- CURRENT AFFAIRS – 26/08/2023
- The Indian Conundrum: India’s Economic Growth, Youth Unemployment, and Infrastructure Development
- The Rajasthan Gig and Platform Workers Act
- Nataraja bronze sculpture to grace G20 summit venue
- Cleantech, for an inclusive green future
- Nod for game-changer jet engine technology
- India and Greece to upgrade ties
- India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC) 2022 Results
CURRENT AFFAIRS – 26/08/2023
The Indian Conundrum: India’s Economic Growth, Youth Unemployment, and Infrastructure Development
(General Studies- Paper II and III)
Source : The Indian Express
India’s robust economic growth has captured international attention, yet the concurrent high rates of youth unemployment have raised concerns.
- This paradox is not a result of automation or AI, but rather a consequence of skewed development policies that hinder job creation for the millions joining the workforce annually.
- With over half of its population under 25 and more than two-thirds under 35, India possesses a youthful demographic advantage.
- However, to fully leverage this asset, India must address the mismatch between economic growth, unemployment, and inadequate infrastructure.
The Indian Conundrum: An analysis
Infrastructure Imbalance: A Stumbling Block for Job Creation
- While India has made strides in developing physical infrastructure, it lags in human infrastructure such as education and skills.
- The focus on urban-centric physical infrastructure development clashes with the shift of manufacturing to rural areas for cost efficiency.
- Unfortunately, poor rural physical and human infrastructure has curtailed growth drivers, limiting the expansion of India’s manufacturing sector.
Educational Deficit: A Hindrance to Human Capital Development
- India harbours the world’s largest population of illiterate individuals.
- The deficiency extends beyond literacy, with less than 20% having completed secondary education.
- Investing in education yields higher returns than physical infrastructure investment.
- Primary education boasts a nearly 20% social rate of return, while returns on higher education are escalating.
- Scaling up human infrastructure investment, particularly in education, is imperative.
Challenges in Rural Education: Multifaceted and Complex
- Rural areas pose formidable challenges for education expansion, encompassing issues of access, quality, relevance, financing, and governance.
- Both public and private educational systems exhibit disparities in graduate quality.
- Inadequate faculty, outdated curricula, and rote learning further exacerbate the problem.
- Developing effective quality assurance mechanisms is paramount.
Governance and Accountability: Critical for Education Efficacy
- As the education landscape diversifies, enhanced governance mechanisms are requisite.
- Incentives, monitoring, performance assessment, and accountability must be established to ensure internal processes’ efficiency and student outcomes.
- Strengthening tertiary education is particularly crucial, as it nurtures professionals who foster job creation and disseminate knowledge beyond academia.
Urbanization vs. De-urbanization: The Changing Manufacturing Landscape
- Historically, India’s manufacturing grew in tandem with urbanization.
- However, since 2000, the manufacturing sector has been de-urbanizing, opting for rural locations due to cost-effectiveness and reduced constraints.
- This shift has created a mismatch between urbanization and industrialization, challenging policymakers.
The Rise of Tier II Cities: Economic Growth and Job Creation
- The future of India’s economic growth lies in tier II cities, with their potential to generate substantial GDP and employment.
- Intermediate cities have emerged as growth engines globally, dispersing manufacturing from densely populated clusters to less congested regions.
- A four-fold increase in per capita incomes could result from this trend in India.
Policy Imperatives: Bridging the Urban-Rural Gap
- The divergence between urbanization and industrialization necessitates a comprehensive policy approach.
- Raising agricultural productivity is insufficient; the manufacturing sector’s integration into rural development is crucial.
- Policymakers must prioritize scaling up physical and human infrastructure investments to connect urban and rural India, thereby facilitating rural structural transformation and accelerating job creation.
India’s dichotomous landscape of high growth and youth unemployment requires a holistic strategy. Balancing physical and human infrastructure development, particularly in education, is key to capitalizing on the country’s demographic dividend.
The Rajasthan Gig and Platform Workers Act
Source : The Indian Express
The Rajasthan Gig and Platform Workers Act is a significant milestone in India’s labour landscape, addressing the rights and welfare of gig and platform workers.
- This legislation arrives as a response to the emergence of rideshare, food delivery, and multiservice platforms like Ola, Uber, Swiggy, and Urban Company.
- While these platforms have harnessed the labor of thousands of workers, issues such as low wages, abuse, and absence of benefits have marred the sector.
- The Act’s innovation lies in its recognition of gig workers and its establishment of a unique identification system to anchor future benefits, marking a departure from the prior treatment of platform workers as independent contractors.
Context: Evolution and Challenges of the Gig Economy
- The rise of rideshare and food delivery services in India brought both opportunities and challenges.
- Venture capital-based bonuses initially buoyed earnings, but these soon dwindled, leading workers to voice concerns about their working conditions.
- However, companies, labeling workers as “partners,” evaded employee benefits and profit sharing, while governments turned a blind eye to this classification.
Recognizing Gig Workers: The Heart of the Act
- The Act’s primary innovation lies in its recognition of gig and platform workers through the assignment of a unique ID that forms the foundation for their future benefits.
- This identification system aims to ensure fairness and equity for workers across various platforms, reflecting a crucial departure from the previous neglect by governments and companies.
Welfare Fund and Revenue Generation
- To uphold the welfare of gig workers, the Act mandates a fee on each transaction, ensuring a sustainable revenue stream for the welfare fund.
- This fee levying mechanism is particularly significant in an environment where upfront pricing conceals effective commission rates.
- This transparency facilitates fair compensation for gig workers.
Tripartite Welfare Board: Power Balance and Sectoral Bargaining
- The Act establishes a tripartite welfare board comprising government representatives, companies, and workers.
- Modeled on the ILO (International Labour Organisation) framework, this board facilitates sectoral bargaining, with the potential to protect workers’ interests more effectively.
- This approach minimizes the risk of corrupt rogue unions and ensures a balanced administration of the welfare fund.
Data Sharing and Transparency
- A ground-breaking aspect of the Act is its requirement for platform companies to relinquish control over transaction-level data.
- The Act mandates data residency in a government-controlled database with worker-accessible information systems.
- This move towards transparency challenges the companies’ historical reluctance to share data and provides a foundation for informed policymaking.
Shortcomings and Future Prospects
- While the Act is commendable, it does have certain limitations.
- It sidesteps the issue of employee misclassification by categorizing gig companies as aggregators, a protective measure for companies.
- Despite these shortcomings, the Act’s successful implementation and the creation of effective rules for execution hold the key to its success.
Transitioning to Implementation: A Future of Promise
- The Rajasthan Act serves as both an immediate relief and a promise for the future.
- Empowered with transaction-level data, grievance resolution mechanisms, and recognition as workers, the new union, Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers, can advocate for further rights and remedies.
- The union’s focus on strengthening the Act through robust implementation and expanding its model to other states could significantly elevate the status of gig workers across India.
Who is a Gig Worker?
- A gig worker is an individual who performs short-term, flexible tasks or jobs, often for multiple clients or companies.
- They are not typically considered traditional employees but rather operate as independent contractors or freelancers.
- Gig work is characterized by its temporary and project-based nature.
- Characteristics of Gig Workers:
- Engage in temporary, project-based work.
- Often work for multiple clients or platforms.
- Lack traditional employer-employee relationship.
- Have flexibility in choosing when and where to work.
- May work in various sectors, such as ridesharing, food delivery, freelancing, etc.
- Responsible for their own taxes, insurance, and benefits.
- A gig platform, also known as a gig economy platform or a platform marketplace, is a digital intermediary that connects gig workers with customers or clients seeking specific services or tasks.
- These platforms operate through online apps or websites, facilitating the exchange of services for compensation.
- They serve as a marketplace where workers can offer their skills and services to potential customers.
- Characteristics of Gig Platforms:
- Operate as online platforms or mobile apps.
- Match gig workers with customers seeking specific services.
- Facilitate transactions, often handling payments.
- Provide a platform for communication and coordination between workers and clients.
- Examples include ridesharing platforms (Uber, Rapido), food delivery platforms (Zomato, Swiggy), freelance platforms (Upwork, Freelancer), and more.
- Impact and Debates:
- Benefits: Provides flexibility, opportunities for additional income, and access to a broader job market.
- Concerns: Lack of traditional benefits (healthcare, retirement), potential exploitation, job insecurity, and regulatory issues.
- Classification Debate: The classification of gig workers as independent contractors or employees is a subject of ongoing debate and legal battles in various jurisdictions.
Nataraja bronze sculpture to grace G20 summit venue
(General Studies- Paper I)
Source : The Hindu
A 28-feet Nataraja statue, believed to be the world’s tallest, is being sent to the G20 Leaders’ Summit venue in New Delhi from Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu.
- The statue is made of eight metals: gold, silver, lead, copper, tin, mercury, iron, and zinc (Ashtadhatu), and weighs 19 tonnes.
- Crafted by SrikantaStapathi and his brothers, it follows the Chola period Nataraja models from places like Chidambaram and Konerirajapuram.
- The statue is 22 feet in height, and with its six-foot pedestal, it reaches a total height of 28 feet.
- The ‘lost-wax’ casting method, a traditional technique, was used to create the statue.
- The process involves making a wax model encased in clay. After the clay dries, the wax is melted out, leaving a cavity that is filled with molten bronze.
- The statue was commissioned by the Union Culture Ministry on February 20, 2023, and was completed in six months at a cost of around ₹10 crore.
- The statue represents Lord Shiva (Nataraja) in a dancing form, a significant creation in Tamil culture.
- Chola bronzes, noted for their unique beauty and craftsmanship, have a distinguished position in the art world.
About The Nataraja sculpture
The Nataraja sculpture is an iconic representation of Lord Shiva in his cosmic dancing form.
It symbolizes creation, preservation, and destruction, portraying the cyclical nature of the universe according to Hindu philosophy.
- The Chola dynasty, which ruled parts of South India from around the 9th to the 13th century, is known for its patronage of art and culture.
- The Nataraja sculptures from this period are particularly celebrated.
Form and Pose:
- The Nataraja sculpture typically depicts Lord Shiva with a dynamic and graceful posture.
- He is shown dancing within a ring of flames that symbolize the eternal cycle of birth and death.
- Shiva’s dance represents the rhythm of the universe.
- The sculpture often includes various symbolic elements.
- Shiva’s upper right hand holds a drum (damaru), representing the sound of creation.
- The upper left hand holds a flame, symbolizing destruction.
- His lower right hand is in the gesture of protection, while the lower left hand points to his lifted foot, symbolizing liberation.
- Dwarf (Apasmara): Depicts the demon of ignorance, conquered by Shiva’s dance, representing the triumph over ignorance.
- Flames: Surrounding Shiva represent the ever-changing universe.
- Snake around Waist (Kundalini): Symbolizes the divine force within all things. It’s a representation of Shakti, the cosmic energy.
- Shiva’s dance is believed to take place in the cosmic golden hall called Chidambaram, which signifies the heart where the divine dance occurs and the universe is created.
- Chola Nataraja sculptures are known for their intricate detailing and craftsmanship.
- The sculptures display a harmonious blend of physical beauty, spiritual symbolism, and dynamic movement.
- These sculptures were often made using the lost-wax casting technique.
- The Chola artisans used various metals, including bronze, to create these exquisite artworks.
- The Nataraja sculpture represents the rich religious and cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu.
- It embodies profound philosophical concepts within its artistic form, making it a masterpiece of both art and spirituality.
The Chola Kingdom
The Chola dynasty, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the history of South India (9th to 13th centuries), left an indelible mark on art, culture, and architecture.
- Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur: Built by Raja RajaChola I, this temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Its towering vimana (tower) and the Nandi statue are exemplary.
- The temple is known for its precision in construction and intricate carvings.
Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram:
- Constructed by RajarajaChola II, this temple is dedicated to Shiva.
- It displays intricate sculptures, including a stone chariot and a beautiful Nandi mandapa.
- Another masterpiece by RajendraChola I, this temple complex is an architectural marvel with impressive sculptures.
- Chola bronze sculptures are world-renowned for their elegance, intricate detailing, and lifelike representation.
- They often depict deities and religious themes.
- The iconic Nataraja statue, representing Shiva’s cosmic dance, is a prime example.
- Authored by Thiruvalluvar, the Tirukkural is a classic Tamil text covering various aspects of life, ethics, and governance. It remains relevant across generations.
Raja RajaChola I: He is renowned for his patronage of arts and the construction of the Brihadeeswarar Temple.
- His reign marked a cultural zenith in Chola history.
- RajendraChola I: Raja Raja’s son, RajendraChola I, expanded the Chola Empire to overseas territories, including parts of Southeast Asia.
- RajadhirajaChola: He was a valorous king known for his military prowess and efficient administration.
- RajendraChola II: He furthered Chola art and culture, leaving his mark with the Airavatesvara Temple and continued overseas trade and diplomacy.
- KulothungaChola I: His reign saw a flourishing of art and culture, along with efforts to revive literature.
- RajarajaChola III: The last prominent ruler of the dynasty, his reign saw internal strife and the decline of the Chola Empire.
In Image: The magnificent Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Cleantech, for an inclusive green future
(General Studies- Paper III)
Source : The Hindu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized India’s role in combatting climate change and aligning climate action with development goals.
- The green economy paradigm offers a way to harmonize environmental outcomes with economic growth.
- Initiatives like solar parks, electric vehicle charging stations, and millet revival demonstrate the alignment of climate action with development needs.
- The challenge is to extend the green economy approach to address the needs of youth seeking jobs, women seeking income opportunities, and farmers diversifying their incomes.
Initiatives in Rural Areas:
- Various initiatives have already introduced cleantech solutions for livelihoods in rural areas, such as solar dryers for tomatoes and biomass-powered cold storages for farmers.
- These solutions contribute to rural incomes, making positive impacts in diverse regions across India.
Structural Boost Needed:
- The rural economy with millions of farmers and microenterprises lacks reliable electricity access and relies on expensive diesel.
- Cleantech solutions powered by renewable energy can help reduce diesel imports, preserve food, and enhance rural livelihoods, presenting a $50 billion investment opportunity.
Leveraging Government Programmes:
- Existing programmes like Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana, PM-FME, and Agriculture Infrastructure Fund can support cleantech adoption.
- Aligning these schemes with cleantech solutions can accelerate their implementation.
Facilitating Large-Scale Financing:
- Capacity-building for bankers in assessing cleantech credit.
- Providing initial risk hedging through partial guarantees.
- Structuring loan products aligned with users’ cash flow.
Establishing Multi-Actor Partnerships:
- Creating partnerships among technology innovators, manufacturers, distributors, financiers, and market-linkage players.
- Building an ecosystem where distributors bring products to customers, service providers ensure after-sales service, and market-linkage players connect to markets.
Massive Ambitions for a Green Future:
- India’s aspirations for a clean and green future can be realized by focusing on cleantech for livelihoods and jobs, especially in rural areas.
- By integrating cleantech solutions into rural development, India can achieve an inclusive and sustainable green future.
What is Clean Tech?
- Clean tech, short for “clean technology,” refers to a range of products, services, processes, and technologies that aim to provide solutions for environmental challenges while minimizing negative impacts on the planet.
- Clean tech focuses on sustainability, energy efficiency, and the reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.
- The goal of clean tech is to promote economic growth and human well-being while reducing the environmental footprint.
Key aspects and areas of clean tech include:
- Renewable Energy: Clean tech often involves the development and deployment of renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, and geothermal energy.
- Energy Efficiency: Clean tech aims to improve energy efficiency in various sectors, including buildings, transportation, and industrial processes.
- Technologies like energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and smart grids help reduce energy consumption and waste.
- Green Building: Clean tech solutions in construction focus on designing and constructing environmentally friendly buildings that use sustainable materials, efficient insulation, and energy-saving technologies.
- Waste Management: Technologies for waste reduction, recycling, and waste-to-energy conversion.
- Water Management: Clean tech solutions include water purification and treatment technologies, efficient irrigation systems, and water conservation practices to ensure sustainable water usage.
- Transportation: Clean tech innovations in transportation involve electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles, and sustainable fuel alternatives.
- Agriculture: Clean tech in agriculture includes precision farming techniques, sustainable agricultural practices, and technologies that promote soil health and reduce chemical usage.
- Air and Water Pollution Control: Technologies that help monitor, reduce, and prevent air and water pollution.
- Circular Economy: Clean tech encourages the adoption of circular economy principles, where products and materials are recycled, reused, or repurposed to minimize waste and resource consumption.
Nod for game-changer jet engine technology
(General Studies- Paper III)
Source : The Hindu
The GE-HAL Jet Engine deal involving technology transfer has not encountered any objections in the U.S. Congress.
- The technology transfer is anticipated to be a game-changer, sharing previously unrevealed technology with India.
- American multinational corporation General Electric (GE) has officially signed an agreement with India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to manufacture fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- The announcement of this significant deal came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a joint session of the US Congress during his official State Visit to the United States.
- These engines will power India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-II.
Importance of the Deal:
- This agreement involves the transfer of critical jet engine technologies and permits the production of GE’s F414 engine in India.
- Only a few countries possess the technology and metallurgy necessary for advanced combat aircraft engines, making this deal a major milestone for India’s technological self-reliance and defence capability.
End of Technology Denial Regime:
- This agreement signifies the end of the “technology denial regime” that was once imposed on India by Western countries, led by the US.
- This regime prevented India from accessing critical technologies, and its termination marks a turning point in India’s engagement with advanced technologies.
- India’s journey towards indigenous aero-engines began with the HF-24 Marut fighter jet in the 1960s, which lacked a suitable engine and was phased out.
- The Kaveri program was initiated later to develop an indigenous military gas turbine engine for the LCA project, but it faced technical hurdles and couldn’t be integrated into the aircraft.
- Due to challenges with the Kaveri engine, India turned to American GE-F404 engines for LCA Tejas Mark-1 as an interim solution.
- In 2010, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) selected the more powerful F414 engines for Tejas Mark-2, but the deal faced obstacles due to U.S. domestic regulations.
- The U.S. recognized India as a “major defence partner” in 2016, opening doors for the sharing of critical military technology.
- A framework introduced by PM Modi and President Biden aimed to strengthen strategic technology partnerships and boost defence cooperation.
Features of F414 Engine:
- India has chosen the F414-INS6 model for LCA Mk-II and potential export markets.
- The F414 engine is an advanced version of the F404 engines, currently powering the LCA Tejas.
- Key specifications include increased thrust, thrust-to-weight ratio, low maintenance costs, and improved engine durability.
Importance for India:
- The deal will make India the fifth country globally to manufacture jet engines, joining the ranks of the U.S., Russia, France, and the U.K.
- It will bolster India’s defence capabilities, aid domestic defence manufacturing, and address the need to replace ageing Russian fighter jets.
- Experts predict transformative effects on the aerospace industry as India plans to produce over 350 fighter jets for its air force and navy in the coming decades.
- The deal sends a strong message to China about the depth of the Indo-U.S. relationship and its strategic significance.
- The U.S.-based Heritage Foundation views the deal as mutually beneficial, providing India with advanced engines while saving on research and development costs.
About Tejas LCA Mark-2: Overview
- The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-2 is an advanced version of the Tejas LCA, designed and developed by India’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- It is an indigenous multi-role fighter aircraft intended to bolster India’s air defense capabilities and reduce its reliance on foreign-made aircraft.
Key Features and Upgrades:
- The Mark-2 variant is larger than the Mark-1, with an increased length, wingspan, and overall dimensions.
- This enables it to carry a greater payload of weapons and fuel, enhancing its operational range and combat capabilities.
- Its mission endurance for combat has increased from 57 minutes in Mk1 to 120 minutes in Mk2.
- One of the major improvements in the Mark-2 is the replacement of the GE-404 engine used in the Mark-1 with the more powerful and advanced GE-F414 engine.
- The aircraft can carry eight Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles simultaneously, making it stand out globally.
- It can integrate all native weapons and various advanced weapons from different countries.
- It can incorporate advanced weapons from France, Russia, Western countries, as well as indigenous weapons like the ASTRA BVR air-to-air missile.
- The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had earlier sanctioned Rs 9,000 crore to develop the LCA Mk2.
- The LCA Mk2 and the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will be proposed as replacements for the retiring aircraft.
- Interest has been shown by 16 countries in the LCA Mk2.
In Image: Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Mk I
About Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)
- The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is a high-level executive body in the Government of India responsible for dealing with issues related to national security and strategic matters.
- The CCS is chaired by the Prime Minister of India and includes the following members:
- Minister of Defence
- Minister of External Affairs
- Minister of Home Affairs
- Minister of Finance
- Minister of Road Transport and Highways (optional, when relevant security issues are discussed)
- The primary role of the CCS is to deal with matters related to national security, defense policy, and strategic affairs.
- In times of national emergencies, the CCS has the authority to take swift and decisive actions to address threats to national security.
- Other key functions:
- The CCS is responsible for addressing and making decisions on defense-related matters.
- This includes issues such as defense procurement, modernization of armed forces, defense research and development, and other aspects pertaining to the country’s defense capabilities.
- The CCS reviews and assesses international agreements, treaties, and deals that have implications for India’s national security.
- The committee approves capital expenditures for certain departments, including the Department of Defence Production and the Department of Defence Research and Development.
- The approval is needed when the expenditure exceeds a specified threshold (Rs. 1000 crores).
- The CCS also discusses matters related to atomic energy.
India and Greece to upgrade ties
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : The Hindu
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have elevated the India-Greece partnership to a ‘strategic’ level.
- The leaders have decided to enhance cooperation in several key areas, including defense, security, infrastructure, agriculture, education, technology, and skill development.
- The focus will be on boosting defense industries and military links between the two countries.
- An institutional platform for dialogue will be established between the National Security Advisors of both nations.
- Plans for a migration mobility agreement are underway, along with efforts to promote cultural and academic exchanges between educational institutions and increase people-to-people contacts.
- Greek-Indian ties have historical significance, with references to Alexander the Great’s era.
- Both countries emphasize the commitment to maritime security, International Law, and the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- Indian Prime Minister Modi acknowledged Greece’s potential as an entry point for Indian companies into Europe, given its strategic location and historic ties.
PM’s Greece Visit
- Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou awarded PM Modi the Grand Cross of the Order of Honor.
- PM Modi laid a wreath at the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ in Athens and received a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
- The last high-level visit from India to Greece was in 1983 by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
About the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier‘
- The ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ in Athens is a war memorial located in Syntagma Square, which is the central square of the Greek capital.
- The monument serves as a symbol of respect and tribute to the Greek soldiers who lost their lives in various wars but could not be identified.
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is not unique to Athens; similar memorials exist in many countries around the world.
India-Greece Ties through the Ages
- India and Greece share a rich history of civilizational ties that have evolved and strengthened over the centuries.
- Ancient Civilizations:
- India and Greece are home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations.
- Both regions have played crucial roles in shaping human history, philosophy, and culture.
- Philosophers like Pythagoras, who is known for the Pythagorean Theorem, and Aristotle have left an indelible mark on human thought.
- Alexander the Great:
- One of the most notable instances of interaction between India and Greece dates back to the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE.
- Alexander’s military campaigns brought him to the Indian subcontinent, where he encountered the rich culture and diversity of the region.
- The spread of Buddhism from India to Greece is another remarkable aspect of their historical connection.
- Greek emissaries, including Megasthenes, interacted with Indian rulers and documented their observations, contributing to cross-cultural understanding.
- Greco-Bactrian Kingdom:
- Following Alexander’s campaign, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was established in parts of modern-day Afghanistan and Central Asia.
- This kingdom facilitated trade and cultural exchange between the Indian subcontinent and the Greek world.
- Indo-Greek Kingdom:
- The Indo-Greek Kingdom emerged as a result of interactions between the two regions.
- This kingdom, spanning from modern-day Pakistan to parts of India, was marked by a fusion of Greek and Indian cultural elements.
- Influence on Indian Art:
- Greek art and architecture left an imprint on Indian artistic traditions.
- Gandhara art, characterized by its Hellenistic influences, emerged in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent.
- Cultural Exchange:
- The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC) have played roles in strengthening cultural ties.
India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC) 2022 Results
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : The Hindu
The India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC) 2022 results were announced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- The awards recognize and reward cities, projects, and innovative ideas promoting sustainable development across 100 smart cities in India.
- Best Smart City: Indore
- Top State: Madhya Pradesh
- Second Place (Cities): Surat
- Third Place (Cities): Agra
- Second Place (States): Tamil Nadu
- Third Place (States): Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh
- Best Union Territory: Chandigarh
Other key details:
- The ISAC aims to stimulate inclusive, equitable, safe, healthy, and collaborative cities for a better quality of life.
- The awards were organized under the Smart Cities Mission, launched on June 25, 2015, which aims to provide core infrastructure, sustainable environment, and quality of life through smart solutions.
- The 2022 ISAC awards had a two-stage submission process involving a Qualifying Stage and a Proposal Stage.
- A total of 845 nominations were received from 80 qualifying smart cities, resulting in 66 final winners across various categories.
- The awards for different categories, including best city, state, and union territory, recognize exemplary performance in implementing smart solutions and sustainable development.
- President DroupadiMurmu is scheduled to present the awards on September 27 in
- The ISAC 2022 awards mark the fourth edition, with previous editions held in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
- The 2021 edition was skipped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Smart Cities Mission has witnessed significant progress, with many projects related to mobility, energy, water, sanitation, waste management, public spaces, social infrastructure, and smart governance being undertaken across the 100 smart cities.
- The mission aims to complete the remaining proposed projects by June 30, 2024, with 76% of projects worth ₹1,10,635 crore already completed.
What is Smart Cities Mission?
- The Smart Cities Mission is a flagship urban renewal program initiated by the Government of India with the aim of transforming and modernizing selected cities across the country into smart cities.
- Launched on June 25, 2015, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the mission seeks to address the challenges of rapid urbanization and improve the quality of life for urban residents.
Objectives of the Smart Cities Mission:
- Core Infrastructure: The mission aims to provide core infrastructure such as adequate water supply, efficient sewage and sanitation systems, reliable power supply, sustainable urban mobility, affordable housing, and robust IT connectivity.
- Sustainable Environment
- Quality of Life: The mission seeks to improve the quality of life for urban residents.
- E-Governance and Citizen Services: Embracing technology, the mission aims to enhance governance through the implementation of e-governance solutions.
- The Smart Cities Mission is operated as a collaborative effort between the central government, state governments, urban local bodies (ULBs), and private sector partners.
- The central government provides financial support through a 50:50 sharing pattern with the state governments for the implementation of projects and initiatives.
- The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission.