JOURNEY OF HUNTERS & GATHERERS TO EARLY FARMERS-AN OVERVIEW
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07th August Current Affairs

GoI launches NCDC YouTube Channel “Sahakar Cooptube NCDC India”

In News:

The Union Agriculture Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar launched YouTube channel of National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) called “Sahakar Cooptube NCDC India”.

Details:

The channel will focus on encouraging youth and farmers to learn about the benefits of cooperatives. It will aim to bring in more youths in the cooperative sector.

The videos in the channel are to be launched in Hindi and other regional languages. The channel has so far been covering 18 states and more states are to be added in the near future.

Significance:

The guidance videos being posted in the channel will help strengthening major initiatives of central government. It will help to promote 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations. These 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations were launched by PM Modi in February 2020.

Background:

The Government of India is focusing on forming at least one FPO at each block level. This is for deeper percolation of the schemes such as Fasal Bima Yojana, PM Kisan Credit Card Scheme. The channel will help central government achieve this goal.

Current issue:

In India around 86% of Indian farmers are small and marginal. Their average land holdings are less than 1.1 hectares. These farmers along with landless farmers are facing challenges in accessing quality seeds, technologies, fertilisers and pesticides. The FPOs and other cooperatives will provide a platform for collectivisation of small, marginal and landless farmers. They will give collective strength to deal with the above issues.

Thus, the NCDC Youtube channel will act as platform to reach to these inaccessible farmers and pull them into the cooperatives.

National Cooperative Development Corporation:

The NCDC plays major role in the formation of Farmer Producer Organizations. According to the Agriculture Ministry, NCDC gained huge success with financial assistance of Rs 1,54,000 crores to the cooperatives.

The Cooperatives in India have proven their success in improving economic conditions of the farmers. They have acquired huge network of more than 8.5 lakh organizations. There are more than 290 million members in these organizations. These members are largely of rural and small marginal farmers.

The First General Council Meeting of Khelo India

In News:

Recently Union Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju in the first general meeting of the Khelo India asked the states to actively organise the Khelo India Games to gather a larger pool of talent from the grassroots level.

Details:

Various annual competitions like the University Games and the Khelo India Youth Games which are organised at the national level under the Khelo India Scheme, have helped identify sporting talent from all states. However, that is not enough. While addressing the event Rijiju praised the States that already conduct annual sporting competitions and urged them to align with the Khelo India Scheme with centre’s full support in conducting these events.

The event:

The first General Council meeting chaired by Kiran Rijiju was also attended by Sports Secretary Ravi Mittal, Director General of the Sports Authority of India, Sandip Pradhan and other senior officials of the sports ministry.

Objective:

To ace at an Olympic event, it takes at least 8 years to groom an athlete. Therefore, we need to identify talent at a very young age of 5-10 years itself and groom them and train them to be future champions. Then only we can make our country a sporting superpower. A five-zonal talent scouting committees have been planned for east, west, north, south and north-east. Selected talent can then be trained at SAI centres built at these five zones. However, to make this come true we need inputs from the state governments in identifying talent the minister stated. For now, eight states where KISCE will be set up has been identified and the Sports Ministry has also received proposals from another 13 states, on which decisions are being finalised. The states have been asked to identify their best sporting infrastructure for the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) and share it with the ministry as early as possible. The Minister assured the States that they will be provided with the fund and extended support from the ministry in building and providing a state of the art infrastructures in training senior athletes from all over the country.

Pakistan’s new political map

In News:

Pakistan recently released a new political map claiming the entire territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and part of Gujarat including the erstwhile state of Junagadh as part of its territory.

Details:

In recent times in the wake of the global pandemic when the whole world is fighting against the deadly virus in unison, our neighbours are in a race to occupy our territory. When India is all set to celebrate, the first anniversary of its decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on 5th August then our neighbour Pakistan a day before the anniversary has made a controversial change in their political map inviting arguments and disputes. This is the second such map revising territorial claims in the South Asian region. Before this, our neighbour in the north “Nepal” printed a political map showing the Kalapani region of Pithoragarh district as part of its sovereign territory.

The changes:

During last one-year Pakistan has made numerous unsuccessfully attempt on trying to rally international support against India on the reorganization of J&K. China which is Pakistan’s all-weather ally too made several attempts to discuss the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council using his veto power. However, these attempts proved futile and were rejected by other member nations of the UN. This newly-released grotesque map is very different from its old version various other territory has been added idiotically. In the early version of the map, the part of Kashmir and Ladakh border with China was not marked and it was described as “Frontier Undecided”. However, the recently released map clearly shows Pakistan frontier attached with India and the entire Kashmir region as its territory. The LOC had been extended to the Karakoram Pass, clearing depicting Siachen as part of Pakistan territory. The LoC had been marked by a red dotted line which means it is a part of their territory. The J&K had been described as “Disputed Territory” of which final status to be decided in line with relevant “UNSC resolutions”. Another big change in the map shows that the international borderlines which were previously along the western bank now lies along the eastern bank of Sir Creek. The map also shows the Federally Administered Tribal Areas as part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan has also shown the region of the erstwhile state of Junagadh as part of its territory though, this is not for the first time in the history before this in the year 2012 in the Atlas of Islamic Republic of Pakistan they portrayed Junagadh as a separate territory. The road previously known as Kashmir Highway has been renamed to a major road in Islamabad as Srinagar Highway.

India’s Reaction:

Hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad released the new political map of his country saying it was approved by the federal Cabinet, India showed strong disapproval. Indian Ministry of External Affairs in a press statement while slamming Pakistan’s “so-called new political map” stated that this is an exercise of political absurdity, which lays untenable claims of Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. This illogical contention has neither legal validity nor international credibility.

RBI launches “Innovation Hub” for Financial Inclusion

In News:

The Reserve Bank of India launched “Innovation Hub” for ideation and incubation of new capabilities that can be leveraged to deepen financial inclusion.

About Innovation Hub:

The hub is being launched to promote the start ups in the country. It will help in ideation and incubation of new capabilities. This will in turn help to deepen financial inclusion in the country and promote efficient banking services.

The hub is to act as a centre to create viable and innovative financial products. This will provide the following benefits

  • The hub will help achieve efficient banking
  • Business continuity in times of emergency
  • Strengthening consumer protection

The RBI has recently taken several similar initiatives to encourage responsible innovation. One such recent initiative is the “Regulatory Sandbox”.

Regulatory Sandbox:

A Regulatory Sandbox refers to live testing of new products and services in a controlled regulatory environment where the regulators may permit regulatory relaxations to limit purpose of testing. This framework will act as a boost for the financial technology startups that are looking to innovate. The main aim of the sandbox is to foster responsible innovation in financial services, bring benefits to consumer and promote efficiency.

Norms:

RBI will launch Sandbox for the entities that meet the criteria of minimum net worth of Rs 25 lakh. The entity should either be a company registered in the country or banks licensed to operate in India.

Background:

According to NITI Aayog, 1 trillion USD worth Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) will be digitally disbursed by 2029. Also, India is one of the fastest growing fintech markets in the world.

The Indian Fintech ecosystem attracts 6 billion USD investments globally since 2014. The Fintech companies use technologies to provide payments, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending. Therefore, to protect consumers and safeguard their interests, there is a need to regulate and supervise fintech firms. Also, there is need to bring in new fintech products to keep up the competition in the world.

First Snow Leopard Conservation Centre of India

In News:

The Uttarakhand State Government is to develop India’s first Snow Leopard Conservation centre of India. The centre is to be developed by the Uttarakhand forest department and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Highlights:

The main aim of the centre is to conserve and restore Himalayan ecosystems. It also aims to conserve elusive snow leopards and other endangered Himalayan species.

Concerns:

A number of snow leopards have been spotted in the districts of Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi. However, the actual figures are unknown. So far, the state government has concluded that there are 86 snow leopards in the state.

There is a need to identify areas where the snow leopards are being spotted. This can be achieved with the help of forest department and cooperation from local people and military forces.

Benefits:

The step is to promote winter tourism in the state. The state is also in the process of developing six city forests to expand the green area in the cities. This is to be achieved in city forests in Kumaon region, four in hilly districts and two in plains.

Snow Leopard in India:

The first National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment was launched on International Snow Leopard Day (October 23, 2019). The survey was conducted in the states/UTs of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. The launch also marked the inaugural of 4th Steering Committee meeting of GSLEP Programme

GSLEP Programme:

GSLEP Programme is Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme. It is an inter-governmental alliance of all 12 snow leopard range countries. This includes China, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

The programme mainly focuses on the need of awareness and understanding the value of snow leopard in an ecosystem. It is organised by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

About Snow Leopard:

The Snow Leopard region in India contributes to 5% of the global snow leopard region. They are classified as Vulnerable in IUCN list and has been included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Conservation Efforts in India:

India had launched Project Snow Leopard to promote inclusive approach that involves local communities.

Secure Himalaya is another project being operated in India to conserve Snow Leopard. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility-United Nations Development Programme. The programme is now being operated in four states/UTs namely Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.