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Modinomics as the spring board of greater, stronger new India

Dr R Balashankar* i201752302.jpg

In three years the Narendra Modi government has secured India’s position as the spring board of world economic growth. India is growing at 7.9 per cent when the world is growing at 3.1 per cent. The stock market is booming. India is for the first time surplus in power and coal production. Energy scenario is promising. India is successfully developing alternative sources of energy at a time when oil prices are down. Inflation is low. Lending rates are coming down. Loan off take is looking up. The country is witnessing the highest ever public investment in infrastructure. And all the economic fundamentals are promising a sustained economic growth that will push India as one of the most vibrant large economies of the world.

Modi government has really retrieved the India story which had fallen into a morass of policy paralysis, crony capitalism and corruption. Shri Modi has proved that good economics is good politics. He has made development the central theme of Indian political debate. This in fact is the greatest achievement of the past three years of the present government.

It is a far cry from the politics of the past when emotional issues, caste, communal polarization and identity used to dominate national discourse. Every poll of late is being fought on development plank. Public response has forced parties to take moralistic stance and address the concerns of the aspirational India. This is how the Prime Minister has reshaped polity. Sab ke saath sab ka vikas. Development for all with everybody being a stake holder.

For this the Modi government moved in the direction of Team India where every state became the bulwark of economic growth, competing with each other for investment promotion and creating atmosphere for ease of doing business. For this, the Centre substantially increased allocation for states on the lines of the 14 Finance Commission recommendations. In the Constitutional scheme of things, all major aspects of growth, bijali, paani, sarak, land and education are in the state or concurrent list.  The redefining of the role of planning through NITI Ayog was a step to promote state initiative for healthy growth match between states. As a result states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Bihar posted double digit growth trajectory in agriculture, pushing up the national farm growth.

Ensuring social security was another aspect of this story. For the first time since independence more number of people – 35 crore- became bank account holders. All these people automatically became eligible for life cover. More number of people  got free cooking gas connection by encouraging rationalization of subsidy, making over 10 million families give up subsidy and saving as much as Rs. 55000 crore through direct cash transfer to poor families. Pradhan Mantri awas yojna and Mudra yojna has given wings to a million dreams providing shelter and job opportunities to families who had no hope of owning a home or starting a trade.

Rural electrification has for the first time in seven decades lit up 19000 villages. While retaining and strengthening all the good and viable schemes of the previous government like MGNREGA , Aadhar and introduction of new welfare initiatives like Pradhanmantri jeevan beema and Suraksha Yojna and Swastya Mission, regulation of drug and stent prices have revolutionized rural life style. The measures have given hope and assurance to the people in the low income bracket. Demonetization was a major step towards redistribution of wealth to create a more egalitarian social order.  It unearthed lakhs of crores of black money and eliminated equally huge chunk of fake currency.

What Modi government achieved in three years is a total attitudinal change in the approach to growth. The government has made phenomenal savings in public funds be it through elimination of oil subsidy, rationalization of service charges, better tax collection, ensuring windfall earning through coal blocs and spectrum bids which the previous government had claimed as zero value assets. By this the Prime Minister has not only kept his word that he will guard national treasury as a sentinel but also put an end to cronyism in public life. Prudent economic planning was at the root of the idea of a cashless society and digital transaction. Policy driven, credible, targeted and people-centric have been the approach so far. The regime of entitlements, privileges and mai baap ka sarkar is a thing of the past. In fact the real democracy in day-to-day aspects of governance is a whiff of fresh air Shri Narendra Modi has brought into politics and governance.

India has notched up points in index of ease of doing business in these years. Few months ago in a cover story titled India Online The Economist said, “Every second, three more Indians are experiencing internet for the first time.  By 2030 more than one billion of them will be online. India boasts the world’s fastest growing large economy and the planet’s biggest population of millennials — and you can see why the likes of Facebook, Uber and Google are falling over themselves to establish footholds…” Clearly India under NDA is a revenue multiplier, investment destination. Of late the job market too has started looking up.

Successful start-ups are making India the manufacturing hub of the world. Democracy, credible institutional frame work, graft free and transparent systems have helped India to take a leap over China on investor confidence. Shri Modi has turned a new leaf for India which inspired the 30 million plus NRIs to trust the India growth story and bring huge remittances home. In three years Shri Modi has turned despair into hope, and as World Bank noted India still is the sole silver line in a sea of darkness.

* Author is a senior journalist, regularly writes on economic issues.

Rural Transformation Through Inclusive Development

Vinod Behl*  i201752009.jpg

Despite fiscal constraints, NDA government is relentlessly focusing on energizing rural economy as engine of  growth and uplifting rural poor through a number of key initiatives/revamped policies related to rural housing & infrastructure, farm income, job creation and entrepreneurship promotion.

Modi government’s rural development agenda revolves around its development mantra- “Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (inclusive development), ensuring that the benefits of development reach poor and under privileged.Significantly, the people  put their stamp of approval on government’s development model in recently held assembly elections.

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The government’s intent to rejuvenate rural economy by giving a fillip to rural development, was clearly demonstrated through pro- poor budget theme and massive allocation for rural development. Against budgetary allocation of Rs 80194 crore for rural development in 2013-14  budget during UPA regime, the NDA government hiked it to Rs 87765 crore in FY 17 and for FY18, rural, agriculture and allied sectors are to get Rs 1.87 lakh crore of allocation.

Fully recognising that housing and infrastructure are the main drivers of economic development, the  NDA government put budgetary focus on it, right from its interim budget in 2014-15 when allocation for National Housing Bank (NHB), was increased to Rs 8000 crore to support rural housing as part of government’s flagship programme of ‘Housing for All by 2022‘.

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As per the Working Group on Rural Housing for 12th Five Year Plan, there’s a shortage of 14.8 million houses as in 2015. .Signalling government’s priority for rural housing, budgetary allocation under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), was raised from Rs 15000 crore to Rs 23000 crore and a target of completing one  crore houses for homeless, has been fixed for 2017-18.A special interest subsidy provided under PM scheme, is bound to give further boost to housing , especially EWS and low- cost housing, favourably impacting rural India.

To boost rural infrastructure, Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rubran Mission has been launched for creating integrated project based infrastructure in rural areas, with a separate budgetary allocation of Rs 14389 crore under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), to augment road connectivity of villages.

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Modi government is lighting up the lives of people with a dedicated Deen Dayal Upadhaya Jyoti Yojana to augment power supply with an aim to provide round the clock power at affordable rates through energy reforms focusing on green, clean energy.

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In 2017- 18 budget,there is a target of electrification of all villages by May 2018. The government has made a remarkable achievement of crossing 50 GW of installed capacity in green energy in 2016-17, almost at par with thermal energy. There is a target to have 175000 MW of installed capacity of renewable energy  by end 2022.

Affordable energy being the key theme of the government, over two crore BPL families have already been provided LPG connections within one year of the launch of pro- poor scheme -‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) and by March 2019, almost entire BPL population   will get covered .

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In addition to tackling the  problem of homelessness, the government is making all out efforts to meet the serious challenge of rural distress caused by agrarian crisis, fully realizing that agricultural development is key to tackle poverty. A 2016 Rural Development Report by International Fund for Agriculture Development(IFAD) says that price incentives for agriculture can act as a catalyst  in farm income,leading to poverty elimination. Keeping this in mind, Ministry of Agriculture & Allied Services, with a record allocation of Rs 187223 crore for 2017-18, is working on e-National Agriculture Market (eNAM), to create a unified national market to help farmers get better price for their crop, with a target to double farmers income by 2022.

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A number of other related measures include providing comprehensive crop insurance to farmers and increasing  crop coverage area  from 30 percent in 2016-17 to 40 percent in 2017-18 to 50 percent by 2018-19 under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana,0.64907500_1452772273_1155-548-pradhan-mantri-fasal-bima-yojana-a-boost-for-farmers-pm.jpgbesides increasing farm productivity by improving soil health, use of technology, undertaking water conservation programme in 50000 gram panchayats and by raising outlay for Long- Term Irrigation Fund to Rs 40000 crore in 2017-18.

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Under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), the target is to provide water to every field in 5 years.

As the root cause of rural distress is income deficit,the government has attached greater priority to several programmes related to job creation, skill development and entrepreneurship, with a view to enhance income. Under the new target- specific(2019) plan ,’National Rural Livelihood Mission‘, the government is putting strong focus on sustainable livelihood by targeting women self help groups and reaching out to all 7 crore rural BPL families and linking them to sustainable livelihood opportunities, in order to come out of poverty and lead a decent life. MGNERGA, in its revamped form,MGNREGA_Logo.gif with record allocation of Rs 48000 crore for FY 17, is being used as an efficient tool to support incomes for marginal farmers and landless labourers.

On an average, 25-30 lakh works were completed annually till FY 2013-14 whereas 51.3 lakh works got completed in FY 2016-17. Rural Development Ministry is also making use of satellite based geo- tagging to check any leakages and assess actual asset creation under MGNREGA. With mass scale opening of  Jandhan bank accounts of urban and rural poor, 96 percent MGNREGA wages  are now being directly transferred to their accounts under Direct Benefit Scheme, compared to just 13 percent in 2013-14 under UPA government.

The skill development programme, covering 45 lakh households, has been making a significant contribution to give a boost to Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), thePM-Mudra-Yojana-Logo.png flagship programme to provide loans  to promote rural entrepreneurship. The success of this scheme, aimed at unorganised sector, can be gauged from the fact that in FY 18, a record  Rs 1.80 lakh crore of loans have been sanctioned, immensely benefiting  entrepreneurs. Alternate employment is being provided to  youth by providing cheaper passenger vehicles to rural entrepreneurs. And under National Rural Livelihood Mission, government is planning more rural women led Ajeewika stores to provide them outlet to sell products produced by self help groups, directly to consumers.

To ensure inclusive development, the government is promoting digital inclusion byScreenshot_2017-02-06-10-16-00.png providing mobile connectivity to over 55000 villages by March 2019 and initiating measures like Jandhan accounts debit cards, Aadhar Pay, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), to put an end to middle men and ensure that benefits of various government schemes directly reach beneficiaries through digital transactions that touched 1569.3 crore in FY 17 till January. There is a target of 2500 crore digital transactions in 2017-18.

Obviously, the government has shown its commitment to improve the lot of 22 crore rural people by way of providing shelter, livelihood, affordable power supply, clean drinking water, affordable healthcare, sanitation( including toilets) and cooking gas.  PM Modi has put greater focus on governance by starting monthly review meetings with bureaucracy with a view to tone up delivery system by plugging any loopholes and leakages, thereby ensuring effective implementation so that rural people can reap the benefits of all pro- poor and pro- rural schemes launched by the government.

*Delhi based senior journalist. Regularly writes for major dailies on real estate and infrastructural issues.

Attaining Freedom from Coal Shortages Transparent Mineral Auctions

Anupama Airy*  i201751903.jpg

From the era of experiencing major coal shortages, India presently boasts of surplus coal as production of coal increased to 554 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 462 million tonnes in 2013-14.

The significance of this increase of 92 MT of coal production in three years can be gauged from the fact that the same quantum of increase during the UPA regime was achieved in almost seven years.

In 2014, nearly two-third of the coal plants had critical stocks of less than seven days. Today, with increased production, there are no shortages of coal in the country across all thermal power plants.

Besides increasing production, the special emphasis that has been imparted to the quality of coal produced in India (as bad quality of domestic coal was often cited by the user industry to import coal), has not only brought down the per unit cost of coal based power but also considerably reduced the amount of coal used for producing per unit of electricity.

The figures say it all: The amount of coal required to generate per unit of electricity (specific coal consumption) has reduced by 8% in last 3 years. As against 0.69 kgs of coal consumed to produce 1kwh of electricity in 2013-14, only 0.63 kgs of coal was consumed to produce 1kwh of electricity in Apr-Feb 2016-17.

On power tariff front, better coal quality has reduced the cost of power upto Rs.0.30 per unit. The total savings accrued so far to India’s largest thermal power generation company, NTPC due to improved in quality of coal is above Rs. 5000 crore.

Better quality of domestic coal has also led to reduction in coal imports that have reduced by 57.56 MT (Figures upto January, 2017) from 217.78 MT in 2014-15 resulting in saving of foreign exchange of Rs.25,900 Crore.

The efficiency improvements made through Import Coal Substitution, Coal Linkage Rationalisation, Coal Swapping between less efficient and more efficient units, 3rd Party Sampling, coal washing and Correction of Grade Slippage through re-gradation of Mines have  yielded notable results.

The Coal Linkage Movement Rationalization of 40.536 Million tonnes alone has resulted in potential savings of Rs 2500 Crore. This apart, contribution to PSUS’s under the coal ministry to Central Exchequer increased by 40% from an average of Rs. 28,599 Cr in three years of UPA Govt. to average of Rs. 40,114 Cr in 3 years of NDA Govt. Similarly, contribution to State Govt. Exchequers increased by 26% from average of Rs. 11,434 Cr. to Rs. 14,422 Cr.

Further, India’s coal sector that was marred with various controversies during the previous regime and process of allocation and allotment of coal mines during those years came under the scanner of various investigating agencies.

After Supreme Court cancelled 204 coal blocks in 2014, the Modi Government undertook transparent e-auction of transparent e-Auctions and allocation of 82 coal blocks leading to potential revenue of more than Rs 3.94 lakh crores over the life of the mine/lease period to the States.

On the mining front, introduction of Transparent Mineral Auctions in India is another major reform.

Under the new law–Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, transparency and accountability were ushered in and 21 mineral blocks have been successfully auctioned till January, 2017.

The total estimated revenue to the State Governments over the lease period stands at Rs. 73,359 crore while the additional revenue accrued to the state governments over the lease period, due to auction, stands at Rs 57,534 crore which can be used for development work for the poor

In order to provide boost to mining exploration and to unearth India’s mineral wealth, the National Mineral Exploration Policy was brought in. This policy is designed to ensure faster auctioning and development of mines by separating exploration from mine development.

This apart, the creation of National Mineral Exploration Trust for funding exploration is another major initiative. As much as Rs 668 crore has been collected with around 60 exploratory projects taken up.

In order to ensure transparency and accountability in the mining sector, the government launched the Mobile App TAMRA (Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation) for monitoring of progress on clearance as also post auction mining leases. This is aimed at faster development of mines.

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Image shows Flowchart of TAMRA

Use of latest state-of-the-art technology has also changed the way mining is conducted in India. Introduction of Mining Surveillance System to check illegal mining and protect public wealth (mineral resources); use of space technology to send triggers for illegal mining activity (which are then physically verified on ground and can be used to stop illegal mining activity) are some such initiatives undertaken by this government in the past three years.

Special emphasis is being given on environment friendly mining and in order to reduce the environmental impact of mining and promote sustainable mining, Star Rating of mines has been introduced.

Then under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY), it is ensured that the proceeds of mineral wealth benefits the local population which is affected by mining.

Proceeds from mining are now transferred to District Mineral Foundation (DMF) to be used for welfare and infrastructure related activities of mining affected areas and people.

So far, total 287 districts in 11 mineral rich states are covered under PMKKKY and as many as 11 out of 12 mineral rich States have framed Rules and established DMFs.

Money collected during the Financial Year 2016 – 17 by the DMFs was Rs. 5,817 crore out of earlier estimated Rs. 6,000 crore.

*Author is senior freelance journalist and a regular contributor of Articles on Energy Sector.

अनिल माधव दवे : ऐसे मंत्री जिन्हे पर्यावरण की गहरी समझ थी

 i201751810  निवेदिता खांडेकर*

नदियों और जलाशयों विशेष रूप से नर्मदा नदी के संरक्षण से लेकर जलवायु परिवर्तन की राजनीति उनके मन में बसी हुई थी। पर्यावरण मंत्री श्री अनिल माधव दवे ने आधुनिक और प्राचीन भारतीय विचारों के बीच संतुलन बनाने की काफी कोशिश की

पर्यावरणविद, विशेष रूप से नदी संरक्षण कार्यकर्ता, लेखक, शौकिया पायलट और संसद सदस्‍य श्री अनिल माधव दवे ने जुलाई 2016 में केन्‍द्रीय पर्यावरण, वन और जलवायु परिवर्तन मंत्री बनने से पहले कई क्षेत्र में कार्य किये थे।

61 वर्षीय श्री दवे का 18 मई, 2017 (गुरूवार) को नई दिल्‍ली में हृदयघात से निधन हो गया। प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्‍द्र मोदी ने श्री दवे की आकस्मिक मृत्‍यु के सदमे के बारे में ट्विट कर इसे ‘निजी क्षति’ बताया।

 

 

एक वर्ष पहले मध्‍य प्रदेश सरकार ने सिंहस्‍थ कुंभ मेला 2016 के साथ ही ‘अंतर्राष्‍ट्रीय विचार महाकुंभ’ का आयोजन किया था। ‘जीवन जीने का सही तरीका’ विषय पर आयोजित विचार महाकुंभ में धार्मिक संत, सभी दलों के नेता,भारत और विदेश से विचारक और कार्यकर्ता शामिल हुए थे। प्रत्‍येक व्‍यक्ति को कुंभ मेले की पौराणिक कथा के बौद्धिक मंथन में शामिल होने के लिए प्रोत्‍साहित किया गया था और इस मंथन से जो सार तत्‍व हासिल हुआ उसे बाद में सिंहस्‍थ के सार्वभौमिक घोषणा पत्र के 51 बिन्‍दु के रूप में घोषित किया गया था।

जैसा कि प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्‍द्र मोदी ने समापन समारोह के दौरान रेखांकित किया था कि मई 1916 में विचार महाकुंभ समाज से संबंधित प्रासंगिक मुद्दों और चुनौतियों पर विचार कर सदियों पुराने पारंपरिक तरीकों को पुनर्जीवित करने का प्रयास था। इस कार्यक्रम को काफी सराहना मिली। श्री मोदी और मध्‍य प्रदेश के मुख्‍यमंत्री श्री शिवराज सिंह चौहान ने इस कार्यक्रम की परिकल्‍पना के लिए श्री अनिल माधव दवे को श्रेय दिया, जो उस समय मध्‍य प्रदेश से राज्‍य सभा के सदस्‍य थे। कार्यक्रम के मुख्‍य आयोजक श्री दवे ने इस महा कार्यक्रम से संबंधित प्रत्‍येक पहलुओं को व्‍यक्तिगत रूप से ध्‍यान दिया था। खाने के शौकीन श्री दवे ने लोगों के लिए फल, मिठाई और आईसक्रीम/कुल्‍फी के अलावा कई प्रकार के फूड स्‍टॉल की व्‍यवस्‍था की थी। अपनी आदत के अनुरूप श्री दवे ने ‘200 किलो भोजन के बर्बाद’ होने से बचाने के लिए सम्‍मानीय प्रतिभागियों को फटकार लगाते हुए हाथ जोड़कर उनसे आग्रह किया कि वे ‘अपनी प्‍लेटों में उतना ही खाना लें, जितना वे खा सकते हैं’। उन्‍होंने कहा था कि ‘सभी के लिए काफी भोजन है, लेकिन बर्बाद करने के लिए नहीं। क्‍या आपको पता है कि इस खाद्यान्‍न के उत्‍पादन में इतनी मेहनत लगी है ? यह केवल पर्यावरण की क्षति है।’

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ये दवे ही थे, जो न सिर्फ एक कार्यक्रम को निर्बाध व बेहतर ढंग से आयोजित करते थे, बल्कि उनका जोर इस बात पर भी था कि भोजन की बर्बादी नहीं होनी चाहिए, जो कि एक विशिष्ट भारतीय विचार है। और जब सार्वभौमिक घोषणा की गई थी, तब उन्होंने बिल्कुल यही बात कही थी – “यह सार्वभौमिक घोषणा महज कागज पर नहीं रहनी चाहिए, बल्कि इसे सही भावना के साथ लागू किया जाना चाहिए। इस संदेश को न केवल अन्य राज्यों में भेजा जाना चाहिए बल्कि संयुक्त राष्ट्र में भी इससे अवगत कराया जाएगा।”

दो माह बाद वह केंद्र में पर्यावरण मंत्री बने। नवंबर 2016 में उन्होंने संयुक्त राष्ट्र जलवायु परिवर्तन वार्ता में भाग लिया, जहां उन्होंने भारतीय विचारधारा की पुरजोर वकालत की और भारतीय पक्ष को बेहतरीन तरीके के साथ रखा।

आरएसएस प्रचारक से बीजेपी नेता तक और फिर मंत्री तक

सार्वजनिक जीवन में उनकी यात्रा आरएसएस प्रचारक और भोपाल में उनकी तैनाती के साथ शुरू हुई। जब उमा भारती 2003 में मध्य प्रदेश की मुख्यमंत्री बनीं, तब दवे ही रणनीतिकार थे। यह उन्हीं की रणनीति और उनके नेतृत्व में चले अभियान का नतीजा था कि कांग्रेस के दिग्विजय सिंह की 10 सालों से राज कर रही सरकार चारों खाने चित्त हो गई थी।

दवे इसके बाद उमा भारती के सलाहकार बन गए। जब बाद में उमा भारती ने इस्तीफा दे दिया था, तब दवे का नाम सुर्खियों में कम हो गया। वर्ष 2009 में मध्य प्रदेश से राज्यसभा में भेजे जाने से पहले वह कई पदों पर रहे। यह पहला अपूर्ण कार्यकाल था। इसके बाद वर्ष 2010 से उनका कार्यकाल पूरा छह वर्ष का रहा। जुलाई 2016 में पर्यावरण, वन एवं जलवायु परिवर्तन मंत्री पर नियुक्त होने से पहले एक सांसद के तौर पर वह विभिन्न संसदीय समितियों का हिस्सा रहे थे।Czy1FrIUoAAk1_y.jpg

जब दवे पर्यावरण, वन एवं जलवायु परिवर्तन मंत्री पर नियुक्त किए गए थे, तब प्रेस सूचना कार्यालय ने उनका जीवन परिचय जारी किया था –
(http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=146850) जिसमें उनकी विभिन्न भूमिकाओं की जानकारी दी गई थी।

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हालांकि, इसके बावजूद वह नदियों से जुड़े कार्यकर्ताओं और अन्‍य विचारों/विचारधाराओं के पर्यावरणविदों से बातचीत करने से पीछे नहीं हटे। इस मामले में जाने-माने गांधीवादी पर्यावरणविद अनुपम मिश्रा का उल्‍लेख किया जा सकता है जिनका निधन नवम्‍बर 2016 में लम्‍बी बीमारी के बाद हो गया था। दवे, जो आरएसएस से अपने संपर्कों के बारे में मुखर थे, ने मिश्रा से मुलाकात करने एवं उनसे सीखने का अवसर कभी भी नहीं गंवाया। यही नहीं, कैबिनेट मंत्री होने के बावजूद दवे ने मिश्रा के निधन से कुछ हफ्ते पहले अस्‍पताल में उनके बिस्‍तर के समीप एक घंटे से भी अधिक समय बिताया था।

दवे एवं नर्मदा

दवे अपने एनजीओ ‘नर्मदा समग्र’ के तत्‍वाधान में नर्मदा के लिए अपने नदी संरक्षण कार्यों हेतु पूरे मध्‍य प्रदेश में जाने जाते थे। वह हर दो वर्षों में नर्मदा नदी के तट पर ‘अंतरराष्‍ट्रीय नदी महोत्‍सव’का आयोजन किया करते थे और वह इस अवसर पर देश भर के नदी कार्यकर्ताओं के साथ-साथ अन्‍य देशों के भी कुछ नदी कार्यकर्ताओं को आ‍मंत्रित किया करते थे।CuPz8_fXYAAvA8b

नर्मदा नदी के लिए दवे के अप्रतिम लगाव से सभी लोग अवगत थे। नर्मदा नदी के तट पर बांस के पौधे लगाने की योजना बनाने, वहां के किसानों को जैविक खेती के लिए प्रोत्‍साहित करने, सरदार सरोवर जलाशय के दुर्गम क्षेत्रों के लिए नदी एम्‍बुलेंस चलाने और नर्मदा नदी के घाटों पर स्‍वच्‍छता के लिए सक्रियतापूर्वक योगदान देने जैसे उनके कार्यों से यह लगाव स्‍पष्‍ट होता है। इससे पहले उन्‍होंने सेसना 173 उड़ान के जरिए नर्मदा का हवाई सर्वेक्षण किया था और इसके बाद मध्‍य प्रायदीपीय भारतीय नदी के 1312 किलोमीटर लम्‍बे क्षेत्र में बेड़ा यात्रा की थी। उन्‍होंने एक कॉफी टेबल बुक भी तैयार की थी जिसमें नर्मदा एवं उसके तटों के आसपास मौजूद जीवन की आकर्षक तस्‍वीरें थीं।

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उन्‍होंने अपनी ‘वसीयत’ में इस बात का उल्‍लेख किया है कि उनके नाम से कोई भी स्‍मारक या पुरस्‍कार नहीं होना चाहिए और अगर कोई व्‍यक्ति उनकी याद में कुछ करना ही चाहता है तो उसे और ज्‍यादा पौधे लगाने चाहिए, नदी-तालाबों का वजूद बचाये रखना चाहिए और नदियों का संरक्षण करना चाहिए। यही नहीं, जैसा कि वह ‘नर्मदा समग्र’ के अपने सहयोगियों से हमेशा कहा करते थे, उन्‍होंने यही इच्‍छा थी कि उनका अंतिम संस्‍कार नर्मदा नदी के तट पर ही किया जाना चाहिए।

निवेदिता खांडेकर दिल्‍ली में कार्यरत एक स्‍वतंत्र पत्रकार हैं। वह पर्यावरण एवं विकास से जुड़े मुद्दों पर लिखती रही हैं।

                                                  लेख में व्‍यक्‍त किये गये विचार उनके निजी विचार हैं। *

India marches ahead on Energy Security pathways; Ujjwala Yojana key Scorer

Neeraj Bajpai*  i201751901.jpg

Carving out niche in annals of the country’s Petroleum and Natural gas Sector, the Narendra Modi government, during its first three years of governance, unveiled a raft of path breaking initiatives including Ujjwala Yojna, Give Back Subsidy, Urja Ganga and weathered international oil markets fluctuations.

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In a determined move to accomplish energy security, the government chased plans to enrich the sector while spreading LPG connections network. Initiatives were launched in lower, middle and up streams, and many are on the pipe lines to lit up the oil sector to pave way for the energy security.

Over two crore LPG cylinders were distributed to BPL women under the PM’s Ujjawala Yojana. Government has approved Rs. 8000 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) for release of 5 crore deposit free new LPG connections to women of BPL families over next three years.

PMUY, One of the Flagship schemes, surpassed the targets for the financial year 2016-17 in terms of installing new connections. Over 2.20 Crore connections have been given in the first year of its launch scheme to BPL families.

According to the Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, the target of 1.5 Cr connections for the financial year has been surpassed. PMUY was launched on May 1, last year at Ballia, UP by Mr. Modi.

Informatively, in the financial year 2016-17, Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) have given 3.25 Cr new connections. This is the highest ever LPG connections released in any given year. Now, total number of active LPG consumer has crossed 20 Crore. This has been a quantum jump from 14 Cr in the year 2014.

The LPG demand has registered a growth rate of more than 10%. More than 4,600 new distributors have been added in the last 3 years which have come up primarily in rural belts. Government data reveals 85% of the new consumers have come back for a refill. About 38% of the beneficiaries in PMUY are from SC/ST category.

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The World’s largest Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme, PAHAL (Pratyaksh Hasthantarit Labh) ensured subsidy given to consumers is directly transferred to the registered account of the consumer without involving any intermediary.

More than Rs. 40,000 crore of subsidy has been transferred to the LPG consumers through 204 crore transactions since inception of the Scheme.

The success of PAHAL is evident from the fact it made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s largest cash benefit transfer scheme. It has also resulted in estimated saving of over Rs. 21,000 crore or USD 3.2 billion in first two years itself.

Buzz on give up LPG subsidy also resonated loudly. Over 1.05 crore households have voluntarily given up their LPG subsidy. Nearly 63 lakh new LPG connections have been released to BPL families in Financial Year 2015-16 linked to Give back campaign.

The ambitious “Urja Ganga” gas pipe line project aims to provide piped cooking gas to residents in Varanasi within two years and in another year after that it would cater to needs of people in Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, and West Bengal.

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It will cater to energy needs of five states, covering 40 districts and 2,600 villages. It will pave way for revival of three large fertilizer plants, enable industrialisation of over 20 cities and development of city gas network in 7 cities, generating a large number of jobs.

There has been considerable increase in refining capacity in the country over the years. During 2015-16, there was capacity expansion by 15 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MMTPA) with the commissioning of Paradip Refinery. With this increase, the refining capacity has now reached at 230.066 MMTPA.

The Government took several policy initiatives as well as administrative measures to enhance production of oil and gas in the country for meeting domestic demand.

The Ministry also notified the implementation of BS-IV auto fuels in the entire country w.e.f April 1, this year in a phased manner. It has been decided that the country will leapfrog directly from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards and BS-VI standards will be implemented from April 1, 2020.

The Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL) has constructed Strategic Crude Oil Reserves with storage capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) at three locations Visakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur .

The government also approved Discovered Small Field Policy for monetization of 69 hydrocarbon discoveries made by National Oil Companies ONGC and OIL which could not be monetized for many years due to various reasons such as isolated locations, small size of the reserves, high development costs, technological constraints, fiscal regime etc.

It proposes for expansion of Guwahati, Bongaigaon and Numaligarh refineries, establishment of bio-refinery at Numaligarh and development of network of natural gas, POL and LPG pipelines in the state. The Hydrocarbon Vision Document 2030 provides for an investment to the tune of Rs.1.3 lakh Cr by the year 2030 in oil and gas sector in NE.

The government had announced several measures in Budget 2017 -18 to give fillip to the sector. The key initiatives among other things include: Reduction in the basic customs duty on LNG from 5% to 2.5%; Setting up of two more strategic oil reserves; Creation of an integrated public sector ‘oil major’ to integrate the oil sector PSUs across the value chain and to enhance capacity of Oil PSUs to bear higher risks, avail economies of scale, take higher investment decisions and create more value for the stakeholders.

*Author is a former editor of the United News of India. Widely travelled journalist, he has covered many national and international events during his 30 years career and was also the member of the Press Council of India.

Anil Madhav Dave: The Minister who understood Environment

  *Nivedita Khandekar

From conservation of rivers and waterbodies, especially river Narmada, to climate change politics, Environment Minister Dave tried to balance the modern with ancient Indian thought

Environmentalist, river-conservation activist, author, amateur pilot and Member of Parliament, Anil Madhav Dave had donned various caps before he became the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change in July 2016.

Dave, 61, died of heart attack on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his shock about Dave’s death and termed it as a “personal loss”.

It was exactly one year ago, when Madhya Pradesh government had organised the ‘International VicharMahakumbh’ coinciding with the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016. The Vichar Mahakumbh, with the theme ‘The Right Way of Living’ was attended by religious saints, politicians from almost all parties, thinkers and activists both from India and abroad and each one of them was encouraged to participate in the intellectual churning, a la Kumbh Mela mythological story, to bring out what was later declared as 51-point ‘Universal Declaration of Simhastha’.

The Vichar Mahakumbh in May 2016 was an attempt – as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pointed out during the concluding ceremony – at rejuvenating the centuries-old traditional practice of brainstorming on issues relevant to and facing the society. An event well received, Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan both gave credit for the thought behind it to Anil Madhav Dave, who was Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh at that time.

Dave, who was the chief organiser, had personally looked into each aspect related to the massive event. Himself a foodie, he had arranged a variety of food stalls apart from fruits, sweets and ice-creames/kulfis for all. True to his wont, Dave rebuked the honourable participants for “wasting 200 kgs food” and with folded hands, appealed all to take on their plates “only as much as you can finish. There is ample food for all, but not for wasting. Do you know what all has gone into production of this food grain? This is sheer environmental loss,” he had pointed out.

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That was Dave, who was not just particular about organizing an event flawlessly but also about the fact that there should be no wastage of food, a typical Indian thought. And that was exactly what he said when the Universal Declaration was released: “This Universal Declaration should not remain on paper but should be executed in the right spirit. Not only in other states but this message will be conveyed at the United Nations too.”

Two months later he became the Environment Minister at the Centre. In November 2016, he attended the United Nations Climate Change negotiations where he pushed for the Indian way of thinking.

From RSS pracharak to BJP politician to Minister

His journey in public life started from being an RSS pracharak and his posting at Bhopal. When Uma Bharati became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in 2003, it was Dave, who as a strategist, had planned the entire campaign that toppled Congress’ Digvijay Singh’s 10-year-old government.

Dave later became Bharati’s advisor only to go into relative anonymity when she resigned. He held number of posts before being sent as a Rajya Sabha Member from Madhya Pradesh in 2009, the first incomplete term followed by a full six-year term from 2010. As an MP, he was part of various Parliamentary Committees before he was appointed as Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change in July 2016.

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When Dave was appointed as Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in July 2016, Press Information Bureau released his profile (http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=146850) describing his various roles.

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Minister Dave faced a lot of tricky situations. From India’s stand on various issues related to global negotiations vis-à-vis climate change, to expediting clearances for various developmental projects and from negating foreign medical studies blaming air pollution for rising deaths (advocating an Indian study sponsored by his ministry for it) to the recent move about GM mustard in the country. His personal opinions about river conservation (dams or no big dams and river linking projects) clashed with his role as a Union Minister.

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But that did not stop him from speaking with river activists, environmentalist from other thoughts/ideologies. A case in point was noted Gandhian environmentalist Anupam Mishra, who died in November 2016 after a prolonged illness. Dave, who was open about his RSS connections, never missed an opportunity to meet and learn from Mishra. Moreover, Dave, despite being a cabinet minister, spent more than an hour at Mishra’s bedside in the hospital few weeks prior.

Dave and Narmada

Dave was known across Madhya Pradesh for his river conservation work for Narmada under the aegis of his NGO ‘Narmada Samagra’. He organised ‘International River Festival’ on the Narmada banks every two years and invited river activists from across India and few from other countries too.

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From planning bamboo plantation along the Narmada banks to encouraging farmers there to go organic, from running a river ambulance for remote inaccessible areas of Sardar Sarovar reservoir to actively propagating cleanliness at Narmda ghats, Dave’s love for Narmada was well known. He had earlier taken a Cessna 173 flight on an aerial circumambulation of Narmada and followed it up with a raft journey along the 1,312 kms of the central peninsular Indian river. He also came up with a coffee table book which had beautiful photographs of Narmada and life around its banks.

His ‘will’ mentioned that there should be no Smarak (memorial) or awards in his name and if anyone wanted to do something in his memory, he/she should plant more trees, save water bodies and conserve rivers. And, as he would always tell his colleagues from Narmada Samgra, he also wished to be cremated along the Narmada banks.

 *Nivedita Khandekar is an independent journalist based in Delhi. She writes on environmental and developmental issues. 

सैनिकों का कल्याण

 

रंजीत कुमार*i201751703

मशीन के पीछे जो इंसान है वह भी पूरी तरह से तंदुरुस्त और सुविधा संपन्न होना चाहिए। पिछले तीन वर्षों के दौरान एनडीए सरकार का यह मिशन रहा है। जब लाखों डॉलर की लागत से हथियार प्रणालियों और विभिन्न उपकरणों को खरीदा जाता है, तो सेना के जवान और अधिकारी इनकी बेहतर तरीके से देखभाल करते हैं, ताकि युद्ध के समय इनका प्रभावशाली ढंग से इस्तेमाल किया जा सके। ऐसे में इन जवानों और अधिकारियों का भी तंदुरुस्त एवं सुविधा संपन्न होना जरूरी है। एनडीए सरकार ने सत्ता संभालने के बाद, न केवल सैनिकों के भुगतान एवं भत्तों तथा पेंशन में बढ़ोतरी की घोषणा की है, बल्कि उनके जीवन को आसान बनाने के लिए कई कारगर कदम भी उठाए हैं। देश तब तक युद्ध नहीं जीत सकता, जब तक युद्ध लड़ने वाले सैनिकों को उनके कल्याण के लिए आश्वस्त न किया जाए। एक असंतुष्ट सैनिक से देश के लिए बलिदान देने की उम्मीद नहीं की जा सकती। इसलिए एनडीए सरकार सैनिकों के मनोबल को बढ़ाने और उनके कल्याण के बारे में बातें कर रही है और इस दिशा में कई कारगर कदम भी उठा रही है।

सैनिकों के कल्याण की दिशा में उठाए गए प्रभावशाली कदमों में से एक वन रैंक वन पेंशन (ओआरओपी) को स्वीकार किया जाना है। देश के सैनिक पिछले चार दशकों से वन रैंक वन पेंशन की मांग कर रहे थे। सरकार ने 07 नवंबर 2015 को वन रैंक वन पेंशन को आधिकारिक रूप से स्वीकार कर लागू करने की घोषणा कर दी। इसके लागू होने से सरकारी ख़जाने से प्रतिवर्ष करीब 8000 करोड़ रुपये खर्च होंगे।orop_759

वन रैंक वन पेंशन ने रक्षा सेवा के सैनिकों के बीच पेंशन को लेकर व्याप्त असमानताओं और अस्थिरताओं में सुधार सुनिश्चित किया है। पिछले वर्ष 30 नवंबर तक, पहली किश्त और एकमुश्त भुगतान के तहत 19,64,350 सैनिकों को 3,985.65 करोड़ रुपयों का भुगतान किया जा चुका है। दूसरी किश्त में 15,46,857 सैनिकों को 2281.63 करोड़ रुपयों का भुगतान किया गया।

इसके अलावा सरकार ने 3 मई, 2017 को 7वें केंद्रीय वेतन आयोग की सिफारिशों को स्वीकार कर अधिसूचित कर दिया। इससे सेवा कर्मियों के वेतन और भत्तों में भारी वृद्धि होगी। आयोग ने पहली बार, सभी सैन्य कर्मियों के सैन्य सेवा वेतन (एमएसपी) में काफी अधिक वृद्ध की है और उच्च जोखिम वाली स्थिति में तैनात नौसेना और वायुसेना के जवानों को विशेष भत्ते दिए जाने की अनुशंसा की गई है।

सेवारत और सेवानिवृत्त लाखों सैनिकों के बेहतर स्वास्थ्य को ध्यान में रखते हुए, सरकार ने देश के विभिन्न हिस्सों में अधिक पॉलिक्लिनिक और रेफरल अस्पतालों की शुरुआत कर कर्मचारी अंशदान स्वास्थ्य योजना (ईसीएचएस) का दायरा बढ़ाया है। सेवानिवृत्त सैनिकों और उनके आश्रितों को गुणवत्तापूर्ण एवं सस्ती चिकित्सा सुविधा मुहैया कराने के लिए कई प्रभावी कदम कदम उठाए गए हैं। स्वास्थ्य सुरक्षा सुधारों के क्रम में सेवानिवृत्त अंशदान स्वास्थ्य योजना (ईसीएचएस) को पूर्ण रूप से डिजिटल किया जा चुका है। इस योजना के अंतर्गत कुल 50 लाख लाभार्थी शामिल हैं। ECHS-Recruitment-2016फिलहाल इस योजना को 28 क्षेत्रीय केन्द्रों और 426 पॉलिक्लिनिकों के जरिए चलाया जा रहा है। ईसीएचएस लाभार्थियों को नकदरहित उपचार की सुविधा मुहैया कराने के लिए कुल 1445 सिविल अस्पतालों को इस योजना के अंतर्गत सूचीबद्ध किया गया है।

महिलाओं को सशक्त करने और उनके कल्याण के मद्देनज़र, सरकार ने लड़ाकू टुकड़ियों में महिलाओं को शामिल करने को मंज़ूरी दी है, ताकि उन्हें भारतीय वायुसेना की सभी शाखाओं और धाराओं में शामिल होने के लिए योग्य बनाया जाए। इस योजना के तहत महिलाओं को पुरुषों के समकक्ष समरूप समान मानदंडों के अनुसार चुना जा रहा है।

Women-Pilot

इसके अलावा, समरूप समान मानदंडों को स्थायी कमिशन प्रदान करने के लिए महिलाएं एवं शॉर्ट सर्विस कमिशन दोनों तरह के अधिकारियों एवं कर्मचारियों पर लागू किया गया है। 18 जून 2016 भारत की महिलाओं के लिए ऐतिहासिक दिन था, क्योंकि इस दिन तीन महिला लड़ाकू पायलटों को डूंडीगल में भारतीय वायु सेना में शामिल किया गया था। इसके साथ ही, भारती उन चुनिंदा देशों की श्रेणी में शामिल हो गया था, जिनके पास महिला लड़ाकु पायलट हैं।

प्रधानमंत्री की डिजिटल इंडिया पहल के तहत, सेना कर्मियों की भर्ती प्रक्रिया और संचार नेटवर्क को पूरी तरह से डिजिटल किया जा चुका है। एक विशेष सॉफ्टवेयर प्रणाली – आर्मी रिकॉर्ड ऑफिसर प्रोसेस ऑटोमेशन Capture(एआरपीएएन) 2.0 भी शुरू किया गया है। इस सॉफ्टवेयर ने 12 लाख से अधिक जूनियर कमिशन अधिकारियों और जवानों को अपने सर्विस रिकॉर्ड और नौकरी से संबंधित विभिन्न जानकारियां ऑनलाइन प्राप्त करने में सक्षम बनाया है।

01 जुलाई 2015 से सेना की भर्ती प्रक्रिया को पूरी तरह से ऑनलाइन किया जा चुका है। अधिकारियों, जेसीओ और अन्य अधिकारी एवं कर्मियों के चयन के लिए भर्ती महानिदेशालय की एक नई वेबसाइट की शुरुआत की गई है। अब देशभर के उम्मीदवार इस वेबसाइट पर जाकर, सेना में रोज़गार एवं करियर के विकल्पों की जानकारी प्राप्त कर सकते हैं और उपयुक्त विकल्प का चयन कर उसके लिए आवेदन कर सकते हैं।

सेना के दिग्गजों को बेहतर और व्यापक देखभाल प्रदान करने के लिए सेना ने 14 जनवरी, 2016 को दिल्ली कैंट में डायरेक्टरेट ऑफ इंडियन आर्मी वेटरन्स की स्थापना की। यह निदेशालय सेना के दिग्गजों को वयोवृद्ध देखभाल और सहायता सेवाओं की एक विस्तृत श्रृंखला प्रदान करेगा। इसके साथ ही यह निदेशालय सेना के दिग्गजों, उनकी विधवाओं और परिजनों की शिकायतों और समस्याओं का एक ही स्थान पर समाधान प्रदान करने वाली एक संस्था के तौर पर कार्य करेगा। इस नए निदेशालय का उद्घाटन काफी धूमधाम से उत्साह के साथ किया गया।

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सेवानिवृत्त सैनिकों और उनके परिजनों की सुविधा के लिए, रक्षा मंत्रालय ने 22 अगस्त 2016 को पायलट परियोजना के तौर पर एक आर्मी कौशल प्रशिक्षण केन्द्र (एएसटीसी) भी स्थापित किया। इस केन्द्र की स्थापना के साथ ही, सैनिकों के जीवनसाथी और उनके परिवारजनों को कौशल विकास की धारा में जोड़डकर भारतीय सेना ने एक नए मिशन की शुरुआत की है। एएसटीसी से प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त करने वाले सैनिकों के जीवनसाथी और उनके परिवार के सदस्यों को एनएसडीसी की ओर से प्रमाणपत्र प्रदान किए जाएंगे और ये सभी प्रधानमंत्री कौशल विकास योजना के अंतर्गत रोज़गार पाने अथवा ख़ुद का उद्योग स्थापित करने के लिए योग्य होंगे।

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दूरदराज, ऊंचाई और कठिन परिस्थितियों में कार्य करने के दौरान अपने परिवार से लंबे समय तक दूर रहने और कठिनाइयों का सामना करने जैसी परिस्थितियों को ध्यान में रखते हुए, मंत्रालय ने सशस्त्र बलों के कर्मियों के लिए प्राथमिकता के आधार पर विवाहित आवास परियोजना (एमएपी) में तेजी लाने के लिए कदम उठाए हैं। इसके अंतर्गत अपनी तैनाती के स्थान पर कार्यरत विवाहित जवानों को करीब 2,00,000 आवासों की सुविधा मुहैया कराई जाएगी। एमएपी के तीसरे और अंतिम चरण के अंतर्गत करीब 71,000 आवास इकाइयां उपलब्ध कराने की योजना कार्यान्वयन के अंतर्गत आगे बढ़ रही है।

                                                                                             ****

 

                                                               *लेखक वरिष्ठ पत्रकार हैं।

                                                      लेख में व्यक् विचार लेखक के अपने हैं।

Fast Tracking Skill Development

Sarita Brara* i201751801

‘Skill building’ and ‘knowledge’ are quintessential for economic growth of any country in today’s world. More so for a country like India where 13 million youth are estimated to enter the job market annually. There is another reason too which makes ‘skill building’ an imperative for the growth of country’s economy. While the labour force in the industrialized world is expected to decline by 4%, in our country it will increase by 32% in 20 years time. This is an indicator that India is poised to become a hub for skilled labour force. Skill development is, therefore, an urgent priority for the government. Taking into account the estimated requirement of skilled manpower in future the government has set a target of creating 500 million strong skilled manpower by 2022.

The challenge is huje considering that so far only 4.69 per cent of total work force in India has received any formal skill training. This is much lower than even some of the developing countries and far behind the developed nations where the percentage of skilled manpower ranges from 52 per cent in USA to as high as  96 per cent in South Korea.

In order to develop a robust policy framework and programme of action for scaling and speeding up skill development efforts, NDA Government set up a separate Ministry of Skill development and Entrepreneurship in December 2014.

In addition, to fast track and upgrade existing skill development programmes, several new schemes have been initiated with timelines for achieving the set targets.

An ambitious skill development programme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal VikasYojana was initiated in 2015.intro-logo.png

Later PMKVY was approved for another  four years on 2nd of October last year with  a target to skill ten million youth with greater focus on improving placement opportunities through high quality training. Under this Scheme, Training and Assessment fees are fully borne by the Government.

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The scheme being implemented through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) envisages linking  aptitude, aspiration, and knowledge of the skilled workforce it creates with employment opportunities and demands in the market.

Another scheme Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana was launched in November last year which is being implemented in association with Wadhwani Operating Foundation as its Knowledge Partner. On line Entrepreneurship Education  will be provided to  about 15 lakh students across the country through 3050 Project Institutes consisting of Institutions of Higher Learning; Schools; ITIs and Entrepreneurship Development Centres, both Government and Private. The Ministry would also provide financial assistance to these institutions for different activities under the Scheme. The five-year Scheme is expected to witness setting up of more than 23,000 enterprises that will create more than 2.30 lakh direct and indirect jobs in the country. The Scheme providing for financial assistance to both Government and Private Institutions would cover 84,000 students in the current fiscal.

National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

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Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower. It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training. This is first of the kind scheme that offers financial incentives to employers.

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Under the scheme ,twenty five percent of the prescribed stipend payable to an apprentice would be reimbursed to the employers directly by the  centre . 50 Lakh apprentices are expected to be trained by 2019-20  under this initiative by working pro-actively with the industry including MSME.

It was in the 1950’s that Industrial Training Institutes were established under the Craftsman Training Scheme by the Centre  for imparting skills in various vocational trades to meet the manpower requirements for technology and industrial growth of the country. In the period 2014 to 2017 , 3342 new ITIs  have been set up increasing  the  seating capacity to 5,85,284. The ITI have helped lakhs of youth  earn their livelihood  through  employment or starting  their own work.

A scheme to up-grade Government ITIs into Model ITIs was initiated in December 2014 . The  main objective was to develop a benchmark for industry oriented ITI which would serve as a model for other ITIs and would also raise dignity of ITI education. These Model ITIs were to establish links with the Industrial clusters in their vicinity to enable them  to function as a solution provider to the cluster group. Gunjan Gautam who was trained motor vehicle  mechanic in 2014 from Govt. Modal ITI Nalagarh District Solan, Himachal Pradesh is now  a proprietor in dealership venture  having branchs at Hamirpur, Nadaun and Jawalaji in Himachal Pradesh and over  60  Mechanics/Workers work  under his establishment.

 In all 25 ITI  were identified  for  upgradation as model ITI.

With regard to a scheme for Up-gradation of 1396 Government ITIs through Public Private Partnership(PPP), a total of 1227 Govt. ITIs have been covered in 31 States and Union Territories .

Government has also initiated  several  other incentive driven schemes including awards for giving  push to skilling in India to match  international standards .

India is one of the youngest nations in the world. More than 62 per cent  of its population is in the working age group  of (15-59 years), and more than 54 percent of its total population below 25 years of age .Its  population in the 15-59 age group is expected to expand  over the next decade .This is  in contrast to developed countries like USA, Europe and Japan where the average age  would be in the range 45 to 49.  As pointed out earlier. India could reap this demographic dividend in  a big way but the  challenge is  to equip its workforce with employable skills and knowledge  for the economic growth of our country.

*Author is a New Delhi based independent Journalist and writes regularly in Newspapers on social sector issues.

 

 

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: Bringing happiness to every household

Gulshan Jano (age 32) and her husband are daily wage workers from Alanpur village, Sawai Madhopur district, Rajasthan. Thanks to the recent PMUY drive in the state, with a new LPG connection, she is happy that she and her children do not have to bear the unhealthy smoke anymore. Besides, she finds it easier and faster to cook using the gas cylinder.

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However, she was scared and sceptical about keeping a cylinder inside her home. It was then that Ahmed, her 10-year-old son and class-V student at a local school, used the safety poster to teach his mother the Dos and Don’ts of using LPG cylinder.  As they say, one is never too old to learn.

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