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Scheme Rythu Bandhu (Case Study)

 

Relevance:

  • GS Mains paper II, III
  • Agriculture, government schemes

Why in news?

  • An agriculture support scheme for farmers in Telangana called RYTHU BANDHU has earned the appreciation of outgoing Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.
  • This scheme can be the template for social and agricultural policy.

Provisions under RYTHU BANDHU Scheme:

  • It is the first ever farmer investment support scheme in India before every crop season.
  • Rs 8000 per acre grant to all Telangana farmers every year (Rs 4000 per crop season).
  • Rs 12000 crores budget allocated for the scheme (financial year 2018-19).
  • 58 lakh farmers in the state to benefit.
  • The objective is to help the farmer meet a major part of his expenses on seed, fertiliser, pesticide, and field preparation.
  • 92% of the beneficiaries own less than 5 acres, 5% own 5-10 acres and the remaining 3% own more than 10 acres.
  • Over a period of four or five years, Telangana farmers will be rid of all debts due to Rythu Bandhu scheme.
  • Indebtedness among Telangana farmers is very high and they fall into the vicious debt trap of moneylenders.
  • Farmers also apply for loans from banks which get delayed as they don’t approve quickly in time for the crop season.
  • Rythu Bandhu money provides that cushion to the farmer because with that money the farmer can purchase seeds and fertiliser and start sowing.

Criticism:

  • First: It does not exclude rich farmers and wealthy landlords.
  • The scheme does, however, have a provision under which cheques can be returned to the local authorities.
  • All ministers and most top IAS and IPS officers who own farmland, in fact, have reportedly returned the cheques.
  • Secondly: The scheme leaves out tenant cultivators — an estimated 40% of Telangana’s farming population and mostly coming from the poorest and most disadvantaged backgrounds.

NITI Aayog Releases Paper On National Strategy For Artificial Intelligence

 

Relevance:

  • GS Prelims, GS Mains paper III
  • Sci-tech, Artificial Intelligence, NITI Aayog’s paper on National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

Why in News?

  • NITI Aayog released a discussion paper on National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in June 2018.

About AI:

  • Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans.
  • It is the capability of a machine to perform those activities that are otherwise expected from a human brain in a much less time. It includes knowledge acquisition, judgment, relationship understanding and produce thoughts.
  • In a crux, Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, problem solving, and decision making.
  • But till date no computer exhibits full human intelligence.

What are the issues discussed in the paper on National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence?

  • The discussion paper focuses on how India can leverage AI to ensure growth in line with the development priorities of the government.
  • It emphasises on the adoption of AI solutions for:
  • agriculture, (ii) education, (iii) healthcare, (iv) smart cities and infrastructure, and (v) smart mobility and transportation. While each sector has its barriers to successful adoption of AI, the paper identifies some key challenges across the sectors.

In order to address these challenges, the paper gives a set of recommendations, which include: 

  • Research and skill development: It recommends establishment of academic and applied research institutions as centres of excellence in AI. This would promote innovative avenues and aid in skilling and reskilling of the workforce. This would be implemented keeping in mind changing employment patterns, and needs of the job market and entrepreneurial sectors.
  • Market-based adoption: It recommends the government to facilitate the creation of a National AI Marketplace. This would focus on creating markets for: (i) data collection and aggregation, (ii) data annotation or insight, and (iii) ready-to-use deployable models for sector-specific applications. Adoption of AI would take place using this model where the government would act as a catalyst by creating demand and supporting partnerships.
  • Regulatory challenges: It recommends the government to address regulatory challenges by creating strong legal frameworks. This would include frameworks related to data protection, intellectual property, and sector specific regulations on privacy, security, and ethics. This would be assisted by the adoption of international standards and practices.

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