Government Policies Current Affairs

NITI Aayog to rank 115 aspirational districts by April 2018

Government think-tank National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has announced to rank 115 backward (aspirational) districts by April 2018. It was announced at  ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ conference.

These 115 backward districts include 35 districts affected by Left Wing Extremists (LWE) violence, 55 districts just affected by LWE and another 15 including districts in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast affected by terrorism.

Key Facts

These 115 backward districts will be ranked on 10 socio-economic parameters which will include nutrition, education and health. Moreover NITI Aayog will also set up a mechanism for real-time monitoring of government’s development programmes by April 2018. It will also create dashboard which will reflect change in ranking of districts on continuous basis by the end of March 2018.

Background

The Union Government had selected 115 backward districts for rapid transformation by 2022 in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to create a “New India” over the next five years. During the Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked collectors and officers-in- charge (Prabhari Officers) of the 115 aspirational districts to come up with pioneering innovations to achieve visible results for development. Government has embarked upon major policy initiative for rapid transformation of these 115 districts that are lagging on specific development parameters.

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Consultative Workshop on New National Policy on Biofuels held in New Delhi

The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had organised a consultative workshop on New National Policy on Biofuels & Pradhan Mantri Ji- Van Yojana (VGF for 2nd Generation Ethanol Bio Refineries) in New Delhi.

The workshop was organised for promoting Biofuels with objective to reduce dependency on import of crude oil, savings in foreign exchange, provide better remuneration for farmers and address growing environment concerns in the light of India’s Commitment at COP 21.

Key Facts

During the workshop 5 Working Groups on 1-G (first Generation) Ethanol (Biofuels), 2-G Ethanol, Biodiesel, Municipal Solid Wastes (MSW) to Fuel & Bio-CNG deliberated issues related to their segment in detail and came up with many constructive suggestions and inputs. These Working Groups comprised of all the stakeholders (producers, bankers and buyers).

1-G and 2-G Ethanol, Biodiesel, MSW to Fuel and Bio-CNG together with Methanol (DME) have huge potential in augmenting economic growth, generating employment and doubling farmers’ income. This will be instrumental in achieving the target of 10% oil import reduction by 2022.

Biofuel

Biofuel is defined as any fuel whose energy is obtained through process of biological carbon fixation. It can be characterized on basis of their source biomass.

Generations of Biofuels

  • 1G Biofuel: They produced directly from food crops such as wheat and sugar etc.
  • 2G Biofuel: hey are produced from marginal croplands unsuitable for food production or non-food crops. For example-Jatropha. It overcomes over food vs. fuel debate in first generation biofuel.
  • 3G Biofuels: It is based on improvements on production of biomass by taking advantage of specially engineered energy crops such as algae as its energy source.
  • These engineered energy crops can be cultured to act as low-cost, high-energy and entirely renewable feedstock. They have potential to produce more energy per acre than conventional crops.

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