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31 Jul, 2021

83 Min Read

Seismic Mapping of India

GS-I : Physical Geography Earthquake

Seismic Mapping of India

Read about the Earthquake in India and then click here.

  • A total of ~59% of the land mass of India (covering all states of India) is prone to earthquakes of different intensities. As per the seismic zoning map of the country, the total area is classified into four seismic zones.

  • Zone V is seismically the most active region, while zone II is the least. Approximately, ~ 11% area of the country falls in zone V, ~18% in zone IV, ~ 30% in zone III and remaining in zone II.
  • The National Centre for Seismology under the Ministry of Earth Sciences is the nodal agency of the Government of India (GoI), for monitoring earthquakes in and around the country.
  • For this purpose, NCS maintains a National Seismological Network (NSN) consisting of 115 observatories spread across the country.
  • The information of earthquakes reported by NCS is being disseminated to the concerned central and state disaster authorities in least possible time to initiate the adequate mitigation measures.
  • Secondly, Seismic Microzonation of cities in India having population of 5 Lakh and above is also considered. The purpose is to generate inputs for constructing earthquake risk resilient buildings/structures to reduce and mitigate the impacts of earthquake shaking and for minimising the damages to structures and loss of lives for safer urban planning.
  • Additionally, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of India is engaged in conducting regular awareness campaigns every year through print, electronic as well as social media from time to time to sensitize programs on prevention and preparedness for building safety from earthquakes.
  • Besides, the Government of India is poised to follow guidelines by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) and Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) etc. for the design and construction of earthquake risk-resistant structures to minimize the loss of life and damage to property caused by earthquakes.
  • These guidelines are in wide circulation among the public and the administrative authorities responsible for the design and construction of earthquake-resistant structures in earthquake-prone areas.
  • The seismic Zonation map of the country (state-wise) given by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has been categorised into several seismic zones (Zone II to Zone V) with the variability of peak ground acceleration (PGA) (0.16g to > 0.36g) with of 10% of exceedance in PGA in 50-years as shown in the figure below. According to this map, the state of West Bengal falls under Zone IV, III and II. A larger portion of West Bengal state lies in Zone III. The state of Uttar-Pradesh, the state lies in Zone IV, III and II.
  • The seismic zones of the entire country including West Bengal are classified based upon the empirical seismic attenuation law with respect to the maximum credible earthquake source zone located in the vicinity of the area under study, which has further corroborated with historical seismicity and ground motions of the earthquakes observed in various parts of the country in past. This data was analysed by the Bureau of Indian Standards to prepare a Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Zonation Map of India.

Source: PIB

National Food Security Mission (NFSM) on Oilseeds, Oil palm and Pulses

GS-III : Economic Issues Food security

National Food Security Mission (NFSM) on Oilseeds, Oil palm and Pulses

  • In order to enhance the production and productivity of Oilseeds and Pulses, the Government of India is implementing National Food Security Mission (NFSM) on Oilseeds, Oil palm and Pulses.

NFSM - Pulses programme

  • The NFSM - Pulses programme is implemented in 644 districts of 28 States and Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • Under the programme, incentives are given to the farmers for cluster demonstrations, seed distribution & production of certified seeds of High Yielding Varieties (HYVs), farm machinery/tools, efficient water-saving devices, plant protection chemicals, nutrient management, soil ameliorants and training to the farmers.
  • Further, in order to enhance production of pulses, initiatives viz.,
  1. Support for breeder seed production,
  2. Creation of 150 Seed Hubs for Certified seed production at Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)/State Agriculture Universities (SAUs)/Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs),
  3. Distribution of seed mini kits of pulses for the varieties notified within 10 years free of the cost to the farmers,
  4. Conducting of cluster front line demonstrations (CFLDs) on an improved latest package of practices through ICAR/KVKs/SAUs,
  5. Support to Central Seed Agencies to produce certified seed of pulses latest varieties notified within 5 years,
  6. Special Action Plan for increasing pulses productivity,
  7. Targeting Rice fallow Area (TRFA) programme in 11 states across the country etc is being undertaken.

NFSM – Oilseeds programme

  • For oilseeds production, NFSM – Oilseeds programme provides support to the states and implementing agencies for
  1. seed component covering purchase of breeder seeds, production of foundation/certified seeds, distribution of certified seeds, supply of seed mini kits, creation of seed hubs;
  2. Production inputs component covering Plant Protection (PP) equipment, PP chemicals, nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV)/bio agent, gypsum/pyrites/lime etc., bio-fertilizers, improved farm implements, sprinkler sets, water-carrying pipes, seed storage bins, seed treating drum and transfer of technology component covering cluster/block demonstrations,
  3. Field Level Demonstrations and training through National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Integrated Pest Management on Farmer Field School (FFS) mode, training of farmers, officers/extension workers, need-based Research and Development projects, seminar/kisan mela etc.
  • Besides, Oil palm development programme under NFSM is being implemented in 12 states of the country.
  • The assistance is given to the States for area expansion, planting material, maintenance of plantation, on cultivation systems, machinery/tools, demonstrations, trainings to the farmers, setting up of oil palm processing units etc.

Other schemes for promotion of Oilseeds and Pulses

  • In addition to above, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is implementing various schemes viz., Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), Formation of Farmers Producer Organization (FPOs), National Project on Soil Health and Fertility etc for promotion of Oilseeds and Pulses.
  • The adoption of the above technologies by the farmers through these schemes has led to increasing in the production of oilseeds and pulses from 31.52 million tonnes (mt) and 22.08 mt during 2018-19 to 36.57 mt and 25.58 mt during 2020-21 (as per 3rd advance estimates), respectively.

Source: PIB

Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs)

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture

Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs)

The Government of India has launched the Central Sector Scheme of “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs)” to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs which will leverage economies of scale in production and marketing with a view to enhancing productivity through efficient, cost-effective and sustainable resource use for ensuring sustainable income-oriented farming, thus helping in reduction of cost of farm production and enhancing farmers’ earning thus playing a major role towards doubling the income of farmers. Under this scheme, provision is made for professional handholding support for a period of five years to new FPOs formed.

The Scheme is intended to undertake and provide the following relevant major services and activities for their development which would cater to increasing farmers' income:-

  • Supply quality production inputs like seed, fertilizer, pesticides and other inputs at reasonably lower wholesale rates.
  • Make available need-based production and post-production machinery and equipment like cultivator, tiller, sprinkler set, combine harvester and such other machinery and equipment on a custom hiring basis for members to reduce the per unit production cost.
  • Make available value addition like cleaning, assaying, sorting, grading, packing and also farm level processing facilities at a user charge basis at a reasonably cheaper rate. Storage and transportation facilities may also be made available.
  • Undertake higher income generating activities like seed production, beekeeping, mushroom cultivation etc.
  • Undertake aggregation of smaller lots of farmer-members produce; add value to make them more marketable.
  • Facilitate market information about the produce for judicious decisions in production and marketing.
  • Facilitate logistics services such as storage, transportation, loading/unloading etc. on a shared cost basis.
  • Market the aggregated produce with better negotiation strength to the buyers and in the marketing channels offering better and remunerative prices.

So far, a total of 4465 FPO produce clusters have been allocated to Implementing Agencies for the formation of FPOs, out of which a total of 632 no. of FPOs have been registered.

Source: PIB

Districts as Export Hubs initiative

GS-III : Economic Issues Import / Export

Districts as Export Hubs initiative

  • For the first time, Agri Exporters from the remote Districts of India connected to the international buyers from the USA, the UAE, and Japan.
  • Under the Districts as Export Hubs initiative, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Department of Commerce in partnership with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Invest India conducted a 2 Day Virtual Outreach Event connecting exporters from the Districts to the buyers outside India.
  • Following the opening ceremony, a virtual trade fair was held where 197 exhibitors participated from the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • The event provided a platform to small sellers from areas earlier not known for exports, apart from large exporters from India. 28 stalls from Jammu and Kashmir and 5 from Ladakh were highlighted in the exhibition.
  • The virtual outreach event saw a footfall of over 300 visitors and importers from domestic and international buyers inclusive of the USA, the UAE, and Japan.
  • Putting a spotlight on agricultural products under five categories namely spices and tea, food grains and agro-products, fruits and vegetables, dry fruits, and processed food, three buyer-seller interactive sessions were held with the support of Indian Embassies from the USA, the UAE, and Japan.
  • Few leading supermarkets such as Spinney, Walmart, and Lulu also participated during the interactive sessions and showed keen interest in India’s agricultural products.

Source: PIB

PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises Scheme

GS-III : Economic Issues Food processing industry

PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme

  • Launched under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme that aims to enhance the competitiveness of existing individual micro-enterprises in the unorganized segment of the food processing industry and to promote formalization of the sector and provide support to Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups, and Producers Cooperatives along their entire value chain.
  • With an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crores over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25, the scheme envisions to directly assist the 2,00,000 micro food processing units by providing financial, technical, and business support for the upgradation of existing micro food processing enterprises.
  • The Scheme is expected to generate a total investment of Rs. 35,000 crores and 9 lakh skilled and semi-skilled employment.

Features of PMFME

  • One District One Product (ODOP) Approach:
    1. The States would identify food products for districts keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.
    2. The ODOP could be a perishable produce based or cereal based or a food item widely produced in an area. E.g. mango, potato, pickle, millet-based products, fisheries, poultry, etc.
  • Waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts.
  • Capacity building and research: Academic and research institutions under MoFPI along with State Level Technical Institutions would be provided support for training of units, product development, appropriate packaging and machinery for micro units.
  • Financial Support:
    1. Existing individual micro food processing units desirous of upgrading their units can avail credit-linked capital subsidy at 35% of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lakh per unit.
    2. Support would be provided through credit linked grants at 35% for development of common infrastructure including common processing facility, lab, warehouse, etc. through FPOs/SHGs/cooperatives or state owned agencies or private enterprise.
    3. A seed capital (initial funding) of Rs. 40,000- per Self Help Group (SHG) member would be provided for working capital and purchase of small tools.
  • The Central Government, in partnership with the State Governments, has launched "PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme" for providing financial, technical and business support for upgradation of micro food processing enterprises in the country.
  • The scheme is operational for a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 Crore.
  • Support to upgrade existing units or setting up of new micro units for individuals is provided through a credit linked grant @ 35% with maximum grant of Rs.10 lakhs.
  • The Scheme also provides support to food processing units of SHGs/ FPOs/ Cooperatives for credit linked subsidy @ 35%, Seed Capital to SHGs, Incubation Centre, Common Infrastructure, Marketing & Branding and Capacity Building.
  • Two lakh micro food processing units will be directly assisted with credit linked subsidy, capacity building and marketing & branding support.
  • In 2020-21, against the Budget of Rs. 398.69 crore, expenditure incurred was Rs.398.43 crore including Letter of Authorizations. For 2021-22, BE is Rs. 500 crore and expenditure of Rs.104.80 crore has been incurred so far.
  • For implementing the new centrally sponsored scheme, various preparatory steps have been taken by Central Government and States/ UTs, that included setting up of institutional mechanism, hiring of technical specialists to support the micro enterprises, preparing of training architecture, training of trainers at various levels, involving banks in the scheme for sanction of credit for upgradation of micro unit, identification of micro units for providing support under the scheme and providing hand holding support to them for upgradation and availing of the credit.
  • For successful implementation of the scheme, National Programme Management Unit and State Project Management Units have been set up to assist the Ministry and State Nodal Departments.
  • One District One Product (ODOP) have been approved for 707 districts of the country based on the recommendations of the States/UTs.
  • Under the Capacity Building component, institutional architecture for training including special courses suited for existing micro units in food processing, preparation of course material, videos, presentations and trainings are provided to Master Trainers and District Level Trainers of States/ UTs for providing training to micro enterprises, their workers, SHG members, etc. Incubation centers have been sanctioned in the States at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, food processing colleges and other institutions to provide processing lines for utilisation by micro units and training.
  • National level research institutions dealing with food processing have been involved in capacity building, incubation center and research activities for the Scheme. MIS for online filing of applications has been developed and operationalised and applicants are filing applications that are being appraised at the district level, being recommended to the banks for sanction of credit.

Source: PIB

Biotech PRIDE Guidelines

GS-III : S&T Bio technology

Biotech PRIDE Guidelines

  • The release of Biotech-PRIDE (Promotion of Research and Innovation through Data Exchange) as 1st of its kind developed by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • India ranks number 4 amongst the top 20 countries contributing to biological databases1. The Government invests a large amount of public funds to generate data in various sectors, including in the biosciences for knowledge generation, to gain deep insights into intricate biological mechanisms and other processes and for translation.
  • These Guidelines will be implemented through Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC) at Regional Centre for Biotechnology supported by Department of Biotechnology. Other existing datasets/ data centres will be bridged to this IBDC which will be called Bio-Grid.
  • This Bio-Grid will be a National Repository for biological knowledge, information and data and will be responsible for enabling its exchange, developing measures for safety, standards and quality for datasets and establishing detailed modalities for accessing data.
  • The Biotech PRIDE Guidelines will facilitate this and enable exchange of information to promote research and innovation in different research groups across the country.
  • The Biotech-PRIDE (Biotech Promotion of Research and Innovation through Data Exchange) guidelines aim at providing a well-defined framework and guiding principle to facilitate and enable sharing and exchange of biological knowledge, information and data and is specifically applicable to high-throughput, high-volume data generated by research groups across the country.
  • These guidelines do not deal with generation of biological data per se but is an enabling mechanism to share and exchange information and knowledge generated as per the existing laws, rules, regulations and guidelines of the country.
  • These guidelines will ensure data sharing benefits viz. maximizing use, avoiding duplication, maximized integration, ownership information, better decision-making and equity of access.
  • These guidelines are the enabling mechanism for sharing the data publicly and within a reasonable period of time after data-generation, thus the utility of the data will be maximal.
  • Resultantly, accrual of benefit of public investment for data generation will not be compromised.
  • The PRIDE Guidelines will be helpful to harmonize, synergize and encourage the data sharing for research and analysis in the country and to promote scientific work and foster progress by building on previous work.
  • These guidelines will also be advantageous in avoiding duplication and wasteful expenditure of resources on research. Initially, these Guidelines will be implemented through Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC) at Regional Centre for Biotechnology supported by Department of Biotechnology.

Government also launched the web-portal for submission of Biological data to IBDC. Other existing datasets/ data centres will be bridged to this IBDC which will be called Bio-Grid. This Bio-Grid will be a National Repository for biological knowledge, information and data and will be responsible for enabling its exchange, developing measures for safety, standards and quality for datasets and establishing detailed modalities for accessing data.

Source: PIB

Homeless Children

GS-I : Social issues Issues related to Child

Homeless Children

  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act) is the primary law for children in the country.
  • As per Section 2 (14) (vi) of the JJ Act, a child who does not have parents and no one is willing to take care of, or whose parents have abandoned or surrendered him is included as a “child in need of care and protection.”
  • The Act provides a security net of service delivery structures including measures for institutional and non-institutional care to ensure the comprehensive well-being of children in distress situations.

Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme

  • The Ministry is implementing a centrally sponsored Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme under the umbrella Integrated Child Development Services scheme for supporting children in difficult circumstances.
  • Under the scheme institutional care is provided through Child Care Institutes (CCIs), as a rehabilitative measure.
  • The programmes and activities in Homes inter-alia include age-appropriate education, access to vocational training, recreation, health care, counselling etc.
  • Under the non-institutional care component, support is extended for adoption, foster care and sponsorship.
  • Further CPS also provides “Aftercare” services after the age of 18 years to help sustain them during the transition from institutional to independent life.
  • The data for homeless children is not maintained centrally by the Ministry. The primary responsibility for the execution of the Act and implementation of the Scheme lies with the States/UTs.
  • "Mission Vatsalya" subsuming CPS Scheme, has been announced in Union Budget 2021-22, with a Budget of Rs.900 crore allocated for current financial year.

Source: PIB

Stem Cells research in India


Stem Cells research in India

  • Stem cells are special human cells that have the ability to develop into many different cell types (from muscle to brain). In some cases, they also have the ability to repair damaged tissues.
  • Stem cells differ from other kinds of cells in the body.
    1. Self-renewal: They can divide and renew themselves for long periods.
    2. Unspecialised: It does not have any tissue-specific structure that allows it to perform specialized functions.
    3. Potency: Specialised cells can be derived from stem cells through a process called differentiation.

  • They are divided into 2:
    1. Embryonic stem cells: come from unused embryos resulting from an in-vitro fertilisation. They are pluripotent meaning that they can turn into more than one type of cell.
    2. Adult stem cells: They are of 2 types:
      1. 1 comes from fully developed tissues like the brain, skin and bone marrow. There are only small numbers of stem cells in these tissues, and they are more likely to generate only certain types of cells. For example, a stem cell-derived from the liver will only generate liver cells.
      2. Other is induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC): They are manipulated in a laboratory to be like pluripotent stem cells.
  • Stem cells are applied especially to treat cancers, which require high-dose chemotherapy within the scope of medical care. The patient’s own stem cells are extracted from bone marrow or peripheral blood prior to high-dose chemotherapy, stored temporarily and transplanted after the treatment in order to minimize the side effects of the aggressive chemotherapy and to support the regeneration of destroyed cells.
  • Besides cancer, Stem cell therapy offers great potential for the treatment of diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, cardiac infarction, stroke, arthritis, or diabetes.
  • Cord Blood Banking: Cord Blood is the blood from the baby that is left in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. This is rich source of special cells known as Hematopoietic stem cells. These cells are derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord. They are used against cancers.

Japan approves growing human organs in animals for the 1st time through iPS cells (induced Pluripotent Cells)

  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state by being forced to express genes and factors important for maintaining the defining properties of embryonic stem cells.
  • The iPSC technology was pioneered by Shinya Yamanaka. He got a Nobel for this.
  • Pluripotent stem cells hold promise in the field of regenerative medicine.

Stem Cell Transplant duplicating CCR5 Delta 32 Technique: Cures the HIV patient

  • Under this, an infected person is treated with a stem cell transplant from donors carrying a genetic mutation that prevents the expression of an HIV receptor CCR5.
  • CCR5 is the most commonly used receptor by HIV-1. HIV-1 virus cannot exist without normal CCR5 receptors. However, the specific mutation — CCR5 delta 32 — prevents the virus from using CCR5 as a receptor to enter host cells.
  • This cures HIV patient. Only 2 people are cured Berlin patient (Timothy Ray Brown) and London patient.

Stem cell research in India by the Government

  • Department of Health Research-Indian Council of Medical Research (DHR-ICMR) is supporting biomedical research and stem cell is one of the priority areas promoted through centres for advanced research/excellence, task force activities in identified thematic areas, viz. Basic stem cell biology, Cancer stem cell, Translational Research and Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), open-ended investigator-initiated ad-hoc projects and fellowships for past twenty years. Many laboratories have been strengthened through above programmes.
  • Under Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has implemented projects on embryonic, adult and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Projects have been supported in the areas of the basic biology of stem cells; early and late translational research; development of gene editing technology for potential therapeutic applications; creation of animal models for various human diseases and training programmes on various components of stem cells and regenerative medicine. Studies have also been implemented to develop improved methods and techniques for isolating and culturing stem cells from different origin and also to generate induced pluripotent stem cells from various somatic/adult tissues.
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), through its constituent laboratories namely CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), New Delhi and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB), Kolkata has undertaken a Sickle Cell Anemia Mission during FY 2017-2020.
  • The government has supported the ethical and scientific conduct of stem cell research through guidelines for stem cell research. These guidelines are available since 2007 and were revised in 2013 and again in 2017 based on the advancement in the field and released as National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research (NGSCR).

Source: PIB

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