GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.
India To Host 8th Theatre Olympics.
- In an effort to put India firmly among the top nations in the world theatre map, the country will play host to the 8th Theatre Olympics, the greatest carnival of thespianism with the theme of ‘Flag of Friendship’.
- The Theatre Olympics is being organised by the National School of Drama (NSD) under the aegis of Ministry of Culture.
- Making the announcement, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma on 13th February, 2018 said that it gives him immense pleasure to announce that India will be hosting the 8th edition of Theatre Olympics 2018 from February 17 to April 8, 2018.
Highlights Of The Development-
- The minister said India will get an opportunity to showcase the richness and diversity of its culture to the world through this mega event.
- Dr Sharma said the best theatre productions from around the world shall be showcased to the Indian audience in different cities.
- This mega event shall host 450 shows in 17 different cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai, he said.
- The event will feature Indian and international theatre groups, eminent theatre personalities along with their performances. There will be exhibitions, seminars, symposia, interactive discussions and workshops with well-known authors, actors, designers and directors.
- The festival will have participation from 30 countries, 600 ambience performances and 250 youth forum shows, with 25,000 artists from across the globe. It will include 60 ‘living legends’ series conversing with theatre enthusiasts and 50 ‘master classes’ on various art forms.
- The 51-day long nationwide theatre extravaganza would be inaugurated in the Red Fort on February 17.
- The youth forum ‘Advitiya 2018’ will be organised by the NSD students, comprising of competitions for music bands,street theatre plays,short play writing and cultural journalism.
- Participants from 30 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, ITaly, Japan, Lithuania, Mauritius, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UK and the US would showcase their acumen in theatre.
- Theatre and film veterans like Shabana Azmi,Paresh Rawal, Manoj Joshi, Himani Shivpuri, Seema Biswas and Saurabh Shukla will also take part in the olympics.
GS Paper II- Governance.
Defence Ministry Clears Mega Purchase Of Weapons Worth Rs 15,935 Crore For Armed Forces.
- In a major decision, the defence ministry on 13th February, 2018 approved capital acquisition proposals worth Rs 15,935 crore which included purchase of 7.40 lakh assault rifles, 5,719 sniper rifles and light machine guns to bolster the strength of the armed forces.
- The long-pending proposals were cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement.
- The approval to the proposals come amid increasing hostilities by Pakistan along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir as well as China’s aggressive posturing in several sectors along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.
Highlights Of The Development-
- The defence ministry said the DAC chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman cleared capital acquisition proposals which were valued at Rs 15,935 crore.
- It said the DAC accorded approval for procurement of 7.4 lakh assault rifles for the three services at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore.
- The rifles will be produced in in India under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category through both state-run Ordnance Factory Board and private sector.
- In a statement, the ministry said “essential quantity” of Light Machine Guns (LMGs) will be through the “fast track” route at an estimated cost of over Rs 1,819 crore, primarily to meet the operational requirement of the troops deployed on the borders.
- A concurrent proposal is being processed for the balance quantity to be procured under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ categorisation, the ministry said.
- In the last one month, the DAC has fast tracked procurement of rifles, carbines and LMGs to equip the soldiers on the border with modern and more effective equipment.
- The DAC also approved procurement of 5,719 sniper rifles for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force at an estimated cost of Rs 982 crore, the ministry said.
- The sniper rifles will be bought under the ‘Buy Global’ category, the ammunition for these weapons will be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India.
- The ministry said to enhance the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of Indian Navy, the DAC also approved the procurement of Advanced Torpedo Decoy Systems (ATDS) for the Indian Navy at a cost of Rs 850 crore.
- The ‘Mareech’ system has been developed indigenously by Defence Research and Development Organisation and has successfully completed extensive trial evaluations.
Sources- The New Indian Express.
GS Paper III- Economic Development.
Govt Proposes Foreclosure Of PPF Account, Allows Minors To Open Small Savings Accounts.
- The government proposes to allow foreclosure of public provident fund (PPF) accounts and permit opening of small savings accounts in the name of minor, the finance ministry said on 13th February, 2018.
- The legislative changes proposed in the Finance Bill 2018 are aimed at adding flexibility in operation of the account under small savings schemes, it said.
- Dismissing concerns expressed in the certain section of media, the ministry said that all existing protections have been retained while consolidating PPF Act under the proposed Government Savings Promotion Act.
Highlights Of The Development-
- The statement said that the main objective in proposing a common act is to make implementation easier for the depositors as they need not go through different rules and Acts for understanding the provision of various small savings schemes, and also to introduce certain flexibilities for the investors.
- In order to remove existing ambiguities due to multiple acts and rules for small savings schemes and further strengthen the objective of “minimum government, maximum governance”, the government has proposed merger of the two laws with the Government Savings Banks Act, 1873, the ministry said.
- Benefits of premature closure of small savings schemes would be introduced to deal with medical emergencies, and higher education needs among others.
- Another benefit, investment in small savings schemes can be made by Guardian on behalf of minor(s) under the provisions made in proposed bill, the release said.
- Apart from ensuring existing benefits, certain “new benefits” to the depositors have been proposed under the bill. Bill also proposes permitting depositor to close PPF account before five years in exigencies.
- Currently, the PPF account cannot be closed prematurely before completion of five financial years. The amended law would also allow the government to put in place mechanism for redressal of grievances and for amicable and expeditious settlement of disputes relating to small savings.
- Apart from offering higher interest rates compared to bank deposits, some of the small savings schemes also enjoy income tax benefits.
- Small savings schemes include post office savings account, national savings monthly income (Account), national savings recurring deposit, PPF and Sukanya Samriddhi Account.