Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 05 January 2023

ASI-protected monuments untraceable

GS Paper - 1 (Art and Culture)

Fifty of India’s 3,693 centrally protected monuments have gone missing, the Ministry of Culture has told Parliament. The submissions were made by the ministry to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture as part of a report titled ‘Issues relating to Untraceable Monuments and Protection of Monuments in India’.

What are centrally protected monuments?

  1. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act) regulates the preservation of monuments and archaeological sites of national importance.
  2. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Culture, functions under this Act.
  3. The Act protects monuments and sites that are more than 100 years old, including temples, cemeteries, inscriptions, tombs, forts, palaces, step-wells, rock-cut caves, and even objects like cannons and mile pillars that may be of historical significance.
  4. According to the provisions of AMASR Act, ASI officials are supposed to regularly inspect the monuments to assess their condition.
  5. Apart from various conservation and preservation operations, ASI officials can also file police complaints, issue show cause notices for the removal of encroachments, and communicate to the local administration the need for demolition of encroachments.

How can a monument go “missing”?

  1. The ASI was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham, when he realised the need for a permanent body to oversee archaeological excavations and conservation.
  2. But while the body remained largely dysfunctional in the 19th century owing to fund crunch, in the decades preceding Independence, it became very active.
  3. Bulks of the protected monuments were taken under the ASI’s wings during the 1920s and 30s, up till the 50s, officials told The Indian Express.
  4. But in the decades after independence, the focus of successive governments was on health, education and infrastructure, rather than protecting heritage.
  5. Many monuments and sites were lost to activities like urbanisation, construction of dams and reservoirs, and even encroachments.
  6. As per the ASI submission in Parliament, 14 monuments have been lost to rapid urbanisation, 12 are submerged by reservoirs/dams, while 24 are untraceable, which brings the number of missing monuments to 50.

Second satellite to monitor space weather

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

Space sector start-up Digantara launched its second satellite Pushan-Alpha as a rideshare onboard SpaceX's Transporter-6 mission that soared to the low earth orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US. The satellite will serve as a space weather testbed in the sun synchronous orbit for enhancing precision driven situational space awareness applications.

More about the Satellite

  1. The Pushan-Alpha observations will help complement Digantara's ROBI (ROBust Integrating proton fluence meter) mission, the world's first commercial space-based space weather monitoring system onboard ISRO's PSLV-C53 launched on 30 June last year.
  2. The Pushan-Alpha mission is named after the Hindu solar deity considered as the god of journeys and protector of travellers.
  3. The Pushan-Alpha mission has a three-fold objective -- to extend radiation measurements to the sun synchronous orbit; to assess mid to high energy particle radiation from the South Atlantic Anomaly; and to investigate any co-relation of atmospheric drag and particle environment for enhanced orbit and debris modelling.
  4. Bengaluru-based Digantara is developing end-to-end infrastructure to address the difficulties of space operations and space traffic management through its Space Mission Assurance Platform.
  5. Transporter-6 was SpaceX's sixth dedicated smallest rideshare mission carrying 114 payloads, including orbital transfer vehicles carrying spacecraft to be deployed at a later time.


Centre approves National Green Hydrogen Mission

GS Paper -1 (Resources)

The Union Cabinet approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which is aimed at making India the global hub for the production of green hydrogen.The total outlay for the mission is ₹19,744 crore, out of which the government has allocated ₹17,490 crore for the SIGHT programme, ₹1,466 crore for the upcoming pilot projects, ₹400 crore for R&D, and ₹388 crore towards other mission components.

More about the news

  1. The National Hydrogen Mission was launched on August 15, 2021, with a view to cutting down carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable sources of energy.
  2. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will formulate the scheme guidelines for implementation.
  3. The mission seeks to promote the development of green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonnes) per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country by 2030.
  4. It envisages an investment of over 8 lakh crore and creation of over 6 lakh jobs by 2030.
  5. It will also result in a cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports of over ₹1 lakh crore and abatement of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Benefits of the Green Hydrogen Mission:

  1. It will lead to creation of export opportunities for green hydrogen and its derivatives; decarbonisation of industrial, mobility and energy sectors.
  2. It will lead to reduction in dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock; development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities.
  3. It will create employment opportunities; and development of cutting-edge technologies.
  4. It will facilitate demand creation, production, utilisation and export of green hydrogen.

Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition Programme (SIGHT):

  1. Under it two distinct financial incentive mechanisms — targeting domestic manufacturing of electrolysers and production of green hydrogen — will be provided under the mission.
  2. It will also support pilot projects in emerging end-use sectors and production pathways.
  3. The regions capable of supporting large-scale production and utilisation of hydrogen will be identified and developed as Green Hydrogen Hubs.
  4. It will lead to development of an enabling policy frameworkto support establishment of the green hydrogen ecosystem with robust standards and regulations framework.

Strategic Hydrogen Innovation Partnership (SHIP):

  1. It is a public-private partnership framework for R&D that will be facilitated under the mission.
  2. The R&D projects will be goal-oriented, time-bound, and suitably scaled up to develop globally competitive technologies.
  3. Under it, acoordinated skill development programme will also be undertaken.


‘BIND’ scheme for upgrading DD, AIR

GS Paper -3 (Infrastructure Development)

In a bid to upgrade Prasar Bharati's infrastructure, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the Central Sector Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND) scheme with an outlay of Rs 2,539.61 crore up to 2025-26for Doordarshan and All India Radio.

Prasar Bharati (Akashvani):

  1. It is the public broadcaster of the country, is the most important vehicle of information, education, entertainment and engagement for the people especially in the remote areas of the country through Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR).
  2. It played a stellar role in communicating health messages and awareness to the public during the Covid pandemic.
  3. Its aim is to ensure information regarding government's work and schemes reaches people.

BIND Scheme

  1. It is the vehicle for providing financial support to Prasar Bharati for expenses related to expansion and upgradation of its broadcasting infrastructure, content development and civil work related to the organization.
  2. It will enable the public broadcaster to undertake a major upgradation of its facilities with better infrastructure which will widen its reach, including in the LWE (Left Wing Extremism), border and strategic areas and provide high quality content to the viewers.
  3. Under the scheme, eight lakh DD Free Dish DTH set top boxes (STBs) will also be distributed to people living in remote, tribal, LWE, border areas and 'aspirational' districts.

Benefits to Doordarshan under the scheme:

  1. The scheme envisions how Doordarshan should be 20 years from now.
  2. At present, Doordarshan operates 36 TV channels, including 28 regional channels, and AIR operates more than 500 broadcasting centres.
  3. The BIND scheme will increase coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66 per cent by geographical area, up from current 59 per cent, and 80 per cent by population, up from present 68 per cent coverage.

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