MyIndia Initiative- Digital Volunteer Programme

The Concept: The Digital Volunteer Programme is aimed at people who are keen to use their personal social presence on different  social media platforms to talk about Government schemes and programmes. Deeply rooted in the ideals of Participative Governance, the programme aims at helping the Government of India achieve a real time engagement with people leading to a personalized interaction with the target groups. 

You may associate with this Initiative if you:
1.Have an active Twitter and Facebook account
2.Are Proficient in using social media group collaboration tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite etc.
3.Have an active and regularly checked email account
4.Access to a Computer/Smartphone with Internet
5.Are willing to use your personal social presence to help Government spread a word about its policies and programmes

To facilitate a personalised interaction, a Digital Volunteer
1. may like to talk  about Government Initiatives by retweeting the  messages tweeted  by MIB's Twitter Handle @MIB_India
2. may share  Ministry's Tweets (@MIB_India), Facebook Posts  (,  Blog posts (  and share YouTube Channel videos( on Social Networking sites
3. may mention Official Twitter handle of MIB @MIB_India in tweets to facilitate real time engagement.
4. may suggest ways to reach out to people on social media

Vision Document – 2015

In order to promote food processing industries, increase level of processing and exploit the potential of domestic and international market for processed food products, Vision Document-2015 was prepared by the Ministry, which envisaged trebling the size of investment in the processed food sector by increasing the level of processing of perishables from 6% to 20%, value addition from 20% to 35% and share in global food trade from 1.5% to 3% by 2015. To achieve these targets, an investment of Rs. 100,000 crore was required by the year 2015. Out of which, the share of Government was Rs.10,000 crore.

During the 11th Five Year Plan, against the proposal of allocation of Rs. 4816 crore of the Ministry, a Plan outlay of Rs. 4041 crore only was made for various Programmes / Schemes of the Ministry. However, the actual expenditure incurred on implementing the various schemes of Ministry of Food Processing Industries during the 11th Plan was Rs. 1596.88 crore only. During 11th Five Year Plan, the Central Sector Schemes for Infrastructure Development (a) Mega Food Parks (b) Integrated Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure, and (c) Setting up / Modernization of Abattoirs, Scheme of Technology up-gradation/ Establishment/ Modernization of Food Processing Industries, Scheme for Quality Assurance, Codex Standards, Research & Development and Other Promotional Activities, Scheme for Human Resource Development and Scheme of Strengthening of Institutions were implemented by the Ministry for development of food processing industries in the country.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on 22/07/2014.


Promoting Conversion of Crop Residues into Biochar

Conversion of crop residues into biochar and its application in soil as soil amendment is a novel approach for sequestering atmospheric carbon into the soils, besides improving soil quality and productivity.

Apart from this, the production of biochar and its application to soil may deliver immediate benefits through increase in soil water retention properties, saturated hydraulic conductivity and nutrients availability. It has led to renewed interest of agricultural scientists in this field.

Research on biochar at Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad has indicated that biochar can be produced from stocks of cotton, redgram, maize, pigeon pea and castor. A low cost portable charring kiln has also been developed at CRIDA.

Research also carried out under National Initiatives on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) revealed the usefulness of application of biochar in red soils of Andhra Pradesh.

Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal has initiated research to standardize optimum condition for preparation of Biochar from bio-mass of different origin and to study their effect on soil properties and crop growth.

Government is accordingly taking various steps to create adequate awareness among farmers and to educate them under its Sub-Mission on Agricultural Extension (SMAE) under National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) through initiatives such as Support to States Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms (ATMA Scheme); Mass Media Support to Agricultural Extension; Setting up of Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centres and Kisan Call Centre Scheme. Information is also provided to farmers through SMS Portal in the form of topical and seasonal advisories in their local language and as per their crop preferences.

This information was given today by Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in a written reply to Lok Sabha questions.


New Diagnostic Test for TB in Children

In order to simplify the management of paediatric TB, Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), has described criteria for suspecting TB among children and has separate algorithms for diagnosing pulmonary TB and peripheral TB lymphadenitis.

Under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), diagnosis of T.B. among children is currently based on clinical features, smear examination of sputum where this is available, positive family history, tuberculin skin testing, chest radiography and histopathological examination, as appropriate. Diagnosis of paediatric TB through newer diagnostic RNTCP approved technologies like the Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) is also being used under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme.

The Health Minister stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.


Revision of National Health Policy

The health status of the population especially that of rural population does require improvement. However, the condition of the health services in rural areas of the country has improved after the launch of the National Rural Health Mission.

As per National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) 2004-05, the health worker density in rural areas is 11.74 per 10,000 populations while in urban areas, the density is 40.46 per 10,000 populations. As per the 2011 National Health Profile, there are 1, 60,862 hospital beds in rural areas out of the total 7, 84,940 hospital beds available in the Country.

Public Health being a State subject, the primary responsibility to provide health care facilities lies with the State Governments. To address the healthcare challenges, particularly in rural areas, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched in 2005 to supplement the efforts of the State/UT governments to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has now been subsumed under the National Health Mission (NHM) as its Sub-Mission, along with National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as the other Sub-Mission.

Under NRHM, high focus States that are economically and socially backward and have poor health indices are provided with higher per capita allocation as compared to rest of the States. Further, within the States, to ensure equitable healthcare and to bring about sharper improvements in health outcomes, a systematic effort to effectively address the intrastate disparities in health outcomes has been undertaken. At least 25% of all districts in each State have been identified as “High Priority Districts” based on a composite health index. All tribal districts which are below the State’s average of composite health index have also been included as high priority districts. These districts receive higher per capita funding, enhanced monitoring and focused supportive supervision, and are supported to adopt innovative approaches to address their special healthcare challenges.

Under NHM, financial support is provided to States to strengthen their health care systems including support for infrastructure, equipment, human resource and other resources based on the requirements posed by the States in their Programme Implementation Plans. Besides the support for medical human resource, support is also provided for programme managers, finance managers and accountants, data managers etc. for effective programme implementation. The Ministry has initiated the process of formulating a new health policy.

The Health Minister stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.


States Requested to Ensure Implementation of Food Security Act within Next Three Months

The Center has started allocation of foodgrains to 11 States/UTs under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) based on the identification of beneficiaries by the state. Out of these, in 6 States, namely Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan, complete identification as per coverage under the Act has been reported and in the remaining 5 States/UTs, namely Bihar, NCT of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh, identification is partial. Government of Uttarakhand has also reported completion of identification of beneficiaries. Remaining States/UTs have been requested to complete the identification at the earliest and ensure implementation of the Act within next three months, after completing other preparatory measures. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today . 

. The Government notified the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) on 10.09.2013, which aims to provide for 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. The Act provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population of the country for receiving foodgrains at subsidised prices of Rs. 3, 2 & 1 per Kg for rice, wheat & coarse grains respectively under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). There is also a special focus in the Act on nutritional support to pregnant women and lactating mothers and children upto 14 years of age.Implementation status of the Act is reviewed on a regular basis and necessary advisories are issued to States/UTs, wherever required. 


Storage Facilities

As per the study of Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) (ICAR, Ludhiana), published in 2010, based on a nationwide sample survey including Himachal Pradesh, annual wastage of fruits is estimated in the range of 5.8% to 18% having value of Rs. 7437 crores annually. The losses during transportation of fruits range from 1.1 to 2.8%.  

             With the objective of reducing post-harvest losses by providing integrated cold chain and preservation infrastructure facilities without any break from the farm gate to the consumer, Ministry of Food Processing Industries isimplementing a Central Sector Scheme of Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure since 2008-09 in the country including Himachal Pradesh. The financial assistance @ 50% of the total cost of plant & machinery and technical civil works in general areas and 75% for NE region and difficult areas (North-Eastern States, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) subject to a maximum grant-in-aid of Rs 10 Crore per project is provided for setting up the cold chain infrastructure in the country. Integrated cold chain and preservation infrastructure can be set up by individuals, groups of entrepreneurs, cooperative societies, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), NGOs, Central/State PSUs, etc. Under the scheme of Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure, the Ministry has sanctioned 121 cold chain projects for implementation in the country. Out of these, 9 projects have been sanctioned in Himachal Pradesh.

Further, the Ministry has also launched a Centrally Sponsored Scheme i.e. National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP) during 12th Plan. The NMFP is being implemented by the State/UT governments including Himachal Pradesh. Under the Mission, financial assistance is provided for setting up cold chain infrastructure through following schemes:

(i)                 Scheme for Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure for Non- Horticultural Products:-For setting up of cold chain projects for non-horticulture produce like dairy, meat, poultry, fish etc., the financial assistance is provided as (a) Capital Subsidy: Grant-in-aid @35% of the bank appraised project cost for general areas, and @ 50% of the project cost for difficult areas including North-Eastern region, subject to maximum of Rs. 5 crore and (b) Interest Subsidy: @ 6% per annum subject to a maximum of Rs. 2.00 crore per project or actual interest accrued on term loan, whichever is lower, for a period of 5 year from completion of the project for general areas, and @ 7% per annum subject to a maximum of Rs. 3.00 crore per project or actual interest accrued on term loan, whichever is lower, for a period of 7 years from completion of the project for difficult areas including North-Eastern Region and hilly States.

(ii)  Scheme for Creating Primary Processing Centres / Collection Centres in Rural Areas:- Under this scheme financial assistance is provided for setting up processing and preservation facilities in rural areas to enhance shelf life of perishable produce. Admissible grant-in-aid under the scheme is @ 50% of the eligible project cost for the general areas and 75% in North-Eastern Region, ITDP & Difficult Areas including hilly States, respectively subject to a maximum of Rs. 2.5 Crore.

(iii) Reefer Vehicles:- Financial assistance to standalone reefer vehicle(s) and mobile pre-cooling van(s) for carrying & transporting, both horticultural & non-horticultural produce is provided under the scheme as credit linked back ended grants-in-aid @ 50% of the cost of New Reefer Vehicle(s)/Mobile pre-cooling van(s)upto a maximum of Rs. 50.00 lakh.

In addition, National Horticulture Mission (NHM), National Horticulture Board (NHB), and National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) under Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India are also providing assistance for setting up cold storages under their respective schemes. 

Other incentives provided by the Government to the cold chain sector:
1.             Under Section 35-AD of the Income tax Act 1961, deduction for expenditure incurred on investment is allowed if this investment is wholly and exclusively for the purpose of  (i) setting up and operating a cold chain facility; and (ii)  setting up and operating warehousing facility for storage of agricultural produce. This deduction is allowed to the extent of 150% provided the taxpayer has commenced its business on or after 01.04.2012.   

2.             Government has extended Project Imports’ benefits to Cold storage, cold room (including for farm level pre-cooling) or industrial projects for preservation, storage or processing of agricultural, apiary, horticultural, dairy, poultry, aquatic and marine produce and meat. Consequently, all goods related to Food Processing, imported as part of the project, irrespective of their tariff classification, would be entitled to uniform assessment at concessional basic customs duty of 5%.

3.             All refrigeration machineries and Parts used for installation of  cold storage, cold room or refrigerated vehicle, for the preservation, storage, transport or processing of agricultural, apiary, horticultural, dairy, poultry, aquatic and marine produce and meat under Tariff Head: Chapter 84 are exempted from Excise Duty. 

4.             Construction, Erection, Commissioning or installation of original works pertaining to post-harvest storage infrastructure for agricultural produce including Cold storages for such purposes are exempted from Service tax.

5.             Capital investment in the creation of modern storage capacity has been made eligible for viability gap funding scheme of the Finance Ministry. The cold chains and post-harvest storage has been recognized as an infrastructure sub-sector.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.