Here is the weekly round-up of several governance and economic development related news in India.
New Study Finds Fastest Reduction in Poverty In India
A study reveals that number of poor reduced from 27 crore in 2011 to 8.4 crore in 2017, the fastest reduction seen in recent times. This is the result of Direct Benefit Transfers, PM Kisan Yojana, LPG subsidy and effective use of MGNREGA.
The study shows that the aim of Antyodaya is being fulfilled under PM Modi’s government, as new opportunities for education, skill development, jobs and self-employment have arisen
Protecting Reproductive Rights- Assisted Reproductive Technologies Bill Approved
Regulation of the field of Assisted Reproduction, that includes technologies like In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), is necessary for protecting women’s rights. The Bill ensures that all ART clinics are listed in a central data bank and strictly regulated to prevent any misuse. It bans illegal embryo transfers and trafficking of sperm banks, and is expected to regulate the assisted reproduction process in India. It sets up national and state boards to oversee the functioning of the act
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Phase II Initiated
Second Phase of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Grameen) starting from 2020-21 to 2024-25 was announced to take ahead the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi. The aim is ODF Plus i.e maintaining the ODF status alongside ensuring solid and liquid waste management. These are essential components of a long-term healthy sanitation plan.
The plan envisages to converge MGNREGA with grey water management. It will also support the fulfillment of Jal Jeevan Mission. Ensuring sanitation in rural areas also leads to employment generation, as demand for toilets and micro infrastructure like compost pits, soak pits and waste stabilisation ponds increases.
PM Fasal Bima Yojana Revamped
The government approved major changes in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, making it optional for farmers to opt in. This has been done with a view to plug loopholes in the farm insurance scheme. This also ensures that insurance firms will have to work for their customers and match their products to farmers’ needs
The government also put ceilings of 30% and 25% on premiums against sum insured for its subsidy to be available for non-irrigated and irrigated areas respectively. Contract period for insurers has also been extended to three years from one year. This revamp addresses many concerns expressed by farmer organizations, and makes the scheme more pragmatic and effective
Intensifying Focus on Agriculture and Allied Activities
The government will set up 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) by 2024-25, and further spend ₹2,369 crore for hand holding these FPOs to function better. The FPOs will be promoted under ‘One District One Product’ cluster to promote specialization. Government allocated ₹4,558 crore to dairy sector, helping 95 lakh farmers.
Earlier, the ₹8,000 crore Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund was set up along with schemes like Rashtriya Gokul Mission to promote dairy sector
PE/VC Investments into India Witness Rapid Increase
India received $48 billion in PE/VC investments in 2019 across 1,037 deals on the back of large investments in infrastructure. This was 28 per cent higher than the previous high of 2018. Significantly, PE/VC investments in India stands at at 1.7% of GDP, which is at the same level as that of China in the past year.
PE/VC investments have emerged as a major source of FDI in India over the past three years. These have accounted for 64 per cent of total infows received in India over the past three financial years.
Massive Investment into India’s Fintech Sector
Fintech Investments in India doubled to $3.7 Billion in 2019 from $1.9 Billion in 2018. This puts India as the world’s third largest fintech centre, behind the US and the UK. Investments into payments companies also more than tripled to $2.1 billion from about $660 million in 2018.
Both the number of fintech deals and the deal value have increased significantly, showing the confidence investors have in India’s Fintech Sector. This bodes well for the future development of cutting-edge financial technology in the country.
Vande Bharat Completes an illustrious year
Vande Bharat Express flagged off last year by PM Modi completed 1 year of its successful run this week. In this 1 year, the train has:
- Witnessed 100% occupancy
- Zero trip cancellations
- Cumulative earning of over ₹92 crores
- 3.8 lakh kms of travel.
Vande Bharat Express is the first indigenous train of the Indian Railways. All the coaches have a stainless-steel car body equipped with automatic doors with sliding footsteps, onboard computers for train control and remote monitoring. Read more about Vande Bharat express here.