India nominated Rani-ki-Vav and the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) for UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Status for 2014. The World Heritage Committee will convene in Doha, Qatar, in June 2014 to review the nomination and take a final decision.
Process to confirm World Heritage status
Only countries that have signed the World Heritage Convention and pledged to protect their natural and cultural heritage, can submit nomination proposals for properties on their territory to be considered for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The nomination process for selecting World Heritage site:
- Tentative List: Countries create an inventory of potential monuments and natural sites and include them in the Tentative List.
- The Nomination File: The concern department in particular country selects a few sites and nominates them for final inscription, every year to the World Heritage centre. The centre sends it to the Advisory bodies, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) for evaluation mandate by the World Heritage Convention.
- Advisory Bodies: UNESCO appoints advisory committees to evaluate the nominations.
- World Heritage Committee: Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, the intergovernmental World Heritage Committee meets to decide which sites will be inscribed on the World Heritage list.
- Location: Patan, Gujarat.
- Constructed by Queen Udayamati of the Solanki dynasty.
- The 11th century stepwell and is one of the finest examples of stepwells in Gujarat.
- The well is subterranean structure with a series of steps, board landings, pavilions and sculpted walls which provides access to water in deep water. It is of seven storeys with five exist and there are more than 800 elaborate sculptures which are survived. This is a protected monument under the Archeological Survey of India.
About Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP)
- Location: Kullu region in Himachal Pradesh.
- Established: 1984 and declared as National Park in 1999.
- Area: 452 sq mi.
- Known for its biodiversity and has more than 25 forest types, 800 kinds of plants and is home to more than 180 bird species.
- Habitat to numerous flora and more than 375 fauna species that comprises nearly around 31 mammals, 181 birds, 3 reptiles, 9 amphibians, 11 annelids, 17 mollusks and 127 insects.
The Punjab Cabinet approved the Backward Class (BC) status for the Jat and Jat Sikhs of the State. Now, Jats and Jat Sikhs are the 69th and 70th community to be included in the category.
As per the Punjab Cabinet decision
- Quota benefit will also be extended to economically weaker persons from the general category.
- These reservations would be in addition to the quota already in place and would not affect the existing quota sections.
- A commission will be set up to work out modalities for the implementation of the Cabinet decision.
- The grant of BC status to the Jats and Jat Sikhs will enable them to get reservation in government jobs.
Note: Recently, the Union Cabinet decided to extend OBC status to Jats of Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Delhi. Though, Jats and Jat Sikhs of Punjab had been left out of the Union Cabinet’s decision because the Punjab government had failed to bring the community in the State BC list.
The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched an online shopping portal for sale of authentic tribal products that will seek to create a ‘niche’ market for indigenous artisans.
About the e-commerce portal
- This online portal is initially open for only Indian shoppers and for international buyers later.
- Features 69 tribal products viz. textiles, metal artifacts and jewellery, etc.
- Launched by Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Raj V Kishore Chandra Deo.
- Objective: To provide branding, source certification and developing standards for products.
- Shawls, stoles and mufflers will be in available in Angora, sheep wool and Pashmina material from states viz. Orissa, Assam, etc.
- Paintings from four states and dokra metal artifacts and jewellery from states viz. Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh will also be available.
- Detailed write- ups of the products will also be available.
- The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) is making special efforts to promote the sales of handicrafts.
Future Plans: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has plans to launch a new website for the minor forest produce viz. honey and tamarind.
Rajasthan scrapped the approval given by the previous Congress government for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retailing. After Delhi, Rajasthan became the second state, to withdraw approval for FDI in multi-brand retail following a change of government after the assembly elections held in November-December.
Recently, the Aam Admi Party Government in Delhi had repealed the decision to allow FDI in retail and told the Centre that it would not allow foreign supermarkets in the Capital as they would destroy the local markets and close down neighbourhood shops and kirana stores.