Restoration of Ajmer Dargah
Topic : GS Paper I ART AND CULTURE
The Dargah of Ajmer is undergoing restoration and redevelopment of the interiors of the Mehfil Khana, widening of gates, structural consolidation, facade work in the courtyards, cleaning of stone surfaces, and new terracing in lime concrete.
- Dargahs are the tomb or shrine of an Islamic saint.
- Ajmer’s Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti was built in the 13th century.
- Moinuddin Chishti is remembered as Khwaja Garib Nawaz, or the benefactor of the poor.
- The dargah distributes degh ka khana (food from a cauldron).
- The food is prepared in two big deghs, which were made during Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign.
Architecture of the Dargah:
- In 1579, Akbar reconstructed the sanctum sanctorum and built the dome.
- The tomb was constructed in wood, later covered with a stone canopy.
- It was renovated in later years by Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Jahanara.
- The square structure of the royal darbar (Mehfil Khana), was built in 1888 AD.
- The Dargah was organically built with various materials, ranging from brick and marble to sandstone.
- The massive restoration work is undertaken as part of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
- The patterned ceiling will be designed on the lines of Kashmiri Khatambandh (a woodwork ceiling with a carved geometric pattern), and Mughal stone inlay flooring.
- Work is also going on at the famous Shahjahani Gate, built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan to mark the expansion of the dargah complex beyond the Buland Darwaza.
Cleanliness of the Monument:
- The project under the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan also revolves around sanitation, cleanliness, and waste management within the dargah’s periphery.
- The work entails providing clean drinking water for pilgrims, building toilets, and kiosk management.
- Every day, seven tones of rose petals are wasted. For the flower-waste disposal, a compost waste converter has been installed.
- The team is working on the revival of wudu (Islamic ritual purification) points so that pilgrims can wash their hands, face and feet before offering namaz.
Mamallapuram to host Modi-Xi meet in October
Topic : GS Paper I HISTORY
- The historic coastal town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu is expected to be the venue for the second India-China informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
- The leaders are likely to make a visit to the ancient monuments in the coastal town.
- Mamallapuram also hosted the Defence Expo 2018 or known as Defexpo, the Union Defence Ministry’s annual event with international participation.
- Pallava king Narasimhavarman I (630 AD – 668 AD), also called Mahamalla or Mamalla founded the city of Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram which is named after him.
- He had defeated and killed Pulakesin II of Chalukya dynasty in 642 AD, took control of Vatapi, the Chalukya capital and assumed the title ‘Vatapikonda’.
- The Shore temple of Mamallapuram was built during the reign of Pallava king Narasimhavarman II, also known as Rajasimha (700 – 728 AD).
- There is one each Shiva shrine facing east and west and a middle shrine of Vishnu in Anantashayana pose.
- The presence of three main shrines is a unique feature. It is probable that the shrines were not all built at the same time.
- There are sculptures of Nandi the bull (Shiva’s mount) along the walls of the temple.
- There is evidence of a water reservoir and a gopuram.
- Other monuments at the site are the rathas (chariot temples), mandapas, and rock relief sculptures such as the Descent of the Ganges (penance of Arjuna).
- The monuments of Mamallapuram had been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The site has been identified by the Ministry of Tourism as one of the 17 sites in 12 clusters for development under Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project.
Hubei Provincial Museum:
- The first informal summit between both the leaders was held in Wuhan in China during April, 2018.
- During the first informal summit, the leaders had made a visit to the Hubei provincial museum.
India Facing Prolonged Slowdown: Former Prime Minister
Topic : GS Paper III ECONOMY
- Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the 5% growth in India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) signalled a prolonged slowdown.
- Singh’s statement came after a slow GDP growth rate of 5% was reported for the first quarter of 2019-20 financial year.
- He said the state of the economy was deeply worrying pointing to the near 0% growth of the manufacturing sector.
- He projected a gloomy picture of the economy illustrated by a depressed demand and consumption, lower tax revenues, job losses in formal and informal sector, negative investor sentiment and tax terrorism.
- He claimed that the economy had not fully recovered from the all-round mismanagement of the government, blunders of demonetisation and a hastily implemented GST.
- He also attacked the government for taking ₹1.76 lakh Cr. from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reserves, eroding the autonomy of the independent institutions and credibility of government data. The resilience of the RBI will be tested after this record transfer to the government.
- Budget announcements and rollbacks have shaken the confidence of international investors.
- India has not been able to increase its exports to take advantage of opportunities that have arisen in global trade due to geopolitical realignments.
Concerns in Rural India:
- He shared the concern about farmers not receiving adequate prices and declining rural incomes.
- He added that the low inflation rate comes at the cost of our farmers and their incomes, by inflicting misery on over 50% of India’s population.
- Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman refused to respond to Dr. Singh’s statement.
- The Minister said that the government is responding to the industry requirements in terms of employment.
- She added that the Centre was responding to issues raised by various sectors separately.
- She has already held consultations with the automobile industry.
- The government hopes that the monsoon would meet the basic requirements for agriculture.
- The government wants all vehicles to have their due market share and it should not be confused with the promotion of Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Project to Naturally Treat Wastewater
Topic : GS Paper III ENVIRONMENT
- Delhi Government will commission a pilot project to naturally treat 10 lakh litres of wastewater per day.
- The ₹1.85 Cr. project will be undertaken by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department in Ghoga village, north Delhi.
- The treated water will be supplied by a pipeline to a 2 acre dry water body at a distance of 1.2 km from the project.
- In the test runs, the blackish water turned clean as it passed through the system.
Water Shortage in Delhi:
- The city faces a water shortage with requirement of about 1,120 million gallons per day (MGD) and average production of about 930 MGD.
- Polluted water cannot recharge groundwater as percolation into the ground is less due to sludge and waste present in it.
Mechanism of Natural Treatment:
- The water from the Ghoga drain first goes into a ‘sedimentation-cum-biodigestor tank’, where heavy suspended solids settle as the wastewater flows through criss-cross dividers in the tank.
- The water then passes through one of the four chambers of wetlands, which have plants and rocks.
- There will be a sand carbon filter too.
- The bacteria present in the roots of the plant (Canna indica) breaks down the chemicals and heavy metals in the water.
- The anaerobic and aerobic reactions will digest the pollutants.
- The Biological Oxygen Demand [BOD] level is radically reduced from 330 PPM to 40 PPM.
- It will also help recharge the groundwater. Recharging the groundwater will help raise the water table and reduce the water crisis.
- Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu dedicated nation’s longest electrified tunnel connecting Venkatachalam and Obulavaripalle in Andhra Pradesh.
- The 6.7 km long tunnel between 6.6 km between Cherlopalli and Rapuru would provide viable rail connectivity between the Krishnapatnam Port and the hinterland for seamless movement of freight.
- The newly constructed tunnel will help in reducing the travel time by 5 hours.
- LED lighting provided at 10 m intervals inside the tunnel.
- Fail safe earthing arrangements are provided for safety of personnel working in tunnel.
- The tunnel, built at a cost of ₹437 Cr., has 44 trolley refuges and 14 cross passages in a horseshoe design.
- The Fourth General Assembly of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) will take place in Bengaluru.
- India will take over as A-WEB’s chair for 2019–21.
- Representatives from election bodies in over 50 countries will congregate in to share their electoral experience.
- The Election Commission of India will hold an international conference on ‘Initiatives and Challenges of Social Media and Information Technology in Elections’.
- Since the formation of A-WEB in 2013, India has been its executive board member
- The A-WEB has 115 members and 20 regional associations or organisations as associate members.
- The members include 24 from Asia, 37 from Africa, 31 from America, 17 from Europe, and six from Oceania.
- The EC of India will continue to remain on the executive board of the A-WEB for 2021–23.
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