UPSC Prelims News of 16 December 2022
Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP)
Context: The ruling party in Rajasthan has committed to fulfill its promise of implementing Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project.
- ECRP is a planned project to harvest surplus yield available in the Southern Rajasthan rivers and transfer it to deficit basins in South-Eastern Rajasthan.
- This project aims to meet the drinking / irrigation and industrial water needs of the thirteen districts of Southern & South Eastern Rajasthan.
- Catchment area: The project will harvest water from catchment area of Kunnu, Kul, Parbati, Kalisindh, Mez, Chakan and Banas river in the state.
- Proposed benefits of the project:
- The project will provide water for drinking purpose in thirteen districts of the state.
- The canal project will control flood/ drought situation in the area.
- It will help in expanding cropping area in the state.
- Groundwater table can be elevated by reducing underground water extraction
- Challenges associated:
- Large area will be inundated as a result of construction of dams
- High cost of construction
Exercise Surya Kiran
Context: India and Nepal will participate in the 16th edition of the joint military training exercise ‘Surya Kiran’.
About the Surya Kiran 2022:
- Location: The exercise will be conducted at Nepal Army Battle School, Saljhandi (Nepal).
- Objective: The annual exercise is held with the goal of improving interoperability in jungle warfare and counter-terrorism operations in mountainous terrain, as well as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR under the UN mandate.
Focus areas: The exercise will focus on counter-terrorism, martial arts, humanitarian aid, natural disasters, environmental protection
- Participants: Nepal Army soldiers of the Shree Bhawani Baksh Battalion and Indian Army soldiers from the 5 GR will take part in the exercise.
- Significance: Participants will train together to develop experience on variety of operations.
- It will also enhance the level of defence cooperation which will further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations.
Alternative Investment Funds AIFs
Context: Indian alternative investment funds (AIFs) have got an estimated 10-15% from investors in Cayman Islands and UAE.
About Alternative Investment Fund:
- It is a special investment category that differs from conventional investment instruments. It is a privately pooled fund.
- Generally, institutions and HNIs invest in AIFs as substantial investments are required.
- These investment vehicles adhere to the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012.
Types of AIFs in India:
Category 1: These funds invest in SMEs, start-ups, and new economically viable businesses with high growth potential.
- Venture Capital Funds (VCF): New-age entrepreneurial firms that require large financing during their initial days can approach VCF.
- Angel Funds: These invest in budding start-ups and are called angel investors.
- Infrastructure Funds: This fund invests in infrastructure companies, i.e., those involved in railway construction, port construction, etc.
- Social Venture Fund: Funds investing in a socially responsible business are social venture funds.
- Private equity fund: It invests in unlisted private companies.
- Debt Funds: This fund primarily invests in debt securities of unlisted companies.
- Funds of Fund: Such funds invest in other Alternative Investment Funds. They do not have their investment portfolio but focus on investing in different AIFs.
- Private Investment in Public Equity Fund (PIPE): A PIPE invests in shares of publicly traded companies.
- Hedge funds: Hedge funds pool money from accredited investors and institutions. These funds invest in both domestic and international debt and equity markets.
Advantage of Investing in AIFs
- AIFs generally have a higher return potential than other investment options. The massive pooled amount gives the fund managers enough room to prepare flexible strategies for maximizing returns.
- AIFs are not directly related to stock markets. Volatility in these funds is less, compared with traditional equity investments.
- These funds allow much-needed diversification in an investment portfolio
New GI Tags
Context: The Union government has granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to 9 products, raising the total to 432 in the country.
Gamosa of Assam
- This is a traditional textile having great significance for the people of Assam.
- In all rituals related to puja and ‘namprasang’, Gamosa is wrapped around the neck by both men and women.
Alibag White Onion
- This is a traditional variety of white onion in Alibag tehsil of Raigad district in Maharashtra.
- This particular onion does not have a strong odour like the standard onion commonly available in the market. It has a sweet taste, different from other onions.
- This is a traditional crop in the rain-fed tract of the Telangana region.
- It contains about 22-24% protein, which is almost three times that of cereals.
Raktsey Karpo Apricot
- Native to Ladakh and is known for its pure organic sweetness.
- Ladakh Raktsey Karpo Apricot has a unique seed. The Raktsey Karpo fruit have white seed stones.
The Attappady Thuvara (Red gram)
- It is an important traditional crop of the Attappady tribal area in Palakkad district, Kerala.
- It is a woody shrub, generally grown as an annual crop.
Kanthalloor Vattavada Veluthulli (garlic)
- It is a traditional garlic grown in prominent cultivation areas such as Kanthalloor and Vattavada panchayats in Kerala.
- It is known for its unique flavour, pungency, taste, medicinal properties and longer shelf life.
Kodungallur Pottuvellari (Kodungallur snap melon)
- It is cultivated in several districts of Kerala.
- It is used as a vegetable and also for making juice
Attappady Aattukombu Avara
- It is cultivated in the Attappady tribal area in Palakkad district, Kerala.