Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 17, 2018

Focus - Agriculture

90th Foundation Day ceremony of Indian Council of Agricultural Research

Achievements of ICAR

  • ICAR have not only helped India transform from an importing nation to an exporting nation but also provided self-sufficiency and nutritional security in foodgrains.
  • Due to the efforts of our skilled scientists and the hard work of the farmers, the country today has a buffer stock in foodgrain.
  • ICAR has established the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Assam and IARI, Jharkhand on the lines of India’s leading agricultural research institute IARI, Pusa.
  • ICAR is playing a vital role in fulfilling the government vision of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

ICAR suggests the government

  • On the suggestions given by ICAR the government, besides increasing budgetary allocation, has also created several corpus funds to improve the infrastructure of dairy, cooperative, fisheries, animal husbandry, agriculture market, small irrigation scheme, water bodies management etc.

Various initiatives to improve the agri productivity and farmers income

  • Soil Health Card scheme – it has been initiated so that farmers can know before sowing the health of the soil in his farm, the kind of crop to be grown and the type and quantity of nutrients to be used.
  • Har Khet Ko Paani - around 100 irrigation projects are being completed under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
  • In order to ensure better price discovery for farmers, the online platform e-NAM has been started.
  • The government has also fulfilled its promise of providing MSP at 1.5 times and more over cost of production for 14 Kharif crops.
  • The Pusa basmati 1121 variety of Basmati rice developed by ICAR has helped India earn more than Rs 18,000 crore in foreign exchange every year.
  • To tackle climate change 45 integrated farming systems have been developed by including 15 agro-climatic zones.

Issue of stubble burning

  • For management of crop residue, financial assistance @80% of the project cost will be provided to establish Farm Machinery Banks for Custom Hiring of in -situ crop residue management machinery and financial assistance @50% of the machinery/ equipment will be provided to individual farmer for crop residue management.

Kishan Vikash Kendra

  • A comprehensive campaign was initiated by ICAR’s 35 KVKs. An awareness campaign was carried out amongst 45,000 farmers and on waste management activities

Skill development of students in the Student READY (Rural Enterpreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) programme

  • To attract youth to agriculture education.

Agri services & Business by Harnessing Youth through Agricultural Skills

  • The one-year diploma course is proposed to be started, which will help young people to access information on agriculture thereby facilitating them to get jobs or start their own business.

Enlighten about ICAR

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India.
  • It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture.
  • The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.
  • It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • The Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (Yashpal Committee, 2009) has recommended setting up of a constitutional body — the National Commission for Higher Education and Research — which would be a unified supreme body to regulate all branches of higher education including agricultural education.
  • Presently, regulation of agricultural education is the mandate of ICAR, Veterinary Council of India (Veterinary sub-discipline) and Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (Forestry sub-discipline).

Environment Protection

MAHAGENCO Pipe Conveyor System -An Initiative by WCL & MAHAGENCO

  • Inauguration of the MAHAGENCO Pipe Conveyor System for coal transportation from cluster of mines of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL)
  • The first Pipe Conveyor project of 6.3 Km length is a dedicated system for Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station of MAHAGENCO
  • The second project of approx. 20 Km length will have five feeding Open Cast Mines of Nagpur Area of WCL
  • On completion of this project, road transportation of coal will be stopped and 100 per cent coal production from these mines of WCL will be transported through Koradi & Khaperkheda Coal pipe conveyor.

Enlighten the benefits of Pipe conveyor system

  • The pipe conveyor system is a step in the direction of developing a modern, efficient and eco-friendly mode of coal transportation from mines of WCL to the Pit head Power stations of MAHAGENCO, Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (MSPGCL) has taken up the installation of Pipe Conveyor System through WCL acquired land.
  • This dedicated coal transportation system will be first of its kind in Coal India Limited (CIL).
  • It will go a long way in mitigating environmental impact of Road Transport by eliminating dispersed coal dust & vehicular emissions.
  • It will also help in avoiding coal pilferage and facilitate assured quality & quantity of supply of coal to power plants at lower transport costs.

Ministry of Defence

BrahMos tested in extreme weather conditions Test Firing to Validate Service Life Extension

  • The supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was successfully test-fired on Monday, under extreme weather conditions, as part of the service life extension programme for the Army.
  • BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Balasore, Odisha.
  • The missile followed the designated trajectory and the key components functioned perfectly.
  • BrahMos has again proved its all-weather capability, flying in sea state 7, with waves as high as nine metres (Sea state is the degree of turbulence at sea, generally measured on a scale of 0 to 9 according to average wave height).

Enlighten about BrahMos

  • BrahMos, a joint venture between India and Russia, has been demonstrated in various configurations in land-attack, anti-ship and from the air.
  • The Army and the Navy have already inducted the missile, while the air-launched variant is undergoing trials.
  • It has a strike range of around 290 km and is described as the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile.
  • Manufactured indigenously under the ‘Make in India’ campaign

Army to resume M777 trials Of the agreed 145 M777 artillery guns, 25 will be imported and the rest assembled in India. U.S. Army

  • The Army will resume the trials of the U.S.-made M777 ultralight howitzer in the Pokhran firing range.
  • The trials were suspended last September after the barrel of a gun burst during firing.
  • In November 2016, India signed a deal with the U.S. government under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme for 145 M777 guns at a cost of $737 million.
  • Following this, two guns were delivered for calibration and making range tables with local ammunition when the barrel burst occurred. The trials have been suspended since.
  • As the deal was through the FMS, the trials will be conducted by the U.S. government and India will be an observer.
  • Following the trials, the Army will take formal custody of the guns.

Enlighten about M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) artillery Guns

  • It is manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division.
  • It smaller and lighter. It weighs 4,100 kg and can be easily transported by helicopters.
  • It has effective firing range of 24 km.
  • Under India-US M777 deal, 25 ULHs will be inducted directly with rest to be assembled at BAE Systems facility in Maharashtra in partnership with Mahindra Group.
  • The delivery is to be completed by 2021.
  • Indian Army is going to deploy these artillery guns in high-altitude areas Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China.
  • Its induction will give India defence forces a much needed operational advantage and an access to state o art technology


CIC bilingual Mobile app launched

  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) has launched a newly updated version of mobile app in Hindi also, - “CIC App”

Enlighten about Central Information Commission (CIC)

  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) set up under the Right to Information Act is the authorised body, established in 2005, under the Government of India to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not have been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.
  • The Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.
  • The first Chief Information Commissioner of India was Wajahat Habibullah.
  • The present Chief Information Commissioner of India is Radha Krishna Mathur.
  • CIC and members are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a committee consisting of—Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha; a Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

Science and Technology

Vikas engine(upgraded) with more thrust will boost ISRO’s rockets

  • The space agency has improved the thrust of the Vikas engine that powers all the satellite launching vehicles
  • The agency said the high-thrust engine qualified after a ground test lasting 195 seconds (over three minutes).
  • The main beneficiary of the high-thrust Vikas engine is said to be the heavy-lifting GSLV-Mark III launcher, which ISRO expects will put 4,000-kg satellites to space.
  • This would be the third Mk-III and the first working one to be designated MkIII Mission-1 or M1.
  • The first MkIII of June 2017 started with a 3,200-kg satellite and the second one is being readied for lifting a 3,500-kg spacecraft.
  • The Vikas engine “will improve the payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLVMk-III launch vehicles
  • The incremental benefit of the upgraded engine should be seen in the PSLV and GSLV missions over the coming months.
  • MkIII-D2, the second test flight of the heavy-lifter, is being assembled.

Enlighten about Vikas Engine

  • Vikas belongs to family of liquid fuelled rocket engines conceptualized and designed by ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre in the 1970s.
  • The design was based on licensed version of Viking engine with chemical pressurisation system.
  • It is the workhorse liquid rocket engine powering second stage of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), second stage and four strap of stages of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and is part of first stage in twin engine core liquid stage (L110) of GSLV Mk-III.
  • The propellant loading for Vikas engine in PSLV, GSLV Mark I and II is 40 tons, while in GSLV Mark III it 55 tons.
  • The recently tested high thrust version of Vikas engine will improv payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk-III launch vehicles

International Organisations

Asia Pacific Region of World Customs Organisation (WCO)

  • India has become the Vice-Chair (Regional Head) of the Asia Pacific Region of World Customs Organisation (WCO) for a period of two years

Enlighten about WCO

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
  • The WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.
  • The WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.
  • The WCO has divided its Membership into six Regions.
  • Each of the six Regions is represented by a regionally elected Vice-Chairperson to the WCO Council.
  • It is a forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between national Customs delegate
  • The WCO offers its Members a range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services provided

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , Indian Express