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11th April Current Affairs

Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana

(GS-II: Schemes for the welfare of vulnerable sections of the society)

In News:

The youth, owing to their educational backwardness, are finding difficulties to obtain employment with good compensation after undergoing short-term skilling courses.


In this background, the government has highlighted the need for and significance of this scheme.

About the scheme:

The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from the year 2020-21.

Under the scheme, eligible target groups are being provided skill development training programmes on up-skilling/reskilling, short term training programme, long term training programme and entrepreneurship development program (EDP).

Eligibility: Marginalized persons of SC, OBC, Economically Backward Classes, De-notified tribes, Sanitation workers including waste pickers, manual scavengers, transgenders and other similar categories.

Significance and the need for the scheme:

Most of the persons of target group are having minimal economic assets; therefore, provision of training and enhancing their competencies is essential for economic empowerment/ upliftment of these marginalized target groups.

Many of the persons of target group belong to the category of rural artisans who have become marginalized owing to coming of better technologies in market.

There is also a need to empower the women amongst the target group, who, due to their overall domestic compulsions, cannot be involved in wage employment which normally involves long working hours and sometimes migration to other cities.

UN peacekeepers

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

Canada and allies are planning to work togather to support among United Nations General Assembly members, including China, for a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine.

Need of the hour:

Countries opposing Russia’s invasion should seek a recommendation from the General Assembly for a peacekeeping mission with the goal of keeping humanitarian corridors open.

How are UN Peacekeeping operations funded?

While decisions about establishing, maintaining or expanding a peacekeeping operation are taken by the Security Council, the financing of UN Peacekeeping operations is the collective responsibility of all UN Member States.

Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of the Charter of the United Nations.

The top 5 providers of assessed contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping operations for 2020-2021 are:

  • United States (27.89%).
  • China (15.21%).
  • Japan (8.56%).
  • Germany (6.09%).
  • United Kingdom (5.79%).

What is peacekeeping? It’s significance?

United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.

Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council.


UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.

Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis.

Civilian staff of peace operations are international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  • Consent of the parties.
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

Fortified Rice

(GS-III: Issues relating to poverty and hunger)

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved a scheme to distribute fortified rice under government programmes.

Efforts by Government in this regard:

Food Corporation of India and state agencies have already procured 88.65 LMT (lakh tonnes) of fortified rice for supply and distribution.

In 2019, the government approved a Centrally sponsored pilot scheme for fortification of rice for a period of three years beginning 2019-2020. The scheme is being implemented in 15 districts across as many States.

In 2020, during his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that by 2024 rice made available under every government programme will be fortified to fight malnutrition.

The government ramped up distribution of fortified rice last year across anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (now rechristened Saksham anganwadi and Poshan 2.0) as well as mid-day meal scheme implemented at schools (renamed as PM Poshan).


Public health experts have however raised concerns over fortification of rice as an effective tool to fight malnutrition and have said diversification of diet is more important.

Many also argue that iron fortified rice along with ongoing government schemes that provide iron supplements could lead to excessive intake of iron and lead to risk of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

Need for Rice fortification:

The country has high levels of malnutrition among women and children.

According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anaemic and every third child is stunted.

India ranks 94 out of 107 countries and is in the ‘serious hunger’ category on the Global Hunger Index (GHI).

Malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in poor women and poor children poses major obstacles in their development.

What is food fortification?

Food fortification is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.

Fortified rice:

According to the Food Ministry, fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets.

According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice will contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram) and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram).

In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, with zinc (10 mg-15 mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5 mg-20 mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kg.

What are the benefits of Fortification?

Since the nutrients are added to staple foods that are widely consumed, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.

Fortification is a safe method of improving nutrition among people. The addition of micronutrients to food does not pose a health risk to people.

It does not require any changes in food habits and patterns of people. It is a socio-culturally acceptable way to deliver nutrients to people.

It does not alter the characteristics of the food—the taste, the feel, the look.

It can be implemented quickly as well as show results in improvement of health in a relatively short period of time.

This method is cost-effective especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.

Coal gasification

(GS-III: Infrastructure- Energy)

In News:

Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL) has plans of setting up a coal gasification plant — the second in the country — at its Raigarh plant in Chhattisgarh.


India is committed to cut consumption of coal, a primary pollutant, in power plants to half by 2030 and reduce its overall carbon footprint. Coal gasification is considered a greener alternative to burning the fossil fuel in furnaces.

What is coal gasification?

It is the process of producing syngas, a mixture consisting of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), natural gas (CH4), and water vapour (H2O).

During gasification, coal is blown with oxygen and steam while also being heated under high pressure.

During the reaction, oxygen and water molecules oxidize the coal and produce syngas.


Transporting gas is a lot cheaper than transporting coal.

Help address local pollution problems.

Has greater efficiency than conventional coal-burning because it can effectively use the gases twice: the coal gases are first cleansed of impurities and fired in a turbine to generate electricity. The exhaust heat from the gas turbine can be captured and used to generate steam for a steam turbine-generator.

Concerns and challenges:

Coal gasification is one of the more water-intensive forms of energy production.

There are also concerns about water contamination, land subsidence and disposing of waste water safely.

Coal dependency of India:

India is the second largest importer, consumer and producer of coal, and has the world’s fourth largest reserves.

Recent Reforms In Coal Sector:

Commercial mining of coal allowed, with 50 blocks to be offered to the private sector.

Entry norms will be liberalised as it has done away with the regulation requiring power plants to use “washed” coal.

Coal blocks to be offered to private companies on a revenue sharing basis in place of fixed cost.

Coal bed methane (CBM) extraction rights to be auctioned from Coal India’s coal mines.