Rani- ki- vav
- It is located in Gujarat’s Patan, the 900-year-old structure is a major tourist attraction, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was awarded as the cleanest iconic place in India in 2016.
- It is located on the banks of Saraswati River.
- It was built by the Solanki dynasty’s queen Udayamati in the 11th century as a memorial to her deceased husband Bhimdev I.
- It was built in the complex Maru-Gurjara architectural style.
- It highlights the sanctity of water as it is designed as an inverted temple under the earth’s surface.
- The central theme is the Dasavataras, or ten incarnations of Vishnu, including Buddha.
- The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, brahmins, and apsaras (celestial dancers).
Global slavery Index 2018
The report of the Global slavery Index 2018 has been released. It is published by the Australia-based human rights group Walk Free Foundation.
- North Korea is at the top of the list with 104.6 per 1,000 and Japan registering the lowest prevalence rate of 0.3 per 1,000.
- Globally, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of modern slavery’s victims are women and girls. There are more female than male victims across all forms of modern slavery.
- The 10 countries with the largest number of absolute numbers of people in modern slavery include India, China, Pakistan, North Korea, Nigeria, Iran, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia and the Philippines. These 10 countries account for 60 percent of people living in modern slavery.
- Findings from the Index highlight the connection between modern slavery and two major external drivers – highly repressive regimes, in which populations are put to work to prop up the government, and conflict situations which result in the breakdown of rule of law, social structures, and existing systems of protection.
- Among 167 countries, India ranked 53. However, in absolute numbers, India topped the list on prevalence.
- The index estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were nearly 8 million people living in “modern slavery” in India — a claim strongly contested by the government on the grounds that its parameters were poorly defined and too wide-ranging.
- The report said that in terms of prevalence, there were 6.1 victims for every thousand people.
- The NITI Aayog has backed a proposal by a panel constituted by the Ministry of Social justice and Empowerment to set up a permanent commission for Denotified (DNT), Semi-Nomadic (SNT), and Nomadic Tribes (NT).
- Bhiku Ramji Idate Commission on DNT, SNT, and NT communities, in its report, had recommended to set up a permanent commission for the communities on the lines of similar commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
- In its report submitted to the social justice ministry in January 2018, the Idate Commission said such a permanent commission should have a prominent community leader as its chairperson, and a senior Union government bureaucrat, an anthropologist, and a sociologist as members.
- Other important recommendations of the panel include granting Constitutional protection to these communities under a separate third schedule after Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, making them eligible for reservation, and extending the protective cover of Prevention of Atrocities Act to them.
- Denotified tribes are those that were labelled as criminals through a legislation by British government and were denotified post-independence, the Nomadic tribes maintain constant geographical mobility while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to fixed habitations once a year, mainly for occupational reasons.
Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project
- The gas pipeline project aims to provide piped cooking gas to residents of Varanasi and later to millions of people in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.
- From Varanasi’s perspective, an 800-km long MDPI pipeline will be laid and 50,000 households and 20,000 vehicles will get PNG and CNG gas respectively. The government estimates that around 5 lakh gas cylinders will be sent at rural areas annually.
- According to GAIL, with the Urja Ganga project, 20 lakh households will get PNG connections. The project is said to be a major step towards collective growth and development of the Eastern region of India.
- GAIL has built a network of trunk pipelines covering the length of around 11,000 km. With Urja Ganga project, this number will further increase by 2540 km.
Public Affairs Index (PAI) 2018
- Recently Public Affairs Index (PAI) 2018 has been released by the think tank Public Affairs Centre (PAC).
- The index is released since in 2016 by Bengaluru base Public Affairs Centre (PAC), a not for profit think tank which aims to improve governance in India.
- It is based on 10 themes, 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators, relying solely upon government data.
- It covers wide range of themes such as support to human development, social protection, essential infrastructure, women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, transparency and accountability, environment, fiscal management and economic freedom.
- 2018 PAI also included separate index on children of India, giving measure of how child-friendly each of the states are.
- Kerala tops the list as best-governed state in the country. Kerala has topped PAI as the best-governed state for the third consecutive year.
- Kerala is followed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat.
- Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest, indicating higher social and economic inequalities in the states.
- Himachal Pradesh topped the list followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at bottom of the index among small states. In the index on children of India, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram topped the index.
8th signatory to the Framework Agreement of the ISA
- Myanmar has joined the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA), thus, becoming the 68th signatory to the Framework Agreement of the ISA that aims for optimum utilisation of solar energy.
- The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.
- The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.
Scientific Research Infrastructure Management and Networks (SRIMAN)
- The government has proposed a new policy that could transform scientific instruments in government labs into lucrative assets generating a steady rental income.
- The policy is called the Scientific Research Infrastructure Management and Networks (SRIMAN).
- Under the policy, the government plans to hire out to researchers all lab equipment that cost more than ₹10 lakh. This would also reduce the amount of time such expensive instruments remain idle.
- The new system, according to the policy, envisages institutions declaring on a website how often their instruments would be available for use by those outside the department or university.
- Those who would like to use, for example, a DNA-sequencing machine, would have to pay a fee and specify the purpose and time they would want it for.
- Currently, the practice of researchers bidding for time-slots to use lab instruments is typically seen more with very expensive equipment, such as radio telescopes and particle-accelerators, which cost crores of rupees.
- Therefore, it was “common” to find in Indian laboratories, expensive equipment lying idle. A “large number” are not shared and are plagued by issues such as maintenance and availability of spares.
- This adds to the burden of research infrastructure costs.
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting
- Ministry of Earth Sciences has unveiled state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting) at Chandni Chowk in Delhi. It is first of its kind and most advanced system in India.
- SAFAR was developed indigenously by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
- It has been introduced for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location-specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 1-3 days in advance for the first time in India.
- It is integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi. It will monitor all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.
- Pollutants monitored under SAFAR includes PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Ozone, CO, NOx (NO, NO2), SO2, BC, Methane (CH4), Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), VOC’s, Benzene, Mercury.
- Monitored Meteorological Parameters includes UV Radiation, Rainfall, Temperature, Humidity, Wind speed, Wind direction, solar radiation.
- Pangolin is only scaly mammal on the planet. According to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is also the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class (Mammalia).
- Of the eight species of pangolin worldwide, two are found in India.
- They are Chinese pangolin, mostly found in northeast India and Indian pangolin.
- Chinese pangolin has been listed as “critically endangered” by UN affiliated International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) has been listed as “endangered” in IUCN Red List.
- It is also a Schedule I category protected animal, under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
Jewish Nation-State Law
- Israel’s parliament adopted a law defining the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, provoking fears it could lead to blatant discrimination against Arab citizens
- Israel has no constitution. It has the certain Basic law which has some constitutional status.
- The nation-state law is the 14th such basic law.
- Udyog Aadhaar is 12-digit National Portal for Registration of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises.
- Introduced by Ministry of MSME/SSI.
- It is a government registration provided with recognition certification and a unique number, for certifying small/medium business or enterprise.
Data Security Council of India (DSCI)
- Data Security Council of India (DSCI) is a premier industry body on data protection in India, set up by NASSCOM in August 2008.
- It is committed to making cyberspace safe, secure and trusted by establishing best practices, standards and initiatives in cybersecurity and privacy.
National Culture Fund (NCF)
- National Culture Fund (NCF), under the Ministry of Culture, was set up in 1996, as a Trust under the Charitable Endowment Act, 1890, with a view to mobilizing extra resources through Public-Private Partnerships.
- It is headed by Hon’ble Culture Minister for deciding the policies.
- The Executive Committee headed by Secretary, Culture actualizes those policies.
- The donations or contributions under NCF are eligible for 100% tax deduction under the Income Tax Act, 1961.