Daily Archive: March 9, 2018

NITI Aayog to work on mechanism for implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for different agricultural crops

In light of the Finance Minister’s budget announcement that NITI Aayog will develop and put in place a fool-proof mechanism, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog presided over a consultation meeting today at NITI Aayog on mechanism for implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for different agricultural crops. Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat along with senior Officers of Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance, NITI Aayog and Food and Public Distribution, Prime Minster Office and various State Governments participated in the meeting.

In our country, MSP for 24 agricultural commodities of Kharif and Rabi season are announced by the Government based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP).   However, procurement by Central and State Agencies is limited to rice and wheat and some amount of coarse cereals.  The Government also procures limited quantity of oil seed and pulses through NAFED, SFAC and some other agencies.  The market intervention scheme (MIS) is implemented in case of the prices falling below the threshold level in perishable crops.

Three concepts were discussed at the meeting. The first option related to Market Assurance Scheme, which proposes procurement by States and compensation of losses upto certain extent of MSP after the procurement and price realization out of sale of the procured produce. Second option related to price deficiency procurement scheme. Under this scheme, if the sale price is below a modal price then the farmers may be compensated to the difference between MSP and actual price subject to a ceiling which may not exceed 25% of the MSP.  No compensation would be due if modal price in neighboring States is above the MSP.  Third option related to Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme, which relates to procurement by private entrepreneurs at MSP and Government providing some policy and tax incentives and a commission to such private entities which may be decided on the basis of transparent criteria and bidding for the empanelment of private players by the State Government to do the procurement operations.

The States overwhelmingly welcomed efforts of NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Agriculture for providing a cafeteria of options. They deliberated extensively and gave their inputs on the three options and presented the views of the respective Governments.MOS (Agriculture) stated that more than one options may be adopted by the States depending upon their conditions. Third option of private procurement and stockist scheme offered great promise as it reduces the fiscal implications for the government, involves private entities as partners in agriculture marketing and improves the competition in the market. The Governments liabilities for storage and post procurement management and disposal are also avoided. However, all the three options may not be implemented for the same crop.

Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog brought it upfront to all the States to immediately modify the APMC acts and implement the Model APLMC Act, 2017. He also emphasized the States Government’s responsibility in efficiently implementing the schemes.   As regards the incentives to the private entities, he opined to think about a mechanism of providing the some commission to private procurement agencies if they procure on MSP and abide by other terms of the Government. It was decided to modify the concepts quickly on the basis of the suggestions of the States and finalize the mechanism as early as possible preferably by March end.



Registration/Renewal of Health Cards

Under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a smart card is issued to the beneficiaries for availing the benefits of the scheme in offline mode.

In the Budget speech of 2018-19, the Government has announced to launch a flagship National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) providing coverage upto Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalization. Once NHPS is launched, RSBY will be subsumed in it. The contours of the proposed scheme are yet to be finalized.

The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Sh Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.



National Health Policy

The Government has formulated and brought out National Health Policy, 2017, which aims at attainment of the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence. The National Health Policy, 2017 is available at http://mohfw.nic.in/sites/ default/ files / 9147562941489753121. Pdf

 The National Health Policy,2017 states following targets for reduction in incidence and prevalence of certain disease conditions:

    • HIV/AIDS: Achieve global target of 2020 (also termed as target of 90:90:90)
    • Eliminate Leprosy by 2018, Kala-Azar by 2017 and Lymphatic Filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017
    • Eliminate Tuberculosis by 2025: Achieving and maintaining a cure rate of >85% in new sputum positive patients and reduce incidence of new cases.
    • Reduce prevalence of blindness to 0.25/ 1000 by 2025 and disease burden by onethird from current levels.
    • Reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases by 25% by 2025.

“Public Health and Hospitals”  being a State subject, the primary responsibility for providing affordable health services lies with respective State/UT Governments. Technical and financial support under the National Health Mission (NHM) is being provided to States/UTs for strengthening their health system for provision of universally accessible affordable and quality healthcare. A statement showing State/UT wise expenditure including Jharkhand  under National Health Mission during 2016-17 is given below:

State-wise Expenditure under NHM 2016-17]

S/No. States 2016-17[Rs. in crore]
1 Andaman & Nicobar Islands 28.83
2 Andhra Pradesh 1,247.63
3 Arunachal Pradesh 165.16
4 Assam 1,331.77
5 Bihar 1,536.72
6 Chandigarh 20.36
7 Chhattisgarh 987.4
8 Dadra & Nagar Haveli 17.22
9 Daman & Diu 9.97
10 Delhi 147.56
11 Goa 40.52
12 Gujarat 1,376.91
13 Haryana 510
14 Himachal Pradesh 343.39
15 Jammu & Kashmir 414.43
16 Jharkhand 570.6
17 Karnataka 1268.33
18 Kerala 737.69
19 Lakshadweep 4.32
20 Madhya Pradesh 1,956.84
21 Maharashtra 1,773.47
22 Manipur 78.99
23 Meghalaya 145.68
24 Mizoram 90.45
25 Nagaland 134.55
26 Orissa 1,255.88
27 Pudducherry 32.56
28 Punjab 687.75
29 Rajasthan 1856.77
30 Sikkim 50.57
31 Tamil Nadu 1,816.97
32 Telangana 687.15
33 Tripura 141.27
34 Uttar Pradesh 4,901.10
35 Uttarakhand 346.01
36 West Bengal 1,743.92
Total 28,458.73

Note:  NHM:  Expenditure includes expenditure against Central release, State release and unspent balances at the beginning of the year.

The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Smt Anupriya Patel stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.


Performance Review of Public Sector Banks

Government has recently announced a Public Sector Banks (PSBs) Reforms Agenda for responsive and responsible banking, which encapsulates a synergistic approach for ensuring prudential and clean lending, better customer service, enhanced credit availability, focus on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and better governance. Government has asked Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to assign the Reforms Agenda theme-wise to their Whole-Time Directors for monitoring and evaluate their performance in implementing the assigned Reforms Agenda.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework to maintain sound financial health of banks. It facilitates banks in breach of risk thresholds for identified areas of monitoring, viz., capital, asset quality and profitability, to take corrective measures in a timely manner, in order to restore their financial health. Thus, it is intended to encourage banks to eschew certain riskier activities and focus on conserving capital to strengthen them. The framework is not intended to constrain normal operations of the banks for the general public. RBI has placed eleven PSBs, viz., Dena Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, UCO Bank, IDBI Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Overseas Bank, Corporation Bank, Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and United Bank of India, under the PCA framework.

Government has recently announced a PSB Reforms Agenda for responsive and responsible banking, with a view to ensure, inter alia, better customer service. Under the Reforms Agenda, PSBs have committed to Easy Access and Service Excellence (EASE) for customer comfort, through a range of measures, including courteous staff, pleasing ambience, customer amenities, digital banking, etc. The Reforms Agenda includes other measures for prudential and clean lending, enhanced credit availability, focus on MSMEs, and better governance.

This was stated by Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.


Safe and Nutritious Food Initiative

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has undertaken several initiatives under the umbrella of ‘Safe and Nutritious Food’ (SNF) for citizen guidance and behavioral change in every sphere at home, school,  workplace or eating out viz: i) SNF@Home, ii) SNF@School, iii) SNF@Workplace and iv) SNF@Eatout.

Awareness and capacity building are key to usher in a culture of safe and wholesome food. Through focussed interventions, FSSAI would share and reiterate the message that safe and nutritious food has to be a way of life. The SNF portal i.e. www.snfportal.in serves as an online resource centre containing information pertaining to this initiative with access to resource materials developed by FSSAI, interactive guides on understanding food safety and nutrition and a gateway for everyone to participate in these initiatives through partnerships.

Ensuring safe and nutritious food for all Indian citizens on Pan-India basis calls for massive outreach efforts which can be achieved only in partnership with multiple stakeholders and role of state governments is paramount for adaptation, implementation and coordination of this initiative.


A Roundtable Conference was organized by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) with State Health Ministers, Senior State government officials, related Central Government Ministries, Industry Associations and other stakeholders in January, 2018.   It was agreed to address these issues through a systematic and structured approach for bringing about a large-scale social and behavioural change in citizens on Safe and Nutritious Food (SNF) by way of taking up awareness and engagement activities in campaign mode, developing effective institutions and institutional arrangements backed with competent human resources and adequate financial resources. States have also been encouraged to use funds under National Health Mission (NHM) for food safety and nutrition related activities.


The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Sh Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.


CCTV Cameras in Government Hospitals

For the three Central Government Hospitals in Delhi, namely Safdarjung Hospital (SJH), Dr. RML Hospital (RML) and Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) & Associated Hospitals are concerned, CCTV cameras have been installed in all these hospitals as per details given under:

Name of the Hospital No. of CCTV Camera Installed Functional/Non- Functional Status
SJH 156 All in working condition




All working satisfactorily except for 01 camera


147 functional and 27 non- functional

Repair and maintenance of hospital infrastructure and equipment are a continuous process and are done as and when the need arises.

The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Sh Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.

Redevelopment of Railway Stations under #AMRUT Scheme

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been recently entered into between Ministry of Railways (MOR) and Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) for integrated planning of redevelopment of railway stations in the cities included in the ‘SMART Cities’ and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme and the following 10 Railway stations have been identified to be redeveloped under the ‘SMART Cities’ scheme:

Tirupati, Delhi Sarai Rohilla, Nellore, Madgaon, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Thane New, Ernakulam Jn. and Puducherry.

Station redevelopment projects are complex in nature and require detailed techno-economic feasibility studies and statutory clearances from local bodies.  Therefore, no time frame for completion of the projects can be indicated, at this stage.

Redevelopment of stations under ‘SMART Cities’ and ‘AMRUT’ schemes is planned through leveraging of commercial development of vacant land/air space in and around stations. Therefore, no funds have been earmarked for the purpose. Such projects shall generally be cost neutral to Railways.

This information was made available in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.