Current Affairs - Plans & Policy
Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises
On April 27, 2023, the Union Minister for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME), launched the revamped Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) Scheme in Mumbai.
- CGTMSE is collaborating with various State Governments for enhanced guarantee coverage for MSEs in respective States.
- Modifications included reducing the guarantee fees for loans up to ₹1 crore by 50%, raising the ceiling for guarantee from ₹2 crore to ₹5 crore and enhancing the threshold limit for claim settlement without initiation of legal action to ₹10 lakh.
- CGTMSE has been provided with an additional corpus support of ₹9,000 crore in the Union Budget for FY 2023-24 to revamp its Scheme to provide guarantee for additional ₹2 lakh crore to Micro & Small Enterprises.
- THE Minister for MSME urged lending institutions to make best use of liberalisation to ensure enhanced lending to the MSE Segment without insisting for collateral.
- CGTMSE will collaborate with National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ni-msme), Hyderabad, for setting up a Centre of Financial Inclusion for MSME.
Vibrant Villages Programme along China Border
Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), announced that it will integrate the Centre's Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) with the Prime Minister Gati Shakti mega project.
- The integration is aimed at developing infrastructure and promoting tourism in villages along the China border.
- The integration will enable integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects and overcome operational challenges.
- One of the objectives of the VVP is to stop the migration of the border population.
- The scheme will cover 2,967 villages in 46 border blocks of 19 districts in four states and one Union Territory.
- The first phase of the scheme will cover 662 villages.
- ₹4,800 crore has been allocated for the financial years 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26, with ₹2,500 crore for road construction.
- The Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG-N) in Gujarat will provide satellite images and GIS mapping for real-time monitoring of infrastructure and other land-use changes in the border villages.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the nodal Ministry to implement the scheme, has asked states to organize activities such as fairs, festivals, cultural programs, and tourism-related activities in the villages identified for coverage on priority.
MoU between Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh
On April 20, 2023, the Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to resolve a decades-long boundary dispute.
- The dispute is over 123 villages across 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and eight of Assam.
- Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804.1-km-long border that has been in dispute since Arunachal Pradesh became a Union territory in 1972 and later a state on February 20, 1987.
- Out of the 123 villages claimed by Arunachal Pradesh before the Local Commission in 2007, 71 have been amicably resolved so far.
- The dispute over 37 of these 123 villages had been resolved on July 15, 2022, itself with the signing of the Namsai Declaration.
- The state governments agree that no new claim area or village will be added in the future beyond these 123 villages.
- The agreement will end the dispute relating to 123 villages along the border, keeping in view the historical perspective, demographic profile, administrative convenience, proximity to the border, and the aspirations of the residents.
Foreign Trade Policy 2023-28
On March 31, 2023, Union Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister, unveiled the Foreign Trade Policy 2023-28 in New Delhi.
- The new foreign trade policy focuses on the internationalisation of trade in rupees according to Union Commerce Minister.
- Under this policy, the value limit for exports through courier services increased to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 5 lakh per consignment.
- The dairy sector will be exempted from maintaining average export obligation under the new policy.
- The Foreign Trade Policy aims to reduce transaction costs for exporters, promote new growth areas, and move from an incentive-based regime to a remission of taxes regime.
- The policy reduces the application fee for Advance Authorization and EPCG Schemes for MSMEs.
- The policy enables merchanting trade and extends benefits to e-commerce exports.
- A Special Advance Authorization scheme for the clothing and apparel sector has been launched to respond to market demands and fashion trends faster.
- India's exports grew over 70% from $435 billion in 2015-16 to nearly $760 billion in 2022-23 as per the announcement.
Vision for 6G Communication Services By 2030
Recently, the Indian Prime Minister unveiled India’s vision for 6G communication services, with plans to roll out the technology by 2030.
- The Bharat 6G project will be implemented in two phases and overseen by an apex council.
- The council's tasks include standardisation, identifying spectrum usage, developing ecosystems, and financing research and development.
- The government aims to enable research and development of 6G technologies by Indian startups, research bodies, and universities.
- The goal is to become a leading global supplier of intellectual property, products, and affordable 6G telecom solutions.
- 6G is expected to offer ultra-high-speed internet with speeds up to 100 times faster than 5G and ultra-low latency with speeds up to 1 Tbps.
- Potential use cases for 6G include remote-controlled factories, self-driven cars, and smart wearables.
- Sustainability will be prioritized due to the significant carbon footprint of battery-powered communication devices.
- The government will prioritize research involving industry, academia, and service providers.
- The research will range from theoretical and simulation studies to proof-of-concept prototypes, demonstrations, and early market interventions through startups.
Low latency refers to the amount of time it takes for a data packet to travel from one point to another on a network. In other words, it is the delay between when a user sends a request or action and when the network responds to that action. A low latency network has minimal delay, providing fast and real-time responses.
Ujjwala 2.0 launched from Mahoba
- On 10th August 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ujjwala 2.0 scheme virtually from the Mahoba district of the Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh.
- He launched the first phase of the scheme in Ballia in Uttar Pradesh in 2016 to distribute 50 million LPG connections to women of Below Poverty Line families.
- Ujjwala 2.0 would benefit such poor who were left out of the first phase of Ujjwala scheme and give maximum benefit to lakhs of migrant labour families as it is exempt from address proof - they will only have to submit a “self-declaration”.
PM Aatma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana
- PM Aatma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of about Rs 64,180 crore over 6 years.
- This will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.
- This will be in addition to the National Health Mission.
- Setting up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states.
- Establishing critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions.
- Strengthening of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), its 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units.
- Expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs.
- Operationalisation of 17 new Public Health Units and strengthening of 33 existing Public Health Units at Points of Entry, that is at 32 Airports, 11 Seaports and 7 land crossings.
- Setting up of a national institution for One Health, a Regional Research Platform for WHO South East Asia Region, 9 Bio-Safety Level III laboratories and 4 regional National Institutes for Virology.
- Setting up of 15 Health Emergency Operation Centers and 2 mobile hospitals.