Prelim Snippets – 13.03.2020

1.ARI-516-Hybrid Variety of Grapes

Why in News?
  • Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, have developed a hybrid variety of grapes which is resistant to fungal diseases, high yielding and has excellent juice quality.
  • The hybrid variety ARI-516 has been developed by interbreeding of two species from the same genus — Catawba variety of Vitis labrusca and Beauty seedless variety of Vitis vinifera.
  • It has superior quality fruits and higher yield per unit area.
  • An early ripening hybrid, it matures in 110 – 120 days after pruning.
  • It is tolerant to downy & powdery mildew diseases as well as resistant to anthracnose disease-a group of fungal diseases that affect a variety of plants in warm, humid areas.
  • India ranks twelfth in the world in terms of grape production.
  • About 78% of grape production in India is utilized for consumption, 17-20 % for raisin production, 1.5 % for wine and 0.5 % for juice.
  • Maharashtra leads in the production of grapes in India with a share of 81.22 %.
  • A majority of farmers in Maharashtra cultivate ‘Thompson seedless’ and its clones for table purpose or raisin making.
  • These varieties are highly susceptible to fungal diseases which increase plant protection cost. Grapes suffer 8.23-16 % of post-harvest losses.
  • Juice making is an excellent option to reduce post-harvest losses.

2.New Textile Policy – 2020

Why in News?
  • The Government is formulating a New Textile Policy for the overall development of the sector.
  • Over a period of time, the textile industry is facing some problems like technological obsolesce, high input cost (power & capital), poor access to credit, fragmented units, absence of fibre neutrality, etc.
  • In order to address these issues/problems, GOI has implemented various schemes to provide support to Textiles & Apparel Sector.
  • Knitting and Knitwear Sector scheme: Government has launched a separate scheme for the development of the Knitting and Knitwear Sector to boost production in the knitting and knitwear cluster at Ludhiana, Kolkata and Tirupur.
  • Amended Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS): For technology upgradation of the sector.
  • National Handloom Development Programme, Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme, Handloom Weaver Comprehensive Welfare Scheme and Yarn Supply Schemes.
  • National Handicrafts Development Programme (NHDP) and Comprehensive Handicraft Cluster Development Schemes.
  • Power Tex India: A comprehensive scheme for the power loom sector.
  • Silk Samagra – An integrated scheme for the development of silk.
  • Jute ICARE for increasing the income of farmers through different interventions.
  • North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) for promoting textiles industry.
  • Scheme for Integrated Textile Park (SITP): The Government is implementing the SITP which provides support for the creation of world-class infrastructure facilities for setting up of textile units.

3.Nidhi company

Why in News?
  • The Central Government has amended the provisions related to NIDHI under the Companies Act and the Rules (effective from 15.08.2019).
  • The step was taken by the government in order to make regulatory regime for Nidhi Companies more effective and also to accomplish the objectives of transparency & investor friendliness in corporate environment of the country.
  • The amended provisions of the Companies Act (Section 406) and Nidhi rules (as amended) require that the Nidhi companies have to apply to the Central government for updation of their status/declaration as Nidhi Company in Form NDH-4.
Nidhi Company:
  • Under Nidhi Rules, 2014, ‘Nidhi’ is a company which has been incorporated as a Nidhi with the object of cultivating the habit of thrift and saving amongst its members, receiving deposits from, and lending to, its members only, for their mutual benefit.
  • Nidhi Company is a type of Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC).
  • It is formed to borrow and lend money to its members.
  • It works on the principle of mutual benefit.
  • Nidhi Company is not required to receive the license from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and hence it is easy to form (unlike other NBFCs). It is registered as a public company and should have “Nidhi Limited” as the last words of its name. They are governed by Nidhi Rules, 2014.
  • Nidhi companies are more popular in southern India and 80% of such companies are in Tamil Nadu.
  • A Nidhi company cannot deal in chit funds, leasing finance, hire-purchase finance, insurance or securities business.
  • It is also prohibited from lending money or accepting deposits from non-members.
  • Additionally, it cannot advertise to ask for deposits.

4.Sahyadri Megha

Why in News?
  • Recently, The University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS), Karnataka has developed a new variety of paddy, ‘Sahyadri Megha’.
About Sahyadri Megha:
  • It is a red variety of paddy that is resistant to blast disease and rich in nutrients.
  • It was developed under the hybridization breeding method by cross-breeding the best among the ‘Jyothi’ variety with that of ‘Akkalu’, a disease-resistant and protein-rich paddy variety.
  • The new variety will be notified under the Indian Seed Act 1966 shortly after which it will become part of the seed chain.
  • The protein content in it is 12.48%, higher than the other red rice varieties grown.
  • The yield per hectare from ‘Sahyadri Megha’ is around 65 quintals, substantially higher than other red paddy varieties.
  • It is a medium-term paddy that can be grown when there is a delay in the onset of monsoon. It can be harvested after 120 days of sowing.
  • Blast Disease is caused by fungus Pyricularia grisea (P. oryzae). Also known as rotten neck or rice fever. It was First recorded in India during 1918.

5.National Sports Development Fund

Why in News?
  • Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) has contributed ₹1 crore to the National Sports Development Fund under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
About National Sports Development Fund:
  • It was established under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1890. Purpose of its creation was to impart momentum and flexibility in assisting the cause of sports.
  • The Fund helps sportspersons excel by providing them opportunities to train under coaches of international repute with technical, scientific and psychological support and giving them exposure to international competitions.
  • The Fund is managed by a Council constituted by the Central Government.
  • Chairperson: Union Minister in charge of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • Members: Senior Officers of the Department of Sports, Chairman & Managing Directors of Private and Public Sector Companies/Corporations, representatives of Sports Promotion Boards, etc.
About Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Limited:
  • It is a wholly-owned Schedule ‘A’ Miniratna Category-I company of Government of India.
  • It falls under the aegis of Ministry of Finance.
  • Functions: Manufacture/ production of Currency and Bank Notes, Security Paper, Non-Judicial Stamp Papers, Postal Stamps & Stationery, Travel Documents viz. Passport and Visa, Security certificates, Cheques, Bonds, Warrant, Special Certificates with security features, Security Inks, Circulation & Commemorative Coins, Medallions, Refining of Gold & Silver, and Assay of Precious Metals.

6.Centre has decided to Increase Manpower at SFIO

Why in News?
  • The government is set to more than double the manpower at the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to nearly 350 as the office continues efforts to curb corporate wrongdoings.
About SFIO:
  • It is a multi-disciplinary organization under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, consisting of experts in the field of accountancy, investigation, company law, capital market and taxation.
  • Its main objective is of detecting and prosecuting or recommending for prosecution of white-collar crimes/frauds.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi. SFIO has powers to arrest people for the violation of the Company law.
  • The Computer Forensic and Data Mining Laboratory (CFDML) was set up in 2013 to provide support and service to the officers of SFIO in their investigations.
 Statutory Status:
  • SFIO was initially set up by the Government of India by way of a resolution dated 2nd July 2003. At that time SFIO did not enjoy a formal legal status.
  • Section 211 of the Companies Act, 2013 has accorded statutory status to the SFIO.
SFIO can start an investigation into the affairs of a company under the Following Circumstances:
  • On receipt of a report of the Registrar or inspector under sections of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • On intimation of a special resolution passed by a company that its affairs are required to be investigated.
  • In the public interest.
  • On request from any department of the central government or a state government.

7.Bear and Bull Markets

Why in News?
  • The declaration of the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has made the Indian indices including NSE Nifty index to enter the ‘bear market’ territory.
What is a Bear Market?
  • A bear market refers to the market where share prices are continuously declining.
  • Its downward trend makes investors believe that the trend will continue, which, in turn, perpetuates the downward spiral. It is considered riskier to invest in a bear market, as many equities lose value. Thus, most investors withdraw their money from the markets.
  • During a bear market, the economy slows down and unemployment rises as companies begin laying off workers.
What is a Bull Market?
  • A bull market refers to a market that experiences a sustained increase in market share prices. It ensures investors that the uptrend will continue over the long term.
  • It signifies that the country’s economy is strong and employment levels are High.
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