Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 May 2018
Topic: Issues related to health.
Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Deoghar, Jharkhand under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
The setting up of new AIIMS at Deoghar will serve the dual purpose of providing super speciality health care to the population while also helping to create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region to be available for primary and secondary-level institutions/facilities being created under the National Health Mission (NHM).
The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
- It is a central sector scheme.
- The scheme has two components: Setting up of new AIIMS and upgradation of government medical colleges.
Significance of the scheme:
Setting up of new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training but also address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region. Construction of new AIIMS is fully funded by the Central Government. The Operations & Maintenance expenses on new AIIMS are also fully borne by the Central Government.
- Setting up new AIIMS in various states will lead to employment generation for nearly 3000 people in various faculty & non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS. Further, indirect employment generation will take place due to facilities & services like shopping centre, canteens, etc. coming in the vicinity of new AIIMS.
- The upgradation programme is carried out in selected Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) by agencies appointed by the Government of India under the direct supervision of the Central Government. Post-Graduate seats and additional faculty posts as per norms will be created and filled up in these GMCs by the respective State/UT Governments.
- The construction activity involved for creation of the physical infrastructure for the various new AIIMS and Government Medical Colleges’ upgradation projects being undertaken under the scheme is also expected to generate substantial employment in the construction phase as well.
- For Prelims: PMSSY.
- For Mains: Significance of the scheme and the need for universal access to healthcare facilities in the country.
Topic: Issues related to health.
National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation at Bhopal
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal.
- NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation. It will serve as an institution of excellence to develop capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation and also help the Government to develop models for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness.
- NIMHR has been established as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
- The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to the persons with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation.
- The Institute will conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, post graduate, M.Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation.
- For Prelims: NIMHR.
- For Mains: Mental health- concerns, challenges and solutions.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
National Policy on Biofuels – 2018
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved National Policy on Biofuels – 2018.
Categorization: The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
Scope of raw materials: The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
Protection to farmers: Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
Viability gap funding: With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
Boost to biodiesel production: The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
Import dependency: The policy aims at reducing import dependency.
Cleaner environment: By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
Health benefits: Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.
Employment Generation: One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
Additional Income to Farmers: By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these waste if a market is developed for the same.
Significance of Biofuels:
Globally, biofuels have caught the attention in last decade and it is imperative to keep up with the pace of developments in the field of biofuels. Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.
Classification of Biofuels:
- 1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any biofuel made from a feedstock that can also be consumed as a human food is considered a first generation biofuel.
- 2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feedstock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and by its potential to threaten the food supply. No second generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”
- 3rd generation biofuels are biofuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels.
- For Prelims: Sustainable biofuels, Mission Innovation and Biofuture platform.
- For Mains: Biofuels- significance, challenges and solutions.
Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.
Context: The government on Wednesday approved a dedicated Rs5,000 crore fund to bring more land area under micro-irrigation as part of its objective to boost agriculture production and farmer’s income.
About the Micro Irrigation Fund:
- ‘Micro Irrigation Fund’ (MIF) has been setup with NABARD under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). An allocation of Rs2,000 crore has been made for this fiscal while Rs3,000 crore has been earmarked for the 2019-20 fiscal. NABARD will extend the loan to state governments during this period.
- NABARD will provide this amount to states on concessional rate of interest. Borrowings from NABARD shall be paid back in seven years including the grace period of two years.
- The lending rate under MIF has been proposed at 3% lower than the cost of raising the fund by NABARD. This cost would be met from the ongoing scheme of PMKSY-PDMC (per drop more crop component) by amending the existing guidelines.
- The dedicated fund would supplement the efforts of PMKSY programme and help bring about 10 lakh hectares under micro-irrigation.
- The fund will facilitate States to mobilise resources for their initiatives, including additional (top up subsidy) in implementation of PMKSY-PDMC to achieve the annual target of about 2 million hectares per year during the remaining period of 14th Finance Commission.
- The states might access this fund for innovative integrated projects, including projects in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode and also for incentivizing micro irrigation.
- Farmers Producers Organization (FPO)/Cooperatives/State Level Agencies can also access the funds with state government guarantee or equivalent collateral. Farmers Co-operatives may access this fund for innovative cluster based community irrigation projects.
PMKSY is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. and also new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.
Sources: the hindu.
Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC)
Context: Cabinet has approved development of Trunk Infrastructure Components for Integrated Multi Modal Logistics Hub known as “Freight Village” at Nangal Chaudhary in Haryana under Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project. The Freight Village will be connected through Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) at Dabla.
What is a freight village?
A ‘Freight Village’ is a specialised industrial estate which attracts companies that require logistics services and can cluster to improve their competitiveness. This will allow relocation of retailers, warehouse operators and logistics service providers supplying the regional FMCG market. Due to its proximity to the main city, it will serve as a distribution centre and as a point of transfer between long distance transport by truck, rail and waterway and short distance distribution with delivery vans. ‘Freight Village’ includes an inter-modal terminal, which facilitates integration between different modes of transport.
What is it? Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is a mega infra-structure project of USD 90 billion with the financial & technical aids from Japan, covering an overall length of 1483 KMs between the political capital and the business capital of India, i.e. Delhi and Mumbai. A MoU in this regard was signed in 2006.
Components: The project would include six mega investment regions of 200 square kilometres each and will run through six states Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Southern Haryana, Eastern Rajasthan, Eastern Gujarat, and Western Maharashtra. However, the Project Influence Region of DMIC includes parts of Madhya Pradesh too.
Aim: The project aims to develop an environmentally sustainable, long lasting and technological advanced infrastructure utilizing cutting age Japanese technologies and to create world class manufacturing and investment destinations in this region.
- In October 2006, the Indian Government established a dedicated body, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL), to carry out the project.
- The western DFC will separate freight and passenger traffic to increase the speed of freight movement. It will be used to transport fertilisers, food grains, salt, coal, iron & steel and cement.
- The project will eventually be linked to the Eastern DFC to form four hubs known as India’s Golden Quadrilateral including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
- The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor covers a distance of 1504 km of double line electric track from JNPT to Dadri via Vadodara-Ahmedabad-Palanpur-Phulera-Rewari.
- The Western Corridor passes through 5 states- Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
- For Prelims: DMIC, freight village and DFC.
- For Mains: Need for infrastructure development.
Topic: IPR related issues.
Intellectual Property mascot – IP Nani
Context: The government has launched the Intellectual Property (IP) mascot – IP Nani.
About IP Nani:
- Mascot IP Nani is a tech-savvy grandmother who helps the government and enforcement agencies in combating IP crimes with the help of her grandson “Chhotu” aka Aditya.
- The IP mascot will spread awareness about the importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) among people, especially children, in an interesting manner.
- This character is also in line with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) campaign for the World IP Day which celebrates the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future.
- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations.
- It was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.”
- It has currently 188 member states, administers 26 international treaties, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Non-members are the states of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, South Sudan and Timor-Leste. Palestine has observer status.
- India is a member of WIPO and party to several treaties administered by WIPO.
For Prelims: IP Nani and WIPO.
Topic: IP related issues.
Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM)
Context: The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) recently organized a conference on successful completion of two years of the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government of India in May 2016.
About the IPR Policy:
- The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, which was approved by the Union Cabinet in May 2016, is a significant move forward to encourage creativity and stimulate innovation in the country.
- Outreach and Promotion is the first and foremost objective of the National IPR Policy and is critical to shaping an IP environment that is conducive to fostering creativity & innovation in the country.
Highlights of the new IPR policy:
- The new policy seeks to encourage innovation and improve access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection.
- The Policy will allow compulsory licensing with restrictions in case of a public health emergency such as epidemics and it is compliant with the World Trade Organization’s guidelines.
- The policy seeks to put in place a legal framework that will encourage the IPR regime and reduce the time taken by the government to approve a trademark to a month by 2017. Currently, the process takes more than a year.
- The policy makes the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) the nodal agency for regulating IP rights in the country.
- The Policy states “India shall remain committed to the (World Trade Organisation’s) Doha Declaration on Trade Related IPR Agreement (TRIPS) and Public Health.”
- It also says “India will continue to utilise the legislative space and flexibilities available in international treaties and the TRIPS Agreement.” These flexibilities include the sovereign right of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and CLs for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
- To ensure strong and effective IPR laws, the Policy states India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders.
Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been created as a professional body under the aegis of DIPP to take forward the implementation of the National IPR Policy that was approved by the Government in May 2016, with the slogan – “Creative India; Innovative India”.
Functions: CIPAM is working towards creating public awareness about IPRs in the country, promoting the filing of IPRs through facilitation, providing inventors with a platform to commercialize their IP assets and coordinating the implementation of the National IPR Policy in collaboration with Government Ministries/Departments and other stakeholders.
- For Prelims: CIPAM and the new IPR policy.
- For Mains: IPR Policy related issues.
Topic: Security agencies and management in border areas.
Network For Spectrum (NFS) project
Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for enhancement of budget by Rs.11,330 crore for the Network For Spectrum (NFS) project.
About the Network For Spectrum (NFS) Project:
- Network For Spectrum (NFS) project is for laying of alternate communication network for Defence Services.
- The project is being implemented by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
- The project will also have forward linkages to other related industries such as telecom equipment manufacturing and other telecommunication related services.
- The NFS project will boost the communication capabilities of the Defence Forces in a major way leading to enhanced national operational preparedness.
- The project is crucial since the armed forces will migrate all their communication needs to this optic-fibre network and free more bandwidth for commercial telephony services.
Facts for Prelims:
Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog:
Context: It is the newest frog discovered from Karnataka.
- It is christened Microhyla kodial after the city of Mangaluru (called kodial in the Konkani language).
- The Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog is found only in a small industrial space in Mangaluru.
- Physical features: The greyish-brown frog is just 2 cm long. It has a thick olive-green band on its head, less-prominent dark green bands on the rest of its body.
- The Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog is the 42nd species belonging to the genus Microhyla recorded from south Asia. More than 650 microhylids – or frogs belonging to the family Microhylidae – are found across the world’s tropics.