Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 4 May, 2021

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“Large Area Certification Scheme”

What is the News?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare has conferred a land area in the Andaman and Nicobar with organic certification. This is the first large contiguous territory conferred with the organic certification under the ‘Large Area Certification’ (LAC) scheme.

This is a scheme of the PGS-India (Participatory Guarantee System) certification program.

Note: PGS is a process of certifying organic products. It ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards for organics.

About Large Area Certification Scheme:

  • Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare under its flagship scheme of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY) has launched the Large Area Certification Scheme.
    • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana(PKVY) was launched in 2015 with the aim to support and promote organic farming. This in turn results in the improvement of soil health.
  • Purpose: To provide a unique and quick organic certification to harness the potential land areas for organic products.

Process for Large Area Certification:

  • Under LAC, each village in the area is considered as one cluster/group. Documentations are simple and maintained village-wise.
  • All farmers with their farmland and livestock need to adhere to the standard requirements. After verification, they will get certified as a group. Once issued they don’t need to go under conversion period.
  • Certification is renewed on annual basis through annual verification. Annual verification is a process of peer appraisals as per the process of PGS-India.

Benefits of Large Area Certification:

  • As per the established norm of organic production systems, the areas having chemical input usage history will have to undergo a transition period of a minimum of 2-3 years to qualify as organic.
  • On the other hand, the LAC requirements are simple. The area can be certified as organic almost immediately. Further, the LAC is a Quick certification process that is cost-effective. Apart from that, the farmers do not have to wait for 2-3 years for marketing PGS organic certified products.

Organic Farming:

  • Organic Farming avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones). Instead, it relies upon crop rotations, animal manures, off-farm organic waste and a biological system of nutrient mobilization.
  • India now has more than 30 lakh ha area registered under organic certification. Also,  more and more farmers are joining the movement slowly.
  • As per the international survey report (2021) India ranks at 5th place in terms of area. Further, India is at the top in terms of the total number of organic producers(the base year 2019).

Source: PIB

“Putola Nach”: Assamese string puppetry used in the Covid-19 awareness campaign

What is the News?

An Assam-based trust is promoting string puppetry called Putola Nach, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Anamika Ray Memorial Trust(ARMT), an Assam-based trust in collaboration with UNICEF-Assam has produced three short videos using Putola Nach puppetry. These stories aim to create mass awareness of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

Putola Nach:

  • Putola Nach is string puppetry of Assam. ‘Putul’ is a word that describes both a doll and a puppet in Bengali while the word ‘Naach’ means Dance.
  • Types: The puppetry is performed in three areas with distinct characteristics. These areas are:
    • The First area – Lower Assam: Here this puppetry form is known as Putala-Bhoariya and influenced by the popular folk form Bhoariya.
    • The second area – Majuli island (Upper Assam): Here small wooden puppets are used in the style of the Ankia Naat. (Anika Naat is an act developed by Sankaradev).
    • The third area is North Assam: Here the puppeteers use Bangla, Assamese and Karbi songs in their performances. These are largely borrowed from the mobile theatre of Assam (Bhraymaman).
  • Episodes: The puppetry includes the episodes of the Ramayana, as well as scenes from the Mahabharata.
  • Further, the puppeteers also add dialogues or chants taken from bhaona (the local traditional theatre of Assam).

String Puppetry:

  • India has a rich and ancient tradition of string puppets also known as marionettes.
  • The puppets in this form have jointed limbs, controlled by strings allowing for more flexibility. This greater ability to control makes them the most articulate of all the puppets but also the most challenging.

Types of String Puppetry:

  • Kathputli – Rajasthan
  • Kundhei — Odisha
  • Gombeyatta — Karnataka
  • Bommalattam — Tamil Nadu

Source: The Hindu

India’s Oil Imports From OPEC Down To 20-Year Low

What is the News?

The share of India’s oil imports from OPEC countries dropped to its lowest in at least 20 years in the fiscal year ending March 2021.

India’s Oil Imports:

  • India’s overall oil imports fell by nearly 12% in the Fiscal Year 2021 compared to the previous fiscal year.
  • Of all those imports, the share of OPEC reduced to 72% from 80%. It is the lowest share of crude oil imports from OPEC since at least Fiscal Year(FY)-2002.
  • Further, India has bought more US and Canadian oil at the expense of reduction from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) countries.
    • US and Canadian oil accounted for about 7% and 1.3% respectively of India’s imports compared to 4.5% and 0.60% a year earlier.
    • Moreover, the US has also emerged as the fifth-biggest oil supplier to India in FY21, up by two places from FY20.

Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC):

  • It is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960. Its founding members are Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • Purpose: To manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil in the world market. Further, it also aims to manage price fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.
  • Members: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela
  • Secretariat: Vienna, Austria.

Source: The Hindu

Cannot Stop Media Reports on Court Observations – Supreme Court

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has said that the media cannot be stopped from reporting the oral observations made by the judges during a case.

What was the case?

  • A petition was filed by the Election Commission of India(ECI) in the Supreme Court against the oral remarks made by Madras High Court.
  • The Madras High Court had said that the ECI was singularly responsible for COVID second wave. And ECI officers should probably be booked for murder.
  • The EC said that these oral remarks would impact or lower the faith of the masses in the poll body and democratic process.
  • Further, the EC had also asked the SC to stop the media from reporting on oral observations of the court.

What did the court say?

 On Madras High Court Observations:

  • The Supreme Court has asked the EC to take criticism of Madras HC constructively. Because discussions are in the public interest and faith in institutions is vital to democracy.
  • Further, the apex court also said that the High Courts were also a constitutional body. Thus, the SC will not demoralize the high court judges by issuing any kind of restraint on them.

On Media Reporting:

  • The Court observed that the media is the watchdog of the sanctity of the judicial process.
  • Hence, the media cannot be stopped from reporting oral remarks made by judges during a court hearing.
  • Further, an honest and full report of the comments in courts by the media gives the public insight. Thus, they can see whether judges are genuinely applying their minds to resolve their crises.

Source: The Hindu

U.S. Clears Sale of “P-8I Patrol Aircraft” to India

What is the News?

The US State Department has approved the proposal for the sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft and related equipment to India. The deal is estimated to have cost India around $2.42 billion.

About P-8I patrol aircraft:

  • P-8I is a long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft. US-based manufacturer Boeing developed this aircraft.
  • The aircraft is based on the Boeing 737 commercial aircraft and India is its first international customer.
  • Features: The aircraft is designed to protect the vast coastline and territorial waters of India. It can also conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (AsuW), intelligence, maritime patrol and surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.
  • Significance: As India has signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) foundational agreement with the US, the aircraft will come fitted with encrypted systems.

Orders and Deliveries of P-8I patrol aircraft:

  • In 2009, Boeing was selected by the Indian Government to supply eight P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to the Indian Navy. The contract also included an option for four P-8I aircraft.
  • The first P-8I aircraft was delivered to the Indian Navy in December 2012 and the remaining aircraft were delivered between 2013 and 2015.
  • In 2019, the Defence Acquisition Council(DAC) provided its approval for the procurement of six additional P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy.

Source: The Hindu

“Myanmar refugees” can approach UNHCR: Manipur HC

What is the News?

Seven Myanmar nationals entered illegally and stayed in Manipur. They demanded a safe passage to New Delhi to get protection from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR). Recently the Manipur High Court has allowed them to seek protection from the UNHCR in New Delhi.

About Myanmar refugees and the recent case

  • After a military coup in Myanmar, the country is facing many challenges. There are many Myanmar citizens who started fleeing their country. Of them, seven Myanmar citizens fled from Myanmar and entered India illegally.
  • The Centre has directed authorities in North-Eastern states to check the flow of “illegal migrants” coming from Myanmar.
  • Recently, a petition was filed in the Manipur High Court. The petition stated that the central government directions failed to differentiate between a migrant and a refugee.
  • Hence, the petitioner requested the court to allow the safe passage for seven Myanmar Citizens to approach the UNHCR at New Delhi for protection.
  • Recently the Manipur High Court permitted the safe passage of these 7 Myanmar citizens.

Court observation on Myanmar refugees

  • The court said that the Myanmarese individuals in question are not ‘migrants’ as normally understood. Instead, the Manipur HC mention them as ‘asylum seekers.
  • Further, the court said that India is not a party to the UN Refugee Conventions. However, India is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
  • Apart from that, there are certain protections are guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of India’s Constitution that is applicable to foreigners also.
  • Moreover, protections under Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution will also include the right of non-refoulement for asylum seekers. This was interpreted by the Supreme Court in several of its judgements.
    • Non-refoulement: It is the cornerstone of the 1951 Refugee Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. According to this principle, a refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.
  • Hence, the court has allowed the Myanmar nationals to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the UNHCR.

Source: The Hindu

ICMR will get royalty from the sale of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

What is the News?

Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) has confirmed that it will receive royalty payments from the sale of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

Development of Covaxin:

  • Covaxin has been indigenously developed under the Public-Private Partnership by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed between the Bharat Biotech and ICMR. Under the MoU, Bharat Biotech will provide the following.
    • Pay the royalty payments to the ICMR from the net sales on Covaxin.
    • Prioritise in-country supplies.
    • Intellectual property governing the use of Covaxin will be shared
    • The name of the ICMR-National Institute of Virology(NIV) will be printed on the vaccine boxes.


  • Covishield constitutes over 90% of the country’s vaccine supply so far. It has been developed from the partnership between Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
  • On the Other hand, Covaxin is almost entirely indigenous. Furthermore, it is yet to priced higher than Covishield.

Source: The Hindu


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