Prelim Snippets 24-08-2019


  • The government calls for applications for its latest Initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission called the ‘San-Sadhan’ Hackathon.
  • It is an initiative to ease the lives of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) by making toilets smarter, more accessible, and easier to use
  • In this hackathon, the government is looking for smart, scalable and innovative solutions for economical toilets for individual and community use in rural and urban contexts.
  • The initiative is being organized jointly by the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and 91springboard.
  • The Hackathon invites researchers, start-ups, student innovators, technology enthusiasts, and industry experts to participate.
  • This hackathon is a great opportunity to win exciting prizes and get handholding and mentoring support by the ministry, industry experts and ecosystem enablers.
  • The applicants will be showcasing their innovations on the final day of the hackathon and the winners shall be felicitated during the valedictory function which is slated to be held in mid-September.


What is the Henley Passport Index?
  • Prepared by Henley and Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm.
  • The Henley Passport Index claims to be the “original ranking of all the world’s passports”.
  • The index gathers data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that manages inter-airline cooperation globally.
  • The Henley Passport Index is updated in real time according to countries’ visa policy changes. It covers 227 destinations and 199 passports.
What does this mean for Indian passport holders?
  • India has a score of 58. That is the number of destinations an Indian passport holder can travel to today, without pre-departure government approval.
  • That is the same as a citizen of any country, on an average, could travel to 13 years ago.
  • “In 2006, a citizen, on an average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by 2018, this number had nearly doubled to 107,” Henley and Partners noted in the Global Mobility Report, released in 2019.
Other Passport Indices:
  • Others include the Arton Passport Index, which ranks United Arab Emirates’s passport at rank 1 as per its most recent rankings.


Context: A 16th century bronze Nataraja idol, which was stolen from Kallidaikurichi temple, Tirunelveli, in 1982, is set to be repatriated by Australian authority.

About Nataraja Idol:
  • The most magnificent image of Chola period in the bronze is Nataraja, Siva in his cosmic dance / Tandav Dance. In this dance, he creates and destroys the world.
  • His dance is called Tandavam or Nadanta, depending on the context of the dance.
  • It typically shows Shiva dancing in one of the Natya Shastra poses, holding Agni (fire) in his left back hand, the front hand in gajahasta (elephant hand) or dandahasta (stick hand) mudra, the front right hand with a wrapped snake that is in abhaya (fear not) mudra while pointing to a Sutra text, and the back hand holding a musical instrument, usually a damaru.


Context: International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Abolition was observed on 23rd August.

  • It is observed every year on August 23, the day designated by UNESCO to memorialize the transatlantic slave trade.
  • That date was chosen by the adoption of resolution 29 C/40 by the Organization’s General Conference at its 29th session.
  • Significance of the Day: during the night of August 22 to August 23, 1791, on the island of Saint Domingue (now known as Haiti), an uprising began which set forth events which were a major factor in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
  • UNESCO Member States organize events every year on that date, inviting participation from young people, educators, artists and intellectuals.
  • As part of the goals of the intercultural UNESCO project, “The Slave Route”, it is an opportunity for collective recognition and focus on the “historic causes, the methods and the consequences” of slavery.


Context: Bangladesh is studying the feasibility of applying Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) to control the dengue outbreak. A team of experts from WHO-FAO and IAEA arrived in Dhaka to discuss the feasibility of this technique.

  • Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is a ‘Mosquito Fights Mosquito Technique.‘ Under this, radiation sterilised male mosquitoes are released in areas with dengue causing female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes turning them infertile.
  • Significance: This is an environmentally friendly method to control mosquitoes as no pesticide is used.
  • Global scenario of usage: This breakthrough technique has been tested successfully at two sites in Guangzhou in China.


Context: NITI Aayog has released the Report on the Composite Water Management Index 2.0.

Composite Water Management Index:
  • The CWMI is an important tool to assess and improve the performance of States and Union Territories inefficient management of Water Resources.
  • This has been done through a first of its kind water data collection exercise in partnership with Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Rural Development and all the States/ Union Territories.
  • The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
  • CWMI 2.0 ranks various states for the reference year 2017-18 as against the base year 2016-17.
  • NITI Aayog first launched and conceptualized the Composite Water Management Index in 2018 as a tool to instil the sense of cooperative and competitive federalism among the states.
  • This was a first-ever attempt at creating a pan-India set of metrics that measured different dimensions of water management and use across the lifecycle of water.
  • The report was widely acknowledged and provided actionable guidance to States on where they were doing well absolutely and relatively and what they needed to focus on to secure their water future.
Report Highlights:
  • In the report released, Gujarat holds on to its rank one in the reference year (2017-18), followed by Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • In North Eastern and Himalayan States, Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged number 1 in 2017-18 followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura and Assam.
  • Among the UTs which had submitted data for the first time, Puducherry has been adjudged number 1.
  • In terms of incremental change in index (over 2016-17 level), Haryana holds number one position in general States and Uttarakhand ranks at first position amongst North Eastern and Himalayan States.
  • On average, 80% of the states assessed on the Index over the last three years have improved their water management scores, with an average improvement of +5.2 points.
Ranking of Different State in CWMI 2.0 (2019):


Context: Union Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions presented the ANUBHAV awards, 2019.

  • The Anubhav portal was created on the call of Prime Minister in 2015 with a vision to preserve rich experience of retired official in digital form.
  • It is envisaged that their rich experience will be preserved for future generation to learn and explore knowledge on various aspects of governance, culture & development history of a particular region.
  • An award scheme to incentivize and encourage more retiring employees to submit their write-ups was introduced in 2016.
  • Since then, three annual awards ceremony have been organized. This was fourth annual award in the series.
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