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28 April 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)

Government of India, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan launched Sansad Adarsh Gram Yogna (SAGY) on 11th October 2014. It is a village development project and focuses on fostering the growth and development of villages. Under this project, the parliament is to take the responsibility of developing institutional and physical infrastructure in three villages by 2019.

Goal of Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

Primarily, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana centres upon development of three Adarsh Gram (falling within the areas of MPs) by March 2019, of which one is to be accomplished by 2016. After that five such Adarsh Grams (one per year per MP) is going to be picked up and developed by 2024.

The MPs will identify one Gram Panchayat, from their respective constituencies on immediate basis and two others will be taken up little latter.

The LokSabha MP has to choose a Gram Panchyat from within his/her constituency while the Rajya Sabha MP is supposed to pick up a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of the district of his/her liking in the state from which he/she has been elected.

However, the nominated MPs can enjoy the privilege of selecting a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of any district in the country. In Urban constituencies where there are no Gram Panchayats, the MP can identify a Gram Panchayat from a nearby rural constituency.

Objectives of SAGY

The objectives of the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana are:

  • To nurture the selected Adarsh Grams as schools of local development to inspire and train other Gram Panchayats.
  • To exponentially increase the quality and standard of living of life of all the members of the society through enhanced human development, higher productivity, reduced disparities, improved basic amenities, access to rights and entitlements, better livelihood opportunities, enriched social capital, wider social mobilization etc.
  • To kick off processes in order to ensure holistic development of the selected Gram Panchayats.

Approach of SAPY

In order to fulfill its objectives,Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana will adopt the strategy of partnering with co-operatives, voluntary organizations and academic and research institutions. With undeterred determination to develop Adarsh Gram Panchayats, MPs will engage with and mobilize the community to take part in local development keeping the focus on results and sustainability.

Performance Evaluation under SAGY

Mid-term evaluation of performance has been advised which will be carried out by a competent independent agency. In addition to this, a post-project assessment of performance and results will also be done.

It has been decided that four kinds of awards will be given in the following categories:

1. Best charge officer

2. Best Adarsh Grams

3. Best District Collectors

4. Best practices

22 April 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog


‘Soil Health Card’ Scheme has been introduced to assist State Governments to issue soil health cards to all farmers in the country. It is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture. It will be implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments. A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his holding and advice him on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run. It is likely to develop an application software for the States for online generation of soil health cards and fertilizer recommendations. Dissemination of soil testing results through SMSs will be enabled.

Agriculture since ages is the mainstay of the Indian population. The story of Indian agriculture has been a spectacular one, with a global impact for its multi-functional success in generating employment, livelihood, food, nutritional and ecological security. Agriculture and allied activities contribute about 30 per cent to the gross domestic product of India. The green revolution had heralded the first round of changes. India is the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnut as also in production of cash crops like coffee, coconut and tea.

Aim and Objectives:

  • To issue soil health cards every 3 years, to all farmers of the country, so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
  • To strengthen functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) through capacity building, involvement of agriculture students and effective linkage with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) / State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).
  • To diagnose soil fertility related constraints with standardized procedures for sampling uniformly across states and analysis and design taluqa / block level fertilizer recommendations in various district.
  • To develop and promote soil test based nutrient management in the districts for enhancing nutrient use efficiency.
  • To build capacities of district and state level staff and of progressive farmers for promotion of nutrient management practices.


National Informatics Center (NIC) has developed a web portal ( for generation of uniform soil health card and fertilizer recommendation, which has four modules:

  • Registration of Soil Samples.
  • Testing of Samples in Soil Testing laboratory.
  • Fertilizer recommendation based on Soil Test Crop Response (STCR) equations.
  • MIS Reports.

The official sources in the Agriculture ministry say that the Soil Health Card portal aims to generate and issue Soil Health Cards based on either Soil Test-Crop Response (STCR) formulae developed by ICAR or General Fertilizer Recommendations provided by state Governments.


The scheme has been approved for implementation during 12th Plan with an outlay of Rs.568.54 crore. For the current year (2015-16) an allocation of Rs.96.46 crore (GOI share) has been made. The scheme will be implemented on 50:50 sharing pattern between GOI and State Governments.

In order to mobilize manpower and soil test infrastructure, the DAC is pooling the resources of ICAR and also that of State Governments. Thus all ICAR institutions including KVKs, State Government laboratories and State Agriculture Universities will be participating in this important national programme. It is also proposed to facilitate participation by the students of science colleges and chemistry departments of the general universities under the banner of ‘earn while you learn’.


As of July 2015, only 34 lakh Soil Health Cards (SHC) were issued to farmers as against a target of 84 lakh for the year 2015 16. Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal were among the states which had not issued a single SHC under the scheme by then. The number grew up to 1.12 crore by February 2016. As of February 2016, against the target of 104 lakh soil samples, States reported a collection of 81 lakh soil samples and tested 52 lakh samples.

Status of Soil Health Card Scheme as on 29.03.2016
Sl. No. State Target No of Samples 2015-16 No. of Samples Collected No. of Samples Tested No. of SHCs Issued
1 Andhra Pr. 400000 497129 414259 1635895
2 Karnataka 533000 260598 98821 32776
3 Kerala 63800 64893 49278 43916
4 Tamil Nadu 426000 422662 420994 1883600
5 Telangana 500035 500035 456457 1199343
6 Gujarat 1366000 1366000 1366000 1366000
7 Madhya Pr. 805000 502122 368949 907980
8 Maharashtra 911000 864585 730472 2553821
9 Rajasthan 1153000 892360 385057 1014969
10 Chhattisgarh 292588 272664 157222 652211
11 Goa 25000 21824 19585 19585
12 Haryana 400000 248000 70564 49000
13 Punjab 176000 171267 113574 295292
14 Uttarakhand 67607 50817 34621 157190
15 Uttar Pr. 1800000 1455902 568895 1015007
16 Himachal Pr. 69635 67467 51087 127762
17 J & K 55106 37787 20781 30905
18 Bihar 484000 470882 305970 1007839
19 Jharkhand 47850 42545 27445 48960
20 Odisha 310000 309580 201355 547795
21 West Bengal 310000 308000 71000 80650
22 Arunachal Pr. 17100 10132 8063 652
23 Assam 180000 46296 13426 11263
24 Manipur 11000 3198 2015 1478
25 Meghalaya 22000 24062 16395 18783
26 Mizoram 7666 5280 3250 1550
27 Nagaland 11141 12860 11900 11900
28 Sikkim 13217 13217 13217 27000
29 Tripura 10912 10246 8260 9260
  TOTAL 10468657 8952410 6008912 14752382
11 April 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog


Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana is a Government of india scheme designed to provide continuous power supply to rural India. One of the major commitment of the Shri Narendra Modi government is to provide 24X7 uninterrupted quality electricity to all parts of the country. Yet missing infrastructure leaves large rural areas and many poor households behind. The conditions are aggravated by the fact that, to irrigate their fields, millions of farmers opt for pumping groundwater. Dwindling water tables and cheaper but ever more powerful pumps together with high energy subsidies contribute significantly to unsustainably rising electricity consumption. This not only adds to the fiscal burden of the state but results in load shedding that disrupts well-being and production.


The rural agricultural and non-Agriculture consumers (domestic and non-domestic load) of the country are generally serviced through the local distribution network. Many rural areas of the country face insufficient electricity supply, consequently the distribution utilities are forced to resort to load shedding, thus affecting the power supply to both Agriculture and non-Agriculture consumers.

  • The demand of power in rural areas is increasing day by day due to changing consumer base, improving living standards for which augmentation of rural infrastructure needs to be regularly undertaken.
  • The investment in the distribution network is low due to bad financial health of the distribution companies. Therefore in order to augment the reliability and quality of supply distribution network needs to be strengthened.
  • To improve the commercial viability of power distribution, there is need for metering of all categories of the consumers.


  • To provide electrification to all villages.
  • Feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers.
  • Improvement of Sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of the supply.
  • Metering to reduce the losses.

Salient Features:

  • The existing Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) has been subsumed in the new scheme and the unspent amount of RGGVY will be carried forward to DDUGJY.
  • All Discoms are eligible for financial assistance under the scheme.
  • Rural Electrification Corporation Limited(REC) will be the nodal agency for implementation of the scheme.


  • Separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders facilitating judicious restoring of supply to agricultural & non-agriculture consumers in the rural areas; and
  • Strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure in rural areas, including metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers.
  • Rural electrification, as per CCEA approval dated 01.08.2013 for completion of the targets laid down under RGGVY for 12thand 13th Plans by carrying forward the approved outlay for RGGVY to DDUGJY.

Budgetary Support:

The full scheme entails an investment of Rs 43,033 crore which includes the requirement of budgetary support of Rs. 33,453 crore from GOI over the entire implementation period. All Discoms including private Discoms and State Power Departments are eligible for financial assistance under this Scheme. Discoms will prioritize strengthening of rural infrastructure work considering specific network requirement and will formulate Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of the projects for coverage under the Scheme. Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is the Nodal Agency for operationalization of this Scheme. It will furnish monthly progress reports on the implementation of the scheme indicating both financial and physical progress to Ministry of Power and Central Electricity Authority.

Monitoring Committee:

The Monitoring Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Power) will approve the projects and also monitor implementation of the scheme. Suitable Tripartite Agreement will be executed between REC as the Nodal Agency on behalf of Ministry of Power, the State Government and the Discom to ensure implementation of the scheme in accordance with the guidelines prescribed under the scheme. Bipartite agreement will be executed in case of State Power departments.

Funding Mechanism:

Grant portion of the Scheme is 60% for other than special category States (up to 75% on achievement of prescribed milestones) and 85% for special category States (up to 90% on achievement of prescribed milestones). The milestones for the additional grant are: timely completion of the scheme, reduction in AT&C losses as per trajectory and upfront release of subsidy by State govt. All North Eastern States including Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand are included in special category States.

Benefits from the scheme:

  • All villages and households shall be electrified.
  • Increase in agriculture yield.
  • Business of Small and household enterprises shall grow resulting into new avenues for employment.
  • Improvement in Health, Education, Banking (ATM) services.
  • Improvement in accessibility to radio, telephone, television, internet and mobile etc.
  • Betterment in social security due to availability of electricity.
  • Accessibility of electricity to schools, panchayats, hospitals and police stations etc.
  • Rural areas shall get increased opportunities for comprehensive development.

Recent Developments:

In the Union Budget 2016-17, Rs 8500 crore have been allocated to the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Integrated Power Development Schemes, with an aim to electrify about 12,597 villages in India by May, 2018. Till February 2016, 5855 villages in India were electrified in 11 months. "253 villages were electrified across the country during February 8-14, 2016 under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna,".Out of the 253 villages, 111 are in Odisha, 81 in Assam, 40 in Jharkhand, 13 in Rajasthan, 4 in Bihar, 3 in Madhya Pradesh and 1 in Uttar Pradesh.

08 April 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog


Government of India has introduced the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme for survival, protection & education of the girl child. It aims to address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) through a mass campaign across the country targeted at changing societal mindsets & creating awareness about the criticality of the issue. The Scheme will have focused intervention & multi-sectoral action in 100 districts with low Child Sex Ratio.

According to census data, the child sex Ratio (0-6 years) in India was 927 girls per 1,000 boys in 2001, which dropped drastically to 918 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011. A 2012 UNICEF report has ranked India 41st among 195 countries.

The village that succeeds in attaining a balanced sex ratio will be awarded Rs 1 crore’’ this strong incentive will reduce the declining CSR ensuring that the girl child gets equal opportunities to shine.

"Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao" scheme is a joint initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development. Guidelines formulated by Ministry of Women & Child Development for implementation of "Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao" scheme have been issued to facilitate effective implementation of scheme on ground. These guidelines cover the key elements of the scheme including enforcement of Pre-Conception & Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, awareness and advocacy campaign and multi-sectoral action in select 100 districts which are low on Child Sex Ration (CSR).


  • Prevent gender biased sex selective elimination.
  • Ensure survival & protection of the girl child.
  • Ensure education of the girl child.


  • Implement a sustained Social Mobilization and Communication Campaign to create equal value for the girl child & promote her education.
  • Place the issue of decline in CSR/SRB in public discourse, improvement of which would be a indicator for good governance.
  • Focus on Gender Critical Districts and Cities low on CSR for intensive & integrated action.
  • Mobilize & Train Panchayati Raj Institutions/Urban local bodies/ Grassroot workers as catalysts for social change, in partnership with local community/women’s/youth groups.
  • Ensure service delivery structures/schemes & programmes are sufficiently responsive to issues of gender and children’s rights.
  • Enable Inter-sectoral and inter-institutional convergence at District/Block/Grassroot levels.

Criteria for Selection:

The criteria/norms for selection/identification of 100 districts under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao program are as under:-

  • 87 Districts have been selected from 23 States/UTs having Child Sex Ratio below the National average of 918.
  • 8 Districts have been selected from 8 States/UTs having Child Sex Ratio above National average of 918 but showing declining trend
  • 5 Districts have been selected from 5 States/UTs having Child Sex Ratio above National average of 918 and showing improving trend so that other parts of country can learn from them.


The Sectoral interventions under the programme include the following:

  • Ministry of WCD: Promote registration of pregnancies in first trimester in Anganwadi Centres (AWCs); Undertake Training of stakeholders; Community Mobilization & Sensitization; Involvement of Gender Champions; Reward & recognition of institutions & frontline workers.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare: Monitor implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCP&DT)Act, 1994; Increased institutional deliveries; Registration of births; Strengthening PNDT Cells; Setting up Monitoring Committees.
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development: Universal enrolment of girls; Decreased drop-out rate; Girl Child friendly standards in schools; Strict implementation of Right to Education (RTE); Construction of Functional Toilets for girls.
02 April 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog


Gold lying in the locker appreciates in value if gold price goes up but it doesn't pay you a regular interest or dividend. On the contrary, you incur carrying costs on it (bank locker charges). The monetisation scheme will allow you to earn some regular interest on your gold and save you carrying costs as well. It is a gold savings account which will earn interest for the gold that you deposit in it. Your gold can be deposited in any physical form - jewellery, coins or bars. This gold will then earn interest based on gold weight and also the appreciation of the metal value. You get back your gold in the equivalent of 995 fineness gold or Indian rupees as you desire (the option to be exercised at the time of deposit).


The objectives of the Gold Monetization scheme are:

  • To mobilize the gold held by households and institutions in the country.
  • To provide a fillip to the gems and jewellery sector in the country by making gold available as raw material on loan from the banks.
  • To be able to reduce reliance on import of gold over time to meet the domestic demand.


The scheme requires a vast set-up of infrastructure for facilitating easy and secure handling of gold. For this reason, it may be possible to launch it initially only in selected cities. Over time, as the infrastructure for assaying and refining of gold develops, the scheme can be extended to other cities.


There are many positives to depositing under the Gold Monetisation scheme:

  • The gold monetisation scheme earns interest for your gold jewellery lying in your locker. Broken jewellery or jewellery that you don't want to wear can earn interest for you in gold.
  • Coins and bars can earn interest apart from the appreciation of value.
  • Your gold will be securely maintained by the bank.
  • Redemption is possible in physical gold or rupees hence giving your gold purchase further earning opportunity.
  • Earnings are exempt from capital gains tax, wealth tax and income tax. There will be no capital gains tax on the appreciation in the value of gold deposited, or on the interest you make from it.


Purity Testing Centres: There are at present 350 Hallmarking Centres that are Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certified spread across various parts of the country. These centres may not necessarily be jewellers. They are engaged in certifying the purity of the gold that the jewellers manufacture on a daily basis and for which they charge a fee from the jewellers. These Hallmarking Centres will act as 'Purity Testing Centres' for the GMS as they are well equipped to conduct a test of purity of the jewellery in a short span of time.

Preliminary Test:In a Purity Testing Centre, a preliminary XRF machine-test will be conducted to tell the customer the approximate amount of pure gold. If the customer agrees, he will have to fill-up a Bank/KYC form and give his consent for melting the gold. If the customer does not agree to the XRF machine test, he can take his jewellery back at this stage. The time spent by the customer will be about 45 minutes in the centre up till this stage.

Fire Assay Test: After receiving the customer's consent for melting the gold for conducting a further test of purity, at the same collection centre, the gold ornament will then be cleaned of its dirt, studs, meena etc. The studs will be handed-over to the customer there itself. Net weight of the jewellery will be taken after such removals and told to the customer. Then, right in front of the customer the jewellery will be melted and through a fire assay, its purity will be ascertained. These centres have viewing galleries from where the customer can see the entire process. The time taken is expected not to exceed 3-4 hours.

Deposit of Gold: When the results of the fire assay are told to the customer, he has a choice of either refusing to accept, in which case he can take back the melted gold in the form of gold bars, after paying a nominal fee to that centre; or he may agree to deposit his gold (in which case the fee will be paid by the bank). If the customer agrees to deposit the gold, then he will be given a certificate by the collection centre certifying the amount and purity of the deposited gold.

Conditions: The minimum quantity of gold that a customer can bring is proposed to be set at 30 grams, so that even small depositors are encouraged. Gold can be in any form (bullion or jewellery).


Gold Savings Account: When the customer produces the certificate of gold deposited at the Purity Testing Centre, the bank will in turn open a Gold Savings Account' for the customer and credit the 'quantity' of gold into the customer’s account. Simultaneously, the Purity Verification Centre will also inform the bank about the deposit made.

Interest payment by banks: The bank will commit to paying an interest to the customer which will be payable after 30/60 days of opening of the Gold Savings Account. The amount of interest rate to be given is proposed to be left to the banks to decide. Both principal and interest to be paid to the depositors of gold, will be 'valued' in gold. For example if a customer deposits 100 gms of gold and gets 1 per cent interest, then, on maturity he has a credit of 101 gms.

Redemption: The customer will have the option of redemption either in cash or in gold, which will have to be exercised in the beginning itself (that is, at the time of making the deposit).

Tenure: The tenure of the deposit will be minimum 1 year and with a roll out in multiples of one year. Like a fixed deposit, breaking of lockin period will be allowed.

Tax Exemption: In the Gold Deposit Scheme (1999), the customers received exemption from Capital Gains Tax, Wealth tax and Income Tax. Similar tax exemptions are likely to be made available to the customers in the GMS after due examination.


Refineries: At present there are about 32 refineries in the country. The laboratories of some of these refineries are NABL accredited which means that the process that they adopt is certified. BIS has been asked by this Department to ascertain if it can conduct accreditation of the products being produced in these refineries also.

Transfer of gold to refineries: Purity Testing Centres will send the gold to the refiners. The refiners will keep the gold in their ware-houses, unless the banks prefer to hold it themselves.

Payment: For the services provided by the refiners, they will be paid a fee by the banks, as decided by them, mutually.


The deposited gold will be utilized in the following ways:

  • under medium and long-term deposit - Auctioning, Replenishment of RBIs Gold Reserves, Coins and Lending to jewelers
  • under short-term deposit – Coins and Lending to jewelers
  • Tax Exemption: Tax exemptions, same as those available under GDS would be made available to customers, in the revamped GDS, as applicable.
  • Gold Reserve Fund: The difference between the current borrowing cost for the Government and the interest rate paid by the Government under the medium/long term deposit will be credited to the Gold Reserve Fund.
  • Revamped Gold Metal Loan Scheme
  • Gold Metal Loan Account: A Gold Metal Loan Account, denominated in grams of gold, will be opened by the bank for jewelers. The gold mobilized through the revamped GDS, under the short-term option, will be provided to jewelers on loan, on the basis of the terms and conditions set-out by banks, under the guidance of RBI.
  • Delivery of gold to jewelers: When a gold loan is sanctioned, the jewelers will receive physical delivery of gold from refiners. The banks will, in turn, make the requisite entry in the jewelers’ Gold Loan Account. Interest received by banks: The interest rate charged on the GML will be decided by banks, with guidance from the RBI.


Government had launched the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) on 5th November, 2015. Thereafter a number of suggestions have been received to make the scheme easier for the customers to participate. Accordingly, in consultation with Government, RBI has issued a Master Direction on GMS on 21st January, 2016, which amends the Master Direction dated 22nd October, 2015 earlier issued by RBI on GMS. The changes made in the scheme are given below:- 

1) Premature redemption under Medium and Long Term Government Deposits (MLTGD) Any Medium Term Deposit will be allowed to be withdrawn after 3 years and any Long Term Deposit after 5 years. These will be subject to a reduction in the interest payable.

2) Fees to be paid to Banks for their services i.e. gold purity testing charges, refining, storage and transportation charges etc. on Medium and Long Term Gold Deposits. Effectively the banks would be getting a 2.5% commission for the scheme which will include the charges payable to the Collection and Purity Testing Centres/Refiners.

3) Gold depositors can also give their gold directly to the refiner rather than only through the Collection and Purity Testing Centres (CPTCs). This will encourage the bulk depositors including Institutions to participate in the scheme. 

4) Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has modified the licensing condition for refiners already having National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accreditation from the existing three years refining experience to one year refining experience. This is likely to increase the number of licensed refiners.

5) BIS has published an Expression of Interest (EOI) on its website inviting applications from the more than 13,000 licensed jewellers to act as a CPTC in the scheme, provided they have tie-up with BIS's licensed refiners.

6) The quantity of gold collected under the scheme will be expressed up to three decimals of a gram. This will give the consumer better value for the gold deposited.

7) Gold to be deposited with the CPTCs/Refineries can be of any purity. The CPTC/Refiner will test the gold and determine its purity which will be basis on which the deposit certificate will be issued. 

8) Banks are free to hedge their positions in the case of short-term deposits.

9) Issues like the method of interest calculation and mechanism for taking loans against GMS deposits have also been clarified.