10th Dec, 2020

Gwalior and Orchha included in World Heritage City

Gwalior and Orchha of Madhya Pradesh have been included in the list of World Heritage City by UNESCO.


Orchha located in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. 

Orchha is popular for its temples and palaces.

It was the capital of the Bundela kingdom in the 16th century.

The famous spots in the town are Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Ramraja Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal, and Laxminarayan Mandir.

After inclusion in the World Heritage City list, chemical treatment of historic spots like Mansingh Palace, Gujri Mahal and Sahastrabahu Temple will be done so that art inscribed on them will become more visible.


Gwalior was established in 9th century.

It was ruled by Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar, Baghel Kachvaho and Scindias.

The memorabilia left by them is found in abundance in memorials, forts and palaces in the area.

It is known for its palaces and temples, including the intricately carved Sas Bahu Ka Mandir temple.

The Gwalior Fort occupies a sandstone plateau overlooking the city and is accessed via a winding road lined with sacred Jain statues. 

Within the forts high walls is the 15th-century Gujari Mahal Palace, now an archaeological museum.

First eco-bridge for reptiles and smaller mammals in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand, recently built its first eco-bridge for reptiles and smaller mammals in Nainital district.

Eco-ducts or eco-bridges aim to enhance wildlife connectivity that can be disrupted because of highways or logging.

Eco-bridges include: 

(1) Canopy bridges usually for monkeys, squirrels and other arboreal species);

(2) Concrete underpasses or overpass tunnels or viaducts usually for larger animals;

(3) Amphibian tunnels or culverts.

Usually these bridges are overlaid with planting from the area to give it a contiguous look with the landscape.

India in top 10 in Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI)

India remains in the top 10 for the second year in a row in the latest global Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) released in Germany.

China which is also the biggest current emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) figures at 33rd rank.

While the USA appears at the bottom of the list.

Though India slid one position down from 9th in 2019 to 10th this year, its journey towards climate protection has been consistent with it improving its ranking from 31st in 2014.

Globally none of the countries assessed for the annual CCPI report are on the path to meet their Paris Agreement commitment of keeping global warming increase below 2 degree Celsius by the

end of the century and restrict it to 1.5 degree Celsius rise.

The report shows that only two G20 countries – the UK and India – are among the high rankers.

While six other G20 countries – the USA, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Russia (52nd) – are at the bottom of the index.

The CCPI is developed by not-for-profit organisations Germanwatch and NewClimate Institute (Germany) together with the Climate Action Network (CAN International).

It is an important tool to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.

The latest list is prepared by assessing performances of 57 countries and European Union (as a whole) in four categories – GHG emissions (40%), renewable energy (20%), energy use (20%) and climate policy (20%). 

These 57 countries and the EU collectively are responsible for about 90% of global GHG emissions.

Pakistan and China designated among countries of Particular Concern by the USA

Recently, the US State Department has designated Pakistan and China among eight other countries that are of particular concern for violation of religious freedom.

Designation of the CPC is the top tier recommendation by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) when it comes to violation of international religious freedom. 

It is followed by Special Watch List Countries for severe violations.

Nations on the CPC list: Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

USCIRF recommendation that India, Russia, Syria and Vietnam be also designated CPCs was not accepted by the US State Department.

Governments that have engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom are included in Special Watch List list.

Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia are on the list.

Lakshadweep Declared an Organic Union Territory

Entire Lakshadweep group of islands has been declared as an organic agricultural area under the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of India.

Lakshadweep is the first Union Territory to become 100% organic as all farming is carried out without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.


It is India’s smallest Union Territory.

It is an archipelago consisting of 36 islands.

There are three main group of islands:

(1) Amindivi Islands;

(2) Laccadive Islands;

(3) Minicoy Island.

All are tiny islands of coral origin (Atoll) and are surrounded by fringing reefs.

Participatory Guarantee System

PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.

The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.

Implemented by: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

It is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of contiguous villages.

It is applicable only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing by PGS farmers of their direct products.

Organic farming is a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides, etc.


The Indian Government has introduced a new digital platform called ‘CO-WIN’ for COVID-19 vaccine delivery.

There will be a new mobile app as well with the same name that will allow people to register for the vaccine. 

The CO-WIN app is expected to be publicly available soon.

The platform will be used for recording vaccine data and will form a database of healthcare workers too. 

All COVID-19 related data necessary for the delivery of the vaccine is presently being uploaded on the CO-WIN platform.

The app will have separate modules for administrator, registration, vaccination, beneficiary acknowledgement and reports. 

Once people start to register for the app, the platform will upload bulk data on co-morbidity provided by local authorities.