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8th October Current Affairs

PM MITRA scheme

(GS-II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes)

In News:

The government has approved the setting up of seven PM MITRA textiles parks, following the “Union Budget for 2021-22″ commitments, with a total outlay of Rs. 4,445 crores in a period of 5 years.

About “PM-MITRA” Scheme:

The scheme aims to realize the vision of building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat by positioning India strongly on the Global textiles map.

It is inspired by the 5F vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister –Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign.

Aim:

The scheme aims to create a world-class industrial infrastructure that would attract cutting-edge technology and boost FDI and local investment in the sector.

Selection of sites:

Sites for the scheme will be selected by a Challenge Method, based on objective criteria for Greenfield / Brownfield sites.

Implementation:

PM MITRA park will be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle which will be owned by the Central and State Government and in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Mode.

Each MITRA Park will have an incubation centre, common processing house and a common effluent treatment plant and other textile related facilities such as design centres and testing centres.

The Master Developer will not only develop the Industrial Park but also maintain it during the concession period.

Funding:

Under the scheme, the centre will provide development capital support for the development of common infrastructure of Rs 500 crore for each greenfield MITRA park and upto Rs 200 crore for each brownfield park.

Greenfield describes a completely new project that has to be executed from scratch, while a brownfield project is one that has been worked on by others.

Eligibility for Incentives:

An additional Rs 300 crore will be provided as Competitiveness Incentive Support for the early establishment of textiles manufacturing units in each of these parks.

Investors who set up “anchor plants” that employ at least 100 people will be eligible for incentives of upto Rs 10 crore every year for upto three years.

What are the advantages of the PM-MITRA Scheme?

The scheme intended to generate approximately 1 lakh direct and 2 lakh indirect employment per park.

The Scheme will offer an opportunity to create an integrated textiles value chain right from spinning, weaving, processing/dyeing and printing to garment manufacturing at one location that would ease business and will reduce logistics costs of the Industry.

Buddhist Circuit

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

Centre has planned major infrastructure push for Buddhist Circuit. The Union Tourism Ministry has aggressively started tourism promotion with participation of the industry stakeholders, especially after the dramatic improvement of Covid situation in the country and achievement of vaccination targets.

What is Buddhist Circuit?

The Buddhist Circuit project was announced by the central government in 2016. Since then, Rs 343 crore has been sanctioned for the project under various schemes.

The Buddhist circuit is a route that follows in the footsteps of the Buddha from Lumbini in Nepal where he was born, through Bihar in India where he attained enlightenment, to Sarnath and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh in India, where he gave his first teachings and died.

Development of the circuit:

Under the Ministry of Tourism’s flagship Swadesh Darshan scheme, multiple projects have been undertaken in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the plan is to further develop the sites of Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Viashali, Sarnath, Shravasti, Kushinagar, Kaushambi, Sankisa and Kapilavastu.

These sites currently receive approximately six per cent of nationwide foreign tourist arrivals, with Sarnath and Bodh Gaya leading the pack.

Coverage:

Initially, it was envisaged only to seven major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, later it was expanded to 21 more states to make it India’s first trans- national tourist circuit.

It has identified stupas and viharas in these 21 states, around which small intra-state Buddhist zones will be developed.

The states now that will be covered include Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal, Goa, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir.

The Buddhist circuit has four international and two domestic airports, while two more in the pipeline.

There are also plans of developing helicopter services and improving international connectivity under the UDAN scheme.

Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

It was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in 2014-15 to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country.

It is a 100% centrally funded scheme for project components undertaken for public funding.

It also has provision for leveraging voluntary funding under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and the corporate sector.

Under this scheme, 13 thematic circuits have been identified for development.

These are:

  • Buddhist Circuit,
  • North-East India Circuit,
  • Coastal Circuit,
  • Himalayan Circuit,
  • Krishna Circuit,
  • Desert Circuit,
  • Eco Circuit,
  • Wildlife Circuit,
  • Tribal Circuit,
  • Rural Circuit,
  • Spiritual Circuit,
  • Ramayana Circuit and
  • Heritage Circuit.

Meeting of range countries of Central Asian Flyway (CAF)

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

In News:

A virtual two-day CAF range countries’ meeting was held recently.

What is migration? Why is it significant?

Migration is an adaptation mechanism to help birds overcome weather adversities and unavailability of food in colder regions.

The importance of bird migrations on the health of the ecosystems is well-established.

Saving migratory birds means saving the wetlands, terrestrial habitats and saving of an ecosystem, benefiting communities dependent on wetlands.

Challenges faced by migratory birds:

Accelerated habitat loss globally during the last decade.

Decreased area under water bodies, wetlands, natural grasslands and forests.

Increased weather variability, and climate change have resulted in loss of biodiversity for the migratory birds.

Way ahead:

Conserving migratory birds requires cooperation and coordination along the entire Central Asian Flyway (CAF) between countries and across national boundaries.

What is a flyway?

A flyway is a geographical region within which a single or a group of migratory species completes its annual cycle – breeding, moulting, staging and non-breeding.

About the Central Asian Flyway:

Central Asian Flyway (CAF) covers a large area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans.

Including India, there are 30 countries under the Central Asian Flyway.

The CAF comprises several important migration routes of waterbirds, most of which extend from the northernmost breeding grounds in Siberia to the southernmost non-breeding wintering grounds in West Asia, India, the Maldives and the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Why do countries need to protect Flyways?

Approximately one in five of the world’s 11,000 bird species migrate, some covering enormous distances. Conserving migratory birds requires cooperation and coordination along the entire flyway between countries and across national boundaries.

Safeguarding flyways means protecting the birds from poachers, rejuvenating wetlands among others. Saving the wetlands, terrestrial habitats help in fulfilling the bigger purpose of saving an ecosystem.

CAATSA

(GS-II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora)

In News:

In the first such signal to New Delhi, visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has indicated that Washington might reconsider slapping sanctions on the Indian government when New Delhi takes delivery of five Russian-built S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile systems in a US$5.5 billion deal later this year.

What next?

There has been unease in Washington ever since 2016 when India announced the deal with Russia, which remains New Delhi’s biggest defence partner.

Now, the S-400 deal could attract sanctions under US’ CAATSA law. The US has already sanctioned China and Turkey over similar purchases.

What is the S-400 air defence missile system? Why does India need it?

The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.

It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

What is CAATSA, and how did the S-400 deal fall foul of this Act?

  • Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
  • Enacted in 2017.
  • Includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.

What sanctions will be imposed?

  • prohibition on loans to the sanctioned person.
  • prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons.
  • prohibition on procurement by United States Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned person.
  • denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned person.