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Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster (APC)

Context:

The government has approved seven projects to create infrastructure for agro-processing clusters under the Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster (APC).

Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster:

  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries has formulated the Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters as a sub-scheme of Central Sector Scheme 'Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)'.
  • The scheme aims at the development of modern infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurs to set up food processing units based on the cluster approach.
  • The scheme is to be implemented in the area of horticulture/agriculture production identified through a mapping exercise.
  • The clusters will help in reducing the wastage of the surplus produce and add value to the horticultural/agricultural produce which will result in an increase of income of the farmers and create employment at the local level- agro-processing cluster MOFPI.

Components of the Scheme:

  • Basic enabling infrastructure: It will include site development including development of industrial plots, boundary wall, roads, drainage, water supply, electricity supply including power backup, effluent treatment plant, parking bay, weighbridges, common office space, etc.
  • Core infrastructure: The common facilities will be based on the needs of the units which will be set up in these clusters.
    • The common facilities of capital intensive nature may include food testing laboratory, cleaning, grading, sorting and packing facilities, steam generation boilers, dry warehouse, cold storage, pre-cooling chambers, ripening chambers, IQF, specialized packaging, other common processing facilities, etc.

The pattern of Assistance:

  • The Scheme envisages grants-in-aid @ 35% of the eligible project cost in general areas and @ 50% of the eligible project cost in the North East States including Sikkim and difficult areas namely the Himalayan States.

Release of Funds:

  • The first installment of 35% of the total approved grant will be released to the PEA in the designated Bank account after incurring an expenditure of 35% of the bank term loan and 35% PEA contribution/equity on eligible project cost and submission of documents
  • The second installment of 40% of the total approved grant will be released to the PEA in the designated Bank account after incurring an expenditure of 75% of the bank term loan and 75% of PEA contribution/equity on eligible project cost and submission of the documents:
  • The third installment of 15% of the approved grant will be released to PEA in the designated Bank account after incurring an expenditure of 90% of the bank term loan and 90% of PEA’s contribution/equity on eligible project cost and submission of the documents:
  • The fourth & final installment of 10% of the approved grant will be released to PEA in the designated Bank account on completion of the project and submission of documents.

Source: LiveMint

Resettlement of Bru Tribals

Context:

The parts of North Tripura have witnessed violent protests over the proposed resettlement of Bru tribals.

Background:

  • In 1997, nearly 37 thousand people of the Bru (or Reang) tribe fled to Tripura from Mizoram, on account of ethnic clashes.
  • In January 2020, an agreement was signed by the Centre, the two-state governments, and Bru representatives to allow the remaining 32,000 to permanently settle in Tripura.

Protests:

  • The agreement led to protests from Bengali and Mizo groups in Tripura who claim that settling thousands of migrants permanently would lead to demographic imbalance, exert pressure on local resources and potentially lead to law and order problems.
  • It started with memoranda, demonstrations, and press conferences of a newly formed organization called Nagarik Suraksha Mancha.
  • The Mizo Convention, a Tripura-based organization, has teamed up with the Mancha on a platform called Joint Movement Committee (JMC) and announced that not more than 1,500 Bru families would be allowed to settle in Kanchanpur.

Resettlement of Brus:

  • The state has planned 12 resettlement spots across six districts with 300 families each since the signing of the agreement.
  • Under the agreement, the Centre has announced a special development project with funding of Rs 600 crore.
  • Each resettled family will get an estimated 0.03 acres of land for building a home, Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, and Rs 4 lakh as a one-time cash benefit for sustenance, a monthly allowance of Rs 5,000, and free rations for two years from the date of resettlement.

Government steps:

  • The Revenue Department has stressed that Bru migrants would be settled in various locations identified in six districts.
  • The government has clarified that concerns about the migrants being settled in one place are false, and appealed to people to refrain from sharing such content on social media.
  • The state government has denied having received any policy decision regarding settling 5,000 migrant families within the jurisdiction.

Bru Tribe:

  • The Brus or Reangs are a community indigenous to the Northeast, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram, and Assam.
    • While many Brus of Assam and Tripura are Hindu, the Brus of Mizoram converted to Christianity over the years.
  • The Brus are ethnically distinct from the Mizos, and the two tribes speak mutually unintelligible languages/dialects.
  • In Tripura, they are recognized as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
  • The majority of the Reang belong to the Vaishnav school of Hinduism and claim Kshatriya status.
  • In Mizoram, they were targeted by ethnic organizations who demanded that the Brus be excluded from electoral rolls.

Source: Indian Express

Chang’e-5 Mission

Context:

China has launched its Chang’e-5 Mission to the Moon and will become the first probe in over four decades to bring back samples of lunar rock from a previously unexplored portion of the Moon.

Background:

  • In 2019, China’s Chang’e-4 probe successfully transmitted images from the far side of the Moon which is also referred to as the dark side.
  • It was the first probe to land on the dark side of the Moon.

Chang’e-5 Mission:

  • It is named after the Chinese Moon goddess who is traditionally accompanied by a white or jade rabbit.
  • It is the Chinese National Space Administration’s (CNSA) lunar sample return mission.
  • The goal of the mission is to land in the Mons Rumker region of the moon, where it will operate for one lunar day and return a 2 kg sample of the lunar rock.
  • The mission comprises a lunar orbiter, a lander, and an ascent probe that will lift the lunar samples back into orbit and return them back to Earth.
  • Chang’e-5 comprises a robotic arm, a coring drill, a sample chamber and is also equipped with a camera, penetrating radar, and a spectrometer.

Significance of Lunar Samples:

  • Lunar samples can help to unravel some important questions in lunar science and astronomy, including the Moon’s age, the formation of the Moon, the similarities and differences between the Earth and the Moon’s geologic features.
  • The shape, size, arrangement, and composition of individual grains and crystals in a rock can tell scientists about its history, while the radioactive clock can tell them the rock’s age.
  • As per the Lunar and Planetary Institute, rocks found on the Moon are older than any that have been found on Earth, and therefore they are valuable in providing information about the Earth and the Moon’s shared history.

Source: Indian Express

Sahakar Pragya

Context:

Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has unveiled 'Sahakar Pragya'.

Sahakar Pragya:

  • It is an innovative capacity building initiative for the farmers associated with such entities in the country.
  • It is part of a series of initiatives taken up by NCDC to strengthen India’s cooperative societies.
  • The 45 new training modules of Sahakar Pragya of the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) will impart training to primary cooperative societies in rural areas of the country.
  • The farmers in primary cooperatives in rural areas of the country would be trained under Sahakar Pragya by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
  • It embodies enhancing NCDC’s training capacity through an elaborate network of 18 Regional Training Centres across the country.

Need for Sahakar Pragya:

  • India boasts a huge network of over 8.5 lakh cooperative societies with about 290 million members.
  • Nearly 94% of the farmers in India are members of at least one cooperative society.
  • Cooperatives lend strength to farmers to minimize risks in agriculture and allied sectors and act as a shield against exploitation by unscrupulous traders.

SAHKAR MITRA:

  • The “SAHKAR MITRA Scheme on Internship Program” (SIP) is an arrangement where NCDC will provide short-term opportunities to young professionals to acquire learning experience by applying skills and knowledge.
  • The program aims at providing an opportunity for professional graduates to get experience in areas of functioning of NCDC and related aspects of cooperatives.

Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel:

  • It is a new initiative by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
  • It is an initiative towards One Nation One Market with the objective for India to become a food factory of the world.

SAHAKAR-22:

  • SAHAKAR-22 aims to develop cooperatives in Focus 222 districts, including aspirational districts.
  • The objective of the mission is to double the farmers' income by providing new employment opportunities generated through cooperatives.

YUVA SAHAKAR:

  • It is a youth-friendly scheme to meet the aspirations and requirements of the youth.
  • Its objective is to motivate and promote the entrepreneurs of India in the Cooperative Enterprise and those individuals working for the business.

AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR:

  • It is a unique scheme to assist cooperatives to play an important role in the creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country.
  • The AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas.
  • Ayushman Sahakar scheme fund would also assist cooperative hospitals to take up medical/Ayush education.

Source: PIB

Negative-yield Bonds (NYBs)

Context:

China had sold negative-yield debt for the first time which saw high demand from investors across Europe.

Negative-yield Bonds (NYBs):

  • The NYBs are debt instruments that offer to pay the investor a maturity amount lower than the purchase price of the bond.
  • The NYBs are generally issued by central banks or governments, and investors pay interest to the borrower to keep their money with them.

Current High Demand for Negative-yield Bonds:

  • The 10-year and 15-year bonds are offering positive returns is a big attraction at a time when interest rates in Europe have dropped significantly.
  • It is important to note that while the majority of the large economies are facing a contraction in their GDP for 2020-21, China is one country that is set to witness positive growth in these challenging times.
  • Europe, the US, and other parts of the world are facing a second wave of Covid-19 cases and China has demonstrated that it has controlled the spread of the pandemic and is therefore seen as a more stable region.

Significance of negative-yielding debt:

  • Bond offers security at a cost: The NYBs that have a minuscule risk of default can be attractive to some investors.
    • The holding of cash in a deposit account with zero or ultralow interest might not be an available alternative to investors when bond yields turn negative.
  • Chance of a quick trading profit: The traders would be willing to buy a negative-yielding bond if they thought that the yield might dive deeper into negative territory.
    • The fixed-income prices and yields move inversely, so if a bond yield gets even more negative, the bond price would rally, allowing the trader to make a profit.
  • Expected currency moves will likely offset the negative yields: People who invest internationally also have to contend with future changes in the value of a currency, or more specifically, the expected movement in the currency’s value.
  • Purchasing power is maintained: The most important reason investors would willingly choose to invest in negative-yielding bonds is when there is deflation or a sustained drop in the price level for goods and services.

Source: Indian Express