Current Affairs Analysis

22nd & 23rd March 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Long-tailed macaque; India-France relations; Methamphetamine; National AYUSH Mission; Reunion Island; PLI for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing; Scheme for Promotion of manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS); Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) 2.0; Features of National Policy on Electronics 2019; Heroin; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction; Bonphool; Carissa carandas; Carissa kopilii; Miguasha.
By IASToppers
March 23, 2020


Government Schemes & Policies

  • Cabinet okays ₹48,000-cr. plan for electronics manufacturing

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Inclusion of the AYUSH HWC in National Ayushman Mission

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Long-tailed macaques show rich tool-use behaviour
  • Honey collectors of Sunderbans switch to apiculture to fend off tiger attacks
  • Wild berry gets a new cousin in Assam, but the ‘Great Hedge of India’ faces threat
  • Fish fossil show how fins evolved into human hands

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Seizure of Afghan meth on high seas triggers concern

Defence & Security Issues

  • France conduct joint patrols from Reunion Island

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Government Schemes & Policies

Cabinet okays ₹48,000-cr. plan for electronics manufacturing

In a bid to boost large-scale electronics manufacturing in India, the Union Cabinet approved three schemes, including a production-linked incentive scheme, with a total outlay of almost ₹48,000 crore.


The schemes are expected to attract new investments worth at least ₹50,000 crore in the sector, while generating more than five lakh direct and 15 lakh indirect jobs.

PLI for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing

  • The Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing aims to attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including assembly, testing, marking and packaging (ATMP) units.
  • It has at a budgetary outlay of Rs. 40,995 crore for five years.
  • The scheme will offer an incentive of 4-6% on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India and is expected to create a total of 8 lakh jobs.

Scheme for Promotion of manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS)

  • SPECS will provide financial incentive of 25% of capital expenditure for the manufacturing of goods that constitute the supply chain of an electronic product.
  • The scheme will help offset the disability for domestic manufacturing of electronic components and semiconductors in order to strengthen the electronic manufacturing ecosystem in the country.
  • The total cost of the scheme is Rs.3,285 crore.

Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) 2.0

  • It aims at creating quality infrastructure with a minimum area of 200 acres along with industry-specific facilities such as common facility centres, ready-built factory sheds/ plug-and-play facilities.
  • The scheme will provide financial assistance upto 50% of the project cost subject to ceiling of Rs.70 crore per 100 acres of land and For Common Facility Centre (CFC), financial assistance of 75% of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.75 crore will be provided.
  • It has outlay of Rs. 3,762 crore over a period of 8 years.

Salient Features of National Policy on Electronics 2019 NPE 2019

  • Create eco-system for globally competitive Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector
  • Provide incentives and support for manufacturing of core electronic components.
  • Provide special package of incentives for mega projects which are extremely high-tech and entail huge investments, such as semiconductor facilities display fabrication, etc.
  • Formulate suitable schemes and incentive mechanisms to encourage new units and expansion of existing units.
  • Promote Industry-led R&D and innovation in all sub-sectors of electronics, including grass root level innovations and early stage Start-ups in emerging technology.
  • Provide   incentives   and   support   for   significantly   enhancing availability of skilled manpower, including re-skilling.
  • Special thrust  on  Fabless  Chip  Design  Industry,  Medical Electronic Devices Industry, Automotive Electronics Industry and Power Electronics for Mobility and Strategic Electronics Industry.
  • Create Sovereign Patent Fund (SPF) to promote the development and acquisition of IPs in ESDM sector.
  • Promote trusted electronics value chain initiatives to improve national cyber security profile.


  • The National Policy of Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019) replaces the National Policy of Electronics 2012 (NPE 2012).
[Source: PIB]

Issues related to Health & Education

Inclusion of the AYUSH HWC in National Ayushman Mission

The Union Cabinet has approved the inclusion of AYUSH Health and Wellness Centre (AYUSH HWC) component of Ayushman Bharat in the National AYUSH Mission (NAM).

  • The proposal aims to establish a holistic wellness model based on AYUSH principles, to empower masses for ‘self care’ to reduce the disease burden and out of pocket expenditure and to provide informed choice of the needy public.

About National AYUSH Mission (NAM):

  • Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 12th Plan (in 2014)

Aim of NAM:

  • To promote AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services, strengthening of educational systems, facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU &H) drugs and sustainable availability of ASU & H raw materials.

Components of the Mission:

Mandatory Components

  • AYUSH Services
  • AYUSH Educational Institutions
  • Quality Control of ASU &H Drugs
  • Medicinal Plants

Flexible Components include AYUSH Wellness Centres including Yoga & Naturopathy, Tele-medicine, Sports Medicine through AYUSH, Research & Development in areas related to Medicinal Plants etc.

[Source: PIB]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Long-tailed macaques show rich tool-use behaviour

A study has looked into how long-tailed macaques in Greater Nicobar Island handle objects and use tools to simplify their efforts.

About the new study

  • The researchers observed that males were more frequently involved in tool use than females. This biased nature of tool-use could be due to many reasons. It has been hypothesised that the weight of the individual has something to do with the tool-culture.

About long-tailed macaque

  • The long-tailed macaque,also known as the crab-eating macaque, is a native to Southeast Asia.
  • It is known as cynomolgus monkey in laboratory settings.
  • Males are considerably larger than females. The tail is longer than the body, which is used for balance when they jump
  • They are known as invasive species and a threat to biodiversity in several locations, including Hong Kong and western New Guinea.
  • These primates are extremely adaptable and can thrive in a wide variety of conditions. Some examples include coastal forests, mixed mangrove swamps, freshwater swamps etc.
  • Macaques live in social groups. The groups usually have fewer males than females. In social groups of macaques, a clear dominance hierarchy is seen among females.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN status: Least Concerned
  • Listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 
[Source: The Hindu]

Honey collectors of Sunderbans switch to apiculture to fend off tiger attacks

In an attempt to ensure that the honey collected from the Sunderbans does not involve life risk from tigers, Directorate of Forest, along with WWF India, has come up with a novel mechanism of community apiculture for collecting the forest produce.

  • The initiative is not only aimed at protecting the lives of honey collectors but also aimed at ensuring the ecological balance of the Sunderbans.

About the new mechanism

  • The villagers of the Sunderbans have set up three cooperatives societies, the members of which have been provided with training and equipment, such as honey collection boxes.
  • These boxes are placed inside forest camps and adjoining nylon netted forest areas of the Sunderbans.
  • Though located deep inside the mangrove forest, the camps and the adjoning areas have little risk of tiger attacks and the Maulis (Honey collectors in Bengali) can go about their activity without any fear.


  • The honey extracted from these mangrove forest will be called Bonphool (Flower of the Forest) Wild Honey — harvested from traditional honey collectors from mangrove forest of Sunderbans.


  • Human tiger conflict is a major issue in the Sunderbans.
  • Between 1985 to 2009, tigers attacked 789 persons, of which 666 succumbed to their injuries. Nearly 14% of the victims were honey collectors.
[Source: The Hindu]

Wild berry gets a new cousin in Assam, but the ‘Great Hedge of India’ faces threat

A multi-utility wild berry, Carissa carandas, whose thorny plant the British had used to build a barrier through India in the 1870s, has a unknown wilder cousin in Assam – Carissa kopilii,a new study has revealed.

About the newly find beery – Carissa kopilii 

  • Carissa kopilii berry has been found from Assam.
  • Also known as Karja tenga, it has been used as a traditional herbal medicine for a number of ailments such as diarrhoea, anaemia, constipation, indigestion, skin infections and urinary disorders.
  • The leaves have been used as fodder for silkworms while a paste of its pounded roots serves as a fly repellent.
  • Carissa kopilii has white flowers from August-October and fruits from November-January.


  • However, unlike the abundant Carissa carandas, better known as karonda in Hindi, the Carissa kopilii is threatened by the very river it is named after — Kopili in Assam.
  • Reason: A hydroelectric project on the river and water turned acidic because of coal mining in Meghalaya upstream.

Key Fact

  • The Carissa carandas was among several thorny plants the British had grown 140 years ago for a 1,100-mile barrier apparently to enforce taxes and stop the smuggling of salt.
[Source: The Hindu]

Fish fossil show how fins evolved into human hands

Researchers have revealed new insights into how the human hand evolved from fish fins based on their analysis of an ancient fossil found in Miguasha, Canada.


  • Palaeontologists said that transition from fish to four legged animals happened during the Late Devonian period, millions of years ago, as fish began to foray in habitats such as shallow water and land.
  • The patterning for the vertebrate hand was first developed deep in evolution, just before fishes left the water.
[Source: The Hindu]

Bilateral & International Relations

Seizure of Afghan meth on high seas triggers concern

Sri Lankan Navy intercepted two trawlers in international waters, with the seizure of 400 kg of heroin and 100 kg of crystal methamphetamine.


  • Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants.


  • Also known as meth, crystal, glass, ice, speed and shards, methamphetamine is a psychostimulant party drug.
  • It is much cheaper and highly addictive compared to cocaine. Its effect may last for over 12 hours. In contrast, heroin is a depressant.

About the UNODC

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a United Nations office that was established in 1997 as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.
  • It was created by combining the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in the United Nations Office at Vienna.
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and was renamed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002.
  • It publishes World Drug Report annually that presents a comprehensive assessment of the international drug problem.
  • Approximately 90% of the Office’s funding comes from voluntary contributions, mainly from governments.
  • Main issues that UNODC deals with: Alternative Development, anti-corruption, Criminal Justice, Prison Reform and Crime Prevention, Drug Prevention, -Treatment and Care, HIV and AIDS, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, Money Laundering, Organized Crime, Piracy, Terrorism Prevention.

About National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated and is implementing a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025.
  • The Plan aims at reduction of adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multi-pronged strategy, including awareness generation programmes, community based interactions for vulnerable adolescent and youth and provisioning of treatment facilities.

Key Fact

  • Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians. After Alcohol, Cannabis and Opioids are the next commonly used substances in India.
  • The Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. It is famous for opium-producing areas.
[Source: The Hindu, PIB]

Defence & Security Issues

France conduct joint patrols from Reunion Island

India and France, for the first time, have conducted joint patrols from the Reunion Island.

India-France relations

  • France has steadily emerged as a major strategic partner for India with several defence deals and increased military to military engagement.
  • Besides Rafale fighter jets, the Indian navy is currently inducting French Scorpene conventional submarines, being built in India under technology transfer.
  • France is the first country to deploy a Liaison Officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC-IOR) as part of efforts to improve Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

Key Facts

Currently, under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and broader maritime cooperation, the Indian Navy undertakes:

  • Joint exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surveillance with Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius and
  • Coordinated Patrols (CORPATs) with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.

Reunion Island

Enrich Your Learning
  • Reunion Island is French island.
  • It is strategically located in Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius.
  • It is most prosperous island in the Indian Ocean, having the highest GDP per capita in the region.
[Source: The Hindu]

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