Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Dec 09, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Reforms in Agriculture Marketing

A small history of regulation of Agriculture Marketing

In India, agricultural produce market regulations have been in place even during the British rule since the producers had to incur high marketing costs due to varied reasons such as Hatta system, and trader’s monopoly. Since the British rulers wanted to make cotton available at reasonable prices in the textile mills of Manchester, the first regulated market (Karanja) was established in 1886 under Hyderabad Residency Order. Berar Cotton and Grain Market Act of 1887 was the first legislation under which an empowered British Resident could decide any place in the assigned district as a market and set up a committee to supervise regulated markets.

The act was considered a model for the rest of the country. The recommendation of the Royal Commission of Agriculture is considered an important landmark in the history of agriculture marketing.

It was only in 1960s and 70s that the states began implementing the regulations, and gradually, organized agricultural marketing came into existence with the establishment of APMCs.

In 2003, to bring about a much-needed reform in the agriculture market, the then government released the 2003 Model APMC Act that brought about new market channels such as private wholesale markets, direct purchase, and contract farming.

The latest model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 was released in 2017 to bring about reforms in agricultural marketing after 14 years of the first model act in 2003.

One thing is very important to note here is:

As per the Constitution of India. Intra-state trade in commodities falls under the State list, therefore, different states have different APMC Acts, and the marketing committees are set up as per the law prevalent there. As per a Lok Sabha answer as in November 2019, Arunachal Pradesh had adopted the 2017 model fully while the states of Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab had adopted some of the major provisions of the act.

What are the major drawbacks of APMC?

  1. One major drawback of the APMC model is the restriction imposed on farmers.  A farmer is not allowed to sign a contract with a manufacturer or processor.
  2. It is mandatory that they sell their produce through the specified channels.
  3. Furthermore, even though the act is planned to avoid monopoly, the act tacitly allows monopoly of the APMC over buying the farmer’s produce.
  4. Prevalent corruption in APMCs and typical bureaucratic machinery also act as hindrances to the farmer.
  5. These acts also impose multiple levies of mandi fee and multiple licenses need to be acquired. These shortcomings have been hotly debated in the light the COVID-19 induced lockdown.

One of the three Acts, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 remove this problem of APMC. We have already covered all three bills in details in previous sections but today also we will see to it.

Now we will look at in brief three bills focus on reducing the barriers in Agricultural Marketing.

  1. Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
  2. Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020
  3. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020

The stated purpose of this act is to create an ecosystem where the farmers and the traders have the flexibility of choice with the availability of various alternatives. The act also aims to promote efficient, transparent and barrier free inter-state and intra-state trading beyond the APMCs (Agricultural Produce Market Committee)

The act limits the control of APMCs to the APMC market yard and the other trading parties are free to transact the agricultural produce beyond the limits of market yards which are now being referred to as ‘trade area’.

Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

The second act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act- 1955. The act aims to remove the unpredictability in notifying stocking limits by linking to rule-based price triggers. The restrictions on the stocking of Essential commodities would be deployed only under exceptional circumstances. The removal of stocking limits is seen by some as aiding the larger players who can now stock the agricultural produce in larger quantities, which was not the case prior to the amendment.

As per the amendment, the stocking limits can only be invoked in case there is a 100 % increase in the retail price of horticultural produce or 50% increase in retail price of non-perishable food stuffs.

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement in Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

This act provides for written agreements between the farmers and other parties (agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, individual traders, individuals etc.)

This act provides a framework for contract farming with minimal obligations compared to an earlier proposed Model Contract Farming Act in 2018. It expands the scope of what are considered as farm services. Prior to this national level legislation regarding contract farming, framing of any law related to this subject was left to the state governments. Only a few states have created dedicated laws pertaining to contract farming.

Current Affair 2:
Inter-governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Source Link

A report released by IPBES says that, it is not just the illegal trade in wildlife that has been denuding populations worldwide. Even legal trade has increased manifold in the last three decades and has become highly unsustainable, according to a new report released December 10, 2020.


The report has been prepared by the by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an intergovernmental organisation established to improve the interface between science and policy on issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The European Union and the United States were leading consumers of legally traded wildlife. The US was one of the largest legal importers of wildlife globally, with 10-20 million individual wild animals imported each year, largely for the pet trade.

Learn about Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

IPBES currently has 137 member States. A large number of NGOs, organizations, conventions and civil society groupings also participate in the formal IPBES process as observers.

Is India a member of it? Yes.

Current Affair 3:
Lakshadweep Declared an Organic Union Territory

Source Link

After Sikkim, Lakshadweep is the first Union Territory to become 100 per cent organic as all farming is carried out without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, providing access to safer food choices and making agriculture a more environment-friendly activity. The ministry of agriculture has declared the island as organic.

Schemes to promote organic farming in India.

Government of India has been promoting organic farming under two dedicated schemes namely

Mission Organic Value Chain Development North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2015 through State Governments. Under these schemes, support is provided for formation of farmers’ clusters/ Farmer Producer Organization; input procurement, value addition including postharvest infrastructure creation, packaging, branding, publicity, transportation, organic fairs etc.

  1. Under PKVY, assistance of Rs. 50,000 per hectare/ 3 years is allowed out of which Rs. 31,000 (61%) is provided to farmer directly through DBT for input (biofertilizers, biopesticides, vermicompost, botanical extracts etc.) production/ procurement, packing, marketing etc.
  2. Under MOVCDNER, assistance is provided to the farmers in a value chain mode starting from formation of Farmers Producer Organisations (FPOs), on/off farm input production, supply of seeds/ planting materials, post-harvest infrastructure including collection, sorting, grading facilities, establishment of integrated processing unit, refrigerated transportation, pre-cooling/ cold stores chamber, branding, labelling and packaging, etc.

Organic Farming is also supported under other schemes viz Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), Network Project on Organic Farming under ICAR. Third party certification of organic farming is promoted by Agriculture Processed Food and Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce.

Now two important points below, very important for Prelims.

Cultivable land area under organic farming has more than doubled from 11.83 lakh ha in 2014 to 29.17 lakh ha in 2020 due to the focused efforts of the Government.

See map also.

Current Affair 4:
New Height for Mount Everest

Source Link

Very small news but is important.

Nepal and China have announced the revised height of Mount Everest as 8,848.86 metres. The new height is 86 cm more than the previous measurement.

The 8,848m height Nepal had been using for Mount Everest was determined by the Survey of India in 1954, but for the first time the country has now conducted its own measurement of the summit

Survey of India, The National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country under the Department of Science & Technology, is the OLDEST SCIENTIFIC DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVT. OF INDIA.

It was set up in 1767 and has evolved rich traditions over the years. In its assigned role as the nation's Principal Mapping Agency, Survey of India bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country's domain is explored and mapped suitably, provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development and ensure that all resources contribute with their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of our country now and for generations to come.

Few maps:

Something more, not useful for exam. Interesting to find:

Current Affair 5:
National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT)

It was in news due to Tat-Mistry dispute. No need to know for Prelims.

Just learn National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT)

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT), with effect from 1st June 2016.

NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by NCLT(s) under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), with effect from 1st December 2016.

NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India under Section 202 and Section 211 of IBC.

NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made, or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) – as per the amendment brought to Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 by Section 172 of the Finance Act, 2017, with effect from 26th May 2017.


The President of the Tribunal and the chairperson and Judicial Members of the Appellate Tribunal shall be appointed after consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

The Members of the Tribunal and the Technical Members shall be appointed on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of:

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