Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot has e-launched a ‘National Portal for Transgender Persons’ and e-inaugurated a ‘Garima Greh: A Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’ in Vadodara, Gujarat.

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About the National Portal for Transgender Persons:

  • This National Portal for Transgender Persons has been developed within 2 months of Notification of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 on 29 September 2020.
  • This highly useful Portal would help a transgender person in applying for a Certificate and Identity card digitally from anywhere in the country.
  • The most important benefit is that it helps the transgender person to get the I-Card without any physical interface and without having to visit any office.
  • Through the Portal, they can monitor the status of their application that ensures transparency in the process. The issuing authorities are also under strict timelines to process the applications and issue certificates and identity cards without any necessary delays.
  • Once the Certificate and I-card are issued, the applicant can download them from the Portal itself. In case of delay or rejection, the applicant has the options to submit grievances through the Portal which are forwarded to the concerned person and will be resolved at the earliest.
  • This portal will help a lot of people from the community to come forward and get Transgender Certificate and Identity Cards as per their self-perceived identity which is an important provision of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

‘Garima Greh: A Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’

  • ‘Garima Greh: A Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’ will be run in association with Lakshya Trust, a Community based organisation entirely run by the Transgenders.
  • The purpose of the Shelter Home is to provide shelter to Transgender persons, with basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and recreational facilities.
  • Besides, it will provide support for the capacity-building/skill development of persons in the Community, which will enable them to lead a life of dignity and respect.
  • The Scheme of ‘Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’ includes shelter facility, food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, yoga, meditation/prayers, physical fitness, library facilities, legal support, technical advice for gender transition and surgeries, capacity building of trans-friendly organizations, employment and skill-building support, etc.
  • The Nodal Ministry has taken the first step in improving the conditions of Transgender persons and has identified 10 cities to set up the 13 Shelter Homes and extend the facilities to Transgender persons, in association with selected 13 CBOs in the country on a pilot basis.
  • The cities include Vadodara, New Delhi, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Kolkata, Manipur, Chennai, Raipur, Mumbai, etc. The scheme will rehabilitate a minimum of 25 transgender persons in each home identified by the Ministry.
  • This is a pilot project, and on its successful completion, similar schemes will be extended to other parts of the country.

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Union Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has launched India’s first solar-based Integrated Multi-Village Water Supply Project (IMVWSP) in Arunachal Pradesh. The solar-based lift water supply project is ‘first of its kind’ in the country, and has been commissioned at a cost of Rs 28.50 crore. However, such projects will be carried out in other parts of the country too.

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About the project:

  • The project would provide drinking water to 17,480 people in 39 villages of Lower Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The solar-based Integrated Multi-Village Water Supply Project has been designed as an integrated project with three components, which are drinking water, green energy and tourism.
  • The project uses a green energy-solar grid, SCADA automation system, pre-fabricated zinc alum storage tank and HDPE conduit for mains, sub-mains and distribution networking system. The project also includes amusement park including swimming pool, amphitheatre, fountains, and sit-outs.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh: Pema Khandu; Governor: B.D. Mishra.

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Union Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar has launched “AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR”. The scheme is a unique way to assist cooperatives to play an important role in the creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country.

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About AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR”:

  • AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR scheme has been formulated by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
  • The NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of 10 thousand crores in the coming years.
  • NCDC’s scheme will be a step towards strengthening farmers welfare activities by the Central Government.
  • NCDC’s Ayushman Sahakar scheme aims at bringing transformation in the health services primarily in the rural areas.
  • The scheme also provides working capital and margin money to meet the operational requirements of the health facilities. It provides interest subvention of one per cent to women majority cooperatives.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced leave travel concession (LTC) cash voucher scheme and special festival advance scheme for government employees with an aim to increase consumer spending. She announced proposals regarding consumer spending and capital expenditure. Under consumer spending, she announced proposals within two components: LTC cash voucher scheme and special festival advance scheme.

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About the leave travel concession (LTC) cash voucher scheme:

  • Central government employees get leave travel concession in a block of four years–one each to a destination of choice and home town or two for home town.
  • Under this, the air or rail fare is reimbursed as per pay scale/entitlement. Also, leave encashment of ten days (pay+dearness allowance) is paid.
  • However, employees will not be able to avail the LTC in the 2018-21 year block due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This is where the LTC will benefit government employees.
  • In lieu of one LTC during 2018-21, employees will receive a cash payment. There will be full payment on leave encashment and fare will be paid as per three slabs depending upon the class of entitlement. Further, there will be no tax on fare payment.
  • An employee opting for this scheme will have to buy goods and services worth three times the fare and one time leave encashment, and do so before March 31, 2021.
  • The money is to be spent on goods attracting GST of 12% or more and only digital payments will be allowed. Also, employees will have to provide a GST invoice.
  • The finance minister said the scheme would cost Rs 5,675 crore if central government employees opt for it. However, for PSB and PSU employees, its cost would be Rs 1,900 crore.
  • Sitharaman further projected that with even 50% states opting for this scheme, the government expects to infuse Rs 9,000 crore into the economy.

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The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs will integrate the application programming interface (API) between SVANidhi portal and various banks to expedite loan sanctioning and disbursement process under Modi government’s PM SVANidhi scheme for nano entrepreneurs.

To begin with, the ministry launched the API integration between the PM SVANidhi portal and SBI’s eMudra portal. Ministry would perform similar integration with other banks as well for which a consultative meeting will be held shortly.

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Advantages of Integration

  • This integration will ease uninterrupted data flow between the 2 portals in a secure ambience and accelerate the loan sanctioning and disbursement process that benefits the street vendors who seek working loan capital under the scheme.
  • This integration will facilitate the seamless flow of data between the PM SVANidhi Portal and SBI’s mudra Portal in a secure environment.
  • It will expedite the loan sanctioning and disbursement process, to benefit the street vendors seeking a working capital loan under the Scheme.

PM SVANidhi Scheme

  • The scheme was launched by MoHUA on June 1, 2020, to provide affordable working capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods which have been badly affected due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is the implementing agency for the scheme administration.
  • It targets to benefit over 50 lakh Street Vendors who are in this work on or before 24 March 2020, in urban areas that include those from surrounding peri-urban/ rural areas.
  • A working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000 can be availed. It is to be repaid in monthly instalments over a period of one year.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Minister of State (IC) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs: Hardeep Singh Puri.

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Government of India has constituted an Expert Committee for making an overall assessment of relief to bank borrowers related to waiver of interest and waiver of interest on interest on the COVID-19 related moratorium. State Bank of India will provide secretarial support to the committee. The Committee may consult banks or other stakeholders, as deemed necessary, for the purpose.

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The Expert Committee shall be as under:

  • Rajiv Mehrishi, former CAG of India – Chairperson
  • Ravindra H. Dholakia, former Professor, IIM Ahmedabad & ex- Member, Monetary Policy Committee of Reserve Bank of India
  • B. Sriram, Former Managing Director, State Bank of India & IDBI Bank

The terms of reference of the committee shall be as under:

  • Measuring the impact on the national economy and financial stability of waiving of interest and waiving of interest on interest on the COVID-19 related moratorium
  • Suggestions to mitigate financial constraints of various sections of society in this respect and measures to be adopted in this regard
  • Any other suggestions/observations that may be necessary given the current situation.

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the setting up of 3-member committee headed by Lt. Gen. Shekatkar (retired) to review the effective utilisation of the Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (AFHQ CS) cadre. Two other members of the committee are R. Chandrashekhar, a retired AFHQ cadre officer, and AN Das from the MoD finance wing. The committee will enable the Defence Ministry to optimise the civil as well as military administrative appointments in the service headquarters.

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The 3-member committee will conduct a study and find out such appointments in Service HQs and Inter-Service Organisations (ISO) that may fall under the domains of AFHQ CS officers as recognised in the report by the committee of experts due to their longer tenures and expertise. It will also interact with various branches, directorates of service headquarters as well as ISOs for the study. The committee is expected to submit its report by November.

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Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has announced a special scheme to revive lapsed policies named ‘Special Revival Campaign’. This campaign is open from 10 August to 9 October during which customers can revive their individual lapsed policies.

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Under this scheme:

  • The policies of specific eligible plans can be revived within five years from the date of the first unpaid premium subject to certain terms and conditions.
  • Though it is not offering any concessions in medical requirements, some concessions may be allowed in late fee under plans other than term assurance and other high-risk plans.
  • Those policies that have lapsed during the premium- paying term and not completed policy term as on the date of revival, are eligible to be revived during the campaign.
  • The campaign is launched to benefit those policyholders who were not able to pay the premium due to unavoidable circumstances and their policy lapsed. It always makes better sense to revive an old policy to restore cover.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • LIC Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Chairman of LIC: M R Kumar.
  • LIC founded: 1 September 1956.

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Dr V K Paul, Member Niti Aayog has chaired the meeting of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19. The committee held a meeting to deliberate on measures to ensure availability of vaccines as well as its delivery mechanism. It also discussed the mechanisms for the establishment of a digital infrastructure for inventory management.

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The V K Paul led committee also deliberated on delivery mechanism of the vaccine including tracking of vaccination process while focusing particularly on last mile delivery. Broad parameters guiding the selection of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, was also a key subject of discussion during the meet. Other key subjects were procurement mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccine, guiding principles for prioritization of population groups for vaccination, financial resources required for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine and various options of financing the vaccine.

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Unique employment generation program “Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission” has been approved by the Union Minister for MSME, Shri Nitin Gadkari. The programme has been proposed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to make India Aatmanirbhar in Agarbatti production.

Under the scheme, Automatic Agarbatti making machines and powder mixing machines would be offered by KVIC to the artisans via the successful private Agarbatti manufacturers. KVIC will procure only locally made machines by Indian manufacturers which also seeks to encourage local production.

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The “Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission” seeks to generate employment for unemployed and migrant workers in different parts of the nation while increasing the domestic Agarbatti production substantially. It will be launched in PPP mode and requires very less investment. It will support private Agarbatti manufacturers to increase Agarbatti production without any capital investment by them. KVIC will offer 25% subsidy on the cost of the machines and will recover the remaining 75% of the cost from the artisans in the form of easy monthly installments.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission: Vinai Saxena.

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