.
.

The Government of India after adapting Constitution has made sure to initiate various welfare schemes for development of weaker sections of the society. 

These schemes could be either Central, State specific or a joint collaboration between the Centre and the States. In this section, we have attempted to provide you an easy and single point access to information about several welfare schemes of the Government and their various aspects including eligible beneficiaries, types of benefits, scheme details etc.

Merchandise Export from India Scheme The six different schemes of the earlier FTP (Focus Product Scheme, Market Linked Focus Product Scheme, Focus Market Scheme, Agriculture Infrastructure Incentive Scrip, Vishesh Krishi and Gram Udyog Yojana and Incremental Export Incentive Scheme) which had varying sector-specific or actual user only conditions attached to their use have been merged into a single scheme, namely the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS). Notified goods exported to notified markets will be incentivized on realized FOB value of exports.

For the purpose of granting incentibes, the countries have been grouped into three categories as follows: Category A: traditional markets Category B: emerging & focus markets Category C: other markets Government has expanded the coverage of the MEIS on 29 October 2015 by adding 110 new items. The incentive rate/country coverage of 2228 items has been enhanced.

Service Export from India SchemeThe Served from India Scheme (SFIS) has been replaced with the Service Export from India Scheme (SEIS). 

The SEIS applies to ‘service providers located in India’ instead of ‘Indian service providers’. Thus, it provides for incentives to all service providers of notified services who are providing services from India, regardless of the constitution or profile of the service provider. 

The rates of incentivization under the SEIS are based on net foreign exchange earned. The incentive issued as duty credit scrip, will no longer carry an actual user condition and will no longer be restricted to usage for specified types of goods but be freely transferable and usable for all types of goods and service tax debits on procurement of services/goods.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)  Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is the new crop damage insurance scheme that has been approved by the Union Cabinet in January 2016. 

It will replace the existing two crop insurance schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified NAIS. The new scheme will come into force from the Kharif season starting in June this year.

Crops covered The scheme covers kharif, rabi crops as well as annual commercial and horticultural crops. 
For Kharif crops, the premium charged would be up to 2% of the sum insured.  For Rabi crops, the premium would be up to 1.5% of the sum assured. 

For annual commercial and horticultural crops, premium would be 5 per cent.The remaining share of premium will be borne equally by the central and respective state governments. The new scheme will cover post-harvest losses also.

It will also provide farm level assessment for localised calamities including hailstorms, unseasonal rains, landslides and inundation.
There will be one insurance company for the whole state. Private insurance companies will be roped along with Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited (AIC) to implement the scheme.

The scheme proposes mandatory use of remote sensing, smart phones and drones for quick estimation 
of crop loss. This will speed up the claim process.

Krishonnati yojanaAll schemes which are related to crop husbandry {i.e. related to crop cultivation, soil, micro-irrigation, improvement in production etc.} were put under a single umbrella programme called Krishonnati Yojna under ministry of agriculture.

The following schemes come under Krishonnati:Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP)
National Food Security Mission (NFSM) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), which includes Soil Health Card Scheme, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Project on Agro-forestry etc.

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) National Mission on Oilseeds & Oil Palm (NMOOP)National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology Integrated Scheme on Agriculture MarketingIntegrated Scheme on Agriculture 

CooperationInvestment in Debentures of State Land Development Banks National Agri-Tech Infrastructure FundPrice Stabilization Fund for Cereals & Vegetables Micro-Irrigation Part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (Jal Sinchan)Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee YojanaAll schemes related to Irrigation were consolidated into Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). 

The earlier irrigation schemes were fragmented {for example AIBP came under Water Resources Ministry, IWMP came under Rural Development Ministry etc.}. This scheme has been now placed under Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

The major objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani), improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance the adoption of 

precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop), enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture and attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system. 

The scheme also aims at bringing concerned Ministries/Departments /Agencies/Research and Financial Institutions engaged in creation/use /recycling/ potential recycling of water, brought under a common platform, so that a comprehensive and holistic view of the entire "water cycle" is taken into account and proper water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries.

The programme architecture of PMKSY aims at a 'decentralized State level planning and execution' structure, in order to allow States to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a State Irrigation Plan (SIP).

DIP will have holistic developmental perspective of the district outlining medium to long term developmental plans integrating three components namely, water sources, distribution network and water use application of the district to be prepared at two levels -  the block and the district. All structures created under the schemes will be geotagged.

Nai ManzilThe central scheme is designed to address educational and livelihood needs of minority communities lagging behind in terms of educational attainments.

It aims to provide educational intervention by giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them Certificates for Class XII and X from distance medium educational system.

It seeks to provide trade basis skill training in four courses at the same time of formal education, in field of (i) Manufacturing (ii) Engineering (iii) Services (iv) Soft skills. It intends to cover people in between 17 to 35 age group from all minority communities as well as Madrasa students. 

This scheme will provide new avenues for minorities for continuing higher education and also open up employment opportunities in the organised sector.

The Union Government has signed a Financing Agreement of 50 million dollars with the World Bank for Nai Manzil Scheme- Education and Skills Training for Minorities. Under this agreement, the credit will be facilitated by the International Development Association (IDA), World Bank’s concessionary lending arm. This credit will be in the form of loan which carries a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.

 The loan funds will be used for interventions under this scheme improve the employability and performance of minority youth in the labour market. The total project size is 100 million dollars, out of which 50 million dollars will be available as IDA credit and the remaining balance funding from the Union Budget.

Setu Bharatam Project 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Setu Bharatam Project to make all national highways free of railway crossings by 2019. 
This project will be implemented by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Under this project 208 places have been identified for construction of rail over-bridges (ROB) or underpasses under the project Around 1,500 bridges that are over 50 to 60 years old or of the British era will be overhauled and will be rebuilt. More than 50 thousand crore rupees will be spent on the project.

Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways already has launched an Indian Bridge Management System to map 1,50,000 bridges across the country. So far inventory of 50,000 bridges has been prepared under it and the first cycle of condition survey will be completed by June 2016.

UDAY( Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna)

UDAY provides for the financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs), and importantly also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem.

The scheme has been framed by Union Power Ministry as power DISCOMs in several states have been severely mismanaged, resulting in a debt burden upward of 4 lakh crore rupees. This has taken a toll on the power as well as bank sectors.
Salient features

Scheme Allows power DISCOMs in selected states to convert their debt into state bonds as well as roll out number of measures to improve efficiency at power plants. 

Seeks to ensure that struggling DISCOMs can shake off years of losses and start on a path to profitability. 
Assures the rise of vibrant and efficient DISCOMs: through four initiatives (i) Improve operational efficiencies of DISCOMs (ii) Reduce of cost of power (iii) Reduce 

interest cost of DISCOMs (iv) Enforce financial discipline on DISCOMs through alignment with State finances. 
Debt Burden: Shifts 75 per cent of power DISCOMs debt burden to states’ balance sheets. This step would result in interest cost savings to the tune of 3-5 per cent. 

State Power Bonds or loans: Selected states would be able to sell the balance 25 per cent as state-backed power bonds or loans which will carry interest rates of g-sec plus 50 basis points. 

Improve operational efficiency: by implementing steps like (i) swapping of coal linkages (ii) monitoring aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses (iii) Focus on smart metering and feeder separation in states.
UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All)

Union Government has launched National LED programme – Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA). It was launched by Union Minister for State (IC) for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. 
Salient features:

The UJALA scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Union Ministry of Power. 

It is LED based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP). Under it, 3 crore LED Bulbs will be distributed in Madhya Pradesh in the next 6 months. Under it, people of Madhya Pradesh will get subsidiesed 9W energy efficient LED bulbs by paying just 85 rupees per LED bulb.

The scheme will help reduce electricity bills of consumers, contribute to the energy security of India and also help in environment protection.

Background The Scheme was launched as part of Union Government’s efforts to spread the message of energy efficiency in the country. LED bulbs have a very long life, almost 50 times more than ordinary bulbs, and 8-10 times that of CFLs, and therefore provide both energy and cost savings in the medium term. It will help in saving of energy around 24 crore units every year.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

The Union Government launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) for providing free of cost LPG (cooking gas) connections to women from BPL Households.

It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Maldepur Morh, Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.
The tagline for the scheme is Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan.It is being implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. It is for the first time this ministry is implementing a welfare scheme.

Under PMUY, each of the beneficiaries will receive monetary support of about 1,600 rupees to get a connection of cooking gas. It includes administrative cost, pressure regulator booklet and safety hose The scheme seeks to empower women and protect their health by shifting them from traditional cooking based on unclean cooking fuels or on fossil fuels to clean cooking gas. 

The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories.
 It will be implemented over three years’ time frame namely in the FY 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate KaryakramObjective of this scheme is to create conducive environment for industrial development and doing business with ease and also expanding government support to impart skill training for workers. This is an umbrella scheme with five scheme under it as follows:Shram Suvidha Portal 

A dedicated Shram Suvidha Portal has been launched to allot Labour Identification Number (LIN) to nearly 6 lakh units and allow them to file online compliance for 16 out of 44 labour laws. They key features of Shram Suvidha Portal are as follows:
It would allot Unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) to Units to facilitate online registration.

 It will facilitate filing of self-certified and simplified Single Online Return by the industry. Now Units will only file a single consolidated Return online instead of filing 16 separate Returns.

It would allow mandatory uploading of inspection Reports within 72 hours by the Labour inspectors.It would provide timely redressal of grievances will be ensured with the help of the portal. 

With these facilities  the Shram Suvidha Portal is expected to bring in necessary ease in compliance of provisions related to labour and will be a step forward in promoting the ease of doing business.
Random Inspection Scheme 

The process of labour inspection has been generally opaque and the units for inspection were so far selected locally without any objective criteria. The government has brought a new all India Random Inspection Scheme to bring in transparency in the labour inspection.

The key features of this scheme are as follows:Serious matters are to be covered under the mandatory inspection list.
A computerized list of inspections will be generated randomly based on pre-determined objective criteria.Complaints based inspections will also be determined centrally after examination based on data and evidence. There will be provision of Emergency List for inspection of serious cases in specific circumstances.

This scheme is expected to provide a check on the arbitrariness in compliance mechanism. It would utilize technology to eliminate human discretion in selection of units for Inspection, and uploading of Inspection Reports within 72 hours of inspection mandatory.
Universal Account Number

Under this scheme, complete information for approximately 4.17 crore subscribers of EPF has been centrally compiled and digitized and a UAN has been allotted to all. 

The UAN is being seeded with Bank account and Aadhar Card and other KYC details for financial inclusion of vulnerable section of society and their unique identification.

Apprentice Protsahan Yojana It will support one lakh apprentices during the period upto March 2017. Selected Apprentices and the Establishments ready to participate in this scheme from various states will be invited and it is proposed that Prime Minister will give sanction letters to these to mark the launch of the new scheme Revamped Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana

Introducing a Smart Card for the workers in the unorganized sector seeded with details of two more social security schemes.
Swadesh Darshan Scheme 

The Union Ministry of Tourism had launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15 with an aim to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country.

These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner. They will be developed by synergizing efforts to focus on concerns and needs of all stakeholders to enrich tourist experience and enhance employment opportunities.

Under this scheme, 13 thematic circuits have been identified for development. They are Buddhist Circuit, North-East India Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.

The Union Government has recently approved Ramayana and Krishna Circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Union Ministry of Tourism. These two tourism circuits were approved in the first meeting of National Committee on Ramayan Circuit and National Committee on Krishna Circuit chaired by Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma.

Ramayana Circuit: Under it 11 tourist destinations spread across 6 states have been proposed. The covered destinations are: Uttar Pradesh: Ayodhya, Shringhverpur Nandigram and Chitrakoot (ii) Bihar: Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga (iii) 

Telangana: Bhadrachalam (iv) Chattisgarh: Jagdalpur (v) Karnataka: Hampi (vi) Tamil Nadu: Besides expert committee has suggested to include Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendragiri (Odisha), Nagpur and Nashik (Maharashtra) in the proposed circuit.

 Krishna Circuit: Under it 12 destinations spread across 5 states have been proposed. The destinations covered are: (i) Gujarat: Dwarka (ii) Rajasthan: Nathdwara, Jaipur and Sikar (iii) Uttar Pradesh: Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana, Gokul, Nandgaon and Govardhan (iv) Odisha: - (The writer is a senior civil servant)