Polity & Governance
- 12th February: National Productivity Day
- India’s first ‘Highway Capacity Manual’ released
Bilateral & International Relations
- India gets access to strategic Oman port Duqm for military use
- India, Palestine sign six infrastructure agreements
- Tanzania withdraws from UN refugee programme
- 6th World Government Summit
Art & Culture
- Eminent Kannada writer Chandrashekhara Kambara elected as Sahitya Akademi president
Key Facts for Prelims
- Mumbai 12th richest city in the world
- First Hindu Temple Project in Abu Dhabi
- 13th February: World Radio Day 2018
- ONGC Videsh-led consortium picks up 10% stake in UAE’s Zakum oilfield
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Polity & Governance
12th February: National Productivity Day
The National Productivity Council observed National Productivity Day on February 12th. It is the 60th Anniversary of the National Productivity Council and is being celebrated as Diamond Jubilee Year.
- “Industry 4.0 Leapfrog Opportunity for India” has been selected as the theme for the National Productivity Week -2018.
About Industry 4.0:
- Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution as it is called, is emerging globally as a powerful force and is being called as the next industrial revolution.
- It is characterized by the increasing digitization and interconnection of products, value chains and business models. Industry.
- Industry 4.0 means convergence of real and virtual worlds. It is the next phase in bringing together conventional and modern technologies in manufacturing. It will result in “Smart Factory”, which is characterized by versatility, ergonomic design, resource efficiency and direct integration with business partners.
Previous industrial revolutions
- The first industrial revolution was triggered by water and steam power to move to mechanical manufacturing from human labour.
- The second industrial revolution built on electric power for mass production.
- The third industrial revolution used electronic and information technology to automate manufacturing.
About National Productivity Council (NPC):
- NPC is a national level organization to promote productivity culture in India.
- Established by the Ministry of Industry in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization with equal representation from employers’ and workers’ organizations and the government.
- It is an autonomous body under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
- NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental body, of which India is a founder member.
- The Union Minister for Industry is the President of the NPC, and the Secretary (Industrial Policy and Promotion) is its Chairman.
- NPC teams up with its clients to work out solutions towards accelerating productivity, enhancing competitiveness, increasing profits, augmenting safety and reliability and ensuring better quality.
- It provides reliable database for decision-making, improved systems and procedures, work culture as well as customer satisfaction both internal & external. The solutions can be all-encompassing or specific depending on the nature of the problem.
- The council also helps monitor, review and implement the identified strategies.
India’s first ‘Highway Capacity Manual’ released
The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has released India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual, known as Indo-HCM, to guide road engineers and policy makers about road expansion.
- The manual lays down guidelines for when and how to expand or manage different types of roads and their intersections and level of services to be put in place.
- It is designed to be useful tool for guiding road engineers and policy makers in country.
- The manual has been developed by CSIR–CRRI on basis of an extensive, country-wide study of traffic characteristics on different categories of roads like single, two, multi-lane urban roads, inter-urban highways and expressways and associated intersections on these roads.
Significance of this manual:
- It has been developed based on the unique nature and diversity of traffic on Indian roads.
- The manual will help in the scientific planning and expansion of road infrastructure in country.
- This is first time that manual has been developed in India. Other countries like USA, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan have developed their own Highway Capacity Manuals long time back.
Bilateral & International Relations
India gets access to strategic Oman port Duqm for military use
In a strategic move to expand its footprint in the Indian Ocean region, India has secured access to the key Port of Duqm in Oman for military use and logistical support.
- Following this pact, the services of Duqm port and dry dock will be available for maintenance of Indian military vessels.
- This was one of the key takeaways of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Oman.
About the Port of Duqm:
- The Port of Duqm is situated on the southeastern seaboard of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
- It is strategically located, in close proximity to the Chabahar port in Iran.
Strategic significance of Port of Duqm for India:
- With the Assumption Island being developed in Seychelles and Agalega in Mauritius, Duqm fits into India’s proactive maritime security roadmap.
- The Port of Duqm also has a special economic zone, where about $1.8 billion investments are being made by some Indian companies.
- This is also part of India’s maritime strategy to counter Chinese influence and activities in the region.
Location of Oman:
- Oman is an Arab country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia.
- Holding a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the country shares land borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan.
- The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast.
- The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz (which it shares with Iran) and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam’s coastal boundaries.
About India-Oman bilateral relations:
Oman is a strategic partner for India in the Gulf. It accords a high priority to its ties with India.
- Both countries across Arabian Sea are linked by geography, history and culture. They enjoy warm and cordial relations and have had trade and people-to-people ties for several millennia
- It is India’s important trading partner. In 2010, bilateral trade between India and Oman was $4.5 billion. India.
- Oman was second largest destination of India’s non-oil exports and its fourth largest source for imports.
- Indian and Omani firms have undertaken joint ventures in wide range of sectors including fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, energy and engineering.
- Oman is first Gulf nation to have formalised defence relations with India. Both countries conducted joint military exercises in 2006 and subsequently signed defence agreement.
- Indian Navy has berthing rights in Oman, and has been utilising Oman’s ports as bases for conducting anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden.
- Oman is home to a large Indian expatriate community. India is major destination for Omani students pursuing higher studies and also medical tourists.
India, Palestine sign six infrastructure agreements
India and Palestine signed six Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) for cooperation in the field of infrastructural development in Palestine.
- The MoUs were signed during PM Narendra Modi’s 3-hour visit to Palestine. This was the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 30 years.
MoUs signed are:
- MOU between India and Palestine for setting up India-Palestine Super-specialty hospital at Beit Sahour in Bethelhem Governorate at a cost of USD 30 million.
- MOU between India and Palestine for construction of India Palestine Centre for Empowering women ‘Turathi’ at a cost of USD 5 million.
- MOU between India and Palestine for setting up of new National Printing Press at Ramallah at a cost of USD 5 million.
- MOU between India and Palestine for construction of school in Muthalth Al Shuhada Village at a cost of USD 1 million.
- MOU between India and Palestine on construction of school in Tamoon village in Tubas Governorate in Palestine at a cost of USD 1.1 million.
- MOU between India and Palestine for assistance of USD 0.25 million for construction of additional floor to Jawahar Lal Nehru School for Boys at Abu Dees.
- Palestine is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East claiming the West Bank (bordering Israel and Jordan) and Gaza Strip (bordering Israel and Egypt) with East Jerusalem as the designated capital although its administrative center is located in Ramallah.
- Most of the areas claimed by the State of Palestine have been occupied by Israel since 1967 in the consequence of the Six-Day War.
[Ref: Economic Times]
Tanzania withdraws from UN refugee programme
Tanzania has decided to withdraw from UN refugee programme for reasons of security and lack of funds.
- Tanzania has long been considered a safe haven for refugees, particularly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
About UN Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF):
New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, also known as New York Declaration, calls upon UNHCR to develop and initiate the application of CRRF in particular situations, in close coordination with relevant States, other UN agencies and stakeholders.
- Adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2016, it contains historic and wide-ranging commitments that reaffirm the commitment by Member States to respect the human rights of refugees and migrants and to support the countries that welcome them.
- The CRRF provides lasting solutions for refugees, including integration into host communities.
- Its approach is based on the idea that refugees should be included in their host communities.
- According to framework, once refugees get access to education and right to work legally, they can develop their own skills and be more self-reliant, contributing to local economy.
- The CRRF specifies key elements for a comprehensive response to any large movement of refugees. These include rapid and well-supported reception and admissions; assistance for local and national institutions and communities receiving refugees; support for immediate and on-going needs (e.g. protection, health, education) and expanded opportunities for solutions.
Location of Tanzania:
- Tanzania is a sovereign state in eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region.
- It borders Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south; and the Indian Ocean to the east. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is in north-eastern Tanzania.
6th World Government Summit
The sixth edition of World Government Summit (WGS) 2018 was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
About World Government Summit:
The World Government Summit is a global platform dedicated to shaping the future of government worldwide.
- Each year, the Summit sets the agenda for the next generation of governments with a focus on how they can harness innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity.
- The World Government Summit is a knowledge exchange center at the intersection between government, futurism, technology, and innovation.
- It functions as a thought leadership platform and networking hub for policymakers, experts, and pioneers in human development.
- The Summit is a gateway to the future as it functions as a stage for analysis of the future trends, issues, and opportunities facing humanity.
- It is also an arena to showcase innovations, best practice, and smart solutions to inspire creativity to tackle these future challenges.
Art & Culture
Eminent Kannada writer Chandrashekhara Kambara elected as Sahitya Akademi president
Jnanpith recipient and Kannada litetrateur Chandrashekhar Kambar was elected as President of the Sahitya Akademi.
- Hindi poet Madhav Kaushik was elected as vice president of the Sahitya Akademi.
About Chandrashekhar Kambar:
- Kambar, who has been recipient of various awards including Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Shri and Pampa Award, will serve as president of the Akademi for a period of five years.
- Kambar is the third Kannada writer to head the country’s premier literary institution, after Vinayak Krishna Gokak (1983) and U.R. Ananthamurthy (1993).
About Sahitya Akademi:
- Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication and promotion in the country and the only institution that undertakes literary activities in 24 Indian languages, including English.
- Though set up by the Government, the Akademi functions as an autonomous organisation.
- The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India on 12 March 1954.
- The Government of India Resolution, which set forth the constitution of the Akademi, described it as a national organisation to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country.
About the Sahitya Akademi award:
- Sahitya Akademi Award is conferred annually on writers of outstanding works in one of the twenty-four major Indian languages (22 Scheduled Languages+ English and Rajasthani).
- It also gives special awards called Bhasha Samman to significant contribution to the languages not formally recognized by the Akademi as also for contribution to classical and medieval literature.
- The award consists of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of 1 Lakh rupees.
Key Facts for Prelims
Mumbai 12th richest city in the world
- Mumbai, with a total wealth of US $950 billion was ranked 12th richest city globally in the report published by New World Wealth.
- The report lists top 15 wealthiest cities globally.
- Mumbai, also features among the top 10 cities in terms of billionaire population. The city is home to 28 billionaires, individuals with $1 billion or more in net assets.
- The list of 15 wealthiest cities was topped by New York with total wealth of US $3 trillion. New York is home the two largest stock exchanges in the world.
- London was ranked second ($2.7 trillion) followed by Tokyo (3rd, $2.5 trillion), San Francisco Bay area (4th, $2.3 trillion) and Beijing (5th, $2.2 trillion).
First Hindu Temple Project in Abu Dhabi
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone-laying ceremony for construction of first traditional Hindu temple in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, the capital city of United Arab Emirates (UAE), home to over three million people of Indian origin.
- The temple will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East.
- The temple design and structure is along the lines of the Akshardham temple in Delhi and other places.
- It will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in UAE.
- It will be completed by 2020 and open to people of all religious backgrounds.
13th February: World Radio Day 2018
- The World Radio Day is observed every year on 13th February to celebrate radio as the medium for entertainment, information and the mode for communication.
- The theme for the 2018 edition of World Radio Day is “Radio and Sports”.
- Under the ambit of theme “Radio and Sports” are three sub-themes for World Radio Day 2018. They are: Diversity in Sports Coverage, Gender Equality in Sports Coverage and Peace and Development through Sports Coverage.
- After originally proposed by the Kingdom of Spain, UNESCO in its 36th General Conference proclaimed World Radio Day on November 3, 2011. Later, it was adopted as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly. It was first celebrated in 2012.
- 13 February is the anniversary of the day the United Nations established United Nations Radio, the United Nation’s international broadcasting service which was established on February 13, 1946.
ONGC Videsh-led consortium picks up 10% stake in UAE’s Zakum oilfield
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)-led consortium of Indian state oil firms have acquired 10% stake in Abu Dhabi’s offshore Lower Zakum Concession for $600 million.
- The Lower Zakum Oil Field is located 84 km north-west of Abu Dhabi Islands.
- Due to lower and fall in global oil prices, oil-rich nations had resorted to ways of reducing risk and balancing their budget deficits by selling their prime oil and gas assets and diversifying into non-oil sectors of economy.
- In 2016, Indian oil companies had bought stakes in two oil and gas field assets in Siberia owned by Russia’s state-backed Rosneft Oil Co. for $3.3 billion.