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Here are the topics covered for 26th December 2023:
GS-1: Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group
GS-3: Education Loan, Disinvestment Target
Facts for Prelims: Palna Scheme, New jumping spiders
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group
- Commencing the campaign for the PM-JANMAN package aimed at Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), the government has set a one-week target to achieve saturation of Aadhaar, caste certificates, and Jan Dhan accounts in 15,000 PVTG habitations across 100 districts.
- PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
- Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development.
- In this context, in 1975, the Government of India initiated to identification of the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs. It declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory (UT), in the country (2011 census).
- The government of India follows the following criteria for the identification of PVTGs.
- Pre-agricultural level of technology
- Low level of literacy
- Economic backwardness
- A declining or stagnant population.
- Accordingly, 75 PTVGs have been identified in the country.
- External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar initiated a five-day visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The visit includes discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Trade Minister Denis Manturov.
Significance of the visit
- Jaishankar is scheduled to meet with Russia\’s Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who serves as the Industry and Trade Minister, to address economic engagement.
- Discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will cover bilateral, multilateral, and international issues.
- The visit also emphasizes the robust people-to-people and cultural connections between India and Russia, featuring engagements in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
- The discussions in Moscow are anticipated to address various issues,
- including trade, connectivity,
- the expansion of the BRICS grouping (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa),
- collaboration at multilateral platforms like the United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, defense cooperation,
- and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
- Education loans in India recorded a notable year-on-year growth of 20.6%, reaching ₹1,10,715 crore in the current financial year until October.
- This surge, as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, marks the highest growth in education loans in the last five years, showcasing a substantial increase from ₹96,853 crore in the same period a year ago.
Factors that Driven this Spurt
- The surge in demand for education loans, experiencing a 20.6% year-on-year growth to ₹1,10,715 crore until October, can be attributed to factors such as a low base and the resurgence of offline campus courses in India and abroad.
- Despite the recent measures by the RBI to tighten credit in certain retail segments, such as increasing risk weights for banks and NBFCs, education loans have been spared, potentially supporting the continued flow of credit to the education sector in the coming months.
- A record 1.40 lakh student visas were issued by the US Embassy and its consulates in India between October 2022 and September 2023. The surge in student admissions, many of which are backed by education loans, has contributed to an increase in the loan portfolio for banks.
- The growth in education loans is attributed to factors such as a hassle-free application and disbursal process.
- NBFCs, including HDFC Credila, are actively participating in the segment, offering loans up to ₹50 lakh without collateral.
- The digitized process, featuring Video Know Your Customer (KYC), ensures speedy disbursal within a week from the application date.
- Rating agency data indicates that NBFCs experienced a 100% growth in education loans (Assets Under Management) in FY23 compared to the previous year.
- As general elections approach, the government\’s privatization efforts have largely stalled. Instead of outright privatization, it is leaning towards minority stake sales on stock exchanges to avoid accusations of selling national assets.
- The disinvestment process entails the government selling its stake in public sector enterprises to strategic or financial buyers through stock exchange shares or direct sales to buyers.
- The funds generated from disinvestment are allocated to finance social and infrastructure projects and reduce the government\’s fiscal deficit.
- There are different forms of disinvestment strategies:
- Minority Disinvestment: The government retains a majority stake (typically greater than 51%), ensuring continued management control.
- Majority Divestment: The government hands over control to the acquiring entity but retains some stake, thereby having a say in strategic decisions.
- Complete Privatisation: In this scenario, 100% control of the company is transferred to the buyer, with the government exiting entirely.
- In India, the disinvestment process is overseen by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), a part of the Ministry of Finance.
- DIPAM manages the government\’s investments in public sector enterprises and is responsible for overseeing the disinvestment of government equity in these enterprises.
- To channel the proceeds from the disinvestment of Central Public Sector Enterprises, the government established the National Investment Fund (NIF) in 2005.
- The NIF serves as a repository for these funds, and its creation was aimed at ensuring that the proceeds are utilized for various social and infrastructure projects while also contributing to reducing the government\’s fiscal deficit.
Facts for Prelims
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development has released guidelines for Mission Shakti, wherein the National Creche Scheme has been restructured and renamed as the Palna Scheme under the \’Samarthya\’ sub-scheme of \’Mission Shakti.\’
- The Palna Scheme introduces the provision of Anganwadi cum Creches, and Stand Alone Creches, formerly under the National Creche Scheme, have been included in the reorganized program.
- The Palna Scheme aims to provide a high-quality crèche care facility, ensuring a safe and secure environment for children.
- The program is designed to support the nutritional, health, and cognitive development of children while enabling mothers to pursue gainful employment.
New jumping spiders
- Researchers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu recently discovered two new jumping spider species under the Afraflacilla genus.
- Afraflacilla kerala was found in Irinjalakuda and Kuttanad, while Afraflacilla adavathurensis was discovered in Adavathur, Tiruchirappalli.
- Prior to this discovery, only three Afraflacilla species were known in the country.
- Distinctive features of these spiders include a dark brown carapace with fine white setae bands and light brown abdomens with lateral white hair bands.
- Jumping spiders of the genus Afraflacilla are widespread from Africa to Australia, with various species found in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
- Recent findings have expanded the presence of the genus to Rajasthan, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
- The total number of known Afraflacilla species has now reached 47, with Africa reporting the highest count at 19.