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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 13 February 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 13 February 2018


Paper 1:

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


Sahitya Akademi

Context: Kannada litterateur Chandrashekar Kambar has been elected as president of the Sahitya Akademi. Kambar, who has been recipient of various awards including Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Shri and Pampa Award, will serve as president of the Akademi for a period of five years. Hindi poet Madhav Koushik has been elected as vice-president.

Prof. Kambar is the third Kannada writer to head the country’s premier literary institution, after Vinayak Krishna Gokak (1983) and U.R. Ananthamurthy (1993).


About Sahitya Akademi:

Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication and promotion in the country and the only institution that undertakes literary activities in 24 Indian languages, including English. Though set up by the Government, the Akademi functions as an autonomous organisation.

The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India on 12 March 1954. The Government of India Resolution, which set forth the constitution of the Akademi, described it as a national organisation to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country.

Awards: Akademi gives 24 awards annually to literary works in the languages it has recognized and an equal number of awards to literary translations from and into the languages of India. It also gives special awards called Bhasha Samman to significant contribution to the languages not formally recognized by the Akademi as also for contribution to classical and medieval literature.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2:

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.


India gets access to strategic Oman port Duqm for military use

News: In a strategic move to expand its footprint in the Indian Ocean region, India has secured access to the key Port of Duqm in Oman for military use and logistical support. Following this pact, the services of Duqm port and dry dock will be available for maintenance of Indian military vessels. This was one of the key takeaways of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Oman.


Significance of this move:

The Port of Duqm is situated on the southeastern seaboard of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is strategically located, in close proximity to the Chabahar port in Iran. With the Assumption Island being developed in Seychelles and Agalega in Mauritius, Duqm fits into India’s proactive maritime security roadmap. This is also part of India’s maritime strategy to counter Chinese influence and activities in the region. The Port of Duqm also has a special economic zone, where about $1.8 billion investments are being made by some Indian companies.


The Indian Ocean is important for the following reasons:

  • It enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. This is particularly important in an era in which global shipping has burgeoned.
  • Indian Ocean is also rich in natural resources. 40% of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin. Fishing in the Indian Ocean now accounts for almost 15% of the world’s total.
  • Mineral resources are equally important, with nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron, and massive sulphide deposits of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold present in sizeable quantities on the sea bed. Indian Ocean coastal sediments are also important sources of titanium, zirconium, tin, zinc, and copper. Additionally, various rare earth elements are present, even if their extraction is not always commercially feasible.


India’s Importance in the Indian Ocean:

The Indian Ocean holds particular importance for India, as the littoral’s most populous country. Indeed, for the rest of the Ocean’s littoral states, and even those outside the region, India’s leadership role will be important in determining the strategic future. India is geographically located at the Ocean’s centre, and has over 7,500 kilometres of coastline. Finally, there is a strong security dimension to India’s engagement with the Indian Ocean, beyond traditional naval considerations.


Way ahead:

Indian ocean region is the primary area of concern for India. Securing its position here is vital before venturing elsewhere. For India, geographically the area of concern, and so the area of focus, should remain the IOR, stretching from the Gulf of Aden to the Strait of Malacca. While reiterating its commitment to upholding the established laws of the global commons, New Delhi should not go adrift in the larger Indo-Pacific. As more powers make inroads into this strategically crucial space, India must consolidate its position and not expect others to do its job, for it would only mean ceding space in the long run.


Sources: the hindu.

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


World Government Summit


Context: The sixth Edition of World Government Summit was held in Dubai, UAE.


About World Government Summit:

The World Government Summit is a global platform dedicated to shaping the future of government worldwide. Each year, the Summit sets the agenda for the next generation of governments with a focus on how they can harness innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity. It functions as a thought leadership platform and networking hub for policymakers, experts, and pioneers in human development.

The Summit is a gateway to the future as it functions as a stage for analysis of the future trends, issues, and opportunities facing humanity. It is also an arena to showcase innovations, best practice, and smart solutions to inspire creativity to tackle these future challenges.


Sources: the hindu.

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


Tanzania withdraws from UN refugee programme

Context: Tanzania has decided to withdraw from UN refugee programme for reasons of security and lack of funds. Tanzania has long been considered a safe haven for refugees, particularly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


About UN refugee programme:

The New York Declaration lays out a vision for a more predictable and more comprehensive response to these crises, known as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, or CRRF. It calls for greater support to refugees and the countries that host them. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants is a milestone for global solidarity and refugee protection at a time of unprecedented displacement across the world.

  • Adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2016, it contains historic and wide-ranging commitments that reaffirm the commitment by Member States to respect the human rights of refugees and migrants and to support the countries that welcome them.
  • UN’s “comprehensive refugee response framework” provides lasting solutions for refugees, including integration into host communities. The framework approach is based on the idea that refugees should be included in their host communities. When refugees have access to education and the right to work legally, they can develop their skills and be more self-reliant, contributing to the local economy.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3:

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


National Productivity Council


Context: The National Productivity Council observed National Productivity Day on February 12th. It is the 60th Anniversary of the National Productivity Council and is being celebrated as Diamond Jubilee Year.

Theme: “Industry 4.0 Leapfrog Opportunity for India ” has been selected as the theme for the National Productivity Week -2018.


About Industry 4.0:

Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution as it is called, is emerging globally as a powerful force and is being called as the next industrial revolution. It is characterized by the increasing digitization and interconnection of products, value chains and business models. Industry. Industry 4.0 would mean the convergence of real and virtual worlds-the next phase in bringing together conventional and modern technologies in manufacturing. This will result in the “Smart Factory”, which is characterized by versatility, resource efficiency, ergonomic design and direct integration with business partners.


National Productivity Council:

What is it? NPC is national level organization to promote productivity culture in India. Established by the Ministry of Industry, Government of India in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization with equal representation from employers’ & workers’ organizations and Government, apart from technical & professional institutions and other interests. NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an Inter Governmental Body, of which the Government of India is a founder member.

Functions: NPC teams up with its clients to work out solutions towards accelerating productivity, enhancing competitiveness, increasing profits, augmenting safety and reliability and ensuring better quality. It provides reliable database for decision-making, improved systems and procedures, work culture as well as customer satisfaction both internal & external. The solutions can be all-encompassing or specific depending on the nature of the problem. The council also helps monitor, review and implement the identified strategies.

Organization: The Union Minister for Industry is the President of the NPC, and the Secretary (Industrial Policy and Promotion) is its Chairman.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: infrastructure, roadways.


India’s first ‘Highway Capacity Manual’ released

‘Indo-HCM’, country’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) has been released.


About Indo- HCM:

The manual has been developed by CSIR-CRRI on the basis of an extensive, country-wide study of the traffic characteristics on different categories of roads like single lane, two-lane, multi-lane urban roads, inter- urban highways and expressways and the associated intersections on these roads. It will guide road engineers and policy makers about road expansion.

The manual lays down guidelines for when and how to expand or manage different types of roads and their intersections and the level of services to be put in place. It has been developed based on the unique nature and diversity of traffic on Indian roads.


Benefits of this manual:

India was among the very few South Asian countries which did not have the practice of having a country specific HCAP manual. The US and Danish authorities had pioneered the practice of having a key document to set highway construction standards all across their countries. This manual would now help in the scientific planning and expansion of road infrastructure in the country.


Way ahead:

Highways are crucial for country’s development and there is a need to follow successful best practices in the world regarding construction of roads and highways. The government should popularise the use of new material like fly-ash, plastic, oil slag and municipal waste in road construction. Researchers and engineers should also expedite formulation of a good design for safe and effective speed breakers for Indian roads.


Sources: the hindu.



Facts for Prelims:


World Radio Day:

Context: World Radio Day is celebrated on February 13th.

Theme of World Radio Day 2018: Under the ambit of theme “Radio and Sports” are three sub-themes for World Radio Day 2018. They are: Diversity in Sports Coverage, Gender Equality in Sports Coverage and Peace and Development through Sports Coverage.

History of World Radio Day: The idea of World Radio Day was first proposed by Spain’s Radio Academy in 2010. The following year, in 2011, UNESCO declared the first World Radio Day. February 13 was chosen to mark World Radio Day, coinciding with the anniversary of the United Nations Radio, the United Nation’s international broadcasting service which was established on February 13, 1946. World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference. It was subsequently adopted as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly.


First Hindu Temple Project In Abu Dhabi:

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently officially launched the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first Hindu temple in the capital of the UAE, home to over three million people of Indian origin.

Key facts: Swaminarayan temple of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will come up on 55,000 square metres of land. The temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE. It will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds. It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East.


Mumbai 12th richest city in the world:

Context: Mumbai is placed at 12th position in New World Wealth’s list of top 15 wealthiest cities globally. Mumbai, also features among the top 10 cities in terms of billionaire population. The city is home to 28 billionaires, individuals with $1 billion or more in net assets.

Top performers: The list of 15 wealthiest cities was topped by New York with a total wealth of $3 trillion. London ranked second in the list with $2.7 trillion, followed by Tokyo ($2.5 trillion), and San Francisco Bay area ($2.3 trillion).