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28 Dec Current Affairs

‘Adopt a Heritage’ project

In News:

The government recently handed over a Memorandum of Understanding to Resbird Technologies under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project for the development of a mobile audio guide application for five iconic sites.

The five iconic sites are as follows:

  • Rajasthan – Amer Fort.
  • Assam – Kaziranga.
  • Goa – Colva Beach.
  • Kerala – Kumarakom.
  • Bihar – Mahabodhi Temple.

 Significance:

The shortlisted agencies would become ‘Monument Mitras’ through the innovative concept of ‘Vision Bidding’, which will give them the opportunity to associate their CSR activities with a heritage site if the Vision Bid is selected.

Adopt a Heritage Project:

The ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism was launched on World Tourism Day i.e. 27th September, 2017.  This project is a key initiative of Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archeological Survey of India (ASI), to develop the heritage sites / monuments and making them tourist-friendly to enhance the tourism potential and their cultural importance in a planned and phased manner.

The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of tourist amenities. The project aims to develop synergy among all partners.

Monument Mitras: Successful bidders selected for adopting heritage sites / monuments by the Oversight and Vision Committee shall be called as Monument Mitras. The basic and advanced amenities of the tourist destinations would be provided by them. They would also look after the operations and the maintenance of the amenities. The ‘Monument Mitras’ would associate pride with their CSR activities.

Significance of this project:

Adopt a Heritage project is meant to address the challenges that the Archaeological Survey of India and other government bodies are facing in operating tourism infrastructure at heritage sites. By allowing private players to build, operate and maintain “tourist-friendly” and “world class amenities at these sites, the expectation is that the project will boost domestic and international tourism.

Source: The Hindu

Triple Talaq Bill 2018

In News:

The Lok Sabha has passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, also known as, Triple Talaq Bill.

Details:

The Bill makes instant triple talaq void and illegal. It seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq a punishable offence with imprisonment of up to three years.

A brief history of the Issue:

The case dates back to 2016 when the Supreme Court had sought assistance from the then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on pleas challenging the constitutional validity of “triple talaq”, “nikah halala” and “polygamy”, to assess whether Muslim women face gender discrimination in cases of divorce.

Opposing the practice of triple talaq, the Centre told the top court that there is a need to re-look at these practices on grounds of gender equality and secularism.

The Supreme Court later announced the setting up of a five-judge constitutional bench to hear and deliberate on the challenges against the practice of ‘triple talaq, nikah halala’ and polygamy.

The issue gained political momentum on March 2017 when the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the Supreme Court that the issue of triple talaq falls outside the judiciary’s realm and that these issues should not be touched by the court.

However, on August 22 this year, the Supreme Court set aside the decade-old practice of instant triple talaq saying it was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

A Bill in this regard:

In September, the government had proposed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Parliament and sought to make triple talaq a punishable offence under the law.

At first, the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha but it failed to secure a majority in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill was postponed till the winter session of Parliament. Following this, an ordinance was issued by the government after the bill failed to get cleared in Rajya Sabha amid protests by the Opposition.

Key provisions of the Bill:

The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.

Definition: It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.  Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.

Offence and penalty: The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.  (A cognizable offence is one for which a police officer may arrest an accused person without warrant.)  The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by: (i) the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or (ii) any person related to her by blood or marriage.

The Bill provides that the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused. The bail may be granted only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.

The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared). Compounding refers to the procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute.  The terms and conditions of the compounding of the offence will be determined by the Magistrate.

Allowance: A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children.  The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.

Custody: A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. The manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

Significance:

Time has come to put an end to the suffering of Muslim women who have been at the receiving end of instant talaq for several years. More than 20 Islamic countries have already banned the practice.

Source: The Hindu

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

In News:

The Centre has given an extension of six months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by June 30.

Details:

The decision was taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents, could not be completed within the specified date of December 31, 2018.

Background:

On December 6, 2013, the government issued the first notification setting a deadline of three years for completion of the entire NRC process. Since then, five extensions have been given by the government. The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants.

Why is NRC being updated in Assam?

Officially, the NRC process will address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh. The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings. Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985).

Why is March 24, 1971 the cut-off date?

There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.

Who is a citizen in Assam?

The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended after the Assam Accord  for all Indian-origin people who came from Bangladesh before January 1, 1966 to be deemed as citizens. Those who came between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 were eligible for citizenship after registering and living in the State for 10 years while those entering after March 25, 1971, were to be deported.

Source: The Hindu

Children’s Science Congress

In News:

26th National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) is being held in Odisha.

Theme: “Science, Technology and Innovation for a Clean, Green and Healthy Nation.”

National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC):

National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) is a nationwide Science Communication programme started in the year 1993. It is a programme of National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi.

It is a forum children of the age-group of 10-17 years, both from formal school system as well as from out of school, to exhibit their creativity and innovativeness and more particularly their ability to solve a societal problem experienced locally using by method of science.

About National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC):

It is mandated to communicate science & technology to masses. The programmes of the Council aim at building capacity for informed decision making in the community.

NCSTC encourages research in areas of S & T communication, training of communicators, development of books, manuals, posters, exhibitions, films, radio programmes, and television programmes on different facets of science & technology and recognizing outstanding efforts through awards and incentives all over the country.

It is a registered body guided by a Board of Governors with headquarters at Delhi. It has about eighty members spread in all states and union territories. Volunteers in districts lend it great strength and capability for implementing projects that reach the common man and woman.

Source: The Hindu

Establishment of NIMZs

In News:

National Investment & Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) are one of the important instruments of National Manufacturing Policy, 2011.

Details:

NIMZs are envisaged as large areas of developed land with the requisite eco-system for promoting world class manufacturing activity.

Objective of Special Economic Zones –

To promote exports, while NIMZs are based on the principle of industrial growth in partnership with States and focuses on manufacturing growth and employment generation.

NIMZs are different from SEZs in terms of size, level of infrastructure planning, governance structures related to regulatory procedures, and exit policies.

For the Financial Year 2016 – 2017, Rs. 3.35 crores has been earmarked under the ‘Scheme for Implementation of National Manufacturing Policy’ for ‘Master Planning of NIMZs’ and Technology Acquisition and Development Fund (TADF).

Source: PIB

Guidelines issued to ensure transparency in Selection of Sportspersons

In News:

The development and promotion of various disciplines of sports including selection of players for various national and international sports competitions is the responsibility of the concerned National Sports Federations (NSFs).

Details:

The NSFs work in an autonomous environment and the Government is not directly involved in their functioning, including selection of sports persons.

To ensure transparency in selection process Government has issued guidelines according to which selection of sportspersons for major international events is to be done by a Selection Committee.

Implementing Various Sports Promotional Schemes:

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) through Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been implementing various sports promotional schemes to tap sports talent across the country irrespective of their financial status.

Under the Schemes – SAI Training Centers (STC), Special Area Games (SAG), sports talents belong to rural, tribal, coastal, hilly and backward areas of the country are selected.

The selected trainees are provided financial support in the form of expert coaches, sports equipment, boarding and lodging, sports kit, competition exposure, educational expenses, medical/insurance and stipend as per the approved scheme norms.

Under the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations, the Government supports the identified sportspersons, including those from weaker sections of society/teams for intensive coaching through national coaching camps, foreign exposures/competitions etc.

Customized Training:

Under Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), customized training is being provided to identify sportspersons at the state-of-the-art sports institutes/academies within the country and abroad.

Background:

National Sports Federations –

National Sports Federations (NSFs) are autonomous bodies registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

Sports Authority of India (SAI) –

Apex national sports body of India

It is established in 1984 by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for the development of sports in India.

Source: PIB

Dwijing Festival

In News:

Dwijing Festival, an annual river festival, has begun on the bank of River Aie in Assam.

About Dwijing Festival:

Dwijing Festival is an annual river festival celebrated in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) region of Assam. The festival provides a platform of earning for the people in the region by putting in to focus the business activities for the better economy generation through rural tourism. The festival also aims to provide help to the flood victim families through charity generation and distribution.

About River Aie:

River Aie originates from the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan and flows through the Chirang and Bongaigaon districts of Assam before joining the river Brahmaputra.

Public Enterprises Survey 2017-18

In News:

Public Enterprises Survey 2017-18 has been tabled in the Parliament. The survey mapped the performance of central public sector units.

Highlights:

Indian Oil Corporation, ONGC and NTPC emerged as the top three most profitable PSUs in 2017-18, while BSNL, Air India and MTNL incurred the highest losses for the second consecutive year.

Dal lake

In News:

The famous dal lake in Srinagar is frozen. The city recently witnessed the lowest temperature ever in 11 years at minus 7.6 degree.

About Dal:

Also known as the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, dal lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”. The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.

The lake is part of a natural wetland, including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.

The lake is located in the Zabarwan mountain valley, in the foothills of the Shankracharya hills, which surrounds it on three sides.

The lake has four main interconnected basins namely, Hazratbal, Bod dal, Gagribal and Nagin.

 

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