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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Why in News?

  • Commerce and Industry Minister to attend 7th RCEP Ministerial meeting in Bangkok, Thailand

What is RCEP?

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed mega-regional free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand)
  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia
  • The RCEP was built upon the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs with the spirit to strengthen economic linkages and to enhance trade and investment related activities as well as to contribute to minimising development gap among the parties
  • The RCEP negotiation includes:
    • Trade in goods
    • Trade in services,
    • Investment
    • Economic and technical cooperation
    • Intellectual property
    • Competition
    • Dispute settlement
    • e-commerce
    • small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other issues

Mega Food Park Scheme and SAMPADA yojana

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Food processing and related industries in India

Why in News?

  • Telangana’s first mega food park inaugurated in Lakkampally

What are Mega Food Park Scheme?

  • The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastage, increasing farmers income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector
  • It is based on “Cluster” approach and envisages creation of state of the art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri / horticultural zone for setting up of modern food processing units in the industrial plots provided in the park with well-established supply chain
  • A mega food park typically consist of supply chain infrastructure including collection centers, primary processing centers, central processing centers, cold chain and around 25-30 fully developed plots for entrepreneurs to set up food processing units

PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana:

  • PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) is a central sector scheme which will result in the creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet. It will not only provide a big boost to the growth of food processing sector in the country but also help in providing better returns to farmers and is a big step towards doubling of farmers income, creating huge employment opportunities especially in the rural areas, reducing wastage of agricultural produce, increasing the processing level and enhancing the export of processed foods
  • Following existing schemes were bought into the SAMPADA Yojana Umbrella:
    • Mega Food Parks
    • Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure
    • Creation/ Expansion of Food Processing/ Preservation Capacities (Unit Scheme)
    • Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters
    • Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages
    • Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure
    • Human Resources and Institutions
    • Operation Greens

Aspirational Districts Programme

Paper: General Studies 2, General Studies 3

Topic: Inclusive Growth; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Why in News?

  • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights is visiting 117 aspirational districts to hold public meetings on complaints affecting children pertaining to education, health and nutrition as well as lack of infrastructure

Aspirational Districts Programme:

  • The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ Programme being implemented by NITI Aayog aims to expeditiously improve the socio-economic status of 117 districts from across 28 states
  • The three core principles of the programme are
    • Convergence(of Central & State Schemes)
    • Collaboration (among citizens and functionaries of Central & State Governments including district teams)
    • Competition among districts
  • Driven primarily by the States, this initiative focuses on the strengths of each district, and prioritizes the attainable outcomes for immediate improvement
  • The programme focuses on 5 main themes:
    • Health & Nutrition
    • Education
    • Agriculture & Water Resources
    • Financial Inclusion & Skill Development
    • Basic Infrastructure
  • The above focus areas are chosen as they have a direct bearing on economic productivity of a region and its inhabitants
  • There will be continuous monitoring on major KPIs to measure the impact and instill a spirit of competition among districts
  • Core Strategy of the programme may be summarized as follows.•States as main drivers
    • Work on the strength of each district
    • Make development as a mass movement in these districts
    • Identify low hanging fruits and the strength of each district, to act as a catalyst for development
    • Measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition
    • Districts shall aspire to become State’s best to Nation’s best


Prelims Specific

  • Great Indian Bustard – Large ostrich like bird, once common on the dry plains of the Indian subcontinent, as few as 150 individuals were estimated to survive in 2018 (reduced from an estimated 250 individuals in 2011)
    • The species is critically endangered by hunting and loss of its habitat, which consists of large expanses of dry grassland and scrub
    • It is protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972 of India

  • Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) – 28th iteration to be held in September 2019. It is a biannual exercise between the navies of India and Thailand, poised to further enhance strong bilateral ties and maritime cooperation between both countries. The Objectives of the Indo-Thai CORPAT are to ensure effective implementation of United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS)