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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 October 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 October 2016


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.


Central assistance for 99 prioritized irrigation projects under AIBP


The government has released the first installment of Rs. 1500 crore to the states as central assistance for 99 prioritized irrigation projects under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program (AIBP).

  • This amount has been released for 50 projects in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Telangana.



Total funds required for completion of all the 99 identified projects have been estimated at Rs.77595 crore. These projects will cover all most all drought prone districts of 18 States of country and will also go a long way to contain the incident of suicide by farmers.


About AIBP:

Central Government launched the AIBP in the year 1996-97 to provide Central Assistance to major/medium irrigation projects in the country, with the objective to accelerate implementation of such projects which were beyond resource capability of the States or were in advanced stage of completion.

  • Priority was given to those projects which were started in Pre-Fifth and Fifth Plan period and also to those which were benefiting Tribal and Drought Prone Areas. From the year 1999-2000 onwards, Central Loan Assistance under AIBP was also extended to minor surface irrigation projects (SMI) of special category States.
  • Later, during 2015-16, PMKSY was conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).
  • The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.
  • The major objective of PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water and enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.


Western Zonal Council Meeting held in Mumbai


The 22nd meeting of the Western Zonal Council consisting of the States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli was recently held at Mumbai under the chairmanship of Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister.


Key facts:

  • The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers and Ministers of these States and Administrators of Union Territories as well as senior officers of Central and State Governments.
  • The Council reviewed issues which relate to coastal security, internal security, issuance of bio-metric identity cards to fishermen & issue of card readers, formulation of plans for countering terrorism, modernization of police force etc.
  • Other important issues discussed were Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban) Mission, surplus lands of Central Government for ‘Housing for All: 2022’ and providing shelters to the urban homeless.
  • Issues relating to checking pollution in Daman Ganga and Kolak river due to discharge of untreated effluents from Vapi industrial area were also deliberated in detail.



Five Zonal Councils (Northern, Western, Eastern, Central and Southern) were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States.

  • The Zonal Councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport etc.
  • They are regional fora of cooperative endeavor for States linked with each other economically, politically and culturally.
  • Being compact high level bodies, specially meant for looking after the interests of respective Zones, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional factors, while keeping the national perspective in view.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.


India Signs Guarantee Agreement with the World Bank


A Guarantee Agreement for World Bank (IBRD) lending of US$ 650 million to the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL) for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor-III (EDFC-III) Project has been signed between the Government of India and the World Bank.


About Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor-III project:

The objective of the EDFC-III Project is to augment rail transport capacity, improve service quality and enhance freight carriage throughput on the 401 km Ludhiana-Khurja section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor.

  • It also aims to develop institutional capacity of DFCCIL to build, maintain and operate the entire DFC network.
  • This project is in continuation of Phase-I and II of the EDFC Projects being implemented by the DFCCIL with the World Bank loan of US$ 975 million and US$ 1100 million respectively on the Dadri-Khurja-Kanpur and Kanpur-Mughal Sarai stretches of the Eastern Rail Corridor (Ludhiana-Delhi-Kolkata).


Significance of this project:

The project will directly benefit the power and heavy manufacturing industries of Northern and Eastern India, which rely on railway network for transportation of their material inputs and also for the distribution of bulk processed and semi-processed commodities and consumer goods. Railway passengers will also be benefitted through decongestion of the existing passenger lines.

Sources: pib.


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.


Loan to National Water Development Agency (NWDA)


NABARD has sanctioned loan worth Rs. 19,702 crore to National Water Development Agency (NWDA) for 50 irrigation projects from 11 States under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF). It is part of the government’s vision to double the farmers’ income by 2022.

  • This loan is part of the Central share of assistance to State Governments and will ensure front loading of resources so that the identified incomplete irrigation projects under Pradhan Mandtri Krishi Sinchai Yojna (PMKSY) are executed in time.
  • This would help complete not only the irrigation projects but also the Command Area Development works which are central to ensure full utilisation of irrigation potential so created.
  • Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) was set up by NABARD.



It is an apex development and specialized bank established in July 1982 by an act by the parliament of India.

  • Its main focus is to uplift rural India by increasing the credit flow for elevation of agriculture & rural non farm sector.
  • It was established based on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the chairmanship of Shri B. shivaraman.
  • It replaced the Agricultural Credit Department (ACD) and Rural Planning and Credit Cell (RPCC) of Reserve Bank of India, and Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).
  • It has been accredited with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.
  • NABARD is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
  • It also looks after the development of the cottage industry, small industry and village industry, and other rural industries.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Civil Aviation Ministry’s Regional Connectivity Scheme “UDAN” Launched


The Centre has unveiled a regional connectivity scheme, known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), with flights priced at Rs.2,500 for one hour of flying time to and from regional airports.


About the scheme:udan-scheme

A “first of its kind” in the world, UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) will be based on market mechanism as well as bidding for a minimum of 50% seats in the participating airline’s flight and the rest would be market-based pricing.

The scheme UDAN envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports. The scheme would be in operation for a period of 10 years.


Key features of the scheme:

  • The UDAN scheme will be applicable on flights which cover between 200 km and 800 km with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, islands and regions which are security sensitive.
  • Under the UDAN scheme, the flights are bound to connect at least one RCS airport (underserved and unserved airports).
  • The RCS caps fares and also offers a ceiling for the VGF available for each route. Which means the airlines cannot charge beyond the caps specified from passengers.
  • For the shortest route under the scheme fare has been capped at Rs 1,420. For longest route, fare has been capped ar Rs 3,500.
  • The Centre has also decided to provide concessions such as 2% excise on Value Added Tax (VAT) and service tax at 1/10th.
  • State government are bound to provide free security and fire service, utilities at concessional rates and reduce VAT on ATF to 1%.
  • There will be no landing charges, parking charges and Terminal Navigation Landing Charges will be imposed for RCS flights.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Rules for Rs. 40,000 cr. forest fund to be ready in a month


The Environment Ministry will shortly frame rules to help States use a Rs. 40,000 crore corpus earmarked to restore forests. Making these rules are a follow-up to the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill passed by Parliament in the monsoon session.


Key features of the Bill:

  • The Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  • These Funds will receive payments for: (i) compensatory afforestation, (ii) net present value of forest (NPV), and (iii) other project specific payments. The National Fund will receive 10% of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90%.
  • These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.
  • The Bill also establishes the National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the National and State Funds.


Significance of this bill:

  • With this, most Indian States stand to receive funds worth Rs. 6,000 crore per annum for conservation, protection, improvement and expansion of forest and wildlife resources.
  • This will also help create more than 15-crore man days of direct employment. Many of these jobs will be in tribal and backward areas.
  • Apart from creation of direct employment, utilisation of these amounts will result in increased availability of timber and various other non-timber forest products, and will thus help in improvement of the overall living standards of the forest dependent communities.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


  • The Indian Coast Guard Ships ‘Aryaman’ and ‘Atulya’, the eighteenth and nineteenth in the series of twenty Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs), designed and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, were recently commissioned at Kochi. Equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry, advanced communication and navigational equipment, the ships are ideal platform for undertaking multifarious close-coast missions such as surveillance, search and rescue and interdiction. The special features of the ships include an Integrated Bridge Management System (IBMS) and Integrated Machinery Control System (IMCS).


  • Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of cases of human rights violation lodged by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the past year, with 44% of the total number of cases registered with the NHRC pertaining to the State. UP is followed by Odisha, Haryana, Delhi, Bihar and Rajasthan. U.P. also had the most number of deaths in judicial custody — 401 out of a total of 1,757. It is also the State with the highest number of deaths in police custody — 27 of the total 192 cases. It had the highest number of cases of child labour and bonded labour (11 and 122 respectively) as well.