- AGRICULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
- SOVEREIGN GOLD BOND SCHEME
- SAANSAD AADARSH GRAM YOJANA
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF YOGA AND MEDITATION PROGRAMME
AGRICULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
Focus: GS III- Agriculture
Why in News?
Government of India has launched the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) to boost Agriculture Infrastructure relating to Post-Harvest Management (PHM) and Community Farming Assets in the country.
- Under this scheme financing facility of ₹1 lakh crore is to be disbursed by banks/lending institutions as loans to eligible beneficiaries.
- This financing facility will help APMCs to upgrade their infrastructure, which will ultimately benefit the farmers.
About Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:
- It is a central sector scheme.
- It is a part of the over Rs. 20 lakh crore stimulus package announced in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
- Objective: To mobilize a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support in order to improve agriculture infrastructure in the country.
- The scheme provide financial assistance in the form of interest subvention and credit guarantee for setting Post Harvest Management (PHM) projects which will help better post harvest management and reduction in wastage
- The funds will be provided for setting up of cold stores and chains, warehousing, silos, assaying, grading and packaging units, e-marketing points linked to e-trading platforms and ripening chambers, besides PPP projects for crop aggregation sponsored by central/state/local bodies.
- Duration: Financial Year 2020 to 2029.
- Financial Support: Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), Self Help Group (SHG), Farmers, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs and Central/State agencies or Local Bodies sponsored by Public Private Partnership Projects.
- Loans will be disbursed in four years starting with sanction of Rs. 10,000 crore in the current year and Rs. 30,000 crore each in next three financial years.
- Moratorium for repayment may vary subject to minimum of 6 months and maximum of 2 years.
- Interest Subvention: Loans will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crore. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years.
- Farmer Producer Organizations: In case of FPOs the credit guarantee may be availed from the facility created under FPO promotion scheme.
- Management: The fund will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform. It will enable all the qualified entities to apply for loan under the Fund.
- The National, State and District level monitoring committees will be set up to ensure real-time monitoring and effective feed-back.
SOVEREIGN GOLD BOND SCHEME
Focus: GS III- Indian Economy
Why in News?
Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2021-22–Series-V- Issue price-published by RBI.
- The issue price of the Bond during the subscription period shall be Rs 4,790 (Rupees Four thousand Seven hundred ninety only) – per gram, as also published by RBI in their Press Release dated August 06, 2021.
About Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme (SGB)
- The Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme was introduced in the Union Budget 2015-16.
- Its aim is to reduce the demand for physical gold and with an aim to invest a part of these physicals gold bars and coins that are purchased every year into financial savings in the form of gold bonds.
- Investors have to pay the issue price in cash and the bonds will be redeemed in cash on maturity.
- The Bond is issued by Reserve Bank on behalf of Government of India.
- Government introduced these bonds to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports.
- The move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.
- The bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities, including individuals, Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs), trusts, universities and charitable institutions.
- The bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
- The tenor will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from the 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
- The minimum permissible investment limit will be 1 gram of gold, while the maximum limit will be 4 kg for individual, 4 kg for HUF and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the government from time to time.
- In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 4 kg will be applied to the first applicant only.
- Bonds can be used as collateral for loans.
- The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
Benefits of Sovereign Gold Bond
- As a low-risk investment, it is perfect for investors with low-risk appetite.
- Compared to physical gold, the cost to purchase or sell SGBs is quite low.
- The expense of buying or selling the SGB is also nominal in comparison to the physical gold.
- The gold bonds can be availed either in paper or in demat form as per the convenience of an individual.
- The gold bonds invested by the Investors can be gifted or transferred to others who are eligible under the scheme.
- They can also trade these bonds on stock exchanges subject to notifications of the Reserve Bank of India.
- These Gold bonds can be purchased through multiple payment modes such as cheques, cash, DDs or electronic transfer.
Focus: GS III- Indian Economy
Why in News?
Prime Minister on August 2nd launched digital payment solution e-RUPI, a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment.
- The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which oversees the digital payments ecosystem in India, has launched e-RUPI, a voucher-based payments system to promote cashless transactions.
- e-RUPI is basically a digital voucher which a beneficiary gets on his phone in the form of an SMS or QR code.
- It is a pre-paid voucher, which he/she can go and redeem it at any centre that accepts its.
- Thus e-RUPI is a one time contactless, cashless voucher-based mode of payment that helps users redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app, or internet banking access.
- e-RUPI should not be confused with Digital Currency which the Reserve Bank of India is contemplating. Instead e-RUPI is a person specific, even purpose specific digital voucher.
- e-RUPI will connect the sponsors of the services with the beneficiaries and service providers in a digital manner without any physical interface.
- e-RUPI is expected to play a major role in strengthening Direct-Benefit Transfer and making it more transparent. Since, there is no need for physical issuance of vouchers, it will also lead to some cost savings as well.
- It has been developed in collaboration with the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and National Health Authority.
For example, if the Government wants to cover a particular treatment of an employee in a specified hospital, it can issue an e-RUPI voucher for the determined amount through a partner bank.
The employee will receive an SMS or a QR Code on his feature phone / smart phone.
He/she can go to the specified hospital, avail of the services and pay through the e-RUPI voucher received on his phone.
- e-RUPI does not require the beneficiary to have a bank account, a major distinguishing feature as compared to other digital payment forms.
- It ensures an easy, contactless two-step redemption process that does not require sharing of personal details either.
- Another advantage is that e-RUPI is operable on basic phones also, and hence it can be used by persons who do not own smart-phones or in places that lack internet connection.
Which Banks issue e-RUPI ?
- NPCI has partnered with 11 banks for e-RUPI transactions.
- They are Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India and Union Bank of India.
- The acquiring Apps are Bharat Pe, BHIM Baroda Merchant Pay, Pine Labs, PNB Merchant Pay and YoNo SBI Merchant Pay.
- More banks and acquiring Apps are expected to join the e-RUPI initiative soon.
SAANSAD AADARSH GRAM YOJANA
Focus: GS II- Welfare schemes
About Saansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana:
- Saansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana is a rural development programme broadly focusing upon the development in the villages which includes social development, cultural development and spread motivation among the people on social mobilization of the village community.
- The programme was launched on the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, on 11 October 2014.
- Under this project each Member of Parliament (MP) owned the responsibility to develop the institutional and physical infrastructure in three villages by 2019.
- The scheme aims to develop five ‘Adarsh Villages’ or ‘Model Villages’ by 2024
The goal of Saansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) is to translate this comprehensive and organic vision of Mahatma Gandhi into reality, keeping in view the present context.
Main objectives of SAGY
- To trigger processes which lead to holistic development of the identified Gram Panchayats
- To substantially improve the standard of living and quality of life of all sections of the population through
- improved basic amenities
- enhanced human development
- better livelihood opportunities
- reduced disparities
- access to rights and entitlements
- wider social mobilization
- To nurture the identified Adarsh Grams as schools of local development to train other Gram Panchayats
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF YOGA AND MEDITATION PROGRAMME
Focus: GS III- Science and Technology
About Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation Programme:
- Department of Science and Technology (DST), in 2015, conceptualized a new research program- ‘Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation’ (SATYAM)- under its Cognitive Science Research Initiative (CSRI).
- This programme is aimed to foster scientific research on the effects of yoga and meditation on physical & mental health and on cognitive functioning in healthy people as well as in patients with disorders.
- Investigations on the effect of Yoga and Meditation on physical and mental health and well being.
- Investigations on the effect of Yoga and Meditation on the body, brain, and mind in terms of basic processes and mechanisms.
- Scientists/academicians with research background in ‘Yoga and Meditation’ and having regular positions are invited to participate in this initiative.
- Practitioners actively involved in yoga and meditation practices are also encouraged to apply in collaboration with academic and research institutions of repute.
- Project Duration: The project is tenable for a maximum period of three years.
Cognitive Science Research Initiative
- DST initiated this as a highly focused programme in 2008 during the 11th Five year plan.
- The DSRI facilitates a platform to the scientific community to work for better solutions of challenges related with cognitive disorders and social issues through various psychological tools & batteries, early diagnosis & better therapies, intervention technologies and rehabilitation programmes.
- To foster scientific research in the interdisciplinary field of Cognitive Science for better understanding of Indian mind sets, languages and cognitive disorders etc.