Increase in MSP  

#GS3 #Agriculture #MSP 

News : The Union Government has increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Kharif and Rabi crops of 2019-20 season including Paddy, wheat, pulses and oilseeds on the line of fixing the MSP at a level of 1.5 times of the cost of production as announced in Union Budget 2018-19.  

  • Government fixes MSPs of 22 mandated crops including wheat, pulses and oilseeds on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP), after considering the views of State Governments and Central Ministries/Departments concerned & other relevant factors. 
  • In addition, MSP for Toria and De-Husked coconut is also fixed on the basis of MSPs of Rapeseed & Mustard and Copra respectively.
  • While recommending MSP, CACP considers various factors viz. cost of production, overall demand-supply situations of various crops in domestic and world markets, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade between agriculture and nonagriculture sector, likely effect of price policy on rest of economy, rational utilization of land, water and other production resources and a minimum of 50 percent as the margin over cost of production. 
  • The views of the farmer and farmer’s association are also considered by CACP before recommending MSP

Source : PIB 

Starch-based materials developed to stop rapid blood loss during accidents  

#GS3 #Science #Technology 

NewsScientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, have developed a starch-based ‘haemostat’ material that concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood by physically absorbing excess fluid. 

 

  • Haemostat materials absorb excel fluid by concentrating the natural clotting factors in the blood that are critical for stopping the blood flow; however, the bleeding can restart when non-biodegradable materials are removed.
  • By chemically modifying natural starch to form microparticles, researchers have combined the advantages of biocompatibility and biodegradability with a five- to ten-fold increase in fluid absorption and much-improved adhesion.
  • When the microparticles combine, they create an adherent gel that can remain on the wound until slowly dissipating as healing proceeds. The microparticles are prepared by modifying some of the chemical hydroxyl groups on starch to carboxymethyl groups while also incorporating the beneficial calcium ions.
  • The biodegradable microparticles that combine to form a gel on a wound offer significant improvements over existing alternatives. 

Source : PIB 

Smartphones for anganwadi workers 

#GS2 #Governance #GovtSchemes 

  • Amid accusation that officials were derailing the process of procuring 65,000 smartphones to monitor nutrition services in anganwadis, Minister for Women and Child Development Shashikala Jolle said that the government had procured 42,000 phones. 
  • The phones are to be given to anganwadi workers under the Poshan Abhiyaan with an app to monitor the growth of children and for the generation of nutrition-related data. 
  • Data on children, pregnant women and lactating mothers will be generated and monitored. 

Poshan Abhiyaan: 

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) was launched by the government on March 8, 2018.
  • The Abhiyaan targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022. 
    POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change through convergence and lays-down specific targets to be achieved across different monitoring parameters.
  • Under the Abhiyaan, Swasth Bharat Preraks will be deployed one in each district for coordinating with district officials and enabling fast and efficient execution of the Abhiyaan across the country. Swasth Bharat Preraks would function as catalyst for fast tracking the implementation of the Abhiyaan. 

The National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges 

  • Set up under the Poshan Abhiyaan, the Council is also known as National Council on Nutrition (NCN).
  • The NCN is headed by the Vice-Chairman of the NITI Aayog.
  • It provides policy directions to address nutritional challenges in the country and review programmes.
  • It is a national level coordination and convergence body on nutrition.
  • $200 million loan from World Bank will be used for implementing the National Nutrition Mission.

A case for more policewomen 

#GS2 #Governance #Women 

Increasing the number of women recruits alone will not be enough; institutional changes are as important. 

  • At least since 2009, when the Home Ministry set 33% as the target for women’s representation in the police, increasing women’s recruitment in the police force has been the goal of the Central and State governments. Yet, India persists with a male-dominated police force. 
  • In 2019, women comprised less than 10% of police personnel. Only seven States (Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Sikkim) had more than 10% policewomen. In fact, there has been only a 5% increase in the number of policewomen in a decade (3.65% in 2009 to 8.98% in 2019).
  • The share of women in the police force from 2012 to 2016 was found to be less than 1% across States, according to the India Justice Report, 2019.
  • At this rate, most States will take over 50 years to achieve the 33% target.

Selective implementation 

  • While States adopt the reservation policy, they are very selective about its implementation. Very few States apply reservation for women at all the entry points.
  • There are restrictions: reservation is limited to specific cadre posts within each rank.
  • There are far fewer women at the gazetted ranks at the State level than those at the constabulary level.
  • The absence of institutional support, women remain in large numbers at the bottom of the ladder without moving up.
  • Restricting women’s quotas to entry levels or select posts not only shrinks the potential pool of women recruits in a given year but also reduces the proportion of women likely to get promoted to leadership and supervisory positions.
  • As a consequence, there are not enough women personnel to perform exclusive functions when gender-based crimes are reported.

Challenges 

  • It is time to look beyond numbers to institutional barriers that hinder women’s growth within the service. 
  • Frequent inter-district transfers and disallowing postings in home districts for specified periods of time coupled with poor childcare support systems and lack of adequate facilities and infrastructure present distinct difficulties for women. 
  • Other barriers limit the avenues for women’s promotion. 
  • Sexual harassment at the workplace that policewomen suffer is not adequately acknowledged. 
  • There is even less recognition of the impact that the policing sub-culture, with its association with “masculinity” and coercive force, has on the participation of women.

Increasing the number of recruits alone will not be enough; institutional changes embedded in principles of diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunities are as important. Otherwise, discrimination and exclusion will continue to persist even as the numbers of women increase. 

Abortions till 24 weeks for special categories 

#GS2  #Governance #Women #Acts&Amendments 

Lok Sabha passes Bill to raise limit 

  • The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances.
  • The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors.
  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks to amend the MTP Act, 1971, was passed by a voice vote after a debate.

SC upholds right of women naval officers 

#GS2 #Women #Governance 

Bench says denial of permanent commission to SSC personnel reeks of a stereotypical mindset 

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the right of serving Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the Navy to be granted permanent commission (PC) on a par with their male counterparts.
  • The “101 excuses” devised by the government, including motherhood and physiological limitations, reeked of a stereotypical mindset. 
  • The battle for gender equality is about confronting the battles of the mind. They range from physiology, motherhood and physical attributes to the male-dominated hierarchies.

Policy letter 

  • The judgment was based on a case filed by 17 women SSC officers.
  • In the judgment, Justice Chandrachud referred to a submission that vessels of Russian origin are deployed by the Navy and they have no bathrooms for women officers.
  • Women officers have worked shoulder to shoulder with their men counterparts in every walk of service.

Contrary 

  • It held that such submissions were plainly contrary to the policy letter of February 25, 1999 issued by the Ministry of Defense to the Chief of the Naval Staff, emphatically stipulating that women officers of all branches/cadres could be directed to serve on board ships, both during training and subsequent employment in accordance with the exigencies of service. 
  • In the face of this communication, it is impossible to countenance a submission that women cannot sail alongside men sailors.

Bears beat down stocks in last hour of trade 

#GS #Economy 

Banking stocks lose ground 

  • The equity benchmarks with the Nifty falling below the psychological 9,000-mark for the first time since March 2017.
  • The 50-share Nifty lost 230.35 points, or 2.5%, to close at 8,967.05. The India VIX index surged 7% more. 
  • The Sensex, which was trading in the green for most part of the trading session, fell sharply in the last hour to close at 30,579.09, down 810.98 points, or 2.58%.
  • ICICI Bank and State Bank of India were among the top losers in the Sensex pack.
  • Incidentally, the BSE Bankex was the worst performer among the sectoral indices, shedding 1,181 points, or 4.46%.
  • As per provisional numbers, foreign portfolio investors were net sellers at ₹4,044.69 crore
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