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GS Paper I- History of the World and Society.

International Day Of The World’s Indigenous Peoples Celebrated On 9th August.

Background-

  • There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.
  • Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.
  • Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples.

2017 Theme: 10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples–

  • Ten years ago, on 13 September 2007, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a major milestone with respect to the cooperation and solidarity between indigenous peoples and Member States.
  • The Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It embodies global consensus on the rights of indigenous peoples and establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being. It elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms, as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.
  • Over the last decade, the implementation of the Declaration has achieved some major successes in at the national, regional and international levels. Despite the achievements, there continues to be a gap between the formal recognition of indigenous peoples and the implementation of policies on the ground.
  • Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years, yet throughout history their rights have always been violated. Indigenous peoples today, are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world.
  • The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life.

Sources- WWW.UN.ORG.

 

GS Paper III- Technology.

NCERT Launches Web Portal For Supply Of Textbooks.

Background

  • Upendra Kushwaha, Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development launched the NCERT’s Web portal for supply of textbooks to schools and individuals in New Delhi on 9th August, 2017.
  • The portal will ensure better distribution of textbooks across the country and will also address the apprehensions, on the part of schools and parents, regarding unavailability of National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) textbooks.
  • The schools will be able to log on to the portal, by entering their respective Boards’ affiliation numbers and other details, till 8th September 2017 for placing their orders for the session 2018-19.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The move will help parents save money spent on sourcing expensive books from private publishers, often due to non-availability of NCERT books.
  • The Web Portal can be accessed at www.ncertbooks.ncert.gov.in.
  • At the time of placing the orders, the schools are not required to make the payment; the payment can be made just before the supply.
  • The schools will also have the option of directly procuring textbooks either from their nearest NCERT vendors or from the Regional Production-cum-Distribution Centres (RPDCs) of the NCERT’s located at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Bengaluru, added the statement.
  • According to the ministry, the portal will also be opened to the individual buyers very soon.
  • They can place their orders by login in onto the portal, and books will be delivered at their doorsteps with nominal postal charges. The portal will also enable the buyers to track the status of their respective orders placed with NCERT.
  • The textbooks will also continue to be sold at the Retail Sales Counters located at the NCERT’s headquarters in Delhi; at its Regional Institutes of Education (RIEs) Ajmer, Bhopal Bhubaneswar, Shillong, and Mysuru; and at its Regional Production-cum-Distribution Centres (RPDCs) based in Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Guwahati and Bengaluru.
  • The NCERT textbooks can also be downloaded, free of cost, from the NCERT’s website www.ncert.nic.in; one can access the digital versions of NCERT’s textbook by logging onto ‘epathshala’ or through mobile applications.
  • NCERT also gives copyrights to different States/Union Territories for printing of its textbooks. Fifteen States and UTs have been given copyright for the session 2017-18.

Sources- NDTV.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

Qatar Offers Visa-Free Entry To 80 Countries, Including India.

Background

  • Qatar announced on 9th August, 2017, a programme to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries to encourage air transport and tourism amid a two-month boycott imposed on the Gulf state by its neighbors.
  • Nationals from dozens of countries in Europe and elsewhere including India, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States will now receive tourist visas on arrival to the gas-rich country which hosts the soccer World Cup in 2022.
  • Hassan al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development officer at Qatar Tourism Authority told reporters at a press conference in Doha that the visa exemption scheme will make Qatar the most open country in the region.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Oil giant Saudi Arabia along with Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed a boycott on Qatar on June 5, 2017, and cut off all transport links with the country after accusing it of supporting terrorism and of close ties to Iran.
  • Doha denies the charges. Since the boycott began, Qatar has sought to build up its diplomatic and trade ties beyond the Gulf region. The visa scheme is just the latest in a series of measures aimed at preparing Qatar for greater economic independence in the long term. Efforts led by Kuwait to resolve the rift are ongoing.
  • Qatar has flown in food supplies from Turkey and Iran and chartered new shipping routes via Oman to bring in construction materials but hotel occupancy rates have fallen with Saudis, a key source of tourism, barred by their government from visiting the country.
  • Visitors from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council usually account for almost half of all visitors to Qatar.
  • Air links suspended by the four Arab states represented around 25 percent of flights by state-owned Qatar Airways, one of the region’s big three carriers.
  • On August 3, 2017, Qatar approved legislation allowing certain permanent residents to benefit from parts of the state’s generous welfare system, including education and health-care services, a first for the Gulf.
  • Under the law, children of Qatari women married to foreigners and people with special skills “needed by the state,” can benefit from the new status.
  • Foreign workers from countries including India and Nepal account for a large proportion of Qatar’s population of 2.7 million.
  • Qatar’s World Cup organising committee has said the Arab sanctions will not affect preparations for the World Cup.

Sources- The Times Of India.