Current Affairs Government Schemes

 On March 8, 2020, TIFAC operating under Ministry of Science and Technology launched Vigyan Jyoti. The scheme was announced to celebrate International Women’s Day.
  • Highlights
The Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) launched Vigyan Jyoti in order to encourage women to take science as their career. Under the scheme, selected qualified women from more than 500 women are to be provided opportunities to attend science camps at NITs, IITS and other leading institutions in the country.
  • Vigyan Jyoti
The Vigyan Jyoti was launched by the Central Government to promote STEM Education among girls. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It was launched in October 2019. It is essential to bring in such initiatives because according to ministry of science and technology only 24% of total passed out students are in the field of STEM and only 22% of the post graduates are women.
TIFAC was formed as a registered body in 1988 under DST (Department of Science and Technology).

 On March 6, 2020, the Ministry of AYUSH released digital platform called AYUSH GRID. The grid provides facilities associated with AYUSH hospitals and laboratories and promote traditional health care.
There are more than 12,500 AYUSH centres in India. The “AYUSH GRID” platform aims to digitize entire AYUSH sector. The Ministry has launched AYUSH Hospital Information Management System, Yoga locator application, Tele-medicine, case registry portal, bhuvan application earlier. These projects are to be linked with AYUSH GRID at later stages.
  • National Ayurveda Morbidity Codes
The Ministry of AYUSH has developed National Ayurveda Morbidity Codes. These codes classify diseases described in Ayurveda. In the first phase of the initiative 4 disease conditions have been identified namely KAsa, Kushtha, Jwara and Shwasa.
  • AYUSH-Backbone of Ayushman Bharat
Ministry of AYUSH is the backbone of Ayushman Bharat Yojana. The GoI prescribed cross-pathy under the scheme. The ministry has also collaborated with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to set up traditional knowledge digital library.

  On February 24, 2020, the Government of India launched SPICe+, a web form that integrates 10 services of various ministries and departments. This will help boost Ease of Doing Business in India. It was launched by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. India ranked 63rd in Ease of Doing Business ranking published by World Bank.
  • Highlights
The Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically Plus provides 10 services thereby saving time, cost for starting a business in India. It offers 10 services namely DIN allotment, issue of PAN, TAN, EPFO. ESIC registration, opening bank account for a company, allotment of GSTIN, issue of Profession Tax, etc. The service will help to improve Ease of Doing Business in the country, especially for a startup.
  • Ease of Doing Business Ranking
In 2019, the World Bank placed India at the 136th rank for Ease of Starting Business. It was provided the 154th and 115th ranks for paying taxes and enforcing contracts respectively. Therefore, it is essential for initiatives such as SPICe+ to improve India’s position globally.

 On February 24, 2020, the Union Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal chaired a high-level meeting to review the progress of Institutes of Eminence.
  • Highlights
The following decision were taken at the meeting
  • The Institutes of Eminence shall invite professors and foreign faculties in order to deepen interface between the institutes in the country and other recognized institutes
  • The Institute of Eminence are to be given open access to research journals
  • The institutes shall adopt model villages under Unnat Bharat Scheme.
  • Unnat Bharat Scheme
Unnat Bharat Scheme was launched to promote development in the rural areas. The scheme aims to address the increasing inequity in the rural areas due to ecological degradation. It is important to focus on model villages under the scheme as 70% of the villages live in rural India. Though majority of the population lives in rural areas, their contribution towards GDP is only 17%. Therefore, it is important to bring up more such measures to increase their GDP contribution.

 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved its revision of interest subvention rates from 2% to 2.5% per annum. This is being done under Diary Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF).
  • Highlights
Under the DIDF, GoI will now provide interest subvention up to 2.5% to NABARD till 2030. This shall enable NABARD in devising its own strategy of borrowing. In turn, it will be able to provide low cost of funds to milk unions.
  • Impacts
There are more than 95 lakh milk producers that will be benefitted with this move. It will help in establishment of 28,000 milk coolers and create 210 metric tonnes of milk drying capacity.
  • Implementation
The major activities that are covered under the fund includes chilling infrastructure, electronic adulteration testing kit, modernization of milk processing facilities and project management.
  • DIDF scheme
The DIDF Scheme was announced in Union Budget 2017-18 by the Ministry of Finance. Under the scheme DIDF considerable amount is contributed by NABARD to the National Diary Development Board and National Cooperative Development Corporation.

 On February 19, 2020, the Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced that Government of India is to launch “TILHAN MISSION” to boost the oil seed production. The announcement was made at an occasion of Soil Health Card Day. Soil Health Card Day was celebrated all over India on February 19, 2020.
  • Highlights
Government of India is to increase oil seed production in order to make the country self-reliant in oil seed production. The Minister also announced that GoI is to create 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations all over the country. In order to support this, the GoI is to provide Rs 6,000 rupees.
  • Current Oil Seed Scenario in India
India is the fourth largest vegetable oil economy in the world after USA, China and Brazil. Today, the oil seeds account for 13% of cropped area in the country. The National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare. The scheme was to be implemented for 5 years between 2014-15 and 2018-19.
  • India-Malaysia
Recently, there has been major rifts between India and Malaysia over Palm oil. Malaysia at the United Nations General Assembly meet placed open accusations on India for abrogating Article 370 and its other steps towards development of Kashmir. Malaysian PM accused India of invading and occupying Kashmir. According to India, Kashmir issue is completely internal and is between India and Pakistan to settle upon. Following such accusations, India gradually decreased its Palm oil imports from Malaysia. In September 2019, the palm oil imports (before the Malaysian PM’s accusation) were 310,648 tonnes. In October, the imports were reduced to 219,956 tonnes and in November it was 142,696 tonnes. India is the largest importer of palm oil in the world. And oil exports are highly important for the Malaysian economy as it accounts to 2.8% of its GDP and 4.5% of its total exports.

 On February 17, 2020, the fourth National Conference of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima yojana was held in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The Conference was organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Highlights
The Conference was attended by more than 140 members. It included members from NABARD (National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development), RBI (Reserve Bank of India), insurance companies, etc. Currently, the scheme has three active participants namely the state government, banking sector and the insurance sector. According to the experts at the conference, for the scheme to achieve success, active participation of all the three stakeholders is essential.
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
The scheme was launched in 2016. It replaced the Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme and National Agricultural Insurance Scheme. Under the scheme the farmers are paid a premium of 2% for Kharif crops and 1.5% for Rabi crops in case of crop damages. The scheme is in line with One Nation-One Scheme theme.

 On February 12, 2020 the Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and Iceland in the field of fisheries.
  • Highlights
The countries had signed agreements in September 2019, to develop inland fisheries. According to the agreement, the countries agreed to create facilities of technical experts and scientists in shore areas and deep sea areas. They also agreed on exchange of scientific research literature, scientific experts in the field of fisheries. The agreement strengthens bilateral cooperation between India and Iceland.
  • Fisheries in India
According to the Economic Survey 2020, fisheries contribute to 6.58% of India’s GDP along with agriculture and forestry. The export of marine products for the year 2018-19 was 13.92 lakh tonnes. The survey also says that the total fish production of the country stood at 13.42 million tonnes in the year 2018-19. The major fisheries resources of India is spread across the vast coast line. It stands at 2.02 million square km of the Exclusive Economic Zone. The GoI in 2018-19 allocated Rs 7,522 crores of rupees towards Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund (FIDF).

 On February 12, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved on capital infusion in three Public Sector Units namely United India Insurance Company (UIICL), Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL) and National Insurance Company Limited (NICL).
  • Highlights
During the meet the cabinet also approved an immediate release of Rs 2,500 crores in order to address their critical financial position and also regulate their solvency requirements. The capital infusion is aimed at merging the three insurance companies in the future. Merging the companies will improve their operational efficiency and solvency ratio. The step is being taken to make these companies meet the solvency ratio criteria of IRDA (Insurance Regulatory Development Authority)
  • Solvency Ratio
The Solvency ratio is the key metric used to measure the ability of an enterprise to meet its debt obligation. It indicates if a company has sufficient cash flow in order to meet its long term and short-term liabilities. It is the ratio between after-tax net operating income and total debt obligations.

 The Union Government has set up a task force which has a target to restrict the Novel Coronavirus in India. The task force consists of Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. The task has a prime aim of stopping the Novel Coronavirus outspread in India. 
  • What is Coronavirus?
The coronavirus belongs to a family of viruses that can cause a range of illnesses in humans. These illnesses includes common cold and more life-threatening severe forms like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The corona virus has been named after its shape which takes the pattern of a crown with protrusions around it.

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