Odisha Current Affairs - 2020

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Vaishno Devi shrine named country’s ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’

Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir has been named country’s ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’. President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the award to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) during the ‘Swachh Mahotsav’ to be organised by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on 6 September 2019.

Key Highlights

The Rankings of Swachh Iconic Places was released by Union ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Vaishno Devi Shrine which is visited by thousands of devotees daily, received a special award in 2017 from union ministry of drinking water and sanitation for bagging 2nd spot behind Golden Temple. In 2018, shrine was also declared as cleanest religious place by India Today Group.

Why Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine? The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has been adjudged on basis of overall improvement in sanitation brought about by board due to several initiatives taken in last few years to ensure cleanliness of entire shrine area.

Initiatives: taken by board includes not only equid dung management centre, installing water kiosks, kill waste machines, but also collection, transportation and disposal of waste along with regular mopping up of waste though a workforce of 1300 sanitation workers, among others have enabled shrine to achieve top rank.

Other competitors: The shrine competed with many other iconic places in country including-

Church and Convent of St Francis of Assissi (Goa), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Maharashtra), Tirupati Temple (Andhra Pradesh), Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh), Golden Temple (Punjab), Kamakhya Temple (Assam), Jagannath Puri (Odisha), Ajmer Sharif Dargah (Rajasthan), among others.

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24th Meeting of Western Zonal Council held in Panaji

The 24th Meeting of Western Zonal Council held was held in Panaji, capital of Goa. It was chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Goa being host state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was its vice-chairman. It was attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and representatives of Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

About Zonal Councils

They are statutory bodies set up under States Reorganization Act, 1956 (thus, they are not constitutional bodies unlike Interstate Council) to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States.

These councils are mandated to discuss and give recommendations on any matter of common interest in field of socio-economic planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport etc.

They provide common meeting ground for States to promote and facilitate coordinated efforts for fostering economic and social development. They serve regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other geographically, economically and culturally.

There are total five councils were created as per States Reorganization Act 1956.

  1. Northern Zonal Council: Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, National Capital Territory of Delhi (UT) and Chandigarh (UT).
  2. Central Zonal Council: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
  3. Eastern Zonal Council: Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
  4. Western Zonal Council: Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and UTs of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli
  5. Southern Zonal Council: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telnagana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (UT).

Composition: All zonal councils are chaired Union Home Minister. Chief Ministers of States as Vice-Chairman of respective zone on rotational basis, each holding office for period of one year at time.

North Eastern Council

North Eastern States Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram,) Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim are not included in above five Zonal Councils. Their special problems are looked after by North Eastern Council, set up under North Eastern Council Act, 1972. I

Composition: It is also chaired by Union Home Minister. Minister of Development of North East Region (DoNER) is its Vice Chairman. Governors and Chief Ministers of all these eight North Eastern States are its members.

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