Polity & Governance
- Assam to kick off NRC verification
- Fast track task force
- India becomes World’s second largest mobile phone producer
Art & Culture
- Kalamkari art museum comes up at Pedana
- Interpretation centre inaugurated at Konark temple in Odisha
Science & Technology
- The Tiangong-1 Space Station Just Missed Point Nemo
- RemoveDebris system: Space junk demo mission launches
Key Facts for Prelims
- “Thank You India” Campaign 2018
- Walong tri-junction: Why in news?
- “Accessible Tourism”
- Rupashree scheme
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Polity & Governance
Assam to kick off NRC verification
The verification of citizenship documents of 29 lakh married women, mostly migrant Muslims, for the Supreme Court-monitored exercise to update the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC) has begun in Assam.
- The verification of family trees and the documents of married women has to be completed by May 31, the deadline set by the court.
Significance of the move:
- The publication of the updated NRC is indeed a positive step in so far as it puts to rest wild speculations about the extent of the illegal migrant population in Assam and the resulting polarisation that political parties have been exploiting to make electoral gains.
What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?
- The NRC was introduced to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and recognise the Indian citizens in Assam.
- It was first prepared in 1951 and Assam is the only state having this arrangement.
- Under NRC, immigrants who have documents proving that they entered Assam before 1971 will be considered Indian citizens and others have to show that they their ascendants have lived in Assam even before 1971.
- The Assam Accord signed between Central Government, State Government, All India Students’ Union (AASU) and All Assam Gan Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) in August 1985 following agitation (1979-85) against illegal foreigners had stipulated 24th March, 1971 as cut-off date for identification and deportation of illegal migrants from East Pakistan (Bangladesh).
- Accordingly, Citizenship Act, 1955 was amended by Parliament for inserting section 6A as special provisions for Assam.
- In tripartite meeting of Central Government, State Government and AASU chaired by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May, 2005, it was agreed to update NRC, 1951. The modalities were approved by the Central Government in consultation with Assam Government.
- In pursuance of Supreme Court’s direction, the exercise of NRC update had commenced in December 2013 and was to be completed over 3 years period. The apex court is continuously monitoring progress of NRC update and has given various directions from time to time.
- The actual implementation of NRC is done by Statutory Authorities i.e. Local Registrars and District Magistrates appointed by State Government. A senior official of State Government functions as State Coordinator and coordinates with Registrar General of Citizen Registration (RGI) in regard to various activities.
Fast track task force
What is Fast track task force?
- Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) formed a Fast Track Task Force to re-establish growth in the country’s mobile handset and component manufacturing eco-system.
- It promotes large-scale manufacturing/assembling activity to achieve production of 500 million units by 2019. This can create additional employment opportunities for 1.5 million approximately.
- The task force has to create a roadmap to align technology, demand, standards and regulations for enhancing the competitiveness of domestic manufacturing across the supply chain for manufacturing mobile phone.
- It has members from industry and government.
Why in news?
- The fast track task Force has set target to achieve around 500 million mobile phone production in India by 2019, with value estimated to be around USD 46 billion.
India becomes World’s second largest mobile phone producer
As per the data provided by Indian Cellular Association (ICA), India has emerged as the second largest mobile phone producer in the world after China.
- According to the data shared by ICA, annual production of mobile phones in India increased from 3 million units in 2014 to 11 million units in 2017.
- India replaced Vietnam to become second largest producer of mobile phones in 2017.
- With the rise in mobile phone production, imports of the devices in the country also reduced to less than half in 2017-18.
[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express]
Art & Culture
Kalamkari art museum comes up at Pedana
About Kalamkari art:
- Kalamkari is an ancient style of hand painting done on cotton or silk fabric with a tamarind pen, using natural dyes.
- The word Kalamkari is derived from a Persian word where ‘kalam‘ means pen and ‘kari‘ refers to craftsmanship.
Styles of Kalamkari art:
There are two identifiable styles of Kalamkari art in India – Srikalahasti style and Machilipatnam style.
- In the Machilipatnam style of Kalamkari, motifs are essentially printed with hand-carved traditional blocks with intricate detailing painted by hands.
- On the other hand, Srikalahasti style of painting draws inspiration from the Hindu mythology describing scenes from the epics and folklore. This style holds a strong religious connect because of its origin in the temples.
Why in news?
- Recently, a ‘Kalamkari art museum’ has been opened at Pedana in Andhra Pradesh.
- The museum traces the history of the art and displays the process of extraction of natural colours from various sources.
Interpretation centre inaugurated at Konark temple in Odisha
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated a state-of-the-art interpretation and tourist facilitation centre at the Sun Temple at Konark to coincide with the Utkal Divas celebrations in Odisha.
- The centre at the Unesco World Heritage site costing Rs 45 crore showcases the unique architectural features of the temple.
About Konark Sun Temple:
Built in the 13th century, the Konark temple was conceived as a gigantic chariot of the Sun God, with 12 pairs of exquisitely ornamented wheels pulled by seven horses.
- It was built by King Narasimhadeva I, the great ruler of Ganga dynasty. The temple is perfect blend of Kalinga architecture, heritage, exotic beach and salient natural beauty.
- This temple was also known as ‘BLACK PAGODA’ due to its dark color and used as a navigational landmark by ancient sailors to Odisha. Similarly, the Jagannath Temple in Puri was called the “White Pagoda”.
- It remains a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, who gather here every year for the Chandrabhaga Mela around the month of February.
- It is protected under the National Framework of India by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act (1958) and its Rules (1959).
- The temple is included in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for its architectural greatness and also for the sophistication and abundance of sculptural work.
- The Konark is the third link of Odisha’s Golden Triangle. The first link is Jagannath Puri and the second link is Bhubaneswar (Capital city of Odisha).
Science & Technology
The Tiangong-1 Space Station Just Missed Point Nemo
Scientists were initially planning to push the China’s Tiangong-1 satellite to Point Nemo. However, they could not do so as they lost control of it.
- China’s defunct Tiangong-1 space lab mostly broke up on re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific.
About China’s Tiangong 1:
- The Tiangong 1 module is China’s first spacecraft designed for orbital docking tests and space research.
- Its name translates to “Heavenly Palace” in English.
- The Tiangong 1 space lab intended to serve as a space station module prototype for China, which is the third country (after Russia and the United States) to develop the capability to launch astronauts into space and return them safely to Earth.
- Tiangong-1 was originally planned to be decommissioned in 2013 but its mission was repeatedly extended. It reportedly stopped functioning in 2016 and wasn’t responding to commands from ground control, leading some experts to suggest the space laboratory was out of control.
- China has launched a second lab, Tiangong-2 in 2017 which continues to be operational.
What is Point Nemo?
- Point Nemo, or “ocean point of inaccessibility,” is a region in the South Pacific that is the loneliest place on the planet.
- It is used as a graveyard for controlled re-entries and a place where space junk can be dropped safely.
- Point Nemo, named after the submarine captain in Jules Verne’s classic science fiction novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, is about 2,688 kilometers from the nearest land – Pitcairn Islands – which lies to the north of this point. Also, Motu Nui — one of the Easter Islands — lies to the northeast and Maher Island, part of Antarctica, to the south.
Why this place?
- The region is safe to land all kinds of waste because there is also not much life in the water here. Coincidentally, it is also biologically not very diverse. So it gets used as a dumping ground — ‘space graveyard’ would be a more polite term — mainly for cargo spacecraft.
RemoveDebris system: Space junk demo mission launches
RemoveDebris system, a UK-led experiment to tackle space junk is set to head into orbit.
- The system is going to the International Space Station where astronauts are expected to set the experiment running in late May.
About RemoveDebris mission:
- RemoveDEBRIS is aimed at performing key Active Debris Removal (ADR) technology demonstrations (e.g capture, deorbiting) representative of an operational scenario during a low-cost mission using novel key technologies for ADR.
- The project is co-ordinated by the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, UK, and involves the collaboration of a number of mission partners.
- The mission will comprise of a main satellite platform that once in orbit will deploy two CubeSats as artificial debris targets to demonstrate some of the technologies (net capture, harpoon capture, vision-based navigation, dragsail de-orbitation).
Growing problem of space debris:
- Scientists have warned that the growing problem of space debris is putting spacecraft and astronauts at risk.
- The latest data from the European Space Agency suggest some 7,500 tonnes of space debris now orbits Earth. It ranges from defunct satellites and rocket parts to nuts, bolts, shards of metal and even flecks of paint.
- Any collisions can cause a great deal of damage and generate even more pieces of debris.
- International space guidelines suggest that satellites should de-orbit themselves after 25 years – but it is difficult to ensure everyone plays by the rules.
Key Facts for Prelims
“Thank You India” Campaign 2018
- To mark the 60th year of the arrival of the spiritual leader Dalai Lama to India, the exiled government of Tibet has launched a year-long ‘Thank you India” campaign.
- Apart from the exhibitions, film screening and performances by the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, the festival would also see panel discussion on “India and Tibet: Ancient Ties, Current Bonds”.
Walong tri-junction: Why in news?
- Indian troops have increased their patrolling at a tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar to prevent a repeat of a Doklam-like standoff.
- The tri-junction is located around 50 km from Walong, India’s easternmost town in Arunachal Pradesh, near the Tibet region.
- It is situated on the bank of Lohit river.
- Nepal has launched its first accessible trekking trail for differently abled and elders in Pokhara city.
- Accessible tourism or inclusive tourism refers to an emerging concept referring to travel that is accessible to all people, with disabilities or not, including those with mobility, hearing, sight, cognitive, or intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, older persons and those with temporary disabilities.
- West Bengal government has launched a scheme called “Rupashree” to ensure safe future for young women.
- Under this scheme government provides one-time financial support for marriage of poor girls. Before marriage an amount of Rs 25,000 will be credited to girl’s bank account.
- While previous Kanyashree scheme promotes education among women, Rupashree scheme complements it with marriage assistance.