04, January 2017

1.Pan-India expansion of Maternity Benefit Programme (MBP) to benefit pregnant and lactating mothers across the country – (Ministry of Women and Child Development)

Source: PIB

Government of India is committed to ensure that every woman attains optimal nutritional status – especially from the most vulnerable communities as nutrition constitutes the foundation for human development.  

    • This is all the more important during the period of pregnancy and lactation coupled with wage loss.  


  • A woman’s nutritional status has important implications for her health as well as the health and development of her children.



  • An under-nourished mother almost inevitably gives birth to a low birth weight baby.
  • When poor nutrition starts in-utero, it extends throughout the life cycle, particularly in women.  
  • Owing to economic and social distress many women continue to work to earn a living for their family right upto the last days of their pregnancy.  
  • Furthermore, they resume working soon after childbirth, even through their bodies might not permit it, thus preventing their bodies from fully recovering on one hand, and also impending their ability to exclusively breastfeed their young infant in the first six months.

Maternity Benefit Programme

To address the above issues, Ministry of Women and Child Development, in accordance with the provisions of Section 4(b) of National Food Security Act, formulated a scheme for pregnant and lactating mothers called Maternity Benefit Programme – a conditional cash transfer scheme.  

The Scheme provides cash incentives to pregnant and lactating women

  • For the wage loss so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery;
  • To improve her health and nutrition during the period of pregnancy and lactation; and
  • To breastfeed the child during the first six months of the birth, which is very vital for the development of the child.


    • Under the scheme, all Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), excluding the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are in regular employment with the Central Government or State Governments or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being are eligible.
    • The cash incentive of Rs.6,000/-  is payable in three instalments.
    • Expansion of MBP will have huge impact on the PW&LM as it will not only provide them compensation for the wage loss but will also provide them adequate nutrition and rest before and after delivery.  
    • Mothers will have sufficient time to breastfeed the child during first six months of the birth.  


  • Resultantly, it is expected that it will reduce mother mortality rate, IMR, under-nutrition and its adverse effects.


It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and the cost sharing between Centre and States is 60:40 for all the States and UTs (with legislature), 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100% GoI share for UTs without legislatures.

2.Union Home Minister lays the foundation stone of the Demonstration Housing Project by BMTPC for Lucknow

Source: PIB

The Union Home Minister laid the foundation stone of the Demonstration Housing Project by BMTPC (Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council) for Lucknow

  • This BMPTC project is a model housing project which will use ecofriendly materials and innovative technology to build houses for the poor.

Key facts:

  • Coming up at Aurangabad Jagir  in Lucknow on 0.38 hectare land provided by the State Urban Development Authority (SUDA) of the Uttar Pradesh state government, the BMTPC, an autonomous organization under Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, has undertaken construction of 40 dwelling units (Ground Floor+1).
  • The Demonstration Housing Project will include onsite infrastructure facilities like water supply, tube well, sewerage system, drainage, concrete roads, interlocking tiles, boundary wall and external electrification, etc.
  • Aiming to popularize new and emerging disaster resistant sustainable technologies in the construction sector, the Demonstration Housing Project.

3.BHIM will create Equality – (Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation)

Source: PIB

Ambedkar’s name to take Centre – Stage in India’s economy

The new indigenously developed payment app ‘BHIM’  (Bharat Interface for Money)   has been named after the main architect of Indian constitution,  Bhim Rao Ambedkar.

  • Through this app, Bharat Ratna Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s  name will take the  centre-stage in India’s economy.
  • The day is not far, when people will conduct their business through this app. This app will create financial equality in the Country, as envisaged by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Key facts:


  • Prime Minister has been introducing many welfare Schemes for the Developments of Dalits, backward classes and financially backward class people. Indeed, BHIM will curb black money system and create equality in the society. It will support them.


  • BHIM is a biometric payment system app using Aadhar platform, and is based on Unified Payment Interface (UPI) to facilitate e-payments directly through bank.
  • It was launched to stress on the importance of technology and digital transactions. It can be used on all mobile devices, be it a smartphone or a feature phone with or without internet connection.
  • The payments through the new system (BHIM App) can be made by just a thumb impression after the bank account is linked with Aadhaar gateway. Indeed, the technology through BHIM will empower poorest of the poor, small business and the marginalised section.
  • The new app is expected to minimise the role of plastic cards and point of sale machines. The app will eliminate fee payments for service providers like MasterCard and Visa, which has been a stumbling block in people switching to digital payments.
  • The app can be used to send and receive money through smartphones. Money can also be sent to non UPI supported banks. Bank balance can also be checked through the app. Currently Hindi and English are supported in the app, with more languages coming soon.

Way ahead:

Indicating that the e-wallet app will feature fingerprint verification in future, “Only thumb will be needed to make a payment. Thumb will be your bank now”.  People should utilize the app and support this to curb black money and to create financial equality.

4.Diamonds could soon become an investors’ best friend

Source: The Hindu

India is all set to become the first country in the world where polished diamonds are traded on a commodity exchange.


  • The Indian Commodity Exchange Ltd (ICEX) is in the final stages of launching diamond contracts that will allow even individuals to trade in the precious stones in a transparent manner.


  • According to senior exchange officials, the final approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is expected soon and a formal launch is likely by March.
  • Incidentally, the exchange has already received the in-principle approval from the regulatory body for the launch of diamond contracts.

Indian Commodity Exchange Limited is deemed recognized Stock exchange under the SCRA(SECURITIES CONTRACTS (REGULATION) ACT), 1956 of Finance Act, 2015 pursuant to the central Government notification providing a nation-wide on-line trading platform in commodity derivative.

  • It has put in place assaying and warehousing facilities in order to facilitate deliveries.
  • This exchange is ideally positioned to leverage the huge potential of commodities’ market and encourage participation of actual users to benefit from the opportunities of hedging, risk management and supply chain management in the commodities markets.

The Exchange is a public-private partnership with Reliance Exchangenext Ltd.(Reliance Capital), MMTC Ltd., Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd., Indian Potash Ltd., KRIBHCO and IDFC Bank as major shareholders.

Key facts:

  • Trading participation from around 100 people. Once diamond contracts start trading on an exchange, it will become a financial investment product. Diamond has never been able to become an investment product due to low transparency in pricing.
  • Currently, there is no global benchmark price for diamonds that has made the stone less attractive compared to gold or silver in terms of investment options. While India is the third-largest consumer of diamond after US and China, it accounts for the largest share in the diamond cutting and polishing industry.
  • Interestingly, the exchange is designing the diamond contracts in a manner wherein individuals would be able to trade at a very low cost. While one lot size representing one cent would cost only Rs.1,500, investors effectively will be able to trade with just five per cent margin money.
  • The exchange has, however, kept the minimum physical delivery lot at one carat (1 carat equals 100 cents).
  • It means that if someone buys a contract for 1 carat diamond, he will get the physical delivery of the stone as well. Meanwhile, individuals investing in smaller lot sizes would be able to trade in electronic units representing the value of the diamond.


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