GS Paper I- Indian Heritage and Culture.

National Tribal Festival Kicks Off At Kalagram, Chandigarh.

Background

  • To celebrate tribal culture, cuisine and commerce, a 10-day National Tribal Festival, Aadi Mohatsav, kicked off at Kalagram in Manimajra, Chandigarh, on 2nd February, 2018.
  • The festival was inaugurated by Haryana Governor, Kaptan Singh Solanki. The event was a collaboration between the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs and North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Pravir Krishan, Managing Director, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), in his opening address, said that this is an initiative for the betterment of tribal artisans. Over 150 artisans from almost 25 states have come here to showcase the art and culture of their land which is thousands of years old.
  • He further said that the artisans were highly trained and uniquely gifted craftsman but due to the lack of market access, they have failed to reap the full benefits of their craft. It takes an artisan three months to make a sar. But this effort is not fully rewarded because the middle man takes away a huge slice of the profit. By taking such initiatives, we remove the middle man and connect the artisan with the bigger market, Krishan added.
  • The event sprang to life with music and dance performance by artistes, who had come from states such as Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh (J&K) and Haryana to showcase the music and dance forms of their states.
  • Layul Sur Sangam, a Himachal-based musical group, gave the first performance of the festival. Satinder, the lead dancer of the group, said that they have been performing at the tribal festivals for a while now. They also took part in the festival recently held in Delhi. It is a great platform to showcase the music and dance forms of their region.
  • The artistes will be showcasing their music and dance from 6 pm to 8 pm every evening. The festival has set up over 70 stalls for the exhibition-cum-sale of various artworks from the tribal regions of the state.
  • The tribal artisans have started incorporating technology to enhance their commerce. In line with the national programme of digital India, TRIFED has adopted digital financial transactions.
  • It is for the first time that the artisans will be accepting payment through credit and debit cards for which point of sale (POS) machines have been provided to every stall, said Krishan. He further stated that TRIFED has made arrangements with online marketing giants, Amazon, Flipkart and Paytm, for the benefit of artisans.

Sources- The Indian Express.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

Union Cabinet Approves Ratification Of Minamata Convention On Mercury.

Background

  • The Union cabinet on 7th February, 2018 approved a proposal for ratification of the Minamata Convention, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from adverse effects of mercury.
  • After joining the Convention, it will now be easier for India to get technological or financial assistance to address issues related to mercury.
  • The approval entails ratification of the Minamata Convention on mercury along with flexibility for continued use of mercury-based products and processes involving mercury compound up to 2025.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The government stressed that the convention will urge enterprises to move to mercury-free alternatives in products and non-mercury technologies in manufacturing processes and will drive research and development, and promote innovation.
  • The convention will be implemented in the context of sustainable development with the objective to protect human health and environment from the anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds, the statement added.
  • Till now, the convention has 88 ratifications and 144 signatories including India, which signed it on 30 September 2014. India had actively participated in the negotiating process, making significant contributions in finalizing the treaty text but had not ratified it till now.
  • India’s neighbours – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan – are also signatories to the convention. But only Sri Lanka has ratified it.
  • In October 2013, at a conference in Kumamoto (Japan), the convention was formally adopted. The major highlights of the convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase-out and phase-down of mercury use in a number of products and processes. It also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, and sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
  • The first Conference of the Parties (CoP) under the Minamata Convention took place in Geneva, Switzerland last year (2017) but India had not ratified it till then.
  • Mercury is considered by experts to be one of the most toxic metals known. Once released into the environment, mercury bio-accumulates and bio-magnifies in the food chain, and easily enters the human body and impacts the nervous system. The treaty aims at protecting human health and the environment from its adverse effects.

Sources- Livemint.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

Cabinet Approves Discovered Small Field Round II.

Background

  • The Union Cabinet on 8th February, 2018 approved offering of 60 oil and gas fields of ONGC and OIL in the second auction of Discovered Small Field round.
  • Out of the 60 fields, 22 were discovered by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), 5 belong to Oil India Ltd and 12 are relinquished fields/discoveries from blocks offered in bids rounds under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) since 1999.
  • The remaining 21 are fields that did not receive any bid in the DSF first round last year.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for extending the Discovered Small Field Policy notified on October 14, 2015 to identified 60 discovered small fields / un-monetised discoveries for offer under the Discovered Small Field Policy Bid Round-ll.
  • These discoveries are estimated to have 194.65 million tons of oil and oil equivalent gas in place.
  • These fields will be developed and monetised faster thereby augmenting production of oil and gas leading to enhance energy security of the country.
  • Investments into these fields will lead to generation of over 88,000 jobs as direct, indirect and induced employment.
  • Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS) comprising Secretary (Petroleum and Natural Gas), Secretary (Expenditure) and Law Secretary will finalise and approve Model Revenue Sharing Contract, Notice Inviting Offer (NIO) and other documents for Discovered Small Fields Bid Round-ll.
  • The award of contract will be approved by the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Finance based on the recommendations of ECS.
  • In the first round, contracts for 31 fields were signed last year (2017). The fields signed off in first round envisage a cumulative peak production of around 15,000 barrels per day of oil and 2 millions standard cubic meters of gas.

Sources- NDTV.