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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Natural Farming

30th Sep 2020

Why in news?

NITI Aayog Holds Two-Day Consultation on Natural Farming.

To leverage the many socioeconomic and environmental benefits of natural farming for boosting farmers’ welfare, consumer health, food security and nutrition, NITI Aayog has organized a two-day (29–30 September) national-level consultation with relevant stakeholders.

 

 

What is Natural farming?

Natural farming is a system where the laws of nature are applied to agricultural practices. This method works along with the natural biodiversity of each farmed area, encouraging the complexity of living organisms, both plants, and animals that shape each particular ecosystem to thrive along with food plants.

Who introduced Zero Budget Natural Farming?

Subash Palekar (Indian Agriculturist and Padma Shri Recipient) is the father of Zero Budget Natural Farming.

He developed it in the mid-1990s as an alternative to the Green Revolution’s methods.

 What is used in Natural farming ?

Jeevamrutha’ is applied in farming.

It is the mixture of:

  • Fresh desi cow dung
  • Aged desi cow urine
  • Jaggery
  • Pulse flour
  • Water and
  • Soil

Similarities between natural farming and organic farming:

  • Natural and organic both are chemical free and more or less poison free farming methods.
  • Both systems discourage farmers from using any chemical fertilizers, pesticides on plants and in all agricultural practices.
  • Both farming methods encourage farmers to use local breeds of seeds, and native varieties of vegetables, grains, pulses and other crops.
  • Organic and natural farming methods promote nonchemical and homemade pest control methods.

Key differences between natural farming and organic farming:

  • In organic farming, organic fertilizers and manures like compost, vermicompost, cow dung manure, etc. are used and added to farmlands from external sources.
  • In natural farming, neither chemical nor organic fertilizers are added to the soil. In fact, no external fertilizers are added to soil or give to plants whatsoever.
  • In natural farming, decomposition of organic matter by microbes and earthworms is encouraged right on the soil surface itself, which gradually adds nutrition in the soil, over the period.
  • Organic farming still requires basic agro practices like plowing, tilting, mixing of manures, weeding, etc. to be performed.
  • In natural farming there no plowing, no tilting of soil and no fertilizers, and no weeding is done just the way it would be in natural ecosystems.

Features of Zero budget natural farming (ZBNF):

Commercial level farming can be done in almost zero budget only by using locally available and farm-based resources.

  • According to ZBNF principles, plants get 98% of their supply of nutrients from the air, water, and sunlight. And the remaining 2% can be fulfilled by good quality soil with plenty of friendly microorganisms. (Just like in forests and natural systems)

Soil microclimate: The soil is always supposed to be covered with an organic mulch, which creates humus and encourages the growth of friendly microorganisms.

Desi cow: The system requires cow dung and cow urine (Gomutra) obtained from Indian breed cow only. Desi cow is apparently the purest as far as the microbial content of cow dung, and urine goes.

Cultures: A farm made bio-culture named ‘Jeevamrutha’ is added to the soil instead of any fertilizers to improve microflora of soil. Jeevamrutha is derived from very little cow dung and cow urine of desi cow breed.

Natural, farm-made pesticides like Dashparni ark and Neem Astra are used to control pests and diseases.

Raisina Dialogue

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Why in news?

Fifth edition of the Raisina Dialogue is being held in New Delhi.

  • More than 700 international participants, including 80 from African countries, are attending the meet.
  • This year`s Dialogue is titled `Navigating the Alpha Century`.

About the Raisina Dialogue:

  • This is an annual geo-political event, organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
  • It is designed to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s integration with the larger world.
  • It is predicated on India’s vital role in the Indian Ocean Region and how India along with its partners can build a stable regional and world order.

Participants:

  • The conference is a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral meeting involving policy and decision-makers, including but not limited to Foreign, Defence and Finance Ministers of different countries, high-level government officials and policy practitioners, leading personalities from business and industry, and members of the strategic community, media and academia.

Significance of the event:

  • The Raisina Dialogue was born in 2016, in the belief that the Asian century that the world was talking about was not about any exclusive geographical region.
  • It was rather about the engagement of global actors with Asia and of Asia with the world.
  • So this dialogue took birth as a platform, where the old and the new could work together, to discover their connections, their inter-dependence.

Fact For Prelims :

Island Development Agency (IDA):

  • The IDA was set up on June 1, 2017 for the development of islands.
  • The meetings of the agency are chaired by the Union Home Minister.

Composition:

 Members of the IDA include –

  • cabinet secretary
  • Home secretary
  • Secretary (environment, Forests and climate change)
  • Secretary (tourism) and secretary (tribal welfare).

 

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