21 May, 2020

37 Min Read

GS-I : Social issues Old age policy and programme
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana-PMVVY – OLD AGE & Senior Citizens

Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana-PMVVY – OLD AGE & Senior Citizens

Part of: GS-I- Social issues (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

PMVVY is a social security scheme for senior citizens intended to give an assured minimum pension to them based on an assured return on the purchase price / subscription amount.
(a) Extension of Pradhan MantriVayaVandanaYojana (PMVVY) up to 31st March, 2023 for further period of three years beyond 31st March, 2020.

(b) To allow initially an assured rate of return of 7.40 % per annum for the year 2020-21 per annum and thereafter to be reset every year.

(c) Annual reset of assured rate of interest with effect from April 1st of financial year in line with revised rate of returns of Senior Citizens Saving Scheme (SCSS) upto a ceiling of 7.75% with fresh appraisal of the scheme on breach of this threshold at any point.

(d) Approval for expenditure to be incurred on account of the difference between the market rate of return generated by LIC (net of expenses) and the guaranteed rate of return under the scheme.

(e) Capping Management expenses at 0.5% p.a. of funds of the scheme for first year of scheme in respect of new policies issued and thereafter 0.3% p.a. for second year onwards for the next 9 years.

(f) Delegating the authority to Finance Minister to approve annual reset rate of return at the beginning of every financial year.

(g) All other terms and conditions of the scheme remaining the same.

The minimum investment has also been revised to Rs.1,56,658 for pension of Rs.12,000/- per annum and Rs.1,62,162/- for getting a minimum pension amount of Rs.1000/- per month under the scheme.

Analysis for MAINS

National Elderly Policy defines person of 60+ age group as elderly.

Population figures on ageing

Age division of Indian population (0-14) is 30.8%, (15-59) is 60.3%, (60+) is 8.6%. According to Population Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons in India. It has increased from 5.5% in 1951 to 8.6% in 2011. Projected a rise upto 19% in 2050. As regards rural and urban areas, more than 73 million persons i.e. 71% of elderly population resides in rural areas while 31 million or 29% of elderly population are in urban area.

Feminisation of ageing

  • Among the challenges which India faces, UNPF report says the feminisation of ageing remained a key one.
  • The sex ratio of the elderly has increased from 938 women to 1,000 men in 1971 to 1,033 in 2011 and is projected to increase to 1,060 by 2026.
  • The report also noted that between 2000 and 2050, the population of 80-plus people would have grown 700% “with a predominance of widowed and highly dependent very old women” and so the special needs of such old women would need significant focus of policy and programmes.

Problems associated with old age

  • Financial
    • Retirement and dependence of elderly on their child for basic necessity.
    • Sudden increase in out of pocket expenses on treatment.
    • Migration of young working-age persons from rural area have negative impacts on the elderly, living alone or with only the spouse usually poverty and distress.
    • Insufficient housing facility.
  • Health
    • Multiple disabilities among the elders in old age.
    • Health issues like blindness,locomotor disabilities and deafness are most prevalent.
    • Mental illness arising from senility and neurosis.
    • Absence of geriatric care facilities at hospitals in rural area.
  • Social
    • Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical & technological change, education and globalization.
    • Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.
    • Industrialization has replaced the simple family production units by the mass production and the factory.
    • Negligence by kids towards their old parents.
    • Disillusionment due to retirement.
    • Feeling of powerlessness, loneliness, uselessness and isolation in elderly.
    • Generational gap.

Recent initiatives by government

Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP)

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is a nodal agency for the welfare of elderly people. The main objective of the scheme is to improve the quality of life of older persons by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities, etc.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)

    • This scheme is run by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. This is a central sector scheme funded from the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund. The fund was notified in the year 2016. All unclaimed amounts from small savings accounts, PPF and EPF are to be transferred to this fund.
    • Under the RVY scheme, aids and assistive living devices are provided to senior citizens belonging to BPL category who suffer from age-related disabilities such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth and locomotor disabilities. The aids and assistive devices, viz walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers/crutches, tripods/quad pods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures and spectacles are provided to eligible beneficiaries.
    • The scheme is being implemented by Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), which is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)

The Ministry of Rural Development runs the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) that extends social assistance for poor households for the aged, widows, disabled, and in cases of death where the breadwinner has passed away.

Under this scheme, financial assistance is provided to person of 60 years and above and belonging to family living below poverty line as per the criteria prescribed by Government of India. Central assistance of Rs 200 per month is provided to person in the age group of 60-79 years and Rs 500 per month to persons of 80 years and above.

Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY)

This scheme is run by the Ministry of Finance. The Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) was first launched in 2003 and then relaunched in 2014. Both are social security schemes for senior citizens intended to give an assured minimum pension on a guaranteed minimum return on the subscription amount.

The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana

The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PNVVY) was launched in May 2017 to provide social security during old age. This is a simplified version of the VPBY and will be implemented by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.

Under the scheme, on payment of an initial lump sum amount ranging from Rs 1,50,000 for a minimum pension of Rs 1000 per month to a maximum of Rs 7,50,000/- for a maximum pension of Rs 5,000 per month, subscribers will get an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum payable monthly/quarterly/half-yearly/annually.

The Centre will bear 75 percent of the total budget and the state government will contribute 25 percent of the budget, for activities up to district level.

Vayoshreshtha Samman

Conferred as a National award, and given to eminent senior citizens & institutions under various categories for their contributions on International day of older persons on 1st october.

Legal backings

  • Article 41 and Article 46 are the constitutional provisions for elderly persons. Although directive principles are not enforceable under the law, but it creates a positive obligation towards the state while making any law.
  • Section 20 of Hindu marriage and adoption act, 1956 makes it obligatory provisions to maintain an aged parents.
  • Under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code, the elder parents can claim maintenance from their children.
  • The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, seeks to make it legal for the children or heirs to maintain their parents or senior citizens of the family.
  • Convention on the Rights of Older Persons is proposed in united nation.
  • In 1982, the Report of the World Assembly on Ageing (also known as "the International Plan on Ageing") was published, which represented the first international debate on the rights of older persons and presented a plan for their implementation.
  • The UNPF were tasked with implementing the Plan of the Second World Assembly which adopted “Madrid International Plan” on ageing in 2002.


Elderly peoples carries immense experience of their personal and professional life, society at large need to channelise those experience for better tomorrow.

  • They can provide a vital generational link for upcoming generations. It provides support and stability to families and society at large.
  • Grandparents in joint families provide a crucial link for transferring values and morals to the younger generation in their initial years, thereby contributing towards upbringing of better human beings and responsible citizens.
  • Acknowledging seniors’ contributions would help to make ours a more age-inclusive society that does not pit one generation against the other.
  • Their deep cultural impressions and social experiences provide the necessary buffer against intolerance, violence and hate crimes which provides stability in society especially in the era of hate and crime. They can play a significant role in easing out societal tensions, both within and outside families through their insight and understanding.

Way forward

Increasing the monthly pension of elderly to minimum of Rs 2,000 per month.

  • Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Housing for the aged, particularly the aged poor, must be a priority.
  • Assisted living facilities for indigent elderly, particularly those with age-related issues like dementia, needs policy focus.
  • More tax benefits, or at least removing tax on deposit interest for seniors.
  • Enhancing the geriatric care health infrastructure especially in rural area.
  • Allocation of special budget for elderly population at both levels.
  • Providing entertainment facilities like libraries and clubs at panchayat level.
  • Appreciations for the contributions of elderlies at village level.


For the welfare and care for the older persons, we must focus on the protection of already existing social support systems/traditional social institutions such as family and kinship, neighborhood bonding, community bonding and community participation must be revived and kins should show sensitivity towards elderly citizens.

Social security is the concurrent responsibility of the central and state governments as, mandated under Indian constitution i.e, Well-being of senior citizens – Article 41 in particular and 46 in general of Indian constitution. In this regard, National Policy on Senior Citizen, 2011 was framed.

Source: PIB

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Working safely: On workplaces during the pandemic

Working safely: On workplaces during the pandemic


Opening up economic production from a lockdown, even partially, when the COVID-19 pandemic has not peaked in the country poses an extraordinary challenge.

Guidelines to be followed in a workplace

Reducing the number of people present at any given time is a universal principle, either through resort to shifts, or arrangements to enable employees to work from home.

Physical distancing of at least one metre, mandatory use of face masks or cover, frequent hand washing with soap, respiratory etiquette, sanitising contact surfaces and self-monitoring of health.

These requirements have by now become familiar to everyone, and employees need only be nudged into adopting them through persistent communication, free provisioning of masks and sanitising materials, and organising office space suitably.

The Centre’s protocol for symptomatic cases at the workplace, requiring testing, and, where warranted, quarantining of both the worker and close contacts, and a two-day closure of offices experiencing an outbreak.


Physical distancing of even one metre, if not the ‘do gaz’ or six feet that Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated, does pose difficulties because of the lack of space and density of workers in many places.

Failure to maintain distancing, more so in a poorly-ventilated, closed environment, gives the virus a free run, as Chennai’s wholesale vegetable market showed starkly.

Some institutions are mandating installation of the Aarogya Setu app by employees returning to work, when the legal basis of this monitoring mechanism remains shaky and there are no assured benefits in terms of health care.

Way Ahead

Employers should see the value of keeping staff attendance at safe levels even within the legally permitted ceiling, which now extends to 50% in specified sectors and even in some government offices.

It is imperative for other activities, such as public transport used by many workers, to meet COVID-19 requirements.

A prudent course would be to navigate the present with a minimalist approach, as the quest for a medical breakthrough makes progress.

Source: TH

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Indigenous Cryogenic Engine

Indigenous Cryogenic Engine

A Cryogenic rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant rocket stages.

Specific impulse (a measure of the efficiency) achievable with cryogenic propellants (liquid Hydrogen and liquid Oxygen) is much higher compared to earth storable liquid and solid propellants, giving it a substantial payload advantage.

However, cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system compared to solid or earth-storable liquid propellant stages due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures and the associated thermal and structural problems.

Oxygen liquifies at -183 deg C and Hydrogen at -253 deg C. The propellants, at these low temperatures are to be pumped using turbo pumps running at around 40,000 rpm. It also entails complex ground support systems like propellant storage and filling systems, cryo engine and stage test facilities, transportation and handling of cryo fluids and related safety aspects.

ISRO's Cryogenic Upper Stage Project (CUSP) envisaged the design and development of the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage to replace the stage procured from Russia and used in GSLV flights. The main engine and two smaller steering engines of CUS together develop a nominal thrust of 73.55 kN in vacuum. During the flight, CUS fires for a nominal duration of 720 seconds.

Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) from the respective tanks are fed by individual booster pumps to the main turbopump to ensure a high flow rate of propellants into the combustion chamber. Thrust control and mixture ratio control are achieved by two independent regulators. Two gimballed steering engines provide for control of the stage during its thrusting phase.

Source: PIB

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GS-I : Human Geography Climatology
Bomb Cyclone

Bomb Cyclone

It’s a weather term that applies to a massive winter storm that struck off the U.S. Southeast, the storm has dumped freak snow in this region. This storm will usually stay out to sea and blow with high winds gusts exceeding 100 kmph.

Bomb cyclones draw air from Polar Regions after they leave it means extra cold Arctic air this is based on polar vortex. Storm intensity is measured by central pressure the lower the pressure, the stronger. A storm is considered a “bomb” when the pressure drops rapidly at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, millibar is the unit of atmospheric air pressure.

Source: TH

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Milk under price stabilisation fund

Milk under price stabilisation fund

To create additional domestic demand for milk the agriculture ministry has sought inclusion of the milk under the Price Stabilisation Fund scheme. If milk is included in the Price Stabilisation Fund, it would enable states to distribute milk through the public distribution system.

The Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) was set up under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Famers Welfare (DAC&FW) and later transferred to Department of Consumer Affairs (DOCA). It aims to help regulate the price volatility of important agri-horticultural commodities like onion, potatoes and pulses were also added subsequently.

Source: pib

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GS-II : Governance
National Tobacco Control Policy

National Tobacco Control Policy

Union government is planning to propose a policy for enforcing various provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products. As of now Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003), lies with the States/Union Territories.

At present there is a National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) with one objective of ensuring effective implementation of the provisions under COTPA, 2003. There are State and District Level Coordination Committees under NTCP to oversee its implementation.

Source: PIB

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Tabby's star

Tabby's star

Tabby’s star is the “most mysterious star in the universe” as it kept dimming and brightening irregularly, following no pattern. Officially called KIC 8462852, the star is 1,000 light years away from the Earth and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun.

There was a 20% decrease in brightness and the dip lasted from five to 80 days. A recent report showed that the dimming is caused by ordinary dust particles, the majority of them at a size less than one micrometre.

Source: TH

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The IPCC is an international body for the assessment of climate change, it was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The IPCC reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.

Source: Web

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GS-I : Human Geography Climatology


Cryosphere refers to the frozen part of the earth surface. It might be comprised of snow, river and lake ice, sea ice, glaciers, ice shelves and ice sheets, and frozen grounds. This region plays a major role in the Earth’s climate system through its impact on the surface energy budget, the water cycle, and sea level.

It is a fundamental control on the physical, biological and social environment over a large part of the Earth’s surface. Cryosphere is a natural integrator of climate variability and provides one of the most visible signatures of climate change.

Source: Aspire

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Ozone Depletion

Ozone Depletion

The scientists have observed for the first time that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining, resulting in less ozone depletion. There has been an international ban on chlorine-containing human made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Measurement show that this has resulted in about 20% less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005.

Stratospheric ozone protects life on the planet by absorbing potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, CFCs are long-lived chemical compounds that eventually rise into the stratosphere.

In the long months of polar winter, chemical reactions take place in Polar Stratospheric Clouds that could not take place anywhere else in the atmosphere. These reactions convert the inactive chlorine in CFCs into more active forms, especially chlorine gas (Cl2). When the sunlight returns to the South Pole in October, UV light rapidly breaks the bond between the two chlorine atoms, releasing free chlorine.

Chlorine atoms go on to destroy ozone molecules, resulting in Antarctic ozone hole. The measurements are made by Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) aboard the Aura satellite, which has been monitoring continuously since 2004.

Source: Web

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No Development Zone

No Development Zone

The River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016 provides that the bank of River Ganga, its tributaries or the active flood area of them shall be construction free zone. It also prohibits construction of any structure for residential or commercial or industrial or any other purposes.

The National Green Tribunal has directed to identity and demarcate the flood plains of river Ganga from Haridwar to Unnao. Once the demarcation of flood plain is completed, 100 metres from the edge of the river would be designated as no development/construction zone. Further, Ministry of Environment Forests & Climate Change also circulated draft notification on “River Conservation Zones” in 2015 to all States.

Source: TH

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GS-I : Human Geography Current mapping upsc
Zojila Tunnel

Zojila Tunnel

It is an upcoming project in J&K which aims at providing all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. The project has been approved on the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode. It holds strategic and socio-economic significance, given the fact that the region of Leh has limited connectivity due to threat of avalanches.

The project will be executed by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRT&H).

Source: TH

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GS-III : Economic Issues Banking
The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017

It seeks to amend the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. A negotiable instrument is a document that promises payment to a specified person. E.g Cheque

The Act defines promissory notes, bills of exchange, and cheques. It also specifies penalties for bouncing of cheques, and other violations with respect to such negotiable instruments.

Source: TH

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