15, January 2018

  1. Villagers along India-Myanmar international border to get passes

Source: The Hindu

India and Myanmar are all set to streamline free movement of people within 16 km along their borders. The Centre has asked the four states that share unfenced border with Myanmar to distribute “border pass” to all the residents living within 16 km from the boundary line. It has also asked the governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram to enrol the border residents under Aadhaar on war footing.

The border pass:

  • The border pass will be given only to the domiciles. All residents going across the border for agriculture, work or to meet relatives should carry the pass at all times. There will be no restrictions on their movement.


  • Both the countries had been intending to put a system in place after India raised the issue of movement of extremists and smugglers freely across the border. On January 3, the Union Cabinet had approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on land border crossing which the government said would enhance economic interaction between the people of the two countries
  • India and Myanmar share an unfenced border of 1,643 km, touching Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km).

  1. Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2018

Source: PIB

To celebrate the idea of unity in diversity, the Ministry of Culture is organising the 7th edition of the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav.

  • The Mahotsav will cover a profusion of art forms from classical and folk, music and dance, theatre to literature and the visual arts and would offer the chance to experience the best in established and emerging virtuosity. A handloom and handicrafts-utsav is part of the proposed event. The gastronomic culture of several partnering states will be showcased through a food festival.

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:

  • The Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme was launched by the Prime Minister on 31st October, 2016 to promote engagement amongst the people of different states/UTs so as to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures, thereby securing stronger unity and integrity of India.

  1. Mahadayi row

Source: The Hindu

The row between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra over the sharing of the Mahadayi (Mandovi) river has escalated. With Karnataka headed for elections and the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal setting a February date for the final hearing, political parties in both States have upped the ante.

Mahadayi row

  • Karnataka seeks to divert water from tributaries of the river through the Kalasa-Bhanduri Nala project towards the parched Malaprabha river basin (a tributary of River Krishna), which is being strongly opposed by Goa. This has led to a long-drawn farmers’ agitation in Karnataka, which has been revitalised as the State goes to the polls later this year.
  • Goa’s main contention is that Karnataka cannot divert water from an already-deficit Mahadayi basin to the Malaprabha river basin: 115 tmcft was available in the basin, while the requirement for the three States is 145 tmcft. It has said that any attempt to divert water from one river basin to the other will cause irreparable environmental damage. Karnataka claims 199.6 tmcft is available and the river is water-surplus. Of this, Karnataka wants 24.15 tmcft.


  • The 80-km-long river rises from the forests of the Western Ghats at Devgaon in northern Karnataka. It enters Goa where it is a lifeline, both for the people and the rich flora and fauna of its forests.

  1. Monuments Bill

Source: The Hindu

Some historians and archaeologists have expressed concern over amendments proposed to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1958). The Lok Sabha passed the amendments to the Act on January 3. But the Bill is yet to be cleared by the Rajya Sabha.


  • The Act, which originally instituted conservation measures and banned construction activities near protected monuments, is now sought to be amended so that public works could be allowed within the 100 m prohibited zone.

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017:

  • The Act defines a ‘prohibited area’ as an area of 100 meters around a protected monument or area.  The central government can extend the prohibited area beyond 100 meters.  The Act does not permit construction in such prohibited areas, except under certain conditions.  The Act also prohibits construction in ‘prohibited areas’ even if it is for public purposes. The Bill amends this provision to permit construction of public works in ‘prohibited areas’ for public purposes.
  • The Bill introduces a definition for ‘public works’, which includes the construction of any infrastructure that is financed and carried out by the central government for public purposes. This infrastructure must be necessary for public safety and security and must be based on a specific instance of danger to public safety.  Also, there should be no reasonable alternative to carrying out construction in the prohibited area.
  • As per the Bill, the relevant central government department, that seeks to carry out construction for public purposes in a prohibited area, should make an application to the competent authority. If there is any question related to whether a construction project qualifies as ‘public works’, it will be referred to the National Monuments Authority. This Authority, will make its recommendations, with written reasons, to the central government.  The decision of the central government will be final.
  • The Bill empowers the National Monuments Authority to consider an impact assessment of the proposed public works in a prohibited area, including its (i) archaeological impact; (ii) visual impact; and (iii) heritage impact. The Authority will make a recommendation, for construction of public works to the central government, only if it is satisfied that there is no reasonable possibility of moving the construction outside the prohibited area.


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