Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 30 Apr, 2021

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“Agriculture Infrastructure Fund” crosses Rs. 8,000 crore mark

What is the News?

After receiving around 8,665 applications worth Rs. 8,216 core Agriculture Infrastructure Fund(AIF) has crossed the Rs.8000 crore mark.

Sectors: The largest share of the fund has gone to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) (58%). This is followed by agri-entrepreneurs (24%) and individual farmers (13%).

States: Andhra Pradesh has received the highest amount of funds. This is followed by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and  Rajasthan.

About Agriculture Infrastructure Fund(AIF):

  • Nodal Ministry: It is a Central Sector Scheme launched by the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare(DAC&FW).
  • Aim: To provide medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects. This includes post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support.
  • Funding: Under the Scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to eligible beneficiaries.
  • Eligible Beneficiaries: Farmers, FPOs, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups(JLG). The beneficiaries also include Agri-entrepreneurs, startups and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.
  • Lending Institutions: Multiple lending institutions including Commercial Banks, Cooperative Banks, NCDC, NBFCs etc.
  • Duration of the Scheme: FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years)

Other Key Features of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:

  • Interest Subvention: Loans will have an interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crores. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years.
  • Credit Guarantee: A credit guarantee coverage will be available for eligible borrowers from the scheme. This coverage is provided under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises(CGTMSE) scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crores. The fee for this credit coverage will be paid by the Government.
  • Project Management Unit to provide handholding support for projects including project preparation.
  • The moratorium for repayment of a loan under this financing facility may vary subject to a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years.
  • Need-based refinance support will be made available by NABARD to all eligible lending entities.

Source: PIB


“Global Forest Goals Report 2021” and “United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests”

What is the News?

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations has released the Global Forest Goals Report 2021.

Findings of the Global Forest Goals Report 2021:

  • The report finds that the world is making progress in key areas such as increasing global forest area through afforestation and restoration.
  • However, the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the challenges faced by countries in managing their forests.
  • Forests have been a lifeline for millions of people during the pandemic. Some of the most vulnerable segments of society depend on forests for their most essential subsistence needs. This has increased pressures on forest systems.

About Global Forest Goals Report 2021:

  • It is the first evaluation of the global status of implementing the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030.
  • Purpose: The report provides an overview of progress towards achieving the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030. The plan has six Global Forest Goals and 26 associated targets for forests.
  • Data: The report draws upon data from 52 voluntary national reports and 19 voluntary national contributions. Together they represent 75% of forests in the world.

 United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF):

  • The first-ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests was adopted at a special session of the UN Forum on Forests held in 2017.
  • The plan contains a set of six Global Forest Goals and 26 associated targets to be reached by 2030. All these are voluntary in nature and universally applicable.
  • It also includes a target to increase forest area by 3% worldwide by 2030. This is an increase of 120 million hectares, an area over twice the size of France.

The Six Global Forest Goals are:

  • Goal 1: Reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide. This is by adopting sustainable forest management, including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation.
  • Goal 2: Enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits. This includes improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people.
  • Goal 3: Increase significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests.
  • Goal 4: Mobilize significantly increased, new and additional financial resources from all sources. This is for the implementation of sustainable forest management and strengthening scientific and technical cooperation and partnerships.
  • Goal 5: Promote governance frameworks to implement sustainable forest management.
  • Goal 6: Enhance cooperation, coordination, coherence and synergies on forest-related issues at all levels.

Note:

  • Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services(IPBES)  has released the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The report highlighted that one million species were at risk of extinction and 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980-2000.

Source: Down To Earth


“NEO-01” – Chinese robot prototype to clear space debris

What is the News?

The Chinese government has launched a robot prototype named ‘NEO-01’ in the Low Earth Orbit through its Long March 6 rocket.

About ‘NEO-01’:

  • NEO-01 is a robot prototype developed by China-based space mining start-up ‘Origin Space’.
  • Aim: To observe small celestial bodies in deep space and to experiment with a novel approach to clearing up space debris.
  • Method to remove space debris: NEO-01 will use a large net to capture debris left behind by other spacecraft. After collection, it will burn them using its electric propulsion system.
    • Electric Propulsion(EP) is a class of space propulsion. This propulsion will make use of electrical power to accelerate a propellant. These technologies generate electrical energy either from a solar source or from a nuclear source.

What is Space Debris?

  • Space debris is any piece of machinery or debris left by humans in space.
  • It can refer to big objects such as dead satellites that have failed or been left in orbit at the end of their mission. It can also refer to smaller things, like bits of debris or paint flecks that have fallen off from a rocket.
  • Space debris is a threat to active satellites and spaceships as they pose the risk of collisions.

Source: The Hindu


“Pink Moon 2021”: This year’s first Supermoon

What is the News?

People around the world on 26th April 2021 witnessed the first Supermoon or Pink Moon

What is Supermoon?

  • The term Supermoon was coined by the Astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.
  • The supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with a perigee (A point of the Moon’s orbit closest to Earth).
  • The supermoon makes the moon appear a little bigger and looks brighter than usual. However, to our own eyes, the differences are indistinguishable.

Why is it called Pink Moon?

  • The moon will not be originally pink. It got its name from the pink wildflowers (Wild Ground Phlox). These flowers bloom in the spring and are native to North America.
  • Further, there are many other names for this moon. Such as Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, the Paschal moon, and the Fish Moon.

Other definitions:

Blue Moon: When two full moons appear in the same calendar month, the second is termed a “blue moon”.

Blood Moon:

  • The meaning of a “blood moon” is based on its red glow of the moon. The blood moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse.
  • During a total lunar eclipse, Earth lines up between the Moon and the Sun. This hides the Moon from the sunlight.
  • When this happens, the only light that reaches the Moon’s surface is from the edges of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • The air molecules from Earth’s atmosphere scatter out most of the blue light. The remaining light reflects onto the Moon’s surface with a red glow making the Moon appear red in the night sky.

Note: The name “blood moon” is also sometimes used for a Moon that appears reddish because of dust, smoke or haze in the sky.

Source: Hindustan Times


“MACS 1407” – A new high-yielding, pest-resistant Soybean Variety

What is the News?

Scientists from MACS- Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) Pune in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) have developed a variety of Soybean called MACS 1407. The MACS-ARI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology.

 About MACS 1407:

  • MACS 1407 is a high-yielding and pest-resistant variety of soybean.
  • Cultivation: It is suitable for cultivation in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and North-Eastern states.

Key Features:

  • MACS 1407 requires an average of 43 days for 50 % flowering. Further, it takes 104 days to mature from the date of sowing.
  • It has white coloured flowers, yellow seeds and black hilum (a scar on a seed marking the point of attachment to its seed vessel). Its seeds have 19.81 % oil content, 41 % protein content and show good germinability (the ability of a seed to germinate).

Advantages:

  • High Yielding: It gives 39 quantal per hectare making it a high yielding variety
  • Pest Resistant: It is resistant to major insect pests like girdle beetle, leaf miner, leaf roller, stem fly, aphids, whitefly and defoliators.
  • It has certain characters suitable for mechanical harvesting. Such as,
    • It has a thick stem that makes it stronger to harvest using machines.
    • This variety has higher pod insertion (7 cm) from the ground
    • It is resistant to pod shattering.

Significance of this development:

  • In 2019, India produced around 90 million tons of soybean. This is widely cultivated as oilseeds and a cheap source of protein for animal feed and many packaged meals.
  • Further, India also has a target to be among the world’s major producers of soybean.
  • Hence, MACS 1407 having high yielding, disease-resistant characteristics can help India to achieve this target.

Source: PIB


“The GNCTD Amendment Act” does not alter the functions of Delhi Assembly – Centre

What is the News?

The Government of National Capital Territory(GNCTD) Amendment Act 2021 has come into force recently. Regarding that, the central government mentions that the Act in no way alters the constitutional and legal responsibilities of the elected government in Delhi.

The GNCTD Amendment Act 2021:

The objectives of the GNCTD Amendment Act are,

  • Define the responsibilities of the elected government and the Lt. Governor (LG)
  • Create a harmonious relationship between the Legislature and the Executive
  • To ensure better governance in the NCT of Delhi. Further, it aims to improve the implementation of schemes and programmes meant for the common people of Delhi.

Key Features of the Act:

  • “Government” to mean “Lieutenant Governor (LG)”: The expression ‘Government’ referred to in any law to be made by the Legislative Assembly shall mean the Lieutenant Governor(LG).
  • Widening of Discretionary Powers of LG: The Act gives discretionary powers to the LG. This power is extended to LG even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • Proceedings of Delhi Assembly: The Act curbs the Delhi Assembly’s power to conduct its proceedings as per the rules of procedure made by it. It provides that the Rules made by the Delhi Legislative Assembly must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Lok Sabha.
  • Opinion of LG: The Act provides that If the LG specifies then the opinion of the LG must be obtained before taking any executive decisions of the Delhi Government.
  • Administrative Activities: The Legislative Assembly cannot make rules to consider matters of the day-to-day administration. Further, the Assembly cannot conduct any probe into administrative decisions. All such rules made before the enactment of this Act will be void.
  • Reserve Bills: The L-G also has to reserve bills that cover any of the matters outside the purview of the Legislative Assembly for the consideration of the President.

Source: PIB

 

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