55th Jnanpith Award
Eminent Malayalam poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, popularly known as Akkitham, has been chosen for the 55th Jnanpith Award.
Some of his celebrated creations include “Veeravadam”, “Balidarsanam”, “Nimisha Kshethram”, “Amrita Khatika”, “Akkitham Kavithaka”, “Epic of Twentieth Century” and “Antimahakalam”.
A Padma Shri awardee, he has won several literary accolades including the Sahitya Akademi Award (1973), Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (1972 and 1988), Mathrubhumi Award, Vayalar Award, and Kabir Samman.
About Jnanpith Award:
It is given by Bharatiya Jnanpith, a literary and research organization based in Delhi.
It is given annually to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”.
It is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English.
There are no posthumous conferral. Also only works published during the preceding twenty years is considered for the award.
The award consists of cash prize is ₹11 lakh and a Bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom.
Researchers have discovered a new species of non-venomous burrowing snake Tally Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, named Trachischium apteii.
The newly discovered species belongs to a group of fossorial snakes that live mostly underground, and surface mainly during or after a heavy monsoon shower.
Trachischium are commonly called slender snakes. Seven species are distributed across the Himalayas, and the Indo-Burma and Indo-China regions.
Trachischium apteii was named so to honour the contribution of Deepak Apte, noted marine biologist and Director of the BNHS.
Morphologically, the snake is distinguished by smooth and dorsal scales arranged in 15 rows throughout the body. The dorsal colour of the holotype is dark brown to black with faint dorsal longitudinal lines.
Large-sized members of the genus measure about 293 mm to 299 mm.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December
The Vice President of India Venkiah Naidu will Confer National Awards for outstanding work done towards empowerment of PwDs on International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December.
On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities i.e. 3rd December, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice confers National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
These are conferred on Individuals, Institutions, Organizations, State/District etc for their outstanding achievements and work done towards empowerment of Persons with Disabilities every year.
All the 21 disabilities specified in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 have been included under the National Award Guidelines.
For the year 2019, the awards are being given under 14 categories such as Best Employee/Self-Employed Person with Disabilities; Best Innovation or Product, aimed at improving the life of Persons with Disabilities; Best District in providing rehabilitation services, Best Sports-person with Disabilities etc.
The 20th Edition of Hornbill Festival began at Naga Heritage Kisama in Nagaland this evening.
Venue: It is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima in Nagaland.
Duration: It is annually held from 1 – 10 December.
Background: The first festival was held in 2000.
Organizers: It is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of the Government of Nagaland.
Objective: To encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of Nagaland.
Key highlights of festival:
Festival highlights include the traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, song and dance shows, indigenous games etc.
One of the major highlights of this festival is the Hornbill International Rock Festival where local and international rock bands perform.
The festival is named after the bird “Indian hornbill”, which is displayed in the folklore of most of the state’s tribes. There are 9 hornbill species in India of which Great Hornbill is the most famous.
It is also called the ‘Festival of Festivals’.
Operation Clean Art
Operation Clean Art was recently conducted in India to ensure that the mongoose hair brush trade be closed down across the country.
Operation Clean Art was the first pan India operation to crack down on the smuggling of mongoose hair in the country.
It was conceived by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).
It was a planned raid, not to apprehend criminals, but to check on organised factories that were making paint brushes with mongoose hair.
Raids were carried out not only in Uttar Pradesh, but also at Jaipur in Rajasthan, Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, and in Kerala, on the same day. The entire operation across the country yielded 54,352 brushes and 113 kg of raw hair.
There are six species of mongoose found in India.
The mongoose is listed under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 – making its hunting, possession, transportation and trade a punishable offence.
Mongoose hair is in high demand among artists worldwide because of the quality of brushes they help create, which define lines clearly and hold paint properly. India is a major source for these brushes. For about 150 kg of mongoose hair, at least 6,000 animals would have been killed.
India Corruption Survey 2019
As per the India Corruption Survey 2019, Rajasthan and Bihar fared the worst in country with 78% and 75% of respondents admitting to paying bribes, while Telangana topped the list in south India.
The survey was carried out between October 2018 and November 2019 and was conducted by Local Circles, a social media firm and the Transparency International India.
It had a total of 1.9 lakh responses from nearly 81,000 unique respondents in 248 districts across 20 Indian states.
As compared to 2018, India’s overall ranking in Corruption Perception Index has risen 3 places to 78 out of 180 countries.
While an average of 56% of respondents admitted to paying bribes in 2018, the number has come down to 51% in 2019.
Key Highlights of Survey:
Most Corrupt States in India:
Rajasthan tops corruption chart in India. As per India Corruption Survey, 78% people in Rajasthan, participating in survey, admitted to paying a bribe to get work done.
Bihar follows Rajasthan and was placed at second spot. In Bihar 75 % of citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.
Uttar Pradesh was ranked third in list. In UP 74 % of citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done. Jharkhand shares 3rd spot with UP, where 74% citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.
Telangana rounds off top 5 list of ‘Most Corrupt States in India’, with about 67% of citizens admitted to paying bribes to get numerous pending work completed.
Punjab ranks sixth in list, where 63% citizens accepted to paying bribes to get their work done. Karnataka shares the spot with Punjab.
Tamil Nadu ranks seventh in most corrupt state’s list. Around 62% of citizens admitted to paying bribes to get their work done.
Least Corrupt States:
According to the list, Kerala is one of the least corrupt states, where only 10% of people admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done and all of them gave bribes several times (directly/ indirectly).
Besides Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi are least corrupt states.
Green Highways Policy 2015
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has informed Lok Sabha about the details of the Green Highways Policy-2015.
About the policy:
Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification & Maintenance) Policy was announced in the year 2015.
The policy aims to reduce the impact of air pollution and dust by planting trees and shrubs along the National Highways.
They will act as a natural sink for air pollutants and arrest soil erosion at the embankment slopes.
It also aims to promote greening and development of eco-friendly National Highway corridors across the country with participation of farmers, private sector and government institutions including Forest Department.
Salient features of the policy:
1 percent of the total project cost of all highways projects will be kept for the highway plantation and its maintenance.
About Rs.1000 crore per year will be available for plantation purpose.
The policy will generate employment opportunities for about five lakh people from rural areas.
There will be strong monitoring mechanism in place by using ISRO’s Bhuvan and GAGAN satellite systems.
Every planted tree will be counted and auditing will be done.
About it’s implementation:
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will act as a fund manager for maintaining a green fund and releasing payments based on recommendation of concerned officials and agencies.
The contracts for greening highways will be given to NGOS, agencies, private companies and government organisations.
These stakeholders will be responsible for the survival and health of trees.
About it’s significance:
The policy provides comprehensive guidelines to ensure uniformity of operations pertaining to enhancement of highway landscapes.
The communities will also be benefitted in terms of huge employment opportunities and entrepreneurship development.
There will also be huge environmental benefits from this policy.
The policy will also help in making India pollution free.
It will also help in curtailing the number of road accidents in India.
The National Highways Authority of India was constituted under National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988.
It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
It is responsible for the development, maintenance and management of National Highways entrusted to it and for matters connected or incidental there.