16, November 2016

1.A boost to farmers income double 2022

Source: PIB

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for the increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for all Rabi Crops of 2016-17 Season.

Recommended by?

  • The approval to increase MSPs is based on the recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) which while recommending MSPs takes into account the cost of production, overall demand-supply, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, the likely effect on the rest of the economy, besides ensuring rational utilization of production resources like land and water.
  • The recommendation of CACP being the expert body, are generally accepted as such. However, to incentivise cultivation of pulses and oilseeds, the Cabinet has decided to give a bonus of Rs.200/- per quintal for Gram, a bonus of Rs 150/- per quintal for Masur/Lentil and a bonus of Rs 100/- per quintal each for Rabi oilseeds viz. Rapeseeds/Mustards and Safflower, over and above the recommendations of the CACP.

Reducing import:

  • There is an increasing gap between the domestic demand and supply of pulses and oilseeds as a result of which reliance on import is increasing.
  • Government has, therefore, announced this bonus on pulses and oilseeds to give a strong price signal to farmers to increase acreage and invest for increase in productivity of these crops.
  • The increase in cultivation of leguminous pulses and oilseeds will also have additional environmental benefits as these crops are less water consuming and help in nitrogen fixation in the soil.

Food Corporation of India (FCI) will be the designated central nodal agency for price support operations for cereals, pulses and oilseeds.

Background:

Besides increase in Minimum Support Prices (MSP) of Rabi crops, Government has taken several farmer friendly initiatives. These, inter-alia, include the following:

  • A new crop insurance scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’ has been launched by the Government. Under this scheme, the premium rates to be paid by farmers; are very low- 2% of sum insured for all Kharif crops, 1.5% for all Rabi crops’ and 5% for commercial and horticulture crops.
  • The Government has also launched a scheme to develop a pan India electronic trading platform under ‘National Agriculture Market’ (NAM) aiming to integrate 585 regulated markets with the common e-market platform.
  • Soil Health Cards are being issued to farmers across the country. These will be renewed every two years. The card provides information on fertility status of soil and a soil test based advisory on use of fertilizers.
  • Under Pramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), the Government is promoting organic farming and development of potential market for organic products.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana is being implemented with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet ko Pani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘Per Drop More Crop ‘ in a focused manner with end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities.
  • Improving production and productivity of crops such as rice, wheat, coarse grains and pulses under the National Food Security Mission.
  • To stabilize prices of pulses and onions, Government has decided to create buffer stocks of pulses and has imported pulses and onions under the Price Stabilization Fund.

2.Government of India and ADB Sign $500 Million Loan to Help Build Longest River Bridge

Source: PIB

  • It will be country’s longest river bridge and shall provide better connectivity between North and South Bihar and also Patna and its surrounding areas.
  • This will be India’s longest river bridge.
  • The new Ganga Bridge, to be located near Patna, will span both channels of the Ganges River and serve as an alternate route to the existing Ganga Bridge.
  • The project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2020.

Keyfacts:

  • It will be first of its kind in India with its height and length customized to deal with climate- related issues such as rise in water levels while ensuring minimum impact on the river.
  • The project will also build viaducts, embankments, and toll and service facilities, and will link to national highway networks.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The ADB is a regional development bank which aims to promote social and economic development in Asia. It was established on 19 December 1966. It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.

 

  1. Russia-Pak.-China forum clouds Afghan donor meet

Source: The Hindu

Speculation of a growing axis spurred by new ties between Moscow & Islamabad

Russia, is working on a regional partnership on Afghanistan that includes Pakistan and China.  

Russia-China-Pakistan

Russia-China-Pakistan consultations to be held in Moscow in December, Zamir Kabulov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Director, 2nd Asian department, said the meeting would “lay the ground” for a regional project centred around Afghanistan.

The timing of the announcement is significant as it comes just ahead of the 13-nation ‘Heart of Asia’ donor conference for Afghanistan, due to be held in Amritsar on December.

Heart of Asia (HoA) conference:

  • The annual Heart of Asia (HoA) conference is held by turns in one of the member countries that include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Russia, Saudi, Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and United Arab Emirates.
  • The last summit, held in Islamabad in December 2015

Russia-China-Pakistan axis:

  • The separate consultation in Moscow fuels speculation of a growing Russia-China-Pakistan axis, spurred by the new ties between Moscow and Islamabad.
  • India made its displeasure known when Russian troops went ahead with military exercises, their first such engagement in Pakistan, just days after the Uri attack.
  • Despite India’s requests during the BRICS summit, Russia and China refused to insert specific references to “cross-border” terror that targets India in the final statement.

4.20 nations sign framework agreement of International Solar Alliance

Source: The Hindu

  • Over 20 countries, including India, Brazil and France have signed the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • The framework agreement of ISA was opened for signatures on the sidelines of CoP22 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Marrakech, in Morocco.
  • The signing of the framework agreement has to be followed by ratifications by countries. The agreement will become operational after at least 15 countries have ratified it.

International Solar Alliance (ISA):

  • The initiative is brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India’s first international and inter-governmental organization comprising 121 Countries.
  • ISA is an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich tropical countries lying fully or partially between two tropics and who are also UN members.
  • The institutional structure of ISA consists of an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat. The secretariat of the ISA is to be located in India.

 

  • Its members will take coordinated actions through programmes and activities that will aggregate demands for solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, R&D and capacity building.

 

  • Boost global demands which will result in further reduction in prices of solar energy deployment. Boost R&D, particularly in areas of efficient storage systems.

 

  • Promote standardisation in the use of equipment and processes for generating electricity.

 

ISA(International Solar Alliance):

  • More than 120 countries are geographically located in the tropics i.e. between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, either fully or partially.
  • These places get ample sunlight throughout the year, making solar energy easily available resources.
  • The ISA will ensure that as these countries rapidly ramp up their electricity production, predominantly by using clean solar energy and avoid fossil fuels.
  • It is also an attempt to accelerate the global demand for solar energy and gives India an opportunity to take global leadership in the fight against climate change.

5.High Court Dismisses Plea For Ban On Burqa And Veils In Delhi

Source: The Hindu

Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation or PIL seeking a ban on burqas and other veils in public places due to security threat to the capital, saying it is not a public interest matter.

Reason for Canceling of Writ petition:

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal dismissed the plea saying, “If it is a policy decision, the government will take care of it. How can we entertain it (PIL) under Article 226 (power of High Courts to issue certain writs). Which cannot interfere in this writ petition.

Threat to national security:

  • The plea sought a ban on wearing veils including burqas, helmets, hoods among others at public places like transport, government buildings and heritage sites in the capital on the ground of threat from terror activities.
  • Petitioner filed: The use of face coverings and wearing of full body cover like the burqa is a serious security issue and citizens are put to constant risk and fear in the capital which is in violation of Article 21(protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.


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