01, March 2018

Price Support Scheme

  • The Minimum Support Prices scheme is for food crops.
  • The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation implements the Price Support Scheme for Oil Seeds and Pulses through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED). NAFED is the nodal procurement agency for Oilseeds and pulses, apart from the Cotton Corporation of India.
  • So, when the prices of oilseeds, pulses and cotton fall below MSP, NAFED purchases them from the farmers.
  • As the market price of almost all pulses and oilseeds are ruling below Minimum Support Price (MSP) as notified by Govt. of India, provision of Govt.
  • Guarantee will help in protecting the farmers producing these commodities from making distress sales during the peak arrival period and to provide remunerative prices with a view to encourage higher investment and production and also to safeguard the interest of consumer by making available supplies at reasonable price with low cost of intermediation.

“Green Good Deeds” movement

  • “Green Good Deeds” movement, which urges people to perform at least one Green Good Deed every day. S
  • ome of the 500 Green Good Deeds listed in the Mobile App include – planting trees, saving energy, conserving water, use of public transport and promoting carpool.
  • The objective of transforming Green Good Deeds into a peoples’ movement can be best achieved by starting mass digital campaigns that can reach out to youth and children. The digital connect can change the way people think and change the way they act, thereby changing the relationship between public representatives and citizens.
  • A two-way digital communication tool – ‘Connect with Me’ is a unique feature of the Application.

Purchasing Managers Index

  • The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.

  1. Cabinet approves the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

Source: PIB

National Investigation Agency (NIA) — the nodal authority for probing cases of human trafficking, according to an official

The NIA will receive financial aid under Nirbhaya fund for safety of women in order to set up a cell for investigating human trafficking.

The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament

  • The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children.

The Bill broadly has the following features:-

  • Addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation.
  • Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc.
  • Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
  • The confidentiality of victims/ witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity. Further the confidentiality of the victims is maintained by recording their statement through video conferencing (this also helps in trans-border and inter-State crimes).
  • Time bound trial and repatriation of the victims – within a period of one year from taking into cognizance.
  • Immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The Victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma etc. and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of charge sheet.
  • Rehabilitation of the victim which is not contingent upon criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused or the outcome thereof.
  • Rehabilitation Fund created for the first time. To be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of the victim including education, skill development, health care/psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation, etc.
  • Designated courts in each district for the speedy trial of the cases.
  • The Bill creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at District, State and Central Level. These will be responsible for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation work related to trafficking.  National Investigation Agency (NIA) will perform the tasks of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level present under the MHA.
  • Punishment ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh.
  • In order to break the organized nexus, both at the national and international level, the Bill provides for the attachment & forfeiture of property and also the proceeds for crime.
  • The Bill comprehensively addresses the transnational nature of the crime.
  • The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will perform the functions of international coordination with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations; international assistance in investigation; facilitate inter-State and trans-border transfer of evidence and materials, witnesses and others for expediting prosecution; facilitate inter-state and international video conferencing in judicial proceedings etc.


  • Trafficking in human beings is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. There is.no specific law so far to deal with this crime.
  • Accordingly, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 has been prepared.
  • The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children.


  • The new law will make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking. Trafficking is a global concern also affecting a number of South Asian nations. Amongst them, India is now a pioneer in formulating a comprehensive legislation. UNODC and SAARC nations are looking forward to India to take lead by enacting this law.

UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)

  • UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime.
  • Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from Governments, for 90 per cent of its budget.
  • UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.
  • In the Millennium Declaration, Member States also resolved to intensify efforts to fight transnational crime in all its dimensions, to redouble the efforts to implement the commitment to counter the world drug problem and to take concerted action against international terrorism.

  1. Inauguration 1st Mega Food Park in Maharashtra- (Ministry of Food Processing Industries)

Source: PIB

This is the 12th Mega Food Park being operationalized in the country

Key facts:

  • To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
  • Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach.
  • Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).
  • Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.

Mega Food Park

  • The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastage, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.
  • The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on “Cluster” approach and envisages creation of state of art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri / horticultural zone for setting up of modern food processing units along with well-established supply chain. Mega food park typically consist of supply chain infrastructure including collection centers, primary processing centers, central processing centers, cold chain and around 30-35 fully developed plots for entrepreneurs to set up food processing units .
  • The Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. However, State Government, State Government entities and Cooperatives are not required to form a separate SPV for implementation of Mega Food Park project. Subject to fulfillment of the conditions of the Scheme Guidelines, the funds are released to the SPVs.

  1. Need to develop India into an insured society

Source: PIB

Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the Finance Minister emphasized the need for providing for old age income security and pension facility to the citizens in response to the evolving demographic profile, changing socio-economic structure and limitations on the fiscal resources.

Pension Sanchay – A financial literacy initiated by PFRDA

  • Security for Seniors- Opportunities and Challenges for creating an Inclusive and Sustainable Pension System in India” prepared by PFRDA in association with CRISIL.

The Theme of the Conference was ‘Creating an Inclusive and Sustainable Pension System in India: Opportunities and Challenges.

  • Deliberations were held during two technical sessions-
  1. Channelizing savings for old age income security and
  2. Pension Payouts: The Road Ahead.
  • The top seven performing APY-SPs (Banks) were awarded for their contribution in bringing subscribers under the social security net of APY under the ‘Makers of Excelence campaign.


  • The Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority Act was passed on 19th September, 2013 and the same was notified on 1st February, 2014. PFRDA is regulating NPS, subscribed by employees of Govt. of India, State Governments and by employees of private institutions/organizations & unorganized sectors.
  • In light of PFRDA’s overarching responsibility, concomitant to section 14(2)(j) of the PFRDA Act, for spreading awareness and educating subscribers and general public, about pension, retirement savings & planning, old age income security and NPS and its features and benefits, for the citizens of India for planning for retirement, the Authority strives for promoting activities in respect of financial education and literacy.

Pension Sanchay

“Sanchay” is a Hindi term which means ACCUMULATION.

  • From a retirement planning perspective the importance of accumulation arises from the fact that, as the name implies, this is the process by which a person start accumulating wealth- for different goals like house, marriage, child, children’s education and of course, his/her retirement.
  • As the pension regulator assigned with the mammoth task of financial literacy of the masses in matters related to retirement planning and also entrusted with the overarching mandate of developing the pension sector, PFRDA has chosen the name Pension Sanchay as the name of the website and also as its mascot.
  • The website PensionSanchay.org.in provides a reference to topics and fundamental elements and concepts related to money, financial planning and retirement planning.

  1. Cabinet approves Action Plan for Champion Sectors in Services

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Department of Commerce to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential

  • These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT & ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.

Committee of secretaries:

  • The Cabinet has also directed the Ministries/Departments concerned with these sectors to utilize the available draft sectoral plans to finalize and implement the Action Plans for the identified Champion Services Sectors.
  • The respective line Ministries/Departments shall finalize the Action Plans and the implementation timelines along with a monitoring mechanism to monitor implementation under the overall guidance of the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) under Cabinet Secretary.


  • This initiative will enhance the competitiveness of India’s service sectors through the implementation of focused and monitored Action Plans, thereby promoting GDP growth, creating more jobs and promoting exports to global markets.


 Employment Generation Potential

  • Services sector in India has immense employment potential.
  • The proposal will enhance the competitiveness of India’s service sectors through the implementation of focused and monitored Action Plans, thereby creating more jobs in India, contributing to a higher GDP and exports of services to global markets.

Financial Implications

  • Certain components of the various sectoral Action Plans that are envisaged to be prepared, related to elements like creation of required infrastructure, fiscal incentives etc., may have financial implications.
  • These details shall be worked out and finalized with due approvals, as part of the action plans prepared by the respective departments. A dedicated fund of Rs. 5000 crores has been proposed to be established to support initiatives for sectoral Action Plans of the Champion Sectors.


  • As the Services sector contributes significantly to India’s GDP, exports and job creation, increased productivity and competitiveness of the Champion Services Sectors will further boost exports of various services from India.
  • Embedded services are substantial part of ‘Goods’ as well.
  • Thus, competitive services sector will add to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector as well.
  • The year 2022 marks 75th anniversary of India’s independence. The Action Plans to be prepared and implemented by the Ministries/Departments concerned shall develop a vision for each of these identified Champion Sectors in the year 2022 and enumerate steps that need to be taken to achieve that vision.
  • The share of India’s services sector in global services exports was 3.3% in 2015 compared to 3.1% in 2014. Based on this initiative, a goal of 4.2 % has been envisaged for 2022.
  • The share of services in Gross Value Added (GVA) was about 5 3% for India in 2015-16 (61 % including construction services). A goal of achieving a share of services in GVA of 60 % (67% including construction services) has also been envisaged by the year 2022.


  • The Group of Secretaries in their recommendations to the Prime Minister, had identified ten Champion Sectors, including seven (7) manufacturing related sectors and three (3) services sectors, for promoting their development and achieving their potential It was subsequently decided that Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the nodal department for ‘Make in India’, would spearhead the initiative for the Champion Sectors in manufacturing and Department of Commerce would coordinate the proposed initiative for the Champion Sectors in Services.
  • Accordingly, Department of Commerce, with wide stakeholder consultation coordinated the preparation of draft initial sectoral reform plans for several services sectors and, subsequently the action plan.

  1. Second Advance estimates of national income at constant

Source: PIB

The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the Second Advance estimates of national income at constant (2011-12) and current prices for the financial year 2017-18

  • Advance Estimates of GDP have been released in accordance with the release calendar of National Accounts. The approach for compiling the advance estimates is based on benchmark-indicator method.

Economic Indicators

  • The advance estimates for 2017-18 are based on economic indicators for the first 9 months of this financial year, such as Index of Industrial Production of first seven months of the financial year, financial performance of listed companies in the private corporate sector available up July-September quarter, first advance estimates of crop production, accounts of central and state governments, information on indicators like deposits and credits, passenger and freight earnings of railways, passengers and cargo handled by civil aviation, cargo handled at major sea ports, sales of commercial vehicles etc. available for first 9 months of the financial year.

  1. PMEGP

Source: The Hindu

The government has approved the continuation of Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) beyond the 12th Plan period for three years to 2019-20 with a total outlay of Rs 5,500 crore.

  • The scheme will create sustainable estimated employment opportunities for 15 lakh persons in three financial years.


  • PMEGP is a major credit-linked subsidy programme being implemented by the Ministry of MSME since 2008-09.
  • The Scheme is aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth in rural as well as urban areas.

State and National level:

  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is the nodal implementation agency for the PMEGP at the national level. At the state/district level, state offices of KVIC, Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs) and District Industry Centres (DIC) are the implementing agencies.
  • The scheme’s targets are fixed taking into account the extent of backwardness of state; extent of unemployment; extent of fulfilment of previous year targets; population of state/union territory; and availability of traditional skills and raw material.

  1. World science day

Source: The Hindu

Why Science Day?

The Indian Constitution states that:

  • It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • To encourage young minds and to show the importance of science in everyday life public speeches, science exhibitions and live demonstrations are conducted every year.
  • This year the theme for the day was “Science and Technology for a sustainable future.”

Key afacts:

  • National Science Day is celebrated every year on February 28. National Science Day is celebrated to commemorate discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’, which led to Indian scientist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman or CV Raman winning the Noble Prize in Physics in 1930.
  • Raman Effect is a phenomenon in spectroscopy discovered by the eminent physicist while working in the laboratory of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata.
  • In 1986, the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) asked the Government of India to pronounce February 28 as National Science Day, for which the then Government accepted and declared the day as National Science Day.
  • National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) of Department of Science & Technology (DST) is nodal agency to support catalyze and coordinate celebration of the National Science Day throughout the country, particularly in scientific institutions & research laboratories.

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