Government Schemes Module for UPSC CSE 2023-24

Table of Contents

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 

Ni-kshay Mitra Programme

  • The Health Ministry’s “adopt a TB-patient” initiative, known as Ni-kshay Mitras, is a unique program, possibly the only one of its kind globally.
  • Its primary goal is to integrate essential “community” aspects into India’s efforts to achieve the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan, with the ambitious objective of eliminating TB by 2025.
  • Ni-kshay Mitra (Donors) for this program can include cooperative societies, corporations, elected representatives, individuals, institutions, non-governmental organizations, political parties, and partners.
  • These donors have the opportunity to provide support by adopting healthcare facilities (for individual donors) or specific regions like blocks, urban wards, districts, or states.
  • The aim of this support is to bolster the response against TB and complement government initiatives, addressing district-specific requirements in collaboration with local administrations.
  • As part of the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP), all TB patients, whether identified in the public or private sector, receive free diagnostic services, free medications, and access to the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana.

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals related to TB by 2025, five years ahead of global targets, the National TB Elimination Programme implements the following key activities:

  • Development of State and District Specific Strategic Plans to focus interventions on high-burden areas.
  • Providing free drugs and diagnostics to TB patients, including those with drug-resistant TB.
  • Conducting active TB case-finding campaigns among vulnerable and co-morbid populations.
  • Integrating with Ayushman Bharat – Health & Wellness Centres to bring screening and treatment services closer to communities.
  • Engaging the private sector, offering incentives for reporting and managing TB cases.
  • Expanding the presence of molecular diagnostic laboratories to sub-district levels.
  • Implementing the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana to provide nutritional support to TB patients.
  • Launching intensified Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaigns to reduce stigma, enhance community awareness, and promote better health-seeking behavior.
  • Promoting a multi-sectoral response with the involvement of various line ministries.
  • Increasing the scale of TB preventive therapy for contacts of pulmonary TB cases.
  • Utilizing a case-based web-based portal called Ni-kshay to track notified TB cases.

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission 

The objective of this initiative is to furnish digital health IDs to all Indian citizens, facilitating electronic access to health records for hospitals, insurance companies, and citizens when needed. The pilot project for this mission was announced by the Prime Minister on August 15, 2020, from the Red Fort. The initial phase of the project is being executed in six States and Union Territories.

Key Features of the Mission:

Health ID:

  • Every citizen will receive a Health ID, which will also serve as their health account.
  • This account will encompass details of all medical tests, illnesses, healthcare providers visited, prescribed medications, and diagnoses.
  • The issuance of a Health ID is voluntary and free of charge.
  • It will enable comprehensive analysis of health data, leading to enhanced planning, budgeting, and implementation of health programs.

Healthcare Facilities & Professionals’ Registry:

  • A significant aspect of the program involves creating a Healthcare Professionals’ Registry (HPR) and a Healthcare Facilities Registry (HFR).
  • These registries will facilitate easy electronic access to medical professionals and healthcare infrastructure.
  • The HPR will serve as a comprehensive database of healthcare professionals, encompassing both modern and traditional systems of medicine.
  • The HFR database will contain records of all healthcare facilities across the country.

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Sandbox:

  • A sandbox environment is established as part of the mission, serving as a framework for technology and product testing.
  • It will assist organizations, including private entities, aiming to participate in the national digital health ecosystem, either as Health Information Providers or Health Information Users, or efficiently integrate with the building blocks of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.
  • Implementing Agency:
  • The National Health Authority (NHA) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is responsible for implementing this mission.

Expected Benefits:

  • Streamline operations for doctors, hospitals, and healthcare service providers, simplifying the process of doing business in the healthcare sector.
  • Facilitate access to and exchange of comprehensive health records with the consent of citizens.
  • Foster integration within the digital health ecosystem, akin to the role played by the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in revolutionizing financial transactions.

Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission

This initiative stands as one of India’s largest nationwide programs aimed at bolstering healthcare infrastructure. It complements the National Health Mission and focuses on supporting 17,788 rural Health and Wellness Centres in 10 key states while establishing 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centres across the nation. The goal is to ensure access to critical care services in all districts with populations exceeding five lakhs through dedicated critical care hospital blocks, with the remaining districts covered through referral services. Additionally, the scheme entails setting up various healthcare institutions, including a national institution for one health, four new national virology institutes, a regional research platform for the World Health Organization’s South East Asia Region, nine biosafety level-III laboratories, and five regional national centers for disease control.

Objectives:

  • Establish a robust public health infrastructure in both urban and rural areas, capable of effectively responding to public health emergencies and disease outbreaks.
  • Create an IT-enabled disease surveillance system by establishing a network of surveillance laboratories at the block, district, regional, and national levels. All public health labs will be interconnected through the Integrated Health Information Portal, which will expand its coverage to all states and union territories.

Significance:

  • India has long faced the need for an extensive healthcare system. A 2019 study conducted by Lokniti-CSDS, titled “State of Democracy in South Asia (SDSA)–Round 3,” highlighted the elusive nature of public healthcare access for marginalized populations. The study revealed that 70% of locations had access to public healthcare services, with lower availability in rural areas (65%) compared to urban areas (87%). Various schemes such as Swachh Bharat Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission, Ujjwala, Poshan Abhiyan, and Mission Indradhanush have already benefited millions of people, while over 2 crore impoverished individuals have received free treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is also addressing various health-related issues.

Other Related Initiatives:

  • PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Scheme
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana
  • Jan Aushadhi Yojana

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY)

Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is designed to offer a coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, specifically for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

Key Points:

  • More than 10.74 crore vulnerable entitled families, which translates to roughly 50 crore beneficiaries, will qualify for these benefits.
  • PMJAY ensures cashless and paperless access to healthcare services at the point of service, simplifying the process for beneficiaries.
  • The selection of households is based on the deprivation and occupational criteria outlined in the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 (SECC 2011) for rural and urban areas.
  • PMJAY aims to reduce the financial burden associated with hospitalizations, which often leads to impoverishment. It also helps mitigate the financial risk arising from serious health events.
  • Eligible families can access the necessary high-quality healthcare services without encountering financial hardships.
  • Once fully implemented, PMJAY will become the world’s largest fully government-financed health protection scheme, marking a significant stride toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Ayushman Bharat:

  • Ayushman Bharat represents a comprehensive approach to universal healthcare, encompassing promotive, preventive, curative, palliative, and rehabilitative aspects.
  • It involves the establishment of Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) at the primary level and provides financial protection for accessing curative care at secondary and tertiary levels, collaborating with both the public and private sectors.
  • The approach includes the creation of 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centers, which bring healthcare closer to people’s homes.
  • These centers offer Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC), encompassing maternal and child health services, non-communicable disease management, and the provision of essential drugs and diagnostic services. The inaugural Health and Wellness Centre was launched by the Prime Minister in Jangla, Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, on April 14, 2018.
  • The second component is the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), which extends health protection coverage to financially disadvantaged and vulnerable families for secondary and tertiary care services.
  • The Health and Wellness Centres will play a critical role in creating awareness about PMJAY, screening for non-communicable diseases, follow-up of hospitalization cases among others.

eSanjeevani 

eSanjeevani: This e-health initiative, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, aims to offer an alternative to traditional in-person medical consultations through a digital platform.

Notably, it holds the distinction of being the world’s largest government-owned telemedicine platform. eSanjeevani comprises two core components:

  • The first vertical focuses on narrowing the digital healthcare gap between rural and urban areas by providing support to the Ayushman Bharat (AB) scheme.
  • The second vertical, known as eSanjeevani OPD, utilizes technology accessible via smartphones, tablets, and laptops, enabling individuals to receive medical consultations from the comfort of their homes.

eSanjeevani operates as a vital component of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission, with over 45,000 IDs generated through the eSanjeevani application to date.

Ministry of Ayush 

Ayurswasthya Yojana

The Ayurswasthya Yojana is a comprehensive initiative designed to facilitate the implementation of authentic classical Ayush interventions for the enhancement of community healthcare.

This scheme encompasses two essential components: AYUSH and Public Health (PHI), as well as the Centre of Excellence (CoE).

Under the CoE scheme, eligible individual organizations and institutes receive financial assistance to establish, upgrade their functions and facilities, and engage in research and development activities in the field of AYUSH. The maximum admissible financial support for an organization or institute under the CoE component is Rs. 10.00 crores for a maximum duration of three years.

The objectives of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) component within the AYURSWASTHYA Yojana include:

  • Supporting the establishment of advanced and specialized AYUSH medical health units within esteemed AYUSH and Allopathic institutions, both in the Government and Non-Government sectors.
  • Assisting creative and innovative proposals for enhancing the functions and facilities of renowned institutions, thereby strengthening the capabilities of AYUSH professionals in education technology, research, innovation, and other relevant fields essential for promoting AYUSH at both national and international levels.
  • Extending support to prestigious organizations with well-established infrastructure and buildings, fostering their transition into Centers of Excellence for AYUSH systems.

AYUSH represents an acronym encompassing Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy. These are the six distinct Indian systems of medicine widely practiced in India and several neighboring Asian countries.

The Ministry of Ayush, a ministry of the Government of India, is responsible for developing

education, research and propagation of traditional medicine systems in India.

Studentship Program for Ayurveda Research Ken (SPARK)

The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) has introduced the Studentship Program for Ayurveda Research Ken (SPARK) for Ayurveda (BAMS) students enrolled in recognized Ayurveda colleges.

Objectives:

  • Aim: The primary objective is to nurture students’ research capabilities and provide support and incentives for their research proposals.
  • Fellowship: The selected fellows will receive financial assistance of Rs. 50,000 as part of the fellowship.
  • Availability: Initially, there are 100 seats available per session, and additional program details can be accessed through the program’s official portal.

About Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS):

  • CCRAS operates as an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.
  • It serves as the apex authority in India responsible for formulating, coordinating, developing, and promoting research in the fields of Ayurveda and Sowa-Rigpa systems of medicine using scientific methodologies.

Mission of CCRAS:

  • The overarching mission is to contribute to AYUSHMAN Bharat, India’s healthcare initiative.
  • CCRAS aims to evolve into a dynamic, vibrant, and exemplary research organization.
  • The organization strives to incorporate modern scientific knowledge and technology to explore the scientific treasures of Ayurveda.
  • Ultimately, CCRAS endeavors to achieve global leadership in research within the field.

Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers 

Price capping of NLEM drugs

The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing pricing caps, has introduced 34 new essential medicines into the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under its pricing regulations.

While the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare periodically revises the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), the determination of price caps falls under the jurisdiction of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), an entity operating under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

The process for price determination involves:

  • Establishing the ceiling price by computing the average price to retailers of all generics and branded generics that hold a market share exceeding 1%. To this, a small retailer margin is added.

The NPPA, operating under the Department of Pharmaceuticals within the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, was established in 1997 in accordance with the Drugs (Prices Control) Order of 1995. Its primary mission is to set and revise prices for controlled bulk drugs while ensuring their accessibility to the public.

Ministry of Education

PM SHRI Schools (PM Schools for Rising India) 

The PM SHRI Schools (PM Schools for Rising India) initiative is set to revamp 14,500 schools spread across India’s various states and Union Territories, aligning them with the core principles of the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020.

These PM SHRI schools will constitute an upgrade of existing educational institutions, including those managed by the Central government, state governments, Union Territories, and local bodies. Essentially, a PM SHRI school can be an enhanced Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV), Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), or even a school operated by a state government or municipal corporation.

The PM SHRI scheme operates on an application-based approach, meaning that states must identify schools for improvement within the framework of the program. Additionally, in accordance with the criteria established by the central government, states and Union Territories wishing to participate in the scheme must commit to implementing the entire NEP.

The upgraded schools are envisioned to excel in terms of infrastructure, with provisions for laboratories, smart classrooms, libraries, sports facilities, art rooms, and more. They will also adopt green practices, including water conservation, waste recycling, energy-efficient infrastructure, and the integration of organic living principles into the curriculum. Furthermore, these schools will serve as mentors to neighboring educational institutions.

Academic Bank of Credit

The Government has introduced the Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) in accordance with the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020. The ABC serves as a digital repository responsible for storing the credits earned by students across various courses. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating multidisciplinary and comprehensive education, as well as enabling multiple entry and exit options within higher education.

Key Aspects of the Academic Bank of Credit (ABC):

  • Established by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • Under the ABC framework, students are granted the flexibility of multiple entry and exit points. This means that students can exit a degree or course, receive a corresponding certification, and later resume their studies from where they left off after a certain period.
  • ABC provides students with the versatility to transfer between educational institutions while pursuing a single degree or to discontinue a course.

Operational Mechanism:

  • ABC maintains a record of a student’s academic credits. It accepts credit course documents exclusively from higher education institutions, which are responsible for depositing credits into students’ accounts.

Benefits:

ABC offers several advantages, including:

  • Simplifying credit verification, accumulation, transfer, and redemption for students.
  • Promoting student mobility and enabling the seamless progression of students in their academic pursuits.
  • The Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) is a pivotal component of the evolving educational landscape, facilitating greater flexibility and accessibility within higher education.

Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) 

The centrally sponsored scheme known as ‘Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN)’ is focused on providing a hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools from the fiscal year 2021-22 through 2025-26.

Key Points:

  • The Ministry of Education is responsible for the implementation of this scheme.
  • The PM POSHAN Scheme not only caters to the provision of hot cooked meals to children in primary schools from classes I to VIII but also extends to children in pre-schools or Bal Vatika (before class I).
  • This scheme is carried out nationwide, encompassing all eligible children without any discrimination based on gender or social class.
  • The primary objectives of the PM POSHAN Scheme, previously known as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, are twofold. Firstly, it seeks to address two significant issues affecting a majority of children in India: hunger and access to education. It achieves this by enhancing the nutritional well-being of eligible children in Government and Government-aided schools. Secondly, it aims to encourage underprivileged children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to attend school more regularly and assists them in focusing on classroom activities.

‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme 2.0’ 

The Central government has given its approval for the continuation of the ‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme’ in the field of school education for the next five years, until March 31, 2026. This scheme has undergone a significant transformation with the addition of new components and initiatives, aligning with the recommendations outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020.

Key Components of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) 2.0:

  • To enhance the scheme’s direct reach, child-centric interventions will be provided directly to students through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode via an IT-based platform over time.
  • The DBT component includes entitlements under the Right to Education (RTE), such as textbooks, uniforms, and transport allowances.
  • In line with the NEP’s emphasis on promoting Indian languages, a new component has been introduced for the appointment of language teachers. This includes funding for salaries, training expenses, and the development of bilingual books and teaching-learning materials.
  • The initiative includes the NIPUN Bharat program, focusing on foundational literacy and numeracy.
  • As part of digital initiatives, there are provisions for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) labs, smart classrooms, and support for digital boards, virtual classrooms, and DTH channels.
  • The scheme provides support for out-of-school children aged 16 to 19, enabling them to complete their education through open schooling.
  • Additionally, there is an incentive provision of up to ₹25,000 for schools that have two students winning medals at the national level in the Khelo India school games.

About Samagra Shiksha:

  • Samagra Shiksha is an integrated school education scheme that covers pre-school to class XII, with the aim of ensuring inclusive and high-quality education at all levels.
  • It amalgamates three previous schemes: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and Teacher Education (TE).
  • The primary focus of the scheme revolves around improving the quality of school education, with particular attention given to two critical components: teachers and technology.
  • The scheme primarily supports states in the effective implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act of 2009.
  • Samagra Shiksha operates as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, with funding shared on a 60:40 basis between the Central government and most states.

NIPUN Bharat Programme

NIPUN, which stands for the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy, is a program initiated by the Ministry of Education and will be executed by the Department of School Education and Literacy.

Program Objectives:

  • The primary objective of NIPUN is to ensure that every child in the country achieves foundational literacy and numeracy skills by the end of Grade 3, with the target year being 2026-27.
  • NIPUN will cater to the educational needs of children in the age group of 3 to 9 years.

Implementation Structure:

The program will employ a five-tier implementation mechanism at the national, state, district, block, and school levels across all states and Union Territories. This framework will operate within the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha.

Focus Areas:

  • NIPUN places emphasis on various facets of a child’s development, encompassing physical and motor development, socio-emotional development, literacy and numeracy development, cognitive development, and life skills, aiming for holistic child development.
  • It envisions providing comprehensive support and encouragement to students, along with their schools, teachers, parents, and communities, to unlock each child’s true potential and contribute to the nation’s progress.

Key Components and Expected Outcomes of the NIPUN Bharat Mission:

  • Enhancing foundational skills will help retain children in classrooms, reducing dropout rates and improving the transition from primary to upper primary and secondary levels of education.
  • The program advocates activity-based learning and fosters a conducive learning environment, ultimately enhancing the quality of education.
  • NIPUN promotes innovative pedagogies such as toy-based and experiential learning in classroom instruction, making learning a joyful and engaging experience for children.
  • There will be a strong focus on intensive capacity building for teachers, empowering them to choose pedagogical approaches that align with the needs of their students.

PM’s Scheme for Mentoring Young Authors – YUVA 2.0 

The Ministry of Education’s Department of Higher Education has launched YUVA 2.0, which is the Prime Minister’s Scheme for Mentoring Young Authors. Here are the key highlights of this initiative:

Author Mentorship Program: YUVA 2.0 aims to provide training and mentorship to young and aspiring authors who are below the age of 30. The objective is to encourage a culture of reading, writing, and book appreciation throughout the country.

India@75 Project: YUVA 2.0 is a significant part of the India@75 Project, which is a broader initiative.

Theme: The theme for YUVA 2.0 revolves around ‘Democracy,’ encompassing institutions, events, people, and constitutional values, both from the past and future, to be explored in innovative and creative ways.

Importance:

  • Developing a New Generation of Writers: The program aims to nurture a talented pool of writers capable of producing content on a wide range of topics, promoting India’s rich heritage, culture, and knowledge systems.
  • Empowering Youth: It provides a platform for aspiring young authors to articulate themselves effectively and present a comprehensive perspective on Indian democratic values, both at the national and international levels.

Implementation: The National Book Trust, India, operating under the Ministry of Education, will be responsible for implementing YUVA 2.0.

The launch of YUVA 2.0 aligns with the National Education Policy of India 2020 (NEP 2020), which underscores the importance of empowering young minds and creating a conducive learning environment that equips young readers and learners for future leadership roles in a global context.

Ministry of Women and Child Development 

Poshan Vatikas or Nutri- gardens

Poshan Vatikas, also known as Nutri-gardens, are being established nationwide to provide convenient and cost-effective access to fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants, and herbs.

What is a Nutri-garden?

  • A Nutri-garden represents an advanced version of a kitchen garden where fruits and vegetables are cultivated both as a source of food and income.
  • Under the POSHAN Abhiyaan initiative, Poshan Vatikas or Nutri-gardens are being established to ensure the provision of the right kind of nutrition.
  • These gardens aim to offer local and affordable access to fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants, and herbs, especially for women and children, directly from a nutri-garden located at or near an Anganwadi Centre.
  • Poshan Vatikas can significantly contribute to enhancing dietary diversity by providing essential micronutrients through locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Benefits:

  • Nutri-gardens enhance dietary diversity by supplying vital micronutrients through locally cultivated fruits and vegetables.
  • They reduce reliance on external sources and promote self-reliance among communities for their nutritional security.

POSHAN Abhiyaan:

  • Launched in 2018, POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescents, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
  • Part of Mission Poshan 2.0, it addresses the challenges of malnutrition by strategically focusing on nutrition content and delivery. It also creates a convergent ecosystem to foster health, wellness, and immunity practices.
  • “Poshan Maah” is celebrated during the month of September 2022. During this period, activities such as setting up Nutri-gardens or retrofitting Poshan Vatikas with backyard poultry or fishery units are conducted at Anganwadi centers.

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Women and Child Development

.Mission Vatsalya Scheme 

The Mission Vatsalya Scheme serves as a strategic plan to address development and child protection priorities in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here are the key points about the scheme:

  • It places a strong emphasis on upholding the rights of children, advocating for their needs, and raising awareness. The central goal is to reinforce the juvenile justice care and protection system with the overarching principle of ensuring that no child is left behind.
  • The Mission draws its foundation from the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which together provide the essential framework for its implementation.
  • Funds allocated under the Mission Vatsalya Scheme are disbursed based on the specific requirements and requests made by individual states and union territories.
  • This scheme operates as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, carried out in collaboration with state governments and union territory administrations.
  • The funding partnership model follows a ratio of 60:40, with 60% contributed by the central government and 40% by the respective state or union territory with a legislative body.
  • For certain regions, such as the North-Eastern states and two Himalayan states (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), as well as the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the funding sharing ratio between the Centre and the state is set at 90:10. In Union Territories without a legislative body, the central government provides 100% of the funds.
  • The Mission Vatsalya scheme extends support to children through Non-Institutional Care under Private Aided Sponsorship. Interested sponsors, whether individuals, institutions, companies, banks, industrial units, trusts, etc., can step forward to provide assistance to children facing challenging circumstances.
  • District Magistrates play a vital role in encouraging individuals and public or private sector organizations to sponsor a child, a group of children, or an institution as part of this noble endeavor.

Ministry of Science and Technology

Vigyan Jyoti scheme 

The Department of Science & Technology has initiated a unique program called ‘Vigyan Jyoti’ to address the issue of underrepresentation of women in various fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in the country. Here are the key details of the program:

  • Introduction: ‘Vigyan Jyoti’ was introduced in the academic year 2019-20, starting at the school level. It aims to inspire and support meritorious girl students from Class 9 to 12 to pursue higher education and careers in STEM fields.
  • Comprehensive Approach: ‘Vigyan Jyoti’ is designed as a comprehensive program that provides guidance and support throughout a girl’s academic journey, starting from Class IX and continuing all the way up to the Ph.D. level. The objective is to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM areas that are traditionally underrepresented by women.
  • Implementation Partner: The Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), is the key implementation partner for Vigyan Jyoti.
  • Vigyan Jyoti Knowledge Centres: Currently, there are 100 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) functioning as ‘Vigyan Jyoti Knowledge Centres.’ These centers are strategically located in more than 600 districts across India. They aim to cater to girls from various educational institutions, including JNVs, Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs), government schools, and army schools in smaller cities and rural areas. This diverse approach ensures a broader representation of girls in STEM fields.

In summary, the ‘Vigyan Jyoti’ program is an inclusive initiative aimed at empowering and encouraging meritorious girls to excel in STEM disciplines by providing support and mentorship from the school level through to higher education and research opportunities.

Jigyasa 2.0 

The Ministry of Science and Technology recently organized Jigyasa 2.0 as part of the renewable fuel program. Here is some information about Jigyasa:

  • Jigyasa Program: Jigyasa is a student-scientist connect program initiated by CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) in collaboration with Kendriya Vidyalaya. Its primary goal is to foster a meaningful connection between school students and scientists, allowing students to expand their classroom learning through well-structured research laboratory-based experiences.
  • Enhancing Learning: Jigyasa aims to enrich the educational experience of school students by encouraging curiosity and nurturing a scientific mindset. It serves as a platform to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications.
  • Laboratory-Based Learning: One of the central components of the program is enabling students and teachers to visit CSIR laboratories. These visits provide valuable opportunities for hands-on learning and engagement in mini-science projects.

In essence, Jigyasa is an initiative that promotes scientific curiosity, enhances learning, and strengthens the bond between students and scientists by offering them access to real-world research environments and experiences.

National Geospatial Policy, 2022

The National Geospatial Policy 2022 aims to bolster the geospatial sector for national development and economic growth. Key highlights of the policy include:

  • Aim: The policy sets a 13-year roadmap to develop the geospatial data industry and establish a national framework for enhancing citizen services.
  • Themes: It identifies 14 Geospatial Data Themes to support commercial geospatial applications in sectors like disaster management and mining.
  • Technology Infrastructure: Plans to establish a Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure (GKI) and National Digital Twin by 2030 and 2035, respectively.
  • Institutional Infrastructure: Formation of the Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee (GDPDC) and a legal framework to liberalize the geospatial sector by 2025.
  • Significance: The policy opens government geospatial data to public access, eliminates prior approvals, promotes local relevance, supports startups, and contributes to India’s Blue Economy.
  • Applications in Agriculture: Geospatial data will drive agritech, precision farming, crop forecasting, government schemes like PM Fasal Bima Yojana, and increased landholding size.
  • Allied Sectors: Fisheries, dairy, and minor forest produce will benefit from targeted fishing, cattle management, and tribal product marketing.
  • Ridge-to-Valley Approach: Aims to manage rainwater using geospatial data for better water utilization.

The policy aims to transform the geospatial sector and facilitate its applications in diverse fields to support India’s development goals.

Other Government initiatives in this direction:

  • SWAMITVA Scheme (Survey of Villages and Mapping); 
  • Drone sector (The Drones Rules 2021); 
  • India opened its space sector to private entities and 5G technology; 
  • PM Gati Shakti Masterplan (Infrastructure development is powered by geospatial technology);
  • Digital Ocean platform (for the management of our oceans)

Ministry of Civil Aviation

DigiYatra 

The government has introduced hassle-free, paperless entry at select airports using facial recognition software called ‘DigiYatra.’ This initiative aims to streamline air travel. Key points include:

  • DigiYatra: Travellers will pass through airport checkpoints via paperless and contactless processing, using facial recognition linked to their boarding pass.
  • Automatic Processing: The facial recognition system will automatically process passenger entry at all checkpoints, including airport entry, security checks, and boarding.
  • Benefits: Facial recognition technology enhances convenience and reduces airport congestion.
  • Implementation: DigiYatra is executed by the DigiYatra Foundation, a joint venture with the Airports Authority of India holding a 26% stake, and five major airports equally owning the remaining 74% of shares.

Ministry of External Affairs

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is observed annually on January 9th to recognize the Overseas Indian community’s contributions to India’s development.
  • January 9th was chosen because it marks Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa in 1915.
  • PBD’s objective is to strengthen ties between the overseas Indian community and the Indian government while reestablishing their connection to their Indian roots.
  • PBD conventions have been held every year since 2003, with the first one on January 9, 2003.
  • Since 2015, PBD Conventions are organized once every two years.
  • The 17th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) took place on January 9, 2023.
  • During the Convention, outstanding overseas Indians receive the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PSBA) for their contributions in India and abroad.
  • The PSBA is conferred by the President of India during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention to NRIs, PIOs, or organizations led by them.
  • A jury-cum-awards committee, chaired by the Vice President and vice-chaired by the External Affairs Minister, selects the awardees from nominations.

Ministry of Rural Development

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme 

Introduced in 2005 as a social initiative guaranteeing the “right to work,” the MGNREGA scheme aims to uplift the living standards of rural India by legally mandating at least 100 days of wage employment. Here are its key objectives:

  • Generate a minimum of 100 days of paid rural employment for each unskilled labor volunteer.
  • Actively promote social inclusion by strengthening the livelihoods of rural poor communities.
  • Create lasting assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads, and canals.
  • Mitigate urban migration from rural regions.
  • Develop rural infrastructure by harnessing untapped rural labor.

To be eligible for MGNREGA benefits, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Indian citizenship is a prerequisite to apply for MGNREGA benefits.
  • Applicants must have reached 18 years of age at the time of application.
  • Participation in a local household is mandatory, meaning applications must be made through the local Gram Panchayat.
  • Applicants should volunteer for unskilled labor.
  • Priority is given to women, ensuring that at least one-third of beneficiaries are women who have registered and requested employment.

The scheme’s implementation includes the following provisions:

  • Employment should be provided within 15 days of submitting an application or requesting work.
  • The right to receive unemployment allowance arises if employment is not provided within 15 days of application or work request.
  • Social auditing of MGNREGA projects is obligatory, enhancing accountability and transparency.
  • The Gram Sabha serves as the primary platform for wage seekers to voice their concerns and make demands.
  • The approval and prioritization of work projects under MGNREGA are conducted by the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat.

Project UNNATI 

  • This is a skill development initiative aimed at enhancing the economic well-being of MGNREGA beneficiaries, facilitating their shift from part-time to full-time employment.
  • Its objective is to offer training to a single adult member within a household (aged 18-45) who has accomplished 100 days of work under MGNREGA in the previous fiscal year.
  • Trainees are provided with a stipend, and all related expenses are covered entirely by the Central Government.

National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) App 

In order to enhance transparency in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (Mahatma Gandhi NREGS) across various States and Union Territories, a new provision was introduced on May 21, 2021. This provision involves the use of the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) App, which captures the attendance of workers at the worksite. It does so by taking geo-tagged and time-stamped photographs of the workers throughout the day, particularly when muster rolls are issued for groups of 20 or more workers.

This innovative approach not only increases the level of citizen oversight within the program but also has the potential to expedite payment processing. The NMMS App, by requiring two time-stamped and geotagged photographs of workers each day, not only promotes transparency but also empowers citizens to closely monitor the scheme’s implementation.

JALDOOT App 

The Ministry of Rural Development has created this application to assist Gram Rojgar Sahayak in assessing groundwater levels in selected wells twice a year within specific villages. This data will be instrumental in formulating strategies for groundwater augmentation as part of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

The NSAP, operating under the Ministry of Rural Development as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, was instituted on August 15, 1995. This initiative represents a significant stride towards realizing the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) outlined in Article 41 of the Constitution. Article 41 directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness, disablement, and other instances of undeserved deprivation within the constraints of its economic capacity and development.

The primary objective of the NSAP is to extend financial aid to elderly individuals, widows, and individuals with disabilities through social pension schemes. The program’s current reach encompasses more than three crore individuals living below the poverty line (BPL), including approximately 80 lakh widows, 10 lakh disabled individuals, and 2.2 crore elderly citizens.

As of now, the NSAP comprises five distinct schemes, which are as follows:

  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS).
  • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS).
  • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS).
  • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS).
  • Annapurna. 

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana –Gramin (PMAY-G): 

To fulfill the objective of providing “Housing for All” in rural regions, the Ministry of Rural Development initiated the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) on April 1, 2016. The primary aim of this program is to offer assistance for the construction of 2.95 crore permanent houses equipped with essential amenities.

Initially slated for completion by 2022, the timeline for PMAY-G has been extended to March 2024.

The annual targets for PMAY-G are established based on eligible beneficiaries’ availability, the preceding year’s achievements, consultations with States/UTs during the Annual Action Plan, and proposals from the State/UT governments.

Cost Sharing: The unit assistance cost under this scheme is shared between the Central and State Governments, with a ratio of 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for the North Eastern and Himalayan States.

Beneficiary Selection: Beneficiaries are selected based on housing deprivation parameters outlined in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011, subject to a 13-point exclusion criteria, followed by verification by the Gram Sabha.

PMAY-G includes a grievance redressal mechanism at various administrative levels, including Gram Panchayat, Block, District, and the State. Each level designates a State Government official to ensure satisfactory grievance resolution. Additionally, the public can lodge complaints on the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) portal.

Other Features:

  • Beneficiaries are entitled to 90 days of unskilled labor from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), facilitated through a server linkage between PMAY and MGNREGA.
  • To address the need for building materials, brick manufacturing using cement-stabilized earth or fly ash is undertaken under MGNREGA.
  • Beneficiaries have the option to avail a loan of up to Rs. 70,000 for house construction.
  • The unit size is to be increased from the current 20 sq.m to up to 25 sq.m, including a dedicated area for hygienic cooking.

District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committees (DISHAs)

District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committees (DISHAs) have been established to enhance the coordination among elected representatives at the levels of Parliament, State Legislatures, and Local Governments (comprising Panchayati Raj Institutions and Municipal Bodies). The primary aim is to facilitate efficient and time-bound development.

This government-wide initiative is geared towards promoting participatory governance and deliberative democracy. DISHA achieves this objective by organizing quarterly reviews of all developmental activities within the district.

The DISHA committee is led by the senior-most Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) representing the district, who is nominated by the Ministry of Rural Development. The committee convenes quarterly meetings, chaired by the MP, which are attended by all elected representatives and district officials.

DISHA committees possess the authority to request information and demand effective follow-up on issues raised during their deliberations. The District Collector serves as the Member Secretary, responsible for coordinating the meetings and ensuring timely and efficient follow-up actions.

Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

Market Intervention Scheme (MIS)

The government administers the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for the acquisition of agricultural and horticultural commodities that are highly perishable and not covered by the Price Support Scheme (PSS).

The primary goal of this intervention is to safeguard the interests of growers of such commodities. It prevents them from being compelled to sell their produce at distressingly low prices, particularly during periods of abundant harvest when market prices tend to plummet below economically sustainable levels and production costs. To trigger MIS, there must be either a minimum of a 10 percent increase in production or a 10 percent decrease in prevailing market prices compared to the previous normal year.

The scheme’s execution depends on a request from a State/UT government willing to shoulder 50 percent of any potential losses (25 percent for North-Eastern States) incurred during its implementation.

In line with MIS guidelines, a predetermined quantity is procured at a fixed Market Intervention Price (MIP) by agencies designated by the State Government. This procurement period is either set for a specific duration or until market prices stabilize above the MIP, whichever occurs first.

Under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS), the Central Government releases its share of any losses incurred during MIS implementation to the State procuring agencies based on specific proposals submitted by the State Governments.

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways 

PM GatiShakti — National Master Plan 

Five key social sector departments (Health, Women and Child Development, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Education, Housing and Urban Affairs) have joined the PM Gati Shakti Scheme to reduce India’s logistical costs.

National Industrial Corridor Development Programme (NICDP) aims to develop new industrial cities (as “smart Cities”) and industrial corridors under the vision of PM Gati Shakti.

The implementing agency for the scheme is DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

How Gati Shakti will enhance the functioning of these social sector departments:

  • Improved project planning.
  • Enhanced inter-departmental coordination, allowing departments to share GIS data.
  • Improved project monitoring.
  • Enhanced project impact assessment.

About PM Gati Shakti:

  • Launched in 2020, it’s a digital platform connecting 16 ministries, including Roads and Highways, Railways, Shipping, Petroleum and Gas, Power, Telecom, Shipping, and Aviation.
  • Aims to ensure comprehensive planning and execution of infrastructure projects.
  • Goals include boosting multimodal connectivity and reducing logistics costs.
  • Covers infrastructure projects worth over Rs 500 crore from various Union and State Government Ministries, including initiatives like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, and UDAN.
  • Also encompasses Economic Zones (e.g., textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, defence corridors) to improve connectivity and competitiveness.
  • Leverages technology extensively, including spatial planning tools with ISRO imagery from BiSAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics).

Services provided by PM Gati Shakti:

  • Access to 200 layers of geospatial data, including information on existing infrastructure (e.g., roads, highways, railways, toll plazas) and geographic features (e.g., forests, rivers, district boundaries) to aid in planning and obtaining clearances.
  • Allows various government departments to track project progress in real-time from a centralized platform, particularly for projects with multi-sectoral and multi-regional impacts.

Ministry of Textiles 

National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM) 

In order to establish the nation as a global leader in Technical Textiles, the National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM) has received approval for implementation over a four-year period spanning from FY 2020-21 to 2023-24. This mission comprises four key components:

Component -I (Research, Innovation and Development):

  • Fundamental research activities will adopt a collaborative approach, utilizing pooled resources. These activities will be carried out across various esteemed institutions, including the Centre for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), and other reputable scientific, industrial, and academic laboratories.
  • Application-based research will be conducted at recognized institutions such as CSIR, IIT, Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO) of Indian Railways, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO), National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL), Indian Road Research Institute (IRRI), and other approved laboratories as designated by the Mission Steering Group.

Component –II (Promotion and Market Development):

  • This aspect of the mission is geared towards augmenting the average growth rate of technical textiles. It will be achieved through market development, market promotion, fostering international technical collaborations, encouraging investment, and supporting the ‘Make in India’ initiatives.

Component – III (Export Promotion):

  • The establishment of an Export Promotion Council for Technical Textiles is planned to facilitate effective coordination and promotion activities within this sector.

Component- IV (Education, Training, Skill Development):

  • The mission will play a pivotal role in promoting technical education, particularly at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles. This will encompass a wide range of application areas, including engineering, medical, agriculture, aquaculture, and dairy segments.

About Technical Textiles:

  • Technical Textiles represent a burgeoning sector in India, underpinned by advanced technology.
  • These textiles are highly functional fabrics with diverse applications across various industries, including automobiles, civil engineering and construction, agriculture, healthcare, industrial safety, and personal protection.
  • Technical textiles are used for a broad spectrum of applications, spanning from agriculture, roads, and railway tracks to sportswear, healthcare, and even space applications, with examples ranging from bulletproof jackets to fireproof gear and high-altitude combat wear.
  • The primary focus in the manufacture of technical textiles lies in technical performance and functional properties, rather than aesthetic characteristics.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 

Scholarship for Higher Education for Young Achievers Scheme (SHREYAS) 

This initiative falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) and operates as a central sector scheme. Its primary objective is to offer financial support to students hailing from Scheduled Castes (SC) and other communities, enabling them to pursue their educational aspirations.

The scheme is active from the year 2021-22 and is set to continue until 2025-26. Its key components include:

  • Provision of top-tier education opportunities for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC).
  • Facilitation of the National Overseas Scholarship program (NOS) specifically designed to benefit SC students.
  • Implementation of the National Fellowship for SCs (NFSC), aimed at fostering advanced studies.
  • Offering free coaching services to students from both the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) 

The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment has introduced the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED), focusing on the welfare of the De-notified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, which are among the most marginalized and socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

This scheme comprises four key components:

  • Offering high-quality coaching for candidates from DNT/NT/SNT backgrounds to prepare them for competitive examinations.
  • Providing health insurance coverage to the DNT/NT/SNT Communities.
  • Facilitating livelihood initiatives at the community level to develop and strengthen small clusters of institutions within the DNT/NT/SNT Communities.
  • Extending financial assistance for housing construction to members of the DNT/NT/SNT Communities.
  • A notable feature of this initiative is the development of an online portal by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment. This portal serves multiple purposes, including seamless registration, acting as a data repository for these communities, and being highly user-friendly. It can be easily accessed via mobile phones through its dedicated mobile application. Moreover, it offers real-time application status updates to applicants and ensures direct payment of benefits to the beneficiaries’ accounts.

National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem” (NAMASTE) 

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MoSJE) has introduced the “National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem” (NAMASTE) scheme, aimed at addressing the cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. This initiative, in effect from 2022 to 2026, has the following objectives:

  • To achieve outcomes such as eliminating fatalities in sanitation work in India, ensuring sanitation workers do not come into direct contact with human waste, and providing alternative livelihood opportunities for all sewer and septic tank sanitation workers.
  • NAMASTE replaces the previous “Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers.”
  • Skill development and training for Safai Mitras are being conducted with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s support through the National Safai Karamchari Finance Development Corporation.

The scheme’s expansion to cover all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across the country is currently underway. The key features to be implemented in all ULBs include:

  • Identification: NAMASTE involves the identification of Sewer/Septic Tank Workers (SSWs).
  • Occupational training and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to SSWs.
  • Providing safety devices to Sanitation Response Units (SRUs).
  • Extending the benefits of the Health Insurance Scheme to identified SSWs and their families under the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).
  • Livelihood assistance: The Action Plan aims to encourage mechanization and enterprise development by offering financial support and subsidies (capital + interest) to sanitation workers for procuring sanitation-related equipment.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has also developed the “National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem” (NAMASTE) with a specific focus on preventing deaths among Sewer and Septic Tank Workers (SSWs) and promoting the mechanization of cleaning operations. This vision aims to reduce hazardous cleaning practices and ensure the safety of sanitation workers.

Note: There is another entity called the NAMASTE Portal under the Ministry of Ayush, which standardizes various terms and technologies used in alternative medicines.

Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) 

Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme 

The Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme, which is centrally sponsored, has successfully completed two years of implementation. This initiative was inaugurated on June 29, 2020, by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Key Details of the PMFME Scheme:

  • Objective: The scheme’s primary goal is to empower unorganized micro-enterprises using the ‘One District One Product’ approach. States are tasked with identifying food products, including perishable agricultural produce and cereal-based items.
  • Duration: The PMFME Scheme is in effect from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • Capacity Building: Under the Capacity Building component of the scheme, the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Kundli (NIFTEM-K), and the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Thanjavur (NIFTEM-T), provide training and research support to food processing enterprises, groups, and clusters. This is done in collaboration with State Level Technical Institutions and private training partners.
  • Financial Support: The PMFME Scheme also includes financial support of Rs. 40,000 for working capital and the purchase of small tools for each member of the Self Help Group (SHG) involved in food processing activities.
  • Marketing and Branding: The scheme has entered into Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with NAFED and TRIFED for marketing and branding activities. These collaborations support and guide beneficiaries throughout the entire value chain.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs 

Project NIPUN (National Initiative for Promoting Upskilling of Nirman workers) 

The NIPUN project, short for the National Initiative for Promoting Upskilling of Nirman workers, is an initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA). This initiative operates under the flagship scheme of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM). Its primary objective is to provide training to over 1 lakh construction workers, offering fresh skilling and upskilling programs to enhance their skills and open up employment opportunities, including opportunities in foreign countries.

DAY-NULM, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in operation since 2014-15, aims to alleviate poverty and vulnerability among urban poor households in India. It achieves this by enabling them to access self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities, leading to a sustainable improvement in their livelihoods.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), serving as the nodal agency under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India, will take on the role of Implementation Partner for the NIPUN project.

Furthermore, Project NIPUN will actively facilitate and support coordination efforts with related line ministries to ensure comprehensive and effective implementation.

Ministry of Commerce & Industry 

MAARG portal 

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), operating under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has initiated a call for startup applications for enrollment on the MAARG portal, which stands for Mentorship, Advisory, Assistance, Resilience, and Growth. This portal is a comprehensive platform designed to facilitate mentorship for startups spanning diverse sectors, stages, functions, geographic locations, and backgrounds.

The primary objectives of the MAARG portal are as follows:

  • To offer sector-specific guidance, continuous support, and assistance to startups throughout their journey.
  • To create a formalized and organized platform that streamlines the process of connecting mentors with their respective mentees.
  • To facilitate efficient and expert mentorship for startups and establish a result-oriented mechanism for monitoring mentor-mentee interactions.
  • Key features of the portal encompass tailor-made mentorship programs for ecosystem enablers, a user-friendly mobile interface, recognition for mentors who contribute significantly, and options for video and audio calls, among others.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs 

Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna (PMAAGY)

The government has made revisions to the previous scheme known as ‘Special Central Assistance to Tribal SubScheme (SCA to TSS)’ and rebranded it as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna (PMAAGY).’ This revised scheme is set to be implemented from 2021-22 to 2025-26. Its primary objective is to address gaps and provide essential infrastructure in villages that have a significant tribal population. The implementation of this scheme involves the convergence of funds available under various Central Scheduled Tribe Component schemes.

The scheme aims to encompass 36,428 villages with a minimum of 50% Scheduled Tribe (ST) population and at least 500 ST individuals across different States and Union Territories with notified STs during the specified period.

The main focus of this scheme is to achieve integrated socio-economic development in selected villages through a convergence approach. It includes the following components:

  • Development of Village Development Plans based on the needs, potential, and aspirations of the communities.
  • Maximizing the utilization of individual and family benefit schemes offered by the Central and State Governments.
  • Enhancing infrastructure in critical sectors such as health, education, connectivity, and livelihood opportunities.
  • The scheme aims to address gaps predominantly in eight sectors of development, including road connectivity (both internal and inter-village/block), telecom connectivity (mobile/internet), schools, Anganwadi Centers, health sub-centers, drinking water facilities, drainage, and solid waste management.

For approved activities under PMAAGY, a budget of ₹20.38 lakh per village has been allocated as ‘Gap-filling’ funding, which includes administrative expenses.

Furthermore, States and Union Territories are encouraged to converge their resources, such as Central/State Scheduled Tribe Component (STC) funds and other financial resources at their disposal, to bridge the gaps in the villages identified under the PMAAGY scheme.

Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS) 

The Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS) program operates as a central sector scheme, with the primary objective of delivering high-quality education to students belonging to Scheduled Tribes (ST) in remote areas. This initiative covers students from the 6th to 12th grades, aiming to provide them with equal educational opportunities and bring them on par with the general population.

Key Points of the EMRS Scheme:

  • The government’s directive involves establishing one EMRS in every block that has more than 50% ST population and a minimum of 20,000 tribal residents (based on the 2011 census), contingent upon the availability of suitable land provided by the State Government.
  • EMRSs are designed to offer excellent quality education to tribal students, free of charge, within their own localities.
  • Under the EMRS scheme, funds are disbursed by the Ministry to an autonomous society called the National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS), which manages the implementation of the scheme. NESTS, in turn, allocates funds to State Societies and Construction Agencies according to their respective requirements.
  • Until the year 2019-20, funds for this scheme, including Rajasthan, were released to states under Grants under Article 275 (1) of the constitution as one of the components. Starting from the year 2020-21, a separate allocation has been designated for the EMRS scheme.

Ministry of Communications

BharatNet 

The BharatNet Project, initially launched in 2011 under the name National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), was later rebranded as Bharat-Net in 2015.

This initiative aims to provide connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) across the country by utilizing optical fiber technology. It is a flagship mission administered by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL) and has the primary objective of enabling the delivery of various services such as e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, internet access, and more to rural areas in India.

Implementation of the BharatNet Project involves a collaborative effort between the central and state governments. States contribute by providing free Rights of Way for the establishment of the Optical Fiber Network.

The funding for this project is derived from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), established to enhance telecom services in rural and remote regions of the country, making it accessible to a wider population.

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas 

Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) 

The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative is focused on establishing Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production facilities and making CBG available in the market for use as automotive fuel. To achieve this goal, the initiative invites Expression of Interest from potential entrepreneurs.

Launched in October 2018, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas spearheaded this initiative in collaboration with Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) such as Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Under the SATAT initiative, the Government of India aims to establish 5,000 CBG plants by 2023-24, with a production target of 15 million metric tons (MMT).

Ministry of Minority Affairs

Seekho aur Kamao (Learn and Earn) scheme 

The “Seekho Aur Kamao” program is a skill development initiative targeting youth aged 14 to 35 years. Its primary objective is to provide employment and employment opportunities, with a particular focus on enhancing the employability of existing workers and school dropouts.

Key Features of the Scheme:

  • The scheme commits to ensuring a placement rate of 75%, with at least 50% of these placements occurring in the organized sector.
  • According to the scheme’s guidelines, implementing organizations are tasked with establishing connections with placement services. For candidates interested in pursuing self-employment after completing their training, the organization is responsible for facilitating access to microfinance loans through financial institutions, the National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC), banks, and similar avenues.
  • The scheme also provides post-placement support in the form of a monthly stipend of Rs. 2,000 for two months to trainees who secure placements, serving as placement assistance.

Other Initiatives by the Ministry of Minority Affairs:

  • Naya Savera Scheme: Offers free coaching to minority students to prepare for various competitive exams.
  • Padho Pardesh Scheme: Provides interest subsidies on educational loans for overseas higher studies.
  • Nai Udaan Scheme: Supports students who have cleared Prelims of UPSC, SPSC, or other exams.
  • Nai Roshni Scheme: Focuses on leadership development for women from minority communities.
  • USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development): Aims to enhance traditional art and craft skills.
  • Nai Manzil Scheme: Focuses on providing formal school education and skilling for school dropouts.
  • Hamari Dharohar: Aims to preserve the rich heritage of minority communities in India.

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways 

Bharat (BH) Series Registration Mark 

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has introduced a new policy allowing the conversion of regular vehicle registrations into Bharat Series (BH) numbers, as part of its efforts to expand the BH series system. Previously, only newly registered vehicles had the option to choose the BH series designation.

What is the BH Number Plate?

  • In August 2021, the Government of India introduced the BH Number Plate, also known as the Bharat Series Registration Number, for non-transport vehicles.
  • The BH Series number plate eliminates the requirement to transfer vehicle registration when relocating from one state to another.

Ministry of Panchayati Raj 

e-GramSwaraj Portal 

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj’s e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project, encompassing eGramSwaraj and AuditOnline, has been honored with the GOLD AWARD in the category of “Excellence in Government Process Reengineering for Digital Transformation” at the National Awards for e-Governance.

Here are the key highlights of the project:

  • Empowering Rural India: The project envisions enhancing digitalization in Panchayats to empower rural India. It has introduced the e-Gram SWARAJ portal, a unified tool developed by the Ministry to facilitate effective monitoring and evaluation of activities conducted in Gram Panchayats.
  • Integrated Functions: e-Gram SWARAJ streamlines the planning, accounting, and monitoring functions of Gram Panchayats. When combined with the Area Profiler application, Local Government Directory (LGD), and the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), it simplifies the reporting and tracking of Gram Panchayat activities.
  • Comprehensive Information: The portal offers a one-stop solution for capturing Panchayat information, including the complete profile of the Panchayat, financial details, asset information, activities carried out through the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP), and data from other Ministries/Departments such as Census 2011, SECC data, and Mission Antyodaya survey reports.

About AuditOnline:

  • AuditOnline is an application developed as a component of the Panchayat Enterprise Suite (PES) within the e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP), initiated by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR).
  • This application facilitates financial audits at all three levels of Panchayats, including District, Block, and Village Panchayats, as well as Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Line departments, conducted by auditors.

Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has granted approval for the extension of the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) until the fiscal year 2025-2026. This scheme is dedicated to enhancing the governance capabilities of panchayati raj institutions.

Key Points about the Approved RGSA Scheme:

  • The extended RGSA scheme is set to benefit more than 2.78 lakh rural local bodies. Its primary objective is to strengthen governance capabilities, enabling these bodies to effectively work toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The focus is on maximizing the utilization of available resources.
  • The scheme’s mission is to promote the development of villages in various dimensions, including poverty eradication and improved livelihoods, the establishment of healthy and child-friendly villages, ensuring water sufficiency, promoting cleanliness and environmental sustainability, creating self-sufficient infrastructure, ensuring social security, enhancing governance standards, and fostering gender-inclusive development.
  • The scheme does not entail the creation of permanent posts. Instead, it allows for the provision of need-based contractual human resources to oversee the scheme’s implementation and offer technical support to States/UTs.
  • This scheme will encompass all States and Union Territories across the country. It will also extend its reach to institutions of rural local government in areas not covered under Part IX of the Constitution, where Panchayats do not exist.

Ministry of Jal Shakti 

Jal Jeevan Mission 

The Jal Jeevan Mission aims to ensure that every rural household in India has access to safe and sufficient drinking water via individual household tap connections by the year 2024.

Key Aspects of the Program:

  • The mission includes essential measures for source sustainability, making practices like recharge and reuse through greywater management, water conservation, and rainwater harvesting mandatory.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission adopts a community-centric approach to water management and places significant emphasis on Information, Education, and Communication as a vital component of the initiative.
  • The mission envisions the creation of a public movement for water, emphasizing that water should be a collective priority for all.

Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources (GOBAR)-Dhan 

The Government of India introduced the Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources (GOBAR)-Dhan initiative in April 2018 as part of the biodegradable waste management component within the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin.

Key Objectives of GOBAR-Dhan:

  • The scheme aims to have a positive impact on village cleanliness while concurrently harnessing the potential to generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste.
  • GOBAR-Dhan primarily focuses on three key areas: maintaining the cleanliness of villages, increasing the income of rural households, and producing energy and organic fertilizer from cattle waste.A total of 583 biogas plants have been established as part of this initiative. Out of these, 507 have been installed under the Ministry of Jal Shakti’s GOBARDhan scheme, 40 plants have been set up through the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and the remaining 36 are part of the National Bioenergy plan under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2022 

The objective is to evaluate the performance of States and Districts based on specific quantitative and qualitative criteria within the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase-II. Additionally, it encourages active involvement of rural communities in enhancing their sanitation status.

Key Highlights of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase-II:

  • Focuses on sustaining the accomplishments achieved in Phase I and ensuring adequate provisions for Solid/Liquid & Plastic Waste Management (SLWM) in rural areas of India.
  • Phase II is being executed in a mission mode, covering the period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • The funding arrangement entails a sharing pattern between the Central and State governments, with a ratio of 90:10 for North-Eastern States, Himalayan States, and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir; 60:40 for other States; and full funding (100%) for other Union Territories.
  • The implementation of SBM is divided between two ministries: the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (M/o HUA) for urban areas and the Ministry of Jal Shakti for rural areas.

Additional Initiatives:

  • Swachhta Hi Sewa (SHS) 2022: States and Union Territories conducting and reporting the highest number of activities related to cleanliness, public participation, waste management, and awareness campaigns were recognized as winners.
  • Start-up Grand Challenge: A competition aimed at identifying innovative technologies that could address solid and liquid waste management challenges in rural areas, with a focus on sustainability, affordability, scalability, and responsiveness.
  • Sujlam 1.0 & 2.0: These were 100-day campaigns designed to manage greywater through techniques like soak pits, leach pits, and magic pits to minimize water stagnation and control its discharge into village ponds. States and Union Territories reported the number of household and community soak pits constructed during these campaigns on the national portal.

Ministry of Home Affairs 

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System 

Haryana Police achieved the top position among all major state police forces in the successful implementation of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS). This recognition was conferred during the Annual Conference on Good Practices in CCTNS/Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) organized by the National Crime Records Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which aimed to acknowledge outstanding achievements in the deployment of CCTNS and ICJS projects.

Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) 

The Village Vitalization Project (VVP) was introduced as part of the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

Key Highlights of VVP:

  • VVP’s primary objective is to improve the infrastructure in villages located along India’s border with China, particularly in states such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Under the VVP initiative, various activities will be undertaken, including the construction of essential infrastructure such as housing and tourist centers, enhancing road connectivity, facilitating decentralized renewable energy solutions, enabling access to Doordarshan and educational channels, and providing support for livelihood generation in these border areas.

Border Area Development Programme (BADP) 

The Government of India is executing the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in collaboration with State Governments and Union Territory Administrations. This program is focused on settlements situated within a 0-10 kilometers radius from the initial habitation at the international border. It operates in 460 border blocks spread across 117 border districts in 16 states and 2 union territories, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir (UT), and Ladakh (UT).

Under the BADP, the States and Union Territories devise and implement annual action plans. These plans encompass various developmental projects related to village infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, healthcare, education, agriculture, sports, and water supply and sanitation. Approval for these projects is granted in accordance with the prevailing BADP guidelines.

Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports 

The scheme of National Centre of Sports Science and Research (NCSSR)

The National Centre for Sports Science and Research (NCSSR) scheme, overseen by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, is designed to promote advanced research, education, and innovation in the field of elite athlete performance.

Key Points about the NCSSR Scheme:

  • The scheme is executed in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), an autonomous body under the Ministry, and selected universities, institutes, and medical colleges across the country.
  • One of the primary objectives of the scheme is to provide medical care, injury management, and rehabilitation services for athletes at the SAI National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) and the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
  • The program takes a comprehensive approach that addresses both on-field and off-field injury prevention and management for athletes.
  • SAI partners with accredited hospitals to manage athletes’ injuries. Additionally, all NCOE athletes under SAI’s purview receive medical insurance coverage, allowing them to access medical facilities at hospitals of their choice, based on the hospital’s expertise.

Other Initiatives to Promote Sports in India:

  • Fit India Movement (2019): This movement encourages people to lead more physically active lives and adopt healthier behaviors.
  • Khelo India 2020 Program: This program focuses on training athletes and coaches to enhance their performance on the global stage, including the Olympics.
  • Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS): The aim of this initiative is to identify, develop, and prepare potential medal contenders for the Olympics and Paralympics.
  • National Sports Development Fund (NSDF): This fund provides athletes with opportunities to train under renowned international coaches and receive technical and scientific support.
  • Mission Olympics 2024: NITI Aayog has devised a short- and medium-term action plan to assist India in achieving its goal of winning 50 medals in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Ministry of Finance 

Old Pension Scheme (OPS)

The pension scheme, which guaranteed lifelong income after retirement, was discontinued in 2004. Typically, the insured amount equaled 50% of the individual’s most recently drawn salary, with the government bearing the expenditure on the pension.

Introduction of the National Pension Scheme (NPS):

  • The National Pension Scheme (NPS) is a voluntary, long-term retirement investment plan overseen by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), a body under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
  • All assets under NPS are registered under the National Pension System Trust (NPST), established by PFRDA.

National Pension System (NPS) is a pension cum investment scheme initiated by the Government of India to provide financial security during old age to Indian citizens. It offers an attractive long-term savings option, allowing individuals to effectively plan for retirement by investing in a regulated, market-based fund.

  • Initially launched in January 2004 for government employees, the scheme led to the discontinuation of defined benefit pensions/OPS for employees joining after April 1, 2004.
  • NPS is open for enrollment to any individual citizen of India, including both residents and non-residents, falling within the age group of 18-70 years at the time of submitting their NPS application.

Individuals are not permitted to open multiple NPS accounts.

Nirbhaya fund

In 2013, the Central government introduced the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ to address women’s distress, enhance infrastructure and resources for women, and create safer environments for them.

  • This fund, amounting to a non-lapsable corpus of Rs 1000 crores, was established by the Centre and is utilized by states to ensure women’s safety.
  • The Department of Economic Affairs, operating under the Ministry of Finance, serves as the nodal agency for fund administration.
  • The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry serves as the nodal agency for fund expenditure.
  • Under the Nirbhaya Fund, the WCD Ministry is responsible for implementing schemes such as One Stop Centre, Universalisation of Women Helpline, and Mahila Police Volunteer.
  • Meanwhile, the Home Ministry oversees schemes like Emergency Response Support System and Central Victim Compensation Fund under this fund.

Public Financial Management System (PFMS)

The Public Financial Management System (PFMS) is an online web-based software application that has been developed and put into operation by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) under the Department of Expenditure within the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

The initiation of PFMS dates back to 2009, with the primary goal of monitoring the disbursement of funds allocated to various Plan schemes of the Government of India, as well as providing real-time expenditure reporting at all stages of program implementation. Over time, its scope has expanded to encompass direct payments made to beneficiaries under a wide range of schemes.

Atal Pension Yojana (APY) scheme

Starting from October 1, 2022, individuals who pay income tax will no longer be eligible to participate in the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) scheme, following the guidelines set forth by the Finance Ministry.

About APY:

  • Launched in 2015, the APY scheme was designed to establish a comprehensive social security system for all Indians, with a particular focus on economically disadvantaged individuals and workers in the unorganized sector. The program boasts more than 2 crore subscribers.
  • Eligibility for the APY scheme is open to individuals holding a bank account within the age group of 18 to 40 years. Subscription to APY can be completed through a bank branch or post office, using either online or offline methods.
  • Under this scheme, contributions can be made on a monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly basis, with the option to set up automatic debit from a savings bank account.
  • The benefits of APY include a guaranteed minimum monthly pension ranging from Rs 1000 to 5000 per month, starting at the age of 60. In case of the subscriber’s demise, the spouse will continue to receive a lifelong pension.
  • The government provides a co-contribution, which amounts to 50% of the subscriber’s contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower. This benefit is available to eligible subscribers who joined the scheme between June 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016, provided they are not beneficiaries of any other social security scheme and are not income tax payers.
  • The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Finance, serves as the nodal agency overseeing the APY scheme. It’s important to note that individuals are not permitted to hold multiple APY accounts.

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

E-Sports

In accordance with the authority vested in them by clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution, the President of India has made amendments to the regulations governing Esports. Additionally, the President has directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Sports to incorporate “e-Sports as part of multi-sports events.”

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will serve as the central agency responsible for matters related to online gaming, while the Ministry of Sports will take charge of integrating esports into educational curricula.

E-Sports, in essence, transforms online gaming into a spectator sport. It provides an experience akin to observing a professional sporting event, but instead of physical competitions, spectators witness video gamers competing against one another.

Aadhaar

  • Recent Changes in Aadhaar Rules: Aadhaar holders can now update their supporting documents every 10 years from the date of enrolment.
  • Aadhaar Act of 2016: The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 permits the use of Aadhaar numbers for establishing individual identity.
  • Aadhaar Overview: Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number, the world’s largest database, voluntarily obtainable by Indian citizens and resident foreign nationals residing in India for more than 182 days within the preceding 12 months. It is based on biometric and demographic data.
  • UIDAI: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) collects and manages Aadhaar data. It is a statutory authority established in January 2009, operating under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, following the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.
  • UIDAI’s Grievance Resolution: UIDAI has been ranked first among all Ministries/Departments for resolving public grievances, as per the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). It excels in resolving cases received through the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS).
  • UIDAI’s Mandate: UIDAI was established on July 12, 2016, with a mandate to assign a 12-digit unique identification (Aadhaar) to all Indian residents.
  • Locking Biometrics: Users can lock their biometric data (fingerprint, iris, and face) on the UIDAI website to prevent misuse.
  • Virtual Identity (VID): VID is a system of “Limited KYC” that hides the Aadhaar number while confirming the user’s identity. It is a 16-digit temporary number.
  • Bal Aadhaar Initiative: Bal Aadhaar, issued in blue color, is for children up to five years old. It facilitates welfare benefits and serves as a digital photo identity for children. Unlike regular Aadhaar, Bal Aadhaar doesn’t collect biometrics. Instead, it captures a facial image of the child during enrollment, and the parent/guardian’s biometric authentication and a proof of relationship document (preferably a birth certificate) are collected.

Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) 

The Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) is aimed at promoting digital literacy in rural India. Its primary objectives are:

  • To provide digital literacy training to 6 crore rural households (one person per household).
  • To enable them to operate computers and digital access devices (such as tablets and smartphones).
  • To teach them essential digital skills like sending and receiving emails, browsing the internet, accessing government services, searching for information, and conducting cashless transactions.
  • To empower rural communities to actively participate in the nation-building process.

The PMGDISHA Scheme targets individuals between the ages of 14 and 60. The government has implemented various strategies to connect rural residents through this initiative:

  • Increasing awareness and promotion through campaigns, workshops, seminars, digital vans, and other outreach activities.
  • Establishing Wi-Fi choupals in remote areas to address low internet connectivity issues.
  • Involving rural schools in training and examining candidates to reach densely populated rural districts in identified states.
  • Distributing PMGDISHA certificates through events organized by local PMGDISHA teams, often attended by Hon’ble MPs, MLAs, and District Collectors.
  • Collaborating with rural schools for training and examination to extend coverage to highly populated rural districts.

The government has employed various communication channels to disseminate information about the scheme to its intended beneficiaries, including word of mouth, online platforms, print and electronic media (such as posters, banners, radio, newspapers, television, and social media).

FutureSkills PRIME (Programme for Re-skilling/Up-skilling of IT Manpower for Employability) 

MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies) have collaboratively developed a program known as “FutureSkills PRIME” (Programme for Re-skilling/Up-skilling of IT Manpower for Employability).

This program is designed to offer re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities to B2C (Business to Consumer) beneficiaries in ten emerging technologies, which include:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  • Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing
  • Cloud Computing
  • Social & Mobile Technologies
  • Cyber Security
  • Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Blockchain

The aim is to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge in these cutting-edge technologies to enhance their employability and career prospects.

E-Government Development Index (EGDI) 

MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) serves as the central ministry responsible for the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), working in collaboration with two other ministries/departments: the Department of Higher Education (DHE) and the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL).

The EGDI is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates three key dimensions of e-government:

  • Online Service Index
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure Index
  • Human Capital Index

Critical information infrastructure

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) at the union level has designated the IT assets of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and the UPI overseeing body NPCI as ‘critical information infrastructure.’

What is critical information infrastructure?

Critical Information Infrastructure, as per the Information Technology Act of 2000, refers to computer resources whose incapacitation or destruction would severely impact national security, the economy, public health, or safety.

Under this Act, the government has the authority to declare any data, database, IT network, or communication infrastructure as Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) to safeguard these digital assets.

How are CIIs protected in India?

To protect CIIs in India, the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) was established in January 2014. NCIIPC serves as the central agency responsible for implementing measures to safeguard the nation’s critical information infrastructure. Its mandate includes protecting CIIs from unauthorized access, modification, use, disclosure, disruption, incapacitation, or distraction.

Additionally, NCIIPC monitors and assesses national-level threats to CIIs, provides policy guidance, shares expertise, maintains situational awareness for early warning, and issues alerts as necessary. Violations related to protected systems can result in penalties, including imprisonment for up to ten years.

Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs 

National eVidhan Application (NeVA) 

The “National eVidhan Application (NeVA)” is a Mission Mode Project designed to digitize the operations of legislative bodies across the nation. This initiative, built under the theme of ‘One Nation – One Application,’ aims to transform the functioning of all Legislative Houses into a paperless format.

NeVA’s primary goal is to turn State Legislatures into ‘DIGITAL HOUSES,’ allowing them to conduct government business entirely on a digital platform. This includes the exchange of information with State Government Departments in a digital format.

NeVA is equipped with Unicode-compliant software, enabling easy access to various documents such as Lists of Questions, Lists of Business, Reports, and more, in both English and regional languages.

Himachal Pradesh has become the pioneer in adopting this digital transformation and has become the first Digital Legislature in the country.

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions 

Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)

The Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) is an online platform accessible to citizens 24×7 for reporting grievances related to service delivery to public authorities.

CPGRAMS serves as a unified portal that connects with all Ministries and Departments of both the Government of India and various States.

Citizens can monitor the status of their filed grievances in CPGRAMS using a unique registration ID provided at the time of complaint registration.

CPGRAMS also offers an appeal mechanism for citizens who remain dissatisfied with the resolution provided by the Grievance Officer.

The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) informed a parliamentary panel that in 2016, all Ministries, organizations, and departments were instructed to regularly review newspaper grievances columns to identify cases within their jurisdiction and promptly address them within specified timeframes.

Ministry of Railways 

Bharat Gaurav express trains

Bharat Gaurav express trains are operated by private entities, granted the right to utilize the railway infrastructure provided by Indian Railways.

The primary aim of this initiative is to introduce India’s abundant cultural heritage and magnificent historical sites to both the nation’s citizens and international visitors through these specialized trains.

While the locomotive engineers and guards will be sourced from Indian Railways, private companies responsible for the service will oversee aspects such as bookings, tariff establishment, and maintenance.

Interestingly, in addition to private companies, the governments of Karnataka and Odisha have expressed their interest in operating similar trains to promote tourism.

The ‘Bharat Gaurav Trains’ policy, introduced by Indian Railways on November 23, 2021, serves the purpose of showcasing India’s diverse cultural heritage and historical landmarks through theme-based tourist circuit trains. Under this policy, service providers have the flexibility to determine the themes and itineraries for the operation of Bharat Gaurav trains.

Important Acts / Bills 

National Food Security Act, 2013

The Union government has declared a one-year provision of complimentary food grains to recipients as per the National Food Security Act, 2013, starting from January 2023. This move blends fiscal responsibility with the imperative to provide a social safety net.

Nevertheless, the government has opted to cease the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) by integrating it with the NFSA.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, initially passed in 1971 and later revised in 2021, unequivocally legalizes ‘medical termination of pregnancy’ under specific circumstances in India.

Nonetheless, this legislation primarily serves a legal perspective aimed at safeguarding medical practitioners. This is because, according to the Indian Penal Code, “induced miscarriage” remains a criminal offense. Consequently, this setup restricts women’s autonomy and choices, placing the responsibility for abortion solely in the hands of medical professionals.

Furthermore, the MTP Act exclusively references ‘pregnant women,’ failing to acknowledge that transgender individuals and others who do not identify as women may also experience pregnancy.

The MTP (Amendment) Act of 2021 introduces several key changes:

  • Termination due to Contraceptive Failure: Under this amendment, a pregnancy can be terminated by a married woman for up to 20 weeks in the event of contraceptive method or device failure. Unmarried women are also permitted to terminate pregnancies for this reason.
  • Opinion Requirements: The Act mandates the opinion of one Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) for pregnancy termination up to 20 weeks of gestation. For pregnancies between 20-24 weeks, the opinion of two RMPs is necessary. In cases of significant fetal abnormalities after 24 weeks, the State-level medical board’s opinion is essential for pregnancy termination.
  • Extended Gestation Limit for Special Categories: The amendment extends the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for specific groups of women, including survivors of rape, victims of incest, and other vulnerable women (such as differently-abled women and minors).
  • Confidentiality: The amendment ensures that the “name and other details of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall remain confidential,” except when shared with individuals authorized by applicable laws.
  • These changes represent significant strides towards providing women with greater reproductive rights, ensuring confidentiality, and acknowledging the diversity of individuals who may require pregnancy termination services.

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 

This legislation aims to enhance the protection of women’s rights guaranteed under the Constitution when they become victims of any form of family-based violence and related matters.

This groundbreaking law represents India’s initial substantial effort to acknowledge domestic abuse as a punishable offense. It extends its coverage to individuals in live-in relationships and offers emergency assistance to victims, alongside legal remedies.

For the first time in Indian jurisprudence, the Act provides a comprehensive definition of “domestic violence,” encompassing not only physical abuse but also various other forms of mistreatment, including emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic exploitation.

Primarily designed as a civil statute, its main purpose is to facilitate the issuance of protection orders rather than relying on criminal enforcement.

Consumer Protection Act, 2019 

The Union government is formulating a framework to combat counterfeit product reviews on e-commerce sites.

This initiative is based on global best practices.

Fake reviews violate the consumer’s “right to be informed” under the Consumer Protection Act of 2019.

The Act, effective since July 20, 2020, empowers consumers and protects their rights through various provisions:

  • Establishment of Consumer Protection Councils
  • Creation of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions
  • Introduction of mediation mechanisms
  • Implementation of product liability regulations
  • Imposition of penalties for the production or sale of adulterated or counterfeit goods.

The Act establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) with the power to:

  • Initiate investigations into consumer rights violations
  • File complaints or prosecutions
  • Order product recalls
  • Halt unfair trade practices and deceptive advertising
  • Impose penalties on those responsible for misleading advertisements.

E-commerce entities must provide comprehensive information about:

  • Return policies
  • Refunds
  • Exchanges
  • Warranties
  • Delivery methods
  • Payment options
  • Grievance resolution procedures
  • Payment security
  • Chargeback options
  • Product origins.

E-commerce platforms must acknowledge and resolve consumer complaints within specified timeframes.

The Act introduces the concept of product liability, holding manufacturers, service providers, and sellers accountable for compensation claims.

It streamlines the consumer dispute resolution process:

  • State and District Commissions can review their own decisions
  • Electronic filing of complaints is permitted
  • Consumers can file complaints based on their place of residence
  • Videoconferencing is utilized for hearings
  • Complaints are deemed admissible if not decided within 21 days.

The Act introduces Mediation as an Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism:

  • Complaints with potential for early settlement are referred for mediation
  • Mediation occurs within Mediation Cells established by Consumer Commissions
  • Settlements reached through mediation are non-appealable.

The Act imposes penalties, determined by a competent court, for the manufacture or sale of adulterated or counterfeit goods.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 

  • In India, the consumption or possession of drugs is considered a criminal offense.
  • The primary legislation addressing drugs and drug trafficking is the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985.
  • The NDPS Act was enacted in 1985 in compliance with India’s international obligations under UN conventions.
  • This Act prohibits the trade, production, use, and possession of drugs and psychotropic substances, regardless of the purpose, except for medical and scientific reasons.
  • However, a significant portion of NDPS cases involves possession for personal consumption or drug use.
  • Presently, the NDPS Act takes a rehabilitative approach toward addicts, granting them immunity from prosecution and imprisonment (if found guilty) if they willingly undergo treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Nevertheless, there is no provision for relief or exemption for first-time or recreational users.
  • The Act does not differentiate between addicts, first-time users, and recreational users.
  • The Department of Revenue serves as the nodal administrative authority for the NDPS Act.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 

  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, supersedes the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
  • It aligns with India’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), a treaty that India has ratified.
  • The Act defines disability based on a continually evolving and dynamic concept.
  • The range of disabilities has been expanded from the previous 7 to 21 categories, with the Central Government holding the authority to include additional types of disabilities.
  • The legislation introduces further advantages, including a reservation of not less than 5% in higher education, not less than 4% in government employment, and reservations in land allocation and poverty alleviation schemes (with a 5% allocation) for individuals with benchmark disabilities and those requiring extensive support.

Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 serves as legislation designed to amalgamate food-related laws. It also sets up the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, tasked with defining science-based standards for food products and overseeing their production, storage, distribution, sale, and import. The primary objective is to guarantee the accessibility of safe and nourishing food for human consumption and address associated matters or related concerns.

Additionally, this act aims to synchronize Indian standards with global benchmarks such as CODEX, thus promoting international trade in food products.

Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Act, 2010

As per the Ministry of Culture, Uttar Pradesh boasts the highest count of Centrally Protected Monuments facing encroachments, closely trailed by Tamil Nadu.

Background:

  • The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958 stands as a significant law for the preservation of ancient and historically important monuments, archaeological sites, and objects of national significance that are over 100 years old.
  • This act also regulates archaeological excavations and safeguards sculptures, carvings, and similar artifacts.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) operates in accordance with the provisions of this act.
  • Regular inspections by ASI officials assess the current condition of monuments, with necessary conservation and preservation actions undertaken as required.

2010 Amendment:

In 2010, the AMASR Act of 1958 underwent amendments to strengthen its penal provisions and combat encroachments and unauthorized construction near these monuments, which had become a prevalent issue.

Key amendments included:

  • Establishment of a “Prohibited Area” extending 100 meters around every national monument where no construction, whether public or private, was permitted.
  • Designation of a “Regulated Area” extending 200 meters beyond the prohibited area, where any construction necessitated permission from a newly formed National Monuments Authority.
  • Recognition of the unique characteristics of each monument, with the Act proposing heritage by-laws for each site to be formulated by an expert body.

Further Proposed Amendments:

Additional amendments are under consideration, aiming to lift the construction ban within 100 meters of an ASI-protected monument while regulating construction within the 100-200 meter range.

NITI Aayog 

Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs)

In pursuit of its vision to cultivate one million innovative young minds in India, the Atal Innovation Mission is actively establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) within schools across the country.

The primary goal of this initiative is to nurture curiosity, creativity, and imagination in the youth while instilling vital skills like a design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, and physical computing.

ATLs serve as dedicated workspaces where young minds can bring their ideas to life through hands-on, do-it-yourself projects, enabling them to acquire essential innovation skills. These spaces provide opportunities for young learners to engage with tools and equipment, facilitating their understanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts.

Key points regarding ATLs include:

  • The establishment of over 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) across India, all aimed at fostering curiosity, creativity, and imagination among young children.
  • Financial support from the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), which includes a grant-in-aid covering a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakhs for a maximum period of 5 years for each ATL.
  • Eligibility for schools, specifically those from Grade VI to X, managed by government bodies, local authorities, or private trusts/societies, to set up ATLs.

The core objectives of ATLs are as follows:

  • Establish workspaces where young minds can cultivate innovation skills, shape ideas through hands-on activities, and learn in a flexible environment.
  • Empower youth with 21st-century skills such as creativity, innovation, critical thinking, design thinking, social and cross-cultural collaboration, ethical leadership, and more.
  • Facilitate the creation of innovative solutions for India’s unique challenges, thereby contributing to India’s aspirations to become a knowledge economy.

ATL Sarthi 

NITI Aayog has introduced ATL Sarthi, a comprehensive self-monitoring framework designed to fortify the rapidly expanding network of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL).

The term “Sarthi” signifies a charioteer, and ATL Sarthi serves as the guiding force to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of ATLs.

This initiative rests on four fundamental pillars aimed at bolstering ATL performance, which include:

  • Regular process improvements facilitated by a self-reporting dashboard known as the ‘MyATL Dashboard.’
  • Implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for schools to ensure both financial and non-financial compliances.
  • On-site support and empowerment of ATLs in collaboration with relevant local authorities through a Cluster-based Approach.
  • Granting schools ownership to assess their performance via the Performance-Enablement (PE) Matrix.

Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP)

The Central government has initiated the Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP), drawing inspiration from the Aspirational District Programme.

The primary objective of the Aspirational District Programme is to enhance the performance of districts that lag behind on various development parameters.

Within the ABP, a selection of 500 blocks from different states has been identified. NITI Aayog, in collaboration with state governments, will periodically publish rankings for these blocks, assessing their performance across a spectrum of development indicators encompassing areas such as health, education, nutrition, and more.

While the Central government has established fundamental criteria for the rankings, states have been encouraged to incorporate additional indicators that align with their specific needs. This collaborative effort between states and NITI Aayog aims to ensure a well-rounded evaluation process.

Similar to the aspirational district programme, the private sector also has the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of these blocks.

Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) 

NITI Aayog has introduced the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), aimed at establishing a supportive environment for both aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs across the nation. Collaborating with NITI Aayog, SIDBI is actively involved in this endeavor.

The WEP operates as a facilitating platform, structured around three fundamental pillars: Iccha Shakti, Gyaan Shakti, and Karma Shakti.

  • Iccha Shakti is geared towards inspiring budding entrepreneurs to initiate their business ventures.
  • Gyaan Shakti focuses on providing knowledge and fostering a conducive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Karma Shakti involves offering hands-on assistance to entrepreneurs in the setup and expansion of their businesses.

In addition to providing valuable services such as free credit ratings, mentorship, financial support, apprenticeship opportunities, and corporate partnerships to women entrepreneurs, the WEP actively encourages entrepreneurs to share their entrepreneurial journeys, stories, and experiences, fostering a culture of mutual learning and growth.

Organisations / Institutions

Open Network for Digital Commerce

Microsoft, a prominent US tech company, has become the inaugural major tech firm to join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a government-backed initiative aimed at providing small merchants and local mom-and-pop stores in select regions of India with access to processes and technologies typically utilized by large e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.

The Open Network for Digital Commerce, abbreviated as ONDC, operates as a private non-profit Section 8 company, established under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of the Government of India. Its primary objective is to develop an open e-commerce ecosystem.

This initiative is focused on fostering open networks for all facets of the exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks. ONDC’s development is grounded in an open-source methodology, employing open specifications and network protocols that are platform-agnostic.

ONDC is a response to the prevailing duopoly in the Indian e-commerce market, primarily dominated by Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart. In May 2022, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) initiated a test run of ONDC in cities such as Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Bhopal, and Shillong, with plans to onboard 150 sellers.

The ONDC platform serves as an intermediary, facilitating interactions between buyers and sellers within the digital commerce landscape.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

The Energy Conservation Act (EC Act) was legislated in 2001 with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), established as a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, assumes the responsibility for driving improvements in energy efficiency throughout the economy through various regulatory and promotional mechanisms.

On March 1, 2002, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) was established as a statutory body at the central level to facilitate the effective implementation of the Energy Conservation Act.

Since 2015, BEE has administered the ‘Perform, Achieve, Trade’ scheme, whereby 1,078 industries across 13 sectors have been eligible to receive energy security certificates if they surpass specific energy efficiency targets.

The primary promotional functions of BEE encompass:

  • Raising awareness and disseminating information about energy efficiency and conservation.
  • Organizing training programs for professionals and specialists in energy-efficient techniques.
  • Enhancing consultancy services in the realm of energy conservation.
  • Encouraging research and development efforts.
  • Establishing testing and certification procedures and fostering testing facilities.
  • Designing and facilitating the execution of pilot projects and demonstration initiatives.
  • Promoting the adoption of energy-efficient processes, equipment, devices, and systems.
  • Encouraging the preferential use of energy-efficient equipment and appliances.
  • Advancing innovative financing mechanisms for energy efficiency projects.
  • Providing financial support to institutions dedicated to promoting efficient energy utilization and conservation.
  • Developing educational curricula focused on efficient energy use and conservation.
  • Participating in international cooperation programs related to energy efficiency and conservation.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was established on February 20, 1997, through an Act of Parliament known as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. This establishment aimed to regulate telecommunications services, including the fixation and revision of tariffs for services that were previously under the purview of the Central Government.

TRAI’s mission is to foster an environment conducive to the growth of telecommunications in India, with the goal of positioning the country as a leading player in the emerging global information society.

One of TRAI’s primary objectives is to cultivate a fair and transparent policy framework that promotes equitable competition and creates a level playing field for all participants.

In an amendment to the TRAI Act, effective from January 24, 2000, a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) was established. TDSAT took over the responsibility of adjudicating disputes, relieving TRAI of this role. TDSAT’s mandate includes settling disputes between licensors and licensees, resolving conflicts among service providers, addressing issues between service providers and groups of consumers, and handling appeals against directions, decisions, or orders issued by TRAI.

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) 

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.

CARA functions as the central entity responsible for overseeing the adoption of Indian children, with a mandate to monitor and regulate both domestic and international adoption processes.

Designated as the Central Authority for handling inter-country adoptions, CARA operates in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, which the Government of India ratified in 2003.

CARA primarily focuses on facilitating the adoption of orphaned, abandoned, and voluntarily surrendered children, collaborating with its affiliated and recognized adoption agencies.

National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) 

The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), operating as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, holds the distinction of being the world’s largest network of science centers and museums managed under a single administrative authority.

NCSM is primarily dedicated to fostering a scientific culture within society, particularly among students. Their guiding motto is ‘Communicating Science to Empower People,’ a mission they fulfill through their extensive network of Science Centers located throughout India.

Additionally, NCSM serves as the executing agency for the Science City Scheme, overseeing the establishment of new science centers at the national, regional, and district levels across the country.

Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) 

The Self-Employed Women’s Association, known as SEWA, was founded by Ela Bhatt in the year 1972.

SEWA has its roots in the Textile Labour Association (TLA), which was established by Anasuya Sarabhai and Mahatma Gandhi in 1920. However, SEWA faced a unique challenge as it couldn’t register as a trade union until 1972. This was due to the fact that its members didn’t have a traditional “employer,” and as a result, they were not officially recognized as workers.

In 1974, SEWA took a significant step by establishing SEWA Bank. This institution was created to provide small loans to impoverished women, a pioneering effort that received recognition from the International Labour Organisation as a pioneering microfinance movement.

Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), operating under the Directorate General of Health Services within the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, holds the role of being India’s National Regulatory Authority (NRA).

The Drugs & Cosmetics Act of 1940 and its accompanying rules from 1945 have allocated various responsibilities to both central and state regulators for the oversight of drugs and cosmetics.

The oversight of drug manufacturing, sale, and distribution primarily falls under the jurisdiction of state authorities, while central authorities are tasked with responsibilities such as approving new drugs, regulating clinical trials within the country, establishing drug standards, ensuring the quality of imported drugs, coordinating the activities of State Drug Control Organisations, and offering expert guidance aimed at achieving consistency in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

National Dam Safety Authority

The National Dam Safety Authority, established with the aim of upholding dam safety standards, averting dam-related disasters, and addressing interstate concerns in this domain, is now operational.

The National Dam Safety Authority will collaborate with state-level dam safety organizations and dam owners to standardize safety-related data and practices.

This Authority will be led by a Chairman and supported by five members, each overseeing one of its five divisions: policy and research, technical, regulation, disaster and resilience, and administration and finance.

A crucial function of this Authority is to mediate and resolve disputes that may arise between State Dam Safety Organizations within states or between a State Dam Safety Organization and a dam owner within that state.

The Dam Safety Act empowers the National Dam Safety Authority to undertake the role of a State Dam Safety Organization (SDSO) in cases where the NDSA assumes the SDSO’s responsibilities for a dam situated in one state but owned by another.

Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) 

The Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) was established by the government in January 1994 as a Society. Its primary mission is to facilitate agri-business ventures by catalyzing private investments through the Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme, in close collaboration with financial institutions.

SFAC operates as an Autonomous Society endorsed by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers Welfare within the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. It is registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.

The State SFACs play an active role in driving agribusiness project development within their respective states.

SFAC’s key functions include:

  • Promoting the development of small agribusinesses through the VCA scheme.
  • Assisting in the establishment and growth of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs).
  • Enhancing the availability of working capital and supporting the business activities of FPOs/FPCs through the Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme.
  • Participating in the implementation of the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Electronic Trading platform.

Food Corporation of India (FCI) 

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is an entity established and administered by the Government of India. FCI operates as a statutory organization falling under the purview of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, within the Government of India.

FCI’s objectives encompass:

  • Conducting effective price support operations to protect the interests of impoverished farmers.
  • Distributing food grains across the nation for the Public Distribution System (PDS).
  • Maintaining adequate operational and buffer stocks of food grains to uphold National Food Security.
  • Regulating market prices to ensure that consumers have access to food grains at a stable and dependable price.

FCI’s primary responsibilities include the procurement, storage, transportation, distribution, and sale of food grains and other essential food products.

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) operates within the purview of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

In accordance with the Rules of 1989, GEAC holds the responsibility of evaluating activities that involve the extensive utilization of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants from an environmental perspective in both research and industrial production.

The committee also oversees the evaluation of proposals concerning the release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment, including experimental field trials.

GEAC is headed by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC and is co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) 

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory entity established through the enactment of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956 by the Parliament. In April 1957, it assumed the responsibilities of the former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.

KVIC operates as the apex organization under the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, with a specific focus on khadi and village industries in India. Its primary mission is to “plan, promote, facilitate, organize, and assist in the establishment and growth of khadi and village industries in rural areas, while collaborating with other agencies engaged in rural development when necessary.”

The Commission is guided by three principal objectives:

  • Social Objective: To generate employment opportunities in rural regions.
  • Economic Objective: To produce marketable products.
  • Wider Objective: To foster self-reliance among communities and cultivate a robust sense of rural community spirit.

National E-Governance Services Ltd (NeSL)

NeSL, as India’s pioneering Information Utility, is officially registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), operating under the umbrella of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).

Established as a government company with the active participation of prominent banks and public institutions, NeSL’s central function revolves around acting as a repository for legal evidence. It holds data related to any debt or claim, provided by financial or operational creditors, and verifies and authenticates this information.

NeSL’s key objectives encompass:

  • Ensuring time-bound resolution by offering verified data to creditors and Adjudicating Authorities, eliminating the need for additional authentication.
  • Providing default notifications to creditors linked to a debtor whenever any creditor reports a default against that debtor.
  • Minimizing information imbalances between parties involved in a debt.
  • Enhancing credit monitoring for creditors.
  • Facilitating the creation of an agreed-upon statement of outstanding balances between debt-involved parties.
  • Assisting all stakeholders within the IBC ecosystem through the effective utilization of Information Technology to fulfill the code’s objectives.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was established under the provisions of the Act to lead and execute a comprehensive and unified approach to disaster management in the nation. Initially, the NDMA was formed through an Executive Order issued by the Government of India in 2005. Subsequently, in 2006, the NDMA was officially recognized and notified as per the Act.

NDMA holds the highest authority in the domain of disaster management within the country. It comprises a chairperson and other members, with the Prime Minister serving as the ex-officio chairperson of NDMA. The appointment of other members is made by the chairperson of NDMA.

Additionally, NDMA, operating under the Ministry of Home Affairs, can be entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding critical cyber infrastructure. This results in overlapping responsibilities with organizations like CERT-IN of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) concerning the security of both critical and non-critical infrastructure.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Established in March 2007 in accordance with the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005:

Operates under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

The Commission’s primary mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programs, and administrative mechanisms align with the Child Rights perspective outlined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Commission carries out the following functions:

  • Review and assess the safeguards established by existing laws for the protection of child rights and propose measures for their effective implementation.
  • Present periodic reports to the central government, including annual reports, and as determined by the Commission, on the functionality of these safeguards.
  • Investigate instances of child rights violations and recommend appropriate actions in such cases.
  • Scrutinize all factors hindering the realization of children’s rights in situations involving terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disasters, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment, torture, exploitation, pornography, and prostitution. The Commission suggests suitable remedial measures.

NCPCR has introduced the GHAR (GO Home and Re-Unite) portal, designed to digitally oversee and trace the restoration and repatriation of children as per established protocols.

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) 

The NAAC, an autonomous entity operating under the University Grants Commission (UGC), conducts assessments and issues certifications to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as part of the accreditation process.

In a comprehensive and multi-layered procedure, HEIs determine whether they meet predefined quality standards established by evaluators. These standards encompass areas such as curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and various other criteria.

Institutional ratings range from A++ to C, with a D grade indicating non-accreditation.

In accordance with the regulations, only HEIs that have been in existence for at least six years or have graduated at least two student cohorts are eligible to apply for accreditation.

Accreditations are valid for a five-year period, provided that aspiring institutions are recognized by the UGC and have regular students enrolled in full-time teaching and research programs.

How is the accreditation process conducted?

The current approach is commonly referred to as “input-based.” It begins with applicant institutions submitting self-study reports containing quantitative and qualitative metrics. These reports are subsequently validated by NAAC expert teams, followed by on-site visits by peer teams to the institutions. This latter step has generated controversy.

What alternative approaches are under consideration?

The NAAC is planning to transition from the existing “input-based” approach to an “outcome-based approach.”

In this proposed model, instead of relying solely on self-study reports, the NAAC would request institutions to provide evidence such as samples of learning materials, continuous assessment tasks, and final examinations, demonstrating that they have achieved the specified learning outcomes as outlined in the syllabus, according to the white paper.

Why are there so few accredited institutes?

Current and former NAAC officials point out that the apprehension of receiving a low grade or no accreditation at all discourages higher education institutions from voluntarily seeking evaluation. This is despite accreditation being made mandatory through the UGC (Mandatory Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012.

National Archives of India (NAI) 

The NAI, operating under the Ministry of Culture, serves as the repository for all non-current government records, preserving them for the benefit of administrators and scholars.

Initially established as the Imperial Record Department in 1891 in Calcutta, the former capital of British India, the NAI is now situated in Delhi.

It primarily houses and conserves government records and documents, excluding classified materials.

The NAI’s holdings are organized in a systematic series, dating back to the year 1748. These records are written in languages such as English, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, and Urdu.

In recent times, the NAI has taken steps to digitize its records, making them accessible through the newly established Abhilekh Patal portal.

Document Acquisition Process:

According to the Public Records Act of 1993, central ministries and departments are mandated to transfer records older than 25 years to the NAI, unless they contain classified information. However, determining what constitutes classified information is left to the discretion of the respective ministries and departments, potentially leading to subjective interpretations.

The NAI frequently organizes exhibitions, including notable displays like the declassified files on Subhas Chandra Bose in 2016 and the recent exhibition, ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Saga,’ commemorating the 70th anniversary of Jammu & Kashmir’s accession to India. Over the years, from 1973 to 2015, the NAI has hosted a total of 108 exhibitions on various themes.

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)

CERT-In, a unit under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of the Government of India, serves as the primary authority for addressing cybersecurity challenges, including issues such as hacking and phishing. This agency plays a pivotal role in enhancing the security posture of the Indian Internet domain. 

National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) 

The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) is a government organization established under Section 70A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended in 2008). It was officially instituted on January 16, 2014, and is headquartered in New Delhi, India. NCIIPC holds the designation of being the National Nodal Agency responsible for safeguarding Critical Information Infrastructure.

Vision: NCIIPC aspires to create a secure, resilient, and protected Information Infrastructure for the critical sectors of the nation.

Mission: NCIIPC’s mission is to implement all essential measures for the safeguarding of Critical Information Infrastructure. This includes protection against unauthorized access, alteration, usage, disclosure, disruption, incapacitation, or destruction. The agency achieves this through effective coordination, synergy, and promoting information security awareness among all relevant stakeholders.

NCIIPC has broadly categorized the following sectors as ‘Critical Sectors’:

  • Power & Energy
  • Banking, Financial Services & Insurance
  • Telecom
  • Transport
  • Government
  • Strategic & Public Enterprises

Miscellaneous 

Operation Megh Chakra 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted nationwide searches in various States and Union Territories as part of the “Megh Chakra” operation.

This operation targeted individuals involved in the online circulation and sharing of Child Sexual Abusive Material (CSAM) using cloud-based storage platforms. It was initiated based on information provided by Interpol’s special unit in Singapore, which had received intelligence from New Zealand.

In November 2021, a similar initiative called “Operation Carbon” was launched by the CBI, resulting in the booking of numerous individuals under the IT Act, 2000.

It is important to note that in India, while viewing adult pornography in private is not considered an offense, engaging in activities such as seeking, browsing, downloading, or exchanging child pornography is a punishable offense under the IT Act.

Operation Garuda 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated a multi-phase operation named ‘Operation Garuda’ to combat illicit drug trafficking networks.

The primary objective of this operation is to disrupt, degrade, and dismantle drug networks that have international connections. It aims to achieve this by facilitating the rapid exchange of criminal intelligence related to drug trafficking and by coordinating law enforcement actions across international jurisdictions through the assistance of Interpol.

This global operation is being conducted in close collaboration with Interpol and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). Its specific focus is on combating the smuggling of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, with an emphasis on addressing issues in the Indian Ocean region.

India Stack

Recently, the India Stack Knowledge Exchange event took place, shedding light on India Stack.

India Stack comprises a collection of open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and digital public resources designed to unleash the economic foundations of identity, data, and payments on a large scale within the population.

Some of the components of India Stack include Aadhar, UPI (Unified Payments Interface), Co-Win, DigiLocker, Aarogya Setu, UMANG, DIKSHA, and eSanjeevani.

The benefits of India Stack are manifold:

  • It contributes to the development of Global Digital Public Goods, encompassing open-source software, open AI models, and open data that adhere to privacy principles while supporting socio-economic objectives.
  • It enhances digital governance by promoting transparency, efficiency, and accountability.
  • India Stack fosters digital innovations.
  • It revolutionizes service delivery by enabling presence-less, paperless, and cashless service offerings.

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