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Spice of the Month


# Farm loan waivers
# Fiscal prudence
• Governments should resist farm loan waivers as it often goes to the best connected rather than to the poorest. It also creates fiscal problems for the State. Government-imposed credit targets are often achieved by abandoning appropriate due diligence, creating the environment for future NPAs.
# Saving Indigenous breeds• Punganur cow, considered one of the world’s smallest breeds of cattle, is said to be on the verge of extinction due to cross-breeding conducted by farmers, according to livestock journals. (also read Gokul Mission).
# Technology for farmers• TN government is distributing satellite phones to fishermen involved in deep sea fishing to assist in their navigation while in the high seas. ISRO has designed the NaVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) receivers.
# Illegal mining• Collapse of a coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills, trapping at least 15 workers, has thrown spotlight on “rat-hole mining”. Although banned, it remains the prevalent procedure for coal mining in Meghalaya.
1. Rat hole mining involves digging of very small tunnels, usually only 3-4 feet high, which workers (often children) enter and extract coal.
2. NGT banned it in 2014, and retained the ban in 2015, on grounds of it being unscientific and unsafe for workers.
3. It had also caused the water in the Kopili river (it flows through Meghalaya and Assam) to turn acidic.
# Inclusive Growth
# Rural Industrialization
• India Post launched its own e-commerce website to help sellers, particularly rural artisans and SHGs sell their products across the country by leveraging the vast physical and lT network of the Department of Posts.
# Promoting Startups
# Job Creation
• SEBI has lined up relaxations for new-age ventures in sectors like e-commerce and data analytics to raise funds and get their shares listed on stock exchanges.
1. The proposals include renaming the ‘Institutional Trading Platform’ that the regulator had created for such listings as ‘Innovators Growth Platform.’
• SEBI is coming up with a ‘sandbox’ policy to support development of financial technologies for the capital market.
1. Sandbox policy will allow companies to test products in a closed environment, a particular geography or among a set of users, before they are allowed roll out commercially meeting all regulations.
# Employment
# Labor vs. Technology
• Employment challenge that India faces — close to 15 million waiting to be absorbed in the industrial and services sectors every year — is possibly bigger than that faced by any other country (except China) in the world.
• It cannot be resolved with the technologies that foreign companies bring into India, which tend to be labor saving. What India requires, on the other hand, are technological advances that create new economic opportunities and absorb — not displace — labor.
# Responsible Capitalism• Chanel said it would no longer use exotic animal pelts, making it the first luxury fashion house to turn its back on crocodile and lizard skin, a move hailed by animal rights groups. It was becoming difficult to source high-quality pelts ethically.
• Dozens of top fashion industry firms have pledged at the UN climate talks to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
# Digital Currency• At least 15 central banks are interested in national digital currencies, according to a recent report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
1. Digital money means people are using less physical cash, and so the banks could reduce costs by replacing physical banknotes with digital ones.
2. Central banks will need to decide if their system should function like a decentralized cryptocurrency—or not.
# Gender budgeting• India began gender budgeting in 2004 and currently 16 states undertake this exercise which is aimed at reducing gender inequalities at scale. It has been found:
1. States with gender budgeting showed significantly greater reduction in spousal violence between 2005-’06 and 2015-’16 than those without it, according to a study using data from NFHS 3 (2005-’06) and 4 (2015-’16).
2. Gender budgeting is linked to improvements in girl education, especially in the field of primary education.