NEED TO ENHANCE CREDIT IN LIVESTOCK SECTOR

ALLIED SECTOR CONTRIBUTES 40% TO AGRI-SECTOR; GET ONLY 10% OF CREDIT FINANCE

A working group constituted by the Reserve Bank of India in 2019 noted that traditional agricultural farmers have better access to credit than livestock and dairy farmers. As 75% livestock farmers are marginal farmers with 2-4 animals, access to credit continues to be a major challenge in India’s animal husbandry and dairying sectors. The RBI report observed that allied activities (livestock, forestry, and fisheries) receive only 10% of the total agricultural credit while they contribute 40% of the agricultural output.

A major challenge for livestock farmers emanates from the fact that the census defines a farmer based on his landholding. Consequently, it is difficult for farmers without registered land records to avail credit. To remedy the situation, the Government has come up with a series of measures to enhance credit availability and debt financing for farmers and entrepreneurs in the livestock and dairy sector.

Only 41% of small & marginal farmers are covered by public & private sector banks, and that leaves the vast majority vulnerable in the face of usurious moneylenders. So, to remedy the situation, the first significant measure in this context came about in 2019 when the Kisan Credit Card facility was extended to farmers in the livestock sector.

KCC provides for interest subvention of 2% to banks and Prompt Repayment Incentive of 3% is given to farmers on Short Term Loan for agriculture and allied activities up toRs. 3 lakh which makes the effective rate of interest on such loans at 4%.Importantly, KCCcan play an important role in empowering rural women as approximately 70% livestock farmers are women, the majority of whom struggle to access credit due to absence of collateral.

Additionally, the RBI report highlighted the fact that certain states receive more Agri-credit than their Agri-GDP, implying that credit may be diverted for non-agricultural reasons. It thus underscores the issue of regional inequity, as states in the central, eastern, and north-eastern areas received very little Agri-credit as a percentage of their agricultural GDP.

In this context, the government came up with a slew of measures attempting to empower the network of cooperatives beginning with a scheme providing for 4% interest subvention on working capital loan to support Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations during the COVID lockdown under which Rs. 333 crores have been released to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to leverage working capital loan of Rs. 24,000 crore.

Further, dairy farmers struggle from challenges brought about on account of unreliable electricity supply. Consequently, over 3 percent of milk produced gets wasted. To remedy this, the Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Scheme was announced with the objective of providing loan assistance to Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organisations across the country. DIDF seeks to upgrade the entire dairy value chain in the country by incentivising projects focused on infrastructure development.

In the past few decades, the private sector has played a formidable role in the dairy processing infrastructure. Currently, there is a processing infrastructure gap of about 120-130 MMT, which translates into an investment potential of approximately ₹20,000 crore.

If the infrastructure needs for milk processing and distribution are included, then the overall potential investment opportunity is to the tune of Rs. 1,40,000 crore across the dairy value chain. Considering this, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying has come up with a flagship scheme for private companies and entrepreneurs in the form of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) to provide interest subvention on loan for setting up of processing units related to dairy products, meat products, and animal feed. Credit guarantee is an important risk mitigating tool which provides cushion to the lender for lending to MSMEs.

Hence, a credit guarantee fund of Rs 750 crores has been established to provide guaranteed coverage for AHIDF loans up to 25% of the principal loan made available to the borrower. To plug the deficiencies in the value chain, the AHIDF has been revised to extend the scheme to infrastructure related to breed improvement technology, vaccine manufacturing and waste to wealth.

Some of the prime challenges facing our livestock sector pertains to the low productivity levels and lack of affordable quality feed and fodder. Hence, to extend support to farmers in this area, new initiatives have been announced for providing capital subsidy to entrepreneurs towards breed multiplication farms related to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig and commercial backyard poultry hatcheries. Similarly, a 50% capital subsidy scheme is also being implemented for those rural fodder entrepreneurs who are looking for an opportunity to set up facilities related to affordable quality feed supply to livestock farmers. Such programmes of capital subsidy and interest subvention can ensure easy availability of bank loans to livestock farmers.

To boost credit availability, earmarking of term loan for banking institutions under ground level credit targets for livestock related activities was announced in the budget of 2021. Based on 192% achievement of 2021-22 targets, similar earmarking has also been done both for term loan and working capital loan for 2022-23. All such recent measures taken by the Government are thus enhancing credit availability in the livestock sector which in turn would result in a multiplier effect towards entrepreneurship development and wealth creation in rural India.

(All views expressed are personal)

CAN VICE-PRESIDENT BE CHANCELLOR OF PANJAB UNIVERSITY?

ARTICLE 64 OF CONSTITUTION SAYS: VICE-PRESIDENT SHALL NOT HOLD ANY OFFICE OF PROFIT APART FROM BEING EX-OFFICIO CHAIRMAN OF RAJYA SABHA

For many years rather decades, the Vice-President  of India (VPI) is the ex-officio Chancellor of coveted Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh. Apart from PU, the VPI also holds Chancellorship of certain other Central varsities across the country. But now an interesting but significant question has  been raised if he can legally (read constitutionally) hold that post ? 

I have filed a RTI plea with Vice President of India Secretariat seeking complete information quoting Article 64 of Constitution of India which clearly stipulates that the Vice-President shall be ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States and shall not hold any other office of profit. 

There is no statutory sanctity to Vice-President of India being Chancellor of PU since Section 9 of Panjab University Act, 1947 mentions that the Chancellor of the University shall be appointed by the Central Government by Notification in the Gazette of India. The Advocate is unable to trace the ibid requisite Notification as issued by the Centre appointing (or designating) the Vice-President of India as Chancellor of PU. 

Since there is no explicit and comprehensive law on Office of Profit in our country, hence this term continues to be vague till date.  Of course there have been various judicial pronouncements on the subject delivered by various High Courts and Supreme Court of India from time to time but nevertheless the grey area remains. 

As far as Members of Parliament (MPs) are concerned,  it is specifically provided in Article 102(1)(a) of Constitution of India that a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of either House of Parliament if he holds any Office of Profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder. 

In pursuance of the above, a law viz. Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 has been enacted by Parliament which has been amended several times in last six decades and which specifies explicit names and designations of certain offices both under the Government of India as well as Government of different States in the country holding of whom by MPs would not disqualify them as Members of Parliament.

 However, since Vice-President of India is not a member of either House of Parliament, hence apart from Rajya Sabha Chairperson, any other Office of Profit, if held by him, cannot be exempted by Parliament by law  by including the same in the abovementioned 1959 Act, Even otherwise, Parliament cannot do so by enacting any other Act since Article 64 does not permits it to do so. 

Be that as it may, one more interesting point that as far as Article 52 relating to President of India and Article 153 pertaining to Governor of State is concerned, there is no mention in any of the ibid Article that both these constitutional functionaries cannot hold any (other) Office of Profit apart from being President or Governor, as the case may be. 

Pertinent that under Central Universities Act, 2009 the President is the Visitor of all Universities established under the ibid Act in the country as well as certain other Universities established by Parliament under separate enactments across the country. As far as Governor of a State is concerned, he is ex-officio Chancellor of all State (Government) Universities in the State established by various laws enacted by concerned State Legislature apart from being Visitor as regards all Private Universities established in the State.

GHAI’S APPOINTMENT AS AG PUNJAB IN A ROUGH WEATHER

HAS HELD VARIETY OF CASES THAT MAY QUESTION HIS CREDENTIALS AS 

Punjab govt new advocate general  appointment may go in a rough weather as the newly nominated (yet to get appointment letter) Vinod Ghai, is presently a counsel of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) working president and former Food and Civil Supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, against whom the matter concerning alleged “irregularities” to the tune of Rs 2000 crore in grain-lifting tenders, is being probed by Vigilance Bureau of Punjab.

He is also a counsel of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmit Ram Rahim,in a case to dispense with his physical presence and production before a court in connection with a sacrilege-related matter.

Ghai is going to be the second AG, Punjab in AAP’s four month old government in Punjab. In the last ten months, four advocate generals have been changed by successive state governments. After Atul Nanda’s exit, the Channi government appointed APS Deol as the AG Punjab in September, 2021. A little more than a month after his appointment as the state’s top officer, Punjab’s Advocate-General APS Deol tendered his resignation to CM Charanjit Singh Channi.  Then, DS Patwalia was appointed in quick succession on November 19, 2021 and resigned on March 11, 2022. After Atul Nanda’s exit, Anmol Rattan Sidhu is the only AG who completed his four months tenure.

In Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s case, the Vigilance Bureau is probing the case after representatives of small contractors of labour and transport submitted a complaint in this regard. In the above case former advocate general, Punjab Anmol Rattan Singh Sidhu represented the Punjab government and newly appointed AG Punjab Vinod Ghai represented Bharat Bhushan Ashu. Along with Vinod Ghai, Kanika Ahuja and Tarun Seth, has sought that if an FIR is registered against Bharat Bhushan Ashu, he shall not be arrested unless a prior advance notice of atleast seven days is given to him from the date of registration of FIR.

Ashu has submitted in the petition that he took over as Cabinet Minister in 2018, a new policy for procuring of food grains (mainly wheat and paddy) through its Food Procuring Agencies and Food Corporation of India, on behalf of Government of India from various purchase centres or mandis, situated in Punjab was made and the same was approved by the then Punjab Cabinet.

Punjab New Advocate General appointment may run into controversy. Ghai is a counsel of controversial Dera head Gurmit Ram Rahim. In the 2017 violence case after Gurmit Ram Rahim conviction, Vinod Ghai represented Dera in the Punjab and Haryana high court. In Dera chief case, Vinod Ghai had objected to Ram Rahim’s appearance before a trial court in Punjab in connection with a sacrilege case.

Vinod Ghai is also a counsel of former Punjab DGP Sumedh Saini in which Saini was booked under FIR No.77 dated 06.05.2020 registered under Sections 364, 201,344, 330, 219, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 at Police Station City Mataur, District S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali) to which Section 302 of the IPC was added later on regarding SLP No.4336 of 2020 titled Sumedh Singh Saini Vs. State of Punjab.

Vinod Ghai is also a counsel of Shagunpreet Singh, controversial manager of Sidhu Moosewala. Ghai, while representing the petitioner, contended that Shagunpreet Singh never absconded from India and had gone to Australia to meet his friends. But the court denied him bail.

The son of noted criminal lawyer, late RS Ghai, 62-year-old Vinod Ghai is a practicing at Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh since 1989. With specialization in criminal law and designated as a senior advocate since 2012, he is an expert in murder cases. Ghai has argued maximum bail applications and murder appeals in Punjab and Haryana High Court with success.

Earlier, in congress regime, DS Patwalia appointment had been stalled as his elder brother Paramjit Singh Patwalia remained Assistant Solicitor General from 2014 for three years in BJP led NDA government.  Due to this Congress high command raised objections and stalled his appointment as AG Punjab.

NEP AS A GAME-CHANGER, GEARING FOR KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

POLICY TO SERVE AS A FOUNDATION FOR “ATMA NIRBHAR BHARAT” – A SELF RELIANT INDIA

When the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched in 2016 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our greatest challenge then was reaching the last woman standing in the queue in remotest recesses of the country with LPG cylinders.

With a dedicated workforce and tremendous political will, the success of PMUY and the significant impact it had on lives of the most vulnerable has given me confidence that we will be able to undertake the challenging task of implementing the new National Education Policy 2020 that envisages sweeping changes in the sector making our students more equipped to face the challenges of 21st century knowledge economy.

India is one of the youngest countries with more than 50 percent population below 30 years. The benefit of a potential demographic dividend is obvious. But this potential will not remain with us forever. And nor is the translation to a dividend an automatic process. It needs concerted efforts and policy interventions. In fact, some experts suggest that India would be an aging society by 2050, with nearly 20 percent population above 60 years.

Assuming this is true, a simple calculation indicates that we have about a little more than two decades to tap fully into the potential of the youth, or what Prime Minister Modi refers to as the Amrit Kaal, the 25-years leading up to the 100 years of independence. Hence, we cannot have an incremental approach but an overhauling of the system to cater to the needs and aspirations of various categories of our youth.

NEP 2020 is one such transformation in our nation’s journey. In the words of Prime Minister Modi, NEP 2020 will serve as the foundation of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant India. NEP restructures our education ecosystem at all stages from pre-primary to higher education, also reconfiguring it with a skills and research ecosystem. It stands on the four principles of access, quality, equity and affordability.

NEP aims to enhance the gross enrolment ratio in higher education to 50 percent by 2035 from the current level of 27.1 percent instituting the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)—a single regulatory body in place of the University Grants Commission (UGC). It will ensure that regulation, accreditation, funding, and academic standard-setting are performed by

independent and empowered bodies. Some of the many progressive recommendations that the NEP makes are experiential learning at all stages, innovative and activity-based pedagogies, multiple entry/exit options in higher education, multidisciplinary education and establishing an academic bank of credit. There is also much emphasis on internationalization of education and study in India programs with corresponding policy reforms to accommodate these sweeping changes.

While NEP stands for an aspirational education system of the 21st century, it also recognizes immediate challenges. It calls for urgently ensuring that every student attain foundational literacy and numeracy by Grade 3. The national mission on foundational literacy and numeracy called NIPUN Bharat has been launched so that every child in the country attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3 by 2026-27.

It calls for governments at all levels to ensure that the medium of instruction upto at least Grade 5 be in the mother tongue/local language for smoothing the process of learning for children. Our government also focuses on local languages in higher education. This is because the Union government considers all languages as national languages. More than 200 technical books in local languages at the undergraduate level and for diploma courses have recently been launched. Government is consciously trying to promote textbooks including in engineering, medical and legal disciplines in local and official languages. Efforts are being made to make entrance examinations also available in all major languages. At present, engineering and medical entrance exams are conducted in 13 languages to ensure that English doesn’t become a hurdle in access to quality education.

Teachers shape the future of our nation. We need to restore the high respect and status of the profession to inspire and motivate our teachers. Our government is focusing on providing opportunities for self-improvement and continuous professional development. Not only in school education, but the faculty of our colleges and universities shall learn about the latest technologies and innovations and different forms of pedagogies. We are building world-class centers of teacher training across the country. The current budget has also made provisions for digital teachers allocating Rs 6 crores for the purpose.

The last two years have been unprecedented owing to a pandemic running into its third year consequently disrupting social life as well as unexpected geopolitical events. However, the only positive part is that such times give birth to innovations. If we look around, the spirit of our youth to innovate has only increased. There are a number of innovative models that came up during the peak of COVID-19 aftermath in our educational institutes. Based on the principle that global-standard technology is a great equalizer and enabler, the Union budget made provisions for 200 new TV channels for education dissemination, allocating about Rs 930 crores in five years.

The world is at the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution. While we may have missed the first two and tried catching up with the third, we need to ensure that we are leading in the fourth one. Emergent technologies like AI, robotics and automation throw up ample opportunities as well as challenges, also because scores of traditional jobs may fade away.

But it will also bring roles more adapted to a new division of labour between humans, machines, and algorithms. Hence, the window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter, and one must act in the here and now, also ensuring that such initiatives are made at scale to train the vast chunk of the youth.

The 21st century is a century of knowledge. India is one of the oldest civilizations and a knowledge society has a natural advantage to become a ‘captain’ in navigating emerging economies towards a prosperous future. I believe after the Constitution, the NEP 2020 is one document which has been shaped after multiple levels of deliberations, discussions, and participatory dialogues across the country. Similar to the Constitution, the NEP 2020 will lead us out of decades of dilemma and doubt and inculcate a deep-rooted pride in being Indian in thought, spirit, intellect, and deeds. It integrates students, teachers, parents and society for holistic development and achieving their full human potential.

Our youth aspires for work as not just job-seekers but job-creators as well. If we can provide them quality knowledge and skills of today, we will be able to bring India as a Vishwa Guru our freedom fighters dreamt of. The NEP 2020 is designed to do just that. This will be our contribution to nation-building as we mark 75 years of our independence.

KARGIL CONFLICT WAS NOT A WAR, BUT WAS NO LESS

COMMEMORATING VIJAY DIWAS – JULY 26. 527 OFFICERS & MEN LAID THEIR LIVES TO PROTECT TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF OUR NATION. WE SAVE THEM!

On 26th July every year, Kargil Vijay Diwas commemorates the Indian victory in Kargil in 1999 when Indian armed forces evicted the Pakistan Army personnel who had sneaked in and occupied mountain peaks on our territory. It celebrates the bravery of Indian soldiers who prevailed against all odds, and at a great cost. 527 officers and men laid down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of our country in Kargil. They made the nation proud. We salute them.

Kargil conflict was technically not a war, but it was no less than a war, in any respect, least of all in bravery displayed by our soldiers and young leaders. Kargil is a district in Ladakh, with remarkable scenic beauty. The Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan runs through the mountainous and rugged terrain of Kargil. The altitude of these snow-covered mountains ranges from 11000 to 18000 feet.

Why did Pakistan try to occupy the inhospitable snow-covered mountain peaks in Kargil? First, we must understand what happened at the Siachen glacier, to the west of Kargil, over a decade earlier. In the eighties, Indian and Pakistan Armies confronted each other at the Siachen glacier. It was my Battalion that executed the highest attack in the world and captured Pakistan Quaid post at 21153 feet, which was later renamed Bana Top, in honour of Honorary Captain Bana Singh, PVC whose section finally assaulted the post. Stung by this loss, three months later the Special Services Group of Pakistan launched a riposte, which was successfully beaten back. It was launched by their commander, Brig Parvez Musharraf.

He was smarting from that defeat and planned Kargil intrusions when he became Army Chief, initially without political consent. By occupying these mountain peaks, he hoped to cut off the road leading from Srinagar to Leh and Siachen.

In 1999, Pakistan sent soldiers across the LoC in Kargil, in areas lightly held by both sides during winters. This happened when the then PM Vajpayee travelled to Lahore in a bus to take the peace process forward. It was a deception at the national level. We were stabbed in the back.

As a conflict, it was rare, if not unique, that it was not allowed to escalate into a full-blown war by responsible behaviour on India’s part, and unparalleled bravery displayed by our soldiers. Not only was the war limited to the LoC, but it was also localised to Kargil. How was that achieved? Indian Army and Indian Air Force did not cross the LoC, although it would have made operational sense to cut off the enemy forces from their logistic bases by launching operations across the LoC. Our fighter aircrafts could have caused heavy damage to their operational and logistic infrastructure from across the LoC.

WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO RETAIN SANCTITY OF LoC?

Why was it important to retain the sanctity of the LoC after Pakistan had violated it themselves? It was perhaps the only time when two nuclear Nations had gone to war, and the world was watching with bated breath. India displayed its restraint so as to prevent the conflict from going out of proportion. However, this came at a cost. The soldiers had to launch frontal attacks to evict the enemy from the mountain peaks, and all assaults were uphill, making our task much more difficult and riskier.

It was India’s first televised war. On the one hand, the country watched the progress of operations in real time and on the other, it witnessed the human side of war – the supreme sacrifices made by officers and soldiers, the heart-breaking sight of their families, the outpouring of the nationalistic sentiment at the funerals.

When Capt Vikram Batra returned victorious after recapturing a mountain peak, he famously said, “Yeh Dil Maange more…”. He fired up the imagination of the youth, indeed the whole nation. And he laid down his life in the next attack which he led from the front. He was only twenty-four. So were many others – they were all in their early twenties. And they led seasoned soldiers who were ten, some even twenty years older than them.

As a Commanding Officer, I received a telegram from an officer of my unit, who had been boarded out on medical grounds. He wanted to rejoin the battalion to fight the enemy during the war. While there is no provision for such participation, it shows his patriotism, bravery and enthusiasm to participate in combat at grave risk to his life. Such instances abound in our country, and make us proud as Indians.

Kargil conflict also ushered in military reforms. The Kargil Review Committee under K Subrahmanyam recommended many changes to structures and processes. Mr LK Advani led the Group of Ministers and Arun Singh Task Force went into details and Tri-Services structures like HQ Integrated Defence Staff, Andaman & Nicobar Command and Strategic Forces were raised. The government also appointed a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in 2020.

Kargil conflict was unique in many ways, as we have just seen. But the one thing that stands out is the bravery of the soldiers and the young leaders leading from the front. They are all drawn from the youth of India, from rural and urban areas.

The youth who don’t want to make a career in the armed forces, but are filled up with patriotic spirit, can still serve for lesser durations through short service commission or Agnipath. You need not make military service your career to serve the country. You can also serve the country by doing what you do, to the best of your abilities. And if you want to show your respect to a soldier, be a good citizen – a citizen worth dying for. Jai Hind.

(Views of the writer are personal)

CERTIFICATION FOR TRAINED SKILL IN INDIA-II

STEPS FOR CERTIFICATION

·        The technical education department or the approved certifying body shall ask for applications every month from persons who like to be tested and certified.

·        A basic registration cum examination fee as decided which will cater for all categories of persons i.e. for general/reserved categories/ economically weaker sections.

·        After receipt of applications a short training program to get all candidates on the basic and same grid can be conducted.

·        Skill testing including a verbal test will be conducted in which 80% marks will be allotted for skill test and 20% marks will be allotted for verbal examination and a gradation certificate will be issued based on their performance in the tests. Experts will test and grade keeping in view the range of basic to latest technology skills set in a particular profession. Two sample copies of certificates for the proposed certification of skills, competency and experience are enclosed at the end of these paper. Any person who is still found wanting in skills should be then sent to such institutes who run such capsules courses to learn/relearn/upgrade knowledge and skill set.

BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION

For Youth:

·        A large number of youth who are in search of employment without any guidance and direction will get assistance in getting employment in the profession in which they have certain skills

·        Will assist in eradication of unemployment and frustration.

·        Many persons in their advancing age who were not able to study but are competent in their profession will get assistance in employment even at the late age of 45.

For the Government:

·        Government will gain immediate trust of the very large number of persons from all segments of society.

·        It will reduce the headache for the government by reducing the uneasiness/directionless among the youth as more persons will better employment opportunities due to this government approved certification.

·        This will immediately increase trust of youth in the present Government.

·        Will assist Government in fulfilling the promise of providing fruitful employment to a large number of unemployed persons.

·         It will help the industry to recruit suitable persons hither to fore not available in such skills and in such numbers.

·        The government will have ready database available for Strategic Technical Education Manpower Planning of the state.

Common Benefits for Government and Society

·        Reduction in growing trend of drug abuse.

·        Reduction in crime.

·        Improvement in self Confidence of the youth of the state due to technological competency which is being conferred.

No Financial burden on Government Treasury due to this certification

·        No additional burden will be put on the treasury if it decides to conduct the certification on its own as government already has instructors in Industrial Training Institutes to conduct these examinations. Industrial Training Institutes also have tools / Machinery to conduct such tests. The cost of conducting these tests will be compensated by the fee collected for such tests. If any machinery /equipment is required to conduct tests for any specialized profession then assistance from the Government/industry will be sought.

·        On the other hand if it is decided to hand it over to an independent body then that body will make all the arrangement with the best testing equipment for a particular profession and charge a reasonable fee for short training capsule, for the testing and certification.

·        Any reasonable amount of testing fee will be readily accepted by the youth as they will be getting the requisite certification after testing their claimed skills.

Basis of this Non formal Skill and Experience Certification

Almost all developed countries are adopting this system and is active in Canada and Australia. It is also called Challenge / Apprenticeship Examination and is conducted for the foreign / local Apprentices who seek certification of their non formal skills in many foreign countries.

CONCLUSION

If this system of certification of non formal skills and experience is adopted then a very large number of persons in the state will join the league of trained persons. After this system is adopted then more and more competent and experienced youth will get employment in their respective professions and will also get exposure, upgraded training and guidance to get jobs. The Government will have a ready Trained Manpower Reserve pool because this will lead to more number of technically qualified and certified youth in the total population. Due to this the new department of Employment Generation for providing employment to the youth will have a ready reserve pool of skilled manpower and statistics. With the implementation of this scheme, there will be increase in the self confidence of the youth and they will save them from being victims of various ills prevalent in the present day society especially drugs, crimes and other such bad habits. It is basically a win win situation for all the stakeholders – the youth, the parents, the society, the government and the industry.

CERTIFICATION FOR TRAINED SKILL IN INDIA-I

A SEGMENT OF UNDEREMPLOYED ARE SKILLED, NEED CERTIFICAITON TO PROVE SKILL-SET

There is a large segment of un-employed/underemployed persons who are skilled but don’t have a formal certificate to prove their skills and experience. As a result of this they are unable to gain proper employment in the field of their competency. Because of not having any certification which gives out their skills and experience they are denied a chance to gain at useful employment in the Government, semi Government, Non Government agencies and also miss out on foreign placements.

On the contrary whenever they are employed, they are exploited due to this lack of certification and are given much below par salaries. On the contrary whenever they are employed they are exploited due to this lack of certification of their skills and experience.

They are denied promotions, increments and are given much below par salaries. In short they are exploited despite their having skills and experience. More over they are always denied a chance to upgrade their skill set and do continuous training and education because they do not fulfill the certification criteria which is required by institutes or in house training capsules of Govt and private bodies.

I am sure when you had a two wheeler as young man you would have always gone to a particular scooter/motor cycle mechanic whose ITI certificate you never bothered to see but who knew our scooter/bikes auto problems backwards and set them right in a jiffy that too at half the authorised garage costs.

Here I am highlighting the plight of this kind of self taught or non-formally trained technicians. I have tried to suggest a method which is very much followed in most advanced countries but has not been encouraged in INDIA. In short they are exploited despite their having skills and experience.

Reasons for not attaining Formal Technical Certification – These persons are not able to pursue their formal skills training and studies and get employment due to the following reasons:-

Due to ancestral profession being followed by the family:

·        Due to family reasons – as all poor parents send the first born to work so that he/she supports the other or younger siblings to be educated and trained/married off if they happen to be females.

·        Due to ignorance about future job scenario.

·        Due to lack of proper mentoring.

·        Due to economic backwardness and lack of opportunities.

·        Scoring low marks in the matriculation or plus 2/Higher Secondary examinations thus not getting admission in the ITI’s.

Common Skills in which non-formally trained persons exist in large numbers:

·        These are – Welder, Furniture Carpenter, Lathe mechanic, Air Conditioner Mechanic, Plumber, Heavy Tractor/ Truck Mechanic, Scooter / Motorcycle mechanic, Car mechanic, Electricians of house /construction/ home appliances, Tool and Die maker, Mason, Painter, Denter/painter, Earth moving and heavy road construction machinery Mechanic, Auto Electrician, Computer Operator, Computer Hardware Mechanic, etc. Factors which make this Certification of these Non Formal Skills and Experience Necessary

·        The certification of these non formal skills and competency is required due to the following factors:-

REQUIREMENT TO HAVE MORE SKILLED PERSONS FOR FUTURE JOB MARKET When these tests are conducted for the total eligible persons of the state and certification is done for their competency and skills then these persons whose skills and experience is certified there will be a large pool of skilled manpower for all stake holders to choose from.

REQUIREMENT TO BENEFIT LARGE NUMBER WHO HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT OF FORMAL TECHNICAL AND EDUCATION TRAINING FOLD A large number will be benefited with this Certification as their skills and experience will be certified irrespective of their age . They can be tested and certificate of competency and experience will be awarded to bring then into the mainstream of employment. Thus a large population segment shall benefit from this effort of the government. This will encourage the idea of continuous education also to a large extent.

THIS WILL BE A CONTINUOUS EFFORT It should not be one time measure alone but when this scheme is continued then many persons who are unable to get formal technical education in future because of the reasons cited above will keep getting opportunities to get certified for their non formal skills and experience.

THIS CERTIFICATION WILL DECREASE UNEMPLOYMENT With this the unemployed youth will get employment in their own profession and they will not vile away their time in aimless pursuits and this will decrease the problem of unemployment in turn actually as this will assist the youth in getting employment in large numbers.

IT IS DEMAND OF ALL SEGMENTS OF THE SOCIETY WHO WILL STAND TO BENEFIT AND THIS DEMAND CUTS ACROSS MOST SEGMENTS OF SOCIETY BE IT ON CASTE OR ECONOMIC BASIS This will lead to a satisfaction of a large number of persons who will stand to benefit and it is a win-win situation for all the stake holders.

Procedure of this Certification of competency and experience:

Methodology There can be many options of testing these candidates but three are mentioned here. A body of experts who are experts in various skills which are to be certified be will be formed to certify the skills, competency and experience of the applicants who need certification OR This can be a body approved internationally and approved by CII OR May be body of experts or a NGO which is abreast with the current and future skill sets requirement.

This NGO or body of experts will be paid adequate honorarium for their time to keep the process of certification as transparent as possible.

Hence there are distinct options available to choose from and it is imperative to mention here that the process of certification is kept temper proof, free from all kinds of influence and corruption.

INDIA IS FIVE YEARS STRONGER

THE NATION STANDS OUT NOW, AS FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY

Today (July 4), we mark the completion of 5 years since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in our country. It was first discussed in the report of Kelkar Task Force on indirect taxes in 2003 and hence took 13 long years in the making. Since 2017, GST naturally, has faced teething problems.

But more than the teething problems, it has emerged strongly after facing the turbulence of Covid-19 global pandemic and its fall-out. It is to the credit of the GST Council that the centre and the states held each other’s hands together to not just face the crisis but to lift our economy on to recovery. It is this working together that has made India stand out now as the fastest growing economy, as projected by many, this year and the next.

Several countries moved to the GST regime long before India did in 2017. But, the mechanism of the GST Council itself is unique to India. The quasi-federal nature of Indian polity wherein both the centre and states enjoyed independent powers of taxation demanded a unique solution. States of different sizes and in different stages of development with their legacy tax systems had to be brought together under the GST.

States were also in different stages in the use of technology for revenue collection. The GST Council, the constitutional body, and a GST solution unique to India (dual GST) were the answers found to such a demand. With a few exceptions, taxes both of the Centre and the states were subsumed in the GST. Seventeen different laws were merged and a single taxation was brought in through the GST.

For India, the GST Council has played a crucial role in forging a national consensus on key issues of GST – rates, exemptions, business processes and movement of ITC etc.

Over 63.9 lakh taxpayers migrated into the GST in July 2017. This number has more than doubled to over 1.38 crore taxpayers as of June 2022. Over 41.53 lakh taxpayers and 67 thousand transporters are enrolled on the e-way portal, on an average generating 7.81 crore e-way bills. Since the launch of the system, a total of 292 crore e-way bills have been generated of which 42% are for the inter-state transport of goods. This year 31st May saw the highest single day generation of 31,56,013 e-way bills.

The average monthly collections have increased from Rs 1.04 lakh crores in 2020-21 to Rs 1.24 lakh crores in ’21-22. In the first 2 months of this year the average collections are Rs. 1.55 lakh crores. It is a reasonable and fair expectation that this steady increasing trend will continue.

GST has eliminated the tax arbitrage that existed among Indian states under the CST/VAT regime. An intrusive control system, then, involving border check posts and physical verification of goods-laden-trucks played havoc resulting in loss of time and fuel. As a result the logistics chain for movement of cargo, even within the country, could not acquire scale and efficiency. Logistics costs were estimated to contribute as much as 15% to the cost of goods.

With no such arbitrage under the IGST and with the e-way bills, the logistics supply chain efficiencies have increased manifold. With our focus on multi-modal transport and now with PM Gati Shakti these gains are only sure to multiply.

In the pre-GST regime, on most of the items, the combined centre and states rates were more than 31%. However, under the GST, the rates of over 400 goods and 80 services have been reduced. The highest 28% rate is restricted to sin and luxury items. Out of a total of 230 items which were in the 28% slab close to 200 items have been shifted to lower slabs.

Special attention has been paid to the needs of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).The objective continues to be that their tax and compliance burden be kept low. Equally, it was important to ensure that they remain integrated with the supply chain for the purpose of ITC. In this context, there were two important steps that were taken up: the enhancement of the threshold exemption limit from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh for goods and the introduction of the Quarterly Returns and Monthly Payments (QRMP) scheme which has the potential to benefit 89% of the taxpayers.

Since inception, the administration of GST continues to be IT based and fully automated. The creation of GSTN, a professionally managed technology company to run the platform was a step in the right direction. Constant review and upgrading of the hardware and software capacities have helped in keeping the system nimble.

The system of automated IGST refunds by Customs and refund of accumulated input tax credit (ITC) to exporters by the GST authorities has made the neutralisation of input taxes on export goods and services seamless and hassle-free.

It is noteworthy that most litigations on GST matters have centred around issues such as ITC, powers available to the GST officers on aspects of enforcement such as issuing of summons, arrest of persons, attachment of property for recoveries etc. Even in the much highlighted recent judgement of the Hon. In Supreme Court in the case of Mohit Minerals vs UoI, the Court has not set aside or altered the fundamental features of the GST.

Asim Dasgupta, Finance Minister of West Bengal for 24 years, was the Chairperson of the Empowered Group of State Finance Ministers from 2000-2010. The first formulation of the GST laws was made in 2009. In an interview given to a business newspaper on 2 July 2017, he highlighted the significant features of the GST, which remain intact to this day: “The States never had the power to levy Service Tax. States have been asking from the very beginning for the power to levy Service Tax, and not simply [get] a share of it, With GST that has been brought in.”

He further added, “The Empowered Committee has been taking a firm stand on the autonomy of the States. The GST Council, incidentally, is a recommendatory body to Parliament for Central GST and to Assemblies for the State GST. Technically, the legislature may or may not accept it. So, this power of the legislature has not been taken away.”

Importantly, Dasgupta says, “As far as the rates are concerned, States and the Centre together are accepting a kind of single tax for both. So, in a sense, there is a partial sacrifice of States and the Centre in the interest of cooperative federalism. GST is giving additional powers to the State in terms of service tax. Half of the state’s domestic product is services.”

Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on the completion of 2 years of GST said in his blog, “…GST proved to be both consumer and assessee friendly.” Thanks to the positivity shown by the taxpayers and the assessee’s embracing technology, GST, indeed has made India a single market

PUNJAB EX-MLAs WAIT PENSION SINCE MARCH MONTH

AS AMENDMENT BILL AWAITING GOVERNOR’S ASSENT PENSION DISBURSAL ON HOLD; CURRENT RATE OF DEARNESS ALLOWANCE ADMISSIBLE TO FORMER MLAs IS HIGHER THAN PUNJAB GOVT PENSIONERS

It has been three weeks since the House of Punjab Legislative Assembly on the last day of recently concluded Second  (Budget) Session on June 30 this year passed The Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical  Facilities Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022 which thereafter was sent to State Governor  for  his assent after which it would get notified & enforced as a duly enacted Act.  

Pertinent that days after incumbent Aam Aadmi  Party (AAP) Government led by Bhagwant Mann assumed reins of power in March this year, it  took a bold and unprecedented decision that all Ex/former members (MLAs) of Punjab Assembly would be entitled  to get Pension for only one term irrespective of the fact that they had served as member of Assembly for how many terms and also irrespective of the tenures of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. 

On May 2, the Punjab Cabinet approved the appropriate amendment in The Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Act, 1977 for enabling such change.  However, AAP dispensation was not able to enforce the same at once via promulgation of  Ordinance from the Governor Banwarilal Purohit as he returned the same in last week of May by asking the State Government that since the next Assembly Session was then due soon, hence it should be brought in the form of a Bill in the ensuring Session.

Thereafter, the  Amendment Bill  i.e. The Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical  Facilities Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022 after being tabled in tje Assembly on  June 30, 2022 was passed the same day and is currently  pending awaiting assent of the Governor of Punjab. 

However, in the meanwhile,  ex-MLAs of Punjab Assembly including of previous 15th Punjab Assembly, which was dissolved with effect from March 11, 2022,  have not been getting their monthly Pension since the month of March, 2022. 

after perusing the text of the aforementioned Amendment Bill as passed by the House asserts that as per its Clause 1(2), it would eventually have prospective (future) and not retrospective (previous) effect i.e. in other words it would come into force from the date of its publication in the Punjab Government Gazette after receiving the assent of the Governor of Punjab. Hence, there is no rationale for withholding the Pension of former MLAs for the last three months. 

After due enactment followed by enforcement of aforementioned Amendment law, the ex-MLAs are supposed to receive a pension of sixty thousand rupees per mensem plus Dearness Allowance (DA) thereon as admissible to the Punjab Government pensioners irrespective of the number of terms an Ex-MLA has served as a member and irrespective of the tenures of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in which he had served as a member.  However such ex-MLA after attaining the age of 65 years, 75 years and 80 years would be entitled to an increase of five percent, ten per cent and fifteen per cent respectively of the basic pension.

Currently an Ex-MLA receives a pension of 15 thousand rupees per mensem plus DA thereon as admissible to Punjab Government Pensioners for the first term and an additional ten thousand rupees plus DA thereon as admissible to Punjab Government Pensioners for every subsequent term  irrespective of the tenures of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in which he had served as a Member.  However, after attaining the age of 65 years, 75 years and 80 years, such Ex-MLA is entitled to an increase of five percent, ten per cent and fifteen per cent respectively of the basic pension. 

There is an interesting catch here. Although the current rate of DA for Punjab Government Pensioners is 28% hence on that count, a former MLA  with a single term as member of Punjab Assembly and who is below 65 years of age seems to entitled to  monthly pension of only  nineteen thousand two hundred rupees but the fact is that ex-MLAs are actually getting much more DA than Punjab  Government Pensioners. 

For example,  a former MLA with a single term as member of Punjab Assembly apart from getting  fifteen thousand rupees as basic pension is additionally getting 50 percent of such amount i.e. seven thousand five hundred rupees as merged DA and further 234% gets added more as DA thus total Pension amount becomes over seventy five thousand rupees. This is when an ex-MLA is below sixty five years of age. The amount would increase further if the former legislator is over 65, 75 and 80 years of age. 

On the other hand, after enforcement of amended law, an ex-MLA with a single term  as member of Punjab Assembly and who is below 65 years of age would get rupees sixty thousand rupees as basic pension.

Now if  50 percent of such amount is added therein as merged DA and further 234% gets added more as DA, as is the case currently,  then the total Pension amount of such ex-MLA would become over three lakh rupees.

However, if only  28% (current rate of DA for Punjab Government Pensioners) is added to the basic pension of sixty thousand rupees, then it  would make the Pension amount as seventy six thousand eight hundred rupees for every single-term ex-MLA who is below 65 years. 

It remains to be seen if under the new arrangement i.e. post enforcement of recently amended law, which of the above rate of DA would be admissible to ex-MLAs of Punjab Assembly on their monthly Pension amount ?

SRI AKAL TAKHAT SAHIB VERSUS SHIROMANI AKALI DAL

AKALIS’ JULY 20 PROTEST AT JANTAR MANTAR SANS ALL THE MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE CONSTITUTED AT THE INSISTENCE OF HIGHEST TEMPORAL SEAT OF SIKHS FOR RELEASE OF DETENUES SIKHS

Recently a protest march for release of Sikh prisoners was organized at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal supported by other parties in which apart from others Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Sri Amritsar’s President Harjinder Singh Dhami, Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi (SADD) President Paramjit Singh Sarna and JAGO Party’s President Manjit Singh G.K. also participated alongwith their supporters.

It was but natural to raise questions on this protest march because absence of 6 members out of 11 members Committee constituted under the patronage of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib namely Head of Damdami Taksal Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, Head of Nihang Singh Tarna Dal Haria Vela Baba Nihal Singh, President of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann, President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Harmeet Singh Kalka, President of Haryana Gurdwara Committee & Sikh preacher Baljeet Singh Daduwal and President of Management Committee of Takhat Sri Hazur Sahib Bhupinder Singh Minhas was noticed.

Position of Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal became embarrassing when they confronted Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other Cabinet Ministers with placards in the premises of the Parliament House but their repeated requests to release the Sikh prisoners went unnoticed by these Ministers who did not care to listen to them.

Till now, it is not clear that under whose behest this protest march was organized because if it was from Shiromani Akali Dal than as per information received, why more than 200 employees were deployed in this march by the SGPC under written orders and why its President Harjinder Singh Dhami, SAD Delhi President Paramjit Singh Sarna and JAGO Party President Manjit Singh G.K. participated?

If this protest march was organized by the Sri Akal Takhat Sahib’s constituted 11 members Committee, then why are 6 remaining members not invited ? It is pertinent to say that the DSGMC office bearers through their Press Conference raised strong objection for not including Delhi Gurdwara Committee in this protest march.

In view of such circumstances, it is quite clear that the participating members left apart the main motive of the 11 members Committee and decided to organize a protest march on their own with their selfish motive and now they have no much interest in the so called Committee.

It cannot also be denied that the so-called Sikh leaders are embracing and giving clean chits to each other’s to save their downward image and to get control of the DSGMC, whether may be the Delhi unit SAD President Avtar Singh Hit, JAGO Party President Manjit Singh G.K. or SADD president Paramjit Singh Sarna.

On the other side, no fruitful progress has been made by the said 11 member’s Committee due to their internal fights because after lapse of more than 2 months, this Committee failed to hold meeting with either the Prime Minister or Union Home Minister for release of Sikh Prisoners or to approach the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Delhi for release of Sikh Prisoners Bhai Gurdip Singh Khera & Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.

No news of any movement of other decisions of this Committee viz. constitution of an Advisory Committee of retired Sikh Judges of Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts, setting up of other sub-committee and collection of data of Sikh Prisoners lodged in various Jails in India etc.

The Jathedar Sahib of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib should take cognizance of this entire episode and see why some interested parties of this 11 members Committee constituted under Orders of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib are organizing protest march on their own by diverting from the main motive, which can create more hurdles for release of Sikh Prisoners.