Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 May 2018
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY)
Context: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for extending the investment limit from Rs 7.5 lakhs to Rs 15 lakhs as well as extension of time limits for subscription from 4thMay 2018 to 31stMarch, 2020 under the Pradhan MantriVayaVandanYojana (PMVVY) as part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.
- PMVVY is a Pension Scheme exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above.
- The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this Scheme.
Key features of the scheme:
- Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years.
- Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
- The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST.
- On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable.
- Loan upto 75% of Purchase Price shall be allowed after 3 policy years (to meet the liquidity needs). Loan interest shall be recovered from the pension installments and loan to be recovered from claim proceeds.
- The scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the Purchase Price shall be refunded.
- On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the Purchase Price shall be paid to the beneficiary.
- For Prelims: PMVVY- key features.
- For Mains: Significance of PMVVY.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Indian Petroleum & Explosives Safety Service (IPESS)
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the Cadre review and formation of Group ‘A’ service of the technical cadre of Petroleum & Safety Organization (PESO) in the name of Indian Petroleum & Explosives Safety Service (IPESS).
Significance of the move:
To remove acute stagnation in all grades and uplift the morale of the workforce and enhance its performance, it has been decided to form Group ‘A’ Service of the technical cadre of PESO in the name of IPESS and restructure the newly-formed service. The measure will enhance the capacity and efficiency of the organization and it will also enhance career progression of its Group ‘A’ officers.
- PESO is a subordinate office under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP).
- The organization is serving the nation since 1898 as a nodal agency for regulating safety of substances such as explosives, compressed gases and petroleum.
- The organization deals with wide range of subjects related to explosives, petroleum, compressed gases, pressure vessels, gas cylinders, cross-country pipelines, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Auto Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Auto LPG) etc.
For Prelims: IPESS, PESO.
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana(PMSSY)
Context: In a major boost to the expansion of healthcare infrastructure in the country, the Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Pradhan MantriSwasthya Suraksha Yojana(PMSSY) beyond 12thFive Year Plan to 2019-20.
- The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
- It is a central sector scheme.
- The scheme has two components: Setting up of new AIIMS and upgradation of government medical colleges.
Significance of the scheme:
Setting up of new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training but also address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region. Construction of new AIIMS is fully funded by the Central Government. The Operations & Maintenance expenses on new AIIMS are also fully borne by the Central Government.
- Setting up new AIIMS in various states will lead to employment generation for nearly 3000 people in various faculty & non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS. Further, indirect employment generation will take place due to facilities & services like shopping centre, canteens, etc. coming in the vicinity of new AIIMS.
- The upgradation programme is carried out in selected Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) by agencies appointed by the Government of India under the direct supervision of the Central Government. Post-Graduate seats and additional faculty posts as per norms will be created and filled up in these GMCs by the respective State/UT Governments.
- The construction activity involved for creation of the physical infrastructure for the various new AIIMS and Government Medical Colleges’ upgradation projects being undertaken under the scheme is also expected to generate substantial employment in the construction phase as well.
- For Prelims: PMSSY.
- For Mains: Significance of the scheme and the need for universal access to healthcare facilities in the country.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control
Context: The Union Cabinet has given approval to accede to the Protocol under World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on tobacco control to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.
- It will be applicable to both smoking and chewing or smokeless tobacco (SLT) forms as negotiated and adopted under Article 15 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
About WHO FCTC:
- The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO.
- The objective of FCTC is to provide a framework for supply and demand reduction measures for tobacco control at the national, regional and global levels.
- Article 15 of WHO FCTC envisages elimination of all forms of illicit trade and tobacco products, including smuggling, illicit manufacturing and counterfeiting.
- India is a party to WHO FCTC.
The FCTC provides an internationally co-ordinated response to combating the tobacco epidemic, and sets out specific steps for governments addressing tobacco use, including to:
- Adopt tax and price measures to reduce tobacco consumption.
- Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
- Create smoke-free work and public spaces.
- Put prominent health warnings on tobacco packages.
- Combat illicit trade in tobacco products.
Significance of the protocol:
- Elimination of illicit trade in tobacco products through strengthened regulation will help in strengthening comprehensive tobacco control, leading to reduction in tobacco use which in turn, will result in reduction in disease burden and mortality associated with tobacco use.
- Accession to such treaty will provide actionable alternatives against such prevailing practices that are affecting public health at large. India, being at the forefront of tobacco control, would be able to influence the international organizations including World Custom Organization in controlling such illicit trade.
- The protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products is a path breaking initiative in strengthening global action against tobacco and is also a new legal instrument in public health. It is a comprehensive tool to counter and eventually eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products and to strengthen legal dimensions for international health cooperation.
- For Prelims: WHO FCTC.
- For Mains: Tobacco and its effects on health, need for elimination of illicit trade in tobacco products.
Topic: Technology missions.
Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana
Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, “Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana” in agriculture sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
- The Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce.
Key objectives of the scheme:
- Betterment of agricultural base.
- Doubling of farmers’ earnings.
- Development of appropriate agriculture infrastructure.
- Adequate market for sale of produce.
The Schemes that are part of the Umbrella Schemes are:
- Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).
- National Food Security Mission (NFSM).
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
- Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE).
- Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP).
- Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM).
- Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ).
- Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES).
- Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC).
- Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM).
- National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A).
Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK)
Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK). CCEA has also approved its continuation during the remaining period of the 14th Finance Commission.
Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) was launched in the year 2008-09 in 90 identified Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) having at least 25% minority population and below national average with respect to one or both of the backwardness parameters with the objective of developing assets for socio-economic and basic amenities.
- MsDP has been identified as one of the Core of the Core Schemes under National Development Agenda in the Report of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, which was constituted by NITI Aayog.
- MsDP has been designed primarily to address the developmental gaps/deficits in identified backward minority concentration areas by topping up of existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes of various Central ministries/departments without any change in the norms, guidelines and the funding pattern.
- The Programme aims to address development deficits in the identified minority concentration areas. The identification of minority concentration areas has been done on the basis of presence of substantial population of notified Minority Communities based on Census, 2011.
- The restructured programme would provide better socio economic infrastructure facilities to the minority communities particularly in the field of education, health & skill development as compared to the present situation, which would further lead to lessening of the gap between the national average and the minority communities with regard to backwardness parameters.
- The PMJVK will be implemented in Minority Concentration District Hqrs, Minority Concentration Block(MCBs), Minority Concentration Towns(MCTs) falling in 308 districts of 32 States/UTs.
- Moreover, the scheme will also be implemented in Backward Clusters of Minority Concentration Villages(CoMCV). These CoMCV will be identified on the proposal of the States/UTs as per criteria of PMJVK.
For Prelims: PMJVK and its significance.
Facts for Prelims:
Committee formed to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary:
Context: A government committee has been formed to coordinate year-long celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary from October 2, 2019. The Committee will guide and approve policies, programmes, activities for the commemoration and will also supervise implementation of the decisions taken from time to time.
- The Committee has a total of 125 members, including 116 from India and encompasses the President (as chair), the Vice-President, Prime Minister, Union Ministers, former Prime Ministers, Chief Ministers, senior MPs and political leaders from across party lines.
- It also includes eminent Gandhians, social thinkers and activists representing a cross-section of Indian society and regional diversity.
- The Committee also has nine international members, including two former Secretaries General of the United Nations – Mr Kofi Annan and Mr Ban Ki-moon – and Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and former US Vice-President Al Gore.
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI):
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the Mutual Recognition Agreement between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
ICAI is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949′, to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.
Algae Noctiluca scintillans:
What is it? It is green algae which is behind the scintillating phenomenon observed in oceans when they glow fluorescent blue at night. The Noctiluca algae is often reported to occur in patches or blooms in the Northern Arabian Sea. These striking green blooms often appear to glow at night due to a special phenomenon called bioluminescence, earning them the nickname ‘sea sparkle’.
Why in news? An Indo-US study has found that global warming is leading to large-scale fish kills in the Arabian Sea by fuelling the growth of this harmful bioluminescent algae.
Concerns: It is believed to be dangerous to ocean life because it produces ammonia. Their growing abundance is a cause of concern, because they adversely affect fish, which do not thrive in such waters.