPs) on labour-intensive tasks like creating infrastructure for water harvesting, drought relief and flood control.
- The year 2017-18, is marked by the highest ever budget allocation of Rs.48000 cr. To ensure that MGNREGA workers receive their wages on time, National Electronic Fund Management System (NeFMS) has been put in place.
- Rural development implies both the economic betterment of people with better prospects for economic development, vibrant agricultural sector, increased participation of people in the rural development programmes and greater access to markets are needed.
- A multi-pronged approach for bridging the urban – rural divide by upgrading the standard of living of people has been adopted in rural areas.
- These initiatives made the people living in rural India much better than what they were a decade ago.