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All India Radio News Summary: 20 FEBRUARY 2018

All India Radio News Summary: 20 FEBRUARY 2018

  1. National conference on doubling farmer’s income


  • The Conference is organised with a view to identify various critical issues relating to agriculture and farmers’ welfare and finding appropriate solutions.
  • The government aims to formulate a proper roadmap with timelines to achieve the goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.
  • The participants of conference comprising farmers, farmers’ associations, scientists, economists, trade industry, NGOs and policy makers.


  • To build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping the vision of the government.

Recent initiatives:

  • In the Budget, the government has proposed fixing of the minimum support price of Kharif crops at least 1.5 times over the cost of production. 
  • Agriculture Ministry has already taken various initiatives to boost farmer’s income and launched soil health card scheme, new programmes for insurance and irrigation and linking of 585 mandis through electronic platform.
  • Prime Minister said, more agriculture credit and easy access to markets will help boost farm income.
  • He mentioned about steps taken to lower cost of production, to improve productivity and to take farm produce to markets by minimising wastage and said these measures will help in increasing farmers’ income.
  • Production of pulses in the country has risen to 23 million tonnes from 17 million tonnes in just one year.
  • India will rise with the rise of villages and when farmers are empowered, the country will be empowered too.
  • Coating urea with neem has helped in enhancing the efficiency of fertiliser and boosting productivity as well as cost saving.
  • Soil health cards have helped in curbing use of chemical fertilisers by 8 to 10 per cent and increased productivity by 5 to 6 per cent.


  1. Government will soon come out with a comprehensive strategy to increase the share of global trade to 40 per cent of the gross domestic product

Union Commerce Minister said that the government will soon come out with a comprehensive strategy to increase the share of global trade to 40 per cent of the gross domestic product, which is expected to touch 5 trillion dollars by 2025.

  • Exports constitute only about 18 percent of India’s GDP which currently stands at 2.6 trillion dollars.  
  • The government is planning to diversify its export basket by entering new markets and shipping out new products.
  • With India aiming to enter the 5 trillion dollar economy, the driving force should be services, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
  • The minister also urged the business community to come up with a proper business plan to increase exports.
  1. The Southern States Irrigation Ministers’ Conference – Hyderabad

As part of the conference, deliberations happened on several issues like inter-state water disputes, central assistance to the states in completion of pending irrigation projects and the clearances for projects from the centre.

  • Several issues include the enforcement of sharing of water among the riparian states relating to Cauvery in the light of recent directions from the Supreme Court, Pending inter-state water resources issues, Interlinking of rivers like Godavari-Cauvery and notification of jurisdiction of Krishna and Godavari Management Boards, issues relating to Parambikulam Aliyar and Pollavaram projects and other interstate issues.
  • Telangana state proposed interlinking of rivers may be taken up first linking Himalayan Rivers to Godavari.
  • The state will also pressed for national status to the prestigious Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation project during the conference. 


  1. India wants to be a long term and a reliable partner in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious transformation programme

The 12th India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting in Riyadh, co-chaired by Indian Finance Minister concluded with the signing and exchange of minutes focusing on enhanced bilateral cooperation, knowledge exchange and economic ties in the areas of Trade & Commerce, Security, Agriculture, Information & Media, Health, Vocational Training & Education, Culture and Community Welfare.

  • Both countries have agreed to constitute a Joint Working Group on trade and investment issues.
  • India’s core competency is in Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, IT, Tourism, Hospitality and Automobiles sectors
  • India’s commitment to be a long term and a reliable partner in the Saudi’s ambitious transformation programme was also underlined.


  1. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the methodology for auction of coal mines and blocks for sale of coal

The opening up of commercial coal mining for private sector is the most ambitious reform in the coal sector since the nationalisation of this sector in 1973.

  • The methodology gives highest priority to transparency, ease of doing business, and ensuring that natural resources are used for national development.
  • It is expected to bring efficiency by moving from an era of monopoly to competition.
  • Higher investment will create direct and indirect employment in coal bearing areas especially in mining sector. It will also incentivise coal bearing states with increased revenue.
  • People will be encouraged to bid through a transparent bidding platform and there will be an auction process after short listing the bidders and will invite all press to participate.


  1. Cabinet gave its approval to two bills

The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 is aimed at tackling the menace of illicit deposit taking activities in the country.

  • Companies and institutions running such schemes exploit existing regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings.


The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 has been approved in order to facilitate orderly growth of the Chit Funds sector and remove bottlenecks being faced by the Chit Funds industry.


The Government also approved six railways projects with special thrust on Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

  • CCEA has approved the 130 kilometres long Jeypore-Malkangiri New Line project at a cost of over 2600 crore rupees. It will cover the districts of Koraput and Malkangiri of Odisha. It will help in combating Left Wing Extremism through development in these districts.


The Cabinet also cleared proposal for constitution of Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal on request from Odisha.

  • The tribunal shall determine water sharing among basin states on the basis of overall availability of water in the Mahanadi basin, contribution of each state, present utilisation of water resources in each state and potential for future development.


  1. Saudi Arabia will host its first-ever Arab Fashion Week next month

The move is another example of the opening up of the country under Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s transformation programme.

The fashion week will be held in Riyadh from the 26th to the 31st of next month, with a second edition already scheduled for October.

The Crown Prince has been leading a drive to reform the country’s dependence on oil, including expanding the private sector and empowering women.


  1. The Maldives government extends emergency in the country

The Maldives government today extended emergency in the country by a month, after parliament approved President Abdulla Yameen’s request. The state of emergency will end on March 22.

Opposition MPs accused the speaker of bypassing the constitution and said the state of emergency was illegal.