Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Schemes for the welfare of vulnerable sections of the society.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is MSP? MFP? Scheme related?
For Mains: Significance of the scheme and MFP for tribals.
Context: The Union government’s ‘mechanism for marketing of minor forest produce (MFP) through minimum support price (MSP) and development of value chain for MFP’ scheme can offer respite to forest-dependent labourers in the wake of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to experts.
What is this scheme all about?
The Union Cabinet, in 2013, approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for marketing of non-nationalized / non monopolized Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and development of a value chain for MFP through Minimum Support Price (MSP).
- This was a measure towards social safety for MFP gatherers, who are primarily members of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) most of them in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas.
- The scheme had Rs. 967.28 crore as Central Government share and Rs. 249.50 crore as the States share for the current Plan period.
- Key features of the scheme:
Ensure that the tribal population gets a remunerative price for the produce they collect from the forest and provide alternative employment avenues to them.
- Establish a system to ensure fair monetary returns for forest dweller’s efforts in collection, primary processing, storage, packaging, transportation etc, while ensuring sustainability of the resource base.
- Get them a share of revenue from the sales proceeds with costs deducted.
Earlier, the scheme was extended only to Scheduled Areas in eight states and fixed MSPs for 12 MFPs. Later expanded to all states and UTs.
Total number of MFPs covered under the list include 49.
The responsibility of purchasing MFP on MSP will be with State designated agencies.
- To ascertain market price, services of market correspondents would be availed by the designated agencies particularly for major markets trading in MFP.
- The scheme supports primary value addition as well as provides for supply chain infrastructure like cold storage, warehouses etc.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs will be the nodal Ministry for implementation and monitoring of the scheme. The Minimum Support Price would be determined by the Ministry with technical help of TRIFED.
Significance of the scheme:
The Minor Forest Produce (MFP), also known as Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), is a major source of livelihood and provides essential food, nutrition, medicinal needs and cash income to a large number of STs who live in and around forests. An estimated 100 million forest dwellers depend on the Minor Forest Produce for food, shelter, medicines, cash income, etc.
However, MFP production is highly dispersed spatially because of the poor accessibility of these areas and competitive market not having evolved. Consequently, MFP gatherers who are mostly poor are unable to bargain for fair prices. This package of intervention can help in organizing unstructured MFP markets.
- Who decides about Products to be covered under MFP?
- How many products are currently covered under MFP?
- Permission for collection of MFPs inside National Parks and other protected areas?
- Centrally sponsored vs Central Sector schemes.
- Who decides on MSP?
Recognition of tribal rights over non-timber forest products (NTFPs) would accelerate empowerment of the poor and marginalised. Comment.
Sources: down to earth.
Topics Covered: Important international institutions and groupings.
What to study?
For Prelims: G20- composition, objectives, functions and programmes.
For Mains: Significance of the group, criticisms wrt its functioning and reforms needed.
Context: Leaders of the G20 (Group of Twenty) nations are holding a video conference.
- The virtual summit will be led by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia, which is the current president of the economic grouping.
- For 2020, Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland are the invited countries.
What is the G20?
The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.
The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.
After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.
- The group has no permanent staff of its own, so every year in December, a G20 country from a rotating region takes on the presidency.
- That country is then responsible for organising the next summit, as well as smaller meetings for the coming year.
- They can also choose to invite non-member countries along as guests. The first G20 meeting took place in Berlin in 1999, after a financial crisis in East Asia affected many countries around the world.
Full membership of the G20:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
Its relevance in changing times:
- As globalization progresses and various issues become more intricately intertwined, the recent G20 summits have focused not only on macroeconomy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.
- The G20 has sought to realize an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving these global issues.
What is G20+?
The G20 developing nations, also called G21/G23/G20+ is a bloc of developing nations which was established on August 20, 2003. It is distinct from the G20 major economies.
- The G20+ originated in September 2003 at the 5th ministerial conference of the WTO held at Cancun, Mexico.
- Its origins can be traced to the Brasilia Declaration signed by the foreign ministers of India, Brazil and South Africa on 6th June 2003.
- The declaration stated that the major economies were still practising protectionist policies especially in sectors they were less competitive in and that it was important to see to it that the trade negotiations that took place provided for the reversal of those policies.
- The G20+ is responsible for 60% of the world population, 26% of the world’s agricultural exports and 70% of its farmers.
- G20 vs G20+ vs G7 vs G8.
- Objectives and sub- groups.
- Overview of Geographical locations of the member countries.
Do you think the recent G20 summits have turned into talking shops rather than getting down to brass tacks? Critically analyse.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Inclusive development and issues arising from it.
What to study?
For Prelims: What are RRBs? What is CRAR?
For Mains: Significance of the recapitalisation, the need for it.
Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of the process of recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) by providing minimum regulatory capital to RRBs for another year beyond 2019-20, that is, up to 2020-21.
This is for those RRBs which are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India.
Why this is necessary?
- A financially stronger and robust Regional Rural Banks with improved CRAR will enable them to meet the credit requirement in the rural areas.
- With the recapitalization support to augment CRAR, RRBs would be able to continue their lending to these categories of borrowers under their PSL target, and thus, continue to support rural livelihoods.
The recapitalisation process of RRBs was approved by the cabinet in 2011 based on the recommendations of a committee set up under the Chairmanship of K C Chakrabarty.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) identifies those RRBs, which require recapitalisation assistance to maintain the mandatory CRAR of 9% based on the CRAR position of RRBs, as on 31st March of every year.
What is Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR)?
The CRAR, also known as the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), is the ratio of a bank’s capital to its risk. It is a measure of the amount of a bank’s core capital expressed as a percentage of its risk-weighted asset.
It is decided by central banks and bank regulators to prevent commercial banks from taking excess leverage and becoming insolvent in the process.
Why CRAR was enforced?
The enforcement of regulated levels of this ratio is intended to protect depositors and promote stability and efficiency of financial systems around the world. It determines the bank’s capacity to meet the time liabilities and other risks such as credit risk, operational risk, etc.
The Basel III norms stipulated a capital to risk weighted assets of 8%.
However, as per RBI norms, Indian scheduled commercial banks are required to maintain a CRAR of 9%.
What are RRBs?
Regional Rural Banks were set up on the basis of the recommendations of the Narasimham Working Group (1975), and after the legislation of the Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976.
The first Regional Rural Bank “Prathama Grameen Bank” was set up on 2nd October, 1975.
The equity of a regional rural bank is held by the Central Government, concerned State Government and the Sponsor Bank in the proportion of 50:15:35.
- Stakeholders in RRBs.
- RRBs vs Urban cooperative banks.
- BASEL norms- important targets.
- Where is Basel?
- CRAR vs Leverage ratio.
- What is priority sector lending?
Recapitalisation will help banks maintain their capital adequacy ratio. Banks’ capacity to lend will increase, but that does not mean lending will increase. Comment.
Topics Covered: Biotechnology related issues.
Context: Scientists of ARI, Pune develop biofortified, high protein wheat variety- MACS 4028.
- It is a semi-dwarf variety. It has shown the superior and stable yielding ability.
- It is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust, foliar aphids, root aphids, and brown wheat mite.
What is biofortification?
Biofortification is the process of increasing nutritional value of food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding; agronomic practices or biotechnology. Examples of these vitamins and minerals that can be increased through biofortification include provitamin A Carotenoids, zinc and iron.
How are crops fortified?
Conventional crop breeding techniques are used to identify varieties with particularly high concentration of desired nutrients. These are cross-bred with varieties with other desirable traits from the target areas (such a virus resistance, drought tolerance, high yielding, taste) to develop biofortified varieties that have high levels of micronutrients (for example, vitamin A, iron or zinc), in addition to other traits desired by farmers and consumers.
Agronomic biofortification entails application of minerals such as zinc or iron as foliar or soil applications, drawing on plant management, soil factors, and plant characteristics to get enhanced content of key micronutrients into the edible portion of the plant.
Biofortification is one solution among many interventions that are needed to solve the complex problem of micronutrient malnutrition. It is considered one of the most cost-effective interventions for countries to employ in combating micronutrient malnutrition.
- Biofortification reaches rural consumers who have limited access to industrially fortified foods, supplementation interventions, and diverse diets.
- Biofortification combines increased micronutrient content with preferred agronomic, quality, and market traits and therefore biofortified varieties will typically match or outperform the usual varieties that farmers grow and consume.
How does Biofortification differ from food fortification?
Biofortification has the increased nutritional micronutrient content imbedded in the crop being grown. Food fortification increases the nutritional value of foods by adding trace amounts of micronutrients to foods during processing.
- Bio fortification vs Genetic modifications.
- Micro vs Macronutrients.
- Approval for Biofortified and GM crops in India.
- GM crops allowed in India.
What do you understand by fortification of foods? Discuss its advantages.