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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 13 December 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 13 December 2017


GS Paper 1:

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture



The Second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture is being held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

Objective of the conference: It will bring together, for the second time, Ministers of Tourism and Ministers of Culture as well as private sector stakeholders and experts with the objective of building and strengthening partnerships between the Tourism and Culture sectors and enhance their role in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Aim of the conference: The conference aims to address a wide range of topics, including governance models, tourism development and protection of cultural heritage, culture and tourism in urban development and creativity, and exploring cultural landscape in tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development in destinations worldwide.


This Conference is a sequel to the First UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture, held in Siem Reap, Cambodia in February 2015 and will provide the platform to reflect upon the Siem Reap Declaration that pledged to explore the synergies of the tourism and culture sectors to work in harmony for sustainable development.

Significance of this conference:

The United Nations has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, thereby offering a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential to help transform the world into a place of prosperity and wellbeing for all. In this context, the second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture features prominently as one of the official events on the calendar of activities of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.


About UNWTO:

What is it?

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.


UNWTO’s membership includes 158 countries, 6 Associate Members and over 500 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

What it does?

  • As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
  • UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism’s socio-economic contribution while minimizing its possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development worldwide.
  • UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world.


Sources: pib.



 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena.


Why meteoroids explode before reaching Earth decoded




A recent study found that our atmosphere is a better shield from meteoroids than previously thought. So far, researchers knew that meteoroids often blew up before they reach the Earth’s surface, but they did not know why.

But, why meteoroids explode before reaching Earth?

When a meteor comes hurtling towards Earth, the high-pressure air in front of it seeps into its pores and cracks, pushing the body of the meteor apart and causing it to explode.

There is a big gradient between high-pressure air in front of the meteor and the vacuum of air behind it. If the air can move through the passages in the meteorite, it can easily get inside and blow off pieces.


Sources: et.



GS Paper 2:

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government.


Special courts to try politicians



In a decision intended to end the inordinate delay in the prosecution of politicians in criminal cases, the Centre has decided to set up special courts to deal exclusively with cases against 1,581 MPs and MLAs with the aim of disposing of them in a year. this decision has been conveyed by the centre to the Supreme Court.

What has the Centre proposed?

Initially, 12 courts would be constituted. Two special courts would handle cases against 228 MPs and the other 10 would be set up in 10 states — Andhra, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, UP and Bengal—where the number of MLAs booked for criminal acts is more than 65. Disposing of 1,581criminal cases involving political persons within a time frame of one year as directed by the SC is the aim as well as the objective of the scheme.

Need for special courts:

There are several high-profile cases against leaders from almost all political parties—regional and national where investigations have dragged on for years and those facing trial have evaded prison.

Implications of this move:

The Centre’s decision could be a setback to politicians who, despite facing serious charges, have remained members of Parliament and state assemblies due to time consumed in trials. Such cases will fall in the purview of special courts and their fate will be decided expeditiously.


Sources: the hindu.



Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


FAME India scheme





Original equipment manufacturers will have to seek approval from the Department of Heavy Industry before accepting any proposal to supply electric buses for availing incentives under the FAME India scheme. The move is aimed at facilitating the smooth roll out and management of demand incentives for electric buses under the scheme.

About FAME India scheme:

What is it? With an aim to promote eco-friendly vehicles, the government had launched the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-India) scheme in 2015.

The FAME India Scheme is aimed at incentivising all vehicle segments, including two-wheelers, three wheeler auto, passenger four-wheeler vehicle, light commercial vehicles and buses. The scheme covers hybrid and electric technologies like a strong hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Facts: FAME India – Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. The scheme envisages Rs 795 crore support in the first two fiscals starting with the current year. It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry.


Sources: the hindu.



Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.


India, Australia call for ‘open’ Asia-Pacific zone


asia pacific zone


India and Australia highlighted the need to maintain the Asia-Pacific region as a “free” and “open” zone under recently held the “2+2” dialogue model which includes the foreign and defense secretaries of both sides. The discussion was the first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in the quadrilateral discussion for a new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region.

Need to maintain the Asia- Pacific region as a free and open zone:

A free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. Besides, there is a growing convergence of strategic perspectives between the India and Australia.

Way ahead:

Asia’s third largest economy, India – remains on the outside of the APEC grouping despite a membership request dating back more than 20 years. India in APEC would help offset the now-overwhelming influence of the Chinese economy, while also embedding India in a forum that would nudge it toward further economic reform.


Sources: the hindu.



Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank




India will host the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of AIIB at Mumbai on 25th and 26th June 2018. In this regard, the Government of India and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Secretariat have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to delineate the duties and responsibilities of major stakeholders who would be involved in organizing the aforesaid Annual Meeting.

The Theme of the Annual Meeting, 2018 will be “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration”.

About AIIB:

What is it?

The AIIB was established as a new multilateral financial institution aimed at providing “financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia.” It was founded in October, 2014, and has its headquarters in Beijing.

Its goals are also to boost economic development in the region, create wealth, prove infrastructure, and promote regional cooperation and partnership.

Funding: The value of AIIB’s authorized capital amounts to $100 billion, with almost $30 billion invested by China. India is not only one of the founding members of AIIB but is also the 2nd largest shareholder in AIIB.


Sources: the hindu.



GS Paper 3:

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


New bridges inaugurated in eastern Arunachal Pradesh


Context: Two crucial bridges in eastern Arunachal Pradesh have been dedicated to the nation. The bridges have been built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

deopani bridge

The new bridges are:

Injupani Bridge: It is a 140-metre long-bridge on Roing-Koronu-Paya road, which is a part of Trans Arunachal Highway. The completion of the Injupani Bridge will provide an uninterrupted access between Roing & Tezu, both important district HQs in Arunachal Pradesh.

Deopani/Eze Bridge: It is 300-metre long pre-stressed concrete balanced cantilever bridge over the Eze river at Roing in Arunachal Pradesh. The completion of the Eze bridge has come as a boon for the people of the area, especially those of Dibang Valley district, as the district remained cut off from the rest of the country during the monsoons each year.

About BRO:

Functioning under the control of the Ministry of Defence since 2015, the BRO is engaged in road construction to provide connectivity to difficult and inaccessible regions in the border areas of the country.

  • It is staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Military Police and army personnel on extra regimental employment.
  • Engineering Service and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.
  • Currently, the organisation maintains operations in twenty-one states, one UT (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
  • The BRO operates and maintains over 32,885 kilometres of roads and about 12,200 meters of permanent bridges in the country.


Sources: pib.



Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


IMT highway



India is planning to hold talks with Asean countries to extend the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway up to Vietnam. As per proposals from India, the highway could be extended to Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia.


Significance of this expansion:

This connectivity can generate an estimated $70 billion annually in incremental GDP and $20 million in incremental aggregate employment by 2025. Connecting India with the South eastern countries through a network of road will create jobs, market for crops grown in hilly regions of the Northeast which will also help growers in getting better price for their produce.

About IMT highway:

The India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway is a highway under construction under India’s Look East policy that will connect Moreh, India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar. The road is expected to boost trade and commerce in the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with the rest of Southeast Asia. It is important to note that the project already missed its first deadline in 2015 and India has consistently faced difficulty in implementing its projects in Myanmar.


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), has 10 member nations Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia.


Sources: the hindu.