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1. Andhra Pradesh flagged off India’s first ‘fruit train’ with bananas
On January 31, 2020 India’s first of its kind fruit train was launched from Tadipatri Railway Station in Anantapur district & from Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. This is the first time an entire train carrying a load of 980 metric tonnes of locally grown bananas which has been sent to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNP)in Mumbai, Maharashtra.Those bananas will be exported to Iran.
i.The bananas will be exported under the brand name ‘Happy Bananas’. Guntakal Railway division(is one of the four divisions of South Coast Railway zone of the Indian Railways) has loaded bananas for export to West Asian countries from Tadipatri at very first time.
ii.Farmers from Putlur region in Anantapur and Pulivendula in Kadapa district of AP will be exporting ‘Green Cavendish’ bananas to international markets.
iii.The dispatch of first shipment was done by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority(APEDA), along with AP govt and one of the largest member exporters of banana.
iv.The train was formally flagged off by Container Corporation of India Ltd. (CONCOR) Chief General Manager (CGM) D. Satyanarayana, A.P Horticulture Commissioner Chiranjiv Chaudhary; Desai Fruits Venture Founder Ajit Desai and Guntakal Divisional Railway Manager Alok Tiwari in presence of Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kannababu.
About Andhra Pradesh(AP):
State Animal- Blackbuck.
State Bird- Roller, Rose-ringed parakeet.
State Tree- Neem.
State Flower- Jasmine.
Rivers- Godavari river, Krishna river, Penna river, Gundlakamma river etc.
2. NABARD approved loan worth Rs 140 crore at low interest to Punjab Agri Development Bank
On January 30, 2020 The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has given its approval for loan worth Rs 140 crore at low interest rate to Punjab State Agricultural Development Bank (PSADB). This has been done to strengthen as well as provide financial support to PSADB.
i.The decision to provide Rs 140 crore was taken during a meeting between Punjab Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa-led delegation with NABARD Chairman Harsh Kumar Banwala in Mumbai,Maharashtra.
ii.Members present: During the meeting, Sugarfed (Sugar factories federation) Chairman Amrik Singh Aliwal; Cooperative society registrar Vikas Garg and Sugarfed Managing Director Puneet Goyal were also present.
About National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD):
Fact- NABARD supervises State Cooperative Banks (StCBs), District Cooperative Central Banks (DCCBs), and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and conducts statutory inspections of these banks.
Founded- 12 July 1982
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Chairperson- Harsh Kumar Bhanwala.
Act- National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.
About Punjab State Agricultural Development Bank (PSADB)
Chairman- Mr. Kamaldeep Singh.
Managing Director(MD)- Mr. Charandev Singh Maan.
3. World Wetlands Day 2020 was observed on February 2
On February 2,2020 World Wetlands Day (WWD) was observed to spread awareness and to conserve the wetlands all over the world.
Theme : “Wetlands and Biodiversity”.
The theme highlights the importance of biodiversity conservation, which conveys nearly 40% of the world’s plant & animal species live or breed on wetlands.
i.World Wetlands Day has been observed since February 2,1997.
ii.The day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands at Ramsar Convention, Iran on February 2,1971.
4. ICAR & IVRI released Classical Swine Fever (CSF) cell culture vaccine in New Delhi
On February 3,2020 Dr.Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, Departments of Agricultural and Research Foundation (DARE) & Director general, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Shri Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) released the Live attenuated Classical Swine Fever (CSF) cell culture Vaccine at Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi. The vaccine was developed by ICAR and IVRI (Indian Veterinary Research Institute).
i.CSF: Classical Swine Fever (CSF) is one of the most important diseases of the pig causing high mortality.
ii.Lapinized Vaccine:The country has been using lapinized CSF vaccine from the UK (United Kingdom) since 1964 for controlling the disease. The vaccine is produced from the spleen of rabbits.
iii.The total requirements of vaccine was 22 million doses per year & only 1.2 million doses of vaccines was produced by lapinized vaccine cell culture.
iv.In order to increase productivity & reduce the cost IVRI and ICAR developed CSF vaccine to control swine fever.
v.The new CSF vaccine costing around less than Rs.2/- per dose against RS.15-25/ per- dose of lapinized CSF vaccine and Rs.30/ per-dose of Korean vaccine.
vi.The new vaccine provides immunity for 2 years while lapinized CSF & Korean vaccine provides only 3 to 6 months.
vii.The new vaccine has been developed by a team of IVRI scientists consisting of Dr Pronab Dhar,Dr Ashok Kumar Tiwari, Dr M Manu, Dr Vikramaditya Upmanyu, Dr Richa Pachauri and Dr.Raj Kumar Singh.
5. About IVRI(Indian Veterinary Research Institute):
Director- Dr Raj Kumar Singh.
Headquarters- Izatnagar, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
About ICAR(Indian Council of Agricultural Research):
Motto- Agrisearch with a human touch.
Founded- 16 July 1929.
Director- Dr Trilochan Mohapatra.
Headquarters- New Delhi, India.
6. APEDA-CFTRI Sign MoU for Liason Office in Guwahati to Promote Food Processing & Organic
Agri Exports in North-East States
On February 4,2020 A Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) was signed between CSIR-CFTRI (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research- Central Food Technological Research Institute) and APEDA (Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) to set up a Liaison Office, Guwahati, Assam to provide technical support to the food industries in the NorthEast region. It will benefit the farmers, products and entrepreneurs.
CSIR-CFTRI = Council of Scientific & Industrial Research- Central Food Technological Research Institute.
APEDA= The Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.
i.Central Food Technological Research Institute, (CSIR-CFTRI), Mysore, Karnataka, working in the area of Food and Science & Technology, Human Resource Development started during 1950.
ii. CSIR-CFTRI had brought many innovative efforts to the market.
iii.Apeda has undertaken many promotional activities in the North-east states of India.
iv.Apeda has organized 5 international buyer-seller meets in Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh & Sikkim.
v.To create awareness on agriculture and exports in the North-East states, converting the large areas of land into organic certification training is provided based on requirements based on National Programme on Organic Production (NPOP).
Founded- 21 October 1950. Headquarters- Mysore, Karnataka.
Director- Dr Karumanchi Srisaila Mallikarjuna S Raghavarao.
About APEDA: Founded- 1986. Headquarters- New Delhi.
Chairman- Pawan Kumar Borthakur.
7. World’s oldest Bamboo Fossil Discovered turns out to be Conifer
On February 04,2020, A fossil of leafy branch was discovered in Eocene, Patagonia in 1941, at that time of Examination it considered as bamboo’s fossil and still it became the oldest bamboo of the world, but in recent Examination of that fossil by Dr. Peter Wilf from Pennsylvania state university revealed the real nature of the plant’s fossil (chusquea oxyphylla name of the fossil) and it was published in open-access journal Phytokeys.
i.Wilf states that the fossil does not resemble the members of chusquea genus or any other bamboo and there is no evidence of bamboo-type nodes, sheaths or ligules and if Chusquea oxyphylla has nothing in common with bamboos.
ii.It needs a new name, with the priority of the older name, he combined Chusquea oxyphylla
with Retrophyllum spiralifolium (fossil’s genus discovered by Wilf) to come up with Retrophyllum oxyphyllum. Retrophyllum is a genus of six living species of rainforest conifers.
8. Soil health card cuts fertiliser use by 10%: NPC study
On February 5, 2020, According to a study conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC),a national level organization to promote productivity culture in India, the impact of Soil Health Card recommendations has led to a decrement of 8 – 10 % in use of chemical fertilizers as well as increased the productivity by 5 –6%.
i.Soil Health Card scheme:
It was launched by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi Government during the financial year-FY 2014-15 to deal with the decline of soil nutrients. The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the Ministry is issuing the Soil Health Cards, where during the Phase-I of the scheme (2015 – 2017),a total of 10.74 crore cards were issued to farmers and in the 2nd phase (2017 – 2019),11.69 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers in the last two years. Hence totally, over 22 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers till date.
ii.A flagship project ‘Development of Model Villages’ has been launched in the In the current FY20, where sampling & testing of cultivable soil is being promoted in association with farmers.
A Model Village has been picked for aggregation of soil samples & analysis of all agricultural holding.
iii.Soil labs in villages: In order to set up soil health laboratories under the scheme, the central Government has approved 429 stationary labs, 102 new mobile labs, 8,752 mini labs, and 1,562 village-level laboratories, besides strengthening 800 existing labs.
iv.Unemployed rural & farmers up to the age of 40 years are eligible to own soil health lab at a cost of Rs 5 lakh with the Centre and State governments funding 75% of the amount.
About National Productivity Council (NPC):
Founded– 12 February 1958
Headquarters– New Delhi
9. MoFPI sanctioned 39 Mega Food Parks & 298 Integrated Cold Chain Projects under PMKSY
On February 04, 2020 The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has sanctioned 39 Mega Food Parks and 298 Integrated Cold Chain Projects in India inorder to fill the gaps across value chain and also to establish Cold Chain Grid. The foodparks and the cold chain projects have been sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY).
i.PMKSY schemes: PMKSY comprises schemes such as Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure; Mega Food Park; Backward & Forward Linkages creation; Creation/ Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities; Agro Processing Clusters and Operation Greens.
ii.Schemes aim: The aim of the scheme is to prevent post-harvest losses of horticulture and non-horticulture produce through creation of cold storages/ primary processing/ and transportation facilities across the country.
iii.Among the Indian states Maharashtra has been sanctioned with highest number of food parks and chain projects with a total count of 67.
About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY):
Fact 1– The scheme was initially named as Sampada and was approved in the cabinet. It was then renamed as PMKSY. Sampada stands for “Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters”.
Fact 2– The scheme aims to enhance agriculture, modernize processing and decrease agri waste.
10. 22nd edition of India International Seafood Show (IISS) 2020 commenced in Kochi, Kerala
A 3-day long 22nd edition of India International Seafood Show (IISS), 2020 based on the theme “Blue Revolution- Beyond Production to Value Addition” has commenced at Hotel Grand Hyatt in Kochi, Kerala.
The show is being organized jointly by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry & the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).
i.It is a biennial show, this time being held in Kochi after 12 years, its 21st edition was held in Goa in January 2018.
ii.Partakers: More than 200 exhibitors, 350 stalls and over 5000 delegates, including foreign delegates, are expected to attend the event at Kochi.
iii.Significance: The India International Seafood Show is one of the oldest and largest seafood shows in the world. It attracts marine product traders from major markets in the United States, European Union, Japan, South-East Asia and other countries.
iv.Export of marine products by India: During the year 2018-19, India exported more than 14,37,000 tonnes of marine products which according to the final figures is $6.70 billion.
vi.Goal: Under the multi-pronged strategy, exports of marine products have been set at a target of US $ 15 billion in the next 5 years. India targets seafood export at $10 billion by 2020
As India is the second largest aquaculture producer in the world, it had set the target of seafood export at $10 billion by this year (i.e 2020).
About Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI):
Headquarters– Kochi, Kerala
About Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA):
Headquarters– Kochi, Kerala
Chairman– K S Srinivas
11. World Pulses Day 2020 was observed on February 10, 2020
World Pulses Day was observed on Feb 10, 2020. World Pulses day was established by the Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the importance of pulses (dry beans, lentils, dry peas, chickpeas, lupins) as global food.
i.World Pulses day has been designated on Feb 10 every year since 2019 by the 73rd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 20, 2018.
ii.The day is celebrated to bring awareness about the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. India hosts the UN World Pulses Day celebrations in New Delhi.
The event was organized by National Agricultural Cooperative Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) in collaboration with Global Pulse Confederation (GPC). The Tripura Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Shri. ManojKanti Deb, Global Pulses Confederation Chairperson Ms. Cindy Brown, NAFED Chairman Dr. Bijender Singh and representatives from various countries and officials of Central and State Governments and people associated with pulses production and sales were present in large numbers during the event.
On the occasion, the Minister launched the ‘Family pack of NAFED pulses and NAFED Organic pulses.
Coffee Table Book, recording its journey since inception on 2nd October, 1958 to the present and an FAO publication “Global Economy of Pulses” were also launched.
About Global Pulse Confederation (GPC)
Established – 1963 in France
Headquarters – Dubai (Since 2009)
i.India unveils the logo and Mascot for the 13th CMS COP 2020, and the logo is Inspired by “Kolam” a Traditional art form of Southern India and the kolam art is used to Portray Important Migratory Species in India like Amur falcon, Humpback Whale and Marine Turtles, and the Great Indian Bustard (Gibi) is chosen as official Mascot.
ii.The theme for the CMS COP 13 in India is, “Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them Home”, On February 15th and 16th India is going to conduct Pre-COP meeting where Stakeholder Dialogue, High level meeting and also the Champion Night Award Ceremony are going to take place and on February 17th opening Ceremony and plenary session followed by some International Organizations will showcase wildlife conservation practices and side events are going to held till the closing ceremony on 22nd February.
iii.The Government of India is Signatory to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Wild Animals (CMS) Since 1983 and also the Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway Network (Central Asian Flyway) between Arctic and Indian Ocean.
iv.India signed non legally binding MoU with CMS on the Conservation and Management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007) and Raptors (2016), and India act as home for several migratory species like snow leopard, bar headed geese, black necked cranes dugongs and etc.
v.It is stated that India is going to discuss about the Inclusion of Asiatic Elephant and Great Indian Bustard in the CMS Appendix for concerted action on CMS COP 13, India takes over COP CMS presidency from Philippines and will hold presidency till 2023.
About United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Headquarters – Nairobi, Kenya
Executive Director – Inger Andersen
12. World Unani Day was observed on February 11, 2020
World Unani Day was celebrated on February 11, 2020, since 2017. The day marks the birthday of great Unani scholar and social reformer “Hakim Ajmal Khan”.
Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh was the chief guest of the 4th Unani day function organized by AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) Ministry, New Delhi, India.
i.Objective: The main objective of the day is to spread awareness about health care delivery through the Unani system of Medicine through its preventive and curative philosophy.
ii.About Hakim Ajmal Khan: Ajmal khan was born on 11th February 1868. He was a Unani physician, noted freedom fighter, Unani medical educationist & founder of scientific research in the Unani system of Medicine.
iii.He was one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, India.
iv.About Unani Medicine: Unani medicine was introduced in India by the Arabs & Persians around the 11th century. It originated in Greece and the foundation was laid by Hippocrates.
13. Cauvery Delta Region to be declared as Protected Agricultural Zone by TN Govt
On February 10,2020, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K. Palaniswamy announced that Cauvery delta regions in Tamil Nadu is going to declared as a protected Special Agricultural Zone(SAZ), He also added that special team will be formed to produce special law to make the Delta region as a Protected Zone.
i.Districts like Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Delta regions of Trichy, Karur, Ariyalur, Cuddalore and Pudukkotai are included in the Protected Zone.
ii.Only Agro based Industries are allowed in the Protected Zone.
About Tamil Nadu:
Governor- Banwarilal Purohit
National Parks(NP)- Gulf of Mannar Marine NP, Guindy NP, Mudumalai NP, Mukurthi NP.
14. AP govt inks MoU with 11 agri institutions to help farmers
On February 10, 2020 Andhra Pradesh (AP) Government (govt.) signed MoU (Memorandum of
Understandings) with 11 agricultural institutions in the country to establish revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector through technology & sustainable increase in farmers’ income using organic and natural farming processes.
i.MoU: Chief Minister (CM) Yeduguri Sandinti Jaganmohan Reddy supervised the exchange of MoUs in Amaravati, AP, between the state Agriculture Department and institutions, the Indian Council Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Institute of Plant Health Management, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Central Fertiliser Quality & Training Institute, National Seed Research & Training Institute.
ii.CM also announced 11,158 Rythu Bharosa Kendras will be set up across the state by June 2020, which will be administered by agriculture, horticulture, veterinary and aquaculture assistants to guide farmers in best practices.
iii.Quality seed, fertiliser and pesticides guaranteed by state government will be made available at these centers.
iv.Agriculture Minister K Kanna Babu, Animal Husbandry Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, Civil Supplies Minister K S V Rao, Agriculture Special Chief Secretary Poonam Malakondaiah were present on the occasion.
About Andhra Pradesh (AP):
Chief Minister (CM)- Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
Governor- Biswabhusan Harichandan.
15. 43rd Governing council meet of IFAD 2020 held in Rome, Italy
A 2-day long 43rd session of the annual Governing Council meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) 2020 based on the theme “Investing in sustainable food systems to end hunger by 2030” was held at FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) headquarters in Rome, Italy from February 11- 12, 2020.
i.The event,opened by President of the Republic of Mali , Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, witnessed interactive sessions on how IFAD’s role and experience in supporting sustainable, inclusive, nutritious and efficient food systems place it in a unique position to contribute to eliminate hunger.
ii.It was also announced at the meet that the UN (United Nations) will not be able to achieve the target of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 due to the lack of funds & it will be achieved only by 2040 with an annual investment of more than $115 billion.
About International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):
Headquarters– Rome, Italy
Founded– December 1977
President– Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo
16. Nitin gadkari flags off KVIC’s ‘Apiary on wheels’ for bee keeping in New Delhi
On February 13, 2020, Nitin Jairam Gadkari ,the union minister for Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) flagged off ‘Apiary on Wheels’ in New Delhi in the presence of Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena, Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). Apiary on Wheels is a unique concept for easy maintenance of BeeBox and migration of live colonies, designed by KVIC.
i.In accordance with Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s vision, KVIC’s honey mission was launched in 2017 and involves training of beekeepers, distribution of bee-keeping boxes and rural-educated.
ii.Benefits: Apiary on Wheels is a holistic approach to meet the challenges faced by beekeepers & also help reduce the labor cost of maintenance of bee box and living bee colonies across India.
In this platform, 20 Bee Boxes can be moved from one place to another without any problem. In 4 separate compartments with 2 large wheels and independent doors on either side, having 5 bee boxes helps each platform to intact without disturbing the living bee colonies.
It is connected to solar panel system which automatically turns on a fan inside the compartment when the temperature reaches 35 degree centigrade or above. Moving bees from one place to another, cooling with the help of solar panels and drip of sugar will not be a risk
to the life of the bees, preventing damage to their boxes and colonies will help in producing quality honey.
About Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC):
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
17. Government of India hosts National Organic Food Festival in New Delhi
The Government of India (GOI) is to host the National Organic Food festival from February (21 to 23, 2020) at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, India. The festival will be inaugurated by Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI). The 3 day festival is celebrated for the 1st time in order to boost organic products and to promote women entrepreneurship in the area of production & processing ofnorganic products.
Theme: Unleashing India’s Organic Market Potential.
i.The festival will be organized by (MoFPI) and (MoWCD) Ministry of Women and Child Development. Organic Food Segment grows at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10% during 2016-20.
ii.Around 150 women Entrepreneurs and Self Help Groups (SHG’s) from all over the country will be exhibiting their organic products such as fruit & vegetables, ready to eat products, spices and condiments, Honey, cereals,dry fruits etc.,
iii.The festival will focus on facilitating business linkages & women entrepreneurs through B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2G (Business-to-Government) meetings.
iv.India is the 9th largest agricultural organic production in the world and produced 1.70 million tonnes of organic products namely Oil Seeds, Sugar cane, Cereals & Millets, Cotton, Pulses, Medicinal Plants, Tea, Fruits, Spices, Dry Fruits, Vegetables, Coffee etc.
v.Goal 2025: India’s Organic Food Business expected to reach Rs. 75,000 Crores by 2025.
18. Manipur: Seed sowing festival ‘Lui-Ngai-Ni’ celebrated at Ukhrul
On February 15, 2020 The Naga tribes of Manipur celebrated seed sowing festival ‘Lui-Ngai-Ni’ at Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) ground in Ukhrul, Manipur. The 2 day festival was inaugurated by N. Kayisii, Manipur’s Minister of Tribal Development and Awangbou Newmai and Tamei MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly), Manipur as Guest of Honour.
Theme: “Oneness through Culture”.
i.The event was organised by the United Naga Council and hosted by the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), an apex body of the Tangkhul community in Manipur.
ii.About Lui-Ngai-Ni: Lui-Ngai-Ni is one of the biggest festivals of the Naga community.
iii.Folk songs, blowing Lui-Ngai-Ni, the beating of drums, lighting of fire, cultural dances and solo performances were performed by Naga Tribes during the festival.
Chief Minister- Nongthombam Biren Singh.
Governor- Najma Akbar Ali Heptulla.
National Parks (NP)- Keibul Lamjao NP, Sirohi NP.
19. Soil health card scheme completes 5 years on 19 February 2020
On February 17, 2020, According to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Soil Health Card Scheme which was launched by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on 19.02.2015 at Suratgarh, Rajasthan completes 5 years on February 19, 2020.Till now, a total of Rs.751.42 crore has been released under the scheme.
i.During the Phase-I of the scheme (2015 – 2017),a total of 10.74 crore cards were issued to farmers and in the 2nd phase (2017 – 2019),11.69 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers in the last two years.
ii.Establishment of Soil Testing Labs:In order to set up soil health laboratories under the scheme,so far the central Government has approved 429 New Static Soil Testing Labs (STLs), 102 new mobile labs, 8,752 mini labs, and 1,562 Village level soil testing labs (VLSTLs), besides strengthening 800 existing labs.Hence, the soil analyzing capacity has increased to 3.33 crore from 1.78 crore soil samples per annum in short period of 5 years.
iii.A flagship project ‘Development of Model Villages’ has been launched in the In the current FY20, where sampling & testing of cultivable soil is being promoted in association with farmers. A Model Village has been picked for aggregation of soil samples & analysis of all agricultural holding.
iv.Identification of villages:Till now a total of 6954 villages have been identified by the States / UTs (Union Territories) & 20.18 lakh samples have been collected compared to the target of 26.83 lakh samples. Also,14.65 lakh samples have been analyzed and 13.54 lakh cards have been issued to farmers.
v.Departments of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare & Fertilisers backed by technology and network of Krishi Vigyan Kendras of Indian Council of Agriculture Research(ICAR) have been carrying the awareness campaign among farmers.
About Soil Health Card scheme:
It was launched by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi Government during the financial year-FY 2014-15 to deal with the decline of soil nutrients. The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is issuing the Soil Health Cards to farmers at an interval of 2 years.
Soil health card provides information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil with respect to 12 nutrients (pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Organic Carbon (OC), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulphur (S), Zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu)) along with recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
20. Govt plans to doubling of Milk processing capacity to 108 million MT by 2025
On February 18,2020, The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying under the Ministry of
Fisheries,Animal Husbandry and Dairying announced that the Government will facilitate the increase of milk processing capacity to 108 million metric tonne (MT) from 53.5 million metric tonne by 2025 .
i.In the last 5 years milk production in India has grown by 6.5%, which has increased from 146.3 million metric tonne in 2014-2015 to 187.7 million metric tonne in 2018-2019.
ii.From the above data only 54% of milk produced is for Marketable surplus and the remaining 46% is for local consumption, In that 46% only 36% is handled by Co-operative and private sectors.
iii.During the last 2 years milk requirement in the cooperative sector increased by 9%, for that it aims to bring remaining 64% surplus under the organized sector.
iv.The department is also working towards increasing milk productivity through Genetic improvement and reduction of Input cost.
v.Increasing the processing facilities through merging and leveraging the schemes of Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Department of Rural Development and State Government this would encourage the private investments in the sector.
About Ministry of Ministry of Fisheries,Animal Husbandry and Dairying:
Union Minister- Giriraj Singh
Minister of State (MOS)- Pratap chandra sarangi, Sanjeev kumar balyan
21. Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY): World Bank inks $ 450 mn loan with India for groundwater management in select states
On February 17, 2020, The Government of India (GoI) and the World Bank(WB) have inked a $ 450 million (mn) loan agreement to support Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY) – National Groundwater Management Improvement Program that will be implemented by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh (UP) and cover 78 districts.
The main aim of this agreement is to stop the decreasing level of ground water in India and strengthen the institutions related to ground water.
i.The loan agreement was signed by Shri Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.
ii.This new project to Improve Groundwater Management will promote the recharge of aquifers, initiate steps related to water conservation, enhance the action related to water harvesting, water management and crop conformity& also will create an institutional structure for sustainable groundwater management and communities for sustainable management of ground water.
iii.The use of modern technology related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Space Technology will further aid in better implementation of this program. This program will also help rural people to strengthen the rural economy in the context of climate change.
iv.The $450 million loan, from World bank’s arm International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 6-year grace period, and a maturity of 18 years.
About Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY):
ABHY(or, Atal Jal), a Rs.6,000 Crore Central Sector Scheme, is a groundwater management scheme launched by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on the 95th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on 25 December 2019 with the aim to improve groundwater management in 7 states of India.
Nodal Agency: Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti. Under this scheme 78 districts, 193 blocks and 8350 gram panchayats of these states have been included.
22. Soil Health Card Day was observed on February 19, 2020
Fifth year of the launch of Soil Health Card Day was observed across the country on february 19, 2020. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had launched the Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme on February 19, 2015 at Suratgarh in Rajasthan, to increase the fertility of the soil.
i.About SHC scheme: The scheme aims at issuing soil health cards to farmers every 2 years to identify the nutritional deficiencies in the soil. The scheme also ensures additional incomes to the farmers by increase in yields & also promote sustainable farming.
ii.Uses: SHC provides information about proper usage of fertilizer, nutrient status of the soil along with the appropriate dosage of nutrients for improving soil health & its fertility.
iii.Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, mentioned that Government will launch a Tilhar Mission to make the country self-reliant in oilseed production & also to create 10,000 FPO (Farmer Producers Organization) across the country for which an assistance over Rs.6000 crore will be provided.
23. India’s foodgrain production to hit a record high of 291.95 million tonnes for crop year 2019-20
In accordance with the Second Advance Estimates for crop year 2019-20 by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, the total foodgrain production in the country is estimated at record 291.95 million tonnes as compared to the production of foodgrain of 285.21 million tonnes in 2018-19. It should be noted that the 2019-20 production is also higher by 26.20 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2013-14 to 2017-18) average production of foodgrain. India’s crop year is July-June
Reason Behind the increase The cumulative rainfall in the country during the monsoon season (June to September, 2019) has been 10% higher than Long Period Average (LPA), resulting in a boost in foodgrain production.
i.Production of rice– It is increased by 9.67 million tonnes in 2019-20 at record 117.47 million tonnes as compared to five years’ average production of 107.80 million tonnes.
ii.Production of wheat– Estimated at record 106.21 million tonnes for 2019-20, it is higher by 2.61 million tonnes as compared to wheat production during 2018-19 and is higher by 11.60 million tonnes than the average wheat production of 94.61 million tonnes.
iii.Production of Nutri / Coarse Cereals– It has been increased to 45.24 million tonnes, a 2.18 million tonnes increase as compared to 43.06 million tonnes achieved during 2018-19. It is also higher by 2.16 million tonnes than the average production.
iv.Production of Pulses– Total Pulses production during 2019-20 is estimated at 23.02 million tonnes which is higher by 2.76 million tonnes than the Five years’ average production of 20.26 million tonnes.
v.Production of oilseeds– For 2019-20 it is estimated at 34.19 million tonnes which is higher by 2.67 million tonnes than the production of 31.52 million tonnes during 2018-19.
2019-20 is higher by 4.54 million tonnes than the previous 5 years average oilseeds production.
vi.Production of Sugarcane– During 2019-20, it is estimated at 353.85 million, a 4.07 million tonnes than the average sugarcane production of 349.78 million tonnes.
vii.Production of Cotton– It is estimated at 34.89 million bales (of 170 kg each) is higher by 6.85 million bales than the production of 28.04 million bales during 2018-19.
viii.Production of Jute & Mesta– It is estimated at 9.81 million bales (of 180 kg each).
ix.Other Productions– Maize – 28.08 million tonnes, Tur – 3.69 million tonnes, Gram – 11.22 million tonnes, Soyabean – 13.63 million tonnes, Rapeseed and Mustard – 9.11 million tonnes, and Groundnut – 8.24 million tonnes
24. About Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW):
It functions under the Ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare
Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare– Narendra Singh Tomar
Minister of State– Parshottam Rupala, Kailash Choudhary
Overview of Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s 3- day visit to Dubai, UAE
The Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal has paid a 3-day (February 16-18, 2020) visit to Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates) to attend the 25th Gulfood 2020.
25. Badal inaugurates India Pavilion at 25th GulFood 2020 in Dubai,UAE
Harsimrat Kaur Badal has inaugurated the India Pavilion at 25th Edition of the GulFood 2020.India is the largest participant in Gulfood with almost 300 companies and India’s food exports to UAE stand at almost 1.8 billion dollars.
i.The pavilion spread over an area of more than 4,500 square meters(sqkm) and featured over 300 Indian companies showcasing a wide variety of food products. At present, UAE is the 3rd largest trading partner of India with bilateral trade amounting $ 59.909 in 2018-19.
ii.The Indian side was represented by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Tea Board India, Coffee Board India, Coconut Board of India and Cashew Export Promotion Council.
iii.Badal met the exhibitors & discussed the potential of business opportunities available to them in India, UAE, and other nations. She also proposed to explore the possibility of making a fund for providing marketing support to launch Indian goods in the UAE supermarkets.
26. Cabinet approves to raise interest subvention for Dairy processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) from 2% to 2.5%
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to increase the interest subvention on loans given to farmers in the dairy sector from 2% to 2.5 % under the scheme Dairy processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF)with the revised outlay of Rs 11184 Cr.
i.This will benefit 95 lakh farmers spread over 50,000 villages from increasing interest subsidy & will also help add new dimensions to the ‘White Revolution’ (rapid development in the area related to milk production).
ii.Under DIDF, the central government will give an exemption of 2.5% interest to NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) from 2019-20. This amendment has come into effect from July 30, 2019.
iii.The funding period of the scheme (2017-18 to 2019-20) has been revised from the year 2018-19 to the year 2022-23 and the repayment period may be extended till the first quarter of FY 2031-32. For this, 37 sub- projects have been submitted including a total estimated cost of Rs 4,458 crore. Of which the loan share will be Rs. 3,207 crore. So far, loans worth Rs 1,110 crore have been disbursed by NABARD to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) for implementation.
iv.The scheme envisages to have interest subvention component of Rs 1167 crore to be contributed by DAHD during the period of 2018-19 to 2030-31 with spill over to first quarter of the FY 2031-32. The scheme also has a loan component of Rs. 8004 crore to be contributed by NABARD. Rs. 2001 cr shall be contributed by Eligible End Borrowers and Rs. 12 cr would be jointly contributed by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)/National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC). 2020 The Maharashtra’s Government’s “Smart gram yojana” will be named after former Deputy Chief Minister the late RaosahebRamraoPatil.
i.Smart Gram Yojana: Smart gram yojana (Smart Village) was implemented by the Maharashtra state in 2016 to increase the performance on certain parameters in gram panchayats at taluka and district level.
ii.The scheme also seeks to transform rural Maharashtra through development initiatives.
iii.Villages performing well in a range of areas such as cleanliness, health, education, environment, use of infotech and renewable energy sources are rewarded by the state government.
iv.AboutPatil: Patil was the former rural development minister & home minister of Maharashtra State in the Congress government, had implemented cleanliness and quarrel-free village schemes.
Chief Minister- Uddhav Bal Thackeray.
Governor- Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
National Parks (NP)- Chandoli NP, Gugamal NP, Pench NP, Sanjay Gandhi NP, Tadoba NP, Navegaon NP.
27. Cabinet approves Rs 4,458 crore scheme for dairy sector
The Union Cabinet has approved a Rs 4,458 crore scheme to encourage the dairy sector, which will benefit about 95 lakh farmers.
i.This will add new dimensions to the milk revolution in the country.
ii.The government will also install 28000 Bulk Milk Coolers. This will increase the capacity to keep milk cold by 140 lakh liters.
iii.Altogether 37 sub-projects have been submitted with estimated cost of Rs.4458 crore, of which loan component would be Rs.3207 crore for the scheme. Out of Rs.3207 crore, as on date, Rs.1110 crore has been disbursed in two installments of loan by NABARD to NDDB for implementation of the scheme.
28. Cabinet approves scheme for “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) ” to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs
Cabinet approved Central Sector Scheme titled “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Produce Organizations (FPOs)” to create 10,000 new FPOs in the next 5 years (2019-20 to 2023-24) across the country.
i.For this period a budgetary provision of Rs 4,496 crore has been made. Under this scheme, a liability of Rs 2,369 crore has been arranged for each FPO during the period from 2024-25 to 2027-28.
ii.Initially, there will be three agencies for the formation and promotion of FPOs, including Small Farmers Agri- business Consortium (SFAC), National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
iii.NABARD will have a Credit Guarantee Fund of up to Rs 1,000 crore with NABARD and DA & FW contributing equally. Similarly, NCDC will have a Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs 500 crore in which NCDC and DAC&FW (Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare) will have equal contribution.
iv.State governments may also nominate their agency for this in consultation with the DAC&FW under Union Ministry of Agriculture. The DAC&FW will allocate clusters and states to the implementing agencies to form Cluster Based Business Organizations (CBBOs) in the states.
v.The collective power of farmers will increase with the formation of FPO, which will make it easier for them to get quality agricultural inputs, technology and loans and will facilitate their access to the market and this will increase their income.
29. Cabinet okays revamping of PMFBY & Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme
The Union Cabinet has allowed to make significant changes to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) in order to address the challenges.
The Cabinet has also approved a number of changes under the scheme.
i.Accordingly, no state government can enter into an agreement with the insurance company for less than 3 years.
ii.The Central subsidy has been limited to 30% for non-irrigated areas and 25% for irrigated areas.
iii.The government has now decided to make Enrolment of farmers under PMFBY voluntary.
iv.In addition, the government will provide 90% of the premium for crop insurance for North East farmers (Both PMFBY/RWBCIS).
v.Smart technology solutions like Smart Sampling Technique (SST) and optimization of number of CCEs (Crop Cutting Experiments) to be adopted in conducting CCEs (PMFBY).
vi.To estimate crop losses/admissible claims, 2-Step Process to be adopted based on Deviation matrix by using parameters like weather indicators, satellite indicators, etc.
vii.This cabinet decision will be implemented only from the kharif season beginning April-May 2020.
30. Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal & Union Minister of WCD Smriti Irani inaugurated National Organic Food Festival for women entrepreneurs in New Delhi
On February21, 2020 Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) inaugurated National Organic Food Festival for women entrepreneurs at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.It is jointly organized by both the ministries with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the industry partner.
About National Organic Food festival
• The theme of the festival is ‘Unleashing India’s Organic Market Potential’.
• The festival is being held from February 21-23.
• More than 180 women entrepreneurs, self-help groups and cooperatives are participating.
• The festival will be conducted 6 times a year across India and is planned to make it as an
International exhibition soon.
i.Every year India’s organic food market is growing at 17%.
ii.Organic Food market to touch Rs 75000 crore in next 5 years.
iii.India is ranked 1st in organic producers and 9th in cultivation for organic products.
iv.Memorandum of understanding has been signed in 2019 to encourage organic products and women entrepreneurship.
v.In 2017-18 India exported certified organic products around 1.7million tonnes and exported organic products worth USD 515 million.
31. Govt of Haryana to open Atal kisan – majdoor canteens to provide affordable meals to farmers
On February 20, 2020, According to the Haryana Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya, the state Government will open Atal Kisan – Majdoor canteens (named after former Prime minister (PM) late Atal Bihari Vajpayee ) in the ‘mandis’ and sugar mills across the state to provide affordable, cheap meals to farmers and labourers at concessional rate of Rs 10 per plate.
i.These canteens will be built by the Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board, which has also decided to operate the canteens at 25 different locations in the state.
ii.The state government also decided to provide concessional free travel facility of free travel up to 150 km to 41 various categories of girl students in the ordinary buses of Haryana Roadways.
Also during the year 2020-2021, the women and girls (in the age group of 10 – 45 years) belonging to 11 lakh BPL (Below Poverty Line) families will be provided sanitary napkins free of cost, for which state government has allocated Rs.30 Crore.
iii.The state recruited a total of 5,192 constables, including 1,000 women constables to increase policing and improve security and safety in the State. Around 450 under-training Sub-Inspectors including 60 women Sub-Inspectors are also expected to join the force in March 2020.
iv.To provide better transport facilities across the state, the Governor said that under the NABARD scheme, 40 projects costing Rs 138.33 crore have been sanctioned for 296.32 km roads during the current financial year 2019-20.
Chief Minister (CM)- Manohar Lal Khattar
State Tree– Pipal, Peepul or Bo tree
National Parks(NP)– Sultanpur NP, Kalesar NP.
32. Centre paid Rs 50,850 crore to farmers under Pradhan Mantri Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme
On February 24, 2020 the centre has stated that it has paid Rs 50,850 crore to farmers under Pradhan Mantri Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme from the total budget of Rs.75,000 crore allocated for current Financial Year for the PM-KISAN scheme. The date also marked the 1st Anniversary of PM- KISAN scheme, which was launched on February 24,2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The scheme is under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The objective of the scheme is to enable farmers to meet farm input cost and domestic expenses. The Prime Minister has set the target of doubling farmers’ income by the year 2022.
i.PM KISAN mobile App launched: Union Ministry of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar launched PM KISAN mobile application,which is aimed at broadening the reach of the scheme. By using this app farmers can know their payment status, correct their name besides knowing their eligibility for the scheme and other information.
ii.Under the scheme, Rs 6000 annually is transferred by the centre in 3 equal instalments to the farmers directly into their bank accounts.
iii.About 14 crore beneficiaries are covered in the scheme, based on Agriculture Census 2015-16 estimates. 8.46 crore families are benefited as on February 20, 2020.
iv.Initially the scheme was applicable to the families holding cultivable land up to 2 hectares, later the scheme covered all farmer families.
v.Instalments are paid on the basis of Aadhar authenticated bank data from December 1, 2019.
33.Mumbai airport gets world’s largest ‘Export Cold Zone’ to Store Agro, Pharma Products
On February 22, 2020, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), a joint venture (JV) of the GVK led consortium and Airports Authority of India (AAI) ,has unveiled the world’s largest airport-based temperature- controlled facility, the ‘Export Cold Zone’ for processing and storage of agro and pharma products, for which Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport will be the largest export gateway.
i.The Export Cold Zone facility with over 700 tonnes of such cargo at one time with a combined annual capacity of 5.25 lakh tones, will be operated by cargo handling service provider and MIAL’s businesspartner, Cargo Service Centre.
ii.The facility also installed with 12 truck docks with dock- levellers, spacious acceptance and examination area, automated workstations, X-Ray machines, unit load device (ULD) storage, ballmat system for ULD transfer and cold rooms.
iii.Mumbai airport,which connects to over 500 cargo destinations across 175 countries through 60 airlines, is the first airport in India and the 3rd in Asia to receive the IATA CEIV ( International Air Transport Association- Center of Excellence for Independent Validators) Pharma accreditation, a global industry recognition helping the air transport industry.
iv.The airport has also launched an air cargo community portal, GMAX, which enables stakeholders to access mobile applications that offer real-time tracking of shipment, which helps in delivering customised handling solutions.Overview of 13th COP on Conservation of Migratory Species of wild animals held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The week long Thirteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on theConservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) together with the associated meetings of the Standing Committee was held at Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India from February 15-22. Its theme was “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home”. The summit was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi through video conferencing and was attended by Union Minister of Environment, Prakash Javadekar, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Minister of State (MoS) for Environment and Forests Babul Supriyo, among others.
• It was the second consecutive COP held in Asia following COP12 in Manila, Philippines in 2017.
• It should be noted that this CMS meet is an triennial event, whose principal decision-making body isCOP. Apart from COP , there is also a Standing Committee, which meets every year to oversee theadministration of Convention, and a Scientific Council, which provides technical advice through itsSessional Committee.
Logo: It was inspired by “Kolam”, a traditional art form from southern India. The Kolam art form was used todepict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles.
Mascot: The CMS COP 13 mascot was “Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard”. It is a critically endangered speciesaccorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
34. India proposed names of 10 more wetlands for recognition under Ramsar Convention
The Indian government proposed names of 10 more wetlands to be declared as sites of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The new wetlands being proposed for inclusion are – Lonar from Maharashtra which is a unique wetland and the only Crater Lake in the country, a site from Bihar-Kanwar lake, two sites from Haryana which doesn’t have a Ramsar site till now –Sultanpur and Bhindawas.
Uttarakhand also has sent a proposal for its first Ramsar site-Asan and the rest are from Uttar Pradesh. If the proposal to include 10 new wetlands is approved by the Ramsar Secretariat then India will have 47 sites protected internationally.
Red Throated Thrush and Plumbeous Water Redstart: Two new bird species found in Ladakh
In Union Territory of Ladakh, two new bird species have been found during the Great Backyard Bird count. The three-day exercise was undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh. Red Throated Thrush and Plumbeous Water Redstart have been found for the first time in Ladakh Region.
• On the other hand, Common Rose Finch and Grey Haron species have arrived in Ladakh region early than usual.
• A three-group birders and wildlife experts have counted and recorded a total of 87 various species of birds in Ladakh.
Report Titled ‘State of India’s Birds, 2020: Range, trends and conservation status released
It was the first comprehensive assessment of the distribution range, trends in abundance, and conservation status for most of the bird species that regularly occur in India. This report was produced as a partnership between the 10 organisations.
35. Union Minister Javadekar meets Secretary-General of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar held a meeting with Secretary-General of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Martha Rojas Urrego on the sidelines of CMS COP 13. He received certificates for 10 Indian Ramsarsites which were recently declared wetland sites of international importance.
CMS is the only UN (United Nations) treaty that addresses migratory species and their habitats. The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also referred to as the “Bonn Convention” as it came into being from Bad Godesberg, a suburb of Bonn, Germany in June 1979. The Convention entered into force on 1 November 1983.
• India has been a Party to the CMS since 1983.
• India has also signed a non-legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).
• CMS Executive Secretary– Ms Amy Fraenkel
These are those animals that move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc. In order to protect the migratory species throughout their range countries, a Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), has been in force, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme.
India is a temporary home to several migratory animals and birds. The important among these include Amur Falcons, Bar-headed geese, Black-necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpbacked Whales, etc. The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e. the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory water bird species, including 29 globally threatened species.
India has four biodiversity hotspots – Eastern Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo Myanmar landscape and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and home to as many as 500 species of migratory birds from across the globe.
36. NABARD grants Rs 400.64 cr for UT of J&K to boost infrastructure
On February 25, 2020, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD),an Apex Development Financial Institution in India, has granted a sum of Rs 400.64 crore to the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir(J&K). The amount has been sanctioned under its ‘Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) – Trench XXV’for boosting rural infrastructure during the current financial year-FY(2019-20).
i.Benefit: Out of the total amount, Rs. 209.87 crore will be provided for the construction of 82 rural roads length of 291 kms & 3 bridges. This will benefit 9.15 lakh people in 19 districts of UT of J&K & they get all weather improved connectivity to 461 remote villages. An outlay of Rs.143.66 crore rupees has been approved for implementation of 38 water supply schemes, which will benefit over 3.54 lakh people across 86 villages in 17 districts of UT of J&K. Also, an amount of 47.11 crore rupees will be provided to improve the Animal and Sheep Husbandry sectors of the UT.
About National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD):
Formation– July 12, 1982
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman– Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala
37. International Conference on Banana (ICB) 2020:
National Research Center for Banana organized the conference with Bioversity International, Rome, and Indian Council of Agricultural research, New Delhi and hosted the event with Society for Promotion of Horticulture, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru. The conference was held for 4 days from Feb 22-25, 2020.
Theme of ICB 2020: Innovations in Sustainable Production and Value Chain Management in Banana.
i.Award contribution: The award is conferred to Dr Kumar in recognition of his specific contribution to the banana industry, by systematic banana breeding programmes which was started by TNAU in 1998.
ii.TNAU developed synthetic hybrids such as H. 212, NPH -02-01, H.531 which are resistant to biotic stresses of which H-212 was released as CO2 for commercial cultivation during January 2020.
iii.The bio-priming technology developed in hill banana, helps to promote disease free plantations.
38. World’s largest species of cave fish discovered in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills
A team of experts from the UK (United Kingdom), Switzerland and India have discovered the world’s largest species of cave fish in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya. The fish, Tor putitora has no eyes and is white due to lack of melanin pigmentation.
i.The details of the find are published in the issue of Cave and Karst Science, published by British Cave Research Association.
ii.The fish was found to be more than 40 cm in length & considerably bulky than the previously known fishes.
iii.The fish is an endangered mahseer species that live mostly in “fast-flowing streams, rivers and large reservoirs”.
iv.The fishes are commonly found in the rivers that flow along the foothills of Himalayas, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal.
v.A team of international scientists discovered the fish on february 2019, when they were carrying out the Abode of Clouds Project, which was launched in 1992. Under the project, scientists have been studying and mapping caves in Meghalaya.
Purpose of MIEWS
i.To Farmers-Provide advisories to avoid cyclical production & early warning in glut situations.
ii.To Decision Makers-To monitor the supply situation for timely market intervention,to move the produce from surplus regions to deficit regions as per the OG scheme during glut sitatiom & to provide inputs for export/import Decision making.
The alerts are generated for timely market intervention as per OG scheme
• when the prices of TOP Crops fall to a 3 year low at the time of harvest.
• When compared to the previous period the price fall is more than 50%.
• When prices fell lesser than the benchmark fixed by the State/ Central government for a specified period.
• MIEWS is an initiative by the Ministry of FPI to leverage IT tools & to facilitate Digital India’s goals.
• If MIEWS becomes successful it will be implemented in other departments/Ministries of India.
Gist about OG Scheme OG scheme was announced in the budget speech of Union Budget 2018-19 on the line of “Operation Flood” with a budget of Rs 500 crore to enhance TOP Crops value chain & promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management.
About Ministry of FP Industries:
Union Minister– Harismrat Kaur Badal
State Minister– Rameshwar Teli
Headquarter– New Delhi
39. Government approves Rs 162 crore under Operation Green Scheme
On February 26,2020 The government approved Rs 162 crore under Operations Green(OG) Scheme which was announced in 2018-19 budget with an outlay of 500 crore to stable the supply of TOP crops( Tomato, Onion & Potato) & to confirm their availability throughout the year without price volatility.The scheme works under Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI).The aim of the scheme is to enhance TOP Crops value
• Totally 5 projects have been sanctioned under OG scheme with a total cost of Rs 426(425.83) crore & the grant to be given is Rs 162(161.17) crore.
• The sanctioned 5 projects are-Andhra Pradesh(AP)Food Processing Society(Chittor, Anantapur,AP), Nedspice Dehydration India (Bhavnagar, Gujarat), Hindustan Agro Co-op Ltd &, KhemanandDudh&Krishi Producer Company Ltd (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra), Banaskantha District Coop Milk Producers Union LTd (Banaskantha, Gujarat).
• The Sanctioned projects will benefit more than 50,000 farmers & create 10,000 jobs, daily
processing capacity of over 3.64 Lakh tonne& storage of over 90,000 will also be created.
Strategies of OG Scheme
There are two strategies which are decided by MoFPI namely;
i.Short term Price Stabilisation Measures
The NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) is a nodal agency to implement price stabilisation measures.MoFPI will provide 50% of the subsidy to transportation of TOP Crops from production to storage & hiring of appropriate storage facilities.The grants- in-aid will be given at the rate of 50% of the eligible project cost in all areas, & eligible to maximum Rs 50 crore per project.
ii.Long Term Integrated value chain development projects For long term the government will assist in capacity building of Farmer Producer Organisation(FPOs), quality production, post-harvest processing facilities, agri-logistics, development of markets & creation & management
of e-platform for demand and supply management of TOP crops.
Headquarter– New Delhi, India
Chairman– Dr. Bijender Singh
40. Govt approved 32 projects under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)
On February 27, 2020 Government approved a total of 32 projects under ‘unit’ scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) [scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro Processing Clusters] in the meeting of Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee (IMAC) presided over by Union Minister of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) Harsimrat Kaur Badal.The project covers about 17 states, leveraging an investment worth of Rs 406 crores. The projects approved are running across quadrilaterals of the country covering over 100 agro-climatic zones.
Objective: The main objective of the scheme is creation of processing and preservation capacities & modernisation of existing food processing units to increase the level of processing and value addition leading to reduction of wastage.
i.Food processing plays an important role in linking Indian farmers to consumers in the domestic and international markets.
ii.This project promotes the employment opportunities for around 15,000 people in rural areas.
iii.According to CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) the food sector has emerged high-growth of approximately 8% over the last 5 years due to immense potential of value addition within the food processing industry.
iv.The processed food market is expected to grow to $ 543 billion by 2020 from $ 322 billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 14.6%.
About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana [PMKSY]:
Ministry of Food Processing Industries [MoFPI] is implementing PMKSY and the period of implementation is 2016-20 with a total outlay of Rs 6000 crore. The scheme not only boosts the growth of the food processing sector in the country but also doubles the farmers income and enhancing the export of the processed foods.
The 7 schemes under the PMKSY are:
• Mega Food Parks.
• Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure.
• Creation/Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities (unit schemes)
• Infrastructure for Agro-processing clusters
• Creation of forward and backward linkages
• Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure
• Human Resources and Institutions
The scheme expected to leverage investment of Rs. 31,400 crore for handling of 334 lakh MT (metric ton) agro product valued at Rs. 1,04,125 crore benefiting 20 lakh farmers and generating 5,30,500 direct & indirect employment in the country by the year 2019-20.