1.The Union Cabinet approved the hike in minimum support prices (MSP) of wheat, masur, safflower and gram.
- The decision is in line with the government’s announcement to provide farmers a 50 per cent profit over the cost of production.
- The government announced a 6 percent to 21 percent hike in support price for rabi crops.
Minimum Support Price (MSP)
- MSP is a price at which the government buys crops from the farmers. This is irrespective of its price, to protect agriculture producers from sharp fall in prices.
- The support price has been increased based on the recommendations of farm advisory body Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices
- Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is an expert body which recommend minimum support prices (MSPs) to Government by taking into account cost of production, trends in domestic and international prices.
- It is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- Also, to address distress in the farm sector, the government had in July increased the paddy MSP by a record Rs 200 per quintal and gave a steep hike in other Kharif (summer-sown) crops.
- India and Russia to sign major defence deals.
- With the visit of Russian President, India is expecting to sign three major defence deal with Russia such as:
- Five S-400 missile systems
- Four stealth frigates
- Deal for Ak-103 assault rifles to be manufactured in India
- The U.S. has warned India, that the deals could attract sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
- India has been negotiating with USA for waiver against CAATSA, but U.S has not given any signal yet.
- Expected Agreements in Future:
- Memoranda of Understanding for investment deals
- Major agreement on space cooperation where Russia will assist India with its ‘Gaganyaan’ programme to put a human in space
- MoU for Road Transport and the Road Industry
- Cooperation on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
- Nuclear power cooperation will be discussed.
- Saudi Arabia agrees to invest in new oil refinery in Pakistan’s port of Gwadar
- Saudi Arabia will invest in a new oil refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.
- About Gwadar port
- Gwadar is part of Pakistan’s mineral rich southwestern Baluchistan province.
- It is being developed as part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
- It is a part of China’s ambitious plan Belt and Road initiative (BRI) to build energy and transport links, connecting the western Chinese region of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.
- Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia are trying to forge closer economic ties with India.
- Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia are planning to divert their economic interest, away from mainland China and towards Southeast Asia and India.
- Why these Nations are sceptic about trading with China and inclining towards India:
- Rising concern over aggressive China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- Beijing’s militarization in South China Sea
- Beijing’s use of its economic muscle for political purposes.
- Suspending rare earth metal exports to Japan in 2010.
- Seoul’s decision to install a missile defence system in 2017.
- China’s limited market growth potential
- Strategy adopted by these Nation to contain China:
- Reviving TPP
- Trade Agreement with EU
- Constitutional revision for more overt Military role.
- Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy to divert its investment Southeast Asia and India.
Korea’s New Southern Policy – Policy proposed by Korea’s president to focus on Southeast Asia, it also “makes India Korea’s key partner for cooperation.
Taiwan Southbound Policy – To enable investment in Electronics Manufacturing sector in India.
Australia Policy– It has commissioned an ambitious India Economic Strategy with the goal of making India its third-largest investment destination and export destination by 2035.
- However, in spite of the attractive opportunities India may not be able to take full advantage because:
- Uneven economic liberalization
- Protectionist sentiments taking root (theory of protecting domestic producers by impeding or limiting, as by tariffs or quotas, the import of goods and services)
- History of poorly-negotiated trade deals
- General election around the corner.
- For the first time, India has deported seven Rohingya immigrants to Myanmar.
- Immigrants were staying in India since 2012 illegally in Assam and since then they were lodged in Assam jail after court convicted them under the Foreigners Acts.
- Burmese Army organized an attack on Rohingya in 2012 which has led them to migrate in different part of the world.
- Chief Judicial Magistrate, Cachar, convicted them of violating The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, and sent them to prison for three months.
- Supreme Court had allowed deportation of the seven people to Myanmar as illegal immigrants and have been accepted by their country of origin as citizens.
- Data on number of Rohingya in India:
- There are more than 14,000 UNHCR-registered Rohingya in India.
- Security agencies estimate 40,000 Rohingya living illegally in India
- They are settled in Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, and Delhi-NCR, besides the states of Haryana, UP, and Rajasthan.
- Legal Provisions in the India dealing with Refugees:
- It does not currently have a national law on refugees.
- India is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees
- In 2011, the Union government circulated to all states and Union Territories a Standard Operating Procedure to deal with foreign nationals who claimed to be refugees.
- The Foreigners Act, 1946, gives the central government the right to deport a foreign national.
- India have Mission Mode Project on Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) to facilitate improved tracking of foreigners.
- The power to identify and deport foreign nationals who are in India illegally has been delegated to state governments, Union Territories and the Home Ministry’s Bureau of Immigration
- Who are considered an illegal immigrant in India?
- Foreign national who enters India on valid travel documents and stays beyond their validity.
- Foreign national who enters without valid travel documents.
- How Illegal Migrants are a threat to the Nation?
- They infringe on the rights of Indian citizens.
- More vulnerable for getting recruited by terrorist organizations.
- Data on Repatriation:
- Approximately 330 Pakistanis and approximately 1,770 Bangladeshi nationals have been repatriated during the last three years
- However recently, Indian PM has assured the PM of Bangladesh, that the people who are left out in National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam would not be deported to the country though they will be considered as a illegal immigrants.
- Difference Between Illegal Migrants and Refugees:
- Report released on Manual Scavenging by an NGO Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan.
- Study has been conducted by the NGO on the death due to sewer and septic tank cleaning since 1992.
- It covered a sample group of 97 deaths in 51 incidents across 11 States
- Important findings:
- First Information Reports (FIR) were filed in only 35% of the cases.
- Only 31% of affected families received cash compensation.
- Affected families has not received the rehabilitation or alternative jobs.
- Few of them were denied death certificate.
- Though the Government has provided toilets under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, it has failed to take into the account the responsibility of cleaning septic tanks.
- In some cases, there was no acknowledgement of a death.
- Safai Karamchari Finance and Development Corporation will be spreading awareness about Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
- The government is set to introduce the “Digi Yatra” facility to ease passenger travel by one-time verification at an airport.
- The “Digi Yatra” facility, which is voluntary, would require passengers to initially register themselves at a web portal by providing an identity proof.
3.The individual’s facial identity would then be captured and mapped onto a newly created “Digi Yatra” profile and a distinct identification number would be generated after one-time verification at an airport.
- Passengers would then have to provide this identification number at the time of purchasing an air ticket, to avail the paperless access facility.
- The “Digi Yatra” programme would comply with the European Union’s Data Protection Regulation.
- Significance of the initiative:
- The biometric-enabled digital processing of passengers, would enable travellers to enter the airport building by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones, after undergoing facial recognition.
- Once inside the airport, a passenger would be able to self check-in, drop baggage, pass through e-gates to access security and embarkation areas with just a facial scan, thus obviating the need to produce a boarding pass at every step.
- However, travellers would still have to undergo mandatory security checks including frisking.
- Recently 21 Asiatic lions died in Gujarat’s Gir National Park in less than a month which raises serious questions about the conservation of the big cats in their only habitat.
- Reasons for lion deaths:
- Infighting between lion prides: Male lions are known to maul each other to death but they never harm females.
- Viral infection: In 2012, the scientists from Indian Veterinary Research Institute identified the Goat Plague (Peste Des Petits Ruminants) virus in a lion carcass.
- According to a CAG report , more than 50 percent of the Gir lions have spilled out of the protected area and face threat of speeding trucks and trains, open wells and live wires. More than 30 lions have perished to accidents in the past two years, according to the park’s records.
- Supreme Court guidelines:
- In 2013, the Supreme Court directed the translocation of “some” lions from Gir to Kuno in Madhya Pradesh(MP) which Gujarat government refused, arguing that MP has not gone by the IUCN’s guidelines for translocation.
- However MP’s forest officials retort that Kuno satisfies all the conditions laid down by the Wildlife Institute of India (the agency mandated to monitor the relocation of Gir lions).
- Gujarat submitted before the Supreme Court that one of the reasons it did not want to part with the lions because there were metapopulation in the state spread over several locations within the Greater Gir Region.
- An epidemic caused by a virus wiped out more than a third of the lion population in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park in the 1990s.
- Gujarat should work towards colonising new habitats outside the Gir landscape within the State eg Barda wildlife sanctuary. close to Gir, which can increase suitable lion range from its present, much smaller area.
- A geographically separate population of Asiatic lions also needs to be created.
- Gujarat should also turn its attention to reducing the drivers of disease, which includes controlling feral dog populations.
- A vast number of farmers in Punjab and Haryana have decided to continue their annual ritual of setting fire to paddy straw thus aggravating the Delhi pollution problem.
- This has brought back the issue of smog choking the region despite the Centre doling out more than Rs 1,000 crore to the two states to fight stubble-burning
- 3. No Alternatives: According to farmers, they have no option but use fire to clear their fields. Also the cost of operating the subsidised straw management machines eats into the miniscule profits of medium, small and marginal farmers.
- Astronomers using Hubble and Kepler space telescopes have found compelling evidence for the existence of the first known moon outside our solar system.
- According to the finding published in the journal Science Advances, the presence of exomoon (moons orbiting planets in other star systems) is unusual because of its large size, comparable to the diameter of Neptune.
- It has been orbiting a Jupiter-like planet Kepler-1625b, which lies about 8,000 light-years from Earth.
1.International Solar Alliance (ISA) has approved the Work Plan 2019 for 2019 and 2020.
2.ISA has given approval for 5 projects under the Work Plan. These includes:
- agricultural pumps
- finance mobilization
- mini grid
- rooftop solar
- solar e-mobility and storage
About International Solar Alliance
3.The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries initiated by India which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
4.The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- 44 countries have signed and ratified the ISA framework agreement.
STAR C project
- ISA has approved the STAR C (Solar Technology Application Resource Centre) project.
7.Its aim is to set up 121 centres one in each eligible member-country.
- Each member-country will nominate five trainees every year to be trained at these centres known as master trainers.
- National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) has formulated a draft national policy on mariculture with Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
- Mariculture zones: Mariculture zones will be established by demarcating special areas in the sea for activities such as cage farming, bivalve farming, pen culture, seaweed culture, hatcheries and nurseries based on scientific criteria.
- It suggested farming of genetically modified (GM) species in closed mariculture systems.
- The policy allows farming exotic and genetically modified species in closed mariculture systems after stringent risk assessment and monitoring.
- Objective of the policy
- To enhance mariculture production in the country
- increase income and employment opportunities in a sustainable way
- promoting entrepreneurship by facilitating technical and financial inputs
6.Identifying potential zones through remote sensing: Satellite remote sensing data and GIS will be used to identify potential zones for mariculture on the basis of scientific to avoid conflict with other users and protecting the livelihoods of local fishing communities.
- Mariculture technology parks: Sea areas identified using GIS and remote sensing will be designated as mariculture technology parks by the respective States.
- Exceptions in the selection of zones: Marine protected areas, ecologically sensitive areas such as coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, and other coastal areas with strategic interest will not be considered for mariculture zones.
- Offshore technology parks: To support fish breeding, culture, packaging and trade, the policy proposes encouraging the establishment of off-shore technology parks and coastal embankment systems.
10.Funding support: The policy advises the government to formulate financial assistance programmes, including prioritised lending schemes, subsidised credit and investment subsidies, to promote mariculture.