- Include Eligible disabled persons in NFSA
- Excess sugarcane for ethanol production
- ‘Open API Service’ for Aarogya Setu
- States & UTs can avail the CET by the NRA
Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
The Department of Food and Public Distribution under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has sent letters to States Governments/UTs to include all eligible disabled persons under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013.
- The NFSA Act mandates that the Central Government may from time to time give directions to the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
- The Department advised all States/UTs to ensure that all disabled persons, who are eligible as per identification criteria of beneficiaries under NFSA, are covered under the National Food Security Act 2013 and they get their entitled quota of food grains under NFSA & PMGKAY as per provisions of the Act.
- It is stated that those not already covered should be covered with fresh ration cards to be issued as per the eligibility criteria.
- It is also reiterated that disability is one of the criteria for inclusion of beneficiaries under AAY households and as disabled persons are vulnerable section of the society.
- The letter further advised that it is imperative that they are also covered by States/UTs under the priority households as per the criteria of identification evolved by them
National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013
- The National Food Security Act, 2013 (also Right to Food Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India which aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
- It was signed into law on 12 September 2013, retroactive to 5 July 2013.
- The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA 2013) converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Government of India.
- It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System. Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements.
- The Midday Meal Scheme and the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
- Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.
Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Science and Technology
- Government has taken various measures to improve viability of sugar industry, thereby enabling sugar mills to make timely payment of cane dues of farmers.
- Going forward, diversion of excess sugarcane and sugar is the long-term solution for addressing the problem of excess stock and improving viability of sugar industry.
- Ethanol is a green fuel & its blending with petrol also saves the country’s foreign exchange.
- To encourage sugar mills to divert excess sugarcane to produce ethanol for blending with petrol, the Government has allowed production of ethanol from B-Heavy Molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar syrup and sugar; and has also fixed the remunerative ex-mill price of ethanol derived from these feed-stocks.
- The State-wise targets for ethanol manufacture have also been fixed. Sugar mills / distilleries have been advised to utilize at least 85 % of their existing installed capacity to produce ethanol.
Why in news?
A meeting co-chaired by Secretary (Food & Public Distribution), Secretary (MoPNG) and Secretary (DFS) was held with the representatives of leading banks and Oil Marketing Companies, Cane Commissioners of major sugar producing States and sugar industry associations, in which ways and means to increase the supply of ethanol to OMCs was discussed to achieve the objective of the Government to increase blending percentage in petrol.
- It was agreed that as producers of ethanol (sugar mills), buyers of ethanol (OMCs) and the lenders (banks) are willing to enter into a tri-partite agreement (TPA) about producing, buying and paying for the ethanol through an escrow account etc., the banks can consider giving loans to sugar mills even with weak balance sheets.
- This would facilitate mills to avail loans from banks to set up new distilleries or to expand their existing distilleries, thereby enhancing the overall distillation capacity in the country and thus would help in achieving the blending target under Ethanol Blended with Petrol programme.
- It was assured by the States and industry that efforts would be made to increase supply of ethanol in the current as well as in ensuing ethanol supply years.
- In current ethanol supply year 2019-20, efforts are being made to achieve 5.6% blending (compared to 5% in 2018-19).
- The Government has 10% blending target for mixing ethanol with petrol by 2022 & 20% blending target by 2030.
Focus: GS-III Science and Technology
Why in news?
- Aarogya Setu team has worked on a new innovative feature which is called ‘Open API Service’ and in order to help businesses and economy to start functioning while being safe, the Open API Service enables organizations to check the status of Aarogya Setu and integrate it into its various Work from Home features.
- The Open API Service of Aarogya Setu, addresses the fear/risk of Covid-19 infections and help the people, businesses and the economy to return to normalcy.
- Aarogya Setu has now emerged as the most downloaded contact tracing App in the world.
- The Aarogya Setu ITIHAS interface which uses location data and Aarogya Setu analytics to predict emerging hotspots at Sub Pincode levels has been very effective in helping the health officials and administration to take necessary precautionary steps.
- The Open API Service of Aarogya Setu, can be availed by organizations and business entities, who are registered in India with more than 50 employees, and they can use the Open API Service to query the Aarogya Setu Application in real-time and get the health status of their employees or any other Aarogya Setu User, who have provided their consent for sharing their health status with the organization.
- The Open API shall only provide the Aarogya Setu status and name of the Aarogya Setu User (with User’s consent), and no other personal data shall be provided through the API.
- An open API (often referred to as a public API) is a publicly available application programming interface that provides developers with programmatic access to a proprietary software application or web service.
- APIs are sets of requirements that govern how one application can communicate and interact with another.
- APIs can also allow developers to access certain internal functions of a program, although this is not typically the case for web APIs.
- In the simplest terms, an API allows one piece of software to interact with another piece of software, whether within a single computer via a mechanism provided by the operating system or over an internal or external TCP/IP-based or non-TCP/IP-based network.
Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
A decision was passed at the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister that: States and Union Territories can avail the Common Eligibility Test (CET) to be conducted by National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for job selection.
- The CET score could be shared with the Recruiting Agencies in the State and Union Territory governments as well as Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and also later on with the Private Sector.
- This would help the recruiting agencies including the State and Union Territory Governments to save the cost and time spent on recruitment, while at the same time also be convenient and cost-effective for the young job aspirants.
- The Common Eligible Test will have no correlation or incompatibility with the rules of recruitment like domicile etc. followed by certain States or Union Territories.
- Contrary to misgiving in certain quarters, the Common Eligibility Test will not be conducted only in Hindi and English language but will be conducted in 12 Indian languages to begin with, while gradually other languages of the 8th schedule will also be included.