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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 8th February to 13th February – 2021

  • IASbaba
  • February 22, 2021
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GS-2

National Monsoon Mission

(Topic: Government policies and schemes)

Objective: To improve the monsoon prediction over India on all time scales and hence it is implemented for the whole country which includes all the States and UTs.

Targets

  • Development of a seamless prediction system using monsoon mission model, on different time scales, like Seasonal (for whole Monsoon season), Extended range (up-to 4 weeks), Short range prediction (up-to 5days).
  • Initiate and coordinate working partnership between Indian and foreign institutes to develop a system for prediction of extremes and climateapplications
  • Develop and implement system for climate applications having social impacts (such as agriculture, flood forecast, extreme events forecast, wind energy,etc.)
  • Advanced data assimilation system for preparing high quality data for model predictions.

Major achievements of NMM during the last three years are:

  • Setting up of an advanced prediction system for Seasonal prediction; Extended range prediction and Very high-resolution Short-rangeprediction.
  • Commissioning of a Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) for short and medium range prediction at 12km.
  • A remarkable improvement in the skill of the forecasts especially in the short to medium range has beennoticed.
  • The Cyclone track and intensity prediction has also shown a steady improvement over the last threeyears.
  • The operationalization of Monsoon Mission dynamical model (MMCFS) to prepare operational seasonal forecast of monsoon rainfall and temperatures during the hot and cold weather seasons overIndia.
  • Use of MMCFS and extended range prediction system for preparing regional seasonal forecast outlook for south Asia under WMO recognised Regional Climate Center and South Asia Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF)activities.
  • Development of an algorithm to monitor and predict the Monsoon Intra-seasonal Oscillations (MISO) and Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) on the extendedrange.
  • Development of an index to predict the genesis and evolution of tropical cyclones and other cyclonic disturbances over the north IndianOcean.
  • Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecast over all the Indian river basin havebeen operationallyimplemented.
  • Probabilistic (percentile based) forecast for extreme wind, precipitation havebeen established.
  • GFS/GEFS forecasts have been extensively used to provide guidance to Forest fire possibility and also to Renewable Energy Sectors namely, wind andsolar.
  • Development of a high resolution regional re-analysis product, IMDAA at very high resolution of 12km.
  • Several scientists have been trained for modelling & forecasts through Monsoon Mission Program and capacity building activities have been done through targetedtrainings.

Atmosphere and Climate Research – Modelling, Observing Systems and Services (ACROSS):

  • Objective: To conduct R & D for improving forecast of weather, climate and other hazardous events in real-time for delivery of a reliable weather and climate service. 
  • The entire gamut of weather/climate prediction involves assimilation of meteorological observations, understanding the processes, research and development of dynamical models and providing the forecast services. 
  • Each of these aspects is incorporated as sub-scheme under the umbrella scheme “ACROSS” and is being implemented through India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting(NCMRWF).

Signing ceremony of MoU for the construction of the Lalandar “Shatoot” Dam in Afghanistan

(Topic: India and its neighbours)

The project is a part of the New Development Partnership between India and Afghanistan. 

The Lalander [Shatoot] Dam would meet the safe drinking water needs of Kabul City, provide irrigation water to nearby areas, rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network, aid in flood protection and management efforts in the area, and also provide electricity to the region.

This is the second major dam being built by India in Afghanistan, after the India- Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam], which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister and the President in June 2016. 

Signing of the MoU on Lalandar [Shatoot] Dam is a reflection of India’s strong and long-term commitment towards the socio-economic development of Afghanistan and the enduring partnership between our two countries. As a part of our Development Cooperation with Afghanistan, India has completed more than 400 projects covering all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.


World Bank Signs Project to Support Nutrition-Supportive Agriculture in Tribal-Dominated Areas of Chhattisgarh

(Topic: International organisations)

The Government of India, the Government of Chhattisgarh and the World Bank signed a $100 million project to develop sustainable production systems that allow tribal households in remote areas of Chhattisgarh to practice round-the-year production of diversified and nutritious food. 

  • CHIRAAG – Chhattisgarh Inclusive Rural and Accelerated Agriculture Growth Project will be implemented in the southern tribal-majority region of the state where a large population is undernourished and poor. 
  • The project will benefit over 180,000 households from about 1,000 villages in eight districts of Chhattisgarh.
  • To make agriculture nutrition supportive, the project will implement a series of activities that are climate resilient and profitable. Investments will be made in water-harvesting structures and irrigation facilities; integrated farming systems blending crops, fishery and livestock production; climate-smart production technologies and practices; developing value chains to ensure that surplus commodities reach profitable markets; and in making nutritious food available to tribal households.

Chhattisgarh’s rich biodiversity and diverse agro-climatic zones provide an opportunity to focus on an alternative model of development allowing the tribal-dominated southern region to leverage its natural resources, diversify and grow resilient crops; and assure a production system that takes care of the nutritional needs of every household.


MoU with Japan on training of skilled workers

(Topic: India and Japan)

The Government of India and The Government of Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) in January, 2021 on a basic framework for partnership for proper operation of the system pertaining to “Specified Skilled Worker”. Under this MoC, skilled Indian workers from fourteen sectors viz. nursing care; building cleaning; material processing industry; industrial machinery manufacturing industry; electric and electronic information related industry; construction; shipbuilding and ship-related industry; automobile maintenance; aviation; lodging; agriculture; fisheries; food and beverages manufacturing industry and food service industry have been identified for enhanced job opportunities for skilled Indian workers in Japan.


GS-3

Agri Logistics Systems in the Country

(Topic: Agriculture) 

In order to synchronise the demand and supply, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) has been encouraging diversified production of crops such as pulses, coarse cereals, nutri cereals, commercial crops, oilseeds etc. under National Food Security Mission (NFSM). Assistance is being provided for various interventions like different types of demonstrations on latest crops production technologies, promotion of newly released High Yielding Varieties (HYVs)/Hybrids, climate resilient varieties/ stress tolerant/bio-fortified varieties, Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) & Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, water conservation devices, improved farm implements/tools and capacity building of farmers etc., through state governments.

  • Horticultural crops are promoted under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
  • To maintain the supply chain and support to the farmers in selling their perishable produce, Government has also rolled out a scheme “Creation of Integrated supply chain for Fruits and vegetables in Major cities” during 2020-21.
  • Crop Diversification Programme (CDP), a sub scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), is being implemented in original green revolution states viz. Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh to diversify paddy area towards alternative crops and shifting of tobacco farming to alternative crops/cropping system in tobacco growing states. 
  • To support organic farming through Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and to support the creation of a unified national agriculture market to boost the income of farmers. 
  • Further, to mitigate risk in the agriculture sector, a scheme “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana” (PMFBY) was also launched in 2016.

Government has taken several steps with adequate budgetary provisions to develop robust and integrated agri logistics systems in the country for transportation of agri-produce. 

  • Government of India has launched “Kisan Rath” mobile application to facilitate the Farmers, Farmers Produce Organisations (FPOs) and Traders in hiring vehicles for transportation of agri-produce. This mobile application is also integrated with National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) portal for facilitating load requests of traders registered in e-NAM portal. 
  • Further, as per the details received from Ministry of Railways, Indian Railways have operated 208 Kisan Rail Services on 24 routes for transportation of fruits, vegetables and other perishables. 
  • Further, in order to facilitate storage of perishables, temperature controlled Perishable Cargo Centres have been established at Nashik, Singur, New Azadpur, Raja Ka Talab/Varanasi, Ghazipur and Fatuha. In addition, cold storage Reefer Park has been developed at Inland Container Depot, Dadri and a cold storage facility has been established at Rai, Sonipat. 

Policy, regulatory and legal framework has been strengthened through the measures and initiatives envisaged in the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, the National Air Cargo Policy Outline 2019, and the Krishi Udaan Scheme. Institutionally, the AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited (AAICLAS) has been set up as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airports Authority of India (AAI) in 2016 for business development of air cargo, logistics and allied services at various airports. Airports, including cargo terminals, and cold chain facilities and warehouses, have been included in the harmonised list of Infrastructure for fiscal support. Cold storage facilities are available at 28 airports operated by AAICLAS, besides at every JV airport. The world’s largest and uniquely segregated Cold Facility for agri and pharma products was launched at Mumbai Airport on 19 February 2020.


Study shows significant reduction of heavy metal pollution during COVID-19 pandemic in the Ganga water

(Topic: Environment)

Efforts to minimize industrial wastewater can substantially reduce heavy metal pollution in the Ganga water in a short time span of a few months, a study carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic has shown.

By: A team of scientists from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur; to quantify the impact of restricted anthropogenic activities on the water chemistry resilience of large rivers.

They analyzed the daily geochemical record of the Ganga River and showed that reduced industrial discharge during 51 days of mandated nationwide lockdown decreased the dissolved heavy metal concentrations by a minimum of 50%. In contrast, inputs from agricultural runoff and domestic sewage like nitrate and phosphate remained almost the same as these sources were not impacted by the nationwide confinement.

The study, which adds to the body of research world’s large rivers have been intensely studied to better understand the impact of climate change and direct human interventions on river water quality and quantity has found pace in the cover page of the journal.


Indian astronomers detect huge optical flare in one of the oldest astronomic objects

(Topic: Space and technology)

Indian Astronomers have reported one of the strongest flares from a feeding supermassive black hole or blazar called BL Lacertae. Analysis of the flare from this blazar, one of the oldest astronomical objects, can help trace the mass of the black hole and the source of this emission. Such analysis can provide a lead to probe into mysteries and trace events at different stages of evolution of the Universe.

Blazars or feeding supermassive black holes in the heart of distant galaxies receive a lot of attention from the astronomical community because of their complicated emission mechanism. They emit jets of charged particles traveling nearly at the speed of light and are one of the most luminous and energetic objects in the Universe.

BL Lacertae blazar is 10 million light-years away and is among the 50 most prominent blazars that can be observed with the help of a relatively small telescope. It was among the 3 to 4 blazars that was predicted to be experiencing flares by the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope (WEBT), an international consortium of astronomers.  


Scientists find geological evidence of eastern Himalaya earthquake recorded in history

(Topic: Science and Technology)

Scientists have found the first geological evidence of an earthquake at Himebasti Village on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, documented by historians as Sadiya earthquake in history, which is recorded to have caused massive destruction in the region and almost destroyed the town in 1697 CE.

This finding could contribute to a seismic hazard map of the eastern Himalaya, which can facilitate construction and planning in the region.

Historical archives refer to often recurring earthquakes along the Eastern Himalaya for which geological evidence is lacking, raising the question of whether these events ruptured the surface or remained blind and how they contribute to the seismic budget of the region, which is home to millions of inhabitants.

They found the first geological surface rupture signatures in the form of exposed deposits associated with rivers and streams deformed by a thrust fault along a Northeast dipping fault zone. In order to constrain the causative faulting event at this site, the team dated twenty-one radiocarbon samples from the trench exposure.

They also found large tree trunks embedded in the youngest flood deposits at the exit of the Subansiri River (Sadiya town is located roughly 145 km southeast of Subansiri river), suggesting the post-seismic aggradation of the river following an array of aftershocks till six months in an abortive fashion.  

The study of the earthquake at Sadiya standing on a grassy plain, almost surrounded by forested Eastern Himalayas on the right bank of Lohit River, adds an important site to the seismic hazard assessment of the eastern Himalaya, which will benefit the inhabitants and help in providing better infrastructure across the Eastern Himalayan foothills which is one of the most densely populated regions in the world.

Prelims oriented news

World Radio Day: 12th Feb

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR): As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) report by Registrar General of India (RGI) for the last three years, Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has reduced from 130 per 100,000 live births in SRS  2014-16 to 122 in SRS 2015-17 and to 113 per 100,000 live births in SRS 2016-18.

State to complete Urban Local Bodies (ULB) reforms

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Manipur
  • Rajasthan
  • Telangana
  • Goa 

SAKSHAM (Shramik Shakti Manch)- a dynamic job portal for mapping the skills of Shramiks vis-à-vis requirements of MSMEs and a Seaweed Mission for commercial farming of seaweeds and its processing for value addition. The portal with the demand and supply data uses algorithm and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, for geo spatial information on demand and availability of Shramiks, and also provide analysis on skill training programmes of Shramiks. The pilot portal originally initiated with two districts is now being launched as an all India portal.

  • A dynamic job portal – opportunity for Shramiks and MSMEs
  • Facilitate creation of 10 lakh blue collar jobs
  • Direct connect between Shramiks and MSMEs, no middleman in between
  • Minimise migration of Shramiks – job opportunity in proximate MSMEs

SANKALP (Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion) is a World Bank loan assisted programme  to strengthen the district skill administration and the District Skill Committees (DSCs). The two-year academic programme comes with an in-built component of on-ground practical experience with the district administration. The fellows under MGNF will acquire academic expertise and technical competency in understanding the overall skill ecosystem along with being attached to DSCs and help them manage the skill development planning at district level through the mechanism of formulating District Skill Development Plans (DSDPs).

Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (Samarth)

Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SAMARTH) was approved towards addressing the skill gap in textile sector and also to supplement the efforts of textile industry in providing gainful and sustainable employment to the youth. The objectives of Samarth are as follows:

  • To provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant skilling programmes to incentivize and supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors, covering the entire value chain of textiles, excluding Spinning and Weaving
  • To promote skilling and skill upgradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture and jute
  • To enable provision of sustainable livelihood either by wage or self-employment to all sections of the society across the country

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana, or PMVVY, is a social security scheme for senior citizens.
  • It is implemented through the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
  • This gives an assured minimum pension.

The Anganwadi Services {under Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme} 

  • Envisages the Anganwadi Workers & Helpers as honorary workers from local community who come forward to render their services, on part time basis, in the area of child care and development. Being honorarium workers, they are paid monthly honoraria as decided by Government from time to time.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan empowers the frontline functionaries i.e. Anganwadi Workers and Lady Supervisors by providing them with smart phones. ICDS-Common Application Software /(ICDS-CAS) have been developed under POSHAN Abhiyaan which enables data capture, ensures assigned service delivery and prompts for interventions wherever required. It enables collection of information on ICDS service delivery interventions and its impact on nutrition outcomes in beneficiaries.

National Creche Scheme

Ministry of Women and Child Development implements the National Crèche Scheme for the children of working mothers to provide day care facilities to children (age group of 6 months to 6 years) of working mothers. The Scheme provides an integrated package of the following services:

  1. Day care facilities including sleeping facilities.
  2. Early stimulation for children below 3 years and pre-school education for 3 to 6 years old children
  3. Supplementary nutrition (to be locally sourced)
  4. Growth monitoring
  5. Health check-up and immunization       

Some of the steps taken by the Government for increasing the participation of women in the economy:

  • Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme: The scheme aims to facilitate inter-sectoral convergence of schemes and programs meant for empowerment of women both at the central and State/UT level.
  • SwadharGreh Scheme: The Scheme caters to women victims of unfortunate circumstances in need of institutional support for rehabilitation, so that they can lead their life with dignity.
  • Ujjawala Scheme: It is a comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as for facilitating rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims in to their families and society as needed.
  • Working Women’s Hostel Scheme: This scheme promotes availability of safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with day care facility for their children, wherever possible, in urban, semi-urban, and even rural areas, where employment opportunities for women exist.
  • Anganwadi Services: The Scheme envisages setting up of Anganwadi centers across the country for children and caters to the pre-school education, nutrition of children and lactating mothers.
  • POSHAN Abhiyan: The scheme aims to reduce mal-nutrition/ under nutrition, among young children and women from the country in a phased manner.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) Scheme: The Scheme provides cash incentives amounting to Rs.5000 in 3 installments to pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (BBBP): Objective of the scheme is to celebrate the girl child by preventing gender biased sex selective elimination, ensuring survival protection, education, and participation.
  • Home for Widows: A Home for Widows has been set up in Vrindavan, UP to provide widows a safe and secure place to stay and live their lives with dignity.

Tribal Artisan Day: 7th February 

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) under the M/o Tribal Affairs, as the nodal agency working towards tribal empowerment.

  • Warli Art: The Warli or Varli are an indigenous tribe (Adivasi) of western India, living in mountainous as well as coastal areas along the Maharashtra-Gujarat border and surrounding areas. Warli Painting is registered with a Geographical Indication under the intellectual property rights act.
  • Pattachitra or Patachitra is a general term for traditional, cloth-based scroll painting,[5] based in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal. Pattachitras are a component of an ancient Bengali narrative art, originally serving as a visual device during the performance of a song.
  • The Wancho are indigenous people inhabiting the Patkai hills of Longding district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. 

National Research Centre for Makhana: In Darbhanga (Bihar); Darbhanga in particular and Mithila in general is major Makhana producing region in the country.

Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)

  • Aim: To boost the farm mechanization in the country; The scheme aims at ‘reaching the unreached’ by making farm machines accessible and affordable for the small and marginal farmers (SMFs) through establishment of Custom Hiring Centers(CHCs) , creating Hubs for hi-tech & high value farm equipment and Farm Machinery Banks. 
  • Distribution of various subsidized agricultural equipment and machines to individual farmer is also one of the activities under the scheme. 
  • Purchasing of farm machines for SMFs is not financially feasible therefore custom hiring institution provide for hiring option of machines to SMFs. 
  • Creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration of machine operations and skill development of farmers and youth and others are also the components of SMAM. 
  • The performance testing and certification of machines at designated testing centers located all over the country are ensuring farm machinery qualitatively, effectively and efficiently.

One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) mission

  • The scheme seeks to provide portability of food security benefits all across the nation.
  • Families who have food security cards can buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in these states. 
  • Their ration cards should be linked with Aadhar Number to avail this service. 
  • The Centre is intended to extend the programme to all states by August next year so that the portability of the food security card implemented.  
  • The national portability of ration cards will ensure all beneficiaries especially the migrants in getting access to PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice

Malabar Naval Exercises: 

  • The Malabar series of exercises began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US in 1992. Japan joined the Naval Exercises in 2015. Malabar 2020 saw the participation of the Australian Navy also.
  • The Malabar Naval exercises enhanced synergy, interoperability and coordination between the four country navies. The exercises highlight the convergence of views among the participating countries on maritime issues and their shared commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

Scheme for Safeguarding the Intangible Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India: By the Ministry of Culture

  • Objective: Reinvigorating and revitalizing various institutions, groups, individuals, identified non-MOC institutions, non-Government organisations, researchers and scholars so that they may engage in activities/ projects for strengthening, protecting, preserving and promoting the rich Intangible Cultural Heritage of India. 
  • Assistance under the scheme is provided in the form of non-recurring grants, honoraria etc. with a view to address areas critical for the survival and propagation of all forms of ICH.
  • Moreover, India has successfully inscribed 13 ICH elements in the UNESCO Representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity under the 2003 Convention.

The National list of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India: It is an attempt to recognize the diversity of Indian Culture embedded in its Intangible Heritage. It aims to raise awareness about the various Intangible Cultural Heritage elements from different states of India at National and International level and ensure their protection.

Following UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, this list has been classified into five broad domains in which Intangible Cultural Heritage is manifested:

  1. Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
  2. Performing Arts
  3. Social practices, Rituals and Festive events
  4. Knowledge and practices concerning Nature and the Universe
  5. Traditional Craftsmanship

World Sustainable Development Summit 2021

  • Theme: ‘Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all’
  • The 20th edition of The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) flagship event, the World Sustainable Development Summit, will be held online. 
  • The Summit will bring together a wide number of governments, business leaders, academicians, climate scientists, youth, and the civil society in the fight against climate change. 
  • India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Ministry of Earth Sciences are key partners of the Summit. 
  • Energy and industry transition, adaptation and resilience, nature based solutions, climate finance, circular economy, clean oceans and air pollution, are amongst the range of topics to be discussed during the Summit.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan

  • Government of India has launched Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (GKRA) of 125 days on 20th June, 2020 with a resource envelop of Rs.50,000 crore, to boost employment and livelihood opportunities for returnee migrant workers and similarly affected citizens in rural area, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The objectives of the Abhiyaan were to provide immediate employment & livelihood opportunities to the distressed, to saturate the villages with public infrastructure and creation of livelihood assets to boost the income generation activities and enhance long term livelihood opportunities by giving focuson 25 works in 116 selected districts across 6 States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. 
  • A total of 12 Ministries/Departments of Government of India had participated in the Abhiyaan. 
  • A total of 50.78 Crore Person days employment has been generated during the Abhiyaan.

Setting up of Migration Commission

  • NITI Aayog has constituted a sub-group to prepare a National Action Plan for Migrant Workers.
  • The sub-group comprises the members from various Ministries of Govt. of India, subject experts, NGOs and civil society organisations, to prepare a tangible action plan to address issues related to migrant workers.
  • In order to safeguard the interest of the migrant workers, the Central Government had enacted the Inter-state Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979. This Act has now been subsumed in the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020. 
  • The above mentioned code, commonly known as OSH Code, provides for decent working conditions, minimum wages, grievances redressal mechanisms, protection from abuse and exploitation, enhancement of the skills and social security to all category of organised and unorganised workers including Migrant workers.  

Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative: To promote Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) as an alternative, green transport fuel for efficient management of biomass and organic waste including municipal waste as well as from forest and agricultural waste including animal-husbandry and marine waste. This initiative envisages establishment of large number of CBG plants by private entrepreneurs.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012

  • Section 5 sub-clause (k) and Section 9(k) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 lay down that whoever taking advantage of a child’s mental or physical disability, commits ‘penetrative sexual assault’ or ‘sexual assault’ on the child, commits ‘aggravated penetrative sexual assault’ or ‘aggravated sexual assault’ respectively. 
  • Section 6 of the POCSO Act lays down that whoever commits aggravated penetrative sexual assault shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of natural life of that person, and shall also be liable to fine, or to death.
  • Section-33 of the POCSO Act under sub-clause (8) provides that in appropriate cases, the Special Court may, in addition to the punishment, direct payment of such compensation as may be prescribed to the child for any physical or mental trauma caused to him or for immediate rehabilitation of such child.
  • Rule 4 of the POCSO Rules, 2020 lays down a detailed procedure regarding care and protection, including counseling and therapy, of the victim of child sex abuse. Section-6 of the POCSO Rules, 2020 also has provision regarding providing of Medical aid and care to the victim of child sex abuse. Provision of Special Relief has also been prescribed in the POCSO Rules, 2020 for contingencies such as food, clothes, transport and other essential need.

Meri Saheli Initiative was launched as Pilot Project by Railway Protection Force (RPF) across South Eastern Railway for security of women passengers in trains originating in that zone. Considering its success in instilling a sense of security among women passengers, this initiative has been rolled over to all zonal railways across Indian Railways’ network. Section 58 of the Railways Act, 1989 provides for earmarking of accommodation for female passengers in trains.

  • Launched to provide safety and security to lady passengers travelling by trains for their entire journey from originating station to terminating station. 
  • Dedicated teams of lady RPF personnel have been formed across all zonal railways for its implementation.

National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) aims for the overall promotion & development of scientific beekeeping in the country to achieve the goal of ‘Sweet Revolution’ as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan.

  • Promote holistic growth of beekeeping industry for income & employment generation for farm and non-farm households, to enhance agriculture/ horticulture production, developing infrastructural facilities, including setting up of Integrated Beekeeping Development Centre (IBDC)s/CoE, honey testing labs, bee disease diagnostic labs, custom hiring centres, Api-therapy centres, nucleus stock, bee breeders, etc. and empowerment of women through beekeeping.
  • Besides,  the scheme also aims to create awareness about scientific bee keeping  under Mini Mission-I, post-harvest management of beekeeping, beehive products, including collection, processing, storage, marketing, value addition, etc. under Mini Mission-II and Research & Technology generation in beekeeping under Mini Mission-III. 

Beekeeping is an agro-based activity which is being undertaken by farmers/ landless labourers in rural area as a part of Integrated Farming System (IFS). Beekeeping has been useful in pollination of crops, thereby, increasing income of the farmers/beekeepers by way of increasing crop yield and providing honey and other high value beehive products, viz.; bees wax, bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom, etc. Diversified agro climatic conditions of India provide great potential and opportunities for beekeeping/ honey production and export of Honey.

Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER)

Emerging demand for safe and healthy organic food with added flavour of being grown in pristine environment and virgin soils of India’s North Eastern states is fast emerging as unique opportunity to the farmers of the region. The disadvantage of not being able to pick up green revolution is now proving a boon and region with its renewed vigour on modern organic agriculture is poised to become hub for organic production of its unique heritage crops.

  • Provides end to end support to the farmers from farm to fork including quality production, effective postharvest management, value addition through processing and direct market linkages to national and international markets. 
  • Transformation of farmer clusters into Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) empowering the growers with institutional mechanisms, collective production and processing strength for quality and quantity and ensures emergence of new breed of organic agri-enterprises. 
  • Through the FPCs, farmers are achieving economies of scale, engaging bulk buyers and breaking off their dependencies on the traders/middlemen for market linkages. 
  • Under MOVCDNER, the FPCs get access to shared infrastructure including collection centres, custom hiring centres, processing infrastructure and packhouses, allowing them to add value to their produce and market them well.

MOVCDNER has also played a pivotal role in entrepreneurship development and has supported both FPCs and local entrepreneurs in establishing food business.

National Coal Index

  • Ministry of Coal has started Commercial Auction of coal mines on revenue share basis. In order to arrive at the revenue share based on market prices of coal, one National Coal Index (NCI) was conceptualized. 
  • The NCI is a price index which reflects the change of price level of coal on a particular month relative to the fixed base year. 
  • The base year for the NCI is FY 2017-18. Prices of coal from all the sales channels of coal, including import, as existing today are taken into account for compiling the NCI.

Agri Export Policy

The Government introduced a comprehensive Agriculture Export Policy in December 2018, with the following objectives:

  • To diversify our export basket, destinations and boost high value and value added agricultural exports, including focus on perishables.
  • To promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional Agri products exports.
  • To provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and dealing with sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
  • To strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chains.
  • Enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market.

SEZ Policy

The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) policy was launched in April, 2000.  The SEZ Rules, 2006 came into effect on 10th February, 2006. The salient features of the SEZ scheme are:-

  1. A designated duty free enclave to be treated as a territory outside the customs territory of India for the purpose of authorised operations in the SEZ;
  2. No licence required for import;
  3. Manufacturing or service activities allowed;
  4. The Unit shall achieve Positive Net Foreign Exchange to be calculated cumulatively for a period of five years from the commencement of production;
  5. Domestic sales subject to full customs duty and import policy in force;
  6. SEZ units will have freedom for subcontracting;
  7. No routine examination by customs authorities of export/import cargo;
  8. SEZ Developers /Co-Developers and Units enjoy tax benefits as prescribed in the SEZs Act, 2005.

Unified Farmer Service Platform (UFSP): UFSP is a combination of Core Infrastructure, Data, Applications and Tools that enable seamless interoperability of various public and private IT systems in the agriculture ecosystem across the country. UFSP is envisaged to play the following role:

  • Act as a central agency in the agri ecosystem (like UPI in the e Payments)
  • Enables Registration of the Service Providers, public and private
  • Enables Registration of the Farmer Services G2F, G2B, B2F and B2B
  • Enforces various rules and validations required during the service delivery process
  • Acts as a Repository of all the applicable standards, API’s and formats
  • It shall also act as a medium of data exchange amongst various schemes and services to enable comprehensive delivery of services to the farmer.

Farmers Database: For better planning, monitoring, policy making, strategy formulation and smooth implementation of schemes for the farmers a nationwide Farmers Database linked with land records is being created with the following objective:

  • Develop nationwide database of farmers
  • Keep a record of unique farmers.
  • Unique farmer ID (FID) to uniquely identify a farmer
  • To know benefits availed by a farmer under various schemes

This Centralized Farmers Database shall be useful for various activities like issuing soil health cards, dissemination of crop advisories to the farmers, precision farming, smart cards for farmers to facilitate e-governance, crop insurance, settlement of compensation- claims, grant of agricultural subsidies, community/village resource centres etc.  The data of 4.3 crore farmers linked with land records have already been verified and the database would be unveiled shortly.

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