8th Dec, 2020

Himachal Pradesh government trying to obtain GIs for products native to the State

The Himachal Pradesh government is trying to obtain GIs (Geographical Indication) tags for five products from the state. 

These are Karsog Kulth, Thangi of Pangi, Chamba Metal Crafts, Chamba Chukh, and Rajmah of Bharmour.

Karsog Kulth: Kulthi or Kulth (horse gram) is a legume grown as a kharif crop in Himachal Pradesh. Kulth grown in the Karsog area of Mandi district is believed to be particularly rich in amino acids.

Pangi ki Thangi: It is a type of hazelnut which grows in Pangi valley located in the north-western edge of Himachal. It is known for its unique flavour and sweetness.

Chamba metal crafts: These include items such as metal idols and brass utensils which were made by skilled artisans in the courts of kings of Chamba. 

Chamba Chukh: It’s a chutney made from green and red chillies grown in Chamba, and prepared in traditional and unique ways.

Bharmouri Rajmah: It’s more specifically called the Kugtalu Rajmah, since it grows in the area around Kugti Pass in the Bharmour region of Chamba district. It is rich in proteins and has a unique flavour.

Himachal pradesh currently has GI tags in four handicrafts (Kullu Shawl, Chamba Rumal, Kinnauri Shawl and Kangra Paintings), three agricultural products (Kangra Tea, Basmati and Himachali Kala Zeera) and one manufactured product (Himachali Chulli Oil).

Petroleum Board’s notifies New Unified Tariff Structure

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has notified a new tariff structure for 14 natural gas pipelines. 

The aim is to reduce the cost of natural gas for users further away from sources of natural gas and LNG terminals on the west coast of the country.

Under the new unified tariff structure, buyers will be charged a fixed tariff for the transport of gas within 300 kms of a source and a fixed tariff for the transport of gas beyond 300 kms on a single pipeline network.

This would be significantly cheaper for buyers further away from the source of gas who were earlier charged on the basis of the number of pipelines used and the distance from the source of gas.

Therefore, a buyer using multiple pipelines would likely benefit significantly from this change.

The changes in the tariffs will likely incentivise greater investment into gas transmission infrastructure as natural gas becomes more affordable for users further away from the west coast of the country.

The Indian government is aiming to boost the consumption of natural gas which currently accounts for 6.2% of India’s energy basket to 15% by 2030.

Ayush Export Promotion Council to be set up 

Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of AYUSH have decided to set up an AYUSH Export Promotion Council to boost AYUSH exports.

Both Ministries will work together for establishing an AYUSH Export Promotion Council (AEPC). 

The proposed AEPC can be housed at Ministry of AYUSH.

Standardisation of HS code for AYUSH will be expedited.

Ministry of AYUSH will work in collaboration with Bureau of Indian standards to develop international standards for AYUSH products as well as services.

AYUSH industry will work on ensuring quality and standards of AYUSH products as well as to become price-competitive.

AYUSH will also figure in the Brand India activities.

Hampi Stone Chariot

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken steps to protect the stone chariot inside Vittala Temple complex at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi, Karnataka.

Tourists can no longer get too close to the iconic stone chariot.

Hampi chariot

The chariot inside the temple complex is a shrine dedicated to Garuda, but the sculpture of Garuda is now missing.

The Hampi chariot is one among the three famous stone chariots in India.

The other two are in Konark (Odisha) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu).

It was built in the 16th century by the orders of King Krishnadevaraya, a Vijayanagara ruler.

The delicately carved chariot at Hampi reflects skill of temple architecture under the patronage of Vijayanagara rulers who reigned from 14th to 17th century CE.

Vittala Temple

It was built in the 15th century during the rule of Devaraya II, one of the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire.

It is dedicated to Vittala.

Vittala is said to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Dravidian style adorns the built of the complex, which is further enhanced with elaborate carvings.

Moolamylliang recovers from rat-hole mining 

Moolamylliang, a village in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, is making progress in becoming a greener place amid abandoned pits from the rat-hole mining.

National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned hazardous rat-hole coal mining in Meghalaya in April 2014 and set a time limit for transporting the coal already mined till that time.

The Jaintia Coal Miners and Dealers’ Association claims there are some 60,000 coal mines across 360 villages in East Jaintia Hills district. 

Moolamylliang used to be one such village until the National Green Tribunal’s ban.

Rat-hole Mining is a term used for a hazardous and arduous mining technique where miners crawl into winding underground tunnels that are just 4-5 feet in diameter to extract coal from the deep seams with a pickaxe.

IRDAI standardises health policies for Robotic and bariatric surgeries

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has standardised all health policies to include robotic and bariatric surgeries as well.

Robotic surgery holds significant promise in the field of healthcare. 

The introduction of such surgeries has made the performance of complicated procedures much easier.

They allow doctors to perform different types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility, and control.

The benefits of such procedures in India come at a lower cost than in developed nations, making it easily accessible to a larger section of the population.

Robotic surgeries reduce the trauma caused to the patient by allowing surgery to be performed through small ports or ‘keyholes’ rather than via large incisions.

The instruments can access hard-to-reach areas of a patient’s body more easily through smaller incisions compared with traditional open and laparoscopic surgeries.

This helps in shorter recovery times, with fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay. 

They are minimally invasive, painless and have a bigger cosmetic advantage.

Lower cost of the surgery would mean lower premium to be paid for such cover, too.

Bariatric surgery is an operation that helps lose weight by making changes to the digestive system.

Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is a regulatory body created with the aim of protecting the interests of the insurance customers.

It regulates and sees to the development of the insurance industry while monitoring insurance-related activities.

Jupiter and Saturn to be seen in Great Conjunction

In a rare celestial event, Jupiter and Saturn will be seen very close to each other (conjunction) on 21st December 2020, appearing like one bright star.

Conjunction occurs when two celestial bodies visually appear close to each other from Earth.

Astronomers use the term great conjunction to describe meetings of the two biggest worlds in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn.

It happens about every 20 years.

The conjunction is the result of the orbital paths of Jupiter and Saturn coming into line, as viewed from Earth.

Jupiter orbits the sun about every 12 years, and Saturn about every 29 years.

It will be the closest alignment of Saturn and Jupiter since 1623, in terms of distance.

The next time the planets will be this close is 2080.

They will appear to be close together, however, they will be more than 400 million miles apart.