GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Indian Architect Balkrishna Doshi Wins The Prestigious Pritzker Prize.

Background

  • Ninety-year-old Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi has won this year’s prestigious Pritzker Prize for his pioneering work in low-cost housing.
  • He is the first Indian to receive the award, considered to be architecture’s highest honour.
  • Doshi studied in Mumbai before travelling to Paris in the 1950s to work for the Franco-Swiss pioneer, Le Corbusier.
  • He will be awarded $100,000 (£80,591) at a ceremony in Toronto in May 2018.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Previous winners include Jørn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House, Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil and the British-Iraqi designer, Zaha Hadid.
  • The jury added that Doshi constantly demonstrates that all good architecture and urban planning must not only unite purpose and structure but must take into account climate, site, technique, and craft, along with a deep understanding and appreciation of the context in the broadest sense.
  • Doshi’s wide ranging work in buildings include institutions, mixed-use complexes, housing projects, public spaces, galleries, and private residences.
  • He designed a top management school in the southern city of Bangalore and a well-known low cost housing scheme in the central city of Indore.
  • More than 6,500 homes in the Indore scheme now house some 80,000 low to middle income people. A system of houses, courtyards and a labyrinth of internal pathways make it one of the most notable low cost housing schemes in India.
  • He became one of the most influential architects of post-independence India, fusing international modernist principles with local traditions.
  • Doshi began studying architecture in 1947, the year India gained Independence, at Mumbai’s famous Sir JJ School of Architecture.
  • Working under Le Corbusier, he returned to India in 1954 and worked on the Modernist guru’s projects in the cities of Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.

Sources- BBC.

GS Paper II- International Relations.

Myanmar Puts Off Border Pact With India.

Background

  • Myanmar has indefinitely deferred signing an agreement with India to streamline the free movement of people within 16 km along the border.
  • India is keen to sign the agreement but Myanmar — citing “domestic compulsions” — has asked more time before the agreement is sealed.
  • On January 3, 2018 the Union Cabinet had approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on land border crossing to enhance economic interaction between people of the two countries.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • To give it shape, the Centre had asked four States — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram — that share the unfenced border with Myanmar to distribute “border pass” to all the residents living within 16 km from the border.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been deferred twice in the past seven months.
  • It was to be signed in September 2017 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Naypyidaw for a bilateral visit. India tried to again push the agreement in January, 2018 when Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was in New Delhi with nine ASEAN leaders as chief guest for the Republic Day parade.
  • An official said as per the proposal, there would have been no restrictions on the movement of people across the borders.
  • The domiciles were to be allotted border passes and those going across for agriculture, work or to meet relatives should carry the pass at all times.
  • The official said both the countries intend to put a system in place after India raised the issue of movement of extremists and smugglers freely across the border.
  • Naorem Premkanta Singh, a militant arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), who was part of the group that attacked an army convoy in 2015 in Manipur’s Chandel district killing 18 personnel, has said in his interrogation that they were in India for five days after the attack before crossing over to Myanmar on foot.
  • India and Myanmar share a 1,643 km unfenced border along Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km) and permit a ‘free movement’ regime upto 16 km beyond the border.

Sources- The Hindu.

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

European Bank For Reconstruction And Development Approves India’s Membership.

Background

  • India is all set to become the 69th member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) after shareholders of the international financial institution gave their nod to the country’s candidature.
  • The EBRD said that its shareholders have agreed to India becoming its member. The move follows the Indian government’s application to seek the EBRD membership back in December 2017 and sets the stage for an increase in joint investment with Indian companies in the Bank’s regions of operation.
  • The formal membership process will now get underway, which includes the purchase of shares by India at an estimated cost of around €1 million.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The EBRD’s board of governors, which represents all the existing shareholders of the UK-based bank, voted in favour of India’s membership application last week. If all the paperwork is processed in time, India could be ready to take its seat at the table in time for the bank’s annual meeting in Jordan in May, 2018.
  • The London-headquartered EBRD is a multilateral development bank set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin wall to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in emerging Europe. It invests in 38 emerging economies across three continents, according to a set of criteria that aim to make its countries more competitive, better governed, greener, more inclusive, more resilient and more integrated.
  • The bank has worked with leading Indian companies, such as Tata, Mahindra, SREI and Jindal, on investments in its regions, with the value of such joint projects worth an estimated €1 billion. With India now taking a shareholding in the EBRD, it is expected that the scope of these joint initiatives will be further enhanced.
  • While India will not be a recipient of EBRD financing, it will benefit from the banks expertise and support in the region. Indian companies are going global and a lot of the push for this membership came from them. India could see the benefit from it and the additional comfort level of working in regions where we have local knowledge, said Nandita Parshad, EBRD managing director, energy and natural resources, who will be heading to India later this week for meetings with the department of economic affairs on the issue.
  • In 2017, the EBRD had signed an accord to strengthen ties with the ISA, which was launched during the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris at the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former French President François Hollande as a platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich economies.
  • According to official estimates, the total value of joint India-EBRD investments in EBRD economies currently stands at €982 million, with the majority of the transactions in the private sector.

Sources- Livemint.