PIB – 30th Jan 2021

Meeting held by Department of Food &Public Distribution with States and Industry Associations to implement Scheme to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol

  • The Government has fixed a target of 10% blending of fuel grade ethanol with petrol by 2022 and 20% blending by 2025
  • This has been done with a view to boost agricultural economy, to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel, to save foreign exchange on account of crude oil import bill and to reduce air pollution. 
  • To meet out the requirement of ethanol, the Government has notified a “Scheme for extending financial assistance to project proponents for enhancement of their ethanol distillation capacity or to set up distilleries for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feed stocks such sugarcane, rice available with Food Corporation of India, maize etc. vide notification dated 14th January, 2021.
  • With a view to ensure maximum participation by the entrepreneurs and cooperation by State Governments a meeting was held to sensitize all stakeholders to actively participate and avail the benefit of the Scheme.
  • The State Governments have been requested to promote the scheme to the entrepreneurs of their states and encourage them to participate in the scheme so that the target set by the Government could be achieved well within the timeline. 
  • State Governments were also requested to facilitate entrepreneurs in arranging land for the project, to get environment clearance at the earliest and in setting up of distilleries. To facilitate them, State Governments have been requested to nominate nodal department in the States/UTs & nodal officer.
  • The participants were explained about the benefits of Ethanol Blended with Petrol Programme. It was informed that excess sugar of about 60 Lakh Tonne will be diverted to ethanol, helping sugar mills to timely payments of cane dues to farmers, additional utilisation of food-grains of about 135 Lakh Tonne will help in increasing the income of farmers, investment by entrepreneurs will help in creation of employment in rural areas, distributed ethanol production will help in reduction of transportation cost of ethanol and reduction in crude oil import will help India to become Atmanirbhar in petroleum sector.
  • It is expected that with the participation of entrepreneurs and states, ethanol production capacity in the country would increase from present 684 crore liters to the required level of 1500 crore liters by 2025 in order to achieve blending targets. 
  • There is enough availability of raw material like sugarcane, molasses, damaged food grain (broken rice), FCI Rice, maize etc. Remunerative prices of ethanol from various feed-stocks including sugarcane juice, B-Heavy molasses, C-Heavy molasses, rice available with FCI, damaged food grains and maize have also been fixed. 
  • Prices of ethanol are fixed on the basis of prices of raw materials and not on the basis of prices of crude oil. OMCs being the assured buyer for ethanol has also given comfort for purchase of ethanol from distilleries for next 10 years. 
  • Tripartite Agreement between distilleries, banks and OMCs gives extra comfort to banks for lending. Some State Governments have also included ethanol projects under priority sector. As such the upcoming ethanol projects are viable.

Agreement for financial support to STARS project signed between DEA and World Bank

  • Agreement for the financial support of the implementation of Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project of the Ministry of Education was signed between Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and World Bank along with the Ministry of Education. 
  • The total project cost of STARS project is Rs 5718 crore with the financial support of World Bank amounting to US $ 500 million (approximately Rs. 3700 crore) and rest coming as State share from the participating States, over a period of 5 years.
  • The STARS project would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), MOE. 
  • The project covers 6 States viz Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha. The identified States will be supported for various interventions for improving the quality of education.

Features: 

  1. The Program envisions improving the overall monitoring and measurement activities in the Indian school education system through interventions in selected states. 
  2. STARS will draw on existing structure under Samagra Shiksha with the DoSEL, MoE as the main implementing agency at the national level. 
  3. At the State level, the project will be implemented through the integrated State Implementation Society (SIS) for Samagra Shiksha.
  4. The proposed World Bank support under STARS is primarily in the form of a results-based financing instrument called Program for Results (PforR). This will ensure major reforms at the State level through a set of disbursement-linked indicators (DLIs). 
  5. A State Incentive Grant (SIG) will be used to encourage States to meet desired project outcomes. The SIG matrix has been aligned with the intermediate outcome indicators as per the requirement of PforR instrument. 
  6. An independent Verification agency (IVA) will verify each result before disbursement of funds.
  7. STARS project will be instrumental in the implementation of various recommendations of National Education Policy 2020 i.e. Strengthening Early Childhood Education and Foundational Learning, Improving Learning Assessment System, ICT-enabled approaches in education, Teachers Development and Vocational education etc.

Key Finding of Economic Survey 2020-21 Reveals Strong Positive Impact of PMJAY on Health Outcomes

  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), an ambitious program and a crucial component of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, launched by Government of India in 2018, to provide healthcare access to the most vulnerable sections, has had a strong positive impact on the healthcare outcomes of those States that have adopted the healthcare scheme. This was stated in the Economic Survey 2020-21.
  • The Survey has significantly revealed that PMJAY is being used for high frequency and low cost care consisting with the general utilisation of healthcare services. 
  • It has also shown  that services such as dialysis continued to be utilised without disruption even during the Covid pandemic and the lockdown. 
  • General medicine, the overwhelmingly major clinical specialty accounting for over half the claims, exhibited a V-shaped recovery after falling during the lockdown and reached pre-Covid levels in December 2020. 
  • In view of the fact that the number of dialysis claims has only been growing, the Economic Survey highlights that the National Dialysis Mission could be merged with PMJAY.

PMJAY and Health Outcomes: Difference-In-Difference

The Pre-Budget survey compares the States that implemented PMJAY with those that did not adopt.

Comparing West Bengal with its Neighbouring States

  • Drawing comparison between data from the State of West Bengal with that of the neighbouring States of Bihar, Assam and Sikkim, the Economic Survey has demonstrated that the proportion of households that had health insurance increased in Bihar, Assam and Sikkim from 2015-16 to 2019-20 by 89% while it decreased by 12% over the same period in West Bengal. In addition, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, infant mortality rates declined by 20% for West Bengal. The decline was 28% for the three neighbouring states. Similarly, while Bengal saw a fall of 20% in its under-5 mortality rate, the neighbours witnessed a 27% reduction. Modern methods of contraception, female sterilization and pill usage went up by 36%, 22% and 28% respectively in the three neighbouring states while the respective changes for West Bengal were reportedly negligible. While West Bengal did not witness any significant decline in unmet need for spacing between consecutive kids, the neighbouring three states recorded a 37% fall. Findings have also revealed that various metrics for mother and child care improved more in the three neighbouring states than in West Bengal.

Comparing all States that Adopted PMJAY with those that Did Not

  • The Economic Survey has also compared those states that implemented PMJAY versus the states that did not. 
  • This has reflected significant improvements in several health outcomes in states that implemented PMJAY versus those that did not. The annual Survey observes that, relative to states that did not implement PMJAY, states that adopted it experienced greater penetration of health insurance, experienced a reduction in infant and child mortality rates, realized improved access and utilization of family planning services, and greater awareness about HIV/AIDS. 
  • While some of these effects stemmed directly from enhanced care enabled by insurance coverage, others represent spillover effects due to the same. Even though only a short time has elapsed since its introduction, the effects that are identified by the Survey underscores the potential of the program to significantly alter the health landscape in the country, especially for the vulnerable sections.

The Survey observes that:

  1. The proportion of households with any usual member covered under health insurance or financing scheme increased by 54 per cent from NFHS 4 to NFHS 5 in the states that adopted PMJAY, it decreased by 10 per cent in the states that did not adopt PMJAY, reflecting the success of PMJAY in enhancing health insurance coverage.
  2. The reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) was 20 per cent vis-à-vis 12 per cent in PMJAY and non-PMJAY states respectively, an increment of 8 per cent for states that adopted PMJAY versus those that did not.
  3. The proportion of people ensuring family planning rose across all the states between the two surveys, the increase is much more significant in the states that adopted PM-JAY indicating its effectiveness.
  4. The proportion of women with total unmet family planning needs decreased by 31 per cent in the PMJAY states, the decline in the non-PMJAY states was merely 10 per cent.
  5. The improvement in the delivery care indicators, e.g. institutional births, institutional births in public facilities, and home births are much higher in the states which did not adopt the PMJAY. While there has been an overall increase in the caesarean deliveries, the percentage rise is higher among the PMJAY states as compared to the non-PMJAY states, barring caesarean deliveries in private health facilities. Hence, the Survey observes that PMJAY has not been much effective in terms of ensuring delivery care for births.
  6. The percentage of women who have comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS (per cent) increased remarkably by 13 per cent in the PMJAY states, vis-à-vis an increase of mere 2 per cent in the non-PMJAY states. The difference in respective figures for men is even starker, at 9 percent increase in the PMJAY states and a decrease of 39 per cent in the non-PMJAY states.
  • In March 2018, Government of India rolled out the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) as a historic step to provide secondary and tertiary healthcare services to the most vulnerable sections in the country. 
  • Beneficiaries included approximately 50 crore individuals across 10.74 crores poor and vulnerable families. 
  • The scheme provides for healthcare of up to INR 5 lakh per family per year and secondary and tertiary hospitalization through a network of public and empanelled private healthcare providers.