Union Finance Minister Current Affairs - 2019
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman handed over antique 12th century Bronze Idol of Buddha that was stolen from Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Nalanda site museum in 1961 to Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC) Prahlad Singh Patel in New Delhi.
This ‘stolen’ 12th century Buddha was returned a month before (in August 2019) to the Indian High Commission by the London Metropolitan Police.
The Bronze statue of Buddha is documented as ‘Seated Buddha in Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It is of Ht. 6.5″ and belongs to Circa 12th Century AD. It was amongst the 19 bronze statues that were stolen from ASI Museum at Nalanda in August 1961.
The 12th century Bronze Idol of Buddha seated in the Bhumisparsha Mudra was stolen on 22 August 1961 from Nalanda Museum of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). After a gap of nearly 57 years, in February 2018, the stolen statue had resurfaced at an auction in Masstricht (a city in Netherlands) organized by a London based dealer Rossi & Rossi.
Then on receiving information Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officer in London (UK) contacted ASI, UK Customs and Art & Antique Unit of London Metropolitan Police. ASI also certified and confirmed the findings and provided documentary evidence (FIR which was filed in 1961) that the statue was stolen from Archaeological Museum, Nalanda.
Later on 15 August 2018, Scotland Yard handed over the Buddha statue to Indian High Commissioner to UK, YK Sinha to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day.
Tags: 12th Century AD Bronze statue of Buddha • 72nd Independence Day • Archaeological Museum • Archaeological Survey of India • ASI Museum
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government will launch a Jal Jeevan Mission to bring piped water to households. The announcement was made dueing his 6th Independence Day (August 15) address from Red Fort.
About Jal Jeevan Mission
Concerned Authority: Under Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Need: Half of country’s households do not have access to piped water. Therefore, there is a need to quadruple water conservation efforts in next 5 years as to what was done in the last 70 years.
Cost: Both centre and states will work towards achieving Jal Jeevan Mission’s objective. The expenditure on scheme would cost around more than Rs.3.5 lakh crore in coming years.
Objective: It seeks to converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across India.
Focus Areas: JJM will focus on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at local level, including creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability such as groundwater recharge, rainwater harvesting, and management of household wastewater for reuse in agriculture.
People’s Mission: Just like Swachhta Mission it would be a people’s mission. It is a movement towards water conservation that will take place at grassroots level and will integrate people from all walks of life.
Other Efforts by Government
Government has resolved to provide piped water to all households by 2024 and for his purpose it has clubbed all erstwhile water related ministries under one new Jal Shakti Ministry.
In July 2019, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that government has identified 1592 Blocks (spread across 256 districts) which are critical and over exploited, for Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA).