Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)

    • Recently, the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence has approved a central sector scheme named  Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX).
    • Budgetary support: Rs. 498.80 crore for the next 5 years from 2021-22 to 2025-26. 
    • It is funded and managed by a Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), formed as a not for profit company as per Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.
    • Aims and objectives
      • To promote innovation and indigenisation in the aerospace and defence sector at the start-up level.
      • To provide financial support to start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), individual innovators and partner incubators.

    India Cycles 4Change Challenge

    • The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs(MoHUA ) announced India Cycles4change stage 1 list of awardees.
    • The challenge was launched under the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) by the MoHUA on 25th June 2020.
    • Aims and Objectives 
      • To inspire Indian cities to implement cycling-friendly interventions, especially in the wake of Covid-19.
      • Cities are encouraged to create extensive cycling networks using low-cost methods like pop-up cycle lanes, non-motorised zones and set up community-led cycle rental schemes.
    • Coverage and Criteria
      • It is open to eligible cities which can register and submit their applications on the designated portal.
      • All cities under the Smart Cities Mission.
      • Capital cities of States/Union Territories.
      • All cities with a population of more than 5 lakh.
      • The portal also provides registration to citizens, experts, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), which can express their interest in collaborating.
    • It has two stages.
      • Stage One: Pilot Intervention and Conceptual Scale-up Plan.
        • It aimed to encourage cities to initiate and implement quick interventions and promotional activities to encourage cycling and develop a conceptual scale-up strategy.
    • Stage Two: Scaling Up Pilot Interventions
      • Its aim is for the shortlisted cities to further develop and commence the implementation of the concept scale-up plan submitted in Stage One with inputs from National and International experts.

    Gold Ore Reserves

    • According to National Mineral Inventory data, India has 501.83 million tonnes of gold ore reserves as on April 1, 2015.

    Key Points

    •  Gold has been the one material that is universally accepted in exchange for goods and services.
      • India’s Forex Reserve also includes Gold along with Foreign Currency Assets (such as the dollars) and Special Drawing Rights.
    • The United States has the largest gold reserve with more than 8,000 metric tons of gold and stands at the first spot.
    • According to the World Gold Council, India has gold reserves of more than 600 tonnes, the 10th largest in the world. 
      • The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. 
    • In India, the largest reserves of gold ores are located in Bihar (44 per cent), followed by Rajasthan (25 percent), Karnataka (21 per cent), West Bengal (3 percent), Andhra Pradesh (3 percent), Jharkhand (2 percent).
    • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is actively engaged in geological mapping, followed by mineral exploration and surveys, of various mineral commodities with an aim to identify potential mineral-rich zones and establish resources.

    World Gold Council

    • It is the market development organisation for the gold industry. 
    • Purpose: To stimulate and sustain demand for gold, provide industry leadership, and be the global authority on the gold market. 
      • It helps to support its members to mine in a responsible way and developed the Conflict Free Gold Standard.
    • Headquartered in the UK, they have offices in India, China, Singapore, Japan and the United States. 

    National Farmers Database

    Recently, the Agriculture Minister has clarified that the Government plans to set up a federated National Farmers Database using digitised land records.

    • It is being built by taking the publicly available data (with the Ministry and in other data silos) linking them with the digitised land records.
    • Aims
      • To increase farmers’ income by leveraging the available data and developing solutions based on the data.
      • To offer proactive and personalised services to farmers.
      • To ensure input costs are reduced, ease of farming is ensured, quality is improved and farmers get better prices for their farm produce.
    • Through this personalised services would be provided to farmers such as direct benefit transfer, soil and plant health advisories, weather advisories, fertilisers, nearby logistic facilities, market access information, etc..
    • As of now, it will include the farmers, who are legal owners of the agricultural land as per the government database, leaving out landless farmers.
    • Leading Technology/Agri-tech/startup companies were invited to collaborate to develop Proof of Concepts (PoCs) based on data for certain identified areas.
    • The government would ensure the data privacy of the farmers’ personal details and targeted delivery. 
    • It would serve as the core of the envisaged Agristack.
      • The Ministry is creating Agristack, which is a digital ecosystem of agriculture.
      • No private sector companies are involved as far as the building of the Agristack is concerned.

    IFSCA (Capital Market Intermediaries) Regulations, 2021

    Recently, the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has been established.

    • It will act as a unified regulator to develop and regulate financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India.
    • IFSCA proposes to enact a regulatory framework for the intermediaries in the capital markets operating in IFSC.
      • It will focus on ease of doing business and is consistent with the fundamental principles laid down by the International Organization of Securities Commissions.
    • The proposed IFSCA (Capital Market Intermediaries) Regulations, 2021 provide for regulatory requirements in respect of registration, obligations, responsibilities, inspection, enforcement of various types of capital market intermediaries.
    • It also envisages registered capital market intermediaries to undertake cross-border business in capital markets in India and foreign jurisdictions, subject to certain conditions.
    • Significance
      • The intermediaries play an important role by providing the intermediation facilities between their clients and the various regulated financial products and financial services in the IFSC.
      • The intermediaries are also essential for building the ecosystem of capital markets in the IFSC.

    Project BOLD

    Recently, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Tuesday planted 1000 bamboo saplings at Tanot village in Jaisalmer, in collaboration with the Border Security Force (BSF), under Project BOLD.

    • The Project Bamboo Oasis on Lands in Drought (BOLD) was initiated by KVIC.
    • It was launched as part of KVIC’s Khadi Bamboo Festival to celebrate 75 years of independence, “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”.
    • It aims at serving the combined national goals of reducing desertification and providing livelihood and multi-disciplinary rural industry support to the local population.
    • Significance
      • The project seeks to create bamboo-based green patches in arid and semi-arid land zones.
        • Bamboos grow very fast and could be harvested in about three years’ time.
        • Bamboos are also known for conserving water and reducing evaporation of water from the land surface, which becomes significant for arid and drought-prone regions.
        • Bamboo can be used for making agarbatti sticks, furniture, handicraft, musical instruments and paper pulp while the bamboo waste is widely used in making charcoal and fuel briquette.
      • It will boost self-employment and benefit a large number of women and unemployed youths in the region by connecting them to skill development programmes.
      • These green patches will be havens of sustainable development and food security.

    Kanjeevaram Silk Sari

    • Award-winning artisan weaver, B Krishnamoorthy, is creating a repository with samples of all the designs, patterns and motifs traditional to Kanjeevaram silk sari weaving, preserving fine pieces for posterity.

    Key Points

    • Kanchipuram silk sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk. While the silk belongs to South India, the pure gold and silver zari comes from Gujarat. 
      • These are considered to be special and are worn on occasions and festivities.
    • Its name came from the Kanchipuram region in Tamil Nadu.
    • On this, the rich woven mundhi showing paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. 
    • Tracing its long and rich history from the Chola Dynasty, Kanchipuram sarees today are considered as one of the oldest and rich legacies of the Indian textile industry.
    • It has been recognized as a Geographical indication product in 2005–2006.

    Image Courtesy: Craftsvilla

    Silk Production in India

    • India is the second-largest producer of silk in the world.
    • India has the unique distinction of being the only country producing all the five kinds of silk namely, Mulberry, Eri, Muga, Tropical Tasar and Temperate Tasar. 
      • Among them, mulberry silk is the most popular variety, which contributes around 79% of the country’s silk production and the rest are Vanya (Non-mulberry) silk. 
    • In India, Mulberry silk is produced mainly in Karnataka, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
      • North East has the unique distinction of being the only region producing four varieties of silk.
      • Overall the NE region contributes 18% of India’s total silk production.

    Initiatives:

    • Central Silk Board: It is a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Textiles for the development of the silk sector in India.
    • Silk Samagra Scheme: Launched in 2017 for the development of sericulture in the country.