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GS Paper I- Indian Heritage, Culture, History and Geography of the World.

India Donates 16,000 Books To Historic Jaffna Library Besides Other Assistance.

Background-

  • India has expressed willingness to further partner Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial administration in development initiatives, emphasising the need for a clear economic programme identifying specific areas.
  • Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu called on Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna, the former’s first visit to the Tamil-majority north after assuming charge in Colombo in January.

What is Important –

  • Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu handed over as many as 16,000 books to the iconic Jaffna public library.
  • The collection will be kept at the ‘India Corner’ in the library, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated during his maiden visit in 2015. “The titles cover topics ranging from culture, literature, philosophy, politics to science,” according to Chief Librarian Suganthy Sadasivamoorthy.
  • The new books, mostly in Tamil, will add to the library’s existing collection of nearly 1,00,000 books sourced over the last three decades. In June 1981, the library lost many of its precious titles and manuscripts when an organised mob of Sinhalese set fire to the building. Today, the white-coloured imposing structure — renovated and rebuilt in the late 1990s under President Chandrika Kumaratunga — draws scores of students and researchers.
  • “There is a lot of interest in Indian literature and culture among students and researchers here,” Ms. Sadasivamoorthy said.
  • A Thanjavur-based organisation, the Karanthai Tamil Sangam, collected the books for donation to the library. The donors have photocopied some titles on the work of Hindu revivalist Arumuga Navalar, copies of which were destroyed in the 1981 fire.
  • India has been engaging with Sri Lanka’s Tamil political leadership for decades and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar have repeatedly stressed on the need for unity among Tamil politicians, even as the Tamil leadership engages Colombo over political and economic matters.
  • India has been involved in key infrastructure projects in the north in the post-war years, building 46,000 homes in the island’s north and east and helping restore the railway line from Omanthai to Pallai, with a $800 million line of credit. These are part of India’s $2.6 billion commitment for development assistance to Sri Lanka, including $390 million as grants, for projects all over the island.
  • Currently, the Indian side appears keen on working with the Northern Provincial Council, on economic development, skills training and job creation.
  • In a ceremony held on Friday, 30th June 2017, the faculties of Agriculture and Engineering at the Kilinochchi campus of University of Jaffna, built with an Indian grant of LKR 600 million, were dedicated.
  • This donation will increase India’s cultural ties with Sri Lanka.

GS Paper II- Governance, Constitution, Polity and International Relations.

Mizoram Celebrates 31st Anniversary Of Mizo Peace Accord.

Background

  • The history of Mizoram basically encompasses the account of transition in the occupation of Mizoram which lies in the remotest part of northeast India. It is a conglomerate history of several ethnic groups of Chin people who migrated from Chin State of Burma. But information of their patterns of westward migration are based on oral history and archaeological inferences, hence nothing definite can be said.

The earliest documented records of Mizoram were from the British military officers in the 1850s, when they encountered series of raids in their official jurisdiction in Chittagong Hill Tracts from the neighbouring natives. By then they referred the land to as Lushai Hills. After the Indian independence from British Empire in 1947, the land became Lushai Hills district under the Government of Assam. In 1972 the district was declared a union territory and was given a more culturally inclusive name Mizoram. Ultimately Mizoram became a full-fledged federal state of Indian Union in 1986.

Highlights Of The Event-

  • The 31st anniversary of the signing of the historic “Mizoram Peace Accord” between the central government and the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF) was celebrated on Friday, 30th June, 2017 in Mizoram.
  • All government and semi-government offices and educational institutions remained closed as the day was declared a public holiday.
  • Though no official function was organised by the government, the MNF, now in the opposition, held gatherings and interactive events across the state.
  • On the occasion, Governor Lt. Gen. (retired) Nirbhay Sharma urged the youths to refrain from drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse.
  • The mountainous northeastern state, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, is a corridor of drug smuggling and a large section of youths is victim of the drug menace.
  • Urging the youths to take part in the ongoing “Healthy Mizoram Campaign”, the Governor said: “Youths must abstain from different vices such as abuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, as they are the future of the state.”
  • He complimented the people of Mizoram for maintaining the “hard-earned peace” in the state and called upon them to remember the contribution of those who laid down their lives for the cause of peace and harmony in Mizoram.
  • Locally called “Remna Ni”, the Mizoram Peace Accord was signed between the government of India and MNF on June 30, 1986, ending two decades of insurgency, after which the state became the 23rd Indian state on February 20, 1987.
  • The Mizoram government recently formed a “Peace Accord Review Committee” headed by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla to implement the terms of the accord.

GS Paper III- Technology, Economic Development.

J&K Likely To Clear GST By July 6, 2017.

Background

  • Jammu and Kashmir, the only state that failed to meet the June 30, 2017 deadline for the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), is now likely to clear the legislation on the indirect tax regime by July 6, 2017, state finance minister Haseeb Drabu said on Friday.
  • Earlier, the PDP-BJP coalition had failed to come to a consensus on the implementation of the GST regime in the state at the all-party meeting on June 29, 2017, with Valley-based trade bodies and civil society forums issuing a threat to launch a civil disobedience movement if the government goes ahead with the plan.

Key Points Of This Development-

  • Jammu and Kashmir, the only state which failed to meet the June 30, 2017 timeline for the GST rollout, is likely to clear the legislation on the indirect tax regime by July 6, 2017, its Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said in New Delhi on Friday. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on Monday written a letter to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, saying that failure of the state to implement the GST would lead to “adverse impact” of price rise and put the local industry at a disadvantage.
  • Jammu and Kashmir is the only state which has not taken a call yet on the implementation of the new tax regime which came into force in the country from July 1, 2017. “Jammu and Kashmir (assembly) is likely to pass the GST bill by July 6, 2017 in the state,” said Drabhu, who was here to attend the midnight launch of the GST in the central hall of Parliament.
  • Earlier this evening, the J&K finance minister attended the meeting of GST Council convened by Jaitley. In view of differences among the political parties, the state government had set up an all-party consultative group to find a common ground. The consultative group held its second meeting yesterday after which the government claimed that the parties were in agreement on extension of the new tax regime but with safeguards to protect the fiscal autonomy of the state.
  • “There was a general consensus in the meeting that non-implementation of the GST regime would trigger economic and financial chaos in the state with the inter-state trade vis-a-vis J&K taking a big hit,” an official spokesman said here. A few days back, Drabu had said the Mehbooba Mufti government is “genuinely interested” in building a consensus because the GST is a regime that would last for the next 30-40 years.
  • “We will take a final call on the GST implementation once we get the full sense of the all-party meeting. I do not want to pre-empt anybody. Let us understand what their views are,” he had said. Drabu said the state government has reached out to the opposition parties of the state and sent them all the relevant documents.
  • He said a perception has been created that the GST would impact the special status and the fiscal autonomy of the state, but there is no compromise on Article 370. “The government is trying to build a consensus. This is a very fragile society. We are going through difficult times…. the way things are happening around us, the way things have been dehumanized, anything can spark off. You do not want to create social chaos.”
  • “So, it is in the interest of the society of J&K, not just the economy, to build a certain political as well as legislative consensus,” he said. The consultative committee meeting held threadbare discussions over the legal, legislative, financial, economic and administrative aspects of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime with the chairman explaining in detail the nuances of the new tax regime.