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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 March 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 March 2018


Paper 2:

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)


Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) from April 2017 to March 2020.


About RUSA:

Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), launched in 2013 aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.



  • The central funding (in the ratio of 60:40 for general category States, 90:10 for special category states and 100% for union territories) would be norm based and outcome dependent.
  • The funding would flow from the central ministry through the state governments/union territories to the State Higher Education Councils before reaching the identified institutions.
  • The funding to states would be made on the basis of critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans, which would describe each state’s strategy to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education.



The key objectives of RUSA are to improve access, equity and quality in higher education through planned development of higher education at the state level. Objectives include creating new academic institutions, expanding and upgrading the existing ones, developing institutions that are self-reliant in terms of quality education, professionally managed, and characterized by greater inclination towards research and provide students with education that is relevant to them as well the nation as a whole.



  • RUSA would create new universities through upgradation of existing autonomous colleges and conversion of colleges in a cluster.
  • It would create new model degree colleges, new professional colleges and provide infrastructural support to universities and colleges.
  • Faculty recruitment support, faculty improvements programmes and leadership development of educational administrators are also an important part of the scheme.
  • In order to enhance skill development the existing central scheme of Polytechnics has been subsumed within RUSA. A separate component to synergise vocational education with higher education has also been included in RUSA.
  • Besides these, RUSA also supports reforming, restructuring and building capacity of institutions in participating state.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: RUSA.
  • For Mains: Reforms in higher education in India.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission


Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the launch of a new Centrally Sponsored Ayushman Bharat -National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) having central sector component under Ayushman Bharat Mission anchored in the MoHFW.

It will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes -Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).


Highlights of the scheme:

Coverage: The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme. The benefit cover will also include pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.

Target: The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database. Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.

Role of state governments: State Governments will be allowed to expand AB-NHPM both horizontally and vertically. States will be free to choose the modalities for implementation. They can implement through insurance company or directly through Trust/ Society or a mixed model.

Council: For giving policy directions and fostering coordination between Centre and States, it is proposed to set up Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) at apex level Chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister.


Who is eligible?

It will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.

  • The different categories in rural area include families having only one room with kucha walls and kucharoof; families having no adult member between age 16 to 59; female headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59; disabled member and no able bodied adult member in the family; SC/ST households; and landless households deriving major part of their income from manual casual labour.
  • Also, automatically included families in rural areas having any one of the following: households without shelter, destitute, living on alms, manual scavenger families, primitive tribal groups, legally released bonded labour. For urban areas, 11 defined occupational categories are entitled under the scheme.


Implementation Strategy:

At the national level to manage, an Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Agency (AB-NHPMA) would be put in place. States/ UTs would be advised to implement the scheme by a dedicated entity called State Health Agency (SHA). They can either use an existing Trust/ Society/ Not for Profit Company/ State Nodal Agency (SNA) or set up a new entity to implement the scheme. States/ UTs can decide to implement the scheme through an insurance company or directly through the Trust/ Society or use an integrated model.


Benefits of the scheme:

This will lead to increased access to quality health and medication. In addition, the unmet needs of the population which remained hidden due to lack of financial resources will be catered to. This will lead to timely treatments, improvements in health outcomes, patient satisfaction, improvement in productivity and efficiency, job creation thus leading to improvement in quality of life.


Way ahead:

The scheme, if implemented properly could be a game changer by enhancing access to health care including early detection and treatment services by a large section of society who otherwise could not afford them. The identification of beneficiaries can be done by linking with Aadhar and similarly following up for services received and health outcomes achieved, thereby helping to monitor and evaluate the impact of the programme.

Ultimately, the scheme could help country move towards universal health coverage and equitable access to healthcare which is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Ayushman Bharat- details of the scheme.
  • For Mains: Need for universal health coverage.


Sources: pib.

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.


North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) 2017


Context: The Cabinet has approved the North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017 with financial outlay of Rs 3,000 crores upto March, 2020. The newly introduced scheme shall promote industrialization in the States of the North Eastern Region and will boost employment and income generation.


Highlights of the scheme:

Central Capital Investment Incentive for Access to Credit (CCIIAC): 30% of the investment in Plant & Machinery with an upper limit of Rs.5 Crore on the incentive amount per unit.

Central Interest Incentive (Cll): 3% on working capital credit advanced by eligible Banks/ Financial institutions for first 5 years from the date of commencement of commercial production by the unit.

Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (CCII): Reimbursement of 100% insurance premium on insurance of building   and Plant & Machinery for 5 years from the date of commencement of commercial production by the unit.

Goods and Service Tax (GST) Reimbursement: Reimbursement up to the extent of Central Govt. share of CGST and IGST for 5 Years from the date of commencement of commercial production by the unit.

Income-Tax (IT) Reimbursement: Reimbursement of Centre’s share of income tax for first 5 years including the year of commencement of commercial production by the unit.

Additionally, transport and employment incentives are also provided under the scheme.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: NEIDS.
  • For Mains: Need for Industrial development in the North- east.


Sources: pib.

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.


Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry


Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for Central Sector Scheme “Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry” for the next three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

The scheme will be implemented through Central Silk Board (CSB).


Highlights of the scheme:

  • The scheme aims to achieve self-sufficiency in silk production by 2022. To achieve this, production of high grade silk in India will reach 20,650 MTs by 2022 from the current level of 11,326 MTs thereby reducing imports to Zero.
  • The core objective of the scheme is to improve the productivity and quality of silk through R&D intervention.
  • The focus of R&D intervention is to promote improved cross­breed silk and the import substitute Bivoltine silk so that Bivotine silk production in India enhances to such a level that raw silk imports become nil by 2022 thereby making India self-sufficient in silk.
  • Use of silkworm by-products (pupa) for poultry feed, sericin for cosmetic applications and product diversification into non-woven fabrics, silk denim, silk knit etc. will be given thrust for added value realisation.
  • Under Seed Sector, Seed Production Units will be equipped and strengthened to bring in quality standards in production network, besides increasing the production capacity to cater to the increased silk production target.
  • All the beneficiaries under the scheme from silk farmers, seed producers and chawkirearers will be brought on a DBT mode with Aadhaar linkage. A Helpline will be set up for timely redressal of grievances and all outreach programmes.
  • Brand Promotion of Indian silk will be encouraged through quality certification by Silk Mark not only in the domestic market but in the Export market as well.


Significance of the scheme:

The scheme will promote Women Empowerment and livelihood opportunities to SC/ST and other weaker sections of the society. The scheme will help to increase productive employment from 85 lakhs to 1 crore persons by 2020.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Indian diaspora.


India Development Foundation


Context: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for closure of India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI) to enhance synergies in channelizing Diaspora’s contributions to Government of India’s various flagship programmes.


About IDF- OI:

IDF-OI was set up by Government of India with the approval of Cabinet in 2008 as an autonomous not-for-profit Trust, to facilitate Overseas Indian philanthropy into social and development projects in India.

  • Later, promotion of Government of India’s Flagship programmes – National Mission for Clean Ganga and Swachh Bharat Mission; and Social and Development projects identified by State Governments – was added to the mandate of IDF-OI.
  • IDF-OI receives a Grant-in-Aid from the Government of India for meeting its operational expenses and administrative costs for its activities and outreach. Therefore, IDF-OI does not deduct any operational or administrative charges from the contributions it receives from Overseas Indians.
  • The Trust is exempt from provisions of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 of the Ministry of Home Affairs which enables IDF-OI to receive foreign contributions.
  • Chairperson: IDF-OI is chaired by External Affairs Minister.


What necessitated this move?

As the Foundation received only Rs. 36.80 Lakhs between December 2008 and March 2015 as donation from overseas Indian community, a comprehensive review of IDF-OI was undertaken in 2015.

Although, between April 2015 and March 2018, the Trust received Rs.10.16 crore, most of the contribution received were for either projects related to National Mission for Clean Ganga or Swachh Bharat Mission, which are separately administered by their respective Administrative Agencies. Therefore, in order to enhance synergies, improve efficiencies and avoid duplication of work, it was decided that the Trust would be closed.


What’s important?

For Prelims: IDF- OI.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF)


Context: The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) is celebrating its 18th Foundation Day.



The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) was established in 2000 under an agreement between the Governments of India and United States of America.

  • It has a mandate to promote, catalyze and seed bilateral collaboration in science, technology, engineering and biomedical research through substantive interaction amongst government, academia and industry.
  • As an autonomous, not-for-profit society, IUSSTF has the ability, agility and flexibility to engage and involve industry, private R&D labs; and non governmental entities in its evolving activity manifold.
  • This operational uniqueness allows the IUSSTF to receive grants and contributions from independent sources both in India and USA, besides the assured core funding from the two governments.
  • IUSSTF currently implements a portfolio of “four” broad program verticals – Scientific Networks, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Research and Development and Visitation Programs.


What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: IUSSTF and its significance.


Sources: pib.




Paper 3:

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT.


TCIL to set up US arm for Google project


Context: The Cabinet has approved setting up of a US subsidiary of the state-run telecom consultancy company TCIL for providing techno-commercial and logistic support for three Google projects for America.



TCIL is one of the few companies, which have been roped in to execute “Google Fiber”, Google’s “Fiber-tothe-Premises Project” in the US for providing high capacity broadband internet and cable television to all the cities.


About TCIL:

Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd.(TCIL) is a leading IS/ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certified Govt. of India Undertaking incorporated in 1978 under the Administrative control of Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Govt. of India.

  • It is a Miniratna company. It was set up to give consultations in fields of Telecommunications to developing countries around the world.



TCIL has been undertaking various projects in all fields of telecommunications and information technology and also continuously deploying new technologies in the field of Telecom Software, Switching and Transmission Systems, Cellular Services, Rural Telecommunications, Optical Fiber based Backbone Transmission Systems etc.

  • TCIL has diversified its operation and has been executing turnkey projects of Power Transmission, Rural Roads and Civil Construction.


Google Fiber:

Google Fiber is part of the Access division of Alphabet Inc. It provides fiber-to-the-premises service in the United States, providing broadband Internet and IPTV to a small and slowly increasing number of locations.

Services: Google Fiber offers five options, depending on location: a free Internet option, a 100 Mbit/s option, a 1 Gbit/s Internet option, and an option including television service (in addition to the 1 Gbit/s Internet) and an option for home phone.

The service was first introduced to the Kansas City metropolitan area.


What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: TCIL and Google FIber.


Sources: pib.