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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

08 Apr, 2021

42 Min Read

Production of poppy straw from opium

GS-III : Economic Issues Oil Crisis

Production of poppy straw from opium

  • The Union government has decided to rope in the private sector to commence production of concentrated poppy straw from India’s opium crop to boost the yield of alkaloids, used for medical purposes and exported to several countries.

Poppy Straw:

  • Poppy straw is the husk left after the opium is extracted from pods.
  • This poppy straw also contains a very small morphine content and if used in sufficient quantities, poppy straw can give a high.
  • Possession, sale, use, etc. of poppy straw is regulated by the State Governments under the State Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Rules.
  • Farmers sell the poppy straw to those licensed by the State Governments to purchase poppy straw.
  • Any excess poppy straw is ploughed back into the field.
  • Poppy straw is one of the narcotic drugs under the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (NDPS Act).
  • Hence, anyone possessing, selling, purchasing or using poppy straw without a license or authorization or in violation of any conditions of the license is liable to prosecution under the NDPS Act.

Among the few countries permitted to cultivate the opium poppy crop for export and extraction of alkaloids, India currently only extracts alkaloids from opium gum at facilities controlled by the Revenue Department in the Finance Ministry. This entails farmers extracting gum by manually lancing the opium pods and selling the gum to government factories.

Alkaloids

  • Alkaloids are a huge group of naturally occurring organic compounds which contain nitrogen atom or atoms (amino or amido in some cases) in their structures.
  • These nitrogen atoms cause alkalinity of these compounds.
  • Well-known alkaloids include morphine, strychnine, quinine, ephedrine, and nicotine.
  • The medicinal properties of alkaloids are quite diverse. Morphine is a powerful narcotic used for the relief of pain, though its addictive properties limit its usefulness.
  • Codeine, the methyl ether derivative of morphine found in the opium poppy, is an excellent analgesic that is relatively nonaddictive.

The Ministry has now decided to switch to new technologies, after trial cultivation reports submitted last year by two private firms showed higher extraction of alkaloids using the concentrated poppy straw (CPS).

Indoor greenhouses

  • “While alkaloid extraction from the current opium crop using the CPS was found more than opium gum, it is possible to have two or three crop cycles in one year if we use CPS varieties of seeds that can be grown in indoor greenhouses too,” said an official aware of the development.
  • The outcome of the two trials conducted in the crop years of 2017-18 and 2018-19 were received in February 2020 and June 2020.
  • India’s opium crop acreage has been steadily declining over the years and using the CPS extraction method is expected to help cut the occasional dependence on imports of products like codeine (extracted from opium) for medicinal uses.
  • While roping in private players to partner with the government in producing CPS and extracting alkaloids from it is likely to require amendments to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, the Department has decided to appoint a consultant to help frame the bidding parameters and concession agreements for the same.

Partnership model

  • “The consultant will be required to help frame the modalities for this endeavour, with an appropriate model including public-private partnership (PPP), advise on the changes needed to the rules and laws to facilitate this, and recommend security measures to protect the crop and the final product,” the official said.
  • The firms carrying out the trials faced legal hassles in terms of getting relevant licences from the State governments to manufacture bulk alkaloids on their premises, which will need to be ironed out. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are the three traditional opium-growing States, where poppy cultivation is allowed based on licences issued annually by the Central Bureau of Narcotics.
  • As per the trials’ findings, the imported seeds of certain CPS varieties worked effectively in Indian fields and their narcotic raw material yield was much higher from imported seeds instead of those used currently.
  • “One of the firms purchased poppy straw of locally cultivated crop to analyse the yield from the same crop with the CPS method. They also cultivated CPS with hydroponic and aeroponic methods under a greenhouse environment. The other firm imported seeds from the U.K. and Australia, and carried out cultivation in association with an agriculture university,” the official said.

Opium Cultivation In India

  • After independence, the control over cultivation and manufacture of opium became responsibility of the Central Government with effect from April, 1950.
  • At present the Narcotics Commissioner along with the subordinates exercises all powers and performs all functions relating to superintendence of the cultivation of the opium poppy and production of opium.
  • The Commissioner derives this power from the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 and Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Rules, 1985.
  • License for manufacture of certain types of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as well as permits for export and import of narcotic drugs, psychotropic and controlled substances are issued with the approval and permission of the Narcotics Commissioner.
  • The Government of India announces the licensing policy for cultivation of opium poppy every year, prescribing the minimum qualifying yield for issue of or renewal of licence, maximum area that can be cultivated by an individual cultivator, the maximum benefit that can be allowed to a cultivator for damage due to natural causes, etc.
  • The opium poppy can be cultivated only in such tracts as are notified by the Government.
  • At present these tracts are confined to three States,viz. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh and Chittorgarh and Jhalawar Districts of Rajasthan constitute about 80% of the total area cultivated.
  • India is one of the few countries internationally permitted (by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ) to cultivate opium poppy for export.

Uses

  1. Opium is unique in its therapeutic value and is indispensable in the medical world.
  2. It also finds use in Homeopathy and Ayurveda or Unani systems of indigenous medicines.
  3. The opium which is used as Analgesics, Anti-Tussive, Anti spasmodic and as a source of edible seed-oil, acts as a medicinal herb.

Source: TH

Project REHAB

GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes

Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC) has launched a unique project called Project REHAB (Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks using Bees).

About Project REHAB:

  • Project RE-HAB stands for Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees. It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
  • The project has been launched as a sub-mission of KVIC’s National Honey Mission.
  • It intends to create “bee fences” to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees.
  • Bee boxes have been placed on the ground as well as hung from the trees.
  • The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from progressing further.
  • This idea stems from the elephants’ proven fear of the bees.
  • The project aims to mitigate Human– elephant conflicts in the country.
  • It was launched as a pilot project launched on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka.

National Honey Mission:

  • Launched byKhadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC)
  • To provide sustainable employment and income to rural and urban unemployed youth.
  • To conserve the honeybee habitat and tapping untapped natural resources.
  • Promote beekeeping for increasing crop productivity and pollination services avenue for beekeepers and farmers.

Khadi & Village Industries Commission:

  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament -Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956.
  • In 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.

Functions:

  • It is an apex organization under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India
  • It seeks to promote and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas.

Source: TH

India-Netherlands Virtual Summit

GS-II : International Relations Europe

India-Netherlands Virtual Summit

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in a virtual meet discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte.

  • During the Summit, the two leaders exchanged views on further expanding the relationship in trade and economy, water management, agriculture sector, smart cities, science & technology, healthcare and space.
  • The two Prime Ministers also agreed on instituting a ‘Strategic Partnership on Water’ to further deepen the Indo-Dutch cooperation in the water related sector, and upgrading the Joint Working Group on water to Ministerial-level.
  • Prime Minister Modi thanked the Netherlands for their support to International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). PM Modi also welcomed the Netherlands’ Indo-Pacific Policy.

India-Netherland Relations

India and Netherlands have shared cordial relations since Independence. India and the Netherlands share cordial and friendly relations underpinned by shared values of democracy, rule of law and freedom.

Areas of cooperation include:

  • India and Netherlands have set up a joint working group on counter terrorism. This would help the two nations learn from each other’s experience. While India has a long history of tackling terrorism, Netherlands is a part of the coalition that is fighting the ISIS.
  • Bilateral trade between the two nations was around 6 Billion Euros in 2014-15. Also, India was the fifth largest investor in the Netherlands. and the Netherlands being the third largest investor in India.
  • Netherlands has long experience in harnessing wind energy. Thus the two nations can collaborate in this sector as India attempts to increase the contribution of clean energy for sustainable development.
  • The Netherlands supports a permanent seat for India at the UN Security Council.
  • Netherlands is a country whose significant area lies below the sea level. Hence, it has faced devastating floods. India can benefit from that experience to tackle the problem at home.

Dutch Indian Water Alliance For Leadership Initiative (DIWALI)

  • Dutch Indian Water Alliance For Leadership Initiative (DIWALI) was established recently between India and Netherlands
  • Objective is to find solutions for water related challenges
  • The experts from both counties would explore the potential and sustainability of Dutch Solutions to resolve challenges in specific water-challenged sites in India.
  • Scalable, sustainable, and affordable solutions shall be given importance.
  • Led by Dutch consortia titled “Water for Change. Integrative and Fit-for-Purpose Water Sensitive Design Framework for Fast-Growing Livable Cities” and IIT Roorkee as the lead.
  • Netherlands is home to the largest Indian diaspora in continental Europe.
  • There are lucrative opportunities for Dutch companies in the following sectors of India’s economy: agri-food, logistics (ports, shipping and inland waterways), technology (the automotive and defence industries) infrastructure and water management, energy, health, chemicals and creative industry.
  • Exports from the Netherlands to India include machinery, optical equipment, cast iron and steel. The main Dutch imports from India are mineral fuels, including oil.
  • The Netherlands and India maintain close relations in the fields of education and science. For instance, there are exchange programmes with various universities, and Indian and Dutch scientists conduct joint research. The Dutch government provides grants to Indian students
  • Stemming from the 17th and 18th centuries when the Dutch East India Company (VOC) had trading posts in India.
  • The Netherlands seeks to preserve that heritage, so this is an important area of cultural cooperation. Besides common cultural heritage, other focuses are the visual arts, film, new media, music and design.

Source: PIB

Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021

GS-III : Economic Issues IPR (Intellectual Property Rights)

Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021

In India, the copyright regime is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright Rules, 2013.

The amendments have been introduced with the objective of bringing the existing rules in parity with other relevant legislations.

New Provisions:

  • The amendments have harmonised the Copyright Rules with the provisions of Finance Act, 2017 whereby the Copyright Board has been merged with Appellate Board.
  • To reinforce transparency in working of copyright societies a new rule has been introduced, whereby the copyright societies will be required to draw up and make public an Annual Transparency Report for each financial year.
  • The compliance requirements for registration of software works have been largely reduced, as now the applicant has the liberty to file the first 10 and last 10 pages of source code.
  • The time limit for the Central Government to respond to an application made before it for registration as a copyright society is extended to 180 days, so that the application can be more comprehensively examined.
  • It aims to ensure smooth and flawless compliance in the light of the technological advancement in digital era by adopting electronic means as primary mode of communication and working in the Copyright Office.
  • A new provision regarding publication of a copyrights journal has been incorporated, thereby eliminating the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette.
  • In order to encourage accountability and transparency, new provisions have been introduced, to deal with the undistributed royalty amounts and use of electronic and traceable payment methods while collection and distribution of royalties.

Various International Treaties

There are different subject matters of intellectual property like Patents, Copyright, Trademarks, Industrial design, Plant Varieties etc. Need for protection in these different subjects arose in different periods. These are reflected in different treaties. Agreement on TRIPS, under aegis of WTO, remains most influential, comprehensive and inclusive of all. Other treaties are covered here for background information.

1. Paris Convention for Industrial Property, 1883 – Since it deals only with Industrial property, it covered only Patents and Trademarks. It was among first treaties to recognize various principles of international trade like National Treatment, Right of Priority, Common rules etc.

2. Bern convention for literary and artistic works, 1886 – It provided for copyright system. It doesn’t provide for any formality to claim protection. Protection is automatically accorded to any creation, provided work is original and other conditions under the treaty are fulfilled. It means that your work, if original, is already protected. You can claim that you have copyright.

3. Madrid Agreement, 1881 Governs the international recognition of trademarks. Made international fillings easy and cheap.

4. Patent co-operation treaty, 1970 – It was earlier not possible for an entity to claim protection in different countries by single application. This was made possible as it aimed for co-operation and it was open for all parties to Paris convention.

5. Budapest Treaty of 1980 – It made possible patenting for micro-organisms. Claimant is required to deposit his invention on micro-organisms with an Authority – ‘International depository of Micro-Organisms’ under WIPO. He shall make all the adequate disclosures.

6. Trademark Law Treaty, 1994 – Harmonized administrative procedures and introduced ‘service marks’ in ambit of trade marks. Earlier trademarks were accorded only to goods.

7. The Hague agreement concerning the International Deposit of ‘Industrial Design’ 1925 – It created International Design Bureau of WIPO.

8. International Union for protection of new varieties of plants, 1961 – This provides breeders and farmers right to new plant varieties.

9. Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property – It is a landmark and most comprehensive treaty on Intellectual property. While earlier treaties’ subject matters were specific, TRIPS deal with 8 kinds of property rights – Patents, Trademarks, trade dress, Copyrights, Industrial Designs, Plant Varieties, Integrated Circuits and layouts, and Geographical Indication. Further, almost all countries are party to TRIP. In earlier treaties only limited countries participated. It also provides enforcement mechanism which was not available in WIPO treaties. It mandated all member countries to make their domestic laws complaint to TRIPS. India passed certain laws and amended others. India’s IPR regime now stands fully complaint to TRIPS. For E.g. India amended patent law in 2005 to provide ‘product’ patent protection. Earlier protection was available only to ‘processes’.

There are two main bodies – World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under UN which administers 1-7 treaties mentioned below. 8th treaty is independent of any organization. Another relevant body is World Trading Organization. 9th (or TRIPS) is administered by WTO. 10th treaty comes under UNESCO.

TRIPS was results of discussions held in Uruguay round which led to formation of WTO. This treaty is an offshoot of General Agreement on Trade in Goods (GATT). This treaty provided a robust Dispute Resolution Mechanism and stringent penal provisions under auspices of WTO.

Every treaty under WTO is based some principle which are:

  • National Treatment – No foreign products, once they enter domestic territories, shall be discriminated in any manner. This also applies to intellectual property. Members must accord similar treatment to foreign creations, as they do to domestic ones.
  • Most Favored Nation – If a member provides some privilege, favorable treatment or exemption to another country or group, then other members must get similar favorable treatment.
  • Right to priority treatment – If a similar patent application has been filed in two different countries, then prior applicant has right to the patent.
  • Concept of Minimum Standards – This treaty provides for minimum level of protection that every member should provide to intellectual property. Members have discretion to provide more protection than minimum standards.
  • Universal Copyright Convention, 1952 – This convention is administered by UNESCO. This exists simultaneously with Bern Convention. This treaty provides for procedural formalities for filing and recognition of copyright. As Bern convention provides for automatic route to copyright, this treaty has lost its relevance.

Source: PIB

Clean Ganga Fund- Role in Ganga Conservation

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Biodiversity & Environment

The main goal of the Government’s flagship program Namami Gange has been to make Ganga clean and restore its pristine glory. Rejuvenation of such a long river not only poses tremendous challenges but also requires huge investment.

The Government has already quadrupled the budget, but still, it will not be sufficient for such a mammoth amount of work. Therefore, a Clean Ganga Fund was created by the Government, in which everyone can contribute funds to clean the river Ganga.

Background- Cleaning Ganga

  • The Ganga Action Plan was launched in 1986 with the objective of pollution abatement, to improve water quality by interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage and toxic waste.
  • The Government announced the setting up of an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called "Namami Gange" and an initial sum of Rs. 2,037 crore has been allocated in the Union Budget 2014-15.
  • The Government also established the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), chaired by the Prime Minister, with the objective to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga.

Clean Ganga Fund-

  • It is set up with voluntary contributions from residents of the country and Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) / Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and others.
  • It is set up as a trust under the Indian Trusts Act.
  • It is managed by a Trust to be headed by Finance Minister.
  • The secretariat of the Trust is set up in Ministry of Jal Shakti under the Mission Director, Clean Ganga.
  • The proposal to set up CGF was to attract private contributions globally for increasing people's participation in this massive task.
  • The domestic donors to the Fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as applicable in the case of the Swachh Bharat Kosh.
  • CGF will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of improving the cleanliness of the river Ganga with the contributions received from the residents of the country, NRIs/ PIO and others.
  • CGF will explore the possibility of setting up daughter funds in other jurisdictions/countries of high donor interest such as USA, UK, Singapore, UAE, etc. to enable tax benefits to donors in their respective jurisdictions.
  • CGF will be catalytic in nature and will identify and fund specific projects which could be pilot projects, R&D projects, innovative projects or other focused projects.

Significance of Clean Ganga Fund

  • It is an initiative to harness the enthusiasm of people for Ganga and to bring them closer to the Ganga and inculcate a sense of ownership.
  • It involves major organizations and general public at large who are coming forward to contribute to the Ganga fund which strengthens the Mission to achieve the objective of a clean and healthy Ganga.
  • It has the objective of contributing to the national effort of cleaning of the river Ganga.
  • The money is being used in areas such as afforestation, treatment of nalas through in-situ bioremediation process, and redevelopment of ghats.

National Mission for Clean Ganga

  • It is registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act 1860. It acted as the implementation arm of the National Ganga Council (which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority in 2016).
  • National Ganga Council was constituted in 2016 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and headed by the Prime Minister of India.
  • It is part of the 5-tier governance structure envisaged under the EPA act to ensure a clean river Ganga. They are-
    • National Ganga Council under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
    • Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Union Minister of Jal Shakti
    • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
    • State Ganga Committees and
    • District Ganga Committees in every specified district abutting river Ganga and its tributaries in the states.
  • NMCG has two wings, both of them headed by Director General, NMCG (an Additional Secretary in Government of India).
    • Governing Council
    • Executive Committee authorized to accord approval for all projects up to Rs.1000 crore.
  • Similar to the structure at the national level, State Program Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arms of State Ganga Committees.

Key objectives

    • To ensure effective abatement of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral co-ordination for comprehensive planning and management and
    • To maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.

Key Functions

    • Implement the work program of the National Ganga Council (NGC).
    • Implement the World Bank-supported National Ganga River Basin Project.
    • Coordinate and oversee the implementation of projects sanctioned by the Government of India under NGC.
    • Undertake any additional work or functions as may be assigned by MoWR, RD &GJ in the area of conservation of river Ganga.
    • Accept or to provide any grant of money, loan securities, or property of any kind and to undertake and accept the management of any endowment trust, fund or donation not inconsistent with the objectives of NMCG.
    • Take all such action and enter all such actions as may appear necessary or incidental for the achievements of the objectives of the NGC.

Source: PIB

Jal Jeevan Mission: Working Mechanism & Governance

GS-II : Governance Governance

Jal Jeevan Mission: Working Mechanism & Governance

Jal Jeevan Mission – Har Ghar Jal announced on 15th August, 2019, to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural home by 2024, is in its third year of implementation.

National Jal Jeevan Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti will soon roll out the annual planning exercise with States. The working mechanism is as follows:

  • While implementing, States/ UTs are to give priority to water quality-affected areas, villages in drought prone and desert areas, Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe majority villages,117 Aspirational districts and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana villages to provide all households with tap water connection in a time-bound manner.
  • The State Action Plan is prepared by States/ UTs with an objective to provide 100% households with tap water connections and achieve overall drinking water security.
  • This is the master plan with detailed information on number of schemes to be retrofitted/ new schemes to achieve saturation along with timelines to initiate and complete& commission the schemes on ground.
  • It will also identify sources of convergence, invest in sensor-based IoT technology for real-time monitoring and measurement of water supply, firm up State O&M policy, intensify IEC/ BCC, Water Quality Monitoring &Surveillance activities, etc.
  • The AAP (2021–22) will further emphasize on support activities like empowering Village Water & Sanitation Committees (VWSCs)/ Pani Samitis, preparation and approval of Village Action Plans (VAPs) which will have the components of drinking water source strengthening/ augmentation, water supply infrastructure, grey water treatment & reuse, and operation & maintenance of in-village water supply systems.
  • The States/ UTs are also to plan for intense training and skilling programmes, especially 5 persons in every village on water quality surveillance
  • The special campaign to provide tap water connections in schools, anganwadi centres (AWCs) and Ashramshalas under the Jal Jeevan Mission has received a very good response from the States & UTs with several States reporting 100% saturation in all schools and AWCs.
  • In areas of drinking, cooking mid-day meals, handwashing and use in toilets rainwater harvesting and grey water reuse is promoted so that future generations inculcate the spirit of holistic management of water for water security and improved hygiene and sanitation in villages
  • Implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission is done in a participatory manner. At State and district level, NGOs, voluntary organizations, self-help groups, etc. are involved in supporting the local village communities as implementation support agencies.
  • Since launch of this mission in August 2019, despite the CoVid-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and huge challenges, so far over 4.07 Crore rural households have been provided with tap water connections. Now, over 7.30 Crore i.e. 38% rural households are getting potable water through taps.
  • Goa has become the first State in the country to provide every rural household with tap water supply followed by Telangana and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • To bring in transparency and make information available to citizen, National JJM has developed JJM dashboard wherein the online progress of implementation and status of tap water supply in homes has been put in public domain.

To read detailed provisions & Analysis of Jal Jeeven Mission Click Here

Source: PIB

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