♦ SBI to issue and encash electoral bonds soon
The GoI has notified the sale of electoral bond by SBI through its 29 authorized branches from 1.11.2018 to 10.11.2018. 29. These SBI branches are in cities like New Delhi, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati. The concept of electoral bond was initiated in Union Budget 2017.Later on Electoral bond scheme 2018 was introduced.
What is Electoral Bond?
An Electoral Bond is just like a promissory note that will be payable to bearer on demand and free of interest. It can be purchased by a citizen of India or anybody incorporated in India.
Benefits of an Electoral bond
- Transparent political funding
- Protecting donors from harassment
- No disclosure of information to third parties
- Achieving Digital India vision
- Bringing donations under tax preview
♦ Electoral Bonds Scheme 2018
- The scheme introduced that the a party registered under the Representation of People’s act, 1951 and securing not less than one percent of the votes polled in the preceding election is entitled to receive the electoral bonds.
- Electoral Bonds may be purchased by only citizen of India. An individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
- The bonds can only be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorized bank. Electoral Bonds are valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue. If the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period, no payment is made to any Political Party.
- The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account is credited on the same day. The bonds are issued in multiples of 1000, 10000, 1lakh, 10 lakh, 1 crore. The cash donation has been capped at Rs. 2000 and beyond that donations are via electoral bonds.
♦ North East Festival and Experiencing the North East held in New Delhi
The sixth edition of North East festival is being organized till October 28, 2018 in New Delhi and the 15th edition of Indian International Centre festival is to be held from 27-31 October 2018
Key feature of North East Festival
- Cultural performances involving Bagrumba dance, Hozagir dance of Tripura, Bihu dance of Assam, Garo Wangla dance and Manipuri martial arts performances called Thang Ta.
- Fashion shows with traditional patterns and textiles.
- Presentation of organic food and vegetables grown in the region
- 150 craft stalls displaying exotic handloom and handicrafts products of north east region.
- Agriculture, horticulture and food processing stalls.
- There will be special performances by Nise Meruno, classical pianist and vocalist.
Key Features of Experiencing the North East
- The festival is a part of Destination North East Series being organised by North Eastern Council, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
- The festival is organised by Indian International Centre as 15th anniversary of its annual festivals. The theme for this year is “Experiencing the North East”.
- To showcase the richness of cultural heritage of North East there will be focus on presenting dance, music, theatre, exhibitions, and special cuisines to the visitors.
- There will be an exhibition specially focused on Bamboo products.
- A literary event called “These hills we come from’…Voices from North East
- Will took place focusing on literature of the region.
- There will be a showcase of Films of the region also there in the festival.
Thang Ta and sarit –sarak: These two are the martial art forms from the Indian state of Manipur. In Manipuri language thang means sword and ta means spear. Thang Ta is name for the ancient martial practice known as Huyen Lallong .The unarmed aspect of Thang Ta is named as sarit sarak.
♦ Mammals of India (MaOI)
Mammals of India (MaOI) is a new model of repository on Indian mammals by the Scientists and Researchers from the National Centers for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore. It is a citizen-scientific repository initiated in September 2018. It is a first such repository of Mammals in India.
Special Features Of MaOI
- It is an online, freely –accessible portal whose aim is to develop individual pages for all Indian mammals covering all related information about their distribution, breeding, variation, identification and conservation .
- The website org provides a facility to the citizen to upload photographic observations about mammals. 768 images, of 161 species of mammals, have been uploaded by October 25, 2018.
- The photographs of rare species such as Red Serow from Manipur, Lynx a species of wild cat from Jammu and Kashmir, Asian Golden Cat from West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and Binturong, also known as bear cat, from East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh have been uploaded on this portal.
- This is an exclusive portal for mammals in India which will help in having a good distribution map of mammals all around the country.
- MaOI is an initiative under Biodiversity Atlas project. The Biodiversity Atlas is a species-based bioinformatics platform.
India is a mega-diversity country with only 2.4% of the world’s land area but accounts for 7-8% of all global species. There are about 426 species of mammals known from India, which is about 8.86% of the world species.
Citizen Science Projects in Conservation Of Indian Biodiversity
Citizen science projects are changing the scenario of collection of scientific information about biodiversity. These projects enable participants to make direct contribution to collection and research on information related to environmental issues. Citizens are the unpaid contributors in collecting information related to bio-diversity.
♦ Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF)
To double farmers’ income by 2022 the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved creation of FAIDF recently. The proposal for creation of fund was made in budget 2018-19.
Salient features of the fund
- The main aim is to boost fish production to achieve the target of producing 15 million tonnes of fish production by 2020 and 20 million tonnes by 2022-23 from current production of 11.4 million tonnes. The aim to achieve this target was set under Blue revolution.
- The nodal agencies for the fund will be National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), National Cooperatives Development Corporation (NCDC) and scheduled banks.
- The fund being raised by nodal loaning entities (NLE).
- The estimated fund size is about 7522 crore that will benefit country in both inland and marine fisheries areas.
- The fund will involve in attracting private investment and technologies in creation and management of fisheries all around the country.
Indian Fish Market
- Fisheries in India is an important economic activity and emerging sector. India’s fish production is estimated at around 12 million tonnes annually. India has become the second largest fish producing and aquaculture industry in the world. In aquaculture, India is second to china with a share of 6% in global aquaculture.
- The fisheries sector employed over 14.5 million people directly and many more indirectly. At present, Fish production contributes to around 1% to GDP of country and 5% to agricultural GDP of country. India exports one tenth of its Fish produced. The contribution of fish from the seas has lowered now and the share is rising from inland farming.
- The Indian government has taken a lot of other efforts to boost up Indian aquaculture market such as Integrating all the existing schemes under Blue Revolution, Establishing ‘Brood bank’ for commercially important species to ensure production and supply of certified broods to hatcheries in the country, developing cold water fishery, improving the manpower requirements of the fisheries programs.
- Overall, fisheries is a sunrise sector having a lot of future growth possibilities. All the 3 sub sectors viz. Inland, Aquaculture and Marine fisheries have a lot of scope for improvement. The recent step of creating FAIDF is a praised step to boost the fisheries sector to the desired level.
♦ India To Become Third Largest Aviation Market : IATA
India will be among the top three aviation market by 2024 according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its 20- year air passenger forecast report. India is currently at seventh position in Global Aviation market.
Key Highlights Of Report
- The number of air passengers around the world will double to 8.2 billion in 2037.
- China will displace the US as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid- 2020. India will take the third place after US around 2024 surpassing UK.
- By 2037, India is expected to add 414 million passengers to its existing 572 million passengers.
- Home passenger traffic in India is growing at around 18.28 per cent to reach 243 million in 2018-19 and will grow to 293 million in 2020.
- When it comes to International traffic, it grew by 10.43 per cent to reach 65 million in 2018 and will grow to 76 million in 2020.
- The biggest growth in terms of air traffic will come from Asia- Pacific region with more than half the number of total new passengers in next 20 years.
- The Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the fastest growth at the rate of 4.8%, followed by Africa (4.6%) and West Asia (4.4%).
International Aviation Traffic Association (IATA): It is the trade association for the world’s airlines formed in 1945 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada. It represents around 280 airlines or 82% of total air traffic. It helps to formulate aviation sector policy and standards. It also provides training services in many areas of aviation.
♦ Challenges To India Aviation Sector
The study identified several factors that can impact the future growth of Indian aviation industry:
The growth policy of 6.1% annually is expected to result in a total market of 520 million Indian passengers in 2037.The protectionist and other negative policy will hold India’s growth back to 4.9% and the total market will be 400 million in 2037.
Ease of Doing Business
India is now at 100th position among 132 countries on World Bank’s Ease of Doing Report. The improvement in this area will impact sustainable growth of aviation sector.
Travel and Tourism Competitiveness
India has also risen from 52nd place to 40th place in 2017 World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index. The improvements in this area as well as in airport infrastructure will further enhance India’s aviation market.
♦ India Building World’s Highest Railway Line
India railways announced its plan to link New Delhi and Ladakh by means of a railway line that will run along the India-China Border. The proposed Bilaspur-Manali-Leh Line would be the world’s highest railway line once launched.
Key Facts of the Project
- The projected cost to construct the 465 km line will be Rs 83,360 crore.
- The railway line will be the world’s highest at 5,360 metres above mean sea level which is comparable to China’s Quinghai-Tibet Railway Line at 2,000 metres.
- The project comprise of 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges, 396 minor bridges and 30 stations on the line.
- Keylong station on the route will be constructed inside a tunnel at the height of 3000 metres which is a first in India.
- Notably, more than half the train route would be covered through tunnels, the longest of which is 27 km. Whole length of the tunnels would be 244 km.
- The route will link crucial locations between Bilaspur and Leh such as Sundernagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu as well as several other towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
- After the completion, the railway line will halve the time taken to cover the distance between Delhi and Leh from the current 40 hrs to 20 hrs.
In addition to providing quick all-weather access to the armed forces, the railway line will also enhance tourism in the Ladakh region that is presently connected by road and air. The Ladakh-Himachal areas receives heavy snowfall and the road and air connectivity.
♦ World Wrestling Championships – 2018
The 2018 World Wrestling Championships were fifteenth edition of World Wrestling Championships of combined events and were held from October 20 to 28 in Budapest, Hungary. Here are important facts:
About UWW World Wrestling Championships
- It is amateur wrestling world championship event organised by the United World Wrestling.
- It was started in 1904 with the Men’s Greco-Roman wrestling tournament.
- From 1951, the Men’s freestyle wrestling tournament began.
- From 1987, women’s freestyle championship started.
The top medal winning countries
In the 2018 event, Japan won the most medals with 5 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze. Russia comes second with 8 medals.
India is at the 17th place with 2 medals – 1 silver and 1 bronze. Bajrang Punia bagged the silver medal. Pooja Dhanda won Bronze medal and became fourth Indian woman to win a medal at the World Wrestling Championship.
About Bajrang Punia
Bajrang Punia from Haryana is India’s freestyle wrestler who won a Bronze medal in 2013 world wrestling championships, bagged silver medal in 2015 commonwealth games, 2014 Asian games, and 2014 Asian wrestling championships. With the 2018 win, he has total four silvers in his kitty. He has also won a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championship 2017, 2018 commonwealth games, and 2018 Asian games.
Pooja Dhanda from Haryana won silver medals in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics and 2018 Commonwealth Games. With 2018 Bronze win, she became the fourth Indian woman grappler to win a medal at the World Championship. Before her, Alka Tomar in 2006, Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat in 2012 had won a bronze medal each at the Worlds Championships.
♦ Winners of United Nations Human Rights Prize – 2018
The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights (UN Human Rights Prize) was announced recently by María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of United Nations General Assembly. The winners of 2018 award are:
- Asma Jahangir – Pakistan’s late human rights activist
- Rebeca Gyumi – A Tanzanian human rights activist
- Joenia Wapichana – Brazil’s first indigenous lawyer
- Front Line Defenders – A human rights organisation of Ireland
About the UN Human Rights Prize
These awards were instituted by the General Assembly of United Nations in 1966 and are intended to honour and commend people and organizations which have done outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations human rights instruments. The first awards were given in 1968 and are given every five years since then.
About 2018 Winners
Late Asma Jahangir (died Feb. 2018) was the fourth Pakistani woman to receive the prestigious award. She was an advocate from Pakistan, known for her persistent advocating for women’s rights and discrimination against minorities. She was first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. She was critical of Pakistan’s military, intelligence and armed groups. She faced death threats, imprisonments and beatings several times. She co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; helped passing of a legislation against bonded labour in Pakistan; and worked on blasphemy cases.
Rebecca Gyumi is a Tanzanian advocate and founder of the Msichana Initiative in Tanzania. This is an NGO which advocates for girls’ right to education. In 2016, Gyumi had won a landmark case on child marriages after petitioning against the 1971 Tanzania Marriage Act which allowed girls as young as 14 to get married.
Joenia Wapichana is an indigenous lawyer from northern Brazil, and she became first indigenous woman to be elected to the Congress. She was the first indigenous lawyer to speak in front of the Supreme Federal Court and more than a decade before that she became the first indigenous person to graduate from law school in the country.
Front Line Defenders
Front Line Defenders is an Ireland based charity that provides support to human rights defenders having lives and health at risk through advocacy, grants, security and training. It was founded in 2001 in Ireland’s capital, Dublin.
Trivia: So far, only one Indian personality – Baba Amte has been awarded United Nations Human Rights Prize. Baba Amte was given this prize in 1988.
♦ Global Agriculture Leadership Awards – 2018 and First World Agriculture Prize
- Since 2008, the Global Agriculture Leadership Summit & Awards are organised by Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) with support of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare; Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Ministry of Commerce.
- The 2018 Global Agriculture Leadership Summit was 11thin this series and it was held in Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi recently in October, 2018.
Global Agriculture Leadership Awards – 2018
ICFA had established the Agriculture Leadership Awards in 2008 to recognize the leadership roles played by individuals and institutions positively impacting the lives of farmers and rural masses. During the recent summit, the Global Agriculture Leadership Awards – 2018 were announced and presented. The winners are as follows:
Prof. Rudy Rabbinge, who has received International Leadership Award is Special Envoy – Food Security, Government of Netherlands. He has been awarded for his contribution in the field of food security and rural development.
Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu was awarded the Policy Leadership Award for his proactive policies for uplifting the farming community by focusing on irrigation, investment, global partnerships, marketing initiatives and zero budget natural farming.
Best States in Various Fields
The best fisheries State Award was given Jharkhand for efforts in augmenting the production potential of the state in fisheries segment. Further, Bihar is Best Animal Husbandry State, Nagaland is best Horticultural state, Gujarat is Best Agriculture State and Haryana has been conferred with Program Leadership Award.
First World Agriculture Prize – Prof. M.S. Swaminathan
The event witnessed bestowing of Prof. M.S. Swaminathan with the first World Agriculture Prize. This prize instituted by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) was presented by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan at a special session, named Swaminathan Global Dialogue on Climate Change and Food Security organised by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture.
Prof. M S Swaminathan
- Prof. Swaminathan is known as Father of Green Revolution in India and is renowned worldwide for his basic and applied research in genetics, cytogenetics, radiation and chemical mutagenesis, food and biodiversity conservation. The United Nations Environment Programme has hailed him as ‘The Father of Economic Ecology’ owing to his commitment towards the ever-green revolution movement in agriculture.
- The ICFA’s World Agricultural Prize carries a cash component of $1,00,000 and will recognise individuals who have served humanity through agriculture. It will be an annual prize and would be presented to any individual or institution, importantly from Asian, African or Latin American countries who have played a seminal role in transforming agriculture globally and saving humanity from the curse of hunger.
♦ Vigilance Awareness Week – 2018
The Central Vigilance Commission observes the Vigilance Awareness Week every year during the week in which birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (31st October) falls. The 2018 Vigilance Awareness Week is being observed from 29th October to 3rd November, 2018.
Theme of the Week
The theme of Vigilance Awareness Week-2018 is
- Eradicate Corruption-Build a New India (in English)
- भ्रष्टाचारमिटाओ- नयाभारत बनाओ (in Hindi)
The CVC has asked various central government ministries and organizations to conduct relevant activities during this week. Some of the activities include:
- Taking Integrity Pledge by all employees
- Distribution of pamphlets/handouts on preventive vigilance activities, whistle blower mechanism and other anti-corruption measures
- Conducting workshops and sensitization programmes for employees and other stake holders on policies/procedures of the organization and preventive vigilance measures
- Publication of journals/newsletters on vigilance issues, systemic improvements and good practices adopted for wider dissemination and awareness, conducting various competitions such as debates, quiz etc. for the employees and their families on issues relating to anti-corruption and the use of organizational websites for dissemination of employees/customer oriented information.
Further, there will be outreach activities for public/citizens including display of hoardings, banners, posters and distribution of handouts etc. at prominent locations/places in offices/field units and also at places with public interface , organization of grievance redressal camps for citizens/customers by organizations having customer oriented services/activities and the taking of the online “Integrity Pledge” developed by the Commission.
Integrity Clubs in Schools
One of the highlights of the week will be establishment of Integrity Clubs in the schools and colleges to cultivate ethical values in the leaders of tomorrow.
Awareness Gram Sabhas
The objective of Awareness Gram Sabhas is to sensitize the rural citizens about the ill-effects of corruption. In 2017, 67,131 such Gram Sabhas were organized during the Vigilance Awareness Week.
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