ART AND CULTURE
1. THE ART AND CRAFT OF SRINAGAR
THE CONTEXT: Srinagar became one of 49 cities worldwide to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
- The Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO had recommended Srinagarand Gwalior for inclusion in the list; only Srinagar made it this time. Five Indian cities are already in the list — Mumbai (film), Hyderabad (gastronomy), Chennai (music), Varanasi (music) and Jaipur (crafts and folk art).
- While the entire central Kashmir is known for its varied craft traditions, the UCCN allows only individual cities to file nominations.
- Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam are the main districts of Kashmir that have for ages been involved in making handicrafts products — such as textiles, carpets and rugs, crewel embroidery, silverware, woodwork and papier-mâché.
- Papier-mâché is said to have been brought to Kashmir by saint Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani from Persia in the 14th century. It is based primarily on creating colourful utility and decorative objects using paper pulp — vases, bowls, cups, boxes, trays and lamp bases. The art is concentrated mainly around downtown Srinagar and employs around 35,000 artisans — big and small, traders and kaarigars.
- The wood comes from walnut trees, which grow at 7,000 feet above sea level here, and is used to make tables, jewellery boxes and trays. Downtown Srinagar is dotted with shops where one finds craftsmen chiselling and polishing wood. These items are an essential attraction for tourists visiting Kashmir, besides being in great demand locally.
- The best-quality shawls in the world are still made of pashmina, the wool of the wild Asian mountain goat.
- The region is also the epicentre of high-quality, intricately woven woollen material like shawls, carpets and rugs. This is the only craft — unlike walnut carving and papier-mâché — that sees extensive participation by women artisans as well.
- It is expected that the UCCN tag would not only give global recognition to Srinagar but also help it in getting international funding, making tie-ups with craft universities, and pitching crafts as products.
- It was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
- The UCCN is now an exclusive club of 295 cities from across 90 countries that invest in culture and creativity — crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music — to advance sustainable urban development.
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
2. FROTHING IN DELHI’S YAMUNA
THE CONTEXT: A layer of froth was seen floating over parts of the Yamuna River near Kalindi Kunj, with Chhath devotees standing in toxic foam-laden water to offer prayers.
- Experts say the release of untreated or poorly treated effluents, including sewage from those parts of the city that are not connected to the sewerage network and industrial waste, could lead to frothing.
- Surfactants and phosphates from detergents in households and industrial laundry find their way into the river, as all the sewage is not treated.
- The river is in a lean phase and the water flow is less. Pollutants, therefore, are not diluted. The turbulence at the barrage near Okhla generates foam from the phosphates.
- In June this year, the DPCC banned the sale, storage and transportation of soaps and detergents not conforming to the quality standards set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The now-disbanded Yamuna Monitoring Committee had recommended that such a ban be imposed.
3. FOURTH SCORPENE SUBMARINE VELA
THE CONTEXT: The fourth submarine of the Project – 75, VELA was delivered to the Indian Navy.
- Project – 75 includes the construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. These submarines are being constructed at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, under collaboration with M/s Naval Group, France.
- Christened ‘Vela’, has completed all major harbour and sea trials including weapon and sensor trials despite COVID restrictions. Three of these submarines are already in commission with the Indian Navy.
- Submarine construction is an intricate activity as the difficulty is compounded when all equipment are required to be miniaturised and are subject to stringent quality requirements.
- The submarine would soon be commissioned into the Indian Navy and enhance the Indian Navies capability.
4. THE MINERALS CONCESSION RULES 2021 NOTIFIED
THE CONTEXT: Ministry of Mines has notified the Minerals (Other than Atomic and Hydro Carbons Energy Mineral) Concession (Fourth Amendment) Rules, 2021 to amend The Minerals (Other than Atomic and Hydro Carbons Energy Mineral) Concession Rules, 2016 [MCR, 2016].
- The highlights of amendments in the Rules are as follows:
- New rules were inserted to provide a manner of sale of 50% of mineral produced from the captive leases. With this amendment, the Government has paved the way for releasing additional minerals in the market by greater utilization of mining capacities of captive mines. The allowance for the sale of a prescribed quantity of mineral shall also motivate the lessees to enhance the production from the captive mines. Further, payment of the additional premium amount, royalty and other statutory payments in respect of the quantity sold shall boost the revenue of the State Governments.
- A provision was added to allow the disposal of overburden/ waste rock/ mineral below the threshold value, which is generated during the course of mining or beneficiation of the mineral. This will enable ease of doing business for the miners.
- The minimum area for the grant of mining lease has been revised from 5 ha. to 4 ha. For certain specific deposits, minimum 2 ha. is provided.
- Part surrender of mining lease area allowed in all cases. Presently, part surrender was allowed only in case of non-grant of forest clearance.
- Rules amended to allow transfer of composite licence or mining lease of all types of mine.
- New rules were inserted to provide for mutation of ML/ CL in favour of legal heirs on the death of the lessee or licenced.
- Interest on delayed payments revised from existing 24% to 12%.
- Rules regarding the period of mining lease granted to Government companies and their payments incorporated in the MCR, 2016.
- Penalty provisions in the rules have been rationalized. Previously, the rules provided for a penalty of imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 5 lakh rupees or both for violation of each rule irrespective of the severity of the violation. Amendment in the rules categorized the violations of the rules under the following major heads:
- Major Violations: Penalty of imprisonment, fine or both.
- Minor Violations: Penalty reduced. The penalty of only fine for such violations prescribed.
- Violation of other rules has been decriminalized. These rules did not cast any significant obligation on the concession holder or any other person. Thus, violation of 49 rules has been decriminalized.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
5. LEONIDS METEOR SHOWER
THE CONTEXT: The annual Leonids Meteor Shower has begun. This year’s shower is active between November 6 and 30, with peak activity expected on November 17.
- The peak time of a meteor shower comes when the Earth passes through the densest part of the debris. On November 17, bits of the cosmic debris will appear to viewers from Earth like a display of fireworks in the sky.
- The debris that forms this meteor shower originates from a small comet called 55P/Tempel-Tuttle in the constellation Leo, which takes 33 years to orbit the sun.
- The Leonids are considered to be a major shower that features the fastest meteors, which typically travel at speeds of 71 km per second, although the rates are often as low as 15 meteors per hour.
- The Leonids are also called fireballs and earthgazer meteors. Fireballs, because of their bright colours, and earthgazer, because they streak close to the horizon.
- The light—which is why a meteor is called a shooting star — is a result of the friction between the meteorite and the molecules present in the Earth’s atmosphere because of which it burns.
- Every 33 years, a Leonid shower turns into a meteor storm, which is when hundreds to thousands of meteors can be seen every hour. A meteor storm should have at least 1,000 meteors per hour. I
- In 1966, a Leonid storm offered views of thousands of meteors that fell through the Earth’s atmosphere per minute during a period of 15 minutes. The last such storm took place in2002.
6. NSA MEETS TAJIK AND UZBEK COUNTERPARTS
THE CONTEXT: Ahead of the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue, National Security Adviser met his counterparts from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for separate bilateral meetings.
- At present, no country has recognised the Taliban Interim Government and the Taliban has rejected calls for an electoral process to decide who will succeed the previous Ghani Government.
- They discussed the terror threats from Afghanistan, the humanitarian crisis unfolding there and the need for an inclusive and “legitimate” government in Kabul.
- National Security Adviser of India and Tajikistan also spoke about deepening cooperation in areas like defence, border management and border infrastructure development.
7. ISSI SAANEQ
THE CONTEXT: Issi saaneq is New dinosaur species, which roamed Greenland 214 mn years ago.
- In 1994, palaeontologists from Harvard University unearthed two well-preserved dinosaur skulls during an excavation in East Greenland.
- One of the specimens was originally thought to be from a Plateosaurus, a well-known long-necked dinosaur that lived in Germany, France and Switzerland.
- Now, an international team of researchers from Portugal, Denmark and Germany has performed a micro-CT scan of the bones, which enabled them to create digital 3D models.
- They have determined that the finds belong to a new species, which they have named Issi saaneq. They have reported their findings in the journal Diversity.
- The name of the new dinosaur pays tribute to Greenland’s Inuit language and means “coldbone”.
8. THE NEXT CHIEF OF THE NAVAL STAFF
THE CONTEXT: Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar, presently Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) Western Naval Command, has been appointed as the next Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS).
- He will take over on November 30 when incumbent Admiral Karambir Singh retires from service.
- Vice Admiral Kumar graduated from J-squadron, 61 Course National Defence Academy in December 1981 and was commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Navy on January 1, 1983.
- During a career spanning nearly 39 years, he has served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments.
- Vice Admiral Kumar’s Sea Command includes Coast Guard Ship C-01, INS Nishank, Missile Corvette,INS Kora and Guided Missile Destroyer INS Ranvir.
- He also commanded the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. He also served as Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Papier Mache is popular art in:
ANSWER FOR NOVEMBER 9th, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Answer: B
- Statement 1 is correct: It was created in 2004 to promote cooperation among the cities for sustainable urban development.
- Statement 2 is correct: Varanasi and Chennai cities have been added to the network under the category of music.
- Statement 3 is incorrect: Srinagar and Jaipur have been added to the network under the category of craft and folk art.