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PIB 17th March 2021




Focus: GS I-Art and Culture

Why in news?

Ministry has identified Coastal Circuit as one of thematic circuits identified for development under Swadesh Darshan scheme.

About Swadesh Darshan scheme:

Nodal: Ministry of Tourism

  • To develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country.
  • These tourist circuits  will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and  sustainability in an integrated manner.
  • To develop quality infrastructure in the country with the objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth.
Features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
  • Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship scheme of the Ministry of tourism for the development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner
  • 100% funding from Centre for the project components undertaken for public funding.
  • To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
  • Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant). PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
  • A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
  • A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.


Focus: GS III-Science and Technology, Prelims

Why in news?

Scientists have developed a classification method based on Deep Learning (DL) network to evaluate hormone status for prognosis of breast cancer.

  • A team from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, have presented the novel Deep Learning (DL) based quantitative evaluation of estrogen or progesterone status with the help of Immunohistochemistry (IHC) specimen to grade for prediction of breast cancer.

About Deep  Learning:

See the source image
  • Deep learning is an AI function that mimics the workings of the human brain in processing data for use in detecting objects, recognizing speech, translating languages, and making decisions.
  • Deep learning AI is able to learn without human supervision, drawing from data that is both unstructured and unlabeled.
  • Deep learning, a form of machine learning, can be used to help detect fraud or money laundering, among other functions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • It describes the action of machines accomplishing tasks that have historically required human intelligence.
  • It includes technologies like machine learning, pattern recognition, big data, neural networks, self algorithms etc.
  • The origin of the concept can be traced back to the greek mythology, although it is only during modern history when stored program electronic computers were developed.
  • Example: Million of algorithms and codes are there around the humans to understand their commands and perform human-like tasks. Facebook’s list of suggested friends for its users, a pop-up page, telling about an upcoming sale of the favourite brand of shoes and clothes, that comes on screen while browsing the internet, are the work of artificial intelligence.


Focus: GS II- Government Policies and Interventions

Why in news

Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has been implementing the Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro Processing Clusters (APC) under the Umbrella Scheme Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) to incentivize  setting up of agro processing clusters in the country.

About Mega Food Parks scheme:

Nodal: Ministry of Food Processing Industries
  • It aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers.
  • These food parks give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables.
  • Implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act.
The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model.
  • It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).

Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana

Nodal: Ministry of Food Processing Industries

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme.
  • To supplement agriculture.
  • To create processing and preservation capacities.
  • To modernise and expand existing food processing units with a view to increasing the level of processing.
  • To add value leading to the reduction of wastage.
Seven component schemes under PMKSY:
  • Mega Food Parks.
  • Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters.
  • Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages.
  • Creation/Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.
  • Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure.
  • Human Resources and Institutions.


Focus: GS III-Indian Economy

About Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

  • Under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) 100% guarantee coverage to be provided by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) for additional funding of up to Rs. 3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested MUDRA borrowers.
  • The credit will be provided in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.
  • Tenor of the loan under Scheme shall be four years with a moratorium period of one year on the principal amount.
  • No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from the Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.
  • Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, and at 14% for NBFCs.
Aims and objectives of ECLGS
  • The Scheme aims at mitigating the economic distress faced by MSMEs by providing them additional funding in the form of a fully guaranteed emergency credit line.
  • The main objective is to provide an incentive to Member Lending Institutions (MLIs), i.e., Banks, Financial Institutions (FIs) and NBFCs to increase access to, and enable the availability of additional funding facility to MSME borrowers.
  • It aims to provide a 100 per cent guarantee for any losses suffered by them due to non-repayment of the GECL funding by borrowers.
Benefits of the ECLGS
  • The scheme aims to mitigate the distress caused by COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown, which has severely impacted manufacturing and other activities in the MSME sector.
  • The scheme is expected to provide credit to the sector at a low cost, thereby enabling MSMEs to meet their operational liabilities and restart their businesses.
  • By supporting MSMEs to continue functioning during the current unprecedented situation, the Scheme is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.


Focus: GS III-Agriculture

Why in news?

All 20 regional offices of food corporation of India have been advised to implement ‘Vehicle Tracking System’ (VTS).

  • So far, the VTS tender could be finalized only in following 5 regions, namely – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand.
  • Further, as part of an earlier scheme on ‘End-to-End Computerization of Public Distribution System (PDS) Operations’ almost all States/UTs have done the Computerization of Supply Chain Management operations for online monitoring of the receipts

About Food Corporation of India (FCI)

  • Food Corporation of India (FCI) is a Public Sector Undertaking, under the Department of Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • FCI is a statutory body set up in 1965 under the Food Corporations Act 1964.
  • It has primary duty to undertake purchase, store, move/transport, distribute and sell food grains and other foodstuffs. 
  • It was established against the backdrop of major shortage of grains, especially wheat.
  • Simultaneously, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) was created in 1965 to recommend remunerative prices to farmers.
Objectives of FCI
  • To provide remunerative prices to farmers.
  • To help in transforming the crisis management oriented food security into a stable security system to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of food grains to all people at all times so that no one, nowhere and at no time should go hungry.
  • Ensuring food security of the nation by maintaining satisfactory level of operational buffer stocks of food grains.
  • Distribution of food grains throughout the country for Public Distribution System.
  • Effective Price Support Operations for safeguarding the interest of farmers.


Focus: GS III- Agricultural Marketing, Prelims

Key points:

  • Established: SFAC was established in 1994 under Societies Registration Act, 1860 as an autonomous body promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
  •  SFAC has undertaken various FPO promotion programmes in the country such as through Vegetable Initiative for Urban Cluster (VIUC), Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD), National Food for Security Mission (NFSM), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) etc. SFAC has promoted 910 FPOs in the country out of which 58 FPOs are from Uttar Pradesh.
  • Objectives: Promoting agribusiness by encouraging institutional and private sector investments and linkages to ensure the empowerment of all farmers in the country.
  • Organising small and marginal farmers as Farmer Interest Groups, Farmer Producer Organisations and Farmer Producer Company for endowing them with bargaining power and economies of scale.
The main functions of SFAC are:
  • Promotion of development of small agribusiness through Venture capital assistance  scheme.
  • Helping formation and growth of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) / Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs).
  • Improving availability of working capital and development of business activities of FPOs/FPCs through Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme
  • Implementation of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Electronic Trading platform.

About Farmer producer organizations:

Nodal: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare

  • This is a Central Sector Scheme which receives funding from Government of India.
  • It will also improve the market access for members.
  • Further, “One District One Product” cluster will be created to promote specialization.
  • In the FPOs, agricultural and horticultural produces will be grown and cultivated to leverage the economies of scale.


  • Small and marginal farmers do not have the economic strength to apply production technology, services and marketing including value addition.
  • Through the formation of FPOs, farmers will have better collective strength for better access to quality input, technology, credit and better marketing access through economies of scale for better realization of income.


Focus: GS-II Health, Regulatory bodies

Why in news?

National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) has established seven Regional Cum Facilitation Centres (RCFCs) in different regions of the country. 

About National medicinal plants board:

Nodal: Ministry of AYUSH

  • It was established by the Government of India in 24th November 2000.
  • Its mandate is to promote the medicinal plant’s sector by developing a suitable mechanism which will support policies and programs for the cultivation and export of medicinal plants.
  • The growing demand for medicinal plants is met by the NMBP’s focus on conservation and augmentation of local medicinal plants and spices of significance.
  • The NMPB encourages research and development, capacity building through training and promotion of actives such as the creation of herbal gardens at the home and school levels.
  • The board also supports programs for quality assurance, which institute a credible mechanism for the certification of quality raw drugs, seed and planting material.
The functions of the National Medicinal Plant Board:
  • Advise concerned Ministries and State/ Union Territory Governments on policy matters relating to schemes and programs for the development of medicinal plants.
  • Identification, Inventorisation and Quantification of medicinal plants.
  • Promotion of co-operative efforts among collectors and growers and assisting them to store, transport and market their products effectively.
  • Setting up of data-base system for incentivisation, dissemination of information and facilitating the prevention of Patents being obtained for medicinal use of plants which is in the public domain.
  • Undertaking and awarding Scientific, Technological research and cost-effectiveness studies.
  • Development of protocols for cultivation and quality control.
  • Encouraging the protection of Intellectual Property Rights.

March 2024