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IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020-21 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2021.

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Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Nov 2020

National Medicinal Plants Board


Shripad Naik chairs e-event on two decades of the National Medicinal Plants Board

      WHY IN NEWS:

National Medicinal Plant Board on 24th November, 2020 celebrated its Establishment Day.

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Ayush


On this occasion, a “Status Report of NMPB 2020” and “Ayur-veg” e-book were also released.



  • India is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity, has 15 agro-climatic zones.
  • Out of the 17000-18000 species of flowering plants, more than 7000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk.
  • They all are documented systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy (AYUSH System of Medicine).
  • Medicinal plants are a major resource base for the traditional medicine & herbal industry .

It also provide livelihood and health security to a large segment of Indian population.

  • About 1178 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 242 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tons/year.
  • The domestic demand of medicinal plants has been estimated 1,95,000 MT for the year of 2014-2015.
  • The export demand of medicinal plants has been estimated 1,34,500 MT during 2014-2015.

Total consumption of herbal raw drug in the country for the year 2014-15 has been estimated at 5,12,000 MT with corresponding trade value of ₹ 5,500 Crore.

  • The major increase is in export value; from ₹ 345.80 Crore in 2005-06 to ₹ 3211 Crore in 2014-15.


  • In order to promote medicinal plants sector, Government of India set up National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) on 24th November 2000.

Currently the board is working under the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy), Government of India.

  • The primary mandate of NMPB is to develop an appropriate mechanism for coordination between various ministries/ departments/ organization.
  • Also, implementation of support policies/programs for overall (conservation, cultivation, trade and export) growth of medicinal plants sector.


  • NMBP focusses on in-situ & ex-situ conservation and augmenting local medicinal plants and aromatic species of medical significance.
  • The NMPB also promote research & development, capacity building through trainings of Home/School herbal gardens.

NMPB also seek to support programs for quality assurance through development of Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACPs).

  • Development of monographs laying down standards of quality, safety and efficacy.
  • Development of agro-techniques and credible institution a mechanism for certification of quality of raw drugs, seeds and planting material.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Overall, NMPB’s main objective is the development of medicinal plants sector through developing a strong coordination between various ministries/ departments/ organization.
     SOURCES:  PIB  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Nov 2020

UN : Sanitation and Hygiene Fund


Treat sanitation as public good: UN at launch of hygiene fund

      WHY IN NEWS:

This is from DownToEarth !




  • The United Nations launched the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund to provide accelerated funding to countries with the heaviest burden of diseases

Those countries which are stemming from lack of sanitation services and have the least ability to respond to them.


The initiative aims to accelerate funding to countries with the heaviest burden of diseases stemming from lack of sanitation services.

  • It also aims to raise $2 billion over the next five years for these countries.


  • The fund is hosted by the UN Office for Project Services, which provides technical advice and project implementation to the UN and its partners.


The objectives of the Fund are:

  • Expanding household sanitation
  • Ensuring menstrual health and hygiene
  • Providing sanitation and hygiene in schools and healthcare facilities
  • Supporting innovative sanitation solutions

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has blown the lid off poor sanitation and hygiene practices.
  • The key to keeping the virus at bay is hand-washing — a facility inaccessible to three billion people across the globe.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Nov 2020

Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes : WHO, OIE, FAO


New antimicrobial toolkit by WHO, OIE, FAO aims to fill data gaps

      WHY IN NEWS:

Three organisations jointly released a report on international policy instruments regarding the use of antimicrobials in the human, animal and plant sectors recently.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Antimicrobial Resistance


Their report called for implementation of standards on antimicrobial use in a comprehensive manner across all five stages of the antimicrobial life cycle



  • Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes : Middle-Income Countries


  • The document has been prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO).


  • It outlines areas where there are gaps and opportunities in the current international guidance and regulations.
  • It also identifies the existing frameworks for the monitoring of implementation of these instruments.


  • The standards related to the human use of antimicrobials are distributed over a large variety of instruments.

No single comprehensive international instrument governs the use of antimicrobials in humans.

  • Most instruments are technical guidelines adopted by the WHO Secretariat or expert committees supported by it.

For the use of antimicrobials in plants, the FAO / WHO International code of conduct on pesticide management is recognised as the main instrument.

  • Currently, no other international environmental standards exist governing the manufacture of pesticides.
  • General instruments for pesticide use were available, specific guidance on the use of antimicrobial pesticides in plants was lacking.

The Codex Alimentarius Code of Practice to minimise and contain antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is currently under revision and will include the use of antimicrobials in plants.

  • The instruments related to the environment are included throughout the life cycle.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Efficient enforcement mechanisms and the necessary technical capacity were critical for such implementation.
  • This needed to be coupled with appropriate monitoring of the implementation, by using tools such as the Tripartite AMR Country Self-assessment Survey (TrACSS) and those specifically available with the FAO or OIE.
     SOURCES:   DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Nov 2020

MQ9B Sea Guardian unarmed drones


MQ9B Sea Guardian

      WHY IN NEWS:

Two American MQ9B Sea Guardian unarmed drones have been inducted by the Indian Navy.

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Defence


The drones would be on lease with India for one year.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Nov 2020



  • It is the maritime variant of the Predator MQ9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
  • It has a maximum endurance of 40 hours and a maximum flying altitude of 40,000 feet.

It has a 360 maritime surveillance radar and an optional multimode maritime surface search radar.


  • It can be used in operations such as
  • Anti-Surface Warfare,
  • Anti-Submarine Warfare,
  • Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief,
  • Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement (Drug Trafficking, Illegal Immigration and Piracy), etc.


  • The Navy has for the first time inducted two surveillance drones through a lease agreement with an American firm.

The government has granted emergency funds up to Rs. 500 crore per procurement project to the three armed services to buy ammunition and weapons in view of the escalating border standoff with China.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The drones are meant for carrying out surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region and can be deployed on the China border if asked for and if needed.
  • Already the Navy’s P8I Poseidon aircraft have been deployed in Ladakh.
  • As part of its force restructuring to offset budgetary constraints, the Navy is looking to induce more unmanned solutions in future.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Nov 2020

NIIF Infrastructure Debt Financing Platform


Cabinet approves Capital infusion into NIIF Infrastructure Debt Financing Platform comprising Aseem Infrastructure Finance Limited and NIIF Infrastructure Finance Limited

      WHY IN NEWS:

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal for equity infusion by Government of Rs 6000 crores

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Finance
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Devolution of Finances


The amount will be injected in NIIF Debt Platform sponsored by National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)


The NIIF Strategic Opportunities Fund has set up a Debt Platform comprising an NBFC Infra Debt Fund and an NBFC Infra Finance Company.

NIIF comprising of Aseem Infrastructure Finance Limited (AIFL) and NIIF Infrastructure Finance Limited (NIIF-IFL), subject to the following conditions:

  1. That only Rs.2,000 crore would be allocated during the current year 2020-21.
  2. The proposed amount may be disbursed only if there is readiness and demand for debt raising.
  3. NIIF will take all necessary steps to use the equity investments from Domestic and Global pension funds and sovereign wealth funds expeditiously.

The debt platform is expected to raise enough resources to extend debt support of Rs.1,10,000 crore to projects by 2025.


  1. The strategy is AIFL will predominantly focus on under construction / greenfield / brownfield assets with less than one year of operations.
  2. NIIF Infrastructure Debt Financing Platform will have its own in-house appraisal system, which will enable faster deployment of funds.
  3. NIIF IFL (NBFC-IDF) will operate as a take-out vehicle for mature operating assets.
  4. It will help infrastructure investors in replacing high cost bank finance with cheaper IDF finance post-commissioning.
  5. Over the next 5 years ; NIIF can potentially support the construction of infrastructure projects worth ~ Rs.100,000 crore.
  6. The Platform needs to raise external long-term equity capital .
  7. NIIF will make strong efforts to use the equity investments by Government to catalyse equity investments by Domestic and Global Pension.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • NIIF Infrastructure Debt Financing Platform is expected to contribute nearly Rs 1 lakh crores in debt to the infrastructure sector over the next 5 years.
  • This will act as a catalyst in attracting more investments into the infrastructure sector as envisaged in National Infrastructure Pipeline.
  • This process will also help relieve exposure of banks to infrastructure projects and free up space for new green-field projects.
  • Strengthening the IDF / take-out financing space in the infrastructure sector will support enhance liquidity of infrastructure assets and lower the risks.
     SOURCES:  PIB  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Nov 2020

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