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UPSC Prelims News 14 December 2022

UPSC Prelims News of 14 December 2022


Context: Unakoti site in Tripura is vying for a UNESCO world heritage tag.

About Unakoti Site:

  • Unakoti is known as the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ for its Shaivite rock carvings figures and images of gods and goddesses.
  • These structures of the rock-cut sculptures are gigantic and have distinct mongoloid features, similar to the Angkor Wat temple of Cambodia.
  • It became a major Hindu Shaivite pilgrimage site during the reign of the Pala Empire in Bengal. It also has some Buddhist influence.
  • Nomenclature: Unakoti means ‘one less one crore’ in Hindi and Bengali and it is believed that ninety-nine lakh ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine rock carvings are present here.
    • In the local Kokborok language, it is called Subrai Khung.

Unique Features:

  • The images found at Unakoti are of two types: rock-carved figures and stone images.  The central Shiva head (Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava) and gigantic Ganesha figures are special among all.
  • Annual fair, known as ‘Ashokastami Mela’, is held every year at Unakoti.

PM Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAAGY)

Context: Ministry of Tribal Affairs has revamped the existing Scheme of Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS) by renaming it to Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAAGY).

About the Scheme:

  • Aim: Transform villages with significant tribal population into model village (Adarsh Gram).
    • It aims to cover 36,428 villages having at least 50% tribal population and 500 STs across States / UTs with notified STs.
  • Coverage: The scheme is expected to cover population of about 4.22 crore (About 40% of the total Tribal Population).
  • Objective: To achieve integrated socio-economic development of selected villages through convergence approach.
  • Features:
    • Preparing Village Development Plan based on the needs, potential, and aspirations of the people
    • Maximizing the coverage of individual / family benefit schemes of the Central / State Governments
    • Improving the infrastructure in important sectors like health, education, connectivity and livelihood.
  • Sectors covered under the scheme:
    • Road connectivity (Internal and Intervillage /block)
    • Telecom connectivity (Mobile /internet)
    • School
    • Health Sub-Centre
    • Anganwadi Centres
    • Drinking water facility
    • Solid waste management
    • Drainage

Ban on Certain Pesticides

Context: Tamil Nadu government has prohibited the sale and use of phosphorus paste (rat poison) and other six highly toxic pesticides under the Insecticides Act, 1968.

More on the News:

  • There will be prohibition on manufacture, sale, stock, distribution, exhibition for sale or use of 3% yellow phosphorus for agriculture or insecticidal purpose.
  • Banned six hazardous pesticides: Monocrotophos, Profenophos, Acephate, Profenofos + Cypermethrin, Chlorpyrifos + Cypermethrin and Chlorpyrifos, as per Section 27 of the Insecticides Act, 1968.
  • Aim: To reduce access to means of suicide.
  • Suicide in T.N: There were a total of 16,883 deaths by suicides in 2020 in the State. Many farmers ended their lives by consuming 3% yellow phosphorous, which is being used as rodenticide.

Initiatives to Prevent Suicides:

  • MaNaM: It is a suicide awareness initiative of T.N government to provide assistance as well as to train students of government medical colleges.
  • National Suicide Prevention Strategy: It calls for phasing out highly toxic pesticides that are a cause for suicide.

Ashtamudi Lake

Context: The Kerala Tourism Department is launching ‘Ariyam Ashtamudiye’, a comprehensive campaign to promote Ashtamudi Lake and develop it as a major backwater destination in the State.

About the Ashtamudi Lake

  • Location: It is situated in the Kollam District of Kerala, and is the most visited backwater and lake in the state.
  • Ashtamudi means ‘eight braids’ in Malayalam language. The name is indicative of the lake’s topography with its multiple branches.
  • Hydrology: Kallada River (west flowing) is a major river discharging into the Ashtamudi Lake.
  • Protection status: It was included in the list of wetlands of international importance under Ramsar Convention.
  • Biodiversity: The Lake possesses a unique wetland ecosystem and is home to several mangrove species and 57 species of avifauna (of which 6 are migratory and 51 resident species).
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Munroe Island is a cluster of eight tiny islands in Ashtamudi Lake.
    • Kanjiracode creek on the south-east end of the lake, one arm of the Ashtamudi, has suffered extinction due to the dumping of waste earth and clay into the lake.
    • The lake is also called the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala and is well known for its houseboat and backwater resorts.

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