Important Traditional Crafts, Music and Dance schools in India

18th June 2021

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Foreign Travellers in Ancient and Medieval India

17th June 2021

Travellers Visited India

Contemporary Rulers



Period: (320-273 BC)

Who: Greek Ambassador

Came India in the reign of Bindusara.


Period: (302-298 B.C.)

Who: Greek ethnographer & ambassador.

Ambassador of Seleucus Nicator, who visited in the court of Chandragupta Maurya.

Wrote an interesting book Indica.


Period: 130 A.D.

Who: From Greece and Geographer.

Wrote “Geography of India” which gives the description of Ancient India.


Period: (405-411 A.D.)

Who: Chinese Buddhist Monk

Came to India in the reign of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya.

–          Visited the birth place of Buddha, Lumbini.

–          His Travelogue “Records of Buddhist Kingdoms”.

–          Wrote Fo-Kyo-Ki.


Period: (630-645 A.D.)

Who: Chinese Buddhist Monk

Visited India during the reign of Harshavardhana.

–          Came through Tashkent and Swat Valley.

–          Book is “Si-Yu-Ki or the records of western world”.


Period: ( 671- 695 A.D.)

Who: Chinese traveller

Visited India in connection with Buddhism.

–          His works are Biographies of Eminent Monks.

–          Gives useful information about the social, religious and cultural life of the people of this country.


Period: (957 A.D.)

Who: Arab Traveller

Gives an extensive account of India in his work “Muruj-ul-Zahab”.

Al- Beruni or Abu Rehan Mahamud

Period: (1024-1030 A.D.)

Who: Muslim Scholar and Polymath

Came along with Mahmud Ghazni during one of his Indian raids.

–          First Muslim Scholar to study India also known as founder of Indology.

–          Wrote “ Tahqiq-i-Hind/Kitab-ul-Hind.

Marco Polo

Period: (1292-1294 AD)

Who: Venetian Traveller

Visited South India in 1294 A.D during the reign of Pandyan ruler of Madurai, Madverman, Kulshekhara (1272-1311)

His work “The Book of Sir Marco Polo” which gives an invaluable account of the economic history of India.

Ibn Batuta

Period: (1333-1347 A.D.)

Who: Morrish traveller

Visited India during the reign of Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq.

His book “ Rehla” (the travelogue)

Shihabuddin al-Umari

Period: (1348 A.D.)

Who: Came from Damascus

He gives a vivid account of India in his book “ Masalik albsar fi-mamalik al-amsar

Nicolo Conti

Period: (1420-1421 A.D.)

Who: Venetian traveller

Came during the rule of Devraya I of Sangam Dynasty of Vijayanagar empire.

Given a graphic account of Vijayanagaras capital.

Abdur Razzaq

Period: (1443-1444 A.D.)

Who: Persian traveller, Ambassador of Shahrukh of Timurid dynasty.

–          Came during the rule of Devraya II of Sangam dynasty of Vijaynagar Empire.

–          Came in India at Zamorin’s Calicut.

Given a brief account of this countryside, in his Matla us Saddin wa Majuma ul Baharain.

Athanasius Nikitin

Period: (1470- 1474 A.D.)

Who: Russian merchant

Visited South India in 1470.

-He describes the condition of the Bahmani kingdom under Muhammad III (1463-82).

– His narrative “ The journey beyond 3 seas”

Duarte Barbosa

Period: (1500-1516 A.D.)

Who: Portuguese traveller

He has given a brief description of the government and the people of Vijayanagar Empire.

Domingo Paes

Period: (1520-1522 A.D.)

Who: Portuguese traveller

Visited the court of Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar Empire.

Fernao Nuniz

Period: (1535-1537 A.D.)

Who: Portuguese merchant

Came during the rule of Achyutdeva Raya of Tuluv dynasty of vijayanagar Empire.

Wrote history of the empire from its earliest times of the closing years of Achyutdeva Raya’s reign.

John Hughen Von Linschotten

Period: (1583 A.D.)

Who: Dutch traveller

Given a valuable account of the social and economic life of South India.

William Hawkins

Period: (1608-1611 A.D.)

Who: Ambassador of James I, king of England.

Came in India at the reign of Jahangir,the great Mughal Emperor. William finch came with him.

Sir Thomas Roe

Period: (1615-1619 A.D.)

Who: Ambassador of James I, king of England.

Came in India at the reign of Jahangir,the great Mughal Emperor.

Edward Terry

Period: (1616 A.D.)

Who: Ambassador of Thomas Roe.

Describe about Indian social (Gujarat) behaviour.

Franciso Palsaert

Period: (1620-1627 A.D.)

Who: Dutch traveller stayed at Agra.

Gave a vivid account of the flourishing trade at Surat, Ahmadabad, Broach, Cambay, Lahore, Multan etc.

Peter Mundy

Period: (1630-34 A.D.)

Who: Italian traveller

Came in the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan.

Gives valuable information about the living standard of the common people in the Mughal Empire.

John Albert de Mandesto

Period: (1638 A.D.)

Who: German traveller

Reached Surat in 1638 A.D.

Jeen Baptiste Tavernier

Period: (1638-1663 A.D.)

Who: French traveller

Visited India 6 times in the reign of Shahjahan and Aurangzeb.

Nicolao Manucci

Period: (1653-1708 A.D.)

Who: Italian traveller

He got service at the court of Dara Shikoh.

Francois Bernier

Period: (1656- 1717 A.D.)

Who: French physician and Philosopher.

Danishamand Khan, a noble of Aurangzeb was his patron.

Jean de Thevenot

Period: (1666 A.D.)

Who: French traveller

Given an account of cities like Ahmadabad, Cambay, Aurangabad and Golconda.

John Fryer

Period: (1672-1681 A.D.)

Who: English traveller


Given a vivid account of Surat and Bombay.

Gemelli Careri

Period: (1695 A.D.)

Who: Italian traveller who landed at Daman.

His remarks on the Mughal emperor’s military organisation and administration are important.



Global Space Missions and Telescopes in News

16th June 2021

NASA’s ICESat-2 maps Antarctic ice sheet melting


  • NASA’s ICESat-2 launched less than three months ago has mapped melting ice sheets in Antarctica and the resulting sea level rise across the globe, which could help improve climate forecasts.
  • The ICESat-2 stands for Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 .
  • It is measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, tracing the terrain of previously unmapped Antarctic valleys, surveying remote ice sheets, and peering through forest canopies and shallow coastal waters.
  • With each pass of the ICESat-2 satellite, the mission is adding to datasets tracking Earth’s rapidly changing ice.
  • As ICESat-2 orbits over the Antarctic Ice Sheet, the photon returns reflect from the surface and show high ice plateaus, crevasses in the ice 20 metres deep, and the sharp edges of ice shelves dropping into the ocean.


Unified Geologic Map of the Moon

  • The first-ever digital, unified, global, geological map of the moon was released virtually by the  United States Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute.
  • The UGM will serve as a blueprint for future human missions and a source of research and analysis for the educators and the general public interested in lunar geology.
  • The map is a ‘seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map’.
  • The mapped surface features of the moon included crater rim crests, buried crater rim crests, fissures, grabens, scarps, mare wrinkle ridges, faults, troughs, rilles, and lineaments.

Its’ significance

  • The moon’s South Pole is especially interesting because the area is much larger than the North Pole and there could be a possibility of the presence of water in these permanently shadowed areas.
  • Further, the South Pole region also contains the fossil record of the early Solar System.
  • These present and future moon missions’ success can be further helped by the digital map of the moon.
  • The Chandrayaan 2, an active mission also targets the Lunar South Pole for exploration

GRACE-FO Mission

  • The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).
  • GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which orbited Earth from 2002-2017.
  • It carries on the extremely successful work of its predecessor while testing a new technology designed to dramatically improve the already remarkable precision of its measurement system.

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)

  • FRBs are super intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves produced by unidentified sources in the space.
  • Their discovery in 2007 by American astronomer Duncan Lorimer led to the term ‘Lorimer Bursts’.
  • Since then, just a few dozen similar events have been observed in data collected by radio telescopes around the world, building evidence that points to a variety of potential causes.
  • Only a handful of emissions have been traced to specific areas of the sky, indicating sources in other galaxies.
  • The flash of radio waves is incredibly bright if distant, comparable to the power released by hundreds of millions of suns in just a few milliseconds.
  • This intensity suggests powerful objects like black holes and neutron stars could be involved.
  • The events were once considered to be largely transient – they seemed to happen once, without obvious signs of a repeat emission. However, a number of such bursts have been identified since then.

Why are they significant?

  • First noticed in 2018 by the Canadian observatory the waves have created ripples across the globe for one reason — they arrive in a pattern.
  • This gave birth to theories that they could be from an alien civilization.
  • Initially, it was believed that the collision of black holes or neutron stars triggers them.
  • But the discovery of repeating FRBs debunked the theory of colliding objects.

NASA’s new Mars rover: Perseverance

  • The Perseverance rover weighs less than 2,300 pounds and is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
  • The rover’s mission will be to search for signs of past microbial life. It will also collect samples of Martian rocks and dust, according to the release.
  • The rover will also be tasked with studying the red planet’s geology and climate.
  • All of NASA’s previous Mars rovers — including the Sojourner (1997), Spirit and Opportunity (2004) and Curiosity (exploring Mars since 2012) — were named in this way.

2020 CD3

  • The mini-moon was discovered by some astronomers at NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona.
  • It is actually an asteroid, about the size of a car; its diameter is about 1.9-3.5 m.
  • And unlike our permanent Moon, the mini-moon is temporary; it will eventually break free of Earth’s orbit and go off on its own way.
  • Orbit integrations indicate that this object is temporarily bound to the Earth.
  • 2020 CD3 was captured into Earth’s orbit over three years ago.
  • For CSS, it is only the second such discovery. It previously discovered 2006 RH120, which orbited Earth for some time that year, before it escaped in 2007.

NASA’s InSight Mission

  • The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport mission is a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars.
  • It is the first mission dedicated to looking deep beneath the Martian surface.
  • Among its science tools are a seismometer for detecting quakes, sensors for gauging wind and air pressure, a magnetometer, and a heat flow probe designed to take the planet’s temperature.
  • The InSight mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.
  • It is being supported by a number of European partners, which include France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).

Habitable-zone Planet Finder

  • NASA’s Kepler mission observed a dip in the host star’s light, suggesting that the planet was crossing in front of the star during its orbit.
  • To confirm, researchers turned to an instrument called Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF). It has confirmed that there is indeed an exoplanet.
  • HPF is an astronomical spectrograph, built by Penn State University scientists, and recently installed on the 10m Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas.
  • The instrument is designed to detect and characterize planets in the habitable zone — the region around the star where a planet could sustain liquid water on its surface — around nearby low-mass stars.
  • The newly confirmed planet, called G 9-40b, is the first one validated by HPF. It is about twice the size of Earth and orbits its star once every six Earth-days.



  • Using the European Space Organization’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have noticed the unprecedented dimming of Betelgeuse.
  • It is a red supergiant star (over 20 times bigger than the Sun) in the constellation Orion.
  • Along with the dimming, the star’s shape has been changing as well, as per recent photographs of the star taken using the VISIR instrument on the VLT.
  • Instead of appearing round, the star now appears to be “squashed into an ova”.

NASA announced it has selected four Discovery Program investigations to develop concept studies for possible new missions.

What are the new missions?

  • Two proposals are for trips to Venus, and one each is for Jupiter’s moon Io and Neptune’s moon Triton.
  • After the concept studies are completed in nine months, some missions ultimately may not be chosen to move forward.


  • DAVINCI+ stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus.
  • This will analyse Venus’s atmosphere to understand how it was formed and evolved, and if it ever had an ocean.
  • This will advance understanding of the formation of terrestrial planets.


  • Io Volcano Observer is a proposal to explore Jupiter’s moon Io, which is extremely volcanically active.
  • This will try to find out how tidal forces shape planetary bodies.
  • The findings could further knowledge about the formation and evolution of rocky, terrestrial bodies and icy ocean worlds in the Solar System.


This aims to explore Neptune’s icy moon, Triton, so that scientists can understand the development of habitable worlds in the Solar System.


Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy will aim to map Venus’s surface to find out why Venus developed so differently from Earth.

Pale Blue Dot

  • The ‘Pale Blue Dot’ is one of the most iconic images in the history of astronomy.
  • It shows Earth as a single bright blue pixel in empty space within a strand of sun rays, some of which are scattering from and enlightening the planet.
  • The original image was taken by the Voyager 1 mission spacecraft on February 14, 1990 when it was just beyond Saturn.
  • At the behest of astronomer Carl Sagan, the cameras were turned towards Earth one final time to capture the image.
  • After this, the cameras and other instruments on the craft were turned off to ensure its longevity.

About Voyager 1

  • Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977.
  • Having operated for more than 42 years, the spacecraft still communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and to transmit data to Earth.
  • At a distance of 148.67 AU (22.2 billion km) from Earth as of January 19, 2020 it is the most distant man-made object from Earth.
  • The probe’s objectives included flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

The Family Portrait of the Solar System

  • The Pale blue dot image was a part of a series of 60 images designed to produce what the mission called the ‘Family Portrait of the Solar System’.
  • This sequence of camera-pointing commands returned images of six of the solar system’s planets, as well as the Sun.

Solar Orbiter (SolO) Probe

  • The Solar Orbiter, a collaborative mission between the European Space Agency and NASA to study the Sun, took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
  • Carrying four in situ instruments and six remote-sensing imagers, the Solar Orbiter (called SolO) will face the sun at approximately 42 million kilometres from its surface.
  • Before SolO, all solar imaging instruments have been within the ecliptic plane, in which all planets orbit and which is aligned with the sun’s equator.
  • The new spacecraft will use the gravity of Venus and Earth to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane, passing inside the orbit of Mercury, and will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the sun’s poles for the first time.

Spitzer Space Telescope

  • The Spitzer Space Telescope is a space-borne observatory, one of the elements of NASA’s Great Observatories that include the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray.
  • Using different infrared wavelengths, Spitzer was able to see and reveal features of the universe including objects that were too cold to emit visible light.
  • Apart from enabling researchers to see distant cold objects, Spitzer could also see through large amounts of gas using infrared wavelengths to find objects that may otherwise have been invisible to human beings.
  • These included exoplanets, brown dwarfs and cold matter found in the space between stars.
  • Spitzer was originally built to last for a minimum of 2.5 years, but it lasted in the “cold” phase for over 5.5 years. On May 15, 2009 the coolant was finally depleted and the “warm mission” began.

Thirty Metre Telescope

  • The TMT is a proposed astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (ELT) that has become the source of controversy over its planned location on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii in the US state of Hawaii.
  • It is being built by an international collaboration of government organisations and educational institutions, at a cost of $1.4 billion.
  • “Thirty Metre” refers to the 30-metre diameter of the mirror, with 492 segments of glass pieced together, which makes it three times as wide as the world’s largest existing visible-light telescope.
  • The larger the mirror, the more light a telescope can collect, which means, in turn, that it can “see” farther, fainter objects.
  • It would be more than 200 times more sensitive than current telescopes and would be able to resolve objects 12 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Artemis Mission

  • In 2011, NASA began the ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun) mission using a pair of repurposed spacecraft and in 2012 the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft studied the Moon’s gravity.
  • For the program, NASA’s new rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft a quarter of a million miles away from Earth to the lunar orbit.
  • The astronauts going for the Artemis program will wear newly designed spacesuits, called Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU.
  • These spacesuits feature advanced mobility and communications and interchangeable parts that can be configured for spacewalks in microgravity or on a planetary surface.

Bhibha Constellation and Santamasa Planet


  • The star has been named in honour of a pioneering Indian woman scientist Bibha Choudhury, who discovered subatomic particle, pi-meson.
  • ‘Bhibha’ also means “a bright beam of light” in Bengali.
  • It is located in the constellation of Sextans. It is as hot as the sun, with a surface temperature of about 6,000 degrees Kelvin. It is 1.55 times bigger, 1.21 times massive, and 1.75 times brighter.
  • It is so far away that light from it takes 310.93 years to reach Earth and hence it is visible only with a telescope.


  • The planet has been named S’antamasa’ to reflect the cloudy nature of its atmosphere. ‘Santamasa’ is the Sanskrit term for ‘clouded’.
  • ‘Santamasa’, which is its only planet, is estimated to have a mass of 1.5 times that of Jupiter, going around the central star in a nearly circular orbit just in 2.1375 days.
  • Revolving so near the host star, the planet is expected to be very hot.


  • The International Astronomical Union and Minor Planets Center, the global body for naming Kuiper Belt objects have given this name.
  • It was discovered in 2014 with the Hubble Space Telescope, which is operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
  • Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by the snowman figured ice mass in December 2018, some 1.6 billion kilometres beyond Pluto.
  • The New Horizons team of NASA proposed the name to the International Astronomical Union and Minor Planets Center.
  • For the New Horizons team it took some months to finalise this name. In the language of the Powhatan tribe, Arrokoth means “sky”.
  • The team got the approval from the elders of the Powhatan tribe to assign it to their newfound “baby”.

About New Horizons mission

  • NASA launched the New Horizons mission in January 2006.
  • After crossing by Pluto in 2015, in 2019 it flew by Arrokoth. This remains the “farthest flyby ever conducted.”


  • The Maxwell is the latest in a line of experimental aircraft the NASA.
  • It has been developed over many decades for many purposes, including the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 that first broke the sound barrier and the X-15 rocket plane flown by Neil Armstrong before he joined the Apollo moon team.
  • The two largest of 14 electric motors that will ultimately propel the plane are powered by specially designed lithium ion batteries.
  • The Maxwell will be the agency’s first crewed X-plane to be developed in two decades.
  • The lift propellers will be activated for take-off and landings, but retract during the flight’s cruise phase.

Voyager 2

  • Voyager 2 was launched in 1977, 16 days before Voyager 1, and both have travelled well beyond their original destinations.
  • The spacecraft were built to last five years and conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn.
  • As the spacecraft flew across the solar system, remote-control reprogramming was used to endow the Voyagers with greater capabilities than they possessed when they left Earth.
  • It carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.
  • It is slightly more than 18 billion kilometres from Earth. Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012.
  • Their five-year lifespans have stretched to 41 years, making Voyager 2 NASA’s longest-running mission.

Ionospheric Connection Explorer

  • NASA has launched a satellite to explore the mysterious, dynamic region where air meets space.
  • The satellite — called ICON, short for Ionospheric Connection Explorer — rocketed into orbit following a two-year delay.
  • The refrigerator-size ICON satellite will study the airglow formed from gases in the ionosphere and also measure the charged environment right around the spacecraft which is at a level of 580 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.
  • The ionosphere is the charged part of the upper atmosphere extending several hundred miles (kilometres) up.
  • It’s in constant flux as space weather bombards it from above and Earth weather from below, sometimes disrupting radio communications.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

  • The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite missions began on June 18, 2009.
  • It is a robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon.
  • It studies the Moon’s surface, clicks pictures, and collects data that help in figuring out the presence and possibility of water ice and other resources on the Moon, as well as plan future missions to it.
  • The primary mission of the LRO, managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland, was to measure the entire lunar surface to create a high-resolution 3-D map of the Moon.
  • The map with ~50-centimeter resolution images would aid in the planning of future robotic and crewed missions.
  • In addition, LRO would map the Polar Regions and search for the presence of water ice


  • About 110 light years from Earth, an exoplanet eight times the mass of Earth orbits a star. Called K2-18b, it was discovered in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
  • The researchers used 2016-17 data from the Hubble Space Telescope and developed algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere.
  • The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapour, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere.
  • It resides in a habitable zone — the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet.
  • Scientists have found signatures of water vapour in the atmosphere of K2-18b. The discovery of water vapour is not the final word on the possibility of life.
  • That makes it the only planet orbiting a star outside the Solar System that is known to have both water and temperatures that could support life.

Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA)

  • It is an ambitious double-spacecraft mission to deflect an asteroid in space, to prove the technique as a viable method of planetary defence.
  • The mission, which includes NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), is known as the Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
  • The target is the smaller of two bodies in the “double Didymos asteroids” that are in orbit between Earth and Mars.
  • Didymos is a near-Earth asteroid system. Its main body measures about 780 m across; the smaller body is a “moonlet” about 160 m in diameter.
  • The project aims to deflect the orbit of the smaller body through an impact by one spacecraft.
  • Then a second spacecraft will survey the crash site and gather the maximum possible data on the effect of this collision.

Parker Solar Probe

  • It is part of NASA’s “Living with a Star” programme that explores different aspects of the Sun-Earth system.
  • The probe seeks to gather information about the Sun’s atmosphere and NASA says that it “will revolutionise our understanding of the Sun”.
  • It is also the closest a human-made object has ever gone to the Sun.
  • During the spacecraft’s first two solar encounters, the instruments were turned on when Parker was about 0.25 AU from the Sun and powered off again at the same distance on the outbound side of the orbit.
  • For this third solar encounter, the mission team turned on the instruments when the spacecraft was around 0.45 AU from the Sun on the inbound side of its orbit.
  • It will turn them off when the spacecraft is about 0.5 AU from the Sun on the outbound side.

TOI 270

  • It is the name of the dwarf star and the planetary system recently discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
  • TOI 270 is about 73 light years away from Earth, and is located in the constellation Pictor.
  • Its members include the dwarf star, which is 40 per cent smaller than the Sun in size and mass, and the three planets or exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) that have been named TOI 270 b, TOI 270 c, and TOI 270 d.
  • These three planets orbit the star every 3.4 days, 5.7 days, and 11.4 days respectively. In this system, TOI 270 b is the innermost planet.

About Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

  • TESS is NASA’s latest satellite to search for planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.
  • The mission will spend the next two years monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for periodic dips in their light.
  • TESS is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days, once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth.
  • These events, called transits, suggest that a planet may be passing in front of its star.
  • TESS is expected to find thousands of planets using this method, some of which could potentially support life.


  • Tiangong means “Heavenly Palace”. It was 10.4 metres long and 3.35 metres wide at its widest point, and weighed 8.6 metric tonnes.
  • It was launched on September 15, 2016 and, in late 2016, hosted two Chinese astronauts for 30 days in what was China’s longest manned space mission so far.
  • The recently decommissioned space lab followed the Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, which crashed into the southern Pacific Ocean on April 1, 2018 after Chinese scientists lost control of the spacecraft.
  • China had launched Tiangong-1 in 2011 as proof-of-concept of technologies for future stations. The lab was visited by two teams of Chinese astronauts for 11 days and 13 days respectively.

About Hayabusa2

  • Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which successfully made its second touchdown on asteroid Ryugu has become the first ever space probe to gather material from beneath the surface of an asteroid.
  • Launched in December 2014, the probe is a follow-up of Hayabusa, which explored the asteroid Itokawa in 2005.
  • Hayabusa was the first mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth.
  • The asteroid mission first reached Ryugu — a kilometre-wide asteroid, with a relatively dark surface and almost zero gravity — in June 2018 and made its first touchdown on the surface in February 2019.
  • A month later the spacecraft hit the surface of Ryugu with a pellet and created a 10-metre-wide crater.
  • It also exposed the materials under the asteroid’s surface that were so far protected from the harsh effects of cosmic rays and charged particles of solar wind blasting through space.

About PUNCH Mission

  • NASA has selected an US-based Indian researcher to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun.
  • PUNCH stands for “Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere,” is focused on understanding the transition of particles from the Sun’s outer corona to the solar wind that fills interplanetary space.
  • It will consist of a constellation of four microsatellites that through continuous 3D deep-field imaging, will observe the corona and heliosphere as elements of a single, connected system.
  • This is a landmark mission will image regions beyond the Sun’s outer corona.
  • The Sun and the solar wind are one interconnected system, but these have until recently been studied using entirely different technologies and scientific approaches.

Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) Telescope

  • The telescope will be launched into space on a Russian-built Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in June 2019.
  • The four-year mission will survey the entire sky eight times and track the evolution of the universe and dark energy, a mysterious repulsive force that is accelerating its expansion.
  • Besides, it also aims to detect up to three million supermassive black holes — many of which are unknown — and X-rays from as many as 700,000 stars in the Milky Way.
  • The telescope is the first to be sensitive to high-energy ‘hard’ X-rays and map the entire sky.
  • The SRG will also find how dark matter — the main engine of galaxy formation — is spread in the universe.
  • X-ray sky surveys have also been conducted by previous missions, but they were not able to map the entire sky, the report said.

MeerLICTH Optical Telescope

  • Scientists in South Africa have launched the world’s first optical telescope linked to a radio telescope, combining “eyes and ears” to try to unravel the secrets of the universe.
  • The latest move combines the new optical telescope MeerLITCH — Dutch for ‘more light’ — with the recently-completed 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope, located 200 kilometres away.
  • This is the eye, with the MeerKAT being the ears as a radio telescope.
  • The MeerLITCH uses a main mirror just 65 cm in diameter and a single 100 megapixel detector measuring 10 cm x 10 cm.
  • Astronomers have previously had to wait for a cosmic incident to be picked up by a radio telescope and then carry out optic observations afterwards.
  • The project has been six years in the making by a joint-team of South African, Dutch and British scientists.

Ultima Thule

  • NASA has found evidence for a unique mixture of methanol, water ice, and organic molecules on Ultima Thule’s surface — the farthest world ever explored by mankind.
  • Ultima Thule is a contact binary, with two distinctly differently shaped lobes.
  • At about 36 kilometres long, it consists of a large, strangely flat lobe — nicknamed “Ultima” — connected to a smaller, somewhat rounder lobe — dubbed “Thule” — at a juncture.
  • Officially named (486958) 2014 MU69, it earned the nickname Ultima Thule following a public contest in 2018.
  • It is located in the Kuiper Belt, a disc in the outer Solar System (beyond Neptune) that consists of small bodies including Pluto.
  • 2014 MU69 was discovered in June 2014 by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope but is so distant that many of its characteristics remain to be understood.

About the mission

  • New Horizons, a space probe that was launched in 2006, became the first mission to visit Pluto in 2015.
  • Travelling farther into the Kuiper Belt, the nuclear-powered space probe has come within 3,500 km of Ultima Thule.
  • Images taken revealed that the object may have a shape similar to a bowling pin, or a “snowman”, or a peanut spinning end over end, or could be two objects orbiting each other.
  • Flyby data showed that Ultima Thule is spinning like a propeller with the axis pointing approximately toward New Horizons.
  • NASA released a composite of two images taken by New Horizons’ high-resolution Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager.


  • In January, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-4 — named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology — became the first ever craft to touch down on the far side of the lunar surface.
  • The team landed its probe in the Von Karmen Crater in the Aitken Basin at the Moon’s south pole — home to one of the largest impact craters known in the solar system.
  • Scientists have said they could be a step closer to solving the riddle behind the Moon’s formation, unveiling the most detailed survey yet of the far side of Earth’s satellite.

Cassini Mission

  • Launched in 1997, the Cassini mission is a cooperation between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
  • It has sent back thousands of stunning images and made numerous discoveries about the ringed planet and its moons.
  • Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn.
  • Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit. Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan.
  • The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005.

China’s BeiDou navigation satellite, a rival to US GPS, starts global services

  • China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), touted as a rival to the widely-used American GPS, has started providing global services.

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS)

  • Named after the Chinese term for the ‘Big Dipper’, the BeiDou system started serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.
  • It will be the fourth global satellite navigation system after the US GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.
  • The positioning accuracy of the system has reached 10 metres globally and five metres in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Its velocity accuracy is 0.2 metres per second, while its timing accuracy stands at 20 nanoseconds, he said.
  • Pakistan has become the first country to use the BeiDou system ending its reliance on the Global Positioning System (GPS).

GRAPES-3 Experiment

  • For the first time in the world, researchers at the GRAPES-3 muon telescope facility in Ooty have measured the electrical potential, size and height of a thundercloud that passed overhead on December 1, 2014.
  • GRAPES-3 (Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) is designed to study cosmic rays with an array of air shower detectors and a large area muon detector.
  • It aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays in the following four astrophysical settings.
  • It is located at Ooty in India and started as a collaboration of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India and the Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.

Asteroid ‘99942 Apophis’

  • On April 13, 2019, a near-Earth asteroid will cruise by Earth, about 31,000 km above the surface.
  • The asteroid, called 99942 Apophis, is 340 m wide.
  • At one point, it will travel more than the width of the full Moon within a minute and it will get as bright as the stars in the Little Dipper, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • It is rare for an asteroid this size to pass by Earth so close.
  • Although scientists have spotted small asteroids, on the order of 5-10 metres, flying by Earth at a similar distance, asteroids the size of Apophis are far fewer in number and so do not pass this close to Earth as often.
  • Among potential lessons from Apophis, scientists are hoping they can use its flyby to learn about an asteroid’s interior.
  • Apophis is one of about 2,000 currently known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids, and scientists also hope their observations might help gain important scientific knowledge that could one day be used for planetary defence.



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Important Schemes regarding Agriculture & Allied Sectors

15th June 2021

1.1 Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana


● To achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level.
● To enhance the recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices.
● To explore the feasibility of reusing treated municipal wastewater for peri-urban agriculture.
● To attract greater private investments in irrigation.
● To promote extension activities relating to water harvesting, water management and crop alignment for farmers and grass root level field

Salient features

● Decentralized State level planning and projectized execution’ structure, in order to allow States to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a State Irrigation Plan (SIP). These plans need to be prepared in order to access
the PMKSY fund.
● It will be supervised and monitored by the Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) under PM with Union Ministers of all concerned Ministries. A National Executive Committee (NEC) is to be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog to oversee programme implementation.
● PMKSY has been formulated amalgamation ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP); Integrated
Watershed Management Programme (IWMP); and On-Farm Water Management (OFWM) component of National Mission on Sustainable
Agriculture (NMSA).
● Water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries.
● Investments will happen at farm level. So, farmers know what is happening and can provide valuable feedback.
● Recently, the Long Term Irrigation Fund has been instituted under PMKSY in NABARD for funding and fast-tracking the implementation
of incomplete major and medium irrigation projects.



● To make farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s efforts, risk mitigation and promoting
agribusiness entrepreneurship.
● To attend national priorities through several sub-schemes.
● To empower youth through skill development, innovation and agri entrepreneurship based business models.

Salient features 

● RKVY, initiated in 2007 as an umbrella scheme for holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors, has been recently revamped as
RKVY-RAFTAAR – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation for 2017-19 and 2019-20.
● It provided states with considerable flexibility and autonomy for planning and executing Programs.
● The decentralised planning for agriculture and allied sectors is initiated by the states through District Agriculture Plan and State Agriculture
Plan based on agro-climatic conditions, availability of appropriate technology and natural priorities.
● It will incentivize states to increase allocations for agriculture and allied sectors and help in creation of post-harvest infrastructure and
promotion of private investment in the farm sector across the country.
● Fund Allocation – 60:40 grants between Centre
and States in states and 90:10 for North Eastern States and Himalayan States through following streams – o Infrastructure & Assets and Production Growth o RKVY-RAFTAAR special sub-schemes of National Priorities o Innovation
and agri-entrepreneur development.

Sub-schemes include

● Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India
● Crop Diversification Program – It is being implemented in the Original Green Revolution States of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh to diversify area from water-guzzling crop
● Reclamation of Problem Soil ● Foot & Mouth Disease – Control Program
● Saffron Mission
● Accelerated Fodder Development Programme (AFDP)



 Increasing production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and commercial crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement
in a sustainable manner.
● Restore soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level.
● Enhancing farm level economy.

Salient features

● It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme which was launched in 2007.
● The approach of the scheme is to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices while focusing on districts which have high potential but relatively low level of productivity at present.
● Major Components – National Food Security Mission – Rice, National Food Security Mission – Wheat, National Food Security Mission – Pulses,
National Food Security Mission – Coarse Cereals and National Food Security Mission –Commercial Crops.

1.4 National Horticulture Mission

1. To provide holistic growth of the horticulture sector through an area based regionally differentiated strategies, to enhance horticulture production, improve nutritional security and income support to farm households
2. To establish convergence and synergy among multiple ongoing and planned programmes for horticulture development
3. To promote, develop and disseminate technologies, through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge
4. To create opportunities for employment generation for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youth.


A National Horticulture Mission was launched in 2005-06 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to promote holistic growth of the horticulture sector
through an area based regionally differentiated strategies. The scheme has been subsumed as a part of Mission for Integration Development of
Horticulture (MIDH) during 2014-15.

What is the National Horticulture Mission?

The National Horticulture Mission is a government mission to support horticultural production in the country. NHM is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in which the Government of India contributes 85%, and 15% is met by the State Governments.

Factual Information:

● India ranks second in the global production of fruits and vegetables next to China.
● Started in 2005-06.



● To issue soil health cards every 3 years, to all farmers of the country, so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
● To strengthen the functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) through capacity building, the involvement of agriculture students and
effective linkage with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) / State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).
● To diagnose soil fertility related constraints with standardized procedures for sampling uniformly across states.
● To build capacities of district and state level staff and of progressive farmers for promotion of nutrient management practices.

Salient features

● It is a centrally sponsored scheme launched by the Government of India in 2015.
● It is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments.
● Assistance is provided to the State Government to issue Soil Health Card and also develop a database to improve service delivery.
● Soil Health Card issued to farmers carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms.
● The experts will analyze the strength and weaknesses (micronutrients deficiency) of the soil collected from farms and suggest measures
to deal with it.
● It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N,P,K (Macronutrients); S (Secondary nutrient); Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micro – nutrients); and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters).



● To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
● To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure
their continuance in farming. ● To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and
modern agricultural practices.
● To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.
Intended beneficiary.
● All farmers including sharecroppers and tenant farmers growing notified crops in a notified area during the season who have insurable interest in the crop are eligible.

Salient features

● It replaced all other existing insurance schemes except the Restructured Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (uses weather parameters as
proxy for crop yield in compensating the cultivators for deemed crop loses) .
● A uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops.
● In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%.
● There is no upper limit on Government subsidy so farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
● The difference between the premium paid by farmers and the actuarial premium charged was paid by the Centre and state government in
the ratio of 50:50.
● It is compulsory for loanee farmers availing crop loans for notified crops in notified areas and voluntary for non-loanee farmers.
● Yield Losses: due to non-preventable risks, such as Natural Fire and Lightning, Storm, Hailstorm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Tornado.
Risks due to Flood, Inundation and Landslide, Drought, Dry spells, Pests/ Diseases also will be covered.
● Post-harvest losses are also covered.
● Mandatory use of technology: Smart phones, drones etc., will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting
● The Scheme shall be implemented on an ‘Area Approach basis’. Defined Area (i.e., unit area of insurance) is Village or above. It can be a
Geo-Fenced/Geo-mapped region having homogenous Risk Profile for the notified crop.
● Presently, 5 public sector insurers (Agriculture
Insurance Company of India, United India Insurance Company etc.) and 13 private insurance companies are empanelled for implementation of the scheme.
● Recently, states have been allowed to set up their own insurance companies for implementing the scheme.

1.7 National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been formulated for enhancing agricultural productivity especially in rainfed areas focusing on integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management and
synergizing resource conservation.


● To make agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient by promoting location specific Integrated/Composite Farming Systems
● To conserve natural resources through appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures
● To adopt comprehensive soil health management practices based on soil fertility maps, soil test based application of macro & micro nutrients, judicious use of fertilizers etc.
● To optimize utilization of water resources through efficient water management to expand coverage for achieving ‘more crop per drop’.
● To develop capacity of farmers & stakeholders, in conjunction with other on going missions e.g. National Mission on Agriculture Extension &
Technology, National Food Security Mission, National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) etc., in the domain of
climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
● To pilot models in select blocks for improving  productivity of rainfed farming by mainstreaming rainfed technologies refined through NICRA and by leveraging resources  from other schemes/Missions like Mahatma
Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), RKVY etc.;
● To establish an effective inter and intra Departmental/Ministerial coordination for accomplishing key deliverables of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture under the aegis of National Action Plan on Climate
Change (NAPCC).



● Promotion of commercial organic production through certified organic farming.
● pesticide residue free produce and improved health of consumer
● Raise farmer’s income and create potential markets for traders.
● Motivate the farmers for natural resource mobilization for input production.
● Increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers.

Intended beneficiary
● Farmers doing organic farming
● Farmers from NE India such as Sikkim
● Food processing industries
● Organic foods – export industry

Salient features
● “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana” is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) under National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
● Cluster Approach: Fifty or more farmers form a cluster having 50 acre land to take organic farming. Each farmer will be provided Rs. 20000
per acre in three years for seed to harvesting crops and to transport them to market.
● Government plans to form around 10 thousand clusters in three years and cover an area of 5 Lakh hectares under organic farming.

Components –
● Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification through cluster approach – mobilization of farmers, form clusters, identification of land resources and training on organic farming and PGS Certification and
quality control.
● Adoption of organic village for manure management and biological nitrogen harvesting through cluster approach –action plan for Organic Farming, Integrated Manure Management, Packing, Labelling and Branding
of organic products of cluster.



● To promote genuine price discovery
● Increases farmers’ options for sale and access to markets
● Liberal licensing of traders / buyers and commission agents. One license for a trader valid across all markets in the State
● Harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce
● Single point levy of market fees, i.e on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
● Provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in/ or near the selected mandi to facilitate visiting farmers to access this facility in the mandi itself

Intended beneficiary 

● 585 regulated wholesale markets in states/union territories (UTs).
● Farmers
● Local traders
● Bulk buyers, processors
● Farm produce exporters
● Overall economy of the nation

Salient features
● NAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal which seeks to network the existing APMCs and other market yards to create a unified national
market for agricultural commodities.
● Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) has been selected as the lead agency to implement it.
● Central government will provide the software free of cost to the states and in addition, a grant of up to Rs. 30 lakhs per mandi or market or
private mandis will be given for related equipment and infrastructure requirements.
● New Features added to the scheme such as E-NAM Mobile App, BHIM Payment facility, MIS dashboard for better analysis and insights,
grievance redressal mechanism for Mandi Secretaries and integration with Farmer Database to ease the registration and identification process will further strengthen e-NAM.
● Fund Allocation – The Scheme is being funded through AgriTech Infrastructure Fund (AITF).


● To be a frontline extension in agriculture, and to serve as a single window mechanism for addressing the technology needs of farmers
● To demonstrate location specific technologies and build capacity of farmers
● To serve as links between research and extension and also with farmers
Intended beneficiary
● Rural youth, farm women and Farmers (skill development training)
Salient features
● Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)has created a network of 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the country and 106 more
KVKs will be established.
● Directorate of Extension in State Agriculture Universities also helps KVKs in its activities.
● KVKs lay strong emphasis on skill development training of rural youth, farm women and farmers
● Provide latest technological inputs like seeds,planting materials and bio-products.
● Advise farmers on timely crop/enterprise related recommendations, including climate resilient technologies.
● Diagnose and solve problems emerging from district agro-ecosystems and lead in adoption of innovations.



● To promote direct interface of scientists withthe farmers and hasten the land to lab process.
● To imbibe a sense of ownership among the agricultural scientists
● To provide farmers with required information, knowledge and advisories on regular basis by adopting villages.

Intended beneficiary

● Scientists with ground level experience
● Farmers

Salient features
● This scheme involves scientists of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and state agricultural universities.
● Groups of four multidisciplinary scientists each will be constituted at these institutes and universities. Each group will “adopt” five villages within a radius of maximum 100 km.

1.12 Price Stabilization Fund

Objective: to safeguard the interest of the growers and provide them financial relief when prices fall below a specified level.

● Central Sector Scheme.
● To support market interventions for price control of perishable agri-horticultural commodities.
● PSF will be used to advance interest free loan to State Governments and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities.
● Procurement of the commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers’ organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers.
● Initially the fund is proposed to be used for onion and potato only. Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.

Framework and Funding:

● States will set up a revolving fund to which theCentre and State will contribute equally, i.e. 50:50.
● The ratio of Centre-State contribution to the State-level corpus in respect of Northeast States will, however, be 75:25.

1.13 Mission Fingerling

● It is a programme to enable holistic development and management of the fisheries sector in India.
● The mission aims to achieve the target to enhance fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21 under the Blue Revolution.


● Government has identified 20 States based ontheir potential and other relevant factors to strengthen the Fish Fingerling production and Fish Seed infrastructure in the country.
● This program will facilitate the establishment of Fingerling rearing pond and hatcheries.
● This will converge in the production of 20 lakh tonnes of fish annually, which will in turn benefit about 4 million families.
● The implementation of this program will supplement the requirement of stocking materials in the country up to a large extent, which is a much needed input to achieve the enhanced fish production.

1.14 Umbrella Scheme Green Revolution — Krishonnati Yojana


These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing
production, productivity and better returns on produce.

The Schemes that are part of the Umbrella Schemes are :-

i. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
ii. National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
iii. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
iv. Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE)
v. Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP)
vi. Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM)
vii. Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ)
viii. Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES)
ix. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC)
x. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM)
xi. National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A) The Schemes/Missions focus on
creating/strengthening of infrastructure of production, reducing production cost and marketing of agriculture and allied produce.

1.15 Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)

1. The Scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce as announced in the Union Budget for 2018.
2. It is expected that the increase in MSP will be translated to farmers’ income by way of robust procurement mechanism in coordination with
the State Governments.
The three schemes that are part of AASHA are:
1. the Price Support Scheme (PSS)
2. the Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
3. the Pilot of Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme (PPPS)
● These three components will complement the existing schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
● They relate to paddy, wheat and other cereals and coarse grains where procurement is at MSP now.
● PSS – Under the PSS, physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and copra will be done by Central Nodal Agencies.
● Besides, NAFED and Food Corporation of India will also take up procurement of crops under PSS.
● The expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by the Centre.
● PDPS – Under the PDPS, the Centre proposes to cover all oilseeds.
● The difference between the MSP and actual selling/modal price will be directly paid into the farmer’s bank account.
● Farmers who sell their crops in recognised mandis within the notified period can benefit from it.
● PPSS – In the case of oilseeds, States will have the option to roll out PPSS in select districts.
● Under this, a private player can procure crops at MSP when market prices drop below MSP.
● The private player will then be compensated through a service charge up to a maximum of 15% of the MSP.

1.16 Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

What is the news: The Central Government notified a decision to extend the benefit of ₹6,000 per year under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
scheme to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country, irrespective of the size of their landholding.
● Central sector scheme


○ To provide income support to all farmer families having cultivable land.
○ To supplement the financial needs of the farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income.

Salient Features:

● The revised Scheme is expected to coveraround 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore
● Responsibility of identifying the landholder farmer family eligible for benefit under the scheme shall be of the State/UT Government.
● The lists of eligible beneficiaries would be published at the village level to ensure transparency.
● Exclusions: Certain categories of beneficiaries of higher economic status such as institutional landholders, former and present holder of constitutional posts, persons who paid income tax in the last assessment year etc. shall not be eligible for benefit under the scheme.
■ Professionals like doctors, engineers and lawyers as well as retired pensioners with a monthly pension of over ₹10,000 and those who paid income tax in the last assessment year are also not eligible for the benefits.
■ For the purpose of exclusion State/UT Government can certify the eligibility of the beneficiary based on self-declaration by the beneficiaries.
● A dedicated PM Kisan Portal will be launched for the implementation of the scheme.
● This is a Central Sector Scheme and will be funded fully by the Government of India




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Important British Commissions and Committees

14th June 2021

Educational Commissions

Charles Wood Despatch – 1854

  • Wood’s despatch proposed several recommendations in order to improve the system of education.
  • According to the recommendations, it was declared that the aim of the Government’s policy was the promotion of western education. In his despatch, he emphasised on the education of art, science, philosophy and literature of Europe.
  • In short, the propagation of European knowledge was the motto of the Wood’s Despatch.
  • According to the despatch, for higher education, the chief medium of instruction would be English.
  • However, the significance of the vernacular language was no less emphasised as Wood believed that through the mediums of vernacular language, European knowledge could reach to the masses.
  • Wood’s Despatch also proposed the setting up of several vernacular primary schools in the villages at the lowest stage.
  • Moreover, there should be Anglo-Vernacular high schools and an affiliated college in the district level.
  • Wood’s Despatch recommended a system of grants-in-aid to encourage and foster the private enterprise in the field of education. The grants-in-aid were conditional on the institution employing qualified teachers and maintaining proper standards of teaching.

Hunter Commission – 1882

  • Hunter Education Commission was a landmark commission appointed by Viceroy Lord Ripon with objectives to look into the complaints of the non-implementation of the Wood’s Despatch of 1854; the contemporary status of elementary education in the British territories; and suggest means by which this can be extended and improved.
  • This commission, headed by Sir William Wilson Hunter, had submitted its report in 1882.

Commission suggestions:

  • There should be two types of education arrangements at the high school level, in which emphasis should be given on giving a vocational and business education and other such literary education should be given, which will help in admission to the university.
  • Arrangement for emphasis on the importance of education at the primary level and education in local language and useful subjects.
  • Private efforts should be welcomed in the field of education, but primary education should be given without him.
  • Control of education at the primary level should be handed over to the district and city boards.

Hunter Commission of 1882 on Primary Education :

  • Primary education should be regarded as the education of the masses.
    Education should be able to train the people for self-dependence.
  • The medium of instruction in primary education should e the mother tongue.
    Normal Schools should be established for the training of teachers.
  • The curriculum should include useful subjects like agriculture, elements of natural and physical science and the native method of arithmetic and measurement, etc.
  • The spread of primary education for the tribal and backward people should be the responsibility of the Government.
  • Fees should be an example to students on the basis of their financial difficulties.

Raleigh Commission – 1902

  • Raleigh Commission was appointed under the presidency of Sir Thomas Raleigh on 27 January 1902 to inquire into the condition and prospects of universities in India and to recommend proposals for improving their constitution and working.
  • Evidently, the Commission was precluded from reporting on primary or secondary education.
  • As a result of the report of the recommendations of the Commission the Indian Universities Act was passed in 1904.
  • The main objective of the Act was to improve the condition of education in India and upgrade the system to a better level.
  • The following important changes were introduced for the upliftment of University Education.
  • Universities were empowered to appoint their own staff including the teaching staff.
  • The number of Fellows of a University was limited within 50 to 100.
  • The number of elected Fellows was fixed at 20 for the Bombay, Madras and Calcutta Universities and 15 for others.
  • The Governor-General was now empowered to decide a University’s territorial limits and also affiliation between the universities and colleges.
  • After the implementation of the provisions of the University Act, though the number of colleges declined, yet the number of students increased considerably.

Sadler Commission – 1917

  • In 1917, the Calcutta University Commission (Sadler Commission) was appointed by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of Mr. Michel Sadler, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds.
  • All the teaching resources in the city of Calcutta should be organized so that the Calcutta University may become entirely a teaching university.
  • A separate teaching and residential university should be established at Dacca.
  • There was a need for a coordinating agency. Hence an inter-University Board should be set up.
  • Honours courses should be instituted and they should be distinctly different from the Pass courses.
  • Full time and salaried Vice-Chancellor should be appointed to be the administrative head of the university.
  • The Senate and the syndicate should be replaced by the Court and the Executive Council respectively.
  • Universities should be freed from excessive official control.
  • Government interference in the academic matters of universities should stop.

Hartog Commission – 1929

  • Sir Philip Joseph Hartog committee was appointed by the British Indian government to survey on the growth of education in India.
  • The Hartog committee 1929, had devoted more attention to mass education than the secondary and University education.
  • The Hartog committee highlighted the problem of wastage and stagnation in education at the primary level.
  • It recommended the policy of consolidation instead of multiplication of schools. The duration of the primary course was to be fixed to four years.
  • It recommended for the improvements in quality, pay, and service conditions of teachers and relating the syllabus and teaching methods to the local environment of villages and locality
  • The Hartog committee on education recommended for the promotion of technical and commercial education by universities to control the problem of unemployment.
  • The recommendation of the Hartog committee of 1929 was an attempt for consolidation and stabilization of education. The Hartog committee of 1929 was seen as a torchbearer of the government’s effort to improve the quality of education.
  • However, these recommendations of Hartog committee of 1929 remained only on paper and could not be implemented due to the great economic depression of 1930-31.

Sargent Plan – 1944

  • The Sargent plan of education came after Sir John Sargent was given the task to prepare a comprehensive scheme of education for India in 1944 and he made the following recommendations:
  • Pre-primary education for children between 3 to 6 years of age.
    Universal, compulsory and free primary or basic education for all children between the ages 6—11 (junior basic) and 11—14 (senior basic).
  • High school education for six years for selected children between the years 11—17.
  • Degree course for three years beginning after the higher secondary examination for selected students
  • Technical, commercial, agricultural and art education for full time and part-time students, girls schools are to teach domestic science.
  • The liquidation of adult illiteracy and the development of a public library system in about 20 years.
  • Full provision for the proper training of teachers.
  • Educational provision is made for the physically and mentally handicapped children.
  • The organisation of compulsory physical education.
  • Provision be made for social and recreational activities.
  • The creation of employment bureaus.
  • The creation of the Department of Education in the centre and in the states.
  • The use of mother tongue is to be used as the medium of instruction in all high schools.

Famine Commissions during British Rule in India

Campbell Commission

  • In 1865-66, a famine engulfed Orissa, Bengal, Bihar, and Madras and took a toll of nearly 20 lakhs of lives with Orissa alone loosing 10 lakh lives, since the famine was most severe in Orissa; it is called the Orissa famine.
  • The Government officers though forewarned took no steps to meet the calamity.
  • The Government adhered to the principles of free trade and the law of demand and supply, the Government did provide employment to the table booked men leaving the work of charitable relief to the voluntary agency.
  • But the famine proved a turning point in the history of Indian famines for it was followed by the appointment of a committee under the chairmanship of Sir
    George Campbell.

Stratchy Commission

  • It was set up in 1878 under the Chairmanship of Sir Richard Strachey.
  • The commission recommended state interference in food trade in the event of famine. India witnessed another major famine in 1896-97.

Lyall Commission

  • It was constituted in 1897 under the Chairmanship of Sir James Lyall. This commission recommended the development of irrigation facilities.

MacDonnell Commission

  • It was set up in 1900 under the Chairmanship of Sir Anthony (Later Lord) McDonnel to re-evaluate and recommend changes in report of the previous commission, based on the findings of the recent famine.
  • This Commission recommended that the official machinery dealing with a famine must work around the year so that the scarcity of food grains could be controlled well in time.

Law Commission

  • Law Commissions in India have a pre-independence origin. The first Law Commission was formed in 1834 as a result of the Charter Act, 1833 under the chairmanship of TB Macaulay.
  • The first commission’s recommendations resulted in the codification of the penal code and the Criminal Procedure Code.
  • Three other law commissions were constituted before independence by the British government.
  • All four pre-independent law commissions have contributed to the statute books immensely.
  • After independence, the first Law Commission was constituted in 1955 in a continuance of the tradition of bringing law reforms in the country through the medium of law commissions.
  • Second Pre-Independence Law Commission,1853 – Sir John Romilly.
  • Third Pre-Independence Law Commission, 1862- Sir John Romilly.
  • Fourth Pre-Independence Law Commission, 1879 – Dr Whitley Stokes.

Currency Commission

Mansfield Commission by Dufferin in 1886

  • The Indian Currency Committee or Fowler Committee was a government committee appointed by the British-run Government of India on 29 April 1898 to examine the current situation in India.
  • Until 1892, silver was the metal on which Indian currency and coinage had largely been based. In 1892, the Government of India announced its intent to “close Indian mints to silver” and, in 1893, it brought this policy into force.

Other Commissions on Currency:

  • Fowler Commission by Elgin II in 1898
  • Babington Smith Commission by Chelmsford in 1919
  • Hilton Young Commission by Linlithgow in 1926

Other Important Commissions

  • Scott-Moncrieff Commission (Irrigation) by Curzon in 1901
  • Fraser Commission (Police Reforms) by Curzon in 1902
  • Hunter Commission (Punjab Disturbances) by Chelmsford 1919
  • Butler Commission (Indian States relation with British Crown) by Irwin in 1927
  • Whiteley Commission (Labour) by Irwin in 1929
  • Sapru Commission (Unemployment) by Linlithgow in 1935
  • Chalfield Commission (Army) by Linlighgow 1939
  • Floud Commission (Tenancy in Bengal) by Linlighgow in 1940

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Important International Economic Organizations

11th June 2021

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

  • Bank for International Settlements (BIS) – is an intergovernmental organization of central banks which “fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks.”
  • It is not accountable to any national government.
  • The mission of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.
  • The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS), while technically separate from the BIS, is a closely associated international forum for financial regulation that is housed in the BIS’ offices in Basel, Switzerland
  • The BCBS is responsible for the Basel Accords, which recommend capital requirements and other banking regulations that are widely implemented by national governments.
  • The BIS also conducts research on economic issues and publishes reports.

European Central Bank (ECB)

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank responsible for monetary policy of those European Union (EU) member countries which have adopted the euro currency.
  • This region is known as the eurozone and currently comprises 19 members.
    The principal goal of the ECB is to maintain price stability in the euro area, thus helping preserve the purchasing power of the euro.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It has been responsible for monetary policy in the Euro area since January 1, 1999.


  • The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the combined Eurozone.
  • The ECB coordinates EU monetary policy, including setting the region’s target interest rates and controlling the supply of the Euro common currency.
  • The ECB’s primary mandate is to achieve price stability through low inflation.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the inter-governmental organisation established to stabilize the exchange rate in the international trade.
  • It helps the member countries to improve their Balance of Payment (BOP) condition thorough the adequate liquidity in the international market, promote the growth of global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade.
  • It is one of the Bretton woods twins, which came into existence in 1945, is governed by and accountable to the 189 countries that make up its near-global membership.

Objectives of IMF:

  • To promote international monetary co-operation.
  • To ensure balanced international trade
  • To ensure exchange rate stability
  • To eliminate or to minimize exchange restrictions by promoting the system of multilateral payments.
  • To grant economic assistance to members countries for eliminating the adverse balance of payment
  • To minimize the imbalances in quantum and duration of international trade.

IMF Quota & Voting Rights

  • Quotas was assigned to member countries reflecting their relative economic power & credit deposit to IMF
  • Subscription was to be paid 25% in gold or currency convertible into gold (effectively the dollar, which was the only currency then, still directly gold convertible for central banks) and 75% in the member’s own currency
  • Members were provided voting rights in proportion to their quota, hence member countries with higher quota have a higher say at IMF

Special Drawing Rights

  • Special drawing rights (SDRs) are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • SDR is not a currency, instead represents a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.
  • The value of an SDR is defined by a weighted currency basket of four major currencies: the US dollar, the euro, the British pound, the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese yen
  • The central bank of member countries held SDR with IMF which can be used by them to access funds from IMF in case of financial crises in their domestic market

Reverse Tansche

  • A certain proportion of a member country’s quota is specified as its reserve tranche.
  • The member country can access its reserve tranche funds at its discretion and is not under an immediate obligation to repay those funds to the IMF.
  • Member nation reserve tranches are typically 25% of the member’s quota.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an inter-governmental organization founded in 1961 to accelerate economic progress and world trade.
  • It is a very unique organization where 34 Democracies work together with market economies and 70 non-member economies promote economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development.
  • The setting of the OECD reflects the peripheral discussion forum based on the policy research and analysis that helps governments in order to shape their policies that may lead to a formal agreement among member governments or be acted on in domestic or other international stages.
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries.
  • The OECD headquarters at Paris, France. The OECD is funded by contributions from member states.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964. It is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations Generally Assembly for promoting the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy.
  • UNCTAD grew from the view that existing institutions like GATT (now WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank were not properly organized to handle the particular problems of developing countries.

Functions of UNCTAD

  • UNCTAD Objective is to maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.
  • It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building.
  • It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts.
  • It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

  • The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) serves as the United Nations’ regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.
  • Established in 1947 with its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members, ESCAP has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social and environmental dynamics of the region.
  • The Commission’s strategic focus is to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is reinforced and deepened by promoting regional cooperation and integration to advance responses to shared vulnerabilities, connectivity, financial cooperation and market integration.
  • ESCAP’s research and analysis coupled with its policy advisory services, capacity building and technical assistance to governments aims to support countries’ sustainable and inclusive development ambitions

UN-ESCAP providing results-oriented projects, technical assistance and capacity building to member States in the following areas:

  • Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development
  • Trade, Investment and Innovation
  • Transport
  • Environment and Development
  • Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Social Development
  • Statistics
  • Subregional activities for development
  • Energy

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

  • United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, ECA’s mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.
  • Made up of 54 member States, and playing a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well-positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.
  • ECA’s strength derives from its role as the only UN agency mandated to operate at the regional and subregional levels to harness resources and bring them to bear on Africa’s priorities. T
  • o enhance its impact, ECA places a special focus on collecting up to date and original regional statistics in order to ground its policy research and advocacy on clear objective evidence; promoting policy consensus; providing meaningful capacity development; and providing advisory services in key thematic fields.

ECA’s thematic areas of focus are as follows:

Macroeconomic Policy
Regional Integration and Trade
Social Development
Natural Resources
Innovation and Technology

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

  • The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947 by ECOSOC. It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations.
  • UNECE’s major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. UNECE includes 56 member States in Europe, North America and Asia. However, all interested United Nations member States may participate in the work of UNECE. Over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities.
  • Providing legal frameworks and assistance activities through instruments like the UNECE Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
  • Developing expertise and policy solutions in areas such as resource efficiency, environmental performance, environmental democracy, sustainable transport, sustainable energy, sustainable housing, green real estate markets, and sustainable forest products.
  • Measuring sustainable development and improving capacities for environmental monitoring and assessment.
  • Encouraging eco-innovations and green investment.
  • Raising awareness to change behavioral patterns towards sustainable consumption and production, for example through the UNECE Strategy for
  • Education for Sustainable Development.
  • Developing green standards, for example the standards for cleaner and smarter vehicles developed by the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations.
  • The Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets, 1975 (TIR Convention) is an international customs transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • India has become the 71st nation to join the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention.

World Bank Group

  • The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations that make leveraged loans to developing countries.
  • It is the largest and most famous development bank in the world and is an observer at the United Nations Development Group.
  • Its five organizations are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The World Bank (IBRD)

  • IBRD provides loans and other assistance primarily to middle income and poor but creditworthy countries at interest rates slightly lower than that offered by other financial institutions but with long term maturity<countries which have the capacity to repay the loan amount with interest>

Origins: IBRD, as the name suggests, was created in 1944 to help Europe reconstruct/ rebuild after World War II. To be a member of IBRD, a country has t join IMF first.

Main function:

  • Long-term capital assistance to its member-countries for their reconstruction and development
  • It works closely with the rest of the World Bank Group to help developing countries reduce poverty, promote economic growth, and build prosperity.

Other functions of IBRD Bank –

  • Supports long-term human and social development that private creditors do not finance.
  • Preserves borrowers’ financial strength by providing support in times of crisis, when poor people are most adversely affected
  • Promotes policy and institutional reforms (such as safety net or anti-corruption reforms)
  • Creates a favourable investment climate to catalyze the provision of private capital
  • Facilitates access to financial markets often at more favorable terms than members can achieve on their own
  • Resources of the Bank consist of the capital and borrowings.


International Development Association

  • The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank group that helps the world’s poorest countries.
  • Overseen by 173 shareholder nations, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.
  • IDA complements the World Bank’s original lending arm—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). IBRD was established to function as a self-sustaining business and provides loans and advice to middle-income and credit-worthy poor countries.
  • IBRD and IDA share the same staff and headquarters and evaluate projects with the same rigorous standards.
  • IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 771 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa, and is the single largest source of donor funds for basic social services in these countries.
  • IDA lends money on concessional terms. This means that IDA credits have a zero or very low-interest charge and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5- to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress.
  • In addition to concessional loans and grants, IDA provides significant levels of debt relief through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).
  • IDA’s work covers primary education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate improvements, infrastructure, and institutional reforms.


Largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries established in 1956

Objectives of the IFC

  • To further economic development by encouraging the growth of private enterprise in member-countries
  • Invests in private enterprise in member-countries in association with private investors and without a Government guarantee, in cases where sufficient private capital is not available on reasonable terms
  • Seeks to bring together investment opportunities, private capital of both foreign and domestic origin, and experienced management
  • Stimulates conditions conducive to the flow of private capital – domestic and foreign – into productive investments in member-countries
  • IFC investment normally does not exceed 40% of the total investment of the enterprise.
  • In case of its investment by equity participation, it does not exceed 25% of the share capital.

IFC and India

  • IFC makes strategic investments and advisory interventions to promote inclusive growth, help address climate change impacts, and encourage global and regional integration
  • In India, IFC is sharpening its focus on increasing access to energy, finance and healthcare; providing the sustainable infrastructure; and boosting regional linkages

Focus Areas –

Building infrastructure
Facilitating renewable energy generation
Promoting cleaner production, energy and water efficiency
Supporting agriculture for improved food security
Creating growth opportunities for small businesses
Helping reform investment climate

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)

  • It is an international financial institution which offers political risk insurance and credit enhancement guarantees. Such guarantees help investors protect foreign direct investments against political and non-commercial risks in developing countries.
  • MIGA is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It was established in 1988 as an investment insurance facility to encourage confident investment in developing countries.
  • MIGA’s stated mission is “to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives”. It targets projects that endeavour to create new jobs, develop infrastructure, generate new tax revenues, and take advantage of natural resources through sustainable policies and programs.
  • MIGA is owned and governed by its member states, but has its own executive leadership and staff which carry out its daily operations. Its shareholders are member governments which provide paid-in capital and have the right to vote on its matters.
  • It ensures long-term debt and equity investments as well as other assets and contracts with long-term periods. The agency is assessed by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group each year.

International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

  • It encourages the flow of foreign investment to develop countries through arbitration and conciliation facilities
  • Except for ICSID, India is a member of the other four groups <We don’t like external interference such as arbitration in our decision-making process, hence not the member of ICSID>

Let’s revise World Bank in brief

Name Main Function Comment
IBRD (WB) Infrastructure loan to poor middle income but credit worthy countries at just below market rates India founder member, largest recipient of loan
IDA Soft loan at virtually zero rate for poverty eradication to poorest countries India founder largest recipient, has crossed the per capita threshold for funding but will continue to receive IDA funds
IFC Private sector arm of WB group, supports private enterprises in developing countries India founder, IFC launched India’s offshore masala bond
MIGA Provide a guarantee to investors against non-commercial political risk India not a founding member
ICSID Resolve disputes through arbitration and conciliation India not a member

World Trade Organization (WTO)

  • The WTO is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations.
  • The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994.
  • It replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.
  • It is the largest international economic organization in the world.

Functions of WTO

  • The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries.
  • It provides a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments.

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Various Defence Exercises in News

10th June 2021

Various Defence Exercises in News

The defence is a major part of any country. Thus, every country tries and devotes half of its budget in defence. So, there are joint military exercises happening which benefits both the participating nations. Thus, in this article, we will discuss some of the important joint exercises in India like Indra and Maitree. Also, these exercises are important from learning as well as the strategic point of view for both the nations.

India + XYZ Army Navy Air Force
ASEAN + Force 18    
Bangladesh Sampriti CORPAT  
China Hand in hand   Chang Thang
France Shakti Varuna GARUDA



Samudra Shakti

Japan Dharma Guardian Malabar (India, Japan, and the USA), Sahyog-Kaijin SHINYUU MAITRI
Kazakhstan Prabal Dostyk and KAZIND    
Kyrgyzstan Khanjar    
Maldives Ekuverin    
Mongolia Nomadic Elephant / KHAN QUEST    
Nepal Surya Kiran (BIANNUAL)    
Oman AL NAGAH (SUCCESS) Naseem Al Bahr Eastern Bridge-IV
Seychelles LAMITYE    
South Africa, Brazil   IBSAMAR  
Sri Lanka Mitra Shakti SLINEX  
Thailand Maitree /  COBRA GOLD (Observer Plus) INDO-THAI CORPAT (Bi-annual) SIAM BHARAT
UAE     Desert Eagle-II
UK Ajeya Warrior Konkan IndraDhanush -IV
or “Rainbow”.
USA YudhAbhyas/ Cope/


Tiger Triumph


Malabar RIMPAC (Multilateral) Red Flag
Brunei   ADMM+ Exercise (Multilateral)  
Qatar Za’ir-Al-Bahr (Roar of the Sea)    
Uzbekistan Dustlik    


Other Important Exercise

Exercise TSENTR 2019 China, Tajikistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan Russia(Host)


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Soils and Crops of India

06th June 2021

Soils and Crops of India

We learnt about the various ways to classify soils. In this article, we will look at the various types of Indian soils in detail (According to ICAR’s classification). Let’s begin!

1. Alluvial Soils

  • Formation: They are mainly derived from the debris brought down from the Himalayas or the silt left out by the retreating sea. Thus they are azonal soils.
  • Areas: Alluvial soils are widespread in the northern plains and the river valleys. Through a narrow corridor in Rajasthan, they extend into the plains of Gujarat. In the Peninsular region, they are found in deltas of the east coast and in the river valleys.
  • Soil texture: The alluvial soils vary in nature from sandy loam to clay. These soils are more loamy and clayey in the lower and middle Ganga plain and the Brahmaputra valley. The sand content decreases from the west to east.
  • Soil Colour: The colour of the alluvial soils varies from the light grey to ash grey depending on the depth of the deposition, the texture of the materials, and the time taken for attaining maturity.
  • Other Characteristic Features:
    • In the Upper and Middle Ganga plain, two different types of alluvial soils have developed, viz. Khadar and Bhangar.
Khadar and Bhangar
    • Khadar: the newer alluvium deposited by floods annually, enriches the soil by depositing fine silts, light colour, found near river beds, porous in nature. Bhangar: older alluvium, clayey, darker, has lime nodules called Kankars, found in doabs (inter-fluve areas).
    • Alluvial soils of the northern plains —> transported soils —>, therefore, lack humus —> lack nitrogen [That is why we need to use nitrogenous fertilisers in the northern plains!]. Exception: the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta region is rich in humus.
    • These soils lack in nitrogen, phosphorus and humus. However, they are generally rich in potash and lime.
    • The soil profile has no stratification.
    • Alluvial soils are intensively cultivated.
    • In certain areas, these soils are covered with unproductive wind-borne soil called Loess.
  • Limitations:
    • Allow water to sink into lower strata, and
    • Lack nitrogen (But these soils are capable of fixing nitrogen very rapidly through leguminous crops (peas, beans, cloves etc.)
  • Suitable Crops: Wheat, rice, maize, sugarcane, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables, leguminous crops.

2. Black Soil

  • These soils are locally known as the ‘Regur Soil’ or the ‘Black Cotton Soil’. Internationally, these are known as ‘tropical chernozems’. These soils are famous for the cultivation of cotton.
  • Formation: These have mainly formed from the Deccan Trap rocks —> Zonal Soils
  • Areas: These are found in the Deccan trap region. Black soil covers most of the Deccan Plateau which include parts of:
    • Maharashtra,
    • Madhya Pradesh,
    • Gujarat,
    • Andhra Pradesh and some parts of
    • Tamil Nadu.
  • Soil Texture: Black cotton soil (regur soil) is highly argillaceous i.e. clayey. It is deep and impermeable and thus has high water retention capacity.
  • Soil Colour: These soils are black in colour due to the presence of iron, aluminium compounds and humus.
  • Other Characteristic Features:
    • These soils are rich in minerals and known for their fertility.
    • The soil depth varies from place to place. It is very thick in lowlands but very thin on highlands. Also, in the upper reaches of the Godavari and the Krishna, and the northwestern part of the Deccan Plateau, the black soil is very deep.
    • These soils swell and become sticky when wet and develop deep wide cracks when dry. This helps in self-aeration, which leads to the absorption of nitrogen from the atmosphere. Thus, there occurs a kind of ‘self ploughing’. This aeration and oxidisation to deep levels contribute to the maintenance of the fertility of these soils. This continued fertility is favourable in the area of low rainfall for cotton cultivation even without irrigation.
    • Due to slow absorption and loss of moisture, the black soil retains the moisture for a very long time, which helps the crops, especially, the rain-fed ones, to sustain even during the dry season.
    • Chemically, the black soils are rich in lime, iron, magnesia and alumina. They also contain potash. But they lack in phosphorous, nitrogen and organic matter.
  • Suitable Crops: These soils are highly productive and well suited to the cultivation of cotton, pulses, millets, linseed, tobacco, sugarcane, vegetables and citrus fruits.

Note: In the southern and eastern parts of the country where rainfall is heavy, black soils often occur in close proximity to red soils. Black soils occupy valleys and low-level areas whereas the red soils occur on higher slopes and hilltops. Mixed black and red soils occur in Coimbatore, Madurai, Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) and Bundelkhand region.

3. Red and Yellow Soils

  • Locally called ‘Chalka’ in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Formation: These are derived from granites, gneisses and other metamorphic rocks —> Zonal Soils. These are formed under well-drained conditions.
  • Areas: Along the piedmont zone of the Western Ghat, a long stretch of area is occupied by red loamy soil. Yellow and red soils are also found in parts of Orissa and Chattisgarh and in the southern parts of the middle Ganga plain. They encircle the black cotton soil zone.
  • Soil Colour: The soil develops a reddish colour due to a wide diffusion of iron in crystalline and metamorphic rocks. It looks yellow when it occurs in a hydrated form. Often, their upper layer is red and the lower layer is yellow.
  • Soil Texture: Varies from sand to clay and loam.
  • Other Characteristic Features:
    • The fine-grained red and yellow soils are normally fertile, whereas coarse-grained soils found in dry upland areas are poor in fertility.
    • Have a porous and friable structure.
    • They are generally poor in nitrogen, phosphorous and humus.
    • These soils are airy and need irrigation for cultivation.
    • Intense leaching is a menace in these soil areas.
  • Suitable Crops: In places where irrigation facilities are available, the crops cultivated are wheat, cotton, pulses, tobacco, millets, oilseeds, potato, maize, groundnut and orchards.

4. Laterite Soil

  • The word laterite has been derived from the Latin word ‘Later’ which means brick. These soils when wet are as soft as butter but become hard and cloddy on drying. Therefore, these are widely cut as bricks for use in house construction.
  • Formation: The lateritic soils are particularly found on high flat erosion surfaces in areas of high(>200cm) and seasonal rainfall. The alternating wet and dry seasons lead to the leaching away of the siliceous matter of the rocks leaving behind the compounds of iron and aluminium. These are zonal soils.
  • Areas: These soils have mainly developed in the higher areas of the Peninsular plateau. The laterite soils are commonly found in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and the hilly areas of Orissa and Assam.
  • Soil Colour: Reddish-brown in colour due to the presence of iron oxide.
  • Other characteristic features:
    • With rain, lime and silica are leached away, and soils rich in iron oxide and aluminium compound are left behind(thus the reddish-brown colour). Also, the humus content of the soil is removed fast by bacteria that thrive well in high temperature.
    • These soils represent the end product of decomposition and are generally low in fertility.
    • The pebbly crust is the important feature of laterites which is formed due to alteration of wet and dry periods.
    • These soils are acidic in character due to leaching. Application of manures and fertilisers is required for making these soils fertile for cultivation.
    • These soils are poor in organic matter, nitrogen, phosphate and calcium, while iron oxide and potash are in excess.
  • Suitable crops: Red laterite soils in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are more suitable for tree crops like cashew nut. These soils are also suitable for tea plantations.

We discussed in detail alluvial, black, red and laterite soils. Let’s continue the discussion and move on to the next soil types!


5. Arid Soils

  • Formation: These are derived from the disintegration of adjacent rocks and are largely blown from coastal regions and Indus valley.
  • Areas: Arid soils are characteristically developed in western Rajasthan, which exhibits characteristic arid topography.
  • Soil Colour: Arid soils range from red to brown in colour.
  • Soil Texture: They are generally sandy to gravelly in texture and have a high percentage of soluble salts.
  • Other characteristic features:
    • These are saline in nature. In some areas, the salt content is so high that common salt is obtained by evaporating the saline water.
    • Due to the dry climate, high temperature and accelerated evaporation, they lack moisture and humus.
    • These soils are deficient in nitrogen and humus. The phosphate and iron content is normal. These soils are rich in minerals but the main limitation is the lack of water.
    • The soils exhibit poorly developed horizons.
    • Plants are widely spaced.
    • Chemical weathering is limited.
    • Lower horizons of the soil are occupied by ‘kankar’ layers because of the increasing calcium content downwards. The ‘Kankar’ layer formation in the bottom horizons restricts the infiltration of water, and as such when irrigation is made available, the soil moisture is readily available for sustainable plant growth.
  • Suitable crops: If irrigated these soils give high agricultural returns. The availability of water from the Indira Gandhi canal has transformed the agricultural landscape of desert soils of western Rajasthan. These soils are mainly devoted to bajra, pulses, guar, fodder and less water requiring crops.

6. Saline and Alkaline Soils

  • They are also known as Usara soils. Various local names for saline soils are Reh, Kallar, and Chopan, Rakar, Thur, Karl etc.
  • Formation:
    • These soils have developed in areas with dry climatic conditions (in areas having a little more rainfall than the areas of desert soils) accompanied by lack of proper drainage. In this situation, salts of sodium, calcium and magnesium are deposited on the upper layer of the soil by capillary action.


    • In the Rann of Kuchchh, the Southwest Monsoon brings salt particles and deposits there as a crust.
    • These soils are also formed when saline water spreads on the land at the time of high tide in coastal areas. Also, seawater intrusions in the deltas promote the occurrence of saline soils.
    • Salinization also occurs because of over-irrigation (canal irrigation/groundwater use) and in areas of the high water table (as in the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu). Salinity from irrigation can occur over time wherever irrigation occurs. This is because almost all water (even natural rainfall) contains some dissolved salts. When the plants use the water, the salts are left behind in the soil and eventually begin to accumulate. Also, excessive irrigation with dry climatic conditions promotes capillary action, which results in the deposition of salt on the top layer of the soil (See the following figure).


    • These are thus, intrazonal soils.
  • Areas: They occur in arid and semi-arid regions, and in waterlogged and swampy areas. These are more widespread in western Gujarat, deltas of the eastern coast and in Sunderban areas of West Bengal.
  • Soil Texture: Their texture ranges from sandy to loamy.
  • Other characteristic features:
    • Because of capillary action, the salts are sucked up in solution to the surface and form white encrustations on the surface (See the picture below).


    • The salt efflorescence of calcium, magnesium and sodium makes these soils infertile.
    • Saline soils contain an excess of neutral soluble salts of chlorides and sulphates whereas sodic or alkali soils contain sodium carbonates/ sodium bicarbonates.
    • They lack in nitrogen and calcium and have low water-bearing capacity.
    • These soils can be reclaimed by improving drainage, by applying gypsum and/or lime, and by cultivating salt-resistant crops like barseem, dhaincha and other leguminous crops.
    • The saline and alkaline soils may occur in any group of soils.
  • Crops grown: In coastal areas, coconut trees are found in plenty in these soils. As discussed above, cultivating salt-resistant crops like bar seem, dhaincha and other leguminous crops can help in reclaiming these soils.
  • Note: In the areas of intensive cultivation with excessive use of irrigation, especially in areas of green revolution, the fertile alluvial soils are becoming saline. In such areas, especially in Punjab and Haryana, farmers are advised to add gypsum to solve the problem of salinity in the soil.

7. Peaty Soils

  • These soils are locally called Kari in Kottayam and Alleppey districts of Kerala.
  • Formation: These are marshy soils and are a result of waterlogging and anaerobic conditions (which leads to partial decomposition of organic matter).
  • Areas: They are found in the areas of heavy rainfall and high humidity, where there is a good growth of vegetation. It occurs widely in the northern part of Bihar, the southern part of Uttaranchal and the coastal areas of West Bengal, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
  • Soil Colour and Texture: These soils are normally heavy and black in colour
  • Other characteristic features:
    • These soils are characterised by a rich humus and organic content.
    • There is a presence of iron and varying amounts of organic matter (10-40%). The organic matter in these soils may go even up to 40-50 per cent.
    • These soils are generally acidic in nature. But at many places, they are alkaline also.
  • Suitable crops: These are generally submerged during the rainy season and utilised for the cultivation of rice.

8. Forest Soils

  • Formation: As the name suggests, forest soils are formed in the forest areas where sufficient rainfall is available.
  • Areas: These are found in the forest areas of Himalayas, Sahyadris, Eastern Ghats and terai region.
  • Soil colour and texture: The soils vary in structure and texture depending on the mountain environment where they are formed. They are loamy and silty on valley sides and coarse-grained in the upper slopes. Their colour is dark brown.
  • Other Characteristics:
    • In the snow-bound areas of the Himalayas, they are acidic with low humus content. This is because humus is rawer at higher levels. Also, these soils are subjected to denudation due to landslides and snowfall.
    • The soils found in the lower valleys are fertile and rich in organic content.
    • Owing to sharp differences of hill slopes and climates, these soils may differ greatly even when in proximity. [Recall here the discussion on the impact of topography on soils!]
    • Also, these soils exist in thin layers because of their development on the mountain slopes.
    • These soils are poor in potash, phosphorus and lime.
    • Soil erosion is a major problem in these areas.
  • Crops grown: The slopes are used for horticulture and plantations crops like tea, coffee, spices, apple, peach etc. Rice and wheat are grown in valleys. Potatoes are grown in mostly all areas.

Now that we are done with all the soil types, expand the following image for a quick revision!

Major Soil Types of India (Classification by ICAR)

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Cropping Patterns in India

04th June 2021

Cropping Pattern in India

Back to Basics: Cropping Pattern mean the proportion of area under different crops at a point of time, changes in this distribution overtime and factors determining these changes.

Cropping pattern in India is determined mainly by rainfall, climate, temperature and soil type.

Technology also plays a pivotal role in determining crop pattern. Example, the adoption of High Yield Varieties Seeds along with fertilisers in the mid 1960’s in the regions of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh increased wheat production significantly.

The multiplicity of cropping systems has been one of the main features of Indian agriculture. This may be attributed to following two major factors:

  1. Rainfed agriculture still accounts for over 92.8 million hectares or 65 percent of the cropped area. A large diversity of cropping systems exists under rainfed and dryland areas with an overriding practice of intercropping, due to greater risks involved in cultivating larger area under a particular crop.
  2. Due to prevailing socio-economic situations (such as; dependency of large population on agriculture, small land-holding size, very high population pressure on land resource etc.), improving household food security has been an issue of supreme importance to many million farmers of India, who constitute 56.15 million marginal (<1.0 hectare), 17.92 million small (1.0-2.0 hectare) and 13.25 million semi-medium (2.0-4.0 hectare) farm holdings, making together 90 percent of 97.15 million operational holdings.
  3. An important consequence of this has been that crop production in India remained to be considered, by and large, a subsistence rather than commercial activity.

What are the types of cropping System:

Different types of cropping systems are adopted on farms depending on the resources and technology available. The different & basic types of cropping System is explained below:

Mono-cropping: If only one crop is grown in the land season after season, it is referred to as Monocropping. Example: Wheat will be planted year after year in the same field. 

Crop Rotation: In this method, the type of crops grown in the field is changed each season or each year. farmers also change from crops to fallow. Example: Maize will be planted in the first year and beans in the second year. This Crop rotation system is a key principle of agriculture conservation as it improves the soil structure and fertility. It also helps to control weeds, pests, and diseases.

Sequential Cropping: This system involves growing two crops in the same field, one after the other in the same year. Example: Planting maize during long rains, then beans during the short rains. 

Inter-cropping: Growing two or more crops in the same field at the same time is called Intercropping. Examples: Planting alternating rows of maize and beans, or growing a cover crop in between the rows. 

Mixed Intercropping: In this method, seeds of two crops are distributed or dibbling the seeds without any row arrangement. This method is called mixed intercropping. This method is easy to sow but makes weeding, fertilization, and harvesting difficult. 

Multiple-Cropping: In this cropping system, farmers grow two or more crops on farmland in one year with intensive input management practices. It includes inter-cropping, mixed-cropping, and sequence cropping.

Row Intercropping: In this method, both the main crop and the intercrop in rows are planted. The row intercropping makes weeding and harvesting easier than with mixed intercropping.

Stir Cropping: This type of cropping involves planting broad strips of several crops in the field. Each strip will be 3–9 m wide. On slopes, the strips are laid out along the contour to prevent erosion. The farmer can rotate crops by planting each strip with a different crop in the next year. Example: Alternating strips of maize, soybean, and finger millet are planted. 

Relay Cropping: In this method, one crop is planted and another crop, usually a cover crop, is planted in the same field before harvesting the first. It avoids competition between the main crop and the intercrop. Relay cropping uses the field for a long time since the cover crop usually continues to grow after the main crop is harvested.

In Indian agriculture, three types of Cropping System is used. They are:

  • Mono-Cropping

  • Inter-cropping

  • Multiple-Cropping

Factors Determining Cropping Pattern in India

Cropping Pattern in India

30 most important cropping patterns in India

Specific Issues Related to the Cropping Pattern

Crop Pattern Region/State Issues Related to Crop Pattern
Rice-Wheat UP, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh. Over the years there is stagnation in the production and productivity loses.


The main reasons for stagnation are:

Over Mining of Nutrients from the soil.

Declining Ground Water Table.

Increase Pest Attacks and Diseases.

Shortages of Labour.

Inappropriate use of Fertilizers.

Rice-Rice Irrigated and Humid coastal system of Orrisa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. The major issues in sustaining the productivity of rice-rice system are:


Deterioration in soil physical conditions.

Micronutrient deficiency.

Poor efficiency of nitrogen use. Imbalance in use of nutrients. Non-availability of appropriate trans planter to mitigate labour shortage during the critical period of transplanting.

Rice- Groundnut Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orrisa and Maharashtra. The major issues in the pattern are:


Excessive Rainfall and Water Logging.

Non-availability of quality seeds.

Limited expansion of Rabi Groundnut in Rice grown areas.

Rice-Pulses Chhattisgarh, Orrisa and Bihar. Factors limiting Productivity are:


Droughts and Erratic Rainfall distribution.

Lack of Irrigation.

Low coverage under HYV Seeds.

Weed Attacks.

Little attention to pest attacks and diseases.

Marginalisation of land and Removal of Tribal from their own land.

Maize-Wheat UP, Rajasthan, MP and Bihar The Reason for Poor Yields are:


Sowing Timing.

Poor Weed Management.

Poor Plant Varieties.

Poor use of organic and inorganic fertilizers.

Large area under Rain Fed Agriculture.

Sugarcane-Wheat UP, Punjab and Haryana accounts for 68% of the area under sugarcane.


The other states which cover the crops are; Karnataka and MP.

Problems in Sugarcane-Wheat system are:


Late Planting.

Imbalance and inadequate use of nutrients.

Poor nitrogen use efficiency in sugarcane.

Build-up of Trianthema partu lacastrum and Cyprus rotundus in sugarcane.

The stubble of sugarcane pose tillage problem for succeeding crops and need to be managed properly.

Cotton-Wheat Punjab, Haryana, West UP, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu. Problems in Cotton-Wheat system are:


Delay Planting.

Stubbles of cotton create the problem of tillage operations and poor tilth for wheat.

Cotton Pest like Boll Worm and White Fly.

Poor nitrogen use efficiency in cotton.

Soya bean-Wheat Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan Constraints limiting the soybean production and productivity are:


A relatively recent introduction of soybean as a crop.

Limited genetic diversity.

Short growing period available in Indian latitudes.

Hindered agronomy/availability of inputs at the farm level.

Rainfed nature of crop and water scarcity at critical stage of plant growth.

Insect pests and diseases, Quality improvement problems.

Inadequate mechanization and partial adoption of technology by farmers have been identified.

Legume Based Cropping Systems (Pulses-Oilseeds) MP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The major issues in Legume based system are:


Lack of technological advancement.

Loses due to erratic weather and waterlogging.

Diseases and Pests.

Low harvest index, flower drop, indeterminate growth habit and very poor response to fertilizers and water in most of the grain legumes.

Nutrient needs of the system have to be worked out considering N-fixation capacity of legume crops.

Horticulture Crops in India

India has made a good place for itself on the Horticulture Map of the World with a total annual production of horticultural crops touching over 1490 million tones during 1999-00.

The horticultural crops cover about 9 percent of the total area contributing about 24.5 percent of the gross agricultural output in the country. However, the productivity of fruits and vegetables grown in the country is low as compared to developed countries.

Vegetable Crops

Vegetable crops in India are grown from the sea level to the snowline. The entire country can broadly be divided into six vegetable growing zones:

Low productivity is the main feature of vegetable cultivation in India as farm yields of most of the vegetables in India are much lower than the average yield of the world and developed countries.

The productivity gap is more conspicuous in tomato, cabbage, onion, chilli and peas. The preponderance of hybrid varieties and protected cultivation are mainly responsible for high productivity in the developed countries.

Constraints in vegetable production:

1. Lack of planning in Production

2. Non-availability of seeds of improved varieties.

3. High cost of basic production elements

4. Inadequate plant protection measures and non-availability of resistant varieties.

5. Weak marketing facilities

6. Transportation limits

7. Post-harvest losses

8. Abiotic stresses.

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Important Regional Organizations and Blocs

03rd June 2021

1.ASEAN ( Association of South-East Asian Nations)

  • It is a political and economic organization of 10 South-East Asian nations
  • Formed in 1967
  • Founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand
  • HQ: Jakarta, Indonesia

Current members are:

1. Indonesia
2. Malaysia
3. Philippines
4. Singapore
5. Thailand
6. Brunei
7. Cambodia
8. Laos
9. Myanmar (Burma)
10. Vietnam


  • Accelerating economic growth, social progress, and socio-cultural evolution among its members, Protection of regional stability
  • Providing a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully
  • ‘The ASEAN Way’ means : Doctrine that the member countries will largely mind their own business when it comes to internal matters of member countries
  • ASEAN Plus Three: Was created to improve existing ties with the China, Japan and South Korea.
  • If the ASEAN nations were a single country, their combined economy would rank the 7th largest in the world


  • Has and FTA with ASEAN (operational since 2010)

2.APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation)

  • It is a regional economic forum of 21 Pacific Rim countries
  • Established in 1989
  • HQ: Singapore
  • APEC’s 21 members aim to promote free trade throughout the Asia- Pacific region.
  • APEC account for about half the world’s trade and almost 60% of global trade
  • · It established in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world
  • To fears that highly industrialized Japan (a member of G8 ) would come to dominate economic activity in the Asia-Pacific region
  • To establish new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe
  • India has requested membership in APEC, and received initial support from the United States, Japan, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Officials have decided not to allow India to join for various reasons, considering that India does not border the Pacific Ocean, which all current members do. However, India was invited to be an observer for the first time in November 2011.

3. BBIN ( Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal)

  • It is a sub-regional architecture of these four countries.
  • Aims to formulate, implement and review quadrilateral agreements across areas such as water resources management, connectivity of power, transport, and infrastructure.

4. BCIM Bangladesh-China-Inida-Myanmar

  • Aim:  greater integration of trade and investment between the four countries
  • BCIM economic corridor is an initiative conceptualised for significant gains through sub-regional economic co-operation with BCIM
  • The multi-modal corridor will be the first expressway between India and China and will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh
  • BCIM evolved from ‘Kunming Initiative’

5.BIMSTEC ( Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation)


  • It is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia. Established in 1997 in Bangkok. Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand were founding members. Now it has seven members.
    Headquarters is in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Present members :
1.  Bangladesh
2.  India
3.  Myanmar
4.  Sri Lanka
5.  Thailand
6.  Bhutan
7.  Nepal

  • The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and south-east Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Commerce, investment, technology, tourism, human resource development, agriculture, fisheries, transport and communication, textiles, leather etc. have been included in it
  • BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for chairmanship

6.BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa )

  • Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC” (or “the BRICs”), before the induction of South Africa in 2010.
  • The BRICS members are all leading developing or newly industrialized countries, but they are distinguished by their large, sometimes fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional affairs; all five are G-20 members.
  • The five BRICS countries represent half of the world population; all five members are in the top 25 of the world by population.
  • The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states.
  • The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China. The first regional office of the NDB will be opened in Johannesburg, South Africa.

7. G4

  • Members : India, Brazil, Germany and Japan
    All members support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council
  • Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN’s establishment.
  • Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5)
  • G4 campaigns for U.N. Reforms, including more representation for developing countries, both in the permanent and non-permanent categories, in the UNSC

8.IBSA (for India-Brazil-South Africa )

  • All are Developing Democracies.
  • The forum provides the three countries with a platform to engage in discussions for cooperation in the field of agriculture, trade, culture, and defence among others.
  • IBSA was formalised and launched through the adopti on of the “Brasilia Declaration.
  • Brasilia Declaration (2003) : Approved urgent need for reforms in the United Nations, especially the Security Council.

9. G7

  • The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • The European Union is also represented within the G7.
  • These countries are the seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund.
  • G7 countries represent more than 64% of the net global wealth
    common denominator among members is the economy and long-term political motives

10.The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)

  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean.
  • The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
  • It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region. The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.
  • 21 member states : South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius,
    Seychelles, Iran, Oman, UAE, Yemen, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and Somalia.
  • Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar are not members
  • The organisation was first established as Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched in 1997 by the conclusion of a multilateral treaty known as the Charter of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation.

11.The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation

  • The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications.
  • It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Lao PDR.

12.Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

  • The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an ambitious, comprehensive, and high-standard trade and investment agreement being negotiated between the United States and the European Union (EU).
  • TTIP will help unlock opportunity for American families, workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers through increased access to European markets for Made-in-America goods and services. This will help to promote U.S. international competitiveness, jobs and growth.
  • Its main three broad areas are:
    • market access;
    • specific regulation; and
    • broader rules and principle s and modes of co-operation

13.Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), or Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • These countries, except for Uzbekistan had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation. On July 10, 2015, the SCO decided to admit India and Pakistan as full members.


  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional international organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include.









Sri Lanka.

  • SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world&#39;s population and 3.8% of the global economy. SAARC was founded in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 8th December, 1985.
  • Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration.
  • It launched the South Asian free trade area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.


  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental economic organization with 35 member countries, founded in 1960 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
  • The mission of the OECD is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
  • It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries.
  • The OECD headquarter at Paris, France. The OECD is funded by contributions from member states.







Czech Republic


















New Zealand




Slovak Republic






United Kingdom

United States


  • The G20 or Group of Twenty is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
  • It was founded in 1999 with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
  • It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization. The G20 heads of government or heads of state have periodically conferred at summits since their initial meeting in 2008, and the group also hosts separate meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors.
  • The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85 per cent of global gross domestic product and over 75 per cent of global trade.
  • The work of G20 members is supported by several international organisations that provide policy advice. The G20 also regularly engages with non-government sectors. Engagement groups from business (B20), civil society (C20), labour (L20), think tanks (T20) and youth (Y20) are holding major events during the year, the outcomes of which will contribute to the deliberations of G20 leaders.
  • The heads of the G20 nations met semi-annually at G20 summits between 2009 and 2010.
  • Since the November 2011 Cannes summit, all G20 summits have been held annually.


  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an intergovernmental organization of 13 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna.
  • Countries accounted for an estimated 42 % of global oil production and 73 % of the world’s oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by American-dominated multinational oil companies.
  • Two-thirds of OPEC’s oil production and reserves are in its six Middle Eastern countries that surround the oil-rich Persian Gulf.
  • The formation of OPEC marked a turning point toward national sovereignty over natural resources, and OPEC decisions have come to play a prominent role in the global oil market and international relations.


  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States (until January 23, 2017) and Vietnam.
  • The finalized proposal was signed on 4 February 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, concluding seven years of negotiations.
  • It currently cannot be ratified due to U.S. withdrawal from the agreement on 23 January 2017. The former Obama administration claimed that the agreement aimed to &quot;promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in the signatories; countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labour and environmental protections.
  • The TPP contains measures to lower both non-tariff and tariff barriers to trade, and establish an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)  mechanism.


Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

 Brunei

 Cambodia

 Indonesia

 Laos

 Malaysia

 Myanmar

 Philippines

 Singapore

 Thailand

 Vietnam and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements:

(Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).

RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. The agreement is scheduled to be finalized by the end of 2017. RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement which includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.

20. Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
  • The NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the  misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.
  • Currently, it has 48 members and works by consensus.
  • In 2008, the NSG participating governments agreed to grant India a “clean waiver” from its  existing rules, which forbid nuclear trade with a country which has not signed the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty (NPT).


  • India sought membership of the NSG in 2008, but its application hasn’t been decided on,  primarily because signing the NPT or other nuclear moratoriums on testing is a pre-requisite.
  • The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.
  • However, India has received a special waiver to conduct nuclear trade with all nuclear exporters.
  • India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan are among the four UN member states which have not signed the NPT, the international pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

21. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR):

  • It was established in April 1987 by G-7 countries – USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan, to check the spread of unmanned delivery systems capable of carrying nuclear weapons of above 500kg for more than 300km.
  • In 1992, it was extended for all types of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Now, it has 35 full members including India and 4 “non-adherent members” – Israel, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia.
  • China is not a member of this regime but it had verbally pledged to adhere to its original guidelines but not to the subsequent additions.
  • It is not a legally-binding treaty. Hence, no punitive measures could be taken against non-compliance to the guidelines of the regime.
  • It is a multilateral, consensus–based grouping of 35 member countries who are voluntarily committed to the non-proliferation of missiles capable of carrying chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
  • It controls the export of the technologies and materials involved in ballistic missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles particularly capable of carrying nuclear warheads of above 500kg  payload for more than 300 km.
  • This is a non–treaty association of member countries with certain guidelines about the information sharing, national control laws and export policies for missile systems and a rule-based regulation mechanism to limit the transfer of such critical technologies of these missile systems.

22. Australia Group

  • The Australia Group (AG) is an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical  or biological weapons.
  • Coordination of national export control measures assists Australia Group participants to fulfil their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention to the fullest extent possible.
  • This is achieved by members through the harmonisation of export controls like using licensing measures.
  • It was established in the background of use of chemical weapons (in the form of nerve agents and sulphur mustard) by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
  • Members: 42 countries + European Union
  • All member countries are members of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC) and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)


  • The Wassenaar Arrangement was established to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.
  • It was established in 1996 in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, which is near The Hague.
  • Members: 42 member states.
  • All permanent members of UN Security Council except China are its members.
  • Participating States seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.

24. International Organization for Migration (IOM)

  • As of September 2016, it became a related organization of the United Nations.
    Its headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.
  • With 169 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries,IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.
  • It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.
    India is a member of IOM.
  • IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including
    refugees and internally displaced people.
  • IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management:
    Migration and development.
    Facilitating migration.
    Regulating migration.
    Forced migration.

25. International Economic Association (IEA)

  • The IEA was founded in 1950 as a Non-Governmental Organization, at the instigation of the Social Sciences Department of UNESCO.
  • It has since its creation maintained information and consultative relations with UNESCO and is since 1973 a federated member of the International Social Science Council.
  • Its aim has been to promote personal contacts and mutual understanding among economists in different parts of the world through the organization of scientific meetings, through common research programs and by means of publications of an international character on problems of current importance.
  • The IEA is governed by a Council, composed of representatives of all Member Associations as well as a limited number of co-opted members.
  • The Council meets triennially when it reviews the general policy of the Association and elects the President and other Officers and members of the Executive Committee for a three-year term of office.
  • Amongst the past presidents of IEA were the Nobel Laureates Robert Solow, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz.


  • Established in June 2003, INDIA-BRAZIL-SOUTH AFRICA (IBSA) is a coordinating mechanism amongst three emerging countries, three multi-ethnic and multicultural democracies, which are
    determined to:
     Contribute to the construction of a new international architecture.
     Bring their voice together on global issues.
     Deepen their ties in various areas.
     It brings together three large democracies and major economies from three different continents namely, Africa, Asia and South America that represents three important poles for galvanizing South-  South cooperation.
  • IBSA also opens itself to concrete projects of cooperation and partnership with less developed countries.
  • The establishment of IBSA was formalized by the Brasilia Declaration of 6 June 2003.

27. International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

  • ICAN, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), was launched in 20017 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • ICAN seeks to shift the disarmament debate to focus on the humanitarian threat posed by nuclear weapons, drawing attention to their unique destructive capacity, their catastrophic health and environmental consequences, their indiscriminate targeting, the debilitating impact
    of a detonation on medical infrastructure and relief measures, and the long-lasting effects of radiation on the surrounding area.
  • In September 2006, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, itself awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, adopted a proposal at its biennial congress in Helsinki, Finland, to launch ICAN globally.

28. International Energy Forum (IEF)

  • IEF is the largest inter-governmental organisation in the field of oil and gas comprising 72 member countries, accounting for 90% of global supply and demand of the oil and gas.
  • Members include developing, developed, OPEC, Non-OPEC and G20 countries.
  • 18 of the G20 countries are members of IEF.
  • India is also a member of the forum.
  • The IEF is promoted by a permanent Secretariat based in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh, Saudi.

29. International Energy Agency (IEA)

  • Founded in 1974, the IEA was initially designed to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in the supply of oil, such as the crisis of 1973/4.
  • Members: Presently it has 30 member countries. India is the associate member of IAE.
  • Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.
  • Publications: World Energy Outlook report.
  • The four main areas of IEA focus are:
  1. Energy Security: Promoting diversity, efficiency, flexibility and reliability for all fuels and  energy sources;
  2. Economic Development: Supporting free markets to foster economic growth and eliminate energy poverty;
  3. Environmental Awareness: Analyzing policy options to offset the impact of energy production and use on the environment, especially for tackling climate change and air pollution; and
  4. Engagement Worldwide: Working closely with partner countries, especially major emerging economies, to find solutions to shared energy and environmental concerns.

30. Financial Action Task Force (FATF):

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was set up in 1989 by the western G7 countries, with headquarters in Paris.
  • The objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • It is therefore a ―policy-making body‖ which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • It is empowered to curtail financing of UN-designated terrorist groups.
    It can publicly sensor countries that are not abiding by it’s norms.
  • FATF has 37 members that include all 5 permanent members of the Security Council, and other countries with economic influence.
  • Two regional organisations, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Commission (EC) are also its members.
  • Saudi Arabia and Israel are observer countries (partial membership).
    India became a full member in 2010.

What are Regional Trading Blocs?

A regional trading bloc (RTB) is a co-operative union or group of countries within a specific geographical boundary. RTB protects its member nations within that region from imports from the non-members. Trading blocs are a special type of economic integration. There are four types of trading blocs −

Preferential Trade Area − Preferential Trade Areas (PTAs), the first step towards making a full-fledged RTB, exist when countries of a particular geographical region agree to decrease or eliminate tariffs on selected goods and services imported from other members of the area.

Free Trade Area − Free Trade Areas (FTAs) are like PTAs but in FTAs, the participating countries agree to remove or reduce barriers to trade on all goods coming from the participating members.

Customs Union − A customs union has no tariff barriers between members, plus they agree to a common (unified) external tariff against non-members. Effectively, the members are allowed to negotiate as a single bloc with third parties, including other trading blocs, or with the WTO.

Common Market − A ‘common market’ is an exclusive economic integration. The member countries trade freely all types of economic resources – not just tangible goods. All barriers to trade in goods, services, capital, and labour are removed in common markets. In addition to tariffs, non-tariff barriers are also diminished or removed in common markets.

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International organizations related to environment conservation

02nd June 2021

Earth System Governance Project (ESGP)

Established When and by Whom:  Developed under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. It started in January 2009.

Headquarter: The Earth System Governance Project Office is hosted at Lund University, Sweden.

Key Functions:

The Earth System Governance Project aims to contribute to science on the large, complex challenges of governance in an era of rapid and large-scale environmental change. 

The project seeks to create a better understanding of the role of institutions, organizations and governance mechanisms by which humans regulate their relationship with the natural environment

The Earth System Governance Project aims to integrate governance research at all levels. The project aims to examine problems of the ‘global commons’, but also local problems from air pollution to the preservation of waters, waste treatment or desertification and soil degradation

However, due to natural interdependencies local environmental pollution can be transformed into changes of the global system that affect other localities. Therefore, the Earth System Governance Project looks at institutions and governance processes both local and globally

The Earth System Governance Project is a scientific effort, but also aims to assist policy responses to the pressing problems of earth system transformation


Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Established When and by Whom: The Global Environment Facility was established in October 1991 as a $1 billion pilot program in the World Bank to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development.

Headquarter: Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America

Key Functions:

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.

Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment.

An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Funding: The GEF also serves as the financial mechanism for the following conventions:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury

India specific trivia:

*India has formed a permanent Constituency in the Executive Council of the GEF together with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. 

The Council Meetings are held semi-annually or as frequently necessary. At each meeting, the Council elects a Chairperson from among its members for the duration of that meeting. India’s Executive Director in the World Bank represents the GEF Council from our Constituency.

India is both a donor and a recipient of GEF. It has been a leading developing country participant in the GEF since its inception in 1991 and has played a major role in shaping the restructuring of the GEF. It had contributed US $ 6.0 million to the core fund in the GEF Pilot Phase.

India has pledged an amount of US $ 9.0 million towards the resources of each of the Five GEF replenishments. The total funds pledged so far amounts to US$ 51 million and an amount of US$ 48.75 million has been paid by December 2012 towards GEF replenishments.

Ministry of Finance is the political focal point while Ministry of Environment & Forests is the Operational Focal Point for the GEF Projects.


Global Green Growth Institute

Established When and by Whom: GGGI was first launched as a think tank in 2010 by Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and was later converted into an international treaty-based organization in 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil.

Headquarter: It is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea

Key Functions: GGGI works to produce three major outcomes: adoption and implementation of green growth plans; provision of research for policymakers; and private sector engagement in the implementation of the national green growth plans. The organization uses three approaches to achieve these outcomes: Green Growth Planning & Implementation (GGP&I), Knowledge Development & Management (KDM), and Public-Private Cooperation (PPC).

Funding: Funds are given by Contributing members. Contributing members are defined as Member countries that make a multi-year financial contribution of core funding of no less than USD 15 million over three years. Participating members are defined as Member countries that are not contributing members.

India specific trivia:

GGGI has been working in India to promote green growth and sustainable development since 2013.

GGGI has worked at national, state, and city levels to develop and implement green growth strategies that reconcile short-term priorities with long-term vision of higher economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion

At the state level, GGGI worked closely with the governments of Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh (HP), and Punjab to develop comprehensive green growth strategies together with each.

GGGI also supported each of the three state governments in adopting integrated analytical approaches to assess green growth challenges and prioritize opportunities across key sectors, including energy, water, agriculture, and forestry

Building on these strategies, in 2015, GGGI supported the state governments in implementing specific green growth opportunities by formulating detailed project proposals, policy implementation roadmaps, and capacity building initiatives.


KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation)

Established When and by Whom: KIMO was founded in August 1990 by four municipalities and from this modest start has grown in size to represent over 70 members in Belgium, Denmark, The Faroe Islands, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Headquarter: Esbjerg, Denmark

Key Functions:

  • KIMO is committed to the development of sustainable coastal communities by:
  • Preventing pollution of the seas and coastal waters of North Western Europe and preserving, improving and enhancing them for future generations
  • Protecting coastal communities from the impacts of marine pollution and climate change.
  • Representing its member local authorities and associated members at an international and national level.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Established When and by Whom:   It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland

Key Functions:

  • The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • IPCC reports cover all relevant information to understand the risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research.
  • Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute on a voluntary basis.
  • The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared, in two equal parts, between the IPCC and an American Environmentalist.

The aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to:

  1. Human-induced climate change,
  2. The impacts of human-induced climate change,
  3. Options for adaptation and mitigation.

Funding: The IPCC receives funding through the IPCC Trust Fund, established in 1989 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

India specific trivia: India will have its own climate change models to project the impact of global warming over the decades and these will form part of the forthcoming Sixth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports that is expected to be available in 2020.


International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Established When and by Whom: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation.

Founded in 1948, today IUCN the largest professional global conservation network. IUCN has more than 1,200 member organizations including 200+ government and 900+ non-government organizations.

Headquarter: The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

Key Functions: Conserving biodiversity is central to the mission of IUCN. The main areas of function are:

  1. Science  – the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
  2. Action – hundreds of conservation projects all over the world.
  3. Influence – through the collective strength of more than 1,200 government and non-governmental Member organizations.

Funding:  Funded by governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, member organisations and corporations.

More about the IUCN

Governance by a Council elected by member organizations every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Observer Status at the United Nations General Assembly.

India specific trivia:

  • India became a State Member of IUCN in 1969, through the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The IUCN India Country Office was established in 2007 in New Delhi.
  • IUCN India works with Members and Commissions to reduce ecosystem and species loss by providing the necessary tools and knowledge to value, conserve and use biodiversity sustainability; enhance governance and policy for better management of ecosystems and habitats, including protected areas; and address challenges related to poverty alleviation, food security and climate change.  


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Established When and by Whom: It was founded as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in 1972

Headquarter: Nairobi, Kenya

Key Functions:

  • It coordinates UN’s environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
  • Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy.
  • UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects
  • UNEP has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways
  • UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol
  • The International Cyanide Management Code, a program of best practice for the chemical’s use at gold mining operations, was developed under UNEP’s aegis.

Funding:  The three main sources of funding of UN Environment are the UN Regular Budget, the Environment Fund, the core funding that enables UN Environment to implement its global and regional work, and Earmarked Contributions.

India specific trivia: UN Environment has sponsored the development of solar loan programs, with attractive return rates, to buffer the initial deployment costs and entice consumers to consider and purchase solar PV systems.

The most famous example is the solar loan program sponsored by UN Environment helped 100,000 people finance solar power systems in India.

Success in India’s solar program has led to similar projects in other parts of the developing world like Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Mexico.


World Nature Organization (WNO)

Established When and by Whom:  WNO initiative was born in 2010 by states which are threatened by rising sea levels. The WNO Treaty officially entered into force on 1st May 2014.

Location : Geneva

Key Functions:

  • It is an intergovernmental organisation which promotes global environmental protection.
  • WNO acts as a centre of competence for environmental protection, green technologies and sustainability, and as a mediator and initiator, making available experience of practical applications and strategies, offering support on all issues related to responsible conduct as regards the natural environment and its resources and assisting States to benefit from efficient development and from scientific and technology transfer.
  • The World Nature Organization  promotes sustainable conduct as regards the natural environment, together with new, environments-friendly technologies, green economies and renewable energies.

India specific trivia: India is not a member

World Food Programme

Established When and by Whom:  The WFP was formally established in 1963 by the FAO and the United Nations General Assembly.

Headquarter: Rome

Key Functions:

  • The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.  
  • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
  • WFP has coordinated the five-year Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project which assists smallholder farmers by offering them opportunities to access agricultural markets and to become competitive players in the marketplace.

Funding:  The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors

India specific trivia: The World Food Programme has been working in India for over 50 years. In line with the developments in India, WFP has realigned its focus from a food aid provider to a catalytic partner to the Government of India, strengthening food-based social safety nets.


International Whaling Organization

Established When and by Whom:  The IWC was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington DC on 2nd December 1946.


Key Functions:

  • The preamble to the Convention states that its purpose is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.  
  • An integral part of the Convention is its legally binding ‘Schedule.’  The Schedule sets out specific measures that the IWC has collectively decided are necessary in order to regulate whaling and conserve whale stocks.
  • These measures include catch limits (which may be zero as it the case for commercial whaling) by species and area, designating specified areas as whale sanctuaries, protection of calves and females accompanied by calves, and restrictions on hunting methods. Unlike the Convention, the Schedule can be amended and updated when the Commission meets (a change requires at least three quarters majority agreement).
  • There are a number of reasons why changes to the Schedule may be necessary.  These include new information from the Scientific Committee, and variations in the requirements of aboriginal subsistence whalers.
  • The Commission also co-ordinates and, in several cases, funds conservation work on many species of cetacean. In addition to research, this includes building an international entanglement response capacity, working to prevent ship strikes, and establishment of Conservation Management Plans for key species and populations.  
  • The Commission has also adopted a Strategic Plan for Whalewatching to facilitate the further development of this activity in a way which is responsible and consistent with international best practice.

Funding:  Financial contributions from member governments form the IWC’s core income, but additional voluntary donations to support particular work programmes are generously made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industry bodies, and also by member governments.

India specific trivia: India is a Member


Bio-carbon Fund initiative

Established When and by Whom:  The BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) is a multilateral fund, supported by donor governments and managed by the World Bank. It is has been operational from 2013.

Headquarter: USA

Key Functions:

  • It seeks to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), and from sustainable agriculture, as well as smarter land-use planning, policies and practices.
  • The initiative will be managed by the BioCarbon Fund, a public-private program housed within the World Bank that mobilizes finance for activities that sequester or conserve carbon emissions in forest and agricultural systems.
  • The new Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes seeks to scale up land-management practices across large landscapes, including improved livestock management, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable forest management, with a focus on protecting forests and greening and securing supply chains.
  • It will engage a broader range of actors, including the private sector, initially through a portfolio of four to six programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Funding: Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States together committed $280 million – up to $135 million from Norway, $120 million from the U.K, and $25 million from the U.S. – as part of their efforts to slow climate change.


Arctic Council

Established When and by Whom: The Arctic Council was founded on the initiative of the Government of Finland in September 1989 where officials from the 8 Arctic Countries met in Rovaniemi, Finland, to discuss cooperative measures to protect the Arctic environment.

Headquarter: The location of the Secretariat was rotated biennially with the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Key Functions:

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

The main focus areas of the Arctic Council are:

  1. The Environment and climate change
  2. Bio-diversity
  3. Oceans
  4. The indigenous Arctic peoples

Funding: By member states

India specific trivia: India is an Observer State

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GI Tags in News

01st June 2021

Geographical Indications in India

  • A Geographical Indication is used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
  • This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.
  • Recently the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry has launched the logo and tagline for the Geographical Indications (GI) of India.
  • The first product to get a GI tag in India was the Darjeeling tea in 2004.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) is a sui generis Act for the protection of GI in India.
  • India, as a member of the WTO, enacted the Act to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Geographical Indications protection is granted through the TRIPS Agreement.

Two well-known products from Tamil Nadu — Dindigul lock and Kandangi Saree — have been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by The Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.

Dindigul lock

  • The Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city is called Lock City.
  • Government institutions such as prisons, godowns, hospitals, and even temples use these locks instead of other machine-made ones.
  • The application for the lock was made by the Dindigul Lock, Hardware and Steel Furniture Workers Industrial Co-operative Society Limited.
  • More than 3,125 lock manufacturing units are limited to an area of 5 km in and around Dindigul.
  • The abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the industry.
  • There are over 50 varieties of locks made by the artisans using raw materials such as MS flat plates and brass plates procured from the nearby towns, including Madurai and Salem.

The Kandangi sarees

  • The Kandangi sarees are manufactured in the entire Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district.
  • They are characterised by large contrast borders and some are known to have borders covering as far as two-thirds of the saree which is usually around 5.10 m-5.60 m in length.
  • Worn in summer, these cotton sarees are usually bought by customers in bulk.
  • The Amarar Rajeev Gandhi Handloom Weavers Co-operative Production and Sales Society Limited filed the application for the Kandangi saree.

Palani Panchamirtham

  • PalaniPanchamirtham, an abishegaPrasadam, from Palani Town is one of the main offerings in the Abisegam of Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy, the presiding deity of the Temple.
  • It is a combination of five natural substances, namely, banana, jaggery sugar, cow ghee, honey and cardamom in a definite proportion.
  • It is prepared in a natural method without addition of any preservatives or artificial ingredients and is well known for its religious fervour and gaiety.
  • This is the first time a temple ‘prasadam’ from Tamil Nadu has been bestowed with the GI tag.


  • Tawlhlohpuan, a medium to heavy, compactly woven, good quality fabric from Mizoram is known for warp yarns, warping, weaving & intricate designs that are made by hand.
  • Tawlhloh, in Mizo language, means ‘to stand firm or not to move backward’. Tawlhlohpuan, which holds high significance in the Mizo society, is produced throughout the state of Mizoram, Aizawl and Thenzawl town being the main centre of production.

Mizo Puanchei

  • Mizo Puanchei, a colourful Mizo shawl/textile, from Mizoram, is considered as the most colourful among the Mizo textiles.
  • It is an essential possession for every Mizo lady and an important marriage outfit in the state.
  • It is also the most commonly used costume in Mizo festive dances and official ceremonies.
  • The weavers insert the designs and motifs by using supplementary yarns while weaving to create this beautiful and alluring textile.

Tirur betel vine

  • Tirur betel vine from Kerala is mainly cultivated in Tirur, Tanur, Tirurangadi, Kuttippuram, Malappuram and Vengara block panchayaths of Malappuram District.
  • It is valued both for its mild stimulant action and medicinal properties.
  • Even though it is commonly used for making pan masala for chewing, it has many medicinal, industrial and cultural usages and is considered as a remedy for bad breath and digestive disorders.

Panchamirtham’ of Palani temple gets GI tag

  • The famous Palani panchamirtham, given as ‘prasadam’ at the Murugan temple at Palani has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • This is the first time a temple ‘prasadam’ from Tamil Nadu has been given the GI tag.

About the Panchamirtham

  • It is sweet in taste and one of the main offerings for Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy, the presiding deity of Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, situated on Palani Hills.
  • The panchamirtham is a combination of five natural substances — banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey and cardamom.
  • Dates and diamond sugar candies are added for flavour.
  • The panchamirtham is an ‘abhishega prasadam’ (food that is a religious offering), which is served in a semi-solid state.
  • Not even a single drop of water is added during the preparation of the panchamirtham.
  • This gives it its classic semi-solid consistency and taste. No preservatives or artificial ingredients are used.


  • Pashmina is a fine type of cashmere wool. The textiles made from it were first woven in Kashmir.
  • The wool comes from a number of different breeds of the cashmere goat; such as the changthangi or Kashmir pashmina goat from the Changthang Plateau in Tibet and part of the Ladakh region and few parts of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Often shawls called shahmina are made from this material in Kashmir and Nepal; these shawls are hand spun and woven from the very fine cashmere fibre.
  • Traditional producers of pashmina wool are people known as the Changpa.

About Kodaikanal’s malai poondu Garlic

  • Also known by its scientific name Allium Sativum, this particular garlic is known for its medicinal and preservative properties. It is grown in the Kodaikanal Hills, Dindugul district.
  • It has anti-oxidant and anti-microbial potential, which is attributed to the presence of higher amount of organosulfur compounds, phenols and flavonoids compared to other garlic varieties.
  • Its usually white or pale yellow and each bulb weighs 20-30g on an average.
  • According to the GI application, Kodaikanal Hill Garlic cultivation is done twice in a year, once around May and for second time in November depending upon the suitability of the climate.
  • The hill altitude, the misty condition and the soil prevailing in the Kodaikanal region are responsible for its medicinal property and the long storage shelf life of the garlic.

Kolhapuri Chappal

  • According to the GI application made by the two states, Kolhapuris can be traced back to the 12th century King Bijjal who ruled Bidar in Karnataka.
  • His prime minister Vishwaguru Basavanna wanted to create a casteless society and remove the stigma associated with the cobbler community.
  • The community embraced Lingayat faith and used its creative skills to start producing footwear known equally for its ruggedness and regal bearing.
  • Brand Kolhapuri came into being only in the beginning of 20th century when the footwear began to be traded in Kolhapur.
  • Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (1874-1922) of Kolhapur encouraged its production and 29 tanning centres were opened during his rule in Kolhapur.

Kandhamal Haldi

  • Kandhamal in Odisha’s southern hinterland is famed for its turmeric, a spice that enjoys its pride of place in an array of cuisines.
  • The agricultural product also stands out for its healing properties and arresting aroma.
  • The GI tag was primarily developed with the purpose of recognising the unique identity connecting different products and places.
  • For a product to get GI tag it has to have a unique quality, reputation or characteristic which is attributable to its geographic origin. ‘Kandhamal Haldi’ has been placed under Class-30 type.

GI Tag for 5 Indian Coffee varieties

Coorg Arabica coffee 

  • It is grown specifically in the region of Kodagu district in Karnataka.

Wayanaad Robusta coffee 

  • It is grown specifically in the region of Wayanad district which is situated on the eastern portion of Kerala.

Chikmagalur Arabica coffee 

  • It is grown specifically in the region of Chikmagalur district and it is situated in the Deccan plateau, belongs to the Malnad region of Karnataka.

Araku Valley Arabica coffee 

  • It is coffee from the hilly tracks of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha region at an elevation of 900-1100 Mt MSL.
  • The coffee produce of Araku, by the tribals, follows an organic approach in which they emphasise management practices involving substantial use of organic manures, green manuring and organic pest management practices.

Bababudangiris Arabica coffee 

  • It is grown specifically in the birthplace of coffee in India and the region is situated in the central portion of Chikmagalur district.
  • Selectively hand-picked and processed by natural fermentation, the cup exhibits full body, acidity, mild flavour and striking aroma with a note of chocolate.
  • This coffee is also called high grown coffee which slowly ripens in the mild climate and thereby the bean acquires a special taste and aroma.

Sirsi Arecanut

  • It is cultivated in Yellapura, Siddapura and Sirsi taluks.
  • Totgars’ Cooperative Sale Society Ltd., Sirsi, is the registered proprietor of the GI.
  • The arecanut grown in these taluks have unique features like a round and flattened coin shape, particular texture, size, cross-sectional views, taste, etc.
  • These features are not seen in arecanut grown in any other regions.

Shahi Litchi

  • The lychee crop, which is available from May to June, is mainly cultivated in the districts of Muzaffarpur and surrounding districts.
  • Cultivation of litchi covers approximately an area of about 25,800 hectares producing about 300,000 tonnes every year.
  • India’s share in the world litchi market amounts to less than 1%.
  • The names of the litchi produced in Muzaffarpur are Shahi and China.
  • The fruits are known for excellent aroma and quality.

King of Mangoes gets GI tag

  • Alphonso from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts of  Maharashtra, is registered as Geographical Indication (GI).
  • The king of mangoes, Alphonso, better known as ‘Hapus’ in Maharashtra, is in demand in domestic and international markets not only for its taste but also for pleasant fragrance and vibrant colour.
  • It has long been one of the world’s most popular fruit and is exported to various countries including Japan, Korea and Europe.
  • New markets such as USA and Australia have recently opened up.

GI Tag for Telangana

  • The Chennai-based GI Registry gave Geographical Indication certificate for Warangal dhurries
  • The shatranji carpets and jainamaaz prayer mats are made in Warangal

Specialty of carpets

  • Bright colors, geometrically repetitive patterns and interlocking zigzag motifs in cotton and jute are the signature styles of the carpets
  • One of the newest innovations by the weavers here is an adaptation of tie-dyed ikat techniques and hand-painted or block-printed kalamkari designs for the dhurries to save time and energy.

Kalamkari Paintings

  • Kalamkari or qalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in Iran and
  • Its name originates in the Persian, which is derived from the words qalam (pen) and kari (craftsmanship),
    meaning drawing with a pen
  • There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India – the Srikalahasti style and the Machilipatnam
  • The Srikalahasti style of kalamkari, wherein the &quot;kalam&quot; or pen is used for freehand drawing of the
    subject and filling in the colors is entirely hand worked
  • The Pedana Kalamkari craft made at Pedana nearby Machilipatnam in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh,
    evolved with the patronage of the Mughals and the Golconda sultanate

MP gets GI tag for a chicken breed

  • Madhya Pradesh has received the Geographical Indications (GI) tag for Kadaknath, a chicken breed whose black meat is in demand in some quarters
  • The protein-rich meat of Kadaknath, chicks, and eggs are sold at a much higher rate than other varieties of chicken.

Gholvad Sapota

  • GI certification of Ghovad Sapota is held by Maharashtra Rajya Chikoo Utpadak Sangh and the fruit is known for its sweet and unique taste.
  • It is believed that the unique taste is derived from the calcium-rich soil of Gholvad village.
  • Currently, in the Palgahr district, around 5000 hectares of land is under sapota or plantation.
  • Sapota is grown in many states- Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Karnataka is known to be the highest grower of the fruit, followed by Maharashtra.

Shahi Litchi

  • India is the second-largest producer of litchi (Litchi chin) in the world, after China.
  • The translucent, flavored aril or edible flesh of the litchi is popular as a table fruit in India, while in China and Japan it is preferred in dried or canned form.
  • Shahi litchi was the fourth agricultural product to get GI certification from Bihar in 2018, after Jardalu mango, Katarni rice, and Magahi paan.
  • GI registration for Shahi Litchi is held with the Muzaffarpur-based Litchi Growers Association of Bihar.
  • Muzzafarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran, Begusarai districts and adjoining areas of Bihar have favorable climate for growing Shahi Litchi.

Channapatna Toys

  • Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys (and dolls) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna in the Ramanagara district of Karnataka.
  • This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the state govt.
  • As a result of the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru (toy-town) of Karnataka.
  • Traditionally, the work involved lacquering the wood of the Wrightia tinctoria tree, colloquially called Aale mara (ivory-wood).
  • Their manufacture goes back at least 200 years according to most accounts and it has been traced to the era of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the 18th century.
  • The toys are laced with vegetable dyes and colours devoid of chemicals and hence they are safe for children.

Sohrai Khovar painting

  • The Sohrai Khovar painting is a traditional and ritualistic mural art being practised by local tribal women in the area of Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.
  • The painting is primarily being practised only in the district of Hazaribagh. However, in recent years, for promotional purposes, it has been seen in other parts of Jharkhand.
  • It is prepared during local harvest and marriage seasons using local, naturally available soils of different colours in the area.
  • Traditionally painted on the walls of mud houses, they are now seen on other surfaces, too.
  • The style features a profusion of lines, dots, animal figures and plants, often representing religious iconography.
  • In recent years, the walls of important public places in Jharkhand, such as the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, and the Hazaribagh and Tatanagar Railway Stations, among others, have been decorated with these paintings.

Telia Rumal

  • Telia Rumal cloth involves intricate handmade work with cotton loom displaying a variety of designs and motifs in three particular colours — red, black and white.
  • The Rumal can only be created using the traditional handloom process and not by any other mechanical means as otherwise, the very quality of the Rumal would be lost.
  • During the Nizam’s dynasty, Puttapaka, a small, backward village of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh had about 20 families engaged in handloom weaving, who were patronized by rich families and the Nizam rulers.
  • The officers working in the court of the Nizam would wear the Chituki Telia Rumal as a symbolic representation of status.
  • Telia Rumals were worn as a veil by princesses at the erstwhile court of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and as a turban cloth by Arabs in the Middle East.


  • Chak-Hao, the scented glutinous rice which has been in cultivation in Manipur over centuries.
  • It is characterized by its special aroma. It is normally eaten during community feasts and is served as Chak-Hao kheer.
  • The application for Chak-Hao was filed by the Consortium of Producers of Chak-Hao (Black Rice), Manipur and was facilitated by the Department of Agriculture.
  • Chak-Hao has also been used by traditional medical practitioners as part of traditional medicine.
  • According to the GI application filed, this rice takes the longest cooking time of 40-45 minutes due to the presence of a fibrous bran layer and higher crude fibre content.
  • At present, the traditional system of Chak-Hao cultivation is practised in some pockets of Manipur.
  • Direct sowing of pre-soaked seeds and also transplantation of rice seedlings raised in nurseries in puddled fields are widely practised in the State’s wetlands.

Gorakhpur terracotta

  • The terracotta work of Gorakhpur is a centuries-old traditional art form, where the potters make various animal figures like, horses, elephants, camel, goat, ox, etc. with hand-applied ornamentation.
  • The application was filed by Laxmi Terracotta Murtikala Kendra in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Some of the major products of craftsmanship include the Hauda elephants, Mahawatdar horse, deer, camel, five-faced Ganesha, singled-faced Ganesha, elephant table, chandeliers, hanging bells etc.
  • The entire work is done with bare hands and artisans use natural colour, which stays fast for a long time.
  • There are more than 1,000 varieties of terracotta work designed by the local craftsmen.
  • The craftsmen are mainly spread over the villages of Aurangabad, Bharwalia, Langadi Gularia, Budhadih, Amawa, Ekla etc. in Bhathat and Padri Bazar, Belwa Raipur, Jungle Ekla No-1, Jungle Ekla No-2 in Chargawan block of Gorakhpur.

Kovilpatti kadalai mittai

  • It is a candy made of peanuts held together with glistening syrup, and topped with wisps of grated coconut dyed pink, green and yellow.
  • It is made using all natural ingredients such as the traditional and special ‘vellam’ (jaggery) and groundnuts and water from the river Thamirabarani is used in the production, which enhances the taste naturally.
  • It is manufactured in Kovilpatti and adjacent towns and villages in Thoothukudi district.
  • It is produced by using both groundnuts and jaggery (organic jaggery), in carefully selected quantities from selected specific locations in Tamil Nadu.


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Important Sessions of Indian National Congress

31st May 2021

Leaders of the session

  • Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was the president of the first session of the Indian National Congress.
  • Annie Beasant was the first female President of the Indian National Congress.
  • Sarojini Naidu was the first Indian woman president of the Indian National Congress.
  • Badruddin Tyabji was the first Muslim President of the Indian National
  • Rahimtulla Sayani was the second Muslim President of the Indian National
  • George Yule was the first European President of the Indian National Congress.
  • Dadhabhai Naoroji was the first Parsi President of the Indian National Congress.
  • Sankaran Narayan was the first & the only Keralite President of the Indian National Congress Session.
  • Hakim Ajmal Khan was the only person to be appointed as the President of INC, All India Muslim League & All India Khilafat Committee.

Year and Place



Bombay, 1885

W C Bonnerjee

This was the first session. 72 delegates attended it.

Calcutta, 1886

Dadabhai Naoroji

National Congress and National Conference were merged. 

Madras, 1887

Syed Badruddin Tyabji

607 delegates attended this.

An appeal made to Muslims to join hands with other national leaders

Calcutta, 1896

Rahimtullah M. Sayani

National song ‘Vande Mataram’ was sung for the first time

Benares, 1905

Gopal Krishna Gokhale

Resentment was shown against the partition of Bengal

Calcutta, 1906

Dadabhai Naoroji

The word ‘swaraj’ was mentioned for the first time.

Surat, 1907

Rash Behari Ghosh

The ‘Surat Split’- Party splits into extremists and moderates

Lahore, 1909

Madan Mohan Malaviya

Disapproval was expressed over the separate electorates on basis of religion as given in Indian Councils Act, 1909.

Calcutta, 1911

Bishan Narayan Dar

National anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was sung for the first time

Lucknow, 1916

Ambica Charan Mazumdar

Lucknow Pact was signed.

The extremists and moderates reunited.

Calcutta, 1917

Annie Besant

She was the first woman president of the INC

Amritsar, 1919

Motilal Nehru

The Jallianwalla Bagh massacre was condemned.

Khilafat Movement was boosted

Belgaum, 1924

M K Gandhi

Kanpur, 1925

Sarojini Naidu

Lahore, 1929

Jawaharlal Nehru

This was an iconic session. 

Resolution for ‘Poorna Swaraj’ was passed.

 Civil Disobedience movement was launched.

Gandhi- Irwin pact was endorsed.

Karachi, 1931

Vallabhbhai Patel

The Congress adopted a resolution on Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy

Haripura, 1938

Subhas Chandra Bose

National Planning Committed set-up under J.L Nehru

Tripuri, 1939

Subhas Chandra Bose

Bose had to resign due to differences with Gandhi

Meerut, 1946

Acharya Kripalani

Last session before independence

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Species In News

27th May 2021

Balsams of Eastern Himalayas

  • Consisting of both annual and perennial herbs, balsams
    are succulent plants with high endemism.
  • Because of their bright beautiful flowers, these groups of
    plants are of prized horticultural significance.
  • The details of the new species, including several new
    records, have been highlighted in the book, recently published by the Botanical Survey of India.
  • Of the 83 species described, 45 are from Arunachal Pradesh,
    24 from Sikkim and 16 species common to both states.
  • Prior to 2010, specimens of Impatiens that had potential
    of being identified as new species would be collected but
    the dried-up specimens looked identical to the species
    discovered earlier and their effort yielded no results.
  • Other than high endemism, what sets Impatiens apart is
    their sensitivity to climate change.
  • Most of the species of Impatiens cannot endure persistent
    drought or extended exposure to direct sunlight.
  • As a result Impatiens species are typically confined
    to stream margins, moist roadsides, waterside boulders, near waterfalls and wet forests.

Miracle Plant Arogyapacha

  • This ‘miracle plant’ is known for its traditional use by the
    Kani tribal community to combat fatigue.
  • Studies have also proved its varied spectrum of pharmacological properties such as anti-oxidant, aphrodisiac, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-tumour, anti-ulcer, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepatoprotective and anti-diabetic.

Dracaena Cambodiana: India’s first dragon blood-oozing tree

  • A group of researchers has discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in the Dongka Sarpo area of West Karbi Anglong, Assam.
  •  This is the first time that a dragon tree species has been
    reported from India.
  • In India, the Dracaena genus belonging to the family Asparagaceae is represented by nine species and two varieties in the Himalayan region, the northeast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • But Dracaena cambodiana is the only true dragon tree species.
  • The Dracaena seeds are usually dispersed by birds. But due
    to the large fruit size, only a few species of birds are able
    to swallow the fruits, thus limiting the scope of its nature

7 New Species Of Insects That Can Walk On Water Discovered

  • The newly described species belong to the genus Mesovelia
    whose size ranges from 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm and are equipped
    with hydrophobic setae (bristles) on their legs.
  • The combination of hydrophobic setae and water surface
    tension prevents them from sinking.
  • The insects are pale green with silver-white wings with
    black veins on the basal half which make them stand out
    over the green mat of aquatic weeds.
  • Among the new discoveries, Mesovelia andamana is from
    Andaman Islands, bispinosa and M. isiasi are from Meghalaya, M. occulta and M. tenuia from Tamil Nadu and M.brevia and M. dilatata live both in Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu.


  •  These bugs are hemimetabolous insects without having
    larval stage i.e., they go from egg to nymph to adult.
  • They are found on freshwater bodies such as ponds, lakes,
    pools, streams, rocks with moss and sometimes on estuaries.
  • These bugs serve as predators and scavengers (feed on
    midges, water fleas, feed on dead and dying mosquitoes),
    thereby removing organic waste and also providing a natural sanitation service.
  • The females of Mesovelia are larger than males and dig
    several holes on plants and insert eggs in plant tissues with
    a specially adapted long serrated ovipositor (genital organ).

Emperor Penguin Colony In Antarctica Vanishes

  • The emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the tallest
    and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic
    to Antarctica.
  • Like all penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body,
    and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat.
  • Its diet consists primarily of fish, but also includes crustaceans, such as krill, and cephalopods, such as squid.
  • The only penguin species that breeds during the Antarctic winter, emperor penguins trek 50–120 km over the ice to breeding colonies which can contain up to several thousand individuals.
  • In 2012 the emperor penguin was uplisted from a species of least concern to near threatened by the IUCN.

Arctic Kelp Forests

  • Kelp is a type of large brown seaweed that grows in shal-low, nutrient-rich saltwater, near coastal fronts around the world.
  • They occur on rocky coasts throughout the Arctic.
  • Kelp is a type of large brown seaweed that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich saltwater, near coastal fronts around the world.
  • They occur on rocky coasts throughout the Arctic.
  • The longest kelp recorded in the Arctic in Canada was
    15 metres, and the deepest was found at 60-metre depth
    (Disko Bay, Greenland).
  • Kelps function underwater in the same way trees do on land.
    They create habitat and modify the physical environment by shading light and softening waves.
  • The underwater forests that Kelps create are used by many
    animals for shelter and food.More than 350 different species – up to 100,000 small invertebrates – can live on a single kelp plant, and many fish, birds and mammals depend on the whole forest.
  • Kelp forests also help protect coastlines by decreasing the
    power of waves during storms and reducing coastal erosion.

Neelakurinji Blossom

  • Kurinji or Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthianus) is a shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India
  • Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish-blue flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms only once in 12 years.
  • It is the most rigorously demonstrated, with documented bloomings in 1838, 1850, 1862, 1874, 1886, 1898, 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018
  • Some Kurinji flowers bloom once every seven years, and then die. Their seeds subsequently sprout and continue the cycle of life and death.

Kashmir Stag (Hangul)


  • Hangul, the state animal of Jammu & Kashmir, is restricted to the Dachigam National Park some 15 km north-west of Jammu & Kashmir summer capital Srinagar.
  • The Hangul is placed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and the J&K Wildlife Protection Act, 1978.
  • The Hangul was once widely distributed in the mountains of Kashmir and parts of Chamba district in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.
  • The IUCN’s Red List has classified it as Critically Endan-gered and is similarly listed under the Species Recovery Programme of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the Environmental Information System (ENVIS) of the MoEFCC.
  • From a population of 5,000 in the early 1900s, the Hangul’s numbers have constantly declined over the decades.
  • The Hangul is considered equally significant to the state of Jammu & Kashmir as the tiger is to the whole of India.
  • The Paliyan tribal people living in Tamil Nadu used it as a reference to calculate their age.
  • It is the only Asiatic survivor or subspecies of the European red deer.
  • But the state animal’s decreasing population remains a big concern.
  • According to the latest survey in 2017, the population of Hangul is 182 in Dachigam and adjoining areas. Earlier population estimates suggest that there were 197 deer in 2004 and 186 in 2015. T
  • The IUCN Red Data Book — which contains lists of species at risk of extinction — has declared the Hangul as one of three species that were critically endangered in J&K.
  • The other two are the Markhor — the world’s largest species of wild goat found in Kashmir and several regions of central Asia — and the Tibetan antelope or ‘Chiru’.

Great Indian Bustard

  • The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is one of the few species that the Government of India has included in its ‘recovery programme for critically endangered species’.
  • With less than 200 GIBs remaining in the world, most of them were found in Rajasthan’s ‘Desert National Park’. We are on the brink of forever losing a majestic bird species, which was once a strong contender to be declared as India’s National Bird.
  • Habitat: Arid and semi-arid grasslands, open country with thorn scrub, tall grass interspersed with cultivation.
  • It avoids irrigated areas. It is endemic to Indian Sub-continent. found in central India, westem India and eastern Pakistan.
  • Currently, it is found in only six states in the country Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Protection: Listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • It is also listed in Appendix I of CITES and covered under CMS or Bonn Convention.
  • Bustard Species Found in India: Great Indian Bustard, the Lesser Florican and the Bengal Florican; Houbara also belong to Bustard family but it’s a migratory species.
  • Importance to Ecosystem: GIB is an indicator species for grassland habitats and its gradual disappearance from such environments shows their deterioration. Once the species is lost. there will be no other species to replace it, and that will destabilise the ecosystem of the grassland and affect critical bio-diversities, as well as blackbucks and wolves, who share their habitat with the GIB.
  • Consemation Steps: Great Indian Bustard, popularly known as ‘Godawan is Rajasthan’s state bird. The state government has started “Project Godawan” for its conservation at Desert National Park (DNP) in Jaisalmer. It’s one of the Spades for The Recovery Programme under the Integrated Development of  Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Tasmanian Tiger

  • The Tasmanian tiger or thylacine (a dog headed pouched dog) was an exclusively carnivorous marsupial that is considered to be extinct.
  • It has resemblance to a dog, with its distinguishing features being the dark stripes beginning at the rear of its body and extending into its tail, its stiff tail and abdominal pouch.
  • The last known thylacine died in captivity over 80 years ago, in Tasmania’s Hobart Zoo in 1936.
  • It may also be the only mammal to have become extinct in Tasmania since the European settlement.

Adratiklit boulahfa

  • Named Adratiklit boulahfa, it is also the first stegosaurus to be found in North Africa.
  • Its remains were discovered in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
  • The scientists believe it is not only a new species but also belongs to a new genus.
  • The name is derived from the words used by the Berber (an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa) for mountains (Adras), lizard (tiklit) and and the area where the specimen was found. (Boulahfa).


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Irrigation Application Methods and Sources and Methods of Irrigation

26th May 2021