- Panel moots minimum wage Rs. 375 per day
- An expert committee set up by the government has recommended setting the minimum wage at Rs 375 a day, higher than the existing rate of Rs 321 for agriculture or unskilled workers and Rs 371for semi-skilled workers.
- The committee has come up with a new methodology that does away with the variation in wages based on sector, skills and location.
- It has proposed a “balanced diet approach” to compute minimum wages.
- The recommendations, if accepted, will result in a wage bracket ranging from Rs 340 for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to Rs 447 for Gujarat.
- An additional Rs 55 has been proposed as rent allowance for workers in urban India.
- The committee has also recommended reviewing the consumption basket every five years.
- It subject to the availability of NSSO-CES data, and – within the period of 5 years – revising and updating the basic minimum wage at least in line with the consumer price index (CPI) every six months, to reflect changes in the cost of living.
- The ministry of labour and employment had constituted the committee under the chairmanship of Anoop Satpathy, fellow of the VV Giri National Labour Institute, in January 2017 to review and recommend ways to calculate the national minimum wage.
- The committee recommended reviewing the consumption basket every five years, subject to the availability of expenditure data from the National Sample Survey Office, and revising and updating the basic minimum wage at least in line with the consumer price index every six months to reflect changes in the cost of living.
- Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan Scheme
- The Government of India is formulating a Scheme ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)’ which aims to promote use of solar energy among the farmers.
About the Scheme
- Setting up of grid-connected renewable power plants each of 500 KW to 2 MW in the rural area,
- Installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfil irrigation needs of farmers not connected to grid,
- Solarization of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps to make farmers independent of grid supply and also sell surplus solar power generated to Discom and get extra income.
- The farmers will have to tolerate only 10% of the total expenditure to acquire an install a solar pumps.
- The Central Govt. will provide 60% cost while the remaining 30% will be taken care of by bank as credit.
- Andhra merges PM Kisan scheme with Annadatha Sukhibhava
- Andhra Pradesh has made a significant move by merging Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman scheme with its own Annadatha Sukhibhava scheme.
- This move will further allow a fixed amount of Rs. 10,000 per annum to all farmers in the state, irrespective of the size of their land.
- PM-Kisan scheme will not only cover the marginalized farmers, but also the tenant farmers who will be facilitated with ‘Cultivation Certificates’ and ‘Loan Eligibility Certificates’ to avail the benefits of scheme.
- Other than Rs. 6000 per household which will given under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, farmers will also receive Rs. 4000 from Andhra Pradesh government.
Annadata Sukhibhava Scheme
- The Andhra Pradesh Government has announced the Annadata Sukhibhava Scheme for the welfare of farmers in the state budget 2019.
- Under the implementation of Annadata Sukhibhava Scheme Government of state has enhanced the subsidies for paddy, sugarcane, cotton, groundnut crops, maize, pulses and sunflower crop.
Features of the Scheme
- The features of the Annadata Sukhibhava Scheme are listed below.
Development of the farmers:
- The primary objective of this scheme is to offer better income opportunities for agricultural workers. Apart from the subsidy on crops, they will also attain other financial assistance.
- Under this farmer development project, the state will offer subsidy on crops like paddy, sugarcane, maize, sunflower, cotton, groundnut and pulses.
- The state finance minister has announced that for the implementation of this new scheme, the state government will have shell out Rs. 5000 crore.
Benefits of Annadata Sukhibhava Scheme
- The Scheme will empower the farmers of the state
- The Scheme will serve better livelihood.
- It will provide the enhancement to agricultural sectors of the state.
- This scheme is applicable only for the permanent resident of Andhra Pradesh state.
- Any person holding farming land or he/she should be a tenant farmer can take the benefit of the scheme.
- The scheme is only applicable to the small and marginal farmers.
- PMAY (U) : Mobile App
- The PMAY (U) Mobile App will allow beneficiaries to capture and upload high resolution photographs of completed houses along with their families.
- The App will also allow uploading of selfies of beneficiaries with their house and a 30 – 60 seconds video clip where beneficiaries share their stories of owning a house under PMAY (U).
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) was launched in June 2015 with an objective to provide affordable housing to urban and rural poor.
- This scheme has two components viz. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) (PMAY-U) for the urban poor and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) (PMAY-G or PMAY-R) for the rural poor.
- The aim of the Yojana is to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022.
- The scheme has achieved a significant milestone of approving more than 73 lakh houses against a validated demand for about one crore houses in urban areas.
- India signs defence pacts with Germany and Sweden
- India concluded defence cooperation and security protection agreements with Germany and Sweden.
- India and Sweden have had a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the area of defence since 2009.
- It will enhanced defence and defence industry cooperation to strengthen military to military engagement as well as defence industry and research and development linkages.
- Both Germany and Sweden are important suppliers of defence equipment to India and their companies are currently in the race for multi-billion tenders to supply submarines and fighter aircraft.
- The India-Germany Defence Cooperation Agreement was established in 2006.
- The Cooperation agreement offers a framework for defencecooperation and facilitates the conduct of annual High Defence Committee meetings at the level of Defence Secretary alternately in New Delhi and Berlin
- Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Up-gradation Scheme
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Up-gradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS) (CLCS-TUS) beyond 12th Plan for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-2020.
- This scheme aims at improving the competitiveness of MSMEs by integrating various ongoing schematic interventions aimed at up-grading technology through
- Credit Linked Capital Subsidy (CLCS)
- hand holding for zero defect zero effect manufacturing (ZED)
- increasing productivity through waste reduction (Lean), design intervention (Design)
- cloud computing (Digital MSMEs),
- facilitation of intellectual property (IPR)
- nurturing new ideas (Incubation).
- Special provisions have been made in this scheme to promote entrepreneurship for SC/STs, women NER, Hill States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) Island Territories (Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep) and the Aspirational Districts/ LWE Districts.
- The Zero Defect & Zero Effect, component will promote reduction in emission level of green house gases and improve the competitiveness through reduction in defect / wastage during the manufacturing process of the products.
- It will also promote the innovation, digital empowerment of MSMEs, design interventions and support the protection of intellectual property of MSMEs.
- EU position on Nord Stream 2 spells disaster for Ukraine
- Recently France’s compromise with Germany on a proposal to bring the Nord Stream 2 project fully under EU energy regulations—potentially fatal to the project—will likely ensure that the controversial project will be completed
Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
- Berlin is under increasing pressure to pull the plug on Nord Stream 2, the planned gas pipeline that would link Russia and Germany below the Baltic Sea.
- Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline that would allow Germany to effectively double the amount of gas it imports from Russia.
Where is it?
- Berlin and Moscow agreed on the 1,200-kilometer (746-mile) route, which would connect the Ust-Luga area near Saint Petersburg with Greifswald in northeastern Germany.
- The pipes would run across the Baltic Sea, for the most part following the route of the pre-existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which became operational in 2011.
Why is it controversial?
- The planned route bypasses central and eastern European countries such as Slovakia and Poland, leaving them without a chance to collect lucrative gas transit fees.
- Moreover, with Russia having means to directly deliver gas to its most important buyer, Germany; it would be much easier for the Russian government to shut off existing pipelines leading through Eastern Europe.
- The project also runs contrary to Brussels’ efforts to wean Europe off Russian gas.
- In April 2018, the EU Commission refused to back the project, saying it did not contribute to the EU goals of diversifying the gas supplies.
- Separately, environmentalists claim the pipeline would be harmful for the flora and fauna of the Baltic Sea.
Ukraine fears the Nord Stream Pipeline
- Russia could easily cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in order to put pressure on Kyiv.
- Ukraine is making about $2 billion (€1.7) on gas transit fees per year, making it a key source of income for the country.
- Whenever Russia closed the valves in recent years, the lack of sales hurt both Gazprom and its buyers in rich, Western European countries, making all sides interested in overcoming the crisis.