News: Union Minister of State for Agriculture has launched Ayushman Sahakar Scheme.
- Nodal Body: The scheme has been formulated by the National Cooperative Development Corporation(NCDC).
- Aim: To extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of Rs.10,000 Crore for the setting up of healthcare related infrastructure, education and services.
- Eligibility: Any Cooperative Society with suitable provision in its byelaws to undertake healthcare related activities would be able to access the NCDC fund.
- Incentives: The scheme provides interest subvention of 1% to women majority cooperatives.
- NCDC: It is an apex level statutory autonomous institution set up by the Government of India under an Act of the Parliament in 1963.It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
News: The Ministry of Defence(MoD) has announced that Australia will be participating in the naval exercise ‘Exercise Malabar’.
- Exercise Malabar: It is an annual exercise which began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the U.S.Then it got expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
- Aim: To strengthen cooperation and enhance interoperability based on shared values and principles.
- Significance of Joining of Australia: The joining of Australia will effectively mean that all the four member countries of the ‘Quad’ or Quadrilateral coalition will be participating in the Malabar Exercise.
- Quadrilateral Security Dialogue(QSD): It is the strategic dialogue between four countries viz. India, United States, Japan and Australia.
- Origin: It was originally initiated in 2007 but later disbanded with withdrawal of Australia.It was later revived in 2017.
- Objective: The Quad is viewed as a group of four democracies with a shared objective to ensure and support a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
News: Heeng(Ferula assa-foetida) cultivation has started for the first time in India in Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh.
- Heeng(asafoetida): It is a herbaceous plant of the umbelliferae family.It is a perennial plant which produces oleo-gum resin from the roots after five years of plantation.
- Climate: It can be grown in unutilized sloppy land of cold desert regions.
- Significance: It is one of the widely used spices in Indian cuisine since time immemorial.There is no production of heeng in India and currently it is being imported annually from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan.
- Benefits: It has a range of medicinal properties, including relief for digestive, spasmodic and stomach disorders, asthma and bronchitis. It is also commonly used to help with painful or excessive bleeding during menstruation and premature labour.
News: Indian Institute of Technology, Madras have developed a microprocessor named ‘Moushik’
- Moushik: It is an indigenous microprocessor-cum-system on a chip that can cater to the rapidly-growing Internet of Things(IoT) devices.
- The project was funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Microprocessor: It is an integrated circuit(IC) that contains a few millions of transistors (semiconductor-based electronic devices) fused on a semiconductor chip.It is just a few millimetres in dimension and is used in almost every electronic device from microwave and washing machine in homes to advanced supercomputers of a space station.
News: A paper has been published titled “Affordability of nutritious diets in rural India”It is a study authored by International Food Policy Research Institute economist Kalyani Raghunathan and others.
- Source of study : The study uses the latest available food price and wage information dataset from the 2011 National Sample Survey.
- Methodology used: The study uses the wages of unskilled workers who make up a larger proportion of the population than industrial workers, and includes items such as dairy, fruit and dark green leafy vegetables that are essential as per India’s official dietary guidelines.
- Key Takeaways from the study:
- Day’s Meal Cost: Selecting the cheapest options from actual Indian diets — wheat, rice, bajra, milk, curd, onions, radish, spinach, bananas — the study calculated that a day’s meals would cost ₹45 (or ₹51 for an adult man).
- Affordability of Nutritious Diet: Three out of four rural Indians cannot afford a nutritious diet.Even if they spent their entire income on food, almost two out of three of them would not have the money to pay for the cheapest possible diet that meets the requirements.
- Significance of the study: The study is significant by the fact that India ranks abysmally low in the latest Global Hunger Index(94 out of 107 countries) which has shown that India has the world’s highest prevalence of child wasting, reflecting acute undernutrition.
News: International Financial Services Centres Authority(IFSCA) has introduced a Framework for Regulatory Sandbox to tap into innovative FinTech solutions.
- What is a Regulatory Sandbox? It is an infrastructure that helps financial technology (FinTech) players live test their products or solutions before getting the necessary regulatory approvals for a mass launch.
- IFSCA Regulatory Sandbox:
- Under this framework, eligible entities shall be granted facilities to experiment with innovative FinTech solutions in a live environment with a limited set of real customers for a limited time frame.
- These features shall be fortified with necessary safeguards for investor protection and risk mitigation.The Regulatory Sandbox shall operate within the IFSC located at GIFT City.
- Eligibility: All entities (regulated as well as unregulated) operating in the capital market, banking, insurance and pension sectors as well as individuals and startups from India and FATF compliant jurisdictions, shall be eligible for participation in the Regulatory Sandbox.
- Innovation Sandbox: It has also been proposed to be set up by IFSCA which will be a testing environment where FinTech firms can test their solutions in isolation from the live market, based on market related data made available by the Market Infrastructure Institutions(MIIs) operating in the IFSC.
- IFSCA: It was established to regulate the financial services market in the International Financial Services Centres set up under the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005.