soil health Current Affairs - 2020

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December 5: World Soil Day

The World Soil Day was endorsed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2013. It was officially adopted through a resolution at the 68th UN General Assembly. Since then every year, the World Soil Day is marked on December 5 by the United Nations all over the world.

Theme: Stop Soil Erosion, Save our Future

SDG

The day is marked focusing on the Sustainable Development Goal 15 which is “Life on Land”. The goal aims at protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification, manage forests, reverse land degradation.

Issues

According to the United Nations, Desertification, Land Degradation are the two major issues of soil loss. According to UNCCD, desertification is defined as degradation of dry land eco systems by human activities due to overgrazing, unsustainable farming, clear cutting of land, mining and climate change.

International Union of Soil Sciences

The concept of World Soil Day was first introduced by the IUSS in 2002 to celebrate the importance of soil. The IUSS was founded in 1924. There are more than 86 national and regional members. It acts as a hub of soil scientists and a platform to promote all branches of soil science and its applications.

Significance

The World Soil Day highlights on the problems of population expansion. It aims at reducing soil erosion and maintain soil fertility. The theme of 2019 focuses on challenges in soil management. It encourages organizations, communities and governments to work towards improving soil health

Why was December 5 chosen?

The late king of Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the main proponent of the initiative. Therefore, his birthday December 5 was chosen as World Soil Day.

Soil Conservation

The day also stresses on the importance of Soil Conservation. The FAO recommends Terrace farming, Contour ploughing, windbreaks, crop rotation, Agrostological measures, green manures, no-till farming, earthworms to conserve soil and prevent soil erosion.

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Union Government launches Soil Health Card Scheme in Rajasthan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched nationwide Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme in Suratgarh town of Sriganganagar district, Rajasthan.

During the launch PM gave slogan- Swasth Dharaa. Khet Haraa (Healthy Earth, Green Farm).

Key facts  of Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme

  • SHC is centrally-sponsored nationwide scheme which aims to help farmers to improve the productivity of farms by providing them basic information for use of nutrients or fertilizers.
  • The card carries crop-wise recommendation of fertilisers that are required for farm lands. It also helps farmers identify health of soil and judiciously use soil nutrients.
  • Under this scheme Centre plans to target over 14 crore farmers in the next three years. In financial year 2014-15, around 3 crore farmers will be covered to check the excess use of fertilisers.

Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme was announced by NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its first budget presented in July 2014.

In the budget, government had allotted Rs. 100 crore for issuing cards under the scheme. Government also had allotted additional Rs. 56 crore to set up 100 mobile soil testing laboratories across India.

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