PIB News 19th Oct, 2020

(General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.)

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shri Parshottam Rupala launches Rs. 10,000 crore NCDC Ayushman Sahakar Fund for creation of healthcare infrastructure by cooperatives
Cooperatives utilizing the scheme would be able to bring revolution in comprehensive health care services in rural areas

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shri Parshottam Rupala today launched AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR, a unique scheme to assist cooperatives play an important role in creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country formulated by the apex autonomous development finance institution under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

Shri Rupala announced that NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of Rs.10,000 Crore in the coming years. He said that the ongoing pandemic has brought into focus the requirement of creation of more facilities. NCDC’s scheme will be a step towards strengthening farmers welfare activities by the Central Government. Shri Rupala said that AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas. He also gave a call to existing cooperatives take up healthcare services as an activity for farmers.

Shri Sundeep Nayak, MD, NCDC added that there are about 52 hospitals across the country run by cooperatives. They have cumulative bed strength of more than 5,000. The NCDC fund would give a boost to provision of healthcare services by cooperatives.

NCDC’s scheme aligns itself with the focus of the National Health Policy, 2017, covering the health systems in all their dimensions- investments in health, organization of healthcare services, access to technologies, development of human resources, encouragement of medical pluralism, affordable health care to farmers etc. It has a comprehensive approach-hospitals, healthcare, medical education, nursing education, paramedical education, health insurance and holistic health systems such as AYUSH. Ayushman Sahakar scheme fund would also assist cooperative hospitals take up medical / Ayush education.

In line with National Digital Heath Mission launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 15th August, 2020, NCDC’s Ayushman Sahakar would bring transformation in rural areas. By virtue of their strong presence in rural areas, cooperatives utilizing the scheme would bring revolution in comprehensive health care services.

Any Cooperative Society with suitable provision in its byelaws to undertake healthcare related activities would be able to access the NCDC fund. NCDC assistance will flow either through the State Governments/ UT Administrations or directly to the eligible cooperatives. Subsidy/ grant from other sources can be dovetailed.

Ayushman Sahakar specifically covers establishment, modernization, expansion, repairs, renovation of hospital and healthcare and education infrastructure encompassing:

  1. Hospitals and/ or Medical/ AYUSH/ Dental/ Nursing/ Pharmacy/ Paramedical/ Physiotherapy Colleges for running UG and /or PG programmes.         
  2. Health insurance accredited by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).
  3. Information and Communication Technology related to digital health,
  4. Logistics health, healthcare and education,
  5. Telemedicine and remote assisted medical procedures,
  6. Any other related centre or services as may be deemed fit by NCDC for assistance,
  7. Reproductive and Child Health services,
  8. Maternal health and Childcare services,
  9. Regimental Therapy of Unani (Ilaj Bil Tadbeer) centre,
  10. Panchkarma/ Thokkanam/ Kshar sutra therapy centre,
  11. Blood Bank / transfusion services,
  12. Diagnostics services,
  13. Laboratory services,
  14. Ophthalmic care centre,
  15. Dental care centre,
  16. Drug testing laboratory,
  17. AYUSH pharmaceutical manufacturing,
  18. Health Club and Gym,
  19. Mobile Clinic Services,
  20. Physiotherapy centre,
  21. Emergency Medical Services / Trauma Centre,
  22. Mental healthcare services,
  23. Health care services for Persons with Disabilities,
  24. Palliative care services,
  25. Health care services for elderly,
  26. Ayurveda, Allopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and other traditional medicine healthcare centres,
  27. Yoga Wellness Centre,

The scheme also provides working capital and margin money to meet operational requirements. The scheme provides interest subvention of one percent to women majority cooperatives.

NCDC was set up under an Act of Parliament in 1963 for promotion and development of cooperatives. Since 1963, it has extended around Rs.1.60 lakh crore as loans to cooperatives.


(General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management, Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.)

CSIR-IHBT makes history by introducing asafoetida (Heeng) cultivation in Indian Himalayan region
CSIR-IHBT brought in seeds of asafoetida and developed its agro-technology
CSIR-IHBT scientists also organized training programs on asafoetida cultivation

Due to efforts of CSIR constituent laboratory, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur, a historical shift in farming practices is in the offing with farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng) to utilize vast expanses of waste land in the cold desert conditions of the region. CSIR-IHBT brought in seeds of asafoetida and developed its agro-technology.

Asafoetida is one of the top condiments and is a high value spice crop in India. India imports about 1200 tonnes of raw asafoetida annually from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan and spends approximately 100 million USDper year. Lack of planting material of Ferula assa-foetida plants in India was a major bottleneck in cultivation of this crop. The first seedling of asafoetida was planted by Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT on 15th October, 2020 at farmer’s field in village Kwaring of Lahaul valley to mark initiation of cultivation of asafoetida in India.

Since asafoetida is a major condiment in Indian cuisines, team CSIR-IHBT made relentless efforts for introduction of this important crop in the country. The institute introduced six accessions of seeds from Iran through ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBPGR), New Delhi in October, 2018. ICAR-NBPGR confirmed that in the past thirty years, this has been the first attempt for introduction of asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida) seeds in the country. CSIR-IHBT raised the plants of heeng at CeHAB, Ribling, Lahaul & Spiti, H.P. under the vigil of NBPGR. The plant prefers cold and dry conditions for its growth and takes approximately five years for the production of oleo-gum resin in its roots, therefore cold desert areas of Indian Himalayan region are suitable for cultivation of asafoetida.

Raw asafoetida is extracted from the fleshy roots of Ferula assa-foetida as an oleo-gum resin. Although, there are about 130 species of Ferula found in the world, but only Ferula assa-foetidais the economically important species used for the production of asafoetida. In India, we do not have Ferula assa-foetida, but other species Ferula jaeschkeana is reported from the western Himalaya (Chamba, HP), and Ferula narthex from Kashmir and Ladakh, which are not the species that yield asafoetida.

Recognizing the efforts of the Institute, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh announced the introduction and cultivation of Heeng in the state in his budget speech, on March 6, 2020. Consequently, MoU between CSIR-IHBT and State Department of Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh was signed on June 6, 2020 for a joint collaboration for the cultivation of heeng in the State. A capacity building program was organized for officers of the State Department of Agriculture from July 20 to 22, 2020 in which twelve officers from different districts of Himachal Pradesh participated.

Further, CSIR-IHBT scientists also organized training programs on asafoetida cultivation and laid out demonstration plots in villages of Madgran, Beeling and Keylong in Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh in collaboration with officers of State Agriculture Department for establishment of seed production chain and cultivation of asafoetidaat commercial scale.


(General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.)


NITI Aayog &AWS Launch Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center in India
First Amazon Web Services Cloud Innovation Center in India; Will Spur Innovation in Agriculture, Healthcare, Education, Infrastructure & Governance

To address societal challenges through digital innovation, NITI Aayog today announced the establishment of a Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) with Amazon Web Services (AWS)—the first of its kind in India.

This CIC is part ofthe AWS CIC Global Program, which provides an opportunity for government agencies, non-profits, and educational institutions, to come together on pressing challenges, apply design thinking, test new ideas, and access the technology expertise of AWS.

“We are seeing public sector organizations around the world use cloud technology to innovate in a fast and agile manner, address problems at scale, and transform public services for citizens,” said Max Peterson, Vice President, International Sales, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Our Cloud Innovation Centers program is designed to be a catalyst for innovation in public sector, by bringing together technology experts to address challenges. We are excited to collaborate with NITI Aayog and support its public sector mission in India.”

‘We are delighted to collaborate with AWS in this endeavour. The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC will be a great enabler to budding innovators and start-ups, and help in piloting state-of-the-art, cloud-centric digital innovations by leveraging emerging technologies such as AI, IOT, robotics, blockchain, etc. It is also aligned to the Prime Minister’s vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, as well that of NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission,’ said AIM (Atal Innovation Mission) Mission Director R. Ramanan. 

“The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center will enable government stakeholders, start-ups, and local organizations in India to innovate and create new approaches to solving problems,” said Anna Roy, Senior Adviser, NITI Aayog “Through the AWS CIC program, we now have the opportunity to experiment with the latest technology, and access world-class expertise that will help us advance citizen services, and better understand how frontier technologies can address the unique needs of our country,”she added.

The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC addresses a core mission: to identify and deploy leading-edge technologies to drive continuous innovation in delivering citizen services. The center will identify and prioritize projects as well ascollaborate with local leaders, including subject matter experts at the state and district levels, to solve critical challenges. Local enterprises, start-ups, researchers, and universities in India can experiment and build prototypes on AWS Cloud.

“With AWS Cloud, public sector organizations get the power of the broadest and deepest cloud services to accelerate their missions andmake the world a better place,” said Rahul Sharma, Regional Head, AISPL Public Sector, AWS India and South Asia. “We are deeply committed to help public sector organizations in India achieve transformational economic and societal impact and look forward to sharing our global experiences to accelerate digital innovation in the country.”

The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CICjoins a global network ofAWS public sector cloud innovation centers across Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, and United States.




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