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18th May Current Affairs

Experts Believe Fortified Rice Is Leading To Side-Effects Among Adivasis

(GS-III: Food security related issues)

In News:

According to a report, iron-fortified rice should no longer be distributed to address anaemia in places like Jharkhand.

These states contain large tribal populations with sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and tuberculosis, all of which can be exacerbated by an excess of iron.


To combat hunger and poor health outcomes among a wide segment of the population, the Union Cabinet approved a programme on April 8 to deliver fortified rice through government-run food programmes.

The decision was made following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise during his 2021 Independence Day speech that his government would solely provide fortified rice in all food initiatives by 2024.

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.

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.

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.

World Forestry Congress adopts Seoul Forest Declaration

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

The Seoul Forest Declaration was an outcome of the discussions held at the recently concluded XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul, South Korea.

This was the second congress held in Asia, with Indonesia hosting the first Congress in Asia in 1978.

About World Forestry Congress:

The World Forestry Congress is held approximately once every six years.

The first Congress was held in Italy in 1926.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has helped host countries organize the Congress since 1954.

Responsibility for the organization and financing of each Congress lies with the host country.

Theme for 2022: Building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future with Forests.

What is WFC? What is it not?

The Congress is not an intergovernmental meeting; it has no formal constituencies nor country delegations.

The Congress is a forum for the exchange of views and experiences on all aspects of forests and forestry, which may lead to the formulation of broad recommendations applicable at national, regional and global levels.

Seoul Forest Declaration:

It identifies priority areas with potential to lead to a green, healthy and resilient future.

It urges that responsibility for forests should be shared and integrated across institutions, sectors and stakeholders.

Investment in forest and landscape restoration globally needs to triple by 2030.

Move towards a circular bioeconomy and climate neutrality.

Other outcomes of XV World Forestry Congress:

New partnerships launched:

The Assuring the Future of Forests with Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) Mechanism.

The Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) initiative.

What is Forest landscape restoration?

It is the ongoing process of regaining ecological functionality and enhancing human well-being across deforested or degraded forest landscapes.

FLR is more than just planting trees – it is restoring a whole landscape to meet present and future needs and to offer multiple benefits and land uses over time.

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022

(GS-III: Infrastructure- energy)

In News:

It is an annual country benchmarking report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Key findings:

The report found that energy transition is not matching with the growing urgency for change.

Energy affordability, energy security, and sustainability are becoming more important than ever.

Energy unaffordability is threatening the goal of fair and just transition.

There is a lack of energy diversity.

Key recommendations:

The report called for urgent action by both public and private sectors to ensure resilient energy transition.

A comprehensive approach with a proper timeline is critical to achieving long-term climate goals.

The governments should prioritize access to affordable energy for all. Energy equity can be ensured with the help of direct benefits transfer (DBT) and other support measures.

To diversify, import-dependent countries must try to import energy from many countries and not overly depend on a few countries.

Domestic energy can be diversified with low-carbon alternatives which make countries self-reliant and ensure energy security.

Regulatory frameworks need to be made robust to attract investments in clean energy and to ensure that commitments turn into legally binding frameworks.

Decarbonizing industries are critical to the energy transition.

What is 5Gi?

(GS-III: Developments in Science and Technology)

In News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently opened India’s first 5G testbed, which will allow start-ups and industrial companies to test their products locally, eliminating reliance on international facilities.


He added during the occasion that India’s own 5G standard, 5Gi, was a source of great pride for the country and that it will play a significant role in delivering 5G technology to the country’s villages.

What is 5Gi?

The 5G Radio Interface Technology, called 5Gi is a locally designed telecommunication network that has been designed by IIT Hyderabad, IIT Madras and the Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology.

The technology will be an alternative to the global 5G standards.

5Gi offers more range at a lower frequency, which is the opposite of 5G. The latter works between the 700 MHz to 52,000 MHz bands and sacrifices on range.

Benefits of 5Gi:

Using the 5Gi standard will allow telcos in the country to widen the 5G connectivity to villages.


5Gi can make sure there is no lag between the advancement of 5Gi in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and rural parts of the country.

Challenges of 5Gi:

This could become problematic for telcos. Their existing setup will have to be re-engineered to support the 5Gi standard. And that will cost them a lot of money once again.

Moving from 5G to 5Gi will be cost-intensive and most likely make the local bands incompatible with the global network right now. Because 5Gi cannot work with the global 5G standard that is based on the 3GPP technology.