Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Sovereign portfolio guarantee up to 20% first loss for purchase of Bonds or Commercial Papers (CPs) with a rating of AA and below (including unrated with original/initial maturity of up to one year) issued with NBFCs/MFCs/Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) by Public Sector Banks (PSBs) through an extension of the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS).
About the scheme –
The Cabinet also approved modifications in the existing PCGS on purchase of pooled assets, increasing its coverage by—
- Making NBFCs/HFCs reported under SMA-1 category on technical reasons alone during the last one year period prior to 1.8.2018 eligible. Earlier NBFCs/HFCs reported as SMA-1 or SMA-2 during this period were ineligible under the Scheme.
- Relaxing the net profit criteria to the extent that the concerned NBFC/HFC should now have made a profit in at least one of the financial years of FY2017-18, FY 2018-19 and 2019-20. Earlier, the NBFC/HFC should have made a net profit in at least one of the financial years of FY 2017-18 and2018-19.
- Relaxing the criteria regarding date of origination of assets to include new assets originating up to at least six months prior to the date of initial pool rating. Earlier, only assets originated up to 31.3.2019 were eligible under the Scheme.
- Extending the Scheme from 30.6.2020 to 31.3.2021 for purchase of pooled assets.
The existing PCGS was issued on 11.12.2019 offering sovereign guarantee of up to 10% of first loss to PSBs for purchasing pooled assets worth rated BBB+ or above worth up to Rs. 1,00,000 crore, from financially sound NBFCs/ MFCs.
Scheme for formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval to a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme – “Scheme for Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (FME)” for the Unorganised Sector on All India basis with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore. The expenditure will be shared by GOI and the States in ratio 60:40.
- Increase in access to finance by micro food processing units.
- Increase in revenues of target enterprises.
- Enhanced compliance with food quality and safety standards.
- Strengthening capacities of support systems.
- Transition from the unorganised sector to the formal sector.
- Special focus on women entrepreneurs and Aspirational districts.
- Encourage Waste to Wealth activities.
- Focus on minor forest produce in Tribal Districts.
Salient Features –
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
- Expenditure to be shared by Government of India and States at 60:40.
- 2,00,000 micro-enterprises are to be assisted with credit linked subsidy.
- Scheme will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
- Cluster approach.
- Focus on perishables.
Impact and employment generation –
- Nearly eight lakh micro- enterprises will benefit through access to information, better exposure and formalisation.
- Credit linked subsidy support and hand-holding will be extended to 2,00,000 micro enterprises for expansion and upgradation.
- It will enable them to formalise, grow and become competitive.
- The project is likely to generate nine lakh skilled and semi-skilled jobs.
- Scheme envisages increased access to credit by existing micro food processing entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the Aspirational Districts.
- Better integration with organised markets.
- Increased access to common services like sorting, grading, processing, packaging, storage etc.
- There are about 25 lakh unregistered food processing enterprises which constitute 98% of the sector and are unorganised and informal. Nearly 66 % of these units are located in rural areas and about 80% of them are family-based enterprises.
- This sector faces a number of challenges including the inability to access credit, high cost of institutional credit, lack of access to modern technology, inability to integrate with the food supply chain and compliance with the health &safety standards.
- Strengthening this segment will lead to reduction in wastage, creation of off-farm job opportunities and aid in achieving the overarching Government objective of doubling farmers’ income.
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the following for the welfare of and to enable old age income security for Senior Citizens.
- Extension of Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) up to 31st March, 2023 for further period of three years beyond 31st March, 2020.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Delegating the authority to Finance Minister to approve annual reset rate of return at the beginning of every financial year.
- All other terms and conditions of the scheme remaining the same.
Investments limit –
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.
About Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana –
- It is a pension scheme announced exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years or above.
- The investment limit is Rs.15 lakh/senior citizen and provides an assured return of 8% p.a. for 10 years (now revised to 7.40%).
- It is exempted from Service Tax/ GST and LIC is the implementing agency.
- Premature withdrawal from the scheme is possible in case the money is required for the treatment of terminal or critical illness of the person or spouse.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
- A scheme to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India under two components namely, Central Sector Scheme (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) at a total estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crore.
- The Scheme will be implemented during a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.
- The PMMSY will be implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate Components namely (a) Central Sector Scheme (CS) and (b) Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) Component is further segregated into Non-beneficiary oriented and Beneficiary orientated subcomponents/activities under the following three broad heads –
- Enhancement of Production and Productivity
- Infrastructure and Post-Harvest Management
- Fisheries Management and Regulatory Framework
Funding pattern –
Central Sector Scheme (CS) –
- The entire project/unit cost will be borne by the Central government (i.e. 100% central funding).
- Wherever direct beneficiary oriented i.e. individual/group activities are undertaken by the entities of central government including National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), the central assistance will be up to 40% of the unit/project cost for General category and 60% for SC/ST/Women category.
Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) –
For the Non-beneficiary orientated sub-components/activities under CSS component to be implemented by the States/UTs, the entire project/unit cost will be shared between Centre and State as detailed below –
- North Eastern & Himalayan States – 90% Central share and 10% State share.
- Other States – 60% Central share and 40% State share.
- Union Territories (with legislature and without legislature) – 100% Central share.
- Address the critical gaps in the fisheries sector and realise its potential.
- Augmenting fish production and productivity at a sustained average annual growth rate of about 9% to achieve a target of 22 million metric tons by 2024-25 through sustainable and responsible fishing practices.
- Improving availability of certified quality fish seed and feed, traceability in fish and including effective aquatic health management.
- Creation of critical infrastructure including modernisation and strengthening of value chain.
- Creation of direct gainful employment opportunities to about 15 lakh fishers, fish farmers, fish workers, fish vendors and other rural/urban populations in fishing and allied activities and about thrice this number as indirect employment opportunities including enhancement of their incomes.
- Boost to investments in fisheries sector and increase of competitiveness of fish and fisheries products.
- Doubling of fishers, fish farmers and fish workers incomes by 2024.
- Social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish workers.
Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given the following approvals –
- To enable additional funding of up to Rs. 3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested MUDRA borrowers by way of “Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme.”
- Under the Scheme, 100% guarantee coverage to be provided by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC)for additional funding of up to Rs. three lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested MUDRA. borrowers, in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.
For this purpose, corpus of Rs. 41,600 crore shall be provided by Government of India spread over the current and the next three financial years.
The Cabinet also approved that the Scheme would be applicable to all loans sanctioned under GECL Facility during the period from the date of announcement of the Scheme to 31.10.2020, or till an amount of Rs 3,00,000 crore is sanctioned under the GECL, whichever is earlier.
Salient features of the scheme –
The salient features of the Scheme include –
- All MSME borrower accounts with outstanding credit of up to Rs. 25 crore as on 29.2.2020 which were less than or equal to 60 days past due as on that date and with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 100 crore would be eligible for GECL funding under the Scheme.
- The amount of GECL funding to eligible MSME borrowers either in the form of additional working capital term loans (in case of banks and FIs), or additional term loans (in case of NBFCs) would be up to 20% of their entire outstanding credit up to Rs. 25 crore as on 29th February, 2020.
- The entire funding provided under GECL shall be provided with a 100% credit guarantee by NCGTC to MLIs under ECLGS.
- Tenor of loan under Scheme shall be four years with moratorium period of one year on the principal amount.
- No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from the Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.
- Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, and at 14% for NBFCs.
Konark Sun Temple
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has taken up the Complete Solarisation of Konark sun temple and Konark town in Odisha.
About Konark Sun Temple –
- Konark Sun Temple, located in the eastern State of Odisha near the sacred city of Puri, is dedicated to the sun God or Surya.
- It is a monumental representation of the sun God Surya’s chariot; its 24 wheels are decorated with symbolic designs and it is led by a team of seven horses.
- It is a masterpiece of Odisha’s medieval architecture and one of India’s most famous Brahman sanctuaries.
- The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. It marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace, the joy and the rhythm of life all its wondrous variety.
- The temple declared a world heritage by UNESCO was built in A.D. 1250, during the reign of the Eastern Ganga King Narasimhadeva-I (A.D. 1238-64).
- There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the Konark sun temple.
- It is said that the wheels represent the 24 hours in a day and many others believe that they represent the 12 months.
- The seven horses are said to symbolise the seven days of the week.
- Sailors once called this Sun Temple of Konarak, the Black Pagoda because it was supposed to draw ships into the shore and cause shipwrecks.
Agappe Chitra Magna
The planned commercial launch of Agappe Chitra Magna, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit for use during testing for detection of COVID19 developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology – Trivandrum, an Institute of National Importance of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) along with Agappe Diagnostics Ltd will be held soon.
About ChitraGene Lamp (Agappe Chitra Magna)-
- The confirmatory diagnostic test detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP).
- The test kit is highly specific for SARS-CoV-2 N-gene and can detect two regions of the gene, which will ensure that the test does not fail even if one region of the viral gene undergoes mutation during its current spread.
- The detection time is 10 minutes, and the sample to result time (from RNA extraction in swab to RT-LAMP detection time) will be less than 2 hours.
How does it work?
- It uses an innovative technology for isolating RNA using magnetic nanoparticles to capture the RNA from the patient sample.
- The magnetic nanoparticle beads bind to the viral RNA and, when exposed to a magnetic field, give a highly purified and concentrated RNA.
- As the sensitivity of the detection method is dependent on getting an adequate quantity of viral RNA, this innovation enhances the chances of identifying positive cases.
What is Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)?
- It is a technique for the amplification of RNA.
- It is used in the detection of viruses.
- In this method, a DNA copy of the viral RNA is generated by reverse transcriptase, and then isothermal amplification is carried out to increase the amount of total DNA.
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant
A seven-member Russian technocrat team reached the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) site on Wednesday to inspect the ‘unusual vibrations’ in the generator section of the second reactor that has temporarily hampered the operation of the reactor at its maximum power generation capacity of 1,000 MWe.
About Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant –
- It is located 650km south of Chennai, in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu. It is the largest nuclear power station in India (Jaitapur will be the largest once it is built).
- It is being developed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). The NPCIL works under the Department of Atomic Energy, which works under the purview of Prime Minister’s Office.
- Atomstroyexport, is the supplier of equipment and fuels for the nuclear power project. It is a subsidiary of Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom.
- Its Unit-1 and Unit-2 are already operational and connected to grid while Unit-3 and Unit-4 are being constructed with help of Russia and preparatory work for construction of Unit-5 and Unit-6 is under process.
- At present India has 22 nuclear reactors in operation in 7 nuclear plants, having a total installed capacity of 6,780 MW and has another 21 reactors in various stages of construction and development.
Rajiv Gandhi Nyay Kisan Nyay Yojana
Farmers in Chhattisgarh would get up to ₹13,000 an acre a year under a new income support programme announced by the State government.
About the scheme –
- In the first instalment, ₹1,500 crore would be distributed among 18 lakh farmers, more than 80% of them small and marginal. The annual cost of the scheme would be ₹5,700 crore.
- The scheme would cover rice, maize and sugarcane farmers to begin with, and would expand to other crops later.
- Rice and maize farmers would get ₹10,000 an acre, while sugarcane farmers would get ₹13,000. The money would be distributed in four instalments.
The scheme aims to ensure “minimum income availability” to farmers of the state through direct bank transfer.