<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government has achieved its target of providing 1.5 crore free cooking gas (LPG) connections to poor households in less than 8 months.The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUJ) aimed to provide 5 crore free LPG connections to BPL families in three years.The target for the first was set at 1.5 crore.The first year target has been “achieved within a span of less than 8 months and the scheme is being implemented now across 35 states/UTs,” an official statement said.A woman member of BPL family identified through Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data is given a deposit free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection.The scheme was announced in the Budget for 2016-17 with an allocation of Rs 8,000 crore for three years.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched PMUJ on May 1 from Balia in Uttar Pradesh. “14 states/UTs having LPG coverage less than the national average, hilly states of J&K, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and all North-East States are identified as priority states for implementing the scheme,” the statement said.The top five states with maximum connections are UP (46 lakh), West Bengal (19 lakh), Bihar (19 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (17 lakh) and Rajasthan (14 lakh).These states constitutes nearly 75% of the total connections released.The households belonging to SC/ST constitute large chunk of beneficiaries with 35% of the connections being released to them. “With the implementation of PMUY, the national LPG coverage has increased from 61% (as on January 1) to 70% (as on December 12, 2016),” the statement added.
In a bid to discourage holding of old denomination currencies beyond 31 March, 2017, the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved promulgation of an ordinance to impose a penalty, including a jail term, for possession of the scrapped 500 and 1,000 rupee notes beyond a cut-off.
Any currency note issued by the government is legal tender and the RBI has a legal obligation to make payment for the amount stated on the note. However, the ordinance does away with that legal obligation on the part of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
1) If you possess banned notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denominations, you can only exchange it at select branches of the Reserve Bank of India.
2) If you hold over 10 notes of the banned currency after 31 March, 2017, you could be fined Rs 5,000 or worse, sent to jail for four years. If you transact in these notes, you could likely attract a penalty of Rs 5,000.
3) If you possess banned notes in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 beyond March 31, 2017, you could be fined amounts in multiples ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000. You also have to give a declaration stating why you could not submit the money in the stipulated time frame until 30 December, 2017.
4) Just in case you cannot go physically to an RBI branch to deposit the banned notes, you can still do it by sending the money through insured post. You still will have to provide the aforementioned declaration on why you could not deposit the money.
5) If you have kept banned notes in hand for souvenirs, you can keep up to 10 notes and for numismatics upto 25.
6) Any citizen who is outside the country may authorise in writing enabling another person in India to deposit the notes into a bank account. The person so authorized has to come to the bank branch with the specified bank notes, the authority letter and a valid identity proof
7) Any payment towards tax, surcharge, penalty and deposit under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) can be made in old bank notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. However, this can be done only until December 30. The PMGKY which began on 17 December, is open for declarations till 31 March, 2017
First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 11:02 IST
In a fresh twist to the government’s previous announcement on cash deposits in the banks, the Reserve Bank of India has issued a fresh notification, withdrawing restriction on Rs 5,000 deposits for KYC compliant account holders.
The fresh notification by the RBI, following a massive public backlash, comes just two days after the central bank had said individuals can deposit over Rs 5,000 in old currency bills only once until December 30 and that too after explaining why it had not been done so far.
The central bank said that on reviewing its notification of December 19, it is advising banks to withdraw the two conditions for fully KYC-compliant accounts.
After banning old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November, the government had allowed all of the cash holdings with any person to be deposited in bank accounts till December 30.
There was no limit on the quantity or value of the junked notes that could be deposited. However, the government on 17 December issued a gazette notification putting restrictions on deposits henceforth.
On 19 December, the central bank had said that now-defunct notes in excess of Rs 5,000 shall be credited to only KYC-compliant accounts and if the accounts are not KYC-compliant, credits may be restricted up to Rs 50,000 subject to the conditions governing the conduct of such accounts.
The equivalent value of specified bank notes tendered may be credited to an account maintained by the tenderer at any bank in accordance with standard banking procedure and on production of valid proof of identity, the RBI had said.”The equivalent value of specified bank notes tendered may be credited to a third party account, provided specific authorisation therefore accorded by the third party is presented to the bank, following standard banking procedure and on production of valid proof of identity of the person actually tendering,” it added.
The above restrictions shall not apply to tenders of SBNs for the purpose of deposits under the Taxation and Investment Regime for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016.
Meanwhile, in a notification, the Finance Ministry had said: “There shall not be any limit on the quantity or value of the specified bank notes that are tendered for payment and deposit made under the Taxation and Investment Regime for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016”.
With PTI inputs
First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 13:29 IST
New Delhi: After a sudden surge in deposits in Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana accounts showed up various inconsistencies, the government on Sunday again cautioned such account holders not to allow their deposits to be misused in the wake of the 8 November demonetisation move.
“Investigation being conducted by the Income Tax Department across India into the sudden surge in cash deposits in Jan Dhan accounts have revealed various inconsistencies,” a Union Finance Ministry release here said.
“Undisclosed moneys of approximately Rs 1.64 crore deposited by persons who have never filed returns of income being below the taxable limits, into their Jan Dhan accounts have already been detected at Kolkata, Midnapore, Ara (Bihar), Kochi and Varanasi.
“Rs 40 lakh has been seized from one such account in Bihar,” it said
“Undisclosed income so detected will be brought to tax as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, apart from other actions depending upon the outcome of investigations,” it added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Jan Dhan account holders to hold on to the black money deposited by elements seeking to launder ill-gotten wealth.
“I want to tell holders of Jan Dhan accounts that they should not withdraw this money. Write to me if someone intimidates you. I am trying to figure out how it (the money) can come to you,” Modi said on Saturday at a public meeting in Moradabad, in Uttar Pradesh.
Over 25 crore Jan Dhan accounts for financial inclusion have been opened in the country as on November 25 last.
First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 16:37 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst pandemonium, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a major taxation bill to amend the Income Tax Act without a debate to facilitate levy of 60 per cent tax on undisclosed income or investment or cash credit deposited in banks after the November 8 demonetization. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected amendments submitted by Kerala’s Revolutionary Socialist Party’s lone MP N K Premchandran. The bill gives the depositors a choice to admit voluntarily the black money so deposited and pay 50 per cent as tax and penalty or lose 85 per cent of the unexplained cash not admitted. Those volunteering will be able to use only 25 per cent of the money while putting the rest 25 per cent locked up for four year in the new Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan (PMGK) scheme.Introducing the bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also emphasized that the government will stick to the deadline for depositing the high-value notes that were banned earlier this month. The old notes must be submitted to bank branches before they close on December 30.The legislation was brought before the Lok Sabha as a money bill, it will not have to pass the test of the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in minority. It will now go to the Rajya Sabha for debate and consideration, before heading to the President for his stamp. The Rajya Sabha cannot amend a money bill but it can make non-binding recommendations to the Lok Sabha. Jaitley, asserted that it will plug the loopholes in the existing laws to ensure that tax evaders are not able to legalise their black money. “The aim is to ensure this money comes into the mainstream. The rich’s black money will be used for the welfare of the poor,” he declared.Throughout proceedings, the Opposition benches were up in arms, protesting the introduction of the important bill. They called it another scam of the government’s compromise to leave half of the black money with the crooks, who won’t mind sharing half of their ill-gotten wealth with the government. An MP shouted that a culprit selling property in Rs 40 lakhs by cheque and another Rs 20 lakh in cash won’t mind losing Rs 10 lakh and pocket another Rs 10 lakh as black money. The NDA ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Dr Sivaprasad, who was dressed in black, said people with black money are laughing at this act and the common man is weeping.The Speaker rejected the demand that the bill should be taken up at a time when the proceedings of the House were in order. The House was adjourned thrice during the pre-lunch session because of the Opposition demand to first debate on the demonetization in the presence of the PM. However, the Speaker went ahead with the bill despite the noisy scenes, citing it urgency because of which it cannot be postponed. Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress said, “It is necessary that the House be in perfect order when such a key bill is discussed and that cannot be done until the discussion on demonetization takes place.”
While the economic rationale of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to scrap high denomination currency notes is still being weighed by people and analysts, it has become increasingly clear that the step was motivated by political objectives. Coming at almost the mid-point of his tenure, Modi decided that he could no longer plod along and chose to change the script dramatically. The prime minister revived the populist and socialist pre-liberalisation sentiment that the rich are evil and the poor are intrinsically honest, as routinely projected in popular cinema of the era. This explains the now famous recent Modi quip: “Gareeb chain ki neend so raha hai, aur ameer needs ki goli khareendne ke liye bhatak raha hai [While the poor are sleeping peacefully, the rich are desperately trying to get hold of sleeping pills].”
In recent weeks, Modi made several claims that his efforts were to benefit the poor but these appeared more rhetorical with little policy backing. But the decision on 28 November to table the Bill bringing amendments in Income Tax laws is the first indication of the policy of the government. The government’s statement prefaces the raison d’être of the amendment to the existing law with the declaration: “Evasion of taxes deprives the nation of critical resources which could enable the government to undertake anti-poverty and development programmes.” The word growth — Modi’s mantra through his electoral campaign and for the major part of his tenure thus far — is significantly not used even once, lest it conveys a pro-rich tilt. The focus is now on development or vikas, of and for the poor.
The government announced institution of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, levy of a new cess and an additional deposit scheme for those declaring cash kept in the shadow of licit income (operative phrases for the latter two also being Pradhan Mantri and Garib Kalyan once again to ensure that Modi’s personal signature never fades from the initiative). The statement declares unambiguously that the amount that will be collected from people declaring hitherto undisclosed income “is proposed to be utilised for the schemes of irrigation, housing, toilets, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, livelihood, etc., so that there is justice and equality.” It goes without saying that spending on housing, sanitation, infrastructure, education, health and livelihood would be all directed towards the poor. In one sweep, Modi is trying to shed the pro-corporate image that has dogged him for several years.
There is no doubt that the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, aims to achieve at least three objectives. Firstly, demonetisation has undeniably dealt a severe shock to the economy and there is unanimity that remonetisation will take several months. In the interim, the official and dramatic push towards cashless transactions, though aimed at minimising damage can at best ease inconvenience caused to people while negotiating daily chores, but cannot be a solution to the crisis that has begun to become visible in different sectors of the economy. Reports of job losses have already started pouring in several thousands and there is evidence that what is being noticed is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
Because the real estate sector was probably most dependent on shadow economy, the impact of demonetisation on the sector will be severest. After agriculture, this sector is the second largest employer in the unorganised sector. If fears that the sector will come to a grinding halt — with demand being initially be met by available inventory — come true, there will surely be large scale losses. The PM Garib Kalyan Yojana has the potential to step into this void by starting welfare schemes in infrastructure and housing sectors. Modi has the opportunity to make welfare programmes a priority and thereby also provide jobs to the hordes of unemployed.
Secondly, because large-scale construction of roads and other infrastructure projects, urban and rural housing affordable for the poor, construction of more schools, hospitals and health centres cannot executed efficiently by government agencies, Modi will turn to the private sector and these projects will be the new drivers of the Indian growth economy. That Modi has to turn to welfare programmes to revive his flagging hold on his tenure and alter the politico-economic script half way into the tenure, is ironical given his taunt at MNREGA for being schemes for “digging ditches”. Thirdly, the amendment to the I-T laws will enable Modi to claim among people that he has made a determined effort to unearth black money and fulfil his promise of 2014.
But for securing the support of masses on a sustained basis and not being dependent on his predominantly middle-class voter base, Modi has to ensure speed in execution. An assessment of the government’s earnestness in pursing welfare programmes for the poor can be made only after it has made fair progress. There are reasons to remain sceptical because the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana was actually launched in April 2015 as a scheme to conduct workshops to inform and educate people — mainly party MPs — about schemes launched by the government especially for the poor and backward classes.
Not much was heard about it after it was launched with much fanfare by Modi in the presence of party stalwarts. That fate — not a very rare occurrence in the Modi regime — cannot befall the latest initiative without disastrous consequences for Modi. If the Prime Minister seeks to politically benefit from demonetisation, smooth rollout and consistent execution of the plan are essential. But, even this initiative will have to be backed by additional policy measures. The character of the roadmap ahead that the Prime Minister has drawn will determine if he succeeds in his objective or not.
The author is a Delhi-based writer and journalist. He authored Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times and Sikhs: The Untold Agony of 1984. Tweets @NilanjanUdwin
First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 15:58 IST
New Delhi: Hitting out at economists for criticising demonetisation, Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy has said that critics are unaware of the government’s financial inclusion programme and their understanding of the situation is based on views expressed in English language newspapers.
“The economists living abroad base their understanding essentially on reading English newspapers. Otherwise, how would they know? English language newspapers understood many things wrongly,” Debroy told PTI when asked to react on comments of former World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu and other economists who have criticised demonetisation.
“Where does Dr Basu work now? He is based in US. I have a great deal of respect for him…That someone who is away from India may not necessarily be aware what is happening in India,” he added.
The eminent economist said Basu will probably react to things like financial inclusion on the basis of data that is three years old, adding, “He does not know what happened as a result of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).”
Under PMJDY, 25 crore bank accounts were opened. Basu, who was also Chief Economic Advisor in Ministry of Finance, had on November 11 said that Modi government’s decision to demonetise high denomination currency notes is not ‘good economics’ and the collateral damage of demonetisation is likely to far outstrip the benefits.
Lawrence ‘Larry’ Summers, a former chief economist of the World Bank and ex-economic advisor to the US President had described the Indian government’s demonetisation steps as the “most sweeping changes in currency policy in the world in decades.
This step is ‘unlikely to have lasting benefits’ and that it has resulted in ‘chaos and loss of trust in the government’,” Summers was quoted as saying.
First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 12:18 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maoists killed a villager suspecting him to be a police informer and torched as many as five vehicles engaged in a road construction work in Odisha’s Koraput district, a senior police officer said on Sunday.A group of armed Maoists stormed a camp of the construction company at Bhitarakota village under Pottangi police station on Friday and abducted some labourers and villagers, who were taken inside the dense forest, the officer said.The Maoists held a meeting inside the forest and released the villagers and labourers in the evening with threat of dire consequences if they supported road construction work. The ultras also took away the mobile SIM cards of the villagers fearing they might inform police about the incident, they said quoting a delayed report. However, the group of Maoists returned to the camp site around night and torched the vehicles and murdered one Jayaram Khillo of the village.Due to the remoteness of the area, the incident came to light only on Saturday, they said. “The Maoists slit the throat of Khillo…We have seized Maoists posters from the spot,” said Dev Gomang, Inspector In-Charge of Pottngi police station.Officials said a 10-km road under ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramya Sadak Yojana’ was under construction from Sorisopadar to Bhitarakota at an estimated cost of Rs 6 crore with around nine km stretch already completed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Times Now, his first TV interview since taking office, on 27 June, 2016. As with his Wall Street Journal interview the month before (critiqued here), Modi covered a lot of ground, from economic reform and domestic politics to foreign policy. Here, we specifically examine some of his claims regarding his ambitious development agenda.
Narendra Modi has developed a flair for presenting evolutionary policy steps built on his predecessors’ work as revolutionary and original contributions to national development. Take his repeated claim regarding the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY):
It’s not in words but in actual achievement. I had said that within a given time frame, we will open bank accounts for the poor. For something that had not been done for 60 years, setting a time frame for it was in itself a risk.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna is not only about opening bank accounts for the poor. Because of this the poor are feeling that they are becoming a part of the country’s economic system. The bank that he was seeing from afar, now he is able to enter that bank. This brings about a psychological transformation.
Very moving, but it’s a bit much for Modi to hog the credit. It is true that the PMJDY has accelerated the spread of basic savings bank deposit accounts (BSBDA), and increased their usefulness by adding life and accident insurance. But the entire architecture of financial inclusion (BSBDAs, Aadhaar, electronic payments, RuPay cards) was created and implemented long before Narendra Modi took office.
In the two years before Modi, the UPA opened 44 and 61 million BSBDAs respectively, which under Modi jumped to 147 million in 2014-15 and 67 million in 2015-16 (see table below). Assuming conservatively that another government would have opened 61 million BSBDAs per year (as the UPA did in 2013-14), the Modi effect looks something like this:
A solid step forward? Yes. But with 243 million bank accounts already in place before he was sworn in, the only thing we are seeing for the first time in 60 years is such a giant ego.
We have taken up construction of toilets. I had gone to Chhattisgarh and had the opportunity to get the blessings of one mother. An adivasi mother heard about the scheme for building toilets. She sold her four goats and built a toilet. That 90 old mother uses a walking stick and goes around the cluster of 30 or 40 houses in the tribal village and has been spreading the message to build toilets. This change is becoming the reason for the change in the quality of life.
Encouraging yes, but hardly novel. There is little doubt that open defecation is a public health hazard that contributes to the spread of diarrhoea, intestinal worm infections and other diseases that cause stunting, malnutrition and even death among young children. Which is why the government has for decades sought to furiously build toilets throughout rural India — with a discernible bump in Modi’s second year:
To be fair, Narendra Modi isn’t claiming exclusive credit here, and he is right to highlight the importance of behavioural change in his adivasi mother example. Open defecation in rural India has dropped much more slowly than in, say rural Bangladesh, partly because Bangladesh has targeted social norms, in addition to building toilets. The UPA’s Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (launched in 2012-13) and the current Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, both recognised this reality, and Narendra Modi’s vocal advocacy could play an important role here.
That said, reports still suggest that behaviour change is lagging behind (here, here and here). The important point is that toilet construction is necessary, but insufficient by itself to reduce open defecation.
You must have seen that the maximum electricity generation since Independence has occurred this year. The maximum amount of coal mined has been in this year. The maximum length of roads being constructed daily is happening in this year. The fastest loading and unloading of steamers at sea ports is happening now.
As previously explained in Modi’s autopilot achievements, there is always a good chance in a rapidly growing economy that every year will see one or the other record broken. Maximum electricity generation since independence? True for every year since 1975-76. Maximum coal mined? True for every year since 1980-81 (except 1998-99). Maximum length of roads being constructed? Probably true (but look here for context). Fastest loading and unloading of ships? True for every year since 2012-13. These claims work well on Twitter and Facebook, but are mostly meaningless in the Indian context.
After independence, for the first time, we have brought in Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana which can cover maximum number of farmers. The farmer will have to pay only 2 percent, only 2 percent, the government will take care of the rest.
Yes, Mr Prime Minister, if we pretend that the following two never happened: the NDA’s 1999 National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and the UPA’s 2013 National Crop Insurance Scheme (NCIS — which clubbed the 2010 modified NAIS, the 2007 Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme and the 2009 Coconut Palm Insurance Scheme). And the NCIS’ Hindi name has a familiar ring to it: the Rashtriya Fasal Bima Karyakram. The one time the UPA manages to institute a programme without a Gandhi name attached to it, Modi replaces “national” with “prime minister”.
The new insurance scheme is certainly an evolution over its predecessors: premium rates are lower (with the government subsidy and contingent liabilities correspondingly higher), and harvested crops are now covered nationally (earlier this only applied to coastal regions). First time after independence? I don’t think so.
We have brought in Soil Health Card. We have a Soil Health Abhiyan. The farmer will know the fertility of the land through it. Whether a fertilizer needs to be used or not, the farmer will understand. On an average, a farmer with 1 hectare of land will be able to save Rs 15,000-20,000. So we have brought in scientific methods.
Another unfortunate exaggeration. Soil health cards have been in use since 2003, and even the UPA issued around 2.8 crore cards in its final three years, bringing the total in circulation to around 6.8 crore (source here). Modi relaunched the scheme on 19 February, 2015, promising to issue 14 crore cards over the next three years, but progress has been slower than expected. The number of cards issued as on 28 June, 2016 is 2.1 crore, short of the required pace, albeit faster than what the UPA had achieved.
But before you break out your gau-champagne, one reason is that farms were earlier being individually tested. Soil samples are now being taken from 10-hectare (in rain-fed areas) or 2.5-hectare (in irrigated areas) zones, which in effect clubs several farms together. This has sped up the process of issuing soil health cards, but has made the results potentially less relevant to individual farmers.
Now like the initiative we have taken, we have started the Mudra Yojna. More than three crore people in the country comprise washermen, barbers, milkman, newspaper vendors, cart vendors. We have given them nearly 1.25 lakh crore rupees without any guarantee.
The Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank certainly sounds like a good idea. But there are literally dozens of financing schemes for micro-, small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs. The MUDRA Bank, currently a unit of the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), appears to be a supercharged version of SIDBI’s Credit Guarantee Scheme that over about a decade until 2014 had given Rs 76,650 crore in guarantees to 1.6 million small entrepreneurs (as this Business Standard article points out). And the wisdom of dishing credit out via “mega credit campaigns“, which used to be called “loan melas” in an earlier era, will only be known over time.
The bottom line: Mr Modi is overseeing a range of policy initiatives, many of which could well bear fruit. But as his good friend Barack once said: “You didn’t build that.”
An average of 400 persons die every day in road accidents in India with “faulty engineering” being a major cause, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday while admitting that not much has changed even after two years of “dedicated work and sincere efforts”.Releasing a report on road accidents in India in 2015, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways said he is “deeply pained” at the findings that show 17 deaths in 57 crashes per hour and over 54% of those getting killed being in the age group of 15-34 years.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Let people criticise us but I want to make the report public. Our two years of dedicated work and sincere efforts has resulted in not much change but we are committed to changing the scenario as I cannot allow this. My heart fills with immense pain,” he said.”This magnitude was not killed in wars, epidemic and militancy,” Gadkari told reporters while releasing the report.”Human sacrifices cannot be allowed. We have taken a slew of steps in the last two years to minimise this including launch of Pradhan Mantri Sadak Suraksha Yojana and earmarking 1% of the project cost for road safety that translates to Rs 5,000 crore on it,” he added.He said though the reports lists driver’s fault for 77.1% of the road accidents in 2015, “faulty road engineering” is one of the major causes.Gadkari also sought to blame the previous government, saying that the steps taken by the “UPA regime to economise construction cost has done away with several overbridges and underpasses on many crucial roads leading to high number of accidents at several places including on Delhi-Gurgaon stretch”.He said the government is confident of bringing down road fatalities by 50% in a year’s span through massive initiatives that include decision to construct 4-lane highways where the traffic is over 10,000 pcu (passenger car unit) as against previous specification of 25,000 pcu.
Union Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has boosted India’s image on the global stage and “stupendous” work is being done under his leadership for development of the country.Paswan heaped praise on Modi for his energetic style of working. “Modi means work and work means Modi,” Paswan, who is on a visit to Maharashtra as part of the NDA government’s public outreach programme, said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The union minister, who today addressed a public rally at Kolhapur, around 375km from here, as part of the programme, told PTI that the “image of India in the world has got a boost after this government came to power.””Stupendous” work is being done under Modi’s leadership for development of the country, he said.”Modiji has boosted image of the country around the world as can be seen from the overwhelming response to his foreign trips.”This is the golden era for Indian economy. It is the government’s policy to empower the poor, farmers and youth,” said Paswan, whose party is a key constituent of the BJP-led government at the Centre.Social welfare schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna have ushered in a change in the lives of common man, Paswan said.The NDA government, which last month completed two years in office, is encouraging Dalits and women to become entrepreneurs and providing necessary financial assistance in this regard, he said.This is a revolutionary step, the Minister added.The Union Food Minister said there has been a saving of Rs 1,0000 crore through a campaign against bogus ration cards.”Our ministry detected 1.62 crore bogus ration cards.” After the Modi government came to power, the quantum of finances to states and revenue sharing has increased, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid emphasis on generating a mass movement to conserve water, saying youth organisations like NCC should be involved to create water storage structures as he reviewed the drought and water scarcity situation in Jharkhand. Emphasizing the use of technology, the Prime Minister asked the state government to identify all water bodies through unique numbers and geo-tagging “The Prime Minister called for a mass movement to be generated for water conservation and rainwater harvesting in a comprehensive manner, and said youth organizations including NCC, NSS, NYKS, and Scouts and Guides should be involved in creation of water storage structures,” an official statement said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das along with senior state officials and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was also present during the high level meeting. The statement said that Rs 273 crore was released to Jharkhand as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16. “A further amount of Rs 143. 25 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17. The State has disbursed Rs 376 crore to 12 lakh farmers under State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF), through DBT. Insurance claims of Rs 53 crore were also settled through DBT,” the statement said. Observing that there is a need to generate a mass movement for soil health cards, Modi said that “mobilization, momentum and mechanism” are all required to make the soil health card programme a success. He said soil testing should be developed as a skill and loans can be given for setting up labs through MUDRA. “Emphasizing the use of technology, the Prime Minister called for reporting of assets created by MNREGA, through geo-tagging and uploading of photographs with hand-held devices. “All water bodies to be identified through unique numbers and geo-tagging,” he said. The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of regular monitoring of the progress towards implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. Jharkhand plans to double its irrigated area from 19 per cent to 40 per cent in the next two years. One lakh farm ponds are planned to be built under the state plan, and an additional five lakh farm ponds will be built under MNREGA. The State is promoting fishery in the water bodies.The Chief Minister informed that tenders for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana have been finalized in the State.
Congress on Monday created a storm in Parliament and disrupted proceedings over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charge at a poll rally that an Italian court had named Sonia Gandhi in AgustaWestland chopper bribery case.The Rajya Sabha saw four adjournments in the first two hours because of the continued uproar and sloganeering by Congress members, leading to washout of the Zero Hour and Question Hour. “Narendra Modi maafi mange. ‘Feku’ Mama maafi maange (Narendra Modi should apologise. Bluffmaster should apologise),” shouted members of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha, which failed to transact any business except one question during the Question Hour.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the Lok Sabha too, the issue generated heat soon after it assembled for the day with Congress members raising the matter. The Congress questioned how the Prime Minister could make such allegations when Defence Minister had not stated this in his reply to debates on the controversy in both the Houses last week.The opposition party wanted to know which court Modi was quoting. “Pradhan Mantri House mein aao (Prime Minister should come to the House)” and reply, Congress members chanted.In Rajya Sabha, they demanded an apology from the Prime Minister, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to first adjourn the proceedings of the House twice during Zero Hour, first for 10 minutes and then again till 1200 hours.Again when the House met at noon, Chairman Hamid Ansari’s pleas to allow the Question Hour to function did not evoke any positive response as the Congress members created pandemonium and raised slogans against the Prime Minister.At one point, an exasperated Ansari remarked: “It is not becoming of the House”. Do not do that. Allow the question hour to take place.”
With Uttar Pradesh hit by a severe drought, its Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday sought nearly Rs 11,000 crore from the Centre as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in the state and directed immediate assistance.Days after rejecting the Centre’s offer for a water train for Bundelkhand, Yadav sought financial assistance to buy 10,000 tankers to carry water to villages of parched region and other drought-hit districts of Uttar Pradesh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Centre and the state have to work together…farmers have faced the onslaught of both hail storm and drought…we want to increase the number of tankers to carry water to villagers,” Yadav told reporters after the hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister here.Under various heads, Yadav demanded nearly 11,000 crore from the Centre for drought relief. Asked why the state government had rejected offer to send water train to Bundelkhand, he said there is water in Bundelkhand but his government needs means to carry it to villages. “Can a train carry water to villages,” he questioned.At the meeting, Modi said the Centre and states have to work together to mitigate the problems faced by the people due to the drought, a PMO statement said. Yadav apprised Modi of the efforts undertaken for mitigation of problems faced by people because of drought conditions, it said.It was noted that the state has submitted a memorandum two days back for assistance for the Rabi 2015-16 season and the Prime Minister directed that the process be completed, and assistance be provided without delay, it said.The state shared the action plan for revival and restoration of 78,000 water-bodies including tanks, ponds, and farm ponds; one lakh new water-bodies and recharge structures. This is to be achieved by utilizing funds available in schemes such as MNREGA and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, the statement said.The meeting was told that an amount of Rs 934.32 crore has been released to the state under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), after adjustments of the state balances. This is in addition to Rs 506.25 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the state. A further amount of Rs. 265.87 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17.
Lauding the power of women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said usage of latest technology and community participation, particularly ‘Nari Shakti’ could play a key role in effective drought management.Pointing out of the “productive” meeting with Yadav, Prime Minister Modi said various drought mitigation measures undertaken in the state were discussed during the meeting.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Initiating the discussion, the Prime Minister stated that the Centre and states have to work together to mitigate the problems faced by the people due to the drought. He also called for focus on medium and long term solutions for drought-proofing. “CM @yadavakhilesh & I discussed the need to effectively utilise the period before monsoon for water recharge and conservation efforts,” he added.The need to change cropping patterns based on scientific advice, use of drip and sprinkler irrigation, and fertigation for increasing water use efficiency, community participation, especially women, for better water management, was stressed. The Prime Minister also called for treated urban waste water to be used for farming in the adjoining areas. He mentioned the need to monitor delivery of water through tankers in the affected areas, using technology such as GPS.The meeting also discussed how best the period before the upcoming monsoon can be utilized for water conservation and recharge efforts. This includes efforts at desilting, recharging of rivers, check dams and other water storage mechanisms. The Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister of efforts undertaken for mitigation of problems faced by people because of drought conditions. These include provision of drinking water, food to the needy in Bundelkhand, employment, water and fodder for cattle, and efforts for long and medium term solutions.He further said that the State has undertaken preparatory steps to implement the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in right earnest. The state shared the action plan for revival and restoration of 78,000 water-bodies including tanks, ponds, and farm ponds; one lakh new water-bodies and recharge structures. This will be achieved by utilizing funds available in schemes such as MNREGA and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.An amount of Rs 934.32 crore has been released to the State under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), after adjustments of the State balances. This is in addition to Rs 506.25 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the State. A further amount of Rs 265.87 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17.The state has submitted a fresh memorandum on May 5, 2016 for assistance for the Rabi 2015-16 season. The Prime Minister directed that the process be completed, and assistance be provided without delay. The NITI Aayog also outlined the steps taken already for the release of funds under the Bundelkhand package.The Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister for this meeting, which he said was a welcome development, given the acute problems being faced by people on account of water shortage, especially in the Bundelkhand region. The meeting ended with a resolve on the part of the Centre and State to work together.In a marathon meet, Prime Minister Modi will also meet the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Karnataka in New Delhi for discussions on drought and water scarcity situation which has hit these states badly. The Chief Ministers of the drought-hit states are meeting the Prime Minister separately. The ministers and officials of concerned Ministries are present at the meeting.Apart from taking stock of the situation, Prime Minister Modi will also review steps taken by the states to address drought-related problems. He will also seek details of progress of relief work in the meeting with the Chief Ministers.Several states have raised issues like construction of farm ponds, community ponds, check dams and demanded early release of funds to take up the water harvesting measures on a priority basis. Earlier, in a letter to the Chief Secretaries of the states, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha had asked them to take full advantage of the upcoming monsoon session to conserve the water that would be received as rainfall during this period.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a ride in an e-rickshaw at a function in Varanasi’s DLW ground, where he later distributed 1,000 such rickshaws to people in his Lok Sabha constituency.During a hectic day in his Lok Sabha constituency, the Prime Minister also met prominent citizens of the city at the guest house of Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), after he launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojna (PMUY) at BalliaWatch the video here:<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the launch of PMUY, the Prime Minister said that he chose Ballia to launch the scheme because the number of LPG’s connections in Uttar Pradesh is lowest in this district.Prime Minister Modi will now head to Assi ghat on river Ganga, where he will launch environment-friendly solar powered ‘E-Boats’. E-boats will not only reduce pollution, but will also bring down the operational costs, thereby enabling higher incomes for those who earn their livelihoods through such boats on the River Ganga.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a Rs 8,000 crore scheme to provide 5 crore free LPG connections to poor families as he attacked previous governments for just paying lip service to reducing poverty. Calling himself ‘Shramik No.1’ (Worker No.1), he listed out initiatives taken by his government for the welfare of labourers.Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala YojanThe launch coincided with May Day and Modi attacked previous governments for doing little for the poor. “Policies made by previous governments were not keeping in mind the welfare of poor but only ballot boxes,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Poverty, he said, can be eradicated only if poor are empowered, given resources and opportunities as well as education, jobs, houses, drinking water and electricity. He questioned the policies pursued by the previous government for poverty eradication, saying poverty has only increased during past years.”We are working to fight poverty,” he said, adding that under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, free LPG connections will be provided in name of women members of BPL households. In the first year, 1.5 crore such connections will be released and the target of 5 crore will be completed in three years, he said, comparing it to the just 13 crore LPG connections provided in 60 years of independence. “In my first speech in Central Hall of Parliament after BJP government came to power (in 2014), I had said my government is dedicated to poor.”Whatever this government does will be for the benefit of the poor and for the welfare of poor,” he said as he listed out various labour-friendly initiatives, including raising minimum pension to Rs 1,000 and introduction of labour identification number (LIN). Also, the maximum wage that entitles bonus to workers has been raised to Rs 21,000 from Rs 10,000 per month previously, while the bonus limit too has been doubled to Rs 7,000.Provident fund (PF) portability has been provided to help utilise the Rs 27,000 crore of retirement benefits lying unused because of workers changing jobs or cities.The Prime Minister said that his visit to Ballia to launch the Ujjwal Yojana had nothing to do with the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh due next year. “We have not come here to sound the poll bugle. That is for the people to do,” he said. Modi said he had visited Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh to announce such schemes where no elections were to be held. “I went to Haryana to launch the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ scheme …. as the male-female ratio there had dipped,” he said. “I chose Ballia to launch the Ujjwala Yojana because there were very few people with gas connection here. Eight out of 100 families have gas connection here,” he said, adding that the eastern part of India — from eastern UP and Bihar to Assam, the northeast, West Bengal and Odisha, has to be developed to root out poverty from the country. Modi said earlier the MPs used to get 25 gas connection coupons to be distributed in their constituencies each year and there were reports that some used to sell these coupons. “But, now I want to provide gas connections to five crore families by 2019 when we would celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,” the Prime Minister said.Labour LawMaintaining that 1.10 crore families have given up LPG subsidies, he said in all these years, only 13 crore families across the country had gas connection and added that his government has given three crore connections in one year itself. Modi said his government has made several changes in the labour laws and labour relations to provide social security to millions of workers across the country. He said the minimum guaranteed pension now has risen to Rs 1,000 per month, compared to a meagre Rs 15 or Rs 100 earlier. Similarly, positive changes have been made in laws or rules relating to bonus and provident fund, he said.Labour laws have been rationalised and a Labour Identity Number is now being given to the workers to ensure their social security, besides insurance, healthcare and pension to construction workers, the Prime Minister said On March 27, Modi had officially launched the ‘Give-it-Up’ campaign, urging the well-off to surrender their LPG subsidy so that it can be given to the needy. The aim is also to bring down the country’s dependence on energy imports by 10 per cent by 2022. “Responding to the call, 1.10 crore people have given up their subsidies,” he said.Subsidy surrendered will be used to provide free LPG connection to BPL families. Consumers are currently entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2 kg each or 34 bottles of 5 kg each in a year at subsidised rates. A subsidised 14.2-kg cylinder is currently available at Rs 419.15 per bottle in Delhi while the 5-kg pack costs Rs 155.Using LPG Market-priced LPG is available at Rs 509.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder. Giving up subsidised LPG will help cut the government’s subsidy bill, which was at Rs 30,000 crore for the fuel last fiscal.Nearly Rs 5,000 crore of subsidy saved through the campaign is being used to provide LPG connection to the poor. “We have released 60 lakh new connection to poor in the last one year,” he said.Under the scheme launched today, a financial support of Rs 1,600 for each LPG connection will be provided to the BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the state governments and the Union Territories.The country currently has 16.64 crore active LPG consumers.Stating that LPG coverage is being increased, he said there are serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuels. According to WHO estimates, about 5 lakh deaths occur in India alone due to unclean cooking fuels. Experts say having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.Providing LPG connections to BPL households will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country and this will empower women and protect their health, he said.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in his Budget for 2016-17 provided Rs 2,000 crore to provide deposit free LPG connections to 1.5 crore women belonging to BPL families. Further, the Budget announced that the scheme will be continued for two more years to cover 5 crore households.
Farmers may soon get insurance cover for crop damages caused by elephant raids and migration under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. The Union environment ministry is in talks with the agriculture ministry on the issue, and is expected to soon move an official proposal on the issue. Union environment, forest and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar has agreed to the proposal in-principle, senior officials from the ministry said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana provides for insurance cover against crop loss caused by natural calamities. Farmers have to pay 2% premium for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops while in the case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, 5% premium has to be paid.According to the last official estimation study, there are more than 30,000 elephants in the country across 16 states with high concentration in north-eastern states and southern states. Elephants cover large distances in herds and they raid croplands for food or cross through them during migrations, causing major crop damages and financial losses to farmers.Obstruction of the natural migratory path of elephants, fragmentation of elephant corridors due to human interference and lack of legal protection for elephant corridors are some of the chief causes of elephants raiding crops or entering habitation, ministry officials said.”Crop raiding by elephants happens frequently in north-eastern states, eastern states and southern states. From forested areas, elephants are known to migrate long distances through human habitations and croplands. This often happens at night and thus curbing crop damage is extremely difficult,” said a senior official from environment ministry.As per official data, in 2014-15 alone, Rs 34.5 crore worth compensation was paid for crop damages due to elephants by Centre and State agencies. In 2013-14 and 2012-13 the compensation paid was Rs30 crore and Rs34 crore respectively. Apart from the crop damages, human-elephant conflict also claims nearly 400 people and more than 100 elephants each year.The central-eastern landscape sees some of the worst cases of crop damages and human-elephant conflict across Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. According to environment ministry data, Odisha sees average crop damage of 14,097 acres, Chhattisgarh has sees 12,230 acres of average crop damage per year while in West Bengal it is 2500-3000 acres of average crop damage per year.
Depositors queued up in front of the office of Maple Group in Pune as the firm, accused of misleading people to promote its low-cost housing scheme, started refunding money following registration of a case for cheating.The people, mainly from low income groups, lined up to recover Rs 1,145, which they paid for registration for the one-bedroom flats priced at Rs 5 lakh each in the advertisement. The firm on Wednesday apologised for the “confusion and inconvenience” caused to people through its advertisements.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maple Group had recently published advertisements promising a one-bedroom, hall, kitchen (1 BHK) flat for just Rs 5 lakh on the outskirts of Pune.The advertisement carried pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, apparently to “mislead” people into believing the project, titled ‘Maharashtra Housing Day’, was a part of Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (PMAY).The firm, headed by Sachin Agarwal, deployed bouncers to deal with restive depositors who expressed their resentment at the government’s “negligence in allowing” the builder to roll out the dubious scheme.Around 20,000 people had enrolled for the scheme that was to carry out registrations till May 1, Investigating officer of Economic Offences Wing Dipak Sakore said, adding, “Around 1,200 people reclaimed their money today.”Booking was done both online and physically. The promoters could face arrest depending on the evidence collected in the case, he said.Bapat is being targeted by the opposition parties over the dubious scheme. Congress, NCP and MNS have demanded his resignation alleging that the firm indulged in the “fraud” with his blessings. Bapat has already denied the charge, saying he never had any personal contact or meeting with Agarwal and the government has taken a swift action in freezing accounts of the firm, initiating police action and ensuring refund of people’s money.
The Economic Offences Wing on Wednesday said close to 20,000 prospective buyers seem to have registered in Maple Group’s controversial project which promised one-bedroom flats for Rs five lakh, a day after a case of cheating was registered against senior executives of the firm.The EOW appealed people, who have registered with the housing project by believing in “misleading” advertisements, to come forward and lodge their grievances with the agency. The case of cheating and criminal conspiracy against Maple Group’s CMD Sachin Agarwal, MD Naven Agarwal, Sales Manager Priyanka Agarwal and other office staff lodged by police yesterday has been transferred to EOW.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Prima-facie, approximately 20,000 prospective buyers have registered in the housing project and around Rs 6 lakh were found deposited in one of the accounts of Maple Group, which could have been deposited through online payments by people,” said Deepak Sakore, Deputy Commissioner of Police (EOW), who is monitoring the probe.Appealing to the people who have registered and paid non-refundable amount over Rs 1145 in the low-cost housing project, to come forward, Sakore said, “We will help them to get their money back.”To a query when the accused will be arrested, he said notices have been issued to them to be present for inquiry.”We are in the process of scrutinising the documents and trying to ascertain the exact number of buyers, who have registered in the scheme. We have also made sure there will not be any registration henceforth,” the officer said.Maple Group had recently published advertisements to promote its scheme promising a one-bedroom, hall, kitchen (1 BHK) flat for just Rs 5,00,000 on the outskirts of city.The developers carried pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat in newspaper advertisements, apparently to “mislead” people into believing the project, titled ‘Maharashtra Housing Day’, was a part of ‘Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana’.The government has already clarified the project was not linked in any manner with the schemes of the Central or state government and directed the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to take legal and criminal action in this regard.
Taking suo-moto action in the city- based Maple Group’s “misleading” newspaper advertisements of a cheap housing scheme, police on Tuesday registered a case of cheating against three senior executives of the construction firm and other staff members.The Maple Group had recently published advertisements to promote its scheme promising a one-bedroom-hall kitchen flat for just Rs 5,00,000 on the outskirts of Pune.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After the state government issued a notice to the Maple Group, we had also shot off a letter to the developer and sought credentials of the project. However, we did not get any reply, which prompted us to lodge a complaint against the group suo-moto,” said Tushar Doshi, Deputy Commissioner of police.The case has been registered under 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 417 (cheating), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of IPC against group’s CMD Sachin Agarwal, MD Navin Agarwal, Sales Manager Priyanka Agarwal and other officials.Doshi said that in their probe so far, they have found that the advertisements, carrying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat in newspaper advertisement while announcing their housing project titled ‘Maharashtra Housing Day’ were “misleading and false” in nature.”Since, the scheme looked fishy, we decided to take suo- moto action in this connection and a case was today registered in this regard,” he said.The complaint, filed at Shivajinagar police station, said, “Through the misleading advertisement in the newspapers, the suspects tried to cheat people by promising apartments at Rs 5 lakh and collected non refundable amount.” Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and Mission Director of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) have already issued a notice to the group and asked them to withdraw the controversial advertisements, stop collection of money from people and refund it to the people from whom the money has been collected.The advertisements gave an impression that it was a part of Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana. However, the state government yesterday clarified that Maple Group’s project was not linked in any manner with the Central or state government schemes.
New Delhi: Government has roped in cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar to endorse the ‘I Support Skill India’ campaign, in an attempt to reach out to the youth and build awareness on the importance of skill development.
“Sachin is one of the greatest Indian stories of our times and someone who resonates the best with skills. He is a true global icon and brand that disrupted the game of cricket through his skill sets and inspired generations,” Minister of State (independent charge) Skill and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy said in a release.
“It is imperative that we build respect for skills and that is exactly the idea behind our new campaign. Our new campaign is a step towards sensitising society and achieving our mandate of creating a skilled India.”
The campaign of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is an endeavour to galvanise stakeholders across states, organisations and industries to bring value and respect to skills and standardise the ecosystem to meet human resource requirements nationally and
Elaborating on the relevance of skills and his association with Skill India, Tendulkar stated, “When I was approached for endorsing Skill India, I realised that it is an important component in one’s personal growth that needs to be valued and mastered.
The all-time great added: “We are a young nation and we have the potential in us. We just need to learn a skill that is driven by our passion and turn it into an opportunity for us. Skill India is a big opportunity extended to all. We should avail of it to its best.”
Secretary in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rohit Nandan said: “It was found during our skill development efforts across the country that while capacity for trained labour was increasing, the aspiration among the young people to join a skill development programme was lacking.”
Nandan stressed on use of a communication methodology to reach out to the young and the skills certificate that would lead to a career progression.
The ministry’s target is to skill 40.2 crore youth by 2022. It has also introduced its flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the world’s largest monetary reward scheme promoting skill development to those who need financial support.
It is a reality that low compensation paid to calamity-hit farmers was leading some of them to commit suicide, the Supreme Court observed on Wednesday.”This is a reality. It needs to be corrected. It’s not against one government or other government. The central government always says they are doing good things but some people are committing suicide, we all know that,” a bench headed by Justice MB Lokur said. The bench, also comprising Justice NV Ramana, made the observation while examining various aspects of relief given to drought-hit farmers during the hearing on a PIL which seeks urgent implementation of guidelines for areas hit by natural calamity.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, who refuted the allegations on behalf of the Centre, said there was no “arbitrariness” in deciding compensation for crop losses. “There is no arbitrariness and the Centre has framed guidelines for distribution of compensation to the drought-hit farmers,” she said.Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for petitioner NGO Swaraj Abhiyan alleged arbitrariness on the part of the patwaris (officials who maintain land records) in calculating the compensation for the crop loss.Psephologist and political activist Yogendra Yadav, a key functionary of the NGO, informed the court that there are instances where two brothers having adjoining land with same dimensions and having suffered similar crop loss due to a natural calamity, getting differential compensation.While one brother gets Rs 16,000 as compensation, the other gets a meager Rs 160 for the same kind of loss, he claimed.The recently-launched flagship scheme of the NDA government ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’ also came up for discussion, with the bench asking the petitioner whether it could be relevant in such a situation and whether it could be beneficial to the farmers hit by drought. Bhushan said in Chhattisgarh, a similar scheme was launched but alleged that it appeared to him as a big scam as farmers were not given the benefit.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for raising farm income through diversification in farming activities and urged all stakeholders, including states, to take a resolve to double the income of farmers by 2022.
Addressing farmers at the Krishi Unnati Mela, he said the task of doubling farm income may be challenging but was a worthy objective.
Calling to “raise farm incomes through diversification in farming activities”, he said farmers could also opt for timber plantation along the edges of their fields and begin animal husbandry.
Diversification in farming activity will reduce the risk associated with agriculture, he added.
Modi said India’s future had to be built on the growth of agriculture and prosperity of its farmers and its villages and the union budget presented last month would have a far-reaching impact on these sectors.
He said the next revolution in Indian agriculture had to be built on technology and modernisation and the eastern part of India had the maximum potential to achieve it.
“The government is working towards this goal,” he said.
Modi said reduction of input costs was the first element towards raising farm incomes and said the Soil Health Card scheme, and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana were steps in this direction.
Modi also explained the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, and said it had been evolved after wide ranging consultations. He said the scheme was characterized by minimum premium and maximum security.
On the occasion, the prime minister gave away the Krishi Karman Awards for 2014-15 to states and farmers.
He also launched a mobile app “Kisan Suvidha” for farmers.
The mobile app will provide information to farmers on subjects such as weather, market prices, seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and agriculture machinery.
Bureaucrats from both the Centre and states will be conferred Prime Minister’s award for excellence in implementing NDA government’s priority programmes like ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana’.The awards will be presented to the officers on April 21, observed as Civil Services’ Day, for their contribution to effective implementation of the government’s key initiatives.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The central government usually gives away “Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration” on the Civil Services Day.The award, which carries a citation and cash prize, is to recognise and reward the extraordinary and innovative works done by officers of the central and state governments. All officers of central and state governments, individually or as a group or as organisations are eligible for consideration.However, from this year onwards, the civil servants will get Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Implementation of Priority Programme–Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin), Swachh Vidyalaya, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Soil Health Card.Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh said it is necessary to encourage bureaucrats doing good work as the effective implementation of the government’s key initiatives by them is essential for good governance.”All programmes like Clean India Mission, especially for rural areas, Jan Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion and Clean Schools are very important to ensure welfare of common people and country. That is why bureaucrats are being encouraged to ensure their effective implementation and their good work can be awarded.”Their way of implementing these programmes can also act as guidance for other states and union territories to implement other pro-people measures,” he told PTI.Singh said the government is taking various measures to ensure maximum governance. “We are encouraging bureaucrats to try innovative ideas by use of information technology to ensure that benefits of social welfare schemes and other economic measures reach even poorest of the poor man,” the Minister said.The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin) is to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas, by promoting cleanliness, hygiene and eliminating open defecation in rural areas.Whereas, Swachh Vidyalaya mission is aimed at ensuring separate toilets in every school for boys and girls. The objective of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is to provide weaker sections and low income groups access to various financial services like savings bank account, need based credit, remittances facility, insurance and pension.The Soil Health Card scheme is meant to give each farmer the soil nutrient status of his holding and advise him on the dosage of fertilisers, besides information on soil modification for long-term improved soil health.
A day after the Union Budget was announced in Parliament, the ministers for agriculture and for rural development championed what they called the pro-farmer and pro-poor budget without being able to specifically detail plans to implement the allocations. The Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has an allocation of Rs. 44485 crore and the Ministry of Rural Development has that of Rs. 87765 crore.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As Birender Singh, minister for rural development said, this social sector combined has received almost one and a half lakh crore, an increase from last year.Both Birender Singh, and Radha Mohan Singh, the minister for agriculture, in their respective press conferences, paid special attention to the allocation for MNREGA (Rs. 38500) and to the perceived success of the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana. Birender Singh said that the adding to the 100 working days, the government would be providing skill training to workers for their upward mobility.As he repeatedly said, the point was to bring all the facilities of a city to a village to bring about a “qualitative change and sustainable livelihood” in rural Indian lives. He said the push was to increase “production capabilities” and also strengthen the populace’s buying capacity, which in turn would strengthen the manufacturing sector, so as to make up for shrinking exports.The minister stressed on increasing the income, especially of farmers, which has to be doubled by 2022 according to the budget. The grameen sadak yojana has been allocated Rs. 19000 crore, which Radha Mohan Singh called double the amount from last year, and by 2019 the remaining “65000 eligible villages will be linked with the road”.Mohan Singh also promised 100 percent rural electrification by May 2018. Irrigation was stressed on. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana targets 28.5 lakh hectares to be brought under irrigation with a sum of Rs 5717 crore allocated. However, as agriculturist Devender Sharma told dna, there is no such paradigm shift in this years budget.The increase in farmers’ income is a paltry sum considering it is currently only approximately Rs. 1600 a month. Double the income five years later would still be a very small amount of money. Also, “why should the farmer have to wait for five years for this increase?” asked Sharma.He added that if the solution to a farmer’s woes was to bring a city’s facilities to his village — roads through the grameen sadak yojana, irrigation through the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, electricity — then why government employees in the city being given an income increase through the Seventh Pay Commission.The problem, Sharma said, lay in lack of income security of farmers, which Jaitley spoke about in Parliament on Monday, and called a major challenge when presenting the union budget last year for 2015-16. However, Sharma said, nothing was actually happening for income security, as the budget did not even talk about Minimum Support Price (MSP), despite 50 percent profit margins over cost of production promised in the BJP’s election manifesto.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the Budget is pro-village, poor and farmers with focus on bringing about qualitative change in the country and alleviate poverty through a slew of time-bound programmes.Commenting on the Budget 2016-17, he said special attention has been paid to agriculture, village infrastructure, healthcare, employment generation and Dalit entrepreneurship.”This Budget is pro-village, pro-poor, pro-farmer. The main focus is to bringing about qualitative change in the country,” Modi said, adding “there will be a big change in the lives of common people.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the Budget has laid a roadmap to alleviate poverty in a time-bound manner.Also read: Budget 2016: Income tax slabs unchanged; relief for small tax payers, first time home buyers from Jaitley”Several steps have been taken for the farmers. The most important is Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana,” he said.Noting that electricity and roads are crucial for villages, the Prime Minister said by 2019, all villages of the country will be connected by roads, while all of them will be electrified by 2018.For MNREGA, there has been the biggest allocation, he said.Talking about housing, Modi said every poor man dreams of owning a house and efforts will be made to strengthen this sector to ensure that the poor people realise their dreams.At the same time, exemptions have been given to those living in rented accommodations, he noted.
Opposition on Thursday accused the NDA government of repackaging the schemes of the UPA regime and cutting down the allocations for schemes for farmers and poors while the ruling side insisted that India has emerged as the bright spot in the global economy.Leading the opposition attack, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers are working under the influence of RSS and there was a huge difference between their policies and intentions.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking on the Motion of Thanks to President’s address, Kharge said the people who surround the Prime Minister won’t let him go too far. Responding to the opposition’s charge, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said “we are proud of RSS” and its capacity, capability and devotion to this nation. He said because of the steps taken by the NDA government, India, according to IMF chief, is now among the few bright spots in global economy and is an island of hope.Responding to Kharge’s charge that eight government schemes are named after Prime Minister, Naidu said the Prime Minister is an institution and that one of the books had mentioned that 618 schemes in the country were named after one family. He said Modi will not the run the country for another 25 years but the institution of Prime Minister will be there.”The people of India gave mandate to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “he said adding opposition should not obstruct functioning of Parliament or derail the bills. He said India’s reputation in the world has been going up after Modi visited 32 countries in a short period of time.The Prime Minister will also take up the issue of supply of F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan, Naidu said. He was responding to the questions by opposition as to why Modi has not taken up the issue of F-16 fighter planes with US President Barack Obama even though he talks to him.Naidu said India is growing faster than China and has improved its ranking by 12 points in the ease of doing business. Naidu further said the economy has shown significant improvement with inflation coming down, fiscal and current account deficit under control and government announcing host of schemes for the welfare of poor.Refuting the charge that Prime Minister is interfering with the functioning of ministers, he said as head of the government he has the right to advise his ministers. He said unlike the past government “where the Prime Minister presides and ‘Madam’ decides, (Now) Prime Minister presides and decides”.Earlier Kharge said the President’s address had failed to focus on woman, farmers, poor, workers, dalits and adivasis and that there was a need to change the thought process to build a strong and far-sighted India.The Congress leader said the schemes — Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Swasthya Bima Yojana, Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, Krishi Sinchai Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana — are all repackaged versions of the UPA government’s schemes.”You are trying to divert the attention of the government, this tactics will not work for long,” he said.Kharge said although the government keeps on saying that no work was done by the UPA, its own chief economic advisor had said that proverty reduction has been the fastest between 2005 and 2012. He further said as many as 3 crore people come out of the poverty line in eight years during the UPA rule.Kharge also said that Modi had once criticised the MGNREGA rural employment scheme of the UPA government. Modi was present in the House when Kharge was speaking.”There is a heavy influence of RSS on you. This is fine for BJP and Pracharaks, but not good for the Prime Minister. There are different medicines for different diseases. RSS has never thought about poor,” Kharge said.P Nagarajan (AIADMK) said the central government should provide subsidised food to the poor as was being done by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. He also demanded that the Central government should transfer funds directly into the accounts of poor affected by Chennai floods.Nagarajan said center should also expeditously release the funds for construction of houses for poor affected by the floods.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who would release operational guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna at Sherpur village in the neighbouring Sehore district tomorrow.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan along with top officials yesterday visited Sherpur and personally monitored preparations to make the visit “historic”. The visit assumes more importance as BJP on Tuesday won the Maihar by-poll for the second time in the history with more than 28,000 votes. Chouhan, on behalf of farmers will felicitate Modi as “Kisan Mitra” for launching Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna, Soil Health Card Scheme, National Agriculture Market scheme, relaxing rules for awarding compensation and for launching Kisan Channel, Agriculture department’s principal secretary, Dr Rajesh Rajora told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the occasion, Modi will also distribute soil health cards and compensation to three farmers each as a token. He will also handover the trophy of ‘Krishi Karman Award’ for 2013-14 to Chouhan as he was unable to receive it at a ceremony in Rajasthan. “Madhya Pradesh has processed claims worth Rs 4,300 crore of nearly 20 lakh farmers – largest by any state in the country so far under the existing crop insurance scheme — whose crops were damaged due to various reasons,” he said.According to an official release, the Prime Minister is likely to arrive at Bhopal’s Raja Bhoj Airport 12.55 PM and will leave for Sherpur in a helicopter and reach there at 1.30 PM. Modi will visit Kisan Kalyan Mela at Sherpur and after taking part in the felicitation programme by farmers, he will leave from helipad at 2.45 PM for Bhopal from where he will leave for Delhi at 3.10 PM, it said.State government has designated Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Uma Shankar Gupta and Revenue Minister, Rampal Singh as Minister-in-Waiting for the visit. Gupta will be present at the airport to receive the PM while Singh will welcome Modi at Sherpur helipad, it said.Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the high-profile visit with Sehore by-pass remaining out of bound for Indore-Bhopal commuters, a senior police official said.
During his nearly two-hour meeting with various morchas of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the need to take the government’s pro-poor and pro-farmers schemes to the villages.The Prime Minister, who listened most of the time, told the morchas at the meeting on Sunday to involve themselves in creating awareness about social welfare schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme), sources said. He also sounded a note of caution to refrain from making controversial statements.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi himself is taking the lead in spreading the message about the crop insurance scheme by holding farmers rallies this month in four states — Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Barring Odisha, where he will address the rally in Bargarh on February, the venues in the other states are yet to be finalised, a BJP leader said. The last rally will be in UP on February 28, a day before the presentation of the budget.Facing Opposition allegations of being “anti-farmer” and “pro-corporate”, the BJP views the crop insurance scheme as a “game-changer”. A party leader said it will not only bring the scheme into focus but also galvanise the cadre. The government is targeting at least 50 per cent farmers to join the scheme.The government had come under attack for the changes it proposed in the land acquisition bill, which has been put on the backburner.Meanwhile, Modi, in his recent meetings with his council of ministers, or in speeches at various events has been emphasising on the government’s concern for the poor, dalits and farmers. In his latest “Mann ki baat”, Modi had spoken of the need to get farmers to join the crop insurance scheme.In Chennai on Tuesday, Modi accused the Opposition of instigating the dalits against the government and said his regime was working for the uplift of dalits and downtrodden. He made it clear that there was no question of doing away with reservation for dalits.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s trips to Hyderabad University after dalit student Rohith Vemula’s suicide was seen by the BJP as an attempt to play politics.As the BJP starts gearing up for the crucial UP election, party chief Amit Shah is expected to go to Bahraich to pay home to Raja Suhaldev, an 11th century king of the Passi community, a dalit sub-caste.
Asserting that natural calamity is the biggest disaster for the farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that his government aimed at bringing 50 percent of the farmers under the ambit of the National Crop Insurance scheme. Addressing the nation in the 16th edition of his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, Prime Minister Modi said, “Let us integrate as many farmers as possible with the crop insurance scheme.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Indian Government has given a wonderful gift to the farmers in 2016, i.e. ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’. Can we pledge to bring 50 percent of the farmers to the scheme in the next two years?” he added.The Union Cabinet had earlier this month approved the ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’ for farmers’ welfare. As per this scheme, there will be a uniform premium of only two percent to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5 percent for all Rabi crops. In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only five percent.The premium rates to be paid by the farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the government to provide full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.The new Crop Insurance Scheme, which is in line with ‘One Nation, One Scheme’ theme, incorporates the best features of all previous schemes.
Aadhaar can be used for authentication, eKYC, seeding with other databases, elimination of ghost beneficiaries and de-duplication. It will also help stop pilferage and ensure targeted delivery of pensions and social security transfers. The Supreme Court has extended the voluntary use of the Aadhaar card to the MGNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes apart from the public distribution system and LPG subsidy.
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