August 2019
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Avoid Indiscriminate Use of Urea (3/3)

  1. Apply urea (N) in balance with P & K. Also, cater to the deficient secondary and micronutrients.
  2. Soil test-based fertilizer prescriptions have to be adopted.
  3. Neem oil coated urea should be preferred over prilled urea, especially for basal dressing.
  4. Losses of N are usually less when urea is top-dressed before irrigation.
  5. Modified N scheduling using leaf color chart (LCC) gives better N use efficiency in crops.

Avoid Indiscriminate Use of Urea (2/3)

  1. Because the Sarkar subsidises Urea + its indiscriminate use, we have adverse issues on soil, crop quality & overall ecosystem.
  2. Excessive use of urea leads to mining of soil nutrients that are not applied or applied inadequately, hence soil quality goes down.
  3. Nitrogen applied in excess of crop demand is lost through volatilization, denitrification and leaching. So what?
  4. Denitrification leads to climate change | Leaching leads to groundwater pollution.
  5. Insane use of nitrogen also reduces the N-use efficiency & hence we see lowering of net profits.

Avoid Indiscriminate Use of Urea (1/3)

  1. One of the serious 2nd gen. problems of Green Revolution – Constant decline in soil fertility status. Why?
  2. Nutrient removal by intensive cropping systems far-exceeds their replenishment through fertilizers and manures. What next?
  3. Farmers often use nitrogenous fertilizers & complex fertilizers (urea and DAP), ignoring the application of potash and other deficient nutrients.
  4. What are the cons of this?
  5. Multi-nutrient deficiencies of 6 varieties – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potash (K), Sulphur (S), Zinc (Zn) & Boron (B).

Soil Health Card – Aims & Objectives

  1. To provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
  2. To strengthen functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) through capacity building.
  3. To diagnose soil fertility related constraints with standardized procedures.
  4. To develop and promote soil test based nutrient management.
  5. Dissemination of soil testing results through SMSs will be enabled.
Soil Health Management – NMSA, Soil Health Card, etc.

Technology Based Initiatives in Agriculture Sector

  1. A new Centrally Sponsored Scheme = National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A).
  2. It was initially launched for only 7 states – Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh.
  3. Now being extended to all other states & UTs.
  4. The programme aims at a rapid development of agriculture in India through ICT enabled multiple delivery channels.

Long Term Strategy to increase productivity in Agriculture

  1. Major Crop Development Programmes in India – National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) & Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
  2. A total of 371 high yielding varieties of food crops developed by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS).
  3. National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal will help in revisiting milk standards in India.
  4. National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture by ICAR – A project to enhance climate resilience of Indian Agriculture.

Priority to Agriculture in Union Budget : 2015-16 (3/3)

  1. Min. of Agriculture has 3 broad departments
  2. Dept. of Agriculture and Cooperation | Dept. of Agricultural Research and Education & Dept. of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.
  3. The last one has a sort of minority stake with two schemes – Dairy Vikas Abhiyan & Blue Revolution (including inland and marine fisheries)

Priority to Agriculture in Union Budget : 2015-16 (2/3)

  1. What’s sarkar doing in terms of Financial help?
  2. Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) set up in NABARD gets Rs 25k cr
  3. Long Term Rural Credit Fund –  Rs 15K cr | Short Term Cooperative Rural Credit Refinance Fund -Rs 45K cr & Short Term RRB Refinance Fund – Rs 15K cr.
  4. Jaitley said that the Government is committed to supporting employment through MGNREGA.
  5. To increase the incomes of farmers, he emphasised upon the need for a National agricultural market.

Priority to Agriculture in Union Budget : 2015-16 (1/3)

  1. 2 major factors critical to agricultural production: soil & water.
  2. An ambitious Soil Health Card Scheme has been launched to improve soil fertility on a sustainable basis.
  3. Agriculture Ministry’s organic farming scheme – “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana”.
  4. What are we doing for water? Micro-irrigation | Watershed development & Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.

Land ‘Billed’

  1. The writer is an activist who brings forth the plight of displacement in the name of land acquisitions for development projects.
  2. Given that 90% of our coal, 50% of most minerals & prospective dam sites are mainly in Adivasi regions, there is likely to be a continuing tension on land acquisition.
  3. At the heart of the 2013 law was the provision of seeking the consent of those whose lands were to be acquired and of caring for those whose livelihoods would be destroyed in the process.
  4. The current ordinance undoes those provisions & comesa cross as a virtual resurrection of undiluted powers of “eminent domain”, which the 1894 law conferred on the state.
  5. He states that the SIA is the basic minimum requirement to keep the arbitrary land acquisitions under check.
  6. Prior consent of those who have occupied the lands is must for healthy development of business. It may appear to be time taking but any hasty push to acquire land costs even further more delays.
  7. He finds that the ever increasing pressure on cities and an industry producing very few jobs but high on ecological footprints cannot be persisted with in the longer run.
  8. It is in everybody’s interest to recall the proposed changes in the Land bill.

Google unveiled its long-awaited phone service, called Project Fi

  1. Through partnerships with TMobile and Sprint, Google via Project Fi becomes an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).
  2. Leverage the strongest possible network based on a consumer’s location & intelligently switch from one network to another as need be.
  3. Project Fi will automatically connect to more than one million free Wi-Fi hot spots if those signals are available
  4. It is part of a growing effort by the company to expand access to the Internet and make it more affordable.

Reserve Bank revises norms for priority sector lending

  1. Medium enterprises, Social infrastructure and Renewable energy would form part of priority sector in addition to the existing categories.
  2. The distinction between direct and indirect agriculture is dispensed with.
  3. There is no change in the target of 10% for weaker sections.
  4. Foreign banks, with 20 branches and above, already have priority sector targets and sub-targets for agriculture and weaker sections.
  5. Targets – Small & Marginal farmers within agriculture (8%) + Micro enterprises (7.5%)

SEBI warns unlisted firms of tough action

  1. Some 112 firms had issued securities without complying with the prescribed Companies Act and SEBI norms.
  2. So far in 2015 itself, SEBI has passed orders against more than 50 companies in such cases.
  3. This much wanted activism is coming at the wake of SEBI’s realisation that one single framework to consolidate listing obligations and disclosure requirements for listed entities across all these securities is important.

Ban on rubber import sought

  1. Kerala Finance Minister K. M. Mani has demanded that the Centre allocate Rs.500 crore for the stabilisation fund to procure excess rubber locally.
  2. Sought a revision in the import duty on rubber to 25% from the present 20%
  3. Rubber prices have fallen from Rs.240 a kg. last year to Rs.110 a kg., which is not at all remunerative.
  4. Main reason for the fall in rubber prices is import of rubber.

Gorkha Rifles complete 200 years of valiant service

  1. Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army known for their Khukris and their ‘Aayo Gorkhali’ battle cry complete 200 years of their raising.
  2. Currently there are about 30,000 Nepalese Gurkhas serving in the 7 Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army with their motto being: “Kafar hunu bhanda marnu ramro! (It’s better to die than be a coward!)”.
  3. Most of them come from 4 ethnic groups: Gurungs, Magars, Rais and Limbus.
  4. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, one of India’s greatest military commander, was an avowed admirer: “If a soldier says he is not afraid of death, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha.”

Asian giants promise jobs, trade to Africa

  1. 60 years after the Bandung Conference, China, Japan and India are opening their wallets to woo Asia and Africa.
  2. In 1955, the first large-scale Asian–African meeting = Bandung Conference was a meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent.
  3. The conference was an important step toward the Non-Aligned Movement.
  4. Cut to today, the NAM doctrine seems to have lost the sheen.
  5. Xi Jinping, announced duty free access to 97% items produced in the Least Developing Countries. Caveat? they should have diplomatic ties with China.
  6. Shinzo Abe said that Asian and African nations are no longer only Japan’s aid recipients but a partner in growth.
  7. Sushma also cited ‘Act East’ and ‘renewed Africa policies’.

Happy (25th) birthday to the Hubble Telescope!

  1. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched April 24, 1990, on the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
  2. Hubble has made more than 1.2 million observations since its inception!
  3. It takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at about 17,000 mph
  4. Has got no thrusters. To change pointing angles, it uses Newton’s third law by spinning its wheels in the opposite direction.