PIB Analysis : 2nd & 3rd June 2020

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. National Productivity Council (NPC)
  2. National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)
  3. Central Employment Guarantee Council
  4. Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) 
  5. Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs)
  6. SWADES
  7. PRIME MINISTER GARIB KALYAN PACKAGE
  8. Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS)
  9. Pan-India Real Time Market in electricity
  10. Facts for Prelims

1 . National Productivity Council


Context : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Sh. Piyush Goyal today took an online review meeting of National Productivity Council (NPC), an autonomous organization of DPIIT.

About National Productivity Council

  • NPC is a national level organization to promote productivity culture in India.
  • Established by the Ministry of Industry, Government of India in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization with equal representation from employers’ & workers’ organizations and Government, apart from technical & professional institutions and other interests.
  • Currently National Productivity Council (NPC) is an autonomous registered society under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an Inter Governmental Body, of which the Government of India is a founder member.

Functions

  • NPC teams up with its clients to work out solutions towards accelerating productivity, enhancing competitiveness, increasing profits, augmenting safety and reliability and ensuring better quality.
  • It provides reliable database for decision-making, improved systems and procedures, work culture as well as customer satisfaction both internal & external. The solutions can be all-encompassing or specific depending on the nature of the problem.
  • The council also helps monitor, review and implement the identified strategies. Promotional and catalytic in nature, NPC’s services have bearings on economic growth and quality of life.
  • The Council promotes a comprehensive view of productivity focused on improving triple bottom line – economic, environmental and social and adds value for all the stakeholders through generation & application of advanced knowledge for inclusive Growth.

2 . National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)


About National Crisis Management Committee

  • For effective implementation of relief measures in the wake of a natural calamity, the Cabinet may set up a committee called as National Crisis Management Committee
  • Cabinet Secretary, which is the highest executive officer, heads the NCMC.
  • Secretaries of all the concerned Ministries /Departments as well as organizations are the members of the Committee.
  • The NCMC gives direction to the Crisis Management Group as deemed necessary.

Crisis Management Group

  • The Central Relief Commissioner in the Ministry of Home Affairs is the Chairman of the CMG, consisting of senior officers (called as nodal officers) from various concerned Ministries.

Functions of CMG

Functions of CMG is to review :

  • Every year contingency plans formulated by various Ministries/Departments/ Organizations in their respective sectors,
  • Measures required for dealing with a natural disaster,
  • Coordinate the activities of the Central Ministries and the State Governments in relation to disaster preparedness and relief
  • To obtain information from the nodal officers on measures relating to above.

3 . Central Employmet Guarantee Council


Context : The 21st Meeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council, constituted under Section 10 of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Mahatma Gandhi NREGA), 2005 was held on 02.06.2020 under the Chairmanship of Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar through Video-Conferencing. 

About Central Employment Guarantee Council

  • A Central Employment Guarantee Council (or ‘Central Council’) has been set up under the
  • chairmanship of the Minister of Rural development. The Central Council is responsible for advising
  • the Central Government on Mahatama Gandhi NREGA-related matters, and for monitoring and
  • evaluating the implementation of the Act. It will prepare Annual Reports on the implementation of
  • Mahatama Gandhi NREGA for submission to Parliament.

Functions

The Central Council shall perform and discharge the following functions and duties,
namely:-

  • Establish a central evaluation and monitoring system;
  • Advise the Central Government on all matters concerning the implementation of the Act;
  • Review the monitoring and redressal mechanism from time to time and recommend improvements required;
  • Promote the widest possible dissemination of information about the Schemes made under the Act;
  • Monitoring the implementation of the Act;
  • Preparation of annual reports to be laid before Parliament by the Central Government on the implementation of the Act
  • Any other duty or function as may be assigned to it by the Central Government.
  • The Central Council shall have the power to undertake evaluation of the various Schemes made under this Act and for that purpose collect or cause to be collected statistics pertaining to the rural economy and the implementation of the Schemes.

Structure and Member Composition

  • The Central Employment Guarantee Council of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is headed by Hon’ble Union Minister for Rural Development in his capacity as exofficio Chairperson of the Council.
  • Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Rural Development is ex-officio member of the Council. Joint secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Rural Development in charge of the Mahatma Gandhi NREG Act, 2005 is Member Secretary of the council. One nominee each, not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, of the Ministries of Women & Child Development; Agriculture; Environment & Forests; Statistics & Programme Implementation; Panchayat Raj; Tribal Affairs; Social Justice; Labour and Law & Justice is also the member of the Council. One representative of the Prime Minister’s Office (not below the rank of Joint Secretary) and one representative of Planning Commission (not below the rank of Advisor) are also the members of the Council.
  • Besides there have to be not more than fifteen non-official members representing Panchayati Raj Institutions, organisations of workers and disadvantaged groups.
  • Head of the Body: Minister for Rural Development: Government of India

4 . Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) 


Context : The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval to re-establish Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) as Subordinate Office under Ministry of AYUSH by merging into it Pharmacopoeia Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM) and Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory (HPL)- the two central laboratories established at Ghaziabad since 1975.

About Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homeopathy

  •  Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) is an autonomous body under the aegis of Ministry of AYUSH established since 2010.

Importance of the Merger

  • The merger is aimed at optimizing the use of infrastructural facilities, technical manpower and financial resources of the three organizations for enhancing the standardization outcomes of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs towards their effective regulation and quality control.
  • Merger will facilitate focused and cohesive development of standards of AYUSH drugs and publication of pharmacopoeias and formularies.
  • It is also intended to accord legal status to the merged structure of PCIM&H and its laboratory by virtue of making necessary amendment and enabling provisions in the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945.

ASUDTAB

  • Consultation in this regard has been done with the Director General Health Services, Drugs Controller General and Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board (ASUDTAB), which is a statutory body under the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 meant for advising Central and State Governments in regulatory matters of ASLT drugs. Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance has concurred the proposal of realigning the posts and hierarchical structure of the merged organisations.

PCIM-H

  • PLIM & HPL being the subordinate offices and PCIM&H- an autonomous organization under Ministry of AYUSH are going to be merged to establish PCIM&H, as a subordinate office of the Ministry with a common administrative control.

5 . Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs)


Context : The Union Cabinet has given its approval for setting up of an “Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) in Ministries/Departments of Government of Indiafor attracting investments in India”. This new mechanism will reinforce India’s vision of becoming a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024-25.

Importance of Empowered group of secretaries

  • In the midst of current ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, India is presented with an opportunity to attract FDI inflows into the country especially from large companies which seek to diversify their investments into new geographies and mitigate risks. Also, ramping up production across product lines will help to serve big markets in the US, EU, China and elsewhere.
  • The proposal aims to take advantage of these opportunities from the global economic situation to make India among the largest players in the global value chain.
  • In order to provide support and facilitation to investors for investing in India and to boost growth in key sectors of the economy, an Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) is approved with the following composition and objectives:

Objectives of EGoS

  • To bring synergies and ensure timely clearances from different departments and Ministries.
  • To attract increased investments into India and provide investment support and facilitation to global investors.
  • To facilitate investments of top investors in a targeted manner and to usher policy stability & consistency in the overall investment environment.
  • To evaluate investments put forward by the departments on the basis of their (i) project creation (ii) actual investments that come. Further, these departments would be given targets for completion of various stages by the Empowered Group.

Project Development Cell

  • A ‘Project Development Cell’ (PDC) is also approved for the development of investible projects in coordination between the Central Government and State Governments and thereby grow the pipeline of investible projects in India and in turn increase FDI inflows.
  • Under the guidance of the Secretary, an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary of each relevant central line Ministry, who will be in-charge of the PDC will be tasked to conceptualize, strategize, implement, and disseminate details with respect to investable projects.

6 . SWADES


About SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support)

  • With the aim of making the best of our skilled workforce returning to the country due to the ongoing pandemic, the Government of India has launched a new initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise of the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission.
  • This is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs which aims to create a database of qualified citizens based on their skillsets and experience to tap into and fulfil demand of Indian and foreign companies.
  • The collected information will be shared with the companies for suitable placement opportunities in the country.
  • The returning citizens are required to fill up an online SWADES Skills Card. The card will facilitate a strategic framework to provide the returning citizens with suitable employment opportunities through discussions with key stakeholders including State Governments, Industry Associations and Employers.
  • MSDE’s implementation arm National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is supporting the implementation of the project.

Need

  • The spread of COVID-19 across the globe has had a significant economic impact with thousands of workers losing their jobs and hundreds of companies shutting down globally.
  • Many of our citizens returning to the country through the Vande Bharat Mission of the Government of India may be facing uncertainty regarding their future employment opportunities.
  • Lakhs of citizens have registered at the various Indian missions requesting to return to the country and so far, more than 57,000 people have already returned to the country.

7 . Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Package


There are five elements to the PMGK package.

  • Medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for all health workers (doctors, paramedics, Asha workers etc.) treating patients.
  • Help for the poor and those engaged in the unorganised sector.
  • Help for the poor engaged in the organised sector.
  • Help for construction workers.
  • Use the money already available in the “district(-level) mineral fund” to pay for medical testing and screening for the coronavirus.

What help is being provided to poor and those in unorganised sector?

The help is in two ways — free food grains, and cash transfers.

  • One, the central government, working with the state governments, will provide an additional quota of food grains free of cost to all 80 crore beneficiaries under the Public Distribution System. As such, PDS beneficiaries will get 5 kg of wheat (or rice) per month for the next three months. Additionally, each household (or family) — typically, a household is assumed to have 5 members — will get 1 kg of pulses per month.
  • Two, the government announced 6 types of additional cash transfers. These are:
    • Rs 2,000 per farmer to 9 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme.
    • An additional Rs 1,000 per month pension for the next 3 months for those receiving old age, widow or disability pensions. This is one-time payment; in other words, it does not mean their basic pensions have been raised. This is expected to help 3 crore beneficiaries.
    • Rs 500 per month will be transferred for the next 3 months to women holding a Jan Dhan bank account. This is expected to help 20 crore women.
    • Over 8 crore women who are registered beneficiaries under Ujjwala Yojana will get one LPG cylinder per month for the next three months. While this is not exactly a cash transfer, these cylinders will be free of cost.
    • Women Self Help Groups across the country — roughly around 63 lakh of them — can now take collateral-free loans up to Rs 20 lakh instead of the existing limit of Rs 10 lakh. This too, is not a cash transfer, rather an enabling provision for receiving higher credit.
    • Wages paid for manual labour under MGNREGA have been increased from Rs 180 per day to Rs 202 per day. According to the FM, this move will help 5 crore households (since only one person per household can avail of employment under MGNREGA) and enable them to earn Rs 2,000 as additional income. However, the work needs to be done in a manner that ensures social distancing.

What help is being provided to poor in organised sector?

  • This help essentially relates to the Employees’ Provident Fund. There are two initiatives announced by the government — one in which the government actually pays on behalf of the poor and the other in which it enables the poor to withdraw their own money from their EPF accounts.
  • Under the first provision, the GoI will pay the EPF contributions — 12% of the basic salary — of both the employees and the employers for the next three months. However, this move applies only to about 4 lakh firms where the total number of employees is less than 100, and where 90 per cent of the employees earn less than Rs 15,000 per month.
  • The move is aimed at reducing the monetary strain on small firms in the organised sector that may feel compelled to fire employees given the mounting financial strain.
  • Secondly, the government has amended the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) regulations to enable workers to withdraw a non-refundable advance from their EPF accounts. This amount is, however, limited to 75 per cent of the total money in one’s EPF account, or one’s salary for three months, whichever is lower.
  • So, if one earns Rs 20,000 per month, and has Rs 1 lakh in one’s EPF account, then one can only withdraw Rs 60,000 from it (not Rs 75,000). This move is expected to help close to 4.8 crore workers registered with the EPFO.

What about construction workers?

  • The construction sector traditionally employs a large number of people, especially those who leave villages and farming out of distress, and come to cities looking for work. However, construction activities have been severely hit over the past few years, given the sharp slowdown in the Indian economy as well as the mess in India’s real estate sector.
  • The complete shutdown of economic activity as a result of the lockdown has essentially rendered all labourers jobless overnight.
  • To alleviate the economic distress of construction workers, the government has asked state governments to use the money — roughly Rs 31,000 crore — already available in a welfare fund for construction workers.

8 . Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS)


Context : The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) predicts that there would be a 24% increase in the expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries by 2021 and another 24% expansion by 2026 from its 2016 positions. The prediction made by NCPOR is based on a 16-year-long satellite-based observation that covered an area of 60,000 sq. km across the AIS. Scientists feel that this study would help understand the ongoing changes in the ocean and atmospheric forces better.

About Ameri Ice Shelf

  • The AIS is one of the largest glacier drainage basins in the world, located on the east coast of Antarctica, at about 70ºS Latitude, 70ºE Longitude.
  • The floating sheets of ice called the ice shelves play a multi-faceted role in maintaining the stability of a glacier.
  • Ice shelves connect a glacier to the landmass. The ice sheet mass balance, sea stratification, and bottom water formation are important parameters for the balancing of a glacier. Latent and sensible heat processes do play important roles here. 
  • The AIS dynamics and mass balance help in understanding the changes in the global climate scenario.
  • The insulation of ice shelves from atmospheric forcing is dependent on a temperature gradient that the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelves provides. It is the pressure exerted by the ice shelves upon the ocean cavity that determines this temperature gradient.
  • The insulation of ice shelves from atmospheric forcing is dependent on a temperature gradient that the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelves provides. It is the pressure exerted by the ice shelves upon the ocean cavity that determines this temperature gradient.
  • There is always a stress on the sea ice and ice sheets itself plays an indirect role in reducing the amplitude of the ocean swell. This is assisted by the freezing atmospheric temperature, which is capable of promoting a change in the morphology of ice shelves.

Details of the Study

  • NCPOR carried out this study based on the satellite data collected from 2001 to 2016.
  • The data were collected during the austral (relating to the southern hemisphere) summer months of January to March to understand the advancement of AIS extension and the influence of ocean atmospheric forcing in East Antarctica.
  • The NCOPOR scientists observed a spatio-temporal change in the ice shelf as reflected by the extension of the Pridze and Mackenzie and the extension of a 200-km stretch between Mackenzie Bay (68.5ºS Latitude; 70.2ºE Longitude) and the Sandefjord Bay (69.65ºS Latitude; 74.3ºE Longitude), which is a part of the AIS.
  • It becomes clear from the study that the AIS is losing its stability owing to the impact of a downstream giant glacial drainage system over the past 19 years, thereby advancing the ice shelf boundaries due to higher freezing rates than basal melting.
  • NCPOR has also estimated the rate at which ice shelves have extended for the last three years (2017-2019). The AIS extended by about 550 m in 2017, 1470 m in 2018, and 2200 m in 2019. If this continues, it is entirely possible that in the next six years (2021 to 2026), the positions of the ice shelf would closely coincide with the actual boundary conditions.
  • NCPOR observations also revealed a critical cooling of the sea surface temperature (SST), resulting in an advancement of the ice shelf by 88% in the past 15 years. These changes would contribute in a major way to climate variability.

About National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research

  • National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) is India’s premier R&D institution responsible for the country’s research activities in the Polar and Southern Ocean realms

Mandate

  • Leadership role in niche areas of scientific research in the domain of polar and ocean sciences
  • Lead role in the geoscientific surveys of the country’s EEZ and its extended continental shelf beyond 200M, deep-sea drilling in the Arabian Sea basin through the IODP, exploration for ocean non-living resources such as the gas hydrates and multi-metal sulphides in mid-ocean ridges.
  • Facilitatory role in the scientific research activities being undertaken by several national institutions and organizations in Antarctica, the Arctic and in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean.
  • Management role in implementing all scientific and logistics activities related to the Annual Indian Expeditions to the Antarctic, Arctic and Southern Ocean.
  • Management and upkeep of the Indian Antarctic Research Bases “Maitri” and “Bharati”,  and the Indian Arctic base “Himadri”
  • Management of the Ministry’s research vessel ORV Sagar Kanya as well as the other research vessels chartered by the Ministry

9 . Pan-India Real Time Market in electricity


Context : Shri R. K. Singh, the Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy & Minister of State (Skill Development and Entrepreneurship),  launched pan-India Real Time Market in electricity through video conference in New Delhi, on 03rd June, 2020. 

About the Real Time Market

  • Real time market is an organized market platform to enable the buyers and sellers pan-India to meet their energy requirement closer to real time of operation.
  • Introduction of real time market will bring required flexibility in the market to provide real time balance while ensuring optimal utilization of the available surplus capacity in the system.
  • It will also help manage diversity in the demand pattern in the country with an organized market at national level.
  • Real time market would be for every 30 minutes in a day based on double sided closed auction with uniform price.
  • The concept of “Gate Closure” has been introduced for bringing in the desired firmness in schedules during the hours of market operation. Buyers/sellers shall have the option of placing buy/sell bids for each 15-minute time block.
  • The proposed real time market would provide an alternate mechanism for Discoms to access larger market at competitive price.
  • Generators would also benefit by participating in the real time market with their un-requisitioned capacity. A mechanism has been provided for generators having long-term contract and participating in this market to share the net gains with the Discoms.
  • National Load Despatch Centre-POSOCO is facilitating necessary automation in coordination with power exchanges to ensure faster transactions and settlements in the real time market framework.
  • The real time market would help to mitigate challenges to the grid management due to intermittent and variable nature of renewable energy generation and therefore, help to integrate higher quantum of renewable energy resources into the grid.

Benefits

  • It is expected that shorter bidding time, faster scheduling, and defined processes (e.g. gate closure) are expected to enable the participants to access resources throughout the all India grid, promoting competition.
  • It would lead to better portfolio management by the utilities with efficient power procurement planning, scheduling, despatch, and imbalance handling.
  • The distribution companies would be able to manage their power purchase portfolio optimally and need not tie up excess capacity. It would lead to cost optimization of power purchase and serving the consumers with reliable supply as any last minute requirement of power can easily be bought from the Real Time market.
  • Earlier regime of managing the grid by load shedding due last minute changes can be easily avoided. Thus, it is win win for all stakeholders generators having opportunity to sale their surpluses, better management of variability of RE generation, better utilization of transmission systems, discoms opportunity to buy or sell power and finally consumer getting reliable power supply. 

10. Facts for Prelims


Land of Rising Sun – Arunachal Pradesh is called as Land of Rising Sun

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