A) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues
1. Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP Scheme) (PIB)
- Context: The ADIP Scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment aims to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential.
- The aids and appliances supplied under the Scheme shall conform to BIS specifications to the extent possible.
- The scheme also envisages conduct of corrective surgeries, wherever required, before providing an assistive device.
- Under the Scheme, grants-in-aid are released to various implementing agencies (Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO)/ State Handicapped Development Corporations/ NGOs, Nehru Yuvak Kendras etc.) for purchase and distribution of aids and assistive devices.
- The eligible persons must hold a 40% Disablement Certificate and are also subject to income criteria.
2. Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) (PIB)
- Context: Ministry of MSME has informed that some instances are reported to the Ministry that potential entrepreneurs / beneficiaries are being approached by private persons or agencies offering loans under PMEGP Scheme and handing over loan sanction letters and cheating the entrepreneurs by charging money from them.
- Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) is a central sector credit linked subsidy scheme being implemented by the Ministry of MSME since 2008-09 to assist first generation entrepreneurs for setting up of micro enterprises across the country.
- Under the PMEGP Scheme, the entire process of application and fund flow right from receipt of application to sanction and release of loan by banks to the applicants has been made online through only one Government portal run by Khadi and Village Industries Commission.
- The whole process is totally free of cost.
- No Private Party/Agency/ Middlemen/ Franchise, etc. is engaged or authorized for promoting and sanctioning PMEGP Projects or providing any financial assistance under PMEGP scheme.
- This scheme has been covered in detail on 22nd August 2020.
3. Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyna Yojna and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) (PIB)
- Context: Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Ministry of Labour & Employment, is implementing the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyna Yojna under which unemployment benefit is paid to the workers covered under ESI Scheme.
- Recently, the ESI Corporation decided to extend the scheme for one more year up to 30th June 2021.
Benefits under the scheme
- The scheme provides relief equivalent to 90 day wages (amount earned per day) once in lifetime of the insured person.
- The claim for relief under the Atal Beemit Kalyaan Yojana will be payable after the three months of his/her clear unemployment.
- The relief will be paid for clear month of unemployment. No prospective claim will be allowed.
- Employees covered under Section 2(9) of the ESI Act 1948.
- The Insured Person (IP) should have been rendered unemployed during the period the relief is claimed.
- The Insured Person should have been in insurable employment for a minimum period of two years.
- The Insured Person should have contributed not less than 78 days during each of the preceding four contribution periods.
Employees’ State Insurance Scheme of India (ESI Scheme)
- ESI Scheme is a self-financing health insurance scheme as all the employees in the factories or establishments to which the Act applies shall be insured in a manner provided by the ESI Act.
- It is administered by an apex corporate body called the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation.
- It falls under the over control of Ministry of Labour & Employment.
- The promulgation of Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 (ESI Act), by the Parliament was the first major legislation in India on social Security to provide socio-economic protection to worker population and their dependents.
- The ESI Act 1948, encompasses certain health related eventualities that the workers are generally exposed to;
- such as sickness, maternity, temporary or permanent disablement
- Occupational disease or death due to employment injury, resulting in loss of wages or earning capacity-total or partial.
- Social security provision made in the Act is aimed at upholding human dignity in times of crisis, enabling retention and continuity of a socially useful and productive manpower.
- The ESI Scheme applies to factories and other establishments Road Transport, Hotels, Restaurants, Cinemas, Newspaper, Shops, and Educational/Medical Institutions wherein 10 or more persons are employed.
- The Act is also applicable to non-seasonal factories employing 10 or more persons.
- However, the threshold for Coverage of establishments is still 20 Employees in Maharashtra and Chandigarh.
- The existing wage limit for coverage under the Act is Rs.21,000/- per month (w.e.f. 01/01/2017).
- Ministry of Labour and Employment issues notification regarding the wage limit for coverage under the ESI Act.
- Contributions are raised from covered employees and their employers as a fixed percentage of wages.
- The contribution payable to the Corporation in respect of an employee shall comprise of employer’s contribution and employee’s contribution at a specified rate.
- Currently, the employee’s contribution rate (w.e.f. 1.1.97) is 1.75% of the wages and that of employer’s is 4.75% of the wages paid/payable in respect of the employees in every wage period.
- Under the act an employer is liable to pay his contribution in respect of every employee and deduct employees contribution from wages bill and shall pay these contributions to the Corporation
- The State Governments, as per provisions of the Act, contribute 1/8th of the expenditure of medical benefit within a per capita ceiling of Rs. 1500/- per Insured Person per annum.
- The section 46 of the Act envisages following six social security benefits:
- Medical Benefit (no ceiling on expenditure on the treatment)
- Sickness Benefit (for a maximum of 91 days in a year)
- Maternity Benefit (for Twenty Six (26) weeks)
- Temporary/permanent disablement benefit
- Dependants Benefit (in cases where death of the deceased Insured person occurs due to employment injury or occupational hazards)
- Funeral Expenses
- Confinement Expenses (in case confinement occurs at a place where necessary medical facilities under ESI Scheme are not available).
- In addition, the scheme also provides some other need-based benefits to insured workers.
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Physical Rehabilitation
- Old Age Medical Care
4. AIM–Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0 (PIB)
- Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Sirius, Russia, today launched ‘AIM–Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0’– a 14-day virtual programme for Indian and Russian schoolchildren.
- The AIM–Sirius programme seeks to develop technological solutions (both web- and mobile-based) for the two countries addressing global challenges–– across a range of areas such as culture, distance education, applied cognitive science, health and well-being, sports, fitness, and games training, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and digital financial assets––in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.
5. Sainik Schools (PIB)
- Context: National Testing Agency (NTA) would be conducting the All India Sainik Schools Entrance Examination-2021 (AISSEE) in January for admissions to Classes VI and IX in 33 Sainik Schools spread across 23 States and one Union Territory.
- Sainik schools are English medium residential schools affiliated to CBSE and managed by Sainik school society under Ministry of Defence.
- They aim to offer quality education to the children of rural masses and to develop qualities of body, mind and character which will enable the young boys to become good and useful citizens and eventually be a feeder to National Defence Academies.
- They prepare cadet to join the National defence academy, Indian naval academy and other officer training academies.
- The concept of the Sainik School originated by V K Krishna Menon, who was our Defence Minister in the early sixties.
6. National pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) (PIB)
- National pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has said that its price rationalisation initiated February 2019 has had the far-reaching impact of its decision leading to huge price reduction in anti-cancer drugs.
- Invoking extraordinary powers in public interest NPPA had launched a Pilot on Trade Margin Rationalisation for 42 anti-cancer drugs as a step towards making the healthcare more affordable for the suffering patients.
- NPPA regulates the prices of all Drugs as per the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013. It fixes the Ceiling Price of scheduled formulations as per the list of medicines specified in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) which are included in the First Schedule of Drug Pricing Control Order (DPCO), 2013.
- By regulating prices of Scheduled Drugs, NPPA roughly covers only 16-17% of the Pharma sector universe.
- First Schedule of DPCO, 2013 also includes select drugs used for the treatment of cancer.
- However, there has been a long standing felt need to further regulate the Non-Scheduled segment also where high markups have led to arbitrary pricing practices.
- National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) is being implemented under National Health Mission (NHM) for up-to the district level activities.
- This topic has been covered in detail in 30th Aug file.
7. FASTag: e-toll for the road (PIB)
- Context: Union Ministry of Road Trasport & Highways has issued a notification making FASTag mandatory to be available by 1st of January 2021 in old vehicles also i.e. M and N category of motor vehicles (four wheelers) sold before 1st December, 2017 through amendments in CMVR, 1989.
- As per Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, the FASTag had been made mandatory for:
- registration of new four wheeled Vehicles and is being supplied by the Vehicle Manuracturer or their dealers.
- renewal of fitness certificate for the Transport Vehicles.
- National Permit Vehicles
- getting a new 3rd Party Insurance (w.e.f. 1 April 2021)
- This notification would be a major step for ensuring that the payment of fees be 100% at Toll Plazas through the Electronic Means only and that the vehicles pass seamlessly through the Fee Plazas. There would be no waiting time at the Plazas and would save fuel.
- FASTag has been comprehensively covered in 2nd Sep file.
8. Swarnim Vijay Varsh (PIB)
- In December 1971, Indian Armed Forces achieved a stellar victory over Pakistan which led to the creation of Bangladesh.
- 16 December 2021 marks the 50thyear of the famous victory and the year 2021 is being celebrated as the Swarnim Vijay Varsh.