Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organization.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For Prelims: About DMFs, composition, funds and jurisdiction, about PMKKKY, pneumoconiosis.
For Mains: reforms needed.
Context: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said state governments should use district mineral foundation (DMF) funds for response and preparedness to fight the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
DMF funds may be used to supplement and augment healthcare facilities, screening and testing requirements and any other resources that might be required.
DMFs were instituted under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Act 2015.
They are non-profit trusts to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining-related operations.
Objective: To work for the interest of the benefit of the persons and areas affected mining related operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.
Jurisdiction: Its manner of operation comes under the jurisdiction of the relevant State Government.
The fund is collected at the district level. There are certain high-priority areas identified in all states’ DMF rules, where at least 60 per cent of the fund must be used. These include vital and pressing concerns, including healthcare.
The various state DMF rules and the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Khestra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) guidelines stipulate some “high priority” issues for DMFs, including:
- Drinking water.
- Women and child welfare.
- Livelihood and skill development.
- Welfare of aged and disabled.
Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY):
The programme is meant to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).
Objectives of the scheme:
- To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government.
- To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.
- To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.
- Funding of DMFs.
- What are High priority areas under DMF?
- How many states in India have setup DMFs?
- Who decides about setting up of DMFs?
- Objectives of PMKKKY.
Write a note on PMKKKY.
Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key components and features of the scheme.
For Mains: Significance of these measures, implications on govt finances.
Context: The Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Niramla Sitharaman has announced Rs 1.70 Lakh Crore relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor to help them fight the battle against Corona Virus.
- These measures are intended at reaching out to the poorest of the poor, with food and money in hands, so that they do not face difficulties in buying essential supplies and meeting essential needs.
- The package includes a range of measures that the Government of India will take to alleviate the economic, health, and food-related distress of India’s poor.
Key components of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package:
- Insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 in Government Hospitals and Health Care Centres:
What are the benefits?
Any health professional, who while treating Covid-19 patients, meet with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme.
- All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as States would be covered under this scheme.
- Approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic.
- Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered.
- PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana:
Under this scheme, 80 crore poor people, covering about two-thirds of the country’s population, will get 5 kg rice or wheat each month for the next three months free of charge, in addition to the 5 kg they already get. Each household will get 1 kg of dal of their choice, for next three months, also free of charge.
Besides, to ensure adequate availability of protein to all the above mentioned individuals, 1 kg per family, would be provided pulses according to regional preferences for next three months.
- Benefit to farmers:
The first instalment of Rs 2,000 due in 2020-21 will be front-loaded and paid in April 2020 itself under the PM KISAN Yojana. It would cover 8.7 crore farmers.
- Cash transfers Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana:
A total of 20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders would be given an ex-gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months.
Gas cylinders, free of cost, would be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months.
Wage-earners below Rs 15,000 per month in businesses having less than 100 workers: Government proposes to pay 24 percent of their monthly wages into their PF accounts for next three months.
Support for senior citizens (above 60 years), widows and Divyang: Government will give them Rs 1,000 to tide over difficulties during next three months.
MNREGA wages would be increased by Rs 20 with effect from 1 April, 2020. Wage increase under MNREGA will provide an additional Rs 2,000 benefit annually to a worker.
- Self-Help groups:
Limit of collateral free lending would be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakhs.
- Other components:
Employees’ Provident Fund Regulations will be amended to include Pandemic as the reason to allow non-refundable advance of 75 percent of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts.
Welfare Fund for Building and Other Constructions Workers: State Governments will be given directions to utilise this fund to provide assistance and support to these workers to protect them against economic disruptions.
Why these measures were necessary?
For economic agents – particularly poor households and small businesses – the crisis today is a crisis of liquidity. The nationwide lockdown, imposed to stop the novel coronovirus in its tracks, has led to scores of daily wage workers and informal sector entrepreneurs losing earning opportunities from their existing activities.
Concerns and challenges ahead:
Essentially, this package seems to reach those who are connected to bank accounts and formal payment systems. But certain groups of daily wagers and informal workers may be left out.
And the real challenge would come in implementing these measures. For example, while there was sufficient surplus foodgrains available in government warehouses and an existing system for further procurement, the system for procurement of pulses needed to be created in most states.
Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.
Context: The Korean Model, a vigorous regime of “trace, test, treat”, has shown remarkable results in controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus, without putting a nationwide lockdown in place.
How is the situation in Korea?
Korea is now in full control of the spread of the disease. The number of new confirmed cases per day has been showing steady decline since hitting a peak at 989 in February to double-digit figures as of mid-March.
Korea might be the only country that hasn’t imposed a lockdown within its territories or even of its international borders.
How has this been possible? What is the ‘Korean model’?
It is grounded on concentrated testing of high-risk areas and clusters.
- Korea found out at the beginning of the spread of the virus that a certain religious cult and its gathering was the cause of a large portion of the spread in a certain area of the country. This group had massive gatherings in a closed-off space.
- The government listed all members of the group across the country, tracked their whereabouts and conducted tests on a massive scale, leading to the rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases.
- However, Korea succeeded in identifying and isolating potential cases at a very early stage and finally flattened the curve.
Other best practices followed by Korea:
The moment the virus DNA pattern was confirmed in Wuhan, Korean medical teams and bio-companies were able to develop new testing kits with surprising speed. This made it possible for Korea to conduct mass-scale testing of 18,000 cases a day.
Anybody in Korea who has symptoms or reasons to be tested can get the test within minutes at ‘drive-thru’ or ‘walk-thru’ testing centres and receive the result by text message the very next day. Korea made available over 650 testing centres nationwide.
Is it possible for India to replicate this model?
Given India’s demography and medical infrastructure, lockdowns are necessary. However, openness and transparency is important to tackling this situation, and identifying and isolating the core of the spread of the virus with full medical capacity at the earliest possible stage is key. This is the essence of the ‘Korean model’.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Context: The US Senate has unanimously approved a $2.2 trillion economic package to contain the damage caused to the country’s economy due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- The package is the largest of its kind in modern American history. It is far bigger than the $800 billion assistance provided in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
- The package intends to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and provide direct payments and jobless benefits for individuals, money for states and a huge bailout fund for businesses.
Since the outbreak, this is the third occasion when US lawmakers have taken measures to address the economic fallout. On March 6, US President Donald Trump approved an $8.3 billion emergency package that provided free testing for the virus, paid leave, and support for families affected by the pandemic.
Significance and expected outcomes:
- The deal aims at sustaining businesses and workers that have been losing income, as well as enabling the economy to recover once the quarantine orders are lifted.
- The support for companies is aimed towards ensuring that they keep paying wages to their employees through the crisis, despite losing business activity. The deal also provides increased support for workers who have been fired or who have had their remuneration reduced.
- The companies benefitting from the stimulus package will not be able to buy back outstanding stock, and have to maintain employment levels as of March 13, 2020, as far as possible.
Sources: Indian Express.
Facts for Prelims
Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organization:
- It is a department under Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- It is a regulatory authority with autonomous status.
- It was established during the British India in 1890s as Department of Explosives and later expanded to various other activities.
- As a statutory authority, PESO is entrusted with the responsibilities under the Explosives Act, 1884; Petroleum Act, 1934; Inflammable Substances Act, 1952, Environment (Protection Act), 1986.
Why in News? Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organization takes various measures to address the problems faced by Petroleum, Explosives, Oxygen and Industrial Gas Industries.