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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 March 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 March 2018


Paper 1:

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


‘Adopt a Heritage Project’

Context: Letter of Intent has been issued to 24 agencies for the Submission of Vision Bids for 75 sites under the Adopt a Heritage Project.

  • The private players will undertake gap analysis of the actual requirement of the basic and advanced amenities, within the permissible guidelines of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and prepare a Vision Bid Proposal accordingly for the site opted by them.
  • Once vision bid is accepted, MoU will be signed with the related party for upkeep of the Monument for overall enhanced tourist experience.


Adopt a Heritage Project:

What is it? The ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism was launched on World Tourism Day i.e. 27th September, 2017.  This project is a key initiative of Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archeological Survey of India (ASI), to develop the heritage sites / monuments and making them tourist-friendly to enhance the tourism potential and their cultural importance in a planned and phased manner.

How it works? The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of tourist amenities. The project aims to develop synergy among all partners.

Monument Mitras: Successful bidders selected for adopting heritage sites / monuments by the Oversight and Vision Committee shall be called as Monument Mitras. The basic and advanced amenities of the tourist destinations would be provided by them. They would also look after the operations and the maintenance of the amenities. The ‘Monument Mitras’ would associate pride with their CSR activities.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Adopt a Heritage, Monument Mitras and World Tourism Day.
  • For Mains: Need for conservation of heritage sites.


Sources: pib.

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


Karnataka govt clears minority status for Lingayats

Context: The Karnataka government has decided to declare Lingayats as a religious minority and include the Veerashaivas who follow Basavanna as a group within the community. The state government will, now, recommend to the Centre that the community be granted religious minority status.



The community has been demanding status of a separate religion for a long time. One part of the community demands the minority status for both Veerashaiva and Lingayats considering them the same, while another wants it only for the Lingayats as it considers Veershaivas to be Hindus.

Karnataka State Minorities Commission had formed a seven-member committee, headed by retired high court Judge HN Nagamohan Das on the issue. The Nagamohan committee has recommended minority status for only the Lingayats and has kept Veershaivas out.


Who are Lingayats?

Lingayats are followers of 12th-century social reformer Basavanna and his vachana (verses) philosophy. Their beliefs, practices and faith are different. Veerashaivas worship Lord Shiva, the one mentioned in Hindu mythology. However, the Shiva that Basavanna referred to in his vachanas (verses) is not the Hindu god Shiva but the ishtalinga (formless God), which people of the community wear around their neck.


Who are Veerashaivas?

Veerashaivas are a sub-sect of Lingayats and ardent followers of Lord Shiva. They preceded Basavanna, the founder of Lingayatism. Veerashaivism has its roots in the Vedas and Agamas, and Veerashaivas do not worship any god other than Shiva; they can be found spread across Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.


Who is Basavanna?

Basavanna was a 12th-century social reformer. The revolution that Basavanna led came years after the Buddha. It was Basavanna and his contemporary Sharanas who launched a very strong spiritual, social and religious rebellion against Brahminical hegemony. Basavanna had declared that “work is worship”. He gave women equal status in his movement through the vachanas (verses). In order to take the social movement closer to the people, Basavanna and all the other Sharanas voiced their concerns in simple Kannada vachanas so that even lay people could comprehend them.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Minority status.
  • For Mains: Need for minority status- issues and challenges.


Sources: the hindu.



Paper 2:

Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.


Russian Presidential Elections

Context: Vladimir Putin has won another term as Russia’s president.

President of Russia:

This is the highest office in the country, with the holder being the head of state and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Two key powers which allow the President a far-reaching political influence are their right to determine the country’s foreign policy stance and their right to nominate candidates for most official state positions, such as for the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Federation Council – the upper house of the Parliament.


Electoral System:

Russian Presidential elections take place every six years in a two-round electoral system. During the first round, an absolute majority is required to win. If no candidate gets 50%+1 of the votes, a second round is held exactly three weeks later between the two candidates with the most votes.


Who can contest?

According to the Constitution, any Russian citizen who is more than 35, has permanently resided in Russia for the 10 years leading up to the election, and has committed no serious crime can run for Presidency.

  • However, individuals running as independents or with the backing of a political party which is not represented in the State Duma, the lower house of the Parliament, face an additional obstacle.
  • Those with the backing of a political party have to collect 100.000 signatures in support of their candidacy, while for independents that number goes up to 300.000. Moreover, there is a ban on more than two consecutive terms in office, although Presidents are free to run again for a further third and fourth time after sitting out once full electoral term.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


‘SATHE’ program

Context: NITI Aayog has released comprehensive roadmaps and detailed timelines for its initiative ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E)’.


Key facts:

  • These roadmaps, which operate between 2018 to 2020, lay out detailed interventions which will be taken by the three participating States- Jharkand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha – aiming to become ‘Role Model States’ in school education.
  • These roadmaps present the first-of-its-kind, customized, action-oriented programmes, outlining interventions at the individual, district and State level, it said.
  • The roadmaps were jointly prepared by NITI Aayog, the three States and the knowledge partners of the SATH Initiatives, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Piramal Foundation For Education Leadership (PFEL).


About SATHE Program:

What is it? SATH-E has been envisaged as a programme which aims to transform elementary and secondary school education across the selected states. SATH-E roadmap refers to a time-bound, goal-driven exercise that will reach its logical culmination by the end of the academic year 2020.

Implementation: The SATH-E initiative in based on formal agreements with the States and will be funded through a cost-sharing mechanism between NITI Aayog and the participating states. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Piramal Foundation for Education Leadership (PFEL) were chosen as knowledge partners for the project facilitating review, data collection and implementation.

Significance: SATH-E aims to create role model States for education and mainstream ‘islands of excellence’ across the country to facilitate qualitative and quantitative transformation of learning outcomes.  Marrying technology with need-based, data-driven assessment and a ‘giving it what it takes’ approach – be it innovation, incubation, external third party funding and Public- Private- Philanthropic Partnership (PPPP) experimentation – SATH-E puts the States in the driver’s seat to transform education at scale.


What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: SATHE and its significance.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Tribal Diaries

Context: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has developed an android based mobile application called Tribal Diaries.

About the application:

  • It has been developed for internal monitoring and for connecting with officers/officials concerned with implementation of schemes / programmes for tribal development.
  • The application is for accredited users. This application provides an opportunity for visual feedback in terms of photographs, videos, uploading reports of official tours / inspections and sharing of best practices etc.
  • The application is being extensively used to get an overview of the Ekalavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) funded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.


Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS):

Eklavya Model Residential School Scheme was started in 1998 and first school was started in the year 2000 in Maharashtra. EMRSs have been functioning as institutions of excellence for tribal students.

  • As per existing EMRS Guidelines of 2010, at least one EMRS is to be set up in each Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) / Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) having 50% ST population in the area.
  • The capital cost for setting up the school complex, including hostels and staff quarters etc. has been earmarked at Rs. 12 crore with a provision to go up to Rs.16 crore in hill areas, deserts and islands. Recurring cost during the first year for these schools would be Rs. 42000/-per child, with a provision of raising it by 10% every second year to compensate for inflation etc.


What’s important?

For Prelims: Tribal diaries, Ekalvya Model schools.

For Mains: Need for empowerment of tribals.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Scheme for construction workers

Context: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to frame a model scheme before September 30 to address the issues of education, health, social security and pension for construction workers, saying they build not just infrastructure, but also the nation.


What has the court said?

  • Frame a scheme to ensure workers receive proper education, health, social security, old age, disability pension and other benefits necessary to live a dignified life.
  • All state governments and union territories should constitute an expert committee and bring out statutory rules within six months.



  • The Centre and states are not addressing the plight of construction workers despite Parliament framing Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act in 1996 for levy and collection of 1% cess on cost of construction.
  • Around Rs 37,400 crore have been collected from cess over the years but only about Rs 9,500 crore have been utilised and Rs 28,000 crore remain unutilised.


Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act:

BOCW Act is a welfare legislation intended and enacted for the benefit of the unorganised sector of building and construction workers. It has a strong flavour of social justice and is a serious attempt by Parliament to ensure that building and construction workers are not exploited because of their poverty and their children do not suffer their fate in terms of education, healthy living and whatever it takes to live a life of dignity.


Way ahead:

It is quite clear that insofar as the rights of construction workers are concerned, that vulnerable section of the society has been badly let down by the governance structure. Unless there is effective and full compliance of the provisions, thousands of beneficiaries will be denied what is constitutionally and statutorily due to them.


What’s important?

For Mains: Protection of vulnerable groups of the society- need, challenges and solutions.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.



Context: Indian Railways recently handed over 18 microprocessor controlled Indian locomotives to Myanma Railways. They are supplied by RITES and manufactured by Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, India.


About RITES:

RITES is a Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Railways. It is the export arm of the railways undertaking various projects worldwide.

  • RITES has engaged in the supply of Railway rolling stock (locomotives, coaches, wagons, permanent way maintenance vehicles), maintenance of railway infrastructure, technical studies, training of Myanmar Railway officials.


Sources: pib.



Facts for Prelims:




Context: The Indo-French joint naval exercise, “Varuna-18”, has commenced in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast.

About Varuna: The Indian Navy and the French Navy have been conducting naval exercises since 1983. These exercises were christened as “Varuna” in 2001. The last edition of the exercise was conducted off the French coast in April last year.