- The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, from the Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution.
Measures Taken by Government to Protect Ancient and Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Medicinal Systems
- Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a pioneering Indian initiative to prevent exploitation and to protect Indian traditional knowledge from wrongful patents mainly at International Patent Offices.
- India’s rich and time-tested traditional medicinal knowledge which exists in languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Tamil etc. is neither accessible nor comprehensible for patent examiners at the international patent offices.
- TKDL contains Indian traditional medicine knowledge available in public domain and pertains to classical/ traditional books related to Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha in a digitized format and is available in five international languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese).
- Till date 3,35,260 formulations have been transcribed, 220 wrongful patent filings have been prevented and 12 patent offices have been provided access to TKDL database namely European Patent Office, US Patent Office, Japanese Patent Office, German Patent Office, Canadian Patent Office, Chile Patent Office, Australian Patent Office, CGPDTM (India), UK Patent Office, and Malaysian Patent Office, Rospatent (Russia)and Peru Patent Office.
- Under the Scheme funds are provided only to CSIR, the implementation agency of the TKDL Project. No funds have been allocated/ released to any State under the Scheme.
- Besides setting up of TKDL, Yoga has since been inscribed in UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- Indian Patent Office has also brought out Guidelines for processing Patent Applications relating to Traditional Knowledge and Biological Material to help Patent examiner to analyze what constitutes novelty and inventive step in Traditional Knowledge (TK) related invention.
National Bamboo Mission renamed as National Agro-Forestry & Bamboo Mission (NABM)
- National Bamboo Mission renamed as National Agro-Forestry & Bamboo Mission (NABM) is being implemented as per the set objectives and targets of the Mission.
- As per available reports 3,61,791 ha. area have been covered in forest & non-forest land, 91,715 ha. area taken up for improvement of existing stock for higher productivity (forest & non-forest areas) under the Mission against targets of 3,62,848 ha., 69,410 ha. respectively.
Significance of Bamboo
- Bamboo plays an important role in terms of food stuff nutrients and livelihood related ecological security.
- Bamboo sector can extend an important contribution in employment creation, to provide unabated livelihood means to the rural weaker sections and for abolition of poverty as permanent and renewable natural resource in the perspective of its constant development.
- Our 13% forest area is comprised of bamboo. More than 137 species of bamboo is grown in the country which are used for 1500 diversified utilities.
- With a view to harness the potential of bamboo crop, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC), Ministry of Agriculture is implementing a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme called Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) in which National Bamboo Mission (NBM) is being implemented as a sub scheme.
- The Mission envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
- Under the Mission, steps have been taken to increase the availability of quality planting material by supporting the setting up of new nurseries and strengthening of existing ones.
- To address forward integration, the Mission is taking steps to strengthen marketing of bamboo products, especially those of handicraft items.
- To promote the growth of the bamboo sector through as an area based regionally differentiated strategy;
- To increase the coverage of area under bamboo in potential areas, with improved varieties to enhance yields;
- To promote marketing of bamboo and bamboo based handicrafts;
- To establish convergence and synergy among stake-holders for the development of bamboo;
- To promote, develop and disseminate technologies through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge.
- To generate employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths.
Farmers Welfare Schemes
- Government of India is according high priority for welfare of the farmers and is implementing several farmers’ welfare schemes to revitalize agriculture sector and to improve their economic conditions.
- The Government has rolled out a number of new initiatives like Soil Health Card Scheme, Neem Coated Urea, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Interest Subvention Scheme. These schemes are for the benefit of all farmers.
The details of the schemes are as below:
(i) Soil Health Card Scheme
- Launched in 2015, the scheme has been introduced to assist State Governments to issue Soil Health Cards to all farmers in the country.
- The Soil Health Cards provide information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil alongwith recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
(ii) Neem Coated Urea (NCU)
- Scheme being promoted to regulate use of urea, enhance availability of nitrogen to the crop and reduce cost of fertilizer application.
- NCU slows down the release of fertilizer and makes it available to the crop in an effective manner.
- The entire quantity of domestically manufactured and imported urea is now neem coated. The reports from field are positive.
- The expected saving is 10% of urea consumption, thereby resulting in reduced cost of cultivation and improved soil health management.
(iii) Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) is being implemented with a view to promote organic farming in the country.
- This will improve soil health and organic matter content and increase net income of the farmer so as to realise premium prices.
- Under this scheme, an area of 5 lakh acre is targeted to be covered though 10,000 clusters of 50 acre each, from the year 2015-16 to 2017-18.
(iv) Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)
- Launched on 1st July, 2015 with the motto of ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’, the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) is being implemented to expand cultivated area with assured irrigation, reduce wastage of water and improve water use efficiency.
- PMKSY not only focuses on creating sources for assured irrigation, but also creating protective irrigation by harnessing rain water at micro level through ‘Jal Sanchay’ and ‘Jal Sinchan’.
- Micro irrigation is also incentivized through subsidy to ensure ‘Per drop-More crop’.
- The target under micro-irrigation for the year 2016-17 was 8 lakh ha. against which 8.39 lakh ha have been covered.
(v) National Agriculture Market (e-NAM)
- The National Agriculture Market scheme (e-NAM) envisages initiation of e-marketing platform at national level and to support creation of infrastructure to enable e-marketing in 585 regulated markets across the country by March 2018.
- This innovative market process is revolutionizing agri markets by ensuring better price discovery, bringing in transparency and competition to enable farmers to get improved remuneration for their produce moving towards ‘One Nation One Market’.
- A target of integrating 400 markets to e-NAM had been set for March, 2017 against which 455 markets in 13 States have been on boarded as on 30.6.2017. As on 2.7.2017, 47.95 lakh farmers and 91,500 traders have registered on e-NAM portal.
(vi) Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)/ Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS)
- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) & Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) were launched from Kharif 2016 to provide comprehensive crop insurance coverage from pre-sowing to post harvest losses against non-preventable natural risks.
- These schemes are only risk mitigation tools available to farmers at extremely low premium rates payable by farmers at 2% for Kharif crops, 1.5% for Rabi Crop and 5% for annual commercial/horticultural crops.
- The balance of actuarial premium is shared by the Central and State Governments on 50 : 50 basis.
- The schemes are voluntary for States and available in areas and crops that are notified by the State Governments.
- Further, the schemes are compulsory for loanee farmers and voluntary for non-loanee farmers.
Performance of the scheme
- During Kharif 2016 season, a total of 23 States implemented both PMFBY (21) and RWBCS (12) and during Rabi 2016-17, 24 States and 3 Union Territories implemented PMFBY (25) and RWBCIS (9).
- Overall coverage of both the schemes is 401.52 lakh farmers and 385 lakh ha. area insured for a sum of Rs. 133106 crore in Kharif 2016 and 172.67 lakh farmers and 195 lakh ha. area insured for a sum of Rs. 71696 crore during Rabi 2016-17 season.
(vii) Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS)
- The Government provides interest subvention of 3% on short-term crop loans up to Rs.3.00 lakh.
- Presently, loan is available to farmers at an interest rate of 7% per annum, which gets reduced to 4% on prompt repayment.
- Further, under Interest Subvention Scheme 2016-17, in order to provide relief to the farmers on occurrence of natural calamities, the interest subvention of 2% shall continue to be available to banks for the first year on the restructured amount.
- In order to discourage distress sale by farmers and to encourage them to store their produce in warehouses against negotiable warehouse receipts, the benefit of interest subvention will be available to small and marginal farmers having Kisan Credit Card for a further period of upto six months post harvest on the same rate as available to crop loan.
- Agriculture is a State subject and the State Governments are primarily responsible for the growth and development of agriculture sector in their respective States.
- The Government supplements the efforts of States through appropriate policy measures and budgetary support.
- Presently the approach of the Government of India has shifted from production centric to income centric platform in the agriculture sector and the above schemes are being implemented for making farming viable.
Cooperation with WHO on Malaria Eradication
- In consonance with Global Technical Strategy (GTS) of World Health Organization (WHO), the National Frame Work for Malaria Elimination (NFME), 2016-2030 in India was launched by Union Ministerof Health& Family Welfare in February 2016 to eliminate malaria in a phased manner by 2027 and to sustain thereafter till 2030 and beyond.
- World Health Organization has emphasized on transforming surveillance into a core intervention in the Global Technical Strategy for malaria 2016-2030.
The Govt. of India has accordingly advised the States for the following:
- Malaria to be made a notifiable disease and all cases from private and other formal and non-Govt. sectors to be reported.
- All states/UTs and their respective districts have to reduce Annual Parasite Incidence (API) to less than 1 case per 1000 population at risk and sustain zero deaths due to malaria while maintaining fully functional malaria surveillance to track, investigate and respond to each case throughout the country.
- Strengthening of routine surveillance for reducing malaria transmission in high transmission areas, and establishing case-based surveillance as a core intervention for elimination areas,etc.
- Presently, no vaccine for prevention of Malaria for Public health use or commercially is available. RTS,S/AS01 is the most advanced vaccine against the most deadly form of human malaria, P. falciparum. It is the first malaria vaccine to complete pivotal Phase 3 testing and obtain a positive scientific opinion from a stringent medicines regulatory authority.
- It is being considered as a complementary malaria control tool in Africa that could potentially be added to and not replace the core package of proven malaria preventive, diagnostic and treatment interventions.