Polity & Governance
- PFMS portal processes ₹ 71, 633.45 cr transactions on a single day
Government Schemes & Policies
- First mega food park in Rajasthan
- Cabinet approves continuation of Nutrient Based Subsidy and City Compost Scheme till 2019-20
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- 45th year of the Chipko movement
Science & Technology
- ISRO successfully launches GSAT-6A communication satellite
- NASA sending first-ever mission to study Mars’ deep interior
Key Facts for Prelims
- Madhya Pradesh’s Kadaknath chicken gets Geographical Indication tag
- India receives first US LNG shipment
- Hindon Elevated Road
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Polity & Governance
PFMS portal processes ₹ 71, 633.45 cr transactions on a single day
The Public Financial Management System (PFMS) portal has processed record Rs 71,633 crore transactions on a single day.
- This was a historical record breaking volume of digital transactions achieved by PFMS.
What is Public Financial Management System?
PFMS is an electronic fund tracking mechanism compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information regarding all government schemes.
- The PFMS, also known as Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS), tracks fund disbursement and ensures that state treasuries are integrated with the Centre to ensure money is send as and when required.
- PFMS, administered by the department of expenditure, is an end-to-end solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting. It is a web based application.
- It is implemented by the Controller General of Accounts.
- It provides the government real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes.
- In addition, the platform will allow government expenditure to adopt a Just-in- Time (JIT) approach, with payments made only when they are needed.
- The government has set a target to integrate PFMS with all state treasuries in current fiscal and implement Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for welfare and scholarship schemes.
In future, Government aims to transform PFMS to Government-wide Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) as a comprehensive payment, receipt and accounting system.
Significance of the PFMS:
- The PFMS aims to help in complete tracking and monitoring flow of funds to implementing agencies and ensuring timely transfer of funds.
- It will help government to ascertain actual status of utilization of funds by multiple implementing agencies of central and the state governments.
- It will also cut need for paper work and in long way help in monitoring and tracking of any unnecessary parking of funds by implementing agencies, thus minimising cases of delay and pending payments to large extent.
- It will help to plug leakages in system and help to manage and maintain data that government can use to develop more scientific approach.
Government Schemes & Policies
First mega food park in Rajasthan
Rajasthan’s first mega food park-Greentech Mega Food Park Private Ltd was inaugurated at Roopangarh Village in Ajmer district.
- The park was set up under Central Government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana and ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Significance of this park:
- It will not only benefit around 25,000 farmers of Ajmer but also those of nearby districts of Jaipur, Tonk, Nagaur and Churu as well.
- It will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons.
About Mega Food Parks Scheme:
The Mega Food Parks Scheme aims to provide a mechanism to bring together farmers, processors and retailers and link agriculture production to the market so as to ensure maximization of value addition, minimization of wastages and improving farmers’ income.
- The primary objective of the Scheme is to provide modern infrastructure facilities for the food processing along the value chain from the farm to the market with a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model.
Implementation of the scheme:
- The Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. However, State Government, State Government entities and Cooperatives are not required to form a separate SPV for implementation of Mega Food Park project.
- Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.
- The Scheme includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure like roads, electricity, water, ETP facilities etc. at Central Processing Centre (CPC). These PPCs and CCs act as aggregation and storage points to feed raw material to the food processing units located in the CPC.
Cabinet approves continuation of Nutrient Based Subsidy and City Compost Scheme till 2019-20
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved for continuation of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme and City Compost Scheme beyond 12th Five Year plan till 2019-20.
- The continuation of the NBS scheme and City Compost Scheme will ensure that adequate quantity of P&K is made available to the farmers at statutory controlled price.
What is Nutrient Based Subsidy?
Government has been implementing Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Policy for decontrolled P&K fertilizers since April 2010.
- Under this policy, the subsidy on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers is announced by the Government on annual basis for each nutrient i.e., Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potash (K) and Sulphur (S) on per kg basis which is converted into subsidy per tonne depending upon the nutrient content in each grade of the fertilizers.
- These rates are determined taking into account the international and domestic prices of P&K fertilizers, exchange rate, inventory level in the country etc.
- The fertiliser manufacturers and marketers are free to fix the maximum retail price at reasonable rates under NBS.
About City Compost Scheme:
- City Compost Scheme aims to convert all organic waste generated in cities into compost or biogas and market the compost with the help of fertiliser companies to benefit farmers.
- The subsidy on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers and Market Development Assistant (MDA) on City Compost will be provided on subsidy rates approved by CCEA on annual basis.
- MDA is being governed by City Compost Scheme which was launched in 2016.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
45th year of the Chipko movement
On March 26, Google commemorated the 45th year of the Chipko movement.
About Chipko movement:
- Chipko, signifying ’embrace or hug’, was the strategy of hundreds of villagers –mostly women- in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, to save the forest cover on the Garhwal Himalyas.
- Reckless felling of trees on the hill slopes was having a devastating effect on the livelihood of the villagers. The floods in 1970, when the Alakananda River broke its banks, led to massive landslides that blocked the river and washed away hundreds of hamlets downstream.
- Widespread protests followed in the early 70s, when villagers led by Chandi Prasad Bhatt, a Gandhian, literally embraced the trees to save them from the woodcutters’ axe.
Original Chipko andolan:
- The original Chipko andolan dates back to the 18th century and was started by Rajasthan’s Bishnoi community. The incident has been etched in the annals of history for the sacrifice of a group of villagers, who led by a lady named Amrita Devi, laid down their lives while protecting trees from being felled on the orders of then King of Jodhpur. After this incident, the king, in a royal decree, banned cutting of trees in all Bishnoi villages.
Science & Technology
ISRO successfully launches GSAT-6A communication satellite
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched GSAT 6A communication satellite on board of GSLV-F08 rocket from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- This was overall 12th GSLV flight (and fifth successful) and sixth flight with indigenously built cryogenic upper stage engine.
Key feature of GSAT- 6A satellite:
- The GSAT-6A is a high power S-band communication satellite with a mission life of about 10 years.
- A key feature of the satellite is to provide mobile communication to India through multi beam coverage facility.
- The satellite will also provide a platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of 6 m S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, handheld ground terminals and network management techniques that could be useful in satellite based mobile communication applications.
- The satellite is expected to be heavily used by security forces which are stationed in the remotest areas of the country.
- The GSLV is a three stage/engine rocket.
- The core of first stage is fired with solid fuel while the four strap-on motors by liquid fuel.
- The second stage is the liquid fuel-propelled and the third is the cryogenic engine.
- GSLV-F08, weighing 415.6 tonnes with a height of 49.1 meters comes with notable improvements like induction of High Thrust Vikas Engine, electromechanical actuation system in place of electro-hydraulic actuation system.
Special feature of an ‘Unfurlable Antenna’:
- ISRO’s ‘unfurlable antenna’ is a six-meter-wide antenna which looks somewhat like an umbrella. This will be ‘unfurled’ once the GSAT-6A satellite has been put in orbit.
- This antenna, specially designed for the mission, is three times as broad as the antennas that are usually used by ISRO.
- This antenna will allow mobile communication from anywhere via hand-held ground terminals. Apart from communications, the GSAT-6A satellite is believed to be designated for military use as well.
What is S-Band?
- S-band is an electromagnetic spectrum covering frequencies from 2 to 4 gigahertz (GHz).
- It crosses the conventional boundary between the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Super High Frequency (SHF) bands at 3.0 GHz.
How is S-Band useful?
- S-band is used by weather radars, surface ship radar, and some communications satellites.
- S-band is very useful because the 2.5 Ghz band is used globally for 4G services, and is worth billions of dollars.
- The S-band spectrum is extremely valuable for mobile broadband services.
NASA sending first-ever mission to study Mars’ deep interior
NASA will send first-ever mission named as InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars.
- InSight will be stationary lander that will be launched in May 2018.
- It will be first NASA mission since the Apollo moon landings to place seismometer, a device that measures quakes on the soil of another planet.
About InSight Mission:
- InSight is NASA’s Discovery Program mission that aims to place stationary lander equipped with seismometer and heat transfer probe on surface of Mars to study red planet’s early geological evolution.
- It is terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science.
- It will help in understanding processes that shaped rocky planets of inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.
- The robotic lander will perform a radio science experiment to study internal structure of Mars by deploying seismometer and a burrowing heat probe.
- It will measure Mar’s vital signs such as pulse (seismology), temperature (heat flow probe) and reflexes (precision tracking).
- It will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth.
Significance of this mission:
- Looking deep into Mars will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth.
Key Facts for Prelims
Madhya Pradesh’s Kadaknath chicken gets Geographical Indication tag
Madhya Pradesh has won the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kadaknath, a black-feathered chicken known for its flavourful meat.
- The GI tag will ensure that no one else can use the name Kadaknath while selling any other black chicken.
- It will also translate into higher prices for producers, officials in the animal husbandry department said.
About Kadaknath chicken:
- It is native tribal districts of Jhabua, Alirajpur and parts of Dhar in Madhya Pradesh.
- Kadaknath chicken breed is unique for its black colour due to its black-feathers. Its black colour stems from the deposition of melanin pigment.
- This breed of chicken is popular for its adaptability and flavourful good-tasting black meat, which is believed to have medicinal properties.
- Kadaknath chicken contains 25-27% of protein in comparison with other breeds of chickens that contain 18% protein. It is also known for its high iron content. It has fat and cholesterol content lower compared with other chicken breeds.
- Recently, Kadaknath chicken had virtually became bone of contention between Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh with both the States staking claim over its nativity for GI tag.
- Both States had filed applications with the Geographical Indication Registry office in Chennai for the ‘GI tag’ for this black-winged chicken variety.
India receives first US LNG shipment
- India received its first Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) cargo from United States (US) under long-term supply deal.
- India primarily imports LNG from Qatar and Australia under long-term contracts. In recent times, it has been trying to diversify its natural gas sources.
Hindon Elevated Road
- India’s longest elevated road ‘Hindon Elevated Road’ was inaugurated in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
- The road will make it easier to commute between Delhi and Ghaziabad.