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PIB 14th September

Contents

  1. Initiatives towards Education
  2. National River Conservation Programme (NRCP)
  3. Bills to replace ordinances regarding Agriculture

INITIATIVES TOWARDS EDUCATION

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Initiatives for quality education in Rural Areas

Samagra Shiksha

  • The Government of India has launched Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for school education, which is an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. 
  • It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels and subsumes the three erstwhile centrally sponsored schemes i.e., Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the scheme.
  • The scheme reaches out to girls and children belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), minority communities and transgender.
  • The scheme also gives attention to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration and children living in remote and scattered habitations.
  • Under the scheme, provision has been made for giving preference to Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Educationally Backward Blocks (EEBs), LWE affected districts, and aspirational districts while planning interventions like setting up of primary schools, upper primary schools, construction of additional classrooms, toilets, Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalayas (KGBVs).

PM eVIDYA

A comprehensive initiative called PM eVIDYA has been initiated which unifies all efforts related to digital/online/on-air education to enable multi-mode access to education.

The initiative includes:

  1. DIKSHA the nation’s digital infrastructure for providing quality e-content for school education in states/UTs:  and QR coded Energized Textbooks for all grades (one nation, one digital platform)
  2. One earmarked TV channel in SWAYAM PRABHA per class from 1 to 12 (one class, one channel)
  3. SWAYAM Portal, E-PATHASHALA, extensive use of Radio, Community radio and CBSE Podcast- ShikshaVani
  4. Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired developed on Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) and in sign language on NIOS website/ YouTube

NATIONAL RIVER CONSERVATION PROGRAMME (NRCP)

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Introduction

Cleaning and rejuvenation of rivers is a continuous process, and Central Government is supplementing the efforts of the State Governments and Union Territories in addressing the challenges of pollution abatement of rivers by providing financial and technical assistance through National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) for identified polluted river stretches.

National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)

  • The Central Government started the river pollution abatement programme with the launching of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP-I) in the year 1985.
  • Subsequently, the GAP Phase II was launched in 1993 for pollution abatement of river Yamuna and Gomti, major tributaries of river Ganga.
  • The river pollution abatement programme was further expanded to include other major rivers of the country in 1995 under the aegis of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP).
  • Finally, in 1996, GAP Phase II was also merged with the NRCP and all projects for river cleaning in the country was brought under one umbrella scheme of NRCP.
  • The objective of NRCP is to reduce the pollution load in rivers through implementation of various pollution abatement works, thereby improving their water quality.

The pollution abatement works taken up under the NRCP include:

  • Interception and diversion work / laying of sewerage systems to capture raw sewage flowing into the rivers through open drains and diverting them for treatment.
  • Setting up of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for treating the diverted Sewage.
  • Construction of Low-Cost Sanitation Toilets to prevent open defecation on river banks.
  • Construction of Electric Crematoria and Improved Wood Crematoria to conserve the use of wood.
  • River Front Development works, such as improvement of bathing Ghats.
  • Public participation & awareness and capacity building, etc.

BILLS TO REPLACE ORDINANCES REGARDING AGRICULTURE

Focus: GS-III Agriculture, GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Three bills aimed at transformation of agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ in come were introduced in Lok Sabha today to replace ordinances promulgated in 2020.

  1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020
  2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020
  3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to: Provide for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations; and to provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading and for matters connected therewith or inaacidental thereto.

Background

  • Farmers in India suffered from various restrictions in marketing their produce.
  • There were restrictions for farmers in selling agri-produce outside the notified APMC market yards.
  • The farmers were also restricted to sell the produce only to registered licensees of the State Governments.
  • Further, Barriers existed in free flow of agriculture produce between various States owing to the prevalence of various APMC legislations enacted by the State Governments.
  • This legislation is a historic-step in unlocking the vastly regulated agriculture markets in the country.
  • It will open more choices for the farmer, reduce marketing costs for the farmers and help them in getting better prices. It will also help farmers of regions with surplus produce to get better prices and consumers of regions with shortages, lower prices.

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 seeks to provide for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Background

  • Indian agriculture is characterized by fragmentation due to small holding sizes and has certain weaknesses such as weather dependence, production uncertainties and market unpredictability.
  • This makes agriculture risky and inefficient in respect of both input & output management.
  • This legislation will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor and also enable the farmer to access modern technology and better inputs.
  • It will reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers. Farmers will engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price.
  • Farmers have been provided adequate protection. Effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided for with clear time lines for redressal.

Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
  • This will remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
  • The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into agriculture sector.

Background

  • While India has become surplus in most agri-commodities, farmers have been unable to get better prices due to lack of investment in cold storage, warehouses, processing and export as the entrepreneurial spirit gets dampened due to Essential Commodities Act.
  • Farmers suffer huge losses when there are bumper harvests, especially of perishable commodities.
  • The legislation will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of food supply chain.
  • It will help both farmers and consumers while bringing in price stability.
  • It will create competitive market environment and also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.
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