Rs 1,010 cr phase-II of crop diversification project launched in Himachal
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur presided over the launching ceremony of Rs 1,010.60 crore phase-II of the HP Crop Diversification Promotion Project (HPCDP) supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at Dharamsala.
He said that the government was committed to the development of rural areas as more than 90 per cent of the total population of the state lives in villages and about 70 per cent of the population was dependent on the agriculture sector for livelihood. Despite limited financial resources and the slowdown due to the pandemic, the government had launched various new schemes to promote irrigation, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and allied sectors, besides ensuring all-round and equitable development of the state, he added.
The Chief Minister said that the main objective of the project was to disseminate a successful model of crop diversification and increase the area under vegetable cultivation in the project area from 2,500 hectares to 7,000 hectares by 2031. He added that the government was mobilising funds from all possible sources, including the Central Government, external funding agencies like the JICA, World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
He said that there was a huge potential for the cultivation of off-season vegetables in the region. The state government had created a strong network of market yards to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers, but still a lot more was required to be done so that farmers could have an easy access to markets for marketing their products and getting better prices.
The phase-II of the JICA-aided crop diversification project is to be implemented in all 12 districts of the state.
It will give boost to the socio-economic status of farmers.
The phase-I of the project being implemented in Mandi, Kangra, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Una on a pilot basis since 2011 has transformed the economy of the farmers.
The government is mobilising funds from all possible sources, including the Centre, external funding agencies like the JICA, World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Russia starts delivery of S-400 missile systems to India
Russia has started the delivery of S-400 missile system to India, in a bid to boost India’s air-defence capabilities.
Russia started the delivery for deployment on schedule in 2021.
India bought this system for US$ 5 billion in 2018.
This deal between India and Russia became contentious amid a threat of sanctions from the United States on countries engaging in defence deals with Russia.
India had bought five units of S-400 system in 2018, for which it had made the first tranche of the payment of $800 million in 2019.
The S-400 is considered as the most advanced air-defence system worldwide. The missile is capable of protecting its air defence bubble against missiles, rockets, cruise missiles and aircraft. This system is available with China, that was deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, amid military standoff with India.
India launched 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica
The first batch of Indian contingent arrived at the southern white continent.
First batch comprises of 23 scientists and support staff. They reached the Indian Antarctic station Maitri recently.
Four more batches will land in Antarctica by air using DROMLAN facility. They will land by mid-January 2021, onboard chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin.
Major Programs of 41st expedition
41st expedition comprises of two major programs:
- The first program is “geological exploration of Amery ice shelf” at Bharati station. This programme will help in exploring the link between India and Antarctica in past.
- The second program is “reconnaissance surveys and preparatory work” to drill 500 meters of ice core near Maitri. This programme will help in improving the understanding of Antarctic climate, sea-ice, greenhouse gases from a single climate, and westerly winds.
Apart from accomplishing scientific programs, 41st expedition will replenish annual supplies of fuel, food as well as provisions & spares for operation & maintenance of life support systems set up at Maitri & Bharti.
Indian Antarctic programs started in 1981. It has completed 40 scientific expeditions. The programs helped in building three permanent research base stations in Antarctica:
- Dakshin Gangotri in 1983,
- Maitri in 1988 and
- Bharati in 2012.
IQAir Air Quality Index
Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai are among the top ten most polluted cities in the world, according to the IQAir Air Quality Index.
♦ Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai are among the top 10 most polluted cities in the world, according to statistics from IQAir.
♦ With an AQI of 556, Delhi topped the list, while Kolkata and Mumbai, in 4th and 6th place, had AQIs of 177 and 169, respectively.
♦ Lahore, Pakistan, and Chengdu, China, are among the cities with the poorest AQI indexes.
♦ IQ Air is an air quality and pollution city tracking service, a Switzerland-based climate organisation.
♦ IQAir is also a United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) technology partner (UNEP).
♦ An AQI of zero to 50 is regarded as ‘good,” 51 to 100 is considered satisfactory,’ 101 to 200 is considered moderate,’ 201 to 300 is considered ‘poor,’ 301 to 400 is considered very poor,’ and 401 to 500 is considered severe.’
Tech NEEV@75 Launched By Sci & Tech Ministry
The Ministry of Science and Technology launched “Tech NEEV@75” as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister, met with successful start-ups, including those from tribal communities, on the occasion.
The minister also stated that by the end of 2022, the Central Government will establish 30 Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Hubs for Scheduled Tribes (STs) across the country.
These STI centres will aid in the development of tribal communities’ scientific potential as well as general socioeconomic growth.
The Department of Science and Technology has already established 20 of the 75 projected STI Hubs.
Through a variety of interventions across the farm, non-farm, and other linked livelihood sectors, these centres will directly assist 20,000 individuals.
“Tech NEEV@ 75” is a year-long commemoration of the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in enabling communities to achieve equitable and inclusive economic growth.
Recent data from ICRI on Stubble Burning Incidents
This report was published at the time when Delhi and its adjoining states are reeling from a thick blanket of smog and deadly fumes.
As a result of this, government has shut schools and take emergency measures to control pollution.
The Supreme Court also noted that, it has become a trend to blame farmers and their practice of stubble burning for all the pollution in Delhi.
Findings of the report
As per report, stubble burning incidents in the year 2021 are considerably lower in most states, with exception in Haryana.
In Haryana, stubble burning incidents has increased by 48.5 per cent in between September 15 and November 13, 2021.
In Punjab, the cumulative number of such incident is 21 per cent lesser as compared to However, since October 13, Punjab witnessed a 53.3 per cent jump in stubble burning incidents.
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