Given below are the daily current affairs for 08th March 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.
- POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- China gives green light for first downstream dams on Brahmaputra
- Jaishankar, Zalmay Khalilzad discuss Afghan peace talks
- China warns U.S. over its Taiwan stand
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Silk Board on a convergence model for the implementation of Agroforestry in the silk sector under the ongoing Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.
- The signing of this MoU aims to incentivize the farmers to take up sericulture based Agroforestry models thereby contributing to the Make in India and Make for the World vision.
- This linkage will add another dimension to agroforestry for faster returns to the growers as well as support the production of the range of silks that India is famous for.
About the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF):
- The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) has been implementing the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) since 2016-17 as part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014.
- This sub-mission is under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
- India was the first country to have such a comprehensive policy which was launched at the World Agroforestry Congress held in Delhi in February 2014.
- At present, the scheme is being implemented in 20 States and 2 UTs.
Aim of the mission:
SMAF aims to encourage farmers to plant multi-purpose trees together with the agriculture crops for climate resilience and an additional source of income to the farmers, as well as enhanced feedstock to inter alia wood-based and herbal industry.
China gives green light for first downstream dams on Brahmaputra
A draft of China’s new Five-Year Plan (FYP) 2021-2025 has given the green light for the first dams to be built on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river, as the Brahmaputra is known in Tibet before it flows into India.
- The draft outline of the FYP for 2025 and long-range objectives through the year 2035, specifically mentions the building of hydropower bases on the lower reaches of the river as among the priority energy projects to be undertaken in the next 5 years.
- The lower reaches refer to the sections of the river in Tibet before it flows into India.
- The inclusion of the projects in the draft plan suggests the authorities have given the go-ahead to begin tapping the lower reaches for the first time.
- This marks a new chapter in the hydropower exploitation of the river.
- Other major projects include the construction of coastal nuclear power plants and power transmission channels.
- The draft is all set to be formally approved.
Concerns for India:
- The FYP’s backing for the projects also suggests that a number of long-pending proposals from Chinese hydropower companies to build dams on the lower reaches, including near the border with India, may be given approval.
- India has expressed concerns to China over the four planned dams on the upper and middle reaches.
- However, Indian officials have said the dams are not likely to greatly impact the quantity of the Brahmaputra’s flows in India because:
- They are only storing water for power generation.
- The Brahmaputra is not entirely dependent on upstream flows with an estimated 35% of its basin in India.
- Dams on the lower reaches and at the Great Bend would, however, raise fresh concerns because of the location across the border from Arunachal Pradesh and the potential impact downstream.
- In 2015, China operationalised its first hydropower project at Zangmu in Tibet.
- Three other dams at Dagu, Jiexu and Jiacha are being developed, all on the upper and middle reaches of the river.
Jaishankar, Zalmay Khalilzad discuss Afghan peace talks
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the United States special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad discussed the latest developments pertaining to the Afghan peace talks.
- India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the U.S. signed a peace deal with the Taliban.
- The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains on Washington’s 18-year war with the Taliban.
- India has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorists and their proxies can relocate.
India has been a major stakeholder in Afghanistan and it has extended $3-billion developmental assistance in the last few years to the country.
China warns U.S. over its Taiwan stand
China recently warned the Biden administration to roll back former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous practice” of showing support for Taiwan.
- China has also warned Taiwan that any attempt to seek independence “means war”.
What’s the issue?
China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state, with its own constitution, military, and elected leaders.
China – Taiwan relations: Background
China has claimed Taiwan through its “one China” policy since the Chinese civil war forced the defeated Kuomintang, or Nationalist, to flee to the island in 1949 and has vowed to bring it under Beijing’s rule, by force if necessary.
- China is Taiwan’s top trading partner, with trade totaling $226 billion in 2018. Taiwan runs a large trade surplus with China.
- While Taiwan is self-governed and de facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.
- Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Taiwan would have the right to run its own affairs; a similar arrangement is used in Hong Kong.
- Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asian Development Bank under various names.
Indo – Taiwan relations:
- Although they do not have formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan and India have been cooperating in various fields.
- India has refused to endorse the “one-China” policy since 2010.
Janaushadhi is helping the poor, says Modi
What’s in News?
The Prime Minister inaugurated the 7,500th Janaushadhi Kendra at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong.
- He urged the people to buy affordable medicines from Janaushadhi Kendras.
- Jan Aushadhi Diwas is celebrated on 7th March every year.
- The Jan Aushadhi Divas aims to provide further impetus and create awareness about the use of generic medicines.
Commemorating change, changing commemoration
- Savitribai Phule was an Indian social reformer, educationist, and poet from Maharashtra.
- Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important and vital role in improving women’s rights in India. She is regarded as the mother of Indian feminism.
- She worked to abolish the discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender.
- She is regarded as the first female teacher of India.
- Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule started their own school at Bhide Wada, which became India’s first girls’ school run by Indians.
- It is an e-conclave bringing together stakeholders from HealthTech & Edutech sectors.
- This is the second edition of the e-conclave organised by Laghu Udyog Bharati and the IMS Foundation.
Maitri Setu inaugurated
- The bridge ‘Maitri Setu’ has been built over the Feni river which flows between the Indian boundary in Tripura State and Bangladesh.
- The construction was taken up by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd at a project cost of Rs. 133 Crores.
- The 1.9 km long bridge joins Sabroom in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh.
Switzerland to ban on face coverings in public
In a recently held referendum, Switzerland has narrowly voted in favour of banning face coverings in public, including the burka or niqab worn by Muslim women.
Exceptions: The places where the full facial coverings will be allowed include places of worship and other sacred sites. Besides, it will be allowed for health and safety reasons and also in situations where it is “local custom” such as carnivals.
Background: Swiss people are given a direct say in their own affairs under the country’s system of direct democracy. They are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums.
First European Country to ban: France was the first country in Europe to ban burqas and niqabs in public places in 2011.
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