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

UNESCO Declares Ahmedabad World Heritage City, First Of Its Kind In India.

Background

  • UN cultural agency Unesco on Saturday, 8th July, 2017, declared the 600-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad as a world heritage city, the first Indian city  to make it to the list. The World Heritage Committee of Unesco met in Karlow, Poland on 8th July night where the decision was made.
  • Ahmedabad joins Paris, Vienna, Cairo, Brussels, Rome and Edinburgh as cities which have Unesco’s World Heritage City tag.

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Key Points Of The Development-

  • The journey began in 2010 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi proffered the dossier of Ahmedabad to Unesco.
  • With this title, the Walled City of Ahmedabad has joined Paris, Vienna, Cairo, Brussels, Rome and Edinburgh. Of the 287 world heritage cities across the globe, the only two cities in the Indian subcontinent which enjoy the status are Bhaktapur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.
  • The committee also added Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, to its list of World Heritage sites on 8th July, 2017. Earlier on 7th July, it added Hebron-Al Khalil Old Town (Palestine) and W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso) to the list. It also added the site of Hebron-Al Khalil to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
  • For over 600 years, Ahmedabad has stood for peace, as a landmark city where Mahatma Gandhi began India’s freedom struggle. It has stood for unity with its elegant carvings in its Hindu and Jain temples as well as standing as one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu Muslim art. And beyond this, it epitomizes the United Nation’s objective of sustainable development as it accelerates in its development, chosen to be one of India’s first smart cities, while preserving its ancient heritage.
  • The nomination of Ahmedabad was supported by about 20 countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Portugal, Peru, Croatia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Korea, Croatia, Cuba and Poland.
  • Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and BJP president Amit Shah hailed the announcement.
  • Ahmedabad’s journey towards attaining a world heritage tag began in 1984 when the first study for conserving heritage structures was instituted by Ford Foundation. In March 2011, Ahmedabad made it to Unesco’s tentative list of world heritage sites. In January 2016, it was chosen over Delhi and Mumbai as India’s entry for the title.
  • Ahmedabad has about 25 ASI (Archaeological Survey of India)-protected structures, hundreds of ‘pols’(housing clusters in the walled city areas of Ahmedabad) that capture the essence of community living, and numerous sites associated with Gandhi, who lived here from 1915 to 1930.

Sources- NDTV, Indiatoday.Page 1

GS Paper II- Governance, International Relations, Polity.

Centre Allots Rs 100 Crore To Goa Under Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

Background

  • The union tourism ministry has allotted Rs 100 crore to the state of Goa under the Swadesh Darshan scheme to augment its tourist infrastructure, Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar informed on 7th July, 2017.
  • A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by the Goa governments department of tourism under the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) made a presentation before the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee after which the amount was approved.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Goa has procured funds under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme to the tune of Rs 100 crore for the development of coastal circuits.
  • This is the second allotment of Central Financial Assistance within one year.
  • The amount was approved under Phase-II for coastal circuit development in the state.
  • This is the second allotmenten of ctral financial assistance within one year. It will give a big boost to our plans of improving tourism infrastructure under coastal circuits both in North and South Goa,  Ajgaonkar added.
  • While the initial allotment of Rs 100 crore under Phase I for Coastal Circuit Development is being utilised for developing the coastal belt in north Goa from Sinquerim to Keri, the phase II allotment of Rs 100 crore  will be utilised for developing the south Goa coastline from Panaji to Palolem.
  • The Swadesh Darshan scheme is envisaged under the central financial assistance (CFA) of the Ministry of Tourism with an aim to fund projects that fall under the gamut of touristic potential due to its history, heritage, cultural importance as well as innovation.
  • The minister said Goa Tourism will continue to work towards conceptualizing new plans and projects and will try and tap financial assistance schemes for tourism projects in Goa.
  • GTDC Chairman Nilesh Cabral said that they will use the allotted money in a phase wise manner according to their plans.
  • Projects have been envisaged all along the South Goa  coastline, however some of the key coastal areas, that attract major footfalls, which will get a facelift through the coastal circuit development plan, include Dona Paula, Miramar, Colva, Benaulim, Palolem, according to officials.
  • Cabral said some of the components include providing basic amenities like toilets, lighting, tourist facilitation centres, CCTVs, GIS systems, beautification and others.

Sources- India Today, Navhindtimes.Page 1

GS Paper III- Technology, Economic Development.

Govt To Push E-Education With 4 Digital Initiatives.

Background

  • The Union government has invited nearly 1,000 vice-chancellors of central, state, deemed and private universities and directors of premier institutes such as Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) for the launch of four major digital initiatives in higher education on Guru Purnima on 9th July, 2017.
  • In the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is travelling for the G20 summit in Hamburg, President Pranab Mukherjee will launch Swayam — an indigenously designed massive open online course (MOOC), Swayam Prabha — 32 Direct-to-Home channels for transmitting high-quality educational content, the National Digital Library containing 6.5 million books, and the National Academic Depository for authenticating all certificates issued by institutions.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • The Prime Minister’s Office has been showing keen interest in the event, specially in the Swayam Prabha programme. They want the 32 DTH channels utilised in a much better way than they are actually being done right now.
  • Massive Open Online Courses, Swayam will host courses taught in classrooms from Class 9th to post-graduation, which can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time. It will target those students who could not complete their studies and professionals who wish to upgraade their knowledge.
  • Swayam Prabha is the platform of 32 DTH chnnels devoted to telecasting high-quality educational programmes 24X7 using GSAT-15 satellite. National Academic Depository will facilitate online verification of certificates.
  • Through Swayam Prabha, the government would air new content of four hours every day. It would be repeated six times a day. The content is mainly for students from Class IX to XII and those who are preparing for admission into IITs.
  • Through Swayam, government plans to offer 2,000 courses in one year through the online platform. These courses are meant for people who could not complete their studies due to some reason or are not able to afford it. The courses, however, will not include engineering, pharmacy, nursing and other technical courses.
  • The modalities on granting degrees to students undertaking online courses are still under deliberation.
  • According to the MHRD, the students registered with recognised institutes would have the option of earning online credit through programme running on the platform.
  • All the courses are interactive and available free of cost. Students from various recognised institutes in India will be able to earn credits on clearing these online courses. These courses have been developed by over 1,000 expert faculty members from premier institutions like IITs, Delhi University and JNU.

Sources- Business Standard, DNA, Newsroom Post.Page 1