14, February 2017

1.Indian Seed Congress – 2017 – the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

source: Economic times

Prosperity  in the lives of farmers by doubling their farm income by 2022

The objective of this policy is to accelerate agricultural output, develop infrastructural facilities in the villages, promote value addition, expedite the growth of agro-business, create employment in the rural areas, ensuring better livelihood status of the farmers and agriculture workers and their families, discourage migration to urban areas and face the challenges emerging out of economic liberalization and globalization.

  • Indian Seed Congress – 2017 is being held in Kolkata.
  • The theme of Seed Congress is “Seed of Joy”.
  • The annual forum will deliberate on the new technological advances and the barriers to technology development and introduction. It will showcase new product range, services and network for better business development.
  • It would provide a platform for the seed industry stakeholders to talk to technology developers, and policy makers.

Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Vikas Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Soil Health Scheme, Neem Coated Urea and E-National Agriculture Mandi Scheme’s aim at to bring improvement in crop productivity as well as income of the farmers.

To make the income of the farmers double. The details thereof are as follow:

  • Big focus on irrigation with large budgets, with the aim of “per drop-more crop”
  • Provision of quality seeds and nutrients based on soil health of each field
  • Large investments in warehousing and cold chains to prevent post-harvest crop losses Promotion of value addition through food processing
  • Creation of a national farm market, removing distortions and e-platform across 585 stations Introduction of a new crop insurance scheme to mitigate risks at affordable cost
  • Promotion of ancillary activities like poultry, beekeeping and fisheries.

2.New IMF Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC)

Source: PIB

New IMF Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) was recently inaugurated in Delhi for Economic Capacity Building in South Asia.

Less than a year after IMF Managing Director Ms Christine Lagarde and the Finance Minister of India, Shri Arun Jaitley, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a capacity development center for South Asia, the opening of SARTTAC marks a major milestone in the partnership between the IMF and its member countries in the region.

SARTTAC:

  • SARTTAC, the newest addition to the IMF’s global network of fourteen regional centers, is a new kind of capacity development institution, fully integrating customized hands-on training with targeted technical advice in a range of macroeconomic and financial areas, and generating synergies between the two.
  • SARTTAC is financed mainly by its six member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — with additional support from Australia, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the United Kingdom.
  • SARTTAC’s strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.
  • SARTTAC will allow the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region. Through its team of international resident experts, SARTTAC is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

3.NIIF to raise Rs 8k cr from anchor investors in FY18

Source: The Hindu

  • The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) will tap anchor investors such as sovereign wealth funds to raise Rs 8,000 crore to fund infrastructure projects worth Rs 16,000 crore in FY18.
  • According to the Output Outcome Framework for Schemes 2017-18, the Fund will raise Rs 8,000 crore from strategic anchor partners, ie, multilateral/bilateral institutions, SWFs, pension funds and domestic public sector enterprises.
  • The government has set a target for the Fund to finance projects worth R16,000 crore infrastructure projects, both greenfield & brownfield.

 

NIIF:

  • The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) was proposed in Union Budget 2015. In the last week of December, the government has set up this Rs. 40000 crore fund to provide long term capital for infrastructure projects.
  • The objective of NIIF is to maximise economic impact through infrastructure development in viable projects both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, mainly in the core infra sector.
  • NIIF has been structured as a fund of funds and set up as Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations.

4.Karnataka assembly passes bill to allow ‘Kambala’

Source: The Hindu

Paving the way for the conduct of kambala, traditional buffalo race, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly has passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017.

The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

Background:

  • The clamour for Kambala was spurred by the success of the stir in Tamil Nadu for allowing Jallikattu, which led to the state government bringing a similar amendment to the Central act.
  • Kambala committees and various Kannada organisations had held protests at several places against the ban.
  • Kambala is currently stayed by the High Court following a petition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Issues:

  • The bill noted the significant role played by traditional sports events “Kambala” and “Bulls race or Bullock cart race” in preserving and promoting traditions and culture among the people in the state.
  • It also took note of their vital role in ensuring survival and continuance of native breeds of cattle in deciding to exempt the conduct of the races from the ambit of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Kambala:

  • Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
  • Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organisers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.

5.Spice conference to be held in capital

Source: The Hindu

The disruptive innovations in the food industry with special focus on the spice industry would be discussed at the International Spice Conference to be held at the Leela Hotel, Kovalam, Kerala.

Key facts:

The conference is being organised by the All India Spices Exporters Forum and the Cochin Chamber of Commerce.

  • The sessions would focus on disruptions in operations and products, spice cultivation: the challenges ahead; and value-added spices.
  • Over 700 delegates representing various States, industry leaders from 40 countries, representatives of international spice associations, policymakers and end-users are attending the event.
  • The central theme of the conference would be ‘21st century spice industry: Disrupt or be disrupted.’
  • It will discuss effective strategies and innovative technologies to improve the livelihood of farmers; address industry challenges, food safety concerns and demand supply disparity; and seek to foster sustainable growth.
  • The event is being hosted by the All India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF), which represents about 80 per cent of spices exports, in association with the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry.



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