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Current Affairs 06 September 2023

CONTENTS

  1. UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability
  2. Laws governing forests of the Northeast
  3. UPI’s Impact on Shaping India’s Foreign Policy
  4. Global Fund Announces Price Reduction for Advanced HIV Drug TLD
  5. National Teachers Award 2023
  6. Study on Cells with Minimal Genes and Evolutionary Potential
  7. Gramodyog Vikas Yojana (GVY) program
  8. Zealandia

UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency Interoperability


Context:

Banks are enabling the interoperability of Unified Payments Interface’s (UPI) Quick Response (QR) code with their central bank digital currency (CBDC) or e₹ application.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. UPI QR Code-CBDC Interoperability: Simplifying Digital Transactions
  2. Understanding QR Codes
  3. The Role of Interoperability in CBDC Adoption
  4. What is E-rupee?

UPI QR Code-CBDC Interoperability: Simplifying Digital Transactions

Interoperability
  • UPI (Unified Payments Interface) QR code interoperability with the digital rupee (Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC) means that UPI QR codes can seamlessly work with CBDC apps.
  • Initially, users of the e₹ (retail digital rupee) had to scan a specific QR code for transactions.
  • Now, with the interoperability in place, payments can be made using a single QR code.
How e₹ Works:
  • The e₹ is stored in a digital wallet, which is linked to the user’s existing savings bank account.
  • UPI, on the other hand, is directly linked to the user’s bank account.
Benefits for Customers and Merchants:
  • The interoperability of UPI and CBDC streamlines transactions for both customers and merchants, eliminating the need to switch between multiple digital platforms.
  • Digital rupee users can make payments for everyday essentials like groceries and medicines by scanning any UPI QR code at any merchant outlet.
  • Merchants do not need a separate QR code to accept digital rupee payments; they can use their existing QR code.
  • If the merchant has a CBDC account, the payment will be settled in the CBDC wallet.
  • If the merchant lacks a CBDC account, customers have the option to make payments using UPI.
  • In essence, UPI QR code-CBDC interoperability simplifies digital transactions, making it convenient for users of the digital rupee and ensuring that merchants can accept payments seamlessly without the need for additional infrastructure.

Understanding QR Codes:

  • A Quick Response (QR) code is a pattern of black squares arranged on a white background. It can be scanned and read by imaging devices like cameras.
  • These codes contain information related to the item or application they are linked to.
  • QR codes provide a contactless payment channel, enabling businesses to receive payments directly into their bank accounts.
The Role of Interoperability in CBDC Adoption:
  • Interoperability between UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) is expected to boost the adoption of digital rupee.
  • UPI is currently a widely utilized payment method with more than 70 mobile apps and over 50 million merchants accepting UPI payments.
  • As of July, there were 1.3 million customers and 0.3 million merchants using the retail digital rupee (e₹-R).
  • Daily e₹-R transactions in July ranged from 5,000 to 10,000.
  • The seamless integration of CBDC with UPI will enhance the acceptance and usage of digital currencies in everyday transactions.

What is E-rupee?

  • E-rupee is the same as a fiat currency and is exchangeable one-to-one with the fiat currency. 
  • Only its form is different. It can be accepted as a medium of payment, legal tender and a safe store of value.
  • The digital rupee would appear as liability on a central bank’s balance sheet.
What are the types of e-rupee?

Based on the usage and the functions performed by the digital rupee and considering the different levels of accessibility, CBDC can be demarcated into two broad categories —

Retail CBDC

  • It is an electronic version of cash primarily meant for retail transactions.
  • It will be potentially available for use by all — private sector, non-financial consumers and businesses — and can provide access to safe money for payment and settlement as it is a direct liability of the central bank.
  • However, the RBI has not explained how e-rupee can be used in merchant transactions in the retail trade.

Wholesale CBDC

  • It is designed for restricted access to select financial institutions.
  • It has the potential to transform the settlement systems for financial transactions undertaken by banks in the government securities (G-Sec) segment, inter-bank market and capital market more efficiently and securely in terms of operational costs, use of collateral and liquidity management.
What are the forms of CBDC?

The central bank says e-rupee, or CBDC, can be structured as

Token-based CBDC

  • It would be a bearer instrument like banknotes, meaning whosoever holds the tokens at a given point in time would be presumed to own them.
  • In a token-based CBDC, the person receiving a token will verify that his ownership of the token is genuine.
  • A token-based CBDC is viewed as a preferred mode for CBDC-R as it would be closer to physical cash.

Account-based system

  • It would require maintenance of record of balances and transactions of all holders of the CBDC and indicate the ownership of the monetary balances.
  • In this case, an intermediary will verify the identity of an account holder.
  • This system can be considered for CBDC-W.
What’s the model for issuance?

There are two models for issuance and management of CBDCs under the RBI’s consideration —

Direct model (single tier model)

  • The central bank will be responsible for managing all aspects of the digital rupee system such as issuance, account-keeping and transaction verification.

Indirect model (two-tier model).

  • An indirect model would be one where the central bank and other intermediaries (banks and any other service providers), each play their respective role.
  • In this model, the central bank will issue CBDC to consumers indirectly through intermediaries and any claim by consumers will be managed by the intermediary.
What are the advantages of e-rupee?
  • Reduction in operational costs involved in physical cash management,
  • It will foster financial inclusion,
  • It will bring resilience, efficiency and innovation in the payments system.
  • It will add efficiency to the settlement system and boost innovation in cross-border payments space and provide the public with uses that any private virtual currencies can provide, without the associated risks.

-Source: Indian Express


Laws Governing Forests of the Northeast


Context:

On August 22, the Mizoram Assembly passed a resolution unanimously to oppose the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023. This amendment permits the use of forest land for various projects within 100 km of India’s international borders without the need for forest clearance. The Mizoram Assembly’s move is aimed at safeguarding the rights and interests of its people. This amendment affects most of India’s Northeast. Nagaland is expected to follow suit in the coming week, facing similar demands to oppose the amendment. Notably, even states like Tripura, Mizoram, and Sikkim, governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or its allies, have expressed their opposition to the 100-km exemption clause.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Is FCA Applicable to the Northeast?
  2. Understanding RFA and Its Impact
  3. FRA Act and Protecting Forests in Northeast India

Is FCA Applicable to the Northeast?

Constitutional Protections for Northeast States

  • Article 371A for Nagaland and 371G for Mizoram offer constitutional protections.
  • Laws enacted by Parliament affecting customary law, land, and resources need Assembly approval.

Application of FCA in Nagaland

  • In 1986, Nagaland extended FCA to government forests and certain wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Controversy arose over the applicability of FCA.
  • Home Ministry initially said FCA doesn’t apply as per land resources.
  • Environment Ministry later contradicted this, leading to no FCA clearances since 1980.

Application of FCA in Mizoram

  • Mizoram gained statehood in 1986 with Article 371G extension, including FCA.
  • Autonomous District Councils’ powers don’t extend to reserved forests.
  • FCA covers 84.53% of notified forests, with some receiving FCA clearance.

FCA in the Rest of Northeast

  • FCA applies in Meghalaya, Tripura, Sixth Schedule Areas in these states, and Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur.
  • Arunachal Pradesh leads in FCA clearances, followed by Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Meghalaya.

Understanding RFA and Its Impact

FCA and Forest Diversions

  • Over 1 million hectares of forest diverted under FCA since 1980.
  • FCA’s aim: Forest deforestation as per Indian Forest Act 1927.

Expansion of “Forest Land”

  • Supreme Court, in 1996 Godavarman case, broadened “forest land” in FCA.
  • Now includes any area marked as forest, regardless of ownership.
  • Includes unclassed forests, recorded but not notified.

Recorded Forest Area (RFA) in Northeast

  • Over half of Northeast is RFA.
  • RFA has 53% unclassed forests, governed by local customary laws.
  • Rest are notified forests controlled by State Forest Departments.

Variation in RFA in Northeast

  • RFA varies from 34.21% in Assam to 82.31% in Sikkim.
  • Mizoram (35.48%), Meghalaya (42.34%), Nagaland (53.01%), Arunachal Pradesh (61.55%), Manipur (78.01%), Tripura (60.02%).

Impact of 1996 SC Order

  • SC’s 1996 order applies FCA to unclassed forests nationwide.

Forests Outside RFA

  • Some forests aren’t recorded or surveyed.
  • Assam (38.5%), Nagaland (29%), Mizoram (1.5%).

FRA Act and Protecting Forests in Northeast India

Inclusion of “Forest Land”

  • FRA Act 2006 defines “forest land” broadly, following 1996 Supreme Court redefinition.
  • Encompasses various types of forests, including unclassified and protected ones.

Provisions in FRA

  • FRA includes a provision allowing recognition of rights under state laws, autonomous district council laws, or traditional tribal customs.
  • Northeastern states have not fully implemented the FRA, except Assam and Tripura.

Mizoram’s Case

  • Mizoram initially extended FRA in 2009 but later declared it irrelevant in 2019 due to a lack of claims.
  • Mentioned the Ministry of Tribal Affairs’ refusal to sanction funds as a reason.

Nagaland’s Status

  • Nagaland Assembly is still deliberating whether to implement the FRA as per Article 371A.
Protecting Forests
  • The Environment Ministry mandated FRA compliance for forest diversion proposals in 2009.
  • However, the 2022 Forest Conservation Rules shifted this compliance requirement to later stages.
  • States can enforce mandatory FRA fulfillment before recommending forest diversion and ensure Gram Sabha consent.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs can issue legally enforceable directions or enact a separate law to recognize and settle forest rights when forests are diverted and dwellers are relocated.

Ensuring Tenurial Security

  • States and the Tribal Affairs Ministry have a role in providing tenurial security to forest-dwellers while protecting forests.

-Source: The Hindu


UPI’s Impact on Shaping India’s Foreign Policy


Context:

India’s United Payments Interface (UPI) has achieved a milestone by surpassing 10 billion transactions, showcasing its robust growth with a year-on-year increase of over 50%. This not only reflects domestic success but also underscores its significance in foreign policy, highlighting India’s digital strength. UPI had initially crossed the 1 billion monthly transaction mark in October 2019.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. How UPI Influences India’s Foreign Policy
  2. What is India Stack?

How UPI Influences India’s Foreign Policy

Leadership in the Global South

  • India seeks to establish leadership in the Global South through innovative digital governance.

Digital Public Infrastructure vs. Physical Infrastructure

  • India’s focus on Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) distinguishes it from China’s emphasis on physical infrastructure development in developing nations.

Sharing India Stack with Partner Nations

  • Since June 2023, India has entered agreements with countries like Armenia, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Antigua & Barbuda, and Papua New Guinea to share its India Stack.

UPI’s International Expansion

  • UPI has expanded to global markets like France, UAE, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, with Japan, Mauritius, and Saudi Arabia expressing interest in adopting the payment system.

Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR)

  • India intends to create the GDPIR, enabling the global sharing of DPI practices among G20 members and beyond.

Economic Diplomacy

  • UPI’s success attracts foreign investments and partnerships, bolstering India’s economic diplomacy endeavors and enhancing bilateral relationships.

What is India Stack?

Digital Infrastructure for India’s Challenges

  • India Stack is a collection of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) designed to address India’s complex issues by facilitating presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery.

Government-Led Initiative

  • It’s a government-led initiative aimed at creating a robust digital infrastructure to enable various digital services across sectors.

Multi-Agency Ownership

  • Various agencies own and maintain different components of India Stack.

Enhancing Digital Services

  • India Stack aims to streamline and improve identity verification, data exchange, and digital payment processes, making them more accessible and efficient for citizens.

Digital Public Goods

  • It includes digital public goods, offering digital resources and tools to support diverse digital services and initiatives.
Three Key Layers

Identity Layer (Aadhaar)

  • Aadhaar, issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), is at the core of India Stack, providing digital identity solutions.
  • It’s a proof of residence, not citizenship, and doesn’t grant domicile rights.

Payments Layer (UPI)

  • UPI ensures interoperability among payment custodians, payment rails, and front-end payment applications.
  • Managed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), UPI is licensed to third-party entities like PhonePe, Google Pay, and Paytm.

Data Governance Layer

  • Digital Locker, based on Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA), incorporates a consent management system for secure information sharing in financial, health, and telecom services.
Versatile Application
  • India Stack’s vision extends beyond India; it can be applied globally, whether in developed or emerging nations.

-Source: Indian Express


Global Fund Announces Price Reduction for Advanced HIV Drug TLD


Context:

The Global Fund has struck a deal with generic drug manufacturers to reduce the cost of the advanced HIV drug Tenofovir disoproxil, Lamivudine, and Dolutegravir (TLD).

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)?
  2. What are the current treatments for HIV?
  3. Key Highlights of the Global Fund’s Deal
  4. About the Global Fund
  5. Tenofovir disoproxil, Lamivudine, and Dolutegravir (TLD)

What is Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)?

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.
  • It harms your immune system by destroying a type of white blood cell that helps your body fight infection.
  • This puts you at risk for serious infections and certain cancers.
AIDS
  • AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • It is the final stage of infection with HIV.
  • It happens when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus. Not everyone with HIV develops AIDS.
HIV can spread in different ways:
  • Through unprotected sex with a person with HIV. This is the most common way that it spreads.
  • By sharing drug needles
  • Through contact with the blood of a person with HIV
  • From mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding
Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers

What are the current treatments for HIV?

  • Although there are no cures for the infection at present, the disease can be managed using antiretroviral therapy.
  • These medicines suppress the replication of the virus within the body, allowing the number of CD4 immune cells to bounce back.
  • Although earlier the drugs were given only to those with low CD4 count under the government’s programme, now the programme supports anyone who has been diagnosed with HIV.
  • The drugs have to be taken for life because the virus continues to persist in reservoirs across the body. If the drugs are stopped, the virus can again start replicating and spreading.
  • When the viral levels are low, the likelihood of a person transmitting the infection is also low.
  • If left untreated, the virus destroys a person’s immune system and they are said to be in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome stage (AIDS) where they get several opportunistic infections that may result in death.
  • Although there is no vaccine for HIV, there are Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) medicines that can be taken by people at high risk of contracting the infection. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 per cent.

Key Highlights of the Global Fund’s Deal

  • The deal will reduce the cost of the advanced HIV drug Tenofovir disoproxil, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir (TLD) by 25%.
  • This reduction will enable the provision of TLD for less than USD 45 per person per year.
  • The lower pricing of TLD will facilitate the expansion of treatment programs, potentially reaching an additional 19 million people living with HIV in resource-limited areas.

About the Global Fund:

  • The Global Fund is a global initiative established in 2002 to combat HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria and promote a healthier, more equitable future worldwide.
  • It operates on a three-year funding cycle, providing greater predictability in the fight against these diseases.
  • Funding is contributed by governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations to support its mission.

Global Fund’s Mission:

  • Raise and invest USD 4 billion annually to combat the deadliest infectious diseases, address the underlying injustices, and strengthen healthcare systems in over 100 countries.

Global Fund Strategy (2023-2028):

  • The primary objective of the strategy is to eliminate AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, with a specific emphasis on making transformative investments and harnessing innovations to accelerate progress in reducing new infections.

Tenofovir disoproxil, Lamivudine, and Dolutegravir (TLD)

  • A TLD, or Tablet TLD, stands for a fixed-dose combination of three antiretroviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV.
  • These three drugs are Tenofovir, Lamivudine, and Dolutegravir.
  • Tablet TLD is considered the primary treatment for over 85% of HIV cases.
  • It is highly recommended by the World Health Organization as the preferred first-line HIV treatment for both adults and adolescents.
  • This combination of antiretroviral drugs is known for its ability to rapidly suppress the HIV virus, causing fewer side effects and being convenient to administer.

-Source: The Hindu


National Teachers Award 2023


Context:

Recently, the Prime Minister of India interacted with the winners of the National Teachers’ Award 2023 on the eve of Teachers’ Day.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Teachers’ Award
  2. Significance of Teacher’s Day in India
  3. About Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

National Teachers’ Award

The National Teachers’ Award is a prestigious recognition in India with the following key aspects:

Celebrating Exceptional Educators:

  • The primary objective of the National Teachers’ Award is to celebrate the exceptional contributions of some of the country’s finest educators.
  •  It aims to acknowledge and honor those teachers who, through their unwavering dedication and commitment, have not only elevated the quality of education but have also positively impacted the lives of their students.

Presidential Recognition:

  • These awards hold significant importance as they are conferred by the President of India.
  • This recognition is a testament to the outstanding work of the teachers.
Components of the Award: The awards include several components:
  • Silver Medal: A symbol of distinction and achievement.
  • Certificate: Recognizing the recipient’s excellence in the field of education.
  • Cash Prize: A cash award of Rs. 50,000, which serves as both an appreciation and an encouragement for the recipient’s continuous contributions.

Award Ceremony Date:

  • The awards are presented on the 5th of September, a significant date as it coincides with Teacher’s Day in India, which marks the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a renowned philosopher and India’s second President.
Expanded Recognition:
  • In recent developments, the scope of the National Teachers’ Award has been expanded.
  • Initially, it included teachers selected by the Department of School Education & Literacy.
  • Now, it encompasses educators chosen by the Department of Higher Education and the Ministry of Skill Development.
  • This expansion recognizes excellence in teaching across various educational domains, further highlighting the diverse contributions of outstanding educators.

Significance of Teacher’s Day in India

Honoring Educators:

  • Teacher’s Day, observed annually on the 5th of September since 1962, serves as a special occasion to express gratitude and respect towards educators.
  •  It is a day dedicated to recognizing the significant contributions of teachers, researchers, and professors in India.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:

  • The idea of celebrating Teacher’s Day in India is closely linked to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a prominent philosopher, statesman, and scholar.
  • He was serving as the President of India at that time.

Origin of the Celebration:

  • The tradition of celebrating Teacher’s Day on Dr. Radhakrishnan’s birthday was initiated in response to the earnest requests of students.
  • Dr. Radhakrishnan, being an esteemed academician himself, suggested that instead of celebrating his birthday, which falls on the 5th of September, as a special day in his honor, it should be dedicated to honoring teachers and their vital role in shaping the nation’s future.

About Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:

  • Birth: Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, in Tiruttani, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • Academic Journey: He pursued his studies in philosophy at Christian College, Madras, and later went on to become a professor at prestigious institutions like Madras Presidency College and the University of Mysore.
  • Diverse Roles: Dr. Radhakrishnan held several significant positions in his lifetime. He served as the first Vice-President of India from 1952 to 1962 and subsequently as the second President of India from 1962 to 1967. He also represented India as Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1949 to 1952 and served as the fourth Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University from 1939 to 1948.
  • Honors: In recognition of his remarkable contributions, Dr. Radhakrishnan was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, in 1984.
  • Notable Works: Dr. Radhakrishnan was a prolific author and philosopher. His notable works include “Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy,” “Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore,” “The Hindu View of Life,” “Kalki or the Future of Civilization,” “An Idealist View of Life,” “The Religion We Need,” “India and China,” and “Gautama the Buddha.”

-Source: Indian Express


Study on Cells with Minimal Genes and Evolutionary Potential


Context:

Researchers from Indiana University in Bloomington have conducted a study on cells with minimal genes, focusing on the essential genes vital for an organism’s survival and reproduction. Published in the journal Nature, their research delves into how these streamlined cells can adapt and evolve, challenging conventional ideas about genetic flexibility and mutation rates.

Relevance:

GS III: Science

Key Study Findings on Minimal Cells and Evolution

  • The research focused on a synthetic version of Mycoplasma mycoides, a bacterium causing respiratory disease in livestock.
  • This minimal version, containing only 493 essential genes, was studied for over 300 days, differing from the non-minimal strain with 901 genes.
  • Mycoplasma mycoides holds the record for the highest mutation rate among cellular organisms.
  • Cells with minimal essential genes can adapt and evolve similarly to regular cells.
  • Despite reduced genetic material, minimal cells displayed mutation rates akin to non-minimal cells.
  • Genome reduction didn’t impede adaptation rates in minimal cells.
  • This understanding of minimal cell evolution impacts fields like synthetic biology, where researchers apply engineering principles to design organisms for various applications, including medicine and fuel production.
  • The study highlights that engineered cells aren’t static; they undergo evolution, offering insights into how synthetic organisms may adapt when confronted with the inevitable forces of evolution.

-Source: The Hindu


Gramodyog Vikas Yojana (GVY) program


Context:

Recently, the Chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises distributed tool-kits and machineries to artisans under ‘Gramodyog Vikas Yojna.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Gramodyog Vikas Yojana (GVY)
  2. About Khadi Village Industries Commission

Gramodyog Vikas Yojana (GVY):

  • Launched in March 2020 as part of the Khadi Gramodyog Vikas Yojana (CSS).
  • Comprises two components: GVY and Khadi Vikas Yojana (KVY).
  • GVY aims to develop village industries through common facilities, modernization, and training.
Included Activities:
  • Agro-Based & Food Processing Industry (ABFPI)
  • Mineral-Based Industry (MBI)
  • Wellness & Cosmetics Industry (WCI)
  • Handmade Paper, Leather & Plastic Industry (HPLPI)
  • Rural Engineering & New Technology Industry (RENTI)
  • Service Industry
Components:
  • Research and Development (R&D) support for product development, innovation, and design.
  • Capacity building through Master Development Training Centers (MDTCs) and institutions of excellence.
  • Market support through product catalogs, industry directories, market research, and marketing techniques.
  • Buyer-seller meetings and exhibitions for promoting village industries.

About Khadi Village Industries Commission:

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body of the Indian Constitution.
  • It comes under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • It was established by Khadi and Village Industries Act, 1956. It has been amended twice, in 1965 and 2006.
Objectives of KVIC

The broad objectives of the Khadi Village and Industries Commission encompassing self-reliance and sustainability are:

  • To boost employment in the country.
  • To promote the promotion and sale of Khadi articles
  • To cater to the self-reliance doctrine of the country by empowering underprivileged and rural sections of the society.
Functions of KVIC

The following are the functions of Khadi Village and Industries Commission:

  • It plans, promotes, organizes, and implements programmes for the development of Khadi and Village Industries (KVI).
  • It coordinates with multiple agencies that are engaged in rural development for several initiatives w.r.t khadi and village industries in rural areas.
  • It maintains a reserve of raw materials that can be further promoted in the supply-chain.
  • It aids in creating common service facilities that help in processing of raw materials.
  • It aids the marketing of KVI products through artisans and other avenues.
  • It creates linkages with multiple marketing agencies for the promotion and sale of KVI products.
  • It encourages and promotes research and development in the KVI sector.
  • It brings solutions to the problems associated with the KVI products by promoting research study and enhancing competitive capacity.
  • It also helps in providing financial assistance to the individuals and institutions related to the khadi and village industries.
  • It enforces guidelines to comply with the product standards to eliminate the production of ingenuine products.
  • It is empowered to bring projects, programmes, schemes in relation to khadi and village industries’ development.

-Source: The Hindu


Zealandia


Context:

Geoscientists recently discovered a continent known as Zealandia that had been hiding in plain sight for almost 375 years.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography, Facts for Prelims

Zealandia:

  • Zealandia is a lengthy and slender microcontinent that is predominantly submerged beneath the South Pacific Ocean.
  • Location: It is situated in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, primarily to the east of Australia and to the south of New Caledonia. It encompasses the regions that include New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Formation:
  • Zealandia, also known as Te Riu-a-Māui in the Māori language, was formerly one of the constituent continents of the ancient supercontinent called Gondwana. Gondwana included regions such as Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia over 500 million years ago.
  • Around 105 million years ago, Zealandia began to separate from Gondwana.
  • Over time, Zealandia gradually sank beneath the ocean, with more than 94 percent of it remaining submerged for millennia.
  • It spans an area of approximately 1.89 million square miles (4.9 million square km), which is roughly half the size of Australia.
  • The majority of this continent lies submerged beneath depths of up to 6,560 feet (2 km).
  • The visible part of Zealandia forms the foundation of New Zealand’s north and south islands as well as the island of New Caledonia.
Tectonic Plate Boundaries:
  • Zealandia is positioned along the boundaries of multiple tectonic plates, including the Australian Plate, Pacific Plate, and Indo-Australian Plate.
  • The existence of Zealandia was first documented in 1642 by Dutch businessman and sailor Abel Tasman, who was on a mission to discover the “great Southern Continent,” also known as Terra Australis.

-Source: Times Now


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