Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 September 2017
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Implementation Guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
The government has released the Guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana. The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi had announced the pan-India implementation of this scheme w.e.f. 01st January, 2017.
- Guidelines inter-alia provide Aadhaar linkage, Direct Benefit Transfer, antenatal check-up and registration of child birth & first cycle of immunisation of the child.
- PMMVY is implemented by the Ministry of Women & Child Development in collaboration with State Governments.
Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), previously Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), is a maternity benefit program run by the government of India.
- It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for first two live births.
- It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
- In 2013, the scheme was brought under the National Food Security Act, 2013 to implement the provision of cash maternity benefit of ₹6,000 stated in the Act.
- It is Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
India-European FTA talks this month
India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are planning to shortly conclude their long pending negotiations on FTA. So far, 16 rounds of negotiations have taken place, talks for which started in 2008.
- The proposed agreement covers trade in goods and services, investments, trade facilitation, Customs cooperation, protection of intellectual property and public procurement.
- Under an FTA, trading partners give market access to each other with a view to promoting bilateral trade in goods and services, besides investments.
- India is negotiating similar pacts with several other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Canada. It has implemented FTAs with Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Asean, among others.
The two-way trade between the regions dropped to USD 19 billion in 2016-17, from USD 21.5 billion in 2015-16. The trade gap is highly in favour of the EFTA group.
What is EFTA?
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organisation, established in 1960 by the EFTA Convention for the promotion of free trade and economic integration between its Member States (today Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), within Europe and globally.
- The organisation operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European single market.
- EFTA does not envisage political integration. It does not issue legislation, nor does it establish a customs union.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
SC to hear Rohingya plea for help
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an urgent plea made by two Rohingya Muslim immigrants against the government’s proposed move to deport their 40,000-strong refugee community back to their native Myanmar, where discrimination and possibly summary executions await them.
A plea was filed in the supreme court by Rohingyas for protection of the life and liberty of their community. Petitioners say, the Centre’s move to deport them violated the constitutional guarantee that the Indian state should “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.”
- As per the petitioners, “The proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional protections of Article 14 (equality), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 51(c) (respect for international law and treaty obligations) of the Constitution.”
- Recently, the National Human Rights Commission issued notice to the government on the proposed deportation plan.
Who are the Rohingya?
Few years ago, religious and ethnic tensions between the Rohingya Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhists (who make up the majority of the population in Mayanmar) escalated into widespread, deadly rioting. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee. Since then, ongoing violent attacks have forced even more people to leave their homes.
- The Myanmar Government says that Rohingya people are not Burmese citizens – but the Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for generations. Today, they are a people with no home or citizenship.
- Rohingya people are being widely abused and exploited. They are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
The Myanmar Government should immediately end the violent crackdown on the Rohingya and amend or repeal the 1982 Burma Citizenship Law to provide the Rohingya people with full citizenship in the country. Bangladesh and other governments in Southeast Asia must ensure those fleeing violence and seeking protection, are granted access. Guaranteeing they will not be pushed back or arbitrarily detained and instead that all their rights will be respected.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
To harness the potential of mobile technology, APEDA has developed a mobile app- Hortinet- to allow farmers to apply on-line to facilitate their farm registration, tracking the status of application & approvals by State Government and Lab sampling by authorized Laboratories.
- This mobile app initiative is expected to increase the accessibility and reach of the Traceability software system among the farmers and other stakeholders.
Hortinet is an integrated traceability system developed by APEDA for providing Internet based electronic services to the stakeholders for facilitating farm registration, testing and certification of Grape, Pomegranate and Vegetables for export from India to the European Union in compliance with standards.
This new Mobile app will also assist State Horticulture/ Agriculture Department to capture real time details of farmers, farm location, products and details of inspections like date of inspection, name of inspecting directly from field. After registration and approval of farm, farmer gets approval information.
The key features of the app are:
- Online Farm registration application and status tracking
- Processing and approval on on-line farmer applications by State Horticulture /Agriculture department.
- Registration of farmers, farms and products by State Horticulture/Agriculture department
- Capture geo location of the farms registered through the app
- Sample collection by APEDA authorized Laboratories along with geo location of the sample.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act 1985. The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).
APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the following scheduled products:
- Fruits, Vegetables and their Products.
- Meat and Meat Products.
- Poultry and Poultry Products.
- Dairy Products.
- Confectionery, Biscuits and Bakery Products.
- Honey, Jaggery and Sugar Products.
- Cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds.
- Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.
- Cereal and Cereal Products.
Administrative set up:
- Chairman – Appointed by the Central Government.
- Director – Appointed by APEDA.
- Secretary – Appointed by the Central Government.
- Other Officers and Staff – Appointed by the Authority.
Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Rohingya children to get UNHCR cards in Bengal
The West Bengal government will distribute identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Rohigya children lodged in the juvenile justice homes of the State.
- The move comes at a time when there are reports that the Union government is planning to deport Rohingyas refugees.
The UNHCR has issued identity cards to the Rohingyas in India so as to shield them from harassment and arbitrary arrests. The UNHCR says some 16,500 Rohingya from Myanmar are registered with it in India.
About UNHCR cards:
The UNHCR issues ID cards to registered refugees and documents to asylum-seekers which help to prevent arbitrary arrests, detention and deportation. The card includes a number of enhanced security features including 3D holograms, bar codes and a large SQR code. The card is supported by enhanced biometric data collection at the UNHCR office, including retina, 10 fingers and face scan.
Significance of these cards:
The government issues long-term visas to refugees which ease their access to public services and employment in the private sector. Because of some recent changes to the documentation processes, some refugees have reportedly been facing challenges in accessing public services and opening bank accounts. It is important for refugees to have access to employment and basic services. Therefore, refugee cards help in facilitating their access to these services.
Sources: the hindu.