21 st July, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘National Bamboo mission’ (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: The restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM) has been launched this year with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) for implementation
The objectives of this new mission are:
- To increase the area under bamboo plantation in non forest Government and private lands to supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change as well as availability of quality raw material requirement of industries.
- The bamboo plantations will be promoted predominantly in farmers’ fields, homesteads, community lands, arable wastelands, and along irrigation canals, water bodies etc.
- To improve post-harvest management through establishment of innovative primary processing units near the source of production, primary treatment and seasoning plants, preservation technologies and market infrastructure.
- To promote product development keeping in view market demand, by assisting R&D, entrepreneurship & business models at micro, small and medium levels and feed bigger industry.
- To rejuvenate the under developed bamboo industry in India.
- To promote skill development, capacity building, awareness generation for development of bamboo sector from production to market demand.
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is going to implement this programme
Sustaining agricultural productivity depends on quality and availability of natural resources like soil and water. Agricultural growth can be sustained by promoting conservation and sustainable use of these scarce natural resources through appropriate location specific measures. Indian agriculture remains predominantly rain-fed covering about 60% of the country’s net sown area and accounts for 40% of the total food production. Thus, conservation of natural resources in conjunction with development of rain-fed agriculture holds the key to meet burgeoning demands for food grain in the country. Towards this end, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been formulated for enhancing agricultural productivity especially in rain-fed areas focusing on integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management and synergizing resource conservation.
Objectives of NMSA
- To make agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient by promoting location specific Integrated/Composite Farming Systems.
- To conserve natural resources through appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures.
- To adopt comprehensive soil health management practices based on soil fertility maps, soil test based application of macro & micro nutrients, judicious use of fertilizers etc.
- To optimize utilization of water resources through efficient water management to expand coverage for achieving ‘more crop per drop’.
- To develop capacity of farmers & stakeholders, in conjunction with other on-going Missions e.g. National Mission on Agriculture Extension & Technology, National Food Security Mission
- To pilot models in select blocks for improving productivity of rainfed farming by mainstreaming rainfed technologies refined through NICRA and by leveraging resources from other schemes/Missions like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), RKVY etc.National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) etc., in the domain of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
- To establish an effective inter and intra Departmental/Ministerial co-ordination for accomplishing key deliverables of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture under the aegis of NAPCC.
NMSA is implemented by Ministry of Agriculture
‘Doubling income of Farmers’ (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: The Government has set a target of doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022. The Government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee in this regard
Some of the schemes implemented by the ministry for development in Agriculture:
- Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme
- Neem Coated Urea (NCU)
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
- National Agriculture Market scheme (e-NAM)
- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)
- National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
- Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
- National Mission on Oilseeds & Oilpalm (NMOOP)
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
- National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology (NMAET)
- Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
- schemes relating to tree plantation (Har Medh Par Ped), Bee Keeping, Dairy and Fisheries are also implemented
All these schemes are implemented to enhance production and productivity of agriculture and thereby enhance income of farmers.
‘Student police cadet programme’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The Student Police Cadet (SPC) Programme is scheduled to be launched nationally on the 21st July, 2018 by the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh
About the programme
The programme seeks to build a bridge between the Police and the larger community through school students by inculcating values and ethics in them through classes in school and outside. The programme focuses on students of class 8 & 9
The programme seeks to cover broadly two kinds of topics:
- Crime prevention and control; and
- Values and ethics
‘Parker Solar Probe’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The Parker Solar Probe, a robotic spacecraft the size of a small car, is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with August 6 targeted as the launch date for the planned seven-year mission
About the mission
It is a planned NASA robotic spacecraft to probe the outer corona of the Sun. It will approach to within 8.86 solar radii (6.2 million kilometers or 3.85 million miles) from the “surface” (photosphere) of the Sun.
Importance of this study
The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system. Unpredictable solar winds cause disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field and can play havoc with communications technology on the earth. NASA hopes the findings will enable scientists to forecast changes in the earth’s space environment.
‘GST council’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: In a major step, the GST Council has exempted sanitary napkins from Goods and Services tax. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council met today for the 28th time to discuss some crucial changes in the new indirect tax regime, for the first time in its second year.
Highlights of the meeting
Exempt from GST:
- Sanitary pads
- Deities made of stone, marble or wood
- Raakhis, without any precious metals
- Raw material used in brooms
- Commemorative coins circulated by the RBI or government
- Saal leaves
- Fortified milk
From 12 percent to 5 percent:
- Handloom dari
- Fertiliser grade phosphoric acid
From 28 percent to 18 percent:
- Lithium-ion batteries
- Vaccum cleaners
- Food grinders, mixers
- GST on ethanol sold to oil companies for blending with petrol and diesel reduced to 5 percent from 18 percent earlier
Other important changes:
- GST on imported urea reduced to 5 percent
- GST on E-books reduced to 5 percent from 18 percent
- GST for hotels to be charged on the actual price that the customer pays and not on the declared tariffs
About GST council
Goods & Services Tax Council is a constitutional body for making recommendations to the Union and State Government on issues related to Goods and Service Tax. The GST Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and other members are the Union State Minister of Revenue or Finance and Ministers in-charge of Finance or Taxation of all the States.
Mandate of the council
The Goods and Services Tax Council shall make recommendations to the Union and the States on—
- the taxes, cess and surcharges levied by the Union, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed in the goods and services tax;
- the goods and services that may be subjected to, or exempted from the goods and services tax;
- model Goods and Services Tax Laws, principles of levy, apportionment of Goods and Services Tax levied on supplies in the course of inter-State trade or commerce under article 269A and the principles that govern the place of supply;
- the threshold limit of turnover below which goods and services may be exempted from goods and services tax;
- the rates including floor rates with bands of goods and services tax;
- any special rate or rates for a specified period, to raise additional resources during any natural calamity or disaster;
- special provision with respect to the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand; and
- any other matter relating to the goods and services tax, as the Council may decide.
(5) The Goods and Services Tax Council shall recommend the date on which the goods and services tax be levied on petroleum crude, high speed diesel, motor spirit (commonly known as petrol), natural gas and aviation turbine fuel.
(6) While discharging the functions conferred by this article, the Goods and Services Tax Council shall be guided by the need for a harmonized structure of goods and services tax and for the development of a harmonized national market for goods and services.
(7) One-half of the total number of Members of the Goods and Services Tax Council shall constitute the quorum at its meetings.
(8) The Goods and Services Tax Council shall determine the procedure in the performance of its functions.
(9) Every decision of the Goods and Services Tax Council shall be taken at a meeting, by a majority of not less than three-fourths of the weighted votes of the members present and voting, in accordance with the following principles, namely: —
- the vote of the Central Government shall have a weightage of one third of the total votes cast, and
- the votes of all the State Governments taken together shall have a weightage of two-thirds of the total votes cast, in that meeting.
‘Cryptocurrencies’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said dealing in cryptocurrency will encourage illegal transactions. The RBI has already issued a circular prohibiting use of these virtual currencies.
Cryptocurrencies are a stateless digital currency in which encryption techniques are used for trading and these ‘currencies’ operate independently of a Central bank like the RBI, “rendering it immune from government interference.
‘Diabetics and Cancer risk’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: People with diabetes are at significantly increased risk of developing cancer, and for women the risk is even higher.
Researchers from The George Institute for Global Health found that diabetes conferred an additional risk for women, compared to men, for leukaemia and cancers of the stomach, mouth and kidney,
What the study says?
- The report adds that the number of people with diabetes has doubled globally in the last 30 years
- The study calls for more research into sex specific cancer risk
Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute complications can include diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, or death. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes.
Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. There are three main types of diabetes mellitus
Type 1 DM results from the pancreas’s failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”. The cause is unknown.
Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop. This form was previously referred to as “non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”. The most common cause is excessive body weight and insufficient exercise.
Gestational diabetes is the third main form, and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels.
As of 2015, an estimated 415 million people had diabetes worldwide, with type 2 DM making up about 90% of the cases. The global economic cost of diabetes in 2014 was estimated to be US$612 billion.
‘Whatsapp’ (GS3: Challenges to Internal security through social media)
Issue: WhatsApp will soon set a limit on the number of messages you can forward
Reason behind such an action
WhatsApp’s putting these limiting features due to the recent heat it’s been facing over the rampant spread of rumors, where quite a few of them have led to mob lynchings in India.
WhatsApp has over 20 crore users in India, they forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world, according to WhatsApp. False messages about child kidnappers on WhatsApp had led to more than a dozen people in India getting thrashed by angry mobs, some of whom have even died unfortunately.
‘India-Africa ties’ (GS2: International Relations)
Issue: India will sign a defence framework agreement with Rwanda next week when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Kigali along with his tour of Uganda and South Africa from July 23 to 27. In South Africa, he will attend the BRICS summit.
Significance of the pact
The defence agreement is expected to enhance ties between the two countries, which became Strategic Partners in January 2017, and will be accompanied by a number of agreements on dairy cooperation, leather exports, agriculture and cultural ties.
India was expected to enhance the Lines of Credit for Rwanda, which have already topped $400 million for development cooperation.
PM Modi is expected to sign a number of agreements and discuss further lines of credit in addition to one for $141 million for electricity projects and $64 million in agricultural ventures
Rwanda, landlocked republic lying south of the Equator in east-central Africa. The capital is Kigali, located in the centre of the country on the Ruganwa River.
Elevation accounts for Rwanda’s generally mild temperatures, which average 70 °F (21 °C) year-round at Kigali, for example, in the interior highlands. There are significant variations, however, between the region of the volcanoes in the northwest, where heavy rainfalls are accompanied by lower average temperatures, and the warmer and drier interior highlands. The average annual rainfall in the latter is about 45 inches (1,140 millimetres), which is concentrated in two rainy seasons