Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS)
Why in news?
- The Central government has recently made the decision to discontinue the sale of rice and wheat from the central pool under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to State governments.
- This move is expected to have an impact on several states, including Karnataka, which offer free grains to the poor.
- The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has already conveyed this decision to the Karnataka government, which had sought 13,819 tonnes of rice for its own scheme under the OMSS without e-auction for July, at a rate of ₹3,400 per quintal.
Restriction on Sale to State Governments
- According to a recent order issued by the FCI, the sale of wheat and rice under the OMSS (domestic) for State governments is discontinued.
- However, it is important to note that the sale of rice under the OMSS will continue for northeastern and hilly states, as well as those facing law and order situations and natural calamities.
- The existing rate of ₹3,400 per quintal will be maintained for these states.
- Additionally, the FCI may liquidate rice under the OMSS to private parties from the central pool stock as per the requirement in order to moderate the market prices.
Reasoning Behind the Decision
- The Food Ministry, in a separate statement, explained that the decision to exclude State governments’ schemes from the OMSS (D) is aimed at ensuring control over inflationary trends while maintaining adequate stock levels in the central pool.
- This decision aligns with the government’s strategy to stabilize market prices and curb hoarding.
- On June 12,2023 the Central government had also imposed stock limits on wheat until March 31, 2024, and announced the offloading of both rice and wheat under the OMSS to address open market price concerns.
Implementation of OMSS
- In line with the OMSS policy for 2023, the Central government had previously allowed states to purchase rice and wheat, including fortified rice, from the FCI for their own schemes without participating in e-auctions.
- However, with the recent discontinuation of the sale to state governments, the implementation of the OMSS has undergone changes.
Impact of the Decision
- The move comes at a time when the monsoon progress has been slow, and prices of rice and wheat have been on the rise.
- As the monsoon progress remains a concern and rice prices continue to rise, the revised implementation of the OMSS aims to address these challenges and ensure wider accessibility to essential food grains.
Revised OMSS Details
- In order to ensure wider participation and a wider reach of the scheme, the quantities that bidders can purchase in a single bid range from 10-100 tonnes in the revised OMSS (D), as compared to the maximum quantity of 3,000 tonnes per bid for a buyer in the earlier sale.
- These adjustments aim to accommodate more small and marginal buyers and facilitate the immediate release of stocks sold under OMSS (D) to the general public.
- The discontinuation of the sale of rice and wheat from the central pool under the OMSS to State governments will have an impact on free grain distribution schemes in various states. The decision is part of the government’s efforts to control inflation, stabilize market prices, and maintain adequate stock levels in the central pool.
GS PAPER – I
NMML Renamed as Prime Ministers’ Museum & Library (PMML)
Why in news?
- The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) located in New Delhi’s Teen Murti Complex has been renamed as the Prime Ministers’ Museum & Library (PMML). This change comes 14 months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya (Prime Ministers’ Museum) within the complex.
NMML’s History and Formation
- Teen Murti House, constructed in 1929-30 as part of the imperial capital, served as the official residence of the commander-in-chief of the British army in India.
- It became Jawaharlal Nehru’s official residence in August 1948. In 1964, on Nehru’s 75th birth anniversary, it was dedicated to the nation and inaugurated as the Nehru Memorial Museum, with the NMML Society established to manage the institution.
Proposal for a Museum
- In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the establishment of a museum dedicated to all Prime Ministers of India within the Teen Murti Complex.
- The Congress party criticized the proposal, with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing concerns about changing the nature and character of NMML and the Teen Murti complex.
Changes in the NMML Society
- Following the bhoomi pujan (groundbreaking ceremony) in October 2018, significant changes were made in the 34-member NMML Society.
- BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, television anchor Arnab Goswami, Ram Bahadur Rai (head of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts), and S Jaishankar (former foreign secretary and now External Affairs Minister) were appointed as new members, replacing previous members.
Inauguration of the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya on April 21, 2022.
- The museum, built at a cost of Rs 271 crore, showcases information about all 14 Prime Ministers of India and provides space for future leaders.
- It aims to recognize their contributions irrespective of ideology or tenure in office.
Integration of Nehru Museum
- The erstwhile Nehru Museum building has been integrated with the new museum building.
- Designated as Block I, it features a technologically advanced display on the life and contributions of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.
Gallery on Modi and Future Plans
- A gallery dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be inaugurated in the coming months.
- It will be located on the ground floor of the museum and follow a similar format as the other galleries.
- The renaming of NMML as the Prime Ministers’ Museum & Library (PMML) reflects the broader focus on showcasing the contributions of all Prime Ministers of India. The establishment of the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya within the Teen Murti Complex aims to provide comprehensive information about each Prime Minister, fostering an understanding of their role and impact in the nation’s history.
GS PAPER – II & III
U.S. Eases Eligibility Criteria for Green Card
Why in news?
The Biden administration in the United States has released policy guidance, easing the eligibility criteria for individuals waiting for green cards to work and stay in America.
- This development comes just days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States from June 21-24.
- The guidance issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) specifically addresses the eligibility criteria for initial and renewal applications for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in compelling circumstances.
- The new guidelines are expected to benefit thousands of Indian technology professionals who have been enduring a lengthy wait for a Green Card or permanent residency.
USCIS Policy Guidance for Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Relief for Green Card Applicants: The USCIS has released policy guidance on the eligibility criteria for obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in compelling circumstances. This move aims to alleviate the challenges faced by individuals waiting for green cards, particularly Indian technology professionals.
Specific Requirements for Initial EAD:The guidance outlines specific requirements that applicants must meet to be eligible for an initial EAD based on compelling circumstances.
These requirements include being the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, maintaining valid non-immigrant status or being within an authorized grace period, not having filed an adjustment of status application, and meeting certain biometric and criminal background requirements.
Benefits for Indian Technology Professionals
Addressing the Agonizing Wait for Green Cards: The eased eligibility criteria provide much-needed relief to Indian technology professionals who have been enduring an agonizingly long wait for Green Cards or permanent residency in the United States. The policy change is expected to expedite the process and offer them opportunities to work and stay in the country more efficiently.
Enhanced Employment Opportunities: With the relaxation of norms, Indian technology professionals who meet the eligibility criteria can obtain an initial EAD, allowing them to work in the United States. This opens up new employment opportunities and offers more stability for individuals awaiting permanent residency.
- The Biden administration’s release of policy guidance on the eligibility criteria for obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in compelling circumstances brings hope and relief to thousands of Indian technology professionals waiting for Green Cards. These new guidelines streamline the process and offer them opportunities to work and stay in the United States, addressing their long-standing concerns.
GS PAPER – III
Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) for ADITYA-L1
Why in news?
- The Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), a remarkable space telescope developed by Pune’s Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), has been delivered to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The telescope is set to be integrated into the ADITYA-L1 mission, which is expected to launch in mid-August this year. ADITYA-L1 is ISRO’s first space observatory dedicated to studying the Sun.
IUCAA’s SUIT as a Crucial Instrument for ADITYA-L1 Mission
- The Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) developed by IUCAA will be integrated as a vital instrument within the ADITYA-L1 mission’s array.
- This inclusion marks a significant milestone for IUCAA and enhances the mission’s capabilities to observe the Sun’s surface phenomena and space weather.
ADITYA-L1 Mission’s Objectives and Payloads
- The ADITYA-L1 mission will incorporate seven different payloads designed to study various phenomena related to the Sun across the electromagnetic spectrum and solar wind.
- These payloads will enable seamless measurement of solar radiation from Hard X-ray to Infrared wavelengths, in-situ measurements of particles in the solar wind, and the study of the Sun’s magnetic field at the Lagrange point L1.
SUIT’s Novel Capability
- Full Disk Images in the 2000-4000 Angstrom Wavelength Range IUCAA’s SUIT possesses a distinct feature that sets it apart from missions conducted by other space agencies.
- It will provide full disk images of the Sun in the 2000-4000 angstrom wavelength range, a critical range for monitoring the ozone and oxygen content in the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Additionally, SUIT will measure UV radiation, which is hazardous for skin cancer.
Addressing Fundamental Questions and Predicting Solar Flares
- ADITYA-L1, equipped with SUIT, aims to address fundamental questions about the Sun, such as the existence of a higher temperature atmosphere above the cooler surface and the origin and variation of near-ultraviolet radiation.
- The mission’s ultimate goal is to predict solar flares in advance, which have adverse effects on navigation satellites and human space flights.
Involvement of Scientists and Funding
- Over the past decade, more than 200-300 scientists have been actively involved in the development of SUIT and the ADITYA-L1 mission.
- The project received an initial grant of Rs 25 crore from ISRO, along with additional costs incurred during the project’s execution.
Technical Challenges and Precautions
- The development of the payload for SUIT presented several challenges.
- The project required the establishment of an ultra-clean room to prevent contamination from solar particles.
- Special filters were designed to capture the radiation in the designated wavelength range, ensuring accurate data collection.
- The successful delivery of the Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) to ISRO marks a significant achievement for IUCAA and paves the way for its integration into the ADITYA-L1 mission. With its unique capabilities, SUIT will contribute to a deeper understanding of the Sun’s phenomena and aid in predicting solar flares. The collaborative efforts of scientists and the project’s financial support have been crucial in overcoming technical challenges and bringing this mission to fruition.