1. The Walled City of Jaipur, Rajasthan, is proposed for UNESCO World Heritage recognition
- As per Operation Guidelines 2017, only one site can be nominated by the state party each year.
- It impacts the local economy by giving a boost to domestic and international tourism, infrastructure and augmentation of a sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia and to the prestige of the country.
- There are a total of 37 World Heritage sites in India at Present.
Criteria for Selection of World Heritage Sites
- These criteria are explained in the World Heritage Convention, 1972.
- These criteria are regularly revised by the World Heritage Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.
- Before revised Operational Guidelines, World Heritage sites were selected based on six cultural and four natural criteria.
- With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines, only one set of ten criteria
Tentative lists of Heritage Sites-
- All countries are required to submit their Tentative Lists of places which they consider to be a cultural or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.
- Tentative Lists is not considered exhaustive and need to submit one year prior to the submission of any nomination.
- Countries are required to re-examine and re-submit their Tentative List at least every ten years.
- If any site is listed in World Heritage Sites, then it must be removed from the tentative list.
2. Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF)
- The Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) has been taken away from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and brought under the domain of the Finance Ministry.
- It will now be under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Finance Ministry.
- Budget 2018 amended the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, and renamed the Central Road Fund the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund.
- The objective of the amendment was to use proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects such as waterways, some portion of the railway infrastructure and even social infrastructure, including education institutions and medical colleges.
- The CRF launched in 2000 is basically a cess imposed along with excise duty on petrol and diesel.
- The amendment prescribes that road cess is first credited to the Consolidated Fund of India and later, after adjusting for the cost of tax collection, should go to the CRIF.
- The share for each infrastructure areas and projects from the CRIF shall be finalised by a Committee headed by the Finance Minister.
- The committee will prioritise the list of infrastructure projects each year for financing from the fund.
Source- The Hindu
3. The high range Idukki dam, one of the highest arch reservoirs in Asia, is set to be opened for the first time in 26 years.
- The dam’s shutters were last opened in 1981 and 1992. This is the first time that it will attain its full level during the South West Monsoon period.
- The arch reservoir comprises three dams -Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu, built for the Idukki Hydroelectric Project.
- Idukki dam is used to store the water while the latter two are meant to route it to the powerhouse.
- An “Orange Alert” – a precautionary messages to the public in light of the possibility of water release from the reservoir has been released by the authorities.
- Idukki dam in Kerala is constructed across the Periyar river, the longest river in Kerala.
- At 167.68 metres (550.1 ft), it is one of the highest arch dams in Asia.
- It supports a 780 MW hydroelectric power station in Moolamattom.
- The dam type is a concrete, double curvature parabolic, thin arc dam.
- It was commissioned in the year 1973 with financial aid from Canada.
- It is built between two granite hills such as Kuravanmala and kuravathimala.
- It is owned and constructed by the Kerala State Electricity Board.
- It supports a hydroelectric power station in Moolamattom.
- The hydel project is receiving water from two other dams at Cheruthoni and Kulamavu.
Source- The Firstpost
4. Rajasthan first State to implement biofuel policy
- Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the national policy on biofuels unveiled by the Centre in May this year.
- The desert State will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish a Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in the fields of alternative fuels and energy resources.
- The policy on biofuels seeks to help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner and reduce the country’s oil import dependence.
- It has expanded the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of sugarcane juice, sugar-containing materials, starch-containing materials and damaged foodgrains like wheat, broken rice and rotten potatoes for ethanol production.
- The State Rural Livelihood Development Council would also encourage women’s self-help groups to explore the scope for additional income through the supply of biodiesel.
National Policy on Biofuels – 2018
- The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable the extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
- It expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar-containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch-containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
- It seeks to help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner and reduce country’s oil import dependence.
Source- The Hindu
5. First ‘Nepal-India Think Tank Summit’
- The first ‘Nepal-India Think Tank’ summit will begin to foster greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among the think tanks of the two countries.
- Former Prime Miniter and Co-chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) Prachanda will inaugurate the summit jointly hosted by Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDA) and Nehru Memorial Museum Library.
- The summit, proposed to become an annual feature for the participating organisations, will be hosted alternatively each year in Nepal and India.
- The objective of the summit is to support the networks and promote mutual understanding through institutional collaboration on resource sharing for joint events/publications among think tanks of the two countries.
- The summit aims to facilitate cooperation and knowledge-sharing among think tank and to reflect on the work of think tanks and the challenges they are facing.
- Policymakers, government representatives, diplomats, academicians, businesses and media personnel will participate in the summit.
Source- DD News
6. NASA’s new planet-hunting probe, TESS, begins operations.
- NASA’s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) probe will now take over the mantle to find new planets in the vicinity of our solar system.
- TESS is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days, once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth.
Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
- TESS is NASA’s latest satellite to search for planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.
- The mission will spend the next two years monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for periodic dips in their light.
- These events, called transits, suggest that a planet may be passing in front of its star.
- TESS is expected to find thousands of planets using this method, some of which could potentially support life.
- Launch date: 18 April 2018
- Rocket: Falcon 9 Full Thrust (B1045.1)
Source- The Indian Express
7. Earthquake hits Indonesia’s Lombak island
- It is located to the east of Bali and is a part of Indonesian group of Islands.
- It has triggered landslides from Mt.Rinjani volcano.
- The volcano, which rises 3,726m (12,224ft) above sea level and is the second-highest one in Indonesia.
- Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.
- In December 2004, a massive magnitude-9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
Ring of Fire
- The Ring of Fire is a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
- The Ring of Fire isn’t quite a circular ring. It is shaped more like a 40,000-kilometer (25,000-mile) horseshoe.
Source- The Indian Express
8. Lok Sabha passes Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018
- A bill seeking to replace the Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) with a board of governors and aimed at bringing accountability and quality in homoeopathy education system was passed by the Lok Sabha.
- The Bill, which seeks to replace an Ordinance promulgated by the President in May, was approved by a voice vote after the House rejected several unofficial amendments.
- As per the bill, the members of the board of governor will replace the existing functionaries of the CCH and comprise seven eminent homoeopathy practitioners and administrators who will be appointed by the government.
- The bill provides that the Central Council will be reconstituted within one year from the date of its supersession and the Central government will, in the interim period, constitute a Board of Governors, which will exercise powers of the Central Council.
Source- Business Standards