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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | PDF Download

Date: 03 February 2019

Not really bullish on native cow breeds

  • Goyal bumps up revised budget for Rashtriya Gokul Mission, slashes it for 2019-20
  • Farmers who rear the best indigenous breeds of cattle win prizes from the government. So when Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the allotment of ₹750 crore to the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM) on Friday, everyone was listening.
  • The outlay was, it emerged, the revised estimate for 2018-19. But when it came to funds for 2019-20, it was only ₹302 crore, nearly the same as the original allocation of ₹301.5 crore in last year’s Budget.
  •  The Mission is managed by the Department of Animal Health and Husbandry (DAHD).
  • Budget documents show that the Department only managed to spend ₹187.73 crore under the scheme in 2017-18, although Gopal Ratna and Kamdhenu awards were instituted for breeders since that year, and 43 winners have been chosen.

‘Superior’ stock

  • The RGM aims to develop ‘Gokul Gram’ care centres for indigenous breeds of high “genetic merit” as well as other lesser breeds.
  • The objective is to get native breeds to produce more milk, be more fecund, and to raise the quality of Indian cows and bulls to eventually outdo Jerseys and Holsteins. Though Mr. Goyal talked of "cow welfare" and farmer distress, the RGM doesn't look at ageing and unproductive cattle, posing a problem for farmers.
  • The RGM was launched in December 2014 with an outlay of ₹500 crore (2014-15 to 2016-2017) for developing and conserving indigenous breeds through selective breeding and genetically upgrading ‘nondescript’ bovine population.

Indus Dolphin to be State aquatic animal of Punjab

  • The Punjab government has declared Indus River Dolphin — found only in the Beas — as the State aquatic animal. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the rare aquatic animal would be the flagship species for the conservation of the Beas eco-system.

₹500 crore for pension for unorganised labour

Allocation for existing scheme slashed

  • The Centre has allocated ₹500 crore for a new pension scheme .The new scheme, to be called the Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan, will benefit unorganised sector workers who have a monthly income up to ₹15,000. It will provide them a monthly pension of ₹3,000 from the age of 60.
  • The Centre expects 10 crore workers to get the benefit within the next five years.
  • “Half of India’s GDP comes from the sweat and toil of 42 crore workers in the unorganised sector…We must provide them comprehensive social security coverage for their old age,” said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, while announcing the scheme in Parliament.
  • However, the Budget documents show that an existing pension scheme, which already benefits more than 3 crore poor people who are senior citizens, disabled or widows, has had its allocation slashed. The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), a pension scheme administered by the Ministry of Rural Development, had originally been allocated ₹9,975 crore in the 2018-19 Budget. For 2019-20, the scheme’s allocation has been cut to ₹9,200 crore, a drop of ₹775 crore.
  • The NSAP featured in last year’s Budget speech, when then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said the government was “implementing a comprehensive social security and protection programme to reach every household of old, widows, orphaned children, divyaang and deprived as per the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC).”
  • Using the SECC criteria as opposed to the existing Below Poverty Line criteria would have doubled the pension coverage to more than 6 crore people. However, Mr. Jaitley’s Budget allocation remained unchanged. This year, Mr. Goyal made no mention of the NSAP, but reduced next year’s allocation from the current year’s estimates.
  • New panel for welfare of nomadic communities NITI Aayog to identify ‘most deprived citizens’ The Centre will form a welfare panel for nomadic, semi-nomadic and de-notified communities, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced in Friday’s Budget speech. To start with, a committee will be set up under NITI Aayog to complete the task of identifying denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities, especially as they move from place to place in search of a livelihood. The committee will follow up on the work of the Renke Commission and the Idate Commission. A Welfare Development Board will also be set up under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to design and implement programmes for these hard-to-reach communities, Mr. Goyal said. He said a substantial increase is proposed in the allocation for welfare of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Goyal unveils Vision 2030, highlighting 10 dimensions

  • Presenting the Interim Budget, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday laid out the government’s vision for India in 2030, highlighting “10 most important dimensions.”
  •  “Our India of 2030 will have a proactive and responsible bureaucracy which will be viewed as friendly to people. With ten-dimensional vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past. India would be a modern, technology-driven, high growth, equitable and transparent society,” Mr. Goyal asserted.
  •  Stating that India aspires to become a $10-trillion economy in the next eight years, he said the first dimension or point of this vision is to build physical as well as social infrastructure for a $10-trillion economy and facilitate ease of living.
  •  “On the social infrastructure side, every family will have a roof on its head and will live in a healthy, clean and wholesome environment.”

 Digital India

  • While the second dimension of “our vision” is to create a Digital India, making India a pollution-free nation is the third point which will be driven by electric vehicles and renewables.
  • “Expanding rural industrialisation using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment is the fourth dimension of our vision,” he said. This will be built upon this government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ programme.
  • Under the fifth dimension, Mr. Goyal talked about clean rivers and safe drinking water for all Indians.
  •  “India’s long coastline has the potential of becoming the strength of the economy, particularly through exploitation of the Blue Economy…coastline and our ocean waters powering India’s development and growth is the sixth dimension of our vision,” the Minister said.
  • “The seventh dimension of our vision aims at the outer skies… making India self-sufficient in food, exporting to the world to meet their food needs and producing food in the most organic way is the eighth dimension of our vision.
  • Next comes the vision of a healthy India. “By 2030, we will work towards a distress-free healthcare and a functional and comprehensive wellness system for all.”
  • “Our vision can be delivered by Team India — our employees working together with the elected government, transforming India into a minimum government, maximum governance nation. This is the tenth dimension,” the Minister said.

 Increased govt. sourcing, 2% subvention for loans a boost for MSMEs

  • Rural entrepreneurs to benefit most
  • MUMBAIThe micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector, the cornerstone of Indian economy, has got a boost in the Interim Budget, with the government offering 2% subvention for loans up to ₹1 crore and extending the Government eMarketplace (GeM) platform to support domestic services and trade.
  • With the Budget largely focused on the rural segments of the country, this will benefit the MSME sector greatly as 51% of all 634 lakh MSMEs are based in rural areas, consequently being a vital source of rural employment.
  • The government has increased the share of its procurements from MSMEs through GeM to 25%.

Kerala sets up drug price monitor

  • It will look at overcharging for medicines and sale of stents
  • The new watchdog will offer technical help to the State Drug
  • Kerala has become the first State to set up a price monitoring and research unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).
  • The move comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system for the States and the Union Territories.
  • Ravi S. Menon, State Drugs Controller, told The Hindu on Saturday that a society had been registered to get Central assistance for the functioning of the unit.
  • He said the new office would start functioning as soon as infrastructure was set up. There is no price control review mechanism now.
  • The State Health Secretary would be the Chairman of the society and the Drugs Controller would be its member secretary. Its members include a State government representative, representatives of private pharmaceutical companies, and those from consumer rights protection fora.
  • The society would also have an executive committee headed by the Drugs Controller.
  • Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) are issued by the Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, for enabling the Government to declare a ceiling price for essential and life saving medicines (as per a prescribed formula) so as to ensure that these medicines are available at a reasonable price to the general public. The latest Drug Price Control Order (DPCO-2013) was issued on 15.05.2013.
  • Price controls are applicable to what is generally known as “Scheduled drugs” or “Scheduled formulations” that is, those medicines which are listed out in the Schedule I of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO),
  •  The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. It was formed on 29 August 1997.
  • The National List of Essential Medicines of India 2011 (NLEM 2011) is a list of medicines, prepared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which are considered essential in India.
  • The first such list was released in 1996. That list was subsequently revised in 2003. The latest list prepared and released in 2011
  • Addresses the issues of changing disease prevalence in the country and the associated treatment modalities, besides taking into consideration the new medicines which are now available.
  • World Health Organisation defines ‘essential medicines’ as those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. The medicines are selected with regard to the prevalence of disease, efficacy, safety and comparative cost-effectiveness.
  •  These medicines are intended to be available within the health systems in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosages, with assured quality.
  •  till November 2017,the Government has fixed the ceiling prices of 849 medicines, including 2 coronary stents, under Revised Schedule I based on National List of Essential Medicines, 2015(NLEM 2015).
  •  National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority(NPPA)fixes the ceiling prices of medicines listed in the of Drugs(Prices Control)Order, 2013(DPCO 2013).
  • Former Director-General of Police of Madhya Pradesh Rishi Kumar Shukla, a 1983 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the M.P. cadre, was on Saturday appointed the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Mr. Shukla was picked from a panel of several names cleared by the high-power committee, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
  • “The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has, based on the panel recommended by the Committee constituted as per Section 4A(1) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, approved the appointment of Rishi Kumar Shukla as Director, CBI, for a period of two years,” stated the official notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training in the evening.