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GS Paper I- Indian History, Heritage and Culture.

Gobindobhog Rice Gets Geographical Indication Status.

Background-

  • Gobindobhog rice,a speciality from Burdwan district of West Bengal, has got the geographical indication (GI) status.
  • The state government had applied for GI status for Gobindobhog rice on August 24, 2015.
  • The region of Burdwan (now divided into the districts of east and west Burdwan) is known as the rice bowl of Bengal.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • As a result of getting the GI tag, as the certification is also called, rice from other regions or rice of other varieties cannot be branded as ‘Gobindobhog’. Hence, the marketability of the rice would be strengthened, for the local, national and international markets, government officials said.
  • This variety of rice is primarily cultivated in east Burdwan district – in the southern basin of the Damodar river in the Raina 1, Raina 2 and Khandaghosh blocks.
  • Gobindobhog was cultivated in an area of 35 hectares last year (2016). Of this, 20 hectares were spread over f Raina 1 and Raina 2 blocks.
  • The south Damodar belt has been the traditional area of Gobindobhog rice cultivation. The rice has several advantages. It is cultivated late and therefore not much affected by rains. It is less prone to pests as well.
  • The productivity per area is high and farmers get better prices for Gobindobhog rice.

Sources- The Economic Times.

 

GS Paper III- Security, Technology.

No End Of Conflict In Sight: America Awards $727mn Contract To Support Afghan Air Force.

Background

  • The Pentagon has awarded a contract worth over $727 million in support of the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing unit.
  • It comes after Donald Trump’s recent “fight to win” commitment to the nation’s longest war, which has already cost over $780 billion.
  • The US Department of Defense has spent over $76 billion on weapons and equipment for Afghan security forces since 2002.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • Washington has paid for 600,000 weapons, including rifles and pistols, for the Afghan Army and police.
  • The US has spent more than $780 billion in Afghanistan, according to the National Priorities Project (NPP), in what has become its longest-running conflict, with no clear end in sight.
  • The Taliban is fighting to restore Islamist rule over Afghanistan, which it imposed from 1996 to 2001, when it was the most powerful faction in the country, before being toppled by an American-led invasion.
  • About 2,400 Americans have died in the war since 2002.
  • When Trump took office, the Taliban controlled more territory than it did at any time since 2001 and Islamic State terrorists (IS, formerly known as ISIL/ISIS) already had a foothold in eastern Afghanistan.
  • From 2001 to mid-2016, around 173,000 civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan died amid the American-led war, according to the Costs of War Project run by Brown University’s Watson Institute.
  • More than 183,000 civilians were seriously wounded during that period.
  • About 8,400 US troops and 6,400 NATO soldiers remain in Afghanistan following the large-scale NATO troop reduction in 2014.
  • US-led forces entered Afghanistan to end Taliban control more than 15 years ago, following the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks. In an open letter released earlier this month (August, 2017), the Taliban urged Trump to withdraw all US troops from the country.
  • The Taliban stated in the 1,600-word English-language letter, released to the media through spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, that experience shows “that sending more troops to Afghanistan will not result in anything.”
  • Russia has recently voiced criticism over the US involvement in Afghanistan. The Russian president’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said in August that Washington needs to withdraw its troops, adding that the US campaign there “has failed.”

Sources- RT News.

GS Paper II- Governance.

Narendra Modi Inaugurates ‘Hanging Bridge’ In Kota After 11-Year Wait, Dedicates It To The Nation.

Background

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw open to traffic Rajasthan’s first six-lane cable stayed (CS) bridge in Kota via video conferencing from Udaipur on 29th August, 2017.
  • While dedicating the cable-stayed bridge to the nation, Modi said that the project has been pending for 11 years. It should have been completed within one to one-and-a-half years. After the formation of this government in 2014, they restarted work and now the cable-stayed bridge is being dedicated to the nation.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The bridge, over Chambal River, has the longest main span of 350 metre in the country and will also act as a bypass to Kota City.
  • Kota MP Om Birla, Kota south MLA Sandeep Sharma, MLA from Ramganjmandi Chandrakanta Meghwal and others attended the ceremony at the bridge in Kota.
  • The bridge will prove a bypass to commuters and will help in making Kota an accident-free city. With its longest ‘main span’ of 350 metre, among the five cable stayed bridges in the country, this bridge today became an iconic structure like the Bandra–Worli Sea Link in Mumbai and the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata.
  • Regional officer, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Rajasthan, MK Jain said that the completion of the 1.4 km-long bridge also completes the East-West Corridor, which is the second longest national highway project in the country linking seven states from Silchar in Assam to Porbandar in Gujarat.
  • This bridge will reduce commuting time by 60 minutes through National Highway no 27 (Kota-Chittor National Highway) and National Highway no 12 (Kota-Jhalawar NH). Earlier, commuters had to pass through traffic in Kota City but now they can bypass Kota City within 15 minutes.
  • Central span of Naini Brij in Allahabad is 260 meters, the Sea Link in Mumbai is 240 meters, Vidyasagar Setu in Kolkata and Second Vivekanand Bridge in Kolkata is 200 meters and 110 meters respectively so Kota’s CS Bridge has the longest main span of 350 meters.

Sources- Hindustantimes.