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02 March Current Affairs

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana

In News:

32 projects have been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).


The projects are spread across almost 17 States, leveraging an investment worth ₹406 crores.

These projects envisage the creation of direct and indirect employment, especially in rural areas.

Key Points:

Food processing plays an important role in connecting Indian farmers to domestic and international consumers and markets.

The introduction of modern processing techniques for food results in improved shelf-life of the agricultural produce and ensures steady revenue to farmers.

The processed food market is expected to grow to $543 billion by 2020 from $322 billion in 2016, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.6%.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana:

In 2016, MoFPI introduced an umbrella scheme Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters or SAMPADA, which was proposed to be implemented with an allocation of ₹6,000 crores for the period of 2016-20.

In 2017, SAMPADA was renamed as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY).

It is a Central Sector Scheme.


(a) To supplement agriculture.

(b) To create processing and preservation capacities.

(c) To modernise and expand existing food processing units with a view to increasing the level of processing.

(d) To add value leading to the reduction of wastage.

Seven component schemes under PMKSY:

1) Mega Food Parks.

2) Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure.

3) Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters.

4) Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages.

5) Creation/Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.

6) Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure.

7) Human Resources and Institutions.

Under PMKSY, capital subsidy in the form of grants-in-aid ranging from 35% to 75% of the eligible project cost subject to a maximum specified limit is provided to investors under the various schemes for undertaking infrastructure, logistic projects and setting up of food processing units in the country.

Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2019

In News:

The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released the 2019 report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

The report features India among top manufacturers of illicit and licit drugs that are smuggled to other countries and into the hands of addicts.

Global Scenario:

(a) Increased Smuggling of Pharmaceutical Drugs:

Drug traffickers tend to smuggle pharmaceutical drugs rather than illicit drugs (e.g. hashish,heroin,etc.) because of the more lenient penalties imposed for smuggling of controlled pharmaceutical drugs.

(b) Phenobarbital Drug:

It is one of the most internationally traded controlled psychotropic substances, with more than 161 countries reporting imports of the substance in 2018.

It included on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for treating epilepsy (a neurological disorder).

China is the lead manufacturing country of phenobarbital in 2018, followed by India and Hungary.

(c) Limited Usage of Pre-Export Notification:

It has also been noted that countries like China, South Korea and the United States have received drugs without pre-notification through the PEN Online system.

National Scenario:

(a) Diversion of Pharmaceutical Drugs:

It has also noted an increased diversion of controlled pharmaceutical precursors, in particular ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, from licit to illicit channels has continued in India.

Precursors are chemicals which are used to manufacture narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine have been notified as ‘controlled substance’ in India.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 empowers the Central Government to declare any substance as ‘controlled substance’ after considering its possible use in the production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.

(b) Tramadol Drug:

Globally most of the tramadol seized between 2013 and 2017 was reported to have originated in India. e.g.India was the source of 87% of the tramadol seized in Ghana in 2017.

Tramadol, sold under the brand name Ultram among others, is an opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.

The drug is under the control of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

International Conference on Standardisation of AYUSH Terminologies

In News:

Two day International Conference on Standardisation of AYUSH Terminologies (ICoSDiTAUS-2020) was held in New Delhi.


It adopted the ‘New Delhi Declaration on Collection and Classification of Traditional Medicine (TM) Diagnostic Data’.

AYUSH is an abbreviation of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.

Key Points:

ICoSDiTAUS-2020 is the biggest ever international event dedicated to standardisation of Diagnosis and Terminologies of Traditional Medicine in terms of the broad level of participation covering virtually all the continents.

16 countries which came together for the cause of Traditional Medicine at this conference are Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Serbia, Curacao, Cuba, Myanmar, Equatorial Guinea, Qatar, Ghana, Bhutan, Uzbekistan, India, Switzerland, Iran, Jamaica and Japan.

Issues Discussed:

Challenges in counting and classification of TM.

Potential of strategic use of data and evidence to advance TM systems into public health.

Adapting World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD) to TM Systems and their implementation.

Henneguya Salminicola

In News:

Scientists have discovered an animal Henneguya Salminicola which does not need oxygen to produce the energy needed for its survival.


It is a tiny, less than 10-celled parasite which lives in the muscles of salmon fish.

It does not not have a mitochondrial genome.

Mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of the cell, which captures oxygen to make energy.

Its absence indicates that the parasite does not breathe oxygen.

It is a relative of jellyfish and corals and as it evolved, it gave up breathing and consuming oxygen or became anaerobic to produce energy.

However, it is not yet clear how the parasite generates energy. It may be drawing it from the surrounding fish cells or it may have a different type of respiration such as oxygen-free breathing, which typically characterises anaerobic non-animal organisms like fungi, amoebas or ciliate lineages.

The discovery bears enormous significance for evolutionary research.

Aerobic respiration was thought to be prevalent in animals but now it is confirmed that animals can survive with anaerobic respiration.

Exercise Indradhanush

In News:

The 5th edition of India-UK joint Air Force Exercise ‘Indradhanush’ began at Air Force Station, Hindan (Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh) on 24th February, 2020.

Key Points:

The theme of this edition of the exercise is ‘Base Defence and Force Protection’.

This theme is of significance considering the recent threats to military establishments from terror elements.

Ex Indradhanush provides a platform for the air forces of both the countries to share and jointly validate strategies and tactics to counter terror threats to their installations.

Other joint exercises between India and UK:

Navy: Konkan

Army: Ajeya Warrior


In News:

Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Finance Ministry and senior management of all banks held a meeting to review some of the key schemes of Ministry of MSME which generate a large number of jobs with low capital investment.


The focus of the meeting was on the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) and Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

It was also emphasised that there is a need for providing support to the MSMEs by suitably restructuring the stressed loans at an early stage with the help of the banks.

Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme:

Launched in 2008-09, it is a credit-linked subsidy scheme which promotes self-employment through setting up of micro-enterprises, where subsidy up to 35% is provided by the Government through Ministry of MSME for loans up to ₹25 lakhs in manufacturing and ₹10 lakhs in the service sector.

The balance amount of the total project cost will be provided by the banks in the form of term loan and working capital.

It is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of MSME.


National Level- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) as the nodal agency.

State Level- State KVIC Directorates, State Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs), District Industries Centres (DICs) and banks.


Any individual above 18 years of age, Self Help Groups, Institutions registered under Societies Registration Act 1860, Production Co-operative Societies and Charitable Trusts are eligible.

Existing Units and the units that have already availed Government Subsidy under any other scheme of Government of India or State Government are not eligible.

Only new projects are considered for sanction under PMEGP.

Discussions on PMEGP in the meeting :-

Banks have supported setting up a large number of enterprises under PMEGP and it has particularly seen a two-fold increase in last Financial Year (2019-20) when more than 73,000 micro-enterprises were assisted.

Further, to boost the PMEGP, the target in the current year has been increased to support the establishments of 80,000 units.

Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme (CGS) for Micro and Small Enterprises:

It was launched in 2000 by the Government of India (GoI) to make available collateral-free credit to the micro and small enterprise sector.

Both the existing and the new enterprises are eligible to be covered under the scheme.

The corpus of CGTMSE is being contributed by the GoI and SIDBI in the ratio of 4:1 respectively.

The Ministry of MSMEs, GoI and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) established a trust named Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) to implement the CGS.

Discussions on increasing the reach of CGTMSE in the meeting.

Government has set a target of increasing credit guarantee to ₹50,000 crores under this scheme, which is a jump of about 67% over the last year.