Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - November 6, 2017


Tamil Nadu’s Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple wins UNESCO award

  • The Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam in Tamil Nadu has won UNESCO Asia-Pacific award for cultural heritage conservation programme in the Awards of Merit category.
  • It is first temple from Tamil Nadu to grab the prestigious honour from the UN body.
  • The temple won the award in recognition of its efforts for protecting and conserving cultural heritage.
  • The traditional method of renovating temple premises as well as re-establishment of rainwater harvesting and historic drainage system in preventing flooding were two key parameters that earned temple the award.

UNESCO Asia-Pacific awards for cultural heritage conservation programme

  • The awards were launched in 2000 by UNESCO for cultural heritage conservation programme.
  • They are given under four categories– Award of Excellence, Awards of Distinction, Awards of Merit and Award for New Design in Heritage Context.
  • These awards aim at acknowledging efforts taken to restore and conserve historical structures without affecting their heritage value in region comprising 48 countries.
  • They are being given to encourage the efforts of all stakeholders and the public in conserving and promoting monuments and religious institutes with rich heritage in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

  • It is one of the most illustrious Vaishnava temples in South India.
  • It has been mentioned Tamil literature as early as Sangam era. The temple is treasure trove of India’s ancient history.
  • It is constructed in the Tamil or Dravidian style of temple architecture.
  • The legends call it one of eight self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu and one of the most important 108 main Vishnu temples.
  • It is known by several names such as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Periyakoil, Bhogamandabam.
  • This temple lies on an island formed by twin rivers Cauvery and Coleroon.
  • Its complex stretches over 156 acres with perimeter of 4,116 m.
  • It is the largest temple in India and one of largest religious complexes in the world.
  • The temple has over seven prakaras or enclosures, which are formed by thick and huge defensive walls running around the holy shrine. It has over 21 magnificent towers inside all prakaras.
  • The main entrance of temple known as Rajagopuram (royal temple tower) is 73m high and moves up in eleven progressively smaller tiers.
  • The temple annually hosts 21-day festival during the Tamil month of Margazhi (between December and January) which attracts over 1 million visitors.

UNESCO launches Strategic Framework for Education in Emergencies in the Arab Region

  • UNESCO has launched a Strategic Framework for Education in Emergencies in the Arab Region (2018-2021).

Enlighten about the Strategic framework

What -

  • The Strategic Framework for Education in Emergencies in the Arab Region (2018-2012) aims to respond to the Education crisis in the region through supporting Member States in meeting their educational needs, and helping them meet the commitments set out in SDG4 which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.

Why Arab region?

  • Education has been deeply affected by the scale of crisis in the Arab Region, with over 13 million children and youth not going to school due to conflict.


  • The Strategic Framework consists of four strategic goals anchored in the three pillars of education: Access, Quality and System Strengthening.


Smart Anti Airfield Weapon: DRDO successfully tests light weight glide bomb

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested indigenously developed light weight glide bomb Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW).
  • Total of three tests with different release conditions and ranges were conducted at Chandipur in Odisha and were all successful.
  • The bomb was fired from an air force aircraft and was guided through precision navigation system.
  • It reached the targets at greater than 70 km range, with high accuracies

Enlighten about it –

  • The SAAW project is India’s first fully indigenous anti-airfield weapon project sanctioned by Government in September 2013.
  • SAAW is a long-range lightweight high precision-guided anti-airfield weapon.
  • It is 120 kg smart weapon capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 km.
  • It can be used to destroy bunkers, runways, aircraft hangers and other reinforced structures.
  • SAAW’s deep penetration capabilities and high explosive warhead carrying capacity will allow Indian Air Force (IAF) to easily hit targets across border without putting pilot and aircraft at risk.
  • It can be integrated into the varied types of fighter jets with the IAF. It will be inducted soon into the Armed Forces


Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana launched to promote philately

  • The Union Ministry of Communications has launched Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana, a pan India scholarship program for school children to increase the reach of Philately.
  • The SPARSH stands for Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby.

Enlighten about SPARSH

  • Under the scheme, annual scholarships will be awarded to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as hobby through competitive selection process in all postal circles.
  • Government will award 920 scholarships to students pursuing Philately as hobby.
  • The amount of Scholarship will be Rs. 6000/- per annum @ Rs. 500/- per month.
  • The selections will be made based on evaluation of Project work on philately & performance in Philately Quiz conducted by Circles.

Philately Club

  • To avail this scholarship, child must be student of recognized school within India and concerned school should have Philately Club and candidate should be member of Club.
  • In case school Philately Club hasn’t been established a student having his own Philately Deposit Account will also be considered.

Philately mentor

  • Every school participating in competition, would be assigned Philately mentor to be chosen from amongst the renowned Philatelists.
  • The Philately mentor will help in formation of School level Philately Club, providing guidance to young and aspiring Philatelists on how to pursue the hobby and also helping the aspiring Philatelists on their Philately Projects etc.

Enlighten about Philately

  • Philately is hobby of collection and study of Postage stamps.
  • It also entails collection, appreciation and research activities on stamps and other related philatelic products.
  • The hobby includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloguing, displaying, storing, and maintaining the stamps or related products on thematic areas.
  • It is also called king of hobbies because stamp collection as hobby has lot of educational benefits as it teaches lot about socio economic political reality of period in which stamp is issued or theme on which it is issued.

Government launches Food Regulatory Portal and Nivesh Bandhu Portal

  • Union Government launches Food Regulatory Portal and Investor Facilitation Portal.
  • They were launched on the sidelines of World Food India 2017 Expo.

Enlighten about Food Regulatory Portal

  • It was jointly launched by Ministry of Food Processing and Industries (MoFPI) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • It is a single interface for food businesses to cater to both domestic operations and food imports.
  • The portal focuses on six key areas food standards, consistent enforcement, hassle free food imports, credible food testing and codified food safety practices of food sector.
  • Standards pertaining to food sector have been notified on it to address concerns of food business across spectrum by ensuring ease of entry, reduced burden of compliance and facilitating trade, he added.

Nivesh Bandhu

  • It is Investor Facilitation Portal to assist investors to make informed investment decisions.
  • It will provide information on Central and State Governments investor friendly policies, agro-producing clusters, infrastructure, and potential areas of investment in the food processing sector.

Coastal Development

Coastal Berth Scheme

  • The Ministry of Shipping has extended the period of the Coastal Berth scheme of the flagship Sagarmala Programme for three years, upto 31st March, 2020 and expanded its scope to cover capital dredging at Major Ports and preparation of DPR for coastal berth project, in Oct 2017.

Enlighten about the Coastal Berth Scheme

  • The Coastal Berth Scheme aims to provide financial support to ports or state governments for creation of infrastructure for movement of cargo and passenger by sea or national waterways.


  • The projects under the Scheme are distributed over eight states with the highest number of projects in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Goa.

Financial assistance:

  • The admissible financial assistance from Central Government is 50% of the total cost of the project.
  • The financial assistance will also be provided for the preparation of DPRs for the projects to be considered under this scheme.
  • The balance expenditure has to be incurred by the respective Ports/ concerned State Governments (including State Maritime Boards) from their own resources.

Railway Development

Railways exploring design to check flying coal dust hazards

  • Indian Railways, the country’s largest freight mover, has started exploring a design change in its rolling stock to see if coal and other minerals can be carried in covered wagons instead of open ones to prevent coal dust from flying into the environment and also to expand the use of wagons.
  • An ongoing investigation by The Indian Express has revealed that transport of coal, at the rate of 25 tonnes per minute, by rail and road, has left in its wake environmental damage across Goa.

BOXN Wagons

  • Known as BOXN wagons, these open-to-sky boxes on wheels are used for coal-carriage for operational efficiency as they can be loaded and unloaded faster, owing to being coverless.
  • To prevent coal dust from flying into the environment, water is sprinkled on the coal at the loading point, and in many cases like in Goa, the wagons are covered with tarpaulin.
  • But this solution is far from foolproof.

What’s next

  • Indian railways have suggested that the new design should not decrease the coal-carrying capacity of each wagon because that hurts revenue.
  • “Tippling” is the technical term used for mechanised overturning of wagons
  • Covered wagons will make them more multipurpose, to carry anything from cement to salt — commodities which are difficult to move in open-to-elements wagons.

Health Care

Global report praises vaccination drive in India

  • India’s Mission Indradhanush has come in for high praise in a global report card analysing the progress of 15 countries that have the highest incidence of pneumonia and diarrhoea which are the two biggest killers of children aged less than five years.
  • The report is brought out annually by the International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to assess the progress made in these countries in tackling the two diseases.

The Report shows that-

  • India has showed the largest positive change among the 15 countries evaluated in the report, with a seven-point increase in Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) score.
  • This is largely due to changes in coverage of measles vaccine (MCV1) (+1%), Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine (Hib) (+35%), three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP3) (+1%) and rotavirus vaccine(RVV) (+4%).
  • The 15 countries that have been assessed include India, Bangladesh, Angola, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chad, China, Niger Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia.
  • Last year’s report, on the occasion of World Pneumonia Day, had pointed out that in India one child dies every two minutes of either pneumonia or diarrhoea.

Mission Indradhanush (MI)

  • Mission Indradhanush — the vaccination programme launched in December 2014 to ensure full coverage of all children and improve the tardy rate of increase of vaccine coverage has been given credit for the turnaround.
  • The original aim of MI was to immunise all children under the age of 2 years against seven vaccine preventable diseases, a number that has expanded as new vaccines are added to the UIP.
  • With MI, India actualises its vision towards equitable immunisation and demonstrates its commitment to the nation’s health.
  • Over its first four phases, MI has vaccinated about 25 million children in over 500 districts (30).
  • Along with the introduction and scale-up of new and underutilised vaccines in the UIP, MI has helped drive the increases in immunisation coverage captured in India’s 2017 GAPPD score.
  • The government recently recalibrated the target deadline to December 2018 rather than 2020.

Sustainable Development Goal

Regional Workshop on SDG Monitoring Framework

  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), in collaboration with UNICEF, organised a two-day Regional Workshop on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 2-3 November, 2017 in Guwahati.
  • This Workshop is the fourth in the series of five Regional Workshops being organised for sensitisation of States on SDG Monitoring Framework.

Social Issues

EPFO Organized National Seminar on “Fraud Risk Management – The New Initiatives”.

  • As a part of “Vigilance Awareness Week – 2017” organized nationwide to promote transparency and probity in public governance, EPFO organized a national seminar on “Fraud Risk Management – The New Initiatives” at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi today.