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Current Affairs Analysis

26th November 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Bodo Movement; Constitution Day of India; Samvidhan Divas; Code of Conduct for Politicians; CLPA Portal; Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC); Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban); What is Light House Project? China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); What is Coalbed Methane (CBM)? Coalbed Methane in India; Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Who are Bodos? ASI-protected temples; Rohtang tunnel; Imphal-Mandalay chartered flight; Assamese gamosa; Assam roofed turtle; Biswanath Ghat; Health benefits of ghiya-tori’; Food Safety And Standards (Advertising And Claims) Regulations, 2018; What is Pink ball cricket? Color of cricket ball; Making of cricket balls; Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM); Financial Commissioner of Railway Board; Indian Railway Accounts Service; Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA); etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
November 26, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Constitution Day: Why India celebrates ‘Samvidhan Divas’ on November 26?
  • Lok Sabha Speaker and unruly MPs: What House rules say

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Govt Launched Portal for Subsidy Scheme Under PMAY-HFA (U)

Issues related to Health & Education

  • FSSAI notice to McDonald’s over ‘ghiya-tori’ advertisement
  • Railways finance wing gets world class training institute

Bilateral & International Relations

  • CPEC to inflict heavy debt burden on Pakistan: US

Defence & Security Issues

  • Manipur, J&K record maximum number of cases under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
  • What is the Bodoland dispute, and who are the NDFB?

Science & Technology

  • The methane in coalbeds, and how they can be extracted

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Most ASI-protected temples in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
  • Rohtang tunnel likely to become operational by May 2020
  • New, thrice-a-month Imphal-Mandalay chartered flight started
  • Turtle survival rides on handmade towel in Assam
  • India to play its first pink-ball Test match against Bangladesh

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Polity & Governance

Constitution Day: Why India celebrates ‘Samvidhan Divas’ on November 26?

In 2019, November 26 marks the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution and raises awareness about the Indian Constitution.

Constitution-Day-1

About Constitution Day of India

Constitution-Day

  • Constitution Day, also known as Samvidhan Divas, is celebrated in India on 26 November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.
  • It was first celebrated in 2015 as a mark of tribute to India’s first Law Minister Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
  • Earlier, this day was commemorated as National Law Day, after a resolution by the Supreme Court Bar Association, a lawyers’ body, in 1979.

How the Constitution of India came into being?

  • In 1934, the demand of the Constituent Assembly was made. N. Roy was the first who mooted the idea. In 1940, the demand was accepted by the British government. Indians are allowed to draft the Indian Constitution in the August offer.
  • In 1946, the British decided to examine the possibility of granting independence to India. As a result, a British cabinet mission was despatched to India to (1) hold discussions with the representatives of British India and the Indian States to agree on the framework for writing a constitution, and (2), set up a constituent body and an executive council.
  • Following this mission, a Constituent Assembly (CA) was indirectly elected by the provincial legislatures comprising 278 representatives and 15 women.
  • Parties represented in the CA were the Congress Party which had a majority, Muslim League, Scheduled Caste Federation, the Indian Communist Party and the Union Party.
  • The CA met for the first time in December 1946. The first president of the Constituent Assembly was Sachchidananda Sinha.
  • On 26 November, 1949, the Drafting Committee, for preparing a Draft Constitution, finished their work. On 24 January 1950, the process was completed when the members signed handwritten copies of the document one each in Hindi and English.
  • The constitution went into effect in 26 January 1950.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Lok Sabha Speaker and unruly MPs: What House rules say

The suspension of two Congress members by Lok Sabha Speaker after unruly scenes in the House has brought back focus on the conduct of MPs, and related issues.

Lok-Sabha-Speaker-and-unruly-MPs

About Code of conduct for Politicians

  • A Code for Union ministers was adopted in 1964, which state governments also adopted.
  • A Code of Conduct for members of Rajya Sabha has been in force since 2005, however, there is no such code for Lok Sabha.

Rules of conduct of business in Lok Sabha

Rule 373 (Withdrawal of Member): “The Speaker, if is of the opinion that the conduct of any member is grossly disorderly, may direct such member to withdraw immediately from the House, and any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall remain absent during the remainder of the day’s sitting.”

Rule 374 (Suspension of Member):

(1) The Speaker may, if deems it necessary, name a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.

(2) If a member is so named by the Speaker, the Speaker shall, on a motion being made forthwith put the question that the member (naming such member) be suspended from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session: Provided that the House may resolve that such suspension be terminated.

However, the feasibility of the provision has been questioned and the experts consider that this rule is against the spirit of the Constitution.

Rule 374A:

  1. Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
  2. On the Speaker announcing the suspension under this rule, the member shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.

Rule 378 (Maintenance of Order): The Speaker shall preserve order and shall have all powers necessary for the purpose of enforcing own decisions.

Need for Code of Conduct for Politicians

  • The politicians representing their constituencies in the Parliament have several times brought ill-repute to the institution with their incivility.
  • Creating ruckus in the Parliament, making unacceptable remarks and disrupting the House proceedings are some of the major allegations they face.
  • Tenure of some of the politicians is also fraught with severe charges of impropriety.
  • Although the Parliament Speaker cannot penalize the members on grounds of misconduct, he, under Rule 374 A of the “Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha”, can suspend members creating disorder in the House.
  • It has been long since a parliamentary panel had recommended a 14-point code of conduct that outlines what’s expected from the politicians.
  • Political parties could include such a code in their election manifestos that would help enable voters to make their judgement before voting.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Govt Launched Portal for Subsidy Scheme Under PMAY-HFA (U)

Union Govt launched the Credit-linked Subsidy Services Awas Portal (CLAP) under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing for All (Urban).

Govt-Launched-CLSS-Awas-Portal-For-Tracking-PMAY-Application-1

  • The portal was launched along with the signing of agreements between the Union Housing Affairs Ministry and state govt for the construction of LightHouse projects under GHTC-India.

About CLPA Portal

About CLPA Portal

  • It aims to provide real-time web-based monitoring system for the beneficiaries of the Credit-Linked Subsidy services (CLSS).

Significance

CLAP-portal

  • help the beneficiaries to track their application status online in real-time.
  • benefit the other stakeholders to work in unity to release subsidy to the beneficiaries on time.

About Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC):

  • GHTC aims to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.
  • GHTC focuses on identifying and mainstreaming proven demonstrable technologies for lighthouse projects and spotting potential future technologies for incubation and acceleration support through ASHA (Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators) — India.

Objectives:

  • To enable adoption of construction techniques for housing that are affordable and takes minimum time as less as three months instead of the conventional three years for construction.
  • Bring a paradigm shift in technology transition using large-scale construction under the PMAY-U as an opportunity to get the best available construction technologies across the globe.

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is an initiative by Government of India under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairsin which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor.
  • The PMAY (U) mission was launched in June 2015 with the aim to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022.
  • It will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme(CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.

Components of the PMAY (U)

Components of the PMAY (U)

  1. Beneficiary led Construction (BLC)
  2. Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS)
  3. Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP)
  4. In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR)

Features of PMAY(U)

Features of PMAY(U)

  • Subsidy of 6.5% on home loan interest rate for a term of 20 years.
  • The credit linked subsidy up to Rs 6 lakhs. Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and National Housing Bank (NHB) are the Central Nodal Agencies (CNAs) to channelize this subsidy.
  • Compulsory ground floor housing accommodation for senior citizens and the differently-abled.
  • Mandatory use of eco-friendly materials for building construction.
  • Extending scheme coverage to include all urban areas in India.
  • Encouraging women to become home owners by making it mandatory to register a property with both the male and female heads of family unless there is no female family member.

Beneficiaries

Pradhan-Mantri-Awas-Yojana-(PMAY-U)-4

  • Economically Weaker Section (EWS): Annual household income less than Rs.3 lakhs.
  • Light Income Group (LIG): Annual household income ranging between Rs.3 lakhs to 6 lakhs.
  • Medium Income Group (MIG1): Annual household income below Rs.12 lakh fall
  • Medium Income Group (MIG2): Annual household income between Rs.12 to Rs.18.
  • Minorities: People hailing from minority groups like SC/ST/OBC will fall under minorities.
  • Women: Women belonging to EWS/LIG categories will be considered under PMAY scheme.
  • EWS category of beneficiaries is eligible for assistance in all four components of the Missions whereas LIG and MIG categories are eligible under only Credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) component of the Mission.

Coverage:

  • The scheme focuses to cover the entire urban area consisting of all statutory towns and areas including Notified Planning/ Development Area/ Industrial Development Authority/Special Area Development Authority/ Urban Development Authority or any such Authority under the State legislation which is entrusted with the functions of urban planning and regulations.

Implementation:

  • Phase I (April 2015 – March 2017) to cover 100 Cities selected from States/UTs as per their willingness.
  • Phase II (April 2017 – March 2019) to cover additional 200 Cities
  • Phase III (April 2019 – March 2022) to cover all other remaining Cities

Ownership of houses:

  • House is to be allotted in the name of adult female member or in joint name and all houses to have toilet facility, drinking water and power supply. Preference is given to persons with disabilities, ST/ SC/ OBCs, minorities and transgender.

What is Light House Projects?

Light-House-projects

  • The Light House projects are model housing projects that are made using alternative technology along with physical and social infrastructure facilities fit to the geo-climate and risk provisions of the region.
  • The Light House projects can display and deliver ready to move-in houses rapidly than the normal construction, which are cost-effective, sustainable and excellent with a better quality of construction.

What is GHTC-India?

Global-Housing-Technology-Challenge-India

  • The Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC-India) was launched in 2019 as a part of Construction Technology Year. It aims for faster and cost-effective development of affordable housing projects.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

FSSAI notice to McDonald’s over ‘ghiya-tori’ advertisement

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sent a showcause notice to fast-food giant McDonald’s for contravening the provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018.

FSSAI-notice-to-McDonald’s-over-‘ghiya-tori’-advertisement

What is the issue?

  • FSSAI has sent a showcause notice to McDonald’s as it allegedly issued full page advertisements that read: “Stuck with Ghiya-Tori Again? Make the 1+1 Combo you love.”

Health benefits of ghiya-tori’:

  • Ghiya-tori (bottle gourd and ridge gourd) are touted for their high moisture content of over 90 per cent, making them the ideal food for the summer months.
  • These veggies are also rich in Vitamins B9 (folate), Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, and phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc.

Why did FSSAI opposed that advertisement?

FSSAI recently finalised the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018. Under these regulations, the advertisements

  • Should not undermine the importance of healthy lifestyles,
  • Should not promote or portray their food & beverages as a meal replacement unless otherwise specifically permitted by FSSAI.

Why such advertisement should be banned?

  • Tendency of the food companies to disparage freshly cooked food and vegetables that are healthier is a matter of grave concern. Such advertisements are against national efforts for promoting healthier and right eating habits.
  • The Eat Right campaign aims at nudging people towards healthier food choices. WHO, in its resolution on marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children, has asked the member-states to reduce the impact on children of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt.

Key Highlights of the Food Safety And Standards (Advertising And Claims) Regulations, 2018

FSSAI

Every food business operator and marketer who is advertising should make a claim following below criteria:

  • Claims must be truthful, not misleading and must help consumers to comprehend the information provided.
  • Claims shall not state that a balanced and varied diet cannot provide appropriate quantities of nutrients as required by the body.
  • Claims shall specify the number of servings of the food per day for the claimed benefit.
  • The claim that a food has certain nutritional attributes shall be scientifically substantiated by validated methods of characterizing the ingredient that is the basis for the claim.
  • Prohibits the companies from using deceptive words like “natural”, “fresh”, “original”, “traditional”, “premium”, “finest”, “best”, “authentic”, “genuine” and “real”. Companies can be permitted to use such words only under specific conditions.
  • Advertisements shall not undermine the importance of healthy lifestyles.
  • Advertisements for food or beverages shall not be promoted or portrayed as a meal replacement unless permitted by FSSAI.
  • No advertisement shall be made for food products which is deceptive to the consumers.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Railways finance wing gets world class training institute

A new institute, Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management, to impart professional training in management of railway finances was inaugurated recently.

Railways-finance-wing-gets-world-class-training-institute

About the Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM)

Indian-Railway-Institute-of-Financial-Management-IRIFM

  • IRIFM was conceived and constructed by the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) at Hyderabad.
  • IRIFM aims to professional training to finance and accounts officers of the railways to face emerging challenges and tap opportunities to strengthen the finances of Indian Railway.

History of the Railway finance

  • The most important land mark in the history of the financial administration on Railways in India was the appointment of the Financial Commissioner for Railways in April, 1923 with the sanction of the Secretary of State for India, as part of the scheme of re-organization of the Railway Board as recommended by the Acworth Committee (1921).
  • The object of this appointment was coordination of financial policy of railways with the general financial policy of the Government of India.
  • This was followed by the Separation Convention of 1924 by which Railway finances were separated from the General Finances of the Government of India.

Financial Commissioner of Railway Board

  • The Financial Commissioner is head of the Railway’s Financial Organization and represents the Ministry of Finance on the Railway Board.
  • He is vested with full powers of the Government of India to sanction Railway expenditure subject to the general control of the Finance Minister.

Indian Railway Accounts Service

  • It is one of the premier Group A / Class – 1 Central Service of the Government of India.
  • The Officers of this Service are responsible for the Accounts and Finance Management of the Indian Railways.

Way forward

  • RVNL has also been tasked to build the upcoming Indian Railways university – National Rail and Transportation Institute, at Vadodara.
  • The Chairman of the Railway Board also envisaged a complete integrated package for railway training institutions in the country.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

CPEC to inflict heavy debt burden on Pakistan: US

The US has warned that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would only benefit China and inflict heavy debt burden on Pakistan.

CPEC-to-inflict-heavy-debt-burden-on-Pakistan

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor-(CPEC)

  • China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan.
  • The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
  • It was launched in 2015 and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan. Hence, India opposed CPEC.
  • It is among the six economic corridors conceived under China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.
  • It is intended to rapidly expand Pakistani infrastructure as well as deepen economic links between Pakistan and China.
[To know more about CPEC, read IASToppers Mains Article: https://www.iastoppers.com/indias-participation-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-cpec-ifs-buts/]

 

[Ref: The Hindu, Livemint]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Manipur, J&K record maximum number of cases under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

More than 35% cases registered under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) were recorded in Manipur, as per the National Crime Records Data (NCRB).

Manipur,-J&K-record-maximum-number-of-cases-under-Unlawful-Activities-(Prevention)-Act

Implementation of UAPA Act in India in 2017

Manipur-JK-record-maximum-number-of-cases-under-Unlawful-Activities-Prevention-Act-1

  • With 156 cases, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 17% of cases under UAPA act, followed by Assam (133 cases – 14%), Uttar Pradesh (109 cases- 12%) recorded 12% and Bihar (52 cases- 5%).
  • Though Uttar Pradesh has recorded only 12% cases, it topped the States in the number of arrests made under the UAPA Act.

Background

  • In August 2019, Parliament cleared the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 to designate individuals as terrorists. The UAPA was first enacted in 1967.
  • Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a chargesheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.
  • It has death penalty and life imprisonment as maximum punishment.

To know more about Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2019, refer to IASTopper’s video summary: https://www.iastoppers.com/rstv-big-picture/

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

What is the Bodoland dispute, and who are the NDFB?

The central government extended the ban on the Assam-based insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) by five more years for its involvement in a series of violent activities including killings and extortion, and for joining hands with anti-India forces.

What-is-the-Bodoland-dispute

Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

Unlawful-Activities-(Prevention)-Act,-1967

  • As per Section 3 in The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, if the Central Government is of opinion that any association is, or has become, an unlawful association, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare such association to be unlawful.

Who are Bodos?

  • Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.

Bodoland-dispute

  • The constitute the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD) constitute four districts in Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang.

The Bodo Movement

  • In 1966-67, the demand for a separate state called Bodoland was raised under the Plains Tribals Council of Assam (PTCA).

National-Democratic-Front-of-Bodoland

  • In 1986, the prominent group Bodo Security Force (BdSF) was formed. The BdSF subsequently renamed itself as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
  • The official movement of the Bodos started under the leadership of Upendranath Brahma of All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) in 1987.
  • While the movement was suppressed by the then government, the ABSU created a political organization called the Bodo People’s Action Committee (BPAC).
  • ABSU began the new movement with the slogan ‘Divide Assam Fifty-Fifty’, but it ended up with the creation of Bodo Accord in 1993.
  • The accord collapsed and there was a split in ABSU and other political parties. After the Bodo Accord, the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) was constituted, which was later replaced by the BTQ.
  • In the 1990s, Indian security forces launched operations against the NDFB, causing the NDFB to flee to bordering Bhutan. In Bhutan, it faced counter-insurgency operations by the Indian Army and the Royal Bhutan Army in the early 2000s.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Science & Technology

The methane in coalbeds, and how they can be extracted

The Ministry of Coal asked the state-run coal miner Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic metres) per day of coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the next 2 to 3 years.

The-methane-in-coalbeds,-and-how-they-can-be-extracted

What is Coalbed Methane (CBM)?

coalbed-methane-1

  • CBM is extracted from unconventional gas reservoirs (where gas is extracted directly from the rock that is the source of the gas).
  • The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater. The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.
  • CMB is formed during the process of coalification, the transformation of plant material into coal.

CBM is used,

  • for power generation, as compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel,
  • as feedstock for fertilisers,
  • for industrial purposed such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants,
  • for methanol production

Coalbed Methane in India

  • India’s coal and CBM reserves are found in 12 states of India. The Gondwana sediments of eastern India host the bulk of India’s coal reserves and all the current CBM producing blocks.
  • Government of India formulated CBM policy in 1997 wherein CBM being Natural Gas is exploited under the provisions of OIL Fields (Regulation & Development) Act 1948 (ORD Act 1948) and Petroleum & Natural Gas Rules 1959 (P&NG Rules 1959).
  • The best prospective areas for CBM development are in eastern India, situated in Damodar Koel valley and Son valley.
  • Current CBM projects are in: Raniganj coalfield, Parbatpur block in Jharia coalfield and the East and West Bokaro

Key Fact

  • India has the fifth largest proven coal reserves in the world.
  • In 2018, the Union Cabinet relaxed the rules for Coal India Limited (CIL) to extract natural gas lying below coal seams to boost production. CIL accounts for over 80 % of India’s domestic coal output.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Most ASI-protected temples in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

A total 651 Hindu temples in India are designated as Centrally Protected Monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). There is no record with the central government of the number of Hindu temples under the control of state governments.

Most-ASI-protected-temples-in-Karnataka-and-Tamil-Nadu-1

Where is largest number of Hindu temples under the ASI’s protection?

Most-ASI-protected-temples-in-Karnataka-and-Tamil-Nadu

  • The largest number of Hindu temples under the ASI’s protection is in Karnataka, followed by Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh.

Key Facts

  • There are 3,686 centrally protected monuments/sites under the ASI. The largest number of these monuments/sites are in Uttar Pradesh (743). The least number of monuments are located in the Union Territory Daman and Diu (12).
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Rohtang tunnel likely to become operational by May 2020

The 8.8 km long Rohtang tunnel might soon become operational.

the-world’s-longest-highway-tunnel

About Rohtang tunnel

the-world’s-longest-highway-tunnel-1

  • Rohtang Tunnel is being built under the Rohtang Pass in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali
  • When completed, it will become world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet and will be one of the longest road tunnels in India.
  • Currently, the tunnel connects residents of Lahaul and Spiti and Zanskar Valley of Ladakh to outside world during winter months.
  • The tunnel will be managed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
  • The tunnel is expected to be named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who took a keen interest in the project during his tenure.

Significance

  • Reduce the distance between Lahaul-Spiti’s administrative centre Keylong and Manaliby.
  • Help the Leh-Manali highway to remain open to traffic even during winters. (Rohtang Pass remains open to road traffic for only five months in a year, as it receives heavy snowfall during the winter).

Challenge

  • Water ingress from Seri Nullah default zone, which flows on top of the tunnel.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

New, thrice-a-month Imphal-Mandalay chartered flight started

Recently, Myanmar’s private airlines Air KBZ kicked off a chartered flight service from Manipur’s state capital Imphal to Myanmar’s second-largest city Mandalay.

flight-service-from-Imphal-to-Mandalay

Significance of Imphal-Mandalay chartered flight

Imphal-Mandalay-chartered-flight

  • It improves the connectivity of South East Asian countries with Northeast India.
  • It gives fillip to the Northeastern states to further the Act East Policy of India.
  • Mandalay is an important economic centre of Myanmar and the flight service will benefit both traders and tourists.
  • The chartered flight service will boost the regional economy.
  • Imphal could become an important part of the international travel route.

Other forms of connectivity between Northeast and neighbouring countries

  • In 2019, Assam rolled out flight services from Guwahati to Bangkok and Dhaka.
  • Manipur is connected to Myanmar by road. Bangladesh is also connected to Meghalaya and Tripura by road.

Projects under process

  • North-Eastern States can use Chittagong sea port and Mongla river ports in Bangladesh.
  • Agartala-Akhaura international railway project will connect Bangladesh railway track with North-East Frontier Railways.
  • A bus service between Mandalay and Imphal
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Turtle survival rides on handmade towel in Assam

The multipurpose Assamese gamosa, a ubiquitous, white cotton towel, has been assigned a new function — conservation of rare freshwater turtles by printing message of turtle conservation on gamosas.

Turtle-survival-rides-on-handmade-towel-in-Assam

About Assamese gamosa

Assamese-Gamosa

  • Gamocha is a white rectangular piece of cloth with primarily a red border on three sides and red woven motifs on the fourth.
  • Gamocha is equivalent to towel by meaning ‘Ga’ means body and ‘mosa’ means wipe.
  • It has great significance in Assamese culture.
  • It is given as a gift for visitors and used as a scarf, anti-dust mask, wrapped around the head as a turban.
  • Gamocha is also known as ‘Bihuwaan‘, as it is an essential part of Bihu festival of Assam.
  • It’s not known whether Gamocha was originated in Assam or came from far east like Thailand, where small clothes like Gamosa are in use.

Recently, Kaso Sakhi (Friend of Turtles), a self-help group comprising 60 women wove 36 ‘turtle scarves’ at Biswanath Ghat as an experiment under a project initiated by the Wildlife Conservation Society/Turtle Survival Alliance and funded by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and Phoenix Zoo’s Conservation and Science Grant’s Program.

Assam roofed turtle:

Assam roofed turtle

  • It is an endangered small freshwater species.
  • Protected under Schedule I of the wildlife protection act.

Biswanath Ghat

  • Biswanath Ghat is located on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra, which flows through the Kaziranga National Park (KNP). Its high biodiversity led to the Biswanath Wildlife Division becoming a part of KNP.

 [Ref: The Hindu]

 

India to play its first pink-ball Test match against Bangladesh

India will play its first pink-ball, day-night Test match against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens.

pink-ball-cricket-2

What is Pink ball cricket?

Pink ball cricket

  • In Pink ball cricket, the match is played with Pink ball which can improves night visibility during day/night Test matches and are easy to spot on the grass.
  • However, Batsmen complained that these colours tended to merge with the brownish patches on the pitch.

Color of cricket ball

  • Cricket balls are traditionally red. However, other color were also suggested.
  • To increase ball visibility, Dark green seam on the ball was added. However, ball color was changed to white (to increase visibility under floodlights) and ultimately to black after the complaint that seam needed to be more visible.

Making of cricket balls

  • All cricket balls are made of cork, rubber and woollen yarn, using similar production techniques. The colour of the dye on the tanned cowhide, and the difference in finishing decide in which format a ball is used.
  • The conventional red Test cricket ball is dipped in grease so that water doesn’t seep into the leather.
  • However, this cannot be done with the Day/Night Test pink ball since grease would dull the fluorescent pink, affecting the visibility of the ball under lights.
  • The Pink ball is sprayed with a thick coat of pink colour so that it sparkles for long, to make it more visible.
  • However, there is some concern that pink color of the ball ends up in making the ball appear more orange under floodlights.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

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