PM CARES FUND
(GS-II: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions)
According to the latest Findings, 64 per cent of the Rs 10,990 crore collected by the PM CARES Fund between March 27, 2020, and March 31, 2021, remained unused as of the latter date.
Billed as a “dedicated fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency and provide relief to the affected”, PM CARES spent just Rs 3,976 crore in the first year of its operation.
Issues surrounding the fund and its functioning:
PM CARES has been under a cloud of suspicion ever since it was announced, with opposition parties demanding transparency over the handling of the funds.
The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund was set up to accept donations and provide relief during the Covid-19 pandemic, and other similar emergencies.
PM-CARES was set up as a public charitable trust with the trust deed registered on March 27, 2020.
It can avail donations from the foreign contribution and donations to fund can also avail 100% tax exemption.
PM-CARES is different from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
Who administers the fund?
Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
In 2021, the Delhi High Court was informed that the PM CARES Fund is not a Government of India fund and that the amount collected by it does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India.
(GS-III: Infrastructure- energy)
The National Ropeways Development Programme – “Parvatmala” was announced recently by the Union Finance Minister in the Union Budget for 2022-23 to improve connectivity in hilly areas.
About the scheme:
This will be a preferred ecologically sustainable alternative in place of conventional roads in difficult hilly areas.
The idea is to improve connectivity and convenience for commuters, besides promoting tourism.
This may also cover congested urban areas, where conventional mass transit systems are not feasible.
The scheme is being presently started in regions like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir and the other North Eastern states.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) will have responsibility for development of ropeway and alternative mobility solutions technology, as well as construction, research, and policy in this area.
Benefits of Ropeway infrastructure:
Sachindra Nath Sanyal (1893 – 1942)
(GS-I: Freedom struggle and important Personalities)
His 80th death anniversary was observed on 7th February this year. He was born in 1893.
His role in India’s struggle for Independence:
He was the founder of the Hindustan Republican Association. HRA was created to carry out armed resistance against the British Empire in India.
Sanyal founded a branch of the Anushilan Samiti in Patna in 1913.
In 1912 Delhi Conspiracy Trial, Sanyal with Rashbehari Bose attacked the then Viceroy Hardinge.
He was extensively involved in the plans for the Ghadar conspiracy, and went underground after it was exposed in February 1915. He was a close associate of Rash Behari Bose.
After Bose escaped to Japan, Sanyal was considered the most senior leader of India’s revolutionary movement.
He was a mentor for revolutionaries like Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.
Sanyal and Mahatma Gandhi engaged in a famous debate published in Young India between 1920 and 1924. Sanyal argued against Gandhi’s gradualist approach.
Sanyal was sentenced to life for his involvement in the Kakori conspiracy and was imprisoned at Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where he wrote his book titled Bandi Jeevan (A Life of Captivity, 1922).
(GS-III: Infrastructure- Energy)
Launched by the Ministry of Power, it is a hackathon competition under RDSS (Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme) to find technology driven solutions to solve the complex problems in power distribution.
The nine themes for the hackathon are:
Demand/load forecasting, AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) loss reduction, energy theft detection, prediction of DT (Distribution Transformer) failure, asset inspection, vegetation management, consumer experience enhancement, renewable energy integration and power purchase optimization.
About the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme for better operations & financial sustainability of all DISCOMs:
Approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in July 2021.
Highlights of the scheme:
It is a reforms-based and results-linked scheme.
It seeks to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of all DISCOMs/Power Departments excluding Private Sector DISCOMs.
The scheme envisages the provision of conditional financial assistance to DISCOMs for strengthening supply infrastructure.
The assistance will be based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria as well as upon the achievement of basic minimum benchmarks by the DISCOM.
The scheme involves a compulsory smart metering ecosystem across the distribution sector—starting from electricity feeders to the consumer level, including in about 250 million households.
Scheme also focuses on funding for feeder segregation for unsegregated feeders.
The Scheme has a major focus on improving electricity supply for the farmers and for providing daytime electricity to them through solarization of agricultural feeders.
Existing power sector reforms schemes such as Integrated Power Development Scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana will be merged into this umbrella program.
Each state would have its own action plan for implementation of the scheme rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
Nodal agencies for the scheme’s implementation are Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) Limited and Power Finance Corporation (PFC).
Objectives of the scheme: