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Government launches Aadhaar Seeding Application  

The Union Ministry of Labour & Employment has launched Aadhaar Seeding Application for efficient service delivery and widening the reach of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) benefits.

It was launched at the 217th special meeting of the Central Board of Employees Provident Fund (CBEPF/EPFO) in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Minster of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya.

Key Facts
  • The seeding application has been developed by the EPFO with the support of Common Service Centres (CSC) and CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing).
  • It has been developed in pursuance of the government’s policy for optimum use of information technology for efficient service delivery and widening the reach of benefits to people.
  • The application will enable a provident fund member or pensioner walk into any field offices of the EPFO or CSC outlets with UAN (Universal Account Number) and Aadhaar and seed the Aadhaar with the UAN. 

About Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO)

  • EPFO is a statutory body established under Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
  • It is administered by a Board known as Central Board of Trustees headed by Union Labour Minister.
  • It administers (i) Employees Provident Fund scheme (ii) Employees’ Pension Scheme (iii) Employees Deposit linked Insurance scheme for the workforce engaged in the organized sector in India.
  • It is one of the largest social security organisations in India in terms volume of financial transactions undertaken and number of covered beneficiaries. 

Common Service Centres (CSC): They are ICT enabled front end service delivery points at the village level for delivery of government and private services. They are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India.

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Oil companies to revise petrol and diesel prices everyday

Beginning from May 1, Oil PSUs have decided to change petrol and diesel prices every day in synchronisation with international rates similar to what is practiced in advanced markets. As per the plan, pump rates will be decided based on daily movement in international oil prices and rupee-US dollar fluctuations.

Initially, the oil PSUs like Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), which together own 95% of the petrol pumps in the country, will launch a pilot for daily fuel price revision in 5 cities viz. Puducherry, Vizag (Andhra Pradesh), Udaipur (Rajasthan), Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) and Chandigarh. After studying the implications of the pilot, the plan will be extended to other parts of the country.

Unlike earlier, automation at filling stations allows oil companies to centrally change prices. Availability of digital technologies and social networks have made much easier for the oil companies to convey the change in fuel price across the 53,000 filling stations in the country.

Present practice of price determination

Presently, Oil companies have the freedom to revise rates. They revise the fuel price on 1st and 16th of every month based on the average international rate of the fuel in the preceding fortnight and currency exchange rate.

While petrol prices were freed from the clutches of the government in June 2010, the diesel prices got deregulated in October 2014.

Significance

Though technically, oil PSUs has the freedom to revise the fuel prices, they are often guided by political considerations. Usually, a price hike is withheld by the oil companies during election season. To compensate for the losses incurred by the oil companies during election season, the government often allows the oil companies to maintain prices higher even when the international rates suggest otherwise. With daily changes in prices, the political pressures associated with revising fuel rates will ease.

Daily changes would change fuel price by just a few paise per litre every day. This means prices would not rise or drop sharply bringing relief to the customers.

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Government to launch SAMPADA scheme for food processing

The Union Ministry of Food Processing is going to launch Scheme for Agro-Marine Produce Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters (SAMPADA) for food processing sector.

The scheme will integrate current and new schemes aimed at reducing food wastage and doubling farmers’ income by 2022.  It will help to create infrastructure for linkage of entire supply chain.

Key Facts
  • SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme that will include ongoing schemes like mega food parks and cold chain projects and new schemes. It has an outlay of Rs. 6000 crore and will be implemented by 2019-20.
  • The ministry will also launch three new schemes to create infrastructure for improving the entire food supply chain.
  • These three schemes are ‘Creation/ Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities’, ‘New Agro-Processing Clusters‘ and ‘Backward and Forward Linkages’.
  • Moreover, government is taking steps to boost food processing sector to bring down post-harvest losses preferably to zero level, provide quality food to consumers at cheaper price and double of farmers’ income.

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