News: July 18, 2020

Sub: Politics
Topic: Governance Policies and Welfare schemes
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/5

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan or Self-Reliant India Movement, is a campaign launched by the Central Government with an economic stimulus package of 20 lakh crores, equivalent to 10% of India's GDP.

  • It has five pillars - Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography, and Demand.
  • The package emphasises on land, labour, liquidity and laws.
  • The package is aimed at providing the much needed financial & policy support to the cottage industry and MSMEs in India.Startups were not specifically covered under it.

Following key measures were proposed under the economic package

Government Reforms

  • Increase in borrowing limits:  The borrowing limits of state governments will be increased from 3% to 5% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the year 2020-21.
  • Privatisation of Public Sector Enterprise (PSEs): A new PSE policy has been announced with plans to privatise PSEs, except the ones functioning in certain strategic sectors which will be notified by the government.  In strategic sectors, at least one PSE will remain, but private sector will also be allowed.

Measures for businesses (including MSMEs)

  • Collateral free loans for businesses: All businesses (including MSMEs) will be provided with collateral free automatic loans of up to 3 lakh crore rupees.
  • Corpus for MSMEs: A fund of funds with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore will be set up for MSMEs
  • Schemes for NBFCs: A Special Liquidity Scheme was announced under which Rs 30,000 crore of investment will be made by the government in both primary and secondary market transactions in investment grade debt paper of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs)/Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)/Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).  The central government will provide 100% guarantee for these securities.  
  • Disallowing global tenders: To protect Indian MSMEs from competition from foreign companies, global tenders of up to Rs 200 crore will not be allowed in government procurement tenders.
  • Ease of doing business for corporates: Direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions will be allowed.  Private companies which list Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) on stock exchanges will not be considered listed companies.  
  • Definition of MSME: The definition of MSMEs will be changed by amending the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006.  As per the proposed definition, the investment limit will be increased from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore for micro enterprises, from Rs 5 crore to Rs 10 crore for small enterprises, and from Rs 10 crore to Rs 20 crore for medium enterprises. The turnover limit for Micro, Small and Medium enterprises will be Rs 5 crore, Rs 50 crore, and Rs 100 crore, respectively.
  • Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi Scheme (PM SVANIDHI) - By Minsitry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Vendors will be able to apply for a working capital loan of up to ₹10,000, which is repayable in monthly installments within a year.
  • Initiation of insolvency proceedings: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 will be amended, with minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings to be increased from one lakh rupees to one crore rupees

Agriculture and Allied sectors

  • Agri Infrastructure Fund: A fund of one lakh crore rupees will be created for development of agriculture infrastructure projects 
  • Emergency working capital for farmers: An additional fund of Rs 30,000 crore will be released as emergency working capital for farmers. This fund will be disbursed through NABARD to Rural Cooperative Banks (RCBs) and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) for meeting their crop loans requirements.
  • Support to fishermen: The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) will be launched for integrated, sustainable, and inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries.
  • Employment push using CAMPA funds: The government will approve plans worth Rs 6,000 crore under the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to facilitate job creation for tribals/adivasis
  • Amendments to the Essential Commodities Act: The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 empowers the central and state governments control the production, supply and distribution of certain commodities to avoid scarcity in the country. The Act will be amended to deregulate food items including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato. 

Migrant Workers

  • One Nation One Card: Migrant workers will be able to access the Public Distribution System (Ration) from any Fair Price Shop in India by March 2021 under the scheme of One Nation One Card. 
  • Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) for Migrant Workers / Urban Poor: The migrant labour/urban poor will be provided living facilities at affordable rent under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). This will be achieved by: (i) converting government funded housing in the cities into ARHCs through PPPs, and (ii) incentivising manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations to develop ARHCs on their private land and operate them.  

Defence

  • FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route will be increased from 49% to 74%.

Energy

  • Privatisation of power distribution: Power departments/utilities in union territories will be privatised
  • Commercial coal mining: In March 2020, the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill was passed, which opened up the coal sector for commercial mining.  Auctions will be conducted for allocation of coal mines.  Any party can bid for a coal block and sell in the open market. 

Social Sector

  • Public health: The National Digital Health Blueprint will be implemented, which aims at creating an ecosystem to support universal health coverage in an efficient, inclusive, safe and timely manner using digital technology.
  • Allocation for MGNREGS: To help boost rural economy, an additional Rs 40,000 crore will be allocated under MGNREGS taking it to Rs 1,01,500 crore (65% increase) for 2020-21
  • Technology driven education: PM eVidya will be launched for multi-mode access to digital/online education.  This program will include facilities to support school education in states/UTs under the DIKSHA scheme (one nation, one digital platform).  National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission will be launched by December 2020 to ensure that every child attains learning level and outcomes in grade 5 by 2025.

 

[Source] https://www.prsindia.org/report-summaries/summary-announcements-aatma-nirbhar-bharat-abhiyaan

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Coal India Ltd. (CIL) introduces a new category of spot e-auction for importers only, and aimed at replacing 150 million tonne of imported coal with domestic supply.

 

News: 2/5

Nuclear Energy

Treaties

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves as the world’s foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It is also known as Atoms for Peace and Development organisation

  • Established in 1957 as an autonomous international organization within United Nation
  • Under IAES, every non-nuclear-weapon State undertakes the obligation for comprehensive safeguards
  • IAEA General Conference is held annually. The conference elects a President and members of General Committee at the beginning of each annual session.
  • It also serves as a multilateral channel for transferring peaceful applications of nuclear technology
  • IAEA is not a party to the NPT but is entrusted with a key verification role under it. Under the NPT, the IAEA has a specific role as the international safeguards inspectorate.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

  • Signed in 2015, between Iran, P5 nations, Germany and European Union to check Iran's nuclear us by passing UN Resolution 2231
  • IAEA to get access to all of Iran's nuclear facilities

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • IAEA expresses concerns over Iran blocking nuclear activity inspection
  • July, 20
    • Delay in Chabahar port and India US Iran relations.

Sub: Politics
Topic: Governance Agencies and Bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/5

National Survey Organisations in focus

Geological Survey of India (GSI)

  • The main functions of GSI relate to creation and updation of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment
  • GSI is a survey organization attached to the office to the Ministry of Mines. 

National Statistical Office (NSO)

  • NSO was formed in 2019 under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), from merger of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and Central Statistics Office (CSO) by
  • National Statistical Office (NSO) headed by a Director General is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis.
  • First Advance Estimates of National Income, 2019-20
    • Released in January 20, the estimate is based on Benchmark-Indicator method from industrial production, financial performance of companies, freight and cargo handling, crop production.
    • Real GDP or GDP at Constant Prices (2011-12)  to grow at 5%
    • Real GVA at Basic Prices is estimated to increase by 4.9%
      • GVA is the value of output minus the value of intermediate consumption, and is a measure of the contribution to GDP made by an entity. In simple terms  it gives the rupee value of goods and services produced in the economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials

Central Statistics Office (CSO)

  • Central Statistics Office coordinates the statistical activities in the country and evolves statistical standards. It is headed by a Director General assisted by 5 Additional Director Generals.
  • Prepares quarterly estimates of GDP at current and constant prices, estimates of State Domestic Product (SDP), Input-Output Transaction Tables, maintains National Data Bank (NDB) on socio-religious categories, monitors Millennium Development Goals, and publishes National Accounts Statistics
  • Its Economic Statistics Division (ESD) compiles All India Index of Industrial Production(IIP), and develops classifications like - National Industrial Classification (NIC) and National Product Classification (NPC)
  • Its Coordination and Publications Division (CAP) organizes Conference of Central and State Statistical Organizations (COCSSO), Annual Action Plan, Outcome Budget and Annual Plan of the Ministry. The Division is also responsible for implementation of Capacity Development Scheme and Support for Statistical Strengthening (SSS) , a Central Sector Scheme aimed at improving the Statistical Capacity and Infrastructure of the State Statistical System

Index For Industrial Production (IIP)

  • IIP measures the quantum of changes in the industrial production in an economy and captures the general level of industrial activity in the country. It is a composite indicator expressed in terms of an index number which measures the short term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to the base period.  The base year is always given a value of 100. The current base year for the IIP series in India is 2011-12. So, if the current IIP reads as 116 it means that there has been 16% growth compared to the base year. 
  • IIP is a short term indicator of industrial growth till the results from Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and National Accounts Statistics (NAS) are available
  • Index of Industrial Production is compiled and published every month by Central Statistics Office (CSO), with a time lag of six weeks from the reference month
  • Categorization of IIP
    • Sectoral classification: Industrial production for the purpose of IIP is divided into three sectors, i.e, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity, with relative weights of 75.5%, 14.2% and 10.3% respectively. 
    • Use-based classification: In addition to the industry wise indices/growth rates, the users also require the indices in respect of different use-based categories, i.e., basic goods (45.68%), capital goods (8.83%), intermediate goods (15.68), and consumer durables and non durables (29.81%).

Private Survey Bodies

  • Inferential Survey Statistics and Research Foundation[ISSRF]
    • a research group formed by retired officials from the statistical and economic services.
  • Projex Survey
    • By Projects Today
    • Tamil Nadu, followed by Maharashtra, emerged as the top investment destination in the first quarter of 2020 financial year

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • GSI along with CSIR-NEERI are finding the causes behin Lonar lake coloration
    • ISSRF survey - Although almost all of Odisha’s poor senior citizens received the four-month advance old-age pension promised by the State as COVID-19 relief, only half of them got free foodgrains,
  • Aug, 20
    • Industrial Activity Continued To Contract In May But At A Slower Pace

Sub: Society
Topic: Human Development Poverty and Employment
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/5

Employment Security

Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

  • EPFO provides Universal Social Security Coverage on a mandatory basis by way of Provident Fund, Pension and Life Insurance for all workers of the country.
  • It is a statutory body established by the Employees' Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
  • Employee Provident Fund (EPF) - EPF, a retirement benefit scheme, is looked after and maintained by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation of India (EPFO).
    • Any registered company which has more than 20 employees has to get registered with the EPFO. 
    • EPF is available for all salaried employees (mandatory for those earning less than 15,000).
    • Under the EPF scheme, both the employee and the employer make an equal contribution towards the scheme; and the employee gets this amount on retirement with interest.
    • Both employee and employer make 12% contribution, however, 3.67% of employer's contribution is diverted to Employee’s Pension Scheme (EPS) account

National Pension System (NPS)

  • NPS is a pension cum investment scheme launched by Government of India to provide old age security . NPS is a voluntary contribution scheme that is market-linked and managed by professional fund managers.
  • Regulated by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
  • National Pension System Trust (NPST) established by PFRDA is the registered owner of all assets under NPS.
  • NPS allows individuals to make systematic investments via either of the following two accounts
    • Tier-I account:
      • Subscriber is issued a PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number).
      • Allows withdrawal of 25% of the accumulated corpus after 3 years for specific purposes
      • It falls under the E-E-T (Exempt-Exempt-Tax) regime, in which the contributions and gains made are exempt from tax, but the entire corpus on withdrawal is liable to tax, rather than just the gains made.
    • Tier-II accounts
      • Tier 2 is a voluntary account with flexible withdrawal and exit regulations. A Tier 2 account, can be opened only if you have an existing Tier 1 account and a PRAN number.
      • The minimum deposit one needs to make for a Tier II account is Rs. 250.
      • The contributions don’t carry any tax exemptions and withdrawal is liable to tax

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • PM-GKP, 24% contribution to EPFO for 3 months for those earning less than 15000
  • July, 20
    • NPS sees 30% increase in subscribers during pandemic

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Geo Politics in Indian Context
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/5

West And Central Asia

Geography

  • Iran
    • Port of Shahid Beheshti, Chabahar
    • Makran coast, Chabahar

Work

  • Kafala System: Every country in the Gulf manages migrant residency and employment through the Kafala (sponsorship) system. Under this system, a local citizen or local company (the kafeel) must sponsor foreign workers in order for their work visas and residency to be valid. With tight restrictions like permission required to enter and exit the kingdom, as well as to change jobs. this dependency renders workers vulnerable to exploitation. 

Infrastructure

  • Chabahar port
    • India broached the idea of Chabahar port development in 2002. Things stayed quiet for over a decade because of Iran US relations
    • In the backdrop of BRI, an MoU was signed in 2015 for port development, followed by a trilateral pact with Afghanistan in 2016 for connectivity;
    • A pact was alos signed for development of 1380km Chabahar-Zahedan railway line-connecting Chabahar to Zahedan in Iran, to Zaranj and Delaram in Afghanistan
    • In 2018, India was admitted to Ashgabat Agreement
      • Ashgabat Agreement was signed in 2011 by Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman and Qatar. Qatar later withdrew, and Kazakhstan and Pakistan joined in 2016. The agreement came into force in 2016. Ashgabat Agreement envisages for transport and transit corridor between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.  Ashgabat in Turkmenistan is the depository state for the agreement.
    • India started operating a terminal in Chabahar port in 2019, first time India operating an overseas port.
  •  International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC)
    • INSTC is a trilateral project of laying a network of ship, rail and road routes. It was jointly initiated by Russia, Iran and India in 2002 to bypass Pakistan.
    • Since then 11 more countries have joined - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Ukraine. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus. Bulgaria has observer status.

Trade

  • Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement, 2010: Allows Afghan traders access to eastern Wagah border with India, where Afghan goods are offloaded onto Indian trucks.. Pakistan however has not allowed Indian trucks to send goods to Afghanistan.

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • India to talk about INSTC in meeting of the RIC foreign ministers 
  • July, 20
    • Iran government has decided to construct Chabahar-Zahedan railway line on their own, because of delay in funding from India over fear of US sanctions.
    • 'Trapped' illegal workers in Saudi look to coronavirus for escape

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