Ram Nath Kovind Current Affairs

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates Hornbill Festival in Kisama

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated 18th edition of the Hornbill Festival at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, Nagaland. The festival coincided with 54th statehood day of Nagaland.

Hornbill Festival also called as the ‘Festival of Festivals’ in Nagaland is tourism promotional extravaganza to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of Naga heritage.

Key Facts

Hornbill Festival is celebrated in Nagaland every year in first week of December. It is one of biggest indigenous festivals of country. The festival pays tribute to Hornbill, the most admired and revered bird for the Nagas for its qualities of alertness and grandeur.

The majestic bird is closely identified with social and cultural life of Nagas as reflected in tribal folklore, dances and songs. It is organized by State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments and also supported by Union Government.

The Hornbill Festival provides a colourful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. It exposes both the culture and tradition of tribal peoples, and reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a unique state in India’s federal union.

Background

Hornbill Festival was established on 1st December 1963 and was inaugurated by the then President Dr. S Radhakrishnan. Over the years festival has become a unique platform for tourists to witness cultural diversity not only of Nagas and other seven sister states of northeastern region.

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Bamboo not ‘tree’ any more: President promulgates ordinance to amend Forest Act

President Ram Nath Kovind has promulgated an ordinance under Article 123 of Constitute to amend Indian Forest Act, 1927 to encourage bamboo plantation by farmers in private lands.

The ordinance omits bamboo (taxonomically a grass) grown in non-forest areas from definition of trees. The omission, thereby exempts it from requiring permits for felling or transportation of bamboo grown in non-forest areas.

Key Facts

With this, bamboo grown in non-forest areas ceases to be tree. However, bamboo grown in forest areas continues to be governed by provisions of Indian Forest Act. The amendment to Section 2(7) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 will encourage bamboo plantation by farmers, which will contribute to doubling farmers income by 2022.

Need

India has largest area under bamboo cultivation and is second richest in terms of bamboo genetic resources after China. India has 19% share of world’s area under bamboo cultivation, its market share in sector is only 6%. But, India’s massive potential was not utilised to increase country’s share in global bamboo market.  As result, India is currently importing timber and allied products such as pulp, paper and furniture, etc. The amendment will help in addressing some of these issues, besides meeting the demand from domestic production.

Significance of Amendments

By omitting bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of trees, government hoped to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve the “twin objectives” of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country.

The amendment approved will allow free movement of bamboo and ensure that production and consumption centres are seamlessly integrated. This will generate demand for raw material leading to planting of bamboo trees on non-forest land, provide employment and encourage growth of small and medium industries in villages and smaller towns also, and reduce our dependence on imports.

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