Santiniketan to get UNESCO World Heritage Site Tag
Tags: Syllabus: GS1/ Art & Culture
• West Bengal’s Santiniketan has been recommended for UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
- Location: Santiniketan is located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, where it is well-known as a university community.
- Rivers: The Ajay and the Kopai rivers border the region on two sides.
- Khoai: Historically, Santiniketan had a dense forest cover, but soil erosion has left certain areas desolate; this phenomenon is known locally as khoai.
- Khoai refers to a geological formation in Birbhum, Bardhaman, and Bankura districts of West Bengal, as well as certain regions of Jharkhand.
- This geological formation is comprised of iron-rich laterite soil, often in the form of small hills.
History and Cultural significance
• Santiniketan is a historically significant cultural and heritage site.
• It was founded by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore and subsequently expanded by his son, Rabindranath Tagore.
• Rabindranath Tagore wrote many of his literary classics (Tagore melodies, poems, novels, etc.) here.
• Visva-Bharti University is also located in Santiniketan. Visva Bharati, which was founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, was designated a central university and an institute of national importance in 1951.
• The Santiniketan campus is adorned with sculptures, frescoes, murals, and paintings by Tagore, Bose, Ramkinkar, Mukhopadhyay, and others.
Festivals celebrated here
• The district in which Santiniketan is situated, Birbhum, is renowned for its fairs and festivals, such as Poush Mela (December), Joydev Mela (January), and Basanta Utsav/Holi in (March).
• Poush Mela is an annual fair and festival that begins on the seventh day of the month of Poush. The fair is officially three days long and features live performances of Bengali traditional music, particularly bauls.
• Bengali New Year and Rabindra Janmotsav, the birthday celebration of Kobiguru Rabindra Nath Tagore, are commemorated with great cultural fervor in the Bengali month of Boisakh.
• On the 22nd and 23rd day of Sravana (August), Briksharopan, the Festival of Planting Saplings, and Halakarshan, the Festival of Plowing the Fields, are celebrated.
• The festival of Rains, Varshamangal, is celebrated in August/September.
Recommendation for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List
• The World Heritage Centre’s advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), has recommended that Santiniketan be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.If selected, Santiniketan would be the second cultural icon from West Bengal to reach the UNESCO list. In 2021, UNESCO added ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
World Heritage Sites
• Meaning: World Heritage Sites are sites of exceptional cultural or natural significance that are recognized by UNESCO for their outstanding universal value under the World Heritage Convention of 1972.
• Cultural heritage includes monuments (including architectural works, monumental sculptures, and inscriptions), groups of structures, and sites (including archaeological sites).
• Natural Heritage includes natural features (consisting of physical and biological formations), geological and physiographical formations (including habitats of threatened species of animals and plants), and natural sites that are significant from a scientific, conservation, or aesthetic standpoint.
• Governance: The inventory of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international World Heritage Program, which is administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which consists of 21 “states parties” elected by the UNESCO General Assembly.
• How many? As of April 2023, 167 countries housed a total of 1,157 World Heritage Sites (900 cultural, 218 natural, and 39 combined properties). Italy (58), China (56), Germany (51), France (49), Spain (49), India (40), Mexico (35), the United Kingdom (33), and Russia (30) have the most locations.
• In a document known as the Tentative List, a country must identify its significant cultural and natural sites. A country cannot submit nominations for locations that are not on its Tentative List.Then, it can add sites chosen from that list to a Nomination File, which is evaluated by ICOMOS and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
• ICOMOS and IUCN make designation recommendations to the World Heritage Committee. Once a year, the Committee meets to determine which nominated properties should be added to the World Heritage List.
• To be included on the World Heritage List, a site must be of exceptional universal value and satisfy at least one of ten criteria.
• The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a professional organization that works for the preservation of cultural heritage sites around the world.
• ICOMOS was established in 1965 in Warsaw (Poland) as a result of the Venice Charter of 1964 and provides advice to UNESCO on World Heritage Sites.It is now headquartered in Paris (France), Charenton-le-Pont.
YUVA PRATIBHA – Painting Talent Hunt
Tags: Syllabus: GS 1/Art and Culture
• MyGov, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, has launched ‘YUVA PRATIBHA – Painting Talent Hunt’ under the auspices of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
About ‘YUVA PRATIBHA – Painting Talent Hunt
- This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for citizens from across the nation to showcase their artistic aptitude and acquire national recognition.
- India’s up-and-coming painters, illustrators, miniaturists, and portraitists can participate in the ‘YUVA PRATIBHA – Painting Talent Hunt’ and exhibit their artistic abilities on the following themes:
- Heritage and Culture
- Bravery and Patriotism
- Public Heroes and Leaders
- Nature and the Environment
• It seeks to promote India’s rich heritage and culture on a national scale by identifying and recognizing new artistic talent in a variety of painting styles.
Styles of Painting
- Warli painting
- Warli tribal members of the Thane district in Maharashtra adorn the walls of their homes with paintings depicting their daily lives, including planting saplings, transporting grain, dancing, and traveling to the market, among other mundane activities.
- Symbols of the sun, moon, and stars, in addition to flora, animals, insects, and birds, demonstrate their belief in the interconnectedness of all life forms.
- Kavad art
- Artists in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan create wooden temples with doors that can be opened to disclose intricately painted tales of religious or historical significance.
- These wooden kavads are employed for religious and festive purposes.
- Tanjore Painting
- It is an intriguing combination of art and craft that developed in the Thanjavur region of Tamil Nadu under the influence of the Marathas.
- The primary colors consist of red, yellow, black, and white. The distinguishing characteristics were aristocratic or religious figures adorned with jewelry and surrounded by architecturally ornate arches and doors.
- Mithila painting
- Commonly known as Madhubani art, it originated in the same-named district of Bihar and is now renowned worldwide.
- To commemorate festivals, women adorn the bridal chamber and interior walls of their homes with ornaments.
- The preferable topics are Ram’s return from exile and Krishna playing with gopis. Artists frequently depict scenes of nature, a bountiful harvest, tantric depictions of serpent worship, and even cityscapes if they have traveled to one.
- The jharnapatachitra of West Bengal
- It is a long vertical scroll of paper used to depict scenes from religious epics. • The artists compose songs to chant as they slowly unroll each scene of the painting.
- Old fabric is adhered to the rear of the scroll in order to reinforce it.
- The Pattachitra of Odisha portrays stories from the famous poem Geet Govind as well as devotional stanzas written by ancient poets, singers, and writers.
- The pat was originally created as a temple sacrifice. On palm leaf, stories are depicted as etchings or as watercolors on paper and silk.
- These paintings feature hues of deep red, ochre, black, and rich blue derived from minerals, fossils, and organic lac.
- Gond painting:
- The Gonds of Madhya Pradesh have a long and distinguished history, with their chiefs reigning over Central India. They revered nature.
- Gond paintings of Mandla and its environs have recently been transformed into vibrant depictions of animals, humans, and flora.
- The votive paintings are geometric drawings done on the walls of huts, depicting Krishna with his cows encircled by gopis with pots on their heads who receive offerings from young girls and boys.
- Pithoro painting:
- These paintings are done by Rathva Bhils of the Panchmahal region in Gujarat and Jhabua in the neighboring state of Madhya Pradesh for the purpose of commemorating special occasions or Thanksgiving.
- These are large wall paintings depicting aisles of numerous, brilliantly hued deities portrayed as horse riders.
- Pata painting:
- Pata watercolor Scroll painting, which is executed on fabric, palm leaf, or paper, is another art form employed in various regions of India, particularly Gujarat and Rajasthan in the West and Odisha and West Bengal in the East. It also goes by the names Pata, Pachedi, Phad, etc.
Why India is heating up slower than the world average?
Tags: Syllabus: GS1/Geography, GS3/Environment
• According to the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world is currently experiencing a warming of approximately 1.1°C, whereas the warming trends in the Indian region are quite distinct.
• The world’s average annual temperature has risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 1850-1900 average.
• In 2020, the Ministry of Earth Sciences reported in an assessment of climate change on the Indian subcontinent that annual mean temperatures had risen by 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1900.
• This is substantially less than the global land temperature increase of 1.59 degrees Celsius.It may convey the impression that the problem of climate change in India is less severe than in other regions of the world.
• Temperature is the average heat or thermal energy of a substance.
• Air and water temperatures are predominantly determined by the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth’s surface and the amount of heat re-radiated by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
• Atmospheric and oceanic circulation redistribute heat across the Earth’s surface and determine regional temperature patterns.
Are Warming Trends Different Across the Globe?
• Average of Warming Temperature: Compared to pre-industrial periods, the global average temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius. Different regions have experienced varying degrees of warming.
• Arctic Region: The polar regions, and the Arctic in particular, have experienced significantly more warming. At least twice as much warming has occurred in the Arctic region as the global average. Its current annual mean temperatures are approximately 2 degrees Celsius warmer than they were prior to industrialization.
- As a result of the Arctic ice cap vanishing, more land and water are becoming exposed to the Sun. Ice absorbs the least quantity of heat and reflects the most solar radiation relative to land and water.Recent research indicates that the increased warming in the polar region may be attributable to a number of factors, including the albedo effect, variations in cloud cover, water vapor, and atmospheric temperatures.
- The warming of the polar regions contributes significantly to the global temperature increase of 1.1 degrees Celsius.
Factors that Affects the Warming of Regions
- Altitude: It is known that the increase in temperature is more pronounced at higher altitudes near the polar regions than near the equator.
- This is due to a complex set of atmospheric phenomena, such as heat transfer from the tropics to the polar via prevalent air circulation systems.
- Albedo effect: Another important factor is the albedo effect, or the amount of sunlight a surface reflects. As a result of the Arctic ice cap disappearing, more land or water is becoming exposed to the Sun.
- Ice absorbs the least amount of heat and reflects the greatest quantity of solar radiation compared to land or water.
- Aerosols refer to all types of suspended particulates in the atmosphere. These particles may influence the local temperature in a variety of ways.
- Many of these reflect sunlight back, causing the land to absorb less heat. Additionally, aerosols affect cloud formation. In turn, clouds influence the amount of sunlight that is reflected or absorbed.
- Land-Ocean Atmospheric Interactions: Variation in the amount of solar radiation absorbed and the amount of heat re-radiated from Earth’s land and oceans causes temperature differences in the air over different terrain types.
- For instance, sea breezes occur because land heats and cools faster than water, so land is warmer during the day and sea breezes move inland, but the ocean is warmer than land at night, so the wind blows from land to sea.
- Location: India is situated in the tropical zone, near to the equator. Its location at lower latitudes is largely responsible for India’s relatively low rate of global warming. It is now well-established in science that higher latitudes experience increased warming.
- Since the majority of the world’s landmass is located in the northern latitudes, it is not surprising that India, which is situated in the tropics, is experiencing a temperature rise that deviates from the global average.
- Indian Ocean: Land areas tend to heat up more rapidly and to a greater degree than oceans. In the tropics and along the equator, oceans dominate the landscape. As a result of these two factors — that lands heat up more and that the majority of land is located in northern latitudes — the average warming of global land areas has intensified.
- Aerosol concentration: Due to natural and human causes, the concentration of aerosols in the Indian region is quite high. In the Indian region, emissions from vehicles, industries, construction, and other activities contribute a substantial amount of aerosols.
- A decrease in global warming may be an unintended but beneficial secondary effect of aerosols. They have the potential to prevent warming of the Indian region by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius.
- Source: IE
Troubles of India’s Aviation Industry
Tags: Syllabus: GS2/ Agreements Involving India &/or Affecting India’s Interests, GS3/ Energy
• Recently, GoFirst airlines filed for bankruptcy before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
• In recent months, a number of aircraft have been suspended at airports, and operational issues have led to numerous flight cancellations.
• Of the 54 aircraft owned by GoFirst, which filed for bankruptcy with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), 28 are suspended.
• Other airlines experiencing difficulties: GoFirst is not the only low-cost carrier with a grounded fleet.
o SpiceJet currently operates approximately 47 to 50 aircraft out of a total fleet size of 78 to 80 aircraft.
India’s Aviation Sector
- Civil aviation, a significant growth engine for India, will propel the country to a $5 trillion economy by 2024.
- India is presently the third largest civil aviation market in the world.
- Rising number of passengers & Potential of the sector:
- • According to the DGCA, domestic airlines carried 13 million passengers in March 2023, 11% more than the same month in the pre-pandemic years of 2018 and 2019.
- • According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, India will have over 140 million passengers in FY2024 alone.
- Data on airlines:
- As of March 2023, IndiGo maintained a 56.8% share of the domestic market, followed by Vistara (8.9%) and Air India (8.9%).
- AirAsia held 7.6% of the market, followed by GoFirst with 6.9% and SpiceJet with 6.4%.
- Policy & regulations:
- India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation administers a comprehensive aviation policy founded on the Aircraft Act of 1934 and the Aircraft Rules of 1937.
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the statutory regulatory authority for safety, licensing, airworthiness, and other related matters.
Financial Challenges faced by India’s Aviation Sector
- Survival struggle:
- Despite boasting the ‘fastest expanding aviation sector’ in the world, airlines in the country have struggled to survive in the highly competitive and unforgiving aviation industry.
- Travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic severely impacted the finances of all airlines, which were already in the red.
- In 2019-20, IndiGo was the only airline to record a profit, while all others, led by Air India’s?4,600 crore loss, posted losses.
- Exiting due to losses:
- Financial difficulties have caused the demise of seventeen domestic and regional airlines over the past few decades, as a result of which they have left the market.
- Smaller airlines:
- The Tatas’ consolidation of four carriers, including Air India and Vistara, under one umbrella will make it more difficult for smaller airlines to capture the market, according to a recent CAPA report.
- Taxes on ATF:
- The government imposed high taxes on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) after 2003, when low-cost carriers confronted intense competition to keep prices low.
- While India’s airfares are 15% below the break-even point, heavily taxed ATF is the single largest expense for airlines, according to estimates.
- Hidden cost bearings:
- Airlines must also pay airport fees for the use of airport facilities, such as aircraft landing, freight, and other fees associated with the use of airport infrastructure, such as runways and passenger terminals.
- Internationally, airlines pass on the majority of these costs to passengers; however, Indian carriers must remain competitive and offer decreased ticket prices to expand their market share.
- There are also significant expenses associated with training airline crew.
- The shortage of pilots also reflects the insufficiency of Flight Training Organizations.
Other issues faced by the sector & way ahead
- Engine and spare parts:
- The aircraft suspension was not caused solely by financial constraints.
- Engine and spare part issues have grounded 13 percent of the fleet of market-leading and profit-generating IndiGo.
- Need of modern technology in aerospace:
- While the mother Act and Rules have been modified frequently, aviation experts contend that India has not kept up with modern aerospace technology and rising industry costs, which has a negative impact on passenger growth.
- Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul:
- In the recent past, chain issues have significantly impacted all main players, prompting industry experts to recommend accelerating the establishment of the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) segment domestically.
- Need of policy solutions:
- If India’s struggling airlines are to achieve cruising altitude, it is up to the Centre to devise long-term policy solutions.
Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)
National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2016
Airports Authority of India (AAI)
Indian Sludge finds ‘high potential’ for use as Fertilizer
Tags: Syllabus: GS 3/Environment
- A recent analysis found that sludge found in Indian sewage treatment plants (STP)has high potential for use as fertilizer but required treatment before it could be used unrestrictedly in farms, or as a potential biofuel.
- It is the thick residue filtered out of sewage treatment plants
- It is rich in organic chemicals and is also a repository of heavy metals, industrial effluents, and bacterial contaminants.
Classification of Treated sludge
• According to United States Environmental Protection Agency standards, treated sludge can be classified as class A or class B, with class A being safe for open-air disposal and beneficial as organic fertilizer.
• Class B sludge can be used in “restricted” agricultural applications, the edible portions of the crop must not be subjected to sludge-mixed soil, and animals and humans have not had extensive contact.
Efforts of India
- Arth Ganga is a viable and sustainable economic model conceived under the “Namami-Gange” program to integrate basin residents with Ganga Rejuvenation.
- Under this ‘Arth Ganga’ (economic value from Ganga), one of the measures is to “monetize” and reuse treated effluent and sludge. This involves converting sludge into usable products such as manure and bricks.
- India lacks classification standards for refuse as class A or B.
- Those awarded contracts for constructing and maintaining STPs under the Namami Ganga Mission are currently allotted land for sludge disposal.
- However, this is rarely treated, and when it rains, this sediment, along with its chemical and metallic components, frequently returns to rivers and local water sources.
- According to a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee, the majority of sediment analyzed after drying fell into class B.
- Nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations exceeded the levels recommended by India’s fertilizer standards (FCO, 2009).
- However, the potassium content of certain sludges was below the recommended level.
- To improve the quality of sludge, the report recommends the sludge needs to be stored for at least three months to kill pathogens, and blended with cattle manure and husk or local soil to reduce the heavy metal.
- This, however, would still put it in class B and converting it into grade A sludge would require far more extensive treatment.
- Before standards were made, it was necessary to understand the characteristics of the sludge from these STPs before ways could be devised to incentivize private players to treat and dispose of sludge.
Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi Scheme
Tags: Syllabus: GS2/ Welfare Schemes
• In May of 2023, the Union Ministry for Women and Child Development unveiled the flagship program of the Centre, “Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi.”
• Objective: The program will emphasize Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) at anganwadis throughout the nation. The objective is to transform anganwadi centers into nutrition facilities that also provide education.
• Funding: The ministry has allocated 600 crore rupees for the training of anganwadi personnel to implement the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) program.
• Governance: The National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) will provide Anganwadi personnel with training. NIPCCD is an independent agency within the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
• Anganwadi Centres will receive improved infrastructure, play apparatus, and well-trained Anganwadi workers/teachers.
• According to the New Education Policy, every child (up to the age of six) would receive at least two hours of high-quality pre-school instruction in the mother tongue daily.
• The goal is to ensure that the ECCE material, which was developed in accordance with the New Education Policy, permeates to every anganwadi in the country using new training methodologies (such as visual aids, audio aids, audio-visual aids, and bodily-kinesthetic aids).
Physical and motor development, cognitive development, socio-emotional-ethical development, cultural/artistic development, and the development of communication and early language, literacy, and numeracy will all be areas of focus for the government.
Significance of ECCE via Anganwadi centres
• Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is an integral part of Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 (Mission Poshan 2.0) as well as the National Education Policy.
• Close to 13.9 lakh operational Anganwadi centres across the country provide supplementary nutrition and early care and education to approximately 8 crore beneficiary children under the age of 6 years.
• Considering global evidence that 85 percent of brain development occurs by the age of 6, the Anganwadi eco-system becomes a crucial access point for building the children’s foundation.
Delhi’s Draft Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme 2023
Tags: Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies & interventions
• The government of Delhi has proposed a “Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme 2023” to regulate taxi aggregators and delivery service providers in Delhi.
The scheme has been submitted for sanction to the Lieutenant Governor.
Draft Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme 2023
- Aim: To set the groundwork in Delhi for the regulation of aggregators and delivery service providers.
- To prioritize passenger safety and guarantee prompt resolution of complaints, while promoting the use of electric vehicles and reducing pollution levels in Delhi.
- Key Features:
- Applicability: The Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme 2023 will apply to any individual or organization that operates, on-boards, or manages a fleet of motor vehicles using digital or electronic means or any other means to transport passengers.
- Safety Provisions: Installing a distress button and integration with 112 (Delhi Police) for emergencies will be required of aggregators.
- Grievance Redressal Mechanism: The program will ensure prompt resolution of consumer complaints by service providers, enforcement of vehicle fitness, pollution control, and permit validity. In cases where a driver’s performance is subpar, it also includes provisions for remedial training.
- Transitioning to electric vehicles: mandating the transition from conventional to electric vehicles for commercial vehicles. By March 2023, aggregators and delivery services must ensure that 50 percent of their new two-wheelers and 25 percent of their new four-wheelers are electric.
- Provision for the regulation of cycle taxis: Since Delhi has never permitted bike taxis to operate in the city, the scheme provides for the regulation of such services in Delhi.
• This will reduce pollution levels in Delhi and create new opportunities for employment and economic development.
• The scheme adheres to the ‘polluter pays’ principle by exempting electric vehicles from license fees upon registration.
- The plan would adequately resolve commuters’ safety concerns.
Tags: Syllabus: GS3/ Science and Technology
• The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Union Health Ministry conducted a successful trial run of drone-delivered blood bags as part of their iDrone initiative.
About i-drone Initiative
• The ‘i-DRONE’ (ICMR’s Drone Response and Outreach for North East) initiative evaluated the viability of using drones to deliver vaccines and medical supplies.
• ‘i-DRONE’ was first used during the covid19 pandemic to distribute vaccines to unreachable areas.
• This was accomplished in difficult geographical terrains such as land, island, foothills, and across the hills. • The medical supplies delivered under the iDrone project included COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines used in routine immunisation programs, antenatal care medicines, multi-vitamins, syringes, and gloves.
- Developing indigenous capacities in research and integrating innovations and technologies into the mainstream can provide clarity on problem mapping and the identification of potential solutions.
- The advancement of technology is accelerating India’s progress toward attaining the status of a developed nation.
- It will result in the development of standard operating procedures for broader applicability and the use of drones to deliver blood containers and their components.
- Additionally, it will resolve the question of whether drones may be used to transport temperature-sensitive blood products in remote areas of the country.
- The use of drones to transport blood will decrease the time required for last-mile deliveries within the country.
|About Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
Tags: Syllabus: GS 3/Defence
• The 35th India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) was conducted by the Indian Navy and Royal Thai Navy.
About Indo-Thai CORPAT
• Since 2005, the Indian Navy and Royal Thai Navy have conducted CORPAT biannually along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
•It facilitates the implementation of measures to prevent and suppress illegal activities such as Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, piracy, and armed assault by fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between navies.
- This is an additional step towards bolstering the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate interoperability and foster strong bonds of friendship between India and Thailand.
- It helps enhance operational synergy by exchanging information for the prevention of smuggling and unlawful immigration as well as for the conduct of Search and Rescue (SAR) operations at sea.
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