Polity & Governance
- 27th Conference of COCSSO inaugurated at Kolkata
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Jal Shakti Minister reviews Jal Jeevan Mission in Southern States
- Week-long intensive Beach Cleaning Drive in 50 identified beaches of India begins
Bilateral & International Relations
- Union Agriculture Minister attends the Eighth Session of Governing Body of Seed Treaty
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Polity & Governance
27th Conference of COCSSO inaugurated at Kolkata
The chairman of National Statistical Commission inaugurated the 27th Conference of Central and State Statistical Organizations (COCSSO) at Kolkata, West Bengal on 11th November.
WHAT IS COCSSO?
- It is an annual conference organized by Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
- It is a major national forum for coordination between the Central and State Statistical Agencies.
- Its objective is to put in coordinated efforts for making available reliable and timely statistics to planners and policy makers.
- The theme of 2019 COCSSO is “Sustainable Development Goals’’.
- The COCSSO was organized for the first time in 1971 to strengthen the coordination of statistical activities among the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, other Central Ministries and State Statistical Organisations.
- It is organized every year.
OBJECTIVES OF THE COCSSO
- To provide a platform for discussion on the statistical issues of common interest to the Central and the State Statistical Organisations
- To provide an overall perspective to the development of statistical system and to make recommendations/suggestions on issues having bearing on the development of the statistical system
- To solve the technical issues relating to statistics
- To set up Working Groups on specific issues/tasks relating to official statistics
- To provide guidelines in the collection of statistics and maintenance of statistical standards and quality, besides uniformity in statistical standards
- To consider the Action Taken Report of the follow up action on the recommendations of the previous meetings(s) of COCSSO
- To review the role of the Statistical Advisers in the Central and States/UT Governments
CONSTITUTION OF THE COCSSO
- The Chief Statistician of India is the chairman.
- The other members are mainly from Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Ministry of labour and agriculture.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Jal Shakti Minister reviews Jal Jeevan Mission in Southern States
On 73rd Independence Day, the Jal Jeevan Mission was announced with the aim of providing Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in rural areas by 2024.
ABOUT JAL JEEVAN MISSION
- Jal Jeevan Mission is a central government initiative under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
- It aims to ensure access of piped water for every household in India.
- The mission’s goal is to provide to all households in rural India safe and adequate water through individual household tap connections by 2024.
- It also aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household waste water for reuse in agriculture.
- The provisional cost estimate for this mission is Rs 3.60 lakh Crores.
- The Har Ghar Nal Se Jal programme, announced by Finance Minister recently, forms a crucial part of the Jal Jeevan Mission.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission is based on a community approach to water as it includes information, education and communication as key components.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission is set to be based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of greywater for agriculture and source sustainability.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
Challenges in providing clean drinking water
- Depleting groundwater level
- Overexploitation of water
- Deteriorating quality of water
CURRENT STATUS OF CLEAN DRINKING WATER ACCESSIBILITY IN INDIA
- India has 16 % of the world population but has only 4 % of world’s freshwater resources.
- In 1980, just 1% of India’s rural areas had access to safe, usable water but by 2013, that had increased to 30%.
- The Asian Development Bank has forecast that by 2030, India will have a water deficit of 50 %.
- A WaterAid report in 2016 ranked India among the worst countries in the world for the number of people without safe water.
- The Union Ministry of Water Resources has estimated India’s current water requirements to be around 1100 billion cubic metres per year, which is estimated to be around 1200 billion cubic metres for the year 2025.
Week-long intensive Beach Cleaning Drive in 50 identified beaches of India begins
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) are undertaking a mass cleanliness-cum-awareness drive in 50 identified beaches of India under the Swachh-Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan.
ABOUT THE SWACHH – NIRMAL TAT ABHIYAAN
- The Abhiyaan includes beach cleaning activities on daily basis on a minimum of one Kilometre stretch of the beach, deployment of Beach sand cleaning machines and collection of waste as per Waste Management Rules, 2016.
- It will involve school/college students of Eco-clubs, district administration, institutions, volunteers etc. On completion of the drive, best three beaches will be awarded.
- Environment Education Division and Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) under the Environment Ministry will be responsible for its implementation.
- The implementation of the drive will be monitored by the MoEF&CC officials.
HOW MANY STATES ARE TO BE COVERED UNDER THE ABHIYYAN?
- The identified beaches are in 10 coastal States/Union Territories (UTs) namely Gujarat, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.
WHO WILL IMPLEMENT AND CO-ORDINATE THE ABHIYAAN?
- The Environment Education Division of the Ministry and Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) under the aegis of this Ministry will be responsible for the overall coordination for the drive in 50 beaches.
Bilateral & International Relations
Union Agriculture Minister attends the Eighth Session of Governing Body of Seed Treaty
The Union Minster of Agriculture and Famer’s Welfare addressed the Opening Ceremony of eighth session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) at Rome, Italy.
HIGHLIGHTS OF HIS SPEECH
- Informed about the uniqueness of Indian legislation “Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act” to protect Farmers’ Rights and breeder’s rights.
- Under the provisions of the Act, 138 farmer/farming communities have been awarded with Plant Genome Saviour Awards.
- The PPV&FR Authority has registered about 3631 plant varieties out of which 1597 (44%) belong to the farmers.
THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY ON PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
- It is a treaty adopted in November 2001 by the 31st Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
- It is also known as Seed Treatyas it is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA).
Aim of the treaty
- Recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
- Establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
- Ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.
The reason behind its formation
- It was developed to recognize the importance of accessing genetic resources for plant breeding to ensure long term agricultural sustainability and food security.
- The human population has become very reliant on only a limited number of crops species, and in some instances a narrowing of genetic diversity is occurring within these crops species.
PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION AND FARMERS RIGHT (PVPFR) ACT, 2001
- The Government of India enacted “The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV &FR) Act, 2001” adopting sui generis
- The legislation recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in a way that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders.
- To implement the provisions of the Act, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation established the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority in 2005.
Rights under the Act:
- Breeders’ Rights: Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety. Breeder can appoint agent/ licensee and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.
- Researchers’ Rights: Researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting experiment or research. This includes the use of a variety as an initial source of variety for the purpose of developing another variety but repeated use needs prior permission of the registered breeder.
- A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety;
- Farmers variety can also be registered as an extant variety;
- A farmer can save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001;
- Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants;
- There is also a provision for compensation to the farmers for non-performance of variety under Section 39 (2) of the Act, 2001 and
- Farmer shall not be liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under the Act.
WHY PROTECTION OF PLANT VARIETIES IS IMPORTANT?
- The process of plant breeding is long and expensive and it is important to provide an effective system of plant variety protection to encourage the development of new varieties of plants for the benefit of society.
WHAT IS A VARIETY?
Variety means a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank, which can be:
- defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype of that plant grouping.
- distinguished from any other plant grouping by expression of at least one of the said characteristics
- considered as unit with regard to its suitability for being propagating, which remain unchanged after such propagation, and includes propagating material of such variety, extant variety, transgenic variety, farmers’ variety and essentially derived variety.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIALLY DERIVED VARIETIES (EDV) OF SEEDS?
EDV means a variety which has been essentially derived from existing variety by any of the following means:
- Genetic Engineering
- Tissue Culture Derived
- Back Cross Derivative
- Any other (Ploidy change etc.)
WHAT IS A FARMERS’ VARIETY?
A variety which:
- has been traditionally cultivated and evolved by the farmers in their fields; or
- is a wild relative or land race or a variety about which the farmers possess the common knowledge.
Farmer’s variety is exempted from application/registration fees and his application need not be accompanied with fees, affidavit for terminator technology.
- Over 84% of all human nutrition comes directly from plants, and although between 10, 000 to 12, 000 plant species are known to be edible, only 150 to 200 are used by humans.
- In fact, only 3 species (rice, maize, and wheat) contribute almost 60% of all the calories and proteins humans obtain from plants.