• Current Affair, 6th March 2020




    1. Ekam Fest


    • Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot will inaugurate the week long Exhibition-cum-Fair “EKAM Fest” organised by National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) under M/o Social Justice & Empowerment tomorrow evening at State Emporia Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi-1 . Union Minister for RT&H and MEME Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari and Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani will grace the occasion. Ministers of State for SJ&E Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria and Shri Ramdas Athawale will also be present.
    • EKAM Fest is an effort for promoting entrepreneurship and knowledge among Divyangjan community, generating awareness among society about potentialities of PwDs & providing a major marketing opportunity to PwDs entrepreneurs. NHFDC Foundation is making efforts for development of a brand and platform for marketing of products of these determined entrepreneurs. Accordingly, name of the brand has been arrived at Ekam (Entrepreneurship, Knowledge, Awareness, Marketing).  The word Ekam also represents the inclusiveness, oneness and unity which appropriately describe the efforts being put in by NHFDC to develop the marketing platform and aggregation of the products through promotion of entrepreneurship, knowledge sharing, Awareness creation and marketing initiatives amongst the Divyangjan.
    • The week long Ekam Fest will also host a number of activities like cultural extravaganza including performances by Divyang artists and well known professionals. Additional highlights of the event will be astrological consultations and foot massage by Divyang professionals.
    • In the first Ekam Fest, Divyang Entrepreneur and Artisans from all over the country have been invited with representation from J&K to Puducherry and from Nagaland to Gujarat. The fest will see vibrant products of from J&K and NE with products ranging from handicraft, handloom, Embroidery work and dry fruits. During the Fair, around 80 Divyang Entrepreneur/Artisan and organizations from 18 States/UTs shall display their skills represented through their beautiful products, services and demonstration of skills.  It will be an opportunity for all to encourage these products made with extra ordinary determination by the divyang craftspersons and entrepreneurs.

    NHFDC also plans to start online marketing platform to promote online sales and roping in the big corporate houses.  The Ekam Fest stalls will see the following broad products category:

    1. Home Décor and Lifestyle
    2. Textiles
    3. Stationery and Eco Friendly products
    4. Packed Food and Organic Products
    5. Toys and Gifts
    6. Personal Accessory –Jewellary, Clutch Bags

    The new initiatives of NHFDC will be showcased in the Fest. A few are highlighted below:

    1. NHFDC Swavalamban Kendra (NSK): NHFDC has taken an initiative to establish PWD owned micro skill training Centers throughout the country for skill training of PwDs. These NSKs will have a capacity to provide quality skill training to around 120 PwDs per year NSK. The PwD owner of the NSK is expected to earn around Rs 20,000 per month.
    2. Safe Cabs in Delhi and Indore: NHFDC has made arrangement with Sakha Cabs  where the PwD owned commercial vehicles will be driven by the Women drivers to provide safe taxi option for the women, children and senior citizen commuters. Such Sfe cabs are already in operation at New Delhi and Indore Airport. The vehicles here are financed by NHFDC under its scheme.
    • Safe Drinking Water E Carts: NHFDC has recently agreed to finance E-carts fitted with RO water dispensing vending machines. These carts will sell water in paper glasses maintaining the hygiene. The carts will be supported in operation by Bharat Jal.   The PwD owner is expected to earn Rs 10,000/- to Rs 15,000/- per month in the operation of these carts.
    • NHFDC is an Apex corporation under the aegis of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and is working since 1997. It is registered as a company not for profit and provides financial assistance to the Divyangjan/Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan/PwDs) for their economic rehabilitation and provides number of skill development programmes to empower them to grow & sustain their enterprises. To empower the Divyang and marginalized groups of the society more closely, NHFDC has taken a step forward and established NHFDC Foundation, this year. Recognizing the absence of a connect with the market which hinders fair prices and volumes in sale of the unorganized tiny Divyang entrepreneurs, NHFDC Foundation is making efforts for development of a brand and platform for marketing of products of these determined entrepreneurs.



    1. Multilingual Incredible India website


    • The Minister of State (IC) for Tourism & Culture, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel will launch the multilingual Incredible India website in New Delhi tomorrow. The launch event will witness participation by key stakeholders of tourism industry, foreign ambassadors, foreign correspondents, major associations among others .
    • Incredible India website, the flagship project launched by Ministry of Tourism, is a promotional website with an aim to project India as a ‘must-visit’ destination across the globe. Ministry of Tourism has revamped the multilingual Incredible India website design, with an aim to provide more information about India’s tourist destinations, attractions, experiences, and where out value lies. Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India 2.0 website aims towards showcasing the varied tourism products of India at a global arena by providing visitors with relevant, personalized and contextual digital experience escalating tourism awareness, attraction and opportunities.
    • The website now comprises of a plethora of information around 165 destinations, 2700+ pages, 28 States + 9 UTs alongwith multiple attractions. The website which is currently hosted in English and Hindi is now being launched in Chinese, Arabic and Spanish with primary objective to effectively engage the visitors across web and social media platforms thereby providing an exciting experience to the travellers visiting the website from countries from where we witness major tourist footfall.
    • The website will be dynamic and constantly evolving with new design and theme, periodically. Going forward, the website will be available in other major international languages.


    1. Memorandum of Understanding Between Indian Air Force and Savitribai Phule Pune University


    • As a unique initiative of Indian Air Force. the IAF and Savitribai Phule Pune University entered into an academic collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a ‘Chair of Excellence’ at Department of Defence & Strategic Studies on 29 Feb 20.
    • To pay tribute to the legend and commemorate the centenary birth year of the MIAF, the IAF has named it as “Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh Chair of Excellence”. The Chair will enable IAF officers to pursue Doctoral Research and higher studies in Defence & Strategic Studies and allied fields.
    • The chair will facilitate research and higher studies in the area of National Defence and allied fields of Air Force officers. The chair would facilitate inculcating astrategic outlook and building a pool of strategic thinkers.
    • The ceremony was presided over by Shri Nitin Karmalkar, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of SPPU. The Chief Guest of the function was Air Marshal Amit Dev AVSM, VSM, Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel, Indian Air Force and was attended by Air Vice Marshal LN Sharma AVSM, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Education) and other senior IAF and University officials.




    1. National Chambal Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh received eco-sensitive zone tag



    • Centre notified870 sq km around the National Chambal Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh(MP) as eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) to prohibit polluting activities like  industries, major hydroelectric project,mining, stone quarrying & big construction within the ‘no-go area’ for the purpose of conservation of water bodies, unique geographical features(ravines), flora & fauna.
    • It covers about 435 square kilometres & lies across Sheopur, Morena and Bhind districts of MP with a length of more than 400 kilometers.It is home to 75% of gharial,freshwater gangetic dolphins, 9 species of freshwater turtles &  more the 180 species of migratory birds.
    • The area of extent is 0 to 2 kilometres around the boundary of National Chambal Sanctuary in MP as the ESZ.
    • MP government  to prepare ‘Zonal Master Plan’ to develop ESZ & Eco-Tourism plan to promote tourism within the earmarked area.
    • The Zonal master plan to be prepared within 2 years in consultation of local authorities provides restoration of denuded areas, conservation of existing water bodies, management of catchment areas, watershed management, groundwater management, soil & moisture conservation, needs of local community & other aspects of the ecology and environment that need attention.
    • Under eco-tourism master plan, new construction of hotels & resorts within 1 kilometre from the boundary of the wildlife or upto the extent of the ESZ.
    • Forests, horticulture areas, agricultural areas, parks & open spaces earmarked for recreational purposes in the ESZ not to be used, or converted into areas for commercial or residential or industrial activities.


    • It is Located on the Chambal River near the tripoint of Rajasthan, MP and Uttar Pradesh &  is spread over 2,100 square mile.The key species are critically endangered gharial or fish eating crocodile, red-crowned roof turtle,endangered Ganges river dolphin & common plants like Khair, Palash, Churel& Ber.It is the first and only tri-state riverine protected area in India for the breeding population of Gharial.It is also called as the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary.




    1. Overview of Myanmar President U Win Myint visit to India



    • The President of Myanmar U Win Myintalong with First Lady, Daw Cho Cho, paid a four days visit to India from February 26-29, on the invitation of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, to deepen bilateral ties.
    • PM Modi and President Myint held talks; 10 agreements inked.
    • India attaches highest priority to its partnership with Myanmar.
    • India, Myanmar commits to early conclusion of discussion on bilateral Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA).
    • President U Win Myint paid two days visit to Bodh Gaya, Bihar
    • During the high level talks between Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi and President U Win Myint at Hyderabad House, New Delhi, a total of 10 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were inked with a focus on the socio-economic development of the Myanmar under India’s assistance mainly in conflict-torn Rakhine state. The Rakhine state (Arakan) has witnessed a lot of violence in the past due to Rohingya conflict, a sectarian violence between the Rohingya Muslim and Rakhine Buddhist communities. Following is the table providing information about MoUs:
    S.No MoU/Agreement Signatory (India) Signatory (Myanmar)
    1 MoU on Cooperation for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons; Rescue, Recovery, Repatriation and Re-Integration of Victims of Trafficking Saurabh Kumar;
    Ambassador of India to Myanmar
    Moe Kyaw Aung
    Ambassador of Myanmar to India
    2 Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Myanmar regarding Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of Quick Impact Projects (QIP) Saurabh Kumar;
    Ambassador of India to Myanmar
    Moe Kyaw Aung
    Ambassador of Myanmar to India
    3 Project Agreement between Rakhine State Government and Embassy of India, Yangon for construction of incinerator in Mrauk Oo township hospital, construction of seed storage houses and water supply systems in Gwa township under Rakhine State Development Programme Saurabh Kumar;
    Ambassador of India to Myanmar
    Moe Kyaw Aung
    Ambassador of Myanmar to India
    4 Project Agreement between Rakhine State Government and Embassy of India, Yangon for distribution of electricity by solar power in five townships of Rakhine State under Rakhine State Development Program Saurabh Kumar;
    Ambassador of India to Myanmar
    Moe Kyaw Aung
    Ambassador of Myanmar to India
    5 Project Agreement between Rakhine State Government and Embassy of India, Yangon for construction of Kyawlyaung- Ohlphyu road, construction of Kyaung Taung Kyaw Paung road in Buthedaung Township under Rakhine State Development Program Saurabh Kumar;
    Ambassador of India to Myanmar
    Moe Kyaw Aung
    Ambassador of Myanmar to India
    6 Project Agreement Between Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement (MSWRR) and Embassy of India, Yangon for construction of pre-schools under Rakhine State Development Programme Saurabh Kumar;
    Ambassador of India to Myanmar
    Moe Kyaw Aung
    Ambassador of Myanmar to India
    7 MoU for Cooperation on Combating Timber Trafficking, and Conservation of Tigers and other Wildlife Saurabh Kumar;
    Ambassador of India to Myanmar
    Moe Kyaw Aung
    Ambassador of Myanmar to India
    8 MoU between Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), India and Myanmar Ministry of Electricity & Energy for cooperation in the field of petroleum products Sunil Kumar
    Joint Secretary
    Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
    Republic of India
    U Than Zaw Director General, Oil & Gas Planning Department, Ministry of Electricity & Energy
    9 MoU between the Ministry of Communications, India and the Ministry of Transport & Communications of Myanmar on cooperation in the field of communication Anshu Prakash,
    Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications
    H.E Moe Kyaw Aung, Ambassador of Myanmar
    10 MoU for cooperation in the field of health research between Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Department of Medical Research (DMR), M/o Health & Sports of Myanmar
    rof (Dr.) Balram Bhargava, ICMR H.E Moe Kyaw Aung, Ambassador of Myanmar



    Myanmar efforts towards stronger ties with India:

    • The Southeast Asian nation assured that it would not allow groups that are inimical (harmful) to India’s interests to operate from its territory.
    • There is enhanced coordination and cooperation from the Myanmar Army in maintaining the security of the borders.

    India, Myanmar commits to early conclusion of discussion on bilateral MVA
    India and Myanmar committed to the early conclusion of discussions on the pending bilateral Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) to facilitate cross border movement of vehicles. As a part MVA, Coordinated Bus Service between Imphal, India and Mandalay, Myanmar will be launched by 7 April 2020through private operators.

    Projects under MVA:

    • Construction of the modern Integrated Check Post as Phase-I at Tamu, Myanmar:Both sides agreed to work together for the earliest commencement of the project.
    • There are positive developments related to the Sittwe Port, Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State in Myanmar, and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Projectwhich will connect Indian seaport of Kolkatawith Sittwe seaport in Rakhine State, Myanmar by sea. In Myanmar, it will then link Sittwe seaport to Paletwa in Chin State via the Kaladan river boat route, and then from Paletwa by road to Mizoram state in Northeast India.
    • Both countries committed towards the early completion of the Paletwa-Zorinpui road– the final leg of the Kaladan project. Once completed, the road will connect Sittwe Port to North-East India, generating more traffic for the Port.

    Other commitments between both nations:

    -Both sides agreed to jointly make flagship projects, such as Myanmar Institute of Information and Technology (MIIT) and Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education (ACARE) in Myanmar.

    -Earliest upgradation of the Women’s Police Training Centre at Yamethin after finalization of modalities of the project.

    -Both sides agreed to work together to enable the launch of India’s RuPay Card in Myanmar at the earliest. For this, National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) needs to adhere to Myanmar laws and regulations.

    -The two sides also agreed to explore the creation of an India-Myanmar digital payment gateway.

    -They also expressed interest in exploring a bilateral mechanism for settlement in local currency with the aim to boost cross border trade.

    -The two sides agreed to accelerate the existing mechanism of India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee meetings.

    President U Win Myint paid two days visit to Bodh Gaya, Bihar
    Myanmar President Win Myint had a two-day tour of Bodh Gaya in Bihar, the holy town where Buddha has attained enlightenment. He was accompanied by his wife and a 28-member delegation of top Myanmarese officials. He landed at Gaya International Airport and received by Bihar building construction minister Ashok Choudhary.

    • Myanmarese first couple ffered prayers at the Maha Bodhi temple,
    • He donated a 36-inch high bronze image of Buddha that is to be enshrined at the Mahabodhi Temple, and paid homage at the 7 sacred places of Buddha
    • The President, the First Lady and delegation went to the Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage site to paid homage at the Great Buddha Statute.
    • After that , they attended the donation ceremonyof the 36-inch high bronze image of Buddha that is to be enshrined at the Maha Bodhi Tree and its golden precinct. The donation was B.T.M.C (Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee) Sayadaw U Carainda.
    • The President and the First Lady then presented the ‘eight requisites for monks’ to the Sayadaws and monks from (13) Myanmar Monasteries in the Bodh Gaya.
    • After the donation ceremony, the President and the First Lady donated thin gold platesat the Maha Bodhi Tree.
    • He also paid homage at the 7 sacred places of Buddha, and fed the fish with fish food at the Mucalinda Lake.
    • The President and the First Lady made a study tour at the King Mindon’s Stone Inscription, paid homage to the Daijokyo Buddhist Temple(the Japanese Pagoda).

    U Win Myint visited Taj Mahal, Agra
    Myanmar President and his wife also visited 17th centuary monument Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh (UP).


    1. BEE introduces Deep freezer and Light commercial air conditioners under star rating programme



    • Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE),an agency of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Power, has launched star ratingprogramme for Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC) and Deep Freezers, in its 19th foundation day under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 in New Delhi.
    • During the occasion, BEE also launched 1stof its kind initiative, Urja Dakshata Information Tool (UDIT) (www.udit.beeindia.gov.in) developed in association with US (United States)-based World Resources Institute (WRI), to facilitate a database on energy e­fficiency.
    • A total of 24 devices have been covered under this program so far. These rules are mandatory on 10 appliances such as AC (Air conditioning), frost free refrigerator transformer used in rooms, while appliances like pump sets, ceiling fans, LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas ) stoves are covered under the voluntary scheme
    • The tool UDIT helps to know the energy efficiency landscape of India across various industries including appliances, building, transport, municipal and agriculture sectors. It also explains the capacity building and new initiatives taken up by the Government across the sectors in the increase energy efficiency.
    • Through the Star label, equipment manufacturers indicate how economical their equipment is in terms of electricity expenditure. This could save a total of 9 billion units of electricity by 2030 in the use of only these two types of electric devices and a reduction in CO2 emissions.
    • A total of 24 devices have been covered under this program so far. These rules are mandatory on 10 appliances such as AC, frost free refrigerator transformer used in rooms, while appliances like pump sets, ceiling fans, LPG stoves are covered under the voluntary scheme.After launching these 2 new appliances under voluntary regime, the total count becomes 26.
    • Deep freezer & LCAC:Deep freezer is used for food, fruits, Contains long-term preservation of vegetable-like substances. Light commercial air conditioners come with AC ranging from DSC (Digital Security Controls) Series 3-5 Tons.



    1. RaIDer-X


    • RaIDer-X, a new explosive detection device, was unveiled at the National Workshop on Explosive Detection (NWED-2020) in Pune today. RaIDer-X has the capability to detect explosives from a stand-off distance. The data library can be built in the system to expand its capability to detect a number of explosives in pure form as well as with the contaminants. Bulk explosive in concealed condition can also be detected by the device.RaIDer-X has been co-developed by High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) Puneand Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
    • The NWED-2020 was inaugurated by Secretary, Department of Defence Research &Developmentand Chairman Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Satheesh Reddy. The two-day workshop has been organised by HEMRL Puneon its diamond jubilee celebration. HEMRL Pune is a premier laboratory of DRDO. It provides a platform to scientists, technocrats and users to share knowledge, experience and updated information on the technological advancements made in the recent past. The workshop will help in the further development of explosive detection devices and keep abreast on the recent development and advancements in the field of explosive detection.
    • In his address, the DRDO Chairman emphasised that detection of explosives is a compelling need of the hour. He said, security agencies are continuously monitoring vulnerable targets with the help of intelligence agencies to thwart the attempts of anti-social elements.Dr Reddy appreciated the joint pursuit of academia and DRDO in developing portable devices, which can now be safely and effectively used by security agencies. He also released a souvenir comprising of abstracts from eminent speakers of DRDO laboratories, IITs, Advanced Centre of Research in High Energy Materials, University of Hyderabad, other universities and delegates.
    • A total of 250 delegates from different DRDO laboratories, Army, CRPF, CISF, State Police, academic Institutes, industries and other security agencies are attending the workshop.


    1. Obulavaripalli – Krishnapatnam rail line in Andhra Pradesh


    • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today asked the Railway Ministry to expedite the creation of passenger amenities and the introduction of passenger services between Krishnapatnam and Rapur Railway Stations on Obulavaripalli-Krishnapatnam rail line in Andhra Pradesh.
    • During a meeting with the Union Minister of State of Railways, Shri Suresh Angadi at Uparastrapati Bhavan, today, Shri Naidu enquired about the progress of the passenger services and provision of passenger amenities on the above-mentioned routes.
    • The Obulavaripalle-Krishnapatnam Railway Project is owned by Krishnapatnam Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL), a Joint Venture Company (SPV) comprising Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited (KPCL), Sagarmala (Govt. of Andhra Pradesh), National Mineral Development Corporation and Brahmani Steels.
    • The Railway officials present at the meeting explained to the Vice President that the Ministry of Railways was negotiating with KRCL for amending the concession agreement. The agreement signed between them earlier needs to be suitably amended to incorporate the clause relating to the introduction of passenger services, the officials told. They assured to expedite the process in this regard.
    • Krishnapatnam Port-Venkachalam-Obulavaripalli Railway line provides vital rail connectivity between two major rail routes and reduces the distance by 72 km for the trains coming from Guntakal division to Krishnapatnam and reduces traffic density in Obulavaripalli-Renigunta-Gudur section.


    1. Decrease in Agricultural Holdings


    • The Department of Agriculture, Co-operation and Farmers Welfare conducts agriculture census every five years to collect data on structural characteristics of agricultural sector including size of agriculture land holdings in the country. As per the latest information available from Agriculture Census, the average size of operational holdings has decreased from 2.28 hectares in 1970-71 to 1.84 hectares in 1980-81, to 1.41 hectares in 1995-96 and to 1.08 hectares in 2015-16.
    • Considering the declining trends observed in the size of agriculture holdings in the past and the prospective increase in population over time, the fragmentation of holdings is likely to continue and the average size of operational holdings is expected to further decrease in the country including Kerala.
    • In order to make small holdings more viable and to assist augmentation of farm incomes, Government has taken several measures including adoption of modern technologies and practices like multiple cropping, intercropping and integrated farming systems. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is conducting research programmes to develop location specific varieties and technologies for enhancing the production and productivity of farm holdings. Support is also provided to farmers (including small and marginal farmers) through initiatives and programmes of the Government like Interest Subvention Scheme, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Neem Coated Urea, Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchayeeYojana (PMKSY), Pradhan MantriFasalBimaYojana (PMFBY), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) etc.
    • Except in the years of adverse weather, rainfall, temperature conditions, natural calamities etc., the production and productivity (per hectare production) of agriculture crops in the country has been generally increasing, as observed in the table given below:
    All-India production of Food grains
    Sl. No. Year Production 

    (Million Tonnes)

    1 2000-01 196.81
    2 2005-06 208.60
    3 2010-11 244.49
    4 2015-16 251.54
    5 2016-17 275.11
    6 2017-18 285.01
    7 2018-19 285.21
    8 2019-20   291.95*
    • * Second advance estimate
    • Thus, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that fragmentation of land holdings has resulted in adverse impact on agricultural production/yield.



    1. Crop Diversification




    • Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) is already implementing a Crop Diversification Programme (CDP) for replacing paddy crop with less water consuming alternative crops to save water and protect soil in the state of Punjab.
    • State-wise allocation (central share) under CDP for replacing paddy / tobacco crops during 2019-20 is given below:
    • (Rs. in lakh)
    S.I No. State Budget Allocation  (central share)
    A. CDP for replacing paddy crop
    1. Punjab 705.76
    2. Haryana 301.73
    3. Uttar Pradesh 320.51
    Sub Total 1328.00
    B. CDP for replacing tobacco crop
    1 Andhra Pradesh 212.96
    2 Bihar 17.80
    3 Gujarat 201.23
    4 Karnataka 160.08
    5 Maharashtra 0.00
    6 Odisha 2.45
    7 Tamil Nadu 5.33
    8 Telangana 10.47
    9 Uttar Pradesh 38.21
    10 West Bengal 18.47
    Sub Total 667.00
    C. Contingency 5.00
    Grand Total (A+B+C) 2000.00
    • Crop Diversification Programme (CDP), a sub scheme of RashtriyaKrishiVikasYojana (RKVY) is being implemented in Original Green Revolution States to divert the area of paddy crop to alternate crops and in tobacco growing states to encourage tobacco farmers to shift to alternate crops/cropping system. Under CDP for replacing paddy crop, assistance is provided for four major interventions viz., alternate crop demonstrations, farm mechanization & value addition, site-specific activities &contingency for awareness, training, monitoring, etc. However, for replacing tobacco crop, tobacco growing states have been given flexibility to take suitable activities/interventions for growing alternative agricultural/horticultural crops.
    • Government of India also provide flexibility to the states for state specific       needs/priorities under RKVY. The state can promote crop diversification under RKVY with the approval of State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) headed by Chief Secretary of the State.




    1. Financial Condition of Farmers


    • The last Survey was conducted by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in 2013 and therefore, no data is available with the Ministry indicating the financial condition of the farmers. However, as per the last Survey conducted by NSSO in India in the year 2013, rural India had an estimated total of 90.2 million agricultural households, which constituted about 57.8 percent of the total estimated rural households of the country during the same period. Majority of the agricultural households which possessed more than 0.40 hectare land, reported cultivation as their principal source of income. Among the agricultural households having less than 0.01 hectare land, about 56 percent reported wage/salary employment as their principal source of income and another 23 percent reported livestock as their principal source of income. About 44 percent of the estimated agricultural households in the country had MGNREGA job card during the survey period. About 52 percent of the agricultural households in the country were estimated to be indebted.
    • Agriculture, including agricultural indebtedness, being a State subject, the State Governments take appropriate measures for development of agriculture in the State. However, Government of India supplements the efforts of States through appropriate policy measures and budgetary support. The Government of India supplements the efforts of the State Governments through various schemes/ programmes. The various schemes/ programmes of the Government of India aremeant for the welfare of farmers by increasing production, remunerative returns and income support to farmers. All these steps of the Government of India are for the welfare of the farmers of the country.
    • Further, the Government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee in 2016 to recommend a strategy for Doubling of Farmers’ Income (DFI) by the year 2022. The DFI Committee submitted its report and thereafter the Government constituted an Empowered Body on 23.01.2019 to monitor and review the progress as per these recommendations. To achieve this, the Committee has identified seven sources of income growth viz., improvement in crop productivity; improvement in livestock productivity; resource use efficiency or savings in the cost of production; increase in the cropping intensity; diversification towards high value crops; improvement in real prices received by farmers; and shift from farm to non-farm occupations.


    1. Calculation of MSP


    • Government fixes Minimum Support Price (MSP) on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
    • The Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced the pre-determined principle to keep MSP at levels of one and half times of the cost of production. Accordingly, Government has increased the MSP for all mandated Kharif, Rabi and other commercial crops with a return of atleast 50 per cent of cost of production for the agricultural year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
    • From time to time, some farmers and farmers’ organizations have been agitating and making certain demands like increase in MSP for agricultural crops on the basis of C2 system.
    • Cost of production is one of the important factors in the determination of MSPs. While recommending its price policy, the CACP considers all costs in a comprehensive manner which is based on the methodology recommended by Expert Committees from time to time.
    • CACP considers both A2+FL and C2 costs while recommending MSP. CACP reckons only A2+FL cost for return. However, C2 costs are used by CACP primarily as benchmark reference costs (opportunity costs) to see if the MSPs recommended by them at least cover these costs in some of the major producing States.
    • Government’s price policy is to ensure remunerative prices to farmers by offering to procure their produce at MSP. However, farmers are free to sell their produce to the Government procurement agencies at MSP or in the open market whichever is advantageous to them.
    • Apart from increasing MSP, Government has taken several steps to provide remunerative prices to farmers for their produce which include undertaking procurement through designated procurement agencies, implementing e-National Agriculture Market (eNAM), enacting the Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017 and promoting Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs).
    • The Government is working on market architecture so as to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices on their produce. These include setting up of Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) with a view to promote 22,000 number of retail markets in close proximity of farm gate; competitive and transparent wholesale trade at APMC through e-NAM.
    • The recently launched Umbrella Scheme “Pradhan MantriAnnadataAaySanraksHanAbhiyan (PM-AASHA)” provides for a holistic arrangement for assurance of a remunerative price for farmers. This Umbrella Scheme comprises Price Support Scheme (PSS) for pulses, oilseeds and copra, Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS) for oilseeds to ensure MSP to the farmers.
    • MSP operations are given wide publicity through pamphlets, banners, sign boards, radio, TV and advertisements through print & electronic media. In addition to that farmers are made aware of the quality specifications and purchase system to facilitate the farmers to bring their produce conforming to the specifications.









    1. 70-year-old Muslim cleric died from novel coronavirus in Iraq

    • Iraq said, a 70-year-old Muslim cleric died today from the novel coronavirus, the first death from the outbreak in a country where 31 people have been infected.
    • The Iraqi preacher had been quarantined in the northeastern city of Sulaimaniyah before his death, a spokesman for the Kurdish autonomous region’s health authority said.
    • According to local sources, he had recently met with Iraqis returning from neighbouring Iran, which has recorded the third deadliest outbreak outside China, the epidemic’s epicentre.
    • Iraq is one of Iran’s largest export markets and a popular destination for Iranian pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.


    1. Sri Lankan President dissolves parliament; calls for general elections on April 25


    • Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapksa has dissolved the parliament and called for general elections on 25th of next month. A gazette notification issued last night said nominations for elections will be received from 12th to 19th of this month.
    • The gazette was issued under powers vested with President to dissolve the parliament after four and a half years of its first sitting. The newly elected parliament will meet on 14th of May. The parliament term was ending in August but general elections was called as the current government led by Prime minister Mahinda Rajpaksa is a minority government and expects to gain a majority in coming elections.
    • The previous government led by Ranil Wickremsinghe has resigned in November following defeat at the Presidential elections where Gotabaya was elected as President defeating Sajith Premadasa. Meanwhile, Mr. Premadasa launched a new political alliance yesterday comprising of five political parties including some members of  United National party (UNP) led by Ranil Wickremsinghe. There is no consensus for symbol of the alliance as UNP camp is divided between loyalists of Wickremsinghe and Premadasa.






    1. Badminton Asia Championships moved from Wuhan to Manila over coronavirus outbreak

    • Next month’s Badminton Asia Championships have been moved out of novel coronavirus outbreak epicentre,Wuhan, to the Philippines capital Manila. The Badminton Asia officials said this in a statement in Shanghai today. The Asia Championships will be staged in Manila from 21st of next month.
    • The Coronavirus has forced the postponement or cancellation of several badminton tournaments, disrupting the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics. Numerous other sports events have also been cancelled, postponed or moved in recent weeks all over the world because of the deadly virus.
    • China, where the virus emerged in December and where more than 2,900 people have died so far, has been hardest hit with all sports stopped.



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