Witness Protection Scheme

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Ministry : Ministry of Home Affairs

Scheme:

  • It has been formulated by Home Ministry on the inputs received from 18 States/UTs, five state legal services authorities and open sources including civil society, three high courts as well as from police personnel.
  • It was finalised in consultation with National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
  • It aims to ensure that investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences does not turn out to be biased as witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.
  • Essential features
    • Identifying categories of threat perceptions
    • Preparation of Threat Analysis Report by the head of police
    • Confidentiality and preservation of records, recovery of expenses, etc.
    • Types of protection measures like ensuring that witness and accused do not come face to face during investigation etc. protection of identity, change of identity, relocation of witness
  • Three types of witnesses categorises
    • Threat extends to life of witness or his family members during investigation, trial or thereafter.
    • Threat extends to safety, reputation or property of witness or his family members, during investigation, trial.
    • Threat is moderate and extends to harassment of witness or his family member’s, reputation or property during investigation, trial or thereafter.
  • Categorised witnesses under the scheme can file application for seeking protection order before competent authority of concerned district where offence is committed.
  • This competent authority will be chaired by District and Sessions Judge.
  • Head of police in the district will be its member and head of prosecution in the district as its member secretary.
  • When this authority receives application, it has to call for Threat Analysis Report (TAR) from ACP/DSP in charge of the concerned Police Sub-Division.
  • The authority is also empowered to order protection measures based on TAR such as identity protection, change of identity and relocation of witnesses.

SC View:

  • The apex court held that scheme will become law under Article 141/142 of Constitution till enactment of parliamentary and state legislations on the subject.
  • It also directed states/UTs to set up the vulnerable witness deposition complexes (VWDCs) within period of 1 year (by the end of 2019).
  • It also observed that there is paramount need to have witness protection regime in statutory form.
  • The main reasons for establishing these VWDC is  large percentage of acquittal in criminal cases is due to witnesses turning hostile and giving false testimonies, mostly due to lack of protection for them and their families.

 

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM)

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Ministry/Department :  Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation

Objective is to uplift urban poor folks by enhancing sustainable livelihood opportunities through skill development.

Scheme:

  • It is Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • Its intended beneficiaries are urban poor (street vendors, slum dwellers, homeless, rag pickers); unemployed and differently abled.
  • It provides for employment through Skill Training and Placement through City Livelihood Centres to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households.
  • It also provides social mobilization and institution development through formation of Self-Help Groups (SHG) for training members and hand holding, an initial support of 10, 000 is given for each group.
  • It also provides subsidy to urban poor i.e. interest subsidy of 5% – 7% for setting up individual micro-enterprises with loan of up to 2 lakhs and for group enterprises with loan limit of up to Rs.10 lakhs.
  • It fully funds cost of construction of shelters for urban homeless.
  • It also provides for development of vendor markets and also promotion of skills for vendors through setting up infrastructure and special projects for rag picker and differently abled etc.
  • Funding will be shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25. For North Eastern and Special Category – the ratio will be 90:10.

Factual Information:

  • Launched in 2014

 

Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)

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Ministry : Ministry of Earth Sciences

Aim: The scheme aims at improving skill of weather and climate forecast through sustained observations, intensive Research & Development.

Scheme:

  • It consists of nine sub-programmes which are multi-disciplinary and multi institutional in nature and will be implemented in integrated manner.
  • It seeks to addresses different aspects of weather and climate services, which includes warnings for cyclone, storm surges, heat waves, thunderstorms etc.
  • Each of these aspects is incorporated as nine sub-schemes under umbrella scheme ACROSS and is implemented in integrated manners.

Benefits of Scheme

  • It will provide improved weather, climate and ocean forecast and services, thereby ensuring transfer of commensurate benefits to the various services.
  • It will also provide a sizable number of scientific and technical staff along with requisite administrative support, thereby generating employment.
  • It will generate employment opportunities to many people as large number of agencies like the Krishi Vigyana Kendras of ICAR, Universities and local municipalities are roped to ensure last-mile connectivity of the weather based services to the end–user.

 

Nirbhaya Fund

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  • The fund is created by Ministry of Finance in 2013 with a corpus of Rs 1000 crore.
  • It is aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country.
  • It is a non-lapsable corpus fund.
  • It is being monitored by Empowered Committee of Officers under  Secretary of Women and Child Development Ministry.
  • It is an inter-ministerial committee which appraises and recommends various projects (schemes) proposed by different ministries to be funded from Nirbhaya Fund.
  • The Fund is administered by Department of Economic Affairs of the finance ministry

Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT)

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Ministry/Department : Ministry of Human Resource Development

Scheme:

  • It is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform SWAYAM.
  • Under it 75 discipline-specific institutions are identified and notified as National Resource Centres (NRCs) in phase I.
  • These institutions will be tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in discipline, methodologies for transacting revised curriculum and pedagogical improvements. The courses will cover diverse range of topics.
  • Each course will be 40 hour module with 20 hours of video content and 20 hours of non-video content.
  • It will also have built-in assessment exercises and activities as part of the academic progression.
  • There will be a terminal assessment either online or written examination at end of the course.
  • All faculties after successfully completing the online refresher course will be certified.
  • All in-service teachers, irrespective of their subject and seniority will register and complete these refresher courses which will help them in career advancement.
  • ARPIT will be every year exercise and NRCs will continuously develop new refresher module in their earmarked discipline each year.
  • The training materials will be uploaded and made available through SWAYAM.
  • In inaugural year 2018 itself, NRCs are expected to cater to around 13 lakh faculty of total 15 lakh faculty in higher education.

 

Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP)

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Ministry/Department : Ministry of Human Resource Development

Aim is to prepare second tier academic heads who are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.

Scheme:

  • It is three weeks (2 weeks domestic and 1 week foreign training) flagship leadership development training programme for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.
  • It will make Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) perform their roles of developing better students who will be future torch bearers.
  • It will provide senior faculty required leadership and managerial skills including skills of problem-solving, team building work, handling stress, communication, conflict management, understanding complexity and challenges of governance in HEIs and general administration.
  • It will be implemented through 15 National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) top ranked Indian Institutions namely, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IISER Kolkata, NIT Trichy, JNU; IIT (BHU), Delhi University, TISS Mumbai, University of Hyderabad, NIEPA, Jamia Milia Islamia,  BHU and AMU.
  • The foreign universities identified for training collaboration are also within top 100 in world global rankings. It includes University of Michigan, Harvard University, Oxford University, University of Cambridge, Purdue University, University of Chicago, NTU Singapore, Monash University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Virginia.

 

Loan Waiver Scheme: Analysis

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Current scenario of Indian Agriculture

  • Indian agriculture is characterised by low scale and low productivity.
  • About 85% of the operational landholdings in the country are below 5 acres and 67% farm households survive on an average landholding of one acre.
  • More than 50% of area under cultivation does not have access to irrigation.
  • Agriculture income generated is not adequate to meet farmers’ needs.

Vice President:

  • Free power and farm loan waivers cannot be a permanent solution to the problems in the agriculture sector : Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu
  • “We have a clamour for populism to win over people during elections. That is not going to solve the problem.”

Increasing trends of debt burden

  • The share of institutional loans disbursed to agriculture and allied sectors has risen from 9% in 2000-01 to 31.4% in 2015-16.
  • The amount of short-term institutional loans for agriculture exceeds the total cost of inputs including hired labour. This indicates that a part of crop loans is spent on non-agricultural purposes.
  • According to NSS surveys on Investment and Debt (NSS-I&D), loans taken by cultivators from non-institutional sources is rising faster than from institutional sources.
  • Much of the growth in household demand in rural India has been debt-ridden and not supported by growth in income.

 

Reasons:

  • Modern agriculture requires investment in farm machinery and inputs like seed, fertiliser, agri-chemicals, diesel and hired labour.
  • Savings generated from unremunerative crop enterprise are inadequate for such investments.
  • Rising expenses on health, education, social ceremonies and non-food items put additional financial demand on farm families.

Loan waiver scheme

  • States like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka have rolled out farm loan waiver schemes for immediate relief to farmers.
  • The demand for such measures is spreading to other States too.
  • Ultimate goal is to lessen the debt burden of distressed and vulnerable farmers and help them qualify for fresh loans.
  • The success of the loan waiver lies on the extent to which the benefits reach the needy farmers.

Drawbacks of loan waiver scheme

  • It covers only a tiny fraction of farmers. According to 2012-13 NSS-SAS, 48% of the agricultural households did not have any outstanding loan.
  • Out of the indebted agricultural households, about 39% borrowed only from non-institutional sources.
  • The farmers investing from their own savings and borrowing from non-institutional sources are equally vulnerable, but are outside the purview of loan waiver.
  • Provides only a partial relief because half of the institutional borrowing of a cultivator is for non-farm purposes.
  • Many household has multiple loans either from different sources or in the name of different family members, which entitles it to multiple loan waiving.
  • Loan waiving excludes agricultural labourers who are weaker than cultivators in bearing the economic distress.
  • It severely erodes the credit culture, with dire long-run consequences to the banking business.
  • Scheme is prone to serious exclusion and inclusion errors, as evidenced by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s findings in the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008.

Implementation errors

  • According to the CAG report, 13.46% of the accounts, eligible for the benefits under the scheme were not considered by the lending institutes while preparing the list of eligible farmers.
  • In 8.5% of the cases, the beneficiaries were not eligible for either debt waiver or debt relief but were granted the benefits.
  • Around 28% of the beneficiaries were not issued debt relief certificates which would have entitled them to fresh loans.

Other issues with loan waiver scheme:

  • Implications for other developmental expenditure, having a much larger multiplier effect on the economy.
  • A similar amount spent on improvement of agriculture infrastructure and other developmental activities would create a base for future growth and development of the sector.
  • Loan waiving can provide a short-term relief to a limited section of farmers;
  • It has a meagre chance of bringing farmers out of the vicious cycle of indebtedness.
  • There is no concrete evidence on reduction in agrarian distress following the first spell of all-India farm loan waiver in 2008.

Sustainable solutions

  • More inclusive alternative approach is to identify the vulnerable farmers based on certain criteria and give an equal amount as financial relief to the vulnerable and distressed families.
  • Raise income from agricultural activities and enhance access to non-farm sources of income
  • Strengthen the repayment capacity of the farmers by improving and stabilising their income.
  • Improved technology, expansion of irrigation coverage, and crop diversification towards high-value crops are appropriate measures for raising productivity and farmers’ income.
  • Another major source of increase in farmers’ income is remunerative prices for farm produce.
  • More public funding and support
  • Removal of old regulations and restrictions on agriculture to enable creation of a liberalised environment for investment, trading and marketing.
  • States must undertake and sincerely implement long-pending reforms in the agriculture sector with urgency.

Source:

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/think-beyond-loan-waivers/article19311079.ece

Border Area Development Programme (BADP)

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Ministry/Department : Ministry of Home Affairs

 

Aims to meet special developmental needs and well-being of people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near international border areas.

 

Scheme:

  • Scheme plans to ameliorate the problems of people living in isolated locations.
  • The umbrella BADP scheme is being implemented by Union Home Ministry in 367 border blocks of 104 border districts in 17 states.
  • It also seeks to saturate border areas with entire essential infrastructure through convergence of Union, state, BADP, local schemes and participatory approach.
  • Sub-schemes under it include construction of primary health centres (PHCs), connectivity, schools, supply of drinking water, community centres, drainage to enable sustainable living in border areas.
  • It also covers schemes or activities relating to skill development programmes, promotion of sports activities in border areas, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, protection of heritage sites, Swachhta Abhiyan, construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas, which do not have road connectivity.
  • Skill development training to farmers for use of modern and scientific techniques in agriculture, organic farming is also part of BADP now.
  • As many as 61 model villages are being developed under BADP to improve the quality of life for people living near border areas.
  • A total of Rs 13,400 crore so far have been released since BADP programme was initiated in 1986-87.

 

Note:

India shares land border with seven neighbouring countries viz. Bangladesh (4,096 km), China (3,488 km), Pakistan (3,323 km), Nepal (1,751 km), Myanmar (1,643 km), Bhutan (699 km)  and Afghanistan (106km in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir).

Operation Greens

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Ministry/Department :  Ministry of Food Processing Industries

Aims to promote farmer producers organisations, processing facilities, agri-logistics and professional management.

Scheme:

  • It was announced in Union Budget 2018-19 on line of Operation Flood to promote FPOs, agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management. 
  • It also aims to aid farmers and help control and limit erratic fluctuations in the prices of tomatoes, onions and potatoes (TOP).
  • It is essentially price fixation scheme that aims to ensure farmers are given the right price for their produce.
  • The idea behind it is to double the income of farmers by the end of 2022.
  • Its major objectives are:
    • Price stabilisation for producers and consumers by proper production planning in TOP clusters.
    • Reduction in post-harvest losses by creation of farm gate infrastructure, development of suitable agro-logistics, and creation of appropriate storage capacity linking consumption centres.
    • Enhance value realisation of TOP farmers by targeted interventions to strengthen TOP production clusters and their FPOs,
    • Increase in food processing capacities and value addition in TOP value chain.
    • Set up of market intelligence network to collect and collate real time data on demand and supply and price of TOP crops.
  • National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) will be nodal agency to implement price stabilisation measures

Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS) Scheme

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Ministry/Department : Ministry of Human Resource Development

 

The objective of this scheme is to identify and fund research proposals in social sciences with maximum impact on the governance and society.

 

Scheme:

  • The government support would include a total funding of Rs.414 crore on 1500 projects for policy themes in the social sciences at the cost of Rs. 20-25 Lakh per project.
  • Thematic Areas : Under the scheme, support is to be provided for projects on 11 broad thematic areas as follows:
    1. State and Democracy
    2. Urban transformation,
    3. Media, Culture and Society
    4. Employment, Skills and Rural transformation
    5. Governance, Innovation and Public Policy
    6. Growth, Macro-trade and Economic Policy
    7. Agriculture and Rural Development
    8. Health and Environment
    9. Science and Education
    10. Social Media and Technology
    11. Politics, Law and Economics.
  • The Sub-Theme areas will be decided on the basis of Expert Groups’ advice before notifying the scheme and calling for applications.
  • To ensure selection of projects through a transparent, competitive process on online mode.
  • To provide opportunity for social science researchers in any institution in the country, including all Universities (Central and State), private institutions.
  • ICSSR funded/recognised research institutes will also be eligible to submit research proposals on the given themes and sub-themes.
  • Nodal Agency : The Indian Council of Social Science and Research (ICSSR) will be the project implementing agency.