Insights Daily Current Events, 13 February 2016
Paper 3 Topic: Disaster management.
Review of Progress of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP)
The centre recently reviewed the progress of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
- Focusing on the need for continuous improvement in the capacities of implementing agencies (IAs) about 44 trainings have so far been conducted by the government wherein about 1500 officials have been trained.
- With a view of Dam safety institutional strengthening National Dam Safety Conferences have also been conducted with active participation of dam owners and operators, researchers, technology providers etc. from all parts of the country and also from abroad.
- The project has picked up substantial pace after a slow start which was on account of complex preparatory phase of the project.
The centre has noted that Tamil Nadu is holding down the overall DRIP progress, and has asked the implementing agencies (IAs) of Tamil Nadu to improve upon their performance.
DRIP is a project involving 9 implementing agencies (IAs) across seven states of India (Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand) and targets rehabilitation of about 225 dam projects across the country.
Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Madhya Pradesh Gets its First Mega Food Park
In order to give an impetus to the growth of the Food Processing Sector in Madhya Pradesh, the first Mega Food Park in the state promoted by M/s Indus mega Food Part Pvt. Ltd was recently inaugurated by the centre.
- A second Mega Food Park has also been sanctioned by the Ministry for the state, which will be ready in the next 24 to 30 months.
- This Food Park has been set up with the project cost of Rs.127.70 crore in an area of 53.78 acres. It will have various facilities including Cold Storage, Dry Warehouse, Instant Quick Freeze, modern Quality Control lab and other processing facilities for fruits and vegetables.
- This Mega Food Park provides a modern infrastructure for arresting post-harvest losses of horticultural and non-horticultural produce and provides impetus to the growth of food processing sector in Madhya Pradesh.
- It will also help in providing better prices to farmers, reduce wastage of perishables, add value to agricultural produce and create huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for the youth of the State.
- The Mega Food Park is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25,000 to 30,000 farmers in its catchment area.
Mega Food Parks Scheme:
The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.
Aim of the Scheme: The Scheme is aimed at providing modern infrastructure facilities along the value chain from farm gate to the market with strong backward and forward linkages.
How these parks operate?
- The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
- The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
- CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC. The minimum area required for a CPC is 50 acres.
The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.
Implementation and financial assistance:
- Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. State Government/State Government entities/Cooperatives applying for setting up a project under the scheme are not required to form a separate SPV.
- The financial assistance for Mega Food Park is provided in the form of grant-in-aid at 50% of eligible project cost in general areas and at 75% of eligible project cost in NE Region and difficult areas (Hilly States and ITDP areas) subject to maximum of Rs. 50 crore per project.
- Reduce post harvest losses.
- Maintainance of the supply chain in sustainable manner.
- Additional income generation for the farmers.
- Shifting the farmers to more market driven and profitable farming activities.
- It will be a one stop shop where everything will be available at a single location.
- This integrated food park will help reduce supply chain costs.
- It will also reduce wastage across the food value chain in India and improve quality and hygiene to create food products in the country.
Paper 3 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Electronics Development Fund (EDF)
The government has launched the Electronics Development Fund (EDF) in collaboration with Canbank Venture Capital Fund Ltd.
- A formal announcement in this regard was recently made by the Communications and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad by handing over the letter of commitment to the first group of daughter funds.
- With the launch of the fund, the government aims to develop the electronics system design and manufacturing sector to achieve “net zero imports” by 2020.
What is it?
- EDF is an initiative of Deity to create a “fund of funds” which will work with venture capitalists (VCs) to create funds, known as “daughter funds”, which in turn will provide risk capital to companies developing new technologies in the area of electronics, nano-electronics and information technology (IT).
- The idea is that the EDF will put in 20% of the capital in daughter funds and the rest 80% will be invested by VCs. The daughter funds will then invest in companies, primarily start-ups.
Who will manage?
- Last September, Deity had appointed Canbank Ventures as the fund manager to house EDF.
What it does?
While promoting innovation, research and development, and product development within the country in the specified fields of electronics, nano-electronics and IT, the daughter funds will also support acquisition of foreign companies and technologies for products imported in India in large volume as well as focus on developing domestic design capabilities, thereby creating a resource pool of IP (intellectual property) within the country in the specified fields.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the EDF policy during the inauguration of Digital India Week on 1 July 2015. However, the idea of creating EDF was first proposed in the Draft National Policy on Electronics 2011.
It should be noted here that the EDF is different from Rs.10,000 crore micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) fund which was announced in budget 2014 and the recently announced Rs.10,000 crore start-up fund.
Paper 3 Topic: biodiversity.
Himalayan griffon spotted in Goa
Birdwatchers in Goa have reported spotting the rare Himalayan griffon, also known as Himalayan vulture.
- The Himalayan griffon was previously believed to belong to the upper Himalayas and was presumed to stray till the Gangetic plains at the most. But, in recent years the bird has been spotted even in southern states including Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- The Himalayan vulture or Himalayan griffon vulture is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae.
- It is one of the two largest Old World vultures and true raptors.
- Himalayan griffons do not breed in the first three years, and hence juvenile birds of the species do not remain in breeding grounds to avoid competition.
- The species has been listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.
- It is also found in Kazakhstan, China, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Thailand, Burma, Singapore and Cambodia.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Gujarat offers multiple incentives for new IT units
In a bid to promote Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services industry, the Gujarat government has announced a new policy that offers multiple incentives to those who set up IT parks and units in the State.
- Under the new policy, the State is trying to increase investment in the IT sector by 10 times and scale up its turnover to $15 billion and create a million jobs in the State.
- Under this policy, the government provides for a capital subsidy of Rs. 25 crore for the IT or ITES [Information Technology Enabled Services] Park, in addition to reimbursement of registration fees and stamp duty charges on land or office transactions, incentives on power tariff as well as reimbursement of electricity duty for the IT/ITeS units.
- To create job opportunities for the youth in Gujarat, those units claiming assistance under the policy will be required to take interns from colleges — at the rate of minimum one intern for every 20 employees — on payment basis.
- The policy also provides for reimbursement of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contribution for the new employment created during the policy period.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Act against Devadasi system, SC tells States
The Supreme Court has directed Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and other states and Union Territories (UT) to implement strictly the Centre’s advisory to check “undesired and unhealthy” practice of forcing young girls to serve as “Devadasis”.
- The court recently took on record the advisory sent by the Home Ministry to all state governments.
What is Devadasi system?
Devadasi system is a religious practice whereby parents marry a daughter to a deity or a temple. The marriage usually occurs before the girl reaches puberty.
- In recent decades, the practice has been used to push young girls into prostitution.
- While various state governments have enacted laws to stop such practices, the tradition remains entrenched in some parts of the country, especially some southern states.
The practice of Devadasi system in any form is in total contravention of the provisions of Section 370 and 370A as amended through Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 as well as Section 372 of Indian Penal Code. It is also against Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
sources: the hindu.