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23rd Feb Current Affairs

Soil Health Card scheme

In News:

The scheme is being implemented in 32 States and UTs.

About the Scheme:

Launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare on December 5, 2015.

Under the scheme, village level Soil Testing Labs will be set up by youth having education in agriculture, Women Self Help Groups, FPOs etc.

The scheme also focuses on enabling employment generation after appropriate skill development.

What is the Soil Health Card (SHC)?

SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings.

Soil Health Card provides two sets of fertilizer recommendations for six crops including recommendations of organic manures.

It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely: pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Organic Carbon (OC), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulphur (S), Zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu) of farm holdings.

Objectives of SHC:

A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his/her holding.

Advise him / her on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments that s/he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.

Significance of SHC:

The scheme provides for the analysis of soil composition by the State Governments once in every two years so that remedial steps can be taken to improve soil nutrients. While the Soil Health Management Scheme has turned out to be a blessing for the farmers, it is also creating jobs for the agrarian youth.

One Nation One Ration Card scheme

In News:

Punjab becomes 13th State to complete One Nation One Ration Card system reform.

The State has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of one thousand five hundred and sixteen crore rupees through Open Market Borrowings.

About the scheme:

One Nation One Ration Card (RC) will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.

Benefits: no poor person is deprived of getting subsidised foodgrains under the food security scheme when they shift from one place to another. It also aims to remove the chance of anyone holding more than one ration card to avail benefits from different states.

Significance: This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.

Standard format of ‘one nation, one ration card’:

A standard format for ration card has been prepared after taking into account the format used by different states.

For national portability, the state governments have been asked to issue the ration card in bi-lingual format, wherein besides the local language, the other language could be Hindi or English.

The states have also been told to have a 10-digit standard ration card number, wherein first two digits will be state code and the next two digits will be running ration card numbers.

Besides this, a set of another two digits will be appended with ration card number to create unique member IDs for each member of the household in a ration card.

ISRO Announces ‘Bhuvan’

In News:

The Department of Space (DoS), under which ISRO comes, has signed an MoU with geospatial technology company CE Info Systems Pvt Ltd.


The collaboration will enable them to jointly identify and build a holistic geospatial portal utilising earth observation datasets, ‘NavIC’, Web Services and APIs (application programming interface) available in MapmyIndia.

The geospatial portals will be called ‘Bhuvan’, ‘VEDAS’ and ‘MOSDAC’.

Key facts:

Bhuvan is the national geo-portal developed and hosted by ISRO comprising geospatial data, services, and tools for analysis.

VEDAS (Visualisation of Earth observation Data and Archival System) is an online geoprocessing platform that uses optical, microwave, thermal, and hyperspectral EO data covering applications particularly meant for academia, research and problem solving.

MOSDAC (Meteorological and Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) is a data repository for all the meteorological missions of ISRO and deals with weather-related information, oceanography, and tropical water cycles.

What is NAVIC?

Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.

NavIC will provide two types of services:

Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users.

Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users.

Its applications include:

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
  • Disaster Management.
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
  • Integration with mobile phones.
  • Precise Timing.
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers.
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers.

How many satellites does NAVIC consist of?

It is powered by eight IRNSS satellites, of which one provides messaging services.

Three of these will be geostationary over the Indian Ocean, i.e., they will appear to be stationary in the sky over the region, and four will be geosynchronous – appearing at the same point in the sky at the same time every day.

This configuration ensures each satellite is being tracked by at least one of fourteen ground stations at any given point of time, with a high chance of most of them being visible from any point in India.

Why it is necessary to have indigenous global navigation system?

Having a global navigation system bolsters the ability of a nation to serve as a net security provider, especially through the guarantee of such assurance policies. It can also play a significant role in relief efforts post disasters such as the tsunami in the Indian Ocean region in 2004 and the Pakistan-India earthquake in 2005.