GS-1, Social Empowerment, Uncategorized

Cabinet approves Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program

The Maternity Benefit Program will provide compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the women can take adequate rest before and after delivery and not be deprived of proper nutrition.

Objective of the Scheme
i) To provide partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child.

ii) The cash incentives provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother (PW&LM) to reduce the effects of under-nutrition namely stunting, wasting and other related problems.

Who are the beneficiaries?
All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), excluding the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are in regular employment with the Central Government or State Government or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being.

How much monetary benefit?
All eligible will receive a cash benefit of Rs.5,000/- in three installment

Why is this required?
Highest number of maternal death due to absence of medical help
2- High maternal mortality rate (167 per 100,000 live births in 2011-13)
3- High Infant mortality rate (41 per 1000 Live birth)

GS-3, Uncategorized

Skill India Mission

According to government estimates, more than 1.04 Crore youth have been trained under the Skill India Mission in the year 2015-16 which is 36.8% higher than the previous year’s recorded data.

Key facts:

  • In the current arrangement, 60% of the trainings are directly under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship while 40% are across other Central Ministries.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), which was launched on July 15, 2015, alone has witnessed more than 20 lakh people, of which 40% are women candidates, being trained in their choice of skills.

About the National Skill Development Mission:

  • The National Skill Development Mission aims to provide a strong institutional framework at the Centre and States for implementation of skilling activities in the country.
  • The Mission will have a three-tiered, high powered decision making structure. At its apex, the Mission’s Governing Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, will provide overall guidance and policy direction.
  • The Steering Committee, chaired by Minister in Charge of Skill Development, will review the Mission’s activities in line with the direction set by the Governing Council. The Mission Directorate, with Secretary, Skill Development as Mission Director, will ensure implementation, coordination and convergence of skilling activities across Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments.
  • The Mission will also run select sub-missions in high priority areas.
  • The National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and the Directorate of Training will function under the overall guidance of the Mission.
  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) provides a natural home for the Mission, organically linking all three decisions making levels and facilitating linkages to all Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments.
GS-3, Science & Tech, Uncategorized

Soon, postman will also deliver Ganga Jal

The Hindu


  • Postal department might soon deliver water from the Ganga river to your doorstep.
  • Ganges which is considered holy by the Hindus.
  • Communications and IT Minister directed the Department of Posts to utilise e-commerce platform so that pure Ganga Jal from Haridwar and Rishikesh can be provided to the people.


E-governance app

  • Government is also working on a single mobile application through which citizens would be able to access over 1,000 e-governance services provided by the Centre, State governments as well as local authorities.
  • The new application UMANG — short for Unified Mobile App for New-age Governance — will be available in 12 Indian languages, besides English.
  • This application will be a game changer… a common mobile application for all government services.


Smartphones for postmen:

  • By March 2017, all postmen in urban centres will be given smartphones, while those in around 1.3 lakh rural post offices will be given handheld devices.
  • About 4,000 handheld devices have already been given.
  • It will help in financial inclusion.
GS-2, Social Issue, Uncategorized

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

  • Aim: To generate awareness and improve efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women
  • Launched on 22 January 2015 with an initial corpus of Rs. 100 crore
  • Joint initiative of Ministries of Women & Child Development, Health & Human Resource Development

Districts Identified

The three criteria for selection of districts:

  1. Districts below the national average (87 districts/23 states);
  2. Districts above national average but shown declining trend (8 districts/8 states)
  3. Districts above national average and shown increasing trend (5 districts/5 states- selected so that these CSR levels can be maintained and other districts can emulate and learn from their experiences)
  • First Phase:

100 districts have been identified on the basis of low Child Sex Ratio as per Census 2011 covering all States/UTs as a pilot With at least one district in each state

  • Second Phase

The scheme has further been expanded to 61 additional districts selected from 11 States/UT having CSR below 918



  • Implement a sustained Social Mobilization and Communication Campaign to createequal value for the girl child & promote her education
  • Focus on Gender Critical Districts and Cities low on CSR for intensive & integrated action
  • Mobilize & Train Panchayati Raj Institutions/ Urban local bodies/ Grassroot workers as catalysts for social change
  • Ensure service delivery structures/ schemes & programmes are sufficiently responsiveto issues Of gender and children’s rights
  • Enable Inter-sectoral and inter-institutional convergence at District/ Block/ Grassroot levels


  1. Centre: A National Task Force (NTF) headed by Secretary WCD
    State: A State Task Force (STF)
  2. District: District Task Force (DTF) headed by the District Collector/ Deputy Commissioner with representation of concerned departments
  3. Block: A Block Level Committee headed by SDM/ SDO/ BDO
  4. Gram Panchayat/ Municipality: Respective Panchayat Samiti/ Ward Samiti
  5. Village: Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees
GS-2, Social Issue, Uncategorized

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana

  • Launched on 22 January 2015
  • Small savings instrument for the girl child
  • Account can be opened in a post office or a public sector bank

Who is eligible?

  • Girl child only
  • Child should be Indian citizen
  • Age limit: On the date of opening the account, the child’s age should 10 years or younger

Who can Invest?

Parent, or Legal Guardian of the eligible Girl child

Investment limit:

  • In 1 year, minimum Rs 1000/- needs to be invested., thereafter in multiples Of 100/-
  • Maximum of Rs 1,50,000/- can be invested
  • Deposits can be made in lump-sum or spread out manner
  • No limit on number of deposits either in a month or in a financial yearssa-poster

Operation of the account:

  • The account will be opened and operated by the guardian of a girl child till the girl child, in whose name the account has been opened, attains the age of 10 years
  • On attaining age of 10 years, the girl child may herself Operate the account


  • Deposit needs to made until 14 years from opening of account
  • Deposit under scheme will mature 21 year after opening of the account


  • No Premature Withdrawal is permitted
  • However, maximum up to 50% of deposit amount can be withdrawn for marriage or higher education of girl child, once she reaches 18 years of


  • Scheme Tenure is 21 years from date of opening, or when the marriage of the girl child happens; whichever happens earlier
  • Account will compulsorily have to be closed after marriage of the girl child
  • In case after maturity of the account (21 years) the girl child does not marry, and if account is not closed after maturity, balance will continue to earn interest as specified for the scheme from time to time
GS-3, Indian Economy, Uncategorized

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana: Funding the unfunded


Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is a flagship scheme of Government of India to enable a small enterprise come into the formal financial system and get affordable credit to run his/ her business.

  • Who? Any Indian Citizen who has a business plan for a non-farm sector income generating activity
  • Credit need? Less than Rs 10 lakh
  • Possible Creditors? Banks, MFI, or NBFC

Types of Loans provided

Under the aegis of Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana, MUDRA has already created the following products / schemes.

  • Shishu : covering loans upto 50,000/-
  • Kishor : covering loans above 50,000/- and upto 5 lakh
  • Tarun : covering loans above 5 lakh and upto 10 lakh

Note that there is no subsidy for the loan given under PMMY. However, if the loan proposal is linked some Government scheme, wherein the Government is providing capital subsidy, it will be eligible under PMMY also.


What is MUDRA Bank and what is its role in the MUDRA Yojna?

  • MUDRA Bank = Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank
  • The Rs 20,000 crore MUDRA Bank aims to provide refinancing to small and medium enterprises, particularly those from SC & ST
  • The idea is to refinance micro-finance institutions through Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana
  • This bank would be responsible for regulating and refinancing all MFIs which are in the business of lending to MSME

Are there any concerns regarding the structure or establishment of MUDRA bank?

  • The bank will be financially challenged since inception, if it is funded through non-budgetary support
  • The funds for the bank would be sourced from shortfall in the achievements of the priority sector lending (PSL) targets
  • Currently, the shortfall in the PSL targets of the domestic scheduled commercial banks are deposited in Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) and for foreign banks in Small Enterprises Development Fund
  • The fact of the matter is that banks have been surpassing the targets in all years, since 2002, except for the last three years
  • The shortfall lies only in agricultural loans, but it would be unfair to divert the target for agriculture from RIDF to micro units

What are some of the positive points which go in favour of such a scheme?

  • Informal sector accounts for 90% of our non-agricultural workforce, 50% of the GDP & 40% of the non-farm GDP
  • Analysts point that the Indian GDP can be raised by almost 15% if the informal sector data is incorporated in the GDP series
  • The MUDRA bank aims to boost loans and cut borrowing costs for the cash-starved domestic small businesses

But has a direct intervention from government (to facilitate loans) worked in past?

What are some of the prominent concerns in this area?

  • There is always a case for direct government intervention to solve any one of our many chronic problems, to justify the need for MUDRA bank
  • The govt. is trying to ensure equity through determined government action that previously drove the govt. to nationalise banks and bring priority sector lending
  • However, such ‘directed credit’ has not worked successfully in the past
  • The govt. control over banks had led to large-scale corruption and repeated recapitalisation through taxpayers’ money
  • MUDRA bank has been over-burdened with many conflicting objectives and too-many roles, viz. a lender, consultant, regulator, think tank and an agent of social change
GS-1, Uncategorized

Housing for All by 2022

Fulfilling housing dream of every Indian family by 75th year of independence.



  • PM Modi- ‘By the time the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence, every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24×7 electricity supply and access’
  • To achieve this objective, Govt has launched a comprehensive mission ‘Housing for All by 2022’
  • The programme is launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) <not ministry of urban development>


  • It will be implemented during 2015-2022
  • Will provide central assistance to implementing agencies through States and UTs for providing houses to all eligible families/beneficiaries by 2022
  • Will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme <what’s the difference b/w centrally sponsored and central sector schemes? Answer in comments>
  • Mission with all its component has become effective from 17 June, 2015 and will be implemented upto 31 March, 2022
  • All 4041 statutory towns as per Census 2011 with focus on 500 Class I cities would be covered in three phases: <what is a statutory town? Answer in comments>
  1. Phase I (April 2015 – March 2017) to cover 100 Cities selected from States/ UTs as per their willingness
  2. Phase II (April 2017 – March 2019) to cover additional 200 Cities
  3. Phase III (April 2019 – March 2022) to cover all other remaining Cities

Ministry, however, will have flexibility regarding inclusion of additional cities in earlier phases in case there is a resource backed demand from States/ UTs

  • The mission will support construction of houses upto 30 square meter carpet area with basic civic infrastructure
  • The minimum size of houses constructed under the mission under each component should conform to the standards provided in National Building Code (NBC)
  • The houses should be designed and constructed to meet the requirements of structural safety against earthquake, flood, cyclone, landslides etc. conforming to the National Building Code and other relevant Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) codes
  • The houses should be in the name of the female head of the household or in the joint name of the male head of the household and his wife, and only in cases when there is no adult female member in the family, the house can be in the name of male member of the household
  • Implementing Agencies should encourage formation of associations of beneficiaries under the scheme like Resident Welfare Association etc. to take care of maintenance of houses being built under the mission


The Mission will be implemented through four verticals giving option to beneficiaries, ULBs and State Governments




  • The mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers

What is a slum? It is defined as a compact area of at least 300 people or about 60-70 households of poorly built congested tenements in unhygienic environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities

  • Beneficiaries include Economically weaker section (EWS) and low-income groups (LIGs)

The annual income cap is up to Rs 3 lakh for EWS and Rs 3-6 lakh for LIG. EWS category of beneficiaries is eligible for assistance in all four verticals of the Missions whereas LIG category is eligible under only Credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) component of the Mission

  • A beneficiary family will comprise husband, wife, unmarried sons and/ or unmarried daughters
  • The beneficiary family should not own a pucca house either in his/ her name or in the name of any member of his/ her family in any part of India to be eligible to receive central assistance under the mission
  • The total housing shortage envisaged to be addressed through the new mission is 20 million<what is the actual housing shortage in the country? What %age of it is in LIG and EWS category? Answer in comments>


Follow this story for updates on housing scheme- India’s urbanisation agenda

Agriculture, GS-3, Uncategorized

Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Enhancing the productivity of the indigenous breeds of India through scientific management


Potential to enhance the productivity of the indigenous breeds of India through professional farm management and superior nutrition is immense. For this it is essential to promote conservation and development of indigenous breeds.

The “Rashtriya Gokul Mission” aims to conserve and develop indigenous breeds in a focused and scientific manner
It is a focussed project under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development, with an outlay of Rs 500 crore during the 12th Five Year Plan

Importance & need for conservation of indigenous breeds:

  • During 2012-2013, about 45 million cattle were ‘in milk’ and contributed around 59 million tonnes of milk
  • Cattle not only contribute substantially to milk production but are also used as draught animals, for agricultural operations and transport in rural areas
  • Most of the agricultural operations by small farmers are performed by bullocks
  • They also provide cow dung (organic manure), cow urine (medicinal value)
    Indigenous cattle are categorized as Zebu and are suited for draught power because of the presence of a hump
  • Indigenous cattle are well known for their quality of heat tolerance and ability to withstand extreme climatic conditions
  • Studies indicate that temperature rise due to global warming will negatively impact milk production
  • The annual loss in milk production of cattle and buffaloes due to thermal stress in 2020 will be about 3.2 million tonnes of milk costing more than Rs 5000 Crore at current price rate
  • The decline in milk production and reproductive efficiency will be highest in crossbred cattle followed by buffaloes. Indigenous Breeds will be least affected by climate change as they are more hardy and robust
  • Some of the indigenous breeds have enormous potential to become high yielding commercial milch animals under optimal farm management
  • The pre-requisites for the development of a breed are- a) the presence of a minimum base population and b) a wide selection differential for economic traits
  • The indigenous dairy breeds with potential for development as commercially viable milch cattle in a shorter time frame are- Sahiwal in Punjab; Rathi and Tharparkar in Rajasthan; and Gir and Kankrej in Gujarat
  • If these breeds are selectively crossed with bulls selected through sibling and progeny testing, the offsprings would be commercially viable. In this manner the entire population of the breed can be upgraded in a few generations


  • To undertake breed improvement program for indigenous cattle breeds so as to improve genetic makeup and increase the stock
  • To enhance milk production and productivity of indigenous bovines
  • To upgrade nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi <What is a non-descript cattle? Answer in comments>
  • To distribute disease free high genetic merit bulls of indigenous breeds for natural service


  • State Implementing Agency (SIA)- Livestock Development Boards (LDB)
    State Gauseva Ayogs- Mandated to sponsor proposals to the SIAs and monitor implementation of the sponsored proposal
  • Participating Agencies- All Agencies having a role in indigenous cattle development. Ex- ICAR, universities, Colleges, NGOs and Gaushalas with best germplasm


  • Establishment of village level Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres viz Gokul Gram
  • Strengthening of bull mother farms to conserve high genetic merit Indigenous Breeds
  • Establishment of Field Performance Recording (FPR) in the breeding tract.
    Assistance to Institutions/lnstitutes which are repositories of best germplasm
  • Implementation of Pedigree Selection Programme for the Indigenous Breeds with large population
  • Establishing Gopalan Sangh- Breeder’s Societies
  • Distribution of disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.
    Incentive to farmers maintaining elite animals of indigenous breeds
  • Heifer rearing programme
  • Award to Farmers (Gopal Ratna) and Breeders” Societies (Kamadhenu)
    Organization of Milk Yield Competitions for indigenous breeds
  • Organization of Training Programme for technical and non technical

Gokul Gram:

  • These are Indigenous Cattle Centres and will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds
  • They’ll be established- a) in native breeding tracts and b) near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle
  • A dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract
  • Self sustaining and will generate economic resources from sale of milk, organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and production of electricity from bio gas for in house consumption and sale of animal products
  • Also function as state of the art in situ training centre for Farmers, Breeders
GS-3, Uncategorized

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

Electrifying the rural India in mission mode



  • Aim: To ensure electrification of all the un-electrified villages by 2017 in mission mode <do you know how many villages are electrified? Answer in comments.>
  • The Scheme draws its inspiration from the similar pioneering scheme implemented by the Government of Gujarat
  • It will enable to initiate much awaited reforms in the rural areas
  • It focuses on feeder separation (rural households & agricultural) and strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure including metering at all levels in rural areas <How does feeder separation help? Answer in comments.>
  • The scheme will replace the existing Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY)
  • Scheme has an outlay of Rs 76000 Cr for implementation


  • The rural agricultural and non-agricultural consumers of the country are generally serviced through the local distribution network which is unreliable
  • Many rural areas of the country face insufficient electricity supply, consequently the distribution utilities are forced to resort to load shedding
  • This affects the power supply to both agricultural and non-agricultural consumers
  • The demand of power in rural areas is increasing day by day due to changing consumer base, improving living standards for which augmentation of rural infrastructure needs to be regularly undertaken
  • To improve the commercial viability of power distribution, there is need for metering of all categories of the consumers


  • To provide electrification to all villages
  • Feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers
  • Improvement of Sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of the supply
  • Metering to reduce the losses


  • All villages and households shall be electrified
  • Increase in agriculture yield
  • Business of Small and household enterprises shall grow resulting into new avenues for employment
  • Improvement in Health, Education, Banking (ATM) services
  • Improvement in accessibility to radio, telephone, television, internet and mobile etc
  • Betterment in social security due to availability of electricity
  • Accessibility of electricity to schools, panchayats, hospitals and police stations etc
  • Rural areas shall get increased opportunities for comprehensive development
  • Key enabler in Digital India programme


  • Govt has achieved its annual target of electrifying 7000 villages during this (2015-16) fiscal year under DDUGJY (according to recently published data) <can you tell us the definition of an electrified village? Answer in comments>
  • However, these figures have been contested and critcised for being unrealistic
  • An analysis by The Hindu- The govt has electrified 20% of the villages that were without power at the start of this financial year (2015-16)

Follow the story for updates- Policy Wise: India’s Power Sector

Agriculture, GS-3, Uncategorized

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

Achieving the goals of- Per drop more crop & Har khet ko paani


PMKSY envisages amalgamation of ongoing schemes:

  1. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR RD & GR)
  2. Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR)
  3. On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC)

Ministries involved:

  1. Ministry of Rural Development- Mainly undertake rain water conservation, construction of farm pond, water harvesting structures, small check dams and contour bunding etc.
  2. MoWR RD & GR- Undertake various measures for creation of assured irrigation source, construction of diversion canals, field channels, water diversion/lift irrigation, including development of water distribution systems
  3. Ministry of Agriculture- Promote efficient water conveyance and precision water application devices like drips, sprinklers, pivots, rain-guns in the farm “(Jal Sinchan)”, construction of micro-irrigation structures to supplement source creation activities, extension activities for promotion of scientific moisture conservation and agronomic measures


  • Achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level
  • Har Khet ko pani- Expand cultivable area under assured irrigation
  • More crop per drop- Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water & enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies
  • Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture
  • Attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system.


#1. Financial outlay- Rs. 50,000 crore over a period of five years (2015-16 to 2019-20)

#2. Bringing under a common platform- all the concerned Agencies engaged in creation/ use/ recycling/ potential recycling of water

This will ensure that a comprehensive and holistic view of the entire “water cycle” is taken into account and proper water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries

#3. Decentralized State level planning and execution structure

  • This will allow states to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a State Irrigation Plan (SIP)
  • DIP will have holistic developmental perspective of the district, outlining medium to long term developmental plans
  • DIP will integrate three components namely, water sources, distribution network and water use application
  • These will be prepared at two levels- the block and the district

#4. Geotagging- All structures created under the schemes will be geotagged

Implementing Committees:

#1. National Steering Committee (NSC):

  • It will supervise and monitor the programme at the national level
  • This is an Inter-Ministerial committee under the Chairmanship of the Prime
  • Minister with Union Ministers of all concerned Ministries

#2. National Executive Committee (NEC):

  • It will oversee programme implementation, allocation of resources, inter-ministerial coordination, monitoring and performance assessment, addressing administrative issues etc.
  • To be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog

#3. State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC):

  • It will administer the scheme at the state level
  • It will be Chaired by the Chief Secretary of the respective States
  • It will have all authority to sanction the project and also monitor the progress of the scheme

#4. District Level Implementation Committee: At the district level; for ensuring last mile coordination at the field level

Now it’s time to solve some IAS prelims questions

  1. Consider the following statements: (IAS 2015)1. The Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme was launched during 1996-97 to provide loan assistance to poor farmers.
    2. The Command Area Development Programme was launched in 1974-75 for the development of water-use efficiency.
    Which of the statements given above is/are correct?(a) 1 only
    (b) 2 only
    (c) Both 1 and 2
    (d) Neither 1 nor 2
  2. consider following pairs:
    Programme/ Project Ministry
    1. Drought-Prone Area Programme of Agriculture
    2. Desert Development Programme of Environment and Forests
    3. National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas of Rural Development


    Which of the above pairs are correctly matched? (IAS 2014)

    1. 1 and 2 only
    2. 3 only
    3. 1, 2 and 3
    4. None
  3. What are the benefits of implementing the ‘Integrated Watershed Development Programme’? (IAS 2014)
    1. Prevention of soil runoff
    2. Linking the country’s perennial rivers with seasonal rivers
    3. Rainwater harvesting and recharge of ground water table
    4. Regeneration of natural vegetation

    Select the correct answer using the code given below.

    1. 1 and 2 only
    2. 2, 3 and 4 only
    3. 1, 3 and 4 only
    4. 1, 2, 3 and 4
  4. With reference to micro-irrigation, which of the following statements is/are correct? (IAS 2011)
    1. Fertilizer/nutrient loss can be reduced
    2. It is the only means of irrigation in dry land farming.
    3. In some areas of farming, receding of ground water table can be checked.

    Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    (a.) 1 only (b.) 2 and 3 only (c.) 1 and 3 only (d.) 1, 2 and 3

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