April Agriculture Current Affairs In Detail Part 1st

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Govt extended upto Rs 3 lakh crop loan interest benefits to farmers till May 31

On March 31, 2020, the government has extended the benefit of 2% interest subvention (IS) to banks and 3% prompt repayment incentive (PRI) to all farmers up to May 31, 2020 for all crop loans up to 3 lakh which have become due or are becoming due between March 1 and May 31, 2020. The decision has been taken due to the national lockdown situation to prevent COVID-19 infection.

The lockdown has restricted movement of people therefore farmers are facing difficulty in visiting bank branches. Also, the hassle in timely sale and receipt of payment of their produce, farmers may be facing monetary issues in repayment of their crop loans. This extension will help farmers to payback the loan and also become eligible for loans in next financial year.

Point to be noted:
The government provides concessional crops loans to farmers through banks with 2% per annum interest subvention to banks and 3% additional benefit on timely repayment to farmers. So, overall the govt. is providing loans up to Rs 3 lakh at 4% per annum interest on timely repayment.

Agriculture Ministry launched 3 new features of e-NAM platform to prevent crowding in mandis

The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar has launched three new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform to enable farmers to sell their harvested produce directly from warehouse which will prevent crowding in mandis amid COVID-19 outbreak.

About newly launched software modules in e-NAM software:

i.Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWRs) module– It will enable small & marginal farmers to directly trade their stored produce from selected Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) accredited warehouses which are declared deemed market by the State. With this, farmers can sell the produce across India to get better Price and the hassle of mandi will also be avoided. Already States of Telangana (14 warehouses) & Andhra Pradesh (23 warehouses) declared designated warehouses in the State as deemed market.

ii.Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) trading module– This will enable FPOs to upload the picture and quality parameters of the produce for bidding which will help distant bidders to visualise the produce before bidding. This feature will help FPOs in reducing the transaction costs (Transportation) for inter-mandi and inter-state trade.

iii.Logistic Module– This will promote inter-State trade under e-NAM by providing online transport facilities for distant buyers. For this purpose, 3,75,000 trucks from large logistic providers have been deployed.

About e-NAM

Started on 14 April 2016, a pan-India electronic trade portal linking Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) across the States. Simply, it is an online trading platform for agricultural commodities. Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

Already 585 mandis in 16 States and 02 Union Territories have been integrated on the e-NAM portal which will be soon expanded to cover additional 415 mandis, which will take the total number of e-NAM mandis to 1,000.

Tamil Nadu topped in micro-irrigation coverage under PMKSY for FY 2019-20

The state of Tamil Nadu has topped the all-India level for micro-irrigation (MI), under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), with coverage of 2,06,853.25 ha for the year financial year 2019-20. The state is followed by Karnataka and Gujarat with 1,41,103.56 Ha and 1,08,322.00 Ha of coverage respectively.

On the other hand, the cumulative total coverage of MI during 2015-2020 has been topped
by Karnataka (8,15,690.31 ha) followed by Andhra Pradesh (7,17,421.08 ha) and Gujarat (7,00,858.35 ha). Tamil Nadu occupies the fourth spot with about 5,62,059.11 ha. At the all-India level, 43.71 lakh ha of land were brought under micro irrigation in the last 5 years.

How MI cover increased in TN?

During the inaugural year of the MI programme (2015-16), Tamil Nadu had just 32,290 hectares under micro-irrigation. After that the State government had started providing additional subsidy to what was provided by the Centre to small and marginal farmers and big farmers through a website “Micro Irrigation Management Information System” (MIMIS). They have also removed 12% goods and services tax (GST) on MI components.The state has provided options to farmers for the purchase of MI components by identifying 45 firms.

About Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

Initiated in 2015, with an outlay of Rs.50,000 crore in five years, PMKSY aimed at improving on-farm water use efficiency through a number of measures such as MI.This programme promotes the“more crop per drop” concept by focussing on water-saving technologies with an objective of “HarKhetkoPani”.

Bank of Baroda initiated four schemes for agri sector to tackle COVID-19 impact
In a bid to provide financial relief to the agriculture sector which is under distress due to COVID-19, the Bank of Baroda (BoB) has initiated four agro schemes for Women Self Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO/FPC) and farming community. It should be noted only the existing borrowers of BoB whether individual or FPO or SHG are eligible for the schemes.Following are the four schemes launched by bank:

Additional Assurance to SHGs- COVID-19

To provide immediate financial assistance to the Women SHGs to meet the emergent needs of its members for their domestic and agriculture purposes.

Minimum Loan Amount– Rs.30,000 per SHG group.
Maximum Loan Amount– Rs.1 Lac per member and Rs.10 lacsper SHG Repayment Period– Monthly / Quarterly. The entire tenure of the loan shall not exceed 24 months. Baroda

Emergency Credit Line for Farmer Producer Organization (FPO/FPC) It is an emergency credit line for FPO/FPC to deal with tremporary liquidity mismatches arised out of COVID-
19. Loan amount– 10% of the combined limits sanctioned to FPO / FPC with Max amount of Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five lakhs only), moratorium period for a maximum of 6 months.
Repayment Period– Monthly / Quarterly with a tenor of 36 months.

Baroda Special Scheme for existing Agriculture Investment Credit borrowers
It is an instant credit for farming community to meet the emergent funds requirements for farm maintenance and other farm related activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.(The limit stands at 10% of other agriculture sanction limit)

Minimum Loan amount– Rs.10000
Maximum Loan amount– Rs.50000
Repayment Period– Half yearly / Yearly instalments

Baroda Special Scheme for existing BKCC borrowers impacted by COVID-19
It is an instant credit for farming community who are existing Baroda Kisan Card (BKCC) account holders.(The limit stands at 10% of other agriculture sanction limit)
Minimum Loan amount– Rs.10000
Maximum Loan amount– Rs.50000

Repayment Period– 6 Half yearly / 3 Yearly instalments

About BoB:
Headquarters– Alkapuri, Vadodara
Tagline– India’s International Bank
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Sanjiv Chadha

Biofortified carrot variety ‘Madhuban Gajar’ developed by Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya- farmer scientist

Biofortified carrot variety ‘Madhuban Gajar’ with high β-carotene(277.75 milligram per kilogram-mg/kg) and iron content(276.7 mg/kg) is developed by Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist from Junagadh district, Gujarat which benefits local farmers.

Gist about Madhuban Gajar

i.It has a higher root yield (74.2 Tonne per Hectare- t/ha) and plant biomass (275 gram- gm per plant) when compared to check variety.

ii.It is planted in Junagadh with over 200 hectares, average yield, 40-50 tonnes per hectare, which has become a major source of income for local farmers and is cultivated in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh & also used for various value-added products like carrot chips, juices, and pickles.

iii.National Innovation Foundation (NIF) India, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, has conducted validation trials for this variety between 2016 and 2017 at Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute (RARI), Jaipur.

Background

The variety was found by him during 1943, which was used to feed the animals so as to improve the quality of milk, later in the 1980’s he started selling the seeds on a large scale.
Awards Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya was awarded the Padma Shri in 2019 for his extraordinary work & National Award in 2017.

What is Biofortification?
It is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is increased through agricultural practices, conventional plant breeding or modern biotechnology.

Agricultural trading portal e-NAM completes 4 years

On April 14, 2020 Agriculture online trading portal Electronic- National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), completed 4 years of implementation. The Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the leading agency to implement it, under the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare of the Government of India.

Key Points

It was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 21 mandis on 14th April, 2016, currently there are 585 mandis across 16 States and 02 Union Territory (UTs) & also to expand to cover additional 415 mandis which will take the total number of e-NAM mandis to 1000 soon.
It is an innovative initiative in the marketing of agriculture, to improve farmers’ access to many markets and  buyers digitally and to bring transparency in trade transactions & also to realize the vision of “One Nation, One Market” for Agri-produce.

Over 1.66 crore farmers and 1.28 Lakh traders have been registered on the platform, where farmers are free to register on the portal. e-NAM platform/mobile app has “Farmers friendly” features like:

i.Early registration through the app, will reduce the wait time for farmers at the entrance of the mandi & will facilitate smooth Arrival recording at Gate.

ii.Farmers can now view quality reports On The Go (OTG) & can access the auction’s progress through their mobile, and farmers can get real-time information on prices at nearby Mandis.

iii.Additional OTG features are included for traders such as Buyers bidding from anywhere even without physically present in the mandi, e-NAM shopping Cart facility in Trader login among others.

iv.Electronic weighing scales have been provided to accurately weigh farmers’ products after bidding on e-Nam sites to bring transparency in weight.

v.Payment to farmers by traders is done by mobile phone using Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM).

Department has introduced new features for valuation to traders:

360 degree image capturing of the commodity heap through e-NAM mobile app.
Examiner can upload 2/3 2D image of Laboratory with equipment.
Upload 2D image of commodity sampling process for better confidence of trader on e-NAM.

About SFAC:
Headquarters– New Delhi, India
Managing Director– Neelkamal Darbari, Indian Administrative Service(IAS)

India tightens curb on import of refined palm oil; import license validity reduced to 6 months

On April 13, 2020, the Central Government further tightens the restrictions on imports of refined palm oil which was imposed by Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on January 8, 2020. As per the ongoing restrictions an importer has to seek a license or permission or no-objection certificate for the imports of refined palm oil.

New Conditions for import of refined palm oil:
-Applications for import authorisation should be accompanied with pre-purchase agreement and details of the import for the past three years.

-Validity period of import licenses for refined palm oil will be 6 months in place of usual 18 months.

-Total non-utilisation of import authorization by the applicant will lead to disqualification of the importer from getting any further license for these items in future.

Key Point:
-Customs are instructed to diligently enforce the rules of origin criteria for import of the above item originating from Nepal and Bangladesh.

-India, the world’s largest importer of vegetable oils, buys nearly 15 million tonne annually. Indonesia and Malaysia are the two countries which supply palm oil.

Agri Ministry launches a call centre for agri logistics

On April 13, 2020, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched an all-India level call centre, the Agriculture Ministry has set up a call centre to ease the difficulties in agri logistics, particularly the inter-State movement of perishable vegetables and fruits as well as agri inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertilisers to resolve transportation problems being faced during inter-state movement of commodities during the lockdown to contain spread of COVID-19.

Key Points:

i.The All India Agri Transport Call Centre, which will coordinate movement of produce and agri inputs, can be accessed at 1800-180-4200 and 14488 from any mobile or landline phone.

ii.Stakeholders including truck drivers, traders, retailers and transporters who are facing problems in inter-State movement of commodities, can seek help by calling at the call centre. The 24×7 service All India Agri Transport Call Centre is an initiative of the Union Agriculture Ministry, but will be operated by IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) from its offices in Faridabad, Haryana.

iii.The Ministry also added that the subsidy of seeds under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) would be available for varieties only for 10 years old and this will be extended to seeds of all crops under NFSM required by the North-East states, States in hilly region as well as by the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

About Ministry of Agriculture:
Headquarters– Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi.
Cabinet Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar.
Minister of State– Parshottam Rupala, Kailash Chowdry.

Jim Corbett National Park of U’khand becomes India’s 1st quarantine centre for animals

On April 14, 2020, Jim Corbett National Park , the India’s oldest forested wildlife sanctuary located in theNainital district of Uttarakhand, has become the India’s 1st quarantine centre for animals with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Key Points:

i.At least 10 quarantine centers are being set up within the complex to handle the corona virus prey animals & Cameras will be installed in the park to monitor the cold and cough symptoms of animals.

ii.Background: After humans, the threat of COVID-19 is now hovering over wildlife. The NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) has alerted the officials of country’s sanctuaries, forests and zoos after the Coronavirus infection was detected in the Malayan tiger ‘Nadia’ in the Bronx zoo of US (United States).

About Jim Corbett:
Named after tiger hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett, this national park is one of the famous tiger destinations in India. It has rich biodiversity including around 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species. The park covers more than 1288 sq km over 3 districts of Uttarakhand, Pauri Garhwal, Nainital, and Almora.

Narendra Singh Tomar chairs the National Conference on Kharif crops 2020 by video conference

On April 16, 2020 The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar chaired the National Conference on Kharif crops 2020 by video conference & stated that all states should aim to achieve the kharif target and also the doubling of farmers’ income should be taken up in mission mode. DAC (The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing ) & FW (Family Welfare) secretaries and ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research ) and also officers from state governments participated.

The main aim of the conference was to discuss various issues & to list the steps with the states on the preparedness for Kharif cultivation due to the lockdown situation.

Key Points

i.Assurance is made to the States that the Centre will remove the difficulties faced by them as Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has ensured that “Goan, Garib aur Kisan” (Village, Poor and Farmers) will not suffer during the crisis.

ii.Encouraged to explain 2 schemes namely, Prime Minister (PM) Fasal Bima Yojana and Soil Health Card scheme, to each farmer & insisted on the use of e-NAM guidelines were framed for the e-Nam initiative to reduce crowd at mandis and help farmers sell their produce.

iii.The states were called upon to implement the home ministry’s exemptions & relaxations for the Agriculture sector while ensuring social distancing and social responsibility norms.

iv.In regard to the rabi crops, it has been decided that all states will ensure procurement at village/block levels as the farmers are not allowed to move out of block due lockdown position & all states are taking steps to buy direct sales, crop products from farmers.

v.Advisory Guidelines have been issued to all the States and relaxation is given for movement of trucks, vehicles loaded with seeds and fertilizers to ensure timely availability of such inputs at village/block levels across the country.

vi.The State Action Plan (SAP) format for advance planning and implementation of the National Food & Nutritional Security Mission (NF & NSM) has been simplified and reduced about 1 page so that states can prepare SAPs and then submit them to the Government after the approval of the competent authority.

vii.Under the PM-AASHA scheme the Minimum Support Price (MSP) will be fixed at a level at least 2 times the cost of production also, implementation of “ Per drop more crop” being done under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana(PMKSY)

Food grain production target at record 298.0 million tonnes for 2020-21 crop year

The target of food grains production for FY 2020-21 has been fixed at 298.0 million tonnes, whereas in FY 2019-20 it was anticipated to be about 292 million tonnes against the expected 291.10 million tonnes mainly due to enhancement of area coverage and productivity of various crops.

What are Kharif & Rabi crops?
Kharif crops or monsoon crops is grown in the monsoon or rainy season, eg: rice, maize etc.,. Rabi crops or winter crops is grown in the winter season, eg: wheat, gram etc.,

Central Government unveils PUSA decontamination, sanitizing tunnel

On April 16, 2020, Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary inaugurated a “PUSA decontamination and sanitizing tunnel” in Delhi and was developed by the government research body ICAR-IARI (Indian Council of Agricultural Research).

Key Points:

i.The sanitization protocol includes hand washing with foot operated soap and water dispenser and fogging in a sanitizing tunnel for 20 seconds.

ii.The tunnel uses QAC (Quaternary Ammonium Compounds) at a concentration of 0.045 per cent, which is recommended by the health department.

iii.ICAR Director General Trilochan Mohapatra and IARI (Indian Agricultural Research Institute) Director A K Singh were also present at the event.

About Ministry of Agriculture:
Headquarters– Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi.
Cabinet Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar.

RBI Governor announced relief measures for liquidity in system; Reverse Repo Rate slashed to 3.75% from 4%

Refinancing NABARD, SIDBI & NHB with Rs 50,000 crores
A special refinance facility for an amount of Rs 50,000 crores will be provided to premier financing institutions that will further help in refinancing small and medium finance institutions to lend money smoothly to businesses.

The funding divided as follows:
Rs 25,000 cr for National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
Rs 15,000 cr for Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
Rs 10,000 cr for National Housing Bank (NHB)

Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar launches transport aggregator app ‘Kisan Rath’ for farmers

On April 17, 2020, The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, has launched farmer friendly mobile application ‘Kisan Rath’ with tagline “Kisan ka apna Vahan” to facilitate the movement of crops. The app has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and will connect 5 lakh trucks & 20,000 tractors for transporting farm produce.

Key Points:

i.The app will help in the movement of crops from farms to regulated markets, Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) Centres, village haats/ GrAMS (Gramin Agriculture Markets), warehouses, railway stations, airports, processing units, wholesale and retail markets etc.

ii.It will facilitate farmers & traders in searching for vehicles for Primary and Secondary transportation for movement of Agriculture & Horticulture produce.Initially,this Mobile app will be made available in 8 languages in Android version & can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

iii.This app will help further strengthen the agricultural supply chain management in the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare:
Headquarters– New Delhi
Minister of State– Parsottambhai Rupala, Kailash Choudhary

FCI allowed to convert surplus rice to ethanol: Government

On April 20, 2020 The National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) meeting under the chairmanship of Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas has approved & allowed Food Corporation of India (FCI) to convert the available surplus rice to ethanol so as to utilize it in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers & also for the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme.

Recently the government has also allowed sugar companies and distilleries to make hand sanitizers using ethanol. The sugar companies supply ethanol to oil marketing companies for blending with petrol. Policy It is approved in reference to the National Policy on Biofuels (2018) under Para 5.3 envisages that during an agriculture crop year when there is oversupply of food grains as anticipated by the Ministry of Agriculture  & Farmers Welfare, the policy will allow conversion of these surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol, based on the approval of NBCC.

Key Points

i.The government, as of March 10, has a total of 58.49 million tonne (mt) of food grains which consist of 30.97 mt of rice & 27.52 mt of wheat in the FCI godowns.

ii.Currently it has huge rice stock from previous years & does not include the 19.23 mt of unmilled paddy lying with millers on behalf of FCI.

iii.The food grains stock is higher than the required norm of maintaining a reserve of about 21 million tonnes as on April 1.

iv.Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA),2013 .the government is supplying 5 kg of food grains & 1 kg of wheat per month(for 3 months) to over 80 crore people at a highly subsidised price of Rs 2-3 per kg on March 26 as a relief to poor people during the ongoing lockdown period.

v.The 5 kg grains are over and above the regular Public Distribution System(PDS) allotment & estimates, to absorb close to 11 mt more rice from the Centre’s pool.

vi.By using the surplus rice for ethanol, it will address about 750 million litres from the total capacity of 2 billion litres of grain-based distillery capacities lying idle, due to lack of feed stock, to some extent & will absorb some of the surplus rice lying with the FCI, which is estimated to be several times the required quantity.

About FCI:

Headquarters– New Delhi, India
Chairman & Managing Director (MD)– D.V. Prasad,

Narendra Tomar participates in G-20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Meeting
On April 21, 2020 Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar participated in G-20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Meeting through video conference to address the issue of COVID-19 impacts on food security, safety and nutrition.

Key Points

i.The G-20 nations decided to have international cooperation in the face of COVID-19 pandemic;
To avoid food wastages, losses, and maintain the continuity of the food supply value chain across borders. For food security, nutrition, share best practices and lessons learnt, promote research, responsible investments, innovations and reforms that will improve the sustainability and flexibility of agriculture and food systems.

ii.They Agreed to develop science based international guidelines on strict measures of safety and hygiene for zoonosis (disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans) control.

Discussions of Narendra Tomar

The measures taken to contain the spread of Coronavirus in India & its decision to exempt all agriculture operations during lockdown period and ensure a continuous availability of essential agriculture produce and supply, while adhering to protocol of social distancing, health and hygiene.

Gist about the Meeting

i.The meeting was held under the Saudi Presidency- King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to discuss the ways and means to ensure continuity of the food supply value chain, including farmers’ livelihoods.

ii.It was attended by all agriculture ministers of G-20 member countries, guest countries & international organisations.

About G20:

The Group of Twenty, or the G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation which brings together the leaders of developed and developing countries from every continent. It originated at the level of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in 1999, where they gathered for high-level discussions on macro-financial issues. 1st G20 Leaders’ Summit– Washington D.C. in November 2008.

Earth Day 2020: April 22

Earth day is observed on April 22 of every year in order to create awareness about pollution and to celebrate the environment of our planet. This year is a special occasion as it marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and events was coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries.The theme for Earth Day 2020 is “Climate Action”. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities— of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Earthday.org-PRESS RELEASES
Background on Earth Day The first Earth Day took place in 1970. Outraged by oil spills, smog and polluted rivers, 20 million people took to the streets, protesting what they recognized as an environmental crisis. It was the planet’s largest civic event at the time and compelled governments to take concrete actions, including passing environmental laws and establishing environmental agencies.

The day continues to hold great significance around the world. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution formally recognizing the day as International Mother Earth Day. On Earth Day 2016, the United Nations formally adopted the Paris Agreement.

International Mother Earth Day: April 22

International Mother Earth Day is observed every year on April 22, to raise awareness about issues that lead to nature’s suffering. This Mother Earth Day, coinciding with the Super Year of Biodiversity, is focused on its role as an indicator of the Earth’s health.

• IMED was established in 2009, by the General Assembly under Resolution A/RES/63/278.

• The resolution was introduced by The Plurinational State of Bolivia and supported by more than 50 member states.

• The term Mother Earth is used because it “reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit”. Source – UN

About United Nations General Assembly (UNGA):

Headquarters– New York, United States (US).
President– Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

IOB launches Working Capital Demand Loan for agriculture sector: COVID-19

On April 22, 2020 Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has launched Working Capital demand Loan for agriculture sector (WCDL-Agri), a special credit facility for the agriculture sector & allied activities as a relief measure to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Key Points

i.The loans will be available to all the existing borrowers whose accounts are ‘standard’ and ‘performing’ as of March 2020 from poultry, dairy, fisheries and other allied activities and infrastructure activities such as cold storage and rural go-downs.

ii.The bank will not charge processing fees or prepayment penalty & will offer loans of 10% of the existing fund-based working capital limit with a maximum of Rs 10 crore for the poultry sector and Rs 2 crore for other allied activities.

iii.The loan is repayable in 6 monthly instalments after an initial moratorium of 6 months. Interest will be serviced as and when debited.

iv.To avail the facility, applicants can submit their request to the branch directly or through email.

v.The loan is sanctioned and disbursed within 6 working days from the date of receiving the required documents. The scheme, launched on April 4, will be valid up to June 30.

vi.It has also launched the “COVID 19 Line of Support Scheme” for all MSME customers. Other bank’s initiatives in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak Union Bank of India launched COVID Emergency Line of Credit (CELC) which provides additional credit facilities to tide over liquidity issues for its existing customers.

Bank of Baroda has set up an emergency credit line to provide funds to its existing MSME and corporate borrowers State Bank of India has announced an additional funding facility for its borrowers. Canara Bank announces special Loan schemes for the MSME, Corporate, Business, Agri & Retail Customers, to tide over the liquidity / Cash flow.

About IOB:

Headquarters– Chennai, TamilNadu
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Karnam Sekar

PM Modi launches e-Gram Swaraj portal & Swamitva Scheme on Panchayati raj day

On the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th of April 2020, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Damodardas Modi has launched the Swamitva Scheme as well as an integrated e-Gram swaraj Portal & Mobile app for accelerating the pace of development in India’s villages.

Key Points:

i. e-Gram swaraj Portal & Mobile app:
The Unified Portal is a new initiative of Ministry of Panchayati Raj which will provide the Gram Panchayats with a single interface to prepare and implement their Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP). With the help of this Portal and app, villagers of the country will be able to keep all kinds of information on their smartphones. This is being seen as the beginning of digitization of panchayats. The information of the Gram Panchayats, their functioning will be available to the villagers. This will bring transparency and will also speed up the work of completing projects.

ii.Swamitva (which means Ownership) Scheme:
The scheme provides an integrated property validation solution for rural India.
It uses drones in mapping of properties in villages. This will end confusion and quarrels over property. This will help in planning development works in the village. Apart from this, like in cities, now people will be able to take loans from banks even in villages.

It has been developed by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in collaboration with Survey of India and State Panchayati Raj Department, State Revenue Department, using the latest drone based survey technology. It was launched in pilot mode in 6 states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana and Uttarakhand. After this it will be implemented in every village of the country.

About Ministry of Panchayati Raj:

Headquarters– New Delhi
Union Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar

National Panchayati Raj Day 2020: April 24

National Panchayati Raj Day (NPRD) is observed annually on April 24 in India which is organized by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj to mark a defining moment in the history of decentralization of political power at the rural level because it was difficult for a single Chief Minister (CM) to look after entire state solely and solve their issues in the minimum time possible.

Key Points:

i.On this day our honourable Prime Minister (PM) Shri Narendra Modi will be addressing numerous Gram Panchayats in the Nation and this year PM will address via video conferencing due to COVID-19 pandemic.

ii.PM Narendra Modi launched the e-Gram Swaraj Portal and mobile app and the Swamitva scheme.

iii.About e-Gram Swaraj Portal: The Unified Portal is a new initiative of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj which will provide the Gram Panchayats with a single interface to prepare and implement their Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).

iv.About Swamitva Scheme: The scheme provides an integrated property validation solution for rural India, the demarcation of inhabited land in rural areas would be done by the use of latest surveying methods –Drone’s technology with the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Department, State Revenue Department and Survey of India.

v.Every year, on this occasion, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj organises National Conference and awards best performing Gram Panchayats with the ‘The Panchayat Shashakatikaran Puraskar/Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar’.

History of Panchayat Raj Day:

The first National Panchayati Raj Day was first celebrated on April 24, 2010, in India. The day marks the passing of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act 1992, that came into force from April 24, 1993. In 1957, a Committee was formulated which focused on the evolution of Panchayati Raj in India and Balwantrai Mehta was appointed as the chairman of the Committee. As per the Committee’s report, it recommended a decentralised three Panchayati Raj hierarchy.

It includes:-
Gram Panchayat at the Village level.
Panchayat Samiti at the Block level.
Zila Parishad at the District level.

The names of representatives of the Panchayats were decided to be Pradhan, Mukhiya or Sarpanch, who is responsible for the rural development of their respective zones. Rajasthan became the first state to execute the Panchayati Raj system in 1959.

About Ministry of Panchayat Raj:
Headquarters– New Delhi.
Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar.

National Innovation Foundation (NIF) boosts new varieties of Anthurium, by VasiniBai, lady
innovator from Kerala D VasiniBai, a women innovator from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, has developed 10 varieties of Anthurium by cross-pollination. The salient features of the Anthurium varieties are large beautiful flowers, different colors of spathe and spadix, long stalks, better shelf life and good market value.

Key Points:

i.About Anthurium: Anthurium is one of the best domestic flowering plants in the world. They are beautiful but also purify the toxic substances from the air and remove harmful airborne chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene, xylene, and allergens.ii.NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has placed Anthurium in the list of air purifier plants.

iii.The Anthurium flowers and plants are sold to local florists as well as in cities like Pune and Mumbai at an average price of rupees 60-75 per flower.

iv.Awards: In March 2017, VasiniBai was awarded state award at the Ninth National Biennial competition from the former President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, organized by National Innovation Foundation (NIF)-India.

v.Vasini’s Bai interest in developing a new Anthurium variety was started from the year 1970 when her son brought 2 plants of Anthurium. In 1980, she manually cross-pollinated for the first time & after years of experiments in 1985, she developed the first variety of Anthurium- Dora (a single plant with 8-10 leaves and multiple flowers with orange-coloured spathe).

vi.She continued her work, and during 1985–2000, she developed another five varieties viz.

Dora- I, Dora –II,
Dora –III, Dora –IV & Dora – V.

The other five varieties are Akash, George, Giant Pink, JV Red, and JV Pink were developed later through manual cross-pollination.

vii.The NIF-India facilitated validation trials of VasiniBai’s varieties along with 6 parent varieties under the varietal testing programme at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore and the innovator’s varieties were reported to be healthy.

viii.NIF has also facilitated mass multiplication and large scale production of the 4 varieties: Dora, George, JV Pink and JV Red which have significant market value through tissue culture technique at Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bangalore for diffusion of the varieties in similar agroclimatic zones of the country.

About National Innovation Foundation (NIF):

NIF is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (GOI). It was set up in February 2000 at Ahmedabad, Gujarat to provide institutional support for scouting, spawning, sustaining & scaling up the grassroots innovations across the country. Chairperson– Dr. P. S. Goel.


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