Ujjwala Yojana: Govt now extends LPG scheme to all poor households

The government extended Ujjwala Yojana of providing free cooking gas (LPG) connections to all poor households, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

The scheme, launched in 2016, originally targeted giving LPG connections to mostly rural women members of below the poverty line (BPL) households. The list was later expanded to include all SC/ST households and forest dwellers among others.

The scheme is now being extended to all poor households.

Under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of Rs 1,600 to state-owned fuel retailers for every free LPG gas connection that they give to poor households. This subsidy is intended to cover the security fee for the cylinder and the fitting charges.

The beneficiary has to buy her own cooking stove. To reduce the burden, the scheme allows beneficiaries to pay for the stove and the first refill in monthly instalments. However, the cost of all subsequent refills has to be borne by the beneficiary household.

The PMUY was launched on May 1, 2016, to provide 5 crores free LPG connections in three years. The target was expanded to 8 crores in five years.

So far, 5.86 crore LPG connections have been released, he said adding that 48 per cent of the beneficiaries are SC/STs.

LPG coverage presently extends to close to 90 per cent of the population and the expansion will help take the coverage to all households, he said.

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FAME-India Scheme

In order to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same, Department of Heavy Industry is implementing FAME-India Scheme- Phase-I [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] from 1st April 2015. The scheme, which was initially upto 31st April 2017, has been extended upto 31st March, 2019 or till Notification of FAME-II, whichever is earlier.

The scheme was initially up to 31st April 2017, has been extended up to 31st March 2019 or till Notification of FAME-II, whichever is earlier.

FAME-India Scheme Phase – II:

  • The scheme proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport and
  • It seeks to encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation.

Automobile Sector:

  • 100% FDI by automatic route is permitted in the automobile sector.
  • Further, the sector is deregulated, both private sector and public sector are free to carry out investment in the automobile sector, including for manufacturing of Electric Vehicles and E-Buses.

FAME India is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. Main thrust of FAME is to encourage electric vehicles by providing subsidies.

Vehicles in most segments – two wheelers, three wheelers, electric and hybrid cars and electric buses obtained the subsidy benefit of the scheme.

FAME focuses on 4 areas i.e. Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.

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9 States achieve 100% household electrification under Saubhagya

Nine States have achieved complete household electrification under the Saubhagya scheme, according to the Ministry of Power. They are Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal, a Power Ministry statement said.

The Ministry had recently lowered the household electrification target by around 10 million homes, or about one-fourth of the earlier goal.

About SAUBHAGYA Scheme:

Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ was launched in September, 2017.

Under Saubhagya free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas will be provided.

Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency for the Saubhagya scheme.

The scheme aims to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country.

All DISCOMs including Private Sector DISCOMs, State Power Departments and RE Cooperative Societies shall be eligible for financial assistance under the scheme in line with Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme would be identified using SECC 2011 data. However, un-electrified households not covered under SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs. 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 installments through electricity bill.

Scope of the Scheme:

  • Providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all un-electrified households in rural areas.
  • Providing Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) based standalone system for un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible villages / habitations, where grid extension is not feasible or cost effective.
  • Providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining economically poor un-electrified households in urban areas. Non-poor urban households are excluded from this scheme.
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Subsidised solar pump scheme launched in Odisha

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the Soura Jalanidhi scheme that aims to increase use of solar energy for helping farmers in irrigating their land.

‘Soura Jalanidhi’, is a dug well-based solar pump irrigation system in convergence mode.

Under the scheme, 5,000 solar pumps will be given to Odisha farmers at a subsidy of 90 per cent to irrigate 2,500 acres of land.

The chief minister also launched the web portal of this scheme on the occasion. The event was attended by 1,000 farmers from 30 districts through video conference.

In the first phase, the facility will be available for farmers where electicity is not avaialable for operating pump sets.

The solar pumps will be given to the beneficiary farmers at a subsidy of 90 per cent. A total of Rs 27 crore will be spent for the programme, an official said.

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Projects worth Rs 929 crore approved for Namami Gange programme

NSD LogoTwelve projects worth Rs 929 crore have been approved under the Namami Gange programme.

Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in a release said the projects were approved by the executive committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga in its 16th meeting today.

About Namami Gange Programme:

Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and West Bengal.

The programme envisages River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation, and Public Awareness.

The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).

In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High-level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at the national level, b) State-level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at the state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.

The program emphasizes improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.

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Naveen Patnaik Launches Scheme To Help Kids Of Construction Workers

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday launched ‘Nirman Kusuma’ programme for providing financial assistance to the children of the construction workers for their technical education in the state.

Launching the programme, Mr. Patnaik said ‘Nirman Kusuma’ would help fulfill dreams of construction workers’ children. He said the children of construction workers would get financial assistance for their education in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics.

While an ITI student will be entitled to get financial assistance of Rs. 23,600, a diploma student to get Rs. 26,300 per annum. A total of 1,878 students will get benefit from the programme.

Mr. Patnaik said the government had already deposited Rs. 1.09 crore in the bank account of beneficiaries of the ‘Nirmal Kusuma’. The chief minister said the government had decided to increase the financial assistance by 20 percent for girl students. Female students from standard sixth to post graduation level are being provided financial assistance.

The state government has doubled the death benefits for the construction workers. While the construction workers’ family was getting Rs. one lakh as compensation, now they will get Rs. two lakh.

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Govt launches Agmark online system

The government Wednesday launched an online platform for processing applications related to quality certification mark ‘Agmark’ for agricultural products.

Agmark is certification mark that assures conformity to a set of standards approved by the government agency Directorate of Marketing and Inspection.

Key facts:

It is being implemented across the country to conduct quality control functions.

It will be available 24×7.

It will make the process of application is simple, quick, transparent.

Through this online system, certificate of authorization (domestic), permission of laboratories (domestic), permission of printing press and services related to laboratory information management system will be provided online.

The online system will make processes easy, reliable and cost effective.  It also has provisions for online receipt of fees from the applicants as payments can be received in digital mode through bharatkosh.gov.in website.

Agmark is certification mark that assures conformity to set of standards approved by Government agency Directorate of Marketing and Inspection.

It is legally enforced by Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act of 1937 (and amended in 1986).

The present AGMARK standards cover quality guidelines for 205 different commodities spanning a variety of cereals, pulses, vegetable oils, essential oils, fruits & vegetables, and semi-processed products like vermicelli.

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Piyush Goyal launches Rail Heritage Digitisation Project

Union Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal launched the “Rail Heritage Digitisation Project” of Indian Railways that will showcase the country’s rail heritage to the national and international audience in an online story-telling platform.

The project, which was launched through video conferencing, has been started in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture.

A culture must reserve these footprints to remember what it was and where it came from. Whenever we look at the evolution of the transport system in India, all these rich traditions, history and culture will play an important role in understanding how the Indian Railways has evolved.”

This partnership between the Railways and Google also has the dimension of the Wi-Fi, which we have proliferated to over 400 stations in India.

The Railways minister further said that this project is the largest cultural heritage digitization project not only in India but possibly the Asia Pacific Region. He expressed hope that collaborative efforts will continue to expand the project further and possibly make it the largest such endeavor to preserve railway heritage in the world.

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Boost to the vulnerable rural families in Jammu & Kashmir

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the extension of the timeline for implementation of the Special Package under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) for Jammu & Kashmir for another period of one year during 2018-19.

The Cabinet also approved the allocation of funds to the State under DAY-NRLM on a need basis for the implementation of the Special Package without linking it with poverty ratio. There is no additional financial implication as the approval is to extend the timeline to cover two-thirds of the vulnerable households in the State within in the originally approved financial outlay of Rs. 755.32 crore.  An amount of Rs.143.604 crore will be required for the period of one year during 2018-19.

Impact:

This will help in covering all the vulnerable rural households in the State (estimated at two-thirds of the total number of households) within a definite time frame.

It will ensure mobilization of households under the auto-inclusion category and households with at least one deprivation category listed in the Socio-Economic Caste Census – 2011.

It will also ensure coverage of all the blocks in Jammu & Kashmir under DAY-NRLM and ensures social inclusion, social development, promotion of livelihoods leading to poverty alleviation in the State.

About Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM):

The Government is implementing DAY-NRLM across the country in all States and Union Territories (except Delhi and Chandigarh).

The financial support under the programme is mainly in the form of Revolving Fund and Community Investment Funds, given as grants to the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their federations.

DAY-NRLM also focuses on bank linkage of the institutions.

The programme has a special focus on women empowerment including a dedicated component for promoting farm and non-farm based livelihoods for women farmers in rural areas.

In addition, start-up enterprises at village levels are also supported to promote entrepreneurial activities in those areas.

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Government modifies operational guidelines for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY)

The Government has decided to incorporate the provision of penalties for States and Insurance Companies for the delay in settlement of insurance claims under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal BimaYojana (PMFBY).

Provision of penalties for States and Insurance Companies for the delay in settlement of insurance claims has been incorporated.

There is a Standard Operating Procedure for evaluation of insurance companies and remove them from the scheme if found ineffective in providing services.

The Government has also decided to include perennial horticultural crops under the ambit of PMFBY on a pilot basis.

The scheme, as per the new operational guidelines provides add-on coverage for crop loss due to the attack of wild animals, which will be implemented on a pilot basis.

Aadhaar number will be mandatorily captured to avoid duplication of beneficiaries.

The insurance companies are given a target of enrolling 10% more non-loanee farmers than the previous corresponding season.

The insurance companies will have to mandatorily spend 0.5% of gross premium per company per season for publicity and awareness of the scheme.

The new operational guidelines address the current challenges faced while implementing the scheme by putting forth effective solutions. The much-demanded rationalization of premium release process has been incorporated in the new guidelines. As per this, the insurance companies need not provide any projections for the advance subsidy.

In April 2016, the government of India had launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) after rolling back the earlier insurance schemes viz. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), Weather-based Crop Insurance scheme and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).

It envisages a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5% for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be 5%.

The scheme is mandatory for farmers who have taken institutional loans from banks. It’s optional for farmers who have not taken institutional credit.

Objectives:

  • Providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events.
  • Stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
  • Encouraging farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
  • Ensuring the flow of credit to the agriculture sector which contributes to food security, crop diversification and enhancing growth and competitiveness of the agriculture sector besides protecting farmers from production risks.
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