World Government Summit
Current Affair Analysis

13th February 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

World Government Summit; What is Minor Forest Produce (MFP)? TRIFED; Van Dhan Vikas Kendra; Swachh Shakti 2019; Cinematograph Act; National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy; 5th International Dam Safety Conference 2019; Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP); What is formalin? ‘Dry fish project’; Aligarh Muslim University; Article 30 (1) of the Constitution; Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme; DRDO’s ‘Dare to Dream’ contest; Crying Keelback; Dan David Prize; Cobra Gold Exercise; Ghumot; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
February 23, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • AMU minority status: Supreme Court refers Centre’s petition to seven-judge bench

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Government introduces bill in Rajya Sabha to amend Cinematograph Act
  • Centre to rejig minimum support for minor forest produce
  • Swachh Shakti 2019: Rural women Champions for Swachh Bharat

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Fish being dried illegally with formalin in Odisha, govt promises action

Economy

  • Govt keen to promote solar energy among farmers

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • 5th International Dam Safety Conference 2019 begins in Bhubaneswar

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Global agenda to be shaped at World Government Summit in Dubai

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Cobra Gold Exercise
  • DRDO’s ‘Dare to Dream’ contest
  • Dan David Prize
  • Crying Keelback
  • Ghumot, a popular folk instrument

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Polity & Governance

AMU minority status: Supreme Court refers Centre’s petition to seven-judge bench

The Supreme Court referred to seven-judge bench the issue of determining the correctness of minority status granted to Aligarh Muslim University.

Minority Status of Aligarh Muslim University 1

  • The matter has been referred to the larger bench to determine the correctness of minority status of AMU and to define the parameters for granting minority status to the institution.

The first dispute of AMU:

  • The AMU was formed in 1920 that means the administrative acts were passed by British before India’s Independence.
  • Post-Independence, parliament introduced two amendments act in 1951 and in 1965. The 1951 amendment denied the compulsory instructions for Muslim students and eliminate the discrimination based on race or cast for admission in varsity.
  • The 1965 amendment seize the power of University’s court as supreme governing body.
  • In 1981, an amendment was brought in to accord the university minority status, which was held as unconstitutional by the Allahabad High Court. The Attorney General had told the Supreme Court that the Aligarh Muslim University could not be categorised as a minority institution.
  • After the Allahabad High Court recognised the university as a non-minority institution in 2006, the Congress-led UPA government had filed a plea challenging the verdict.
  • The NDA government in 2016 told the Supreme Court that it was withdrawing the appeal filed by the previous government saying that the university was set up by a Central Act, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had held it as a “central university” and not a minority institution.

Article 30 (1) of the Constitution:

  • Article 30 (1) of the Constitution, provides all religious/ linguistic minorities to establish and run educational institutions.
  • This was done to so that minorities can maintain and grow their unique and special educational aspects.
  • The law assures that governments won’t discriminate in giving grant on the basis of their being ‘minority’ institutions, hence sealing in a commitment by the Government of India to allow minorities to thrive.

Rights enjoyed by religious minority institutions:

  • Under Art 30 (1)(a), such institutions enjoy right to education as a Fundamental Right. In case the property is taken over by state, due compensation to be provided to establish institutions elsewhere.
  • Under Article 15 (5), they are not considered for reservation.
  • Under Right to Education Act, they are not required to provide admission to children in the age group of 6-14 years upto 25% of enrolment reserved for economically backward section of society.
  • In St Stephens vs Delhi University case, 1992, SC ruled that these institutions can have 50% seats reserved for minorities.
  • In TMA Pai & others vs State of Karnataka & others 2002 case, SC ruled that they can have separate admission process which is fair, transparent and merit based. They can also separate fee structure but should not charge capitation fee.

About AMU:

  • AMU was founded as the Madrasatul Uloom in 1875 in Aligarh and evolved into the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College.
  • The seeds of Jamia Millia Islamia were sown in Aligarh by a group of nationalist students and members who formed a camp there as Jamia Millia Islamia, which later moved to Delhi. Leaders like M A Ansari, Zakir Husain and Mahatma Gandhi encouraged the university to push nationalist values and ideas.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Government Schemes & Policies 

Government introduces bill in Rajya Sabha to amend Cinematograph Act

The Union government introduced a bill in Rajya Sabha to amend the Cinematograph Act and impose strict penalty to combat the menace of film piracy.

Bill-to-amend-Cinematograph-Act-33

What is the proposed amendment?

  • The proposed amendment states that any person, who without the written authorisation of the copyright owner, uses any recording device to make or transmit a copy of a film, or attempts to do so, or abet the making or transmission of such a copy, will be liable for such a punishment.
  • The Bill aims to check piracy, particularly the release of pirated versions of films on the internet that causes huge losses to the film industry and the exchequer.
  • The Bill seeks to amend provisions of Cinematograph Act, 1952, in order to tackle film piracy by including penal provisions for unauthorised camcording and duplication of films.
  • The Bill proposes to make film piracy offences punishable with imprisonment of up to three years and fines that may extend to Rs 10 lakh or both.

Implications of proposed Bill:

  • Increase industry revenues
  • Boost job creation
  • Fulfil important objectives of India’s National Intellectual Property policy
  • Give relief against online piracy and infringing content

National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy:

  • The Union Cabinet launched the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy on 12th May, 2016 that shall lay the future roadmap for IPRs in India.
  • It is endeavour for “Creative India – Innovative India”
  • It was approved by the Indian cabinet to ensure compliance to the Doha Development Round and TRIPS Agreement.

Objectives:

  • IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs
  • Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs.
  • Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.
  • Administration and Management – To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.
  • Commercialization of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialization.
  • Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.
  • Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.
[Ref: The Economic Times]

 

Centre to rejig minimum support for minor forest produce

Union cabinet will frame new guidelines and extend the coverage of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for minor forest produce (MFP) scheme, which is aimed at benefiting 10 crore tribals.

Minimum support for minor forest produce

  • The government is considering increase in the MSP for various Minor Forest Produce (MFPs) by around 40 per cent.
  • The area of operation would be expanded to 307 districts across 27 states.
  • The new system would be decentralised with district collectors holding the responsibility of implementing the scheme.
  • Moreover, Self-help groups (SHGs) will be formed to sell MFP in village haats and value addition centres will be set up.

Flaws in Implementation:

  • The scheme is battered with inefficiency in implementation. It has been more than five years since the scheme was launched yet it has not been implemented properly.
  • Moreover, despite the MFP rights being given to tribal communities under the Forest Rights Act, many states have nationalised MFPs like tendu leaves, monopolising their trade, which is against the law.
  • The allocations made under the scheme have over the years been heavily under-utilised, so much that around 90 per cent of the funds since the inception of the plan have remained unspent.
  • Only 11 per cent of the total outlay – about Rs 128 crore – has been spent. About Rs 360 crore released to state governments are lying unspent in the state coffers.
  • Minor forest produce worth Rs 78 crore are lying unsold in state agencies’ godowns.

What is Minor Forest Produce (MFP)?

  • An important source of livelihoods for tribal people are non-wood forest products, generally termed ‘Minor Forest Produce (MFP)’ which includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin.
  • It is also known as Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP).
  • It includes bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, Honey, Lac, Tusser etc.
  • Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a subset of forest produce and got a definition only in 2007 when the ‘Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act’, 2006, was enacted.
  • The MSP for MFP scheme was started by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2013 to ensure fair and remunerative prices to MFP gatherers.
  • Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) authorizes the States to give the Gram Sabhas power to regulate and restrict banned items such as sale of liquor, ownership of minor forest produce etc.
  • MFPNET is a network of stakeholders in the trade of MFPs which includes individuals, agencies, institutions etc interested in MFP.

Significance of MFP:

  • The Minor Forest Produces provide both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests.
  • Tribals depend on MFP for food, fodder, shelter, medicines and cash income.
  • It provides them critical subsistence during lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter, gatherers, and the landless.
  • Tribals derive 20-40 % of their annual income from MFP which has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the Minor Forest Produces are collected and sold by women.
  • Minor Forest Produce sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in India.

Challenges:

Minimum support for minor forest produce 1 current affairs

  • Tribals are not permitted to sell it in open market as it is control by the state through leases and permits mechanism.
  • Formation of Large Agriculture Multipurpose Societies (LAMPs) by government lacks logistics and necessary skills which inhibits full value addition to the raw material.
  • Inability of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Of India Limited (TRIFED) to execute great marketing.
  • Health supplements based on MFP grabs premium prices at national and international level, however, the procurement prices are not revised in orderly manner.
  • Ambiguity in the definition of ‘Minor Forest Produce’ in Indian Forest Act (IFA) and Forest Rights Act (FRA) has led to harassment of the tribal.

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED):

  • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987.
  • It is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India.
  • TRIFED opened its first showroom by the name of ‘Tribes India’ during April 1999.
  • TRIFED also organises National Tribal Craft Expo called “AADISHILP”, painting exhibition called “Aadi Chitra”, “OCTAVE” for North Eastern Artisans and Tribal Artisan Melas to facilitate the sale of their products.

Objective of TRIFED:

  • The TRIFED is aimed in marketing development of tribal products and provides marketing support to the products made by tribals through a network of retail outlets.

The main activities of TRIFED in Roadmap of 12th plan period (2012-13 to 2017-18):

  • Retail Marketing Development
  • Minor Forest Produce Marketing Development
  • Skill up-gradation & Capacity Building of ST Artisans and MFP Gatherers
  • R&D Development/Intellectual Proprietary Rights (IPR) Activity

Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:

  • Van Dhan Vikas Karyakram is primarily a component under the Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain of Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA).
  • Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.

Objective:

  • The programme aims to tap into traditional knowledge of tribals by adding technology & IT to upgrade it at each stage and to convert the tribal wisdom into a viable economic activity.

Van Dhan Vikas Kendra:

  • At unit level, aggregation of produce would be done by Self Help groups (SHGs) having about 30 members each forming Van Dhan Vikas ‘Samuh’.
  • The Van Dhan Vikas Kendra shall act as facilitating centre for sale of the processed/value added products produced by the Van Dhan SHGs in both local and distant market.
[Ref: DownToEarth]

 

Swachh Shakti 2019: Rural women Champions for Swachh Bharat

Prime minister of India distributed the Swachh Shakti-2019 awards during ‘Swachh Shakti – 2019’ convention of the Women Sarpanches in Haryana.

Swachh Shakti 2019 2

  • Rekha Rani of Panchkula and Rita Rani of Mohali won the award.
  • The event showcased the achievements of Swachh Bharat and the recently conducted Swachh Sunder Shauchalay, (neat and clean toilet) – a unique and first of its kind in the world campaign.

Swachh Shakti Programme:

  • The Swachh Shakti Programme is a national event which aims to bring in to focus the leadership role played by rural women in Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • Launched in 2017, the Programme is a part of ongoing activities under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission, launched on October 2, 2014 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to achieve a clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by October 2, 2019.
  • The programme is attended by women panchs and sarpanchs from across the country.

Key facts:

  • Prime Minister of India launched the Swachh Shakti program first in 2017 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • The second Swachh Shakti event, Swachh Shakti-2018 was held at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The third edition is inaugurated from Kurukshetra, Haryana.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

Fish being dried illegally with formalin in Odisha, govt promises action

With many in Odisha’s dried-fish industry continuing to use formalin despite being warned, the Odisha government is planning to take preventive measures.

What is formalin?

fish

  • Formalin is a cancer-inducing toxic chemical, colourless solution that is derived by dissolving formaldehyde gas in water.
  • Formalin causes irritation in the eyes, throat, skin and stomach. In the long run continued exposure causes harm to the kidneys, liver and can even cause cancers.
  • There are several risks associated with ingesting formalin – having even 30 ml of a solution, which contains as little as 37% formalin, can kill a fully grown adult. Once ingested, formalin releases toxins into the body, and the sustained ingestion of formalin can eventually lead to cancer.
  • Formaldehyde is a highly reactive, flammable gas, which means it can become a fire hazard when exposed to flame or heat.
  • Formaldehyde solutions can be flammable when there are high concentrations of formaldehyde or methanol.

Use of Formaldehyde:

  • In Industry: Used in car manufacture, explosives, plastic, resins, chemicals and other artificial materials. It is also used in sanitary products like paper towels, napkins and tissues.
  • In Medicine: It is used as an antiseptic. Some parasites and warts are treated by formaldehyde. It can be utilized in the treatment of infections like urinary tract infection.
  • In Building and Construction: Formaldehyde resins are used to manufacture wooden products used widely in furniture, mouldings, flooring etc.
  • In Food and other: It is used as preservative in food, paints and cosmetics. It is also used in making RDX. It is also used in petroleum industries and in manufacturing of ink. It is used to preserve bodies in mortuaries and can also increase shelf life of fresh food.

Formalin in Fish 11

Why formalin is used in fish industries?

  • Many dry fish makers use it in Odisha as formalin/formaldehyde minimises the activity of oxygen which causes rotting.
  • Also, Fish is a highly perishable commodity and failing to maintain at the proper temperature of 5 degree Celsius can result in spoilage of fishes.
  • According to fishermen of Odisha, Costs associated with the natural process of drying fish have increased.
  • Dried fish is now in great demand in Odisha and other states and it is now difficult for them to engage more workers to dry the fish under the sun for which they use chemicals to dry and preserve the fish.

Health Problems caused by formaldehyde:

  • Cancer
  • Diarrhoea
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning sensations of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Coughing

Key facts:

  • In June 2018, Kerala food safety department officials seized nearly 9,600 kg of fish preserved in formalin in Kollam district. The seizure was part of ‘Operation Sagar Rani’.

‘Dry fish project’:

  • In an initiative that aims to boost dry fish enterprises in Odisha, the department of fisheries, with the help of the state micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) department decided to start a ‘Dry fish project’ in Paradip, Odisha in 2018 to prepare export quality dry fish with modern methods.
  • The project aimed at optimum use of fish by making value-added products through innovative post-harvest management.
[Ref: DownToEarth]

 

Economy

Govt keen to promote solar energy among farmers

Government is formulating a Scheme ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)’ which inter-alia aims to promote use of solar energy among the farmers.

 

Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme:

Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan or KUSUM scheme 2

  • KUSUM scheme is launched on 1st February, 2018 in Union budget of 2018.
  • It is 4 year scheme supervised by Indian power ministry.
  • Under this arrangement, the Central Govt. desires to assist as many farmers as possible to install new and improved solar pumps on their farms.
  • The farmers need not pay a hefty fee for this benefit as it comes with government subsidy.

Objective:

  • To provide the farmers with advanced technology to generate power. The solar pumps will not only assist to irrigate the farms but also allow to generate safe energy.
  • Due to the presence of the Energy Power Grid, the Farmers will be able to sell the extra energy directly to the Power Supply Companies.

Features of Scheme:

Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan or KUSUM scheme

Construction of Plants on infertile Land only:

  • The Govt. has announced that it will take initiative to construct plants, which will generate solar power. As per the draft, these plants will only be erected on infertile areas, capable of generation a total of 28000 MW Power.

Distribution of solar power pumps:

  • One of the primary aims of this program is to provide interested farmers with solar pumps. The government states that5 lakh solar powered pumps will be provided to agricultural labours.

Power Generation on small scale:

  • Apart from the solar power plants, government will work towards the installation of new solar pumps in farms, which have Diesel pumps. The capacity of this pumps will be 720 MW.

Subsidy Structure of the Scheme:

  • Each farmer will get subsidy on new solar powered pumps. The farmers will have to tolerate only 10% of the total expenditure while the Central Govt. will provide 60% cost while the remaining 30% will be taken care of by bank as credit.

Power generation from tube- wells:

  • The government will also work toward the installation of unique tube-wells. Each of this pumps will be able to generate power of 8250 MW.

Components of the Scheme:

Solar Pumps Distribution:

  • During the first phase of the program, the power department, will work towards the successful distribution of solar powered pumps.

Construction of Solar Power Factory:

  • The next component will include the construction of solar power plants, which will have the capacity to produce a significant amount of power.

Modernization of present pumps:

  • The final component of this scheme deals with the modernization of pumps, which are in use as of now.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

5th International Dam Safety Conference 2019 begins in Bhubaneswar

5th International Dam Safety Conference 2019, a two-day event, was held at Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) 2

  • The event was held as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening.

Need of dam safety:

  • About 80 per cent of our large dams are over 25 years old. About 209 dams are over 100 years old and were built in an era when design practices and safety considerations were much below the current design and safety norms.
  • Several of these dams may be experiencing distress and are in need of attention for ensuring their structural safety and operational efficiency

Steps taken by Indian government:

  • The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has been taking various initiatives since late 1970s such as the establishment of Dam Safety Organisations in India.
  • Union Cabinet approved the Dam Safety Bill in June 2018 and was introduced in the Parliament in December, 2018.
  • Considering the success of the ongoing Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP), the central government proposed Phase-II and Phase-III of DRIP with a financial outlay of over Rs 10,000 crores to rehabilitate around 700 dams.
  • The new project, funded by the World Bank, is proposed to be a state sector scheme with a 10-year duration, with each proposed phase of six years’ duration with two years overlapping.
  • The project has wide spatial coverage, having 18 states and two central agencies, and covering about 13 % of large dams of India.
  • The basic objective of these annual events is to give exposure to non-DRIP states as well as other stakeholders, to the best global practices to address the emerging dam safety challenges.

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP)

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) 1

  • In the 1990s, a World Bank assisted DSRP project was launched to rehabilitate 183 distressed dams.
  • In April 2012, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation through Central Water Commission embarked upon the 6-year Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) with World Bank assistance.
  • The objective of the DRIP for India is to improve the safety and operational performance of selected existing dams in the territory of the participating states.
  • The project originally envisaged the rehabilitation and improvement of 223 dam projects in four states namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Later Karnataka, Uttarakhand (UJVNL) and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) joined the DRIP.
  • Presently, DRIP covers rehabilitation of large dam projects located in seven states namely Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand.
  • In Odisha, 26 large dams are covered under DRIP for rehabilitation including construction of an additional spill way for the Hirakud dam to address the hydrological safety.

Projects under DRIP:

  • Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring Application (DHARMA), a software tool for asset management has been developed to capture authentic data pertaining to all large dams to act as information repository.
  • It covers the monitoring and health information to regularly review the safety aspects of any dam.
  • Seismic Hazard Assessment Information System (SHAISYS) is an interactive program to estimate Seismic Hazard at a point in South Indian region.

Components of DRIP:

  1. Rehabilitation and improvement of dams:
  • This component focuses on structural and non-structural measures of dams.
  • The states have done a review of the status of their dams and have determined those dams that are most in need of rehabilitation and improvement.
  1. Dam safety institutional strengthening:
  • The objective of the component is to strengthen the Dam Safety Organization (DSO) at national level in the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Water Resources Departments (WRD) as well as the State Electricity Boards (SEB) in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • DSOs will become effective organizations that can take the lead in overseeing that dams remain safe from a structural and operational point of view.
  1. Project management:
  • Efficient Management and monitoring of DRIP is critical for implementation.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

Global agenda to be shaped at World Government Summit in Dubai

The 7th annual global gathering, which saw senior decision-makers from 140 countries was held at Madinat Jumeirah.

World Government Summit 3

About World Government Summit:

World Government Summit 1

The World Government Summit, formed in 2013, 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.
  • In 2017, the World Government Summit held the first Global Dialogue for Happiness a one-day event prior to the summit.
  • The theme of WGS 2018 included Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Happiness.

Initiatives taken by WGS:

  • Gov2071: It is an initiative with the vision of preparing governments for the future.
  • TechRadar: The WGS Technology Radar is a study of emerging technologies across multiple fields and sectors, with over 150 technologies being identified. Each technology represents a future possibility and attempts to estimate when widespread global use might be reached.
  • Mars 2117: The aim is to establish the first inhabitable human settlement in Mars by 2117.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Cobra Gold Exercise

Cobra Gold Military Exercise 1 2019

  • It is one of the Asia-Pacific region’s largest multinational military exercises that is held in Thailand every year.
  • This year, the United States and Thailand are hosting the multi-nation Cobra military exercise in the northern Thai province of Phitsanulok. Phitsanulok is the capital of Phitsanulok Province and is located in the north of Thailand is on the banks of the Nan river. It is one of the oldest cities of Thailand.
  • India joined this exercise for the first time in 2016 while China was admitted for the first time in 2015 but was only allowed to participate in humanitarian assistance training.

 

DRDO’s ‘Dare to Dream’ contest

DRDO-18-2-1920

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched ‘Dare to Dream’, a contest to encourage startups and individuals to come up with innovative defence and aerospace technologies.
  • Applicants are invited to send innovative, workable proposals that can impact various related domains.
  • The winning entries, which should specify the plan of executing it into a prototype, stand to get one of five prizes ranging from ₹3 lakh to ₹10 lakh in two categories.
  • The military R&D organisation has asked for solutions in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems, Cybersecurity, Hypersonic Technologies, Smart Materials, Quantum Computing, and Soldier as a System.

 

Dan David Prize

dan david prize

  • Indian historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam has won prestigious Dan David Prize of Israel for the year 2019.
  • He was awarded for his work on inter-cultural encounters between Asians, Europeans and people of North and South America during the early modern era.

About the Dan David Prize:

  • It is a joint international award given by the Dan David Foundation headquartered at Tel Aviv University.
  • The award was instituted by late Dan David, an international businessman and philanthropist who envisioned a project that would extend beyond traditional academic categorisations.

The Dan David Prize is awarded under three categories namely:

  • Past category is generally drawn from the fields of history, archaeology, palaeontology and biography.
  • Present from arts, media, policy and economics.
  • Future from one of the exact or natural sciences.

 

Crying Keelback

Crying Keelback 1 current affair

  • Researchers find new snake in Arunachal- Crying Keelback (named for the mark below its eyes, that gives the illusion that it is crying) snake or the Hebius lacrima.
  • The Crying Keelback has a set of characteristics that together make it different from other species in the Habeas genus: the mark under its eyes, the interrupted pale head stripe, among others.

 

Ghumot, a popular folk instrument

Ghumot to be declared Goa’s heritage musical instrument 1 2019

  • Ghumot, an indigenous earthen drum will soon be notified as a heritage instrument of Goa.
  • Ghumot is an indigenous earthen drum fashioned as a designed clay pot, with the skin of the monitor lizard stretched taut across the pot’s mouth, forming a drumhead. It is a percussion instrument widely played during Ganesh Chaturthi Aarties.

Background:

  • Goa which is the former Portuguese colony presented Ghumot as a gift to the Portuguese Prime Minister Anotnio Costa during his visit to India in 2017. Portuguese Prime Minister Anotnio Costa is is of Goan origin.

Why Ghumot was banned?

  • The instrument was banned due to the use of the skin of the endangered monitor lizard for the drum membrane. In recent years, ghumot makers have started using goat skin instead.
  • The ban is applicable to the use of any animal listed in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and that the goat is not one of them. Monitor lizard is listed under this.

 

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