Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 13, 2018

Defence

Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Exercise KAZIND 2018

What

  • Exercise KAZIND-2018, a joint military exercise between Indian and Kazakhstan Armies, commenced in Otar Military Area, Kazakhstan.
  • This is the third edition of joint military training exercise between Indian Army and Kazakhstan Army.
  • The 14 day long joint exercise is being conducted from 10 Sep to 23 Sep 2018.

Enlighten about the exercise

  • The Kazakh contingent is represented by Military Base 85395 while the Indian side is represented by 5 LADAKH SCOUTS Regiment.
  • The joint training aims to build & promote army to army relations and exchange skills & experiences between Indian Army and the Kazakhstan Army.
  • Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario.
  • Ex KAZIND-2018 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military.

Cabinet Decisions

MoU between India and Brunei Darussalam Cooperation in the operation of Telemetry Tracking and Telecommand station for satellite and launch vehicles, and for cooperation in the field of Space Research, Science and Applications

Where

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Brunei Darussalam on Cooperation in the operation of Telemetry Tracking and Telecommand station for satellite and launch vehicles, and for cooperation in the field of Space Research, Science and Applications.

Enlighten about the benefits

  • The MoU enables India to continue to operate, maintain and augment its ground station meant for supporting India’s launch vehicle and satellite missions.
  • This will also help India to share its experience and expertise in space activities through training of officials and students from Brunei Darussalam on space technology applications.
  • Cooperation with Brunei Darussalam through this MoU would lead to operation, maintenance and augmentation of Indian Ground Station to support India’s launch vehicle and satellite missions. Thus all sections and regions of the country will get benefited.
  • The MoU will provide impetus to explore newer research activities in ground station operations and training on space technology applications.

MoU between India and South Africa on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes

What

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes.
  • The areas of cooperation under this MoU are the following:

1. Remote sensing of the earth;
2. Satellite communication and satellite-based navigation;
3. Space science and planetary exploration;
4. Use of spacecraft, launch vehicles, space systems and ground systems;
5. Practical applications of space technology including geospatial tools and techniques; and
6. Other areas of cooperation to be determined by the Parties.

The Cooperation under this MoU shall be carried out in the following forms:

1. Planning and implementation of joint space projects of mutual benefit and interest;
2. Establishment, operation and maintenance of ground stations for supporting space activities;
3. Sharing of satellite data, results of experiments, and scientific and technological information;
4. Joint research and developmental activities;
5. Exchange of technical and scientific personnel designated to participate in the cooperative programmes;
6. Capacity building in space science and technology, and space application programmes for societal purposes;
7. Organization of joint symposia, conferences and scientific meetings; and
8. Additional forms of cooperation will be determined in writing upon mutual consent between the Parties.

Enlighten about the benefits

  • Signing of this MoU shall enable pursuing the potential areas of cooperation such as space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth, satellite communication and satellite-based navigation; space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground systems; and application of space technology.

MoU on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Block Chain Technology in the context of Development of digital economy by Exim Bank under BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism

What

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Block chain Technology in the context of Development of digital economy by Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) with the participating member banks, under the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism

BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism

  • It consist of Banco Nacional de DesenvolvimentoEconomico e Social (BNDES, of Brazil), China Development Bank (CDB), State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank, of Russia) and Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

Enlighten about the impact

  • Distributed Ledger/Block chain technology holds potential for solutions to various challenges being faced in the financial sector space of the BRICS nations.
  • The MoU intends to enhance understanding of Distributed Ledger/Block Chain technology, through the joint research efforts to identify areas within respective business operations where it may have the potential for applications aimed at enhancing the operational efficiencies.

Enlighten about the genesis

  • The Xiamen Declaration signed in China on digital economy by the BRICS leaders had highlighted the importance of the digital economy and how the BRICS nations could leverage the thriving and dynamic digital economy that will foster global economic development and benefit everyone.
  • Accordingly, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Block chain Technology in the Context of the Development of the Digital Economy was suggested to be inked by all member banks.

Focus Article - Agriculture

Cabinet approves New Umbrella Scheme “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA) - new procurement policy PM-AASHA will provide MSP assurance to farmers To ensure MSP for oilseeds, pulses and copra every year

What

  • The Centre has announced a ₹15,053 crore scheme to ensure that farmers growing oilseeds, pulses and copra actually get the minimum support price (MSP) they are promised for their crops every year.
  • The umbrella policy — Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) — was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
  • It clubs together an existing procurement scheme with newly introduced options — meant for oilseeds only — of additional procurement by private traders or a cash payment scheme.
  • The government announces minimum support prices for 23 crops every year.
  • This year, these rates were set at 50% higher than the farmers’ production costs, including that for labour.
  • The rates are meant to give remunerative prices to the farmers and assure them of some profits.
  • About one-third of the harvest of the two major foodgrains, rice and wheat, are procured by the Centre at the MSP for sale in ration shops.

Enlighten about PM-AASHA

  • The new Umbrella Scheme includes the mechanism of ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers and is comprised of
  • Price Support Scheme (PSS),
  • Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
  • Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS).

Participation of private sector

  • Cabinet has also decided that participation of private sector in procurement operation needs to piloted so that on the basis of learnings the ambit of private participation in procurement operations may be increased.

Enlighten about the background

  • Government of India is working with the holistic approach of solving any issue rather than in fragments.
  • Increasing MSP is not adequate and it is more important that farmers should get full benefit of the announced MSP.
  • For this, government realizes that it is essential that if price of the agriculture produce market is less than MSP, then in that case State Government and Central Government should purchase either at MSP or work in a manner to provide MSP for the farmers through some other mechanism.
  • With this approach, Cabinet has approved the Umbrella Scheme of PM-AASHA with three sub-schemes i.e. Price Support Scheme (PSS), Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PDPS).

Enlighten about the three sub -schemes

  • PSS - In Price Support Scheme (PSS), physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and Copra will be done by Central Nodal Agencies with proactive role of State governments.
  • It is also decided that in addition to NAFED, Food Cooperation of India (FCI) will take up PSS operations in states /districts. The procurement expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by Central Government as per norms.
  • PDPS - Under Price Deficiency Payment Scheme this scheme (PDPS), it is proposed to cover all oilseeds for which MSP is notified.
  • In this direct payment of the difference between the MSP and the selling/modal price will be made to pre-registered farmers selling his produce in the notified market yard through a transparent auction process.
  • All payment will be done directly into registered bank account of the farmer.
  • This scheme does not involve any physical procurement of crops as farmers are paid the difference between the MSP price and Sale/modal price on disposal in notified market.
  • The support of central government for PDPS will be given as per norms.

Enlighten about Pro-farmer initiatives of the Government:

  • The Government is committed to realizing the vision of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
  • The emphasis is on enhancing productivity, reducing cost of cultivation and strengthening post-harvesting management, including market structure. Several market reforms have been initiated.
  • These include Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2017 and Model Contract Farming and Services Act, 2018. Many States have taken steps to adopt these through legislation.
  • Efforts are on for a new market architecture, so as to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices on their produce.
  • These include setting up of Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) so as to promote 22,000 number of retail markets in close proximity of farm gate; competitive and transparent wholesale trade at APMC through eNAM and a robust and pro-farmer export policy.
  • Besides, several other pro-farmers’ initiatives such as implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri KrishiSinchai Yojana, ParamparagatKrishi Vikas Yojana and distribution of Soil Health Cards have been undertaken.
  • The commitment for farmer welfare is also reflected by unprecedented decision of announcing minimum support price based on the formula of 1.5 times the cost of cultivation.

Cabinet approves amendment to National Institute of Design (NID) Act, 2014

What

  • Approval for introduction of Bill in Parliament for amendment of NID Act, 2014 to include the four new National Institutes of Design (NID) viz. National Institute of Design, Amaravati/Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh; National Institute of Design, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh; National Institute of Design, Jorhat, Assam and National Institute of Design, Kurukshetra, Haryana within the ambit of the National Institute of Design Act, 2014 and to declare them as Institutions of National Importance (INIs) at par with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

What is institutions of National Importance

  • Establishing new NIDs as Institutions of National Importance in different geographical regions of the country will help produce highly skilled manpower in design which, in turn, will create job opportunities, both direct and indirect, by providing sustainable design interventions for crafts, handloom, rural technology, small, medium and large scale enterprises; and outreach programmes for capacity, capability and institution building

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , livemint