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10 Aug, 2022

64 Min Read

Soil Mapping in agriculture

GS-I : Physical Geography Environment geography

Soil Mapping

In order to use fertilisers more effectively, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently launched a project to digitally map soil nutrients in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and central America.

Additionally, it will arrange and enhance current soil maps.

About soil mapping

Soil Mapping is the process of delineating natural bodies of soils, classifying and grouping the delineated soils into map units, and capturing soil property information for interpreting and depicting soil spatial distribution on a map.


  • It will improve knowledge of the kinds of nutrients our soils and crops require.
  • Additionally, it will improve fertilizer effectiveness and decrease waste during application.
  • Without sacrificing output, it can increase short-term adaptability to fluctuations in fertilizer markets and climatic dynamics.
  • It aids in the development of national soil databases and soil information systems that can be used for the long-term gain of policymakers, the business sector, and particularly farmers.

Soil Mapping Project:

  • The initiative, which has been expedited, will organize and enhance the current soil maps in Guatemala, Honduras, and other central American and SSA nations.
  • An Ethiopian soil-mapping project is already receiving help from FAO as it expands. Digital soil nutrient mapping technologies were employed in the Ethiopian project to produce timely data on the best ways to apply fertilisers.
  • Africa experienced the biggest increase in moderate or severe food insecurity between 2020 and 2021. Middle Africa is the subregion of sub-Saharan Africa that experiences the highest levels of food insecurity.


  • In SSA, unsustainable agricultural methods, a lack of funding for capacity building and nutrient underuse have led to severe soil nutrient loss, low crop yields, and poverty, placing many farm families in a precarious position and posing a threat to their food security.
  • Many African nations lack the capacity, expertise, and understanding necessary to design and carry out sustainable soil management programmes. They often lack legislation governing soil.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

  • It is a specialised organisation that was founded by the UN in 1945 and oversees global initiatives to end hunger.
  • Its main office is in Rome, Italy.
  • In an effort to end hunger, it works to disseminate knowledge and encourage sustainable agriculture through national policies.
  • It seeks to ensure that everyone has access to adequate wholesome food on a regular basis to lead active, healthy lives.

Released major publications

  • World Fisheries and Aquaculture: Current Situation (SOFIA).
  • Forest Status Around the World (SOFO).
  • The World's Nutrition and Food Security Situation (SOFI).

Read Also - New START Treaty

Source: Down To Earth

Palestine - Israel Ceasefire

GS-II : International Relations Israel-Palestine conflict

Palestine - Israel Ceasefire

Recently, there was a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine following three days of fighting that claimed the lives of hundreds of people in both nations.

Tensions between Palestinians and Israeli police erupted at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque earlier this year as well.

Recent conflict

  • Since Israel and Hamas engaged in an 11-day conflict last year, the violence between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza has deteriorated significantly.
  • As long as a cease-fire was not negotiated, there was still a chance that the border clashes may escalate into a full-fledged war.
  • Conflict arose because Israeli aircraft attacked targets (leaders of the Islamic Jihad) in Gaza.
  • The terrorist Palestinian Jihad group responded by launching many rockets toward Israel with support from Iran.
  • Compared to Hamas, Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters.

Israel's actions: Israel began its operation by attacking a major leader of the Islamic Jihad, and it then carried out a second targeted strike on a different leader.

  • Israeli army reports that militants in Gaza launched roughly 580 missiles at Israel.
  • Many of them were intercepted by Israel, and two of those that were shot down were aimed at Jerusalem.
  • The U.N. Security Council has called an urgent meeting to discuss the bloodshed.
  • The session was arranged in response to a request by the United Arab Emirates, which represents Arab countries on the council, as well as China, France, Ireland, and Norway. China will be the council's president for August 2022.

About Israel-Palestine Conflict

  • The partition of Palestine between the old state of Palestine and the new state of Israel was suggested by the United Nations (UN).
  • The Jewish-majority state of Israel was required to receive 53% of the land under this partition proposal, while the Palestinian-majority state of Palestine received 47%. (Palestine).
  • The Arab nations of the Middle East did not accept this notion well.

First Israeli-Arab conflict:

  • But in 1948, Jewish paramilitary organisations forcibly created the state of Israel. This led to a bloody war with its Arab neighbours in 1948, including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. First Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • Israel prevailed in this conflict and eventually occupied a larger area than was originally planned in the 1947 UN partition plan.
  • When the State of Israel was established in historic Palestine in 1948, the Palestinians were driven from their homes. The Palestinians refer to these events as the "Nakba," or disaster.
  • Of those 48 Palestinian families, 28 relocated to Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.

1967 Six-Day War:

  • The Six-Day War broke out after the Arab nations once more refused to recognise Israel as a sovereign state in 1967.
  • Israel gained even more territory in Palestine as a result of this victory.
  • Israel gained control of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, which contains the revered Old City.
  • It also occupied the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and the Syrian Golan Heights.
  • Jewish organisations began requesting that families leave the country at the beginning of the 1970s.

Oslo Agreements

  • The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Israeli government signed it in 1993, with the backing of the UN.
  • As a result, the Palestinian Authority gained control of a portion of the West Bank.

Current Situation

  • Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital as its whole, not simply a portion of it. However, the Palestinians disagree and want that it serves as the capital of a future independent Palestine.
  • A judgement to evict four Palestinian families from their houses in Sheikh Jarrah in favour of Jewish settlers was upheld by the Central Court in East Jerusalem earlier this year.
  • Israeli police recently installed barricades at Damascus Gate to coincide with the start of Ramadan, which caused a dilemma for Palestinians.
  • Numerous individuals were hurt as Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque. On Jerusalem Day, this was accomplished.
  • Hamas, the Islamist militant organisation in charge of Gaza, responded by launching a number of rockets.
  • In retaliation, the Israelis attacked Gaza with an airstrike, killing at least 65 Palestinians, including 16 children

India’s Stand on Israel Palestine Conflict

  • India has continuously voted in favour of Palestine at the UN and has remained "steadfast" in its support for Palestinian rights.
  • India participated in the UN General Assembly and cast a vote against the US's 2017 decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • India had supported a different UNGA resolution in 2018 that "deplored the use of excessive, disproportionate, and indiscriminate force by Israeli troops on Palestinian civilians."
  • India has consistently supported resolutions that call for a two-state solution and acknowledge the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem.
  • At a recent emergency closed-door UN Security Council meeting, India particularly criticized rocket assaults from Gaza while denouncing "any acts of violence."

Way forward

With the aid of international organizations, a "two-state solution" based on peace can only be reached through negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

The Abraham Accords, which were negotiated by the United States and signed in 2020 by Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Israel, were a significant advance in fostering Arab-Israeli collaboration. Finding a peaceful and lasting resolution to the ongoing crisis is now urgently necessary.

India is committed to multilateralism, has positive relations with both Israel and Palestine, and may contribute "increased" efforts to finding a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine dispute.

Gaza strip

  • It is one of the most densely populated regions in the world, with a population of about two million.
  • It is led by the jihadist organisation Hamas, albeit the Palestinian Authority, which controls a portion of the West Bank and is recognised internationally as speaking for all Palestinians, is its competitor.
  • One of the militant organisations active in Gaza is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which works with Hamas while simultaneously maintaining its independence.

Heights of Golan

  • The Golan Heights are the Syrian borderlands that Israel conquered in 1967's Six-Day Middle East War.
  • The western two-thirds of the geographical Golan Heights and the portion of Mount Hermon that is occupied by Israel are included in this area.
  • It is encircled on the west by the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee, on the north by Mount Hermon, on the east by the ephemeral Wadi Al-Ruqqd, and on the south by the Yarmuk River.

Also, Read - Food Processing Sector

Source: The Hindu

START Treaty Upsc


New START Treaty

Recently, due to western sanctions, Russia halted inspections under the new START treaty.

About New START Treaty

  • The New START treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.
  • It is a treaty on steps to further limit and reduce strategic offensive weapons.
  • By putting verifiable restrictions on all Russian deployed intercontinental nuclear missiles, it improves U.S. national security.
  • The treaty will be extended by the Russian Federation and the United States through February 4, 2026.

Strategic Offensive Limits

  • On February 5, 2011, the New START Treaty came into effect. The central restrictions on strategic offensive armaments set forth in the treaty must be met by the United States and the Russian Federation within seven years (by February 5, 2018), and they are then required to uphold those limits for the duration that the pact is in effect.
  • Force Organization: Subject to general constraints, each Party is free to choose how its troops will be organized.
  • The New START Treaty offers the US the freedom to position and maintains its strategic nuclear forces in a manner that best advances its interests in national security.
  • It prohibits the deployment of any intercontinental-range nuclear weapon by Russia, including any nuclear warhead carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile with a flight time of fewer than 30 minutes.

Verification and transparency:

The central limits on strategic offensive weapons (described above) and all other treaty obligations are implemented and verified in accordance with the processes set forth in the treaty.

Also, Read - India’s Tourism Market

Source: Hindustan Times

Food Processing Sector

GS-III : Economic Issues Food processing industry

Food Processing Sector

The government's recent efforts to help the food processing sector were recently detailed in a written response to the Rajya Sabha Minister of State (Food Processing Industries).

Present status of the food sector in India

  • A type of manufacturing called food processing uses science and technology to transform raw ingredients into intermediate foods or edible products.
  • A range of methods are used to transform bulky, perishable, and occasionally inedible food resources into more palatable, concentrated, shelf-stable meals or beverages.
  • It enhances the end product's ability to be stored, transported, enjoyed, and conveniently used.


  • The Indian food industry, which accounts for over 6% of GDP, 13% of exports, and 6% of all industrial investment in the nation, ranks sixth in terms of size.
  • India is currently the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, behind China, but just 2% of the output is processed.
  • Despite a sizable manufacturing base, there is little processing (less than 10 percent).
  • About 2% of fruits and vegetables, 8% of marine goods, 35% of milk, and 6% of poultry are processed.
  • India has the largest livestock population in the world, with 50% of buffaloes and 20% of cattle, yet just 1% of the country's total meat production is turned into items with value-added.

Various measures by the government

  • Priority Sector Lending (PSL) regulations added cold chain and food processing facilities as agricultural activities in April 2015.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) changed the clearance process from product-by-product to ingredient- and additive-based in 2016 as a step toward making business easier.
  • The food processing industry has been given 100% automatic permission for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
  • With the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), a Special Food Processing Fund of Rs. 2000 crore was established to offer loans at reasonable rates for investments in the creation of Mega Food Parks (MFP) as well as processing units in the MFPs.
  • Along with the establishment of individual manufacturing units, the coverage of the fund was expanded in 2019 to include the establishment of agro-processing clusters.
  • Additionally, a Designated Food Parks (DFPs) plan will be implemented in several states to allow businesses to use NABARD's special funds for low-cost lending.

Way forward

  • India now processes less than 10% of its agricultural production, offering an enormous opportunity to increase processing levels and draw investments in this industry. The government's actions are therefore going on the correct path.
  • In addition, the demand in retail and the rise of health-conscious consumers will drive the sector's growth.
  • To strengthen the food processing sector through the MSME sector, a robust agricultural value chain with enough funding and technology applications is required.

Source: PIB

India’s Tourism industry

GS-III : Economic Issues Tourism

India’s Tourism industry

In 2024, India's outbound tourism will exceed USD 42 billion, according to a report recently published under the title "Outbound Travel and Tourism - An Opportunity Untapped.", released by Nangia Andersen LLP in association with FICCI.

Image Source - Sbnri

Travelling "outside" of one's native country for tourism purposes is known as outbound tourism.

Finding of the report

The paper examines the rapidly developing Indian tourism industry and presents a plan for giving visitors and travellers from India more for their money.


  • By 2024, Indian outbound travel will exceed 42 billion USD.
  • Twenty per cent of Indian travellers who travel abroad visit Europe.
  • 10% of travellers go to Australia and New Zealand; the remainder goes to Southeast Asia.

For government:

The government might take the following actions to streamline business operations and advance the interests of Indian travel companies:

  • Increasing direct connections to well-known and up-and-coming locations,
  • Granting permission for foreign cruise ships to operate in Indian waters,
  • To advance the outbound tourism sector, etc., strong and coordinated efforts are being made on a number of fronts.
  • Our government can definitely create bilateral ties with tourist-friendly nations for both inbound and outgoing tourists if foreign delegations respond favourably to its initiatives.
  • International cruise ships, according to the analysis, allowing international cruise ships to call at Indian locations will promote both inbound and outbound travel and boost earnings for Indian ports.


  • India will soon overtake China as the world's most populated nation and have the fastest growing economy.
  • India is well-positioned to become one of the most lucrative outbound tourism markets in the world thanks to its expanding economy, young population, and expanding middle class.
  • With over 80 million passports and levels of purchasing power, particularly among the middle class, the Indian outbound travel sector is one of the fastest expanding marketplaces internationally.

What is the Scenario of Tourism in India?

  • Due to its storied wealth, India used to draw a lot of tourists. An illustration of this is the visit of devoted Chinese Buddhist Hieun-Tsang.
  • Emperors like Ashoka and Harsha began constructing rest houses for pilgrims, which gave pilgrim travel a boost.
  • The Arthashastra stresses the value of the state's transportation system, which was crucial in the past.
  • Following independence, tourism has always been included in the Five Year Plans (FYP).
  • After the sixth FYP, various types of tourism, including business tourism, health tourism, and wildlife tourism, were introduced in India.
  • The Indian economy and the global economy both benefit greatly from the tourism industry.
  • A key tenet of the Make in India initiative is tourism.
  • One of the greatest employers in India is the travel and tourism industry, which employed roughly 12.75% of all employment in 2018–19 (direct and indirect employment combined).
  • The creation of infrastructure with multiple uses is frequently encouraged by tourism.


  • The World Travel and Tourism Council's 2019 report places India's tourism in 10th place for its contribution to global GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
  • Travel and tourism contributed 6.8% of the economy's total GDP or Rs. 13,68,100 crore, in 2019. (USD 194.30 billion).
  • India currently ranks sixth in the world in terms of the number of sites on the "World Heritage List," with 40 (32 cultural, 7 natural, and 1 mixed site).
  • The most recent ones are in Dholavira and Ramappa Temple (Telangana).
  • 39 million jobs, or 8.0% of all employment in India in FY20, were related to the tourist industry. It is anticipated to generate roughly 53 million jobs by 2029.

Significance Of Tourism

Service Sector:

  • The service sector is given a boost. With the expansion of the tourism industry, a significant number of enterprises engaged in the service sector—such as airlines, hotels, surface transportation, etc.—grow.
  • Travellers from other countries assist India in obtaining foreign exchange.
  • The foreign exchange earnings increased at a CAGR of 7% from 2016 to 2019, however they decreased in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Preservation of National Heritage:

  • By highlighting the significance of sites and the need to conserve them, tourism contributes to the preservation of National Heritage and the environment.

Renewal of Cultural Pride:

  • Indian citizens feel proud when their country's tourist attractions are recognised on a worldwide scale.

Infrastructure Development:

  • Multiple-use infrastructures are being built in several tourist destinations today to ensure that travellers do not encounter any issues.


  • It promotes cross-cultural interchange and assists in putting India on the tourist map of the world.

Promotes Cultural Diplomacy:

  • Tourism, a soft power strategy, fosters intercultural understanding and human connections, fostering friendship and international cooperation between India and other nations.


  • Over 200 beaches, 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 668 Protected Areas in India have the potential to draw a sizable amount of tourists.
  • The Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) for 2021 places India at number 54.
  • TTCI is a World Economic Forum publication (WEF).
  • As visitor exports, tourism and hospitality are expected to generate $50.9 billion by 2028, up from $28.9 billion in 2018.
  • Compared to the 43 million jobs directly associated with travel and tourism in 2018, there will be over 53 million jobs in this sector by 2029 (8.1% of all employment).
  • India is anticipated to rank among the top 5 markets for business travel by 2030.

Additionally, speciality industries including religious tourism, medical tourism, eco-tourism, and gem and jewellery business may experience growth.

Boost the handicraft sector

  • The gems, jewellery, and handicrafts of India are very well-liked by tourists.
  • India is quickly becoming the most popular location for medical tourism.

the accessibility of top-notch medical facilities with elite physicians, individualized nursing care, and giving specialist treatments for a cost of one-fourth that of wealthy nations.


  • Whether a traveller is looking for adventure, wellness, culture and heritage, or cuisines, the national landscape possesses a gracious natural beauty and can accommodate practically every sort of traveller.
  • Due to the service-based nature of the tourism business, the availability of a sizable labour force, both skilled and unskilled, can function as a catalyst.


Lack of Infrastructure:

India still has several infrastructure-related issues, including bad roads, bad water, bad sewage, bad hotels, and bad telecoms.

Safety and Security:

A key barrier to the growth of the tourism industry is the safety and security of visitors, particularly foreign visitors. Attacks on foreign nationals cast doubt on India's ability to receive visitors from distant nations.

Lack of Skilled Manpower:

Another issue facing India's tourism sector is a lack of skilled labour.

Lack of essential Amenities:

Lack of essential services like clean, well-maintained restrooms, first aid stations, cafeterias, etc. at popular tourist destinations.

Government scheme to promote tourism

  • Swadesh Darshan Scheme: Launched by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), is a Central Sector Program. The goal is to build integrated theme-based tourist circuits around the nation in 2014–15.
  • National Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) launched in 2015, Scheme focuses on locating and developing pilgrim sites throughout the nation to encourage religious travel.
  • 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat': Declared in 2015 to commemorate Sardar Patel's 140th birthday.

The objective is to improve the ties between the states and India's unity and integrity.

It highlights the states' varied histories, cultures, traditions, and customs.

People can better comprehend and appreciate the diversity of the country through student exchange programs.

  • Dekho Apna Desh programme hosts webinars, quizzes, pledge drives, and conversations to keep people in touch with stakeholders and promote domestic travel.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UT Governments, and the Ministry of Tourism jointly launched the Adopt Heritage Project in 2017.

It envisions creating and maintaining tourist amenities at historical locations and making them accessible to visitors.

  • The North East in 2020

The North Eastern Region's Ministry of Development hosts it every year. The festival emphasises the North East Region's many potentials, including ecotourism, culture, heritage, and business.

Also, Read - NITI Aayog’s Governing Council Meeting

Source: Financial Express


GS-III : S&T Defense system


  • Malaysia has been promised 18 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) "Tejas" from the Indian government.
  • The single-engine jet also piqued the interest of Argentina, Australia, Egypt, the United States, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
  • For 83 of the locally made Tejas planes, the Indian government awarded a USD6 billion contract to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in 2021, with deliveries beginning in roughly 2023.

What is Tejas Aircraft?

The Government of India launched the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme in 1984 and set up the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to oversee it.

It took the place of the outdated Mig 21 fighter jets.

Designed by:

The Aeronautical Development Agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development.

Manufactured by:

The State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)


  • The class's lightest, smallest, and most manoeuvrable multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft.
  • It is designed to transport a variety of precision-guided, air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry.
  • The capabilities for air-to-air refuelling.
  • 4000 kg is the maximum payload capacity.
  • It is capable of travelling at a top speed of Mach 1.8 and has a 3,000-kilometre range.

Variants of Tejas:

Tejas Trainer:

2-seater operational conversion trainer for training air force pilots.

LCA Navy:

Twin- and single-seat carrier-capable for the Indian Navy.

LCA Tejas Navy MK2:

This is phase 2 of the LCA Navy variant.

LCA Tejas Mk-1A:

This is an improvement over the LCA Tejas Mk1 with a higher thrust engine.

Read also - Soil Mapping

Source: PIB




The Minister of State for Communications recently claimed that India's high levels of electromagnetic fields have no effect on the environment in a written response to a Rajya Sabha inquiry.

What are Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Emissions?

  • Invisible magnetic and electric fields of force combine to form electromagnetic fields.
  • Differential voltages produce electric fields; the stronger the voltage, the stronger the resulting field.
  • Electric current flows, generating magnetic fields; the bigger the current, the stronger the magnetic field.

Natural Sources of EMF

Despite being invisible to the naked eye, electromagnetic fields are prevalent everywhere in our environment.

The local build-up of electric charges brought on by thunderstorms causes electric fields to form.

Human-Made Sources of EMF

The electromagnetic spectrum comprises fields produced by artificial sources in addition to those produced by natural sources:

  • After a sports injury, X-rays are used to determine whether a limb is fractured.
  • Every electrical outlet produces electricity, which is accompanied by low-frequency electromagnetic fields.
  • Information is transmitted using a variety of higher frequency radio waves, whether it be through radio stations, mobile phone base stations, or TV antennae.


Impacts on People: Several international studies have linked EMF exposure to major health issues like leukaemia, miscarriages, chronic fatigue, immune system deterioration, forgetfulness, melancholy, nausea, and libido loss.

Radars are used for navigation, and weather forecasting emits pulsed microwave radiation that is harmful to the health of the flora and animals that are present around these radars.

Initiatives are taken by the government

According to the government, EMF emissions from mobile towers are non-ionizing radio frequencies with extremely low strength and are unable to have a negative impact on the environment.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) International EMF Project concluded that the exposure limits in the Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for the protection of human health are also protective of the environment in a 2005 information sheet on the impact of EMF emissions on animals, insects, vegetation, and aquatic life.

The current EMF emission standards for cell towers in India are already ten times stricter (even lower) than the safe limits outlined by ICNIRP and advised by WHO.

To ensure that Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) follow the established standards, including the submission of a self-certificate prior to the commercial start of the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) site, the government has established a well-structured process and mechanism for monitoring any violations.

Up to 10% of BTS Sites are randomly selected each year by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) field units for an EMF audit.

Additionally, DoT fines TSPs whose BTSs are discovered to violate the allowed EMF emission limits.

Additionally, if the emission levels of such non-compliant BTSs are not reduced to the required levels after 30 days, they may be shut down in accordance with the established protocol.


Source: The Hindu

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