Government Schemes Current Affairs - 2019

Latest Government Schemes Current Affairs 2019 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. This category comprises current affairs related to various welfare schemes of Government of India and State Governments.

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Ujjwala Beneficiaries in Four States still use Earthen Stoves

A study from the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e) study on the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY) makes the following observations:

  • Most rural households with LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections still use chulhas with firewood or dung cakes which are the detriment of rural health.
  • 85% of Ujjwala beneficiaries in rural Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan still use solid fuels for cooking, due to financial reasons as well as gender inequalities.
  • In the four States surveyed, there was a substantial increase in LPG ownership due to the scheme, with 76% of households now owning an LPG connection.
  • Overall only 27% of households exclusively used the gas stove and another 37% reported using both the chulha and the gas stove, while 36% used chulha exclusively.
  • Whereas among those who received LPG connection through PMUY, almost 53% exclusively used the chulha, while 32% used both.
  • The beneficiaries of PMUY are poorer, on average than households who got LPG on their own. Refilling the cylinder is a greater fraction of their monthly consumption, and they may be less likely to get a refill immediately after a cylinder becomes empty.
  • Almost 70% of households do not spend anything on solid fuels, meaning that the relative cost of an LPG cylinder refill, even if subsidised, is far higher.
  • Women are not typically economic decision-makers in the household, hindering a shift to LPG usage.
  • 70% of respondents thought the gas stove was better for the health of the cook (typically a woman), more than 86% felt that cooking on the chulha was better for the health of those eating, reflecting ignorance of the fact that ambient air pollution is harmful even to those who are not cooking the food.

The survey covered a random sample of 1,550 households in 11 districts of the four States, which collectively have two-fifths of the country’s rural population.

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Proposed Nyay Scheme: Key Facts

In its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, the Congress party has announced a Minimum Income scheme Nyuntam Aay Yojna (Nyay) as a surgical strike against poverty.

Key Facts about the Proposed Scheme

  • The Nyay scheme is targeted towards 5 crore families who are the poorest 20 per cent in India.
  • Nyay scheme guarantees each family a cash transfer of Rs. 72,000 a year and as far as possible the money will be transferred to a bank account of a woman in the family.
  • There will a design phase (3 months), followed by pilot and testing phases (6-9 months) before the rollout of the plan.
  • The scheme will be implemented in phases and the estimated cost will be less than 1 per cent of the GDP in the first year, and less than 2 per cent of the GDP in the second year and thereafter.
  • As the nominal GDP grows and the families move out of poverty, the cost will decline as a proportion of the GDP.
  • If brought to power, Congress announces the appointment of an independent panel of economists, social scientists and statisticians to oversee the design, testing, rollout and implementation of the programme. The programme will move from one stage to the other only after a go-ahead from the panel.
  • The Nyay scheme would be a joint scheme of the central and state governments.
  • Nyay scheme will be funded through new revenues and rationalisation of expenditure. Current merit subsidy schemes that are intended to achieve specific objectives will be continued.

Economists say that income-support schemes of this type cannot coexist with subsidies on account of the resultant fiscal burden. On a standalone basis, the proposed scheme, for 5 crore households, will add 1.9 per cent of GDP to the fiscal deficit and the projected outlay could be higher than India’s health budget estimated at about 1.4 per cent of GDP.

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