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1st April Current Affairs

Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP)

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

Recently, The Union Cabinet approved a USD 808 million or Rs 6,062.45 crore, World Bank assisted programme on “Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance” (RAMP).

RAMP is a new scheme and would commence in FY 2022-23.

What is RAMP?

“Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance” (RAMP) is a World Bank assisted Central Sector Scheme.

It has been launched to support various Resilience and Recovery Interventions of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME).

In addition to building the MoMSME’s capacity at the national level, the RAMP program will seek to scale up implementation capacity and MSME coverage in States.

Objective:

The programme aims at improving access to market and credit, strengthening institutions and governance at the Centre and State, improving Centre-State linkages and partnerships, addressing issues of delayed payments and greening of MSMEs.

RAMP will function as a:

‘’Policy Provider’’ through the enhanced capacity for evidence-based policy and program design, to enable the delivery of more effective and cost-efficient MSME interventions to improve competitiveness and business sustainability.

“Knowledge Provider” through bench-marking, sharing and demonstrating best practices/success stories by leveraging international experiences.

“Technology Provider” by providing access to high-end technology resulting in the digital and technological transformation of MSMEs through state of art Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Internet of things (IoT), Machine Learning etc.

Background:

RAMP was formulated and proposed by the Government of India, for strengthening MSMEs in line with the recommendations made by U K Sinha Committee, KV Kamath Committee and Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC).

Need for and Significance:

40% of MSMEs in India lack access to finance. MSMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy.

The RAMP programme with impacts across the country will directly or indirectly benefit all 63 million enterprises that qualify as MSMEs.

Significance of MSMEs:

With around 63.4 million units throughout the geographical expanse of the country, MSMEs contribute around 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of the GDP from service activities as well as 33.4% of India’s manufacturing output.

They have been able to provide employment to around 120 million persons and contribute around 45% of the overall exports from India.

About 20% of the MSMEs are based out of rural areas, which indicates the deployment of significant rural workforce in the MSME sector.

Minimum support price (MSP)

(GS-III: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices)

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Raw Jute for 2022-23 season.

Details:

The approval is based on recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.

The announced MSP of raw jute for 2022-23 season is in line with the principle of fixing the MSP at a level of at least 1.5 times all India weighted average cost of production as announced by the Government in the Budget 2018-19.

It assures a minimum of 50 percent as margin of profit.

It is one of the important and progressive steps towards ensuring better remunerative returns to the jute growers and to incentivize quality jute fibre.

What is MSP?

MSP is the rate at which the government buys grains from farmers.

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.

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.

PM GatiShakti — National Master Plan

(GS-III: Infrastructure)

In News:

PM Gati Shakti entails the geospatial mapping of everything in the country, different layers of maps which talk to each other, leading to integrated planning, with better optimization of time and cost.

What is Geospatial Technology?

Geospatial technology uses tools like GIS (Geographic Information System), GPS (Global Positioning System) and Remote Sensing for geographic mapping and analysis.

These tools capture spatial information about objects, events and phenomena (indexed to their geographical location on earth, geotag). The location data may be Static or Dynamic.

Static location data include position of a road, an earthquake event or malnutrition among children in a particular region while dynamic location data include data related to a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease etc.

The technology may be used to create intelligent maps to help identify spatial patterns in large volumes of data.

The technology facilitates decision making based on the importance and priority of scarce resources.

About PM GatiShakti:

It is a digital platform that connects 16 ministries — including Roads and Highways, Railways, Shipping, Petroleum and Gas, Power, Telecom, Shipping, and Aviation.

It aims to ensure holistic planning and execution of infrastructure projects.

Services provided:

The portal will offer 200 layers of geospatial data, including on existing infrastructure such as roads, highways, railways, and toll plazas, as well as geographic information about forests, rivers and district boundaries to aid in planning and obtaining clearances.

The portal will also allow various government departments to track, in real time and at one centralised place, the progress of various projects, especially those with multi-sectoral and multi-regional impact.

Significance:

The objective is to ensure that “each and every department now have visibility of each other’s activities providing critical data while planning and execution of projects in a comprehensive manner.

Through this, different departments will be able to prioritise their projects through cross–sectoral interactions”.

It will also boost last-mile connectivity and bringing down logistics costs with integrated planning and reducing implementation overlaps.

Need for:

Poor infrastructure planning included newly-built roads being dug up by the water department to lay pipes. This has badly affected the road Infrastructure and movement of the country.

Also, logistics costs in India are about 13-14% of GDP as against about 7-8% of GDP in developed economies. High logistics costs impact cost structures within the economy, and also make it more expensive for exporters to ship merchandise to buyers.

New India Literacy Programme

(GS-II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

In News:

The Union of India has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, namely, “New India Literacy Programme (NILP)”.

Details:

The NILP has been approved for the next five financial years (2022-27) in order to integrate all the aspects of adult education with the National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP).

The Education ministry has chosen to use ‘Education for All’ rather than ‘Adult Education,’ since the previous terminology was not applicable to non-literates aged 15 and above.

Objectives:

It aims to support the States and Union Territories in promoting literacy among non-literates in the age group of 15 and above.

Coverage:

It will cover across the country covering 5 crore non-literates during the implementation period from 2022-23 to 2026-27.

Funding:

The scheme has been approved with a financial outlay of Rs.1037.90 crore including Central share of Rs.700.00 crore and State share of Rs.337.90 crore.

The scheme has five components namely:

  • Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Critical Life Skills.
  • Vocational Skills Development.
  • Basic Education.
  • Continuing Education.

The salient features of the NILP are:

Involvement of school students, pre-service students of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), school teachers, Anganwadi and ASHA workers.

School to be unit for implementation of the scheme.

Use of ICT and online implementation of the scheme through ‘Online Teaching Learning and Assessment System’ (OTLAS) material and resources through digital modes, viz, TV, radio, cell phone-based free/open-source Apps/portals, etc.

Implementation:

The scheme will be implemented through volunteerism through online mode.

The training, orientation, workshops of volunteers, may be organized through face-to-face mode. All material and resources shall be provided digitally.

School will be Unit for implementation of the scheme.

Schools to be used for conducting surveys of beneficiaries and Voluntary Teachers.

Need for:

As per Census 2011, the absolute number of non-literates of the country in 15 years and above age group is 25.76 crore (Male 9.08 crore, Female 16.68 crore).

Also, in consideration of the progress of persons certified as literates being to the tune of 7.64 crore under the Saakshar Bharat programme implemented during 2009-10 to 2017-18, it is estimated that currently around 18.12 crore adults are still non-literate in India.