Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

SARAT CHANDRA IAS CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 10TH MARCH-2021

Topics

  • SATAT Scheme
  • Centre’s meagre pensions
  • Cyber volunteer programme
  • Need for diversification of Oil imports
  • Approval of PLI scheme for telecom sector

 

SATAT Scheme

  • Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) is an initiative aimed at setting up of Compressed Bio-Gas production plants and make it available in the market for use in automotive fuels by inviting Expression of Interest from potential entrepreneurs
  • The initiative was launched in October 2018 by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in association with Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) viz. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

There are multiple benefits from converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on a commercial scale:

  • Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution
  • Additional revenue source for farmers
  • Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment
  • Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals
  • Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil
  • Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations

Objective: To promote Compressed Bio-Gas as an alternative, green transport fuel with a four-pronged agenda of – 

  • utilizing more than 62 million metric tonnes of waste generated every year in India, 
  • cutting down import dependence, 
  • supplementing job creation in the country and 
  • reducing vehicular emissions and pollution from burning of agricultural / organic waste. 

Centre’s meagre pensions

Context: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development in its report submitted to the Lok Sabha said that the Centre must increase the “meagre” pensions provided for poor senior citizens, widows and disabled people.

Key findings of the panel report

  • The relevance of a marquee Scheme like National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) in reaching out to the poor and downtrodden section of society does not go amiss in the eyes of the Committee.
  • However, the Committee is baffled to observe the meagre amount of assistance ranging from ₹200 to ₹500 per month under the different components of this Scheme.
  • The panel pointed out that it had previously urged the increase of these miniscule pensions in its reports on the Department of Rural Development’s (DoRD) demand for grants in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • However, to the utter dismay of the Committee, nothing much has been forthcoming so far.
  • The Committee does not endorse the non-serious approach of DoRD on this issue.
  • In view of this laxity, the Committee again vehemently recommends the DoRD to look into this issue with utmost sincerity and hasten their processes for bringing an increase in the assistance amount under NSAP.
  • The panel also pulled up the DoRD for delays and disparities in the payment of wages and unemployment allowances under the flagship MGNREGA scheme.

National Social Assistance Programme

  • The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a welfare programme being administered by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • This programme is being implemented in rural as well as urban areas.
  • The programme was first launched on 15th August 1995 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • It was brought within the umbrella of ‘Core of Core’ schemes of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) in 2016.
  • Currently, it has five components namely – ○ Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)- since inception of NSAP in 1995 ○ National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)- 1995 ○ Annapurna Scheme- launched in 2000 ○ Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)- launched in 2009 ○ Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme- launched in 2009
  • The National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) was part of NSAP and was subsequently transferred from the Ministry of Rural development to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) represents a significant step towards the fulfilment of the Directive Principles in Article 42 and in particular article 41 of the Constitution.

 

Cyber volunteer programme

Context:The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed that a “cyber volunteer” programme has been rolled out for “cyber hygiene promotion” and the services of volunteers would be utilised by the State police as per requirement.

  • The MHA, through its cybercrime grievance portal- cybercrime.gov.in, aims to raise a group of “cybercrime volunteers” to flag “unlawful content” on the Internet.
  • Recently, the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a digital liberties organisation, has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs that the Cyber Volunteer scheme will lead to a “culture of surveillance and constant suspicion in society creating potential social distrust”.

Cyber Crime Volunteers Concept

  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (14C) has envisaged the Cyber Crime Volunteers Program to bring together citizens with passion to serve the nation on a single platform and contribute in the fight against cybercrime in the country.
  • The programme targets to rope in around 500 persons to flag unlawful content on the Internet.
  • Volunteers have been advised to study Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, which deals with freedom of expression.
  • Further, the volunteer shall “maintain strict confidentiality of tasks assigned/carried out by him/her”

Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre

  • The scheme to set up I4C was approved in October 2018, to deal with all types of cybercrimes in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
  • It has seven components:
  • National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit
  • National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal
  • National Cyber Crime Training Centre
  • Cyber Crime Ecosystem Management Unit
  • National Cyber Crime Research and Innovation Centre
  • National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory Ecosystem
  • Platform for Joint Cyber Crime Investigation Team.

 

Need for diversification of Oil imports

Context:India has asked state refiners to speed up diversification of oil imports to gradually cut their dependence on West Asian suppliers after OPEC+ decided last week to largely continue production cuts in April

  • India, hit hard by rising oil prices, has urged producers to ease output cuts and help the global economic recovery.
  • In response, the Saudi energy minister told India to dip into strategic reserves filled with cheaper oil bought last year.
  • The government has asked companies to aggressively look for diversification.
  • The government cannot be held hostage to the arbitrary decision of Middle East producers.
  • When they wanted to stabilise the market, the government stood by them.

Negative impact of Increase in oil price

  • The increase in oil prices will increase the country’s import bill, and further disturb its current account deficit
  • The increase in crude prices could also also further increase inflationary pressures that have been building up over the past few months.
  • If oil prices continue to increase, the government shall be forced to cut taxes on petroleum and diesel which may cause loss of revenue and deteriorate its fiscal balance.

Positive impact of Increase in oil price

  • The value of Indian oil and gas companies could be positively impacted.
  • The government could get greater value from disinvestment in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.
  • Remittances from the Persian Gulf could increase.

 

Approval of PLI scheme for telecom sector

Context:Recently, The Union Cabinet has approved the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the telecom sector

  • In order to boost domestic manufacturing and cut down on import bills, the central government in March 2020 introduced a scheme that aims to give companies incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.
  • Apart from inviting foreign companies to set shop in India, the scheme also aims to encourage local companies to set up or expand existing manufacturing units.
  • The Scheme has been approved for many sectors including electronic products, IT hardware, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and components, etc.

PLI Scheme

  • It aims to help encourage domestic manufacturing, reduce imports, and generate employment.
  • Features: Under the Scheme, companies will get incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.
  • The scheme will be implemented by the concerned ministries/departments.
  • 10 Key Sectors (and Implementing Ministry/Department):
    • Advance Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery: NITI Aayog and Department of Heavy Industries.
    • Electronic/Technology Products: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
    • Automobiles & Auto Components: Department of Heavy Industries.
    • Pharmaceuticals drugs: Department of Pharmaceuticals
    • Telecom & Networking Products: Department of Telecom
    • Textile Products (MMF segment and technical textiles): Ministry of Textiles
    • Food Products: Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
    • High Efficiency Solar PV Modules: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
    • White Goods (ACs & LED): Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
    • Speciality Steel: Ministry of Steel.
  • Note: The above sectors will be in addition to the already notified PLI schemes in the following sectors:
    • Mobile Manufacturing and Specified Electronic Components: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY).
    • Critical Drug Intermediaries, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Manufacturing of Medical Devices: Department of Pharmaceuticals.

 

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