09th Mar, 2019-IAS Current Affairs
‘MSME jobs’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The number of net jobs created in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in the last four years stood at just 332,394, which is 13.9% higher than the base four years ago, according to a CII survey
Observations made in the survey
- The findings for the four-year period — beginning 2015-16 — pale in comparison with that from the government’s Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises for an earlier period, which shows 11,54,293 MSME jobs were created in the three years ended 2014-15.
- The survey shows just three States — Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Telangana — accounted for over 50% of the jobs created in this period (2015-16 to 2018-19).
- It also shows that 73% of the jobs were created by micro enterprises.
- Small enterprises, on the other hand, accounted for 23% of the net jobs created, while medium enterprises accounted for just 4%.
- Looking at the sectoral break-up, the hospitality & tourism sector accounted for 12% of the jobs, while the textiles & apparels and metal products sectors each contributed about 8% to job creation.
- The survey also found that 5,70,804 jobs are expected to be created over the next one year, which represents a 21% increase over the current employment base
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.
CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process. Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has around 9000 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from around 265 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.
CII charts change by working closely with Government on policy issues, interfacing with thought leaders, and enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages. It also provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues.
‘Cooling Action plan’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand.
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) in a function in New Delhi
About the plan
- The thrust of the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) is to look for synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits
- The overarching goal of ICAP is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society. This will also help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions
- India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) provides an integrated vision towards cooling across sectors encompassing inter alia reduction of cooling demand, refrigerant transition, enhancing energy efficiency and better technology options with a 20 year time horizon.
- The India Cooling Action seeks to (i) reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38, (ii) reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38, (iii) Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38, (iv) recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme, (v) training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.
Benefits of ICAP
Thermal comfort for all – provision for cooling for EWS and LIG housing, (ii) Sustainable cooling – low GHG emissions related to cooling, (iii) Doubling Farmers Income – better cold chain infrastructure – better value of produce to farmers, less wastage of produce, (iv) Skilled workforce for better livelihoods and environmental protection, (v) Make in India – domestic manufacturing of air-conditioning and related cooling equipment’s, (vi) Robust R&D on alternative cooling technologies – to provide push to innovation in cooling sector.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) (GS2: Government policies and programmes)
Issue: Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the form of a social movement, enabling social change and irreversible empowerment of women.
Another milestone was achieved under PMUY Scheme by adding 7-croreth beneficiary in the Ujjwala family. Ujjwala yojana is empowering women to lead smoke-free lives, leading to a healthier lifestyle, saving them time by greatly reducing drudgery and enabling them to pursue other income enhancement and socially rewarding pursuits.
Initiatives taken by the government to better the implementation of the programme in recent times
- Pradhan Mantri LPG panchayats as peer learning platforms, are providing support, catalysing behavior changes in Ujjawala beneficiaries and also encouraging safe and sustainable use of LPG. As many as 87,876 LPG panchayats have been conducted across the country.
- Ujjwala Didi, a CSR handholding initiative, aims at creating a force of 10,000 grassroot educators who can take the three messages till the last mile, viz. (i) Clean Cooking Fuel is to be universally available, (ii) Clean Cooking fuel is affordable and (iii) LPG is safe to use and insured
About PMUY scheme
Under the scheme, five crore LPG connections are to be provided to BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories.
BPL is a person/ household who suffers from at least one deprivation under the Socio-Economic Caste census (SECC) – 2011 Database.
While the selection of beneficiaries would be from the BPL families only, preference would be given to SC/ST and weaker sections of society. While providing the new connections to BPL households, priority would be given to the States which have lower LPG coverage (compared to the national average) as on 1st Jan, 2016.
Release of LPG connection under this Scheme shall be in the name of the women belonging to the BPL family.
The Government has also decided to cover the following categories under the Scheme :-
- All SC/STs households beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(PMAY) (Gramin)
- Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY)
- Forest dwellers
- Most Backward Classes (MBC)
- Tea & Ex-Tea Garden Tribes
- People residing in Islands
- People residing in river islands.
Under the scheme, five crore LPG connections are to be provided to BPL households. The Scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households, interest free loan to purchase stove and refill by Oil Marketing Companies. The administrative cost of Rs. 1600 per connection, which includes a cylinder, pressure regulator, booklet, safety hose, etc. would be borne by the Government.
UNNATEE (Unlocking National Energy Efficiency potential) (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Ministry of Power, Government of India expanded its ambitious Standards & Labelling (Star Rating) program for Energy Efficient for Appliances to cover the Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines (with revised parameters) in the country.
An estimated savings of over 3.0 Billion Units of electricity at consume-end will be achieved through adoption of Star Rated Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines by 2030. This would be equivalent to Green House Gases (GHG) reduction of 2.4 Million-ton of CO2 by the year 2030 through these initiatives.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed a national strategy document for accelerating energy efficiency in India. The strategy document titled UNNATEE (Unlocking National Energy Efficiency potential) describes a plain framework and implementation strategy to establish a clear linkage between energy supply-demand scenarios and energy efficiency opportunities. The document offers a comprehensive roadmap to address India’s environmental and climate change mitigation action through energy efficiency measures. The document has now been released for larger public consultation and seeking comments/ valuable inputs from all the stakeholders.
All India Carrom Federation (AICF) (Facts that could be asked in Preilms)
Issue: Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has granted provisional recognition to All India Carrom Federation (AICF) as National Sport Federation
The recognition means granting a major role to AICF for development of the Carrom sport in India. This Decision will facilitate participation of Indian Athletes in the forthcoming National/International competitions.
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), under Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers released a list of 390 anti-cancer non-scheduled medicines with MRP reduction up to 87%.
The average out of pocket expenditure for cancer patients is 2.5 times that for other diseases. This move is expected to benefit 22 lakh cancer patients in the country and would result in annual savings of approx. Rs. 800 crores to the consumers.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. It was formed on 29 August 1997.
Functions of NPPA
- To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
- To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority
- To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps
- To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations.
- To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals
- To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government.
- To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy
- To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing
Regional Rapid Transit System (GS3: Infrastructure)
Issue: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Delhi-Meerut Rapid Rail Corridor in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
About the project
According to information shared by National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), which is the implementing agency of the RRTS project in Delhi-NCR, the RRTS project, a first-of-its-kind for India, and its regional corridors aim at providing a fast, convenient and pollution-free transit system, by connecting Delhi and the regional nodes of the national capital region (NCR).
The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is the first of the three prioritized rapid rail corridors planned for implementation in the first phase. The other two are Delhi-Gurugram-Alwar and Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat corridors. These corridors will enhance the regional transport infrastructure for residents of Delhi, Gurugram, Rewari, Manesar, Bawal, Alwar and other nearby areas.
‘Milky way galaxy’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The mass of our galaxy is now being measured using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia satellite of European Space Agency.
The galaxy which is home to our solar system weighs about 1.5 trillion solar masses as per the latest measurements. To recall, one solar mass is equal to the mass of our Sun.
About this discovery
- It must be noted that only a small percentage of this is credited to the roughly 200 billion stars in our Milky Way and is inclusive of a 4-million-solar-mass supermassive black hole situated right at the centre of it.
- A great degree of the rest of that mass is concentrated in dark matter, which is an unseen and mystifying substance that mimics a scaffolding throughout the universe and retains the stars in their galaxies.
- In early years, research that goes back several decades made use of a range of observational techniques which gave estimates for Milky Way’s mass – differing between 500 billion to 3 trillion solar masses.
- The lightest galaxies can be about a billion solar masses, whereas the heaviest can be 30 trillion, or 30,000 times bigger. Our galaxy’s mass of 1.5 trillion solar masses is quite normal for a galaxy having brightness such as ours.