News: Central Government has released Rs 553 crore to states under the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization(SMAM).
- Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization(SMAM): It was launched in 2014 with an aim to have inclusive growth of farm mechanization to boost productivity.
- Increasing the reach of farm mechanization to small and marginal farmers and to the regions where availability of farm power is low;
- Promoting ‘Custom Hiring Centres’ to offset the adverse economies of scale arising due to small landholding and high cost of individual ownership;
- Creating hubs for hi-tech & high value farm equipments;
- Creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration and capacity building activities;
- Ensuring performance testing and certification at designated testing centers located all over the country.
- Agriculture Infrastructure Fund: It is a Central Sector Scheme which aims to provide medium to long-term debt financing for setting up of post-harvest infrastructure and community assets for marketing of farm produce.
- Approach: Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises(CGTMSE) scheme for loans up to Rs. 2 Crore.
- Duration: The duration of the scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).
- Beneficiaries: Farmers, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, FPOs, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.
- PM KISAN: It is a Central Sector Scheme launched in 2018 to provide income support by way of a cash benefit to all landholding farmers (subject to certain exclusion criteria) to enable them to fulfill their agricultural requirements and support their families.
- Under the scheme, the financial benefit of Rs.6000/- per year is provided to eligible beneficiary farmers in three equal installments.
News: National Statistical Office(NSO) released the state-wise data in the EnviStats India 2020 report.
- About the Report: The report covers the biophysical aspects of the environment and those aspects of the socio-economic system that directly influence and interact with the environment.
- Heat Waves: The average number of heat wave days has increased by 82.6% year-on-year to 157 in 2019 with the highest number recorded in Rajasthan followed by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- Deaths Due to Heat Waves: The deaths due to heat waves in 2019 saw a sharp jump from 26 in 2018 to 373 in 2019.However, it was slightly lower than 375 in 2017.
- Acute Respiratory Infection: The deaths due to acute respiratory infection in 2018 were 3,740.This was the highest in six years.The highest number of deaths were reported in West Bengal.
- Particulate Matter(PM): In 2018, the particulate matter of size less than or equal to 10 µm was the highest in Delhi followed by Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
- Drinking Water: The tube well and hand pump were the primary source of drinking water in rural India with a share of 53.8%.On the other hand, piped water, public tap, standpipe were the primary source in urban areas with a share of 65%.
- Slum Population: Andhra Pradesh had the highest number of slum population followed by Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
- Motor Vehicles: Delhi had the highest number of registered motor vehicles in the country followed by Bengaluru.
News: Mauritius has declared an environmental emergency after a ship that ran aground on a reef in the Indian Ocean started leaking fuel.
- Environmental Emergency: It is defined as a sudden-onset disaster or accident resulting from natural, technological or human-induced factors, or a combination of these that causes or threatens to cause severe environmental damage as well as loss of human lives and property.
- Mauritius: It is an island nation in the Indian Ocean located off the south-east coast of the African continent.
News: Delhi government has launched the Electric Vehicle Policy for the national capital.
- Aim: To give a boost to the economy, create jobs and reduce pollution levels by constituting 25% electric vehicles in Delhi by 2024 which is currently just 0.29%.
- Features of the policy:
- The buyers of electric vehicles will get a subsidy of ₹30,000 on the purchase of 2-wheelers, ₹1.5 lakh on cars and ₹ 30,000 on auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws and freight vehicles.
- The government will waive the registration fee and road tax and will also give low-interest loans on electric commercial vehicles.
- An ‘EV Cell’ will be established to implement the Policy and will also set up a ‘State Electric Vehicle Board’.
- 200 charging stations will be set up in a year to ensure that people driving these vehicles can get a charging station within the radius of three kilometers.
- Government will also announce a ”scrapping incentive” under the policy which will be first-of-its-kind in the country.
News: IIT Kanpur has developed indigenous seed balls named BEEG (Bio -compost Enriched Eco-friendly Globule) which will help farmers in plantation with safety in Corona times.
- BEEG: These are seed balls consisting of indigenous variety of seeds, compost and clay.There is no need for digging pits for planting saplings. These seed balls are to be thrown at aimed places and they will germinate when come into contact with water.
- Significance: BEEG is enriched with the right ingredients and seeds to germinate early and are the best way to utilise monsoon and plant as many trees as possible without risking lives by social gathering during Covid 19.
News: India will take part in the multilateral military exercise “Kavkaz 2020” to be held in Astrakhan, Russia.
- Exercise Kavkaz 2020: It is a Russian Strategic command post exercise which is also referred to as Caucasus-2020.
- The invitees for the exercise also include China and Pakistan apart from other member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
- SCO: It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation founded in 2001 with its secretariat based in Beijing, China.
- Members: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure(RATS): It is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.It is headquartered in Tashkent,the capital of Uzbekistan.
- Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue(SCOJtEx-2019): It was hosted by National Disaster Response Force(NDRF) to rehearse the disaster response mechanism, share knowledge, experience and technology for mutual coordination.
News: The Prime Minister has inaugurated the ‘Rashtriya Swachhta Kendra’.
- Rashtriya Swachhta Kendra: It is an interactive experience centre on the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- It will impart information, awareness and education on the successful journey of the world’s largest behaviour change campaign, the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- Swachh Bharat Mission(SBM): It is a country-wide sanitation campaign launched on 2nd October, 2014.
- Objectives: Elimination of open defecation, eradication of Manual Scavenging, modern and scientific municipal solid waste management and bring behavioral change regarding healthy sanitation practices.
- Swachh Bharat Mission(Gramin): It aims to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF) and clean.It is implemented by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Jal Shakti Ministry.
- Swachh Bharat Mission(Urban): It aims at elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices. It is implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
It is an intensified campaign to enable a strong and emotionally integrated nation. The idea of the campaign was propagated by Indian Vice President to mark the 78th anniversary of the Quit India movement.
the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. It would be progressively implemented between 2020 to 2024. The move is aimed to boost indigenisation of defence production.