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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 May 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 May 2018


Paper 2:

Topic: Issues related to education.


Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT)


Context: The National Institute of Educational Research and Planning (NIEPA) is in the process of rolling out the National Resource centre, an initiative that is part of the Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT).


About the National Resource Centre:

  • The National Resource Centre is envisaged as a one-stop point for Indian academicians to enhance their research and teaching skills.
  • The centre will enable college and university teachers to access a detailed database of academic resources, including lists of books, top journals and subject experts in their area of interest.
  • It will also suggest a mechanism to higher education institutions to assess students’ satisfaction with teaching and research in the institutions, so that the faculty are able to figure out what students think about their college/university and make improvements.



Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) is a Scheme launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

The aim of the scheme to improve the quality of school and higher education by addressing comprehensively all issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation, professional development, Curriculum Design, Designing and Developing Assessment & Evaluation methodology, Research in Pedagogy and developing effective Pedagogy.


The Mission proposes to have following components:

  • Schools of Education (in Central Universities).
  • Centres of Excellence for Curriculum and Pedagogy.
  • Inter-University Centres for Teachers’ Education.
  • National Resource Centre for Education.
  • Centres for Academic Leadership and Education Management.
  • Innovations, Awards, Teaching Resource Grant, including Workshop & Seminar, Subject Networks for Curricular Renewal and Reforms.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: National Resource Centre and PMMMNMTT.
  • For Mains: Need for cooperation among higher education institutions and its significance.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS)

Context: Pakistan is hosting its first ever Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) meeting in Islamabad. The participants of the meeting include the executive committee of the SCO and of RATS along with legal advisors from eight member states.

The main agenda is to talk over the issue related to terrorist threats in the region and how to overcome them.


About RATS:

  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
  • The Head of RATS is elected to a three-year term. Each member state also sends a permanent representative to RATS.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: RATS and SCO.
  • For Mains: Issue of counter terrorism at the international and national level.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Brahmos Missile

Context: BrahMos, supersonic cruise missile was recently successfully test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, Odisha.


Key facts:

  • BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPOM of Russia.
  • The highly versatile BrahMos has been operationalised in the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.
  • BrahMos is the first Indian missile whose life has been extended from 10 years to 15 years. Life extension of the missile system is yet another step that helps in reducing the cost of BrahMos.
  • BrahMos became the first heavy missile system in the world to be integrated successfully on a Sukhoi-30 MKI frontline fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The missile can be fired from land, from ships (both vertical and inclined configuration), under-water, and from air.
  • BrahMos initially had a range of 300-km, but after India became a part of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the range was extended to 450-km.
  • BrahMos can attain a cruise speed of 2.8 Mach and can carry a conventional warhead of almost 300 kg.


About MTCR:

  • Established in April 1987, the voluntary MTCR aims to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks.
  • The MTCR regime urges its members, which include most of the world’s key missile manufacturers, to restrict their exports of missiles and related technologies capable of carrying a 500-kilogram payload at least 300 kilometers or delivering any type of weapon of mass destruction.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: MTCR, BrahMos missile.
  • For Mains: India’s entry into MTCT- significance and scope.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3:

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.


Model Contract Farming Act, 2018

Context: The government has released the Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018. It is drafted as a promotional and facilitative act and not regulatory in its structure.



With a view to integrate farmers with bulk purchasers including exporters, agro- industries etc. for better price realization through mitigation of market and price risks to the farmers and ensuring smooth agro raw material supply to the agro industries, Union Finance Minister in the budget for 2017-18 announced preparation of a “Model Contract Farming Act” and circulation of the same to the States for its adoption.


Salient features of the Act:

  • The act lays special emphasis on protecting the interests of the farmers, considering them as weaker of the two parties entering into a contract. It brings contract farming outside the ambit of the APMC Act.
  • It provides for a “Registering and Agreement Recording Committee” or an “Officer” at the district/block/taluka level for online registration of sponsor and recording of agreement. The contracted produce will also be covered under crop/livestock insurance in operation.
  • In a bid to allay the fears of individual farmers, the act explicitly states that no permanent structure can be developed on farmers’ land/premises under such contracts.
  • It gives no right, title of interest of the land to the sponsor. Similarly, no rights, title ownership or possession to be transferred or alienated or vested in the contract farming sponsor.
  • The act provides for the promotion of Farmer Producer Organization (FPOs)/Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) to mobilise small and marginal farmers. The FPO/FPC can also be a contracting party if so authorized by the farmers.
  • As per the law, the contracting party will be obliged to buy the entire pre-agreed quantity of one or more of agricultural produce, livestock or its product of contract farming producer as per contract.
  • It also envisages the setting up of Contract Farming Facilitation Group (CFFG) for promoting contract farming and services at village/panchayat level.
  • It also includes an accessible and simple dispute settlement mechanism at the lowest level possible for quick disposal of disputes.


What is Contract farming?

The concept of Contract Farming (CF) refers to a system of farming, in which bulk purchasers including agro-processing/exporting or trading units enter into a contract with farmer(s), to purchase a specified quantity of any agricultural commodity at a pre-agreed price.


Contract farming in India:

Although varied forms of contract farming existed in pockets in the country, the formal contract farming is not, however, wide spread in India. By and large, cultivation of commercial crops like cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, tea, coffee, rubber and dairy have had some elements of informal contract farming for a long time.


What is the existing regulatory structure?

Currently, contract farming requires registration with the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) in few states.  This means that contractual agreements are recorded with the APMCs which can also resolve disputes arising out of these contracts.  Further, market fees and levies are paid to the APMC to undertake contract farming.  The Model APMC Act, 2003 provided for contract farming and was released to the states for them to use this as reference while enacting their respective laws.  Consequently, 20 states have amended their APMC Acts to provide for contract farming, while Punjab has a separate law on contract farming.  However, only 14 states notified rules related to contract farming, as of October 2016.


What are the issues with the current structure?

Over the years, expert bodies have identified issues related to the implementation of contract farming.  These include: (i) role of APMCs which are designated as an authority for registration and dispute settlement in most states, (ii) provisions of stockholding limits on produce under contract farming, and (iii) poor publicity of contract farming among the farmers about its benefits.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Particulars of APMC Act and Model Contract Farming Act.
  • For Mains: Contract Farming- significance, issues and scope.


Sources: pib.


Topic: Conservation.


International Day for Biological Diversity 2018

Context: Every year May 22 is observed as The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase awareness on various biodiversity issues such as habitat destruction, marine pollution and climate change.

The theme for 2018 is “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity.”


Historical background:

  • It was first observed in 1993 by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.
  • In 2000, May 22 was chosen as the International Day for Biological Diversity to commemorate the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.


About CBD:

  • At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” — meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.


Facts for Prelims:

The objectives of halting biodiversity loss and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems are included in Sustainable Development Goal Nº15.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Disaster management.


National Institute of Disaster Management


Context: Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu recently laid the foundation-stone for the southern campus of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) at Kondapavuluru village of Gannavaram mandal in Andhra Pradesh.


About NIDM:

  • NIDM is a premier institute of the Government of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It was constituted under an Act of Parliament with a vision to play the role of a premier institute for capacity development in India and the region.
  • Under the Disaster Management Act 2005, NIDM has been assigned nodal responsibilities for human resource development, capacity building, training, research, documentation and policy advocacy in the field of disaster management.
  • NIDM also serves as international SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) and works as focus for its operation and planning.


Sources: pib.



Facts for Prelims:



What is it? It is a new software launched in Rajasthan for presumptive diagnosis and monitoring of seasonal and non-communicable diseases as well as the trends of ailments found in specific areas. It is expected to help in formulation of specific action plans for control of diseases.

It will facilitate online entries of as many as 46 diseases and healthcare services available for their treatment in different institutions.


‘Black Panther’:

What is it? It is a new specialised anti-Naxal combat for Chhattisgarh.

It is on the lines of the Greyhounds unit. The Greyhounds is a special force in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh that specialises in anti-insurgency operations against Naxals and Maoists.