All that was discussed in the House through the day
The Government of India issued new coal stocking norms December 12, 2021, with provisions for penalty for non-maintenance of prescribed coal stock, Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister for parliamentary affairs, coal and mines told the Lok Sabha March 23, 2022. This was done to maintain adequate coal stocks by coal-based thermal power plants.
The daily coal requirement for both pithead and non-pithead plants is estimated at 85 per cent plant load factor (PLF), the new norms mandate. The stock needs to be maintained for 12-17 days for pithead plants and 20-26 days for non-pithead plants, according to the rules. Month-wise variation based on the coal dispatch / coal consumption pattern during the year will be allowed, Joshi said.
Around 26.4 million tonnes (mt) of coal stock was available with the thermal power plants (TPP) as on March 14, 2022, the minister shared. This is about 39 per cent of the normative coal stock required to be maintained by the TPPs, Joshi added.
There are 442 functional coal mines in the country as on March 31, 2021, according to him.
More women in workforce than before pandemic
The number of women in the formal workforce has surpassed the pre-pandemic levels, according to data cited by Smriti Irani, Union minister for women and child development in the Rajya Sabha March 23, 2022.
There were a total of nine million female employees prior to the lockdown (before March 25, 2020) which reduced to 8.3 million as on July 1, 2020, she said. The number of female employees increased to 9.9 million as on July 1, 2021, the minister added. This is 32.1 per cent of the total number of employees in India, according to Irani.
The minister was citing data from the 2nd Quarterly Employment Survey, 2021. The trend indicates that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment of women was temporary and not major, she remarked.
Expenditure inequality unchanged
The Gini coefficient, a measure of the inequality between different expenditure classes of population, in rural areas remained almost the same in 2004-05 and 2011-12 at 0.27 and 0.28 respectively, Rao Inderjit Singh, Union minister of state (independent charge) for statistics, programme implementation, told the Lok Sabha.
He was citing data from the National Sample Survey Office reports. Data on income / wealth is not maintained by the government.
In the urban areas, the Gini coefficient increased marginally to 0.37 in 2011-12 from 0.35 in 2004-05, the minister added.
Food security covers 66% population
Around 75 per cent rural population and 50 per cent urban population receive highly subsidised foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), Niranjan Jyoti, Union Minister of state for rural development and consumer affairs, food and public distribution, told Lok Sabha.
This means the system covers about two-thirds of the total population (813.5 million, according to Census 2011).
Strengthening public transport
The Union government has announced a scheme in the Budget 2021-22 at a cost of ₹18,000 crores to support augmentation of public bus transport services, Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Union minister of road transport and highways, told the Rajya Sabha.
The scheme will facilitate deployment of new buses on innovative public-private-partnership models, he added. This will enable private sector players to finance, acquire, operate and maintain the buses, Gadkari mentioned.
Over 3 billlion person-days under MGNREGS
During 2021-22, 3.44 billion person-days have been generated under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti told the Rajya Sabha.
The Budget Estimate for the scheme was Rs 73,000 crore for 2021-22, she shared. The allocation was enhanced to Rs 98,000 crore at the Revised Estimate stage, the minister noted.
Digital overhaul of Gram Panchayats
As many as 176,793 Gram Panchayats (GP) have been linked with the BharatNet project for internet connectivity as on March 16, 2022. Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Union minister of state for Panchayati Raj told the Rajya Sabha.
The department of telecommunications has been implementing the BharatNet scheme in a phased manner to provide connectivity in all GPs in the country. The services will be provided through Wi-Fi or any other suitable broadband technology, including ‘fiber to the home’, the minister said.
The ministry launched eGramSwaraj, a work-based accounting application for Panchayati Raj institutions under the e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project on April 24, 2020, Pail added.
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