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GS Paper I- Indian Heritage and Culture.

Kumbh Mela Enters UNESCO’s List Of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Background-

  • Kumbh Mela, the mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith, has been inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage under Unesco inscribed Kumbh Mela at its 12th session at Jeju in South Korea.
  • This inscription is the third in two years for India following the inscriptions of yoga and Nouroz.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The UNESCO Convention for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted in 2003, defines intangible cultural heritage as the practices, representations, expressions as well as knowledge and skills that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage.
  • According to the ministry, the Intergovernmental Committee observed that Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth.
  • The festival, held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and ritual cleansing in holy rivers in India, UNESCO said.
  • As a religious festival, the tolerance and inclusiveness that Kumbh Mela demonstrates are especially valuable for the contemporary world, it noted.
  • The statement said that the Committee “also took note of the fact that knowledge and skills related to Kumbh Mela are transmitted through the Guru-Shishya ‘parampara’ (guru-student relationship) by way of saints and sadhus teaching their disciples about traditional rituals and chants in order to ensure the continuity and viability of this festival in perpetuity.

Sources- The Indian Express.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India Gets Admission Into Wassenaar Arrangement.

Background

  • The Ministry of External Affairs on 8th December, 2017 welcomed the decision of the Wassenaar Arrangement to admit India as the 42nd member of the organisation which aims to regulate trade and use of dual use technology.
  • Officials said that following admission into the club, India will get access to high technology, which will help address the demands of Indian space and defence sectors.
  • It will also boost New Delhi’s chances of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • India’s entry into the export control regime would enhance its credentials in the field of non-proliferation despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • The WA membership is also expected to build up a strong case for India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). China, which has been stonewalling India’s entry into the 48-nation NSG is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is also not a member of MTCR.
  • The MEA spokesperson said that while membership of the Arrangement would not automatically entail any preferential treatment from other WA members, it would create the grounds for realignment of India in the export control policy framework of other WA members, including eligibility for certain licensing exceptions.
  • Membership in the Arrangement has been part of India’s quest for membership in the export control organisations.

Sources- The Hindu, The Economic Times.

GS Paper III- Technology, Economic Development.

MSME Minister Giriraj Singh Launches Online Portal ‘MSME Sambandh’.

Background

  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) led by Giriraj Singh, MoS (I/C) MSME, launched the Public Procurement Portal ‘MSME Sambandh’ in the national capital on 8th December, 2017.
  • The main objective of the portal is to monitor the implementation of the Public Procurement from MSEs by Central Public Sector Enterprises, the Minister informed addressing media during the launch event.
  • Singh further said that despite the contribution of the MSME sector in the country, it is not given appropriate attention and importance.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Highlighting the significance of the sector, Singh informed that over 80 per cent of jobs in industry is given by MSME with just 20 per cent of investment.
  • The Minister urged the different stakeholders to take advantage of the newly launched portal.
  • With a dedicated portal in place, different flagship projects and ambitions of the government including Make in India, Ease of doing business etc. can be turned into a reality.
  • Dr. A.K. Panda, Secretary, MSME who was also present during the event informed that the Micro and Small Enterprises would be able to access the information about the products being procured by CPSEs.
  • The portal will enable the MSEs understand and be a part of the procurement process, Panda added.

Sources- KNN India.