Parliament Q & A

Civil Services Chronicle Online, july, 2021:

Measures Taken To Stabilize Prices Of Essential Food Items

The prices of food items are inter-alia affected by mismatch in demand and supply, shortfall in production owing to adverse weather conditions, seasonality, increased transportation costs, supply chain constraints etc.

The Govt. measures to stabilize such increase in essential food prices include various measures:

  • Policy Measures to arrest Prices: The government has taken various measures from time to time to stabilize prices of essential food items which, inter-alia, include appropriately utilizing trade and fiscal policy instruments like import and export duty, Minimum Export Price, export restrictions, etc. to regulate domestic availability and moderate prices.
  • Giving impetus to Production: To enhance the production of edible oils, Government has reduced the standard rate of duty on crude palm oil by 5 percent from 30.06.2021 and will be in effect up to 30th September, 2021. The Government on 30th June, 2021, has amended the import policy of Refined Palm Oils from “restricted” to “free” with immediate effect and for a period of up to 31.12.2021.
  • Schemes: A Centrally Sponsored Scheme i.e. National Food Security Mission (Oilseeds and Oil palm) has been implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare in the country with effect from 2018-19 for increasing production and productivity of oilseeds and thereby edible oils. This mission comprises of three sub-missions namely, NFSM-Oilseeds, NFSM-Oil Palm and NFSM-Tree Borne Oilseeds and is being implemented through the State Department of Agriculture and Horticulture.
  • Regulations: Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 provides for an objective and transparent criteria based on price triggers for imposition of stock limits. It also provides for exemption to processors and value chain participants subject to overall ceiling of installed capacity of processing or the demand for export in case of an exporter. The objective is to encourage investment in post-harvest management activities such as storage and processing as well as logistics and supply chain management; leading in turn to an increase in farmers’ income. The amendment also provides that Government can regulate the foodstuffs under extraordinary circumstances which may include war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity of grave nature. However, Hon’ble Supreme Court in 12.01.2021 has stayed implementation of the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Two-Child Policy To Control Population

Question by: Shri Adala Prabhakara Reddy, Dr. Beesetti Venkata Satyavathi, Shri Uday Pratap Singh

  1. whether the Government intends to bring in a two child policy in the country in order to control rising population and if so, the details thereof;
  2. if not, the reasons therefor; and
  3. the details of other such measures being taken by the Government including bringing in a legislation to control rising population levels?

Answer by: The Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey)

  • There is no such proposal of ‘two child policy’ under consideration at present.
  • As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV data for the period 2015-16, the Total Fertility Rate has declined to 2.2 from the earlier 2.7 in NFHS III for the period 2005-06. 28 out of 36 States/UTs have already achieved the replacement level fertility of 2.1 or less.
  • Additionally, India is a signatory to the International Conference on Population and Development declaration (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994, and in Nairobi in 2019, which advocates honouring of reproductive rights of couples to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.

Measures undertaken under the National Family Planning Programme

  • Expanded Contraceptive Choices: The current contraceptive basket comprising of Condoms, Combined oral contraceptive pills, Emergency contraceptive pills, Intrauterine contraceptive uterine device (IUCD) and Sterilization has been expanded with inclusion of new contraceptives namely Injectable contraceptive (Antara programme) and Centchroman (Chhaya).
  • Post-partum Intra-uterine contraceptive device (PPIUCD) incentive scheme under which PPIUCD services are provided post-delivery.
  • Compensation scheme for sterilization acceptors which provides compensation for loss of wages to the beneficiary and also to the service provider and team for conducting sterilisation.
  • Scheme for Home Delivery of contraceptives by ASHAs at doorstep of beneficiaries has been taken up.
  • Scheme for provision of Pregnancy Testing Kits in the drug kits of ASHA for use in communities.
  • Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS): Dedicated software has been launched to ensure smooth forecasting, procurement and distribution of family planning commodities across all the levels of health facilities.
  • Mission Parivar Vikas has been introduced for substantially increasing access to contraceptives and family planning services in districts having TFR of more than 3.

Upliftment Of Villages

Question by: Mohanbhai Kalyanji Kundariya, Dipsinh Shankarsinh Rathod, Anil Firojiya

  1. whether the principle of self-reliant village that formed the basis of strong Indian Economy and its reputation as a golden bird, has been destroyed due to colonialism;
  2. if so, whether any steps have been taken to rectify/improve this situation;
  3. whether with the passage of time, the decline in agricultural profit, the dazzling lights of cities, need for modern education and lack of modern amenities have turned villages into were residential centres of Indian housing; and
  4. if so, whether any corrective steps have been taken by the Government in this regard?

Answer by: Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development (Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti)

No Sir. The Ministry of Rural Development is implementing a number of welfare schemes for rural areas of the country viz., Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (Mahatma Gandhi NREGS), Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Deen Dayal Upadhayay – Gramin Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), Rural Self Employment and Training Institutes (RSETIs), Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana(SAGY) to bring about overall improvement in the quality of life of the people in rural areas, strengthening of livelihood opportunities, providing minimum guaranteed rural employment, promoting self-employment, skilling of rural youths in various useful trades and entrepreneurship qualities, infrastructure development, provision of social assistance and other basic amenities. These programmes aim to raise the living standard of the people in rural areas and to facilitate an overall development of vilages which furthers the objective of self-reliant village and lays the foundation of a strong Indian Economy. The Ministry of Rural Development reviews regularly all the above mentioned schemes/ programmes at various levels like Meeting of Performance Review Committee, Common Review Mission, Third Party Evaluation, National level monitors etc. for effective implementation of its schemes/programmes.

To ensure effective service delivery under these interventions, various field level functionaries are trained and their skills upgraded, collaboration with Panchayati Raj Institutions and elected representatives is strengthened, Community Connect, social auditing and beneficiary connect etc. are reinforced, as well as, effective use of Information Technology and Space Technology is factored into for good governance and transparency. A very strong mechanism for improving the effectiveness of 43 flagship schemes is put in place which provides information to all Hon’ble Members of Parliament for co-ordination and monitoring of schemes on real time basis on a single platform i.e District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA).

In addition to above, the Government is also implementing various schemes for socio-economic upliftment of rural areas and its people through various other Ministries, namely, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, Ujala scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Mission Indradhanush, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana, Poshan Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, National Food Security Act, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana etc.

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