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3rd December Current Affairs

World Fisheries Day

In News:

World Fisheries Day is observed every year on 21st November since 1997.

About:

Aims & Objectives: To demonstrate solidarity with all fisher-folk communities, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders throughout the world.

It focuses on sustainability of fisheries and witnessed interaction between experts and fish farmers.

Theme: Ways for sustainable Fisheries Productivity and the contribution of each one of us.

The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying is celebrating the day and will award best performing States in the Fisheries Sector for 2019-20 for the first time.

Fisheries Sector in India:

The Government of India is working to transform the sector and to usher in economic revolution through the Blue Revolution in the country.

India is a leading fish producing country and the second major producer of fish through aquaculture in the world.

India contributes about 7.7 per cent to the global fish production and it ranks 4th in global exports of fish products..

Fisheries sector in India provides direct employment to about 28 million fishers and fish farmers besides meeting the food and nutritional security and foreign exchange earnings.

About Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY):

It was launched in September 2020 under the Atma Nirbhar Package.

Aims & Objectives:

It focuses on sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country with an estimated investment of ₹20,050 crore for its implementation during 2020-21 to 2024-25.

To enhance the fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25, increasing fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.

To double the incomes of fishers and fish farmers, reducing post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10% and the generation of gainful employment opportunities in the sector.

It will be implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely

Central Sector Scheme: The project cost will be borne by the Central government.

Centrally Sponsored Scheme: All the sub-components/activities will be implemented by the States/UTs and the cost will be shared between Centre and State.

For optimal outcomes, ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.

In Karabakh, Putin plays Peacemaker

Roots of the conflict (In Soviet Era):

  • The largely mountainous and forested Nagorno-Karabakh, home for some 150,000 people, is at the centre of the conflict.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh is located within Azerbaijan but is populated, mostly, by those of Armenian ethnicity. The conflict can be traced back to the pre-Soviet era when the region was at the meeting point of Ottoman, Russian and the Persian empires.
  • Once Azerbaijan and Armenia became Soviet Republics in 1921, Moscow gave Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan but offered autonomy to the contested region.

Post-Soviet collapse:

  • In the 1980s, when the Soviet power was receding, separatist currents picked up in Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1988, the national assembly voted to dissolve the region’s autonomous status and join Armenia. When Armenia and Azerbaijan became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the clashes led to an open war in which tens of thousands were killed. The war lasted till 1994 when both sides reached a ceasefire.

Current status: Independent but unrecognized:

  • By that time, Armenia had taken control of Nagorno-Karabakh and handed it to Armenian rebels. The rebels have declared independence, but have not won recognition from any country.
  • The region is still treated as a part of Azerbaijan by the international community, and Baku wants to take it back.

Current clashes:

  • Despite the ceasefire, there were occasional flare-ups on the border. In July this year, at least 16 people were killed in clashes. After Sunday’s violence, Azerbaijan and Armenia blamed each other. Baku said it was forced to respond after Armenian attacks killed and wounded Azeris. Armenia, on the other side, blamed Azerbaijan for launching the “large-scale” attack targeting peaceful settlements.
  • The energy-rich Azerbaijan has built several gas and oil pipelines across the Caucasus to Turkey and Europe. This includes the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Western Route Export oil pipeline, the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline and the South Caucasus gas pipeline. Some of these pipelines pass close to the conflict zone. In an open war between the two countries, the pipelines could be targeted, which would impact energy supplies.

Turkey’s role:

  • Turkey has historically supported Azerbaijan and has had a troublesome relationship with Armenia. In the 1990s, during the war, Turkey closed its border with Armenia and it has no diplomatic relations with the country.
  • On the other end, the Azeris and Turks share strong cultural and historical links. Azerbaijanis are a Turkic ethnic group and their language is from the Turkic family. After Azerbaijan became independent, Turkey established strong relations with the country, which has been ruled by a dynastic dictatorship. In July, after the border clashes, Turkey held a joint military exercise with Azerbaijan. On September 28, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Armenia for the most recent clashes and offered support to Azerbaijan. There were reports that Turkey was recruiting mercenaries from West Asia to fight for Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. This fits well into Ankara’s aggressive foreign policy, which seeks to expand Turkish interests to the former Ottoman territories.

Russia’s stand:

Moscow sees the Caucasus and Central Asian region as its backyard. But the current clashes put President Vladimir Putin in a difficult spot. Russia enjoys good ties with both Azerbaijan and Armenia and supplies weapons to both. But Armenia is more dependent on Russia than the energy-rich, ambitious Azerbaijan. Russia also has a military base in Armenia. But Moscow, at least publicly, is trying to strike a balance between the two. Like in the 1990s, its best interest would be in mediating a ceasefire between the warring sides.

Mega Food Park

In News:

Recently, the Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj inaugurated Mega Food Park (MFP) at Phagwara in Kapurthala district of Punjab.

About the Scheme:

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries has been implementing the Mega Food Park Scheme in the country since 2008.

It is based on the “Cluster” approach and envisages the creation of state of art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri / horticultural zone for setting up of modern food processing units in the industrial plots provided in the park with a well-established supply chain.

It is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act.

State Government, State Government entities and Cooperatives are not required to form a separate SPV for implementation of Mega Food Park project.

About Mega Food Park:

They typically consist of supply chain infrastructure including collection centres, primary processing centres, central processing centres, cold chains and around 25-30 fully developed plots for entrepreneurs to set up food processing units.

Aims and objectives:

It aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers.

To ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastage, increasing farmers income and creating employment opportunities particularly in the rural sector.

Significance:

These food parks give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with a particular focus on perishables.