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PIB 29th April 2021

CONTENTS

  1. PM CARES – FUND
  2. AGRICULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
  3. PYTHON-5 MISSILE
  4. EXERCISE VARUNA – 2021

 


PM CARES – FUND 

Focus: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections

Why in news?

Prime Minister has sanctioned the procurement of 1 Lakh Portable Oxygen Concentrators from the PM Cares Fund.

About PM CARES – FUND

  • The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created on 28 March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
  • The fund will be used for combating, and containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future. 
  • Although the documentation for the constitution of the fund has not been made public, the Government of India has stated that the Prime Minister of India is the chairman of the fund, and that trustees include the Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance in the Government of India.
  • The PM CARES Fund has faced criticism for the lack of transparency and accountability in relation to its establishment, functioning, and accounts.
  • The total amount of funds donated and the names of donors have not been publicly disclosed, and the fund is privately audited.
  • The Government of India has initially claimed that the fund is a private fund, and denied that the PM CARES Fund is a public fund for the purposes of transparency laws such as the Right to Information Act 2005, even though the Fund uses government infrastructure and the national emblem of the Government of India.
  • In December 2020, the Government of India reversed its stance and admitted that the PM CARES Fund was a public fund, but still refused to disclose information regarding it under the Right to Information Act 2005.
  • There are currently several ongoing cases at the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts in relation to the Fund.

About Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund(PMNRF)

  • Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) in India is the fund raised to provide support for people affected by natural and man made disasters.
  • Natural disasters covered under this include flood, cyclone, earthquake etc. Man made disasters include major accidents, acid attacks, riots etc.
  • The fund is also allotted to the people for treatment like cancer, kidney transplantation, heart surgery etc.
  • The fund was first consolidated during the time of the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Difference between PMCARES and PMNRF in the below table;-
PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund)PM CARES Fund [Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund]
PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) was established in January 1948.PM CARES Fund was established on 27th March 2020.
PMNRF was established by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.The PM CARES Fund was established by the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
The initial purpose of establishing PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) was to help the people displaced due to partition of India and Pakistan.The PM CARES fund was established with the objective of helping people affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairman of the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is the Prime Minister of India. Other members are from Tata Trusts, representatives of FICCI, Congress President.Chairman of the PM-CARES fund is the Prime Minister of India. The Prime Minister has the power to nominate members. The other members of the PM CARES Fund are the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
The minimum amount one can donate in the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is Rs 100.PM CARES Fund allows option for Micro donation, one can donate as low as Rs 10 in the PM CARES Fund.
PMNRF focuses on all kinds of natural disasters and calamities like Cyclones, Earthquakes, Floods, Tsunamis etc. The PMNRF funds are also utilized for acid attack victims, cancer treatments, kidney transplants etc.PM CARES fund is exclusively used for COVID-19 purposes.
The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), which was set up in 1948, is not audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)CARES Fund is not being audited by the CAG, and is being audited by a private party appointed directly by the Government of India instead.

AGRICULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND

Focus: GS III- Agriculture

Why in news?

  • Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is bringing together the collective power of all stakeholders in the Agriculture ecosystem
  • Agriculture Infrastructure Fund applications cross the Rs. 8,000 crore mark, Sanctions cross Rs. 4000 crore mark.

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.
  • Aim: To provide medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets.
  • 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.
Features:
  • 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.

PYTHON-5 MISSILE

Focus: GS III- Defence

Why in news?

DRDO conducts maiden trial of Python-5 Air to Air Missile.

About Python-5 Missile:

  • India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas has added 5th generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in its air-to-air weapons capability.
  • The maiden trial of the Python-5 missile was conducted by DRDO on April 27, 2021. 
  • Trials aim to enhance the capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on Tejas.
  • The missiles were test-fired at Goa and the successful completion of the mission trials validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios. 
  • Python missiles were able to hit the target with 100 percent accuracy.
  • Derby missile also achieved a direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target thereby validating their complete capability. The missile trials met all their planned objectives. 

EXERCISE VARUNA – 2021

Focus: GS III- Defence, Prelims

Why in news?

The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ concluded.

About Exercise Varuna:

  • Exercise VARUNA has been a key enabler in building interoperability and strengthening the coordination between the two navies.
  • This exercise has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity of operations and level of participation.
  • The exercise witnessed high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations  including cross deck helicopter landings, tactical manoeuvres, surface and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations.
  • Units of both navies honed and enhanced their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain.
  • VARUNA-21 highlighted growing bonhomie and showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination and inter-operability between the two friendly navies.
  • These interactions further underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

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