India Current Affairs 2017

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Union Cabinet approves Interest Subvention on Short-Term Crop Loan to Farmers

The Union cabinet has approved the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) for farmers for the year 2017-18. The Government has allocated Rs. 20,339 crore for this scheme.

Salient Highlights

The objective of the scheme is to make available agricultural credit for Short Term crop loans at an affordable rate. The scheme is expected to boost agricultural productivity and production in the country.

Under this scheme, farmers will be given a short term crop loan up to Rs. 3 lakh payable within one year at an interest rate of 4% per annum.

The scheme will be continued for 1 year and will be implemented by NABARD and RBI. 

The interest subvention will be provided to Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Private Sector Banks, Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and to NABARD for refinancing to RRBs and Cooperative Banks.

Interest subvention of 5% per annum will be provided to those farmers who pay the short term crop loan in time. Farmers will have to effectively pay only 4% as interest. For farmers who do not pay crop loan in time the interest subvention of only 2% will be applicable as against 5% available above.

This institutional credit is expected to demotivate farmers from taking loans from non-institutional sources of credit at high rates of interest.

Background

Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) has been running since 2006-07. Under this scheme, crop loans are offered at 7% rate of interest for loans up to Rs.3 lakh. Further subvention of 3% will be provided to farmers who prompt repay the loans within a period of one year from the date of advance.

The scheme also offers post-harvest loans for storage in accredited warehouses against Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (NWRs) for a period of 6 months to check distress sale.

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Ministry of Railways launches Mission Retro-Fitment

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has launched Mission Retro-Fitment to enhance the passenger experience by upgrading the existing fleet of coaches.

Salient Highlights

Mission Retro-Fitment is an ambitious program of the ministry or railways to upgrade the level of furnishing & amenities in the coaches of Indian Railways.

The refurbished coaches will have better furnishing, aesthetics & amenities and better safety features which are aimed at providing a safe and comfortable travel to the railway passengers.

Under Mission Retro-Fitment, 40,000 coaches will be refurbished and retrofitted in the next five years. The mission aims to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23. The mission will be one of the largest retro fitment projects in the world.

The mission will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation. It is estimated that cost of refurbishing per coach to be approximately Rs 30 lakhs.

Features

The refurbished coaches will have the following features:

World Class Ambience: The refurbished coaches will have panels with LED lights, modular toilets with plumbing, Branded fittings, powered Venetian blinds, anti-Graffiti coating etc.

Enhanced Passenger Safety: Fire and smoke detection system, rounded edges for preventing injury, double acting compartment door in AC coaches.

Environment-Friendly features such as Bio-toilets.

Usage of better materials such as polycarbonate ABS, advanced composites, Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic, stainless steel, etc.

Improved Passenger Convenience: Passenger address & Passenger information System, Braille Signage, Ergonomic design etc.

 

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CRY Report: Uttar Pradesh ranks First in Number of Child Labourers

According to a recently released CRY Report on child labour, more than 8 lakh children between the age group of 5 and 6 years in India are engaged in child labour.

Child Rights and You (CRY) is an NGO working towards the upliftment of underprivileged children. The organization got established in 1979 by Rippan Kapur.

Salient Highlights

As per the report, over 5 lakh children in India do not attend school. A majority of them are involved in family based employments.

Uttar Pradesh ranks first in the number of child labourers (2,50,672 children) in the country followed by Bihar (1,28,087 children) and Maharashtra (82,847 children).

The report has identified that the high level of poverty and unemployment along with a lack of adequate social security net are the important factors forcing children to work, compromising with their learning. These children are often forced to migrate with their parents and assist in family occupations such as working in brick kilns.

The report cites that the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) suffers many limitations and is now covering only 50% of the child labourers.

In the decade 2001-11, the working children in the age group of 10-14 years saw a reduction of 30% but the child labourers in the age group of 5-9 years have seen an increase of 37% from 2001.

ICDS

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by the states/UTs. The Scheme was launched on 2nd October 1975. The scheme has the following objectives: to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; to reduce mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout; to promote policy coordination and implementation for promoting child development; to lay an adequate foundation for the psychological, physical and social well-being of the children etc.

Under the scheme, the services such as Supplementary nutrition; Pre-school non-formal education; nutrition and health education, immunization, health check-ups; and Referral services through Anganwadi Centres for children below 6 years of age as well as to pregnant women& lactating mothers are offered.

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