State Food Safety Index
(GS-III: Food Security related issues)
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s 4th State Food Safety Index (SFSI) was released on the occasion of World Food Safety Day (June 7).
It seeks to measure the performance of States across five parameters of food safety.
What is the State Food Safety Index (SFSI)?
The index was developed by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) in 2018-19 to measure the performance of states on five significant parameters of Food Safety.
The parameters include Human Resources and Institutional Data, Compliance, Food Testing – Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training & Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment.
The index will help in providing safe and nutritious food to our citizens.
Performance of various states:
Tamil Nadu topped the State Food Safety Index followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Among Smaller States, Goa stood first, followed by Manipur and Sikkim.
Among UTs, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh secured first, second and third ranks.
What is World food safety day?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with Member States and other relevant organizations.
It was first celebrated in 2019.
Objective: To strengthen the commitment to scale up food safety made by the Addis Ababa Conference and the Geneva Forum in 2019 under the umbrella of “The Future of Food Safety”.
The theme for 2022 was Safer Food, Better Health.
Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM)
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has issued directions to ban the use of coal in industrial, domestic and other miscellaneous applications in the entire Delhi-NCR region from 1st January 2023.
This step is taken to bring down greenhouse gas emissions in Delhi NCR. Delhi is among the world’s most polluted capital cities.
It will help save 1.7 million tonnes of coal annually.
It will also help reduce pollutants including particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxide (NOx), CO2 and CO.
About the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM):
The Commission was first formed by an ordinance in October 2020.
The erstwhile Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, or EPCA had been dissolved to make way for the Commission.
The Commission will be a statutory authority.
The Commission will supersede bodies such as the central and state pollution control boards of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan.
In 2021, the Parliament approved the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill.
Chairperson: To be chaired by a government official of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary.
The chairperson will hold the post for three years or until s/he attains the age of 70 years.
It will have members from several Ministries as well as representatives from the stakeholder States.
It will have experts from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Civil Society.
Powers and functions:
It will have the powers to issue directions to these state governments on issues pertaining to air pollution.
It will entertain complaints as it deems necessary for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the air in the NCR and adjoining areas.
It will also lay down parameters for control of air pollution.
It will also be in charge of identifying violators, monitoring factories and industries and any other polluting unit in the region, and will have the powers to shut down such units.
It will also have the powers to overrule directives issued by the state governments in the region, that may be in violation of pollution norms.
PFMS (Public Financial Management System)
(GS-II: Government Policies and associated issues)
The Single Nodal Agency (SNA) Dashboard of PFMS (Public Financial Management System) was recently launched by the Union Ministry of Finance.
What is SNA Dashboard?
It is a major reform initiated in 2021 with regards to the manner in which funds for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are released, disbursed and monitored.
Under this system, each state is required to identify and designate an SNA for every scheme.
All funds for that State in a particular scheme are now credited in this bank account and all expenses by all other Implementing Agencies involved are affected from this account.
Significance of SNA Model:
Ensures timely allocation of funds.
Brought in greater efficiency in CSS fund utilization.
Tracking of funds has become easier.
It was previously known as Central Plan Schemes Monitoring System (CPSMS).
It is a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Ministry of Finance.
Objective: To facilitate a sound Public Financial Management System for the Government of India (GoI) by establishing an efficient fund flow system as well as a payment cum accounting network.
Coverage: At present, the ambit of PFMS coverage includes Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes as well as other expenditures including the Finance Commission Grants.
Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for the Khari season 2022-23
(GS-III: Minimum support prices)
The Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for the Khari season 2022-23 were recently approved by the cabinet. The rates for 14 Kharif crops have been increased, the hikes ranging from 4% to 8%.
What is MSP?
MSP is the rate at which the government buys grains from farmers. Currently, it fixes MSPs for 23 crops grown in both Kharif and Rabi seasons (Including FRP for sugarcane).
The mandated crops include 14 crops of the kharif season, 6 rabi crops and 2 other commercial crops.
How is it calculated?
The MSP is the rate at which the government purchases crops from farmers, and is based on a calculation of at least one-and-a-half times the cost of production incurred by the farmers.
The Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced that MSP would be kept at levels of 1.5 the cost of production.
The MSP is fixed twice a year on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), which is a statutory body and submits separate reports recommending prices for kharif and rabi seasons.
Which production costs are taken in fixing the MSPs?
The CACP considers both ‘A2+FL’ and ‘C2’ costs while recommending MSP.
A2 costs cover all paid-out expenses, both in cash and kind, incurred by farmers on seeds, fertilisers, chemicals, hired labour, fuel and irrigation, among others.
A2+FL covers actual paid-out costs plus an imputed value of unpaid family labour.
The C2 costs account for the rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets respectively, on top of A2+FL.
CACP reckons only A2+FL cost for return.
However, C2 costs are used by CACP primarily as benchmark reference costs (opportunity costs) to see if the MSPs recommended by them at least cover these costs in some of the major producing States.
The limitations of MSP:
The major problem with the MSP is lack of government machinery for procurement for all crops except wheat and rice, which the Food Corporation of India actively procures under the PDS.
As state governments procure the last mile grain, the farmers of states where the grain is procured completely by the government benefit more while those in states that procure less are often affected.
The MSP-based procurement system is also dependent on middlemen, commission agents and APMC officials, which smaller farmers find difficult to get access to.