(Topic: Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)
Buddhist temple built in the early 12th century
The Archaeological Survey of India has carried out structural conservation and chemical preservation work of this temple
The ASI has undertaken several major conservation works across various countries of Asia. Some of the notable ones are –
Ananda Temple – in Bagan, Myanmar is a Buddhist temple; titled the “Westminster Abbey of Burma”.
Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan –
Consists of rock-cut Buddha sculptures (were considered the largest in the world)
Bamiyan is the valley between Hindu Kush and Koh-i-baba mountain ranges, located on ancient silk route, and part of Kushana empire (till 1st century AD), and then came under Saffarids and Ghazani (in 11th century AD)
Bamiyan was the Capital of Huns in 5th AD and Cultural city of Hazara ethnic people.
Notable sites at Bamiyan: Buddha cliffs (Gandhar school), caves of monks (Taliban used these caves to store their weapons) and Shar-i-gholghola (city of sighs)
2001: Taliban blew up Buddha’s two statues here
2015: SAARC Cultural capital
Angkor Wat in Cambodia: Known as City of Temples
By: King Suryavarman II, Khmer dynasty
For: Lord Vishnu
Temple Style: Influence of Kalinga temple style
Various depictions: Battle of Kurukshetra and Churning of sea milk
Ta Prohm Temple in Cambodia: Founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university
Vat Phou Temple in Laos: A ruined Khmer Hindu temple complex; the elements lead to a shrine where a lingam dedicated to Lord Shiva was bathed in water from a mountain spring. The site later became a centre of Theravada Buddhist worship.
My Son Temple in Vietnam: Cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa. The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvara.
Health Ministry launches two new contraceptives
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)
Contraceptives: An injectable contraceptive MPA under the ‘Antara’ programme (effective for three months) and a contraceptive pill, ‘Chhaya’ (effective for one week), in the public health system
Aim: To expand the basket of contraceptive choices to meet the emerging needs of couples
Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS): Launched to help improve the supply and distribution of contraceptives – designed to provide robust information on the demand and distribution of contraceptives to health facilities and ASHAs
Mission Parivar Vikas: To bring down the Total Fertility Rate to 2.1 by the year 2025 – an initiative on improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services, ensuring commodity security and accelerating access to high quality family planning services.
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)
To bring nutrition to the centre-stage of the National Development Agenda and lay down a roadmap for effective action, among both implementers and practitioners
To give prominence to demand and community mobilisation as a key determinant to address India’s nutritional needs.
Benefit to cost ratio of 16:1 for 40 low and middle-income countries
India pays an income penalty of 9% to 10% due to a workforce that was stunted during their childhood
Lack of real time measurement of the following determinants, which reduces our capacity for targeted action among the most vulnerable mothers and children.
The nutrition strategy envisages a framework wherein the four proximate determinants of nutrition work together to accelerate decline of under nutrition in India – Uptake of health services, food, drinking water & sanitation and income & livelihoods
Kuposhan Mukt Bharat
States should create customized State/ District Action Plans to address local needs and challenges owing to the enhanced resources available with the States, to prioritise focused interventions with greater role for panchayats and urban local bodies.
Enable states to make strategic choices, through decentralized planning and local innovation, with accountability for nutrition outcomes.
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)
Objective: To provide a major thrust to job creation by enhancing India’s exports by addressing the challenge of creating well-paid, formal sector jobs an Expert Task Force has been constituted
Given the importance of exports in generating jobs, India needs to create an environment in which globally competitive exporters can emerge and flourish by –
Propose a comprehensive plan of action to generate employment and alleviate under-employment in both goods and services sectors and low wages by boosting India’s exports in key labour-intensive industries
Recommend sector-specific policy interventions in key employment sectors
Recommend measures to enhance trade in services with high employment potential
Identify key macroeconomic factors constraining exports and suggesting methods to address these constraints
Assess the effectiveness of existing schemes to promote exports
Address issues related to logistics, export credits and trade facilitation
Suggest ways to enhance the availability of data on trade such that it is reliable, globally comparable and timely, particularly with respect to trade in services.
In News: Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under Ministry of Power, Government of India has launched UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) Scheme in the State of Melaka, Malaysia, with an aim to reduce the annual household electricity bills by approximately 10.22 million RM every year. Households will be able to make significant monetary savings in their electricity bills.
Under this scheme, each household in Melaka will get 10 high quality 9-watt LED bulbs at a cost of only RM 10, which is a special price and is almost half of what in begin offered in the market.
The distribution of these LED bulbs will take place from 28 numbers of Japerun in the region – Japerun are a unique community welfare and engagement centers, which are situated across the Melakan State.
Under the extensive and ever-expanding idea of UJALA, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) plans to distribute about 1 million 9W LED bulbs, which will replace 18W CFLs. The price of each bulb will be way lesser than global average price of the LED bulbs, and comes with a 3-year free replacement warranty against any technical defects.
UJALA’s impact in Malaysia –
Reduced carbon emissions by around 19,000 tonnes per year
Reduced the subsidy burdens of the State Government
UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All)
Aim: To promote efficient use of energy at the residential level; enhance the awareness of consumers about the efficacy of using energy efficient appliances and aggregating demand to reduce the high initial costs thus facilitating higher uptake of LED lights by residential users
EESL – had undertaken the task of setting up phase-wise LED distribution centers across the nation to provide people with affordable LED bulbs and energy efficient appliances
Currently – Over 25-crore LED bulbs have been distributed under the UJALA scheme in India, which are resulting in 33,828 mn kWh of energy savings per year. While about 13,531 crores are being saved in energy bills of consumers per annum, about 2, 74, 00,887 tonnes of CO2 reduction is taking place per year.
Scheme was initially labelled DELP (Domestic Efficient Lighting Program) and was relaunched as UJALA
The India-Japan Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue
(Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations)
Objective: To further strengthen defence and security cooperation under the framework of the “Japan-lndia Special Strategic and Global Partnership”
The Ministers –
Exchanged views on the current security situation in the Indo-Pacific region – condemned in the strongest terms North Korea’s nuclear test of 03 September 2017, which is in violation of its international obligations and commitments, including under relevant UNSC resolutions and called upon DPRK to cease such action which adversely impacts peace and stability of the region and beyond
Underlined their intention to explore opportunities for enhancing exchanges and decided to promote cooperation in the following areas:-
Institutionalised Dialogue and Visits
Exchanges between Japan Ground Self Defence Force and Indian Army – Agreed to develop active exchanges in the fields of PKO, Counter-Terrorism and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and explore a joint field exercise in the field of counter-terrorism between the Indian Army and the JGSDF in 2018
Exchanges between Japan Maritime Self Defence Force and the Indian Navy – consider inclusion of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training to expand cooperation and pursue exchanges and training by ASW aviation units such as P-3C
Exchanges between Japan Air Self Defence Force and Indian Air Force – expanding bilateral air-to-air exchanges in the domains of aviation safety and air crew exchanges, and seek further opportunities to enhance cooperation by enabling visits of their aircraft to each other’s air bases
Education and Research exchanges
Cooperation in Defence Equipment and Technology – identify specific areas of collaboration in the field of defence equipment and technology cooperation including in the framework of the Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation; welcomed the constructive engagement between Acquisition, Technology and Logistic Agency (ATLA) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and agreed to commence the technical discussions for research collaboration in the areas of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics
A joint military training as part of the ongoing Indo-US defence cooperation, and one of the largest joint running military training and defence corporation endeavors between India and USA (13th edition)
Provides an opportunity to the armed forces of both countries to train in an integrated manner at Battalion level with joint planning at Brigade level. Multiple scenarios will be rehearsed during the joint exercise with a view to understand each-other’s organisational structure and battle procedures which would result in a higher degree of jointmanship that would further facilitate interoperability between the armed forces of both countries to meet any unforeseen contingency across the globe.
Both armies will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed operations for neutralisation of threats of varied nature. In the end a joint exercise will be undertaken by both countries in an operational setting under a UN mandate.
CIPAM-DIPP launches social media campaign to promote Geographical Indications
(Topic: Indian Economy)
#LetsTalkIP: An ongoing movement initiated by CIPAM to make more people aware about the importance of Intellectual Property Rights
Geographical Indication or a GI: A sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin; conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 that has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003. The GI’s registry operates in Chennai.
Examples: Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus
Similar initiatives to promote and revive traditional handwoven textiles – #IWearHandloom and #CottonIsCool
Importance of GI:
Promotion of GIs is in line with the Government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign – it’s an area of strength and optimism for India, whereby the GI tag has accorded protection to a number of hand-made and manufactured products, especially in the informal sector.
Can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen – our rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.
Objective: To discuss the root cause of repeated cases of train accidents in recent past
Two major causes leading to accidents were identified as:
Unmanned Level Crossings
Derailments due to defects in tracks
Minister of Railways gave following directions to the Railway Board to ensure Safety in train operations:
All unmanned level crossings should be eliminated expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now.
Track Replacement/renewal should be accorded Priority & the tracks (rails) earmarked for use for constructing new lines should be diverted to places/ stretches which are prone to accidents & where replacement is due.
The procurement of new rails should be expedited on a large scale with a view to complete construction of new lines in time.
The manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches should be stopped forthwith & new design LHB coaches only should be manufactured.
Anti-Fog LED lights should be installed in Locomotives so that unhindered safe train operations can be ensured during fog season.
Rules to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour by passengers
In News: These new rules deal with unruly behavior of passenger on-board aircrafts – to ensure on board safety while maintaining an element of balance and safeguarding the interest of passengers, cabin crew and the airlines.
The new rules will allow for the formation of a national, No Fly List of such unruly passengers – the promulgation of the No – Fly List in India is unique and first-of-its-kind in the world
The revised CAR defines three categories of unruly behavior –
Level 1 refers to behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment upto 3 months;
Level 2 indicates physical unruliness and can lead to the passenger being debarred from flying for upto 6 months
Level 3 indicates life-threatening behaviour where the debarment would be for a minimum of 2 years.
The DGCA has revised the relevant sections of the Civil Aviation Requirement ( CAR Section 3, Series M, Part Vl on “Handling of Unruly Passengers ) to bring in a deterrent for passengers who engage in unruly behaviour on board aircrafts – revision has been done in accordance with the provisions of Tokyo Convention 1963.
Will be applicable for all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both domestic and international carriage of passengers, as well as be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963.
Tokyo Convention 1963: Applicable to offences against penal law and to any acts jeopardising the safety of persons or property on board civilian aircraft while in-flight and engaged in international air navigation.
Guiding principles that form the bedrock of the higher civil services in the country
(From the excerpts of the speech by Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu)
Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to anyone who was in doubt if an action was good or not was to put oneself in the situation of the poorest of the poor in the country and see how a particular policy and programme will impact him or her. This is a timeless talisman he gave us which can be a useful thinking tool as you weigh the pros and cons of taking a decision in your career.
If the emphasis is on service to the country, the essential quality we may have to imbibe is to better understand whom we are serving- their needs, aspirations and their living conditions.
As administrators occupying the highest positions of power and authority, you will have an onerous responsibility to translate policies into programmes, to implement schemes on ground. You will be providing that most important link between legislation and implementation.
A policy is only as good as its implementation. Very often in our country we keep reflecting on poor implementation of good policies. The tardy, inefficient execution of projects and programmes hurts the common people whom we are trying to serve. The cost and time overruns retard the nation’s developmental progress. We must therefore be constantly mindful of the fact that the country and the people expect the top bureaucracy to deliver at a high level of proficiency and efficiency.
You need to be agile in your thoughts and actions. There are many civil servants who have made remarkable innovations and transformed sleepy institutions into vibrant hubs of efficient activities. As the work and living environments change, we have to make use of every opportunity to refine our working methods to achieve the ultimate objective of improving the quality of life of every Indian, especially those who have not been adequately served. Innovation is the key.
Honest reviews and reflection on what we have achieved and what we have not should be an integral part of our functioning. We must look at the strengths our society offers and how we can build partnerships with civil society and the private sector so that the pace of development can be accelerated and the quality of the services is significantly enhanced.
The civil service was created to provide an impartial inclusive management culture in the country’s governance. This was absolutely necessary in the multi-lingual, multi-religious, pluralistic society that India is. The civil services were the binding force that would be able to bridge the many ‘divides’ that India has. Being impartial and having a broad vision of national integration and inclusive development, the founding fathers thought of the higher civil services as the steel frame of the country.
The allegiance is to an inclusive national development as mandated by the Constitution and in accordance with the policies laid down by the legislatures and the parameters of law and justice elaborated the judiciary. The administration must be passionate about service and be dispassionate about the profile of the people we are serving. Serving all citizens equally without any bias or prejudice with a special focus on those who have been left out of the development and growth process should be the direction, the ‘antyodaya’ approach, leaving no one behind, as espoused by Gandhiji, Dr Ambedkar and Deen Dayal Upadhyay, is what you all should adopt.
As a member of the higher civil services, you have an onerous responsibility not only to be empathetic and efficient but have an impeccable integrity. The words of Sri Sardar Patel again ring so true even 70 years after he made those remarks. He had said: “Unhappily India today cannot boast of an incorruptible service, but I hope that you who are now starting, as it were, a new generation of Civil Servants, will not be misled by black sheep in the fold, but would render your service without fear or favour and without, any expectation of extraneous rewards. If you serve in the true spirit of service I am sure you will have your best reward.”
The country expects high levels of performance but also high levels of integrity and rectitude from the higher civil services. The country especially the youth look upon civil servants as role models of good behavior.
8th September, 2017 – 51st International Literacy Day – the theme announced by UNESCO is `Literacy in a digital world’ – Aim is to mobilize public opinion in favour of struggle against illiteracy, and create environment in favour of adult education programmes.
9th BRICS Summit – Xiamen, China – Link 1 + Link 2
Salween River: The Salween River originates in the eastern highlands of the Tibetan Plateau and enters the Andaman Sea in eastern Myanmar – the longest undammed river in mainland Southeast Asia.
SmartE: First batch of 1000 E-rickshaws ‘SmartE’ flagged off; provide cost effective and pollution free substitute in transport system, and will also generate employment opportunities for marginalised youth
National Security Guard (NSG) is popularly known as “The Black Cats” of the country – organized the first National Canine Seminar – ”Canine as Tactical Weapon in Fight against Terrorism” with an objective to discuss and deliberate on the techniques of dog training and strategies of deploying the dogs in Counter Terrorism/Counter Insurgency scenario
Health Management Information System (HMIS)- are one of the six building blocks essential for health system strengthening. HMIS is a data collection system specifically designed to support planning, management, and decision making in health facilities and organizations.
Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) – a mechanism to provide outreach services in rural and remote areas.
National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Ahmedabad has been mandated to initiate a National Centre for Medical Devices (NCMD) for development of skilled manpower.
Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs): APA scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance. The progress of the APA scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.
India dispatches First Diesel Consignment to Myanmar: Symbolising the growing hydrocarbon engagement between India and Myanmar, the first consignment of 30 MT of High Speed Diesel was sent today from India to Myanmar by land route. Supply of diesel consignment to Myanmar is another step in realizing the vision of our Prime Minister to enhance hydrocarbon synergy with neighbouring countries as well as promoting India’s Act East Policy.
India: Signatory of many important international treaties, protocols and agreements
Convention on Biological Weapons
Convention on Chemical Weapons
Chicago Convention on International Aviation
Convention on Rights of Child
International Convention on Doping in Sport
The Statute of Hague Conference on Private International Law
Nuclear Terrorism Convention
International Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
“Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah” – This Sanskrit sloka is found in Manu Smriti; aptly sums up the basic Indian philosophy – the law will protect and defend those who protect and defend it
As per a 1996 Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first century, there are four pillars of learning:
Learning to know: to provide the cognitive tools required to better comprehend the world
Learning to do: to provide the skills that would enable individuals to effectively participate in the global economy and society.
Learning to be: to provide self-analytical and social skills to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential for an all-round complete person.
Learning to live together: to expose individuals to the values implicit within human rights, democratic principles, intercultural understanding and respect and peace at all levels of society and human relationships to enable individuals and societies to live in peace and harmony.
Shri Raj Nath Singh
Minister of Home Affairs.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj
Minister of External Affairs.
Shri Arun Jaitley
Minister of Finance; and
Minister of Corporate Affairs.
Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari
Minister of Road Transport and Highways;
Minister of Shipping; and
Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Shri Suresh Prabhu
Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda
Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Sushri Uma Bharati
Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Shri Ramvilas Paswan
Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
Minister of Women and Child Development.
Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers; and
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad
Minister of Law and Justice; and
Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.
Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda
Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati
Minister of Civil Aviation.
Shri Anant Geete
Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Minister of Food Processing Industries.
Shri Narendra Singh Tomar
Minister of Rural Development;
Minister of Panchayati Raj; and
Minister of Mines.
Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh
Minister of Steel.
Shri Jual Oram
Minister of Tribal Affairs.
Shri Radha Mohan Singh
Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani
Minister of Textiles; and
Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan
Minister of Science and Technology;
Minister of Earth Sciences; and
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Shri Prakash Javadekar
Minister of Human Resource Development.
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas; and
Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
Shri Piyush Goyal
Minister of Railways; and
Minister of Coal.
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman
Minister of Defence.
Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Minister of Minority Affairs.
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st March 2019 Archives Note: Prelims Focus and related MCQs will be uploaded soon. (MAINS FOCUS) INTERNATIONAL/SECURITY ISSUE TOPIC: General Studies 2 and 3 Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing …
IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th March 2019 Archives (MAINS FOCUS) NATIONAL/EDUCATION TOPIC: General Studies 2 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Welfare schemes for vulnerable …
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