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News Analysis

  • 13 Feb 2019
  • 10 min read
Indian Economy

National Productivity Council

The National Productivity Council (NPC) celebrated its 61st Foundation Day (as Productivity Day) on February 12, 2019 and also observes National Productivity Week from February 12-18, every year.

  • The theme for 2019 is "Circular Economy for Productivity & Sustainability" to mark the transition from a linear to a circular economy that embraces economic growth and environmental sustainability and represents a unique opportunity for circular business models for Make - Use - Return.

National Productivity Council

  • NPC is national level organization to promote productivity culture in India.
  • Established by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization.
  • NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an Intergovernmental Body, of which the Government of India is a founder member.

Circular Economy

  • A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design.
  • It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals which impair reuse and return to the biosphere.
  • It aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.
  • Circular economy is based on four principles. They are:
    • Circular economy aims to design out waste. The products are designed and optimized for a cycle of disassembly and reuse. This sets it apart from disposal and even recycling, where large amounts of embedded energy and labour are lost.
    • It introduces a strict differentiation between consumable and durable components of a product.
      • Consumables in the circular economy are largely made of biological ingredients that are non-toxic and possibly even beneficial, and can safely be returned to the biosphere, either directly or in a cascade of consecutive uses.
      • Durables such as engines or computers, on the other hand, are made of technical nutrients unsuitable for the biosphere, such as metals and most plastics. These are designed from the start for reuse, and products subject to rapid technological advance are designed for upgrade.
    • The energy required to fuel this cycle should be renewable by nature, again to decrease resource dependence and increase systems resilience.
    • It replaces the concept of a consumer with that of a user which calls for a new contract between businesses and their customers based on product performance. The durable products are leased, rented or shared wherever possible. If they are sold, there are incentives or agreements in place to ensure the return and thereafter the reuse of the product.
  • Circular economy has the potential to increase productivity and create jobs, whilst reducing carbon emissions and preserving valuable raw materials. It provides for a way of creating value.
  • However, the challenge lies in building circular economy knowledge and capacity.

Important Facts For Prelims

Important Facts for Prelims (13th February 2019)

AI Project Debater Lost to Human

  • Recently International Business Machines Corporation's (IBM's) artificial intelligence (AI) system- Project Debater lost the public debate with a human champion, Harish Natarajan, at Think 2019 in San Francisco, U.S.
  • The winner of the event was determined by Project Debater's ability to convince the audience of the persuasiveness of the arguments.
  • Project Debater is taught to debate unfamiliar topics, as long as these are well covered in the massive corpus that the system mines including hundreds of millions of articles from numerous well-known newspapers and magazines.
  • Project Debater is endowed with three capabilities:
    • data-driven speech writing and delivery,
    • listening comprehension that can identify key claims hidden within long continuous spoken language and
    • modelling human dilemmas in a unique knowledge graph to enable principled arguments.

Note:

  • A decade ago, IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue defeated then world chess champion, Gary Kasparov.
  • In March 2016, Alphabet-owned AI firm DeepMind’s computer programme, AlphaGo, beat Go (ancient Chinese game) champion Lee Sedol.
  • On 7 December 2017, AlphaZero (modelled on AlphaGo) took just four hours to learn all chess rules and master the game enough to defeat the world’s strongest open-source chess engine, Stockfish.

POSHAN Abhiyaan

  • Recently Ministry of Women and Child Development organized the 4th meeting of National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges under POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) was launched by the government on March 8, 2018.
  • The Abhiyaan targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight.
  • The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change through convergence and lays-down specific targets to be achieved across different monitoring parameters.

The National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges

  • Set up under the Poshan Abhiyaan, the Council is also known as National Council on Nutrition (NCN).
  • The NCN is headed by the Vice-Chairman of the NITI Aayog.
  • It provides policy directions to address nutritional challenges in the country and review programmes.
  • It is national level coordination and convergence body on nutrition.

1st Aqua Mega Food Park

  • Union Minister for Food Processing Industries has commissioned Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park at West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh.
  • This is India’s first Mega Aqua Food Park operationalized exclusively for fish and marine products processing in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The facilities at aqua food park include the pre-processing, freezing line for Fish and shrimp, ice plant and food testing laboratory.
  • The modern infrastructure for food processing created at Park will benefit the farmers, growers, processors, and consumers of Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas immensely and prove to be a big boost to the growth of the food processing sector in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

Mega Food Park

  • To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with a particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
  • It aims to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors, and retailers.
  • Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward linkages (market and transport etc) and backward linkages (raw material, packaging etc) through a cluster-based approach.
  • Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre (CPC) and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).
  • The financial assistance under the scheme is provided in the form of a grant-in-aid, i.e. 50% of eligible project cost in general areas and 75% of eligible project cost in North East Region and difficult areas (Hilly States and ITDP areas) subject to a maximum of Rs. 50 crore per project.

Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) Scheme

  • The Government of India is formulating a Scheme ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)’ which aims to promote use of solar energy among the farmers.
  • The proposed scheme provides for:
    • Setting up of grid-connected renewable power plants each of 500 KW to 2 MW in the rural area,
    • Installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfil irrigation needs of farmers not connected to grid, and
    • Solarization of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps to make farmers independent of grid supply and also sell surplus solar power generated to Discom and get extra income.
  • The farmers will have to tolerate only 10% of the total expenditure to acquire an install a solar pumps. The Central Govt. will provide 60% cost while the remaining 30% will be taken care of by bank as credit.

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