Polity & Governance
- 26th conference of the Southern Zonal Council
- Anti-dumping duty slapped on stainless steel products
Environment & Ecology
- Myanmar launches first UNESCO biosphere reserve- ‘Inle Lake’
- NGT bans registration of new diesel vehicles in Delhi
Art & Culture
- UNESCO declares Varanasi, Jaipur under Creative Cities Network
Polity & Governance
26th conference of the Southern Zonal Council
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will chair the 26th conference of the Southern Zonal Council (SZC).
- The SZC comprises Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Puducherry.
- The issues that will be deliberated at the meeting include coastal security, peninsular region industrial corridor, introduction of peninsular tourism trains and finalisation of inter-State reciprocal transport agreement.
About Zonal Councils:
- The Zonal Councils, created under the State Reorganization Act, 1956.
- They are advisory bodies that discuss and advise the Central and State Governments on matters of common interest pertaining to a gamut of subjects, viz., infrastructures, health, security, social welfare, linguistic minorities, border disputes, etc., on the action to be taken in such matter.
- There are five Councils, one for each Zone viz., Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern, and Central.
- The secretarial functions of the Zonal Councils have been transferred to the Inter State Council Secretariat with effect from 1 April, 2011.
- The North-East Council set up under a separate Act of 1971 is under the administrative ambit of the Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER).
- The meeting of each Zonal Council needs to be held once in a year to iron out the differences between the governments on issues of development concerning regional interest and national programmes.
[Courtesy: PIB, Hindu]
Anti-dumping duty slapped on stainless steel products
India has imposed anti-dumping duty of up to 57.39 per cent on import of certain stainless steel products from China, Korea, the U.S. and EU for five years to save the domestic industry from cheap shipments.
- The duty will be in the range of 5.39 per cent to 57.39 per cent of the landed value of ‘Cold-rolled Flat’ products of stainless steel.
- The duty has been imposed on the recommendation of Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) in October.
Difference between Hot Rolled Steel and Cold Rolled Steel:
- In metalworking, rolling is a metal forming process in which metal stock is passed through one or more pairs of rolls to reduce the thickness and to make the thickness uniform.
- Rolling is classified according to the temperature of the metal rolled.
- If the temperature of the metal is above its recrystallization temperature, then the process is known as hot rolling.
- If the temperature of the metal is below its recrystallization temperature, the process is known as cold rolling.
[Sources: The Hindu, Business Standard, Wiki]
Environment & Ecology
Myanmar launches first UNESCO biosphere reserve- ‘Inle Lake’
Myanmar has launched the country’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — Inle Lake in Shan state, opening a new chapter in its commitment to bio-diversity and eco-system conservation.
- Inle Lake was designated as Myanmar’s first biosphere reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme in Paris in June this year.
- The Inle Lake is reported to be the nesting place for globally endangered Sarus crane.
[Source: The Hindu]
NGT bans registration of new diesel vehicles in Delhi
National Green Tribunal on Friday directed that no new or old diesel vehicle be registered in Delhi till Jan. 6. The NGT had, way back in Nov. 2014, suggested banning diesel vehicles. But the government kept seeking time to implement it.
- The Tribunal directed the government to take a conscientious decision with regard to not buying any diesel vehicles.
- It also directed that all the government departments prepare an action plan for phasing out diesel vehicles, particularly trucks being used by all these bodies.
- The tribunal also emphasized that there will be no re-registration henceforth of diesel vehicles that are more than 10 years old.
- NGT has directed Delhi government to submit a proposal a green belt, covering open grounds with grass and installation of air purifiers in all government and corporation schools.
Delhi government’s Odd-Even Formula:
- The Delhi government has announced that from January 1, 2016, private vehicles with odd registration numbers will ply on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and with even numbers on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
- Both odd and even number vehicles can ply on Sundays.
Criticism of Formula:
- One of the main criticisms of the odd-even formula has been the lack of adequate number of public vehicles that can accommodate those who will not be able to use their vehicles in the first fortnight of January.
- To overcome the shortage of public vehicles, the Delhi government will double the fleet of buses during the 15-day trial period, starting on January 1, when the odd-even traffic formula will be implemented.
- The government has also asked Delhi Metro to increase the frequency of trains, allowed auto drivers to work for longer hours and has contacted the railways to streamline the ring railway services during this period.
NGT on odd-even formula:
- The green tribunal had questioned the Delhi government’s odd-even formula for vehicles to check pollution in the national capital and said that such a move may not achieve the desired purpose.
- It also wanted to know if due to this scheme; more buses would come on road and cause more pollution.
[Courtesy: Times of India]
Art & Culture
UNESCO declares Varanasi, Jaipur under Creative Cities Network
UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, has announced the designation of 47 cities from 33 countries as new members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and for the first time, two Indian cities have made it to the UNESCO’s Creative City Network- Jaipur and Varanasi.
About UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN):
- The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
- The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.
- The 116 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.
India had applied for the first time to UNESCO in these categories in 2015.
The PM’s constituency Varanasi and Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur have made it to the network in the categories- City of Music and City of Craft respectively.
- Varanasi was advocated as an ideal example of India’s intangible Cultural heritage as a combination of a temple city with its rich tradition in music.
- The Varanasi school of music or the Benaras gharana named after the city along with the semi classical genres like Hori, Chaiti, Tappa, Daadra are rich in musical heritage.
- The ghats, havelis and temples have housed the Benaras gharana and nurtured it backed with the Banaras Hindu University with its Music and Dance departments.
- The city has over 250 music institutions private & public, 10 auditoria, 55 venues of art promotion and nearly 12000 students of music.
- The Government of Rajasthan nominated the Jaipur City under the Creative Cities Network for its art & craft.
- 36 varieties of crafts were identified including the ones related to Sculpture, Pottery Textiles and Jewellery making.
- Right from King Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 18th Century to his successors, the city has been nurtured as a centre of artistic excellence.
- 30 per cent of the city’s economy is sustained by small scale craft industries.
[Sources: Economic Times, UNESCO.org]