Major changes approved in the ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ under the National Defence Fund
In line with the Prime Minister’s vision for India’s safety, security and the well-being of those who protect the nation, the very first decision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on assuming his office is approval to a major change in the ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ under the National Defence Fund.
The Prime Minister has approved the following changes:
- The rates of scholarship have been increasedfrom Rs. 2000 per month to Rs. 2500 per month for boys and from Rs. 2250 per month to Rs. 3000 per month forgirls.
- The ambit of the Scholarship Scheme is extended to the wards of State Police officials who are/were martyred during terror/naxal attacks.
- The quota of new scholarships for wards of state police officials will be 500 in a year.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs will be the nodal Ministry in this regard.
- The National Defence Fund (NDF) was set up in 1962 to take charge of the voluntary donations in cash and kind received for promotion of the national defence effort, and to decide on their utilisation.
- Currently the fund is being used for the welfare of the members of the Armed Forces, Para Military forces and Railway Protection Force, and their dependents.
- The fund is administered by an Executive Committee with the Prime Minister as the Chairperson and the Defence, Finance and Home Ministers as Members.
- Under National Defence Fund major scheme of ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme (PMSS)’ is being implemented to encourage technical and post-graduate education for the widows and wards of the deceased/ex-service personnel of Armed Forces and Para Military Forces and Railway Protection Force.
- Scholarships are available for education at technical institutions (medical, dental, veterinary, engineering, MBA, MCA and other equivalent technical professions with suitable AICTE/UGC approval).
- Under the PMSS, every year new scholarships are given for 5500 wards of armed forces controlled by Ministry of Defence, for 2000 wards of paramilitary forces controlled by Ministry of Home Affairs and for 150 wards of forces controlled by Ministry of Railways.
- The National Defence Fund accepts online voluntary contributions through the website i.e. gov.in.
Pension scheme to secure lives of 5 crore farmers in three years
The Union Cabinet approved a new Central Sector Scheme, a historic decision that will empower farmers across India.
- It is also for the first time since independence that such a pension coverage has been envisioned for farmers.
- It is estimated that 5 crore small and marginal farmers will benefit in the first three years itself. The Central Government would spend Rs. 10774.50 crore for a period of 3 years towards its contribution (matching share) for providing social security cover as envisaged under the scheme.
The salient features of this scheme are:
- A voluntary and contributory pension scheme for all Small and Marginal Farmers (SMF) across the country.
- Entry age of 18 to 40 years with a provision of minimum fixed pension of Rs.3,000/- on attaining the age of 60 years.
- For example, a beneficiary farmer is required to contribute Rs 100/ – per month at median entry age of 29 years.
- The Central Government shall also contribute to the Pension Fund an equal amount as contributed by the eligible farmer.
- After the subscriber’s death, while receiving pension, the spouse of the SMF beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension, provided he/she is not already an SMF beneficiary of the Scheme.
- If, the death of the subscriber happens during the period of contribution, the spouse shall have the option of continuing the Scheme by paying regular contribution.
Synergy between schemes, prosperity for farmers:
- An interesting feature of the Scheme is that the farmers can opt to allow his/her monthly contribution to the Scheme to be made from the benefits drawn from the Pradhan Mantri KisanSAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme directly.
- Alternatively, a farmer can pay his monthly contribution by registering through Common Service Centres (CSCs) under MeitY.
PM-KISAN Yojana extended to all farmers
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved that the ambit of the Pradhan Mantri KisanSamman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) would be comprehensively extended.
- With this decision, all land holding eligible farmer families (subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria) would avail of the benefits under this scheme.
More beneficiaries, greater progress:
- The revised Scheme is expected to cover around 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries, with an estimated expenditure by Central Government of Rs. 87,217.50 crores for year 2019-20.
Speed, scale and a major promise delivered:
- Today’s Cabinet decision pertaining to expanding the ambit PM-KISAN marks the fulfilment of a major promise made by the Prime Minister to the people of India in the run-up to the 2019 Parliamentary elections. The BJP manifesto too mentioned this major policy decision.
- It may also be noted that certain operational issues like lack of updated land records in Jharkhand and lack of Aadhaar penetration in states of Assam, Meghalaya and J&K have also been resolved.
- The genesis of the PM-KISAN Yojana dates back to the interim Budget for the year 2019-2020.
- The key element of PM-KISAN is income support of Rs. 6000/- to the small and marginal landholder farmer families with cultivable land holding upto 2 hectare across the country.
- The amount is being released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs.2000/- each over the year, to be credited into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries held in destination banks through Direct Benefit Transfer mode.
- The scheme was launched in a record time of 3 weeks, on 24th February at a huge programme in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh where the first rounds of instalments was paid to several farmers.
- So far, 1stinstalment to 3.11 crore beneficiaries and 2nd instalment to 2.66 crore beneficiaries have been credited directly to the bank accounts of the farmer families.
Union Cabinet clears new initiative to control Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis to support the livestock rearing farmers
During the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, the first since the outcome of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, a novel initiative was cleared that will benefit crores of farmers and improve the health of animals.
- This initiative pertains to controlling Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis to support the livestock rearing farmers.
- The Cabinet had cleared a total outlay of Rs. 13,343 crores to fully control these diseases amongst the livestock in the country in the next five years and subsequently eradicate these diseases.
The threat of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis:
- These diseases are very common amongst the livestock – cow-bulls, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs etc.
- If a cow/buffalo gets infected with FMD, the milk loss is upto 100% which could last for four to six months.
- Further, in case of Brucellosis the milk output reduces by 30%, during the entire life cycle of animal. Brucellosis also causes infertility amongst the animals.
- The infection of brucellosis can also be transmitted to the farm workers and livestock owners. Both the diseases have a direct negative impact on the trade of milk and other livestock products.
Care and compassion for animals:
- In case of FMD, the scheme envisages vaccination coverage to 30 crore bovines (cows-bulls and buffaloes) and 20 crore sheep/goat and 1 crore pigs at six months’ interval along with primary vaccination in bovine calves, while the Brucellosis control programme shall extend to cover 100% vaccination coverage of 3.6 crore female calves.
- The programme so far has been implemented on cost sharing basis between the Central and State Governments. In a rare instance of departure, the Central Government has decided to now bear the entire cost of the programmeto ensure complete eradication of these diseases and better livelihood opportunities for all the livestock rearing farmers in the country.
Traders to get pension coverage!
In a decision that will benefit the trading community, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a new scheme that offers pension coverage to the trading community. This is a part of the Prime Minister’s vision to provide a robust architecture of universal social security.
How the scheme works:
- Under this scheme all shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons are assured a minimum monthly pension of Rs. 3,000/- month after attaining the age of 60 years.
- All small shopkeepers and self-employed persons as well as the retail traders with GST turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore and age between 18-40 years, can enrol for this scheme.
- The scheme would benefit more than 3 crore small shopkeepers and traders.
- The scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are required except Aadhaar and bank account. Interested persons can enrol themselves through more than 3,25,000 Common Service Centres spread across the country.
- The Government of India will make matching contribution in the subscribers’ account. For example if a person with age of 29 years contributes Rs. 100/- month, then the Central Government also contributes the equal amount as subsidy into subscriber’s pension account every month.
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