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State PCS

  • 31 Oct 2018
  • 17 min read
Indian Heritage & Culture

Statue of Unity

Prime Minister has inaugurated the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat.

  • The Statue of Unity which is built in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is dedicated to the nation.
  • Sardar Patel is credited with uniting over 560 princely states in pre-independent India to build the Republic of India, hence the name of the statue is christened as ‘Statue of Unity’.
  • The date for the inauguration of the statue (October 31, 2018) also marks the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
  • It is located on the Sadhu Bet island on the Narmada river, which flows between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges.
  • The Statue of Unity is the tallest statue in the world. At 182 metres, it is 23 metres taller than China's Spring Temple Buddha statue and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty (93 metres tall) in US.
  • The viewing gallery for the statue, at 153 metres, can accommodate 200 people at a time and offer an expansive view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
  • The statue is a three-layered structure. The innermost layer is made of reinforced cement concrete (RCC), comprising two towers 127 metres high that rise till the statue's chest. The second layer is a steel structure and the third an 8 mm bronze cladding on the surface.
  • It was built within three-and-a-half years by more than 3,000 workers, including 300 engineers from infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
  • The Statue of Unity was designed by Padma Bhushan recipient sculptor Ram V Sutar and intricate bronze cladding work was done by a Chinese foundry, the Jiangxi Toqine Company (JTQ).

Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel

  • Vallabhbhai Patel was a political and social leader who played a major role in the country's struggle for independence and subsequently guided its integration into a united, independent nation.
  • Women of Bardoli bestowed the title Sardar to Vallebhai Patel, which in Gujarati and most Indian languages means Chief or Leader.
  • Vallabhbhai Patel was inspired by the work and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Patel subsequently organised the peasants of Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in a non-violent civil disobedience movement against oppressive policies imposed by the British Raj.
  • He rose to the leadership of the Indian National Congress and was at the forefront of rebellions and political events, organising the party for elections in 1934 and 1937, and promoting the Quit India movement.
  • As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief for refugees in Punjab and Delhi, and led efforts to restore peace across the nation.
  • Patel took charge of the task to forge a united India from over 560 semi-autonomous princely states and British-era colonial provinces. Using frank diplomacy backed with the option (and the use) of military action, Patel's leadership enabled the accession of almost every princely state.
  • Hailed as the Iron Man of India, he is also remembered as the "Patron Saint" of India's civil servants for establishing modern all-India services.
  • Patel was also one of the earliest proponents of property rights and free enterprise in India.

Run for Unity and Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat

  • Run for unity:
    • 'Run for unity’ Marathon has been organised in various parts of the country to commemorate the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:
    • “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” was announced by the Prime Minister in 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Subsequently, the Finance Minister announced the initiative in his Budget Speech for 2016-17.
    • Through this innovative measure, the knowledge of the culture, traditions and practices of different States & UTs will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between the States, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India.

International Relations

Visit of Prime Minister of Italy to India

The Prime Minister of Italy paid an Official Visit to India.

  • Indian and Italian Prime Ministers held bilateral talks and addressed the final session of the Technology Summit in Delhi, which was co-hosted by India and Italy.

Outcome of Visit

  • India-Italy Technology Summit
    • India and Italy co-hosted the 24th edition of the Technology Summit organized by the Department of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry.
    • Italy is the partner country of this year’s Technology Summit.
    • The Technology Summit aims at furthering cooperation in clean technologies, renewable energy, Information and Communication Technologies, healthcare, aerospace, education and cultural heritage.
    • The India-Italy bilateral Industrial Research and Development Cooperation programme was announced during the summit. It would help industry and research institutions to work together without any hindrance. The two countries will collaborate on lifestyle accessories design industry, with a special focus on leather and transportation and automobile design sectors.
  • To strengthen the economic cooperation the two countries will convene the next session of the India-Italy Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) in India in 2019.
  • The two countries decided to work towards constituting a CEO Forum and setting up a Fast Track Mechanism to promote bilateral investments and resolve issues faced by businesses in two countries. Two countries also called for the conclusion of India-EU Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
  • Italy affirmed it's support to India's membership bid at the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG).
  • Both sides agreed to develop contacts between Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF). Such a partnership would benefit India in leveraging on Italian manufacturing and operational excellence.
  • India also invited Italy to participate in the defense sector under the “Make in India” scheme.
  • The two countries also decided to cooperate in a wide range of areas including renewable energy, food processing, railways, infrastructure and in defense partnership, climate change, counter-terrorism.

India-Italy Relations

  • History
    • The classical languages, Sanskrit and Latin both belong to the Indo-European language family.
    • Peoples of these two ancient civilizations have known, interacted and traded with each other for over 2000 years. Italian port cities were important trading posts on the spice route.
    • The Venetian merchant Marco Polo, during his travels to the east, also traveled to India in the 13th century and wrote about his experiences.
    • Indian troops, serving with the British Indian Army, were active in Italy during World War II.
    • Political relations between India and Italy were established in 1947.
  • Economic, Cultural and Scientific Cooperation
    • India is Italy's fifth largest trading partner in the European Union while Italy is the fifth largest investor in India. The balance of trade has been in India’s favour since the early eighties.
    • The India-Italy trade stood at $10.5 billion in 2017-18, up from $8.8 billion in the 2016-17.
    • The agreement for cultural cooperation was signed in 1976. It includes the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) between Italy and India which entails the exchange of students in language programmes as well as other academic courses.
    • An Agreement on Science and Technolgy Co-operation exist since 1978. Some of the prime areas of joint research are Electronics, Biotechnology, Design Engineering Automotive Technologies, Energy etc.

India-Italy Relations Significance

  • 2018 is the year of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Italy.
  • The Italian PM chose India as one of his first visits outside the EU, demonstrating the prominent place given to India.
  • India has recently been identified by Italy as one of the top five priority countries for internationalization of business.
  • Italy acknowledges both geopolitical and economic importance of India and is actively trying to step up its relations to a new high, based on good diplomatic relations and economic exchanges.
  • Italy has supported India's membership to export control regimes like the Missile Technology Control Regime(MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.
  • The economic importance of relation can be understood from the fact that Italy is the eighth largest economy in the world and the third largest in the Eurozone. It is also the world’s sixth largest manufacturing nation, dominated by small and medium enterprises clustered in many industrial districts. India, on the other hand, is the sixth-largest economy and a large market for over 600 Italian companies operating in India.
  • Italy hosts the third largest Indian community in the European Union, with an estimated 1,80,000 people, after the UK and the Netherlands. Indian labor is particularly active in the agriculture and dairy industry.
  • Italy, being a part of the European Union, can prove to be an important partner for India in the post-Brexit Europe and can prove to a favorable base for India companies to operate in Europe.

Important Facts For Prelims

Important Facts for Prelims (31st October 2018)

INS Tarangini

  • The first sail training ship of the Indian Navy, INS Tarangini returned after a seven month long sailing across the world at naval base, Kochi.
  • The Voyage named, “Lokayan 18” highlighted the diverse culture of India across 15 ports in 13 countries.
  • It is the First Sail Training Ship in Indian Navy and was commissioned on 11 Nov 1997.
  • The primary role of these Sail Training Ships is to develop character and professionalism, as well as inculcate the qualities of initiative, courage, resilience and esprit-de-corps amongst the Sea Trainees and also impart practical training to them, primarily on navigation, sailing and seamanship.

Banni’s Bane: Drought in Great Rann of Kutch

  • Banni, the largest grassland of Asia, situated near the Great Rann of Kutch, is in the grip of a severe drought.
  • While the area is known for its scarce rainfall and semi-drought conditions, it is for the first time in 13 years that the Maldharis, the nomadic natives of Banni, are leaving their villages as water gets scarce.
  • Banni, is separated by National Highway 341, which leads to the India-Pakistan International Border.
  • Even the bird sanctuary at Chari-Dhand, located on the edge of arid Banni grasslands and the marshy salt flats of the Rann of Kutch which boasts migratory birds such as flamingo, is facing an acute water shortage.

Thanjavur Paintings: A Rich Inheritance

  • The style of art called ‘Thanjavur paintings’, found in most South Indian homes, is extremely popular but has hardly been well understood.
  • This genre of art which is essentially religious broadly comprises two essential themes: the first being scenes from the epics and the Puranas as depicted on the walls and pillars of temples, and secondly, images of deities consecrated inside temples, particularly of popular ones such as Srirangam and Tirumala.
  • Portraits of kings, who were the patrons of these artists, as well as priests and ordinary individuals also find a place in these paintings.
  • The artists of the Thanjavur paintings used the important aspects of the murals of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Nayak era in Tamil Nadu which included ‘simple layout, imposing figures, clear outlines and, above all, a vibrant palette.’
  • The background colours traditionally used were rich tones such as deep green, deep blue or red, and also combinations of red and green or red and blue, with artists using colours of both vegetal and mineral origin: red ochre, yellow ochre, chrome yellow and indigo.
  • Factory-made pigments from Europe, from the end of the 19th century, were also later used, providing the artists with a larger variety of colours.
  • The most eye-catching and prominent feature of these paintings were the relief decoration covered with gold-leaf or gilded paper.
  • The layout of these artistic creations was generally symmetric with the principal image in the centre and the goddesses and other religious figures near the main deity. Devotees, donors and others are sometimes depicted too.

Financial Stability and Development Council

  • The Nineteenth Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Finance reviewed the current global and domestic economic situation and financial sector performance.
  • The FSDC was set up to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development in 2010.
  • The Chairman of the FSDC is the Finance Minister of India and its members include the heads of the financial sector regulatory authorities (i.e, SEBI, IRDA, RBI, PFRDA and FMC), Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (Ministry of Finance), Secretary, (Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance) and the Chief Economic Adviser.

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