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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 21-May-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Greening of Antarctica due to Climate Change

  2. Scheme for formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (FME)

  3. Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

  4. Methodology for auction of coal and lignite mines/blocks

  5. Agappe Chitra Magna

  6. India hits out at Nepal, says artificial enlargement of territorial claims not acceptable

  7. Rip Current


Why in news?

  • Parts of the Antarctic Peninsula will change colour as "green snow" caused by blooming algae is expected to spread with increases in global temperatures, research showed Wednesday. 


  • Although often considered devoid of plant life, Antarctica is home to several types of algae, which grow on slushy snow and suck carbon dioxide from the air. 

  • Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey combined satellite imagery with on-the-ground observations to detect the current extent of green algae in the world's most barren continent. 

  • They identified more than 1,600 separate green algae blooms on snow across the peninsula, with a combined surface area of 1.9 square kilometres. 

  • They also found that the majority of algae blooms were within five kilometres (three miles) of a penguin colony, as the birds' excrement is an excellent fertiliser. 

  • The polar regions are warming far faster than other parts of the planet and the team predicted that low-lying coastal areas of Antarctica would soon be free from algae as they experience snow-free summers. 

  • But that loss will probably be offset by a preponderance of large algae blooms as temperatures rise and snow at higher altitudes softens. 

  • While more algae means more CO2 is absorbed, the plants could have a small but adverse impact on local albedo - how much of the Sun's heat is reflected back from Earth's surface. 

Source : TOI ( )


Why in news?

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme - "Scheme for Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (FME)" for the Unorganized Sector on All India basis with an outlay of Rs.10,000 crore.  


Objectives of the schemes :

  1. Increase in access to finance by micro food processing units.

  2. Increase in revenues of target enterprises.

  3. Enhanced compliance with food quality and safety standards.

  4. Strengthening capacities of support systems.

  5. Transition from the unorganized sector to the formal sector.

  6. Special focus on women entrepreneurs and Aspirational districts.

  7. Encourage Waste to Wealth activities.

  8. Focus on minor forest produce in Tribal Districts.

Salient Features :

  1. Centrally Sponsored Scheme. Expenditure to be shared by Government of India and States at 60:40.

  2. 2,00,000 micro-enterprises are to be assisted with credit linked subsidy.

  3. Scheme will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

  4. Cluster approach.

  5. Focus on perishables.

Support to Individual Micro Units :

  1. Micro enterprises will get credit linked subsidy @ 35% of the eligible project cost with ceiling of Rs.10 lakh.

  2. Beneficiary contribution will be minimum 10% and balance from loan.     

  3. On-site skill training & Handholding for DPR and technical upgradation.

  4. Support to FPOs/SHGs/Cooperatives:

  5. Seed capital to SHGs for loan to members for working capital and small tools.

  6. Grant for backward/ forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing & branding.

  7. Skill training & Handholding support.

  8. Credit linked capital subsidy.

Implementation of the Scheme :

  1. The scheme will be rolled out on All India basis.

  2. Back ended credit linked subsidy will be provided to 2,00,000 units.

  3. Seed capital will be given to SHGs (@Rs. 4 lakh per SHG) for loan to members for working capital and small tools.

  4. Grant will be provided to FPOs for backward/forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing & branding.

  5. Administrative and Implementation Mechanisms :

  6. The Scheme would be monitored at Centre by an Inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee (IMEC) under the Chairmanship of Minister, FPI.

  7. A State/ UT Level Committee (SLC) chaired by the Chief Secretary will monitor and sanction/ recommend proposals for expansion of micro units and setting up of new units by the SHGs/ FPOs/ Cooperatives.

  8. The States/ UTs will prepare Annual Action Plans covering various activities for implementation of the scheme, which will be approved by Government of India.

  9. A third party evaluation and mid-term review mechanism would be built in the programme.

State/UT Nodal Department & Agency

  1. The State/ UT Government will notify a Nodal Department and Agency for implementation of the Scheme.

  2. State/ UT Nodal Agency (SNA) would be responsible for implementation of the scheme at the State/ UT level including preparation and validation of State/ UT Level Upgradation Plan, Cluster Development Plan, engaging and monitoring the work of resource groups at district/ regional level, providing support to units and groups, etc.

  3. National Portal and MIS :

  4. A National level portal would be set-up wherein the applicants/ individual enterprise could apply to participate in the Scheme.

  5. All the scheme activities would be undertaken on the National portal.

  6. Convergence Framework

  7. Support from the existing schemes under implementation by the Government of India and State Governments would be availed under the scheme.

  8. The Scheme would attempt to fill in the gaps, where support is not available from other sources, especially for capital investment, handholding support, training and common infrastructure.

Source : PIB ( )


  • Why in news? The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) - A scheme to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India.


  1. It is under two components namely, Central Sector Scheme (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) at a total estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crore comprising of

  2. Central share of Rs. 9,407 crore

  3. State share of Rs. 4,880 crore

  4. Beneficiaries' share of Rs. 5,763 crore. 

  5. The Scheme will be implemented during a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.

  6. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) Component is further segregated into Non-beneficiary oriented and Beneficiary orientated subcomponents/activities under the following three broad heads:

  7. Enhancement of Production and Productivity

  8. Infrastructure and Post-Harvest Management          

  9. Fisheries Management and Regulatory Framework

  10. Funding Pattern: PMMSY will be implemented with the following funding pattern:  

  11. Central Sector Scheme (CS):

  12. The entire project/unit cost will be borne by the Central government (i.e. 100% central funding). 

  13. Wherever direct beneficiary oriented i.e. individual/group activities are undertaken by the entities of central government including National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), the central assistance will be up to 40% of the unit/project cost for General category and 60% for SC/ST/Women category.

  14. Centrally Sponsored Scheme ( CSS) :

  15. For the Non-beneficiary orientated sub-components/activities under CSS component to be implemented by the States/UTs, the entire project/unit cost will be shared between Centre and State as detailed below: 

  16. North Eastern & Himalayan States: 90% Central share and 10% State share. 

  17. Other States: 60% Central share and 40% State share.

  18. Union Territories (with legislature and without legislature): 100% Central share

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the methodology for auction of coal and lignite mines/blocks for sale of coal / lignite on revenue sharing basis and increasing the tenure of coking coal linkage.


  • This methodology provides that bid parameter will be revenue share.

  • The bidders would be required to bid for a percentage share of revenue payable to the Government.

  • The floor price shall be 4% of the revenue share. Bids would be accepted in multiples of 0.5% of the revenue share till the percentage (%) of revenue share is up to 10% and thereafter bids would be accepted in multiples of 0.25% of the revenue share.

  • There shall be no restriction on the sale and/or utilization of coal from the coal mine.

  • The methodology is oriented to make maximum coal available in the market at the earliest and it also enables adequate competition which will allow discovery of market prices for the blocks and faster development of coal blocks.

  • Higher investment will create direct and indirect employment in coal bearing areas especially in mining sector and will have an impact on economic development of these regions.

  • Successful Bidder shall be required to make monthly payments which shall be determined as product of: 

  • percentage (%) of revenue share (final bid) 

  • quantity of coal on which the statutory royalty is payable during the month and 

  • notional price or actual price whichever is higher.

  • The Upfront Amount shall be 0.25% of the value of estimated geological reserves of the coal mine payable in 4 equal instalments.

  • It also permits commercial exploitation of the CBM present in the mining lease area.

  • Tenure of coking coal linkage in the non-regulated sector linkage auction has been increased upto 30 years.

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • The commercial launch of, Agappe Chitra Magna, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit for use during testing for detection of COVID-19 developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) - Trivandrum, an Institute of National Importance of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) along with Agappe Diagnostics Ltd, an in vitro diagnostics manufacturing company based in Cochin is being organized on May 21, 2020, at 4.30 PM.


  • It uses an innovative technology for isolating RNA using magnetic nanoparticles to capture the RNA from the patient sample.

  • The magnetic nanoparticle beads bind to the viral RNA and, when exposed to a magnetic field, give a highly purified and concentrated RNA.

  • As the sensitivity of the detection method is dependent on getting an adequate quantity of viral RNA, this innovation enhances the chances of identifying positive cases.

  • It is estimated that India would require about 8 lakh RNA extraction kits per month during the next six months, and Agappe Chitra Magna RNA Isolation Kit priced around Rs. 150 per kit is expected to reduce the cost of testing and the country’s dependence on imported kits which cost around Rs 300.

  • Agappe Diagnostics has a manufacturing capacity of 3 lakh kits per month. 

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • India on Wednesday hit out at Nepal for releasing a new political map that includes Kalapani, a bone of contention between the two countries, as well as other disputed spots.


  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Kathmandu's release of a revised official map of Nepal that includes parts of Indian territory was a “unilateral act and not based on historical facts and evidence”.

  • The dispute over Kalapani had been brewing since late last year when India reacted in measured tones.

  • It reared again when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced the black-topping of a road leading to a pass with China through a triangle that Nepal says is its territory.

Source : Tribune ( )


Why in news?

  • WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard died while trying to save his 10 year old son from strong rip current at the Venice beach.


  • Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West coasts of the U.S., as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes. 

  • Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer. 

  • Panicked swimmers often try to counter a rip current by swimming straight back to shore—putting themselves at risk of drowning because of fatigue.

Source : Hindustan Times ( )

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