PIB Analysis : 29th June

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Mobile soil testing lab
  2. Eco-friendly Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles from Antarctic Bacteria for Therapeutic Use
  3. PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme
  4. Operation Greens

1 . Mobile soil testing lab


Context : To give further boost to the Soil Testing facility in the country for promoting appropriate use of fertilizers, NFL has launched five Mobile Soil Testing Labs for testing the soil samples at the doorstep of farmers free of cost.

About Mobile soil testing Labs

  • Mobile Labs are loaded with latest soil testing equipment, shall be used for macro and micro nutrient analysis of soil.
  • Mobile Labs are also equipped with Audio-Video system to educate farmers on various agricultural topics. 
  • Other than the Mobile Soil Testing Labs, the company is also serving farming community through six Static Soil Testing Labs located in different parts of country.

2 . Gold Nanoparticles


Context : The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) and the Goa University (GU) have successfully synthesized gold nanoparticles (GNPs) using psychrotolerant Antarctic bacteria  through a non-toxic, low-cost, and eco-friendly way.

Details about the Research

  • Through a study, NCPOR and GU have established that 20-30-nm-sized spherical-shaped GNPs could be synthesized in a controlled environment.
  • These GNPs can be used as a composite therapeutic agent clinical trials, especially in anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-diabetic, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Nano Technology

  • Nanotechnology is a technology that creates new and novel materials through controlled manipulation at a size range of 1 nm (nanometer) to 100 nm (1 nm equals to 10-9 m)
  •  Nano Particles are those materials that are at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometres.
  • NPs have a high surface-to-volume ratio and they can provide tremendous driving force for diffusion, especially at elevated temperatures. Sintering, i.e., coalescing into solid or porous mass by means of heating without liquefaction, can occur at lower temperatures at shorter time scales than larger particles.
  • GNPs are melted at much lower temperatures (300 °C) than bulk gold (1064 °C). NPs have been found to impart various desirable properties to different day-to-day products. For example, GNPs are found to have greater solar radiation absorbing ability than the conventional bulk gold, which makes them a better candidate for use in the photovoltaic cell manufacturing industry.
  • Nanoparticles (NPs) have wide variety of potential applications in the fields of biomedical, optical and electronics research. Metallic NPs have been efficiently exploited for biomedical applications and among them GNPs are found to be effective in biomedical research.
  • NCPOR and GU have resorted to environmentally acceptable green chemistry procedures to reduce gold ion to GNPs using psychrotolerant Antarctic bacteria. Moreover, they did not have to use synthetic chemical additives as stabilizing or reducing agents. Use of psychrotolerant Antarctic bacteria is found to have special advantages like mild reaction condition to reduce gold ion to Gold Nanoparticles (GNPs) with a good dispersion capability.

Gold Nano Particles

  • Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are small gold particles with a diameter of 1 to 100 nm which, once dispersed in water, are also known as colloidal gold.
  • GNPs have unique optical properties too. For example, particles above 100 nm show blue or violet colour in water, while the colour becomes wine red in 100 nm gold colloidal particles. They can thus be used of therapeutic imaging.
  • GNPs also have unique physicochemical properties. Their biocompatibility, high surface area, stability, and nontoxicity make them suitable for various applications in therapeutic use including detection and diagnosis of diseases, bio-labeling, and targeted drug delivery.
  • As nano-carriers, GNPs are capable of transferring various drugs made out of peptides, proteins, plasmid DNAs, small interfering RNAs, and chemotherapeutic agents to target diseased cells of the human body.
  • GNPs are also found to be useful in the electronics industry. Scientists have constructed a transistor known as NOMFET (Nanoparticle Organic Memory Field-Effect Transistor) by embedding GNPs in a porous manganese oxide as a room temperature catalyst to break down volatile organic compound in air and combining GNPs with organic molecules. NOMFETs can mimic the feature of the human synapse known as plasticity, or the variation of the speed and strength of the signal going from neuron to neuron. These novel transistors can now facilitate better recreation of certain types of human cognitive processes, such as recognition and image processing and have their application in artificial intelligence.

3 . PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme


Context : Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal launched the PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme o

Details of the PM FME scheme

  • With a view to providing financial, technical and business support for upgradation of existing micro food processing enterprises, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has launched an all India “Centrally Sponsored PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme” to be implemented over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.
  • The expenditure under the scheme would to be shared in 60:40 ratio between Central and State Governments, in 90:10 ratio with North Eastern and Himalayan States, 60:40 ratio with UTs with legislature and 100% by Centre for other UTs.
  • The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODODP) approach to reap benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.  The States would identify food product for a district keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.
    • The ODOP product could be a perishable produce based product or cereal based products or a food product widely produced in a district and their allied sectors. Illustrative list of such products includes mango, potato, litchi, tomato, tapioca, kinnu, bhujia, petha, papad, pickle, millet based products, fisheries, poultry, meat as well as animal feed among others. Preference would be given to those producing ODOP products.
    • However, units producing other products would also be supported. Support for common infrastructure and branding & marketing would be for ODOP products. The Scheme also place focus on waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts.
  • Existing Individual micro food processing units desirous of upgradation of their unit can avail credit-linked capital subsidy @35% of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lakh per unit. Seed capital @ Rs. 40,000/- per SHG member would be provided for working capital and purchase of small tools.  FPOs/ SHGs/ producer cooperatives would be provided credit linked grant of 35% for capital investment along the value chain. 
  • Support would be provided through credit linked grant @ 35% for development of common infrastructure including common processing facility, lab, warehouse, cold storage, packaging and incubation center through FPOs/SHGs/cooperatives or state owned agencies or private enterprise to use by micro units in the cluster.
  • Support for marketing & branding would be provided to develop brands for micro units and groups with 50% grant at State or regional level which could benefit large number of micro units in clusters.
  • The Scheme places special focus on capacity building and research. NIFTEM and IIFPT, two academic and research institutions under MOFPI along with State Level Technical Institutions selected by the States would be provided support for training of units, product development, appropriate packaging and machinery for micro units.
  • All the processes of the Scheme would take place on an MIS including applications by entrepreneurs, their processing, approval of various projects by the States and MoFPI, release of grant and other funds and monitoring of the project. Individual entrepreneurs and other stake holders desirous of availing assistance under the scheme may contact the State Nodal Agencies of their respective states/ UTs regarding the roll out of scheme and contact points at the district level.

4 . Operation Greens


Context : Extension of Operation Greens from TOP (Tomato-Onion-Potato) crops to all Perishable Fruits & Vegetables (TOP to Total)

About Operation Greens Scheme

  • Operation Greens Scheme, being implemented by MoFPI has been extended from tomato, onion and potato (TOP) crops to other notified horticulture crops for providing subsidy for their transportation and storage from surplus production area to major consumption centres.  
  • The objective of intervention is to protect the growers of fruits and vegetables from making distress sale due to lockdown and reduce the post -harvest losses.

Eligible Crops:

Fruits– Mango, Banana, Guava, Kiwi, Lichi, Papaya, Citrus, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Jackfruit; Vegetables: – French beans, Bitter Gourd, Brinjal, Capsicum, Carrot, Cauliflower, Chillies (Green), Okra, Onion, Potato and Tomato. Any other fruit/vegetable can be added in future on the basis of recommendation by Ministry of Agriculture or State Government

Duration of Scheme: – for the period of six months from the date of notification i.e., 11/06/2020.

Eligible entities: – Food Processors, FPO/FPC, Co-operative Societies, Individual farmers, Licensed Commission Agent, Exporters, State Marketing/Co-operative Federation, Retailers etc. engaged in processing/ marketing of fruits and vegetables.

Pattern of Assistance: – Ministry will provide subsidy @ 50 % of the cost of the following two components, subject to the cost norms:

  • Transportation of eligible crops from surplus production cluster to consumption centre; and/or
  • Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops (for maximum period of 3 months);