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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st April 2021

  • IASbaba
  • April 1, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Launch of AIM-PRIME

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Innovation; Entrepreneurship 

In news

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog launched AIM-PRIME (Program for Researchers on Innovations, Market-Readiness & Entrepreneurship). 
  • It is an initiative to promote and support science-based deep-tech start-ups & ventures across India.

Key takeaways 

  • In this regard, AIM has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to launch this nationwide program. 
  • It will be implemented by Venture Center – a non-profit technology business incubator.
  • The first cohort of the program is open to technology developers with strong science-based deep tech business ideas.
  • It is also open to CEOs and Senior incubation managers of AIM Funded Atal Incubation Centers that are supporting deep tech entrepreneurs. 

Do you know? 

  • Deep technology is an outcome of very intense research and development (R&D) with high knowledge content.
  • The benefits of this program are aimed at addressing specific issues through training and guidance over a period of 12 months.

Double Mutant Coronavirus Variant in India

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Health & GS-III – Sci and Tech

In news

  • A unique “double mutant” coronavirus variant — with a combination of mutations not seen anywhere else in the world — has been found in India. 

Key takeaways 

  • However, it is still to be established if this has any role to play in increased infectivity or in making COVID-19 more severe.
  • Genome sequencing of a section of virus samples by a consortium of 10 laboratories across India, (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics – INSACOG), revealed the presence of two mutations, E484Q and L452R together, in at least 200 virus samples.
  • Mutations in the virus per se are not surprising. 
  • Mutations that eliminate the effect of vaccines or the immune system or lead to increased cases are bigger causes of concern.
  • These two mutations have been individually identified in other variants of SARS-CoV-2 globally
  • They are also associated with a reduction in vaccine efficacy.
  • Their combined effect and biological implications have not yet been understood.
  • In the days ahead, the INSACOG will submit details of this variant to a global repository called GISAID and, if it merits, classify it as a “variant of concern” (VOC).

Do you know? 

  • So far, only three global VOCs have been identified: the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), the South African (B.1.351) and the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.

Rates on all small savings instruments reduced

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy 

In news

  • The government has sharply reduced the rates on all small savings instruments for the first quarter of 2021-22.

Key takeaways 

  • Rate of return on the Public Provident Fund: Down from 7.1% to 6.4%  
  • Quarterly interest rate paid on one-year term deposits: Down from 5.5% to 4.4% 
  • Rate of return on the Senior Citizen Savings’ Scheme: Down from 7.4% to 6.5%, 
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme’s return: Down from 7.6% to 6.9%.
  • Interest rate paid on National Savings Certificate: from 6.8% to 5.9% 
  • Kisan Vikas Patra: Down from 6.9% to 6.2%.
  • Kisan Vikas Patra, which used to mature in 124 months, will now mature in 138 months.
  • Savings deposits: Down from 4% to 3.5%. 
  • The highest returns at this point is the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, followed by the Senior Citizens’ Savings Schemes and the Public Provident Fund.

What does it mean? 

  • While the government resets the interest rate on small savings instruments every quarter, this round of rate cuts assumes significance as the government is keen to lower interest rates to make it easier to execute its borrowing plans for the year and increase growth.
  • The government plans to borrow ₹12.05 lakh crore in 2021-22, on the back of a record gross borrowing of ₹13.71 lakh crore in 2020-21.
  • High small savings rates have been cited by the central bank as a major barrier in ensuring policy rate cuts get transmitted into the banking system.

World Immunisation and Logistics Summit 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International Relations; Health 

In news

  • Recently, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally participated in a panel discussion on vaccine production and distribution across Asia at the “World Immunisation and Logistics Summit”.

Key takeaways 

  • Initiative by: HOPE Consortium
  • Objective: To enhance collaboration in the world’s approach to tackle COVID-19 and ensure a healthier future for all.
  • Hosted by: Abu Dhabi 
  • Acclaimed global healthcare and philanthropic leaders, decision-makers, experts and senior government officials participated to explore a unified global approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important value additions 

HOPE Consortium

  • Spearheaded by: Department of Health – Abu Dhabi
  • It brings together leading brands to deliver an end-to-end solution to distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally

Miscellaneous

Place in news: Zabarwan Range 

  • The tulip garden, located at the foothills of Zabarwan range in Jammu and Kashmir will be thrown open to public on March 25, 2021.

  • The Zabarwan Range is a short sub-mountain range between Pir Panjal and Great Himalayan Range 


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Women and Cooperative Dairy Farming 

Context: The achievements of women dairy farmers in contributing to India’s ‘White Revolution’ are perhaps the greatest cause for celebrating the Women’s History Month in March

Women and Cooperative Dairy Farming

  • Substantive Participation of Women: There are more than 1,90,000 dairy cooperative societies across the country, with approximately 6 million women members.
  • Increased incomes: The Cooperative model that has advantages of greater control by farmers, economical for small & marginal farmers, transparency, regularity of payment and training facilities has increased the incomes of millions of women dairy farmers in India. In 2020, Amul Dairy released a list of 10 women dairy farmers who became millionaires by selling milk to the company. 
  • Freedom from clutches of middlemen: Dairy cooperatives models that were at the heart of Operation Flood made it possible to enhance backward and forward linkages in the dairy value chain, paving the way for freeing small farmers from the clutches of middlemen, and guaranteed minimum procurement price for milk.
  • Improved access to Skill Training: National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) now organises farmer’s orientation programmes across the country, under which women farmers are trained in scientific best practices on animal health, fodder quality, clean milk production, and accounts management.
  • Rise of women-led dairy unions and companies: The NDDB has played a proactive role in setting up women-led producer enterprises like Shreeja Mahila Milk Producer Company, which was started with 24 women and now has more than 90,000 members, with an annual turnover of approximately ₹450 crore.
  • Promotes Leadership amongst women: Women-led cooperatives also provide fertile ground for grooming women from rural areas for leadership positions. In many instances, this becomes the first step for women in breaking free from traditional practices.
  • Creation of better assets: A study across Rajasthan showed that with the income generated through dairying, 31% of the women had converted their mud houses to cement structures, while 39% had constructed concrete sheds for their cattle.
  • Helps overcome structural obstacles:  Many women who never had access to education or formal employment have experienced a life transformation after they became a member of the Cooperative Milk Union. This helped women, especially single parents, to increase their incomes and lead a dignified life.
  • Bridges information asymmetry: Major challenge in Dairy sector is information asymmetry among farmers. Statistics indicate that small and marginal farmers have access to only 50-70% of the resources that large and medium farmers have. However, the presence of collectives in the form of cooperatives and milk unions plays a significant role in enhancing the knowledge and bargaining power of women.
  • Learning New Skills: Many of women dairy farmers have not had a formal education, but through the process of dairying and working with larger collectives, such as milk unions and cooperatives, they have mastered the nuances of finance and marketing.

Conclusion

For women dairy farmers, cooperatives and unions are a pathway to financial stability

Connecting the dots:


AGRICULTURE/ ECONOMY

Topic:

  • GS-3: Agriculture
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

About SRI 

  • The System of Rice Intensification involves cultivating rice with as much organic manure as possible, starting with young seedlings planted singly at wider spacing in a square pattern; and with intermittent irrigation that keeps the soil moist but not inundated, and frequent inter cultivation with weeder that actively aerates the soil.
  • SRI is not a standardised, fixed technological method. 
  • It is rather a set of ideas, a methodology for comprehensively managing and conserving resources by changing the way that land, seeds, water, nutrients, and human labour are used to increase productivity from a small but well-tended number of seeds.

SRI is initially labour intensive

  • Needs 50% more man-days for transplanting and weeding.
  • Mobilises labour to work for profit.
  • It offers an alternative to the resource poor, who put in their family labour.
  • Once the right skills are learnt and implemented, the labour costs will be lesser.

Benefits of SRI

  • Higher yields – Both grain and straw
  • Reduced duration (by 10 days)
  • Lesser chemical inputs
  • Less water requirement
  • Less chaffy grain %
  • Grain weight increased without change in grain size
  • Higher head rice recovery
  • Withstand cyclonic gales
  • Cold tolerance
  • Soil health improves through biological activity

Disadvantages

  • Higher labour costs in the initial years
  • Difficulties in acquiring the necessary skills
  • Not suitable when no irrigation source available

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Zabarwan range is situated between:

  1. Pir panjal range and Great Himalayan Range
  2. Zanskar range and Dhauladhar range
  3. Shiwalik Hills and Ladakh range
  4. Pir Panjal range and East karakoram range 

Q.2 HOPE Consortium is an initiative by Abu Dhabi for which of the following? 

  1. Deep tech start ups
  2. Ending Israel Palestine conflict 
  3. Solution for COVID-19 vaccines
  4. Solving Syrian refugee crisis

Q.3 Which of the following country has for the first time found double mutant coronavirus variant

  1. India
  2. UK
  3. Brazil
  4. South Africa 

ANSWERS FOR 31st March 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 A
3 B

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