9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 11th, 2019

Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 sites in 12 clusters in the country for development as Iconic Tourist Sites

News: Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 sites in the country for development as Iconic Tourist Sites.


About Iconic Tourist Sites Initiative

  • It was announced in Budget 2019-20 by the Finance Minister. The nodal ministry for the implementation of the initiative is the Ministry of Tourism.
  • Aim: To develop the selected sites into world class tourist destinations to serve as a model for other tourism sites.

Features of the project

  • Inter-ministerial coordination among Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • Sites to be developed at par with International standards. Interventions in and around the monuments will have elements of universal accessibility, green technology, and enhanced security for tourists.

Selected Sites:

  • Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra)
  • Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar (Delhi)
  • Colva (Goa)
  • Ajmer Fort (Rajasthan)
  • Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat)
  • Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Hampi (Karnataka)
  • Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu),
  • Kaziranga(Assam)
  • Kumarakom (Kerala) and
  • Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).

Additional Information:

Adopt a Heritage Scheme (Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Project):

  • Launched in 2017, it is an initiative by Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It aims to develop the heritage sites / monuments, make them tourist-friendly to enhance the tourism potential 
  • Under this scheme, heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites are entrusted to private players or public sector companies for the development of tourist amenities.
  • The Red Fort was adopted by the Dalmia Group, while the Qutub Minar and the Ajanta Caves were adopted by Yatra Online.

Swadesh Darshan scheme: It was launched in 2014-15 by the Ministry of Tourism. It aims at integrated development of theme based tourist circuits. Example:  Ramayana Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit.

National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme: It was launched by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in 2015. It aims at holistic development of heritage cities such as Ajmer, Puri, Mathura, Gaya etc.

Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) Scheme: It was launched by Ministry of Tourism in 2015. It aims at identifying and developing pilgrim sites across India.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana for Disabled Persons

News:  Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment informed Lok Sabha about Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana.


  • It was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2017.
  • It is scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category.


  • The beneficiaries under the scheme are identified through Assessment Camps organised in collaboration with the respective State Government/District Administration.
  • Under the Scheme, assisted living devices such as Walking Sticks, Elbow Crutches, Walkers/ Crutches, Hearing Aids, Wheelchairs, Spectacles etc. are provided free of cost to the beneficiary senior citizens.
  • The devices are distributed in Distribution Camps organised in the selected districts. For the senior citizens aged 80 years or more, the devices are provided at their doorsteps.
  • The Scheme is implemented through the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Parliament passes the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019

News: Parliament passed the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which seeks to amend the Arms Act, 1959.


Key provisions of Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019

License for acquiring firearms:

  • The Bill reduces the number of permitted firearms from three to one.
  • It also increases the duration of the validity of a firearm license from three years to five years

Ban on unlicensed firearms: The bill prohibits obtaining or procuring un-licensed firearms, and the conversion of one category of firearms to another without a license.

Increase in punishment: It provides for enhanced punishment for illegally possessing and making prohibited arms.

New offences added: The bill adds two new offences:

  • Forcefully taking a firearm from police or armed forces
  • Using firearms in a celebratory gunfire which endangers human life

Tracking of firearms: The billstates that thecentral government may make rules to track firearms and ammunition from manufacturer to purchaser.

India Skills Report finds 46.21% of students employable

News: India Skills Report 2019-20 has been released


  • India Skills Report is a joint initiative of Wheebox (a global talent-assessment company), Taggd by PeopleStrong and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with UNDP, AICTE and AIU.

Key takeaways:

  • About 46.21% students were found employable in 2019.
  • The most employable candidates as per the courses were MBA Students at 54%.
  • Among the States, Maharashtra ranked first in terms of employability.
  • Mumbai followed by Hyderabad were ranked the top two employable cities.

Additional Information:

GoI schemes for Skill Development

  1. National Skill Development Mission (2015): It aims to create convergence across sectors and States in terms of skill training activities.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): It was launched by The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in 2015. The objective of this scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood. It is implemented through National Skill Development Corporation
  3. Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP): Launched in it is an outcome oriented project supported by World Bank. Under the scheme, four key result areas have been identified viz: (i) Institutional Strengthening; (ii) Quality Assurance; (iii) Inclusion; and (iv) Expanding Skills through PPPs.
  4. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana: It was launched by Ministry of Rural Development in 2014. It aims to transform rural poor youth into an economically independent and globally relevant workforce

U.S., Saudi at bottom of climate class: report

News: Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), 2020 has been released at UNFCC CoP25 in Madrid, Spain


  • CCPI is an independent monitoring tool of countries’ climate protection performance. It measures the emissions, renewable energy share and climate policies of 57 countries and the European Union. These countries are collectively responsible for 90% of GHG emissions.
  • The index is constituted by Germanwatch, New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network (CAN)

Key Takeaways from CCPI 2020

  • USA followed by Saudi Arabia were designated as top most polluters.
  • Sweden performed the best followed by Denmark.
  • India has been ranked 9th.
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