Daily Current Affairs for 25th May 2021

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INDO-ISRAEL Agricultural Project (IIAP)

Why in News

India and Israel sign a three-year work program for cooperation in Agriculture.

Key Points

  • Both nations have agreed to enhance their cooperation in agriculture and signed a three-year work program agreement for development in Agriculture cooperation, while affirming the ever-growing bilateral partnership and recognizing the centrality of agriculture and water sectors in the bilateral relationship.
  • India and Israel are implementing the “INDO-ISRAEL Agricultural Project Centres of Excellence” and “INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence”.
  • MIDH, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India, and MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) are leading Israel’s largest G2G cooperation, with 29 operational Centres of Excellence (COEs) across India in 12 States.
  • Both nations implementing Advanced-Intensive agriculture farms with Israeli Agro-Technology tailored to local conditions.

About INDO-ISRAEL Agricultural Project (IIAP)

  • The IIAP 2021 project is the 5th Agricultural Programme between India and Israel.
  • Focus during the new work programme will be to convert the villages surrounding into Villages of Excellence through massive outreach programmes.
  • These Centres of Excellence established under Indo-Israel Agriculture Action Plan (IIAP) have become epicentres of transformation in horticulture sector.
  • The three-year work program (2021-2023) reflects the strength of growing partnership of both nations.
  • It will aim to grow existing Centres of Excellence, establish new centres, increase CoE’s value chain, bring the Centres of Excellence into the self-sufficient mode, and encourage private sector companies and collaboration.
  • The program will promote the increase of net income and better the livelihood of the individual farmer, transforming traditional farms into modern-intensive farms based on IIAP standards.

Centres of Excellence (COEs)

  • The Centres of Excellence generate knowledge, demonstrate best practices and train farmers.
  • The COEs produce every year more than 25 million quality vegetable seedlings, more than 387 thousand quality fruit plants and train more than 1.2 lakh farmers about latest technology in the field of horticulture.

INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence (IIVOE)

  • “INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence” is a new concept aimed at creating a model ecosystem in agriculture across eight states, alongside 13 Centres of Excellence within 75 villages.
  • Large-scale and complete value chain approach with economic sustainability, embedded with Israeli novel technologies and methodologies will be tailored to local conditions.
  • The IIVOE program will focus on:
  • Modern Agriculture infrastructure,
  • Capacity Building,
  • Market linkage

Significance of INDO-ISRAEL Agricultural Project (IIAP)

  • The project will strengthen the bilateral relations and mutual cooperation between the two countries in the field of agriculture for the benefit of the farming community.
  • The Centre of Excellences (COEs) established under the Israeli-based action plans are playing an important role in doubling farmers’ income.
  • The exchange of technology between India and Israel will greatly improve the productivity and quality of horticulture, thereby increasing the income of farmers.
  • It will benefit local farmers both through the Centres of Excellence and the Villages of Excellence.

Background of India-Israel Bilateral Ties

  • The ties between India and Israel began with India’s decision to normalise ties with Israel in 1992, which came against the backdrop of the break-up of the Soviet Union, and massive shifts in the geopolitics of West Asia on account of the first Gulf War in 1990.
  • In 1992, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) lost much of its clout in the Arab world by siding with Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the occupation of Kuwait.
  • The opening of an Indian embassy in Tel Aviv in January 1992 marked an end to four decades of giving Israel the cold shoulder, as India’s recognition of Israel in 1950 had been minus full diplomatic ties.
  • The decision of PM Jawaharlal Nehru to recognise Israel was “an established fact”, and that not doing so would create rancour between two UN members.
  • But, the consulate in Mumbai which was established in 1953, mainly for issuing visas to the Indian Jewish community and to Christian pilgrims, was shut down in 1982, when India expelled the Consul General for criticising India’s foreign policy in a newspaper interview.
  • In 1948, India was the only non-Arab-state among 13 countries that voted against the UN partition plan of Palestine in the General Assembly that led to the creation of Israel.
  • There were various reasons for this India’s own Partition along religious lines:
  • As a new nation that had just thrown off its colonial yoke;
  • Solidarity with the Palestinian people who would be dispossessed; and
  • To ward off Pakistan’s plan to isolate India over Kashmir.
  • Later, India’s energy dependence on the Arab countries also became a factor, as did the sentiments of India’s own Muslim citizens.

New Land Regulations at Lakshadweep

Why in News

A slew of regulations introduced by the new administrator of the Lakshadweep group of islands has sparked discontent among its inhabitants.


  • Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 36 islands in the Arabian Sea and witnessed of not a single case of COVID-19 in 2020.
  • But the situation has been changed in 2021, with the island reporting its first case in January.
  • The UT has since registered 4,986 cases and 14 deaths with the active caseload being 1,208 cases at present.
  • COVID­19 affected Lakshadweep after the stipulation for mandatory quarantine of Dweep­bound travelers in Kochi.
  • The UT administration is accused of exploiting the restrictions, which prevent locals from gathering, to push “arbitrary legislation” brought in by the new administrator.
  • The most recent of these is the creation of a Lakshadweep Development Authority (LDA) with extensive powers, including eviction of land owners.

Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 (LDAR)

  • The regulation gives the administrator powers to remove or relocate islanders from their property, for town planning or any developmental activity.
  • The regulation also empowers the government, identified as the administrator, to constitute Planning and Development Authorities (PDAs) to plan the development of any area identified as having “bad layout or obsolete development”.
  • An authority thus created would be a corporate body with a government appointed chairman, a town planning officer and three “expert” government nominees besides two local authority representatives.
  • The Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA), introduced in January 2021, under which a person can be detained without any public disclosure for a period of up to one year and the draft panchayat notification, where a member with more than two children is disqualified from being a member.

Van-dhan Yojana

Why in News

TRIFED in collaboration with NITI Aayog to implement the Van Dhan Yojana in the districts that have been identified as aspirational districts by NITI Aayog.

Key Points

  • The TRIFED and NITI Aayog decided to dedicate a team from TRIFED along with the NITI Aayog team will work out the follow-up-plan for the implementation of the Van Dhan Yojana in each of the 39 Tribal Aspirational Districts.
  • The 39 Tribal Aspirational Districts includes in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Telangana and Tripura.
  • As a part of this association, a special focus will be on these aspirational districts where tribal population constitutes more than 50%.
  • Under the expansion plan of tribal development program, an additional 9900 VDVKs subsumed into 659 VDVK Clusters spread out in these tribal aspirational districts are envisaged.
  • Through this association, NITI Aayog will also support TRIFED and will help in professionally monitoring and promotion for effective implementation and feedback.

Van Dhan Vikas Yojana

  • Van Dhan Vikas Yojana was launched in 2018 under the TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • The objective behind this scheme is to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
  • It is a program for branding, value addition, and marketing of the Minor Forest Produces by establishing Van Dhan Kendras in order to promote the creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes.
  • Under Van Dhan, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted.
  • The establishment of “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.

Minor Forest Produces

  • It is a major source of livelihood for tribal living in forest areas.
  • It includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser etc.
  • It provides both subsistence and cash income for an estimated 100 million people who live in or near forests.
  • MFP forms a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sale.

Van Dhan tribal start-ups

  • The Van Dhan tribal start-ups are a programme for value addition, branding & marketing of Minor Forest Produces by establishing Van Dhan Kendras
  • It facilitates creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes.


Shahi Litchi

Why in News

Recently, the first consignment of Shahi Litchi from Bihar was exported to United Kingdom by air route.

Key Points

  • The Phyto-sanitary certification for exports of Shahi Litchi was issued from newly established certification facility at Patna.
  • The fruit is being exported by Cira Enterprises and sourced from farmers in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
  • APEDA collaborated with Department of Agriculture, Bihar along with other stakeholders such as farmers, exporters and importers for facilitating exports of Shahi Litchi.

Shahi Litchi

  • The Shahi litchi famous for its sweet, juicy, unique flavour and aroma.
  • Shahi litchi was the fourth agricultural products to get GI certification from Bihar in 2018,
  • The other three products got the GI Tag are: Jardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi paan.
  • GI registration for Shahi Litchi is held with the Muzaffarpur-based Litchi Growers Association of Bihar.
  • Muzzafarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran, Begusarai districts and adjoining areas of Bihar have favourable climate for growing Shahi Litchi.

Significance of GI Tag to Shahi Litchi

  • Bihar produces 40% of the litchi grown in the country on 38% of the area.
  • The GI tag for the fruit will help and benefit thousands of litchi growers who will gain access to more markets and get better price in the country and abroad.
  • It will boost up its demand in the market and will minimise the fear of fake and poor-quality litchis.

India in Litchi Production

  • India is the second largest producer of litchi (Litchi chin) in the world, after China.
  • The translucent, flavored aril or edible flesh of the litchi is popular as a table fruit in India,
  • While in China and Japan it is preferred in dried or canned form.
  • Bihar tops in terms of production of litchi.

About Geographical Indications (GI Tag)

  • A geographical indication or GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • It is the part of the intellectual property rights that comes under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
  • In India, GI Tag is governed by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 and issued by the Geographical Indications Registry (Chennai).

Significance of Geographical Indications (GI Tag)

  • GI Tag provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications thus preventing unauthorized use of the registered GIs by others.
  • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
  • It also leads to recognition of the product in other countries thus boosting exports.

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

  • The APEDA was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December, 1985.
  • It promotes exports of agricultural & processed food products by providing assistance to the exporters under various components of its scheme such as Infrastructure Development, Quality Development and Market Development.
  • APEDA also conducts international Buyer Seller Meets (BSM), Virtual trade fairs with importing countries to promote agricultural & processed food products.
  • It headquarters situated at New Delhi and its five regional offices are at: Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Guwahati.
  • APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz. fruits, vegetables and their products; meat and meat products; poultry and poultry products; dairy products; confectionery, biscuits and bakery products; honey, jaggery and sugar products; cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; cereal and cereal products; groundnuts, peanuts and walnuts, pickles, papads and chutneys; guar gum; floriculture and floriculture products; herbal and medicinal plants.
  • APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Why in News

India attracted highest ever total FDI inflow of US$ 81.72 billion during 2020-21, 10% more than 2019-20.

Key Points

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into India grew 10% in 2020-21 to touch a record $81.72 billion, with FDI equity inflows rising 19% to almost $60 billion.
  • Singapore became the top investor with almost a third of all investments, followed by the U.S. with 23% of FDI and Mauritius where 9% of the capital flows originated.
  • FDI equity flows from the U.S. tripled during the year compared with 2019­20, while investments from the U.K. surged 44%.
  • Saudi Arabia accounted for sharpest growth among the top 10 FDI origin countries.

Top FDI Destination

  • Gujarat top the FDI destination in FY21, accounting for 37% of the foreign equity inflows, followed by Maharashtra that got 27%.
  • Karnataka accounted for 13% of the equity investments, indicating that the rest of the country got a disproportionately less 23% of foreign equity capital.
  • Computer software and hardware became the top sector during 2020­21 with 44% share of the total FDI equity inflow followed by construction (infrastructure) activities (13%) and services sector (8%), respectively.
  • 94% of the equity FDI into Gujarat was routed into the computer software and hardware sector, with the State accounting for 78% of the total investments into the sector.
  • Karnataka, with 9% of FDI equity receipts into the sector, was followed by Delhi that received 5%.
  • Construction (infrastructure) activities, computer software and hardware, rubber goods, retail trading, drugs and pharmaceuticals and electrical equipment have recorded more than a 100% jump in equity during 2020­21.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment into a business or corporation from one country to another country with the intention of establishing a lasting interest.
  • A foreign direct investment can be made by obtaining a lasting interest or by expanding one’s business into a foreign country.
  • Lasting interest differentiates FDI from foreign portfolio investments, where investors passively hold securities from a foreign country.
  • Foreign Direct Investments are commonly made in open economies that have skilled workforce and growth prospect.
  • FDIs not only bring money with them but also skills, technology and knowledge.
  • It is a key element in international economic integration because it creates stable and long-lasting links between economies.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India

  • FDI playing an important monetary source for India’s economic development.
  • Economic liberalisation started in India in the wake of the 1991 crisis and since then, FDI has steadily increased in the country.
  • Today, India is a part of top 100-club on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and globally ranks number 1 in the greenfield FDI ranking.


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