Leh Current Affairs - 2019

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26th Mela of Ladakhi-Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan Mela inaugurated in Leh

The 26th Ladakhi-Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan Mela was recently inaugurated by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Leh, Jammu and Kashmir. It was organised by Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

About Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR)

It is constituent laboratory of DRDO. It was established in 1960 to meet fresh food requirement of soldiers deployed in the harsh terrain of Ladakh. It has core competence in cold arid agro-animal technology. It aims to meet fresh food requirement of the soldiers at high altitude cold desert condition. It is also responsible to make region reasonably green. Its research stations are located at Ranbirpura, (Ladakh). Partapur (Siachen Sector), Base Laboratory (Chandigarh). It also hosts world’s highest terrestrial R&D Centre at Changla, Ladakh.

Contributions: It is known for many success stories in translating science to alleviate real-life problems being faced in the remote Ladakh region. It is now working to develop newer technologies to make fresh food available even in remotest locations in the Himalayas. Technologies developed by it provides Indian Army locally grown fresh organic farm produce and as a spin-off of its technologies developed, farmers in Ladakh region are able to produce a variety of  vegetables and fruits resulting in improving their socio-economic condition. The interdependence created between locals and Army through scientific endeavours of DIHAR has contributed to socio-economic upliftment of local farmers.

National Tribal Festival ‘Aadi Mahotsav’ being organised at Leh-Ladakh

In a bid to give a fillip to tribal economy in Ladakh, Aadi Mahotsav or National Tribal Festival will be organised at Polo Ground, Leh-Ladakh. It is a 9 day festival that will start from 17 August till 25 August 2019. The event will be inaugurated by Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik. Until 2018 Ladakh did not figure on list of places where Aadi Mahotsav is held every year.

About Aadi Mahotsav

It is a joint initiative of Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED). TRIFED will essentially play role of a Service provider & Market Developer.

Theme of festival: A celebration of the spirit of Tribal Craft, Culture and Commerce.

It is 1st such event in Ladakh since central government announced decision to make Ladakh a Union Territory. At present Ladakh is a part of Jammu and Kashmir and new UT will come into effect on 31 October 2019.

It is aimed at scaling up business opportunities for tribals. Changes in Union Territory status of Ladakh has provided an opportunity to scale up business opportunities for tribals in Ladakh.

Significance: Aadi Mahotsav in Leh, Ladakh by showcasing tribal culture, cuisine, art, craft, and herbal medicines will help spread these in other parts of country and provide opportunities to tribals for economic growth and prosperity.

Participants: About 160 tribal artisans from more than 20 states across India will participate and showcase their craft. Major attraction of event will be:

Tribal textiles from-  Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal

Tribal jewellery from-  Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and the Northeast

Art and craft from- Gond and Warli art, metal craft from Chhattisgarh and black pottery from Manipur

Ladakh Tribals: In Ladakh tribals make up 70% of population. Ladakh is known for pashmina shawls and apricots and the Idea behind event is to provide tribal cultivators with a big market across India. Through a collaboration of TRIFED and online marketplace Amazon, these products will be sold in 190 countries across the world.

e-transactions: At Aadi Mahotsav, an effort will be made to take tribal commerce to next level of digital and electronic transactions. For the 1st time, tribal artisans will be accepting payment through major credit/debit cards for which point of sale machines have been provided at each stall. At the event will two reputed local cultural troupes will present Ladakhi folk dances.

Over the next 10 days, a Van Dhan camp will be organized in Ladakh. Village-level groups of tribal artisans will be formed under Van Dhan scheme which seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of their products.

NOTE: Van Dhan scheme was launched in 2018. Government has set a target of setting up 600 Van Dhan by September 2019 and total 5,000 in the next 5 years. Under it a group of 20 tribal artisans is trained and provided with working capital to add value to products, which they collect from jungle, at each Van Dhan Kendra.