30 June 2018: UPSC Exam PIB Summary & Analysis

India gets its 37th WORLD UNESCO World HERITAGE SITE

  • India’s nomination of the “Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai ” has been inscribed on  UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The decision was taken at the 42ndsession of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain today.
  • As recommended by the World Heritage Committee, India accepted the renaming of the ensemble as “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai”. 
  • India has been successful in securing the inscription of the “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai” on UNESCO’s World Heritage List under Criteria (ii) and (iv) as defined in the UNESCO’s Operational Guidelines.    
  • This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. 
  • In the past 5 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites.
  • India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.
  • The Ensemble comprises of two architectural styles, the 19thcentury collection of Victorian structures and the 20th century Art Deco buildings along the sea, conjoined by means of the historical open space of the Oval Maidan. Together, this architectural ensemble represents the most remarkable collection of Victorian and Art Deco buildings in the world which forms the unique character of this urban setting, unparalleled in the world.
  • In addition, 42 sites from the country figures in the Tentative List of World Heritage and the Ministry of Culture would be recommending one property every year for nomination to UNESCO.

Shri S. Ramesh takes over as Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs

  • Shri S. Ramesh, IRS(C&CE:1981) has taken over as Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs [CBIC], on superannuation of Smt. Vanaja N. Sarna today . Prior to his elevation, he was Member (Administration) in the Board.
  • Shri S. Ramesh began his career in Mumbai as Asst Commissioner, Central Excise and thereafter in Mumbai Customs. He has worked in various capacities in Hyderabad, Nagpur, Chennai, Trichy etc. He was the Chief Commissioner, Chennai Customs Zone from 2013 to 2016. Thereafter, he took over as Director General, Systems & Data Management. He joined the Board in September, 2016 as Member (IT, Central Excise & Service Tax).

NITI Aayog partners with GNFC Ltd

  • NITI Aayog and Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GNFC) have signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to work together towards implementing a Proof-of-Concept (“PoC”) application using Blockchain Technology for fertiliser subsidy management.
  • They will jointly develop the use case, under take research, interact with multiple stakeholders, develop Blockchain solutions, exchange learnings, organise forums, and disseminate learnings across their networks.
  • Learnings, insights and outcomes of the PoC will enable NITI Aayog to suggest policy recommendations and actions in strengthening the subsidy mechanism, making it more transparent and immune to leakages.
  • Present Problem: Fertilizer units manufacture approximately 31 Million MT of fertilizers across country, where total approximately Rs.70,000 Cr. of subsidy is disbursed to the manufacturing units. The subsidy disbursal takes two to three months’ time. There are multiple entities involved in verification process, and the transaction process is very cumbersome which has the potential to be automated to give significant efficiency gains.
  • Objective: With implementation of Blockchain Technology, it is expected that the distribution will become effective and efficient, and subsidy transfer could be automated and made real time.
  • Background: Blockchain platform have inherent characteristics of distributed computing and ledger keeping of transactions i.e. confidentiality, authenticity, non-repudiation, data integrity, and data availability.
  • Effect: Overall implementation ensures that there is no dependence on intermediary agencies to prove the validity of transactions and resulting subsidy claims. The blockchain based process will also use Smart Contracts which will enable quick and accurate reconciliation of transactions between multiple parties with minimal human intervention. Implementation platform is such that process transparency is evident, transactions cannot be altered and audit trails of transactions are available.

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