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16 June, 2020

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I PM Van Dhan Yojana Social issues
Agroforestry Farmers to Industry HeldMultiple uses of Agroforestry - National Agroforestry Policy Human Geography
GS-II CPGRAMS
Assistance to Disabled persons scheme (ADIP)
GS-III Wholesale Price in India Economic Issues
INDIA’S FOREIGN TRADE Economic Issues
National Agroforestry Policy,2014 Economic Issues
INDIA’S FOREIGN TRADE: May2020 - Foreign trade policy Economic Issues
Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)
PT Pointer e-Office Economic Issues
Indian Gas Exchange (IGX) Economic Issues
Malathion insecticide Economic Issues
MLCR Economic Issues
Operation Cactus International Relations
Railway development Authority Economic Issues
Minmata Convention on mercury
Falcon Heavy
Galapagos Human Geography
Prime Minister’s Research fellow scheme
Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme- DHRUV
Goliath grouper
International Yoga day to be celebrated through digital platform this time Art and Culture
GS-I : Social issues
PM Van Dhan Yojana

PM Van Dhan Yojana

Part of: GS-I- Social issue (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Coverage of PM Van Dhan Yojana proposed to be expanded from the current 18,000 SHGS to 50,000 Van Dhan SHGS, coverage of tribal gathers to be increased three fold to 10 lakh

Tackling an unprecedented crisis of the nature and combating the challenges thrown by the Covid-19 Pandemic require different and innovative approaches. One segment that has been severely impacted during the on-going crisis has been the tribal population. In such a scenario, the Van Dhan Start-ups, established under the scheme initiated by TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs has emerged as a source of employment generation for tribal gatherers and forest dwellers and also the home-bound labour and artisans.

1205 Tribal Enterprises have been established to provide employment opportunities to 3.6 lakh tribal gatherers and 18000 Self-help groups in 22 States. 

 

Imp Points

  • The slogan “Go Vocal for Local”, a Mantra in these troubled times, has been adapted to include ‘Go Vocal for Local Go Tribal – Mera Van Mera Dhan Mera Udyam.
  • The aim of the Start-ups scheme is to treble the coverage to 10 lakh tribal gatherers through the Covid-19 relief plan of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs under article 275(I).
  • Started in 2019, the Start-ups spread rather quickly to all the 22 states, almost became a competition once the states realised the value added by this initiative.
  • The critical significance of this programme for tribal livelihoods, which ensures that the proceeds from the sales of these value-added products go to the tribals directly.
  • The value-added products benefit largely from the packaging and marketing that these tribal enterprises provide. 
  • The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras provide products such as wild honey, broomsticks, donna pattal, Samidha sticks, coffee, bay leaf, bel pulp were displayed.
  • The tribal affairs offer a ray of hope for home-bound tribal labour and artisans through van dhan start-ups.
  • The uniqueness of the whole exercise is that it has managed to create market linkages and to transform tribal gatherers into entrepreneurs.

Manipur model

Many of these tribal enterprises are connected to markets and have received many orders already. As an example, the efforts of the start-ups in Manipur which have turned out to be a model enterprise for the rest of the country, in terms of the packaging, innovations, and training

In Manipur, 77 Van Dhan Kendras have been established in the State for value addition and processing of forest produces. The Van Dhan Kendras have reported sales of MFP products worth Rs. 49.1 lakhs since September 2019 What stood out in the case of Manipur is the exemplary food safety and hygiene standards adopted by these 77 centres that have been established, the superb attractive packaging of the processed products such as Amla juice, tamarind amla candy and plum jams, and the innovative branding and marketing of these products. A mobile van service has also been started in one of the districts to ensure the selling of these products.

Also Read: https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/SCST-Education-Social-Inclusion

 

What is Van Dhan Scheme?

The scheme aims at the economic development of tribals involved in the collection of Minor Food Produces (MFPs) by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and providing them with a sustainable livelihood.

Under this scheme, the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras constituted, provide skill up-gradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facilities.

Implementation of the Van Dhan Scheme

The implementation of the Van Dhan Yojana is administrated through the Ministry of Tribal Affairs at different levels:

National Level

Nodal Department is the Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Central Level

The Nodal Agency is TRIFED India (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India)

State Level

State Nodal Agencies for Minor Forest Produce Schemes (MFP) and District Collectors

Unit Level

An SHG consisting of approx 30 members to form a Van Dhan Vikas Samuh.

  • The local Van Dhan Vikas Kendras are managed by a Managing Committee (a Self-Help Group) that consists of Van Dhan SHG representatives.
  • At the unit level, the members of Van Dhan Vikas Samuh are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle.

The tribals will be trained on sustainable harvesting, collection, primary processing and value addition. They will be formed into clusters to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and link them with the facility of primary processing in Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.

These Kendras play a significant role in the economic progress and development of tribes. They also help the tribals utilize their natural resources in the best possible way providing them with a sustainable livelihood based on Minor Forest Produce from the MFP-rich areas.

The central and state governments will provide necessary support by creating infrastructure and providing enabling environment for undertaking value addition on systematic scientific lines.

TRIFED

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) in 1987.

TRIFED has two significant functions:

  • Retail Marketing of Tribal Products
  • Development of MFP (Minor Forest Produce)

Objectives

  • Promoting and encouraging Socio-Economic development of the tribal community by improving and developing the market of the tribal commodities.
  • TRIFED acts as a medium and a facilitator that helps the tribes sell their products.
  • Some of the tribal products include tribals art, textiles, metal craft, tribal painting pottery, etc.
  • These products and their sale contribute to a major part of their income.
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GS-I : Human Geography
Agroforestry Farmers to Industry HeldMultiple uses of Agroforestry - National Agroforestry Policy

Agroforestry Farmers to Industry HeldMultiple uses of Agroforestry - National Agroforestry Policy

Part of: GS-I- Geography (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Webinar on Connecting Agroforestry Farmers to Industry HeldMultiple uses of Agroforestry Ranging from Additional Income to Farmers to Carbon Sequestration for Combating Climate Change Highlighted

A webinar was organized to discuss ways and means to connect agroforestry farmers to industry and sensitise implementing States to assist farmers in making the correct choice of species.

The webinar dwelt on the various reforms brought in the agriculture sector to ensure optimum remuneration to farmers to ensure their welfare, including Rs 1.63 lakh crore outlay and the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 to establish a truly national market and give farmers the option to choose the market where they want to sell their produce by removing inter-state trade barriers and providing e-trading of agriculture produce.

Importance

He highlighted the multiple uses of agroforestry ranging from additional income to farmers, nurseries as a means of livelihoods especially for women SHGs, green fodder, reduction in requirement of fertilsers by planting leguminous species, carbon sequestration for combating climate change, etc.

Prime Minister’s call for Vocal for our Local is of great relevance to agroforestry too. Agroforestry could contribute to stepping up supply of raw material to industry to reduce import dependency in some crucial commodities.

Imp Points

  • The earlier notion of agroforestry meaning only timber species needs to have a relook from farmers and industry point of view.
  • Timber trees have long maturity period and hence delays returns to the farmers.
  • Whereas there are number of rising sectors which would ensure quick returns to farmers as well as fulfill industry requirements, including medicinal and aromatic plants, silk, lac, paper and pulp, tree borne oil seeds for production of bio-fuels, etc.

 

 

  • Promotion of medicinal plants is a major component of AtmaNirbhar Bharat and there is tremendous scope for convergence for tree based and organic medicinal produce.
  • Issues relating to constraints in supply of raw material to paper industry, which is being made up by imports, were discussed.
  • Quality planting material is the basis for improving productivity and hence returns to farmers. The presentation flagged the importance of clonal planting material of the correct varieties which would also comply with industry requirement.
  • Central Silk Board assured to assist farmers who plant the range of silk host species, which on an average would start giving returns in 3-4 years and hence were ideal for agroforestry systems.
  • In conclusion States were advised to encourage contract farming on similar lines as crops right from pre planting, planting and harvest. Industry, both existing and potential, should be taken as the hub and activities planned around that. This would enable fulfillment of the vision of an ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’.

India became the first country in the world to formulate a National Agroforestry Policy in 2014. As a follow up, the Sub Mission for Agroforestry was launched in 2015 to assist the States in encouraging farmers to adopt tree planting along with crops.  Agro climatic zone wise agroforestry models have been developed by research institutions, including ICAR and ICFRE. The scheme is currently being implemented in 21 States of the country.

National agroforestry policy

Agroforestry is defined as a land use system which integrates trees and shrubs on farmlands and rural landscapes to enhance productivity, profitability, diversity and ecosystem sustainability. It is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resource management system that, through integration of woody perennials on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production and builds social institutions.

Major policy initiatives, including the National Forest Policy 1988, the National Agriculture Policy 2000, Planning Commission Task Force on Greening India 2001, National Bamboo Mission 2002, National Policy on Farmers, 2007 and Green India Mission 2010, emphasize the role of agroforestry for efficient nutrient cycling, organic matter addition for sustainable agriculture and for improving vegetation cover.

However, agroforestry has not gained the desired importance as a resource development tool due to various factors.

A policy which deals with problems faced by agroforestry sector, including adverse policies, weak markets and a dearth of institutional finance was approved by the Cabinet in February 2014. India became the world's first country to adopt a comprehensive agroforestry policy.

Basic objectives

  • Encourage and expand tree plantation in complementarity and integrated manner with crops and livestock to improve productivity, employment, income and livelihoods of rural households, especially the small holder farmers.
  • Protect and stabilize ecosystems, and promote resilient cropping and farming systems to minimize the risk during extreme climatic events.
  • Meet the raw material requirements of wood based industries and reduce import of wood and wood products to save foreign exchange.
  • Supplement the availability of agroforestry products (AFPs), such as the fuel-wood, fodder, non-timber forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal populations, thereby reducing the pressure on existing forests.
  • Complement achieving the target of increasing forest/tree cover to promote ecological stability, especially in the vulnerable regions.
  • Develop capacity and strengthen research in agroforestry and create a massive people's movement for achieving these objectives and to minimize pressure on existing forests.

Strategy

  1. Establishment of Institutional Setup at National level to promote Agroforestry
    • An institutional mechanism, such as a Mission or Board is to be established for implementing the agroforestry policy. It will provide the platform for the multi-stakeholders to jointly plan and identify the priorities and strategies, for inter-ministerial coordination, programmatic convergence, financial resources mobilization and leveraging, capacity building facilitation, and technical and management support.
    • The Ministry of Agriculture has the mandate for agroforestry. Agroforestry Mission / Board will be located in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) in the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
    • The actual implementation may involve convergence and dovetailing with a number of programmes.
    • Agroforestry research and development (R&D), including capacity development and pilot studies / testing and action research should be the responsibility of the ICAR
    • In the proposed institutional arrangement the current stakes of the key ministries are to be respected and utilized.
  2. Simple regulatory mechanism - There is a need to create simple mechanisms / procedures to regulate the harvesting and transit of agroforestry produce within the State, as well as in various States forming an ecological region. There is also the need to simplify procedures, with permissions extended on automatic route as well as approval mode through a transparent system within a given time schedule. There are regulations imposed by multiple agencies of State governments (viz.  Department of Forest, land revenue, other local bodies) on harvesting and transit which have negative implications on the 8 growth of agroforestry. All these restricting regulations need to be identified and aligned with the proposed simplified mechanism.
  3. Development of a sound database & information system
  4. Investing in research, extension and capacity building and related services
  5. Improving famers’ access to quality planting material
  6. Providing institutional credit and insurance cover for agroforestry
  7. Facilitating increased participation of industries dealing with agroforestry produce
  8. Strengthening farmer access to markets for tree products.
  9. Incentives to farmers for adopting agroforestry
  10. Promoting sustainable agroforestry for renewable biomass based energy
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GS-II :
CPGRAMS

CPGRAMS

Context

  • Union Minister of State for Personnel, PG and Pensions Dr. Jitendra Singh todaylaunched the “Feedback Call Centres on Public Grievances” and interacted live with citizens whose grievances have been successfully redressed on the COVID-19 National Monitor for Public Grievances. Dr. Jitendra Singh complimented DARPG on reaching the milestone of redressing One Lakh COVID-19 Public Grievances so far.He said that the “Leadership of PM Modi has inspired Government to put in a lot of effort to addressing Grievances of Common Man”.

About CPGRAMS

  • It is an online web-enabled system developed by National Informatics Centre (Ministry of Electronics & IT [MeitY]), in association with Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).
  • The underlying idea was to receive, redress and monitor the grievances of the public.
  • It was launched by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
  • The CPGRAMS provides the facility to lodge a grievance online from any geographical location.
  • It enables the citizen to track online the grievance being followed up with Departments concerned and also enables DARPG to monitor the grievance.
  • The procedure includes designating a senior officer as the Director of Grievances/Grievance officer in every office to ensure that the system remains accessible, simple, quick, fair and responsive, and fixing the time limit for disposal of work relating to public grievances and staff grievances.
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GS-II :
Assistance to Disabled persons scheme (ADIP)

Assistance to Disabled persons scheme

Context

Amidst the prevailing unprecedented situation faced by the society due to Pandemic COVID-19, special measures have been taken by Government of India so that the benefit of welfare scheme for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) continue uninterrupted.

About ADIP scheme

The main objective of the Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing / fitting of aids / appliances (ADIP) scheme is to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential.

  • The aids and appliances supplied under the Scheme shall conform to BIS specifications to the extent possible.
  • The scheme is implemented through implementing agencies such as the NGOs, National Institutes under this Ministry and ALIMCO (a PSU).

Objectives

  • The main objective of the Scheme is to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential.

Eligibility of the Beneficiaries

  • He/she should be an Indian citizen of any age.
  • Should be certified by a Registered Medical Practitioner that he/she is disabled and fit to use prescribed aid/appliance. Holds a 40% Disablement Certificate.
  • Person who is employed/self-employed or getting pension and whose monthly income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 20,000/- per month.
  • In case of dependents, the income of parents/guardians should not exceed Rs. 20,000/- per month.
  • Persons who have not received assistance from the Government, local bodies and Non-Official Organisations during the last 3 years for the same purpose. However, for children below 12 years of age this limit would be 1 year.

Quantum of Assistance

Aids/appliances which do not cost more than Rs. 10,000/ - are covered under the Scheme for single disability. However, in the case of SwDs, students beyond IX class, the limit would be raised to Rs.12,000/. In the case of multiple disabilities, the limit will apply to individual items separately in case more than one aid/appliance is required.

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Wholesale Price in India

Index Numbers of Wholesale Price in India for the month of May, 2020

  • The Office of the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade is releasing index numbers of wholesale price in India for the month of May, 2020 (Provisional) and for the month of March 2020 (Final).
  • Provisional figures of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) are released on 14th of every month (or next working day) with a time lag of two weeks of the reference month .
  • Wholesale Price Index for 'All Commodities' (Base: 2011-12=100) for the month of May, 2020 declined by (-2.24%) to 117.7 (provisional) from 120.4 (Final) for the month of March, 2020.

The movement of the index for the various commodity group is summarized below:-

  1. PRIMARY ARTICLES (Weight 22.62%)
  • The index for this major group declined by (-0.87%) in May.
  • Prices of Food Articles (0.73%) increased whereas prices of Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas (-23.18%) and Non Food Articles (-1.44%) declined as compared to March 2020.

 

  1. FUEL & POWER (Weight 13.15%)
  • The index for this major group declined by (-15.88%) in May 2020 .
  • Prices of mineral oils group (-30.10%) declined compared to month of March, 2020. Prices of Coal and Electricity remain unchanged.

 

  1. MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS (Weight 64.23%)
  • The index for this major group declined by (-0.42%) in May 2020 from 118.6 (final) for the month of March, 2020.

 

  1. WPI FOOD INDEX (Weight 24.38%)
  • The Food Index consisting of ‘Food Articles’ from Primary Articles group and ‘Food Product’ from Manufactured Products group have provisionally increased from 145.7 in March, 2020 to 146.1 in May, 2020.
  • The annual rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index decreased from 5.20% in March, 2020 to 2.31% in May, 2020.
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GS-III : Economic Issues
INDIA’S FOREIGN TRADE

INDIA’S FOREIGN TRADE

  • India’s overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in April-May2020-21* are estimated to be USD 61.57billion, exhibiting a negative growth of (-) 33.66 per cent over the same period last year.
  • Overall imports in April-May 2020-21* are estimated to be USD 57.19 billion, exhibiting a negative growth of (-) 48.31per cent over the same period last year.

MERCHANDISE TRADE

EXPORTS (including re-exports)

  • Exports inMay2020 were USD19.05billion, as compared to USD29.99billion in May 2019, exhibiting a negative growth of (-)36.47per cent. In Rupee terms, exports were Rs. 1,44,166.01crore in May2020, as compared to Rs. 2,09,280.62crore in May2019, registering a negative growth of (-) 31.11per cent.
  • Except for Iron ore, Drugs & pharmaceuticals, Spices and Rice which registered a growth of 103.04%, 17.32%,10.55% and 7.64% respectively, all other commodity/commodity groups have registered negative growth in May 2020 vis-a-vis May 2019.

Major exports: Major commodity groups which have recorded negative growth during May 2020 vis-à-vis May 2019 are Leather & leather products (-75.07%), Handicrafts excl. hand made carpet(-72.77%), Gems & jewellery (-68.83%), Petroleum products (-68.46%), RMG of all Textiles (-66.19%), Jute mfg. including floor covering (-65.7%), Man-made yarn/fabs./made-ups etc. (-58.63%), Meat, dairy & poultry products (-56.38%), Other cereals (-49.53%), Cotton yarn/fabs./made-ups, handloom products etc. (-47.47%), Carpet (-46.18%), Electronic goods (-45.35%), Mica, Coal & other ores, minerals including processed minerals (-35.57%), Ceramic products & glassware (-33.48%), Cashew (-32.86%), Tea (-26.94%), Engineering goods (-24.25%), Oil Meals (-22.76%), Oil seeds (-18.41%), Marine products (-18.14%), Cereal preparations & miscellaneous processed items (-17.44%), Tobacco (-13.75%), Organic & inorganic chemicals (-12.71%), Plastic & Linoleum (-6.55%), Coffee (-5.71%) and Fruits & vegetables (-1.31%).

IMPORTS

Cumulative value of imports for the period April-May 2020-21 was USD39.32 billion (Rs.2,98,502.76crore), as against USD86.75billion (Rs.6,03,881.86crore) during the period April-May 2019-20, registering a negative growth of (-)54.67per cent in Dollar terms (negative growth of (-)50.57per cent in Rupee terms).

Major commodity groups of import showing negative growth in May2020 over the corresponding month of last year are:

CRUDE OIL AND NON-OIL IMPORTS:

  • Oil imports inMay2020 were USD3.49 billion (Rs. 26,380.50crore), which was 71.98percentlower in Dollar terms (69.62percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD12.44billion (Rs. 86,822.36crore) in May2019
  • In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has decreased by 56.02% in May2020 vis-à-vis May2019 as per data available from World Bank.
  • Non-oil imports in May2020 were estimated at USD18.71 billion (Rs. 1,41,597.18crore) which was 43.13per cent lower in Dollar terms (38.34percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD32.91billion (Rs. 2,29,626.57crore) in May2019.
  • Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports wereUSD64billion in May2020, recording a negative growth of (-)33.74per cent, as compared to Non-Oil and Non-Gold importsof USD 28.13billion in May2019.

TRADE IN SERVICES

EXPORTS (Receipts)

As per the latest press release by RBI dated 15thJune 2020, exports in April2020 were USD 16.45 billion (Rs. 125,409.04 crore) registering a negative growth of (-) 8.92 per cent in dollar terms, vis-à-vis April2019. The estimated value of services export for May2020* is USD 15.70 billion.

IMPORTS (Payments)

As per the latest press release by RBI dated 15th June 2020, imports in April 2020 were USD 9.30 billion (Rs. 70,907.57crore) registering a negative growth of (-)18.43 per cent in dollar terms, vis-à-vis April2019. The estimated value of service import for May2020* is USD 8.57 billion.

TRADE BALANCE

  1. MERCHANDISE: The trade deficit for May2020 was estimated at USD3.15billion
  2. SERVICES: As per RBI’s Press Release dated 15th June 2020, the trade balance in Services (i.e. Net Services export) for April 2020 is estimated at USD7.15 billion.
  3. OVERALL TRADE BALANCE: Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade surplus for April-May 2020-21* is estimated at USD4.37 billion as compared to the deficit of USD17.84 billion in April-May 2019-20.
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GS-III : Economic Issues
National Agroforestry Policy,2014

National Agroforestry Policy,2014

Context

  • A webinar was organized on 13th June 2020 to discuss ways and means to connect agroforestry farmers to industry and sensitise implementing States to assist farmers in making the correct choice of species.

What is agroforestry?

  • Agroforestry is defined as a land use system which integrate trees and shrubs on farmlands and rural landscapes to enhance productivity, profitability, diversity and ecosystem sustainability.
  • It is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resource management system that, through integration of woody perennials on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production and builds social institutions.

Various Policies

  • Major policy initiatives, including the National Forest Policy 1988, the National Agriculture Policy 2000, Planning Commission Task Force on Greening India 2001, National Bamboo Mission 2002, National Policy on Farmers, 2007 and Green India Mission 2010, emphasize the role of agroforestry for efficient nutrient cycling, organic matter addition for sustainable agriculture and for improving vegetation cover.
  • India became the world's first country to adopt a comprehensive agroforestry policy.

Basic objectives

  • Encourage and expand tree plantation in complementarity and integrated manner with crops and livestock to improve productivity, employment, income and livelihoods of rural households, especially the small holder farmers.
  • Protect and stabilize ecosystems, and promote resilient cropping and farming systems to minimize the risk during extreme climatic events.
  • Meet the raw material requirements of wood based industries and reduce import of wood and wood products to save foreign exchange.
  • Supplement the availability of agroforestry products (AFPs), such as the fuel-wood, fodder, non-timber forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal populations, thereby reducing the pressure on existing forests.
  • Complement achieving the target of increasing forest/tree cover to promote ecological stability, especially in the vulnerable regions.
  • Develop capacity and strengthen research in agroforestry and create a massive people's movement for achieving these objectives and to minimize pressure on existing forests.

Strategy

  • Establishment of Institutional Setup at National level to promote Agroforestry
  • An institutional mechanism, such as a Mission or Board is to be established for implementing the agroforestry policy.
  • It will provide the platform for the multi-stakeholders to jointly plan and identify the priorities and strategies, for inter-ministerial coordination, programmatic convergence, financial resources mobilization and leveraging, capacity building facilitation, and technical and management support.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture has the mandate for agroforestry.
  • Agroforestry Mission / Board will be located in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) in the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
  • The actual implementation may involve convergence and dovetailing with a number of programmes.
  • Agroforestry research and development (R&D), including capacity development and pilot studies / testing and action research should be the responsibility of the ICAR
  • In the proposed institutional arrangement the current stakes of the key ministries are to be respected and utilized.
  • Simple regulatory mechanism - There is a need to create simple mechanisms / procedures to regulate the harvesting and transit of agroforestry produce within the State, as well as in various States forming an ecological region.
  • Development of a sound database & information system
  • Investing in research, extension and capacity building and related services
  • Improving famers’ access to quality planting material
  • Providing institutional credit and insurance cover for agroforestry
  • Facilitating increased participation of industries dealing with agroforestry produce
  • Strengthening farmer access to markets for tree products.
  • Incentives to farmers for adopting agroforestry
  • Promoting sustainable agroforestry for renewable biomass based energy
Print PDF

GS-III : Economic Issues
INDIA’S FOREIGN TRADE: May2020 - Foreign trade policy

 

INDIA’S FOREIGN TRADE: May2020

Part of: GS-III- Economic Data (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

India’s overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in April-May2020-21* are estimated to be USD 61.57billion, exhibiting a negative growth of (-) 33.66 per cent over the same period last year. Overall imports in April-May 2020-21* are estimated to be USD 57.19 billion, exhibiting a negative growth of (-) 48.31per cent over the same period last year.

The data for May 2020 is estimation, which will be revised based on RBI’s subsequent release

MERCHANDISE TRADE

EXPORTS (including re-exports)

  • Exports inMay2020 were USD19.05billion, as compared to USD29.99billion in May 2019, exhibiting a negative growth of (-) 36.47per cent. In Rupee terms, exports were Rs. 1,44,166.01crore in May2020, as compared to Rs. 2,09,280.62crore in May2019, registering a negative growth of (-) 31.11per cent.
  • Except for Iron ore, Drugs & pharmaceuticals, Spices and Rice which registered a growth of 103.04%, 17.32%,10.55% and 7.64% respectively, all other commodity/commodity groups have registered negative growth in May 2020 vis-a-vis May 2019.
  • Major commodity groups which have recorded negative growth during May 2020 vis-à-vis May 2019 are Leather & leather products (-75.07%), Handicrafts excl. handmade carpet(-72.77%), Gems & jewellery (-68.83%), Petroleum products (-68.46%), RMG of all Textiles (-66.19%), Jute mfg. including floor covering (-65.7%), Man-made yarn/fabs./made-ups etc. (-58.63%), Meat, dairy & poultry products (-56.38%), Other cereals (-49.53%), Cotton yarn/fabs./made-ups, handloom products etc. (-47.47%), Carpet (-46.18%), Electronic goods (-45.35%), Mica, Coal & other ores, minerals including processed minerals (-35.57%), Ceramic products & glassware (-33.48%), Cashew (-32.86%), Tea (-26.94%), Engineering goods (-24.25%), Oil Meals (-22.76%), Oil seeds (-18.41%), Marine products (-18.14%), Cereal preparations & miscellaneous processed items (-17.44%), Tobacco (-13.75%), Organic & inorganic chemicals (-12.71%), Plastic & Linoleum (-6.55%), Coffee (-5.71%) and Fruits & vegetables (-1.31%).
  • Cumulative value of exports for the period April-May 2020-21 was USD29.41 billion (Rs.2,23,117.42crore) as against USD56.07billion (Rs.3,90,301.96crore) during the period April-May 2019-20, registering a negative growth of (-)47.54per cent in Dollar terms (negative growth of (-)42.83per cent in Rupee terms).
  • Non-petroleum and Non-Gems and Jewellery exports in May 2020 were USD16.36billion, as compared to USD21.42billion in May2019, exhibiting a negative growth of (-) 23.61per cent. Non-petroleum and Non-Gems and Jewellery exports in April-May 2020-21 were USD25.44billion, as compared to USD40.96billion for the corresponding period in 2019-20, a decrease of (-) 37.89 per cent.

 

IMPORTS

  • Imports in May2020 were USD22.20billion (Rs.1,67,977.68crore), which was 51.05per cent lower in Dollar terms and 46.92per cent lower in Rupee terms over imports of USD45.35billion (Rs3,16,448.93 crore) in May2019. Cumulative value of imports for the period April-May 2020-21 was USD39.32 billion (Rs.2,98,502.76crore), as against USD86.75billion (Rs.6,03,881.86crore) during the period April-May 2019-20, registering a negative growth of (-)54.67per cent in Dollar terms (negative growth of (-)50.57per cent in Rupee terms).
  • Major commodity groups of import showing negative growth in May2020 over the corresponding month of last year are:

 

CRUDE OIL AND NON-OIL IMPORTS:

  • Oil imports inMay2020 were USD3.49 billion (Rs. 26,380.50crore), which was 71.98percentlower in Dollar terms (69.62percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD12.44billion (Rs. 86,822.36crore) in May2019. Oil imports in April-May 2020-21 were USD8.15 billion (Rs. 61,917.72crore) which was 65.79per cent lower in Dollar terms (62.66percent lower in Rupee terms) compared to USD23.82billion (Rs. 1,65,811.82crore), over the same period last year.
  • In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has decreased by 56.02% in May2020 vis-à-vis May2019 as per data available from World Bank.
  • Non-oil imports inMay2020 were estimated at USD18.71 billion (Rs. 1,41,597.18crore) which was 43.13per cent lower in Dollar terms (38.34percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD32.91billion (Rs. 2,29,626.57crore) in May2019. Non-oil imports in April-May 2020-21 were USD31.17billion (Rs. 2,36,585.04crore) which was 50.46per cent lower in Dollar terms (45.99percent lower in Rupee terms), compared to USD62.93billion (Rs. 4,38,070.04crore) in April-May2019-20.
  • Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports wereUSD64billion in May2020, recording a negative growth of (-)33.74per cent, as compared to Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports of USD 28.13billion in May2019. Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports wereUSD31.10billion in April-May 2020-21, recording a negative growth of (-)42.61per cent, as compared to Non-Oil and Non-Gold imports USD 54.18billion in April-May 2019-20.

 

TRADE IN SERVICES

EXPORTS (Receipts)

  • As per the latest press release by RBI dated 15thJune 2020, exports in April2020 were USD 16.45 billion (Rs. 125,409.04 crore) registering a negative growth of (-) 8.92 per cent in dollar terms, vis-à-vis April2019. The estimated value of services export for May2020* is USD 15.70 billion.

IMPORTS (Payments)

  • As per the latest press release by RBI dated 15th June 2020, imports in April 2020 were USD 9.30 billion (Rs. 70,907.57crore) registering a negative growth of (-)18.43 per cent in dollar terms, vis-à-vis April2019. The estimated value of service import for May2020* is USD 8.57 billion.

III.TRADE BALANCE

  • MERCHANDISE: The trade deficit for May2020 was estimated at USD3.15billion as against the deficit of USD15.36billion inMay2019.
  • SERVICES: As per RBI’s Press Release dated 15th June 2020, the trade balance in Services (i.e. Net Services export) for April 2020 is estimated at USD7.15 billion.
  • OVERALL TRADE BALANCE: Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade surplus for April-May 2020-21* is estimated at USD4.37 billion as compared to the deficit of USD17.84 billion in April-May 2019-20.

Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20

 The Union Commerce and Industry Ministry has announced changes in India’s Foreign Trade Policy (FTP). The Govt. has decided to continue relief under various export promotion schemes by granting an extension of the existing Policy.

  • It provided a framework for increasing exports of goods and services as well as generation of employment and increasing value addition in the country, in keeping with the “Make in India” vision of Prime Minister.
  • The focus of the new policy is to support both the manufacturing and services sectors, with a special emphasis on improving the ‘ease of doing business’.
  • It described the market and product strategy and measures required for trade promotion, infrastructure development and overall enhancement of the trade ecosystem.

Features of the FTP 

  • Goods – Earlier there were 5 different schemes (Focus Product Scheme, Market Linked Focus Product Scheme, Focus Market Scheme, Agri. Infrastructure Incentive Scrip, VKGUY) for rewarding merchandise exports with different kinds of duty scrips with varying conditions attached to their use.
  • Duty-free scrips are paper authorisations that allow the holder to import inputs which are used to manufacture products that are exported, or to manufacture machinery used for producing such goods, without paying duty equivalent to the printed value of the scrip.
  • For instance, a duty-free scrip valued at Rupees 1 lakh allows the holder to import goods without paying duty of up to Rupees 1 lakh on the goods.
  • Under the new Foreign Trade Policy, all these schemes have been merged into a single scheme, namely the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (“MEIS“) and there is no conditionality attached to scrips issued under the MEIS.
  • Services – The Served From India Scheme has been replaced with the Service Exports from India Scheme (“SEIS“).
  • SEIS is stated to apply to ‘Service Providers located in India’ instead of ‘Indian Service Providers’.
  • Therefore, SEIS rewards to all service providers of notified services, who are providing services from India, regardless of the constitution or profile of the service provider.
  • Special Economic Zones – The policy outlines extended incentives for Special Economic Zones in India
  • Export Houses – The nomenclature of Export House, Star Export House, Trading House, Star Trading House, Premier Trading House certificate has been simplified and changed to One, Two, Three, Four and Five Star Export House.
  • Status Holders – Business leaders who have excelled in international trade and have successfully contributed to India’s foreign trade are proposed to be recognized as Status Holders and given special privileges to facilitate their trade transactions, in order to reduce their transaction costs and time.
  • Resolving Complaints – In an effort to resolve quality complaints and trade disputes between exporters and importers, a new chapter on Quality Complaints and Trade Disputes has been incorporated into the Foreign Trade Policy.
  • There would be no conditionality attached to any scrips issued under these schemes.
  • For grant of rewards under MEIS, the countries have been categorized into 3 Groups, whereas the rates of rewards under MEIS range from 2% to 5%.
  • Under SEIS the selected Services would be rewarded at the rates of 3% and 5%.
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GS-III :
Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)

Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)

Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

India joins Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) as a founding member to support the responsible and human-centric development and use of AI

India today joined the league of leading economies including USA, UK, EU, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore to launch the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI or Gee-Pay).

Important Points

  • GPAI is an international and multi-stakeholder initiative to guide the responsible development and use of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth.
  • This is also a first initiative of its type for evolving better understanding of the challenges and opportunities around AI using the experience and diversity of participating countries.
  • In order to achieve this goal, the initiative will look to bridge the gap between theory and practice on AI by supporting cutting-edge research and applied activities on AI-related priorities.
  • In collaboration with partners and international organizations, GPAI will bring together leading experts from industry, civil society, governments, and academia to collaborate to promote responsible evolution of AI and will also evolve methodologies to show how AI can be leveraged to better respond to the present global crisis around COVID-19.
  • It is pertinent to note that India has recently launched National AI Strategy and National AI Portal and have also started leveraging AI across various sectors such as education, agriculture, healthcare, e-commerce, finance, telecommunications, etc. with inclusion and empowerment of human being approach by supplementing growth and development.

By joining GPAI as a founding member, India will actively participate in the global development of Artificial Intelligence, leveraging upon its experience around use of digital technologies for inclusive growth.

GPAI will be supported by a Secretariat, to be hosted by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, as well as by two Centers of Expertise- one each in Montreal and Paris.

Also read: https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/Regulating-Artificial-Intelligence-AI

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GS-III : Economic Issues
e-Office

e-Office

  • Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) launched the e-Office application in over 500 CGST and Customs offices across India here today.
  • Over 50,000 officers and staff will use this application making CBIC one of the largest Government departments to automate its internal office procedures.
  • The launch of e-Office marks a fundamental change in internal office procedures which is so far based on manual handling of files and paper movement.
  • The CBIC expects e-Office would complement its many other IT led reforms which are directly aimed at enhancing the ease of doing business for the trade and industry.
  • The launch of e-Office is one more measure taken by the CBIC in leveraging technology for providing a ‘Faceless, Contactless and Paperless’ indirect Tax administration.
  • The e-Office application is developed by the NIC and is supported by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).
  • E-Office aims to improve governance by automating the internal processes of handling files and taking decisions within Government.
  • The use of e-Office by the rank and file of the CGST and Customs officers in their day to day work would lead to speedier decision making, transparency, accountability, and positive impact on the environment by cutting down the use of paper and printing.
  • Of particular relevance in the present-day challenging situation arising due to COVID-19 is that e-Office would help avoid contact with physical files thereby preventing possible transmission of any virus. Also, e-Office ensures enhanced security as no file or document can be altered or destroyed or backdated.
  • An in-built monitoring mechanism would identify where the files are held up enabling quick disposal and faster decision making.
  • The e-Office is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance of India.
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GS-III : Economic Issues
Indian Gas Exchange (IGX)

Indian Gas Exchange (IGX)

Context

  • Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX), first nationwide online delivery-based gas trading platform, in an e-ceremony today. 

About Indian Gas Exchange (IGX)

  • IGX will be a delivery-based trading platform for delivery of natural Gas
  • Incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the IEX - India’s energy market platform, IGX will enable market participants to trade in standardised gas contracts.
  • The platform is fully automated with web-based interface to provide seamless trading experience to the customers.
  • As there will be a market driven pricing mechanism, India Gas Exchange (IGX) will play a bigger role towards realizing a free market for gas.
  • The minister also said that Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is working on rationalization of tariff to make natural gas affordable in every part of the country.
  • Through IGX, India's vision on mega investments on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, gas pipelines, CGD infrastructure and permission for market driven price mechanism will be materialized.

India’s steps to enhance Natural gas production

  • Indian gas market has multiple price bands for assets including pre-NELP, NELP, High Temperature and High pressure (HTHP) and Deepwater and Ultra Deep Water blocks.
  • The country will soon have 50 MMT LNG terminal capacity.
  • The country has long-term gas contracts with many countries like Qatar, Australia, Russia and the US, and has made investments abroad in strategic assets in Mozamibque, Russia and other countries.
  • He also mentioned about various ongoing projects to strengthen the gas infrastructure in the country like Urja Ganga, Eastern India grid, Indradhanush project in the North-east, Dhamra-Dahej pipeline, coal gasification and CBM policy.
  • He said that country will have more than 30,000km of pipeline in next few year.
  • The new electronic trading platform for natural gas is the biggest indicator of the centre's progressive policy as it completes the entire energy value chain from gas production from multiple sources and imports of LNG from different parts of globe to having a transparent price mechanism.

 

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Malathion insecticide

Malathion insecticide

  • HIL (India) Limited, a PSU under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and one of the leading manufacturer of insecticides  in the country has supplied 25MT Malathion 95% ULV to Iran under  Government-to-Government  initiative for Locust Control Programme.
  • As per the reports of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the hopper stage population of locust is building up in Sistan-Baluchistan Region of Iran, which shall migrate to India in coming months leading to further crop devastation.
  • Government of India has taken an initiative to counter the locust menace at its breeding ground itself and approached Iran for coordinated efforts.
  • Desert Locust after severe crop devastation in Horn of Africa, East Africa and Arabian Peninsula has entered into India in March/April 2020 and it has affected the field crop, horticulture crops and other plantation in the State of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The country is experiencing worst locust invasion, which was last observed more than 25 years back.

 

 

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GS-III : Economic Issues
MLCR

MLCR

The Marginal Cost of Funds-based Lending Rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend. The MCLR was introduced in April 2016, replacing the existing base rate system.

Reserve Bank of India will link the base rate with the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rates (MCLR). RBI decided to shift from base rate to MCLR because the rates based on marginal cost of funds are more sensitive to changes in the policy rates.

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GS-II : International Relations
Operation Cactus

Operation Cactus

In 1988 a group of Maldivians led by Abdullah Luthufi tried to overthrow then Maldivian Government. The attempt was a failure due to the intervention of the Indian Armed Forces. The operation was code named as Operation Cactus. INS Godavari and Betwa were used by the Indian Navy in the operation

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Railway development Authority

Railway development Authority

Rail Development Authority will help the Indian Railways take decisions on pricing of services, consumer interests, generating revenue and competition. Government has approved formation of a Rail Development Authority (RDA) comprising Chairman and three Members.

The objective underlying RDA is to get expert advice/make informed decision on

  • Pricing of services commensurate with costs.
  • Suggest measures for enhancement of Non-Fare Revenue.
  • Protection of consumer interests, by ensuring quality of service and cost optimization.
  • Promoting competition, efficiency and economy.

Other than the above-mentioned objectives the authority also deals with resource allocation, setting service benchmark etc.,

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GS-III :
Minmata Convention on mercury

Minmata Convention on mercury

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2018. The Convention protects the most vulnerable from the harmful effects of mercury and also protects the developmental space of developing countries. The objective of the convention’s implementation to protect human health and environment from the anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The Convention is named after the Japanese city Minamata, as the city went through a devastating incident of mercury poisoning.

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GS-III :
Falcon Heavy

Falcon Heavy

Falcon Heavy is a reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX, a private American aerospace manufacturer. Its first test flight carrying a red sports car was successfully launched from florida pad used by NASA.

It is the most powerful operational rocket in the world. It can lift about twice the payload at one third of the cost by Delta 4 rocket which was the most powerful rocket till now. This lift capacity allows to launch heavier satellites into low Earth orbit, or reach  higher geostationary orbits to keep station over the same part of Earth. Its three first-stage boosters are designed to be reusable.

 

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GS-I : Human Geography
Galapagos

Galapagos

The rising tourist arrival to Galapagos Island puts pressure on the fragile volcanic archipelago. The Galapagos Islands, part of the Republic of Ecuador, distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean surrounding the centre of the Western Hemisphere.

 

 

The island inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of evolution and was his field of study. The Islands and their surrounding waters form the Galapagos Province of Ecuador, the Galapagos National Park, and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. UNESCO recognised the islands as a World Heritage Site and as a biosphere reserve.

 

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GS-III :
Prime Minister’s Research fellow scheme

Prime Minister’s Research fellow scheme

‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’ scheme aims to improve the quality of research by attracting the best talents across the country. Under this scheme, the best students who have completed or are in the final year of B.Tech or integrated M.Tech or M.Sc in science and technology streams in the IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs will be offered direct admission in the PhD programme in the IITs/IISc. 

The fellowship scheme will be implemented for a period of seven years from 2018-19. A maximum of 3,000 fellows will be selected over first three-year period, beginning 2018-19. The students who get shorlisted through the selection process would be offered a fellowship of Rs. 70,000 per month for the first two years, Rs. 75,000 per month for the third year and Rs. 80,000 per month in the fourth and fifth years.  Apart from this, a research grant of Rs.2.00 lakh will be provided to each of the fellows for a period of 5 years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars.

It will help in tapping the talent pool of the country for carrying out research indigenously in cutting edge science and technology domains.

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GS-III :
Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme- DHRUV

Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme- DHRUV

Recently, the Union Human Resource Development Minister has launched the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme named ‘DHRUV’.

  • The objective of the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme is to encourage talented students to realize their full potential and henceforth, contribute to society.
  • The programme is named DHRUV after the Pole Star with the same name. Every student selected under this programme will be called as ‘Dhruv Tara’. The students will thus both shine through their achievements and light a path for others to follow.
  • The programme will cover two areas namely, Science and Performing Arts.
    • Overall 60 students will be selected (30 from each area) from across the country.
    • The students will be broadly from classes 9 to 12 from all schools including government and private.
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GS-III :
Goliath grouper

Goliath grouper

It is extremely rare fish species, recently discovered by a team of experienced divers and diving instructors near vizag. It is recognised as a critically endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

It is considered to be the keystone species of an ecosystem and is entirely protected from harvest in the U.S. It is usually found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is regionally abundant near Vishakapatnam in the Bay of Bengal region. It is found from inshore to about 100 m in reef, mangrove, seagrass, and estuarine habitats.

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GS-I : Art and Culture
International Yoga day to be celebrated through digital platform this time

International Yoga day to be celebrated through digital platform this time

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's International Yoga Day on 21st of June, will be celebrated on digital media platforms and there would be no mass gatherings. This year's theme is  'Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family'.

Ministry of Ayush has also appealed to the people to join the world for the Yoga performance on the occasion of 6th International Day of Yoga on 21st June at 7:00 AM  from their homes. It said, people should prepare for the Yoga performance according to Common Yoga Protocol (CYP).

Ministry of AYUSH in association with Prasar Bharati is also organizing a daily telecast of the Common Yoga Protocol on DD Bharati.

The Protocol sessions are being telecast daily in the morning from 8 AM  to 8:30 AM. The half an hour session will cover all the major aspects of the Common Yoga Protocol.

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