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Philip Kotler Presidential Award to India’s PM Narendra Modi

First-everPhilip Kotler Presidential Award by World Marketing Summit (WMS), Award that focuses ontriple bottom-line of Profits, People and the Planetand will be offered annually to the leader of a Nation, was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modiby Dr.JagdishSheth of EMORY University, Georgia, USA, deputed by Prof. Philip Kotler to confer the award owing to his ill-health, on Monday 14 January 2019 at 7 LokKalyanMarg in New Delhi.

Prof. Philip Kotler is a world renowned Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management in North-Western Universityin the United States and was named a Legend in Marketing back in 2011.Most marketing students would have toiled through a Kotler tome at some point, as he is the author of over 60 marketing books, including Marketing Management, Principles of Marketing, Kotler on Marketing, Marketing Insights from A to Z, Marketing 4.0, Marketing Places, Marketing of Nations, Chaotics, Market Your Way to Growth, Winning Global Markets, Strategic Marketing for Health Care Organizations, Social Marketing, Up and Out of Poverty, and Winning at Innovation Kotler’s latest work focuses on economic justice and the shortcomings of capitalism. He published Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System in 2015, Democracy in Decline: Rebuilding its Future in 2016, and Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action in 2018.

First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential Award Citation says:

  • “Shri Narendra Modi is selected for his outstanding leadership for the nation. His selfless service towards India, combined with his tireless energy has resulted in extraordinary economic, social and technological advances in the country.”
  • “Under his leadership, India is now identified as the Centre for Innovation and Value Added Manufacturing (Make in India), as well as a global hub for professional services such as Information Technology, Accounting and Finance.”
  • “His visionary leadership has also resulted in the Digital Revolution (Digital India), including the Unique Identification Number, Aadhaar, for social benefits and financial inclusion. It is enabling entrepreneurship, ease of doing business, and creating a 21stcentury infrastructure for India.”
  • Initiatives such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India, and Swachh Bharat, “which have positioned India as one of the most lucrative manufacturing and business destinations in the world.”

A controversy erupted soon after Modi was awarded the Philip Kotler Presidential Award,as critics questioned the authenticity of the award. Amid the controversy,Kotler defended the award given to PM Modi and to clear up the “misunderstanding with the Indian media”,Kotler, said in a tweet, “I congratulate PM Narendra Modi for being conferred the first ever Philip Kotler Presidential Award. He has been selected for his outstanding leadership and selfless service towards India, combined with his tireless energy.”Kotler said PM Modi’s efforts in India had resulted in “extraordinary economic, social and technological advances” and his win “raises the bar for future recipients.”

Kotler also posted an interview to answer the doubters, where he spoke about the leader of a nation also being the “brand guardian of the nation”. With alliteration worthy of Modi, Kotler said the prime minister had been chosen for encouraging businesses to practise the “triple bottom line” of “profits, people, and the planet”.

Modi’spolitical campaigns have artfully used marketing strategies from the start.The award has been given by the World Marketing Summit – an organisation created by Kotler. Kotler Impact, the company which handles Kotler’s affairs, had decided to launch an award for leaders of nations who had stuck to the “triple bottom line”.Modi was a marketing guruKotler’sleader of choice:

  • Modi’s political campaigns as prime minister used branding and marketing strategies from the start. Developing synergies!
  • Modi has virtually patented the word “Mitron”.
  • Modi is a fashion icon as Modi jacket has become popular among people of all ages.
  • Digital India, Make in India, Swachh Bharat are recognisable brand names of Government campaigns.
  • Mechanical Lion of Make in India is an eye catching logo.
  • Modi’s speeches are liberally sprinkled with the acronyms and catchphrases of management speak.
  • He also has excellent brand endorsement.
  • Modi hugging former USPresident Barack Obama, current US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are impacting pictures.
  • Modi’sselfies are eye catching as he grins into the camera alongside Heads of States, Bollywood stars, Indian schoolchildren in France, his mother.
  • Few prime ministers have worked so strenuously as brand guardians of the nation.

Kumbh Mela and Shahi Snan at Prayagraj


KumbhMela, the largest human congregation in the world, with over 12 crore pilgrims expected to participate in the 55-day long festival between MakarSankranti on 15 January and MahaShivratri on 4 March 2019, with the belief that taking a dip in the holy water of Ganges River will pave the way for their salvation and would rid them of their sins, commenced with the holy bath known as ShahiSnan or the Royal Bathing of Akharasat Sangam: the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati on Tuesday 15 January 2019 at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. According to the KumbhMela administration over 2 crore people took Shah Snan on the very 1st day during MakarSankranti.

Sadhus of 13 Akharas, that include seven Shaiva, three Vaishnava, two Udasina, and one Sikh, who have traditionally participated in the KumbhMela, were the first to take ShahiSnan.KinnarAkhara, a transgender ashram, led by rights activist Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi from Mumbai, joined the ShahiSnanfor the first time.

“Nearly 350 years ago, the name of Prayagraj — considered a prominent centre of Hindu culture and Sanatan Dharma — was changed to Allahabad. However, last year, under the leadership of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, it was decided that Allahabad should be renamed as Prayagraj, as mentioned in ancient Indian texts including the Vedas”claimed UP Religious Affairs Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary.

Devotees will get an opportunity to pray in Akshay Vat and SaraswatiKup for the first time after 450 years. Until now Akshay Vat was not allowed in the reach of common people.

KumbhMela at Prayagraj is held in the month of Magh of Hindu calendar when Jupiter is in Aries and Sun and Moon are in Capricorn or Jupiter is in Taurus and Sun in Capricorn. At Prayagraj KumbhMelais held at every 6 years and MahaKumbh at every 12 years. Earlier they were known as ArdhKumbh and Kumbh. But this year Uttar Pradesh government has announced the ArdhKumbh will be known as Kumbh and Kumbh as MahaKumbh. The exact dates of bathing during Kumbh are determined according to Hindu astrology.

Inter-government Committee for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO has inscribed ‘KumbhMela’, the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during its 12th session held at Jeju, South Korea from 4 to 9 December 2017. This inscription is the third in two years following the inscriptions of ‘Yoga’ and ‘Norouz’ on 1st December 2016.

The legend around KumbhMela includes the battle between Gods and Demons over a pot of Amrit (Nectar of immortality). In the ensuing battle between Devas and Asuras, a few drops of this nectar fell in Haridwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain and Nasik and since then KumbhMela has been held in these places, which represent a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and ritual cleansing in holy rivers in India

  • This Year Prayagraj Kumbh is spread over in 3200 hectares of land which is about 700 hectares more in comparison to 2013 MahaKumbh.
  • It has been divided in 20 sectors while in 2013 only 18 sectors were developed.
  • Kalpvasis, the devotees spend one month from PaushPurnima to Maggi Purnima as per Hindu calendar
  • Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has pressed 6000 buses into service to ferry pilgrims and railways have also introduced special trains from different parts of State and country.
  • Most of the long route trains have been given stoppage at Allahabad junction and other railway stations located in Prayagraj district.
  • UPSRTC has also introduced 500 buses in the town to bring pilgrims to Mela area from makeshift bus stations and railway stations.
  • Different air services have started air connectivity from different major cities including New Delhi, Kolkata, Nagpur, Bhopal, Dehradun, Indore, Bengaluru, Ahmadabad and Lucknow to Prayagraj.
  • A newly constructed civil airport has been opened for operation to operate newly introduced flights.
  • Mela administration has set up 87 public accommodations in the Mela area in dormitory shape on economic rates to facelift the out station pilgrims.
  • Other agencies have also developed high quality tent cities with all modern amenities to the tourists in different locations.
  • Special tent colonies have been set up in Arail area of the Mela for Non Resident Indians who are scheduled to arrive on January 24.
  • Pilgrims and tourists can book tents as per their needs and budget on line through KumbhMela website.
  • Eight kilometres long bathing Ghats have been developed at Sangam for holy dip and similarly several other Ghats are also developed on the banks of river Ganga in different sectors of the Mela.
  • About 12 crore pilgrims and tourists are expected during the Kumbh.
  • Massive security arrangements are in place for smooth passing of first bathing festival and ShahiSnan.
  • Elaborate arrangements have been made for Coverage of events by Akashvani&Doordarshan.
  • Kumbhvani, a separate one kelowat FM transmitterhas been set up byAll India Radio for the purpose.
  • Live broadcast and telecast of all three ShahiSnan (Bathing) of Akharas on MakarSankranti 15 January, MauniAmasya 4 February and Basant Panchami10 February will be made by both Doordarshan and AIR on national hookup.
  • Live coverage of remaining bathing festivals of PaushPurnima, MaghiPurnima and MahaShivratri will be telecast by DDUP and it will also be available on DD India channel.


English Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured with Jnanpith Award 2018

54th Jnanpith Award has been conferred on Amitav Ghosh, one of the most prominent English contemporary Indian writers, known for a series of novels such as “Shadow Lines”, “The Glass Palace”, “The Hungry Tide”, and Ibis Trilogy: “Sea of Poppies”, “River of Smoke”, and “Flood of Fire”; as per the decision taken in a meeting of the Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by eminent novelist, scholar and Jnanpith laureate Pratibha Ray and announced Bharatiya Jnanpith  on Friday 14 December 2018.

Jnanpith Award, instituted in 1961 is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and English and presented annually by Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for “outstanding contribution towards literature”. The award consisted of a citation plaque, a cash prize of ₹1 lakh till 1981, revised to ₹11 lakh in 2015; and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of knowledge and wisdom.

  • Sankara Kurup, Malayalam writer, was the first recipient of the award in 1965 for his collection of poems, Odakkuzhal(The Bamboo Flute), published in 1950.
  • Ashapoorna Devi, Bengali novelist, became the first woman to win the award in 1976 and was honoured for her novel Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise), the first in a trilogy, published in 1965.
  • Award has been conferred upon 58 writers including seven women authors.
  • Prominent recipients include literary icons Krishna Sobti, Kedarnath Singh, Shrilal Shukla, Nirmal Verma, Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Pritam and U R Ananthamurthy.
  • Award has been presented for works in 16 languages, out of 23 eligible languages:

Amitav Ghosh, born in 1956 in Kolkata to a Bengali Hindu family, who spent his formative years in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria, currently lives in New York with his wife Deborah Baker.

  • Amitav Ghosh is also the recipient of the Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi Awards.
  • “The Great Derangement; Climate Change and the Unthinkable”, a work of non-fiction, was released in 2016, is his most recent book.
  • “The Hungry Tide” that explores the forgotten Marichjhhapi massacre was published in 2004.
  • The Shadow Lines”, his much-loved novel that won him the Sahitya Akademi Award, in which he explored the treachery of borders and maps, was published in 1988.
  • “The Ibis trilogy”, which comprises “Sea of Poppies”, “River of Smoke”, and “Flood of Fire”; published in 2008, 2011 and 2015 respectively, is a work of historical fiction by Amitav Ghosh. The story is set in the first half of the 19th It deals with the trade of Opium between India and China run by the East India Company and the trafficking of coolies to Mauritius. The trilogy gets its names from the ship Ibis, on board which most of the main characters meet for the first time. The novels depict a range of characters from different cultures, including Bihari peasants, Bengali Zamindars, Parsi businessmen, Cantonese boat people, British traders and officials, a Cornish botanist, and a mulato sailor.

Ghosh tweeted that he was “honoured and humbled”; and that, “This is an amazing day for me. I never thought I would find myself on this list, with some of the writers I most admire.”

Pranab Mukherjee, former President tweeted, “Congratulations to @GhoshAmitav on winning the #JnanpithAward 2018. I have fond memories of your stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan as a part of the ‘In Residen

Sentinelese is the most Reclusive Community in the World Represent Diversity of Human Heritage

Sentinelese, an isolated tribe, is believed to have hit with a volley of arrows and killed John Allen Chau, 26, an American man, on Friday 16 November 2018, shortly after landing on North Sentinel Island – part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India – which is off-limits to visitors without permission. In his diary, Chau wrote to his Parents hours before his death that he wanted to “declare Jesus” to the tribes’ people and that they should “not be angry at them or at God if I get killed”. Arrows were fired even at a government aircraft that flew over the island after the 2004 Tsunami.

  • Sentinelese is a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans and have not faced incursions and are known to aggressively resist outsiders.
  • They are perhaps the most reclusive community in the world today.
  • Their language is so far understood by no other group.
  • They have traditionally guarded their island fiercely, attacking most intruders with spears and arrows.
  • They have been contacted by anthropologists through 26 expeditions since the 1970s.
  • They have been mostly left alone even from colonial times, unlike other tribes such as the Onges, Jarawas and Great Andamanese, because the land they occupy has little commercial attraction.
  • The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities.
  • Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2000 years ago by the Anthropological Survey of India on the basis of carbon dating of kitchen middens (old dump for domestic waste).
  • Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30000 years ago.
  • Sentinelese are on the verge of extinction as their population was just 15 according to the 2011 Census, down from 39 as per 2001 Census. Their head count was put at 23 in 1991, 50 in 1931 and they were estimated to be 117 people from 1901 to 1921.
  • Anthropologists like T.N. Pandit, who made contact with them in the 1960s, put the figure at 80-90.
  • of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation.
  • Rules were amended later to enhance penalties.
  • Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence.
  • Restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.

Sentinelese, the most vulnerable inhabitants of the World represent diversity of human heritage.


Election Commission of India reaffirms EVMs cannot be tampered

Although there has barely been any shred of evidence to show that any election held recently was subject to electoral fraud through a manipulation of EVMs, Election Commission of India(ECI) has to give repeated assurances by of the robustness of the administrative and technical safeguards in place to prevent EVM tampering.

Universal implementation of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) that allows for a layer of verification to the electoral process is an improvement to EVM.

Non-Tamperability of EVMshas been reaffirmed by the Election Commission of Indiain a Press Note dated 22 January 2019 in the wake of the motivated controversy attempted to be created by one so called ‘cyber expert’ Syed Shuja, who organiseda press conference in London on Monday 21 January 2019claiming to demonstrate EVMs used by ECI can be hacked, and the 2014 LokSabha elections were rigged.

Delhi Police has also registered a case, “Based on a complaint received from the Election Commission, an FIR has been registered under Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (intent to cause fear or public mischief) at Parliament Street police station. Action will be taken as per the law,” a senior police officersaid on Wednesday 23 January 2019. In its complaint, the poll panel had asked police to investigate the matter “promptly” for violation of certain IPC sections dealing with spreading rumour to “create fear” in the minds of people.

Election Commission of India firmly standsby fool proof nature of ECI EVMsand hadreiterated vide its Press Note of 21 January that these EVMs are manufactured in Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) under very strict supervisory and security conditions and there are rigorous Standard Operating Procedures meticulously observed at all stages under the supervision of a Committee of eminent technical experts constituted way back in 2010.

Technical Experts Committee (TEC) members – Prof D T Shahani, Prof Emeritus IIT Delhi and Prof RajatMoona, Director IIT Bhilai and Prof D K Sharma, Prof Emeritus IIT Bombay (Mumbai), have reconfirmed to the ECI today that:

  • ECI-EVMs are stand-alone machines designed to connect only amongst ECI-EVM units (Ballot Unit, Control Unit and VVPAT) through cables that remain in full public view. There is no mechanism in ECI-EVMs to communicate with any device through wireless communication on any Radio Frequency. All versions of ECI-EVMs are regularly and rigorously tested against low to high wireless frequencies. These tests include and go beyond the standard tests specified for electronic equipment.
  • ECI-EVMs are regularly tested for proper functioning under all kind of operating conditions.
  • ECI-EVMs are also regularly tested for code authentication and verification.

TEC clarified that VVPATs use thermal printers which can print only on one side of thermal paper. The print is fully visible through the viewing window. The paper rolls used in VVPATs have only one-sided thermal coating and hence can be printed only on one side. The VVPAT paper print lasts at least for five years.

CMDs of Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited, who are the sole manufacturers of EVMs and now also VVPATs, also reaffirmed that all the TEC prescribed Standard Operating Procedures are scrupulously adhered to and observed.

It is however reiterated that while ECI-EVMs might malfunction sometimes like any other machine due to component failures and stop working, but even such a malfunctioning ECI-EVM would not record any vote incorrectly. It is reaffirmed that ECI-EVMs cannot be tampered.

World Malaria Report 2018 – India to End Epidemic by 2030

World Malaria Report 2018 has shown that progress against the disease has stalled amid a scaling-down of significant investments. The data reveals worrying trends in the fight against malaria as the cases of malaria in 2017 increased globally to 219 million from 217 million in 2016 and 11 countries carry 70% of the global burden. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and India will now be targeted by a World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign.

The World malaria report, based on information received from national malaria control programmes and other partners in endemic countries, released on 19 November 2018 by WHO, tracks investments in malaria programmes and research as well as progress across all intervention areas: prevention, diagnosis, treatment and surveillance; and includes dedicated chapters on malaria elimination and on key threats in the fight against malaria. The report published annually provides a comprehensive update on global and regional malaria data and trends.

  • According to the 2018 report there were an estimated 435000 deaths from malaria globally in 2017 as compared to 451000 estimated deaths in 2016 and 607000 in 2010.
  • Children aged less than 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria. In 2017, they accounted for 61% (266000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.
  • An estimated US$ 3.1 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally by governments of malaria endemic countries and international partners in 2017, i.e., an amount slighter higher than the figure reported for 2016.
  • The funding for malaria has remained relatively stable since 2010, the level of investment in 2017 is far from what is required to reach the first 2 milestones of the WHO Global Technical Strategy (GTS) for Malaria 2016-2030adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015; that is, a reduction of at least 40% in malaria case incidence and mortality rates globally by 2020, compared with 2015 levels.
  • To reach the GTS 2030 targets, it is estimated that annual malaria funding will need to increase to at least US$ 6.6 billion per year by 2020.

However, the World Malaria Report 2018 highlights a sharp drop in the number of cases in Odisha – one of the most endemic states of India, and further notes that:

  • India’s record offers great promise in the quest to cut the number of new cases and deaths globally by at least 40% by 2020, and to end the epidemic by 2030.
  • India has suffered from a major burden of malaria for decades with high levels of morbidity and death.
  • India’s declining trend of the scourge shows that sustained public health action can achieve good results.
  • Malaria cases in Odisha (formerly Orissa) have been coming down steadily since 2003, with a marked reduction since 2008.
  • There was a reduction in malaria cases by half in 2017 as compared to the same study period in 2016.
  • In Odisha investments made in recruiting accredited social health workers and large-scale distribution of insecticide-treated bed-nets, together with strategies to encourage health-seeking behaviour have paid off.
  • Odisha experience with using public health education as a tool and reaching out to remote populations with advice needs to be replicated in eliminating malaria in other states, which have a higher burden of the disease, such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.


Sahitya Akademi announced Winners in 24 Languages

Sahitya Akademi Awards 2018, the most prestigious literary honours bestowed on writers for their works across genres and languages, were announced by Sahitya Akademi in 24 languages on 6 December 2018, to be presented to the authors at a special function in January 2019 at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. The winners cover extensive range of works representing diversity in contemporary Indian literature, comprising seven collections of poetry, six novels, six short story collections, three works of literary criticism and two collections of essays.

  • Sahitya Akademi Awards, instituted in 1954, recognise and promote excellence in Indian writing and also acknowledge new trends.
  • Award comprises a Casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a Shawl and a Cheque of ₹100000.
  • The plaque now awarded by the Sahitya Akademi was designed by the Indian film-maker Satyjit Ray
  • Sahitya Akademi annually confers on writers of the most outstanding books of literary merit published in 24 languages, including 22 listed in the 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution, along with English and Rajasthani.

Anees Salim is named as one of the winner of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award (English) for his novel “The Blind Lady’s Descendants“, a long suicide note of a 26-year-old. Salim’s “Vanity Bagh” had won The Hindu Prize for Best Fiction in 2013.

Anees Salim Kerala-born author said that the initial rejections he faced from mainstream publishers were shattering; but they also went a long way in strengthening and streamlining his writing. His latest novel “The Small-Town Sea” garnered critical acclaim after its release in 2017 contended that his literary journey has been a tough one.

  1. Ramesan Nair Tamil Nadu-born writer is another winner of Sahitya Akademi Award for Malayalam work, for his poetry collection Guru Pournami, capturing the essence of Narayana Guru’s philosophy. His first poem was published when he was 12. Nair has translated Silappatikaram and Tirukkural into English. He is a famous lyricist who has penned songs for 170 films and 3000 devotional songs, rendered by famous singers like K.J. Yesudas. Nair worked for the All India Radio for 20 years but his drama Sathaabhishekam, parodying Congress leader Karunakaran and his son, led to his transfer.

Nair, a writer well-versed in both Malayalam and Tamil was roped in when Malayalam magazine Kalakamudhi decided to bring out a special cover on DMK leader and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi after his death. He said, “Besides writing a couple of poems, I also produced two chapters of Kalaignar’s (Karunanidhi’s) Nenjukku Needhi, translated by me, and the issue was received well”.

Nair is currently translating Kamba Ramayanam into Malayalam and has already completed 20% of translation work on Balakanda, who said, “When it comes to poetic beauty, Ramayanam in other languages cannot match Kamban’s work”.

Nair is the third writer of Tamil Nadu origin but settled in Kerala to win the Sahitya Akademi Award. The other two are Neela Padmanabhan and A. Madhavan, who won the award for Tamil literature. Both Padmanabhan and Nair are from Kanniyakumari district.

Winners of Sahitya Akademi Awards 2018 also include Rama Kant Shukla in Sanskrit, Rajesh Kumar Vyas in Rajasthani, Rahman Abbas in Urdu, Lok Nath Upadhyay in Nepali, Chitra Mughal in Hindi and S. Ramakrishnan in Tamil.

Sahitya Akademi Secretary K. Sreenivasarao said at a press conference announcing the winners that the books were selected on the basis of recommendations made by a jury of three members in each language and then approved by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi under the Chairmanship of Akademi President Chandrashekhar Kambar.


Leaning Tower of Pisa is Straightening & Recovering Tilt

Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, gravitationally-challenged landmark, has slowly started defying its name, losing 4 centimetres of its tilt over the past 17 years and is leaning less after years of ambitious engineering work.

Leaning Tower of Pisa or simply the Tower of Pisa is freestanding medieval bell tower, of the Cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, situated behind the Pisa Cathedral   and is the third oldest structure in the city’s Cathedral Square, after the cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry. It is a symbol of the power of the maritime republic of Pisa in the middle ages.

  • Height of the tower is 183.27 feet from the ground on the low side and 185.93 feet on the high side.
  • Width of the walls at the base is 8 feet 0.06 inches.
  • Its weight is estimated at 14500 metric tons.
  • Tower has leaned to one side ever since building started in 1173, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight.
  • Tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed in the 14th
  • It gradually increased until the structure was stabilized (and the tilt partially corrected) by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
  • In 1990 the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, as its tilt reached 15 feet (4.5 meters) from the vertical, threatening to turn it into a pile of rubble.
  • Tower was closed to the public in January 1990 for 11 years over safety fears.
  • Remedial work was undertaken between 1993 and 2001and the tilt was reduced to 3.97 degrees, reducing the overhang by 41cm at a cost of £200m.
  • It lost a further 4 cm of tilt in the two decades to 2018.

Michele Jamiolkowski, an engineer of Polish origin who adopted Italian nationality, coordinated an international committee to rescue the landmark between 1993 and 2001.

Roberto Cela, Technical Director at Opera della Primaziale Pisana, the organisation responsible for maintenance of the square where the tower is located, said his team “positioned a series of pipes with drills which took away soil from the opposite side of the leaning side of the tower”, and added, “With the missing soil under its base, the tower has reacted by straightening up, recovering the tilt and thus rejuvenating after all the years that caused it to lean and to reach a critical position”.

Engineering lecturer Nunziante Squeglia of Pisa University, who works with the Surveillance Group set up after the rescue work, has been studying and measuring the tower for 25 years, said, “The tower was much more mysterious when I arrived, it wasn’t clear why it was leaning, and increasingly leaning,” and added “It is a building that has been extensively studied for over 100 years but there are still so many things to know,” including the remains of what looks like a domed roof inside the tower that is still unexplained.

According to Squeglia, “The tower tends to deform and reduce its lean in the summer, when it’s hot, because the tower leans to the south, so its southern side is warmed, and the stone expands. And by expanding, the tower straightens”.

Squeglia explains that there are three pendulums, one dating back to 1935, when systematic measurements began, although annual measurements began as far back as 1911.


Who will dominate the 21st Century?

21st Century belongs to Asian Countries as its proponents claim that the two most populous countries, China and India, which are expected to grow rapidly economically, are in Asia, and then it’s only natural that they will play a bigger role in the World’s affairs. Assuming certain demographic and persisting economic trends lead to forecasts that predict the rising economic and political strength of Asia and dominance of Asian politics and culture. The growing importance and actions of unity in Asia and maturing relationship within countries in the region further solidify this claim of creation of the 21st Asian Century. This concept of Asian Century parallels the characterization of the 20th century as the American Century, as the balance of power was with the US and the soviet Union from 1945 to 1991; whereas, the 19th century as British Imperial Century, as British Empire was a superpower during the nineteenth century, controlling nearly a quarter of the World’s area and population. However, there is a school of thought that believes that the 21st century will be Multipolar, and no one country or continent will have such a concentration of influence.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a 2011 study found that an additional 3 billion Asians could enjoy living standards similar to those in Europe today, and the region could account for over half of global output by the middle of this century. ADB expected Asia’s GDP to increase nine-fold from $16 trillion in 2010 to $148 trillion in 2050, accounting for half of global GDP by the middle of this so-called Asian century. It warned, however, that the Asian Century is not preordained due to the possibility that the continuing high rate of growth could lead to revolution, economic slumps, and environmental problems, especially in mainland China.

Asian countries have a growing feeling that the West is on the retreat, especially since the 2008 financial crisis, there is news of declining populations, big layoffs and economic meltdowns in several countries of the European Union. But there is also the other side of the story that there is no denying the fact that the United States of America, being the most populous of the Western countries continues to be the most productive and innovative in the world, as well as militarily the most powerful. There are reasons to believe that the West may continue to dominate the 21st century:

  • West’s combined GDP is several times than that of the rest of the world.
  • West has accumulated massive financial resources.
  • West has robust legal and administrative systems.
  • Western people enjoy very high level of social security as well as democracy.
  • Their life is much more secure and predictable.
  • West attracts the most brilliant and creative minds from the rest of the world as it continues to have most of the finest educational and research facilities.

Asia to dominate the 21st century needs a revolution in governance and public accountability to overcome seemingly insurmountable environmental, social and economic challenges. There appears to be some hope in growing public activism in India, sporadic protests in China, and certain positive signals in some other countries that suggest that such a revolution may unexpectedly come about.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often been reiterating that the 21st century belongs to India and the world has begun to acknowledge the fact, as he addressed an 18,000 strong cheering crowd of Indian community members at the SAP Centre in California on September 28, 2015. And again on November 13, 2017 while addressing the Indian community in Manila, Philippines, Modi exhorted Indians to work hard to ensure that the 21st century belongs to India and said his government was making every effort to transform the country and take it to new heights.

Right to Education Act Amendment: Scrapping No-Detention Policy

No-detention policy that prohibits schools from detaining students till they complete elementary education will be scrapped as Lok Sabha has passed on Wednesday July 18, 2018 an amendment to the Right to Education Act; the states can now choose to hold a regular examination either at the end of Classes V and VIII, or both. Students who fail this test will get additional instruction and opportunity to appear for a re-examination within two months of the declaration of the result. If the students still do not pass the exam, the state government may decide to detain them.

Right to Education Act (RTE) or Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act enacted on 4 August 2009, described the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 to 14 years under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. Section 16 of RTE Act, 2009 stipulated that ‘No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education’. The policy covered elementary stage of schooling covering classes 1 to 8:

  • No-detention policy was implemented together with continuous assessment, which would help identify learning deficiencies and correct them.
  • No-detention policy is successful in a sense, that universalisation of enrolment of children at the elementary level has nearly been achieved, in nine years since the launch of the RTE.
  • However, education system has failed to provide continuous assessment and so the government is falling back on examinations and detention, which can lead to students becoming discouraged and higher dropout rates.

A Sub-Committee was constituted for assessment of implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in the context of No-Detention provision in the RTE Act, 2009, in pursuance of a resolution adopted in the 59th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held on 6th June, 2012. The Sub-Committee submitted its report in August, 2014. The report of the Sub-Committee was placed before CABE in its meeting held on 19.8.2015, wherein it was decided to request all States/UTs to share their views on the No-Detention policy. 28 States have shared their views on the No Detention policy out of which 23 States have suggested modification to the No Detention policy.

Another Sub-Committee under the Chairpersonship of Prof. Vasudev Devnani, Minister of Education, Government of Rajasthan was constituted on 26.10.2015 inter-alia, to review the feedback received from States/UTs on the ‘No-Detention’ policy, in pursuance of the decision taken in the CABE Committee meeting held on 19.8.2016,.The recommendations of the Committee were as under:

  • There should be an examination at Class 5. It should be left to the States and UTs to decide whether this exam will be at the school, block, District or State Level.
  • If a child fails then allow the child an opportunity to improve.
  • There should be additional instruction provided to children and the child should be given an opportunity to sit for another exam. If the child is unable to pass the exam in the second chance, then detain the child.
  • At Classes 6 and 7, there should be a school based exam for students.
  • At Class 8, there should be an external exam. In case the child fails, the child should be given additional instruction and then appear for an improvement exam.
  • If fails again then detain.

Some educationists are of the opinion that, if the aim is to improve learning outcomes in children there are other specific provisions such as, maintaining a good pupil-teacher ratio, proper infrastructure like all-weather buildings, barrier-free access in schools, separate toilets for boys and girls that are pertinent measures to improve qualitative standards should be enshrined in the RTE, along with the policy changes,


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