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PRELIMS FACTS 14-05-2018

FACT # 1


Why in news? The government will link additional 200 wholesale mandis to the online trading platform eNAM this fiscal.


  • National Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • The NAM Portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services such as:
    • commodity arrivals & prices
    • buy & sell trade offers
    • provision to respond to trade offers, etc.
  • While material flow (agriculture produce) continue to happen through mandis, an online market reduces transaction costs and information asymmetry.
  • M/s. Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. is the Strategic Partner (SP) who is responsible for development, operation and maintenance of the platform.
  • The broad role of the Strategic Partner is comprehensive and includes writing of the software, customizing it to meet the specific requirements of the mandis in the States willing to integrate with NAM and running the platform.


Objectives of e-NAM:

  • A national e-market platform for transparent sale transactions and price discovery initially in regulated markets.
  • Willing States to accordingly enact suitable provisions in their APMC Act for promotion of e-trading by their State Agricultural Marketing Board/APMC.
  • Liberal licensing of traders / buyers and commission agents by State authorities without any pre-condition of physical presence or possession of shop /premises in the market yard.
  • One license for a trader valid across all markets in the State.
  • Harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce and provision for assaying (quality testing) infrastructure in every market to enable informed bidding by buyers.
  • Common tradable parameters have so far been developed for 69 commodities.
  • Single point levy of market fees, i.e on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
  • Provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in/ or near the selected mandi to facilitate visiting farmers to access this facility in the mandi itself.

FACT # 2


Why in news? ISRO making green propellant to power satellites and spacecraft.

Hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN):

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft.
  • This new fuel has shown promising results in the formulation and associated tests of a propellant blend based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN).
  • This is done to replace the conventional hydrazine rocket fuel.
  • Hydrazine is a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical.
  • Due to its high performance characteristics, hydrazine has dominated the space industry as the choice of propellant for over six decades.
  • Hydrazine poses many environment and health hazards and problems in its manufacturing, storage, ground handling and transportation.
  • New HAN based monopropellant is a chemical propulsion fuel which does not require a separate oxidizer.
  • It is used extensively in satellite thrusters for orbital correction and orientation control.
  • The in-house formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol and water.
  • While methanol was added to reduce combustion instability, the choice of HAN was dictated by its capacity to control the burn rate and lower the freezing point of the propellant.

FACT # 3


Why in news? Nepal is going to host the 2018 Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit.


  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation(BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia.
  • These countries combined have 1.5 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion (2014).
  • The BIMSTEC member states are:
    • Bangladesh
    • India
    • Myanmar
    • Sri Lanka
    • Thailand
    • Bhutan
    • Nepal
  • Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.
  • A BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation (c. 2018).
  • Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names.
  • BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariatis at Dhaka was opened in 2014 and India provides 33% (65% of region’s population) of its expenditure.
  • The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
  • Commerce, investment, technology, tourism, human resource development, agriculture, fisheries, transport and communication, textiles, leather etc. have been included in it.
  • It is to provide cooperation to one another for the provision of training and research facilities in educational vocational and technical fields.
  • It also promotes active collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social, technical and scientific fields of common interest.
  • BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement (BFTAFA)has been signed by all member nations to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in BIMSTEC at a higher level.
  • Subsequently, the “Trade Negotiating Committee”(TNC) was set up, with Thailand as the permanent chair, to negotiate in areas of trade in goods and services, investment, economic co-operation, trade facilitations and technical assistance for LDCs.
  • Once negotiation on trade in goods is completed, the TNC would then proceed with negotiation on trade in services and investment.
  • BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreementis to facilitate coastal shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline in the region to boost trade between the member countries.
  • Nepal will hold the BIMSTEC summit 2018.

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