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Fact Box: SAMPADA Scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved re-structuring the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under new Central Sector Scheme called as SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) for the time period 2016-20.

Salient Highlights

SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) such as Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. It will also incorporate the new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, as well as Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.

SAMPADA with an allocation of Rs. 6,000 crore is expected to benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate 5,30,500 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the country by the year 2019-20.

The objective of SAMPADA is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing of agri products and decrease their wastage.

Significance

The new umbrella scheme gives renewed thrust to the food processing sector in the country. It aims to develop modern infrastructure to facilitate entrepreneurs to set up food processing units based on cluster approach and provide effective and seamless backward and forward integration for processed food industry. It proposes to achieve this by plugging gaps in supply chain and development of infrastructure facilities for processing and preservation and modernization of existing food processing units. As a result, SAMAPADA will result in the creation of modern infrastructure coupled with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to a retail outlet. It would provide better prices to farmers and would help in doubling their incomes. Implementation of the scheme will result in creating huge employment opportunities, especially in rural areas. From the perspective of the consumer, it would promote the availability of safe and convenient processed foods at an affordable price.

Other initiatives to boost Food Processing industry

  • The government has allowed 100% FDI in trading including through e-commerce with respect to food products manufactured and produced in India.
  • The Governments has created a Special Fund of Rs. 2000 crore in NABARD to provide credit at the concessional rate of interest to designated food parks and agro-processing units in the designated food parks.
  • Food and agro–based processing units and cold chain infrastructure have been placed under the ambit of Priority Sector Lending (PSL).

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Union Cabinet clears Ordinance to tackle Bad Loans

The Union Cabinet has cleared an ordinance that seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act to give more powers to Reserve Bank of India to deal with non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector. The ordinance has been sent to the President for assent.

Amendments will empower RBI to act against loan defaulters and defaulting companies under the bankruptcy code. Amendments will enable RBI to set up multiple oversight committees to deal with NPAs. Amendments will be made to make sure that bankers opting for resolution of bad debts are ring-fenced from any regulatory backlash.

Significance

The ordinance would empower RBI to speed up the NPA resolution process. The NPAs would be resolved faster as the bankruptcy code provides for a time-bound winding up of companies and recovery of secured loans. The RBI and the government have already made ready a list of 50 top loan defaulters against whom action can be initiated. Those corporate borrowers who have diverted loans taken for specific purposes are expected to be first brought under the scanner.

Background

The assets of the banks which don’t perform (that is – don’t bring any return) are called Non Performing Assets (NPA) or bad loans. If customers don’t pay either interest or part of principal or both, the loan turns into bad loan. According to RBI, terms loans on which interest or instalment of principal remains overdue for a period of more than 90 days from the end of a particular quarter are termed as a Non-performing Asset.

The menace of NPAs has been rising in the banking sector. As per the finance ministry data, the gross NPAs of the Scheduled commercial banks’ is Rs 9.64 lakh crore as on December 31, 2016. The menace of NPAs is more in State-owned banks than in the Private banks. It has been estimated that the state-owned banks had written off Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad loans between 2013 and 2015. The gross NPAs of the private sector banks have also increased to Rs 70,321 crore by December 31, 2016, from Rs 48,380 crore as on March 31, 2016.

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Agni-II Ballistic Missile Test Fired Successfully

India has successfully carried out a fresh user trial of Agni-II ballistic missile from a defence test facility in the Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
The objective of the test was to re-establish the operational effectiveness of the weapon system.

Agni-II Ballistic Missile

Agni-II missile is a nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface missile which forms a part of India’s strategic forces arsenal for nuclear deterrence with a range of over 2000 km. It can carry a payload of 1000kg. It is equipped with an advanced high accuracy navigation system and guided by a novel state-of-the-art command and control system. It is powered by a solid rocket propellant system and already been inducted into the army.

Agni-II weighs 17 tonnes and the range of the missile can be increased to 3000 km by reducing the payload. It can be fired from both rail and road mobile launchers and it takes only 15 minutes for the missile to be readied for firing. The Agni-II missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is one of the sophisticated weapons that can act as a deterrent against nuclear-armed neighbours.

Abdul Kalam Island

To inspire youngsters to work dedicatedly for the scientific research, the state government of Odisha has renamed the Wheeler Island in Bhadrak district as Abdul Kalam Island as a humble tribute to former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Prior to the renaming, the island was named after an English commandant Lieutenant Wheeler.

 

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