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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Jan 05, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Does reduced role of AMPCs benefit farmers?

It has been over a month that farmers have been protesting near Delhi against the three Farm Laws that were passed in September’2020. Lack of assurance in these laws about the Minimum Support Price (MSP), reduced role of APMCs, etc., are a few of the apprehensions of the protesting farmers.

We will look at current status of APMC now.

APMC Acts are not implemented uniformly across the states

Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMCs) are marketing boards established by State Governments to ensure farmers get a fair price for their produce.  The 2003 Model APMC Act, provided new guidelines regarding Agriculture Marketing. Since agriculture is a state subject, it was left to the states to legislate their own APMC law. While most of the states have enacted an APMC law, there are certain exceptions.

While few of the Northeastern States have not implemented the APMC law, Bihar & Kerala are the larger states where APMCs do not exist. Bihar has repealed the APMC act in 2006.

While few of the Northeastern States have not implemented the APMC law, Bihar & Kerala are the larger states where APMCs do not exist. Bihar has repealed the APMC act in 2006.

We will take example of Bihar and see whether reduced role of APMCs has benefitted the farmers?

The information is taken from RBI’s Handbook of Statistics on Indian States 2019-20 under the head “Agriculture & Allied”.

Check the Goss sown Area: No major change can be observed.

In 2004-05, Rice was sown in 31.2 lakh hectares and Wheat in 20.2 lakh hectares in the state of Bihar. Both these crops constituted around 65% of the total sown area (79.4 Lakh hectares).

By 2018-19, the total area under cultivation for these crops in Bihar reached 80.9 lakh hectares, a marginal increase compared to 2004-05. The highest during the period was 2007-08, with 85.4 lakh hectares.  As stated earlier, Bihar repealed the APMC Act in 2006.

The data over the period indicates that there is no major change observed in the extent of land being used for Rice and Wheat cultivation.

While there is no major change in Rice & Wheat cultivation, there has been a shift in trends for other crops. The area under cultivation of pulses reduced from around 6.5 lakh hectares in 2004-05 to around 4.79 lakh hectares in 2018-19. Oil Seeds and Raw Jute also saw a reduction in the area of cultivation.

See below production has decreased.

 

So, we can conclude from all above data that decreasing or repealing APMCs doesn’t increase production or area and provides lot of benefits to farmers.

You can use this article as case study in your answer. And one question related to this will definitely appear next year.

 

Current Affair 2:
Iran Steps Up Uranium Enrichment

Recently, Iran has resumed enriching uranium up to 20% in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

We will cover tis stiry what Iran is doing and also we will see Nuclear staus of India in brief.

First see, what is Enriched Uranium?

Enriched Uranium is produced by feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges to separate out the most suitable isotope for nuclear fission, called U-235.

Low-enriched uranium, which typically has a 3-5% concentration of U-235, can be used to produce fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

Highly enriched uranium has a concentration of 20% or more and is used in research reactors. Weapons-grade uranium is 90% enriched or more.

Story about Iran is not much important, but you read once.

What is allowed in Iran?

We will see now what all happens in Iran later.

Ok, let us see something important about India related to Uranium.

As of December 2020: Nuclear Energy contributes less than 2 Percent.

The main reason for low share has been the low installed capacity base. The reasons for low-capacity base are:

  1. Technology development and international embargo regime that persisted from 1974 to 2008. As a result, all the technologies for nuclear power including the fuel cycle technologies had to be developed within the country, thus took time.
  2. Another constraint faced during the first two decades was availability of financial resources, as it had to solely depend on budgetary support. However, the earlier constraints have now been overcome and nuclear power programme is poised for rapid expansion.

 

So, total capacity of Nuclear is 6780MW, i.e., 1.8%.

If you add capacity of all Nuclear Power Plants below, it is 6780 MW.

Out of the seven states with uranium reserves, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have currently operating mines.

The Uranium Corporation of India Limited is involved in the mining and processing uranium ore in the country. According to the Uranium corporation, mining operations at Jaduguda (Jharkhand) began in 1967, and it is India’s first uranium mine.

The other important uranium mine is in Andhra Pradesh:

Current Affair 3:
‘School Bag Policy, 2020’ released by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)

Source Link

The Directorate of Education has issued a circular asking schools to follow the new ‘School Bag Policy, 2020’ released by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

Just see few guidelines in circulars:

  1. According to the circular, schoolteachers should inform the students in advance about the books and notebooks to be brought to school on a particular day and frequently check their bags to ensure that they are not carrying unnecessary material.
  2. The weight of the school bags, as per the policy, should be 1.6 to 2.2 kg for students of Classes I and II, 1.7 to 2.5 kg for Classes III, IV and V, 2 to 3 kg for Classes VI and VII, 2.5 to 4 kg for Class VIII, 2.5 to 4.5 kg for Classes IX and X and 3.5 to 5 kg for Classes XI and XII.
  3. It adds that the teachers should take the responsibility of checking the weight of school bags of the students every three months on a day selected for the whole class and any information about heavy bags should be communicated to the parents.
  4. To reduce the weight of the school bag, the circular says that it is the duty and the responsibility of the school management to provide quality potable water in sufficient quantity to all the students in the school so that they do not need to carry water bottles from their homes.
  5. It adds, Heavy school bags are a serious threat to the health and well-being of students. The heavy school bag has severe/adverse physical effects on growing children which can cause damage to their vertebral column and knees.
  6. It adds that files and thin/light exercise books should be preferred to thick/heavy ones.

About NCERT:

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education.

The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to:

  1. undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education
  2. prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc.
  3. organize pre-service and in-service training of teachers
  4. develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practice
  5. collaborate and network with state educational departments, universities, NGOs and other educational institutions
  6. act as a clearing house for ideas and information in matters related to school education
  7. and act as a nodal agency for achieving the goals of Universalization of Elementary Education.

Current Affair 4:
Stats of Pangolin in India.

Source Link

Recently, the Odisha Forest department has stressed the need for stricter monitoring of social media platforms to check pangolin poaching and trading.

Of the eight species found worldwide (four each in Asia and Africa), two are found in India: Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata and Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla.

The Indian Pangolin is found throughout the country south of the Himalayas, excluding the north-eastern region while the Chinese Pangolin ranges through Assam and the eastern Himalayas.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are the only known mammals with large keratin scales covering their skin.

Indian Pangolins are categorized as Endangered in IUCN Red List.

Threats to pangolins

  1. The primary threat to most pangolin species is illegal hunting and poaching, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  2. Using Pangolin scales for traditional medicines is another huge threat to the species as the scales are used as an ingredient in traditional Asian medicine, especially in China and Vietnam.
  3. Scales are believed to be a cure for a various disease such as heart disease, cancer and are used to help lactating women produce milk.
  4. Consuming its meat either locally or as a luxury product is also listed as a serious threat because the mammals have been consumed as a source of protein throughout history.
  5. Pangolin also is a victim of illegal wildlife trade for its meat and scales although international trade of pangolin has been prohibited.
  6. Apart from these issues, habitat loss and degradation also play a negative role in the declining pangolin population.

Nearly 6000 pangolins were poached in India between 2009 and 2017, despite a ban, with Manipur and Tamil Nadu emerging as hotspots for pangolin smuggling, says a report released by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

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