Economy topics for UPSC 2015:
Jan Dhan Yojana:
NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India):
Shanta Kumar Committee – FCI Restructing:
A Mint index of rural distress is based on the growth of farm output, rural wages and tractor sales.
DD Kisan is India’s first TV Channel dedicated to farmers. The 24X7 channel is owned by public service broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) and is dedicated to agriculture and allied sectors.
DD Kisan will disseminate real-time inputs to farmers on new farming techniques, water conservation and organic farming. It will also share best farm practices in different parts of the country, quiz shows for farmers, a bottoms-up approach involving agriculturists.
The channel show will also invite programme suggestions from general public and real-time interaction with experts and farm scientists.
Before this channel, Prasar Bharati was running ‘Krishi Darshan’ programme on DD1 for farmers. It was one of the longest running programmes on DD and was launched on January 26, 1967.
Weather based Insurance Schemes:
Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) is being implemented as component of National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP). This scheme provides insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of crops due to Adverse Weather Incidence and subsequent crop loss.
The Adverse Weather Incidences leading to crop loss and subsequent indemnity under WBCIS are as follows:
- Rainfall – Deficit Rainfall, Unseasonal Rainfall, Excess rainfall, Rainy days, Dry-spell, Dry days
- Relative Humidity
- Temperature – High temperature (heat), Low temperature (frost)
- Wind Speed
- A combination of the above
- Hailstorms and cloudburst
Crops Covered: The scheme covers major food crops such as cereals, millets & pulses, Oilseeds and commercial / horticultural crops. Crops are selected and notified by State Governments.
Farmers Covered This scheme is available to all kinds of farmers, big or small; loanee or non-loanee; Landholders, sharecroppers or tenant farmers. However, loanee farmers i.e. those who have taken farm- loans from financial institutions are covered compulsorily. The scheme gives the freedom to farmers to choose insurance companies. Further, role of PRIs (Panchayati Raj Institutions is encouraged in implementation of this scheme)
Reference Unit Area & Premium / sum assured calculation: The scheme operates on the concept of “Area Approach” i.e., for the purposes of compensation, a ‘Reference Unit Area (RUA)’ is defined by state government as a homogeneous unit of Insurance. Such RUA can be a Village Panchayat / Revenue Circle / Mandal / Hobli / Block / Tehsil etc. as defined by the state government. The Sum Insured (SI) for each notified crop is pre-defined as per a formula, which is based on the ‘cost of production’ and is same for loanee and non-loanee farmers and all companies. This sum assured is arrived at by using a formula.
This RUA shall be notified before the commencement of the season by the State Government and all the insured cultivators of a particular insured crop in that Area will be deemed to be on par in the assessment of claims. Each RUA is linked to a Reference Weather Station (RWS), on the basis of which current weather data and the claims would be processed.
Adverse Weather Incidences, if any during the current season would entitle the insured a payout, subject to the weather triggers defined in the ‘Payout Structure’ and the terms & conditions of the Scheme. The “Area Approach” is as opposed to “Individual Approach”, where claim assessment is made for every individual insured farmer who has suffered a loss. The Premium is decided by the insurance companies on RUA level and there is a cap on maximum premium as with
- The New Development Bank (NDB) created by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) nations formally started.
- Headquarters in Shanghai, China.
- BRICS bank’s first President : K V Kamath from India (for the first five years i.e. till 2020).
- Agreement for establishing NDB was signed during the 6th BRICS Summit being held in Fortaleza, Brazil in April, 2014.
- It was formally launched at the 7th BRICS summit held in Ufa, Russia in July 2015.
- What will BRICS BANK Do? : To fund infrastructure projects in the emerging economies.
- Capital of BRICS BANK: It will have initial capital of US 50 billion dollars and will be raised to US 100 billion dollars within the next couple of years.
- Each member country have an equal say in the bank’s management, regardless of GDP size and contribute an equal share in establishing a startup capital.
DeenDayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)- An Over view :
Ministry of Power, Government of India has launched Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for rural areas having following objectives:
- 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 supplyiv)
- Metering to reduce the losses
- Scheme has an outlay of Rs 76000 crore for implementation of the projects under which Government of India shall provide Grant of Rs 63000 crore.
Benefits from the scheme
- 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.
National Career Counselling portal:
- National Career Counselling Portal launched in a bid to modernize all government-run employment exchanges.
- Under National Career Service (NCS) project of Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
- The web portal will be a one-stop platform for both job providers and job seekers where registration can be done online.
- It will provide basic platform for searching and applying for jobs on the portal. It will also provide candidates career-related counseling either by its helpline numbers or visiting these centres along with other facilities like job posting, aptitude assessment, job matching, training providers, skill courses and guidance on self-employment and entrepreneurship.
- It should be noted that NCS project aims at transforming all the government-run employment exchanges.
Skill India Campaign/ Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY):
- The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched the SKILL INDIA Campaign on 15th July 2015.
- 15th July was also observed as the first ever World Youth Skills Day by UN.
- The National Mission will converge, coordinate, implement and monitor skilling activities across India.
- The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the Ministry’s flagship, demand-driven, reward-based skill training scheme will incentivise skill training, by providing financial rewards to candidates who successfuly complete approved skill training programmes.
- PMKVY will skill 24 lakh youth, across India, over the next one year.
- For the first time, the skills of young people who lack formal certification, such as workers in India’s vast unorganised sector, will be recognised through an initiative known as ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ (RPL), who will have a chance to be assessed and certified for the skills that they already possess.
- 10 lakh youth will be certified under PMKVY’s RPL category over the next one year.
- A ‘Skill Loan’ initiative also launched at the event, where loans from Rs 5,000-1.5 lakhs will be available to more than 34 lakh youth of India, who seek to attend skill development programmes, over the next five years.
India, Russia sign customs pact to boost trade:
Fortune 500 List unveiled:
- European Union (EU) has approved a short-term loan of 7.16 billion euros to Greece after it was backed by the 28 member states. This loan will allow Greece to pay its debt to European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) till new bailout plan is ratified.
- The loan will be given through the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) which is a rescue fund set up during the first time bailout of Greece in 2010.
- But presently it covers the whole of the 28 EU member nations and not just the 19 eurozone members.
Important Facts: European Union vs EuroZone:
- The Eurozone officially called the euro area, is an economic and monetary union (EMU) of 19 European Union (EU) member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender.
- The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal,Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Other EU states (except for Denmark and the United Kingdom) are obliged to join once they meet the criteria to do so. Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City have formal agreements with the EU to use the euro as their official currency and issue their own coins.Kosovo and Montenegro have adopted the euro unilaterally, but these countries do not officially form part of the eurozone and do not have representation in the European Central Bank (ECB) or in the Eurogroup.
- The ECB, which is governed by a president and a board of the heads of national central banks, sets the monetary policy of the zone. The principal task of the ECB is to keep inflation under control.
- The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily inEuropeThe EU operates through a system of supranational institutions and intergovernmental-negotiated decisions by the member states.The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.
- With a combined population of over 500 million inhabitants, or 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2014 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 18.495 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 24% of global nominal GDP and 17% when measured in terms of purchasing power parity. As of 2014 the EU has the largest economy in the world, generating a GDP bigger than any other economic union or country. Additionally, 26 out of 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the UNDP. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
- The Countries in European Union are: Austria, Belgium(Founder country), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Demnark, Estonia, Finland, Franc(Founder country)e,Germany(Founder country), Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy(Founder country), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg (Founder country), Malta, Netherlands (Founder country), Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.
- In 2013, Croatia became the newest member state of the EU. In order to accede, a state must fulfill the economic and political requirements known as the Copenhagen criteria, which require a candidate to have a democratic,free market government together with the corresponding freedoms and institutions, and respect for the rule of law.
RBI and Central bank of Sri lanka signed Currency Swap Agreement:
- Under this agreement, Sri Lankan bank can draw up to 1.1 billion dollars for a maximum period of 6 months.
- Earlier in March 2015, RBI had signed similar Currency Swap Agreement with Sri Lankan bank for 400 million dollars under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework within the overall limit of 2 billion dollars.
- What is SAARC Currency Swap Framework?: This Currency Swap Framework is signed between SAARC member countries. It seeks to provide a backstop line of funding to member countries in order to meet any balance of payments and liquidity crises.
SWISS Challenge formula in the Railway Platform Development:
- Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the redevelopment of 400 ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category railway stations across the country. These stations generally are located in major cities, metros, pilgrimage centres and important tourist destinations.
- These major railway stations will be redeveloped under a new form of public procurement of ideas called the Swiss Challenge.
- What is Swiss Challenge?: A Swiss challenge is a form of public procurement.
- It requires a public authority which has received an unsolicited bid for a public projector services to be provided to government, to publish the bid and invite third parties to match or exceed it.
- Some Swiss challenges also allow the entity which submitted the unsolicited bid itself then to match or better the best bid which comes out of the Swiss challenge process.
- An example of this is the recently announced Mega Film City Venture by the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA). The JDA – a government organization, is planning to fund the venture using Swiss Challenge Philosophy.
- Categorisation of A-1 and A category railway stations: At present, Indian Railway’s based on earnings classify 7000 railway stations into seven categories. A-1 category railway stations are those non-suburban stations with 50 crore rupees and above annual passenger earnings. While, Category A railway stations comprises non-suburban stations with 6 crore to 50 crore rupees annual passenger earnings.
FATCA signed between India and US:
- FATCA :Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
- The agreement will promote transparency on tax matters and curb offshore tax evasion by exchange of information between the two countries.
- It is obligatory on signatories to exchange a wide range of financial information among themselves automatically and periodically.
- Henceforth, Indian financial institutions will have to reveal information about US tax payers to the revenue department. This information will be further passed on to the US tax authorities.
- In turn, the US will also share similar kind of financial information with India.
- As per FATCA, it is mandatory for all financial institutions outside of the US to periodically transmit information on financial accounts held by US citizens to its US Internal Revenue Service.
- If they failed to do so they will face a 30 percent withholding tax on payments made from the US.
- India recently imposed definitive anti-dumping duty of 342.76 dollars per tonne on all phenol imports from South Africa.
- This anti-dumping duty will be valid for a period of five years.
- The duty was imposed by Union Finance Ministry based on the recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty (DGAD) under the aegis of Union Commerce Ministry.
- This decision was taken by DGAD on the petition filed by Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited and S I Group Limited seeking continuation of anti-dumping duty on Phenol imports from South Africa.
- It should be noted the above mentioned two companies are the only producers of Phenol in the country.
- What is Phenol?: Phenol is a basic organic chemical characterized by a hydroxyl (−OH) group attached to a carbon atom. Its specific name for its simplest member is monohydroxybenzene (C6H5OH) is also known as benzenol or carbolic acid.
- It is widely used in particle boards, pharmaceuticals, plywoods, laminates and phenyl formaldehyde resins etc.
- What is Anti-Dumping Duty? It is a trade duty imposed by any government on imported products which have prices less than their normal values in their domestic market. Anti-Dumping Duty is imposed under the multilateral WTO regime and varies from product to product and from country to country. In India, anti-dumping duty is recommended by the Union Ministry of Commerce (i.e. Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty-DGAD), while the Union Finance Ministry imposes it.
Minimum Support Price Calculation- Ramesh Chand Committee:
Ramesh Chand committee was onstituted by the Union agriculture ministry to examine the mandate of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and various aspects of fixation of minimum support price (MSP). In its recommendations, it has suggested a complete revamp of methodology to calculate MSP and introduction of mechanisms, such as Deficiency Price Payment (DPP) or Price Insurance (PI) for price surety, for all the crops for which MSP is declared.
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