Shri Arun Jaitley inaugurates Multimedia Exhibition on Former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs, and Information & Broadcasting Shri Arun Jaitley has said, the Multimedia Exhibition mounted by DAVP on the former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee would serve as an inspiration and learning to the people in understanding the life and contributions of Shri Vajpayee as a politician, statesman, and poet. Shri Jaitley stated this while inaugurating the Multimedia Exhibition being organized on the occasion of the 90th birthday of former Prime Minister at IGNCA complex here today. 

The exhibition will portray the life of Shri Vajpayee Ji, through a display of around 250 photographs which reflect his vibrant personality. These rare pictures not only take the visitors through the political journey of this visionary leader, but also provide a glimpse into the diverse phases of his life - as a poet and a great thinker. At this event, different facets of Vajpayee Ji’s life will be showcased through photo and electronic exhibition. Scrollers, Translites, LED walls, Large Fascia and Title Boards will be the major attractions of the exhibition. 

Apart from this, a drawing and quiz competition will also be organized on the occasion. The Film Division of the Ministry will screen three films based on the life of the former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Photo Division has provided the photos being mounted at the Exhibition. The Song and Drama Division of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will be giving cultural performances during the Exhibition. Publication Division has organized a Book Exhibition at the venue. Doordarshan has provided short-films to highlight the achievements of the former Prime Minister Shri Vajpayee. Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col. R.S Rathore, Shri Bimal Julka, Secretary, I&B and other senior officials of the Ministry were also present on the occasion. 

The exhibition will be open to public from 20th December, 2014 to 25th December, 2014 daily from 11AM to 6PM.


Key Indicators of Debt and Investment in India for 2013

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the key indicators of debt and investment in India, generated from the data collected during January 2013 to December 2013 in its 70th round survey. NSS All India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS) are conducted decennially starting from 26thround (1971-1972) and the last survey was conducted in NSS 59th round (January to December, 2003).

      The All India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS) aims at generating average value of assets, average value of outstanding debt per household and incidence of indebtedness, separately for the rural and urban sectors of the country, for States and Union Territories, and for different socio-economic groups.  These indicators are amongst the most important measures of the indebtedness of the respective domains of the population and are crucial inputs for estimation of credit structure.  The detailed results of this survey on debt and investment are planned to be brought out by the NSSO through a set of four main reports.  In order to make available the salient results of the survey, well in advance of the release of its reports, for use in planning, policy formulation, for decision support and as input for further statistical exercises, the NSSO has released the key indicators.

      The key indicators are based on the Central Sample consisting of 4,529 villages in rural areas and 3,507 urban blocks spread over all States and Union Territories of the country.

The required information was collected from a set of sample households through two visits to each household.  On considerations of operational necessity, the survey period of the first visit was seven months from January 2013 to July 2013 and the survey period of the second visit was of five months duration from August to December 2013. The total number of households from which information was collected, was 62,135 in rural India and 48,665 in urban India in Visit 1 and 61,650 in rural India and 46,771 in urban India in Visit 2.

The average value of assets (AVA), percentage of indebted households, representing incidence of indebtedness (IOI) and average amount of debt (AOD) per household and ‘debt-asset ratio’ which is defined as the average amount of debt outstanding for a group of households expressed as a percentage of the average value of assets owned by them as on 30.06.2012 for rural and urban areas of India are presented in Table below:

Table : AVA, IOI and AOD for rural and urban India

AVA (Rs.) per household
AOD per household (Rs.)
IOI (%)
Debt-Asset Ratio(%)
rural India

urban India

Some salient findings of (i) Household Assets, (ii) Household Indebtedness and (iii) Fixed Capital Expenditure obtained from the survey are as follows:

Ø     Around 98% of rural households and around 94% of urban households in India owned some physical and financial assets as on 30.06.2012. Average value of assets (AVA) owned by a household was Rs. 10.07 lakh for the rural areas and Rs. 22.85 lakh for the urban areas.
Ø     Land and building were found to be the two major components of household assets. In the rural areas, landand buildings together, accounted for 94% share in the total value of assets at the national level - with land 73 percentage points and buildings 21 percentage points. In the urban areas, land and buildings together, accounted for about 92% share in the total value of assets - with land 47 percentage points and buildings 45 percentage points.
Ø     About 31% of the rural households and 22% of the urban households reported debt (cash loan) outstanding as on 30.6.12. The average amount of debt (AOD) for a rural household was Rs. 32,522 and that for an urban household was Rs. 84,625.
Ø     As on 30.6.12, the `debt-asset` ratio at the all-India level was 3.7% for urban areas and 3.23% for rural areas.
Ø     Around 31% of the rural households and 15.2% of the urban households reported fixed capital expenditure and the average amount of expenditure for fixed capital formation is Rs. 10,717 in rural and Rs. 14,493 urban India.        
Ø      Among the social groups, in rural India, IOI (16.9%) was lowest for ST households and highest (35.7%) for OBC households. On the other hand, AOD was lowest for ST households (Rs. 9,610) and highest for ‘Others’ households (Rs. 44,565). In urban India, the lowest IOI was again that of the ST households (16.4%) and the highest that of OBC (26.0%).  But the IOI for ‘others’ was only 19% – lower than that of SC. The relative position of the four social groups, in terms of AOD, was found to be the same as in the rural areas.
Ø     The results of the survey show that non-institutional agencies played a major role in advancing credit to the households, particularly in rural India. The non-institutional agencies had advanced credit to 19% of rural households, while the institutional agencies had advanced credit to 17% households.  In urban India, the picture is different; the institutional agencies appear to have played a major role, advancing credit to 15% of households against 10% by non-institutional agencies.
Ø     The indebtedness as on 30.06.2012, with simple interest is predominant for both rural (20.3%) and urban (13.4%) households. IOI for ‘interest-free loans’ (mainly taken from friends and relatives) was also quite significant - with 6.5% in the rural and 4.4% in the urban.
Ø     The institutional agencies played a significant role in providing credit to the households with a moderate rate of interest (6% to 15%) for both rural and urban area. It is observed that among Total Cash Dues (TCD) funded by the institutional agencies, about 89% in the rural and 92% in the urban were provided at less than 15% interest rates. On the other hand, the non-institutional agencies provided a significant amount of its total loans to households at an interest as high as 20% or above, the share of such loans to total loans by the non-institutional agencies was 69% in the rural and 58% in the urban.
Ø     About 65% of total amount of cash debt outstanding on 30.06.12 among rural households and 52% of the same among urban households had been contracted for a relatively shorter duration of less than 2 years and meagre 2% for a period of 10 years or more for both the sectors.
Detailed publication on above Key Indicators is also available on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.


Key Indicators of Land and Livestock Holdings in India released

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, conducted a survey on Land and Livestock Holdings in the rural areas of the country as a part of NSS 70th Round during January, 2013 to December, 2013.  Similar survey on the same subject was last conducted by NSSO ten years back i.e. during January, 2003 - December, 2003 as a part of its 59th Round. 
   NSSO has released the key indicators of Land and Livestock Holdings in India based on the data collected in the 70thRound Survey.  The detailed results of the survey are planned to be released in two main reports, one on ‘Household ownership and Operational holdings in India’ and the other on ‘Livestock holdings in India’.
   The main objective of the survey on Land and Livestock is to generate basic quantitative information on the agrarian structure of the country relevant to land policy. Detailed quantitative information on various aspects of land ownership holdings, operational holdings and ownership of livestock was collected in the survey. The collected information includes area of plots, type of use of plots, leasing pattern, ownership of plots, irrigation facility, type of crop production/farming, number of different types of livestock owned, etc.
          The survey covered the entire rural areas of the Indian Union. The results of the survey are based only on the Central Sample canvassed by NSSO, consisting of 4,529 villages spread over rural areas of all States and Union Territories. The information of the round was collected in two visits from the same set of sample households. The first visit was made during January 2013– July 2013 and the second, during August, 2013 - December 2013.  A total number of 35,604 households were surveyed in first visit and 35, 337 of them in second visit.
        Some key indicators on various aspects of land and livestock holdings by the rural households in the country are as follows:
A.    Ownership of  Land

·         During the agricultural year July, 2012- June, 2013, rural India had an estimated total area of 92.3 million hectares under household ownership of land and the average area owned per household was 0.592 hectares.
·         Within the rural households, the marginal land owners (i.e. possessing more than 0.002 but less than or equal to 1.0 hectare of land) constituted the highest proportion(75.42%)  of total rural households, whereas the large land owners (possessing land more than 10.000 hectares) constituted the lowest proportion (0.24% ) of the total households.  Thelandless category (possessing land less than or equal 0.002 hectare) constituted 7.41% of the total rural households.
·         In terms of percentage of total area owned, the largest category was the marginal land owners (i.e. possessing more than 0.002 but less than or equal to 1.0 hectare of land) owing 29.75% of the total land area owned.
·         Among all the ownership holdings, the households with self-employed in cultivation as the major source of income, owned the highest share of land (81.4% of the total land area owned) with average area owned 1.104 hectares. Share of land owned by the households with self-employed in livestock farming and the households with self-employed inother agricultural activities were 1.5% each of the total land area owned.

B.     Operational Holding of Land

·         During the agricultural year July,2012- June,2013, rural India had an estimated 108 million household operational holdings, covering a total area of 98.6 million hectares of land. The average area operated per holding (ha) was estimated at 0.907 hectares. 

Trends in cultivation pattern
·         88.6% of the household operational holdings were operated for the whole agricultural year, whereas 8.5% was operated only during July,2012 to December,2012, and 2.9% only during January,2013 to June,2013.
·         The land use pattern shows that the estimated land area used for crop production was around 94.7% during theseason July,2012 – December,2012 and around 79% during the season January,2013 – June2013.  Percentage areas of land used for non-agricultural purposes were 2.83% and 13.85% in these two periods respectively.  
·         The highest percentage of area was used for growing cereals in both the periods July, 2012 – December, 2012 (56.21%) and January,2013 – June,2013 (57.74%). The next major use of land was for production of oil seeds(13.75% and 7.34%) and pulses (6.30% and 10.20%) in the two seasons respectively.
·         At all India level, the major source of irrigation was ground water (tube well, well, etc) covering 67% of irrigated land area during July, 2012-December, 2012 and 71% during January,2013-June, 2013.
·         During the season July, 2012 – December, 2012, the major States where land area was mostly affected by flood included Andhra Pradesh (26%), Assam (23%), Bihar (17%) and West Bengal (13%) . Amongst these, agricultural activities were mostly affected by flood in the States of Assam (7%) and West Bengal (4%).
Trends in Livestock Farming
·         Among the land used for animal farming (i.e., dairy, poultry/ duckery, piggery, fishery and farming of other animals) the major use of land was made in dairy (53.8% and 69.7%) in July, 2012 – December, 2012 and January, 2013 – June, 2013 respectively. In about, 18.7% and 11.8% of land area was used for fishery during the two seasons.
·         The percentage of area used for all types of farming of animals is 0.97% in July,2012 – December,2012 and 1.69 % during January,2013 – June,2013. Also, 36.69% of household operational holdings reported farming of animals in July, 2012 – December, 2012, and 43.58% reported in January, 2013 – June, 2013.

C.        Stock of Livestock/Poultry Birds holding in the country
·         The stock of cattle and buffalo of the country was estimated at 204 million during     2012-13. The estimated population of sheep & goat during the period was about 99 million.
·         The population of poultry birds has been estimated at 255 million during the year     2012-13.  
The publication based on above cited Key Indicators is also available on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.


Key Indicators of Situation of Agricultural Households in India

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, conductedSituation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households in its 70th round (January – December, 2013).  The detailed results of this survey will be brought out through a series of three reports.  In order to make available the salient results of the survey to the data users, well in advance of the release of the main reports, NSSO has released the key indicators ofsituation of agricultural households in India. NSSO conducted a similar survey on ‘Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers’during January - December, 2003 in the rural areas of the country as part of its 59th round. 
            The survey covered the whole of the Indian Union. The survey aimed at capturing the condition of agricultural households in the rural areas of the country in the context of policies and programmes of Government of India. It was designed to collect information on various aspects relating to farming and other socio-economic characteristics of agricultural households. Information on consumer expenditure, information on income and productive assets, their indebtedness, farming practices and preferences, resource availability, awareness of technological developments, access to modern technology in the field of agriculture and information on crop loss & crop insurance was also collected. With a view to collect relevant information, separately for the two major agricultural seasons in a year, the same set of sample households was visited two times during the survey period.  The first visit was made during January- July 2013 and the second during August- December 2013.  The reference period for data collection was the agricultural year July 2012- June 2013.
            An agricultural household for this survey was defined as a household receiving  value of produce, more than Rs.3000/- from agricultural and having at least one member self-employed in agriculture either in the principal status or in subsidiary status during last 365 days.  On the other hand, in the ‘Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers’ conducted in NSS 59th Round, a ‘farmer’ was defined as a person who possesses some land and is engaged in some agricultural activities on that land during last 365 days preceding the date of survey. Thus the definition followed in NSS 59th Round had kept all agricultural activities of persons outside the scope of the survey which did not possess and operate any land.
Due to the change in coverage and difference in some important concepts and definitions followed in this surveyvis-a-vis the 59th round survey, the results of these two rounds are not strictly comparable. While making any comparison of results of these two rounds, sufficient care should be taken to account for these differences.
The results of the survey are based on the Central Sample canvassed by NSSO, consisting of 4,529 villages spread over rural areas of all States and Union Territories. A total number of 35,200 households were surveyed in first visit and 34,907 of them could be re-surveyed in second visit. Some salient findings of the survey regarding situation of agricultural households in the country are as follows:

A.    Number of Agricultural households
·         During the agricultural year July 2012- June 2013, rural India had an estimated total of 90.2 million agricultural households, which constituted about 57.8 percent of the total estimated rural households of the country during the same period.
·         Uttar Pradesh, with an estimate of 18.05 million agricultural households, accounted for about 20 percent of all agricultural households in the country.
·         Rajasthan had highest percentage of agricultural households (78.4 percent) among its rural households and Kerala had the least percentage share of agricultural households (27.3 percent) in its rural households.
  • Out of the total estimated agricultural households in the country, about 45 percent belonged to Other Backward Classes.
  • About 16 percent agricultural households were from Scheduled Castes and 13 percent from Scheduled Tribes.
B.     Source of Income  of Agricultural households
·         Principal source of income of agricultural households is largely determined by the extent of land possession.
·         Majority of the agricultural households which possessed more than 0.40 hectare land,  reported cultivation as their principal source of income.
·         Among the agricultural households having less than 0.01 hectare land, about 56 percent reported wage/salary employment as their principal source of income and another 23 percent reported livestock as their principal source of income.
·         Agricultural activity (cultivation, livestock and other agricultural activities) was reported to be the principal source of income for majority of the agricultural households in all the major States, except Kerala where about 61 percent of the agricultural households reported to have received maximum income from sources other than agricultural activities.
  • About 44 percent of the estimated agricultural households in the country had MGNREGA job card during the survey period.
  • In rural India about 12 percent agricultural households did not possess any ration card as on the date of the survey.
  • BPL card was possessed by about 36 percent of the estimated agricultural households and another 5 percent possessed ‘Antyodaya’ cards.
  • About 13 percent agricultural households having land less than 0.01 hectare did not have ration card.
C.    Possession of Land by Agricultural households
  • About 0.1 percent of the estimated agricultural households in rural India were landless.
  • About 93 percent of agricultural households in the country possessed some type of land other than ‘homestead land only’ and little less than 7 percent possessed only homestead land.
  • Around 78.5 percent of the agricultural households did not possess any land outside the village they were residing during the survey period.
  • Among the households reported land possession outside the village, about 17.5 percent had land within the State itself and about 4 percent had land outside the State.
D.    Income, investment and indebtedness
  • About 52 percent of the agricultural households in the country were estimated to be indebted.
  • Among the major States, Andhra Pradesh had the highest share of indebted agricultural households in the country (92.9 percent) followed by Telengana (89.1 percent) and Tamil Nadu (82.5 percent).
  • In rural India, about 60 percent of the amount of outstanding loans taken by the agricultural households was taken from the institutional sources, which included Government (2.1 percent), Co-operative society (14.8 percent) and banks (42.9 percent).
  • Share of income of agricultural households from non-farm business in their average monthly income decreased with increase in land possession.
  • Net investment in productive assets per agricultural household increased with increase in land size.
E.     Farming practices, crop insurance etc.
  • Of the estimated 90.2 million agricultural households in the country, 86.5 percent households were engaged in crop production during the period July 2012- December 2012.
  • The average gross cropped area per agricultural household during this period was 0.937 hectare.
  • The survey results indicated that very small segment of agricultural households utilized crop insurance.
  • Lack of awareness was the most reported reason by the agricultural households for not insuring their crops during the agricultural year July 2012- June 2013.
The publication related to above cited Key Indicators is also available on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.


Indian Railways to Run Three More Pilgrim Special Tourist Trains

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a public sector undertaking of Ministry of Railways, have operated seven Pilgrim special tourist trains from 25.10.2014 to 19.12.2014 and further three trains are planned till 12.1.2015. IRCTC plans to continue operating these trains in 2015-16. New pilgrim destinations covered are Bijapur, Solapur, Badami, Melmaruvathur, Vaitheeswarankoil, Thiruvenkadu, Keelaperumpallam, Thirunallar, Alangudi, Surianarkoil, Kanjanur, Thirunageshwaram, Thingalur, Parasnath, St. Francis Xavier (Old Goa), Mecca Masjid (Hyderabd), Nanded Sahib, Nanak Jhira Gurudwara, Sri Patna Sahib, Kanchipuram etc. 

Indian Railways promotes tourism by providing connectivity through trains to tourist destinations across the country. In addition, exclusive tourist trains/packages are also operated. 

Promotion of tourism by linking tourist places with tourist trains is a continuous process based on market demand, operational feasibility and availability of resources. 

Pilgrim special tourist trains were announced in Railway Budget 2014-15 with the purpose of connecting various pilgrim destinations across India. This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today. 


Consultations with different stakeholders for setting up of new institution for policy planning is underway

The Government has decided to replace the present Planning Commission with new Institution. Towards this end, the process of consultation with different stakeholders is underway. Suggestions from public have been sought. Prime Minister has also held a consultation meeting with the Chief Ministers on December 7, 2014. However, this decision does not affect the continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (including MGNREGA) which are being implemented by the Central Ministries and for which budgetary provisions have already been made in the Budget of 2014-15. This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Planning, Shri Rao Inderjit Singh in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

The Minister clarified that in so far as the Public Distribution System (PDS) is concerned, the same is being implemented as a joint responsibility of Central Government and the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations. The expenditure for PDS is predominantly in the form of food subsidy, which is a non-Plan expenditure and allocation for which has already been made by the Ministry of Finance for the year 2014-15. Besides, the Government has enacted the National Food Security Act 2013, which seeks to provide food and nutritional security, in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity. 


Electricity Act Amendment Bill, 2014 Introduced in Lok Sabha; Changes Aimed at Promoting Competition, Efficiency in Operations and Improvement in Quality of Supply of Electricity

The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced today in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State (I/c) for Power, Coal and New& Renewable Energy Shri. Piyush Goyal.  The amendments will usher in much needed further reforms in the power sector. It will also promote competition, efficiency in operations and improvement in quality of supply of electricity in the country resulting in capacity addition and ultimate benefit to the consumers. 

The Electricity Act, 2003 was enacted to amalgamate and modernize the earlier Electricity Laws, namely, the Indian Electricity Act, 1910, the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 and the Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998.  The Act was reviewed and amended twice, in the year 2004 and 2007, to give effect to certain changes considered necessary.

Based on the experience gained over the years, it was felt to review the provisions further to bring efficiency and competition in the distribution sector, strengthening grid security and safety, promotion of renewable energy, rationalization of tariff and strengthening and performance oversight of Regulatory Commissions etc.

            Certain legislative changes were suggested by the Working Group on power for the formulation of 12thFive Year Plan which were further examined under a Committee constituted under Chairperson, CEA.  Based on the recommendations of the said Committee, the proposed amendments were uploaded on the website of Ministry of Power in the month of October, 2013. Thereafter, consultations were held with various stakeholders including those from Central Ministries, State Governments, Generation, Transmission, Distribution utilities, Regulatory Commissions, Private Developers, traders, industry associations, consumer groups, power exchanges and individuals etc., in meetings taken in the Ministry.

Based on exhaustive consultations, certain amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003 have been proposed broadly covering the following areas:-

A.    Enhancing Grid safety and security:  In order to strengthen and enhance Grid safety and security, specific measures regarding maintenance of spinning reserves along with strong and effective deterrence in the form of enhanced penalties for violations of the directions given by the State and Regional Load Despatch Centres etc., have been envisaged.
B.     Separation of Carriage & Content in the Distribution sector:  To achieve the objectives of efficiency and for giving choice to consumers through competition in different segments of electricity market, concept of multiple supply licensees is proposed by segregating the carriage from content in the distribution sector and determination of tariff based on market principles, while continuing with the carriage (distribution network) as a regulated activity. To protect the interest of consumers, the tariff for retail sale of electricity is proposed to be capped through the Regulator and one of the supply licensees is proposed to be a Government controlled company. Further, the existing distribution licensees are proposed to continue till the expiry of their term as specified in their licence.
C.     Promotion of Renewal Energy:  In order to accelerate the development of Renewable Energy sources, a number of measures including the provision for a separate National Renewable Energy Policy, development of renewable energy industry, Renewable Generation Obligation on coal and lignite based thermal power plants, specific exemptions to Renewal Energy sources from open access surcharge, separate penal provisions for non-compliance of Renewal Purchase Obligation etc., have been envisaged under the Renewable Generation Obligation  for coal and lignite based thermal power plants.
D.    Tariff Rationalization:  To rationalize the tariff structure on sound financial principles for the viability of the distribution sector and recovery of revenue requirement of licensees without any gap, the provisions of Tariff Policy are proposed to be made mandatory for the determination of tariff. Further, the bill envisages timely filing of tariff petitions by utilities, disposal of the same by the Appropriate Commission within a specified time period and powers to Appropriate Commissions for initiating suo-motu proceedings for determination of tariff in case the Utility/Generating Companies do not file their petitions in time.
E.     Miscellaneous :  Suitable amendments are also proposed for improving the accountability and transparency in the working of Appropriate Commissions without affecting their functional autonomy; bringing  clarity in regard to  appointments,  functions and powers of the Chief Electrical Inspector/ Electrical Inspectors and levying of fees for electrical inspections; exemption to developer of SEZs, Railways and Metro Rail for obtaining distribution licence; collection and realization of any dues along with the electricity dues, etc.