Today’s News Updates – 15.January 2018

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2018

To celebrate the idea of unity in diversity, the Ministry of Culture is organising the 7th edition of the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav.

The Mahotsav will cover a profusion of art forms from classical and folk, music and dance, theatre to literature and the visual arts and would offer the chance to experience the best in established and emerging virtuosity. A handloom and handicrafts-utsav is part of the proposed event. The gastronomic culture of several partnering states will be showcased through a food festival.

Facts for Prelims:

The Ministry of Culture is organising the event under the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat matrix.
The event will be held in Karnataka. The State paired with Karnataka is Uttarakhand.

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:

The Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme was launched by the Prime Minister on 31st October, 2016 to promote engagement amongst the people of different states/UTs so as to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures, thereby securing stronger unity and integrity of India.


What is it? It is the world’s largest deep ocean volcanic eruption happened in New Zealand. It was recently confirmed by the researchers.

About Havre:

Named as Havre, the deep ocean volcanic eruption was first discovered in 2002. A solidified volcanic rock known as pumice raft — 400 square kilometres in size — found floating in the ocean near New Zealand in 2012 showed that underwater eruption had occurred. The eruption involved 14 aligned vents causing a “massive rupture”.

Mahadayi row

The row between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra over the sharing of the Mahadayi (Mandovi) river has escalated. With Karnataka headed for elections and the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal setting a February date for the final hearing, political parties in both States have upped the ante.

What is the Mahadayi row?

Karnataka seeks to divert water from tributaries of the river through the Kalasa-Bhanduri Nala project towards the parched Malaprabha river basin (a tributary of River Krishna), which is being strongly opposed by Goa. This has led to a long-drawn farmers’ agitation in Karnataka, which has been revitalised as the State goes to the polls later this year.

Goa’s main contention is that Karnataka cannot divert water from an already-deficit Mahadayi basin to the Malaprabha river basin: 115 tmcft was available in the basin, while the requirement for the three States is 145 tmcft. It has said that any attempt to divert water from one river basin to the other will cause irreparable environmental damage. Karnataka claims 199.6 tmcft is available and the river is water-surplus. Of this, Karnataka wants 24.15 tmcft.

Facts for Prelims:

Mahadayi: The 80-km-long river rises from the forests of the Western Ghats at Devgaon in northern Karnataka. It enters Goa where it is a lifeline, both for the people and the rich flora and fauna of its forests.


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

According to a recent study, in India, more than 10 million people suffer from a self-diagnosable ailment called Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Its milder version usually resolves itself within months.

What is Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

SAD occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. Sometimes, it is mistaken to be a “lighter” version of depression, which is untrue. It is a different version of the same illness and people with SAD are just as ill as people with major depression, according to psychiatrists.

Symptoms: Symptoms include fatigue, depression, a feeling of hopelessness and social withdrawal.

Vulnerable group: Women are overwhelmingly more susceptible to SAD than men. Statistics released by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) show that SAD occurs four times more often in women than in men. The age of onset is estimated to be between 18 and 30 years but can affect anyone irrespective of age. SAD generally starts in late fall and early winter and goes away during spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to summer can occur, but are much rarer than winter episodes.

Prevention: A few ways in which people can prevent winter depression include ensuring a healthy and balanced diet. Staying well hydrated is key during the winter months since it gives you more energy, mental clarity and an enhanced digestive function. Getting enough sunlight and engaging in regular outdoor physical exercise are also important.

Treatment: Treatment for SAD involves enough light exposure, artificial light exposure, sun therapy and drugs, if needed. Artificial light exposure is effective but may take four to six weeks to see a response, although some patients improve within days. Therapy is continued until sufficient and daily natural sunlight exposure is available.

Monuments Bill

Some historians and archaeologists have expressed concern over amendments proposed to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1958). The Lok Sabha passed the amendments to the Act on January 3. But the Bill is yet to be cleared by the Rajya Sabha.

What are the concerns?

The Act, which originally instituted conservation measures and banned construction activities near protected monuments, is now sought to be amended so that public works could be allowed within the 100 m prohibited zone.

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017:

Construction in ‘prohibited areas’: The Act defines a ‘prohibited area’ as an area of 100 meters around a protected monument or area. The central government can extend the prohibited area beyond 100 meters. The Act does not permit construction in such prohibited areas, except under certain conditions. The Act also prohibits construction in ‘prohibited areas’ even if it is for public purposes. The Bill amends this provision to permit construction of public works in ‘prohibited areas’ for public purposes.

Definition of ‘public works’: The Bill introduces a definition for ‘public works’, which includes the construction of any infrastructure that is financed and carried out by the central government for public purposes. This infrastructure must be necessary for public safety and security and must be based on a specific instance of danger to public safety. Also, there should be no reasonable alternative to carrying out construction in the prohibited area.

Procedure for seeking permission for public works: As per the Bill, the relevant central government department, that seeks to carry out construction for public purposes in a prohibited area, should make an application to the competent authority. If there is any question related to whether a construction project qualifies as ‘public works’, it will be referred to the National Monuments Authority. This Authority, will make its recommendations, with written reasons, to the central government. The decision of the central government will be final.

Impact assessment of proposed public works: The Bill empowers the National Monuments Authority to consider an impact assessment of the proposed public works in a prohibited area, including its (i) archaeological impact; (ii) visual impact; and (iii) heritage impact. The Authority will make a recommendation, for construction of public works to the central government, only if it is satisfied that there is no reasonable possibility of moving the construction outside the prohibited area.


World Economic Forum manufacturing index

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its Global Manufacturing Index. This is WEF’s first ‘Readiness for the future of production report’. The report has been developed in collaboration with A T Kearney and calls for new and innovative approaches to public-private collaboration are needed to accelerate transformation.

The report has categorised 100 countries in four major groups for its ranking:

Leading (strong current base, high level of readiness for future).
High Potential (limited current base, high potential for future).
Legacy (strong current base, at risk for future).
Nascent (limited current base, low level of readiness for future).

Performance of various countries:

Japan has topped the list. Japan is followed by South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, China, Czech Republic, the US, Sweden, Austria and Ireland in the top 10.
Among BRICS nations, Russia is ranked 35th, Brazil 41st and South Africa at 45th place.
China figures among the WEF`s “leading countries”. “Legacy” group includes Hungary, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkey, among others, and Brazil as well as South Africa are among the “nascent” ones.

Performance of India:

India is at the 30th position, five places below China, but higher than the other BRICS members Brazil, Russia and South Africa. India has been placed in the “Legacy” group.
In terms of scale of production, India has been ranked 9th, while for complexity it is at 48th place. For market size, India is ranked 3rd, while areas where the country is ranked poorly (90th or even lower) include female participation in labour force, trade tariffs, regulatory efficiency and sustainable resources.
Overall, India is ranked better than its neighbours Sri Lanka (66th), Pakistan (74th) and Bangladesh (80th). Other countries ranked below India include Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Mauritius and the UAE.
India’s manufacturing sector has grown by over 7% per annum on average in the past three decades and accounts for 16-20% of India`s GDP. Home to the second-largest population in the world and one of the fastest growing economies, the demand for Indian manufactured products is rising.

Way ahead for India:

India has room for improvement across the drivers of production, except for demand environment where it ranks in the top 5. Human capital and sustainable resources are the two key challenges for India and the country needs to continue to raise the capabilities of its relatively young and fast-growing labour force. This entails upgrading education curricula, revamping vocational training programmes and improving digital skills. India should also continue to diversify its energy sources and reduce emissions as its manufacturing sector continues to expand.

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