PIB Daily

PIB Daily – 29th February 2020 – IASToppers

Biotechnology for Biofuels; Biofuels, Cyanobacteria, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB).National Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Conference; Krishi Vigyan Kendra; Programme for Capacity Building of ST Representatives; 1000 Spring Initiatives.
By IASToppers
March 02, 2020

Contents

Government Schemes & Policies

  • National Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Conference
  • Programme for Capacity Building of ST Representatives

Science & Technology

  • Biotechnology for Biofuels

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Government Schemes & Policies

National Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Conference

The 11th National Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Conference-2020 was inaugurated recently by the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare in Delhi.

Highlights of the event:

  • The Union Minister has urged the agricultural scientists in the field to reach out to the marginalised, small and deprived farmers.
  • The achievements of the government like Research and Development (R&D) work done in Agriculture sector, superior crop varieties, 171 mobile apps developed for farmers and more than three lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) opened were highlighted.
  • The eNAM portal has been created so that the farmer gets better price for his produce.
  • Already 585 Mandis have boarded the eNAM platform and another 415 Mandis will be added in due course.
  • More than Rs. 91,000 crores of eVyapar (e-trade) has been performed on the eNAM.

Concerns:

  • The share of Agriculture & allied sector to India’s GDP is itself low, but it is matter of concern that within this sector, the contribution of Agriculture alone is lower than that of Horticulture, Fisheries and even Animal Husbandry.

Significance:

  • The percolation of technology to marginalised farmers is crucial to fulfilling the target set by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
  • The Government aims to set up at least two Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in each block.
  • There are three factors that have contributed to surplus food grains:

primarily the farmers’ labour, secondly the role of agricultural scientists, labs and universities and thirdly the central and state governments’ farmer welfare policies, schemes and incentives.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK):

  • A Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) is an agricultural extension centre in India.
  • The centres serve as the ultimate link between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and farmers, and aim to apply agricultural research in a practical, localized setting.
  • KVK, is an integral part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), aims at assessment of location specific technology modules in agriculture and allied enterprises, through technology assessment, refinement and demonstrations.
  • The first KVK was established during 1974 (Pondichery) and has grown as a largest network in the country.

Functions:

  • KVKs provide several farm support activities like providing technology dissemination to farmers, training, awareness etc.
  • Farm Advisory Service
  • Training programme for different categories of people.
  • Training programme for the extension functionaries.
  • Front Line Demonstration
  • On Farm Testing (OFT).
[Ref: PIB]

Programme for Capacity Building of ST Representatives

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Shri has launched the “Programme for Capacity Building of Scheduled Tribe Representatives in Local Self Governments” at a programme in Bhubaneswar, Odisha recently.

He has also launched “1000 Spring Initiatives” and an online portal on GIS-based Spring Atlas with hydrological and chemical properties of the Springs on the occasion.

1000 Spring Initiatives:

  • 1000 Springs Initiative aims at improving access to safe and adequate water for the tribal communities living in difficult and inaccessible part of rural areas in the country.
  • It is an integrated solution around natural springs.
  • It includes provision of infrastructure for piped water supply for drinking; provision of water for irrigation; community-led total sanitation initiatives; and provision for water for backyard nutrition gardens, generating sustainable livelihood opportunities for the tribal people.
  • An online portal on GIS-based Spring Atlas has been developed to make these data easily accessible from an online platform.

Capacity Building initiative:

  • A Capacity Building initiative is being launched for elected representatives to PRIs from among STs by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • The initiative is aimed at empowering tribal Panchayati Raj Initiative (PRI) representatives by enhancing their decision making capabilities at local government level.
  • Among other issues concerning tribal development, it also focusses on constitutional and legal provisions that protect and promote the rights and welfare of the tribal population.
  • The programme will ensure greater participation of Scheduled Tribe PRIs representatives in planning, execution and monitoring of government policies and programmes.
  • Their better participation in the development process would ensure better prioritization of the tribal development agenda.

Training Tribal youth:

  • Under this initiative, more than 70 young tribal youths from the rural belt of three districts of Odisha namely, Kalahandi, Khandamal and Gajapati have been trained as barefoot hydro geologists by combining traditional and scientific knowledge for identification and mapping of springs, and undertaking rejuvenation and protection measures in their habitations.
  • The module for capacity building programme has been developed in conjunction with United Nations Development Programme for the purpose.
  • The methodology of capacity building will include audio-visual aids, role play and a workshop approach and local language.

Significance:

  • Springs are natural sources of groundwater discharge and have been used extensively in the mountainous regions across the world, including India.
  • However, in the central and eastern Indian belt with more than 75% tribal population, it remains largely unrecognized and under-utilized.
  • The initiative will help in harnessing the potential of perennial springs’ water to address natural scarcity of water in tribal areas.
[Ref: PIB]

Science & Technology

Biotechnology for Biofuels

The researchers at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) are developing a method to improve the growth rate and sugar content of a marine microorganism called Synechococcus sp.

Mechanism:

  • Most biotechnological processes, including biofuel production, are dependent on the availability of low-cost and sustainable supply of sugars and a nitrogen source.
  • The sugars typically come from plants.
  • Plants utilize light energy through the process of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into biological components such as sugars, proteins and lipids.
  • However, some bacteria, such as the cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae), too can perform photosynthesis and produce sugar by fixing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • The yield of sugars from cyanobacteria could potentially be much higher than that of land-based crops.
  • Further, unlike plant-based sugars, cyanobacterial biomass provides a nitrogen source in the form of proteins.
  • Cyanobacteria are found in both fresh and marine waters. Using marine cyanobacteria could be better as freshwater is increasingly getting scarce.
  • However, there is a need to significantly improve their growth rates and sugar content in order to improve the economic feasibility of marine cyanobacteria-based sugar production.]
  • A team of researchers have successfully engineered a marine cyanobacterium called Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 which showed a higher growth rate and sugar (glycogen) content. When grown on air, the growth was doubled and the glycogen content of the cells increased by about 50%.
  • Department of Biotechnology sponsored the research. The scientists have published a report on their work in journal `Biotechnology for Biofuels’.

Biofuels:

  • Biofuels are a renewable energy source, made from organic matter or wastes, that can play a valuable role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Biofuels are one of the largest sources of renewable energy in use today.
  • In the transport sector, they are blended with existing fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB):

  • ICGEB was established as a project of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1983.
  • It is an international, intergovernmental organisation conceived as a Centre of excellence for research, training and technology transfer to industry in the field of biotechnology to promote sustainable global development.

Cyanobacteria:

  • Cyanobacteria are a phylum consisting of free-living photosynthetic bacteria and the endosymbiotic plastids that are present in some eukaryotes.
  • They commonly obtain their energy through oxygenic photosynthesis.
  • By producing and releasing oxygen (as a by-product of photosynthesis), cyanobacteria are thought to have converted the early oxygen-poor, reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, causing the Great Oxygenation Event and the “rusting of the Earth” which dramatically changed the composition of the Earth’s life forms and led to the near-extinction of anaerobic organisms.
[Ref: PIB]

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