Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI) under Union Minister Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal has approved the operationalisation strategy for Operation Greens today. Operation Greens was announced in the Budget speech of 2018-19 with an outlay of Rs 500 crores to stabilize the supply of Tomato, Onion and Potato(TOP) crops and to ensure availability of TOP crops throughout the country round the year without price volatility.
Approving the measures, the Minister said “Price volatility of TOP crops wreaks havoc in the households of this country. This is a revolutionary scheme which has evolved after sustained dialogue with all stakeholders and we have decided the strategy to stabilize prices of TOP crops and to make sure that TOP crops reach all households in the country around the year.” Smt Badal added “Our government has laid down special measures and grants-in-aid under the scheme to ensure enhanced production of TOP crops and to augment value chain”.
The strategy will comprise of a series of measures as decided by the Ministry which include:
(I) Short term Price Stabilisation Measures NAFED will be the Nodal Agency to implement price stabilisation measures. MoFPI will provide 50% of the subsidy on the following two components:
Transportation of Tomato Onion Potato(TOP) Crops from production to storage; Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for TOP Crops;
(II) Long Term Integrated value chain development projects Capacity Building of FPOs & their consortium Quality production Post-harvest processing facilities Agri-Logistics Marketing / Consumption Points Creation and Management of e-platform for demand and supply management of TOP Crops.
The pattern of assistance will comprise of grants-in-aid at the rate of 50% of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs. 50 crores per project. However, in case where PIA is/are FPO(s), the grant-in-aid will be at the rate of 70% of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs. 50 crores per project.
Eligible Organisation would include State Agriculture and other Marketing Federations, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), cooperatives, companies, Self-help groups, food processors, logistic operators, service providers, supply chain operators, retail and wholesale chains and central and state governments and their entities/organizations will be eligible to participate in the programme and to avail financial assistance.
The applicant fulfilling the eligibility criteria under the scheme is required to submit the online application on SAMPADA portal of the ministry (https://sampada.gov.in/) attaching therewith complete documents.
Background of Operation Greens In the budget speech of 2018-19, a new Scheme “Operation Greens” was announced on the line of “Operation Flood”, with an outlay of Rs.500 crore to promote Farmer Producers Organizations, agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management.
Major objectives of “Operation Greens” are as under: Enhancing value realisation of TOP farmers by targeted interventions to strengthen TOP production clusters and their FPOs, and linking/connecting them with the market.
Price stabilisation for producers and consumers by proper production planning in the TOP clusters and introduction of dual use varieties.
Reduction in post-harvest lossesby creation of farm gate infrastructure, development of suitable agro-logistics, creation of appropriate storage capacity linking consumption centres.
Increase in food processing capacities and value addition in TOP value chain with firm linkages with production clusters.
Setting up of a market intelligence network to collect and collate real time data on demand and supply and price of TOP crops.
The National Conference is being organised in association with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a think tank under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
About Competition Commission Of India: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009. Chairman and members are appointed by the central government.
The following are the objectives of the Commission: To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition. To promote and sustain competition in markets. To protect the interests of consumers. To ensure freedom of trade.
Functions of the commission: It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India. The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
The Competition Act: The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
Committee to review the Act: In pursuance of its objective of ensuring that Legislation is in sync with the needs of strong economic fundamentals, the Government recently constituted a Competition Law Review Committee to review the Competition Act headed by Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Why China is demanding a greater role? China has a status of an observer state in South Asia, however an observer state can get involve with SAARC members on specific initiatives, but they do not have voting rights. China entered SAARC as an observer in 2005, supported by most member states.
India’s concerns and fears: If China is given a greater role, India fears that its neighbours will come together to oppose the country’s interests, particularly under the influence of Pakistan and China. India’s neighbours are attracted to China, because of its greater economic resources, as also it has the potential to counter India. China’s influence can be witnessed even in Nepal. To enhance strategic ties with Nepal, China has been investing heavily in that country; it has opened land-port between Nepal and Tibet named as Kyirong which will affect the regional strategic balance.
The growing friendship with China and Pakistan is viewed by many as a joint tactic to offset India’s dominance in the South Asian region. One of the most famous project, is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which strategically aims at providing links between the overland Silk Road and maritime Silk Road. Due to this project China becomes one of the major investors in Pakistan.
It has been agreed that China’s entry in SAARC as a full-member can give a push to SAARC to grow as a regional bloc as China’s global economic influence can help SAARC in international forum. But, growing alliances between China and Pakistan may work against India and which will hamper the regional progress. It has also been feared that China may block the projects which are both strategically and economically important for India.
Way ahead: China is becoming member of different regional blocs due to its growing economic and military might. China’s active and aggressive diplomacy, trade and investments, many cooperative agreements with SAARC nations is thus enabling it to have a greater influence in south Asia. India needs to re-think its regional strategies as rise of China will impact India. Often it is viewed that the rise of China will decrease India’s influence in South Asia.
About SAARC: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. The Secretariat of the Association was set up in Kathmandu on 17 January 1987. SAARC comprises of eight Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Important objectives of the Association as outlined in the SAARC Charter are: to promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life; to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potentials; to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia.
The PCR will also include data from entities like market regulator SEBI, the Corporate Affairs Ministry and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India to enable banks and financial institutions to get a 360-degree profile of existing and prospective borrowers on a real-time basis.
About Public Credit Registry: What is it? The PCR will be an extensive database of credit information for India that is accessible to all stakeholders. The idea is to capture all relevant information in one large database on the borrower and, in particular, the borrower’s entire set of borrowing contracts and outcomes.
Management of PCR: Generally, a PCR is managed by a public authority like the central bank or the banking supervisor, and reporting of loan details to the PCR by lenders and/or borrowers is mandated by law. The contractual terms and outcomes covered and the threshold above which the contracts are to be reported vary in different jurisdictions, but the idea is to capture all relevant information in one large database on the borrower, in particular, the borrower’s entire set of borrowing contracts and outcomes.
Need for a PCR: A central repository, which, for instance, captures and certifies the details of collaterals, can enable the writing of contracts that prevent over-pledging of collateral by a borrower. In absence of the repository, the lender may not trust its first right on the collateral and either charge a high cost on the loan or ask for more collateral than necessary to prevent being diluted by other lenders. This leads to, what in economics is termed as, pecuniary externality – in this case, a spillover of one loan contract onto outcomes and terms of other loan contracts.
Furthermore, absent a public credit registry, the ‘good’ borrowers are disadvantaged in not being able to distinguish themselves from the rest in opaque credit markets; they could potentially be subjected to a rent being extracted from their existing lenders who enjoy an information monopoly over them. The lenders may also end up picking up fresh clients who have a history of delinquency that is unknown to all lenders and this way face greater overall credit risk.
Benefits of having a PCR: A PCR can potentially help banks in credit assessment and pricing of credit as well as in making risk-based, dynamic and counter-cyclical provisioning. The PCR can also help the RBI in understanding if transmission of monetary policy is working, and if not, where are the bottlenecks.
Further, it can help supervisors, regulators and banks in early intervention and effective restructuring of stressed bank credits. A PCR will also help banks and regulators as credit information is a ‘public good’ and its utility is to the credit market at large and to society in general.
Task force on PCR: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had formed a high-level task force on public credit registry (PCR) for India. The task force was chaired by Y M Deosthalee.
The task force has suggested the registry should capture all loan information and borrowers be able to access their own history. Data is to be made available to stakeholders such as banks, on a need-to-know basis. Data privacy will be protected.
Key features of the scheme: The beneficiary of this scheme will be farmers who have valid farmer identity cards and have minimum 0.5 acres of agricultural land.
Under this scheme, farmers will be given 90% subsidy and 5,000 solar pumps. This will provide irrigation benefits in 2,500 acres of the state.
In the first phase, this scheme will be available in those areas where electricity is not available for running the pump set.
Significance of the scheme: The scheme will generate 1.52 lakh human day employments annually and provided livelihood to around 5,000 families and also reduce carbon footprints.
Under this scheme, farmers will be provided with a well-equipped solar pump irrigation system in convergence mode. It will help to reduce burden of input cost on farmers and also increase agricultural income. It will promote the use of green energy and reduce pollution.
Background: The launch of the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission took place on September 8, 2016. Since then, the spacecraft has been two years travelling through space to reach its target, primitive asteroid Bennu, in October, 2018.
About the mission: OSIRIS-Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.
OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers program, which previously sent the New Horizons spacecraft zooming by Pluto and the Juno spacecraft into orbit around Jupiter.
What will the OSIRIS-Rex do? OSIRIS-REx will spend two years travelling towards Bennu, arriving at the asteroid in August 2018. The probe will orbit the asteroid for 3 years, conducting several scientific experiments, before returning to Earth, with the sample capsule expected to land in Utah, USA in September 2023.
Scientific Mission Goals: During its three year orbit of Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will be conducting a range of scientific experiments in order to better understand the asteroid.
As part of this, the asteroid will be mapped using instruments on the probe, in order to select a suitable site for samples to be collected from.
The aim of the mission is to collect a sample of regolith- the loose, soil-like material which covers the surface of the asteroid.
In July 2020, the probe will move to within a few metres of Bennu, extending its robotic arm to touch the asteroid’s surface. The arm will make contact with the surface for just 5 seconds, during which a blast of nitrogen gas will be used to stir up the regolith, allowing it to be sucked into the sample collector.
OSIRIS-REx has enough nitrogen on board for 3 sample collection attempts, and NASA are hoping to collect between 60 and 2000g of regolith material to bring back to Earth.
Why was Bennu chosen? Bennu was selected for a the OSIRIS-REx mission from over 500,000 known asteroids, due to it fitting a number of key criteria. These include:
Proximity to Earth: In order for OSIRIS-REx to reach its destination in a reasonable timeframe, NASA needed to find an asteroid which had a similar orbit to Earth. Around 7000 asteroids are ‘Near-Earth Objects’ (NEOs), meaning they travel within around ~30million miles of the Earth. Out of these, just under 200 have orbits similar to Earth, with Bennu being one of these.
Size: Small asteroids, those less than 200m in diameter, typically spin much faster than larger asteroids, meaning the regolith material can be ejected into space. Bennu is around 500m in diameter, so rotates slowly enough to ensure that the regolith stays on its surface.
Composition: Bennu is a primitive asteroid, meaning it hasn’t significantly changed since the beginning of the Solar System (over 4 billion years ago). It is also very carbon-rich, meaning it may contain organic molecules, which could have been precursors to life on Earth.
Additionally, Bennu is of interest as it is a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA). Every 6 years, Bennu’s orbit brings it within 200,000 miles of the Earth, which means it has a high probability of impacting Earth in the late 22nd Century.
The Western Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country to ban many kinds of sunscreen, in a move to protect its coral reefs from chemicals that scientists say cause significant damage.
Under the ban, which will take effect in 2020, “reef-toxic” sunscreen — defined as containing one of 10 prohibited chemicals, a list that could grow later — can be confiscated from tourists when they enter the country, and retailers who sell it can be fined up to $1,000.
To exercise effective control over the construction and operation of the first railways in India, which were entrusted to private companies, Consulting Engineers were appointed under the Government of India. Later when the Government undertook the construction of railways, the Consulting Engineers were designated as Government Inspectors. In 1883, their position was statutorily recognised. Later, the Railway Inspectorate was placed under the Railway Board which was established in 1905.
Under the Indian Railway Board Act, 1905 and Notification No.801 dated 24th March, 1905 of the Department of Commerce and Industry, the Railway Board was vested with powers and functions of the Central Government under various sections of the Railway Act and was authorised to make General Rules for the operation of Railways. The Railway Board is thus the Safety Controlling Authority for the working and operation of Government and Company managed railways.
Section 181(3) of the Government of India Act of 1935 provided that functions for securing the safety, both of the travelling public and of persons operating the railways, including the holding of inquiries into the causes of accidents, should be performed by an authority independent of the Federal Railway Authority. Due to the outbreak of the war, the constitution of the Federal Railway Authority did not materialise and the Inspectorate continued to function under the Railway Board.
To avoid direct subordination of the Railway Inspectorate to the Railway Board, the Pacific (Engines with 4-6-2 configuration of wheels are called "Pacific Locos") Locomotive Committee, headed by Lt. Col. A.H.L. Mount, then Chief Inspecting Officer of the British Railways, suggested in para 210 of their report, submitted in 1939, as under:- "We understand that, under the Govt. of India Act, 1935, it is contemplated that the Inspectorate will be separated from the control of the Railway Board. This is very desirable in so far as it will eradicate the present anomaly of the Board being the Inspecting as well as the executive Authority. We were informed that the Board fully appreciate the position, and would welcome the change, although it appears that, in practice, Government Inspectors have generally retained their freedom of judgement
The principle of separation of the Railway Inspectorate from the Railway Board was endorsed in 1940 by the Central Legislature who recommended that "Senior Government Inspectors of Railways should be placed under the Administrative control of some authority of the Govt. of India other than the Railway Board." Accordingly, the Railway Inspectorate was placed under the administrative control of the Department of "Posts and Air" in May 1941 and continuously thereafter under whichever Ministry that held the portfolio of Civil Aviation.
The erstwhile Railway Inspectorate was re-designated as the Commission of Railway Safety on 1.11.1961.
The Commission of Railway Safety, working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India, deals with matters pertaining to safety of rail travel and train operation and is charged with certain statutory functions as laid down in the Railways Act (1989), which are of an inspectorial, investigatory & advisory nature.
The Commission functions according to certain rules viz. Statutory investigation into accidents rules framed under the Railways Act and executive instructions issued from time to time.
To inspect new railways with a view to determine whether they are fit to be opened for the public carriage of passengers, and to report thereon to the Central Government as required by or under this Act;
To make such periodical or other inspections of any railway or of any rolling stock used thereon as the Central Government may direct;
To make inquiry under this Act into the cause of any accident on a Railway; to perform such other duties as are imposed on him by this Act or any other enactment for the time being in force relating to Railways.
sanctioning the opening of new railway lines after inspection on behalf of the Central Government;
sanctioning the execution of all works, including new works, affecting the safety of running lines;
when, after inspecting a line already in use or a rolling stock already authorised, the Commissioner is of the opinion that their continued use will be attended with danger to the travelling public, he may report his opinion to the Central government, who may then order the closure of the line or the discontinuance of the use of rolling stock; and
to inspect such a closed line and sanction its re- opening for carriage of passengers and also report to the Central Govt.on the fitness for use of discontinued rolling stock.
Helicopter services are now a vital component of civil aviation in India. The flagship helicopter service provider of the Government of India, Pawan Hans has now evolved into south Asia’s largest Helicopter company that maintains and operates a fleet of more than 50 Helicopters.
It provides a variety of services, making it the most trusted brand in the area of helicopter services. Off –Shore operations, connecting inaccessible areas, charter services, search and rescue work, VIP transportation, corporate and special charters, hotline washing of insulators and Heli-pilgrims are some of the major services of Pawan Hans.
Over a period, PHL has logged more than 1 Million Flying hours and Lakhs of Landings and also plans to become a 100 Helicopter company by 2027.
Further to strengthen its core business, Pawan Hans is diversifying into the fields of Seaplane, small Fixed Wing Aircrafts, Training & Skill Development, Safety Audit & Consultancy, Foreign Projects and creation of infrastructure such as Heliports and Helipads as well.
Since 1985, we have been dedicated to provide Helicopter Air Transport and have grown to become the most experienced Air Transport service provider in the industry. Transcending our three-decades of experience in aviation, we continue to maintain our industry leading position. However, we are committed to connect every corner of the nation is complete and comprehensive.