FMCG major ITC has joined hands with NITI Aayog to train 2 lakh farmers to increase their income and raise productivity of major crops in 25 “aspirational districts” across seven states in the country by 2022. These 25 aspirational districts are in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The partnership is for period of four years i.e. up to April 2022 with prime objective of increasing net returns from farming through reduction in costs of production and increasing productivity of major crops in each of identified district.
The partnership expected to train over 2 lakh lead farmers in 25 districts. NITI Aayog will work in close collaboration with district administrations and ITC will build capacities of relevant government extension staff to create cohort of master trainers.
These trainers will disseminate sustainable agricultural practices and templates for seasonal planning at gram panchayat level. ITC will collect baseline and endline data for impact documentation, mapping of government schemes and programmes for improving efficiency of delivery.
In order to ensure implementation, performance review and problem-solving will be undertaken by specially constituted Project Management Committee (PMC) will undertake performance review and problem-solving at the district level to ensure successful implementation. PMC will work as team under concerned District Magistrates looking after Aspirational District programme
In recently released World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) 2018 by Reporters Without Borders, India was placed at 138th rank out of 180 nations surveyed worldwide in terms of press freedom in 2017. It was ranked at the 135th in WPFI 2017.
Top 10 Countries: Norway (1st), Sweden (2nd), Netherlands (3rd), Finland (4th), Switzerland (5th), Jamaica (6th), Belgium (7th), New Zealand (8th), Denmark (9th) and Costa Rica (10th).
SAARC nations: Afghanistan (118th), Bhutan (94th), Nepal (106th), Maldives (120th), and Sri Lanka (131st), all performed better than India with Pakistan (139th) and Bangladesh (146th) performing worse.
2018 WPFI reflects increasing hostility towards journalists in democratic countries. It showed that media phobia has become more pronounced. It suggests scary picture especially in democratic countries where political leaders are openly threatening journalists, even incarcerating them if they refuse to offer their loyalty. China’s ranking remained unchanged at 175th position for the second year.
As per Index’s definition, quality of press freedom in India is bad. India fared poorly on indicators such as hate speeches, attacks on journalists on social media, trolling them and targeting their reputation. It also mentions that at least 4 journalists were gunned down in India in 2017.
World Press Freedom Index (WPFI)
WPFI is produced by France-based international non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB), or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). It ranks performance of countries according to index calculated based upon various parameters. These parameters include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. WPFI aims to promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press.