Hindu Notes from General Studies-01
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Kumbh Mela declared as India’s cultural heritage
- India’s Kumbh Mela has been recognised by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
- The Kumbh Mela, held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and cleansing in holy rivers.
- The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage under the UN body inscribed Kumbh Mela on the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” at its 12th session in Jeju, South Korea. The meeting, which opened on December 4, ended on December 9.
- Kumbh Mela, considered the world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims, joins new elements from Botswana, Colombia, Venezuela, Mongolia, Morocco, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on the list.
- The inscription of Kumbh Mela was recommended by the expert body which examines in detail nominations submitted by Member States.
The Committee also took note of the fact that knowledge and skills related to Kumbh Mela are transmitted through the Guru-Shishya parampara (teacher-student relationship) by way of saints and sadhus teaching their disciples about traditional rituals and chants.
Hindu Notes from General Studies-02
Prepare plan mapping air pollution sources: SC
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to notify a comprehensive action plan mapping the sources of air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region within two weeks.
Why this News Important?
- This is the first ever comprehensive action plan that has been adopted officially to mandate a time-bound short-, medium- and long-term measures to clean up the air of Delhi and NCR with a compliance strategy. This also helps create a template of action for all other cities of India.
- The Bench of Justices gave the Ministry of Environment two weeks to finalise the timeline for each action point in the plan with the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
- If implemented with urgency and stringency and in a time-bound manner, this can help this region make sustained improvement in air quality.
- Delhi-NCR may require to reduce particulate pollution by at least 74% to meet clean air standards.
Doklam was resolved to the satisfaction of all: India
- Both the Indian and the Chinese Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction at the resolution of the Doklam crisis during the just- concluded meeting of the RIC grouping of Russia, India and China.
- During the meeting between External Affairs Minister and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New Delhi, the issue of Doklam was raised.
- Doklam had put “severe pressure” on bilateral ties.
- External Affairs Minister and Chinese Foreign Minister both noted the challenge it had posed to the relationship and both expressed satisfaction that it was resolved with the disengagement of troops at the face-off site through concerted diplomatic communications.
Coastal literacy project to be rolled out in 3 more districts
- Buoyed by its success in the first phase, the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) is all set to kick-start the second phase of Akshara Sagaram, an ambitious literacy programme for coastal areas, by rolling it out in three more districts, including Ernakulam.
- The primary objective of the project is to streamline the fourth, seventh and tenth standard equivalent programmes of KSLMA in coastal areas.
- Illiterate people, newly literate, school dropouts, physically and mentally-challenged people, and all fisherfolks who have not cleared fourth standard have been identified as potential beneficiaries.
Immediate benefits of the project
- Improving the living standards of coastal people and coastal area protection measures,
- women empowerment,
- elimination of drug abuse,
- creating awareness about environment,
- sanitation, cleanliness,
- Health, and various welfare programmes and services provided by the State government have been identified as the other immediate benefits of the project.
WTO: India resolute on food security
- In the final stages of the ongoing summit-level negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), India upped the ante to protect its food security right, even as the U.S. refused to agree to the demands of developing nations on the issue.
- Initially, India was bargaining hard for improving an already available mechanism that safeguards government purchase of staple foodgrain from low-income and resource-poor farmers at subsidised prices for stockpiling, and then distributing them to the country’s economically weak.
- The mechanism, called the ‘Peace Clause’, shields developing countries like India from being dragged by other countries to the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism for breaching the ceiling on product-specific domestic support (10% of the concerned crop’s value of production).
- The ‘Peace Clause’ is available to developing nations, including India, till a ‘permanent solution’ is found by the WTO members to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes.
- Peace Clause’s onerous conditions (on notification etc.) make it tough for developing countries to use. Therefore, at Buenos Aires, India, along with other developing nations, wanted the ‘Peace Clause’ provisions to be improved upon and converted into a permanent solution a demand the U.S. showed little interest in accepting.
Hindu Notes from General Studies-03
Cheetahs must be listed as endangered , say scientists
- Cheetah population in southern Africa found to be 11 per cent smaller than recent estimates, an international team of scientists has called for uplisting the cats’ conservation status from “vulnerable” to “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
- Populations of cheetahs in southern Africa have declined as farming and other human activities push deeper into the free-roaming cats’ range, said the study.
- Fewer than 3,600 adult cheetahs remain in the region, the researchers found.
- This new assessment is 11 per cent lower than the IUCN’s most recent population estimate in 2015, adding urgency to calls from scientists to uplist the cheetahs’ conservation status.