- “Blue Flag” International eco-label
- World Bamboo Day
- National Technical Textiles Mission, Samarth Scheme
- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)
- Use of Chemicals and Pesticides for Ripening of Fruits
“BLUE FLAG” INTERNATIONAL ECO-LABEL
Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology
Why in news?
On the eve of International Coastal Clean-Up Day which is celebrated across 100 countries since 1986, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced at a virtual event that for the first time eight beaches of India are recommended for the coveted International eco-label, the Blue flag certification.
The 8 Selected Beaches
- Shivrajpur in Gujarat
- Ghoghla in Daman&Diu
- Kasarkod in Karnataka
- Padubidri beach in Karnataka
- Kappad in Kerala
- Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh
- Golden beach of Odisha
- Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar
Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world.
- The recommendations are done by an independent National Jury composed of eminent environmentalists & scientists.
- The event also saw the launch India’s own eco-label BEAMS by e-hoisting the flag -#IAMSAVINGMYBEACH.
- SICOM, MoEFCC in pursuit of promoting its policies for sustainable development in coastal regions have embarked upon a highly acclaimed program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project.
- The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.
- This program promotes beach recreation in absolute harmony with nature.
Blue flag programme
- The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).
- There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
- It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined.
- Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and South-Eastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
- Spain tops the list with 566 such beaches; Greece and France follow with 515 and 395, respectively.
WORLD BAMBOO DAY
Focus: GS-III Agriculture
Why in news?
On the occasion of the World Bamboo Day Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) said that North-Eastern Region will be one of the favourite business destinations of India post COVID-19 and Bamboo is going to be the key pillar of the economic activities.
- Many Business Houses are looking at the North Eastern Region to exploit its vast agro-farming resources.
- The Government has amended the century old Indian Forest Act by taking home grown bamboo out of the purview of the Forest Act, in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo.
- The Central Government decided to raise the import duty by 25 percent on raw bamboo items which will help the domestic bamboo industries like furniture, handicrafts and Agarbatti making in a big way and promote use of bamboo as building material.
- National Bamboo Mission is set to take a big lead to make bamboo a common man’s utility item and unlock the huge potential in this sector in the North Eastern region.
- Three Bamboo Clusters will be developed in the Jammu region in the vicinity of Katra, Jammu and Samba towns for making of Bamboo basketary, Agarbatti and Bamboo Charcoal which will provide direct employment opportunities to about 25,000 people.
National Bamboo Mission (NBM)
- With a view to harness the potential of bamboo crop, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is implementing a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme called Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) in which National Bamboo Mission (NBM) is being implemented as a sub scheme.
- The Mission envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
- Under the Mission, steps have been taken to increase the availability of quality planting material by supporting the setting up of new nurseries and strengthening of existing ones.
- The Mission will focus on development of bamboo in limited States where it has social, commercial and economical advantage, particularly in the North Eastern region and States including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- To promote the growth of the bamboo sector through as an area based regionally differentiated strategy;
- To increase the coverage of area under bamboo in potential areas, with improved varieties to enhance yields;
- To promote marketing of bamboo and bamboo-based handicrafts;
- To establish convergence and synergy among stake-holders for the development of bamboo;
- To promote, develop and disseminate technologies through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge.
- To generate employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths.
Key elements of National Bamboo Mission
- Research and Development
- Plantation infrastructure development
- Production of Planting Material
- Area expansion under Bamboo
- Improvement of Existing Stock
- Technology Transfer & HRD
- Pest and disease management of bamboo
- Creation of Water resources
- Innovative Interventions
- Post-harvest storage and treatment facilities for bamboo
- Establishment of marketing infrastructure
World Bamboo Day
- World Bamboo Day was officially established on September 18 at the 8th World Bamboo Congress held in Bangkok in 2009 and declared by the Thai Royal Forest Department.
- People and businesses from around the world use this day to raise awareness of the benefits of bamboo and to promote its use in everyday products.
NATIONAL TECHNICAL TEXTILES MISSION, SAMARTH SCHEME
Focus: GS-II Social Justice, GS-III Industry and Infrastructure
Why in news?
- The Government has approved the proposal for creation of National Technical Textiles Mission for a period of 4 years (2020-21 to 2023-24).
- The Ministry of Textiles is implementing the Samarth-Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles Sector, a placement oriented programme targeting skill development of 10 lakh youth in the entire value chain of textiles, excluding Spinning & Weaving in the organized Sector.
National Technical Textiles Mission
- The National Technical Textiles Mission aims to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market, aiming at taking domestic market size to $40 billion to $50 billion by 2024.
- A Mission Directorate will be operational in the Ministry of Textiles.
- First component: It will focus on research, development and innovation with an outlay of ₹1,000 crores, and research will be at both fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles.
- Second component: It will be for the promotion and development of the market for technical textiles.
- Third component: It will focus on export promotion and ensure 10% average growth every year till the Mission ends and for this- an export promotion council for technical textiles will be set up.
- export promotion council for technical textiles will be set up. The Mission will promote technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles and its application areas.
- Technical textiles are functional fabrics that have applications across various industries including automobiles, civil engineering and construction, agriculture, healthcare, industrial safety, personal protection etc.
- Based on usage, there are 12 technical textile segments; Agrotech, Meditech, Buildtech, Mobiltech, Clothtech, Oekotech, Geotech, Packtech, Hometech, Protech, Indutech and Sportech.
- For example, ‘mobiltech’ refers to products in vehicles such as seat belts and airbags, airplane seats; geotech, which is incidentally the fastest growing sub-segment, used to hold back soil, etc.
- Advanced features of SAMARTH scheme include Training of Trainers (ToT), Aadhar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS), CCTV recording of training programme, dedicated call centre with helpline number, mobile app-based Management Information System (MIS) and on-line monitoring of the training process.
- Under Samarth, 18 State Governments have been allocated a training target of 3.6 lakh beneficiaries for conducting training programme in traditional and organized sectors.
- Further, Ministry of Textiles initiated the process of empanelling industry/industry associations for undertaking industry-oriented entry level skilling programmes in the organized sectors.
- With a view to improve the participation of MSME in the skilling programme, a separate RFP was floated to empanel industry associations working with MSME sector textile industries.
USE OF CHEMICALS AND PESTICIDES FOR RIPENING OF FRUITS
Focus: GS-III Agriculture
- As per the information provided by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations, 2011 is related to “Prohibition of use of Calcium Carbide in ripening of fruits”.
- According to this sub regulation, “No person shall sell or offer or expose for sale or have in his premises for the purpose of sale under any description, fruits which have been artificially ripened by use of acetylene gas, commonly known as carbide gas.
- However, ripening of fruits by using ethylene gas at a concentration upto 100 ppm (parts per million) depending upon the crop, variety and maturity has been permitted.
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has developed a Guidance Note on “Artificial Ripening of Fruits – Ethylene gas- A safe fruit ripener” whose purpose is to create awareness related to different aspects of artificial ripening of fruits among food business operators/traders, consumers and food safety officials.
- It also includes Standard Operating Procedure detailing all facets of artificial ripening using ethylene gas.
- Implementation and enforcement of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Rules and Regulations made thereunder primarily lies with State/UT Governments.
Dangers of Artificial Ripening of Fruits and Vegetables
- The most commonly used chemical for artificial ripening is called ‘ethephon’ (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid).
- Another chemical that is regularly used is ‘Calcium carbide’, which produces ‘acetylene’, which is an analogue of ‘ethylene’.
- Studies have shown that the chemical breaks down the organic composition of vitamins and other micronutrients.
- Besides, it changes only the skin colour, the fruit remains raw inside.
- Industrial grade calcium carbide is often found contaminated with traces of arsenic and phosphorus which are toxic chemicals.
- The symptoms of arsenic and phosphorous poisoning include: Vomiting, diarrhoea with/without blood, weakness, burning sensation in the chest and abdomen, eye damage, ulcers.
- The best course will be to allow them to ripen on the plant itself. The fruits become soft, change in colour and develop aroma with an increase in sugar level and reduction in acid content.
- Ethylene is a safer alternative. It is also produced in the fruits naturally to stimulate their ripening in a natural way.