GS PAPER I NEWS
Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series
Why in News
The Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series held its 86th webinar titled “Mountains to Mangroves – A Journey of 1000 Kilometers” on 24th April 2021.
India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off by the mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity.
- Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
- Every state in India is distinct from each other in its landscapes, heritage, arts & crafts, cuisine and offers varied tourism options to travel enthusiasts.
- In this webinar, the journey of 1000 kilometers from mountains to mangroves were focused on two of the most picturesque states that is West Bengal and Sikkim.
- The journey started from the Himalayan range of mountains from Sikkim through the Queen of the hills Darjeeling to the Gangetic Plains in south across the coastal region to the world’s largest Delta which is known for the natural habitat of Royal Bengal tigers of Sundarbans.
- A journey through spirituality, breath-taking landscapes, tea gardens, trekking trails, UNESCO World Heritage site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway &Sundarbans National Park, heritage & colonial rich architectural treasures of West Bengal.
- The State of Sikkim and West Bengal are one of the most preferred states on the travel lists as both offer wide range of tourism products be it adventure, spiritual, heritage, wildlife and many more.
About Tourist place of Sikkim
- The State of Sikkim is blessed with natural abundance with the magnificent Mt. Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain of the world, flowering alpine meadows, mountain lakes etc.
- Gangtok, the capital of the State of Sikkim, Pelling, Lachung, Lachen, Yumthang, Nathula Pass, Gurudongmar Lake are some of the famous tourist destinations in Sikkim.
- To visit Sikkim foreigners must obtain Restricted Area Permit (RAP) previously known as Inner Line Permit.
About the tourist place of West Bengal
- The State of West Bengal has rich history, breath-taking landscapes, heritage architecture, finery arts and crafts, vibrant folk festivals, music-theatre-drama, traditional celebrations, delicious cuisines and much more to offer.
- To name few sites are Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Kalimpong, Dooars, Jaldapara, Malda, Bishnupur, Santiniketan, Kolkata- the City of Joy, Sundarbans (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Digha Beachand the list is endless of this incredible state.
Dekho Apna Desh Campaign
- It was launched in 2020 under the Ministry of Tourism.
- The Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series is presented in technical partnership with National e Governance Department, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- It was launched to encourage the citizens to travel widely within the country and explore the wonders of India thus enabling the development of Domestic Tourism tourist facilities and infrastructure in tourism spots in the country.
- Under this Campaign, a series of webinars has been organized on various cities, states, cultures, heritage, wildlife, adventure, etc.
- Its first webinar was organized on 14th April 2020 and the theme was “City of Cities – Delhi’s Personal Diary”, based on Delhi.
- The next webinar is on 8th May on the theme, “Wild India: Exploring India’s wildlife and Natural Heritage”.
GS PAPER II
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Why in News
Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs and Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Governor for India participated in the Governor’s Seminar on “Cooperation for a Resilient Future”, held as part of ADB’s annual meeting 2021.
- The virtual seminar was attended by 68 member nations delegates of the ADB.
- Other than India, Japan, Georgia, China, Philippines and Netherlands were also participated in it.
India at Asian Development Bank 2021
- According to the Ministry of Finance, India has been at the forefront of various initiatives aiming at the same through setting up of the SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund, and leading by example in global initiatives of Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and COVAX.
- The Union Ministry of India emphasized on the need to enable India’s access to critical raw materials essential for ramping up India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity.
- The Finance Ministry also spoke on the need for private sector and Civil Society for partnering with the government to achieve resilient growth.
- Private companies are also contributing under their corporate social responsibility obligations.
- The Indian Government’s policies aimed at reviving and supporting MSME’s will also go a long way in supporting resilient growth.
- The Finance Minister stated that cooperation for resilient and sustainable growth, needs the involvement of Multilateral Institutions for creation of digital assets as well as disaster resilient assets while keeping human development a priority.
- They also appreciated ADB for providing timely financial support for COVID and non-COVID projects.
- The Finance Minister said that there should be a greater focus on health resilience in the Asia Pacific and ADB should come out with comprehensive solutions to address the same.
Asian Development Bank
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) institutionalized on 19 December 1966, is a regional development bank.
- It headquartered in the Ortigas Centre located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.
- It was established to promote social and economic development in Asia.
- Originally, it was formed with 31 members, but now, there are 68 members.
- ADB defines itself as a social development organization that is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
- This is carried out through investments – in the form of loans, grants and information sharing – in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, as well as other areas.
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
- It assists its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.
- The 54th meeting of Asian Development Bank 2021 is going to happen on 3rd – 5th May 2021 virtually.
GS PAPER II
Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry’(PLISFPI)
Why in News
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has issued detailed operational scheme guidelines and has launched an online portal for ‘Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry’(PLISFPI).
Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry’(PLISFPI)
- As a part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, Government of India has approved a new Scheme namely ‘Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry’.
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
- It has been formulated based on the Production Linked incentive scheme of NITI Aayog under “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan for Enhancing India’s Manufacturing Capabilities and Enhancing Exports”.
- This scheme is implemented for 2021-22 to 2026-27 to support creation of global food manufacturing champions commensurate with India’s natural resource endowment and support Indian brands of food products in the international markets.
- PLISFPL is launched to support Food manufacturing entities with stipulated minimum Sales and willing to make minimum stipulated investment for expansion of processing capacity and Branding abroad to incentivize emergence of strong Indian brands.:
- It also supports creation of global food manufacturing champions;
- It strengthens selected Indian brand of food products for global visibility and wider acceptance in the international markets;
- It also generates employment opportunities of off-farm jobs,
- It ensures remunerative prices of farm produce and higher income to farmers.
Production Linked Incentive (PLI)
- Production-Linked Incentive scheme (PLI) was instituted in April 2020 for large-scale electronics manufacturing in India, has gained significant traction over the past year.
- It was launched under the Ministry of Information and Technology.
- It is designed with four objectives:
- Target specific product areas;
- Introduce non-tariff measures in order to compete more effectively with cheap imports;
- Blend domestic and export sales to make manufacturing competitive and sustainable; and
- Promote manufacturing at home while encouraging investment from within and outside India.
- All electronic manufacturing companies which are either Indian or have a registered unit in India, are applicable to apply for the scheme.
- The government estimates that with the PLI scheme, domestic value addition for mobile phones is expected to rise to 35-40% by 2025 from the current level of 20-25% and generate additional 8 lakh jobs, both direct and indirect.
GS PAPER III
Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
Why in News
T. Rabi Sankar appointed as the next Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
- Mr. Sankar was an executive director prior to his elevation, now will oversee eight departments including currency management, foreign exchange and internal debt management.
- He had begun his career as a central banker in 1990 and joined Reserve Bank of India.
- His areas of expertise include exchange rate management and reserves portfolio management.
- He had served as an IMF consultant between 200511.
Reserve Bank of India
- RBI is the Central Bank of India regulated under the Ministry of finance.
- It was operationalized on 1st April 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
- The Central Office of the Reserve Bank was initially established in Kolkata but was permanently moved to Mumbai in 1937.
- The Central Office is where the Governor sits and policies are formulated.
- Originally, it was privately owned, but it was nationalized and comes under the government control in 1949.
- It has 27 regional offices, most of them in state capitals and 04 Sub-offices are: Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai.
- It is a member of International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Objectives of RBI
- The primary objectives of RBI are to supervise and undertake initiatives for the financial sector consisting of commercial banks, financial institutions and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
- Some key initiatives are:
- Restructuring bank inspections,
- Fortifying the role of statutory auditors in the banking system.
Functions of RBI
- Monetary Authority:
- RBI is the sole authority to formulates, implements and monitors the monetary policy.
- Objective behind is to maintain the price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
- Regulator and supervisor of the financial system:
- Prescribes broad parameters of banking operations within which the country’s banking and financial system functions.
- Objective: maintain public confidence in the system, protect depositors’ interest and provide cost-effective banking services to the public.
- Manager of Foreign Exchange:
- RBI manages the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
- Objective: to facilitate external trade and payment and promote orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India.
- Issuer of currency:
- The RBI also responsible for the issuance and exchanges or destroys currency and coins not fit for circulation.
- Objective: to give the public adequate quantity of supplies of currency notes and coins and in good quality.
- The member of the RBI consists of:
- Originally, the Governor of RBI were a part of Indian Civil services, but any individual who holds a Graduate degree/ Post Graduate/ Chartered Accountant can become a Governor of RBI provided that he had worked in any of the following institutions: IMF/ World Bank, Chairman or General Manager of a Bank, Reputed Financial or Banking organization or Ministry of Finance (GOI).
- He must be citizen of India whose age must be 35 years or above than that.
- He must not be a member of the Parliament/State Legislature also he must not hold any other office for profit.
- According to the Constitution, the tenure of RBI Governors is three years however it can be extended for two more years.
- The Governor of the RBI appointed by the Central Government.
- The first Governor of the RBI was: Sir Osborne Smith appointed in 1935.
- The first Indian Governor of the RBI was: Sir C.D. Deshmukh appointed in 1943.
- Deputy Governors:
- There are four Deputy Governors in RBI.
- 2 Finance Ministry representatives, and
- 4 directors to represent local boards headquartered at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and New Delhi.
GS PAPER III
Non-Basmati Rice Exports
Why in News
To give major boost to India’s rice exports, especially from the eastern region, a consignment has been officially flagged off recently from the Paradip International Cargo Terminal (PICT), Odisha to Vietnam.
- This is the first time in the history of Paradip Port, non-basmati rice will be exported.
- Sarala foods group will ship 20 containers of rice recently followed by around 500 containers over the next three months from PICT to Vietnam.
- A consignment of one of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA)’s member exporter M/s Sarala Food will be shipped to Hai Phong port, Vietnam on 4th May 2021.
- The sharp spike in rice exports in such a pandemic situation has disrupted supply changes many commodities, has been attributed to the government taking prompt measures to ensure exports of rice while taking all the COVID-19 related safety precautions.
Growth Rate of Rice Export
During the April – February period of 2020-21, the shipment of Non-Basmati Rice witnessed an impressive spike.
- The non-basmati rice exports were Rs 30,277 crore (4086 US$ Million) during April-February, 2021 against Rs 13,030 crore (1835 US$ Million) reported during April-February, 2020 period.
- The exports of Non-Basmati have witnessed a growth of 132 % in Rupee terms and 122 % Dollar terms.
Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA)
- The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the APEDA Act passed by the Parliament in December, 1985 under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- Functions of APEDA:
- It is responsible for the:
- Development of industries relating to the scheduled products for export by way of providing financial assistance or otherwise for undertaking surveys and feasibility studies,
- Participation in enquiry capital through joint ventures and other reliefs and
- Subsidy schemes.
- It carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughter houses, processing plants, storage premises, conveyances or other places where such products are kept or handled for the purpose of ensuring the quality of such products;
- It improves the packaging and marketing of the Scheduled products.
- APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the following scheduled products: 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 and Herbal and Medicinal Plants.
- It also responsible for the import of sugar.
- The committee composed of:
- A Chairman appointed by the Central Government
- The Agricultural Marketing Advisor to the Government of India, ex-official
- Three members of Parliament of whom two are elected by the House of People and one by the Council of States
- Eight members appointed by the Central Government representing respectively; the Ministries of the Central Govt.: Agriculture and Rural Development, Commerce, Finance, Industry, Food, Civil Supplies, Civil Aviation and Shipping and transport
- Five members appointed by the Central Government by rotation in alphabetical order to represent the States and the Union Territories
- Seven members appointed by the Central Govt. representing: Indian Council of Agricultural Research, National Horticultural Board, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Indian Institute of Packaging, Spices Export Promotion Council and Cashew Export Promotion Council
- Twelve members appointed by the Central Government representing: Fruit and Vegetable Products Industries, Meat, Poultry and Dairy Products Industries, Other Scheduled Products Industries, Packaging Industry and two members appointed by the Central Government from amongst specialists and scientists in the fields of agriculture, economics and marketing of the scheduled products.
APEDA’s role in Rice Export
- APEDA has promoted rice exports through collaborations with various stakeholders in the value chains.
- The government had set up the Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF), under the aegis of the APEDA.
- REPF has representations from rice industry, exporters, officials from APEDA, ministry of commerce and directors of agriculture from major rice producing states including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
- APEDA took several measures to ensure the safety and hygiene in Rice export as the operational and health challenges posed by COVID19, while ensuring that rice exports continue uninterrupted.
- Non-basmati rice exports to African and Asian countries are undertaken from various ports of India such as Kakinada, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai, Mundra and Krishnapatnam.
- Paradip will soon emerge as one of the major rice-exporting port of the country.