Centenary Celebrations of Bharat Sevashram Sangha
(Topic: Art and Culture)
About: Bharat Sevashram Sangha is a Hindu charitable non-governmental organisation in India, headquarters at Kolkata. It was founded in 1917 by Acharya Srimat Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj.
The Sangha has hundreds of ashrams in India and other countries including the United Kingdom, United States, Guyana, Canada, Fiji and Bangladesh.
- The Sangha has responded to natural calamities in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states, the Bengal famine of 1943, the Bhopal disaster, the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
- At times of political unrest such as the Partition of India, the Sangha has set up refugee camps and war evacuee camps in the border areas.
Celebrating Buddha Purnima
(Topic: Art and Culture)
About: The Buddha Jayanti falls on the Vaisakha Purnima, that is, on the full moon day of the month of Vaisakha according to the Indian lunar calendar. This is the most important occasion for Buddhists celebrating the Gautama Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana on the same day.
In the first meeting of “World Fellowship of Buddhist” held at Colombo, Sri Lanka in May 1950, it was decided to commemorate Vaisakha Purnima as the Buddha’s thrice blessed day. Buddha Purnima is also celebrated as Waisak Day or Vesak Day.
A brief look
- India is the origin of many world religions including the Buddhism. Buddha’s entire events of like took place in India.
- The advent of the Buddha Sakyamuni in 6th century BCE brought a radical reformation in the culture of philosophy and spirituality in the India.
- His teaching of Karuna, compassion, and Maitri, loving kindness, give an equal perspective towards all sentient beings including human beings within which no classes are allowed.
- With the philosophy of dependent origination and practice of non-violence rooted in love and compassion, Buddhism made immense contribution to the culture of peace.
- To promote Buddhism, GoI organized the 2500th anniversary of Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana as international mega event in 1956.
- Nava Nalanda Mahavihara was established in 1951 in Nalanda, Bihar to revive the ancient seat of learning in Nalanda.
- In 1959, Central Institute of Buddhist Studies was established in Leh, Laddhak.
- In 1968, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies was established for the promotion of Buddhist and Tibetan studies.
- Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies, Dahung, Arunachal Pradesh was established in 2003.
- In 2010 Nalanda University was established at Rajgir to recreate the Ancient centre of Wisdom. India has enshrined the dharma wheel of Buddhism on the national flag. Celebrations around the world Home to 255 million Buddhists — the world’s largest Buddhist population — China sees one of the most widespread celebrations. Most of the action revolves around Buddhist temples, where people light incense and leave offerings.
- In South Korea, the holiday comes to life in a Lotus Lantern festival, best viewed at Seoul’s Jogyesa Temple.
- In Sri Lanka, people decorate their homes with paper lanterns. Colombo’s Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple hosts a colorful Vesak Day festival.
- In Ipoh, Malaysia, Buddhist devotees practice the ritual of “Sunning Buddha.” Also at Enlightened Heart Tibetan Buddhist temple, monks place a sacred Tibetan Buddhist painting — called a “Thangka” — in the sun to absorb its powers.
- In Nepal, thousands of Buddhists flock to Lumbini, his birthplace, where they donate supplies to disadvantaged communities and pay tribute to monasteries.
India elected to head UN-Habitat, the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme
(Topic: International Relations)
About: UN Habitat came into being in 1978. It promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world.
- UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.
- As an inter-governmental policy making and decision making body, the Governing Council of UN-Habitat seeks to promote integral and comprehensive approach to human settlements, assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen cooperation among all countries on human settlement issue.
- India will be leading the organisation for third time after heading it in 1988 and 2007. India will be the President of the Governing Council for the next two years.
- The theme of the 26th Meeting of the Governing Council is “Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda”.
The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the world community at Quito, Ecuador in 2016.
Real Estate Act comes into force from 1st May 2017
(Topic: Govt Acts and Policies)
About: With Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act,2016 coming into force, it involves regulation of real estate sector involving over 76,000 companies across the county.
From now, developers shall get all the ongoing projects that have not received Completion Certificate and the new projects registered with Regulatory Authorities within three months i.e by July end. This enables the buyers to enforce their rights and seek redressal of grievances after such registration.
The Act ushers in the much desired accountability, transparency and efficiency in the sector with the Act defining the rights and obligations of both the buyers and developers.
Some of the major provisions of the Act, besides mandatory registration of projects and Real Estate Agents include:
- Depositing 70% of the funds collected from buyers in a separate bank account in case of new projects and 70% of unused funds in case of ongoing projects;
- Projects with plot size of minimum 500 sq.mt or 8 apartments shall be registered with Regulatory Authorities;
- Both developers and buyers to pay the same penal interest of SBI’s Marginal Cost of Lending Rate plus 2% in case of delays;
- Liability of developers for structural defects for five years; and
- Imprisonment of up to three years for developers and up to one year in case of agents and buyers for violation of orders of Appellate Tribunals and Regulatory Authorities.
- As per industry information, between 2011 and 2015, real estate projects in the range of 2,349 to 4,488 projects were launched every year amounting to a total of 17,526 projects with a total investment of Rs.13.70 lakh cr in 27 cities including 15 State capitals. About ten lakh buyers invest every year with the dream of owning a house.
Launch of “One IP- Two Dispensaries” and “Aadhaar Based Online Claim Submission” Schemes on International Labour Day
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: One IP- Two Dispensaries– ESIC has given an option to an Insured Person (IP) to choose two dispensaries, one for self and another for family through an employer. This will benefit all IPs, especially migrant workers who are working in other than home State, while their families are living in their native States.
Because of non-availability of option of second dispensary, the dependant members of family are often deprived of medical benefits.
Aadhaar based Online Claim Submission- all EPF Members who have activated their UAN and seeded their KYC (Aadhaar) with EPFO will be able to apply for PF final settlement (form19), Pension withdrawal benefit (Form10-C) and PF part withdrawal (Form31) from the their UAN Interface directly.
The three forms collectively form more than 80% of EPFO’s claim workload.
VIDYA VEERTA ABHIYAN
About: Ministry of Human Resource Development to encourage varsities to display portraits of Param Veer Chakra-decorated soldiers to instill sense of “nationalism” and “patriotism” among the students.
MHA advisory to States/UTs on Prison Reforms
(Topic: Govt Acts and Policies)
About: The 5th National Conference of Head of Prisons of States and UTs on Prison Reforms was held in September 2016.
- Some important resolutions were adopted for guidance and implementation by the State/UT Prison authorities
- The nomenclature of ‘Prisons Department’ may be changed to “Prisons and Correctional Administration”, which should have integrated prison, correctional and probation services.
- Every State should establish a Welfare Wing under Prison Department comprising Welfare Officers, Law Officers, Counselors and Probation Officers.
- To ensure basic uniformity, all States and Union Territories should revise their existing Prison Manuals by adopting the provisions of Model Prison Manual, 2016
- The Prisons should be linked with Courts through video conferencing for expeditious trial and to save costs in escorting under-trials to the Courts.
- The existing vacancies in all ranks of Prison Departments to be filled up expeditiously.
- Prison e-system should be integrated with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) as well as e-Courts on priority basis.
- Combined training of Prison, Police, Health Department and Judiciary on under-trial Management to be conducted periodically.
The States and UTs have been advised to make concerted efforts to implement the same in a time bound manner, which will go a long way in alleviating the condition of prison inmates and bring the desired improvement in prison administration.
29th India- Indonesia Co-Ordinated Patrol (Corpat)
Objective: Apart from securing the trade sea route, the Coordinated Patrol also serves to enhance mutual understanding and inter–operability between the two navies of Indonesia and India.
- The CORPAT thus reflects the shared concerns between the two countries for a peaceful Indian Ocean for the benefit of international community.
- The close defence relations between India and Indonesia have been growing steadily with regular joint activities and exchanges of personnel between the Armed Forces of the two countries.
- Under the broad ambit of this strategic partnership, Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) and the Indian Navy have been carrying out coordinated patrolling twice a year since 2002 near the International Maritime Boundary Line to keep this part of the Indian Ocean region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
Project “LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse) (LOTUS HR)
About: LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS HR) is an Indo-Netherlands joint project funded by Department of Biotechnology(DBT), Govt of india and NWO/STW, The Govt of Netherlands.
- To demonstrate a novel holistic (waste-) water management approach, that will produce clean water that can be reused for various proposes (e.g. industry, agriculture, construction etc.), while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste water, thus converting drain into profitable mines.
- Special attention will be paid to pathogen removal and removing conventional and emerging pollutants.
- Special attention will be paid to pathogen removal and removing conventional and emerging pollutants.
From the early start of the project, end-users (municipality, DDA, DJB, NGO’s, and companies like Shell, Hydrorock, Nijhuis, Berson, etc.) will be engaged in design at the pilot location as well as in formulation of specific research sub-questions. This will facilitate rapid adoption of the Water Resuse safety plan and the newly developed products.
DBT in consultation with DDA has identified the Barapullah drain, Sarai Kale Khan, in the state of Delhi for setting up on-site experimental testing lab and for the establishment of a pilot plant.
Department of Telecom (DoT) Launches Tarang Sanchar
About: It is a web portal for Information sharing on Mobile Towers and EMF Emission Compliances.
- It will help in clearing the myths and misconceptions of public on mobile towers and emissions from them. There are over 25,000 studies by WHO in the last 30 years on the subject and there is no proof that EMF radiation has any harmful effect on human health.
- In future, it will help in identifying the blind spots and it is also environment friendly as no paper work is required for this.
- For realising the vision of Digital India, it is necessary to have more and more mobile towers in every nook and corner of the country as mobile phone today has become an essential requirement for all including the poor in the remotest corner of the country
- The portal will allow users to get a tower or base station checked for radiation emission, for a fee of Rs 4,000. The portal also has ‘EMF Overview’ and ‘Learn’ Sections, which provide numerous articles, booklets and videos, to further educate the citizens about EMF and coverage of telecom services.
- In addition to Government to Citizen (G2C) services, portal also facilitates Government to Business (G2B) service delivery in a transparent and eco-friendly manner.
National Steel Policy 2017
(Topic: Growth and Development)
About: Union Cabinet has given its approval for National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017 which enshrines the long term vision of the Government to give impetus to the steel sector. NSP 2017 seeks to enhance domestic steel consumption, ensure high quality steel production and create a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry.
Key features of the NSP 2017:
- Create self-sufficiency in steel production by providing policy support & guidance to private manufacturers, MSME steel producers, CPSEs
- Encourage adequate capacity additions
- Development of globally competitive steel manufacturing capabilities
- Cost-efficient production
- Domestic availability of iron ore, coking coal & natural gas
- Facilitating foreign investment
- Asset acquisitions of raw materials
- Enhancing the domestic steel demand
- Indian steel sector has grown rapidly over the past few years (Production in 2016-17= 100 MT)
- It is third largest steel producer globally, contributing to about 2% of the country’s GDP.
- NSP 2017 aspires to achieve 300MT of steel-making capacity by 2030.
- It seeks to increase consumption of steel and major segments are infrastructure, automobiles and housing.
- Steel Ministry will facilitate R&D in the sector through the establishment of Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI).
- With the roll out of the National Steel Policy-2017, it is envisaged that the industry will be steered in creating an environment for promoting domestic steel and thereby ensuring a scenario where production meets the anticipated pace of growth in consumption.
- Steel is one of the most important products in the modern world and forms the backbone to any industrial economy.
- The sector is of strategic importance to India due to its extensive application right from construction, infrastructure, power, aerospace and industrial machinery to consumer products.
- Owing to the strategic importance of the sector along with the need to have a robust and restructured policy in present scenario, the new NSP, 2017 became imminent.
- Though, National Steel Policy 2005 sought to indicate ways and means of consolidating the gains flowing out of the then economic order and charted out a road map for sustained and efficient growth of the Indian steel industry, it required adaptation in view of the recent developments unfolding in India and also worldwide.
SAMPADA (Scheme For Agro-Marine Processing And Development Of Agro-Processing Clusters)
About: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for re-structuring the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA for 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.
- The objective of SAMPADA is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease agri-waste.
- SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc.
- It now also includes new schemes of Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages and Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.
- The implementation of SAMPADA will result in creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
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