Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)
Context: Election Commission of India (ECI) is going to host the 4th General Assembly of A-WEB at Bengaluru on 3rd September 2019.
- India is going to take over as A-WEB’s chair for the term 2019-21.
- More than 50 countries across the world will be joining the meeting at Bengaluru.
- An International Conference on “Initiatives and Challenges of Social Media and Information Technology in Elections” is also scheduled for 4th September.
- It is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide which was established in 2013. It has a vision of fostering efficiency and effectiveness in conducting free, fair, transparent and participative elections across the globe.
- Its primary mission is to identify latest trends, challenges and developments in the democratic electoral management and electoral process.
- Its permanent secretariat is located at Seoul, South Korea.
- At present, it has a strength of 115 EMBs as members and 20 Regional Associations/Organizations as Associate Members.
India’s Longest Electrified Railway Tunnel
Context: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated India’s longest electrified rail tunnel between Cherlopalli and Rapuru stations of Andhra Pradesh. The 6.6-km long tunnel is a part of the Obulavaripalli-Venkatachalam railway line. This 112-km long electrified railway line will cut the the travel time by 5 hours. Currently, the freight train takes 10 hours to travel from Krishnapatnam Port to Obulavaripali. It has been termed as an “engineering marvel” by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu.
Key Features of the Tunnel
The New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) has been used to decide the ‘horse shoe’ shape of the country’s first electrified tunnel.
- The presence of high amount of quartzite and phyllite rocks in the tunnel area was a major challenge in the construction of the tunnel whose construction was completed in a record time of 43 months.
- Termed the tunnel “an engineering marvel” by the Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, the tunnel has been built at a cost of Rs. 437 crore.
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- The tunnel has a height (rail level to roof) of 6.5 meters with minimum height of contact wire maintained at 5.2 meters.
- The track is constructed by providing Bi-block sleepers and Vaslo fittings without using Ballast.
- There are arrangements made for the supply of electric traction power in the form of two sub-stations near Cherlopalli and Adurupalli with necessary switching stations located in between.
- LED lights are provided inside the travel at an interval of every 10 metres.
FIROZ SHAH KOTLA Stadium of Delhi to be renamed
Context: Firoz Shah Kotla Stadium of Delhi is to be renamed as Arun Jaitley Stadium after the former Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley who passed away last month.
About Firoz Shah Tughlaq and his contributions
- He was a Turkic Muslim ruler of the Tughlaq Dynasty who succeeded his cousin Mohammad bin Tughlaq and ruled over the Delhi Sultanate from 1351 to 1388 A.D.
- He was born in 1309 and was the 3rd ruler from the Tughlaq dynasty.
- It was him only who started the imposition of Jaziya.
- He was bestowed with the title of ‘father of the irrigation department’ by the British owing to many gardens and canals that he built.
- During his reign, there was a massive public construction activities.
- He built Feroz Shah Kotla, the fortress, on the banks of the Yamuna River (The first one to build a fortress next to river Yamuna) and named it Firozabad.
- Later, the famous Emperor Ashoka’s pillar erected near Ambala in 250 BC, was transported to Delhi and placed in Firozabad.
- He set up the principle of inheritance to the armed forces in which the officers were permitted to rest and send their children in army in their place. However, they were not paid in real money but were paid by land.
- His key contributions includes:
- Diwan-i-Khairat – office for charity.
- Diwan-i-Bundagan – department of slave.
- Sarais (rest house) for merchants and other travellers
- Iqtadari framework.
- Four new towns, Firozabad, Fatehabad, Jaunpur and Hissar.
- Hospitals known as Darul-Shifa, Bimaristan or Shifa Khana.
- He constructed canals from: Yamuna to the city of Hissar; Sutlej to the Ghaggar; Ghaggar to Firozabad; Mandvi and Sirmour Hills to Hansi in Haryana.
- Major taxes imposed by him includes:
- Kharaj (land tax which was equal to one-tenth of the produce of the land);
- Zakat (two and a half per cent tax on property realized from the Muslims);
- Kham (one-fifth of the booty captured (four-fifth was left for the soldiers));
- Jaziya (levied on the non-Muslim subjects, particularly the Hindus. Women and children were, however, exempted from the taxes.);
- Other taxes like the irrigation tax, garden tax, octroi tax and the sales tax were also levied.
Context: Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched a first ever ‘Terracotta Grinder’ at Sewapuri in Varanasi.
What is it?
This is a machine that will grind the wasted and broken pottery items for re-using in pottery-making. This Terracotta grinder will aid in faster grinding of wasted pottery items as compared to the traditional mortar and pestle and will also lessen the cost of production, along with addressing the problem of shortage of clays.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body which is established by an Act of Parliament. In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board. It is charged with the planning, promotion, organisation and implementation of programs for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies which are engaged in rural development wherever necessary. Its objectives includes:
- Providing employment as part of its social objective.
- Producing saleable articles as part of its economic objective.
- It has a wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor and building up of a strong rural community spirit.
Index of Eight Core Industries
Context: Recently the report indicating the performance of 8 core industries viz. Coal, Crude oil , Natural gas, Refinery products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement and Electricity. has been released.
Key highlights of the Report
- Coal production (weight: 10.33 %) by 1.4% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index increased by 1.8% during April to July, 2019-20 over corresponding period of the previous year.
- Crude Oil production (weight: 8.98%) declined by 4.4% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index declined by 6.2% during April to July, 2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.
- Natural Gas production (weight: 6.88% declined by 0.5% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index declined by 0.8% during April to July, 2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.
- Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 28.04%) declined by 0.9% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index declined by 2.0% during April to July, 2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.
- Fertilizers production(weight: 2.63%) increased by 1.5% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index declined by 0.4% during April to July, 2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.
- Steel production (weight: 17.92%) increased by 6.6% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index increased by 10.9% during April to July, 2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.
- Cement production (weight: 5.37%) increased by 7.9% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index increased by 2.7 per cent during April to July, 2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.
- Electricity generation (weight: 19.85%) increased by 4.2% in July, 2019 over July, 2018. Its cumulative index increased by 6.4% during April to July, 2019-20 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Context: India, the first developing country, is to take part in deep ocean mining with the developed nations under Samundrayaan project.
What is it all about?
Samundrayaan Project is a pilot project of the Ministry of Earth Sciences for deep ocean mining for rare minerals which proposes to send human into the deep sea in a submersible vehicle for ocean studies. It is expected that the project will become a reality by 2021-22. National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has been effectively undertaking the progress of the project. The vehicle which is developed indigenously is capable of crawling on the sea bed at a depth of six kilometre for a period of 72 hours. With this project, India will join the league of developed nations in exploration of minerals from the ocean.
- Union government has put restrictions on the import of Agarbatti and other alike products. A notice has been issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGF) which restricts the import of agarbatti and other odoriferous preparations which operate by burning.
- Now importers of these goods require a license from the government.
- The historic coastal town of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu will be the venue for the second India-China informal summit scheduled in October this year.
- The first informal summit between them was held in Wuhan in China in April 2018.
- Mamallapuram is also known as Seven Pagodas or Mahabalipuram which is a town in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu.
- It was one of the two major port cities by the 7th Century within the Pallava Kingdom.
- The town has monuments that has been declared as the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Few of the important structures includes: Thirukadalmallai, Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Penance, Varaha Cave Temple and Pancha Ratha ( five Chariots).