UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 18-06-2021

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June 18, 2021

Train Collision Avoidance System

  • Indian Railways has approved Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System.
  • Purpose - TCAS will help in avoiding train collisions thereby reducing accidents and ensuring passenger safety. It will increase the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure.
  • Also, it will attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfil the ‘Make in India’ mission and generate employment.
  • LTE - The Cabinet has approved allotment of 5 MHz LTE spectrum in 700 MHz band to Indian Railways.
  • It would provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications.
  • It will be used for modern signalling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards.
  • Spectrum charges may be levied based on formula prescribed by Dept of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for Captive use as recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

National Maritime Heritage Complex

  • This world-class facility is to be developed by the Ministry of Culture (MoC) and Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) in the vicinity of the ASI site of Lothal, Gujarat.
  • It is to be developed as a first of its kind in the country dedicated to the legacy of Maritime Heritage of India from ancient to modern times, to showcase India’s rich and diverse maritime glory.
  • It would be developed as an international tourist destination that would be showcased for edutainment purpose.
  • Features - The unique feature of NMHC is the recreation of ancient Lothal city - one of the cities of the Indus valley civilization (2400 BC).
  • NMHC would have structures such as National Maritime Heritage Museum, Light House Museum, Heritage Theme Park, Museum Themed Hotels & Maritime themed eco-resorts, Maritime Institute etc.
  • Various theme parks would be developed through public-private partnership.
  • NCF - MoC will facilitate in the fundraising for NMHC through the National Culture Fund (NCF).
  • The services of National Culture Fund (NCF) shall be utilized to receive funds by way of grant, donation, CSR and foreign contribution.
  • MoC will also provide needed collaboration to NMHC for all maritime heritage subjects under its project 'Mausam'.

AISHE Report 2019-20

  • The release of the Report of All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2019-20 was announced by the Union Education Minister.
  • It is the 10th in the AISHE series released annually by the Department of Higher Education.
  • AISHE provides key performance indicators on the current status of Higher education in the country.
  • Findings - In the last five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20, there has been a growth of 11.4% in the student enrolment. The rise in female enrolment in higher education during the period is 18.2%.
  • Total Enrolment in Higher Education stands at 3.85 crore in 2019-20 as compared to 3.74 crore in 2018-19, registering a growth of 3.04%. Uttar Pradesh has highest student enrolment in India followed by Tamil Nadu.
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) - the percentage of students belonging to the eligible age group enrolled in Higher Education - in 2019-20 is 27.1% against 26.3% in 2018-19 and 24.3% in 2014-2015.
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI) in Higher Education is 1.01 in 2019-20 against 1.00 in 2018-19 indicating an improvement in the relative access to higher education for females of eligible age group compared to males.
  • Student enrolment in programmes at under-graduate and post-graduate level is at 3.38 crore. 
  • Nearly 85% of these students (2.85 crore) were enrolled in the six major disciplines - Science, Medical Science, Engineering & Technology, Humanities, Commerce and IT & Computer.
  • Number of students pursuing PhD in 2019-20 is 2.03 lakh against 1.17 lakh in 2014-15.
  • Pupil Teacher Ratio in Higher Education in 2019-20 is 26.
  • Total Number of Teachers stands at 15,03,156 comprising of 57.5% male and 42.5% female.

SATAT Scheme

  • An agreement was signed between Oil and Gas majors including IndianOil, HPCL, BPCL, GAIL and IGL for promoting the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme.
  • It provides for establishing a strong network for marketing the entire produced quantity of CBG Plants through various channels.
  • The agreement also has provision for associate implementers to join the SATAT movement. As per the agreement,
    1. IndianOil shall act as coordinator under the SATAT scheme and liaison with the Government and other agencies on behalf of Industry members.
    2. GAIL shall serve as the coordinator for the implementation of the CBG-CGD synchronization scheme.
  • SATAT scheme aims to set up Compressed Bio-Gas production plants and make CBG available in the market for use as a green fuel.
  • Launched in 2018, SATAT envisages targeting production of 15 MMT of CBG from 5000 plants by 2023. These plants may provide a,
    1. Boost to the availability of more affordable transport fuels,
    2. Better the use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste,
    3. Provide an investment of 1.75 lakh crore, and
    4. Provide an additional revenue source to farmers, and direct and indirect job opportunities.
  • To know more about the Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme, click here.

Minimum Support Prices for Kharif Crops

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for all mandated Kharif crops for marketing season 2021-22.
  • The Kharif crops for which MSPs were approved include paddy, jowar, bajra, ragi, maize, tur, moong, urad, groundnut, sunflower seed, soyabean (yellow), sesamum, nigerseed and cotton. 
  • Government has increased the MSP of Kharif crops for marketing season 2021-22, to ensure remunerative prices to the growers for their produce.
  • It used differential remuneration to encourage crop diversification.

Minimum Support Prices

  • Minimum Support Prices (MSP) is a minimum price that government agencies pay whenever they procure the particular crop.
  • It is given for any crop that the government considers as remunerative for farmers and hence deserving of support.
  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) recommends,
    1. MSPs for 22 mandated crops and
    2. Fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane.
  • CACP is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It is an advisory body that came into existence in 1965 whose recommendations are not binding on the Government.
  • Crops - The mandated crops include 14 crops of the kharif season, 6 rabi crops and 2 other commercial crops.
  • In addition, the MSPs of toria and de-husked coconut are fixed on the basis of the MSPs of rapeseed/mustard and copra, respectively.
  • The Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced that MSP would be kept at levels of 1.5 the cost of production.

Pradhan Mantri AnnadataAaySanraksHan Abhiyan

  • In 2018, Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) announced by the government to aid in providing remunerative return to farmers for their produce.
  • The Umbrella Scheme consists of three sub-schemes i.e.
    1. Price Support Scheme (PSS),
    2. Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and
    3. Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS) on a pilot basis.

Price Support Scheme

  • Under the PSS, pulses, oilseeds and copra will be physically procured by the Central nodal agencies with proactive role of state governments.
  • Besides, the scheme will be implemented with the help of,
    1. Food corporation of India (FCI) and
    2. National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).
  • The government will procure 25% of the marketable surplus of farmers for eligible crops.
  • The procurement expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by Central Government as per norms.
  • The Centre will provide bank guarantee for the agencies to procure from farmers.

Price Deficiency Payment Scheme

  • The scheme has been formulated on the lines of Madhya Pradesh government’s Bhawantar Bhugtan Yojana (BBY).
  • Under the PDPS, the state will provide the difference between the prices prevailing in mandis and the MSP.
  • All oil-seeds are covered. There will be no physical procurement of crops.
  • Farmers who sell their crops in recognised mandis within the notified period can benefit from it. PDPS will create a win-win situation for both farmers and the government.

Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme on a pilot basis

  • Under the PPPS, selected private agencies will procure oilseeds in coordination with the government.
  • The private agency shall procure the commodity at MSP in the notified markets during the notified period from the registered farmers in consonance with the PPSS Guidelines.
  • This procurement will be done when the prices in the market fall below the notified MSP and whenever authorized by the state/UT government.
  • The private player will then be compensated through a service charge up to a maximum of 15% of the MSP.

Deep Ocean Mission

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) on "Deep Ocean Mission".
  • Deep Ocean Mission aims to explore the Deep Ocean for resources and develop deep sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.
  • It will be a mission mode project to support the Blue Economy Initiatives of the Government of India. Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional mission.
  • The Deep Ocean Mission consists of the following six major components:
    1. Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining, and Manned Submersible,
    2. Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services,
    3. Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity,
    4. Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration to explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides mineralization along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges,
    5. Energy and freshwater from the Ocean - Studies and engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plant are envisaged in this proof of concept proposal.
    6. Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology.
  • The Government of India's Vision of New India by 2030 enunciated in 2019 highlighted the Blue Economy as one of the ten core dimensions of growth.
  • To know more about the Deep Ocean Mission, click here.


Source: PIB

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