Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 February 2023
Jute Packaging Act 1987
- Government of India approved Reservation norms for mandatory use of jute in packaging of rice, wheat and sugar for the Jute Year 2022-23.
- The Mandatory norms provide for full reservation for packaging of foodgrains and 20% reservation for packaging of sugar in jute bags, which will be a big boost for West Bengal.
- The Jute industry occupies an important place in the national economy of India, particularly in West Bengal where nearly 75 jute mills operate and provide livelihood to lakhs of workmen.
- It will support 40 lakh farm families in the jute sector.
- The decision will also help the jute sector in Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- The reservations norms under JPM Act provide for direct employment to 3.70 lakh workers and protect the interest of approximately 40 lakh farm families in the jute sector.
- JPM Act, 1987 protects the interest of Jute farmers, workers and persons engaged in jute goods’ production.
- The reservation norms would further the interest of domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging material in India, thereby, making India self-reliant in consonance with Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
- It will also help protect the environment because jute is a natural, bio- degradable, renewable & reusable fibre and hence fulfills all sustainability parameters.
Nod to commercial release of nano-DAP
- The agriculture ministry has approved the commercial release of nano-diammonium phosphate, for reducing subsidies and the import dependence.
- Nano-DAP is a next-generation fertilizer produced by IFFCO and Coromandel International with nanoparticles of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, the primary macronutrients for plants.
- A nanoparticle is a small particle that ranges between 1 to 100 nanometres in size.
- In 2021, IFFCO launched Nano-Urea.
- It is also planning to launch nano-potash, nano-zinc and nano-copper fertilizers.
Advantages of using Nano-DAP
- Higher Use-Efficiency as a 500-ml bottle of nano-DAP will have the same effectiveness as a bag of conventional soil nutrient.
- Reduced input cost to agriculture, helping to double the income of farmers.
- Improved agriculture sustainability through higher nutrient uptake, lower water consumption and reduction in environmental losses.
- Increased nanoparticles in soil and crops from continued nanoparticles use.
- Potential health hazard from nano-size particles at higher concentrations.
Global assessment of soil carbon in grasslands
- The first FAO Global assessment of Soil Carbon in Grasslands measured report released recently.
- It measured stocks of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) in both semi-natural and managed grasslands.
- It was funded by FAO LEAP Partnership, a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve environmental sustainability of livestock sector.
- SOC is carbon held within the soil that is measurable. It helps in improving soilbiological, chemical, and physical properties, water-holding capacity, andstructural stability.
- SOC is a cost-effective nature-based solution to mitigate effects of climatechange by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Key highlights of Assessment
- Grasslands, contain approximately 20% of world’s SOC, have suffered lossesbecause of human activities such as intensive livestock grazing, agriculturalactivities etc.
- Most of world’s grasslands have a positive carbon balance, meaning land isstable or well-maintained.
- However, negative carbon balance was found in East Asia, Central andSouth America, and Africa south of Equator.
- SOCs are not included in national climate plans due to lack of incentives forfarmers to improve management practices and difficulty in accuratelymonitoring SOC stocks.
Open Pit Mining
- The search for at least 50 people missing since an open pit coal mine collapsed in northern China has been suspended following an additional landslide at the gigantic facility.
- Open-pit mining, also known as opencast mining, is a surface mining technique that extracts minerals from an open pit in the ground.
- It is the most common method used worldwide for mineral mining and does not require extractive methods.
- It is an appropriate extraction method when mineral or ore deposits are found relatively close to the earth's surface, which is overlain by relatively thin vegetation, topsoil, and rock.
- It uses a series of level surfaces or benches to reach the deposit, forming an open pit that looks similar to an inverted pyramid.
- Open-pit mines undergo constant expansion until all mineral resources are exhausted.
- Most of the world's annual output of copper, gold, and iron ore is from open-pit mining
- Other commodities produced from open-pit mining include diamonds, molybdenum, manganese, lead and zinc, uranium, and a variety of industrial minerals, such as borates, talc, etc.
- Open-pit mining has higher productivity, lower operating costs, and is relatively safer than other mining methods.
Product Linked Incentive(PLI) for pharmaceutical
- Under Product Linked Incentive (PLI)scheme of Department for Pharmaceuticals, four pharmaceutical companies have received the first tranche of incentives of up to ₹165.74 crore.
- PLI schemes envisages to accomplish Atmanirbhar Bharat vision by providing on average 4-6% of production value as an incentive to approved investors.
- PLI for pharmaceuticals was launched in 2021 for a period of six years.
- To enhance India’s manufacturing capabilities and contributing to product diversification towards high value goods in pharmaceutical sector, 3 different categories of products are being supported under scheme, viz,
- Category 1: Biopharmaceuticals; Patented drugs or drugs nearing patent expiry; Cell based or gene therapy drugs etc.
- Category 2: Bulk drugs (except those 41 eligible products notified under “PLI Scheme for Bulk drugs).
- Category 3: Drugs not covered under Category 1 and Category 2 such as Repurposed drugs; Auto immune drugs, anti-cancer drugs.
::SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY::
- As per Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas are home to more thanone-third of all types of rhododendrons found in India.
- Rhododendron, meaning rose tree in Greek, is a genus of flowering plants. It is native to temperateregions of Asia, North America, and Europe.
- It is considered an indicator species for climate change.
- Habitat range: Subtropical and temperate to subalpine and alpine ecosystems.
- Health benefits: Prevention and treatment of diseases associated with heart, dysentery,diarrhoea, etc.