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8th January Current Affairs

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

(GS-II: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society)

According to the SBI Research report on ECLGS:

The scheme has saved 13.5 lakh firms from going bankrupt and consequently 1.5 crore jobs.

In absolute terms, MSME loan accounts worth Rs 1.8 lakh crore were saved.

Almost 93.7 per cent of such accounts are in the micro and small category.

Amongst the states, Gujarat has been the biggest beneficiary, followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

About the scheme:

The scheme was launched as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package announced in May 2020 to mitigate the distress caused by coronavirus-induced lockdown, by providing credit to different sectors, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

100% guarantee coverage is being provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company, whereas Banks and Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) provide loans.

The credit will be provided in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.

No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from the Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.

Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, and at 14% for NBFCs.

Eligibility:

In August 2020, the scheme was extended to Mudra borrowers and Individual loans for business purposes.

On Nov 20, the scheme was extended through ECLGS 2.0 for 26 sectors identified by the Kamath Committee and for the Health Care sector up to Mar 21, for entities with outstanding credit of above Rs.50 crore and not exceeding Rs.500 crore.

Benefits of the scheme:

The scheme is expected to provide credit to the sector at a low cost, thereby enabling MSMEs to meet their operational liabilities and restart their businesses.

By supporting MSMEs to continue functioning during the current unprecedented situation, the Scheme is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.

Cheetah reintroduction project

(GS-III: Environment and conservation related issues)

In News:

The Government is preparing to translocate the first batch of eight from South Africa and Namibia to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh soon after the situation linked to the current third wave of Covid-19 becomes normal, and total 50 in various parks over a period of five years.

What next?

In this regard, the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched the ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India’ under which 50 of these big cats will be introduced in the next five years.

The action plan was launched at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

What is reintroduction and why reintroduce Cheetah now?

‘Reintroduction’ of a species means releasing it in an area where it is capable of surviving.

Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognised as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.

The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been extirpated, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.

India now has the economic ability to consider restoring its lost natural heritage for ethical as well as ecological reasons.

Facts:

The cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era.

The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal.

It is listed as vulnerable in IUCN red listed species.

The country’s last spotted feline died in Chhattisgarh in 1947. Later, the cheetah — which is the fastest land animal — was declared extinct in India in 1952.

The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN Red List, and is believed to survive only in Iran.

Cheetah reintroduction programme in India:

The Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun had prepared a ₹260-crore cheetah re-introduction project seven years ago.

India has plans to reintroduce cheetahs at the Kuno National Park in Sheopur and Morena districts of Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior-Chambal region.

This could be the world’s first inter-continental cheetah translocation project.

Reasons for extinction:

The reasons for extinction can all be traced to man’s interference. Problems like human-wildlife conflict, loss of habitat and loss of prey, and illegal trafficking, have decimated their numbers.

The advent of climate change and growing human populations have only made these problems worse.

With less available land for wildlife, species that require vast home range like the cheetah are placed in competition with other animals and humans, all fighting over less space.

‘One District One Product’ scheme

(GS-II: Protection of Vulnerable Sections of the society)

In News:

The Food Processing Ministry had inked an agreement with NAFED for developing 10 brands as the One District One Product brands under the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme.

Of this, six brands have been launched recently.

The six brands include Amrit Phal (developed under the ODOP concept for Gurugram, Haryana), Cori Gold (developed for coriander powder which is the identified ODOP for Kota, Rajasthan), Kashmiri Mantra, Madhu Mantra (developed under the ODOP concept for honey from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh), Somdana (developed under the ODOP concept of millets from Thane, Maharashtra), and Whole Wheat Cookies of Dilli Bakes (developed under the bakery ODOP concept for Delhi).

All the products will be available at NAFED Bazaars, E-commerce platforms, and prominent retail stores across India.

About the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme:

Launched in 2020, the scheme will be implemented for five years until 2024-25.

It is for the Unorganized Sector on All India basis.

Objectives:

Increase in access to finance by micro food processing units.

Increase in revenues of target enterprises.

Enhanced compliance with food quality and safety standards.

Strengthening capacities of support systems.

Transition from the unorganized sector to the formal sector.

Special focus on women entrepreneurs and Aspirational districts.

Encourage Waste to Wealth activities.

Focus on minor forest produce in Tribal Districts.

Salient features:

Centrally Sponsored Expenditure to be shared by Government of India and States at 60:40.

2,00,000 micro-enterprises are to be assisted with credit linked subsidy. Micro enterprises will get credit linked subsidy at 35 per cent of the eligible project cost with ceiling of Rs. 10 lakh.

Beneficiary contribution will be minimum 10 per cent and balance from loan. Seed capital will be given to SHGs (Rs. four lakh per SHG) for loan to members for working capital and small tools.

Cluster approach.

Focus on perishables.

Administrative and Implementation Mechanisms:

The Scheme would be monitored at Centre by an Inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee (IMEC) under the Chairmanship of Minister, FPI.

A State/ UT Level Committee (SLC) chaired by the Chief Secretary will monitor and sanction/ recommend proposals for expansion of micro units and setting up of new units by the SHGs/ FPOs/ Cooperatives.

The States/ UTs will prepare Annual Action Plans covering various activities for implementation of the scheme, which will be approved by Government of India.

A third party evaluation and mid-term review mechanism would be built in the programme.

National level portal would be set-up wherein the applicants/ individual enterprise could apply to participate in the Scheme. All the scheme activities would be undertaken on the National portal.

Benefits of the scheme:

Nearly eight lakh micro- enterprises will benefit through access to information, better exposure and formalization.

It will enable them to formalize, grow and become competitive.

The project is likely to generate nine lakh skilled and semi-skilled jobs.

Scheme envisages increased access to credit by existing micro food processing entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the Aspirational Districts.

Better integration with organized markets.

Increased access to common services like sorting, grading, processing, packaging, storage etc.

Why do we need this scheme?

There are about 25 lakh unregistered food processing enterprises which constitute 98% of the sector and are unorganized and informal. Nearly 66 % of these units are located in rural areas and about 80% of them are family-based enterprises.

This sector faces a number of challenges including the inability to access credit, high cost of institutional credit, lack of access to modern technology, inability to integrate with the food supply chain and compliance with the health &safety standards.

Strengthening this segment will lead to reduction in wastage, creation of off-farm job opportunities and aid in achieving the overarching Government objective of doubling farmers’ income.