10th December 2010 : UPSC Current Affairs : Prelims Sure shot
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Report
Why in news
- Arms sales worldwide up nearly 5%, says new report from Swedish institute.
From the report:
- Amongst arms manufacturers,US manufacturers alone accounted for 59 per cent of the market.
- Russia was second in the rankings for arms production, with 8.6 per cent of the market, just ahead of the United Kingdom on 8.4 per cent and France on 5.5 per cent.
Note – Since 2009, the world’s largest arms maker remains the US firm Lockheed Martin.
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international institute based in Sweden, dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
- The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all international transfers of major weapons(including sales, gifts and production licences) to states, international organizations and armed non-state groups from 1950.
- SIPRI data reflects the volume of deliveries of arms, not the financial value of the deals.
Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
Why in News
About the MIDH:
- The MIDH is a centrally sponsored scheme for the holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root & tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo.
- Under MIDH, the Government of India contributes 60% of the total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states except states in the North East and the Himalayas. 40% share is contributed by State Governments. In the case of North Eastern and Himalayan States, GOI contributes 90%.
- MIDH also provides technical advice and administrative support to State Governments/State Horticulture Missions (SHMs) for the Saffron Mission and other horticulture-related activities like the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
- The Mission was started in 2014.
- Objectives of the MIDH:
- To promote the holistic growth of horticulture sector, including coconut through area-based regionally differentiated strategies which include research, technology promotion, extension, post-harvest management, processing and marketing in consonance with comparative advantage of each State/region and its diverse agri-climatic features.
- To encourage aggregation of farmers into farmer groups like FIGs/FPOs and FPCs to bring economy of scale and scope.
- To enhance horticulture production.
- To augment farmers’ income.
- To strengthen nutritional security.
- To improve productivity by way of quality germ-plasm, planting material and water use efficiency through micro-irrigation.
- To support skill development and create employment generation opportunities for the rural youth in horticulture and post-harvest management, especially in the cold chain sector.
- MIDH sub-schemes:
- National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
- Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH)
- National Horticulture Board (NHB)
- Coconut Development Board (CDB)
- Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland
- Major interventions of MIDH:
- Setting up of nurseries, tissue culture units for production of quality seed and planting material.
- Area expansion i.e., the establishment of new orchards and gardens for fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
- Rejuvenation of unproductive, old, and senile orchards.
- Protected cultivation, i.e. poly-house, green-house, etc., to improve productivity & grow off-season high value vegetables and flowers.
- Organic farming and certification.
- Creation of water resources structures and watershed management.
- Bee-keeping for pollination.
- Horticulture mechanization.
- Creation of post-harvest management and marketing infrastructure.
Antibiotics in crops
Why in News
- The Union Minister for Agriculture gave information about certain antibiotics in crops in the Lok Sabha.
About antibiotics in crops:
- Aureofungin, Kasugamycin, Validamycin and Streptomycin+ Tetracycline combination are antibiotics that are registered under the Insecticide Act 1968 for use as pesticides to combat certain fungal and bacterial diseases in plants.
- Pesticides are toxic substances but they do not pose any adverse effect on human beings, animals and the environment if they are used as per the label and leaflet approved by the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee.
- Pesticides are registered for use in the country by the Registration Committee only after being satisfied about their efficacy and safety to human health, animals and environment.
- However, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics is worrying as the practice may lead to the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), already a pressing concern worldwide; at least 10 million people are likely to die of AMR every year by 2050.
- When used in crops, unspent antibiotics find their way into the surrounding environment.
- Microorganisms exposed to this increasing load of antibiotics in soil and water can develop resistance to it.
- The resistance can spread to other bacteria through transfer of genetic material. When humans or animals get infected by such resistant microorganisms, their treatment becomes difficult as well as expensive.
- There is a possibility that traces of antibiotics remain in the edible parts of the plant.
About the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC):
- The CIBRC is the country’s apex body that approves the use of pesticides.
- The use of pesticides and insecticides in India are regulated by the following two:
- Insecticides Act, 1968
- Insecticides Rules, 1971
- In the Act and the Rules framed thereunder, there is compulsory registration of the pesticides at the Central level and licence for their manufacture, formulation and sale are dealt with at the State level.
- With the enforcement of the Insecticides Act in the country, pesticides of very high quality are made available to the farmers and the general public for household use, for protecting the agricultural crops from the ravages of their pests, humans from diseases and nuisance caused by public health pests and the health hazards involved in their use have been minimised to a great extent.
- The CIBRC functions under the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
Data Bank of Farmers
Why in News
- The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare has constituted a Task Force to develop a comprehensive Farmers’ Database for better planning, monitoring, strategy formulation and smooth implementation of schemes for the entire country.
- This Centralised Farmers Database shall be useful for various activities like issuing soil health cards, dissemination of crop advisories to the farmers, precision farming, smart cards for farmers to facilitate e-governance, crop insurance, settlement of compensation claims, grant of agricultural subsidies, community/village resource centres, etc.
Why in News
- The Culture and Tourism Minister provided the above information in the Lok Sabha
About the Gandhi Encyclopaedia:
- The Government is developing a ‘Gandhi Encyclopedia’ to spread awareness in the society.
- The Ministry of Culture has approved a project for the development of ‘Gandhi Paedia’ by the National Council of Science Museums, Kolkata for the promotion of appropriate Gandhian philosophy and thoughts through social media platforms under the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi commemoration.
National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme
Why in news?
- Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is implementing ‘National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme’ (NAQUIM) for aquifer mapping in the country including in areas which have recorded a high depletion of ground water, in phases.
National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme
- The NAQUIM is an initiative of the Ministry of Water Resources for mapping and managing the entire aquifer systems in the country.
- It maintains the Hydrological Map of India.
- It aims to identify and map aquifers at the micro level, to quantify the available groundwater resources etc.
Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)
- CGWB has been entrusted with the responsibilities of developing & disseminating technologies, monitoring national policies for the scientific and sustainable development and management of India’s ground water resources.
- It periodically takes up various studies which include ground water management studies, exploratory drilling programmes, monitoring ground water level and water quality through a network of ground water observation wells etc
Iconic Tourist Sites
Why in News :
- The Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 sites in 12 clusters in the country for development as Iconic Tourist Sites.
- The Ministry shall be developing the sites in a holistic manner with focus on issues concerning connectivity to the destination, better facilities/experience for the tourists at the site, skill development, and involvement of local community, promotion & branding and by bringing private investment.
- The sites are: Taj Mahal & Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra), Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort & Qutub Minar (Delhi), Colva (Goa), Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Somnath & Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Hampi (Karnataka), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga (Assam), Kumarakom (Kerala) and Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).