Q. What is/are the advantage/ advantages of implementing the ‘National Agriculture Market’ scheme?

  1. It is a pan-India electronic trading portal for agricultural commodities.
  2. It provides the farmers access to nationwide market, with prices commensurate with the quality of their produce.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

National Agriculture Market (e-NAM):
  • e-NAM or the e-trading platform (online trading portal) for the National Agriculture Market (NAM) was launched by the Prime Minister of India, on April 2016.
  • e – National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal that nets the prevailing Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) Mandis for making a united national market for agricultural commodities.
  • The e-NAM project would operate via the online portal that is linked to the states’ Mandis (Wholesale markets). All the participating states will be providing the software (Website and Mobile Application) for e-NAM at no cost.
  • It is completely funded by the Government of India.
  • Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.
  • Vision: To promote uniformity in agriculture marketing by streamlining procedures across the integrated markets, removing information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promoting real-time price discovery based on actual demand and supply.
  • MissionIntegration of APMCs across the country through a common online market platform to facilitate pan-India trade in agriculture commodities, providing better price discovery through a transparent auction process based on the quality of produce along with timely online payment.
  • Features:
    • A National e-market platform for transparent sale transactions and price discovery in regulated markets, kisan mandis, warehouses and private markets.
    • Liberal Licensing of traders/buyers and commission agents by State authorities without any pre-condition of physical presence or possession of shop/premises in the market yard.
    • One license for a trader is valid across all markets in the State.
    • Harmonization of quality standards of agricultural produce and provisions of assaying (quality testing) infrastructure in every market to enable informed bidding by buyers.
    • Restriction of agriculture Produce Marketing Committee’s (APMC) jurisdiction to within the APMC market yard/sub yard instead of a geographical area (the market area) at present.
    • Single point levy of market fees, i.e. on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
  • In 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has launched three new features of the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform.
    • Integration of Negotiable Warehouse Receipt System (e-NWRs) Module with e-NAM
      • Under it, a warehouse trading module with payment feature is launched.
      • It will enable small and marginal farmers to directly trade their stored produce from selected Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) registered warehouses which are declared deemed market by the State.
    • FPO trading Module
      • It will enable Farmer Producers’ Organisations (FPOs) to upload the picture of their produce and quality parameters from their premise/collection centres for bidding.
      • Distant bidders can visualise the produce before bidding by seeing the pictures and quality.
      • After successful bidding, FPOs can deliver the produce from their premises or by bringing it to mandi.
    • Launch of Logistic Module
      • A provision has been made for linking large logistic aggregator platforms providing choices to users.
        • Presently, e-NAM provides a database of individual transporters to the traders.
      • Traders will be able to use the link to navigate to the logistics provider’s website and select appropriate services.
      • With these additions, more than 3,75,000 number of trucks from large logistic providers would be added for logistic purpose.
Negotiable Warehouse Receipt System
  • It was launched in 2011 but the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
  • Farmers can seek loans from banks against the warehouse receipts issued to them against their storage.
  • These receipts issued by the warehouses registered with the WDRA would become a fully negotiable instrument backed by a Central legislation.
  • The Electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWR) System was launched in 2017.
Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority
  • It was constituted on 26th October 2010 under the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007.
  • It is a statutory authority under the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The Act provides for the establishment of the WDRA to exercise the powers conferred on it and to perform the functions assigned to it under the Act, Rules and Regulations for the development and regulation of warehouses, negotiability of warehouse receipts and promote orderly growth of the warehousing business in the country.

Q. Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)?

  1. It decides the RBI’s benchmark interest rates,
  2. It is a 12-member body including the Governor of RBI and is reconstituted every year.
  3. It functions under the chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister.

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Answer: (a) 1 only

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):
  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee constituted by the Central Government and led by the Governor of RBI.
  • Monetary Policy Committee was formed with the mission of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to restrain inflation within the particular target level. The RBI governor controls the monetary policy decisions with the support and advice of the internal team and the technical advisory committee.
    • Initially, the main decisions related to interest rates were taken by the Governor of RBI alone before the establishment of the committee.
    • MPC was constituted under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 as an initiative to bring more transparency and accountability in fixing the Monetary Policy of India. 
  • The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (RBI Act) has been amended by the Finance Act, 2016  to provide for a statutory and institutionalized framework for a MPC.
    • Under Section 45ZB of the amended RBI Act, 1934, the central government is empowered to constitute a six-member MPC.
    • The amended RBI Act, 1934 also provides for the inflation target (4% +-2%) to be set by the Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once in every five years.
  • Composition:
    • MPC will have six members – the RBI Governor (Chairperson), the RBI Deputy Governor in charge of monetary policy, one official nominated by the RBI Board, and the remaining three members would represent the Government of India.
    • The external members hold office for a period of four years.
  • The quorum for a meeting shall be four Membersat least one of whom shall be the Governor and, in his absence, the Deputy Governor, who is the Member of the MPC.
  • The MPC takes decisions based on a majority vote. In case of a tie, the RBI governor will have the second or casting vote.
  • The decision of the MPC would be binding on the RBI.
  • MPC conducts meetings at least 4 times a year and the monetary policy is published after every meeting with each member explaining his opinions. 

Objectives of Monetary Policy:

  • To stabilize the business cycle.
  • To provide reasonable price stability.
  • To provide faster economic growth.
  • Exchange Rate Stability.
Instruments of Monetary Policy
  • There are both direct and indirect instruments used for implementing monetary policy. Few include:
    • Repo rate 
    • Reverse Repo rate
    • Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF)
    • Marginal Standing Facility (MSF)
    • Corridor
    • Bank Rate
    • Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)
    • Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)
    • Open Market Operations (OMOs)
    • Market Stabilisation Scheme (MSS)

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) helps in promoting the financial inclusion in the country
  2. NPCI has launched RuPay, a card payment scheme.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):
  • It is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
  • It is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, to create a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.
  • It has been incorporated as a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013).
  • The Company is focused on bringing innovations in the retail payment systems through the use of technology for achieving greater efficiency in operations and widening the reach of payment.
  • NPCI is promoted by ten major banks, including the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Citibank, Bank of Baroda, and HSBC.
  • The regulatory board of the NPCI, headquartered in Mumbai, includes nominees from the RBI along with nominees from ten core promoter banks. 
  • Payment systems that the NPCI can operate include National Financial Switch (NFS), Immediate Payment System (IMPS), Aadhaar-enabled Payments System (AEPS) and National Automated Clearing House (NACH).
  • Services Offered by NPCI:
    • Bharat Bill Payment Interface (BBPI): It was developed by the NPCI to help the retail payments sector. With the introduction of the BBPI, a single platform has been made for aggregators and 0billpayers. 
    • Immediate Payment Service (IMPS): It gives you the option to transfer funds immediately. The facility is available at any given time. The beneficiary details must be added to transfer funds via IMPS. You can add the IFSC code and the account number to transfer funds via IMPS. 
    • RuPay: NPCI introduced RuPay so that average citizens can make financial decisions. RuPay is an affordable card and can be issued as credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards. More than 300 million RuPay cards are in India. 
    • USSD Services: Unstructured Supplementary Service Date (USSD) was introduced by the NPCI to allow individuals to make banking solutions without the need for the internet or smartphones. 
    • BHIM: BHIM uses UPI to complete payment transfers. You can make payments via BHIM by entering the Virtual Payment Address (VPA) or the registered mobile number. No smartphone is required to transfer funds via BHIM. 
    • UPI: United Payments Interface (UPI) allows you to transfer funds from your smartphone. However, you will need to link your bank account to complete payments via UPI. Money is transferred directly from one bank to another.

Q. What is/are the most likely advantages of implementing ‘Goods and Services Tax (GST)’?

  1. It will replace multiple taxes collected by multiple authorities and will thus create a single market in India.
  2. It will drastically reduce the ‘Current Account Deficit’ of India and will enable it to increase its foreign exchange reserves.
  3. It will enormously increase the growth and size of economy of India and will enable it to overtake China in the near future.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 only

Goods and Services Tax (GST):
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced by the Government of India to boost the economic growth of India. GST is considered to be the biggest taxation reform in the history of Indian economy.
  • It was introduced to save time, cost and effort. Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act came into effect in 2017.
  • In order to address the complex system in India, the Government introduced 3 types of GST which are given below.
    • CGST (Central Goods and Service Tax)
    • SGST( State Goods and Service Tax)
    • IGST(Integrated Goods and Services Tax)
  • As per 2016 GST regime, Union Territory Goods and Service Tax (UTGST) was also introduced to account for all the taxations in the Union Territories of India.
  • The power to make any changes in the GST law is in the hands of GST Council. GST Council is headed by the Finance Minister.
Legislative Basis Of GST
  • In India, GST Bill was first introduced in 2014 as The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill.
  • This got an approval in 2016 and was renumbered in the statute by Rajya Sabha as The Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2016. Its provisions:
    • Central GST to cover Excise duty, Service tax etc, State GST to cover VAT, luxury tax etc.
    • Integrated GST to cover inter-state trade. IGST per se is not a tax but a system to coordinate state and union taxes.
    • Article 246A – States have power to tax goods and services.
  • GST Council
    • Article 279A – GST Council to be formed by the President to administer & govern GST. It’s Chairman is Union Finance Minister of India with ministers nominated by the state governments as its members.
    • The council is devised in such a way that the centre will have 1/3rd voting power and the states have 2/3rd.
    • The decisions are taken by 3/4th majority.
  • Reforms Brought About by GST
    • Creation of common national market: By amalgamating a large number of Central and State taxes into a single tax.
    • Mitigation of cascading effect: GST mitigated ill effects of cascading or double taxation in a major way and paved the way for a common national market.
    • Reduction in Tax burden: From the consumers’ point of view, the biggest advantage would be in terms of reduction in the overall tax burden on goods.
    • Making Indian products more competitive: Introduction of GST is making Indian products more competitive in the domestic and international markets owing to the full neutralization of input taxes across the value chain of production.
    • Easier to administer: Because of the transparent and self-policing character of GST, it would be easier to administer.
Main Features of GST
  • Applicable On supply side: GST is applicable on ‘supply’ of goods or services as against the old concept on the manufacture of goods or on sale of goods or on provision of services.
  • Destination based Taxation: GST is based on the principle of destination-based consumption taxation as against the present principle of origin-based taxation.
  • Dual GST: It is a dual GST with the Centre and the States simultaneously levying tax on a common base. GST to be levied by the Centre is called Central GST (CGST) and that to be levied by the States is called State GST (SGST).
    • Import of goods or services would be treated as inter-state supplies and would be subject to Integrated Goods & Services Tax (IGST) in addition to the applicable customs duties.
  • GST rates to be mutually decided: CGST, SGST & IGST are levied at rates to be mutually agreed upon by the Centre and the States. The rates are notified on the recommendation of the GST Council.
  • Multiple Rates: Initially GST was levied at four rates viz. 5%, 12%, 16% and 28%. The schedule or list of items that would fall under these multiple slabs are worked out by the GST council.

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. Tax revenue as a percent of GDP of India has steadily increased in the last decade.
  2. Fiscal deficit as a percent of GDP of India has steadily increased in the last decade.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d) Neither 1 nor 2

Tax-to-GDP Ratio:
  • Tax revenue is defined as the revenues collected from taxes on income and profits, social security contributions, taxes levied on goods and services, payroll taxes, taxes on the ownership and transfer of property, and other taxes.
  • Total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP indicates the share of a country’s output that is collected by the government through taxes. It can be regarded as one measure of the degree to which the government controls the economy’s resources.
    • The tax burden is measured by taking the total tax revenues received as a percentage of GDP.
  • The tax-to-GDP ratio measures a nation’s tax revenue relative to the size of its economy. This ratio is used with other metrics to determine how well a nation’s government directs its economic resources via taxation.
  • Developed nations typically have higher tax-to-GDP ratios than developing nations.
  • Higher tax revenues mean a country can spend more on improving infrastructure, health, and education—keys to the long-term prospects for a country’s economy and people.
  • According to the World Bank, tax revenues above 15% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) are a key ingredient for economic growth and poverty reduction.
Tax revenue as a percent of GDP
Tax revenue as a percent of GDP
Fiscal Deficit
  • Fiscal deficit is the difference between the government’s total expenditure and its total revenue (excluding borrowings).
  • It is an indicator of the extent to which the government must borrow in order to finance its operations and is expressed as a percentage of the country’s GDP.
  • High and Low FD:
    • A high fiscal deficit can lead to inflation, devaluation of the currency and an increase in the debt burden.
    • While a lower fiscal deficit is seen as a positive sign of fiscal discipline and a healthy economy.
  • Positive Aspects of Fiscal Deficit:
    • Increased Government Spending: Fiscal deficit enables the government to increase spending on public services, infrastructure, and other important areas that can stimulate economic growth.
    • Finances Public Investments: The government can finance long-term investments, such as infrastructure projects, through fiscal deficit.
    • Job Creation: Increased government spending can lead to job creation, which can help reduce unemployment and increase the standard of living.
  • Negative Aspects of Fiscal Deficit:
    • Increased Debt Burden: A persistent high fiscal deficit leads to an increase in government debt, which puts pressure on future generations to repay the debt.
    • Inflationary Pressure: Large fiscal deficits can lead to an increase in money supply and higher inflation, which reduces the purchasing power of the general public.
    • Crowding out of Private Investment: The government may have to borrow heavily to finance the fiscal deficit, which can lead to a rise in interest rates, and make it difficult for the private sector to access credit, thus crowding out private investment.
    • Balance of Payments Problems: If a country is running large fiscal deficits, it may have to borrow from foreign sources, which can lead to a decrease in foreign exchange reserves and put pressure on the balance of payments.
Fiscal deficit as a percent of GDP
Indias Fiscal Deficit as of GDP

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. The Standard Mark of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is mandatory for automotive tyres and tubes.
  2. AGMARK is a quality Certification Mark issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (a) 1 only

Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS):
  • BIS is the National Standard Body of India established under the BIS Act 2016
  • It works under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
  • It was formerly the Indian Standards Institution (ISI), set up under the Resolution of the Department of Industries and Supplies in 1946.
  • The ISI was registered under the Societies Registration Act, of 1860.
  • A new Bureau of Indian standard (BIS) Act 2016 was brought into force in 2017.
  • BIS has its Headquarters in New Delhi.
  • President, Ex-officio: Hon’ble Minister for Consumer AffairsFood and Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • Vice President, Ex-officio: Hon’ble Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • Objectives:  harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • BIS represents India in International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
  • BIS has been providing traceability and tangibility benefits to the national economy in a number of ways: providing safe, reliable quality goods; minimizing health hazards to consumers; promoting exports and imports substitute; control over proliferation of varieties etc. through standardization, certification, and testing.
  • It operates product certification schemes through which it grants licenses to manufacturers covering practically every industrial discipline, from agriculture and textiles to electronics.
  • Certification by the BIS is mandatory for certain classes of products—such as milk powder, X-ray equipment, and gas cylinders—that directly affect public health and safety.
    • In other cases, voluntary, or optional certification or self-certification by the manufacturer may be permitted.
  • The BIS employs a large staff of engineers, scientists, and statisticians; testing is carried out in its own laboratories as well as in independent facilities that demonstrate compliance with laboratory guidelines established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). 

BIS is involved in various activities as given below:

  • Standards Formulation
  • Product Certification Scheme
  • Compulsory Registration Scheme
  • Foreign Manufacturers Certification Scheme
  • Hall Marking Scheme
  • Laboratory Services
  • Laboratory Recognition Scheme
  • Sale of Indian Standards
  • Consumer Affairs Activities
  • Promotional Activities
  • Training Services, National & International level
  • Information Services
What is ISO?
  • It is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 167 national standard bodies.
  • Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.
What is IEC?
  • The IEC is a global, not-for-profit membership organization, whose work underpins quality infrastructure and international trade in electrical and electronic goods.
  • The IEC brings together more than 170 countries and provides a global, neutral and independent standardization platform to 20 000 experts globally.
  • It administers 4 Conformity assessment systems whose members.
  • The full form of AGMARK is Agriculture marketing. The term agmark was coined by joining the words ‘Ag’ to mean agriculture and ‘mark’ for certification mark.
    • This term was introduced originally in bill presented in Parliament for the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act.
  • It stands for a certification mark on an agricultural product stating that it satisfies the standards prescribed by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare under the Agricultural Produce Act,1937.
  • Agricultural products including fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, vegetable oils, ghee, spices, honey, creamery butter, wheat, atta, besan, etc. have been notified with grade standards. The current AGMARK covers 222 agricultural commodities.
  • There are 11 Regional offices, 26 Sub offices, 11 Regional laboratories, and Central Agmark Laboratory to implement the certification.
  • AGMARK acts as a third-party authorization for agricultural products that are produced and consumed in India.
  • It is legally enforced in India by the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act of 1937.
  • The headquarters of AGMARK is in Haryana.
  • The standards to certify the products are laid down according to the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • It is mandatory for edible oils and fat spread.

Q. Which of the following has/have occurred in India after its liberalization of economic policies in 1991?

  1. Share of agriculture in GDP increased enormously.
  2. Share of India’s exports in world trade increased.
  3. FDI inflows increased.
  4. India’s foreign exchange reserves increased enormously.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 4 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2, 3

Answer: (b) 2, 3 and 4 only

  • The share of agriculture in India`s GDP has been declining since the 1990s, as the country has been transitioning towards a more service-oriented economy. According to data from the World Bank, the share of agriculture in India`s GDP was 29.1% in 1991 and has since decreased to around 15% in recent years.
  • India’s share of world exports has been steadily increasing since the 1990s. In 1991, India`s share of world exports was just 0.5%, but by 2019, it had increased to 1.7%. This growth can be attributed to several factors, including the liberalization of trade policies, the development of export-oriented industries, and improvements in infrastructure and logistics.
  • After the liberalization of economic policies, India saw a significant increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. In 1991, India received just $132 million in FDI, but by 2020, this had increased to $81.7 billion. FDI inflows have played an important role in driving economic growth in India, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing, services, and infrastructure.
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves have increased significantly since the 1990s, reaching an all-time high of $608 billion in May 2021. These reserves provide a cushion against external shocks and help maintain macroeconomic stability. The increase in reserves can be attributed to several factors, including the growth in exports, remittances, and FDI inflows.

Q. Which of the following statements best describes the term ‘Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A)’, recently seen in the news?

(a) It is a procedure for considering ecological costs of developmental schemes formulated by the Government.

(b) It is a scheme of RBI for reworking the financial structure of big corporate entities facing genuine difficulties.

(c) It is a disinvestment plan of the Government regarding Central Public Sector Undertakings.

(d) It is an important provision in The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’ recently implemented by the Government.

Answer: (b) It is a scheme of RBI for reworking the financial structure of big corporate entities facing genuine difficulties.

  • Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets also known as S4A Scheme was launched on 13th June 2016 by the Reserve Bank of India as an initiative to address and resolve the debt issues of the corporate sector along with strengthening the ability of the lender to deal with stressed assets.
  • As per the S4A scheme, the debt of a company is bifurcated into two parts namely sustainable and unsustainable debt based on the cash flows of the company’s project. 
    • The sustainable debt of a company should not be less than 50% of the existing debt and the unsustainable debt can be converted into optionally convertible debentures.
      • Banks can sell this stake or equity to a new owner who will have the advantage of getting to run the business with a more manageable debt.
  • RBI mandated advisory body called Overseeing Committee (OC) will be constituted, which will review the resolution plans submitted by the Banks.
  • The main aims of the S4A scheme are:
    • The scheme aims to provide financial restructuring of large debted projects by allowing the bank’s lender in acquiring equity of the stressed project.
    • To restore the credit flow to the critical sectors along with restoring the infrastructure.
    • To restore the issues faced by the real assets by providing an avenue for reworking financial structure.
  • Some of the major benefits provided by the S4A scheme are:
    • The scheme helps the banks to speed up the asset recovery process and also to manage their NPAs. For the fiscal year 2015-16, the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) has touched Rs. 6 lakh crore.
    • The S4A Scheme also provides another opportunity for the borrowers to rework its financial structure.
    • The scheme saves the banks from undue scrutiny through the oversight of an external Overseeing Committee (OC) which also ensures transparency. The endorsement of the OC is very important for the approval of any loan under the S4A scheme.
  • Main features of the S4A scheme:
    • Under the S4A scheme, an account is considered eligible for restructuring if the total loans in the account by all the institutional lenders exceeds Rs. 500 crore which includes the rupee loans as well as the foreign currency loans.
    • An independent agency is hired by the lending bank for evaluating sustainable debt.
    • The projects that are under the S4A Scheme should have started their commercial operations and also allow the banks to take part in the stressed project.
    • The scheme also protects bankers from undue scrutiny by allowing the banks to rework on stressed loans.
    • One of the main features of this scheme is the test of sustainability as it allows the evaluation of the level of sustainable debt for a stressed borrower. Under the S4A scheme, the loans are divided into sustainable and unsustainable components.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016
  • The IBC, 2016 is the bankruptcy law of India that consolidates and amends the existing laws relating to insolvency and bankruptcy of corporate persons, partnership firms, and individuals.
    • Insolvency is a state where the liabilities of an individual or an organization exceeds its asset and that entity is unable to raise enough cash to meet its obligations or debts as they become due for payment.
    • Bankruptcy is when a person or company is legally declared incapable of paying their due and payable bills.
  • The IBC aims to provide a time-bound and creditor-driven process for insolvency resolution and to improve the credit culture and business environment in the country.
  • IBC resolves claims involving insolvent companies. This was intended to tackle the bad loan problems that were affecting the banking system.
  • Regulating Authority:
    • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) was established under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
    • It is a statutory body, responsible for making and implementing rules and regulations for insolvency and bankruptcy resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms, and individuals in India.
    • The IBBI has 10 members, representing the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs,and the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Adjudicating Authority:
    • National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has jurisdiction over companies, other limited liability entities.
    • Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) has jurisdiction over individuals and partnership firms other than Limited Liability Partnerships.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was established in 2016 under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code).
  • It is a key pillar of the ecosystem responsible for implementation of the Code that consolidates and amends the laws relating to reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders.
  • It is a unique regulator as it regulates a profession as well as processes.
  • It has regulatory oversight over the Insolvency Professionals, Insolvency Professional Agencies, Insolvency Professional Entities and Information Utilities.
  • It has also been designated as the ‘Authority’ under the Companies (Registered Valuers and Valuation Rules), 2017 for regulation and development of the profession of valuers in the country.

Q. With reference to the ‘National Intellectual Property Rights Policy’, consider the following statements:

  1. It reiterates India’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS Agreement.
  2. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is the nodal agency for regulating intellectual property rights in India.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

National Intellectual Property Rights Policy:
  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce adopted the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy in 2016.
    • The main goal of the policy is “Creative India; Innovative India”.
  • The policy covers all forms of IP, seeks to create synergies between them and other agencies, and sets up an institutional mechanism for implementation and review.
  • DPIIT is the nodal department for IPR development in India and the Cell for IPR Promotion & Management (CIPAM) under DPIIT is the single point of reference for implementing the policy.
  • India’s IPR regime complies with World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS).
  • Objectives:
    • IPR Awareness: Outreach and promotion are important to create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
    • Generation of IPRs: To stimulate the generation of IPRs.
    • Legal and Legislative Framework: To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.
    • Administration and Management: To modernise and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.
    • Commercialisation of IPRs: Get value for IPRs through commercialisation.
    • Enforcement and Adjudication: To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.
    • Human Capital Development: To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.
Intellectual Property Rights
  • IPR are the rights given to persons over the creation of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
  • These rights are outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions.
  • The importance of intellectual property was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886).
  • Types of IPR:
    • Copyrights:
      • The rights of authors of literary and artistic works (such as books and other writings, musical compositions, paintings, sculpture, computer programs and films) are protected by copyright, for a minimum period of 50 years after the death of the author.
    • Industrial Property:
    • Protection of distinctive signs, in particular trademarks and geographical indications:
    • Industrial Designs and Trade Secrets:
      • Other types of industrial property are protected primarily to stimulate innovation, design and the creation of technology.

Q. Which of the following is a most likely consequence of implementing the Unified Payments Interface (UPI)?

(a) Mobile wallets will not be necessary for online payments.

(b) Digital currency will totally replace the physical currency in about two decades.

(c) FDI inflows will drastically increase.

(d) Direct transfer of subsidies to poor people will become very effective.

Answer: (a) Mobile wallets will not be necessary for online payments.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI):
  • The UPI is a digital and real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • It was launched on April 11, 2016.
  • It is designed to enable peer-to-peer inter-bank transfers through a single two-click factor authentication process. 
  • Features:
    • Unlike traditional methods, UPI simplifies transfers using the recipient’s UPI ID, be it a mobile number, QR code, or Virtual Payment Address, eliminating account numbers.
    • It eliminates the need to enter bank details or other sensitive information each time a customer initiates a transaction.
      • Mobile wallets will not be necessary for online payments. UPI allows you to pay directly from your bank account to different merchants without the hassle of typing your card details, or net banking/wallet password.
    • A consistent UPI transaction PIN across apps enhances cross-operability, enabling 24/7 transactions.
    • UPI operates as a digital public infrastructure, allowing seamless interactions for all players, including merchants and customers, without transaction costs.
    • UPI uses technologies like the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and the Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AEPS) to ensure that payments between accounts go smoothly. 
    • It facilitates push (pay) and pull (receive) transactions and even works for over-the-counter or barcode payments, as well as for multiple recurring payments such as utility bills, school fees, and other subscriptions.
    • It also works with “Peer-to-Peer” requests, which can be scheduled and paid for based on need and convenience.
  • The top UPI apps today include PhonePe, Paytm, Google Pay, Amazon Pay and BHIM, the latter being the Government offering.
National Payments Corporation of India
  • NPCI, an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
  • It is a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013), with an intention to provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.

Q. What is the purpose of setting up of Small Finance Banks (SFBs) in India?

  1. To supply credit to small business units
  2. To supply credit to small and marginal farmers
  3. To encourage young entrepreneurs to set up business particularly in rural areas.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

Small Finance Banks (SFBs):
  • SFBs are specialized banks that are licensed by RBI to provide financial services and products to low-income individuals and underserved communities, including microfinance and micro-enterprise services, as well as other basic banking services. 
  • Aim:
    • To provide financial inclusion to these segments of the population who are often excluded from the traditional banking system. 
    • SFBs help them to have access to financial products such as small loans, savings, insurance, and other basic banking services.
  • Regulation:
    • SFBs are registered as public limited companies under the Companies Act, 2013 and governed by Banking Regulations Act, 1949RBI Act, 1934 and other relevant Statutes and Directives from time to time. 
    • All prudential norms and regulations of the RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks, including the requirement of maintenance of CRR and SLR are also applicable to SFBs.
      • Also, according to RBI, if an SFB aspires to transit into a universal bank, it has to have a satisfactory track record of performance for a minimum period of 5 years.
  • The guidelines for SFBS were introduced in 2014 by RBI. RBI Guidelines on SFBs in India are:
    • SFBs are granted the scheduled bank status after being operational and are deemed suitable under section 42 of the RBI Act,1934. 
    • SFBs are required to primarily focus on providing access to financial services to the unbanked and underbanked segments of the population.
    • They are required to maintain a minimum Capital to Risk-Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 15%.
    • They are required to extend 75% of their Adjusted Net Bank Credit to Priority Sector Lending.
    • SFBs are required to open at least 25% of their total branches in unbanked rural areas.
    • The minimum paid-up voting equity capital for small finance banks shall be Rs.200 crore.
    • SFBs are required to maintain at least 50% of their loan portfolio as microfinance and advances of up to Rs. 25,00,000.
    • SFBs are required to comply with various prudential norms and regulations related to income recognition, asset classification, and provisioning.
    • SFBs are encouraged to adopt technology to improve their operational efficiency and reach the target segments.
  • Eligibility:
    • Resident individuals/ professionals (Indian citizens), singly or jointly, each having at least 10 years of experience in banking and finance at a senior level.
    • Companies and societies owned and controlled by residents.
    • Entities such as microfinance institutions, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs)local area banks and payment banks that are controlled by residents can also convert into Small Finance Banks.
      • Also, Urban Cooperative Banks(UCBs) desirous of converting to SFB may convert to SFB after ensuring compliance with the guidelines.
  • Paid Up Capital Requirement:
    • The minimum paid-up voting equity capital for small finance banks shall be Rs.200 crore, except for such small finance banks which are converted from UCBs.

Q. With reference to the ‘Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 (PBPT Act), consider the following statements:

  1. A property transaction is not treated as a benami transaction if the owner of the property is not aware of the transaction.
  2. Properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government.
  3. The Act provides for three authorities for investigations but does not provide for any appellate mechanism.

Which of the statements .given above is/are correct?

(a) 1only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Answer: (b) 2 only

Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 (PBPT Act) :
  • Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 (name changed to Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 by section 3 of the 2016 amendment) is an Act of the Parliament of India that prohibits certain types of financial transactions.
  • The act defines a ‘benami’ transaction as any transaction in which property is transferred to one person for consideration paid by another person.
  • Such transactions were a feature of the Indian economy, usually relating to the purchase of property (real estate), and were thought to contribute to the Indian black money problem.
  • A property transaction is treated as a Benami transaction even if the owner of the property is unaware of the transaction because ignorance of the law is never an acceptable defence for breaking the law in India.
  • Benami’s properties are subject to confiscation by the government. They are also subject to confiscation by the government without compensation.
  • The Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal have been established as an appeals mechanism.
  • Persons involved in Benami transactions may face up to 7 years in prison and a fine.

The Act establishes four authorities who will be able to conduct inquiries regarding benami transactions:

Name of AuthorityPost of AuthorityResponsibility
Initiating OfficerAssistant Commissioner of Income-Tax (ACIT) or a Deputy Commissioner of Income-Tax (DCIT)Notice and attachment of property
Approving AuthorityAdditional Commissioner of Income-Tax (AdlCIT) or a Joint Commissioner of Income-Tax(JCIT)Notice to furnish evidence
AdministratorIncome Tax Officer (ITO)Possession and management of properties confiscated
Adjudicating AuthorityOfficers Drawn from ITDConfiscation and vesting of property

Q. ‘Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of negotiations held between India and

(a) European Union

(b) Gulf Cooperation Council

(c) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

(d) Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Answer: (a) European Union

Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA):
  • India and EU had launched talks for having a wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement (FTA), officially called broad-based BTIA, long ago in 2007.
  • The BTIA was proposed to encompass trade in goods, services and investments.
    • However, the talks stalled in 2013 over differences on market access and movement of professionals.
  • India is one of the EU’s important, if not the largest, trading partners due to the fact that India accounted for 13.5% of total trade in 2015-2016. Thus the BTIA is important for both the EU and India.
  • Both India and the European Union have been negotiating the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement for decades. The negotiations include many factors such as tariff reductions, market access and investments. The last rounds of negotiations happened in November 2013 and ever since then, the negotiations have been stonewalled. LAtest events like the Brexit and terminations of other overseas investment treaties might have a direct impact on the BTIA and negotiations are likely to resume in the becoming years.

Read here:

Q. The term ‘Digital Single Market Strategy’ seen in the news refers to



(c) EU

(d) G20

Answer: (c) EU

Digital Single Market:
  • On 6 May 2015, the European Commission, led at the time by Jean-Claude Juncker, established the Digital Single Market strategy, intended to remove virtual borders, boost digital connectivity, and make it easier for consumers to access cross-border online content across the European Union.
  • The Digital Single Market, which is one of the Commission’s 10 political priorities, aims to fit the EU’s single market for the digital age, moving from 28 national digital markets to a single one, and then opening up digital services to all citizens and strengthen business competitiveness in the digital economy.
  • In other words, the Digital Single Market is a market characterized by ensuring the free movement of people, services and capital and allowing individuals and businesses to seamlessly access and engage in online activities irrespective of their nationality or place of residence. Fair competition conditions and a high level of protection of personal and consumer data are applied.
  • It is made up of three policy pillars:
    • Improving access to digital goods and services
      • The Digital Single Market strategy seeks to ensure better access for consumers and business to online goods and services across Europe, for example by removing barriers to cross-border e-commerce and access to online content while increasing consumer protection.
    • An environment where digital networks and services can prosper
      • The Digital Single Market aims to create the right environment for digital networks and services by providing high-speed, secure and trustworthy infrastructures and services supported by the right regulatory conditions. Key concerns include cybersecurity, data protection/e-privacy, and the fairness and transparency of online platforms.
    • Digital as a driver for growth
      • The Digital Single Market Strategy aims at maximising the growth potential of the European Digital Economy, so that every European can fully enjoy its benefits – notably by enhancing digital skills, which are essential for an inclusive digital society.
Digital Single Market

Read here:

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. India has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of WTO.
  2. TFA is a part of WTO’s Bali Ministerial Package of 2013.
  3. TFA came into force in January 2016.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA):
  • The TFA is the WTO’s first multilateral accord that aims to simplify customs regulations for the cross-border movement of goods.
  • It was outcome of WTO’s 9th Bali (Indonesia) ministerial package of 2013 and came into force from February 2017.
  • It aims to create a less discriminatory business environment.
  • Provisions:
    • Lowering import tariffs and agricultural subsidies.
      • It will make it easier for developing countries to trade with the developed world in global markets.
    • Abolish hard import quotas.
      • Developed countries would abolish hard import quotas on agricultural products from the developing world.
      • Instead developed countries would be allowed to charge tariffs on amount of agricultural imports exceeding specific limits.
    • Reduction in red tape at international borders.
      • It aims to reduce red-tapism to facilitate trade by reforming customs bureaucracies and formalities.
    • Preferential Rules of Origin for Least-Developed Countries
      • Simplified rules for identifying origin and qualifying for preferential treatment with importing countries.
  • Implications
    • The deal will ease trade processes, bring down barriers to trade and enhance the capacity of the developing world to better engage with the global trading network.
    • Significantly change the global trade scenario with international customs practices becoming streamlined and easier trade movement
    • Faster clearance procedures
    • Enhanced conditions for freedom of transit for goods
    • Reduced fees and formalities connected with the import and export of goods.
    • TFA is estimated to reduce global trade costs by more than 14% and could boost global growth by half a percentage point per year.
    • Trade facilitation increases trade flows and lowers trade costs, making it critical for development in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Benefits to India:
    • Bring in simplification and enhanced transparency in cross border trade in goods.
    • Boost economic growth by reducing trade costs and integration into the global economy.
    • The increase in global economic activity will add new jobs and lower the cost of doing international trade by 10 to 15 per cent.
    • Likely to reduce the time needed to import and export goods
    • Predicted to increase the number of new products exported by as much as 20 per cent.

Q. Consider the following in respect of ‘National Career Service’:

  1. National Career Service is an initiative of the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India.
  2. National Career Service has been launched in a Mission Mode to improve the employment opportunities to uneducated youth of the country.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d) Neither 1 nor 2

National Career Service Project:
  • National Career Service is one of the mission-mode projects under the umbrella of the E-Governance Plan.
  • It was launched in the year 2015.
  • Objectives: It works towards bridging the gap between job-seekers and employers, candidates seeking training and career guidance and agencies providing training and career counselling by transforming the National Employment Service.
  • It provides a host of career-related services such as dynamic job matching, career counselling, job notifications, vocational guidance, and information on skill development courses, internships and alike. 
  • Nodal Agency: The project is being implemented by the Directorate General of Employment, Ministry of Labour & Employment.
  • The focus areas for the National Career Service platform are listed below:
    • Enhancing Career and employment opportunities
    • Counselling and guidance for career development
    • Focusing on decent employment
    • Enhancing female labour force participation
    • Encouraging entrepreneurial endeavours
  • Registration on the Portal:
    • NCS does not charge any fees for registration on the portal and its services.
    • About 1 crore job seekers and 54,000 employers are registered on the portal.

Q. What is the aim of the programme ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’?

(a) Achieving 100% literacy by promoting collaboration between voluntary organizations and government’s education system and local communities.

(b) Connecting institutions of higher education with local communities to address development challenges through appropriate technologies.

(c) Strengthening India’s scientific research institutions in order to make India a scientific and technological power.

(d) Developing human capital by allocating special funds for health care and education of rural and urban poor, and organizing skill development programmes and vocational training for them.

Answer: (b) Connecting institutions of higher education with local communities to address development challenges through appropriate technologies.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan Scheme:
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is a flagship program of the Ministry of Education. It was launched in 2014.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge 
  • It aims to link the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with a set of at least (5) villages, so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
    • It covers two major domains for holistic development of villages – human development and material (economic) development – in an integrated way.
  • The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT, Delhi) has been designated as the National Coordinating Institute (NCI) for the UBA scheme.
  • Main Objectives:
    • To engage the faculty and students of HEIs in identifying development issues in rural areas and finding sustainable solutions for the same.
    • Identify & select existing innovative technologies, enable customisation of technologies, or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions, as required by the people.
    • To allow HEIs to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government programmes.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0:
    • It is the upgraded version of UBA 1.0. It was launched in 2018.
      • UBA 1.0 or UBA Phase-1 was the Invitation Mode in which Participating Institutions were invited to be a part of UBA.
      • Whereas UBA 2.0 is the Challenge Mode of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan programme where all HEIs are required to willingly adopt at least 5 villages. Currently, UBA 2.0 Mode is going on.
    • It was in line with the original goals of UBA, but had expanded over to a broader rural population and higher educational institutions.
    • Initially, only Government educational organisations were a part of UBA but later on both, public and private Institutions were included under this scheme.
    • Both, the faculty and the students of Higher Education Institutes were brought to an understanding with the rural people. They were made familiar with the everyday challenges of people in rural India.
    • Each Institute was to adopt certain number of villages, and then work with the District Administration to bring in new technologies and innovative ideas to solve the basic problems of their adopted village and its people.

Q. The Global Infrastructure Facility is a/an

(a) ASEAN initiative to upgrade infrastructure in Asia and financed by credit from the Asian Development Bank.

(b) World Bank collaboration that facilitates the preparation and structuring of complex infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to enable mobilization of private sector and institutional investor capital.

(c) Collaboration among the major banks of the world working with the OECD and focused on expanding the set of infrastructure projects that have the potential to mobilize private investment.

(d) UNCTAD funded initiative that seeks to finance and facilitate infrastructure development in the world.

Answer: (b) World Bank collaboration that facilitates the preparation and structuring of complex infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to enable mobilization of private sector and institutional investor capital.

Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF):
  • The Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), a G20 initiative, is a global collaboration platform that integrates efforts to boost private investment in sustainable, quality infrastructure projects in developing countries and emerging markets.
  • It is a partnership among governments, multilateral development banks, private sector investors, and financiers. It is designed to provide a new way to collaborate on preparing, structuring, and implementing complex projects that no single institution could handle on its own.
  • The comprehensive project support provided by the GIF draws on the combined expertise of its technical and advisory partners.
  • This group, which includes commercial banks and institutional investors, ensures that well-structured and bankable infrastructure projects are brought to market in a way that sustainably meet the needs of governments and service users. Funding partners provide financial contributions to the GIF.
  • The GIF partnership is overseen by a Governing Council that supervises strategic programming and funds management as well as the development of operational policies and procedures. It also holds the GIF’s management accountable for delivering on objectives and principles.
  • The Governing Council comprises representatives of funding and technical partners and representatives of emerging markets and developing economies, and is co-chaired by the World Bank Group and a Funding Partner.

Q. With reference to ‘National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is an organ of NITI Aayog.
  2. 2. It has a corpus of Rs. 4,00,000 crore at present.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d) Neither 1 nor 2

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund:
  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is an investor-owned fund manager, anchored by the Government of India (GoI) in collaboration with leading global and domestic institutional investors. 
  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) was set up in the year 2015 as India’s first-ever sovereign wealth fund and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under SEBI Regulations, 2012 as a Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF). It provides long-term capital for infra-related projects.
  • It is an institution for enhancing infrastructure financing by investing in greenfield (new), brownfield (existing) and stalled projects.
  • The primary goal of setting up NIIF was to optimise the economic impact largely through investing in infrastructure-related projects.
  • Some of the major objectives of NIIF are as follows:
    • To raise funds through suitable instruments which also included off-shore credit-enhanced bonds.
    • To attract the anchor investors for their participation as partners in NIIF.
    • Servicing of the investors of the fund.
    • To consider and approve the candidate companies, institutions, and projects for investments.
    • To invest in the corpus created by the Asset Management Companies (AMCs) to invest in private equity.
    • To provide advisory service and prepare a shelf of infrastructure projects.
  • Types of NIIF Funds
    • Master Fund: This fund primarily invests in infra-related projects such as roads, ports, airports, and power. Also, the master fund invests in well-established enterprises that are into a long-term agreement and are operating in a regulated environment with a good history.
    • Fund of Funds: It looks to invest in funds managed by the renowned fund managers having an excellent track record. The fund of funds invests as anchor investors, and this enables the fund managers to accumulate more funds from the institutional investors
    • Strategic Fund: This fund is registered as an Alternative Fund II under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in India. Strategic funds invest primarily in equity and equity- linked instruments.
  • The Indian government has a 49% stake in NIIF with the rest held by foreign and domestic investors.
    • With the Centre’s significant stake, NIIF is considered India’s quasi-sovereign wealth fund.
  • Across its three funds, it manages over USD 4.3 billion of capital.
    • Its registered office is in New Delhi.

Q. Which of the following are the objectives of ‘National Nutrition Mission’?

  1. To create awareness relating to malnutrition among pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  2. To reduce the incidence of anemia among young children, adolescent girls and women.
  3. To promote the consumption of millets, coarse cereals and unpolished rice.
  4. To promote the consumption of poultry eggs.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1, 2 and 3 only
(c) 1, 2 and 4 only
(d) 3 and 4 only

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission):
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan (erstwhile National Nutrition Mission) was launched in March 2018 to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner and to achieve reduction in stunting and wasting in children (0-6 years) as well as reduction in anemia in women, children and adolescent girls.
  • The mission also encompasses mapping of various other schemes related to malnutrition and enabling synergies through ICT-based real-time monitoring system, robust convergence between the schemes, incentivising states and UTs for meeting the set targets, and optimising Anganwadi centres’ functioning, apart from conducting social audits.
    • These other schemes include the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Janani Suraksha Yojana, Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG), Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, PDS, National Health Mission, etc.
    • For Anganwadi centres, the mission envisages the following:
      •  Giving incentives to Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT-based tools.
      • Elimination of registers used by AWWs.
      • Measuring the height of children at Anganwadi centres.
  • Another component of the mission is the gradual scaling up of the interventions under the World Bank-assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems.
  • The implementing agency is the Ministry of Women and Child Development, GOI. 
  • The NITI Aayog also plays a pivotal role in the mission. The National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges, which has been set up under the Poshan Abhiyaan, has the Vice Chairperson of NITI Aayog as its Chairperson.
    • The council is also called the National Council on Nutrition or NCN.
    • The NCN offers policy directions to address nutritional challenges and review programmes for the same.
    • It is a national-level coordination and convergence body on nutrition.
  • Target to reduce malnutrition: The mission, has a target to reduce under-nutrition and low birth-weight by 2% each year. It will strive to achieve reduction in stunting from 38.4% as per the National Family Health Survey-4 to 25% by 2022. NNM targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • Anaemia targets: It also aims to bring down anaemia among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3% per year.

Q. What is the purpose of Vidyanjali Yojana’?

  1. To enable the famous foreign educational institutions to open their campuses in India.
  2. To increase the quality of education provided in government schools by taking help from the private sector and the community.
  3. To encourage voluntary monetary contributions from private individuals and organizations so as to improve the infrastructure facilities for primary and secondary schools.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 2 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Answer: (a) 2 only

Vidyanjali Yojana
  • Vidyanjali is an amalgamation of the words Vidya meaning “correct knowledge” or “clarity” and Anjali meaning “an offering with both hands” in Sanskrit language.
  • Vidyanjali is an initiative taken by the Ministry of Education, Government of India with the aim to strengthen Schools through community and private sector involvement in schools across the country.
  • This initiative would connect schools with varied volunteers from the Indian Diaspora namely, young professionals, school alumni, in service and retired teachers / Government officials / professionals and many others.
  • Vidyanjali has two verticals: “Participate in school Service / Activity” and “Assets / Material / Equipment” in which volunteer can support and strengthen the government and government aided schools.
  • Vidyanjali, which is being implemented under the overall aegis of the Samagra Shiksha will enhance the community involvement in Government schools and effectively engage children in reading, creative writing, public speaking, play acting, preparing story books etc.
  • The volunteers can register for free by visiting through the mobile app.
  • The Programme is unique which gives the freedom to the volunteers to design their activities in consultation with the school.
  • The programme will be open for participation by all Indian citizens including retired Professionals, retired government officials, working professionals, homemakers and also persons from the Indian Diaspora.
  • Yojana allows an individual to take part in government reforms and help the government in tackling issues on quality education and scarcity of teachers across India.
  • National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) established by statute, involves four regional committees which are responsible to monitor the quality of teacher passing institutes.
  • The program being piloted across 21 states which includes Indian states like Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh
  • Vidyanjali 2.0 portal will facilitate donations, contributions from Corporate Social Responsibility funds, and volunteering, all aimed at developing and improving schools.