The Union Fisheries Minister Giriraj Singh announced on February 7, 2021 that an investment of ₹ 400 crore will be made in Goa to make this state a fisheries hub of India.
The coastal state, Goa, has the potential for highest fish production across India.
The state can also become a “fisheries hub” of India.
The Centre recently considered ₹400 crore investment in the fisheries sector of Goa.
The amount of the investment would jointly be raised by the Union government and the state fisheries board.
Rupees 41.47 crore has already been sanctioned by the Union government to the state.
The amount will be used to revive the fisheries industry and it will also ensure safe fishing.
What is the plan?
As per the plan, 30 fish landing jetties will be created in order for the fishermen to anchor their boats near their villages.
The jetties would also be linked to the mainstream by constructing roads.
Goa has nine landing jetties already that are used for fishing and tourism purposes.
A Goa-based CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) has revealed that 200 sq km area in the coastal state is feasible for cage culture.
Cage culture is an aquaculture production system in which the fish are held in floating net pens.
So, in the area of 72 sq km 30 lakh cages can be installed.
The installation of cages would help in encouraging the safe marine cultivation in the fishing sector.
It will also provide the necessary support to the Goa- based fish processing units.
Further, the central government will also be appointing ”Sagar Mitra” for all the 70 fishing villages in Goa. The Sagar Mitra would help fishermen to communicate with the government.
Fishing in India
This industry in India employs 145 million people. The country ranks second in aquaculture while it is ranked third in the fisheries production. Fisheries sector amounts to 1.07% of the Total GDP of India.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have announced that it will purchase four government securities (G-Secs) that amounts to ₹20,000 crore. The central bank will purchase it on February 10, 2021 under the open market operations (OMOs).
This move was announced in aftermath of the yields that was moving up to touch the intra-day high of 6.1634 per cent recently. The RBI was concerned about the higher government borrowing.
After the announcement of the OMO purchase was made, yield on the benchmark 10-year G-Sec slowed down by 3-4 basis points. It now carries a coupon rate of 5.77 per cent as opposed to its previous closing yield of 6.1283 per cent.
What is Open Market Operation?
Open Market Operations are the purchase and sale of the Government securities (G-Secs) by RBI from and to the market. The Open Market Operations are conducted with the objective of adjusting the rupee liquidity conditions in the economy. In such operations, when RBI sells the government security in the market banks use to purchase them. When the banks purchase the Government securities, their ability to lend money to the industries, households and other commercial sector gets reduced. Following the reduced surplus cash, the liquidity of the rupee also contracts. This results into contraction of the credit creation or the credit supply. On the other hand, when the RBI purchases the securities, commercial banks find gets surplus cash and this in turn creates more credit in the system.
What are government securities or G-Sec?
Government securities are the debt instruments which are issued by the government to borrow money. It is divided into two categories namely,
Treasury bills which are short-term instruments. They get mature in 91 days, 182 days, or 364 days.
Dated securities which are the long-term instruments. They get mature in between 5 years to 40 years.
The Rajya Sabha have cleared The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 by voice vote on February 8, 2021.
The bill seeks to replace the ordinance to merge the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cadre and the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre of civil services officer.
This Bill was recently introduced in the Upper House of the parliament.
The bill will also increase the strength of officers in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Leh.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has been passed in the line of the enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 in the Jammu & Kashmir after revocation of the Article 370 in the region. The act of 2019 had reconstituted the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories namely, the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, on 31 October 2019. It has reconstituted that area of the J&K that has always been a part of the larger region of Kashmir which is the disputed between India, Pakistan, and China
Voice Vote is a voting method in parliamentary procedure in which vote is taken on a topic or motion orally. It is the simplest and quickest of voting methods that are used by deliberative assemblies. Firstly, the presiding officer or chair of the assembly puts the question to the assembly. Then ask for all those in favour of the motion to say orally (“aye” or “yea”). Later, he asks for all those who opposed the motion to say orally (“no” or “nay”). The presiding officer then count on each side and state the result. Voice votes have disadvantages because the volume of the voices is only estimated but it is not actually measured with sound level meters.
Recently, rules have been amended by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to put cap on trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the food products. This decision was taken one week after it amended the norms for oils and fats.
Under the new regulations, in the food products which comprises of the edible oils and fats as an ingredient the total amount of the industrial trans fats should not exceed 2% of the total oils or fats present in the product.
This regulation will be applicable from January 1, 2022.
FSSAI, in December 2020, had capped the amount of the TFAs in oils and fats to 3% that needed to be done by 2021. It has also capped it to 2% by 2022 from the present level of 5%.
What is Trans-fat?
The acids which are created in an industrial process by adding hydrogen to the liquid vegetable oils in order to make them more solid is called the Trans-fat. Addition of the Trans-fat in to the fat increases the shelf life of food items. They are highly used as adulterant as they are very cheap. Trans-fats are present in baked, fried and processed foods. It is also present in adulterated ghee that becomes solid at room temperature. Such fast are considered as the most harmful form of fats since they clog the arteries. Its intake can cause the hypertension, heart attacks and several other cardiovascular diseases.
WHO data on Trans-fat
World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that, around 5.4 lakh deaths happen each year globally as a result of the intake of the industrially produced trans fatty acids. The WHO aims to eliminate the industrially-produced trans fatty acids from the food supply by 2023.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
It is an autonomous body that works under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The body is responsible for protecting and promoting the public health by the regulation and supervision of food safety. It is headed by a non-executive Chairperson. The chairperson is appointed by the Central Government. Currently, Rita Teaotia is the Chairperson for FSSAI and the current Chief Executive Officer is Shri Arun Singhal.
The NITI Aayog has ordered the Jaipur-based research organisation Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International to study the “economic impact” of judgments delivered by Supreme Court (SC), high courts (HCs), and quasi-judicial bodies like the National Green Tribunal (NGT). It has also asked to study the “judicial activism” of such courts and tribunals.
The Judicial decisions have far-reaching economic impacts.
These impacts are usually not taken into account at the time of decision making.
This study will be completely funded by the NITI Aayog.
The study will be conducted with the aim of “sensitising the judiciary on the economic impact of their decisions”.
The findings from the study will be used as the “training input for judges of the SC, HCs, commercial courts and NGT”.
The total cost of the project initially was Rs 24.8 lakh. However, it is likely to go higher.
CUTS International will study the economic impact of five different decisions by the SC and the NGT.
The five judgement include:
Economic impact of the ban imposed by the SC in March 2019 on construction of a greenfield airport at Mopa, Goa.
SC’s February 2018 ban on iron ore mining in Goa.
NGT ban on sand mining in the Yamuna river in Gautam Buddha Nagar in the year 2013.
SC ban on construction of buildings in Delhi and National Capital Region
SC’s decision to reject the opening of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant.
Purpose of the study
The study will provide an objective cost-benefit analysis of the economic impact of the decisions made by the judiciary. The study is also a part of the umbrella project of the NITI Aayog under which the think tank wants to establish a judicial performance index. This index will be used to measure the performance of judges at district courts and subordinate levels.
The Ministry of Education has decided that the Schools and hostels under the Samagra Shiksha scheme will now be renamed after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The renaming of the scheme will help to create awareness regarding the facility of these residential schools and hostels in difficult areas.
It will also inspire these schools to achieve the high standards of quality education.
About Samagra Shiksha Scheme
It is an integrated scheme for school education.
The scheme extends from the pre-school to class XII.
It ensures the inclusive and equitable quality education for all at all levels of school education.
The scheme was launched after subsuming three schemes namely, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the Teacher Education (TE), the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
Under the scheme, the school education is treated holistically as a continuum from Pre-school to Class 12.
The scheme emphasizes on improving the quality of school education by focusing on two T’s that is Teacher and Technology.
Further, the Ministry of Education under the scheme provides the financial assistance to states and union territories to open and run the residential schools and hostels in hilly terrain.
It also provides financial assistance for opening schools and residentials in small and less populated areas for children who are in need of shelter and care.
The residential facilities are provided under the scheme to the migrant and child labour rescued children. It is also provided to the children who got separated from their families and those who are without adult protection. So far, a total of 1,063 residential facilities including the 383 residential schools and 680 hostels have been sanctioned to states and union territories under the scheme.
Under the scheme, specific skill training, medical care, physical self-defence, community participation and monthly stipend are also provided to children.
The “International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation’’ was observed on 6 February. This year the day was observed under the theme – “No Time for Global Inaction, Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation.”
The day is observed every year to spread the awareness and put more efforts to eradicate the Female Genital Mutilation.
The day was first introduced in the year 2003 by the United Nations.
This day is observed to amplify the ways and attempts taken to stop the practice of Genital Mutilation.
This day encourages the civil society, government and several organizations to raise awareness and take actions against Female Genital Mutilation.
The programme to raise awareness on this practice is undertaken by the UNFPA-UNICEF.
What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
This practice is forced on girls aged 4 to 14 years as a ritual. In this practice, external female genitalia are removed partially or completely. This practice is considered to be the violation of human right since it can cause physical damage, psychological trauma and irreversible problems to the girls. This practice has been into force for over a thousand years. The government aims to completely eradication this practice by 2030. Thus, the movement began to protect girls and women from violence and to protect their physical health. The data from the world health organisation (WHO) reveals that about 120 to 140 million women have been subject to FGM in three years. Presently, at least 3 million girls are at risk of FGM every year.
Zero Tolerance towards the Female Genital Mutilation was first declared by the First Lady of Nigeria and spokesperson for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, Stella Obasanjo, in the year 2003. In that year, a conference was held by the “Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC)”. Following the conference, the United Nations adopted this day as an international awareness day.
The Business Confidence Index (BCI) was recently published by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).
The index has rose 29.6 per cent between second and third quarter of the financial year 2020-2021.
It has rose in the backdrop of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in several countries including India.
The respondents also expects that the ‘overall economic conditions will improve in the next six months.
They expect that it will be increased by 4.8 percentage points in the quarter three of the financial year 2020-2021. That is, from 29.8 per cent in the year quarter two of 2020-2021 34.6 per cent in Q3.
They also expect that the ‘financial position of firms will improve in the next six months’. There is an expectation that it will be increased by 3.1 percentage points in the quarter 3 of 2020-2021.
About BES findings
The BES findings are based on the responses of 500 firms. The reports are based on the 115th round of BES which was carried out in December 2020. The findings further highlight that,
Though covid-19 vaccine were rolled out in Europe and North America. But it was accompanied by the discovery of new mutations of the coronavirus.
In Indian, approval of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines for restricted use was given on January 3, 2021.
Indian economy is following the recovery path and will show a positive growth in the quarter 3.
In India, the business sentiments have also shown the V-shaped pattern of recovery.
The report further states that, the fiscal stimulus under Aatmanirbhar 2.0 and 3.0 schemes will accelerate the public investment. However, the private investment will remain sluggish because of low-capacity utilisation.
National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)
NCAER is a New Delhi based non-profit economic think tank. The NCAER do research in the field of economics. It was established in the year 1956. Currently, Nandan Nilekani is president of the governing body. The director general of the think tank is Dr Shekhar Shah.
The Uttar Pradesh government has introduced a system of issuing a unique 16-digit Unicode on February 7, 2020. This Unicode will be used to mark all kinds of landholdings in the state.
The Unicode numbers for the land would comprise of the16 digits. The first six digits is based on the population of the land. Next 4 digits in the line would determine the unique identity of the land. Digits from 11 to 14 would be the number of divisions of the land. Lastly, 2 digits would contain the details regarding the category. With the help of the last 2 digits, the category of the land viz. residential, agricultural and commercial land can be identified.
Significance of the Unicode number
With the introduction of the Unicode, every piece of land in the state will now have its own unique identity.
The Unicode would help in checking the cases of land disputes.
It would also people from falling into the trap of fraudsters.
Unicode will be issued by the revenue department of Uttar Pradesh government.
It would be issued for all kinds of agricultural, residential and commercial land.
With the help of the Unicode, a person will be able to know the details regarding the land with a single click.
Thus, the Unicode will end the fake registries of disputed land. For this, the scheme is being implemented in entire UP. The Unicode assessment for plots has started in all revenue villages. But, the work of marking the disputed plots in the computerised management system is still under process with the revenue courts.
Recently the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, while addressing the business leaders, chartered accountants and tax professionals in Mumbai stated that the central government will work with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to execute the plan of the privatization of the banks.
The minister further said, the Centre have not made plan to form any bank investment company in order to house the government’s bank holdings.
The finance minister has announced about the privatisation of two banks recently while presenting the Union budget 2021.
This announcement was made under the Centre’s disinvestment plan.
But the bank unions have opposed the plan.
Privatisation of Banks
The Central government is planning for the privatisation of more than half of the state-owned banks. The government is planning so in order to reduce the number of government-owned lenders to five. Currently, India has 12 state-owned banks. In the year 2019, government has also merged ten state-owned banks into four large banks.
Positives of Privatisation
The privatisation on banks is beneficial in understated manner:
It will help to address the bad loan and Non-Performing Assets issues.
It would also help in ensuring a better financial performance. It would comprise of a strong financial institution as a significant shareholder in the privatisation.
Privatisation will reduce the liabilities of the government.
It would also be helpful in reducing the fiscal deficit.
Privatisation will also finance the revenue expenditure by revenue receipts in long term.
It will bring in the environment of minimum government and maximum governance.
Negatives of Privatisation
However, the plan of privatisation is criticized for diluting the idea of inclusive banking which is practiced now. Inclusive banking was the guiding principle during the nationalization of banks. Further, government will face difficulties in providing low-cost financial services to rural and poor sections because, the private sector banks don’t share the social responsibilities of the government.
The Central government has allocated Rupees 16,000 crores for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for the upcoming fiscal year 2021-22.
This allocation was done in order to boost the safety of farmers’ crops.
The amount will also ensure that maximum benefit of crop insurance reaches to the farmers.
The budgetary amount has increased this year by around ₹305 crore as compared to the fiscal year 2020-21.
Thus, this shows that, government is committed towards the growth of agriculture sector in the country.
Pradhan Manti fasal Bima Yojana
The flagship crop insurance scheme was approved by the central government on January 13, 2016.
This scheme was launched in order to provide a comprehensive risk solution at the lowest uniform premium for the farmers in India.
It provides the coverage for the entire cropping cycle including from the pre-sowing to post-harvest.
It also provides coverage for the losses caused due to prevented sowing and mid-season adversities.
This scheme has become the largest crop insurance scheme with respect to farmer participation.
It is also the 3rd largest with respect to premium.
The scheme also comprises of Crop Insurance App, Common Service Centres or the nearest agriculture officer. Thus, it has further simplified the process for farmer to report crop loss within 72 hours of the occurrence of any event.
Further, the Integration of land records with the PMFBY portal, Crop Insurance mobile-app it is easy for the enrolment of farmers.
Other key features of the scheme included remote-sensing technology, drones, Satellite imagery, artificial intelligence and machine learning. These features help to assess crop losses electronically.
Under the scheme, more than 5.5 crore farmer applications are received on yearly basis to get the benefits. Out of total enrolled farmers, 84 per cent are thet small and marginal farmers. Thus, the scheme ensures that the financial assistance is provided to the most vulnerable farmers.
An avalanche and flash floods triggered in Alaknanda river in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand following a glacial breach.
Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) is investigating the matter.
SASE works under the nodal head Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Exact reason for the flooding is not yet known.
Experts points that, this avalanche was caused probably due to glacial breach. The glacial breach also breached a lake in the Raini village in Chamoli district.
The raini village is situated on the boundary of Nanda Devi biosphere reserve.
The breach has resulted into increase in water levels in the Dhauliganga river and the Rishiganga, one of the tributaries of Dhauliganga river.
The avalanche has destroyed the Rishi Ganga hydel plant on the Rishiganga river.
It is a Himalayan river in Uttarakhand.
It is one of the two headstreams of River Ganga. The other is the Bhagirathi.
River Alaknanda is also called as the source stream of the Ganges because of its greater length and discharge.
But in Hindu mythology and culture, Bhagirathi is called as the source stream of Ganga.
There are five main tributaries of Alaknanda in order namely the River Dhauliganga, River Nandakini, River Pindar, River Mandakini and River Bhagirathi. All of them rise in the northern mountainous regions of Uttarakhand.
It is one of the best river for river rafting in the world because of its high rafting grade.
Holy confluence of rivers
At Vishnuprayag, Dhauliganga River meets Alaknanda river.
At Nandaprayag, Nandakini River meets Alaknanda.
At Karnaprayag, Pindar River meets Alaknanda.
At Rudraprayag, Mandakini River meets Alaknanda.
At Devprayag, Bhagirathi River meets alaknanda and it officially becomes River Ganges.
It is among the six source streams of the River Ganges river. The river meets the river Alaknanda at Vishnuprayag in Joshimath.
The first geothermal power project of India will be established at Puga village of eastern Ladakh.
This decision was taken because, Puga village was identified as the hotspot of geothermal energy by the scientists.
The project will be completed in four phases.
A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish and implement the first phase was signed on 6th February, 2021 between ONGC Energy; LAHDC, Leh and the Power Department of UT Ladakh
This geothermal project is known as Geothermal Field Development Project.
It will be commission by the end of 2022.
First phase of project
The first phase of the project will result into the generation of one megawatt (MW) power.
In the first phase, the pilot project will be implemented by the ONGC-OEC.
ONGC-OEC will explore within the depth of 500 metres.
Under the first phase, it was planned that 24 hours free power supply would be given to 10 neighbouring villages which are not connected with the northern grid to get the power.
Second Phase of the project
In the second phase, deeper and lateral exploration of geothermal reservoirs will be done by drilling the optimal number of wells.
Under this phase, higher capacity demo plant will also be set up in Ladakh.
This phase of the project will be the Research and Development stage or demonstration of the project.
Third phase of the project
Under the third phase, joint ventures and commercial projects will be promoted.
In the Puga Village, scientists have discovered a potential of more than 100 mw of geothermal energies. It lies in the south-eastern part of Ladakh. The village is a part of the Himalayan geothermal belt. The region has shown the evidence of geothermal activity in various form including the mud pools, hot springs, sulphur deposits and borax deposits. The talk of the potential geothermal project in the Puja Village has been into news since 2008. The region has the potential to produce about 40% of the energy requirements.