Daily Current Affairs: 16th December 2021

Topics covered

  1. Comprehensive programme for the “development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country
  2. Bill on electoral reforms
  3. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) 
  4. Intangible Cultural Heritage
  5. Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011
  6. The growth of India’s defence exports
  7. Facts for Prelims
  8. Places in News

1. Comprehensive programme for the “development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country

Context: In furtherance of the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and positioning India as the global hub for Electronic System Design and Manufacturing, the Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister has approved the comprehensive program for the development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country.

About the Programme

  • The Union Cabinet approved a ₹76,000 crore scheme to boost semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country
  • The program will usher in a new era in electronics manufacturing by providing a globally competitive incentive package to companies in semiconductors and display manufacturing as well as design. This shall pave the way for India’s technological leadership in these areas of strategic importance and economic self-reliance.
  • The programme aims to provide attractive incentive support to companies / consortia that are engaged in Silicon Semiconductor Fabs, Display Fabs, Compound Semiconductors / Silicon Photonics / Sensors (including MEMS) Fabs, Semiconductor Packaging (ATMP / OSAT), Semiconductor Design.
  • The comprehensive programme for the “development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country” was aimed at making India a global hub of electronic system design and manufacturing

Incentives for the development of semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem in India

  • Semiconductor Fabs and Display Fabs:
    • The Scheme for Setting up of Semiconductor Fabs and Display Fabs in India shall extend fiscal support of up to 50% of project cost on pari-passu basis to applicants who are found eligible and have the technology as well as capacity to execute such highly capital intensive and resource incentive projects.
    • Government of India will work closely with the State Governments establish High-Tech Clusters with requisite infrastructure in terms of land, semiconductor grade water, high quality power, logistics and research ecosystem to approve applications for setting up atleast two greenfield Semiconductor Fabs and two Display Fabs in the country.
  • Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL):
    • Union Cabinet has also approved that Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will take requisite steps for modernization and commercialization of Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL).
    • MeitY will explore the possibility for the Joint Venture of SCL with a commercial fab partner to modernize the brownfield fab facility.
  • Compound Semiconductors / Silicon Photonics / Sensors (including MEMS) Fabs and Semiconductor ATMP / OSAT Units:
    • The Scheme for Setting up of Compound Semiconductors / Silicon Photonics / Sensors (including MEMS) Fabs and Semiconductor ATMP / OSAT facilities in India shall extend fiscal support of 30% of capital expenditure to approved units.
    • Atleast 15 such units of Compound Semiconductors and Semiconductor Packaging are expected to be established with Government support under this scheme.
  • Semiconductor Design Companies:
    • The Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme shall extend product design linked incentive of up to 50% of eligible expenditure and product deployment linked incentive of 6% – 4% on net sales for five years.
    • Support will be provided to 100 domestic companies of semiconductor design for Integrated Circuits (ICs), Chipsets, System on Chips (SoCs), Systems & IP Cores and semiconductor linked design and facilitating the growth of not less than 20 such companies which can achieve turnover of more than Rs.1500 crore in the coming five years.

India Semiconductor Mission

  • In order to drive the long-term strategies for developing a sustainable semiconductors and display ecosystem, a specialized and independent “India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)” will be set up.
  • The India Semiconductor Mission will be led by global experts in semiconductor and display industry.
  • It will act as the nodal agency for efficient and smooth implementation of the schemes on Semiconductors and Display ecosystem.

Comprehensive Fiscal Support for Semiconductors and Electronics

  • With the approval of the programme for development of semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem in India with an outlay of Rs.76,000 crore (>10 billion USD), Government of India has announced incentives for every part of supply chain including electronic components, sub-assemblies, and finished goods.
  • Incentive support to the tune of Rs.55,392 crore (7.5 billion USD) have been approved under PLI for Larges Scale Electronics Manufacturing, PLI for IT Hardware, SPECS Scheme and Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme.
  • In addition, PLI incentives to the quantum of Rs.98,000 crore (USD 13 billion) are approved for allied sectors comprising of ACC battery, auto components, telecom & networking products, solar PV modules and white goods. 
  • In total, Government of India has committed support of Rs. 2,30,000 crore (USD 30 billion) to position India as global hub for electronics manufacturing with semiconductors as the foundational building block.

Need for the Programme

  • Semiconductors and displays are the foundation of modern electronics driving the next phase of digital transformation under Industry 4.0. Semiconductors and display manufacturing is very complex and technology-intensive sector involving huge capital investments, high risk, long gestation and payback periods, and rapid changes in technology, which require significant and sustained investments.
  • The program will give an impetus to semiconductor and display manufacturing by facilitating capital support and technological collaborations.
  • In the current geopolitical scenario, trusted sources of semiconductors and displays hold strategic importance and are key to the security of critical information infrastructure.
  • The approved program will propel innovation and build domestic capacities to ensure the digital sovereignty of India.
  • It will also create highly skilled employment opportunities to harness the demographic dividend of the country.
  • Development of semiconductor and display ecosystem will have a multiplier effect across different sectors of the economy with deeper integration to the global value chain.
  • The program will promote higher domestic value addition in electronics manufacturing and will contribute significantly to achieving a USD 1 Trillion digital economy and a USD 5 Trillion GDP by 2025.

2. Bill on electoral reforms

Context: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday is learnt to have cleared a Bill on electoral reforms, including the one to link electoral roll with Aadhaar on a voluntary basis to root out multiple enrolments. The Bill is likely to be introduced in the ongoing winter session.


  • In August 2019, the Election Commission proposed amendments including linking of the ID card with Aadhaar number which will curb multiple enrollments of the same individual at different places.
  • This has been a long-pending proposal of the Election Commission.
  • In 2015, when the EC launched the National Electoral Law Purification and Authentication Programme to link the Aadhaar number with the Voter ID number, the programme was stalled after the Supreme Court ordered that the use of Aadhaar would be optional for availing of welfare schemes.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The reforms will allow the Election Commission to seed the Aadhaar number with electoral rolls on a voluntary basis.
  • According to the bill cleared by the Cabinet, the electoral law will be made “gender-neutral” for service voters.
    • An army man’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the existing provisions.
    • The ECI had asked the law ministry to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ in the provision in the Representation of the People Act related to service voters.
  • Another provision of the bill will allow new voters to enroll on four different dates every year.
    • As of now, those turning 18 on or before January 1 of every year are only allowed to register as voters.
    • The Election Commission of India (ECI) had been pushing for multiple cut-off dates to allow more eligible people to register as voters.
    • Currently, only an individual who has attained the age of 18 as on January 1 of that year or before is eligible to be enrolled in the voters’ list.
    • The EC had told the Government that the January 1 cut-off date deprives several youth from participating in the electoral exercise held in a particular year.

3 . Intangible Cultural Heritage

Context: Durga Puja in Kolkata, one of largest cultural carnivals and street art festival of the country, on Wednesday received an important international recognition by making it to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

What is Durga Puja?

  • Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava, is an annual Hindu festival of West Bengal where people pay homage to Hindu goddess Durga.
  • It is the biggest religious festival in Bengal and is celebrated to mark Durga’s victory over Mahishasur (buffalo demon).
  • The city of Kolkata is the centre of this festival where more than 3,000 community Durga pujas are held during the 10-day festival, excluding the large number of pujas performed in Bengali households.
  • The puja is also celebrated by Bengali communities residing in other states, notably in Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring country Bangladesh.
  • Since 2016, the West Bengal government in the state has been organising Durga Puja Carnival on Red Road to attract global attention for the festival and boost the tourism sector.
  • In this carnival, a procession of popular Durga pujas from across Kolkata and adjoining districts, accompanied by colourful tableaux, is held.
  • The parade of Durga idols is also accompanied by cultural programmes which showcase various art and dance forms.
  • In 2019, the central government nominated Kolkata’s Durga Puja for the 2020 UNESCO Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

What is ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’?

  • According to UNESCO Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects.
  • It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
  • Intangible cultural heritage is:
    • Traditional, contemporary and living at the same time: intangible cultural heritage does not only represent inherited traditions from the past but also contemporary rural and urban practices in which diverse cultural groups take part;
    • Inclusive:
      • We may share expressions of intangible cultural heritage that are similar to those practised by others.
      • Whether they are from the neighbouring village, from a city on the opposite side of the world, or have been adapted by peoples who have migrated and settled in a different region, they all are intangible cultural heritage: they have been passed from one generation to another, have evolved in response to their environments and they contribute to giving us a sense of identity and continuity, providing a link from our past, through the present, and into our future.
      • Intangible cultural heritage does not give rise to questions of whether or not certain practices are specific to a culture.
      • It contributes to social cohesion, encouraging a sense of identity and responsibility which helps individuals to feel part of one or different communities and to feel part of society at large;
  • Representative:
    • Intangible cultural heritage is not merely valued as a cultural good, on a comparative basis, for its exclusivity or its exceptional value.
    • It thrives on its basis in communities and depends on those whose knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community, from generation to generation, or to other communities;
  • Community-based:
    • Intangible cultural heritage can only be heritage when it is recognized as such by the communities, groups or individuals that create, maintain and transmit it – without their recognition, nobody else can decide for them that a given expression or practice is their heritage.
  • The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has 492 elements currently.

Elements from India

  • With the inclusion of Durga Puja, in total 13 Intangible Cultural Heritage elements from India have now been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List.
  • Other inclusions are:
    • Koodiyattam: A Sanskrit theatre of Kerala;
    • Mudiyett: a ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala;
    • Vedic chantings: recitation of sacred Hindu;
    • Ramlila: the traditional performance of the Ramayana;
    • Ramman: a religious festival and ritual theatre of Garhwal,
    • Uttarakhand; Kalbelia: folk songs and dances of Rajasthan;
    • Chhau dance: a classical dance form of Odisha and West Bengal;
    • Ladakh Buddhist chantings: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in Ladakh;
    • Manipuri Sankirtana: a ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur;
    • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab;
    • Yoga: ancient Indian physical, mental and spiritual practices originating in ancient India;
    • Kumbh Mela: mass Hindu pilgrimage held at Haridwar of Uttarakhand, Nashik of Maharashtra, Prayagraj of Uttar Pradesh and Ujjain of Madhya Pradesh.


  • UNESCO, acronym for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that was outlined in a constitution signed November 16, 1945.
  • The constitution, which entered into force in 1946, called for the promotion of international collaboration in education, science, and culture.
  • The agency’s permanent headquarters are in Paris, France.

4 . Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011

Context : Delhi High Court has directed the food safety regulator to ensure that food business operators make full disclosures on all that goes into any food article — “not only by their code names but also by disclosing as to whether they originate from plant, or animal source, or whether they are manufactured in a laboratory, irrespective of their percentage in the food article”.

Background of the case

  • Ram Gaua Raksha Dal, a non-government Trust that works for the safety and welfare of cows, filed a petition in October seeking implementation of the existing rules, and prayed that all products, including non-consumables like crockery, wearable items, and accessories, should be marked on the basis of the ingredients used. For food items, the petition sought on the label not just the ingredients, but also the items used in the manufacturing process.
  • The trust, whose members are followers of the Namdhari sect, submitted that the community strongly believes in following strict vegetarianism, and that their religious beliefs also prohibit the use, in any form, of goods containing animal products.

What are the labelling requirements under the 2011 Regulations?

  • The Regulations define non-vegetarian food as containing “whole or part of any animal including birds, fresh water or marine animals or eggs or products of any animal origin, but excluding milk or milk products”.
  • All non-vegetarian food must be labelled with “a brown colour filled circle… [of a specified diameter] inside a square with brown outline having sides double the diameter of the circle”. Where egg is the only non-vegetarian ingredient, a “declaration to this effect [may be given] in addition to the said symbol”. Vegetarian food must be labelled with a “green colour filled circle…inside the square with green outline”.
  • The regulations also require manufacturers to display a list of ingredients along with their weight or volume. Manufacturers must disclose which types of edible vegetable oil, edible vegetable fat, animal fat or oil, fish, poultry meat, or cheese, etc. has been used in the product.
  • “Where an ingredient itself is the product of two or more ingredients”, and such a “compound ingredient constitutes less than five per cent of the food, the list of ingredients of the compound ingredient, other than food additive, need not to be declared”, the Regulations say.

So, what is the problem with the labelling?

  • The court said that the law “very clearly intends and expressly provides for declaration on all food items…as to whether they are vegetarian or non-vegetarian”. However, “it appears, some Food Business Operators are taking advantage of — upon misreading of the Regulations, the fact that the Act does not specifically oblige [them] to disclose the source from which the ingredients — which go into manufacture/production of food articles, are sourced, except…specific express exceptions”.
  • The court gave the example of the chemical disodium inosinate, a food additive found in instant noodles and potato chips, which is commercially manufactured from meat or fish. “A little search on Google…shows that it is often sourced from pig fat,” it said.
  • When such ingredients are used, often “merely the codes of the ingredients are disclosed, without actually disclosing on the packaging as to what is the source, i.e. whether it is plant based, or animal based, or it is a chemically manufactured in a laboratory,” the court said. “Many food articles which have ingredients sourced from animals, are passed off as vegetarian by affixing the green dot.

What directions did the court issue, therefore?

  • The court said the use of non-vegetarian ingredients, even in “a minuscule percentage”, “would render such food articles non-vegetarian, and would offend the religious and cultural sensibilities/ sentiments of strict vegetarians, and would interfere in their right to freely profess, practice and propagate their religion and belief”.
  • The failure of authorities to check such lapses is leading to non-compliance of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and the Regulations, the court said.
  • It directed food business operators “to ensure full and strict compliance of Regulation 2.2.2(4)”, (“Declaration regarding Veg or Non veg”) and observed that “failure…to comply…would expose [them] to, inter alia, class action for violation of the fundamental rights of the consuming public and invite punitive damages, apart from prosecution”.

5 . Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) 

Context: The Cabinet has given its approval to extend its umbrella scheme for irrigation, water supply, ground water and watershed development projects for another five years. Less than half of the identified irrigation projects have been completed since the scheme — Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) — began in 2015, according to Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.


  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was launched on 1st July 2015 with the motto of ‘Har Khet ko Pani’ for providing end to end solutions in irrigation supply chain, viz., water resources, distribution network, farm level applications and improving water use efficiency.
  • Micro irrigation (MI) is being popularized to ensure ‘Per Drop – More Crop’ (PDMC). 
  • PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).
  • The scheme is being implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development. 


  • The broad objectives of PMKSY include
    • Achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level (preparation of district level and, if required, sub district level water use plans).
    • Enhance the physical access of water on the farm and expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani).
    • Integration of water source, distribution and its efficient use, to make best use of water through appropriate technologies and practices.
    • Improve on – farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage and increase availability both in duration and extent.
    • Enhance the adoption of precision – irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).
    • Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices.
    • Ensure the integrated development of rainfed areas using the watershed approach towards soil and water conservation, regeneration of ground water, arresting runoff, providing livelihood options and other NRM activities.
    • Promote extension activities relating to water harvesting, water management and crop alignment for farmers and grass root level field functionaries.
    • Explore the feasibility of reusing treated municipal waste water for peri – urban agriculture.
    • Attract greater private investments in irrigation.

Scheme components

  • PMKSY consists of three major components implemented by various ministries.
  • They are as follows:
    • Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti
      • Component : Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP)
      • Component : Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP)
      • Sub component : Command Area Development (CAD)
      • Sub component : Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI)
      • Sub component : Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies
      • Sub component : Ground Water Development
    • Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development
      • Component : Watershed Development 
    • Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
      • Component : Per Drop More Crop 

Scheme duration

  • Krishi Sinchayee Yojana duration is for a period of 5 years (2015-16 to 2019-20) with a financial outlay of Rs.50,000 crores. 
  • “In 2015-16, 99 projects were identified which were completed more than 50% but had been pending for years.
  • Of the 99 projects, 46 have been completed. The rest of the projects will be completed by 2024-25,”
  • The additional irrigation potential creation target over the next five years is 13.88 lakh hectares.
  • Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Har Khet ko Paani (HKKP) and Watershed Development components have been approved for continuation during 2021-26 with a financial outlay of Rs. 93,068 crore, including Rs.37,454 crore central assistance to States.

Scheme overview

  • PMKSY seeks to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level.
  • PMKSY has been formulated amalgamating schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation; Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources; and On Farm Water Management (OFWM) component of National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.
  • All the States and Union Territories including North Eastern States are covered under the programme.
  • PMKSY is to be implemented in an area development approach, adopting decentralized state level planning and projectised execution, allowing the states to draw their irrigation development plans based on district/blocks plans with a horizon of 5 to 7 years. States can take up projects based on the District/State Irrigation Plan.
  • The National Steering Committee (NSC) of PMKSY under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister, will provide policy direction to programme framework and a National Executive Committee (NEC) under the chairmanship of Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog will oversee the programme implementation at national level.

Objectives of Components

PMKSY has the following programme components:

A. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)

  • To focus on faster completion of ongoing Major and Medium Irrigation including National Projects.

B. PMKSY (Har Khet ko Pani)

  • Creation of new water sources through Minor Irrigation (both surface and ground water)
  • Repair, restoration and renovation of water bodies; strengthening carrying capacity of traditional water sources, construction rain water harvesting structures (Jal Sanchay);
  • Command area development, strengthening and creation of distribution network from source to the farm;
  • Ground water development in the areas where it is abundant, so that sink is created to store runoff/ flood water during peak rainy season.
  • Improvement in water management and distribution system for water bodies to take advantage of the available source which is not tapped to its fullest capacity (deriving benefits from low hanging fruits). At least 10% of the command area to be covered under micro/precision irrigation.
  • Diversion of water from source of different location where it is plenty to nearby water scarce areas, lift irrigation from water bodies/rivers at lower elevation to supplement requirements beyond IWMP and MGNREGS irrespective of irrigation command.
  • Creating and rejuvenating traditional water storage systems like Jal Mandir (Gujarat); Khatri, Kuhl (H.P.); Zabo (Nagaland); Eri, Ooranis (T.N.); Dongs (Assam); Katas, Bandhas (Odisha and M.P.) etc. at feasible locations.

C. PMKSY (Per Drop More Crop)

  • Programme management, preparation of State/District Irrigation Plan, approval of annual action plan, Monitoring etc.
  • Promoting efficient water conveyance and precision water application devices like drips, sprinklers, pivots, rain – guns in the farm (Jal Sinchan);
  • Topping up of input cost particularly under civil construction beyond permissible limit (40%), under MGNREGS for activities like lining inlet, outlet, silt traps, distribution system etc.
  • Construction of micro irrigation structures to supplement source creation activities including tube wells and dug wells (in areas where ground water is available and not under semi critical /critical /over exploited category of development) which are not supported under AIBP, PMKSY (Har Khet ko Pani), PMKSY (Watershed) and MGNREGS a s per block/district irrigation plan.
  • Secondary storage structures at tail end of canal system to store water when available in abundance (rainy season) or from perennial sources like streams for use during dry periods through effective on – farm water management;
  • Water lifting devices like diesel/ electric/ solar pumpsets including water carriage pipes, underground piping system.
  • Extension activities for promotion of scientific moisture conservation and agronomic measures including cropping alignment to maximise use of available water including rainfall and minimise irrigation requirement (Jal sarankchan);
  • Capacity building, training and awareness campaign including low cost publications, use of pico projectors and low cost films for encouraging potential use water source through technological, agronomic and management practices including community irrigation.
  • The extension workers will be empowered to disseminate relevant technologies under PMKSY only after requisite training is provided to them especially in the area of promotion of scientific moisture conservation and agronomic measures, improved/ innovative distribution system like pipe and box outlet system, etc. Appropriate Domain Experts will act as Master Trainers.
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT) interventions through NeGP – A to be made use in the field of water use efficiency, precision irrigation technologies, on farm water management, crop alignment etc. and also to do intensive monitoring of the Scheme.

D. PMKSY (Watershed Development)

  • Effective management of runoff water and improved soil & moisture conservation activities such as ridge area treatment, drainage line 5 treatment, rain water harvesting, in – situ moisture conservation and other allied activities o n watershed basis.
  • Converging with MGNREGS for creation of water source to full potential in identified backward rainfed blocks including renovation of traditional water bodies


Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme

  • Total additional irrigation potential creation targeted during 2021-26 under AIBP is 13.88 lakh hectare. Apart from focused completion of 60 ongoing projects including their 30.23 lakh hectare command area development, additional projects to also be taken up. The inclusion criteria have been relaxed for projects under tribal and drought prone areas.
  • Central funding of 90% of water component for two national projects, namely Renukaji Dam Project (Himachal Pradesh) and Lakhwar Multipurpose Project (Uttarakhand) has been provisioned. The two projects would provide beginning of storage in Yamuna basin benefitting six states of upper Yamuna basin, augmenting water supply to Delhi as well Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, UP, Haryana, and Rajasthan and a major step towards rejuvenation of Yamuna.

Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP)

  • Under HKKP, surface minor irrigation and repair-renovation-restoration of water bodies component of PMKSY is targeted to provide additional 4.5 lakh hectare irrigation.
  • In view of importance of rejuvenation of water bodies, a paradigm shift in funding of their rejuvenation in both urban and rural areas, with significant expansion of their inclusion criteria, and enhancement of central assistance from 25% to 60% in general area.
  • Ground Water component of HKKP, approved provisionally for 2021-22, targets creation of irrigation potential of 1.52 lakh hectare.

Watershed Development

  • Completion of sanctioned projects covering 49.5 lakh hectare rainfed/ degraded lands to bring additional 2.5 lakh hectare under protective irrigation, 
  • A specific provision for development of spring sheds has been included in the program.

6 . The growth of India’s defence exports


  • India’s defence exports have increased from ₹1,521 crore in 2016-17 to ₹8,434.84 crore in 2020-21.
  • The figure stood at ₹10,745 crore in 2018-19.
  • The Government has set an ambitious target to achieve exports of about ₹35,000 crore ($5 billion) in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025.

Which Indian companies are major exporters?

  • According to the latest report of the Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), three Indian companies figure among the top 100 defence companies in the 2020 rankings — Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Ordnance Factory Board and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).
  • Their aggregated arms sales of $6.5 billion were 1.7% higher in 2020 than in 2019 and accounted for 1.2% of the top 100 total.
  • There was an overall drop in India’s arms imports between 2011-15 and 2016-20, according to another SIPRI report of 2020 and while India remained among the top importers, it was also included in the Top 25 defence exporters.

What are the big-ticket items that India can export?

  • Addressing the Indian Ocean Region Defence Ministers conclave at Aero India 2021, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that India was ready to supply different types of missile systems, LCA/helicopters, multi-purpose light transport aircraft, warships and patrol vessels, artillery gun systems, tanks, radars, military vehicles, electronic warfare systems and other weapons systems to IOR nations.
  • In February, talking of the neighbourhood, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the changing geopolitical reality was that many smaller nations were now worried about security and would look towards India as it had the strength of low-cost, high-quality production. “We are exporting to over 40 nations now. We now have to emerge as a global exporter,” he had stated.
  • Assistance in capacity building and capability enhancement has emerged as a major theme in discussions with Indian Ocean littoral states with the Navy taking the lead in this area.
  • Vietnam is procuring 12 Fast Attack Craft under a $100 million credit line announced by India and discussions are continuing to identify systems under the second line of credit of $500 million.
  • Vietnam is also interested in Advanced Light Helicopters and Akash surface-to-air missiles.
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited have also lined up several platforms for export.
  • HAL has pitched its helicopters and the Tejas LCA to several Southeast Asian and West Asian nations and is in the race to supply the LCA to Malaysia.
  • Discussions on the sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, jointly developed by India and Russia, are at an advanced stage with some Southeast Asian nations.

What are the steps taken by the Centre to boost defence production?

  • Measures announced to boost exports since 2014 include simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates.
  • Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
  • In addition, defence attaches in Indian missions abroad have been empowered to promote defence exports.
  • The Defence Ministry has also issued a draft Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy 2020.
  • On the domestic front, to boost indigenous manufacturing, the Government had issued two “positive indigenisation lists” consisting of 209 items that cannot be imported and can only be procured from domestic industry.
  • In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.
  • For the year 2021-22, about 63% of the capital outlay or about ₹70,221 crore will be done from domestic defence industry, the Defence Minister has said.

7 . Facts for Prelims

Sixth Schedule

  • The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
  • ADCs have up to 30 members with a term of five years, and can make laws, rules and regulations with regard to land, forest, water, agriculture, village councils, health, sanitation, village- and town-level policing, inheritance, marriage and divorce, social customs and mining, etc. The Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam is an exception with more than 40 members and the right to make laws on 39 issues.
  • The Sixth Schedule applies to the Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram (three Councils each), and Tripura (one Council).

National Voters Service Portal (NVSP)

  • In a bid to provide all possible support services to electors with the help of IT tools, the Election Commission of India (ECI) created the National Voter Service Portal (NVSP).
  • The portal was launched on the occasion of National Voters’ Day in 2015.
  • National Voters’ Day is celebrated on 25th January every year.
  • It is a portal which provides citizens a user-friendly interface for form submission and electoral search.
  • The sole aim of NVSP is to provide single window services to electors.

Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA)

  • Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) is the process by which ambient air passes through an internal filtration system (e.g. a molecular sieve [zeolite granules or membranes]), which has a large enough total surface area to separate nitrogen (N2) from the air, concentrating the remaining oxygen (O2) to a known purity.
  • Ambient air contains 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, 0.9% argon and 0.1% rare gases.
  • The PSA process is a static separation of air gases via a specific molecular sieve designed to adsorb nitrogen under pressure, to produce oxygen-enriched air composed of 93% oxygen and above.

8 . Places in News

Gulf of Aden

  • The Gulf of Aden is an extension of the Indian Ocean, tucked between the Arabian Peninsula and the African continent.
  • The gulf connects the Red Sea to the Arabian Sea via the Strait of Bab el Mandeb.
  • It has a long history as part of the Erythraean Sea and a critical oil shipping route linking the Far East and Europe.
  • The Gulf of Aden is also a critical part of the Suez Canal shipping route, which connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Thus, the gulf’s importance declined in the 1960s when the Egyptian government temporarily closed the Suez Canal for renovation.
Gulf of Aden

Sri Ramna Kali Mandir

  • The Ramna Kali Mandir  was a temple in Dhaka begun in the time of the Mughal Empire.
  • It was also known as the “Ramna Kalibari”. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali.
  • The temple was totally destroyed by the Pakistani Army operation codenamed ‘Operation Searchlight’ in 1971, targeting the resistance movement in the country. According to various reports, the temple was set on fire, killing many people, including devotees and those residing in it.
  • On December 17, 2021, President of India will inaugurate the shrine.
  • The inauguration comes 50 years after Pakistan was defeated in 1971.
  • India supported the renovation of the temple.

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