Ojaank IAS Academy




3 August 2022 – Current Affairs

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Formation of FPOs

Paper 3 – Agriculture
Why Should You Know?
Recently  the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar gave information about the  Formation of FPOs, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
In details –
  • The Government of India has launched the Central Sector Scheme for “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations(FPOs)” in the year 2020 with a total budgetary outlay of Rs.6865 Crores which will leverage economies of scale, reduction of cost of production and enhancing farmers’ incomes thus playing a major role towards increasing the income of farmers.
  • Under the scheme, the FPOs are to be developed in produce clusters, wherein agricultural and horticultural produce is grown / cultivated for leveraging economies of scale and improving market access for members.
  • Formation & Promotion of FPOs are to be done through Implementing Agencies (IAs), which further engage Cluster Based Business Organizations (CBBOs) to form & provide professional handholding support to FPOs for a period of 5 years.
  • So far, a total of 8716 FPOs produce clusters have been allocated to Implementing Agencies for formation of FPOs out of which a total of 3179 no. of FPOs have  been registered.
  • FPOs will be provided financial assistance upto Rs 18.00 lakh per FPO for a period of 03 years.
  • In addition to this, provision has been made for matching equity grant upto Rs. 2,000 per farmer member of FPO with a limit of Rs. 15.00 lakh per FPO and a credit guarantee facility upto Rs. 2 crore of project loan per FPO from eligible lending institution to ensure institutional credit accessibility to FPOs. Suitable provisions have been made for training and skill development of FPOs.
  • The Small and Marginal Farmers (SMFs) face some challenges both in production and post-production stages like access to production technology, quality inputs at reasonable prices, credit, custom hiring, seed production, value addition, processing, investments and most importantly market access.
  • Considering the aforesaid constraints being encountered by small and marginal farmers, experiences gained from the existing FPOs and suggestions received during stakeholders` consultation process, the Central Sector Scheme of Formation and Promotion of 10,000 FPOs was conceptualized.
  • Under the said scheme, a professional agency named as Cluster Based Business Organization (CBBO) is to prepare a business plan with participation of farmer – members. The business plan will cover the entire end to end value chain including those of production, post production, marketing, value addition and exports etc.

 What is FPOs?

  • FPO stands for Farmer Producer Organizations. FPO is an organization, where the members are farmers itself.
  • Farmers Producers Organization provides end-to-end support and services to the small farmers, and cover technical services, marketing, processing, and others aspects of cultivation inputs.
  • To facilitate the process, the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) was mandated by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, to support the State Government in the formation of the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). 
  • The goal is to enhance the farmers’ competitiveness and to increase their advantage in emerging the market opportunities. The main aim of the Farmer Producer Organization is to ensure a better income for the producers through an organization of their own.
  • The major operations of Farmers Producer Organization (FPO) include the supply of seed, machinery, market linkages & fertilizer, training, networking, financial and technical advice. 

‘Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0′

Paper 2 – Health
Why Should You Know?
Ministry of Women and Child Development issues Guidelines of ‘Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0′ – an Integrated Nutrition Support Programme
In details –
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued Operational Guidelines regarding implementation of ‘Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0′.  
  • The scheme has been approved by the Government of India for implementation during the 15th Finance Commission period 202l-22 to 2025-26.
  • Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 is an Integrated Nutrition Support Programme. It seeks to address the challenges of malnutrition in children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers through a strategic shift in nutrition content and delivery and by creation of a convergent eco-system to develop and promote practices that nurture health, wellness and immunity.
  • With a view to address various gaps and shortcomings in the on-going nutrition programme and to improve implementation as well as to accelerate improvement in nutrition and child development outcomes, the existing scheme components have been re-organized under Poshan 2.0 into the primary verticals given below:
  • Nutrition Support for POSHAN through Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) for children of the age group of 06 months to 6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers (PWLM); and for Adolescent Girls in the age group of 14 to 18 years in Aspirational Districts and North Eastern Region (NER);
  • Early Childhood Care and Education [3-6 years] and early stimulation for (0-3 years);
  • Anganwadi Infrastructure including modern, upgraded Saksham Anganwadi; and
  • Poshan Abhiyaan
Objectives –

The objectives of Poshan 2.0 are as follows:

  • To contribute to human capital development of the country;
  • Address challenges of malnutrition;
  • Promote nutrition awareness and good eating habits for sustainable health and wellbeing; and
  • Address nutrition related deficiencies through key strategies.
Poshan Tracker –
  • Poshan 2.0 shall focus on Maternal Nutrition, Infant and Young Child Feeding Norms, Treatment Protocols for SAM/MAM and Wellness through AYUSH practices to reduce wasting and under-weight prevalence besides stunting and anemia, supported by the ‘Poshan Tracker’, a new, robust ICT centralised data system which is being linked with the RCH Portal (Anmol) of MoHFW.
About Poshan scheme –
  • Poshan Abhiyaan was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 8th March, 2018 in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan.
  • The focus of Abhiyaan is to lay emphasis on nutritional status of adolescent girls, pregnant women, lactating mothers and children from 0-6 years age.
  • The term ‘Poshan’ in the name of the programme stands for ‘Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition. The programme has specific targets for reducing stunting, anaemia, under-nutrition and low birth weight.

NAMASTE project

Paper 2 – Social Issues
Why Should You Know?
Recently The Minister of State Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Ramdas Athawale gave information about NAMASTE project, in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
In details –
  • The Government has formulated a scheme “National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE)”.
  • The NAMASTE project, is a joint project of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

The project aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India.
  • All sanitation work to be performed by skilled workers.
  • No sanitation workers should come in direct contact with human faecal matter.
  • Sanitation workers are to be collectivized into SHGs and are empowered to run sanitation enterprises.
  • All Sewer and Septic tank sanitation workers (SSWs) have access to alternative livelihoods.
  • Strengthened supervisory and monitoring systems at national, state and ULB levels to ensure enforcement and monitoring of safe sanitation work.
  • Increased awareness amongst sanitation services seekers (individuals and institutions) to seek services from registered and skilled sanitation workers.
Government steps –
  • In addition, for safe and sustainable sanitation, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has issued the Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) Policy, 2017 which emphasizes implementation of legal prohibition of manual scavenging under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and have also prescribed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for safe cleaning of sewer and septic tanks in November, 2018.
  • In accordance with the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Judgment dated 27.03.2014 in Civil Writ Petition No. 583 of 2003, compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each is paid by the State Governments to the families of those who have died while cleaning sewers/septic tanks from the year 1993 onwards.
  • National Commission for Safai Karamcharis and Department of Social Justice have ensured such compensation payments. Year-wise and state wise details during the last five years are given at Annexure.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

Paper 2 – Social Issues
Why Should You Know?
Recently The Minister of State Social Justice and Empowerment Sushri  Pratima Bhoumik told about Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
In details –
  • As per Census 2011, population of Senior Citizens (people aged 60 years and above) is 10.38 Crore in the country.
  • The projected population of Senior Citizens aged 60+ years of the country for 2026 (as on 01st March) is expected to be 17.32 crore, as per the report of Technical Group on Population Projections constituted by the National Commission on Population.
  • As per Census 2011, the number of senior citizens suffering from any disability in their old age is 53,76,619 which is approximately 5.18 percent of total population of senior citizens (10.38 crore).
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is successfully implementing the ‘Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)’ since 01.04.2017 with the objective to provide with such physical aids and assisted living devices which can restore near normalcy in the bodily functions to the senior citizens belonging to BPL category or senior citizens with monthly income not more than Rs. 15000/- who are suffering from age related disabilities/ infirmities.
  • The Scheme is being implemented through Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO) which has conducted 251 distribution camps and benefiting 2,52,229 senior citizens. The State/UT-wise number of beneficiaries is at Annexure.
  • The objective of RVY is to provide physical aids and assisted living devices to all the economically weaker senior citizens who are suffering from age related disability.
Key Facts of Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana-
  • Under this scheme, people living below poverty line and poor people will be provided life aids like wheelchairs and other assistive devices free of cost by the central government.
  • Under Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana, free equipment will be distributed to eligible senior citizens according to their disability / infirmity. In case of multiple disabilities/infirmities found in the same person, separate equipment will be provided for each disability/weakness.
  • These devices will help senior citizens cope with age-related physical problems and give them an opportunity to lead a better life while reducing their dependence on other family members.
Main characteristics –
  • The equipment will be distributed free of cost to all the beneficiaries.
  • In case a person has more than one disability, more than one device will be provided to the beneficiary.
  • Aids and Assisted Living Equipments will be provided free maintenance for 1 year by the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation.
  • The beneficiaries in each of the districts will be identified by the State Government/UT Administration through a committee headed by the, District Collector.
  • As far as possible, 30% of the beneficiaries in each district will be women.
  • The distribution of equipment will be done through the camp.

National Waterway 4

Paper 3- Infrastructure
Why Should You Know?
Recently the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal gave information about National Waterway 4 in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
In details –
The stretch of river Krishna between Vijayawada and Galagali is part of declared National Waterway-4. In this stretch, following development work has been taken up by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) between Vijayawada to Muktayala on Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh:-
  • Deployment of four Floating jetties.
  • Dredging in the stretch for navigational purpose.
  • Land acquisition process for construction of three Ro-Ro terminals at Muktayala, Harichandrapuram and Ibrahimpatnam has been initiated with the State Govt.
About National Waterway 4 –
  • National Waterway 4 (NW-4) is a 1,095 kilometres (680 mi) long waterway in India.
  • It has been declared as an Indian National Waterway and is currently under development.
  • It connects the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and the union territory of Puducherry.
  • The NW-4 runs along the Coromandal Coast through Kakinada, Eluru, Commanur, Buckingham Canals and also through part of Krishna and Godavari rivers in South India.
  • It was declared a National Waterway on 24 November 2008 under the Provisions of National Waterways Bill, 2006.
  • It is being developed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), and was scheduled for completion by 2013.
  • The National Waterways Act, 2016 has extended the length of NW-4 from 1,078 km (670 mi) to 2,890 km (1,800 mi) by connecting the Krishna and Godavari Rivers.
National waterways in India –
  • In India, the national waterways are developed by the central government through the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) – the regulatory body for the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) sector.
  • IWAI was set up by the Inland Waterways Authority of India Act in 1985 and given responsibility of development, maintenance, and regulation of national waterways in the country.
  • It is a statutory autonomous body for regulating and developing navigation and shipping in the inland waterways.
  • Along with IWAI, Central Inland Water Transport Corporation (CIWTC) also supports the IWT sector through transportation of cargo via inland waterways and the operation and maintenance of the vessels and waterway terminals.
  • The first national waterways established in India were the NW-1,2 & 3 (est. in mid 1980s & 1993). They have a combined length of 2,716 km (1,688 mi).

Smart Packaging Material

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
Recently scientists have developed a smart packaging material, let’s know about it
In details –
  • A newly developed biodegradable, biopolymer nanocomposite which can detect relative humidity can find application as smart packaging materials, especially for the food industry. 
  • The food industry has an increasing need for non-toxic, biodegradable, low-cost, and environmentally friendly material for use as packaging material to replace petroleum-based material like plastics.
  • Besides, it also needs smart and active packaging materials to detect and report food quality in a real-time fashion. Such smart and active packaging systems respond to signals while interacting with the food packaging environment. Perishable packed foods are easily damaged by the change in relative humidity.
  • Scientists from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology led by Prof. Devasish Chowdhury, Professor in the Physical Sciences Division, and his INSPIRE Senior Research Fellow (SRF) student Mr. Sazzadur Rahman have developed a smart biodegradable biopolymer nanocomposite which can detect relative humidity.
  • In this, two biopolymers, Guar Gum (a variety of beans obtained from plant) and Alginate (obtained from brown algae), were blended with carbon dots (nanomaterial) to make a nanocomposite film that was successfully used to detect relative humidity.
  • The fabricated nanocomposite film was an excellent smart sensor based on the fluorescence ‘on-off’ mechanisms against humidity. Their research has been published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules.
  • The nanocomposite film shows change in fluorescence in presence of high humidity. Hence, the fabricated nanocomposite film can monitor the packed food freshness using just a UV light source.
  • “Smart and active packaging can help consumers select a fresh product without breaking the pack. Such innovative packaging boosts sales and reduces consumers’ time to identify fresh food products,” said Prof. Chowdhury.

‘Project Cheetah’

Paper 3- Biodiversity
Why Should You Know?
Indian Oil signs MoU with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for transcontinental relocation of ‘cheetah’ in its historical range in India
In details –
  • On august 2, 2022 the Indian Oil signed an MoU with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for transcontinental relocation of ‘Cheetah’ in its historical range in India.
  • The MoU was signed by Mr. S.M. Vaidya, Chairman, Indian Oil and Dr S P Yadav, Addl. Director General (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary (NTCA) in the presence of  other Ministers.
  • This is in continuation with the MoU signed on 20th July 2022 between Government of India and Government of the Republic of Namibia on wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilization, for establishing the cheetah into the historical range in India.
  • Indian Oil will be contributing Rs.50.22 crore in 4 years for the project components viz. Cheetah Introduction, its Habitat Management & Protection, Eco Development, Staff Training and Veterinary Healthcare.
  • Indian Oil is the first corporate which has come forward to support the “Project Cheetah” under CSR, as the project has not only national importance but is also essential for balancing the ecosystem.
  • Cheetah has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos. Understanding this, Indian Oil is aiding the cause of bringing the Cheetah back to India, which would have equally important conservation ramifications. Cheetah restoration will be part of a prototype for restoration of original cheetah habitats and their biodiversity, helping to stem the degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity.
  • This project is in sync with Indian Oil’s strong environmental conscience and aligns with the company’s focus on conserving India’s natural habitat and heritage.
  • It may be noted that Indian Oil adopted Indian Single Horned Rhino as its mascot last year and, since then, has been at the forefront of India’s Rhino conservation endeavors.
  • Under this project, a source population of 8-10 Cheetahs will be flown in from Namibia and South Africa and will be introduced at Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is a national project involving National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Govt. of India and the State Govt. of Madhya Pradesh.
  • NTCA is the nodal agency authorized by MoEF&CC for funding, supervision and hand holding. Indian Oil will contribute its CSR funds to NTCA, which shall co-ordinate with the State Govt. of Madhya Pradesh and other agencies involved in the project.
About ‘Project Cheetah’ –
  • ‘Project Cheetah’ is one-of-a-kind projects in which a species is being restored in the country by bringing it from out of the country (from South Africa / Namibia).
  • It is noteworthy that the subspecies of Cheetah which got extinct in India was Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and the subspecies being introduced back in the country is African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). Research has shown that genes of these two subspecies are the same.
  • The Cheetah introduction project in Kuno National Park involves creating a 500-hectare predator proof enclosure for a ‘soft release’ of the feline. Introduction would commence in a phased manner with few individuals after construction of the soft release enclosure and augmentation of protection, while other actions are under way.
  • The first batch of Cheetah would be soft released in the enclosure with GPS / GSM or GPS / Satellite transmitters.

Adi Perukku Festival

Paper 1 – Art & Culture
Why Should You Know?
‘Adi Perukku’ festival has started in Tamil Nadu, let’s know about it
In details –
  • Aadi Perukku is an important festival in the life of a farmer. The eighteenth day of the Tamil month Aadi is celebrated as Adi Perukku. There is a mythological belief that whatever we do on this auspicious day, we have many folds ahead.
  • During this time there is a possibility of increasing the water flow in the rivers. Post-harvest period, every farmer eagerly waits for the rise in water level in reservoirs and other water sources to start the sowing process towards the next farming season. Hence, prayers are offered to rivers and water sources while praying for a sustainable water resource and better yield in the coming season.
  • Generally, the life of a farmer is directly linked to all the natural sources. Since water is very important for agriculture, special worship of rivers is done on this day. On the day of Adi Perukku, farmers offer different types of flowers to the river, which is worshiped as a goddess so that she gets enough water.
  • On this day the banks of the rivers are filled with people and in the evening, you can witness many sporting events organized by the local organizations. The whole area looks like a celebration with a plethora of shops and other entertainment factors for kids and adults as well.
  • People cook delicious food and share them with friends and relatives. Aadi Perukku is a form of rejuvenating the relationship and connecting oneself with nature.
Importance –
  • The Adi Perukku festival is not limited to the state of Tamil Nadu as it is associated with the holy rivers Kaveri, Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Vaigai etc. During the month, water flows in water bodies in abundance.
  • People worship on the banks of the river as a token of gratitude for the assets that sustain the life of the rivers.
  • The epics believe that Lord Rama bathed in the Kaveri water to absolve himself of the sin of killing the Brahmin Ravana. This is the best evidence of the noble qualities of water and the importance of the Adi Perukku festival.
  • The festival attracts a large crowd in the Cauvery delta districts as people welcome Cauvery to rejuvenate the agricultural fields. As a traditional practice, the newly wed couple take a dip in the river and pray for a prosperous future.
  • For the last two years, severe restrictions were imposed due to COVID-19. Since Trichy city has been organizing the festival with sufficient water flow in the Cauvery, precautionary measures are taken by the district administration at the Cauvery Ghats.
  • Amma Mandapam Ghat, Garuda Mandapam, Geetapuram, Subramanian Swamy Temple, Gandhi Ghat, Odathurai, Ayyalamman Ghat and Thilainaygam Ghat only allow devotees to offer prayers and take holy bath.

First city in India to make traffic data public

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
Aurangabad becomes first city in India to make traffic data public by Google.
In details –
  • Aurangabad in Maharashtra has become the first city in India for which Google has published Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) data.
  • Aurangabad Municipal Corporation has informed that the traffic data of Aurangabad has been publicly launched at an event organized in New Delhi.
  • The data launch event was held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Sanjay Gupta (Country Head, Google, India).
  • Google has a feature called Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), which helps cities measure, analyze carbon emissions sources and develop strategies to reduce emissions. Which helps a lot in preventing air pollution.
  • Google’s Environment Insight Explore feature in India is available only for Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Aurangabad.
  • Google has selected Aurangabad as the first city in India out of these four cities in the country.Whose traffic data has been publicly released by Google.
  • This data will play an important role in creating climate action plans for cities.

‘Minjar Mela’

Paper 1 – Art & Culture
Why Should You Know?
The Prime Minister mentioned the ‘Minjar Mela’ of Chamba in the 91st episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on July 31, 2022.
In details –
  • The Prime Minister, in the 91st episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on July 31, 2022, highlighted the importance of traditional fairs in promoting the spirit of unity under ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’. During this, the Prime Minister mentioned about the ‘Minjar Mela’ of Chamba. Recently, it has also been announced to give international status to this fair by the central government.
  • Actually, the inflorescence of maize plant is called Minjar. When the flowers bloom on the maize, Minjar Mela is celebrated and tourists from all over the country come to participate in this fair.
  • The Minjar Mela is celebrated in 935 AD in the Chamba Valley of Himachal Pradesh, to commemorate the victory of the Raja of Chamba over the ruler of Trigarta (now known as Kangra).
  • It is said that on the return of their victorious king, people greeted him with garlands of paddy and maize, which are symbols of prosperity and happiness.
  • This fair is organized on the second Sunday of the month of Shravan.
  • Minjar, a silk pendant worn by men and women alike on parts of the dress, is distributed at the time of the announcement of the fair.
  • It symbolizes the shoots of tasli paddy and maize which grow around the month of Shravan of the year.
  • The week-long fair begins when the Minjar flag is hoisted at the historic Chaugan.

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