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April 19, 2021
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17th April Current Affairs

African swine fever

In News:

An outbreak of suspected African swine fever (ASF) has killed 276 domestic pigs in Lunglei district of Mizoram.


As a part of the preventive measures, the local authorities have restricted the procurement and supply of pigs from and to the affected area and the district beyond.

About African Swine Fever (ASF):

ASF is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects domestic and wild pigs, typically resulting in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.

It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.

The mortality is close to 100 per cent, and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.

ASF is not a threat to human beings since it only spreads from animals to other animals.

According to the FAO, “its extremely high potential for transboundary spread has placed all the countries in the region in danger and has raised the spectre of ASF once more escaping from Africa. It is a disease of growing strategic importance for global food security and household income”.

RBI extends fresh support of 50,000 cr. to NABARD

In News:

To help mitigate the impact of the pandemic and aid economic revival, the RBI said it would extend fresh support of ₹50,000 crore to the All India Financial Institutions for new lending in FY22.


Accordingly, NABARD will be provided a special liquidity facility (SLF) of ₹25,000 crore for one year to support agriculture and allied activities, the rural non-farm sector and non-banking financial companies-micro finance institutions.

An SLF of ₹10,000 crore will be extended to the National Housing Bank for one year to support the housing sector.

SIDBI will be provided ₹15,000 crore under this facility for up to one year for funding of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).


It is an apex development and specialized bank established on 12 July 1982 by an act by the parliament of India.

Its main focus is to uplift rural India by increasing the credit flow for elevation of agriculture & rural non farm sector.

It was established based on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the chairmanship of Shri B. shivaraman.

It replaced the Agricultural Credit Department (ACD) and Rural Planning and Credit Cell (RPCC) of Reserve Bank of India, and Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).

It has been accredited with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.

Important functions:

  • It provides refinance support for building rural infrastructure.
  • It prepares district level credit plans to guiding and motivating the banking industry in achieving these targets.
  • It supervises Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and helping them develop sound banking practices and integrate them to the CBS (Core Banking Solution) platform.
  • It provides training to handicraft artisans and helps them in developing a marketing platform for selling these articles.

Incentives for solar energy sector

The Union Cabinet has approved two production-linked incentive schemes for:

  • White goods (air-conditioners and LED lights).
  • High-efficiency solar photovoltaic modules.

About the PLI scheme:

The prime objective of the PLI scheme is to make manufacturing in India globally competitive by removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale and ensuring efficiencies.

It is designed to create complete component ecosystem in India and make India an integral part of the global supply chains.

The scheme would extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales of goods made in India for five years.


  • Additional 10,000 MW capacity of integrated solar PV manufacturing plants.
  • Direct investment of around Rs.17,200 crore in solar PV manufacturing projects.
  • Demand of Rs.17,500 crore over 5 years for ‘Balance of Materials’.
  • Direct employment of about 30,000 and Indirect employment of about 1,20,000 persons.
  • Import substitution of around Rs.17,500 crore every year.
  • Impetus to Research & Development to achieve higher efficiency in solar PV modules.

Civil defence volunteers

In News:

The Delhi Police recently issued a statement, pointing out that civil defence personnel, also known as Delhi Civil Defence (DCD) volunteers, have no power to stop people using police barricades and prosecute them for violation of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour such as not wearing masks.

What’s the issue?

From being lauded for their work during the pandemic to facing allegations of high-handedness, the role of the civil defence volunteers in the national capital has come under intense scrutiny in the recent past.

One such incident recently turned into a full blown fist-fight between a group of civil defence personnel and general public near IIT-Delhi.

So, who are these civil defence volunteers?

In Delhi, these are men and women who work under the command of the district magistrates.

The overall command lies with the divisional commissioner, to which the DMs report.

These volunteers are governed by the Civil Defence Act, 1968.

What is civil defence?

According to the Civil Defence Act, 1968, civil defence is defined as any measure “not amounting to actual combat, that protects persons, property and places in India from hostile attack”.

The 2010 amendment expanded the definition by including disaster management as one of the responsibilities.

Basic role of the volunteers:

To assist the local administration. During the pandemic, the volunteers assumed the role of frontline workers by way of participating in screening hotspots and distributing food for the needy. In the recent months, DCD volunteers have also been deployed to ensure social distancing in markets and other crowded places and also at vaccination sites.