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Daily Current affairs 01 February 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

 

Study examines effectiveness of Green India Mission

The News

  • A new study has noted that the targets and strategies adopted under the Green India Mission are arbitrary and flawed.

 

About Green India Mission

  • The National Mission for a Green India is one of the 8 Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) introduced in 2010-2011.
  • The mission emphasizes the role of afforestation in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • It aims at addressing climate change by
    • Enhancing carbon sinks
    • Adaptation of vulnerable species
    • Adaptation of forest dependant local communities

 

Objective of Green India Mission

  • Increase the area to be taken up for afforestation in India from 2010-2011 to 2019-2020 by 10 million ha including
    • Increase forest cover on 5 mha of forest/non-forest lands.
    • Improve quality of forest cover on another 5 mha
    • Increase the carbon sequestration by forests 43 million tons CO2 annually by 2020.

 

Green India Mission Strategy

  • Holistic view to afforestation beyond plantations including restoration of eco-systems and habitat diversity.
  • Key role for local communities by strengthening Gram Sabha , Joint Forest Management Committees, Van Panchayats etc.
  • Robust and effective monitoring framework.

 

Problems of Green India Mission as per the study

  • The targets set in Green India Mission are arbitrary and exported from colonial forestry approaches.
  • The afforestation drive is imposed upon unsuitable areas such as arid and semi-arid ecosystems.
  • Afforestation in unsuitable areas leads to growth of invasive species threatening the ecology of the place. For instance, the kikar (Prosopis julifloara) on the Delhi Ridge area which became invasive was introduced by the British in 1930s.
  • The strategy of afforestation under Green India Mission also represents the encroachment of rights of local populace and extending unimpending authority to forest authorities.

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Section : Environment & Ecology

 

Long-pending project to build six stealth submarines will be under strategic partnership model

The News

  • In a significant step towards upgradation of Indian Navy’s submarine arm, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the execution of Project-75I under the “Strategic Partnership” model.

 

Key Highlights

  • Project-75I to acquire 6 modern conventional stealth submarines would be executed under ‘Strategic Partnership’ model.
  • Accordingly, ship building companies from France, Germany, Russia and Sweden will participate in the deal.

 

What is Strategic Partnership Model?

  • In 2017, the government approved the Strategic Partnership model based on the recommendation of Dhirendra Singh Committee to give a boost to ‘Make in India’ in Defence sector.
  • The SP model primarily aims to build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop, absorb technology, and manufacture complex weapon systems in India.
  • Under the model, the Indian private companies identified as Strategic Partners would initially tie up with a few shortlisted foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to manufacture big-ticket military platforms.
  • In its first phase the SP model includes four segments
    1. Fighter Aircraft
    2. Helicopters
    3. Submarines
    4. Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV)/Main Battle Tanks (MBT)
  • In 2018, the DAC approved the procurement of 111 naval utility helicopters under the Strategic Partnership model.
  • Project-75I is the second project approved to be executed under the SP model.
  • The model has a long term vision of promoting India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment through transfer of niche technologies and higher Indigenous Content thereby enhancing self-sufficiency for meeting the future requirements of the Armed Forces.

 

Indigenization of Submarine Production

Project 75 and Project 75 I

Background

  • Project 75 and Project 75I represent a key milestone in indigenization of submarine production in India.
  • Ever since the submarine arm was commissioned in 1967, Indian Navy is striving for modernization and indigenization of these underwater vehicles.
  • To this effect in 1999, India approved a 30-year submarine building plan for production of submarines indigenously.
  • Under this plan, Project-75 and a follow on Project-75 I (India) were conceived.
    • Under P-75, six Scorpene submarines are being built by Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL) with technology transfer from France.
    • Scorpene submarines are advanced Diesel submarines with Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology.
    • India got its first submarine under Project 75, INS Kalveri in 2015 followed by INS Kandheri and INS Karanj at different stages in the process of being commissioned.

 

Project 75-I

  • Under Project 75- I, India will build 6 advanced conventional stealth submarines under the SP model.
  • The advanced diesel-electric submarines under will have both land-attack cruise missiles and air-independent propulsion.
  • The air-independent propulsion system will enable the submarines to stay submerged for longer duration and thus increase their operational range.
  • The submarines will have a vertical launch system (VLS) which will enable them to carry multiple Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles which means that it will be fully capable of launching anti-surface and anti-ship warfare missions.
  • The submarines built under the project will be capable of:
    • Anti submarine warfare
    • Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions
    • Underwater mining operations

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Section : Defence & Security

 

Centre firm on FDI rules deadline

The News:

  • New rules for governing FDI e-commerce will come into effect from February, 2019.
  • Large e-commerce firms such as Amazon and Flipkart have repeatedly approached the Centre government seeking either dilution of the rules or extension of the deadline. However, the government has denied any extension.

 

E-commerce Models

Marketplace Model

  • In marketplace model, the company acts as a meeting ground for buyers and sellers without storing goods.
  • In a marketplace model, the e-commerce firm is not allowed to directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services, and is required to offer a level playing field to all vendors.
  • Examples: e-Bay, Naaptol, and Shopclues

Inventory-Led Model

  • In an inventory-led model, the goods and services are owned by an e-commerce firm that sells directly to retail customers.
  • There are no multiple sellers selling one product, unlike marketplaces where buyers get to choose from several merchants.
  • Walmart uses this model in the United States.

 

What was the Issue?

  • India allows 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the marketplace model of e-commerce and does not allow FDI in inventory-driven models of e-commerce.
  • Both Amazon and Flipkart (Walmart) have wholesale units that bulk purchase goods and sell them to vendors listed on their platform. These vendors in turn sell to retail customers.
  • Existing regulations state that e-commerce firms cannot exercise ownership over the goods sold on their online marketplace.
  • However, they have developed a complicated seller structures that helped them comply with the inventory control rule while exercising some level of control over inventory.
  • Traders and small online sellers accused Amazon and Flipkart of violating the spirit of the law and of using the structures to offer deep discounts, accusations they deny.

 

How will the New Rules deal with the issue?

  • The new norms bar exclusive tie-ups between e-commerce firms that follow the ‘marketplace model’ and vendors using their platform.
  • If a vendor sells more than 25% of its wares through an e-commerce marketplace, the latter will be deemed to have an inventory model, in which FDI is not allowed.
  • Also, e-commerce firms will be barred from selling wares of related parties on the inventory, of which it has a say.
  • The new norms said cashback or services, such as quick delivery, offered by e-tailers have to be applicable to all vendors on their platforms.
  • Providing such services to one seller and not to others in similar circumstances would be deemed as unfair and discriminatory, according to the rules.
  • The government has also prohibited e-commerce firms from pushing merchants to sell any product exclusively on its platform. The sellers can, however, choose to have a preferred online partner.

Note: The 25% cap was there earlier, but the onus of ensuring it, is now firmly on the e-commerce platform.

 

Significance:

  • The restriction is aimed at protecting India’s vast unorganized retail sector that does not have the clout to purchase at scale and offer big discounts.
  • It also forces the e-commerce platform to be neutral to all vendors, giving them a level playing field.
  • Adherence to rule of law would allow India to create a robust e-commerce sector, which will ensure lasting gains for both buyers and sellers.

 

Impact on the e-commerce companies:

  • Most customers shop online for deep discounts and exclusive offerings, which may not be available on other online platforms, or in offline stores. This will, in turn, have an impact on the revenue and growth of e-commerce companies in India.

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Section : Economics

 

Govt to identify denotified, nomadic tribes not classified as SC, ST or OBC

The News:

  • The Union government is planning to institute an exercise to identify hundreds of Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DNT/ NT/ SNT).
  • The Home Ministry is expected to soon repeal the Habitual Offenders Act while the issue of setting up a permanent Commission for DNT/ NT/ SNT is also under consideration.

 

Context:

  • The decision came after NITI Ayog agreement over the Bhiku Ramji Idate Commission.

 

About Denotified Nomadic Tribe and Semi-Nomadic Tribes:

  • Denotified tribes are those that were labelled as criminals through a legislation by British government and were denotified post-independence.
  • The Nomadic tribes maintain constant geographical mobility while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to a fixed habitations once a year, mainly for occupational reasons.

Historical background of Denotified tribes:

  • The tribes like Chhara, Devipujak, Sansi, Sandhi, Dafer were listed originally under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, as "Criminal Tribes".
  • Once a tribe became "notified" as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a "crime" under the Indian Penal Code.
  • The Criminal Tribes Act of 1952 repealed the notification, i.e. 'de-notified' the tribal communities.
  • However, despite the legislative liberty granted to these denotified tribes, the law classifies them as habitual offenders (under a series of Habitual Offenders Acts) that continues to stigmatise these communities and makes them vulnerable to repeated police harassment.
  • These tribes were never classified as either Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), or Other Backward Classes (OBC) resulting in them being entirely left out of the reservation and all welfare schemes meant for backward communities.

 

National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT)

  • The National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT) is a national commission set under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, to study various developmental aspects of denotified and nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in India.
  • The Commission was first was set up in 2003 and reconstituted in 2005 as the earlier commission could not make much headway for a number of reasons.
  • While several commissions and committees have been set up since Independence to address the matter, none of the crucial recommendations have been enforced till date.

 

Some important Commissions :

Balkrishna Renke Commission (2008)

  • According to its report, 89 per cent of DNT and 98 per cent NT members are landless.
  • The Commission submitted its report in 2008 making several recommendations, which include that same reservations as available to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes be extended to people of denotified and nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in India.
  • It also recommended that the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 be applicable to these tribes as well.
  • Following the report, for the first time, two schemes were implemented in 2014-15, namely pre- and post-matric scholarships and construction of hostels for DNT students.
  • However, significant recommendations remained unimplemented.

 

Bhiku Ramji Idate Commission (2018):

  • The commission was constituted in 2015 for a three-year temporary term, following which it submitted a report identifying these communities state-wise, assessing their development status, and recommending ways to uplift them.
  • It submitted its report to the social justice ministry in early 2018.
  • According to its report, over 260 extremely marginalised communities have never been identified or included in any of the reserved categories, which accounts for 35 per cent of the DNT, 64 per cent of NT, and 1 per cent of SNT population.
  • Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have the largest number of DNT and NT communities respectively, that are not included in any list.
  • The report suggested the government to provide strong legal protections and constitutional safeguards, including the extension of the Protection of Atrocities Act to the NT/ DNT/ SNT communities by creating a separate Third schedule as ‘Scheduled De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes.
  • It recommended a permanent commission with prominent community leader as its chairperson, and a senior Union government bureaucrat, an anthropologist, and a sociologist as members.

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Section : Social Issues

 

Stop MPs’ meet on Kashmir, India tells U.K.

The news

  • India has registered its protest with the British government for an upcoming meet on Kashmir at the British Parliament.

 

Background

  • India has many times objected “anti-India” groups within the U.K.
  • In August last year, India requested to cancel a pro-Khalistani rally in London, which was demanding a referendum but the British government refused to accept the request.
  • In November, the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPKG) published a Report on Jammu and Kashmir, which was critical of Indian atrocities Jammu and Kashmir.
  • A day before only India’s foreign Secretary took a harsh political step by summoning Pakistan High Commissioner on its foreign Minister’s call to Hurriyat leader for briefing him on India’s efforts on Kashmir issue.
  • The foreign Minister also informed him about the event to beorganized at the House of Commons in London and the exhibition in February.

 

Highlights of the news

  • On the information of meeting in London, the foreign ministry said that the United Kingdom has been strongly told not to allow its territory for anti-India activity conferences or rallies.
  • It also warned that if Pakistan continued its interference in India’s internal affairs, it would have to face its consequences.
  • India also highlighted Pakistan’s foreign Minister’s call to Hurriyat leader as a proof against its involvement in abetting and encouraging anti-India forces.
  • In a reciprocal action, Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner calling India’s protest a political agenda before the upcoming elections.
  • India expressed expectations from UK to address its concerns and take appropriate action as a “friendly country and a strategic partner”.

 

Response of Britain

  • U.K. refused plans for any meeting of Pakistan’s foreign minister with U.K Government and clarified that his visit is a private one.
  • It reaffirmed its long-standing position that India and Pakistan should find a lasting political resolution to the situation in Kashmir, according to Kashmiri people’s wishes.
  • The APPG Chairperson stated that the APPG Report on Kashmir and the UNHRC Report on Human Rights in entire Jammu & Kashmir highlighted the need for a reconciliation process between India and Pakistan.
  • Moreover, it also calls for repealing laws like the Armed Forces Special Power Act and the Public Safety Act in Jammu & Kashmir.

 

Note: This article is for general understading about the issue as it is likely to be in news for coming few days.

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Section : International Relation

 

Budget 2019

Budget

  • The Union Budget of India is referred to as the Annual financial statement in the Article 112 of the Constitution of 
  • The Government presents it on the first day of February so that it could be materialized before the commencement of new financial year in April.

 

Interim Budget

  • An Interim Budget is a complete set of accounts, including both expenditure and receipts. It gives the complete financial statement, very similar to a full Budget.
  • Through the interim Budget, Parliament passes a vote-on-account that allows the government to meet the expenses (expenditure part) of the administration until the new Parliament considers and passes the Budget for the whole year. However, the estimates are presented for the entire year, as is the case with the regular Budget.

 

Budget 2019

Economy and Inflation

  • The average inflation has been brought down to 4.6%.
  • The fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.4% in 2018-19.
  • The current account deficit (CAD) is likely to be only 2.5% of GDP.
  • India attracted massive amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the last 5 years –$239 billion.

 

 

Banking Reforms and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)

  • The period of 2008-14 was a period of aggressive credit growth and, as per RBI and is the primary reason for spurt in non-performing loans and stressed assets. The 4Rs approach of recognition, resolution, re-capitalisation and reforms has been followed.
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has institutionalised a resolution-friendly mechanism, which is helping in recovery of non-performing loans while preserving the underlying businesses and jobs.
  • An amount of close to Rs. 3 lakh crore has already been recovered in favour of banks and creditors.
  • To restore the health of public sector banks, recapitalisation has been done with an investment of Rs. 2.6 lakh crore.
  • Amalgamation of banks has also been done to reap the benefits of economies of scale, improved access to capital and to cover a larger geographical spread.

 

 

Steps against corruption

  • The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988 are helping to bring transparency in the real estate sector. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 will help confiscate and dispose off the assets of economic offenders who escape the jurisdiction of the laws in India.
  • There has been transparent auction of natural resources including coal and spectrum.

 

Cleanliness

  • As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019, the Government initiated the world’s largest behavioural change movement with the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • India has achieved 98% rural sanitation coverage and 5.45 lakh villages have been declared “Open Defecation Free.”


Poor and backward classes

  • The Government while maintaining the existing reservation for SC/ST/Other Backward Classes, have now ensured 10% reservation in educational institutions and Government services for poors. In these institutions, around 25% extra seats (approximately 2 lakh) will be provided so that, there is no shortfall of presently available/reserved seats for any class.
  • To provide food grains at affordable prices to the poor and middle classes, about Rs 1,70,000 crores were spent in the year 2018-19.
  • Rs 60,000 crores are being allocated for MGNREGA in 2019-20.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, construction of rural roads has been tripled. 15.80 lakh habitations out of a total of 17.84 lakh habitations have already been connected with pucca roads. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is being allocated Rs 19,000 crore in 2019-20.
  • During the period 2014-18, a total number of 1.53 crore houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
  • Under ‘Saubhagya Yojna’, free electricity connection has been provided to almost every household. By March, 2019, all willing families will get electricity connection.
  • In mission mode, 143 crore LED bulbs were provided, with the participation of private sector. This has resulted into a savings of approximately Rs 50,000 crore per year in electricity bills of poor and middle class families.

 

Health and Family Welfare

  • The world’s largest healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat, was launched to provide medical treatment to nearly 50 crore people. Close to 10 lakh patients have benefited for medical treatment.
  • People are also benefiting from reduction in the prices of essential medicines, cardiac stents and knee implants, and availability of medicines at affordable prices through Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
  • There are 21 AIIMS operating or being established in the country presently. The 22nd AIIMS will come up in Haryana.

 

 

Backward Districts

  • The Aspirational Districts Programme is providing targeted development to the 115 most backward districts of the country.
  • The programme has achieved notable results with improved performance on all indicators – health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development.

 

Farmer’s progress and Increase in Income

  • With an aim to double the income of farmers, the Government has fixed the minimum support price (MSP) of all 22 crops at minimum 50% more than the cost.

Problems of the farmers:

  • Declining prices of agricultural commodities in the international market and fall in food inflation in India since 2017-18, relative to non-food sector, have however, reduced the returns from farming.
  • Small and fragmented land holding on account of repeated divisions has also contributed in decline in the income.
  • Hence, there is a need for providing structured income support to the poor land-holder farmer families in the country for procuring inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, equipment, labour etc. and to meet other needs.
  • Such support will help them in avoiding indebtedness as well and falling into clutches of money lenders.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

  • To provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers, the Government is launching “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)” yojana. Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each. This programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs 75,000 crore.
  • PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season.

 

 

Animal Husbandry and Fisheries sector

  • The allocation for Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been increased to Rs750 crore in the current year.
  • A “Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog” will be set up to upscale sustainable genetic up-gradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows. The Aayog will also look after effective implementation of laws and welfare schemes for cows.
  • India is the second largest fish producing nation in the world accounting for 6.3% of global production, registering an average annual growth of more than 7% in recent years.
  • To provide sustained and focused attention towards development of this sector, the Government has decided to create a separate Department of Fisheries.
  • The Government (in the last budget) has announced the facility of extension of Kisan Credit Card scheme (KCC) to Animal Husbandry and Fisheries farmers. Now, the benefit of 2% interest subvention will be given to the farmers pursuing the activities of animal husbandry and fisheries, who avail loan through Kisan Credit Card.
  • All the farmers affected by severe natural calamities, where assistance is provided from National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF), those farmers will be provided the benefit of interest subvention of 2% and prompt repayment incentive of 3% for the entire period of reschedulement of their loans.

 

Labour and Workers Dignity

  • The New Pension Scheme (NPS) has been liberalized- keeping the contribution of the employee at 10%, the Government contribution has been increased by 4% making it 14%.
  • Maximum ceiling of the bonus given to the labourers has been increased from Rs 3,500 pm to Rs 7,000 pm and the maximum ceiling of the pay has been increased from Rs 10,000 pm to Rs 21,000 pm.
  • The ceiling of payment of gratuity has been enhanced from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs.
  • The ceiling of ESI’s eligibility cover has been increased from Rs 15,000 pm to Rs 21,000 pm.
  • Minimum pension for every labourer has been fixed at Rs 1,000 per month.
  • In the event of death of a labourer during service, the amount to be paid by EPFO has been enhanced from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.
  • Under Anganwadi and Asha Yojana honorarium has been enhanced by about 50% for all categories of workers.

 

Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan:

  • In addition to the health coverage provided under ‘Ayushman Bharat’ and life & disability coverage provided to unorganised sector under ‘Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana’ and ‘Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana’, the Government proposes to launch a pension yojana namely ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan’ for the unorganised sector workers with monthly income upto Rs 15,000.
  • This pension yojana shall provide them an assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 from the age of 60 years on a monthly contribution of a small affordable amount during their working age. An unorganised sector worker joining pension yojana at the age of 29 years will have to contribute only Rs 100 per month till the age of 60 years. A worker joining the pension yojana at 18 years, will have to contribute as little as Rs 55 per month only.
  • The Government will deposit equal matching share in the pension account of the worker every month. A sum of Rs500 crore has been allocated for the Scheme.

 

De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities:

  • The Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities move from place to place in search of a livelihood. The Renke Commission and the Idate Commission have done commendable work to identify and list these communities.
  • A Committee under NITI Aayog will be set up to complete the task of identifying De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities not yet formally classified.
  • The Government will also set up a Welfare Development Board under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment specifically for the purpose of implementing welfare and development programmes for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities.
  • The Board shall ensure that special strategies are designed and implemented to serve these hard-to-reach communities.

 

Women’s development to women-led development

  • For securing the health of every home-maker in rural areas, the Government embarked upon a programme to deliver 8 crore free LPG connections under the Ujjwala Yojana. More than 6 crore connections have already been given and the remaining will get free gas connections by next year.
  • More than 70% of the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana are women who are getting affordable and collateral-free loans to start their own businesses.
  • Amongst many measures, benefits of Maternity leave of 26 weeks and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana for pregnant women have provided financial support to women while empowering them to participate in work.

 

Empowering Youth to fulfil their potential

  • Through Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, over 1 crore youth are being trained to help them earn a livelihood.
  • The self-employment schemes including MUDRA, Start-up India and Stand-up India have also proved to be revolutionary.
  • Under MUDRA Yojana 15.56 crore loans have been disbursed amounting to Rs 7,23,000 crore.

 

On ‘Artificial Intelligence’:

  • In order to take the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and related technologies to the people, a National Programme on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ has been envisaged by the Government.
  • This would be catalysed by the establishment of the National Centre on Artificial Intelligence as a hub along with Centres of Excellence.
  • National Artificial Intelligence portal will also be developed.

 

Empowering MSMEs and Traders

  • GST-registered SME units will get 2% interest rebate on incremental loan of Rs 1 Crore.
  • The requirement of sourcing from SMEs by Government enterprises has been increased to 25%. Of this, the material to the extent of at least 3% will be sourced from women owned SMEs.
  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM), created by the Government two years ago, has transformed public procurement by making it fully transparent, inclusive and efficient. MSMEs have an opportunity to sell their products through GeM.
  • The GeM platform is now being extended to all CPSEs.
  • The Government has recently assigned the subject of “promotion of internal trade including retail trading and welfare of traders, and their employees” to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which will now be renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade.

 

Strengthening Defence and National Security

  • Since the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP), over Rs 35,000 crore have been dispersed for implementing the Scheme.
  • The Government also announced substantial hike in the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air Force personnel deployed in high risk duties.


Infrastructure development

  • The number of operational airports has crossed 100 with the commissioning of the Pakyong airport in Sikkim.
  • Domestic passenger traffic has doubled during the last five years, owing to UDAAN scheme, leading to large number of jobs being created also.
  • Almost 27 kms of highways is built each day.

 

Railways:

  • Capital support from the budget for railways is proposed at Rs 64,587 crore in 2019-20 (BE). The Railways’ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs 1,58,658 crore.
  • All Unmanned Level Crossings on broad gauge network have been eliminated.
  • Introduction of the first indigenously developed and manufactured semi high-speed “Vande Bharat Express” will give the Indian passengers world class experience with speed, service and safety.

 

Energy

  • India’s commitment to promote renewable energy is reflected in setting up the International Solar Alliance, the first treaty based international inter-governmental organisation headquartered in India.
  • India’s import dependence on crude oil and natural gas has been a source of big concern to the Government. While the government have taken a large number of measures to moderate the increasing demand through usage of bio fuel and alternate technologies, urgent action is needed to increase hydrocarbon production to reduce imports.
  • A high level Inter-Ministerial Committee, constituted by the Government, has made several specific recommendations, including transforming the system of bidding for exploration, changing from revenue sharing to exploration programme for Category II and III basins.

 

North East

  • Arunachal Pradesh came on the air map recently and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have come on India’s rail map for the first time.
  • Allocation for the North Eastern Areas is being proposed to be increased by 21% in 2019-20.


Digital India Revolution

  • The Common Service Centres are expanding their services and also creating digital infrastructure in the villages, including connectivity, to convert the villages into Digital Villages. The Government will make 1 lakh villages into Digital Villages over next five years.

 

Entertainment industry

  • To promote entertainment industry – Single window clearance for ease of shooting films, available only to foreigners, is now going to be made available to Indian filmmakers as well.
  • The anti-camcording provisions will also be implemented in the Cinematograph Act to control the menace of piracy.

 

Goods and Services Tax

  • GST aims to benefit small traders, manufacturers and service providers. Exemptions from GST for small businesses have been doubled from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh.
  • Further, small businesses having turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore have been given an attractive composition scheme wherein they pay only 1% flat rate and have to file one annual return only.

 

Customs and Trading Across Border Reforms

  • To promote the “Make in India” initiative, the government has undertaken rationalization of customs duties and procedures.
  • A revised system of importing duty-free capital goods and inputs for manufacture and export has been introduced.
  • There’s introduction of single point of approval under section 65 of the Customs Act.
  • Indian Customs is introducing full and comprehensive digitalization of export/import transactions and leveraging RFID technology to improve export logistics.

 

Vision for the next Decade

  • The Government has laid the foundation for India’s growth and development for times to come. India is poised to become a Five Trillion Dollar Economy in the next five years and aspire to become a Ten Trillion Dollar Economy in the next 8 years thereafter.

Layout of vision for ten most important dimensions in 2030:

  • To build physical as well as social infrastructure and to provide ease of living:
    • It will comprise next generation infrastructure of roads, railways, seaports, airports, urban transport, gas and electric transmission and inland waterways. On the social infrastructure side, every family will have a house and will live in a healthy, clean and wholesome environment.
    • The government will also build a quality, science oriented educational system with Institutes of Excellence providing leadership at the top.
  • To create a Digital India:
    • Digital Infrastructure and digital economy of 2030 will be built upon the successes achieved in recent years in digitisation of Government processes and private transactions.
  • Making India a pollution free nation:
    • India aims to drive on Electric Vehicles with Renewables becoming a major source of energy supply. India will lead the world in the transport revolution through electric vehicles and energy storage devices, bringing down import-dependence and ensuring energy security for the people.
  • Expanding rural industrialisation using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment:
    • This will be built upon the Make in India approach to develop grass-roots level clusters, structures and mechanisms encompassing the MSMEs, village industries and start-ups spread in every nook and corner of the country.
  • Clean Rivers, with safe drinking water to all Indians, sustaining and nourishing life and efficient use of water in irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
  • Powering India’s development via coastline activities and ocean waters
  • Space programmes
  • Making India self-sufficient in food, exporting to the world to meet their food needs and producing food in the most organic way.
    • High farm production and productivity will be achieved through modern agricultural practices and value addition.
    • An integrated approach towards agro and food processing, preservation, packaging and maintenance of the cold chain will be the focus of attention.
  • Healthy India:
    • India aims to become healthy society with an environment of health assurance and the support of necessary health infrastructure.
    • By 2030, the government will work towards a distress free health care and a functional and comprehensive wellness system for all.
  • Transforming India into a Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation:
    • To have a proactive and responsible bureaucracy which will be viewed as friendly to people.

 

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