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03rd September Current Affairs

27 Integrated Cold Chain Development Projects approved under Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPDA Yojana

In News:

The Government of India approved 27 projects under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana. Under the project, integrated cold chains are to be developed.

Details:

The new projects will generate direct and indirect employment for 16,000 people. It will benefit 2,57,000 farmers. These projects will help to boost farmer income and will help make India self-reliant in fruits and vegetable sector. The projects will leverage investment of Rs 743 crores to create modern innovative infrastructure and cold chain facilities for food processing sector.

The cold chain facilities are to be opened in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Haryana, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Pradhan Mantri KISAN Sampada Yojana:

The SAMPADA is Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters. It was approved in 2017 under 14th Finance Commission. It was then renamed as Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana. The main aim of the scheme is to modernize agricultural processing and to decrease agri-waste.

The scheme was launched with an estimated fund allocation of Rs 6,000 crores and is expected to leverage Rs 31,400 crores of investment. When implemented as planned it will handle 334 lakh metric tonnes of agro-produce.

The Pradhan Mantri KISAN Sampada Yojana is an umbrella scheme. The following are to be implemented under the scheme

Benefits:

The scheme will provide big boost to the growth of food processing sector. It will help to provide better prices to farmers and thereby help India achieve its target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Also, it will create huge employment opportunities in rural areas. The scheme will help reduce agricultural waste and will ensure availability of safe and convenient processed foods at affordable price and enhance exports of processed foods.

NCRB releases data on Farmer Suicides

In News:

The National Crime Records Bureau released the data on farmer suicides. This is a part of the report Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India published by NCRB.

Why the delay?

The National Crime Record Bureau released ‘’Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India” report in October 2019. However, it did not include the data on farmer suicides. This created huge controversies in the country. The data about farm suicides were available only till 2015. The data of farm suicides of 2016 was submitted by NCRB to the Government in early 2018. However, it was not published.

Key highlights:

The recently released data on farmer suicides say that in 2019 around 42,480 farmers and daily wagers committed suicide. This is an increase of about 6% from the previous year. The other findings of the report are as follows

The states where the farmer suicide rates increased were as follows

The total number of suicides in the country were 1,39,123 in 2019.

Concerns:

The NCRB report on farmer suicide that was released in 2015 had published elaborate data in farmer suicides. This included reasons for suicides as well. However, the recent data that was released for the year 2019 did not include these details.

India-Russia to conduct Naval drills in Andaman Sea

In News:

India and Russia are to hold bilateral naval exercise INDRA 2020 in Andaman Sea, close to strategic Strait of Malacca. The exercise is being conducted while the Indian Navy is on high operational alert due to the standoff with China in Ladakh.

Details:

Three Russian Naval ships are to take part in the exercise on September 4 and 5. The exercise comes just after India withdrew from Kavkaz-2020 multinational exercise that is to be held in Russia. Also, it coincides with Defence Minister Raj Nath Singh’s visit to Russia for Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

India-US:

In July 2020, Indian Navy held PASSEX exercise with the US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the same area as INDRA 2020 is to be conducted. PASSEX is Passage Exercise. It means that it was arranged suddenly without a proper pre plan. The USS Nimitz was passing the Indian Ocean as it was returning from the South China Sea through the Malacca Strait. The exercise was held as USS Nimitz was just transiting the region.

Significance:

It is important for the Indian Navy to involve in such frequent naval drills with its close defence partners. This is because, the Chinese Naval presence in the region has increased recently in the name of anti-piracy patrols.

Why is Andaman important?

Over 60,000 commercial vessels traverse each year through the Andaman waters. China is increasing its presence in the region. Chinese Naval vessels camouflaged as fishing boats have been sighted in the region. They also make their presence in the name of port visits to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Hambantota port of Sri Lanka has been leased to China for 99 years which China is developing into a naval base. Similarly, China is building Gwadar port in Pakistan.

Based on cargo volume, China is home to seven of the top ten ports in the world. Therefore, it is important to India to strengthen its naval presence to boost economic and security measures.

India-Nigeria to deepen their ties on defence, energy and counter terrorism

In News:

India and Nigeria agreed to deepen their cooperation to counter terrorism, piracy and insurgency to boost trade exchanges.

Details:

The countries agreed to their cooperation in defence equipment, maintenance services and medical. They also agreed on regular exchange of information to counter terrorism, insurgency and piracy. During the meet, Nigeria appreciated donation of essential medicines to India. In July 2020, India donated 50 million USD worth essential medicines to Nigeria to fight COVID-19.

The countries also agreed to strengthen their cooperation in Extradition treaty, mutual legal assistance and transfer of sentenced persons.

India-Nigeria:

India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria. The bilateral trade between India and Nigeria was 13.9 billion USD in 2019-20.

Why is Nigeria important for India?

Nigeria is rich in oil. Recently, Nigeria stated that India has replaced the United States as its largest oil importer. Around 20% to 25% of oil demand of India is covered by Nigeria. Currently, India purchases 30% of Nigeria’s every day crude oil production.

Also, several Indian companies are involved in oil drilling in Nigeria. Many others have plans to set up refineries in the country.

Nigeria is the largest crude oil supplier to India in the continent of Africa. India imports 400,000 barrels of oil from Nigeria every day. Per year, India buys oil of 10 billion USD annually.

India-Africa:

Africa is resource rich nation. The trade between India and Africa is dominated by pulses, oil, gas, lentils, gold and other metals. In the last two decades, India has increased its trade with African countries. India launched duty-free tariff preferential scheme for the Least Developed Nations in 2008. This benefitted 33 African countries. As China is increasing its dominance in the region, it is important for India to increase its hold of trade and investment and security cooperation with these countries.

Union Cabinet approves India-Finland Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources

In News:

The Union Cabinet approved Memorandum of Understanding between India and Finland for the cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources.

Details:

The agreement was signed between Geological Survey of India, Ministry of Mines and Geological Survey of Finland and Ministry of Employment and Economy, Finland.

The MoU will facilitate cooperation in the field of geology, training, suitable analysis and mineral prognostication. The Geophysical and seismic surveys were finalised to reinforce and strengthen scientific links between the countries. Also, the MoU aims to provide a framework and a platform to promote and foster cooperation in the field of mineral resources and geology. The platform will also help to share experiences on geological data, information dissemination.

The objectives of the survey are to be achieved by ground, marine and air-borne surveys, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-environmental, geo-technical and natural hazards studies.

Significance:

Finland is rich in minerals such as iron, copper, chromium, nickel and gold.

About Finland:

Finland is usually at the top if various metrics of national performance. This is mainly because the country has good education system, civil liberties, economic competitiveness, human development. Between 2011 and 2016, Finland was the most stable country.

Finland has been the world’s happiest country in the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 under World Happiness Report. The report is prepared by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions.

UN World Happiness Report, 2020:

The report was published in March 2020. The report ranked 156 countries. The rankings were based on GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, generosity and absence of corruption. India was ranked 140 in the report.

Sustainable Development Solutions Network:

It was launched in 2012 to promote practical problems in solving Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Change.

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