PIB – 03rd Feb 2021

AGRI INDIA HACKATHON

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has started organising KRITAGYA- a National level hackathon in the month of August, 2020 to promote innovation in agriculture and allied sectors in the country.
  • Advantages of organising Agri-Hackathon  are to give opportunity to the students along with faculties, innovators for showcasing their innovative approaches & technologies in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • Total number of applications received for this event are 784.  Evaluation criteria comprises uniqueness of the idea, its suitability, value proposition and plan to scale-up technology. 
  • Several innovations selected under this initiative focused on robotic harvesting of coconut/oil palm, real time detection of plant diseases and simultaneous site-specific application of pesticides and Women friendly equipment for small farm operations especially for sericulture and fish cutting.

Consumer Welfare Fund

  • Under the Central Goods and Services Tax(CGST) Act, 1917, Government has set up the Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF) to promote and protect the welfare of the consumers. 
  • It has worked successfully under the extant Consumer Welfare Fund(CWF) Guidelines, 2019 and achieved the objective for which it has been set up. 
  • The Government has not revised these guidelines. Except during Covid-19 period, during which restrictions were imposed on movements, gatherings of persons and different kinds of other activities, agencies/organizations who were provided financial assistance from CWF have carried out the activities for which they were given the funds.
  • The Government has taken following other steps to promote and protect the welfare of the consumers by creating awareness and strengthening consumer movements in the country:
  1. A Pan-India consumer awareness campaign “JagoGrahakJago” through print, electronic, outdoor and social media through various agencies/ organizations/ Ministries like All India Radio, Doordarshan, National Film Development Corporation, Bureau of Outreach & Communication, Department of Posts, etc.
  2. Participation in various fairs/festivals/events to generate awareness among the consumers living in rural and backward areas of the country.
  3. Providing grant-in-aid to States/UTs to generate awareness in regional languages.
  4. Dissemination of consumer awareness messages through social media.
  5. Celebration of World Consumer Rights Day/National Consumer Day.
  6. Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) Mobile Care App.
  7. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (CP Act 2019) has been implemented w.e.f. 20th July, 2020. The new Act covers e-commerce transactions, it allows electronic filing of complaints, hearing and/or examining parties through video-conferencing for procedural ease and reduces inconvenience, introduced the concept of product liability bringing within its scope, the product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller for any claim for compensation, imposition of penalty on the manufacturer/endorser for a false or misleading advertisement and prohibiting them from endorsing a particular product or service, for mediation as an ‘Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism’ for making the process of dispute adjudication simpler & quicker and reduce pressure on Consumer Commissions. Under the CP Act, 2019, the Central Consumer Protection Authority has been set up as an executive agency w.e.f. 24.07.2020.
  8. Government has set up a National Consumer Helpline (NCH) with a toll free number to handle the consumer grievances. 
  9. Consumer awareness programmes are organized through the network of BIS Offices across the country for promoting the concept of standardization, certification and quality consciousness among consumers as well as manufactures. 

On World Wetlands Day India gets its first Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management

  • On the occasion of the World Wetland Day and as a part of its commitment towards conservation, restoration and management of India’s wetlands, the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change announced the establishment of a Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM), as a part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management(NCSCM), Chennai, an institution under the Ministry. 
  • The dedicated Centre would address specific research needs and knowledge gaps and will aid in the application of integrated approaches for conservation, management and wise use of the wetlands.
  • India has nearly 4.6% of its land as wetlands, covering an area of 15.26 million hectares and has 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1.08 million hectares. 
  • The year 2021 also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, celebrated annually as World Wetlands Day.
  • The Centre will help in building partnership and networks with relevant national and international agencies.WCM would serve as a knowledge hub and enable exchange between State/ UT Wetland Authorities, wetland users, managers, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. 
  • The Centre would also assist the national and State/ UT Governments in the design and implementation of policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning, monitoring and targeted research for its conservation.

Government has instituted several schemes/programmes aimed at encouraging young scientists to engage themselves with scientific activities / undertake research work

  • Government has instituted several schemes/programmes aimed at encouraging young scientists to engage themselves with scientific activities / undertake research work. 
  • Some of the notable programmes of the Ministry of Science and Technology targeted at young scientists include: 
  1. Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) of Department of Science and Technology (DST), 
  2. National Postdoctoral Fellowship (N-PDF) and Start-up Research Grant (SRG) of Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), 
  3. Research Fellowship Schemes of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT), 
  4. Research Associateship, R&D project based Project Associates, 
  5. Har Gobind Khorana- Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award of DBT etc. 
  • Ease of funding, speed of delivery, attractive fellowships, access to best research infrastructure and knowledge resource pool, recognition and mentoring in some schemes are some of the characteristics of the young scientist research programmes.