Daily Current Affairs 22-02-2024

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    Syllabus: GS3/Major crops- cropping patterns in various parts of the country

    • In a significant development for the Indian coffee sector, the Coffee Board of India organised a buyer-seller meeting at Dubai, marking a new chapter in the industry’s global expansion.
      • The event, held on the sidelines of Gulfood 2024, was jointly organised by the Indian Embassy in UAE and the Coffee Board of India. 
    Coffee Board of India
    – The ‘Coffee Board’ was established through a Constitutional act “Coffee Act VII of 1942.
    Administrative control: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 
    Structure: The Board comprises 33 members including the Chairman and the Secretary & Chief Executive Officer. 
    A. The remaining 31 members represent the various interests such as coffee growing industry, coffee trade interests, curing establishments, interests of labour and consumers, representatives of governments of the principal coffee growing states, and Members of Parliament.
    Statutory Committees: The Board functions through six statutory committees which are appointed for one year term each and the functions of each committee as per the Coffee Act.
    Role: The activities of the Board are broadly aimed at 
    (i) enhancement of production, productivity & quality; 
    (ii) export promotion for achieving higher value returns for Indian Coffee and
    (iii) supporting development of Domestic market.
    • Origin: The word coffee came from Ethiopia, where they called itqahve
    • Introduction in India: Coffee seeds were brought to India by Arab traders for use by the gentry. Arabs introduced coffee plantations in South India and Sri Lanka.
      • A Sufi, Baba Budan grew coffee plants around Chikamagaluru, Karnataka. 
      • Starting in 1830, British pioneers planted coffee estates in two varieties of coffee plants
        • Coffee arabica at high altitudes, and Coffee robusta in lower reaches. 
        • The name Arabica comes as Arab traders traded qahve to Europe while Robusta variety came from West Africa and is more resistant to disease. 
    • Production: India is among the top 10 coffee-producing countries, with about 3% of the global output in 2020. 
      • Two types of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica has higher market value than Robusta coffee due to its mild aromatic flavor.
        • Robusta is the majorly manufactured coffee with a share of 72% of the total production. 
      • Uniqueness: India’s coffee is unique in the sense that it is shade-grown.
        • Notably, 35% of the country’s coffee exports now comprise value-added and specialty coffees, showcasing a shift towards premium offerings. 
    • Major producers: Coffee is largely produced in the southern part of India.
      • Karnataka is the largest producer accounting for about 70% of the total coffee production in India. 
      • Kerala is the second-largest producer accounting for about 23% and Tamil Nadu only 6%. 
      • Orissa and the northeastern areas also have a smaller proportion of production.
    • Employment: The industry provides direct employment to more than 2 million people in India.
    • Exports: The country exports over 70% of its production. According to FAO statistics, India is the eighth largest exporter of coffee by volume.
      • India majorly exports Robusta coffee beans, a coffee bean species with low acidity and high bitterness compared to Arabica coffee.
      • Almost one-third of the country’s total coffee exports constitute instant coffee.
      • Top exporting destinations: Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the Russian Federation are the largest importers of coffee from India
    • Aging Plantations: A large number of coffee plantations are aging, leading to reduced productivity and requiring replanting with improved varieties.
    • Pest and Diseases: Coffee Leaf Rust and other diseases pose significant threats, requiring increased investment in disease management practices.
    • Low Productivity: Compared to other major producers, India’s coffee yield per hectare remains low due to traditional farming methods and inadequate infrastructure.
    • Climate Change: Erratic rainfall, rising temperatures, and extreme weather events are disrupting coffee production, leading to yield decline and quality issues.
    • Price Volatility: Fluctuations in global coffee prices can negatively impact farmer incomes and discourage investment.
    • Climate-Smart Agriculture: Promoting climate-resilient coffee varieties, shade management practices, and rainwater harvesting to adapt to changing climatic conditions.
    • Disease Management: Investing in research and development of resistant varieties, early detection systems, and sustainable pest control methods.
    • Replanting and Modernization: Encouraging replanting with high-yielding disease-resistant varieties and adoption of modern farming practices like drip irrigation and fertigation.
    • Value Addition: Supporting the establishment of processing units, promoting domestic consumption of specialty coffee, and exploring export opportunities for value-added products.
    • Promotion and Branding: Increasing domestic and international awareness about Indian coffee through branding, participation in trade fairs, and geographical indication recognition.
    • Subsidies: The Government of India took the initiative to provide subsidies to the farmers between US$ 2,500-US$ 3,500 per hectare for developing coffee in the traditional areas. 
    • Coffee Development Programmes (CDP): The government also supports the non-traditional coffee-growing regions under Coffee Development Programmes (CDP). 
    • National policy of tribal development: Coffee cultivation is being encouraged in non-traditional areas such as Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, the northeastern states, and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands. 
    • Export promotion: Under various export promotion initiatives, transit and freight assistance are provided to help maximize export earnings.
    • Incentives for exporting high-value coffee: It aims to maximize export earnings by enhancing the market share of value-added coffees and high-value differentiated coffees in important high-value international markets such as the USA, Canada and Japan.
    • Overall, addressing associated challenges and implementing effective measures are crucial for ensuring the sustainability and growth of India’s coffee industry, enhancing farmer incomes, and contributing to the nation’s economic development.
    • Public-private partnerships and integrating the coffee industry with rural development initiatives can create livelihood opportunities and improve living standards in coffee-growing regions.

    Source: AIR

    Syllabus: GS2/e Governance

    • Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs) are likely to help propel India towards a $1 trillion digital economy by 2030, helping it to become an $8 trillion economy, a Nasscom report said.
    • By 2030, DPIs will significantly enhance citizens’ efficiency and promote social as well as financial inclusion.
    • According to the report, mature DPIs such as Aadhaar, UPI, and FASTag which have witnessed exponential adoption by 2022 would in the next 7-8 years offer an opportunity for further scalability, reaching even the most remote population.
    • Mature DPIs have generated a value of $31.8 billion, equivalent to 0.9% of India’s GDP.
    • Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs) are digital platforms and systems that support the delivery of essential public services to citizens and businesses. 
    • They act as foundational layers, enabling various digital solutions to be built upon them and also act as digital highways facilitating seamless interactions between different stakeholders.
    • India’s DPI ecosystem, known as India Stack, has made significant strides in recent years.
      • India Stack is a set of open APIs and digital public goods that aim to unlock the economic primitives of identity, data, and payments at population scale.
    • Key DPIs include:
      • Aadhaar: Unique digital identity for every resident.
      • UPI: Real-time payment system enabling instant money transfers.
      • eSign: Digital signature solution for online authentication.
      • DigiLocker: Platform for storing and sharing digital documents.
      • API (Application Programming Interface) Gateway: Standardized interface for accessing government data and services.

    E Governance and Transparency:

    • Improved Service Delivery: DPIs streamline government services, reducing manual processes and corruption, leading to greater efficiency and transparency.
    • Citizen centric: DPIs empower citizens with better access to government services, information, and opportunities, promoting participation and accountability.
    • Reduced Corruption: Transparency through online services and digital transactions minimizes room for corruption, promoting better governance practices.

    Economic Impact:

    • Financial Inclusion: DPIs like Aadhaar and UPI brought millions into the formal financial system, facilitating easier access to credit and financial services.
    • Boost to Digital Economy: DPIs support digital transactions, e-commerce, and online businesses, accelerating economic growth and creating new opportunities.
    • Improved Public Health: DPIs can aid in healthcare delivery, disease surveillance, and telemedicine, enhancing access to quality healthcare in remote areas.
      • Government initiatives like Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission and National Health Mission leverage DPIs in healthcare.
    • Education and Skill Development: DPIs facilitate online learning platforms, digital content access, and skill development programs, fostering knowledge dissemination and improving employability.
      • Hence, DPIs can play a crucial role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in India.
    • National Security: Robust DPIs can support e-surveillance and intelligence gathering, aiding in maintaining national security.
    • Disaster Management: DPIs can facilitate early warning systems, resource allocation, and communication during natural disasters, improving response effectiveness.
    • International Collaboration: India’s DPIs are gaining global recognition, attracting investment and fostering international partnerships in tech development.
      • For instance, Singapore and Sri Lanka incorporated UPI in their digital systems.
    • Digital Divide: Unequal access to the internet and digital literacy hinder widespread adoption.
    • Data Privacy and Security: Concerns about data misuse and breaches require robust safeguards.
    • Standardization and Interoperability: Ensuring different DPI components work seamlessly together remains crucial.
    • Capacity Building: Upskilling government officials and citizens to leverage DPIs effectively is essential.
    • Focus on inclusion: Bridging the digital divide through initiatives like PM Gramin Digital Literacy Mission.
    • Privacy and security: Strengthening data protection frameworks and ensuring responsible data governance.
      • Enactment and implementation of Data Protection Act is needed on a priority basis, as underlined in the Puttaswamy judgement, 2027.
    • Strengthening existing DPIs: Scaling up adoption and promoting innovation in their use.
    • Developing new DPIs: Exploring areas like public health, education, and agriculture.
    • Overall, DPIs hold immense potential to transform India’s digital landscape and empower citizens. Continuous assessment and adaptation are necessary to ensure DPIs remain relevant and effective.
    • Addressing existing challenges and focusing on inclusive development are key to unlocking their full potential.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Space Technology; Indigenization of Technology

    • Recently, the Union Government approved 100% FDI in the Space sector.
    • The Indian Space Economy is estimated at around $8.4 billion (around 2-3% of global space economy).
      • India has privatised space launches and is targeting a five-fold increase in its share of the global launch market.
    • Budgetary Allocation: The Department of Space has received a nominal hike of 4% in its allocation in the Interim Union Budget for 2024-25, from ₹12,545 crore to ₹13,043 crore.
      • It is expected that with the implementation of the Indian Space Policy 2023, $44 billion Indian space economy can be achieved by the year 2033.
    • The number of Space Start-Ups have gone up, from just 1 in 2014 to 189 in 2023 as per DPIIT Start-Up India Portal.
      • The investment in Indian Space Start-Ups has increased to $ 124.7 Million in 2023.
    • The proposed reforms seek to liberalise the FDI policy provisions in the space sector by providing FDI in Satellites,  Launch Vehicles and associated systems or subsystems, Creation of Spaceports for launching and receiving Spacecraft and manufacturing of space related components and systems.
    • The liberalised entry routes under the amended policy are aimed to attract potential investors to invest in Indian companies in space.
    • Up to 74% under Automatic route: Satellites-Manufacturing & Operation, Satellite Data Products and Ground Segment & User Segment.
      • Beyond 74% these activities are under government route.
    • Up to 49% under Automatic route: Launch Vehicles and associated systems or subsystems, Creation of Spaceports for launching and receiving Spacecraft.
      • Beyond 49% these activities are under government route.
    • Up to 100% under Automatic route: Manufacturing of components and systems/ sub-systems for satellites, ground segment and user segment.
    Other key initiatives to boost space sectors in India
    Indian Space Policy 2023: It laid down roles and responsibilities of organisations such as ISRO, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and private sector entities.
    A. It aims to enhance the participation of research, academia, startups and industry.
    Tax Incentives: It needs to take more initiatives for tax exemptions/tax holidays/accelerated depreciation for companies directly or indirectly engaged in space sector activities.
    Strategic Proposals by SIA: The Space Industry Association – India (SIA-India) in its Pre-Budget Memorandum for the FY 2024-25 has proposed a substantial increase in India’s space budget.
    A. It aims to support India’s expanding space program, foster private sector involvement, drive technological advancements, and position the nation as a key player in the dynamic global space ecosystem.
    • Private Sector Participation: The Indian space structure is moving from building India’s capabilities under ISRO to further capitalization of space-based technology for commercial applications as well as industry involvement in the sector.
      • It is expected to integrate Indian companies into global value chains.
    • Space Missions: India has achieved many considerable feats in space missions and has established its name in the global picture as a provider of reliable and cost-effective space solutions.

    • Technology Absorption and Global Integration: It will enable modern technology absorption.
      • With increased investment, companies could achieve sophistication of products, global scale of operations, and enhanced share of the global space economy.
      • It is expected to integrate Indian companies into global value chains.
    • Boost Manufacturing: Companies will be able to set up their manufacturing facilities within the country, encouraging the Government’s ‘Make In India’ initiative.
    • Ease of Doing Business: The FDI policy reform will enhance Ease of Doing Business in the country, leading to greater FDI inflows and thereby contributing to the growth of investment, income, and employment.
    • Promote Research and Innovations: FDI in space will promote technology transfer and research innovations.
    • Limited Investor Interest: There is limited investor interest at later stages of development.
      • This could be due to the high-risk nature of space investments and the long-term return on investment.
    • Talent Pool: The talent pool for space tech startups needs to grow.
      • There is a need for more skilled professionals in the field of space technology.
    • Policy Clarity: There is a need for more policy clarity.
      • Clear and consistent policies can help attract more foreign investors.
    • Simplifying the FDI Process: The process for foreign direct investment needs to be simplified.
      • A complex process can deter potential investors.
    • Capital-Intensive Requirements: Space technology is capital-intensive.
      • This means that it requires a significant amount of capital investment, which can be a challenge for startups and smaller companies.
    • Conflict of Interest with ISRO: Foreign investors have been on the fence about investing in the Government monopolised Indian space sector.
      • The conflict of interest with ISRO as a competitor had perpetuated apprehension in the minds of foreign investors.
    • India’s space sector is poised for a bright future, with significant policy changes, increased FDI, and a focus on private sector participation.
    • The sector is set to make a lasting impact on space exploration and technology, fostering significant growth and paving the way for a new era of space exploration.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS2/Centre-State Relations; GS3/Indian Economy

    • Recently various South Indian States raised issues about their less than proportionate share of receipt in tax revenue when compared to their contribution towards tax collection.
    • It is a critical aspect of federalism in India involving the distribution of financial resources from the Union government to the states, enabling them to meet their expenditure requirements and provide public services.
      • The process of financial devolution is guided by the Finance Commission (FC).
    • Article 270 of the Constitution provides for the scheme of distribution of net tax proceeds collected by the Union Government between the Centre and the States.
    • These include corporation tax, personal income tax, Central GST, and the Centre’s IGST etc.
      • It does not include cess and surcharge that are levied by the Union Government.
    • States are provided grants-in-aid as per the recommendation of the FC, apart from the share of taxes.
    About Finance Commission
    – It is a Constitutional Body [Article 280(1)] constituted every five years exclusively by the Union Government to give suggestions on Centre-State Financial relations.
    – It consists of a chairman and four other members who are appointed by the President.
    – The Finance Commission (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1951, has specified the qualifications for chairman and other members of the commission.
    15th Finance Commission:
    – It was constituted in 2017 under the Chairmanship of NK Singh, and the recommendations of it are valid up to the financial year 2025-26.
    16th Finance Commission:
    – It was constituted on 31.12.2023 with Shri Arvind Panagariya (former Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog) as its Chairman for making its recommendations for the period of 2026-31.
    • Vertical Devolution: The FC is responsible for recommending the distribution of the net proceeds of taxes of the Union between the Union and the States, commonly referred to as vertical devolution.
    • Horizontal Devolution: The FC determines the allocation between the States of the respective shares of such proceeds, known as horizontal devolution.
    • Criteria For Horizontal Devolution:
      • Income distance: It is the distance of a State’s income from the State with the highest per capita income.
        • States with lower per capita income are given a higher share to maintain equity among States.
      • Forest and Ecology: The share of dense forest of each State in the aggregate dense forest of all the States.
    • Currently, 41% of taxes collected by the Union Government (as per the recommendation of 15th Finance Commission) is devolved in 14 installments among States during a fiscal year.
    • Disproportionate Share of Receipt in Tax Revenue: Various Opposition-ruled States, especially from south India, have claimed that they have not been receiving their fair share as per the present scheme of financial devolution.
      • Cess and surcharge collected by the Union government is estimated at around 23% of its gross tax receipts for 2024-25, which does not form part of the divisible pool and hence not shared with the States.
    • Reduction in Financial Transfers to States: Since the start of the Fourteenth Finance Commission award period (2015-16), the Union government has been reducing financial transfers to States.
      • This is particularly strange given that the Fourteenth Finance Commission recommended devolving 42% of Union tax revenues to States, which is a 10 percentage points increase over the 13th Finance Commission’s recommendation.
    • State Wise Variations: The amount each State gets back for every rupee they contribute to Central taxes shows steep variation.
      • It can be seen that industrially developed States received much less than a rupee for every rupee they contributed as against States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

    • The percentage share in the divisible pool of taxes has been reducing for southern States over the last six FCs.
    • It is attributable to the higher weightage being given for equity (income gap) and needs (population, area and forest) than efficiency (demographic performance and tax effort).
    • Increase in Union Government’s Discretionary Expenditure: The Union government not only reduced the financial transfers to States but also increased its own total revenue to increase its discretionary expenditure.
      • The discretionary expenditures of the Union government are not being routed through the States’ Budgets, and, therefore, can impact different States in different ways.
    • Decline in States’ Share in Gross Revenue: One of the reasons for the States’ share in gross revenue declining during this period is that the net tax revenue is arrived at after deducting the revenue collections under cess and surcharge.
    • Against the Federal Spirit: The Constitutional scheme has always favoured a strong centre in legislative, administrative and financial relations.
      • However, federalism is a basic feature and it is important that States don’t feel short-changed when it comes to distribution of resources.
    • The States generate around 40% of the revenue and bear around 60% of the expenditure. It is the responsibility of all States to contribute towards the more equitable development of our country.
    • However, there are three important reforms that may be considered for maintaining the balance between equity and federalism while sharing revenue:
      • The divisible pool can be enlarged by including some portion of cess and surcharge in it.
      • The weightage for efficiency criteria in horizontal devolution should be increased.
      • Similar to the GST Council, a more formal arrangement for the participation of States in the constitution and the working of the FC should be considered.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/ Economy

    • India’s smartphone exports rose from 1% to 2.5% in a decade.
    • At the global level China continues to dominate the export sector, by exporting half of the world’s smartphones in 2022.
    • However, Vietnam has eaten into its export share steadily over the years, taking over from South Korea as the second-biggest smartphone exporter.
    • Both India and Vietnam had less than 1% export share before 2010. By 2022, Vietnam’s share rose to 12%, while India ranked seventh with a little over 2.5% export share. 
    • Hong Kong, UAE, the Czech Republic, the U.S. and South Korea are other players in the export market.
    • Within India, Tamil Nadu leads smartphone exports with close to 38% of India’s mobiles being sent out from Kancheepuram.
    • Gautam Buddha Nagar of Uttar Pradesh and Kolar in Karnataka are other districts leading in smartphone exports.
    • In UAE and Germany — the world’s third and fifth biggest smartphone importers — India’s share is growing with 13%  and 5% respectively.
    • Global Competition: India competes with established players like China, South Korea, and Taiwan, which have well-developed manufacturing ecosystems and brand recognition.
    • Supply Chain Constraints: The smartphone manufacturing supply chain in India is still evolving, leading to challenges in sourcing components locally and relying heavily on imports.
    • Regulatory Hurdles: Export procedures, taxation policies, and regulatory compliance can be complex and time-consuming, affecting the ease of doing business and competitiveness.
    • High Domestic Consumption: India continues to manufacture a significant number of smartphones, however, most of it is consumed domestically.
      • Exports account for only 25% of India’s smartphone production compared with 63% of China’s production and 95% of Vietnam’s.
    • High import tariffs: Made in India phones use many high-end parts imported, subject to the high tariffs to protect the local manufacturers, raising overall costs.
      • Vietnam and China do not levy tariffs above 10% on components from their “most-favored nation” trading partners or nations with whom they have free-trade agreements.
    • Foreign investments: Instead of India, Vietnam has attracted many firms which were looking to reduce dependency on China. 
    • The government credited the Production Linked Incentive scheme for major smartphone companies shifting their suppliers to India. 
    • National Policy on Electronics 2019: India set a target of exporting 600 million mobile phones worth $110 billion by 2025.
    • The Indian government reduced import duty on mobile parts such as lenses, battery and back covers from 15% to 10%. 
      • However, it continues to impose a 20% tax on chargers and circuit boards.
    • India has to match China and beat Vietnam on different parameters to attract smartphone manufacturers.
    • Lower tariffs on components is the key to India’s ambitions to achieve the target of export by 2025.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus:GS1/Geography

    Context

    • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will monitor and issue operational forecast alerts of rip currents. 

    What are Rip currents?

    • Rip currents are strong, narrow, seaward flows of water that extend from close to the shoreline to outside of the surf zone. 
    • They are found on almost any beach with breaking waves and act as “rivers of the sea,” moving sand, marine organisms, and other material offshore.
    • They are a common and potentially dangerous coastal phenomenon. 

    Cause of Rip currents

    • These currents often form when waves break near the shoreline
    • Submerged structures such as sandbars, jetties, or reefs alter the flow of water, creating channels where currents can develop.
    • As waves approach the shore, they may converge and create imbalances in water distribution, leading to the formation of channels through which excess water flows back to the ocean.
    Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)
    – INCOIS is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is a unit of the Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO).
    ESSO-INCOIS was established in 1999 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is located in Hyderabad.
    Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) is also housed in the INCOIS.
    Mandate: To provide the ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and scientific community through sustained ocean observations and systematic and focussed research.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS1/History and Culture

    Context

    • “Nanoo Rani Chennamma”campaign has been launched to commemorate 200 years of Kittur Rani Chennamma’s revolt against the British empire.

    Rani Chennamma

    • Chenamma was born in 1778, in Kagati, present-day Belagavi district in Karnataka. 
    • She was married to Raja Mallasarja of Kittur, who ruled the province until 1816.
    • After Mallasarja’s death his eldest son, Shivalingarudra Sarja, ascended the throne.
      • Before his death in 1824, Shivalingarudra adopted a child, Shivalingappa, as the successor. 
    • However, the British East India Company refused to recognise Shivalingappa as the successor of the kingdom under the ‘doctrine of lapse’.

    The Kittur Rebellion

    • John Thackery, the British official at Dharwad, launched an attack on Kittur in 1824.
    • The Kittur army, under the leadership of Rani Chennamma, retaliated and Thackeray was killed and Rani Chennamma emerged victorious.
    • However, the British army again attacked the Kittur Fort and captured it. Rani Chennamma and her family were imprisoned and jailed at the fort in Bailhongal, where she died in 1829.

    Doctrine of lapse

    • Under the doctrine, any princely state without a natural heir would collapse and would be annexed by the Company.
    • This Doctrine rejected the long-established right of an Indian ruler without an heir to choose a successor. 
    • The princely state of Kittur was taken over by the British East India Company in 1824 by imposing the ‘doctrine of lapse’, even before it was officially articulated by Lord Dalhousie, between 1848 and 1856.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS1/Culture

    Context:

    • Recently, the Telangana health department has issued an advisory to devotees planning to attend the Sammakka-Saralamma Jatara in Mulugu district of the state. 

    About the Samakka Saralamma Jatara:

    • It is one of the largest tribal festivals in the world celebrated in the Indian State of Telangana. 
      • It is also known as Medaram Jatara that is held every two years.
    • It begins with the arrival of the deities from the forest to a spot for a period of 10-12 days.

    • More than one crore devotees offer prayers and gift ‘bangaram’, which is pure jaggery, to the deities.

    Significance:

    • It commemorates the brave fight of a mother-daughter duo, Sammakka and Saralamma, against the Kakatiya rulers who imposed taxes on the tribal people during a period of drought in the 12th century.
    • The Koya community constructed this temple as a token of gratitude.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS2/Government Policy and Intervention

    Context:

    • Recently, the Union government increased the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane.
      • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved ₹340/quintal as the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for sugar season 2024-25 at a sugar recovery rate of 10.25%.
    About Sugarcane
    – It is a tall, perennial grass used to make sugar, ethanol and paper.
    Crop Conditions:
    A. Temperature: Between 21-27°C with hot and humid climate.
    B. Rainfall: Around 75-100 cm.
    C. Soil Type: Deep rich loamy soil.
    1. It can be grown on all varieties of soils ranging from sandy loam to clay loam given these soils should be well drained.
    Top Sugarcane Producing States: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar.

    Do you know?
    – The concept of Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) of sugarcane was replaced with the FRP of sugarcane for 2009-10 and subsequent sugar seasons with the amendment of the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966 in 2009.
    A. Fair and remunerative price (FRP) is the minimum price at which sugarcane is to be purchased by sugar mills from farmers.
    B. The FRP is fixed by the Union government (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)) on the basis of recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/ Economy

    Context

    • Fresh measures to curb unauthorised online lending apps’ operations are going to be implemented, following deliberations on the issue at the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).

    About

    • The Council made a reiteration of the push for regulators to simplify and digitize the KYC (Know Your Customer) process and adopt uniform KYC norms so that those KYC records can provide customers ‘inter-usability’ across the financial sector.
    • The FSDC also discussed issues related to macro financial stability and the country’s preparedness to deal with any challenges that may come up.

    Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)

    • Set up in: December 2010, by an executive order.
    • Aim: To strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development.
    • Parent body: Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
    • FSDC Secretariat: Department of Economic Affairs.
    • Chairman of the Council: The Finance Minister of India
    • Members: Heads of financial sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, IRDA & FMC), Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and Chief Economic Adviser.
      • The Council can invite experts to its meeting if required.
    • Functions of the FSDC:
      • To identify and address potential threats to financial stability,
      • To formulate and implement financial sector development policies,
      • To coordinate the activities of financial sector regulators,
      • To promote financial inclusion and literacy, and
      • To advise the Government on financial sector matters.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus :GS 3/Defense

    In News

    • The Maritime Technical Exposition( MTEX-24) stands as a special attraction in the MILAN 2024 taking place in Visakhapatnam. 

    About MTEX-24 

    • It is a three-day exposition  and fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange between industry leaders, researchers, and defence professionals 
    • It showcases the latest advancements in naval technology viz shipbuilding, communication systems, cybersecurity, and sustainable energy solutions.
    • Importance:
      • It will be driving technological advancements and strengthening professional relations with friendly foreign navies.
      • It will propel the Indian maritime industry forward, contributing to a more secure and prosperous future.
    MILAN
    – It is a biennial multilateral naval exercise held under the aegis of the Eastern Naval Command.
    – This edition is the largest and more complex than previous editions, with the participation of Indian ships and 16 foreign warships, one Maritime Patrol Aircraft and delegations from friendly countries. 

    Source: Air

    Syllabus: GS 3/Economy

    In News

    • The Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) announced the World’s first Pigeon pea speed breeding protocol.

    About protocol

    • It promises to substantially cut the time required to develop new Pigeonpea lines with desirable traits, effectively bringing food to dryland communities faster. 
    • It shortens the breeding and control over factors like photoperiod, temperature, humidity, and breeding cycle to 2 to 4 years while the traditional Pigeonpea breeding takes up to 13 years. 
    • Importance : It represents a significant advancement for major pigeon pea-producing regions, paving the way for self-reliance in pulse production and meeting the dietary necessities of nations like India, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Myanmar, and Mozambique.
      • It enables  researchers to develop climate-resilient, nutritionally superior, and higher-yielding pigeonpea varieties at an unprecedented pace. 
    Do you know?
    – Pigeonpea(Arhar) is  a staple in tropical and subtropical diets.
    – It commonly known as red gram or tur 
    – It is mainly eaten in the form of split pulse as ‘dal’. Seeds of arhar are also rich in iron, iodine, essential amino acids like lycine, threonine, cystine and arginine etc.
    – It is predominantly a crop of tropical areas mainly cultivated in semi arid regions of India
    – It is successfully grown in black cotton soils

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Disaster Management and Security Challenges in border areas

    Context: 

    • The Union Cabinet recently approved the continuation of “Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP)” with total outlay of Rs. 4,100 crore for a period of 5 years from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

    Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP)

    • The Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP) is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2017-18.
    • Aim: To provide financial assistance to states and union territories for undertaking flood control and river management activities, and for undertaking specific developmental works in border areas.
    • Components of the FMBAP:
    1. Flood Management Programme (FMP) Component: With an outlay of Rs. 2940 crore, central assistance will be provided to State Governments for taking up critical works related to flood control, anti-erosion, drainage development and anti-sea erosion, etc. 
    • The pattern of funding to be followed is 90% (Centre): 10% (State) for Special Category States (8 North-Eastern States and Hilly States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and UT of Jammu & Kashmir) and 60% (Centre):40% (State) for General/ Non-Special Category States.
    1. River Management and Border Areas (RMBA) Component: With an outlay of Rs. 1160 crore, flood control and anti-erosion works on common border rivers with neighbouring countries will be taken up with 100% central assistance.

    Significance

    • Although, primary responsibility of flood management rests with the State Governments, the Union Government encourages promotion & adoption of modern technology and innovative materials/approach. 
    • The works implemented under the RMBA component also protect important installations of security agencies, border out-posts, etc.  along the border rivers from flood and erosion. 
    • The Scheme has the provision of incentivizing the States which implement flood plain zoning, recognized as an effective non-structural measure for flood management. 

    Source: PIB