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

PRESIDENT OF INDIA INAUGURATES RESTORED HERITAGE BUILDINGS IN THE PRESIDENT’S ESTATE.

Background

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated restored heritage buildings in Schedule ‘A’ of the President’s Estate on July 4, 2017.
  • Speaking on the occasion, the President said he was happy to inaugurate the restored heritage buildings. This brings to a conclusion a task taken up in this Presidency to restore all important heritage structures in the precincts of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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Key Things To Look Out For-

  • The President said that Rashtrapati Bhavan was declared a Grade ‘A’ heritage building by NDMC in 2009. Time had taken a toll on the life and health of this building, which was occupied 86 years ago. He said that he was happy that all heritage features of the restored buildings have been kept intact.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Secretary to the President, Smt. Omita Paul said that the restoration work had been carried out at the behest of the President and was in accordance with his vision of restoring the glory of the heritage building as well as to create a harmonious and happy family of Rashtrapati Bhavan. She mentioned that on the 10th of July, 2017, a guest house in Ashiana, Dehradun would be inaugurated which is another PBG property.
  • The restoration work has been carried out on the initiative of President’s Secretariat and CPWD along with INTACH have been partners with Rashtrapati Bhavan in this endeavour. The restored buildings which were inaugurated on 4th July, 2017, include (1) the Regimental Quarters Guard Building which was built as Guard room and coach house; (2) the MI Area which was originally constructed as a hospital for men; (3) four Barracks originally constructed as living quarters of the Indian Infantry; (4) the PBG officer’s Mess Building which was built as British Infantry Mess and (5) the Army Officer’s Mess which was built as British Officer’s Quarters.
  • All the buildings, including those inaugurated on 4th July, 2017, were precisely documented and analyzed prior to restoration work. The restoration undertaken includes preservation of original plaster, Kota stone flooring, repair of conical obelisks, cleaning and painting of fire places etc. as per original design.
  • A Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for the President’s Estate was submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee on June 26, 2013 by INTACH. The Executive summary to the CCMP noted that while the status of Rashtrapati Bhavan as a Grade ‘A’ Heritage Building defined the limits of intervention to conserve the building and the site, it also accommodated the highest office of the country, including the residence of the President. This made it a ‘living heritage’ building which created genuine needs to cater to its efficient functioning. The CCMP was drafted to address both imperatives. The vision guiding the preparation of the CCMP took into account the wider context of the Estate and its contemporary functional needs. The CCMP stressed the importance and need for continuous maintenance to conserve the heritage characteristics of the Rashtrapati Bhavan precincts.

Sources– Firstpost, Presidentofindia.nic.in.Page 1

 

GS Paper II- Governance, International Relations, Polity.

Malabar war games: India, Japan, US to deploy largest warships, to focus on anti-submarine warfare.

Background

  • Amid heightened border tensions between Beijing and New Delhi near the Sikkim-Bhutan tri-junction, India, Japan and the US will showcase their naval might with their largest warships in the Malabar war games scheduled for July 10, 2017, in the Indian Ocean.
  • The Malabar war games are strategically significant for India as Beijing very recently deployed one of their submarines in the Indian Ocean region, with the Indian Navy picking up information of an ‘unusual surge’ in the number of Chinese vessels entering the region.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • The Indian Navy is being assisted by Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) very own GSAT-7 satellite, which is also called Rukmini. Launched in September 29, 2013, Rukmini is Indian Navy’s military communication satellite that aids in providing information in the high seas and strengthens India’s maritime security.
  • The Malabar tri-lateral exercise will witness around 15 warships, two submarines, numerous fighter planes, helicopters and surveillance aircraft participating in this much-awaited exercise. The Malabar war games stands in consonance with New Delhi’s ‘Act East Policy’ and aims to foster deeper relations with US and Japan.
  • Aside from INS Vikramaditya, India’s largest warship and the third aircraft carrier inducted into the Navy, USS Nimitz, Japan’s largest helicopter carrier JS Izumo, and many other warships, submarines would take part in the games.
  • Besides at-sea training off India’s eastern coast in the Bay of Bengal, the Malabar war games will also feature the three countries sharing their military expertise on land as well, with special focus on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).
  • The Malabar war games come in the backdrop of the recent standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam area in Sikkim, with the Chinese media stepping up its attack on New Delhi through its editorials asking Indian troops to move out of the area ‘with dignity or be kicked out’.
  • The exercise will cover activities like combined carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare.
  • It will also include aspects like medical operations, damage control, special forces operation, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and helicopter operations.
  • Each iteration of this exercise helps to increase the level of understanding between our Sailors and interoperability between the three navies .
  • The exercises will be closely monitored by China which has already sent an intelligence gathering ship to the Indian Ocean Region.

Sources– The Hindu, Economic Times, Indian Express.Page 1

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development, Bio-Diversity, Environment.

Environment Minister Inaugurates Van Mahotsav.

Background

  • The environment minister, Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday, 5th July, 2017, launched a month-long tree plantation drive to mark Van Mahotsav. The first tree planting campaign started in Delhi.
  • It was part of Van Mahotsav celebrations, that is celebrated in the first week of July every year since 1950 in India. Then agriculture minister, Kulapati K. M. Munshi, had started the tradition.
  • The plantation drive was organised at Ram Lila Park in Model Town in Delhi. On this occasion, the Minister planted saplings and also distributed saplings for plantation to local residents.
  • Van Mahotsav is usually observed in the first week of July every year and is celebrated on different days in different parts of India. The objective behind celebrating ‘Van Mahotsav’ is to keep local people involved in plantation drives and spread environmental awareness. The minister urged people to actively participate in the plantation drive.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • Harsh Vardhan, highlighted the importance of tree planting for India to achieve its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs). The country has vowed to expand its carbon sink, and forests are key to this because they absorb carbon dioxide are considered an important way to check the global rise in temperatures. Under the commitment, India has to create an additional sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.
  • Unfortunately, we did not pay much attention to whatever our ancestors had told us, that is why today the threats of climate change and global warming have arisen, said Harsh Vardhan.
  • On the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted people to plant trees marking the day by planting a sapling in his residence lawns himself.
  • Harsh Vardhan’s predecessor, Anil Madhav Dave passed away on May 18, 2017. Dave, who was known as an avid environmentalist, in his will had called on people to plant trees in his remembrance.
  • The Minister will plant saplings and also distribute saplings for plantation to local residents. Dr. Harsh Vardhan has advised the people to plant native trees because they readily adapt to local climate, integrate into the eco-system, have a high survival rate and are helpful in supporting local birds, insect and animals.
  • Van Mahotsav began in 1950, with a tree plantation drive, in which national leaders participated.  The festival of tree plantation was started by Dr. K.M. Munshi, the then Union Minister for Agriculture and Food to create enthusiasm among masses for forest conservation and planting trees.  The festival was simultaneously celebrated in other states in India.
  • Programmes like screening of short films and documentaries, seminars and exhibition, painting and poster competitions have also been organised to mark the occasion.

Sources– Hindustan Times, Press Information Bureau (Government of India).Page 1