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30 July Current Affairs

Rural ministry to focus on 3-5 lakh women SHGs to scale up enterprises

In News:

In order to boost entrepreneurship among rural women, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) is set to focus on select 3-5 lakh women Self Help Groups (SHGs) with a view to convert their “nano enterprises into micro enterprises”.


A Nano enterprise is usually a household enterprise with fixed capital investment of Rs 5 lakh or less. A micro enterprise is an enterprise where investment in plant and machinery does not exceed Rs. 25 lakh.


Since 2011-12 under NRLM, SHGs have been entitled to get up to Rs 10 lakh as loan without collateral over a period of six to eight years.

However, not many SHGs have availed this opportunity to grow. Many of the SHGs have gotten into higher order activities, but their credit linkage is for very basic level activities.

They are, at the most, able to come and display their products at national level exhibitions, but beyond that to scale it up, they needed better credit.

According to MoRD officials, a stock-taking exercise of the total 52 lakh women SHGs, covering six crore women in the country was carried out to find out how many have used at least Rs 7 lakh so far.

About 3-5 lakh SHGs fell into this category, and had also demonstrated a potential to have a larger markets for their products. Some such enterprises include vermicomposting, setting up a marketplace for farm produce, small shops, running smaller vehicles for public transportation, custom hiring centres for farm implements, or retail.About: National Rural Livelihood Mission.

National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)

National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), also referred to as Ajeevika – NRLM, is a poverty alleviation project launched by Ministry of Rural Development 2011. It is aided in part through investment support by the World Bank.

The Swarnajayanti Grameen Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) launched in 1999, was remodelled to form NRLM in 2011, thereby plugging the shortfalls of SGSY.


This scheme is focused on promoting self-employment and organization of rural poor. The basic idea behind this programme is to organize the poor into SHGs and make them capable for self-employment.

It works towards bringing at least one member (preferably a woman) from all poor families into the SHG network.

Pillars: NRLM rests on three major pillars – universal social mobilization, financial inclusion and livelihoods enhancement.

In November 2015, the program was renamed Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana – NRLM (DAY-NRLM).About: Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana – NRLM (DAY-NRLM)

The Mission aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms of the rural poor enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.

It believes in harnessing the innate capabilities of the poor and complements them with capacities (information, knowledge, skills, tools, finance and collectivization) to participate in the growing economy of the country.

In addition, the poor would be facilitated to achieve increased access to rights, entitlements and public services, diversified risk and better social indicators of empowerment

Universal Social Mobilisation:

At least one woman member from each identified rural poor household, is to be brought under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time bound manner.Special emphasis is particularly on vulnerable communities such as manual scavengers, victims of human trafficking, Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and bonded labour.


It focuses on stabilizing and promoting existing livelihood portfolio of the poor through its three pillars

Vulnerability reduction and livelihoods enhancement through deepening/enhancing and expanding existing livelihoods options and tapping new opportunities in farm and non-farm sectors

Employment – building skills for the job market outside

Enterprises – nurturing self-employed and entrepreneurs (for micro-enterprises)


It works on both demand and supply sides of financial inclusion.

On the demand side, it promotes financial literacy among the poor and provides catalytic capital to the SHGs and their federations.On the supply side, the Mission coordinates with the financial sector and encourages use of Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) based financial technologies, business correspondents and community facilitators like ‘Bank Mitras’.

MUDRA Scheme

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is a flagship scheme of the government to “fund the unfunded” by bringing such enterprises to the formal financial system and extending affordable credit to them.

It was launched in 2015 and provides loans up to Rs 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises.

Helping SHGs:

If any SHG wants to start new business or any venture that creates employment, they can avail loan under the Mudra Bank Yojana without guarantee and mortgage.

The Union Budget 2018-19 proposed that One woman in every SHG will also be made eligible for a loan up to Rs. 1 lakh under the MUDRA Scheme.

How this district in Bastar worked its way to top aspirational ranking

In News:

Kondagaon district in the Bastar division of Chhattisgarh has topped the Aspirational District programme for May 2019.

About Aspirational District programme

Aspirational Districts programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 under its think tank NITI Aayog.


The program aims at transforming selected districts. These chosen districts have shown relatively less progress in key development sectors.

Identification of Districts:The government had identified the Human Development Index and inter-state and inter-district disparities as major hindrances in development.

About 115 districts were identified from 28 states, under the programme.


The programme heavily relies upon the States for its smooth functioning.

However, different ministries are also allocated some number of districts. For example, the government selected about 35 districts which are “affected by Left Wing Extremism” on the advice of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Developmental Sectors for progress assessment:

It ranks the Aspirational Districts improved performance across six developmental areas:

  1. Health and Nutrition
  2. Education
  3. Agriculture and Water Resources
  4. Financial Inclusion
  5. Skill Development
  6. Basic Infrastructure

How Kondagaon scripted change?:

Kondagaon was once severely affected by left-wing violence.

The progress in Kondagaon is not just a result of recent work, but a slow and gradual increase in government influence in a Maoist-hit district.

As a result, the levels of Maoist violence and influence have come down.

The administration focused on three priority areas:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Agriculture
  3. Skill development among other things.


Special care for sick newborns:

The inauguration of the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) has been the key change agent.

In tribal areas, malnourishment was the main problem with the newborn babies. The SNCU helped in saving those lives.

Health and Wellness Centres:

25 primary health centres have been transformed into Health and Wellness Centres under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

Regular visits of health officials to every Gram Panchayat:

The regular availability of health officials to every Gram Panchayat to map standards of health, education and nutrition.


Kisan Clubs to train farmers

The administration has started 550 Kisan Clubs which provide coaching on new techniques of farming, which helps the farmers to find solutions that are in line with local realities.

Maize Processing Plant:

Almost 75 per cent of the farmers in the district grow maize and now the foundation stone of a maize processing plant has been laid with the aim to make farmers self-reliant and prosperous.

Skill Development:

Workshops, especially for women

The workshops extend a wide array of skills ranging from creating glass bangles to assembling LED bulbs to producing local delicacies such as Mahua laddoos and Tamarind rotis.

Other Efforts:

Basic Infrastructure:

Building roads and bridges:

Special attention has been paid to building and rebuilding roads and bridges, which are often enough either cut off by Maoists or simply lost to rains.

This is essential for ensuring connectivity across the district.


Special coaching outcomes:

For improving educational outcomes, the administration has arranged special coaching classes for students.

There’s even free training for students who want to appear in competitive examinations.

Section : Social Issues

India has nearly 3,000 tigers, up by a third from 2014 count

In News:

India has 2,967 tigers, a third more than in 2014, according to the results of a tiger census.


Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442). Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population and all other States saw a “positive” increase.

The survey, the fourth such since 2006, is a gargantuan exercise and conducted once in four years. The latest survey is the culmination of 15 months of forest officials surveying 3,81,400 square kilometres of forested habitat, installing 26,760 camera traps and wildlife biologists ferreting through 35 million images of wildlife — 76,523 of which were tigers (there can be multiple images of the same tiger). Nearly 83% of the estimated tiger population was captured in these images.

While the Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.

Pench Tiger Reserve

Pench Tiger Reserve is located in Madhya Pradesh in Seoni and Chhindwara districts, named after the Pench river that flows through the National Park.

There are 50 Tiger Reserve area’s in India estimating the number of tigers as 2,226 according to the 2014 census.

Tiger conservation initiative in India is called ‘Project Tiger’ under the administration of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

In 2018, NTCA used an app/system called MSTrlPES, to monitor and record the tiger population to release the census in 2019.

Project Tiger aims to aid and facilitate the breeding of tigers within a safe environment and transport the tigers to other parks to increase the tiger population across its habitats. In addition, Project Tiger also takes up initiatives to improve the vegetation in the park, to facilitate the availability of prey for the tigers.

Pench National Park has the highest density of herbivore population like spotted deer, sambar deer, nilgai, four horned antelope and mouse deer.

Other Tiger Reserves in Madhya Pradesh include Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, Panna National Park, Satpura National Park, Sanjay-Dubri National Park

Tigers command over 60 sq kms of area and often get into territorial conflicts with other tigers or outside territorial limits with humans.

It is argued that the Tiger breeding has reached its threshold as India is not prepared to increase more tigers.

To distribute the density of tigers translocating tigers to unpopulated reserves like Satkosia in Odisha has not been successful.

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Tiger Reserve is in Thekkady, Kerala, comprising the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Besides being a tiger reserve, it is also one of the most significant Elephant Reserve in the country housing Asiatic Elephants.

It comprises a range of tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, grasslands and eucalyptus plantations.

Periyar and Pamba rivers flow through the reserve.

In 2015, the Periyar Tiger Reserve won the National Tiger Conservation Authority biennial award for encouraging local public participation in managing the Reserve.

Medical Commission Bill passed

In News:

The Lok Sabha passed the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 (NMC) with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan assuring the House that the Bill, which seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, will go down in history as the most revolutionary step taken to improve medical education in India.

Key Features of Bill:

Common final year MBBS Exams (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) will be known as National Exit Test (NEXT) which would serve as Licentiate Exam, for entrance to Post Graduate (PG) medical course and as screening test of foreign medical graduates.

It provides that National Entrance Test i.e. NEET, Common Counselling, NEXT will also be applicable to Institutes of National Importance (INIs) such as AIIMS to have common standards in country.

National Medical Commission: NMC, an autonomous commission will regulate fee and all other charges for 50% seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities.

NMC will ensure a transparent admission process and also reduce admission fee, and regulate fee in private colleges as well.

NMC will have 4 Autonomous Boards,

  1. Under-Graduate Medical Education Board
  2. Post-Graduate Medical Education Board
  3. Medical Assessment and Rating Board
  4. Ethics and Medical Registration Board

NMC and respective boards will work towards ensuring a dynamic and modern educational environment, decreasing emphasis on physical infrastructure, achieving norms in global standards and an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

Significance: These new measures will ensure a transparent admission process and will also bring down admission fee.