Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity
Paper 2 – Health
Why You Should Know?
The Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity, a joint effort by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Oxford with cooperation across the UN system, has put out recent data that justifies the vexatious core of the vaccine distribution program
In detail –
- Accoridng to data Only one in four people has been vaccinated with at least one dose in low and middle income countries as of November 9, 2022. In comparison, in high income countries, three in four people have got at least one dose of the vaccine.
- COVID-19 vaccine inequity will have a lasting and profound impact on socio-economic recovery in low- and lower-middle income countries without urgent action to boost supply, share vaccines and ensure they’re accessible to everyone now.
- The Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity combines the latest data on the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines with the most recent socio-economic information to illustrate why accelerating vaccine equity is not only critical to saving lives but also to driving a faster and fairer recovery from the pandemic with benefits for all.
- It provides new, actionable insights and possibilities for policy makers to dive into the implications of vaccine inequity for socio-economic recovery, jobs and welfare. Analyses can be generated and compared by country, region and globally, and organised per income group.
- The Dashboard is a joint initiative of UNDP, WHO and the University of Oxford with cooperation across the UN system, anchored in the SDG 3 Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All.
What is vaccine equity?
- Vaccine equity means that vaccines should be allocated across all countries based on needs and regardless of their economic status.
- Access to and allocation of vaccines should be based on principles grounded in the right of every human to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic, or any other social condition.
- Globally, the distribution of vaccines is shaped by challenging political, economic, social, diplomatic, and health-related matters.
- Therefore, accurate and up-to-date data and information are critical components in guiding the international community’s understanding of vaccine equity and shed light on the blind spots essential for achieving the last mile on vaccine equity.
- A slower and delayed vaccination rollout in low and middle-income countries has left them vulnerable to COVID-19 variants, new surges of the virus and a slower recovery out of the crisis.
- High-income countries started vaccination on average two months earlier than low-income countries and vaccination coverage in low-income countries is still strikingly low.
Efforts to reduce vaccine inequity
- The COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership (COVAX), a collective international effort with ‘One Country Team’, ‘One Plan’, and ‘One Budget’.
- It was launched by WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi and the World Bank, to intensify country readiness and delivery support.
- It aimed at accelerating COVID-19 vaccination coverage in 34 low coverage countries, along with their governments.
- COVAX has helped many countries access vaccines, since its launch in January 2022, low income countries (LICs) particularly continue to have difficulties in achieving a step change in vaccination rates, the WHO records.
Sources – TH
Currency Monitoring List
Paper 3 – Economy
Why You Should Know?
Recently US Treasury removed India from its Currency Monitoring List
In detail –
- The US Department of Treasury removed India along with Italy, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam from its Currency Monitoring List of major trading partners that merit close attention to their currency practices and macroeconomic policies.
- India had been on the list for the last two years.
- China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan are the seven economies that are a part of the current monitoring list.
- The countries that have been removed from the list have met only one out of three criteria for two consecutive reports
What is the US’ Currency Monitoring List?
- The Currency Monitoring List closely follows the currency policies of some of the US’ major trade partners.
- If a country appears on the list, it is regarded as a “currency manipulator”. A ‘currency manipulator’ is a designation that the US government authorities give to countries that according to the US, engage in “unfair currency practices” for trade benefits.
- Thus, inclusion in the list simply means that the country is artificially lowering the value of its currency to get an advantage over others.
- This is because a lower currency value leads to reduced export costs from that country.
- The status is reported by the US Department of Treasury in form of a semi-annual report in which it tracks global economic developments and reviews foreign exchange rates.
- It also closely monitors and reviews the currency practices of 20 major trading partners of the US.
Meaning for India
- Removal of India from the list by the US’ Treasury Department can be seen as a positive news both in terms of market aspect and India’s monetary policy-making.
- If Indian market experts are to be believed, the development means that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) can now take robust measures to manage the exchange rates effectively, without being tagged as a currency manipulator.
- This may also be a big win from a markets standpoint and also signifies the growing role of India in global growth.
- To manage exchange rates amid the rupee fall, the Reserve Bank of India had recently taken measures like greater purchases of dollars at the time of excess inflows and selling dollars at the time of outflows.
- Experts are also seeing this as a good news from a view-point that the Rupee could appreciate on account of this.
- The US treasury usually puts a country’s name on the list if
- The said nation has intervened in the currency market by higher levels than 2% of its GDP over a year, and
- had a current account surplus above a stipulated level.
- Its net purchases of foreign currency, too, also need to exceed 2% of GDP over one year.
- A country that meets two of the three criteria in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 gets included in the list.
- If the country meets all three criteria. it gets termed as ‘currency manipulator’ by the US Department of Treasury.
- Once a country appears on the currency monitoring list, it will remain there for at least two consecutive reports “to help ensure that any improvement in performance versus the criteria is durable and is not due to temporary factors”.
Source – IE
Spread of Pre-Symptomatic Monkeypox
Paper 2 – Health
Why You Should Know?
A study published recently in BMJ, which involves a larger cohort, found that pre-symptomatic transmission of monkeypox virus had taken place as long as four days before symptoms manifested.
In detail –
- The researchers have estimated that 53% of monkeypox virus transmission have occurred during the pre-symptomatic phase.
- Pre-symptomatic transmission of monkeypox virus will mean that many infections cannot be prevented by simply isolating people showing symptoms.
- Also, the effectiveness of contact tracing and subsequent quarantine will not be sufficient to break the transmission chain since by the time all the contacts have been traced, they might have already spread the virus to other people. “
- Pre-symptomatic transmission has implications for vaccination strategies and the feasibility of disease elimination
What is monkeypox?
- Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral disease that starts with a flu-like disease and inflammation of the lymph nodes and develops into a rash widespread on the face and body. Most infections last for 2-4 weeks.
- The rare monkeypox virus belongs to the chickenpox virus family.
- The infection can also be quite serious. This infection can be identified on the basis of large donations on the body of the infected person.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox was reported for the first time in humans in 1970. So far, the presence of this virus has been confirmed in 11 countries of Africa.
- The initial cases of MonkeyPox were reported in 1958. When the disease spread to monkeys kept for research.
- The first case of monkeypox in humans was reported in 1970 in Cango (Africa).
- According to reports, the infection spread in the Us in 2003. Then the reason for this was attributed to the pet dogs imported from Ghana.
How does it spread?
- Monkeypox virus can spread in many ways. However, according to the WHO, the transition from one human to another is quite low.
- when the infected person sneezes and coughs, the virus is present in the droplets, which can spread like Covid.
- In addition, the virus spreads to humans due to exposure to the blood, body fluids or skin of infected animals.
- According to the WHO, it can take 6 to 13 days for symptoms to appear after a monkeyvirus infection.
- Infected people may feel severe weakness with fever, sharp headaches, back and muscle pain. Inflammation of the lymph nodes is considered to be its most common symptom.
- A sick person may have large rashes on his face and hands and feet. If the infection is severe, these rashes can also affect the cornea of the eyes.
The treatment –
- According to the WHO, there is currently no cure available for monkeypox. Smallpox vaccines (made from the vaccinia virus) are considered to be protective against monkeypox.
- People exposed to the virus are often given some doses of smallpox vaccines, as it is currently shown to be effective against Monkeypox.
- The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has recommended that all suspected patients be isolated and those at high risk be vaccinated with smallpox.
Megalithic Burial Sites
Paper 1 –History
Why You Should Know?
Tirupati district is dotted with anthropomorphic burial sites, said to be the largest as a collection in Andhra Pradesh.
In detail –
- Anthropomorphic sites are those marked by a representation of human form above the megalithic burials.
- The most prominent one is the ‘pillared dolmen’ of the megalithic era, found at Mallayyagaripalle, nestling on a hillock between Chandragiri and Dornakambala, 20 km from Tirupati.
- The structure locally referred to as ‘Pandava Gullu’ or ‘Pandavula Banda’ in memory of the Pandavas, is estimated to be 2,500 years old.
- Compared to other districts, the erstwhile combined Chittoor district [Tirupati district was carved out of it in April 2022] has an array of such structures, found almost in every mandal.
- This could be an indication to the presence of humans living in groups during the megalithic period (300–500 BC) in this region.
- The Mallayyagaripalle structure is a cist burial chamber. Such chambers are built by arranging slabs neatly broken from huge stones at a time when there were no proper tools.
- There is another endangered megalith monument in Palem village near Kallur, which resembles a bull’s horn.
- Called locally as ‘Devara Yeddhu’, the site has suffered repeated damage due to clandestine excavation by treasure hunters.
- Also, an electric post was fixed very close to the site, which is indicative of official apathy.
- Yet another type of a megalithic burial site is the ‘stone circle’, where the tomb is surrounded by round stones arranged in a circle.
- One such site in Venkatapuram, 15 km east of Tirupati near Karakambadi, is damaged due to the installation of a mobile tower.
- a tall or grand structure erected in memory of a dead person – found at Boyapalle near Sodam, is also in a damaged state.
- ‘Slab circles’, an arrangement of three or seven slabs in a circular fashion, found in Eguva Gunthalacheruvu of Annamayya district, is also in a state of neglect.
What is Megalith
- A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a prehistoric structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones.
- Megalith derives from the Ancient Greek words “mega” for great and “lithos” for stone.
- In some historical and prehistoric sites, such megaliths were built without cement or spices by carving and making parts that fit into each other.
- Such use of megaliths was mostly in the Stone Age and to some extent in the Bronze Age.
Types of Megalith
- “megalith” is often used to describe a single piece of stone, it also can be used to denote one or more rocks hewn in definite shapes for special purposes.
- It has been used to describe structures built by people from many parts of the world living in many different periods.
- The most widely known megaliths are not tombs. There are mainly two types of megalith structure- single stones and multiple stones.
- Menhir is the name used in Western Europe for a single upright stone erected in prehistoric times; sometimes called a “standing stone”.
- Any single standing stone erected in prehistoric times.
- Single megaliths placed horizontally, often over burial chambers, without the use of support stones.
- Multiple megaliths placed in relation to each other with intention. Often placed in rows or spirals.
- Some alignments, such as the Carnac Stones in Brittany, France consist of thousands of stones.
- Also called Cyclopean walls
- In most languages stone circles are called “cromlechs” (a word in the Welsh language); the word “cromlech” is sometimes used with that meaning in English.
- A Dolmen is a megalithic form created by placing a large capstone on two or more support stones creating a chamber below, sometimes closed in on one or more sides.
- Often used as a tomb or burial chamber.
- A Cist is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead.
- Burials are megalithic forms very similar to dolmens in structure. These type of burials were completely underground.
Source – TH
Migratory Bird Species
Paper 3 –Biodiversity
Why You Should Know?
With winter setting in, several migratory bird species have started flocking to the wetlands.
In detail –
- Certain species of wader birds, like sandpipers, which prefer shallower waters, start arriving by late September, major migratory ducks, like Northern shoveler, Gadwall, Greylag geese, Pallas’s gulls, brown-headed and black-headed gulls, coots, etc have now begun settling in different wetlands of Delhi-NCR, including Yamuna Biodiversity Park and Sultanpur National Park.
- Their numbers and species density will increase by mid-November. the migratory birds arriving here were from central Asia and Siberia and were “energy budgeting”.
- The routes include Siberia, central Asia and Rajasthan. Before reaching Delhi, the birds make several stoppages.
- Therefore, even though their migration has started, it’ll take some time for them to reach here in big numbers.
- several migratory species could be seen at Yamuna Biodiversity Park, including tufted pochard, common pochard, Eurasian coot and Black redstart.
Bird species in Delhi-NCR
- Delhi-NCR accounts for almost one-third of the total bird species found in India.
- The region has about 1,800 species of fauna out of which 446 are bird species.
- There are nine protected areas, including one national park, six wildlife sanctuaries, one reserve forest and one conservation reserve.
- There are eight important bird areas, including Okhla Bird sanctuary (Gautam Budh Nagar), Sultanpur National Park (Gurgaon), Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary (Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bijnor), Basai Wetlands (Gurgaon) etc. None of them are in Delhi.
- At Sultanpur National Park, which is full of water, several species of migratory birds can be spotted. They include Northern shoveler, Gadwall, Greylag geese, Pallas’s gulls, brown-headed and black-headed gulls and several waders.
- In Delhi, birding was being done at Yamuna Khadar, but due to farming the flock sizes have started to drop. However, Yamuna Biodiversity Park attracts birds as it’s protected.
Why Do Birds Migrate?
- Birds migrate to move from areas of low or decreasing resources to areas of high or increasing resources.
- The two primary resources being sought are food and nesting locations
- Birds that nest in the Northern Hemisphere tend to migrate northward in the spring to take advantage of burgeoning insect populations, budding plants and an abundance of nesting locations.
- As winter approaches and the availability of insects and other food drops, the birds move south again.
- Escaping the cold is a motivating factor but many species, including hummingbirds, can withstand freezing temperatures as long as an adequate supply of food is available.
Types Of Migration
- The term migration describes periodic, large-scale movements of populations of animals. One way to look at migration is to consider the distances traveled.
- Permanent residents do not migrate. They are able to find adequate supplies of food year-round.
- Short-distance migrants make relatively small movements, as from higher to lower elevations on a mountainside.
- Medium-distance migrants cover distances that span a few hundred miles.
- Long-distance migrants typically move from breeding ranges in the United States and Canada to wintering grounds in Central and South America.
- Despite the arduous journeys involved, long-distance migration is a feature of some 350 species of North American birds.
- The pattern of migration can vary within each category, but is most variable in short and medium distance migrants.
The major global flyways
- In the Americas there are three flyways (the Pacific Americas Flyway, Central Americas Flyway and Atlantic Americas Flyway) connecting the high Arctic to Tierra del Fuego—the southernmost tip of the South American mainland.
- Collectively, the three Palaearctic–African flyways (East Atlantic Flyway, Mediterranean/Black Sea Flyway and East Asia/East Africa Flyway) constitute the world’s largest bird migration system with over two billion passerines and near-passerines migrating from their breeding grounds in Europe and central and western Asia to winter in tropical Africa each year.
Central Asian Flyway
- The Central Asian Flyway is the shortest flyway in the world. Lying entirely within the Northern Hemisphere, it connects a large swathe of the Palearctic with the Indian subcontinent.
- Fewer species use this route because of the formidable barrier presented by the Tibetan plateau and Himalayas.
East Asia/Australasia Flyway
- The East Asia/Australasia Flyway extends from Arctic Russia and North America to New Zealand and is used by over 50 million migratory waterbirds.
CRISPR Gene Editing Technique
Paper 2 – Health
Why You Should Know?
Scientists have, for the first time, used CRISPR technology to insert genes that allow immune cells to attack cancer cells, potentially leaving normal cells unharmed and increasing the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
In detail –
- The CRISPR gene editing technique has been previously used in humans to remove specific genes to allow the immune system to be more activated against cancer.
- The research, published in the journal Nature, used CRISPR to not only take out specific genes, but also to insert new ones in immune cells efficiently redirecting them to recognise mutations in the patient’s own cancer cells.
- When infused back to patients, these CRISPR engineered immune cells preferentially traffic to the cancer and become the most represented immune cells there.
- The human immune system has specific receptors on immune cells that can specifically recognise cancer cells and differentiate them from normal cells.
- These are different for every patient, so finding an efficient way to isolate them and insert them back into immune cells to generate a personalised cell therapy to treat cancer is key to making the approach feasible on a large scale.
- The researchers found an efficient way to isolate these immune receptors from patient’s own blood.
- After isolation, the immune receptors are used to redirect immune cells to recognise cancer using CRISPR gene editing.
- The researchers report treating 16 patients with a variety of solid cancers including colon, breast and lung cancers.
About CRISPR Technology –
- CRISPR technique (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats’ and CRISPR-associated protein 9) is a gene editing technique that can be used to alter an organism’s genes or alter its genetic formation.
- It was discovered in the year 2012. Genome editing or gene editing techniques allow adding, removing, or replacing genetic material at targeted locations in the genome.
- In CRISPR technique, molecules specially prepared by the Cas-9 gene or genetic scissors find the defective DNA strand and the targeted DNA strand is cut off with the help of enzymes.
- Therefore, disease can be achieved by cutting and separating genes suffering from genetically occurring disease.
- The specific part of the DNA end that is cut or removed has a tendency to be naturally reconstructed, repaired, or formed.
- The CRISPR CAS-9 system is faster, cheaper, more accurate, and efficient than other existing genome editing methods.
Sources – TH
Paper 3 – Environment
Why You Should Know?
While reviewing cultivation of lavender in the district, Dr Jatendra Singh said that as the farmers are taking up lavender cultivation on commercial scale for being a profitable farming, Doda district would be branded as a role model in the country in lavender farming.
In detail –
- CSIR-IIIM introduced lavender for farmers in Doda, Rama, Kishtwar, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kupwara and Bandipora districts.
- Lavender cultivation has employed nearly 5,000 farmers and young entrepreneurs in the geographically remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
- More than 1,000 farmer families are cultivating it on more than 200 acres of land.
What is lavender?
- Lavender (lavendula) is one of the 39 flowering plants of the pudina family “Lamiaceae”.
- It is a perennial crop and can also be cultivated on wasteland. It requires minimum irrigation.
- It can also be grown with other crops. Lavender lives for 10 to 12 years once planted.
- lavender is a European crop. It was first introduced to Kashmir. It was then planted in Doda, Kishtwar and Bhaderwa areas of Jammu. Seeing its benefits, thousands of farmers today want to cultivate lavender.
- Lavender is extensively used with herbs and aroma therapies.
- English lavender produces essential oil with a sweetener and can be applied for balm, medicine, perfume, cosmetics and topical use.
- Lavedin, lavendula intermedia (also known as Dutch lavender), produces essential oil that contains a quantity of turpentine and camphor that is used for a sharp scent.
- The Mexican lavender, lavendula stecus, is not used for potions, but primarily for landscaping.
- The essential properties of lavender oil are antiseptic and reduce inflammation. It is used to disinfect the floors and walls in the hospital. Thisis used for the aroma of bath products.
- Apart from this, lavender is also used in many home remedies.
Need of lavender cultivation
- productivity of crops in high altitude areas is low. Here farmers sometimes have half an acre or less of the land.
- With the income that comes from this farming, people are not able to bear the annual expenses.
- Therefore, there was an initiative to plant some crops in these areas which would give more benefit to the farmers than their traditional farming. One of them is the cultivation of lavender.
- Due to this, 8 lakh saplings have been given free of cost by CSIR-IIIM to 500 farmers under aroma mission in Jammu till March 2020 for cultivation of lavender in 100 acres of land.
- The last 10 years have seen a surge in lavender cultivation acreage in the Union Territory due to various initiatives of CSIR-IIIM, Jammu and their implementation.
- Lavender is being grown in an estimated acreage of 900 acres in Jammu and Kashmir with an annual production of 3000 kg of lavender oil.
- The institute is increasing the acreage of the crop. It seeks to increase the area of lavender cultivation to 1500 hectares in the next 2-3 years to meet the growing demand for lavender oil at the national and international level, so as to establish a permanent system of production.
- Farmers cultivating lavender get 5-6 times more income (Rs 4.00-5.00 lakh per hectare) than traditional crops.
- In addition, animals that harm farming do not harm the lavender. It produces flowers once for 30-40 days during June-July. It provides lavender oil, lavender water, dry flower and other things.
- At least 40 to 50 kilograms of oil will be released every year from the crop planted in one hectare. The price of lavender oil today is around 10,000 rupees per kg.
Sources – PIB
National Workshop of Ministry of Panchayat Raj
Paper 2 –Governance
Why Should You Know?
A national workshop is being organized for the villages of India with the objective of poverty free life and enhanced livelihood.
In details –
- The three-day event will be held in Kerala from November 14-16.
- About 1500 participants including members of Kudumbashree and MGNREGA at various levels will participate in this workshop.
- The workshop is being organized by the Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Government of India in association with the Local Self Government Department (LSGD), Government of Kerala and the Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Thrissur, Kerala.
- This well-structured workshop aims to create awareness on the national level importance of addressing
- (1) marginalisation – inclusion and access to basic services, social safety nets and protection systems – leveraging National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) through Panchayats, and
- (2) livelihoods – the role of Panchayats in addressing income inequality & poverty, eradicating extreme poverty and improving employment opportunities for poor, vulnerable and marginalized sections and
- (3) building resilience of vulnerable communities against the sudden shocks brought about by disasters and extreme climate events.
- Sustainable Development Goals adopted by United Nations came into effect from January 1, 2016.
- Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Government of India has adopted thematic approach to SDGs – It is approach to ensure ‘local action’ for achieving ‘global plan’.
- The approach aims to localise SDGs in rural areas through PRIs, especially Gram Panchayats by clubbing 17 ‘Goals’ into ‘9 Themes’.
- Appropriate policy decisions and revisions have followed resulting into revamping of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) and Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Guidelines which smoothens the process of Localisation of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDGs) in Gram Panchayats.
- In pursuance to the agenda of localising Sustainable Development Goals in Panchayats, Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Government of India is organising a series of Thematic Workshops/ Conferences on Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDGs) based on the nine themes to be saturated by the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs),
- at different locations in close collaboration with State/ UT Departments of Panchayati Raj, State Institutes of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (SIRD&PRs), line Ministries/ Departments and other stakeholders.
- The effective and impactful implementation of LSDGs can occur only when the concept and its process are properly understood, imbibed and implemented by the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in order to ensure no one is left behind.
Sources – PIB
“No Money for Terror” Conference
Paper 3 – International Issues
Why You Should Know?
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is organizing the 3rd Ministerial ‘No Money for Terror’ Conference on 18th and 19th of November in New Delhi.
In detail –
- The hosting of this conference shows the importance being given by the Indian Government to the issue of international terrorism as well as its zero tolerance policy against this menace and having discussions on this issue in the international community.
- The Union Minister for Home Affairs and Cooperation, Shri Amit Shah will be participating in the conference and will convey India’s determination in its fight against terrorism as well as its support systems for achieving success against it
- This Conference aims to progress the discussions on combating terrorist financing held by the international community in the previous two Conferences in Paris (2018) and Melbourne (2019).
- It also intends to include discussions on technical, legal, regulatory and cooperation aspects of all facets of terrorism financing.
- It attempts to also set the pace for other high level official and political deliberations, focused on countering terrorist financing.
- Discussions at the 3rd ‘No Money For Terror’ Conference will be focussed on global trends in terrorism and terrorist financing, use of formal and informal channels of funds for terrorism, emerging technologies and terrorist financing and requisite international co-operation to address related challenges. The Conference intends to bring together representatives of 75 countries and international bodies for extended deliberations over two days.
- Globally, countries have been affected by terrorism and militancy for several years. The pattern of violence differs in most theatres, but is largely engendered by a tumultuous geo-political environment, coupled with prolonged armed sectarian conflicts.
- Such conflicts often lead to poor governance, political instability, economic deprivation and large ungoverned spaces. The involvement of a compliant State often exacerbates terrorism, especially its financing.
- India has suffered several forms of terrorism and its financing over more than three decades, hence it understands the pain and trauma of similarly impacted nations.
- In order to display solidarity with peace-loving nations and to help create a bridge for sustained cooperation on countering terrorist financing, India was host to two global events in October – the annual General Assembly of the Interpol in Delhi and a special session of the UN Counter Terrorism Committee in Mumbai and Delhi.
- The forthcoming NMFT Conference will further our efforts to build understanding and cooperation amongst nations.
Source – PIB
Paper 3 – Agriculture
Why Should You Know?
The Prime Minister paid a visit to the Ramagundam Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (RFCL) plant
In detail –
- The Prime Minister dedicated Fertilizer plant at Ramagundam to the nation whose foundation stone for Ramagundam Project was also laid by the Prime Minister on 7th August 2016.
- The driving force behind the revival of the Fertilizer Plant is the vision of the Prime Minister to achieve self-sufficiency in production of urea.
- The Ramagundam Plant will make available 12.7 LMT per annum of indigenous neem-coated Urea production.
- The project has been set up under the aegis of Ramagundam Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (RFCL) which is a Joint Venture Company of National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), Engineers India Ltd (EIL) and Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL).
- RFCL was entrusted with the responsibility of setting up the New Ammonia-Urea Plant with an investment of more than Rs 6300 crores.
- Gas to RFCL Plant will be supplied through Jagdishpur – Phulpur- Haldia Pipeline.
- The plant would ensure adequate and timely supply of urea fertilizer to the farmers in the state of Telangana as well as in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra.
- The plant would not only improve the availability of fertilizer but will also boost overall economic development in the region including the development of infrastructures like roads, railways, ancillary industry etc.
- Apart from this, the region will benefit from the development of MSME vendors for supply of various goods for the factory.
- RFCL’s ‘Bharat Urea’ will provide a tremendous boost to the economy by not only reducing imports but also by giving an impetus to the local farmers through a timely supply of fertilizers and extension services.
Urea crisis in India
- India has long been dependent on imports to meet its urea requirement.
- Government of India data shows that we consumed a total of 358.6 lakh tonnes of urea in 2021-22, including nano urea. Of this, domestic urea production stood at 250.71 lakh tonnes. The number of nano urea bottles used was equivalent to 17.5 lakh tonnes of urea.
- This dependence on imports to meet urea needs is one of the major reasons for urea shortage.
- Apart from this, there are some traditional reasons for urea shortage, such as sowing occurs at more or less the same time in the whole country.
- Apart from this, farmers in India do not have enough extra money to buy urea in advance. They come to the shop to get urea only when they need it.
- When demand increases, fertilizer companies increase supply. Now this creates another problem.
- The railway’s rule is that if goods trains carrying more than a certain number of fertilizers start coming on the same track, then they stop the arrival of new goods trains of fertilizer on that track for some time due to their limited capabilities.
- Due to this, despite adequate quantity of urea available with the companies, there are many times problems in reaching urea to the farmers on time.
- Storage capacity problems also occur at many levels. Wholesalers and retailers do not have the capacity to store suddenly to meet the increased demand.
- At the state level, there are often problems at the level of allocation and distribution of districts. Districts where there is high demand are sometimes undersupply. The central government asks states for a forecast of fertiliser requirements for the kharif and rabi seasons.
- Urea smuggling is one of the reasons for the shortage of urea in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and some northeastern states.
- It is that about 5 lakh tonnes of urea is being smuggled from different states. The largest share of these is said to be smuggling to Nepal. Nearly half of the total urea smuggling has been going to Nepal alone.
Impact of urea crisis
- Due to the shortage of urea, many problems arise. The first problem is that there is a risk of decreasing the area under cultivation. Then if enough urea is not used, the productivity of the crop decreases.
- Due to lack of adequate fertilizers, the quality of grains is not that good. It is also seen many times that farmers are forced to sow paddy varieties that are prepared in a short period of time, whose production is low.
- Urea is less needed in short duration paddy. It has also been observed that black marketing increases when there is a shortage of urea.
- Due to black marketing, farmers have to buy urea at a higher price and this increases the cost of agriculture.
Solutions for overcome urea crisis
- In order to reduce import dependence in the case of urea, the central government is starting new conventional urea plants on the one hand and new plants of nano urea are being set up on the other hand.
- A few years ago, the government had planned to start six new plants of conventional urea.
- The annual production capacity of each of these plants was fixed at 1.27 million tonnes. If all these plants start producing at their full capacity, Then India’s domestic urea production capacity will increase by 7.62 million tonnes.
- Similarly, to increase the production of nano urea, the government is working on a plan to increase the number of production units from the current one to eight.
- By November 2025, all these units will start production and at that time India will be able to produce 440 million bottles of nano urea annually, equivalent to 200 lakh tonnes of conventional urea.
- With the introduction of new production units of conventional urea and nano urea, it is expected that by 2025, India will be completely self-sufficient in urea.
- The government is also working to prevent urea smuggling to avoid shortage of urea. The border is being monitored more strictly for some time.
Sources – PIB