World Animal Welfare Day 2023: Theme, History, and Significance
World Animal Day, also known as World Animal Welfare Day, is a global initiative celebrated annually on October 4th. This day serves as an International Day of Action, advocating for the rights and welfare of animals. The choice of this date coincides with the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. This event unites animal lovers worldwide, raising awareness and fostering a sense of responsibility towards the well-being of animals.
Theme for World Animal Day 2023: “Great or Small, Love Them All”
The theme for World Animal Day 2023, “Great or Small, Love Them All,” emphasizes the importance of acknowledging animals as sentient beings. It underscores the need to elevate global animal care standards and advocates for animal rights universally.
History of World Animal Day
The concept of World Animal Day was initiated by Heinrich Zimmerman, a prominent writer and publisher, in 1925. The inaugural celebration took place in Berlin, Germany, drawing a significant crowd of over 5,000 attendees. In 1931, during the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence, Italy, October 4th was officially declared as World Animal Day. This historical decision marked the global recognition of this event, emphasizing its significance in animal welfare advocacy.
Significance of World Animal Day 2023
1. Global Participation: World Animal Day brings together passionate animal lovers from various corners of the world. People engage in diverse activities to promote animal protection and conservation efforts.
2. Awareness and Education: The day serves as a platform to educate individuals about the need to improve animal treatment and welfare standards globally. It fosters awareness against animal cruelty, neglect, and unfair treatment, encouraging informed action.
3. Advocacy Against Animal Cruelty: World Animal Day empowers individuals to advocate against animal cruelty and injustice. It inspires collective action, reminding us of the power of unity in protecting animals from harm.
4. Celebrating Positive Impact: It’s a celebration of the positive impact individuals can make. By joining forces, people can commit to safeguarding animals, ensuring their well-being for future generations.
5. Preserving Animals for the Future: World Animal Day serves as a poignant reminder of our responsibility to protect and care for animals. By preserving their habitats, advocating for their rights, and ensuring ethical treatment, we contribute to a better world for animals and humans alike.
PM SVANidhi Scheme Surpasses 50 Lakh Beneficiaries Mark
The Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi, or PM SVANidhi scheme, has achieved a significant milestone by providing assistance to over 50 lakh street vendors across the country. Street vendors have long been essential contributors to the urban informal economy, offering vital goods and services to urban residents.
Bringing Informal Economy into the Formal Fold
Administered under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, this scheme has been instrumental in integrating street vendors into the formal economic sector, offering them new opportunities for upward mobility.
Impressive Loan Disbursement Statistics
The collective effort bore fruit, resulting in the disbursement of nearly 66 lakh loans, totaling over 8,600 crore rupees, to more than 50 lakh street vendors. States have enthusiastically embraced the scheme, with the recent campaign delivering remarkable outcomes. Over the past three months, states have successfully onboarded more than 12 lakh new vendors, marking the highest enrollment numbers to date, with many more in the process of joining.
The PM SVANidhi Scheme: Empowering Urban Street Vendors
Launched on June 1st, 2020, the PM SVANidhi Scheme is a micro-credit initiative aimed at providing collateral-free working capital loans of up to 50 thousand rupees to urban street vendors. This visionary scheme not only bolsters the livelihoods of street vendors but also contributes to the formalization of the urban informal economy, aligning with the government’s broader economic goals.
IAF’s Ambitious Rs 3 Lakh Crore Weapon Procurement Plan: A Strategic Investment in India’s Defense
Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari announced that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to procure a range of weapon systems, including aircraft, helicopters, and missiles, with an estimated cost ranging from Rs 2.5 lakh crore to Rs 3 lakh crore over the next six to seven years. This move aligns with the government’s push for self-reliance in defense production.
I. Weapon Procurements:
The IAF is set to invest a substantial amount in weapon systems over the next six to seven years, amounting to Rs 2.5 lakh crore to Rs 3 lakh crore. The procurement will encompass a range of platforms, including aircraft, helicopters, and missiles.
Tejas Light Combat Aircraft: The IAF will acquire 97 additional Tejas light combat aircraft Mark-I at an estimated cost of Rs 67,000 crore, supplementing the previous procurement of 83 such aircraft.
Tejas Mark 1A: A contract for 97 Tejas Mark 1A aircraft, valued at around Rs 1.15 lakh crore, is nearing conclusion. This follows a Rs 48,000-crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for 83 similar jets in February 2021.
Indigenous Procurement: The majority of the equipment will be sourced from Indian industry, aligning with the government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative.
Financial Outflow: The IAF anticipates a cash outflow of nearly Rs 42,000 crore this year alone, underlining the financial commitment to defense modernization.
II. Strategic Focus:
Modern warfare is rapidly evolving due to technological advancements. The IAF is proactively adapting to these changes and has a clear strategic focus.
Force Multipliers: The IAF is investing in force multipliers, including AI-based decision tools, electronic warfare equipment, robust networks, and space and cyber capabilities.
Operational Transformation: The force is undergoing a transformation journey, emphasizing persistent surveillance, reducing sensor-to-shooter time, employing long-range precision weapons, and developing multi-domain capabilities.
III. Monitoring China’s Activities:
The IAF is closely monitoring China’s military activities, particularly along the LAC.
Chinese Radar Deployment: China has deployed an array of radars along the LAC, with the capability to monitor deep into Indian territory.
Dynamic Operational Plans: The IAF is prepared to address challenges posed by China through dynamic tactics and training, adapting to changing situations.
Flexible Deployment: The IAF maintains a flexible and dynamic approach to deploying assets along the LAC, continually revising war plans based on intelligence inputs.
IV. Ongoing Disengagement Efforts:
The situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh remains complex, with partial disengagements but no complete resolution. The IAF will continue its deployment until full disengagement occurs.
V. S-400 Missile Systems:
The IAF has received three units of S-400 missile systems from Russia and expects to receive the remaining two by next year.
VI. Indo-Pacific Significance:
The Indo-Pacific region holds strategic importance, and the IAF views it as a center of gravity for both challenges and opportunities.
IAF’s Role: The IAF, with its unique capabilities, aims to play a critical role in mitigating challenges and projecting India’s strength in the Indo-Pacific region.
Geopolitical Imperative: Given the volatile and uncertain geopolitical landscape, a strong and credible military is imperative for India.
Jammu And Kashmir’s Renowned Pashmina Craft Receives GI Tag
Basohli Pashmina, an age-old traditional craft originating from the picturesque district of Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, has recently earned the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag. This recognition not only celebrates the exceptional craftsmanship of the artisans but also protects the authenticity and uniqueness of this artisanal heritage.
A Legacy of Softness and Finesse
Basohli Pashmina is renowned for its exceptional softness, fineness, and feather-like weight. Crafted by skilled artisans using traditional hand-spinning techniques, this exquisite fabric has been a symbol of luxury and elegance for over a century. Its hallmark is its remarkable ability to provide warmth without adding bulk, making it an ideal choice for cold climates and discerning fashion enthusiasts.
Exceptional Qualities of Basohli Pashmina
Insulating Properties: Basohli Pashmina is prized for its remarkable insulating properties. Despite its lightweight nature, it provides unparalleled warmth, making it the perfect companion for chilly winters.
Extended Life: The durability of Basohli Pashmina is legendary. With proper care, these hand-spun creations can last for generations, becoming cherished heirlooms that tell stories of craftsmanship and tradition.
Uniqueness: Every piece of Basohli Pashmina is unique, bearing the signature of the artisan who crafted it. This uniqueness adds to its allure and makes it a valuable addition to any wardrobe.
A Range of Pashmina Products
While Basohli Pashmina shawls are the most renowned products, this craft extends its charm to a variety of items, including:
Shawls for Both Men and Women: Basohli Pashmina shawls are not limited to any gender; they are a symbol of timeless elegance for both men and women.
Mufflers: Perfect for adding a touch of sophistication and warmth to any attire, Basohli Pashmina mufflers are versatile and stylish.
Blankets: The insulating properties of Basohli Pashmina are put to excellent use in blankets, offering a cozy cocoon during cold nights.
Basketry: Some artisans have extended their creativity to craft unique baskets using Basohli Pashmina, showcasing the versatility of this craft beyond clothing.
Geographical Indication (GI) Tag: A Testament to Authenticity
The Geographical Indication (GI) tag is a coveted recognition that establishes the origin, uniqueness, and authenticity of a product from a specific geographical area. In the case of Basohli Pashmina, this GI tag is not just a symbol; it’s a testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the artisans who have honed their skills through generations.
Collaborative Milestone Achievement
The Department of Industries and Commerce, in collaboration with NABARD Jammu and Human Welfare Association, Varanasi, played a pivotal role in securing the GI tag for Basohli Pashmina. This achievement was the result of concerted efforts to preserve and promote this craft, recognizing its cultural significance and economic potential.
Uganda Airlines To Initiate A Thrice-Weekly Direct Flight Service To Mumbai
On 3 October, Uganda Airlines announced a significant milestone in its operations by commencing direct flight services between Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. This development marks a historic moment as it reconnects India and Uganda with a non-stop air service after more than 50 years of hiatus. The maiden flight for this route, UR 430, is scheduled to take off from Entebbe on 7 October, with the return flight, UR 431, departing from Mumbai on 8 October.
Connecting India and Uganda
Uganda Airlines has taken a significant step in expanding its international network by launching direct services between Mumbai and Entebbe. The commencement of this route, effective from 7 October, is set to strengthen the ties between the two nations in various domains, including trade, commerce, and tourism. This move is particularly noteworthy as it revives a non-stop air connection that has been absent for more than half a century.
Direct Flight Details
Uganda Airlines will operate this direct service between Mumbai and Entebbe thrice a week, utilizing its Airbus A330-800 neo aircraft. The flight will offer passengers a three-class configuration, comprising Business Class with 20 seats, Premium Economy with 28 seats, and Economy Class with 210 seats. This variety of seating options ensures that travelers have choices that suit their preferences and needs.
The direct flight itself is a time-saver, with a flight duration of approximately 5 and a half hours in each direction. This shorter travel time significantly enhances convenience for passengers traveling between these two vibrant destinations, whether it be for business, family visits, or tourism.
Booking flights on this new route is made seamless and convenient through the Uganda Airlines App, available on both Google Play and Apple iStore. The app allows passengers to make reservations, pay for tickets, modify itineraries, and even print boarding passes, providing travelers with a hassle-free experience.
Uganda Airlines: Enhancing Connectivity and Business Opportunities
The launch of Uganda Airlines’ direct service between Mumbai and Entebbe not only enhances connectivity but also opens up new avenues for business, commerce, and tourism. As the inaugural flight takes off on 7 October, travelers can look forward to a convenient and efficient travel experience on this historic route. Uganda Airlines’ commitment to expanding its network ensures that passengers have more options and flexibility when planning their journeys.
World Bank Retains India’s FY24 GDP Growth at 6.3% Amidst Challenges
Despite substantial external challenges, India’s economy remains robust, prompting the World Bank to maintain its growth forecast for the fiscal year 2023-24 at 6.3%. This decision reflects India’s remarkable resilience within a demanding global environment.
Pillars of India’s Economic Strength
India’s economic resilience is underpinned by key factors, including strong domestic demand, significant public infrastructure investments, and a strengthening financial sector. Notably, bank credit growth has surged to 15.8% in the first quarter of FY23/24, indicating a healthy financial environment.
Global Challenges and Economic Outlook
India does face challenges due to ongoing global headwinds, including sluggish demand, elevated interest rates, and geopolitical tensions. The World Bank anticipates these challenges to persist and potentially intensify due to factors such as high global interest rates, geopolitical conflicts, and subdued global demand. Consequently, global economic growth is expected to slow down over the medium term.
Strategies for Future Growth
Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director in India, emphasized the need for stimulating private investments through public spending. Creating favorable conditions for India to leverage global opportunities is crucial for achieving higher growth in the future.
Inflation Challenges and Expectations
Rising inflation, primarily attributed to adverse weather conditions, has posed challenges. Food prices, including essentials like wheat and rice, surged, leading to a spike in headline inflation, reaching 7.8% in July. The World Bank expects inflation to gradually decrease as food prices normalize and government measures enhance the supply of essential commodities. This normalization is expected to support private investment conditions.
Positive Outlook for Foreign Direct Investment
The report highlighted a positive outlook for foreign direct investment in India. As global value chains continue to rebalance, India is likely to experience an expansion in foreign direct investment, further strengthening its economic landscape.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Tourist Facilities in Nathdwara
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated several key projects in Nathdwara, Rajasthan, which included the ‘tourist facilities at Nathdwara.’ These projects were funded by the Ministry of Tourism as part of the Krishna circuit of the Swadesh Darshan scheme.
Significant Funding Allocated:
The Ministry of Tourism allocated a substantial budget of Rs. 23.59 Crore for the development of tourism facilities in Nathdwara. Notably, a tourism interpretation cum cultural center was developed at a cost of Rs. 13.43 Crore.
Interpretation Center Highlights:
The interpretation center is a standout feature of the project. It serves as an informative hub about Shrinathji (Lord Krishna) and Shri Vallabhacharyaji, the revered devotee and founder of Pushtimarg, a major branch of the Vaishnava sect. At this center, tourists can delve into various aspects of Shrinathji’s life, including his journey from Goverdhan to Nathdwara, divine acts, worship rituals, adornment, appearances, festivals, and related customs. High-quality graphics and visual media enhance the learning experience.
The Nathdwara project encompasses more than just the interpretation center. It includes the development of parking facilities, landscaping, and last-mile connectivity to enhance the overall experience for tourists and pilgrims visiting this sacred place.
Expansion of the Tourism Circuit:
In his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted that the facilities developed at Nathdwara are part of an extensive tourism circuit. This circuit includes Govind ji mandir in Jaipur, Khatushyam mandir in Sikar, and Nathdwara in Rajsamand. This initiative is expected to significantly elevate Rajasthan’s pride and boost the state’s tourism industry.