19 November 2019: PIB Summary & Analysis

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November 19th, 2019 PIB:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Cultivation of Medicinal Plants along the Banks of River Ganga
2. Ayurveda Medicines for Treating Lifestyle Diseases
3. PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana
4. Organic farming in the country
5. National Food Security Mission (NFSM) – Oilseeds and Oil Palm
6. Farmers’ Clubs
7. Prevention of Fraudulent Banking Practices
8. Decline in Auto Sales
9. Modernisation of State Police Force
10. ISA – Steel Conclave 2019

Cultivation of Medicinal Plants along the Banks of River Ganga

Context:

For promoting the cultivation of medicinal plants, the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India is implementing “Medicinal Plants” component under “Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission” (NAM) since 2015-16 throughout the country.

Details:

  • As per the operational NAM scheme guidelines, the cultivation of medicinal plants is supported in different States based on the State Annual Action Plan (SAAP) submitted by concerned State and approved by the NAM Directorate of Ministry of AYUSH.
  • Under the NAM scheme, the Ministry of AYUSH has supported the cultivation of medicinal plants in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal through which the river Ganga flows.
  • The Ministry has also supported the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Lucknow for a project titled “Dissemination of Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) agrotechnology in flood-prone contaminated area of Ganga river of Uttar Pradesh”.
    • Under the project, Vetiver plantation has been done in the catchment area of river Ganga in different locations of Kanpur and Varanasi districts.

Read more on the National AYUSH Mission (NAM) at the linked article.

Ayurveda Medicines for Treating Lifestyle Diseases

Context:

Ministry of AYUSH in collaboration with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has implemented a project namely, Integration of AYUSH (Ayurveda) with National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio-vascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) program in the identified districts.

Details:

  • The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), under the Ministry of AYUSH has developed AYUSH-82, a formulation through extensive research methodologies and the same has been commercialised for further benefit of the public.
  • CCRAS has developed AYUSH-QOL-2C for improving the quality of life of breast & cervical cancer patients in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi and St. John’s Medical College (Bengaluru).
  • In addition to this, CCRAS has validated 82 classical Ayurvedic formulations and 11 new drugs on more than 32 diseases conditions and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, bronchial asthma, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), iron deficiency anaemic, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, haemorrhoids, computer vision syndrome, obesity, etc.
  • To encourage the export of AYUSH products, under Central Sector Scheme for promotion of International Cooperation (IC Scheme), incentives are provided to AYUSH drug manufacturers, entrepreneurs, AYUSH institutions and hospitals, etc. for the registration of AYUSH products with regulatory bodies of different countries such as Food and Drug Administration of United States (USFDA), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency of United Kingdom (UK-MHRA), Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate of Canada (NHPD), etc.

About the Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of International Cooperation (IC Scheme):

  • The International Cooperation (IC) Scheme was implemented during the IX, X and XI Plan.
  • Objectives of the scheme:
    • To promote and strengthen awareness and interest about AYUSH Systems of medicine.
    • To facilitate International promotion, development and recognition of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa (Tibetan system of medicine) and Homoeopathy.
    • To foster interaction of stakeholders and market development of AYUSH at the international level.
    • To support the international exchange of experts and information for the cause of AYUSH systems.
    • To give a boost to AYUSH products in the international market.
    • To establish AYUSH academic chairs in foreign countries.
  • Components of the scheme:
    • International exchange of experts & officers.
    • Incentive to drug manufacturers, entrepreneurs, AYUSH institutions, etc. for the international propagation of AYUSH by participating in international exhibitions, trade fairs, road shows, etc. and registration of AYUSH products at regulatory bodies of different countries such as USFDA/EMEA/UK-MHRA/NHPD/TGA, etc. for exports.
    • Support for international market development and AYUSH promotion-related activities.
    • Translation and publication of AYUSH literature/books in foreign languages.
    • Establishment of AYUSH Information Cells and strengthening of Health Centres/Institutions in foreign countries with AYUSH equipment, etc.
    • International fellowship/scholarship programme for foreign nationals for undertaking AYUSH courses in premier institutions in India.

Ministry of AYUSH:

  • The Ministry of AYUSH was originally set up as a separate Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy (ISM&H) in 1995 with the mandate to formulate policies for the development of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), their propagation and promotion within and outside the country.
  • The Department of ISM&H was renamed as the Department of AYUSH in 2003.
  • In November 2014, the Department of AYUSH was elevated as a separate full-fledged Ministry of AYUSH.

PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana

Context:

The Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare stated that over 18 lakh farmers registered under the PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana.

About the PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana (PM-KMY):

  • Under this Scheme, a minimum fixed pension of Rs.3,000/- is provided to the eligible small and marginal farmers, subject to certain exclusion clauses, on attaining the age of 60 years.
  • It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme, with entry age of 18 to 40 years.
  • The beneficiary can opt to become a member of the scheme by subscribing to a Pension Fund managed by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
  • The beneficiary is required to make a monthly contribution of between Rs.55/- to Rs.200/- to the Pension Fund, depending on the age of entry into the scheme, with the provision of equal contribution by the Central Government.
  • Exit from the scheme may be voluntarily or on the failure of contribution or on demise. On exit from the scheme, the beneficiary will receive his/her accumulated share and the Government’s contribution will be deposited in the LIC Fund.
  • After the subscriber’s death, the spouse or heir shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension as family pension, provided he/she is not already an SMF beneficiary of the scheme.
  • On the death of the subscriber during the period of contribution, the spouse shall have the option of continuing the scheme by paying a regular contribution.
  • All small and marginal farmers in the country, who are of the age of 18 years and above and up to the age of 40 years, and who do not fall within the purview of the exclusion criteria, are eligible to avail the benefits of this scheme.
  • LIC is the pension fund manager for the scheme.

Organic farming in the country

Context:

27.77 lakh hectares covered under organic farming in the country: Union Agriculture Minister

Details:

  • The Government of India has been encouraging organic farming in the country through dedicated schemes namely:
    • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY- Centrally Sponsored scheme, in all states & UTs)
    • Mission Organic Value Chain Development of North East Region (MOVCDNER -Central Sector scheme for North Eastern Region)
  • Both the schemes aim at the promotion of cluster/Farmers Producer Organization (FPO) based chemical-free, low input cost, sustainable organic farming and support farmers from input procurement to market linkages.
  • Organic Farming has also been supported under other schemes:
    • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
    • Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH): Under the protected cultivation component of MIDH, assistance is provided for the creation of polyhouses which protects the plants from adverse climatic conditions and provides an appropriate amount of light, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, etc. to achieve optimum yield with excellent quality.
    • Network Project on Organic Farming under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

For more on Organic Farming in India, check Gist of Kurukshetra (May 2019 Issue).

National Food Security Mission (NFSM) – Oilseeds and Oil Palm

Context:

The Government is implementing the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) – Oilseeds and Oil Palm to increase production of oilseeds and domestic availability of edible oils.

About the National Food Security Mission (NFSM):

  • The National Food Security Mission (NFSM), a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in 2007.
  • The idea behind this scheme was to launch a Food Security Mission comprising rice, wheat and pulses to increase the annual production of rice by 10 million tonnes, wheat by 8 million tonnes and pulses by 2 million tonnes by the end of the Eleventh Plan (2011-12).
  • The Mission met with an overwhelming success and achieved the targeted additional production of rice, wheat and pulses.
  • The government decided to continue the programme beyond the 12th Plan i.e., 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • The National Food Security Mission (NFSM) has eight components:
    • NFSM – Rice
    • NFSM – Wheat
    • NFSM – Pulses
    • NFSM – Coarse Cereals (Maize, Barley)
    • NFSM-Sub Mission on Nutri Cereals
    • NFSM – Commercial Crops
    • NFSM – Oilseeds and Oil Palm
    • NFSM – Seed Village Programme
  • Objectives of NFSM:
    • Increasing the production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals (maize and barley) and nutri-cereals through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a sustainable manner in the identified districts of the country.
    • Restoring soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level.
    • Enhancing farm level economy (i.e. farm profits) to restore confidence amongst the farmers.

About the NFSM – Oilseeds and Oil Palm:

  • This scheme is under implementation in 29 States and has three subcomponents namely, Oilseeds, Oil palm and Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs).
  • The main objective is to increase oilseeds production & productivity and area expansion under oil palm & TBOs cultivation.

Oilseeds Agriculture in India:

  • India is one of the major oilseeds grower and importer of edible oils.
  • India’s vegetable oil economy is the world’s fourth-largest after USA, China & Brazil.
  • Oilseeds account for 13% of the Gross Cropped Area, 3% of the Gross National Product and 10% value of all agricultural commodities.
  • The diverse agro-ecological conditions in the country are favourable for growing 9 annual oilseed crops, which include 7 edible oilseeds (groundnut, rapeseed & mustard, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower and niger) and two non-edible oilseeds (castor and linseed).
  • Oilseeds cultivation is undertaken across the country in about 27 million hectares mainly on marginal lands, of which 72% is confined to rain-fed farming.
  • During the last few years, the domestic consumption of edible oils has increased substantially and has touched the level of 18.90 million tonnes in 2011-12 and is likely to increase further.
  • A substantial portion of our requirement of edible oil is met through import of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Farmers’ Clubs

Context:

The Farmers’ Clubs programme is being implemented for the mutual benefit of the banks and the farmers.

Details:

  • Farmers’ Clubs (FCs) promoted by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) are grass root level informal fora organized by the rural branches of banks, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), etc.
  • The major objective is to promote “Development through credit, technology transfer, awareness and capacity building” of the farmers.
  • The clubs are beneficial for banks as well as line departments of the State Government for convergence of the programmes/schemes sponsored/implemented by them.

Prevention of Fraudulent Banking Practices

Context:

The Ministry of Finance has taken a number of steps to eliminate fraudulent banking practices.

Details:

  • The Government has issued a “Framework for timely detection, reporting, investigation, etc. relating to large value bank frauds” to Public Sector Banks (PSBs) for systemic and comprehensive checking of legacy stock of their non-performing assets (NPAs), which provides that:
    • All accounts exceeding Rs. 50 crore, if classified as NPAs, be examined by banks from the angle of possible fraud, and a report placed before the bank’s Committee for Review of NPAs on the findings of this investigation;
    • Examination be initiated for wilful default immediately upon reporting fraud to RBI; and
    • Report on the borrower be sought from the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau in case an account turns NPA.
  • Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 has been enacted to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. Read more on the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act in CNA dated 6th Jan, 2019.
  • PSBs have been advised to obtain certified copy of the passport of the promoters/directors and other authorised signatories of companies availing loan facilities of more than Rs. 50 crore and, decide on publishing photographs of wilful defaulters, in terms of the instructions of RBI and as per their Board-approved policy and to strictly ensure rotational transfer of officials/employees. The heads of PSBs have also been empowered to issue requests for issue of Look Out Circulars.
  • For enforcement of auditing standards and ensuring the quality of audits, the Government has established the National Financial Reporting Authority as an independent regulator.
  • Instructions/advisories have been issued by Government to PSBs to decide on publishing photographs of wilful defaulters, in terms of RBI’s instructions and as per their Board-approved policy, and to obtain certified copy of the passport of the promoters/directors and other authorised signatories of companies availing loan facilities of more than Rs. 50 crore.

Decline in Auto Sales

Context:

There is a cyclical slowdown across sectors including the automotive sector since the last few months.

Details:

There are various financial and regulatory causes together with perceptional reasons for the slump in automobile sales:

  • Reduction in finance availability to the auto sector.
  • Increase in axel load limit for commercial vehicles by up to 25% expanded freight capacity leading to shrinkage of new vehicle demand.
  • Increase in vehicle cost due to the Supreme Court order for upfront collection of long-term 3rd party insurance premium for 3 years (new cars) and 5 years (new two-wheelers).
  • Increase in collateral for dealers from 25% to 60% resulted in reduction in inventory finance to dealers.
  • Postponement of purchase in anticipation of discounts by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for clearing of stock with BS IV norms (situation similar to the transition from BS III to BS IV).

Some of the steps taken by the Government to counter the slowdown in the automotive sector:

  • Reduction in Corporate Tax to 22%.
  • Continuation of registration of ICE and EV in future.
  • Scrappage policy under consideration.
  • Proposed increase in registration of new cars deferred till June 2020.
  • Funds worth Rs. 70,000 crores released to PSU banks.
  • Linking of repo rate to interest charged for vehicle purchased.

Modernisation of State Police Force

Context:

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs informed that the Government of India has approved the implementation of the umbrella scheme of ‘Modernization of Police Forces (MPF)’.

About the Modernization of Police Forces:

  • The umbrella scheme has two verticals – Security Related Expenditure (SRE) of specific theatres & Modernization of Police Forces.
  • Under the Modernization of Police Forces vertical, central assistance will be provided to the State Governments for weapons, equipment for forensics, information technology, communication, training, etc.
  • To facilitate targeted interventions, ‘mobility’ and ‘construction of police infrastructure including housing’ are permitted only in cases of Jammu & Kashmir, insurgency-affected North Eastern (NE) States and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected Districts.

ISA – Steel Conclave 2019

Context:

The Indian Steel Association supported by the Ministry of Steel, Government of India is organising the Second Edition of “ISA – Steel Conclave 2019” in New Delhi in November 2019.

About the ISA – Steel Conclave:

  • The Conclave would feature discussions between senior industry leaders, government and consultants on innovations and technology, role of steel in construction & design, steel exports, capital goods, environmental management and other cutting-edge issues.
  • The Conclave is a platform for the entire steel ecosystem and the related sectors to gain valuable insights.

Indian Steel Industry Overview:

  • India was the world’s 2nd largest producer of crude steel (106 MT) in the calendar year 2018.
  • She is the largest producer of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) or Sponge Iron in the world.
  • India was the 3rd largest consumer of finished steel in 2018 in the world after China and the USA.
  • The steel sector contributes around 2% of the country’s GDP and employs around 25 lakhs persons in steel/allied sectors.
  • She is also the 4th largest producer of iron ore in the world.
  • India is the second-largest coal producer and importer, after China.
  • 100 per cent FDI through the automatic route is allowed in the steel sector.

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