1. Swachh Survekshan 2020: MoHUA


Swachh Survekshan 2020 report has been recently launched by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

  • It is the fifth edition of the annual cleanliness urban survey conducted by the MoHUA. It is one of the world’s largest sanitation surveys.

Main Points

  • The rankings have based on the categorisation of cities on population, instead of releasing overall rankings.
  • The categories based on population were introduced in 2019 for the first time but the exact groupings have been changed this year.

Major Rankings and Categories:

  • Cities with a population of more than 10 lakh: Indore was ranked first, securing the rank for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Surat and Navi Mumbai.
  • All the National Capital Region (NCR) cities, Greater Mumbai, Bruhat Bengaluru, Amritsar, Kota, Chennai, etc. have performed poorly.
  • Patna with the rank 47, is at the bottom of the list.

Cities with a population of 1-10 lakh:

  • Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur has been surveyed as the cleanest city in the country, followed by Mysore and New Delhi. Bihar’s Gaya with a rank of 382, is at the bottom.

Cities with a population of less than 1 lakh:

  • Karad has been ranked as the cleanest followed by Sasvad and Lonavala (all three in Maharashtra).

Other Categories:

  • Varanasi has been ranked the cleanest among 46 Ganga towns.
  • Jalandhar got the top rank among
  • New Delhi was the cleanest capital city.
  • Chhattisgarh was ranked the cleanest State out of those with over 100 urban local bodies (ULBs) or cities.
  • Jharkhand was the cleanest state with less than 100 ULBs or cities. The dynamic and evolving nature of the Swachh Survekshan framework was also highlighted.


  • From being just a monitoring framework for measuring outcomes, it has become an implementation accelerator for Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U), enabling sustainability of outcomes by institutionalizing cleanliness.
  • SBM-U was launched in 2014, with the objective of making urban India 100% Open Defecation Free (ODF) along with 100% scientific solid waste management.
  • It has a deep impact on health, livelihoods, quality of life and behaviour, which proved to be very helpful while dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic as well.


  • MoHUA is also actively working on coming up with a second phase of the SBM-U (SBM 2.0), which was initially supposed to be till March 2020 but has been extended till March 2021. It envisions to:
  • Take current targets further, making cities open defecation-free, including 100% sludge management and zero dumping of waste in the open.
  • Safe containment, transportation and disposal of faecal sludge and septage from toilets and also the grey and black water from households and
  • Treat all wastewater before discharging into water bodies and their maximum possible re-use.
  • Provide adequate safety gear and mechanised equipment to all sanitation workers with maximum attention.
  • To ensure the sustainability of on-ground performance of cities, the MoHUA had also introduced Swachh Survekshan League in 2019.
  • It is a quarterly cleanliness assessment of cities and towns done in three quarters with 25% weightage integrated into the final Swachh Survekshan results.
  • In July 2020, MoHUA launched the sixth edition of the survey, Swachh Survekshan 2021 and also introduced a new performance category, the Prerak DAUUR Samman.
  • It has a total of five additional subcategories namely Divya (Platinum), Anupam (Gold), Ujjwal (Silver), Udit (Bronze) and Aarohi (Aspiring).



  1. National Strategy for Financial Education


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE): 2020-2025 documents for creating a financially aware and empowered India.

  • It is the second NSFE , the first one being released in 2013.

Main Points

  • This NSFE for the period 2020-2025 has been prepared by the National Centre for Financial Education (NCFE) in consultation with all the Financial Sector Regulators
  • RBI, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), etc.
  • Under the aegis of the Technical Group on Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy (TGFIFL).
  • NCFE is a Section 8 (Not for Profit) Company under the Companies Act, 2013 promoted by RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDA.
  • It emphasizes a multi-stakeholder-led approach for empowering various sections of the population to develop adequate knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour which are needed to manage their money better and to plan for the future i.e. ensuring their financial well-being.
  • It has recommended a ‘5 C’ approach for dissemination of financial education in the country:
  • Content: Financial Literacy content for various sections of population.
  • Capacity: Develop the capacity and ‘Code of Conduct’ for financial education providers.
  • Community: Evolve community led approaches for disseminating financial literacy in a sustainable manner.
  • Communication : Use technology, media and innovative ways of communication for dissemination of financial education messages.
  • Collaboration : Streamline efforts of other stakeholders for financial literacy.

Strategic Objectives:

  • Inculcate financial literacy concepts among the various sections of the population through financial education to make it an important life skill.
  • Encourage active savings
  • Encourage participation in financial markets to meet financial goals and objectives.
  • Develop credit discipline and encourage availing credit from formal financial institutions as per requirement.
  • Improve usage of digital financial services in a safe and secure manner.
  • Manage risk at various life stages through relevant and suitable insurance
  • Plan for old age and retirement through coverage of suitable pension
  • Knowledge about rights, duties and avenues for grievance redressal.
  • Improve research and evaluation methods to assess progress in financial education.
  • The Strategy also suggests adoption of a robust ‘Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to assess the progress made.
  • TGFIFL would be responsible for periodic monitoring and implementation of NSFE under the oversight of Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).
  • TGFIL was set up in November 2011 by the FSDC.
  • Recently, RBI also released the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) for the period 2019-2024.
  • It is an ambitious strategy which aims to strengthen the ecosystem for various modes of digital financial services in all Tier-II to Tier VI centres to create the necessary infrastructure to move towards a less-cash society by March 2022.

Financial literacy

  • According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD), it is defined as a combination of financial awareness, knowledge, skills, attitude, and behaviour necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial well-being.

Financial Education

  • It is defined as the process by which financial consumers/investors improve their understanding of financial products, concepts and risks and through information, instruction and/or objective advice, develop the skills and confidence to become more aware of financial risks and opportunities, to make informed choices, to know where to go for help and to take other effective actions to improve their financial well-being.


  1. Organic Farming in India


India ranks 1 in number of organic farmers and 9 in terms of area under organic farming.

Main Points

Indian Scenario Regarding Organic Farming

  • Sikkim became the first State in the world to become fully organic in 2016.
  • North East India has traditionally been organic and the consumption of chemicals is far less than the rest of the country.
  • Similarly the tribal and island territories have been traditionally practicing organic farming.
  • The major organic exports from India have been flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice and pulses.
  • There was an increase of nearly 50% in organic exports in 2018-19, touching Rs. 5151 crore. Commencement of exports from Assam, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland to UK, USA, Eswatini and Italy have proved the potential by increasing volumes and expanding to new destinations as the demand for health foods

Government Initiatives to Promote Organic Farming

  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD)
  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER) is a Central Sector Scheme, a sub-mission under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in 2015 for implementation in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
  • The scheme aims to develop certified organic production in a value chain mode to link growers with consumers and to support the development of the entire value chain.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, launched in 2015 is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) of major project National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
  • Under PKVY, Organic farming is promoted through adoption of organic villages by cluster approach and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification.

Certification Schemes

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the food regulator in the country and is also responsible for regulating organic food in the domestic market and imports.
  • Participatory Guarantee System (PGS): PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards. PGS Green is given to chemical free produce under transition to ‘organic’ which takes 3 years. It is mainly for domestic purpose.
  • National Program for Organic Production (NPOP): NPOP grants organic farming certification through a process of third party certification for export purposes.
  • Soil Health Card Scheme has led to a decline of 8-10% in the use of chemical fertilizers and also raised productivity by 5-6%.

Agri-export Policy 2018

  • Focus on clusters and Marketing and promotion of “Produce of India” have positively impacted the organic farming in India
  • One District – One Product (ODOP)

The programme aims to encourage more visibility and sale of indigenous and specialized products/crafts of Uttar Pradesh, generating employment at the district level.

The presence of aggregators is imperative to bring about economies of scale for the small and marginal farmers.

PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME)

  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) launched the PM FME scheme as a part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’.
  • It aims to bring in new technology, apart from affordable credit to help small entrepreneurs penetrate new markets.
  • Zero Budget Natural Farming
  • Zero budget natural farming is a method of chemical-free agriculture drawing from traditional Indian practices.

Organic Farming

  • According to FSSAI,’organic farming’ is a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or genetically modified organisms.
  • Organic farm produce means the produce obtained from organic agriculture, while organic food means food products that have been produced in accordance with specified standards for organic production.


  1. ARIIA 2020 Rankings


Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020 rankings was recenty announced.

  • Around 674 institutions participated in the ARIIA rankings in 2020 compared with 496 in 2019.

Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)

  • It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Government of India to systematically rank all the major higher educational institutions and universities in India on indicators related to “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development” amongst students and faculties.
  • More than quantity, ARIIA focuses on quality of innovations and tries to measure the real impact created by these innovations nationally and internationally.

Rank Categorisation:

  • Two broad categories: publicly funded institutions and private or self-financed institutions.
  • A 6 sub- category for higher educational institutions for women has been introduced in 2020 to encourage women and bringing gender parity in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship

Major Indicators For Rankings:

  • Budget & Funding Support.
  • Infrastructure & Facilities.
  • Awareness, Promotions & support for Idea Generation & Innovation.
  • Promotion & Support for Entrepreneurship Development.
  • Innovative Learning Methods & Courses.
  • Intellectual Property Generation, Technology Transfer & Commercialization.
  • Innovation in Governance of the Institution.

Main Points

List of Topper Institutes in 2020:

  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras in Institute of National Importance, Central Universities & Central Funded Technical Institutes
  • Maharashtra’s Institute of Chemical Technology in the government and government-aided universities
  • College of Engineering Pune in the government and government aided college/institutions
  • Odisha’s Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) in the private or self-financed universities
  • SR Engineering College, Telangana in the private colleges
  • Avinashilingam Institute for Home Sciences and Higher Education, Coimbatore in the higher educational institutions for women


  1. Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program


The approval of projects under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) increased 44% during the first five months (April – August) of the financial year 2020-21.

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has approved and forwarded 1.03 lakh project applications to the banks as compared to 71,556 projects during the corresponding period in 2019.
  • The higher number of projects approved signifies the government’s resolve to create self-employment and sustainable livelihood for the people by promoting local manufacturing.

Main Points

  • The Government of India approved the introduction of a credit linked subsidy programme called Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) in 2008 for generation of employment opportunities through establishment of micro enterprises in rural as well as urban areas.
  • Administration: It is a central sector scheme being administered by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME).
  • Implementing Agency at the National Level: Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) – a statutory organization under the administrative control of the Ministry of MSME.
  • Features: It allows entrepreneurs to set up factories or units.
  • Eligibility: Any individual, above 18 years of age. Only new projects/units are considered for sanction of loans. Self-help groups that have not availed benefits under any other public scheme, societies, production co-operative societies, and charitable trusts.

Maximum Cost of Project/Unit Admissible:

  • Manufacturing Sector: 25 lakh
  • Service Sector: 10 lakh

Government Subsidy:

  • Rural Areas: 25% for general category and 35% for special category, which includes SC/ST/OBC/Minorities, NER, Hill and Border Areas.
  • Urban Areas: 15% for general category and 25% for special category.

Role of Banks:

  • Loans are provided by Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks, Co-operative Banks and Private Scheduled Commercial Banks approved by respective State Task Force Committee.
  • The MoMSME has also launched a scheme of ‘second financial assistance’ to help the PMEGP and Mudra units expand or upgrade.


  • The Scheme is crippled by structural issues and high rate of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs). From 2015-16 to 2019-20, assistance of Rs. 10,169 crore was Out of this, Rs. 1,537 crore has turned out to be NPA.
  • A deficiency in skills, lack of market study, low demand and stiff competition are believed to be the key reasons for such a large number of NPAs.
  • While normally all central schemes are given definite annual targets, this scheme is not driven by any such target. As both the states and the banks work without the aim of completing the annual target of disbursement of loans, the programme may lose its drive.

Way Forward

  • Besides providing financial support, the government needs to conduct an intensive training programme to help potential entrepreneurs focus on the right market and right products.
  • The scheme can prove beneficial at the time when the economy needs to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Timely disbursal of funds is crucial for execution of projects and creating employment in the country.

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