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21 Jun, 2021

38 Min Read

Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)

GS-III : Economic Issues Food security

Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)

  • FAO is a specialised agency of the UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • Headquarters: Rome, Italy
  • Founded on: 16 October 1945. World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16th October to mark the anniversary of the founding of the FAO in 1945.
  • India is a member of FAO. Its sister bodies are the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
  • Goal of FAO:
  1. Achieve food security for all and accessibility;
  2. Raise nutrition levels and standard of living by improving agricultural productivity.
  • FAO Council approved India’s proposal to observe an International Year of Millets in 2023.
  • Committee on World Food Security reviews policies of food production, physical and economic access to food. India is a member.
  • Initiatives of FAO:
  1. Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).
  2. It monitors the Desert Locust situation throughout the world.
  3. The Codex Alimentarius Commission or CAC is the body responsible for all matters regarding the implementation of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
  4. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
  • Reports:
  1. World Food Price Index.
  2. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI).
  3. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA).
  4. The State of the World's Forests (SOFO).
  5. The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA).
  6. The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO).

GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems) is a programme of FAO.

  • It aims to protect Traditional Agri systems. It will not provide any modern technology and training.
  • GIAHS aims to identify and safeguard eco-friendly traditional farm practices and their associated landscapes, Agri biodiversity and knowledge systems of local communities.
  • GI is not given to traditional agri systems but given to products from a certain origin.
  • Across the World, 37 sites are designated as GIAHS by FAO of which 3 are Indian = Saffron (Kashmir), Traditional Agriculture (Koraput) and Below Sea level Farming (Kuttanad).
  • Other Indian Genetic Resources include Konamanu (TN), Agni Bora (Assam) and Pokkali (Kerala), Gucchi (Mushroom) and Bhalia Wheat from HP. Moringa (Drumstick) has micronutrients and sweet potato is rich in Vitamin A. Also, there are different pearl millets and sorghum rich in iron & zinc.

42nd FAO Conference: India’s efforts in COVID 19

  • Significant Policy and legislative decisions were taken during this period to liberalize agri marketing to transform Indian agriculture for the benefit of farmers and consumers.
  • Special parcel trains with refrigeration facilities “the KISAN RAIL” were introduced by Indian Railways to transport the essential commodities including perishable horticulture produce, milk and dairy produce from the production centres to the large urban markets across our vast country creating a win-win situation for the producers and consumers.
  • To improve the situation of our workers and to provide them relief during Covid Pandemic the Government of India launched the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package”. Under this scheme, free food grains were provided to 810 million beneficiaries and now, in May, the scheme has been further extended in which workers will be benefited till November.
  • More than Rupees 137000 Crore have been sent to the bank accounts of over 100 million farmers under the “PM Kisan” Scheme to provide income support to the farmers.

Source: PIB

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

GS-II : International treaties and conventions Nuclear weapons

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • IAEA’s genesis was U.S. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1953.
  • The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization in 1957 and was not under the direct control of the UN. But it reports to both the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • Though established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
  • The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The IAEA has two "Regional Safeguards Offices" which are located in Toronto, Canada, and Tokyo, Japan.
  • The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.
  • The IAEA and its former Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
  • Recently Iran has refused to allow IAEA to two sites where nuclear activity may have occurred in the past (Parachin and Frodo).
  • Iran will continue to give access to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to its declared nuclear sites for 3 months.
  • IAEA Safeguards are a set of technical measures applied by the IAEA and countries accept them through the conclusion of safeguards agreements.
  • It is an essential component of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT), which states that each Non-Nuclear Weapon State is required to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

Source: TH

Black Softshell Turtle Conservation in Assam

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Conservation

Black Softshell Turtle Conservation in Assam

  • A major temple in Assam has signed a memorandum of understanding with two green NGOs, the Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden and the Kamrup district administration for the long-term conservation of the rare freshwater black softshell turtle or the Nilssonia nigricans.

  • A vision document 2030 was also launched after Turtle Survival Alliance India and Help Earth signed the pact involving the Hayagriva Madhava Temple Committee. The temple, revered by both Hindus and Buddhists, is at Hajo, about 30 km northwest of Guwahati.
  • Until sightings along the Brahmaputra’s drainage in Assam, the black softshell turtle was thought to be “extinct in the wild” and confined only to ponds of temples in northeastern India and Bangladesh.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature had 2021 listed the turtle as “critically endangered”.
  • But it does not enjoy legal protection under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, although it has traditionally been hunted for its meat and cartilage, and traded in regional and international markets.
  • Various temple ponds in Assam such as that of the Hayagriva Madhava Temple harbour various threatened species of turtles. Since the turtles are conserved in these ponds only based on religious grounds, many biological requirements for building a sustainable wild population have since long been overlooked.
  • This multi-stakeholder association [conservation pact] aims to restock the wild with viable, self-sufficient and genetically pure threatened turtle populations in the region.
  • We will offer assistance for the required improvement of the husbandry of turtles kept in such ponds, and further recovery efforts are recommended for the long-term survival and existence of the endangered freshwater turtles.



  1. Reptile. Egg laying. Testidian family.
  2. Land dwelling Ex. Galapagos and Aldabara Tortoise = Seychelles.
  3. Asia, Africa and Galapagos (South America).
  4. Large dome shaped bump on top.
  5. Limbs or feet short and sturdy with bent legs.
  6. Herbivores.
  7. Tortoise hatching move from nest to mother borrow.
  8. 200 - 250 years.
  9. Body = Carapace is upper part and Pelestron in lower part.
  1. Reptile. Egg. Testidian family.
  2. Water dwelling. All oceans.
  3. America and Africa.
  4. Mostly flat. Light in weight.
  5. Have flappers with long claws.
  6. Omnivores.
  7. Stay in nest from 90 - 100 days.
  8. 40 - 60 years.


  • There are 5 species in Indian waters —
    1. Leatherback (Vulnerable),
    2. Loggerhead (Endangered),
    3. Hawksbill (Critically Endangered),
    4. Green (Endangered) and
    5. Olive Ridley Turtles (Vulnerable).
  • In India, sea turtles are protected under the WPA, 1972.
  • Olive ridley turtles
    1. They are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
    2. They are well known for its arribadas, or annual mass nestings when thousands of turtles migrate to the breeding ground to nest simultaneously.
    3. They are recognized as Vulnerable in IUCN; Appendix I of CITES.
    4. Nesting sites are
      1. Dharmara River (Brahmani); Devi River (Mahanadi)
      2. Rishikulya River, Gahirmatha beach, Astaranga coast of Odisha
      3. Hope Island of Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (Andra Pradesh)
    5. Odisha has half of the world’s Olive Ridley turtle population and 90% of India’s turtle population lives in the state.
    6. MoEF initiated the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in collaboration with UNDP in 1999 with WII, Dehradun as the implementing agency.
    7. ‘Operation Kachhapa’: Conservation of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle was launched by the Wildlife Protection Society of India in collaboration with the Orissa State Forest Department and the Wildlife Society of Orissa and other local NGOs.
    8. To reduce the accidental killing in India, the Orissa government has made it mandatory for trawls to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a net specially designed with an exit cover which allows the turtles to escape while retaining the catch.
    9. Odisha celebrates the 1st Turtle Festival in Purito creates awareness to conserve Olive Ridley Turtles.
  • Assam Roofed Turtle is a small freshwater turtle. It is in India and Bangladesh. Endangered in IUCN, Appendix II of CITES and Schedule 1 of WPA.

Source: TH

Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021

GS-II : Governance IT act

IT Rules 2021 and analysis

  • The Kerala High Court restrained the Centre from taking coercive action against Live Law Media Private Ltd., which owns a legal news portal, for not complying with Part III of the new IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
  • The court issued notice to the Centre on a petition filed by the firm challenging the rules regulating digital news media, curated content (OTT platforms), and social media intermediaries.
  • The petition said Part III of the rules imposed unconstitutional three-tier complaints and adjudication structure on publishers.
  • This administrative regulation on digital news media would make it virtually impossible for small or medium-sized publishers, such as the petitioner, to function. It would have a chilling effect on such entities, the petition said.
  • The creation of a grievance redressal mechanism, through a governmental oversight body (an inter-departmental committee constituted under Rule 14) amounted to excessive regulation, it contended.
  • The petitioner pointed out that Rule 4(2), which makes it mandatory for every social media intermediary to enable the tracing of originators of information on its platform, purportedly in furtherance of Section 69 of the IT Act, violated Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression).
  • It also deprived the intermediaries of their “safe-harbour protections” under Section 79 of the IT Act.
  • The petition also added that the rules obligating messaging intermediaries to alter their infrastructure to “fingerprint” each message on a mass scale for every user to trace the first originator was violative of the fundamental right to privacy of Internet users.

Summary of IT Rules 2021

  • Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 have been framed under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and it supersedes the IT Rules, 2011.
  • It will ensure a harmonious, soft-touch oversight mechanism in relation to the social media platform, digital media and OTT platforms etc.
  • Part- II of these Rules to Social Media shall be administered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT.
  • These Rules empower the users of digital platforms to seek redressal for their grievances on infringement of their rights.
  • If due diligence is not followed by the intermediaries, including social media, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.
  • Grievance Officer, appointed by intermediaries, shall acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days.
  • Ensures online safety and dignity of users, especially women, by removing or disabling the contents within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents.
  • A distinction between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries is made, based on the number of users.
  • Chief Compliance Officer shall be appointed for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules.
  • Nodal Contact Person shall be appointed for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
  • Part III of Ethics Code in relation to digital media shall be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • This Code of Ethics prescribes the guidelines to be followed by OTT platforms and online news and digital media entities.
  • OTT platforms would self-classify the content into 5 age-based categories - U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, A (Adult).
  • Publishers of digital news would observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.
  • • A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the rules with 3 levels of self-regulation.

Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.

  • These new rules broadly deal with social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
  • These rules have been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.

Following are the features of the new rules

1. Categories of Social Media Intermediaries:

Based on the number of users, on the social media platform intermediaries have been divided in two groups:

  1. Social media intermediaries.
  2. Significant social media intermediaries.

2. Due Diligence to be Followed by Intermediaries:

  • In case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.
  • The safe harbour provisions have been defined under Section 79 of the IT Act, and protect social media intermediaries by giving them immunity from legal prosecution for any content posted on their platforms.

3. Grievance Redressal Mechanism is Mandatory:

  • Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with complaints and share the name and contact details of such officers.
  • Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.

4. Ensuring Online Safety and Dignity of Users:

  • Intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images etc.
  • Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.

5. Additional Due Diligence for the Significant Social Media Intermediaries:

  • Appointments: Need to appoint Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a Resident Grievance Officer, all of whom should be resident in India.
  • Compliance Report: Need to publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively.

6. Enabling Identity of the Originator:

  • Significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the first originator of the information.
  • Required only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order,
  • Or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.

7. Removal of Unlawful Information:

  • An intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge in the form of an order by a court or being notified by the Appropriate Govt. or its agencies through authorized officer should not host or publish any information which is prohibited under any law in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries etc.

Rules for News Publishers and OTT Platforms and Digital Media:

For OTT:

  • Self-Classification of Content: The OTT platforms, called as the publishers of online curated content in the rules, would self-classify the content into five age based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
  • Parental Lock: Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.
  • Display Rating: Shall prominently display the classification rating specific to each content or programme together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content, and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every programme enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the programme.

For Publishers of News on Digital Media :

  • They would be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act 1995 thereby providing a level playing field between the offline (Print, TV) and digital media.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism:

A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the rules with different levels of self-regulation.

  1. Level-I: Self-regulation by the publishers;
  2. Level-II: Self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the publishers;
  3. Level-III: Oversight mechanism.

Self-regulation by the Publisher:

  • Publisher shall appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India who shall be responsible for the redressal of grievances received by it.
  • The officer shall take decision on every grievance received by it within 15 days.

Self-Regulatory Body:

  • There may be one or more self-regulatory bodies of publishers.
  • Such a body shall be headed by a retired judge of the SC, a High Court or independent eminent person and have not more than six members.
  • Such a body will have to register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • This body will oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics and address grievances that have not been resolved by the publisher within 15 days.

Oversight Mechanism:

  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shall formulate an oversight mechanism.
  • It shall publish a charter for self-regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices. It shall establish an Inter-Departmental Committee for hearing grievances.

Source: TH

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