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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Dec 22, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Sessa Orchid Sanctuary

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The Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, was the first, and until recently the only, protected area in the country dedicated to the preservation of naturally growing orchids.

Notified in 1989, Currently, home to 236 naturally growing orchid species, at least five of them endemic including Epipogium sessanum, the one named after the sanctuary, Sessa is a  Conservation International Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot area.

With the sanctuary spreading across indigenous community lands and the local tribal communities such as the Bugun, the Miji and the Hrusso possessing rich ethnobotanical traditions, the points converged to uplift the status of the protected area as part of the collaborative effort.

Not require to go much in detail.

Current Affair 2:
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA)

 

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach that helps guide actions to transform agri-food systems towards green and climate resilient practices.

It aims to tackle three main objectives: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible.

CSA supports the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 based on the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

What constitutes a CSA practice is context-specific, depending on local socio-economic, environmental and climate change factors.

FAO recommends the approach is implemented through five actions points: expanding the evidence base for CSA, supporting enabling policy frameworks, strengthening national and local institutions, enhancing funding, and financing options, and implementing CSA practices at field level.

Climate smart farming takes wing in India

  1. Salt tolerant rice is one example. Rice is a staple crop in India as well as in many parts of Asia and Africa. Climatic extremes including rising sea levels – which cause inland salinization – can seriously affect rice production. The adoption of ‘climate-smart’ rice has led to significant increases in yield in climate change stress-affected areas, including those inhabited by the most impoverished farming communities.
  2. One good example of CSA intervention is Dhundi village in Gujarat, where the farmers irrigate their lands with solar power. The grids are also local. A section of farmers in India are now using solar-based energy, which means lesser emissions compared to the diesel-based pumps.
  3. Farmers are also experimenting with a switch in rice planting. Direct-seeded rice, in which rice seeds are sown and grown directly into the field instead of the need for puddling in water, is increasingly being explored as a climate mitigation strategy to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions associated with the volume of water required to grow traditional varieties in flooded fields.

Collaborative approaches between the government agencies and the farmers, enabling mechanised farming and opening up to new technological inventions is the way to go in CSA. Big data and digital innovations, at various levels, can empower farmers to face climate-linked challenges in agriculture.

Current Affair 3:
Currency in Circulation

 

Currency in circulation (currency within country) = Currency with Public (including business) + Currency with Bank

So, Currency in Circulation (CIC) is basically the hard cash (notes + coins) present in the economy.

Currency with Public (including business) is part of Money Supply. Currency with Banks, RBI and Govt. are not part of money supply.

Currency in Circulation (2020-21) was around Rs. 28.5 lakh crore (hard cash)

GDP (2020-21) was around Rs. 197 lakh crores.

This gives the ratio of CIC/GDP as 14.5% in 2020-21

The CIC/GDP ratio has increased in 2020-21 due to a rush for cash because of the Covid-Lockdown.

Below is the ratio of CIC/GDP for the last few years.

Current Affair 4:
Patenting of plant varieties and the process in India

 

Recently, PepsiCo India Holdings Ltd.’s registration of a certain variety of potato was revoked in India by the ‘Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Authority’ noting that the certificate of registration was granted on the basis of incorrect information furnished by the multinational company.

Why we need a legal system of plant variety protection?

Usually, improved varieties of seeds are used for an increase in yield alongside the use of other agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, and insecticides. To achieve better yields, improved seed varieties that can withstand environmental shocks and diseases are often used. These could help in multiple ways such as ensuring food security, supporting farmers to adapt to climate change among other things.  However, it takes a very long time, sometimes 15 years or more to develop a new variety with improved features, and an additional number of years for introducing the same into the market and for farmers to adopt it. In addition to the time required for developing these varieties, human and financial resources are also required, which calls for a legal system of plant variety protection.

UPOV convention in 1961 encouraging countries to introduce a plant variety protection system

Globally, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) was established in 1961 ‘to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.’ Following the UPOV Convention, many countries introduced a plant variety protection (PVP) system. UPOV had 78 members as of 03 November 2021, while India has initiated the procedure for acceding to the UPOV Convention.

Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act was enacted in India in 2001

In India, the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act, 2001 (PPVFR Act) was enacted ‘to provide for the establishment of an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants’ and for giving effect to the TRIPS Agreement.

In simpler terms, the legislation grants intellectual property rights to breeders, farmers, and researchers who develop a new plant variety or develop the existing ones.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority has been established by the Act

The Act established the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority, also referred to as Plant Authority, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The functions of the Authority include the following:

  • Registration of new plant varieties
  • Documentation and cataloguing of all varieties
  • Ensuring availability of registered varieties of seeds for farmers and providing for compulsory licensing of such varieties to ensure production and sale of the seed

 

  • Maintenance of National Register of Plant Varieties and National Gene Bank for conserving seeds of registered varieties
  • Collection of statistics about plant varieties in India and abroad for compilation and publication
  • The Chairperson of the Authority is appointed by the Union Government.

 

Any person or group can apply for the registration of plant variety

Any person, group, or organization that claims to be the breeder of a plant variety can apply for the registration of plant variety. The applicant must submit a fixed amount of seed sample with prescribed germination percentage, physical purity, and phytosanitary standards for the authority to conduct tests.

4711 certificates have been issued as on 17 December 2021

A total of 4,711 certificates have been issued by the Plant Authority as of 17 December 2021, as per the authority’s dashboard. This includes more than 3000 varieties of cereals, which alone account for almost two-thirds of the certificates issued. Fibre crops, legumes, vegetables, and oilseed varieties of crops together account for almost 30% of the certificates.

More than 40% of certificates issued to farmers

 

Based on the applicant category of certificates issued, 1839 certificates have been issued to farmers which is more than 40% of all the certificates issued as of 17 December 2021.

 

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