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13 April, 2020

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-II COVID-19 and SHG – Self Help Group Governance
PMUY beneficiary under Pradhan Mantri Kalyan Yojana- Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana Governance
COVID-19 and TRIFED-Tribal rights Governance
COVID-19 and Essential Commodities Act Governance
GS-III COVID-19 and EPFO - LABOUR REFORMS Economic Issues
COVID-19 and World reports Economic Issues
PT Pointer HRD ministry launches portal “yukti” Governance
CSIR and COVID-19
Supreme Court direction for welfare of migrant labour’s
Paintings- scroll painting- Pattachitra Art and Culture
Meru Jatra Festival/ Danda Nata -Odisha Art and Culture
Important GS Topics APEDA & TRIFED Governance
GS-II : Governance
COVID-19 and SHG – Self Help Group

COVID-19 and SHG – Self Help Group

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance-SHG (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Around 78,000 self help group members of 27 state rural livelihood mission produces about 2 crore masks.
About two crore masks have been produced by around 78 thousand Self Help Group members of 27 State Rural Livelihood Missions. Rural Development Ministry has said that around five thousand Personal Protective Equipment, PPE kits have been manufactured by these groups in various states including Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka. 

The masks have been supplied to the state health departments, Local Self Government, local administration, front line workers, police officials, and are also sold in open markets. They have also been distributed free to the rural households in many states.

Self Help Group members have now started making Personal Protective Equipment like aprons, gowns and face shields. More than 900 groups in nine States have produced One lakh 15 thousand litres of sanitisers. Some members of the group have also been selling liquid soaps to guarantee hand hygiene.
 

For Mains

What are SHGs?

  • Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions.
  • It can be defined as self governed, peer controlled information group of people with similar socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purpose.
  • Villages face numerous problems related to poverty, illiteracy, lack of skills, lack of formal credit etc. These problems cannot be tackled at an individual level and need collective efforts.
  • Thus SHG can become a vehicle of change for the poor and marginalized. SHG rely on the notion of “Self Help” to encourage self-employment and poverty alleviation.

Functions

  • It looks to build the functional capacity of the poor and the marginalized in the field of employment and income generating activities.
  • It resolves conflicts through collective leadership and mutual discussion.
  • It provides collateral free loan with terms decided by the group at the market driven rates.
  • Such groups work as a collective guarantee system for members who propose to borrow from organised sources. The poor collect their savings and save it in banks. In return they receive easy access to loans with a small rate of interest to start their micro unit enterprise.
  • Consequently, Self-Help Groups have emerged as the most effective mechanism for delivery of microfinance services to the poor.

Need for SHGs

  • One of the reasons for rural poverty in our country is low access to credit and financial services.
  • A Committee constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. C. Rangarajan to prepare a comprehensive report on 'Financial Inclusion in the Country' identified four major reasons for lack of financial inclusion:
    • Inability to provide collateral security,
    • Poor credit absorption capacity,
    • Inadequate reach of the institutions, and
    • Weak community network.
  • The existence of sound community networks in villages is increasingly being recognised as one of the most important elements of credit linkage in the rural areas.
  • They help in accessing credit to the poor and thus, play a critical role in poverty alleviation.
  • They also help to build social capital among the poor, especially women. This empowers women and gives them greater voice in the society.
  • Financial independence through self-employment has many externalities such as improved literacy levels, better health care and even better family planning.

Genesis of SHG

  • The Genesis of SHG in India can be traced to formation of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in 1970.
  • The SHG Bank Linkage Project launched by NABARD in 1992 has blossomed into the world’s largest microfinance project.
  • NABARD alongwith RBI permitted SHGs to have a savings account in banks from the year of 1993. This action gave a considerable boost to the SHG movement and paved the way for the SHG-Bank linkage program.
  • In 1999, Government of India, introduced Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) to promote self-employment in rural areas through formation and skilling of SHGs.
  • The programme evolved as a national movement in 2011 and became National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) – world’s largest poverty alleviation programme.
  • Today, State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) are operational in 29 states and 5 UTs (except Delhi and Chandigarh).
  • NRLM facilitated universal access to the affordable cost-effective reliable financial services to the poor like financial literacy, bank account, savings, credit, insurance, remittance, pension and counselling on financial services.

Benefits of SHGs

  • Social integrity – SHGs encourages collective efforts for combating practices like dowry, alcoholism etc.
  • Gender Equity – SHGs empowers women and inculcates leadership skill among them. Empowered women participate more actively in gram sabha and elections.
  • There is evidence in this country as well as elsewhere that formation of Self-Help Groups has a multiplier effect in improving women’s status in society as well as in the family leading to improvement in their socio-economic condition and also enhances their self-esteem.
  • Pressure Groups – their participation in governance process enables them to highlight issues such as dowry, alcoholism, the menace of open defecation, primary health care etc and impact policy decision.
  • Voice to marginalized section – Most of the beneficiaries of government schemes have been from weaker and marginalized communities and hence their participation through SHGs ensures social justice.
  • Financial Inclusion – Priority Sector Lending norms and assurance of returns incentivize banks to lend to SHGs. The SHG-Bank linkage programme pioneered by NABARD has made access to credit easier and reduced the dependence on traditional money lenders and other non-institutional sources.
  • Improving efficiency of government schemes and reducing corruption through social audits.
  • Alternate source of employment – it eases dependency on agriculture by providing support in setting up micro-enterprises e.g. personalised business ventures like tailoring, grocery, and tool repair shops.
  • Changes In Consumption Pattern – It has enabled the participating households to spend more on education, food and health than non-client households.
  • Impact on Housing & Health – The financial inclusion attained through SHGs has led to reduced child mortality, improved maternal health and the ability of the poor to combat disease through better nutrition, housing and health – especially among women and children.
  • Banking literacy – It encourages and motivates its members to save and act as a conduit for formal banking services to reach them.

Opportunities

  • SHGs often appear to be instrumental in rural poverty alleviation.
  • Economic empowerment through SHGs, provides women the confidence for participation in decision making affairs at the household-level as well as at the community-level.
  • Un-utilised and underutilised resources of the community can be mobilised effectively under different SHG-initiatives.
  • Leaders and members of successful SHGs bear the potentiality to act as resource persons for different community developmental initiatives.
  • Active involvement in different SHG-initiatives helps members to grow leadership-skills. Evidences also show that often women SHG leaders are chosen as potential candidates for Panchayat Pradhans or representatives to Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI).

Weaknesses of SHGs

  • Members of a group do not come necessarily from the poorest families.
  • Though there has been social empowerment of the poor, the economic gain to bring about a qualitative change in their life has not been satisfactory.
  • Many of the activities undertaken by the SHGs are still based on primitive skills related mostly to primary sector enterprises. With poor value addition per worker and prevalence of subsistence level wages, such activities often do not lead to any substantial increase in the income of group members.
  • There is a lack of qualified resource personnel in the rural areas who could help in skill upgradation or acquisition of new skills by group members. Further, institutional mechanisms for capacity building and skill training have been lacking.
  • Poor accounting practices and incidents of misappropriation of funds.
  • Lack of resources and means to market their goods.
  • SHGs are heavily dependent on their promoter NGOs and government agencies. The withdrawal of support often leads to their collapse.

Challenges

  • Lack of knowledge and proper orientation among SHG-members to take up suitable and profitable livelihood options.
  • Patriarchal mindset – primitive thinking and social obligations discourages women from participating in SHGs thus limiting their economic avenues.
  • Lack of rural banking facilities – There are about 1.2 lakh bank branches and over 6 lakh villages. Moreover, many public sector banks and micro-finance institutions are unwilling to provide financial services to the poor as the cost of servicing remains high.
  • Sustainability and the quality of operations of the SHGs have been a matter of considerable debate.
  • No Security – The SHGs work on mutual trust and confidence of the members. The deposits of the SHGs are not secured or safe
  • Only a minority of the Self-Help Groups are able to raise themselves from a level of micro-finance to that of micro-entrepreneurship.

Measures to Make SHGs Effective

  • The Government should play the role of a facilitator and promoter, create a supportive environment for the growth and development of the SHG movement.
  • Expanding SHG Movement to Credit Deficient Areas of the Country - such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, States of the North-East.
  • Rapid expansion of financial infrastructure (including that of NABARD) and by adopting extensive IT enabled communication and capacity building measures in these States.
  • Extension of Self-Help Groups to Urban/Peri-Urban Areas – efforts should be made to increase income generation abilities of the urban poor as there has been a rapid rise in urbanisation and many people remain financially excluded.
  • Positive Attitude – Government functionaries should treat the poor and marginalized as viable and responsible customers and as possible entrepreneurs.
  • Monitoring – Need to establish a separate SHG monitoring cell in every state. The cell should have direct links with district and block level monitoring system. The cell should collect both quantitative and qualitative information.
  • Need Based Approach – Commercial Banks and NABARD in collaboration with the State Government need to continuously innovate and design new financial products for these groups.

Case studies

  • Kudumbashree in Kerala
    • It was launched in Kerala in 1998 to wipe out absolute poverty through community action. It is the largest women empowering project in the country. It has three components i.e., microcredit, entrepreneurship and empowerment. It has three tier structure - neighborhood groups (SHG), area development society (15-20 SHGs) and Community development society (federation of all groups). Kudumbashree is a government agency that has a budget and staff paid by the government. The three tiers are also managed by unpaid volunteers.
  • Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM) in Maharashtra
    • SHGs in Maharashtra were unable to cope with growing volume and financial transactions and needed professional help. Community managed resource centre (CMRC) under MAVIM was launched to provide financial and livelihood services to SHGs. CMRC is self-sustaining and provides need-based services.
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GS-II : Governance
PMUY beneficiary under Pradhan Mantri Kalyan Yojana- Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana

PMUY beneficiary under Pradhan Mantri Kalyan Yojana- Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

As on date, oil marketing companies have initiated transfer of Rs 5,606 crore to 7.15 Crore Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana beneficiary accounts for availing free delivery of LPG cylinder under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package.

Booking of 1.26 Crore cylinders has been done in this month by the beneficiaries, out of which about 85 lakh cylinders have been delivered to PMUY beneficiaries.

There are 27.87 Crore active LPG consumers in the country, with the PMUY beneficiaries accounting for over 8 crore. Since the lockdown, 50 to 60 lakh cylinders are being delivered daily in the country. When there is nationwide lockdown and the people are staying home to stay safe, LPG delivery boys and all those in the supply chain of LPG are working tirelessly to ensure that clean fuel reaches people directly at their homes.
The Centre has announced pro-poor initiatives under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, as part of economic response to COVID-19. As per this scheme, free LPG Refills are to be provided to Ujjwala beneficiaries over the period of 3 months, from April to June.

From Mountainous terrain to backwaters, hamlets in deserts to habitations in forests, these Corona warriors are steadfast in their duties and ensuring timely delivery. Even in these trying times, the waiting period for cylinders at most of the places is less than 2 days.

All Customers, holding an installed LPG connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana as of 31st March, are eligible to get the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. The scheme has started from 1st April and will continue upto 30th June. 

 

PT PICKSUP

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

In India, the poor have limited access to cooking gas (LPG). The spread of LPG cylinders has been predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas with the coverage mostly in middle class and affluent households. But there are serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuels. According to WHO estimates, about 5 lakh deaths in India alone due to unclean cooking fuels. Most of these premature deaths were due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Indoor air pollution is also responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses in young children. According to experts, 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. This measure will empower women and protect their health. It will reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking. It will also provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.

Target beneficiaries

Under the scheme, an adult woman belonging to a poor family not having LPG connection in her household, is an eligible beneficiary under the expanded scheme.

Release of LPG connection under this Scheme shall be in the name of the women belonging to the BPL family.

Initially, the Government covered the following categories under the Scheme :-

  1. Beneficiaries listed in the SECC 2011 list
  2. All SC/STs households beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(PMAY) (Gramin)
  3. Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY)
  4. Forest dwellers
  5. Most Backward Classes (MBC)
  6. Tea & Ex-Tea Garden Tribes
  7. People residing in Islands
  8. People residing in river islands.

Benefits to the citizens

Under the scheme, five crore LPG connections are to be provided to BPL households. The Scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households, interest free loan to purchase stove and refill by Oil Marketing Companies. The administrative cost of Rs. 1600 per connection, which includes a cylinder, pressure regulator, booklet, safety hose, etc. would be borne by the Government.

Implementation modalities of the scheme

  • A woman of the BPL household, which does not have access to LPG connection may apply for a new LPG connection (in the prescribed format) to the LPG distributor.
  • While submitting the application form, the woman will submit details, like Address, Jandhan/ Bank Account and Aadhar number (if the Aadhar number is not available, steps would be taken in coordination with UIDAI for issue of Aadhar number to the woman of BPL household)
  • The LPG Field officials will match the application against SECC - 2011 database and, after ascertaining their BPL status, enter the details (name, address etc) into a dedicated OMC Web portal through a login/ password given by the OMCs
  • OMCs will undertake electronically the de-duplication exercise and other measures for due diligence for a new LPG connection
  • The connection shall be issued by the OMC to the eligible beneficiaries (after completion of various stages above).
  • While the connection charges would be borne by the Government, the OMCs would provide an option for the new consumer to opt for EMIs, if she so desires, to cover the cost of a cooking stove and first refill. The EMI amount may be recovered by the OMCs from the subsidy amount due to the consumer on each refill; In case the State Government or a voluntary organization or an individual wishes to contribute the cost of a stove and/or first refill, they would be free to do so in coordination with the OMCs. However, this would be under the overall umbrella of PMUY and no other Scheme name/ tagline would be allowed without express approval of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG)
  • OMCs will also organize Melas' at various locations for release of connections to BPL families. This will be done in the presence of public representatives and distinguished personalities of the area.
  • The scheme will cover BPL families under all forms of distributorship and for various sizes of cylinders (like 14.2 kg, 5 kg, etc.) depending on f the field situation.
  • Benefits under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has been extended to people of all Hilly States including NE States by treating them as ‘Priority States’. This step will effectively address the difficulty faced by poor people residing in the States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura in accessing LPG for cooking purposes.
  • For more information, contact tollfree number 18002333555 or 1906 (24 x 7 Helpline for LPG Consumers).
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GS-II : Governance
COVID-19 and TRIFED-Tribal rights

COVID-19 and TRIFED-Tribal rights

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

TRIFED asks state implementing agencies to initiate procurement of MINIMUN FOREST PRODUCE at MSP.

The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) which functions under Ministry of Tribal Affairs, has asked the State Nodal Departments and Implementing Agencies to initiate procurement of Minor Forest Produces (MFPs) at Minimum Support Price (MSP) from the available funds under MSP for MFP Scheme.

TRIFED in collaboration with UNICEF is hosting Webinar sessions for the Van Dhan Self Help Group members of the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras.

He said, it’s objective is to create awareness among the tribal gatherers for following social distancing measures and maintaining necessary hygiene required for carrying out their operations.

 

APEDA & TRIFED

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985. It functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Authority has its headquarters in New Delhi.

Functions

  • APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz. fruits, vegetables and their products; meat and meat products; poultry and poultry products; dairy products; confectionery, biscuits and bakery products; honey, jaggery and sugar products; cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; cereal and cereal products; groundnuts, peanuts and walnuts, pickles, papads and chutneys; guar gum; floriculture and floriculture products; herbal and medicinal plants.
  • APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.
  • It looks after the development of industries relating to the scheduled products for export by way of providing financial assistance or otherwise for undertaking surveys and feasibility studies, participating through subsidy schemes.
  • Registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products and fixing of standards and specifications for the scheduled products for the purpose of exports.
  • Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughterhouses, processing plants, storage premises and improving packaging of the scheduled products.

Composition of APEDA Authority

  • The APEDA Authority consists of the following members namely:
    • A Chairman appointed by the Central Government
    • The Agricultural Marketing Advisor to the Government of India, ex-official
    • Three members of Parliament of whom two are elected by the House of People and one by the Council of States
    • Eight members appointed by the Central Government representing respectively; the Ministries of the Central Govt.
      • Agriculture and Rural Development
      • Commerce
      • Finance
      • Industry
      • Food
      • Civil Supplies
      • Civil Aviation
      • Shipping and transport

Five members appointed by the Central Government by rotation in alphabetical order to represent the States and the Union Territories

  • Seven members appointed by the Central Govt. representing
    • Indian Council of Agricultural Research
    • National Horticultural Board
    • National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation
    • Central Food Technological Research Institute
    • Indian Institute of Packaging
    • Spices Export Promotion Council and
    • Cashew Export Promotion Council
  • Twelve members appointed by the Central Government representing
    • Fruit and Vegetable Products Industries
    • Meat, Poultry and Dairy Products Industries
    • Other Scheduled Products Industries
    • Packaging Industry
  • Two members appointed by the Central Government from amongst specialists and scientists in the fields of agriculture, economics and marketing of the scheduled products. 

TRIFED

  • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987. It is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • TRIFED has its Head Office located in New Delhi and has a network of 13 Regional Offices located at various places in the country.

Objectives

  • The ultimate objective of TRIFED is socio-economic development of tribal people in the country by way of marketing development of the tribal products such as metal craft, tribal textiles, pottery, tribal paintings and pottery on which the tribals depends heavily for major portion of their income.
  • TRIFED acts as a facilitator and service provider for tribes to sell their product.
  • The approach by TRIFED aims to empower tribal people with knowledge, tools and pool of information so that they can undertake their operations in a more systematic and scientific manner.
  • It also involves capacity building of the tribal people through sensitization, formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and imparting training to them for undertaking a particular activity.

Functions

It mainly undertakes two functions viz. Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development and Retail Marketing and Development.

Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development

  • An important source of livelihood for tribal people are non-wood forest products, generally termed 'Minor Forest Produce (MFP)'. This includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and include bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser etc.
  • The Minor Forest Produces provide both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests. They form a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sales.
  • MFP has significant economic and social value for the forest dwellers as an estimated 100 Million people derive their source of livelihood from the collection and marketing of Minor Forest Produce (Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011).
  • Around 100 million forest dwellers depend on Minor Forest Produces for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from Minor Forest Produce on which they spend major portion of their time.
  • MFP also has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the Minor Forest Produces are collected and used/sold by women.
  • The people who depend on MFP are generally beset with a number of other problems such as perishable nature of the produce, lack of holding capacity, lack of marketing infrastructure, exploitation by middlemen, etc. Due to this, the MFP gatherers who are mostly poor are unable to bargain for fair prices.
  • To cope with the above problem, Govt. of India has decided to introduce the scheme of “Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain”.
  • The scheme is designed as a social safety net for improvement of livelihood of MFP gatherers by providing them a fair price for the MFPs they collect.

Retail Marketing and Development

  • TRIFED aims to improve the livelihood of the tribal communities by creating a sustainable market and create business opportunities for tribal people.
  • It involves exploring marketing possibilities for marketing of tribal products on a sustainable basis, creating brand and providing other necessary services.
  • It has a network of 13 regional offices across the country which identifies and source tribal products for marketing through its retail marketing network of TRIBES INDIA outlets.
  • It has been undertaking sourcing of various handicraft, handloom and natural & food products through its empanelled suppliers across the country. The suppliers comprise of individual tribal artisans, tribal SHGs, Organisations/ Agencies/NGOs working with tribals. The suppliers are empanelled with TRIFED as per the guidelines for empanelment of suppliers.
  • TRIFED has been marketing tribal products through its Retail Outlets located across the country and also through exhibitions. It has established a chain of 35 own showrooms and 8 consignment showrooms in association with State level Organisations promoting tribal handicrafts.

 

Van Dhan Scheme

The Van Dhan Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED.  It was launched on 14th April, 2018 and seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.

The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level. At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level. Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.

Minor Forest Produce and tribal livelihoods (Mains Analysis)

Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time. This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.

Key Highlights of Van Dhan Initiative

  • At unit level, aggregation of produce would be done by SHGs having about 30 members each forming Van Dhan Vikas ‘Samuh’. The SHGs would also undertake primary value addition of the MFPs using equipment such as small cutting and sieving tools, decorticator, dryer, packaging tool etc based on MFPs available in the area.
  • A typical Van Dhan Vikas Samuh would have the following facilities:
    • Provision for required building/ infrastructure support to be established in one of the beneficiary’s house/ part of house or Government/ gram panchayat building
    • Equipment/ Tool Kit comprising of equipment such as small cutting and sieving tools, decorticator, dryer, packaging tool etc. based on MFPs available in the area
    • Fully equipped training facilities for a batch of 30 trainees with provision for raw material for training purpose and supply of trainee kits (comprising of bag, scribbing pad, pen, brochures, training manual, booklet etc)
    • Provisioning of working capital for the SHGs through tie up with financial institutions, banks, NSTFDC etc
      • A cluster of ten such SHGs within the same village shall form a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra. Subject to successful operations of the samuhs in a Kendra, common infrastructure facilities (pucca Kendra) may be provided to the Kendra in the next phase in terms of building, warehouse, etc. for use of the samuh members
      • An illustrative list of major MFPs which may be covered under the initiative are tamarind, mahua flower, mahua seed, hill broom, chironjee, honey, sal seed, sal leaves, bamboo split, myrobalan, mango (amchur), aonla (churan/candy), seed lac, tez patta, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, dry ginger, cinnamon, coffee, tea, sea buckthorn tea, etc. Apart from these, any other MFP with potential for value addition may be included.

Implementation of the scheme

Under Van Dhan, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers are constituted. The establishment of "Van Dhan Vikas Kendra" is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility. They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED. It is proposed to develop 3,000 such centres in the country.

Value addition assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to the tribals in this approach. Three stage value addition would be the corner stone for enhancing incomes of the tribals under the scheme. The grass root level procurement is proposed to be undertaken through Self Help Groups associated with implementing agencies. Convergence and Networking with other Govt. departments/scheme shall be undertaken to utilise the services of existing SHGs like Ajeevika, etc. These SHGs shall be appropriately trained on sustainable harvesting/collection, primary processing & value addition and be formed into clusters so as to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and linking them with facility of primary processing in a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.

The stock after primary processing shall be supplied by these SHGs to the State Implementing Agencies or direct tie up for supply to corporate secondary processor. For creation of secondary level value addition facility at district level and tertiary level value addition facility at State level, Big Corporates shall be involved under PPP model. This PPP model will be based on utilising Private entrepreneur skills in undertaking processing as well as marketing of the produce and Central/ State Govt. support in terms of creating infrastructure and providing enabling environment for undertaking value addition of systematic scientific lines. These will be sophisticated large value addition hubs managed by Private entrepreneur.

The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be important milestone in economic development of tribals involved in collection of MFPs by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide sustainable MFP-based livelihood in MFP-rich districts.

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GS-II : Governance
COVID-19 and Essential Commodities Act

COVID-19 and Essential Commodities Act

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 was enacted to ensure the easy availability of essential commodities to consumers and to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous traders. The Act provides for the regulation and control of production, distribution and pricing of commodities which are declared as essential. The Act aims at maintaining/increasing supplies/securing equitable distribution and availability of these commodities at fair prices.

The Act empowers the Central and state governments concurrently to control production, supply and distribution of certain commodities in view of rising prices.

The State Governments are fully empowered under the Act to regulate production, distribution, supply and prices of the food items which are declared as essential commodities in the respective States. Thus the States are the implementing agencies to implement the EC Act, 1955 and the Prevention of Black marketing & Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980, to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities at reasonable prices, by exercising powers delegated to them. This is reviewed periodically at the National level.

The list of essential commodities is reviewed from time to time with reference to their production and supply and in the light of economic liberalization in consultation with the concerned Ministries/Departments administering these commodities. Currently, the restrictions like licensing requirement, stock limits and movement restrictions have been removed from almost all agricultural commodities. Wheat, pulses and edible oils, edible oilseeds and rice are the exceptions, where States have been permitted to impose some temporary restrictions in order to contain price increase of these commodities.

Who executes the Act

Food and civil supply authorities execute the provisions of the Act. They generally raid the premises of the businessmen to find out violations along with the local police, who have the power to arrest. In case a state doesn’t want to accept the Centre’s suggestion on implementing any provision of the Act it can do so. There are reports of Maharashtra not imposing stock limits for onions and potatoes. UP is not enforcing the Act itself.

Which commodities does it cover?

Seven major commodities are covered under the act.

  1. Drugs;
  2. Fertilizer, whether inorganic, organic or mixed;
  3. Foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils;
  4. Hank yarn made wholly from cotton;
  5. Petroleum and petroleum products;
  6. Raw jute and jute textile;
  7. Seeds of food-crops and seeds of fruits  and vegetables;

                 (ii)  seeds of cattle fodder; and

                 (iii) jute seeds;

                 (iv) cotton seed

Economic Survey 2019-2020 recommends to scrap ECA,1955

  • In September 2019, the Centre invoked the ECA Act’s provisions to impose stock limits on onions after heavy rains wiped out a quarter of the kharif crop and led to a sustained spike in prices.
  • Although the restrictions on both retail and wholesale traders were meant to prevent hoarding and enhance supply in the market, the Survey showed that there was actually an increase in price volatility and a widening wedge between wholesale and retail prices.
  • This is due to the fact that ECA act fails to differentiate between hoarding and Storage.
  • Thus in the long term, the Act disincentivises development of storage infrastructure, thereby leading to increased volatility in prices following production/ consumption shocks — the opposite of what it is intended for.
  • The report finds that the ECA has been enacted in the year 1955, when the economy was ravaged by famine and food shortages. The government should note that today’s scenario is much more different.

Negatives of ECA,1955:

  • Less investment in warehousing and storage infrastructure, at least those that are visible (like large, efficient warehouses and silos) and can be easily raided.
  • Encourages a group of grey market intermediaries between the farmer and the end consumer to come up.
  • Storage of large quantities of goods under the ECA carries the risk of raids and expropriation, intermediaries normally demand a risk premium that has to be ultimately paid by the producer and the consumer.
  • The rise of multiple levels of intermediaries and the lack of direct buying by large food processors from farmers may be a rational response to the ECA. While individual traders with the hope of making excess profits may be lured into the legal risk of holding excess stock
  • The fear of the ECA may explain the lack of formal warehouses and silos in India. To counter this problem, the government through public sector banks provides interest and capital subsidies to any person setting up warehouses and other storage facilities for agricultural goods. This can increase the burden of fiscal deficit on the government and risk of Non Performing loans on the banks.
  • It becomes a tool to expropriate traders who may have stored products during harvest to sell during the lean months.
  • Violators of certain provisions of the ECA may be imprisoned for up to seven years.
  • Sugar pricing issue: In 2002, the government formally announced that sugar would be de-controlled and repealed many Control Orders under the ECA. But by 2015, the Control Orders were back and stock holding limits placed on traders. Any person who built sugar holding facilities (warehouses or silos) based on the 2002 decision of the government would be losing money now.

Benefits of the ECA,1955

  • The ECA gives consumers protection against irrational spikes in prices of essential commodities.
  • The Government has invoked the Act umpteen times to ensure adequate supplies.
  • It cracks down on hoarders and black-marketeers of such commodities.
  • State agencies conduct raids to get everyone to toe the line and the errant are punished.

Present Scenario of ECA,1955 during COVID19:

In recent years, there has been an argument that the EC Act was draconian and not suited for times when farmers face problems of plenty rather than scarcity. The Economic Survey 2019-20 argued that it hampered remunerative prices for farmers and discouraged investment in storage infrastructure.

But in the context of a crisis like the current one, the EC Act seems to serve a purpose. Bringing masks and sanitisers under the EC Act will enhance the availability of these products to the public, at fair prices.

Producers have been urged to manufacture these up to full capacity over three shifts. The government can take action against hoarders, speculators and those involved in jacking up prices or black-marketing. Besides this, quota restrictions on raw material holdings can be relaxed.

The MCA has asked all State governments to issue licences and permit hand-sanitiser makers to store ethanol and extra neutral alcohol (ENA) without any quota restrictions. The Indian Sugar Mills Association and All India Distilleries Association have been asked to ensure that ethanol and ENA are made easily available to producers. Reports indicate prices of ethanol and ENA can not be increased till June 30 and will need to be sold at the price levels as on March 5 this year.

Necessity of ECA,1955 during COVID19

  • By placing masks and sanitizers under the EC Act, the government has capped the prices of these items. Price of a 2-ply mask has been capped at ?8 and that of 3-ply surgical mask cant exceed ?10. Cost of hand sanitisers can’t exceed ?100 for a 200-ml pack. Responding to this directive, companies such as Godrej Consumer, ITC and Hindustan Unilever have slashed the prices of sanitisers.
  • Invoking the Act makes it harder for retailers to hoodwink customers. If they violate the norms, States can take action under the EC Act and the Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodites Act (PBMMSEC Act). An offender under the EC Act may be punished with an imprisonment of up to seven years and/or fine; and under the PBMMSEC Act, they can be detained for maximum of six months.
  • Producers need not fret much about the cap on prices, as they partly benefit from lower input prices, with higher volumes making up for the lower price point to some extent (*Economy of Scale concept)
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GS-III : Economic Issues
COVID-19 and EPFO - LABOUR REFORMS

COVID-19 and EPFO

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- ECONOMY-EPFO (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

EPFO processes around 1.3 lakh claims, disburse to help fight corona to subscriber
Employees Provident Fund Organization, EPFO, has processed about 1.37 lakh claims disbursing 279.65 crore rupees under a new provision to help subscribers fight COVID-19. This provision especially formulated by amending the EPF Scheme. The remittances of the money have already started taking place. The system as it stands today is processing all applications which are fully KYC compliant within less than 72 hours.

The provision for a special withdrawal from the EPF Scheme to fight COVID-19 pandemic is part of the Prime Minister's Garib Kalyan Yojana announced by the government. EPFO is also accepting the date of birth recorded in the Aadhaar card of a subscriber as a valid proof for rectification of the date of birth in PF records.

 

What is EPFO?

Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) was established by an act of Parliament of India, to provide social security to workers working in India. It came into force by Employee Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952. EPFO comes under the control of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.

 

There are 3 major schemes of EPFO

1. EPFO Scheme 1952

Salient features of EPFO schemes

  1. Accumulation plus interest upon retirement and death
  2. Partial withdrawals allowed for education, marriage, illness and house construction
  3. Housing scheme for EPFO members to achieve Prime Minister’s vision of Housing for all by 2022.

2. Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS)

Salient features of the Pension Scheme

  1. The monthly benefit for superannuation/benefit, disability, survivor, widow(er) and children
  2. Minimum pension of disablement
  3. Past service benefit to participants of the erstwhile Family Pension Scheme, 1971.

3. Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI)

Salient features of the scheme

  1. The benefit provided in case of death of an employee who was a member of the scheme at the time of death.
  2. Benefit amount 20 times the wages, maximum benefit of 6 Lakh.

EPFO is the largest social security organisation in the world in terms of the number of covered beneficiaries and the largest in terms of the volume of financial transactions undertaken. On 1st October 2014, Prime Minister launched Universal Account Number for Employees covered by EPFO to enable PF number portability.

Organisation Structure

  1. The organisation is divided into zones which are headed by an Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner.
  2. At present, there are 10 Zones across the country.
  3. States have one or more than one regional offices headed by Regional Provident Fund Commissioners (Grade I)
  4. Regions are subdivided into Sub-Regions headed by Regional Provident Fund Commissioners (Grade II)
  5. Districts have a district office

Active members:

  1. Currently, there are approximately 4.5 crores, active members, under EPFO
  2. There are approximately 65 Lakh Pensioners

Recently Steps were taken by the EPFO to facilitate efficient services

Online facilities provided by the EPFO for the following processes

  1. Nominations
  2. Ascertaining balances
  3. Settling claims
  4. File online cases by members

UAN (Universal Account Number)

It is a 12 digit number allotted to an employee working in an organisation. If a person has multiple member ID’s issued by multiple organisations, all the ID’s will come under one single UAN number which will be the same for a lifetime. This number will not change even when an employee changes his organisation.

The various benefits attained due to UAN.

  1. Reduces confusion of multiple ID’s and will have one single UAN number
  2. Easy transfer and withdrawal of claims
  3. Online-pass book
  4. SMS services
  5. Online KYC update
  6. Download UAN EPF book
  7. Check EPF balance online

Number of new enrolments

  1. During 2018-19, approximately 61 Lakh new subscribers joined the social security schemes run by EPFO.
  2. During September 2017 – September 2019, around 2.85 crore new subscribers joined the EPF scheme.

Social Security Code Bill 2019

The Bill will be tabled in the Parliament in the 2nd week of December 2019. This Bill is being proposed by the Ministry of Labour, to reduce the Employees contribution to PF. Provident Fund has 2 components. One is the Employees part and the second is the employers part. Currently, the Employees contribution and Employers Contribution to PF stands at 12% of the Basic Salary. As per the proposed Bill, which will be tabled in the Parliament; Employees will be given the option of reducing their contribution to PF. This is being done to increase the take-home salary of Millions of employees in the Organised sector in order to boost the consumption and therefore arrest the decline in the economy.

Salient Features of the Social Security Code Bill 2019

  1. Reduce Employees contribution to PF.
  2. Employers contribution to PF to remain at 12%
  3. Fixed-term contract workers will be eligible for gratuity on a pro-rata basis, currently, workers are not entitled to gratuity before completing 5 years of continuous service as prescribed in the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
  4. Proposes to set up Social Security Fund under using corpus under Corporate Social Responsibility. This fund will provide benefits such as a pension, medical cover, death and disablement benefits to all workers, including gig workers.
  5. Firms with 10 or more employees will have to provide health, pension and other benefits.
  6. Flexibility for procuring compulsory insurance from IRDA
  7. To better Ease of Doing Business, there will be Single Registration and Single return for employers.
  8. EPFO and ESIC to continue as autonomous bodies

Social Security Code Bill 2019 subsumes 8 Central Labour Laws

  1. Employees Compensation Act, 1923
  2. Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
  3. Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Act, 1952
  4. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
  5. Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
  6. Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981
  7. Building and other Workers Cess Act, 1996
  8. Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.

 

PT PICKSUP

Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

  • It is a government organization that manages provident fund and pension accounts of member employees and implements the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 which is applicable to whole of India with exemption given only to Jammu & Kashmir.
    • The Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 provides for the institution of provident funds for employees in factories and other establishments.
  • It is administered by the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India.
  • It is one of the World's largest Social Security Organisations in terms of clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.

Employees Pension Scheme (EPS):

  • It is a social security scheme that was launched in 1995.
  • The scheme, provided by EPFO, makes provisions for pensions for the employees in the organized sector after the retirement at the age of 58 years.
  • Employees who are members of EPF automatically become members of EPS.
    • Both employer and employee contribute 12% of employee’s monthly salary (basic wages plus dearness allowance) to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme.
    • EPF scheme is mandatory for employees who draw a basic wage of Rs. 15,000 per month.
    • Of the employer's share of 12 %, 8.33 % is diverted towards the EPS.
    • Central Govt. also contributes 1.16% of employees’ monthly salary.

yesJai Hind Jai Bharat

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GS-III : Economic Issues
COVID-19 and World reports

COVID-19 and World reports

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Economy (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

1. Asia Development Bank assures India 2.2 billion support to fight COVID: Asian Development Bank today assured India of 2.2 billion US dollar support to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial support of about 16,500 crore rupees. In a call, Asakawa commended the Indian Government's decisive response to the pandemic, including a National Health Emergency programme. He commended tax and other relief measures provided to businesses. ADB President also appreciated 1.7 lakh crore rupees economic relief package to provide immediate income and consumption support to the poor, women, and workers affected by the nationwide lockdown.

ADB in a statement said that weakening global economic growth is causing disruptions in India's trade and manufacturing supply chains, along with the slowdown in tourism and other economic activities. ADB said, it is also engaged with the private sector to meet its financing needs during this period.
On 18th of March, ADB announced an initial package of approximately 6.5 billion US Dollars to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including India, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

2. Global economy is expected to go in recession - RBI REPORT

In its latest Monetary Policy report, the Reserve Bank of India - RBI has stated that the global economy is expected to go into recession after taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also says that aggregate demand is expected to be impacted adversely by likely recession in the global economy, caused by disruptions in global supply chains, travel and tourism, and lockdowns in many economies.

The report suggests that while efforts are being mounted on a war footing to arrest its spread, COVID-19 would impact economic activity in India directly through domestic lockdown. Second round effects would operate through a severe slowdown in global trade and growth. It also says that the lockdown is expected to significantly lower aggregate demand in both rural and urban areas.

3. Global Trade growth expected to plummet as per WTO

The World Trade Organisation today said that global trade growth is expected to plummet by up to a third in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It has warned that the numbers would be ugly and world trade is expected to fall by between 13 percent and 32 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world. WTO said in a statement that there were a wide range of possibilities for how trade would be hit by the unprecedented health crisis. However, WTO chief Roberto Azevedo warned the downturn may well be the deepest economic recession or downturn of our lifetimes.

 

4. World banks report predicts India’s growth at 1.5 to 2.8% in FY 21 ,slowest since economic reform 30 years ago.

India is likely to record its worst growth performance since the 1991 liberalisation this fiscal year as the coronavirus outbreak severely disrupts the economy.

India’s economy is expected to grow 1.5% to 2.8% in the 2020-21 fiscal which started on April 1, the World Bank said in its South Asia Economic Focus report.

It estimated India will grow 4.8% to 5% in the 2019-20 fiscal that ended on March 31.
The COVID-19 outbreak came at a time when India’s economy was already slowing due to persistent financial sector weaknesses, the report said.

To contain it, the government imposed a lockdown, shutting factories and businesses, suspending flights, stopping trains and restricting mobility of goods and people.

“The resulting domestic supply and demand disruptions (on the back of weak external demand) are expected to result in a sharp growth deceleration in FY21 (April 2020 to March 2021),” it said, adding that the services sector will be particularly impacted.

PT PICKSUP

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966.
  • ADB is headquartered in Manila, Philippines. It aims to promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • Japan holds the largest proportion of shares in ADB followed by the USA.
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GS-II : Governance
HRD ministry launches portal “yukti”

HRD ministry launches portal “yukti”

Minister for Human Resource Development has launched a web-portal YUKTI (Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation) in New Delhi today. The portal and dashboard will monitor and record the efforts and initiatives of Ministry of HRD. It intends to cover different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a holistic and comprehensive way.

In the wake of COVID-19 threat, the primary aim is to keep the academic community healthy, both physically and mentally and to enable a continuous high-quality learning environment.

It will cover the various initiatives and efforts of the institutions in academics, research especially related to COVID, social initiatives and measures taken for the betterment of the total wellbeing of the students. The portal will cover both qualitative and quantitative parameters for effective delivery of services to the academic community at large.

Portal will also allow various institutions to share their strategies for various challenges. The HRD Minister hoped that this portal will give inputs for better planning and will enable the Ministry to monitor its activities effectively for coming six months.

The portal will also establish a two-way communication channel between the Ministry of HRD and the institutions to provide the necessary support system to the institutions. He said that the Government is confident that the portal will help in critical issues related to student promotion policies, placements related challenges and physical and mental well-being of students in these challenging times. 

The web platform Yukti will epitomize its name and prove to be a great enabler in taking the research to the citizens of the country, the ultimate stakeholders.

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GS-III :
CSIR and COVID-19

CSIR and COVID-19

CSIR - centre for cellular and microbiology in Hyderabad engaged in fight against COVID 19
CCMB is an authorized testing centre for COVID-19 and receives patient samples from government hospitals across 33 districts of Telangana to check for SARS-CoV-2 virus. Currently, test capacity is around 350 samples a day. 

CSIR labs are leading the way in genome sequencing of the Corona Virus and CCMB is  performing Next Generation Sequencing and analysis to map out the whole genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The patient samples with CCMB that show high viral load are chosen for genome analyses. 
CCMB has also been actively engaged in conveying various precautions and advisories on Corona Outbreak by innovative means in regional languages on social media platforms to the public at large.

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GS-II :
Supreme Court direction for welfare of migrant labour’s

Supreme Court direction for welfare of migrant labour’s housed at relief centre

The Court directed that adequate medical facilities besides proper arrangements for food, clean drinking water and sanitation be ensured for migrant workers at relief camps/shelters across the country. Further, trained counsellors and/ or community group leaders belonging to all faiths should visit the relief camps/ shelter homes and deal with any consternation that the migrants might be going through.
The Court also observed that the anxiety and fear of the migrants should be understood by the police and other authorities, and that they should deal with the migrants in a humane manner. Further, the State Governments/ UTs should endeavour to engage volunteers along with the police to supervise the welfare activities of the migrants.

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GS-I : Art and Culture
Paintings- scroll painting- Pattachitra

Art and culture - Pattachitra

Pattachitra evolved from Sanskrit. When broken down into its two parts, Patta means cloth, and Chitra means picture (Scroll Paintings). Hence, Pattachitra is a picture painted on a piece of cloth. This form of art is closely related to the cult of Shri Jagannath and the temple traditions in Puri. Believed to have originated as early as the 12th century, it is one of the most popular living art forms, and people in Odisha practice it to this day.

For Pattachitra painting, the Chitrakars follow a traditional process of preparing the canvas. A gauze-like fine cotton cloth is coated with white stone powder and gum made out of tamarind seeds. This makes the canvass ready to accept the paint, made of natural colors. These colors are an unique feature of Pattachitra.

The gum of the kaitha tree is the chief ingredient, used as a base for making different pigments by adding available raw materials. For instance, to get the shade of white, powdered conch shells are used.

Pattachitra is predominantly icon painting. Some of the popular themes of this religious art are The Badhia (a depiction of the temple of Jagannath); Krishna Lila (an enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child); Dasabatara Patti (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu); and Panchamukhi (a depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity). Every year during Debasnana Purnima in Puri Jagannath Temple, the deities are believed to take a bath with 108 pots of cold water to fight the heat of summer. Afterward, the deities supposedly fall sick for a period of 15 days known as ‘Anasara.’ Because of the deities’ absence from public view, some of the finest Chitrakars are gathered to make three Pattachita paintings of the three deities — namely Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra — for the public to pay obeisance. These painting are called Anasar Patti.

It is a disciplined form of art with a set of rules and restrictions. A floral border is a must around the paintings, and so is the use of natural colors. The paintings are executed primarily in profile with elongated eyes, as well. With the use of such prominent solid shades, the paintings end up depicting stark emotional expressions with great detail. Following completion of a painting, the canvas is held over a charcoal fire and lacquer is applied to the surface.

Over the years the art form has evolved and has experienced discernible changes. The Chitrakars have painted on palm leaves and Tussar silk and have also created wall hangings and showpieces. Because of the stringent methodology of the art, it survives, preserving the effervescence of the aesthetic Pattachitra. The intriguing folk paintings are internationally known, and the setting up of centres to teach the art form in Odisha speaks volumes about its consistency and popularity.

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GS-I : Art and Culture
Meru Jatra Festival/ Danda Nata -Odisha

Meru Jatra Festival/ Danda Nata -Odisha

CONTEXT:

Odisha’s Ganjam district administration has banned the Meru Jatra festival and congregations related to it at temples on the occasion of Mahavishub Sankranti on Monday.

Meru Jatra marks the end of 21-day-long festival of penance named ‘Danda Nata’. Mahavishub Sankranti is also start of the Odia New Year. On this day, thousands of devotees used to gather at the Tara Tarini hill shrine and other temples.

 Danda Nata:

  • Danda Nata or Danda Jatra is one of the most important traditional dance festivals organized in different parts of South Odisha and particularly in the Ganjam District, the heartland of ancient Kalinga Empire. The Danda Nata festival is being held in the month of Chaitra of every year. As per Ram Prasad Tripathy's article, it is an ancient festival of the Kalinga kingdom and still alive in and around the ancient Kalinga capital Sampa/Samapa i.e modern day Ganjam District. The Participants of Danda are called Danduas (also known as Bhoktas) and they pray Goddesses Kali and Shiva during this 13-, 18- or 21-day Danda period.
  • Danda begins on an auspicious day before the Chaitra Sankranti or Meru Parba with traditional worship and fasting. The total number of days for the festival is 13, 18 or 21 days.
  • Only male persons take part in this festival.
  • The participants are known as the 'Bhoktas'. All the `Bhoktas` or 'Danduas' lead a very pious life for all these days during the festival and they avoid eating meat, fish or cohabiting during this period.
  • It is believed that the present day Danda Nata is a part of the ancient Chaitra Yatra festivals being celebrated every year at Taratarini Shakti/Tantra Peetha. The Kalinga Emperors organised this Chaitra festival for their Ista devi, Taratarini.
  • It is dedicated to Lord Siva and Goddess Kali, who is represented by a Danda or a Pole, decorated with `different colored clothes. The participant perform Pani Danda , Agni Danda, Dhuli Danda etc,

 

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GS-II : Governance
APEDA & TRIFED

APEDA & TRIFED

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985. It functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Authority has its headquarters in New Delhi.

Functions

  • APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz. fruits, vegetables and their products; meat and meat products; poultry and poultry products; dairy products; confectionery, biscuits and bakery products; honey, jaggery and sugar products; cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; cereal and cereal products; groundnuts, peanuts and walnuts, pickles, papads and chutneys; guar gum; floriculture and floriculture products; herbal and medicinal plants.
  • APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.
  • It looks after the development of industries relating to the scheduled products for export by way of providing financial assistance or otherwise for undertaking surveys and feasibility studies, participating through subsidy schemes.
  • Registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products and fixing of standards and specifications for the scheduled products for the purpose of exports.
  • Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughterhouses, processing plants, storage premises and improving packaging of the scheduled products.

Composition of APEDA Authority

  • The APEDA Authority consists of the following members namely:
    • A Chairman appointed by the Central Government
    • The Agricultural Marketing Advisor to the Government of India, ex-official
    • Three members of Parliament of whom two are elected by the House of People and one by the Council of States
    • Eight members appointed by the Central Government representing respectively; the Ministries of the Central Govt.
      • Agriculture and Rural Development
      • Commerce
      • Finance
      • Industry
      • Food
      • Civil Supplies
      • Civil Aviation
      • Shipping and transport

Five members appointed by the Central Government by rotation in alphabetical order to represent the States and the Union Territories

  • Seven members appointed by the Central Govt. representing
    • Indian Council of Agricultural Research
    • National Horticultural Board
    • National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation
    • Central Food Technological Research Institute
    • Indian Institute of Packaging
    • Spices Export Promotion Council and
    • Cashew Export Promotion Council
  • Twelve members appointed by the Central Government representing
    • Fruit and Vegetable Products Industries
    • Meat, Poultry and Dairy Products Industries
    • Other Scheduled Products Industries
    • Packaging Industry
  • Two members appointed by the Central Government from amongst specialists and scientists in the fields of agriculture, economics and marketing of the scheduled products. 

TRIFED

  • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987. It is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • TRIFED has its Head Office located in New Delhi and has a network of 13 Regional Offices located at various places in the country.

Objectives

  • The ultimate objective of TRIFED is socio-economic development of tribal people in the country by way of marketing development of the tribal products such as metal craft, tribal textiles, pottery, tribal paintings and pottery on which the tribals depends heavily for major portion of their income.
  • TRIFED acts as a facilitator and service provider for tribes to sell their product.
  • The approach by TRIFED aims to empower tribal people with knowledge, tools and pool of information so that they can undertake their operations in a more systematic and scientific manner.
  • It also involves capacity building of the tribal people through sensitization, formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and imparting training to them for undertaking a particular activity.

Functions

It mainly undertakes two functions viz. Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development and Retail Marketing and Development.

Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development

  • An important source of livelihood for tribal people are non-wood forest products, generally termed 'Minor Forest Produce (MFP)'. This includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and include bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser etc.
  • The Minor Forest Produces provide both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests. They form a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sales.
  • MFP has significant economic and social value for the forest dwellers as an estimated 100 Million people derive their source of livelihood from the collection and marketing of Minor Forest Produce (Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011).
  • Around 100 million forest dwellers depend on Minor Forest Produces for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from Minor Forest Produce on which they spend major portion of their time.
  • MFP also has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the Minor Forest Produces are collected and used/sold by women.
  • The people who depend on MFP are generally beset with a number of other problems such as perishable nature of the produce, lack of holding capacity, lack of marketing infrastructure, exploitation by middlemen, etc. Due to this, the MFP gatherers who are mostly poor are unable to bargain for fair prices.
  • To cope with the above problem, Govt. of India has decided to introduce the scheme of “Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain”.
  • The scheme is designed as a social safety net for improvement of livelihood of MFP gatherers by providing them a fair price for the MFPs they collect.

Retail Marketing and Development

  • TRIFED aims to improve the livelihood of the tribal communities by creating a sustainable market and create business opportunities for tribal people.
  • It involves exploring marketing possibilities for marketing of tribal products on a sustainable basis, creating brand and providing other necessary services.
  • It has a network of 13 regional offices across the country which identifies and source tribal products for marketing through its retail marketing network of TRIBES INDIA outlets.
  • It has been undertaking sourcing of various handicraft, handloom and natural & food products through its empanelled suppliers across the country. The suppliers comprise of individual tribal artisans, tribal SHGs, Organisations/ Agencies/NGOs working with tribals. The suppliers are empanelled with TRIFED as per the guidelines for empanelment of suppliers.
  • TRIFED has been marketing tribal products through its Retail Outlets located across the country and also through exhibitions. It has established a chain of 35 own showrooms and 8 consignment showrooms in association with State level Organisations promoting tribal handicrafts.
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