Prelim Bits 09-11-2021 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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November 09, 2021

Srinagar Joins UCCN

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has picked Srinagar among 49 cities as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) under the Crafts and Folk Arts category.

  • Created in 2004, the UCCN fosters international cooperation across cities of the world that invest in culture and creativity as accelerators of sustainable development.
  • Through seven creative fields, cities in the Network are innovative and strategic with a large scope of initiatives that have positive economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts.
    1. Crafts and Folk Art,
    2. Design,
    3. Film,
    4. Gastronomy,
    5. Literature,
    6. Media Arts, and
    7. Music.
  • The UCCN aims to fulfil the enabling and transformative power of culture and creativity in building cities that are resilient, sustainable and future-proof.
  • The Network further commits to supporting the United Nations frameworks, particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Currently, 246 cities make up this network.

Other UCCN Places in India




Creative City of Music


Creative City of Music


Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art


Creative City of Films


Creative City of Gastronomy


Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art

Central Sector Plan Scheme

Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment will release the Training Modules of Central Sector Plan Scheme.

  • The Central Sector Plan Scheme is ‘’In-service Training & Sensitization of Key functionaries of Central & State Governments and Local Bodies and other service providers” at national level w.e.f. 2015 -16.
  • Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has entrusted the responsibility to the Rehabilitation Council India (RCI) as nodal agency for implementation of its Central Sector Plan Scheme.
    • The scheme has been implemented through various government implementation agencies at national level from FY 2015 -16.
  • The RCI has developed the general guidelines for the implementation of this scheme and training modules for training and sensitization of various target groups as per the provisions of the scheme.
  • RCI has developed target groups wise separate Training Modules namely Health & Allied Professionals, Education Functionaries, Grass Root, Senior & Mid-level Functionaries and Introductory Training Modules.

Rehabilitation Council of India

  • The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) is a Statutory Body under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The RCI was set up as a registered society in 1986.
  • The RCI Act, 1992 was enacted to make RCI a Statutory Body in 1993. It was amended by Parliament in 2000 to make it more broad-based.
  • The mandate given to RCI is,
    1. To regulate and monitor services given to persons with disability,
    2. To standardise syllabi and
    3. To maintain a Central Rehabilitation Register of all qualified professionals and personnel working in the field of Rehabilitation and Special Education.
  • The Act also prescribes punitive action against unqualified persons delivering services to persons with disability.

LEADS Report 2021

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry releases report on Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) 2021.

  • Findings - The LEADS survey 2021 was conducted over the period from May to August 2021.
  • Gujarat, Haryana & Punjab have got the top 3 positions respectively.
  • Within the North Eastern States and Himalayan Region, Jammu and Kashmir is the top ranker followed by Sikkim and Meghalaya.
  • Delhi stands at the top rank among Other UTs.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand & Jharkhand have witnessed a remarkable improvement in their ranks compared to 2019 LEADS ranking.
  • Improvements - LEADS 2021 has gone 2-step ahead of the previous reports in analysing the domestic & EXIM logistics ecosystem of the state.
  • Along with the perception-based indicators, objective parameters have been used for index formulation in the LEADS 2021 Index.
  • Also, the statistical methodologies to build the index has been updated to get more robust results, given change in the overall framework.
  • 21 perception and objective variables have been statistically analysed to prepare a composite index basis upon which the states have been ranked.
  • The perception survey was administered to the 4 categories of logistics stakeholders, viz. traders/ shippers, transport service providers, terminal operators, and logistics service providers.
  • Significance - LEADS report would be a practical guide to identify strengths, opportunities & improve the logistics performance of States.
  • The inputs given by LEADS Report 2021 can lead the way to bring down logistics cost by 5% over the next 5 years. The current cost is about 13-14% of the GDP, according to estimates.

LEADS Report

  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) had launched a study, “Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS)” in 2018.
  • The report ranks the states and UTs on the basis of their logistics ecosystem, highlights the key logistics related challenges faced by the stakeholders and includes suggestive recommendations.
  • The states have been ranked in three separate classes including ‘North Eastern States & Himalayan UTs’ and ‘Other UTs’ group.
  • With Competitive & Cooperative federalism, LEADS is creating an Ecosystem for Excellence by bringing in a healthy competitive spirit where everyone is persuaded to improve.
  • LEADS report aims to enhance focus on improving logistics performance across states which is key to improving the country's trade and reducing transaction cost.



LEADS 2018

Focused on export-import trade

Assessed the efficiency of the logistics ecosystem in each State and UT

LEADS 2019

Covered both international and domestic trade

No ranking was released last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic

LEADS 2021

Analysis of domestic and EXIM logistics ecosystem of the state

Indian Flapshell Turtles

Forest officials from Odisha have released 40 Indian flapshell turtles (Lissemys punctata) that were smuggled into the Satiguda dam.

Smuggling of turtles, one of the Class 1 species of the water animal, is a non-bailable offence under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

  • Indian flapshell turtle is a freshwater turtle species found in many states.
    • The “flap-shelled” name stems from the presence of femoral flaps located on the plastron.
    • These flaps of skin cover the limbs when they retract into the shell.
  • Indian flapshell turtle is a relatively small soft-shell turtle. It is a scavenger in the river.  
  • Location - Indian flapshell turtles are found in shallow, quiet, often stagnant slow-moving rivers, streams and rice paddies.
  • They prefer waters with sand or mud bottoms because of their tendency to burrow.
  • Countries - Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh (Indus and Ganges drainages), and Myanmar (Irrawaddy and Salween Rivers).  
  • Diet - All softshell turtles are predominantly carnivores, though the flapshells eat some plant matter (i.e. Omnivore).
  • Threats - Poaching for meat and cartilage. Foxes and wild dogs destroy their nests.

Protection Status

Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Schedule I

IUCN Status



Appendix II

Bhasha Sangam Initiative

Union Education Minister launches Bhasha Sangam initiative for schools.

  • Developed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to teach basic sentences of everyday usage in 22 scheduled Indian languages (Eighth Schedule languages).
  • It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme.
  • 100 sentences in 22 languages are presented in such a way that children in school will be able to read in Indian language, in Devanagari script, in roman script and translations into Hindi and English.
  • 100 sentences are presented in audio and video form with Indian Sign Language.
  • Through this programme of Bhasha Sangam learners in school will be able to get acquainted with all the languages-their scripts, pronunciation
  • Available on DIKSHA, ePathshala and through 22 booklets.



  1. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1770142
  2. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/unesco-picks-srinagar-as-creative-city/article37389338.ece
  3. https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/sites/default/files/uccn_mission_statement_en.pdf
  4. https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/content/call-applications
  5. https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/creative-cities-map
  6. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1770061
  7. http://www.rehabcouncil.nic.in/
  8. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1770042
  9. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/gujarat-once-again-tops-logistics-efficiency-index-of-states/article37381396.ece
  10. https://www.hindustantimes.com/business/gujarat-ranks-1st-for-third-consecutive-year-in-logistics-performance-index-101636381034631.html
  11. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/gujarat-retains-top-slot-on-logistics-performance-index-commerce-ministry/articleshow/87584942.cms
  12. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/turtle-smuggling-continues-forest-officials-seize-40-turtles-from-odisha-s-malkangiri-80055
  13. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Indian-flapshell-turtle
  14. https://animalia.bio/indian-flapshell-turtle
  15. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1768561
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