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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Apr 05, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Guidelines for Burning of Crop Residues 

 

The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas, on 10.06.2021 has provided a framework to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, along with the NCT of Delhi, for control/elimination of crop residue burning and directed to draw up the state specific action plans based on the major contours of the framework.

 Further, Government is implementing a special scheme ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’ to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi towards prevention of burning of crop residue and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue.

As per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR), Ministry of Earth Sciences, estimated average contribution of biomass burning to PM2.5 levels in Delhi was 13% for both years i.e., 2020 (10 October - 03 December) and 2021 (10 October- 23 November) with maximum estimated contribution reaching up to 42% in 2020 and 48% in 2021.

Active Fire Event (AFE) count due to paddy crop residue burning, provided by Consortium for Research on Agro ecosystem Monitoring and Modeling from Space (CREAMS), IARI, indicates reduction of AFE in 2021, by 14% in Punjab, while increase by 66.3% in Haryana, as compared to AFE count observed in 2020.

Paddy straw is used as conventional animal feed in most parts of the country. However, it can be better utilized by making it nutritional feed material by treating with urea solution. The paddy straw is also used for paper making. However, it is less preferred by the paper industry due to high silica content causing chocking of blast furnaces, low fiber strength, less pulp yield, yellowness in pulp and requirement of large storage space etc.

Current Affair 2:
Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO)

 

EPFO is a statutory body established under the Employees' Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 and is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of India.

Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is a scheme under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 and is regulated under the purview of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Basically, It is essentially a social security scheme.

If an establishment (factory or service industry) has more than 20 workers then it is mandatory to get registered with EPFO. But all the employees working in such a registered (with EPFO) establishment don't need to subscribe to the EPF scheme. Only those workers whose salary is up to Rs. 15000 need to contributes 12% of his/her basic salary (including dearness allowance) into this scheme and the same amount is also contributed by the employer. For other employees earning more than Rs. 15000, it is voluntary. So, some rich people with huge salaries were exploiting this scheme and contributing more money (in absolute terms) and were getting benefits in terms of TAX-free interest income.

Now from FY 2021-22, Govt. has put a cap that if the employee is contributing till Rs. 2.5 lakhs annually in the scheme then the interest income will be tax free otherwise not. And in case there is no employer contribution then the interest income will be tax free till Rs. 5 lakhs contribution. Beyond that if anyone is contributing then they need to pay tax on the interest income.

The EPF Interest Rate is determined by EPFO in consultation with the Finance Ministry for every financial year.

Once the "The Code on Social Security 2020" becomes effective, the Employees' Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 will be repealed. And new rules and regulations may kick in.

Once an establishment gets registered under EPFO, then it becomes a 'formal' establishment and once the employee gets enrolled under the EPF scheme, he becomes a formal sector worker. This is not a standard definition but it’s an accepted norm.

 

Current Affair 3:
Review of Restha Scheme

 

The Department of Social Justice & Empowerment implements a Central Sector Scheme of “Grant-in-Aid to Voluntary and other Organizations working for Scheduled Castes” under which financial assistance is provided to the NGOs for projects related to Education sector to Scheduled Caste students. The Scheme broadly covers 3 types of projects namely

(i) Residential Schools (ii) Non-Residential Schools and (iii) Hostels, both for Primary and Secondary Students. During the last three years, the scheme was revised w.e.f. 01.04.2020 for 2020-21 therewith assistance provided for operation and up-gradation costs of already functional/ongoing and new projects of Residential/Non-Residential Schools and Hostels including the project of Hostel for Girls, to eligible Voluntary and other organizations.

The scheme has, further, been revised w.e.f 2021-22 and renamed as Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SHRESHTA), which is operated in two Modes.

Admissible Grant for each project on per SC student basis under Mode- II of SHRESHTA is as under:

Current Affair 4:
Implementation of PMAGY

 

The centrally sponsored scheme of Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY) is being implemented since 2009-10 for integrated development of Scheduled Castes(SCs) majority villages. Since 2018-19, the scheme implementation guidelines were comprehensively revised. During 2021-22, this scheme has been merged with two other existing schemes of this Department to be known as Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM-AJAY), for which an amount of Rs.1800.00 cr. has been allocated for the financial year 2021-22.

The principal objective of the ‘Adarsh Gram’ component of the merged scheme of PM-AJAY is integrated development of SC majority villages:

  1. Primarily through convergent implementation of the relevant Central and State Schemes; and,
  2. To take up identified activities, which do not get covered under the existing Central and State Government Schemes, through ‘Gap-filling’ funds provided as Central Assistance to the extent of Rs.20.00 lakh per village.

The scheme was started on pilot basis wherein 1000 such villages were selected. In 2014-15, the scheme was further expanded to 1500 more villages. Since 2018-19, 19080 villages have been selected so far under the scheme. Till 2017-18, all such villages having more than 50% SC population were eligible for selection under the scheme. Since 2018-19 onwards, villages having total population 500 or more with more than 50% SC population are eligible for selection under the scheme at present.

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