- Ten new Swachh Iconic Places launched under Swachh Bharat Mission Phase III
- The project envisioned by the Prime Minister is being coordinated by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation with the support of State governments and local administration.
- These new sites have joined the 20 iconic places under Phase I & II where special Sanitation work is already underway.
Swachh Iconic Places (SIP)
- The Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) is an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- It is a special clean-up initiative focused on select iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country.
- The initiative is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the concerned State governments.
- It was launched in 2016.
- The Phase I iconic places are:
Ajmer Sharif Dargah, CST Mumbai, Golden Temple, Kamakhya Temple, Maikarnika Ghat, Meenakshi Temple, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Shree Jagannath Temple, The Taj Mahal and Tirupati Temple.
- It was launched in Nov 2017.
- It includes-
Gangotri, Yamunotri, Mahakaleshwar Temple, Charminar, Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assissi, Kalady, Gommateswara, BaidyanathDham, Gaya Tirth and Somnath temple.
- It includes-
(a) Raghavendra Swamy Temple (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh) (b) Hazardwari Palace (Murshidabad, West Bengal) (c) Brahma Sarovar Temple (Kurukshetra, Haryana) (d) VidurKuti (Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh) (e) Mana village (Chamoli, Uttarakhand) (f) Pangong Lake (Leh-Ladakh, J&K) (g) Nagvasuki Temple (Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh) (h) ImaKeithal/market (Imphal, Manipur) (i) Sabarimala Temple (Kerala) and (j) Kanvashram (Uttarakhand)
Swachh Bharat Mission-
- The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on 2 October 2014 at the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
- The mission was divided into two parts — urban and rural.
- The Swachh Bharat Mission Urban is managed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, while the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (Rural) is led by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Ministry of Urban Development has been merged with Ministry of Housing. The new Ministry is named as Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. All the schemes under Ministry of Urban development have been subsumed under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- Community-led strategies offer hope for east Himalayan biodiversity
- The Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve, won the National Biodiversity Discovery Award on May 22, 2018, in Hyderabad for its unique endeavour to conserve rare local wildlife on the fringes of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.
- It is an NGO from the West Kameng district of India’s north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
- The award highlighted the role of civil society organisations in preserving the unique biodiversity of the region.
East Himalayan biodiversity
- The jungles of Northeast India host some of the world’s most interesting species such as one-horned rhino, Hoolock Gibbon, pygmy hog, white-winged wood duck, golden langur, river dolphins and mahseer.
- There is a staggering variety of wildlife in the marshes and forests of Arunachal Pradesh, part of the eastern Himalayas.
- A large array of new species has been found in recent years such as-
(a) New ornamental fish – Microphis ignoratus – in a tributary of the Siang river etc. This was the first discovery of a freshwater pipefishin the sub-continent.
(b) Three species of mammals and an amphibian. The mammals include two mountain pikas and Himalayan marmot (ground squirrel).
(c) In 2012, a new species of frog from the Dicroglossidae family was discovered at Mawphlang, near Shillong in Meghalaya etc.
What are the concerns regarding biodiversity in East Himalayan?
- Native forests are crucial for conserving biodiversity. However, local studies have shown that forests have decreased in some of India’s most important biodiverse areas.
- The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017 showed a decrease in forest cover in six states of Northeast India, which include loss of 630 square kilometres in the eastern Himalayas.
- The reasons for the decrease are said to be-
(a) Shifting cultivation
(b) Rotational tree felling
(c) Diversion of forest land for developmental activities
(d) Submergence of forest cover
(e) Agriculture expansion
(f) Natural disasters and other pressures
- The government led conservation efforts have failed to reach this corner of India.
- India’s biodiversity legislation has three main objectives, conservation of biodiversity, its sustainable use and ensuring equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of the country’s biological resources or related traditional knowledge.
- To achieve this, the Biodiversity Act has a three-tier institutional structure—
(a) The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA),
(b) State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) in every state and
(c) Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at local village/urban levels.
- One effective conservation strategy is “seed saving”, or the practice of saving, exchanging and reusing seeds that were handed down generation to generation through families or communities over centuries.
- The KMSS (Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee) is a people’s movement committed to upholding the rights of farmers and protect local heritage and resources.
National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
- It was established by the Central Government in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
- It performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions for the Government of India on issues of conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.
Source- Down To Earth
- India to host the first military exercise of the BIMSTEC
- India will host the first military exercise of the BIMSTEC group focussing on counter-terrorism in September 2018.
- The exercise is scheduled to be held in Pune.
- The aim of the exercise is to promote strategic alignment among the member-states and to share best practices in the area of counter-terrorism.
- India conducted the First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ in October 2017 in Delhi
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South-East Asia.
- These 7 countries are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
- The BIMSTEC states are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
- Its secretariat is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Source- The Hindu
- World’s largest iceberg B-15 set to disappear after the 18-year-long journey- NASA
- The largest iceberg ever recorded, that broke away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf 18 years ago, could be nearing the end of its voyage.
- When iceberg B-15 first broke away in March 2000, it measured about 296 kilometres long and 37 kilometres wide.
- B-15 has since fractured into numerous smaller bergs, and most have melted away.
- An iceberg or ice mountain is a large piece of freshwater ice that has broken off a glacier or an ice shelf.
Source- India Today
- Odisha govt announced ‘universal health coverage’ scheme
- Odisha govt announced that the state government will launch the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana on August 15, to provide free healthcare to all families in the state.
- Each and everyone visiting any government health institution from district to sub-centre level will be provided with all health services free of cost.”
- Under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, secondary and tertiary cashless healthcare assistance will be provided up to Rs 5 lakh per family per annum.
- The govt also announced a “drop back” or transport assistance of Rs 500 to all pregnant women or infants visiting public health facilities.
Source- Indian Express
- Kashmir Super 50
- It a joint initiative by Indian Army, Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership (CSRL) and PETRONET LNG Limited (PLL) was launched on 22 March 2013 to transform the educational status of children from economically weaker sections in the Kashmir region.
- As part of the 11-month program, selected students are provided with complete free residential coaching for IIT-JEE, JKCET and other premier Engineering Institutes.