‘Antardrishti’ Financial Inclusion Dashboard
Why in news?
- The RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das unveiled a financial inclusion dashboard named ‘Antardrishti’.
- The dashboard aims to provide valuable insights for assessing and monitoring the progress of financial inclusion in India. By capturing relevant parameters, this internal tool will enable the RBI to gauge the extent of financial exclusion at granular levels and address those areas effectively.
- Enhancing Financial Inclusion: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been actively promoting financial inclusion through various policy initiatives. The launch of ‘Antardrishti’ is another step towards facilitating greater financial inclusion in the country, employing a multi-stakeholder approach.
- Measuring Financial Inclusion: To measure the extent of financial inclusion, the RBI developed the Financial Inclusion (FI) Index in 2021. This comprehensive index encompasses three dimensions: ‘Access’, ‘Usage’, and ‘Quality’. The FI-Index considers details from banking, investments, insurance, postal services, and the pension sector, in consultation with the government and respective sectoral regulators. It condenses information on multiple aspects of financial inclusion into a single value, ranging from 0 to 100. A score of 0 represents complete financial exclusion, while 100 signifies full financial inclusion.
Key Features of ‘Antardrishti’ Financial Inclusion Dashboard
Insightful Monitoring: The dashboard enables the RBI to assess and monitor the progress of financial inclusion comprehensively, using relevant parameters and data.
Granular Analysis: By capturing information at granular levels, the dashboard facilitates the identification of areas with high levels of financial exclusion, allowing for targeted interventions.
Internal Tool: Currently, ‘Antardrishti’ is designed for internal use within the RBI. It serves as a valuable resource for the central bank to analyze and track financial inclusion initiatives effectively.
Multi-Stakeholder Approach: The dashboard’s implementation promotes a collaborative approach, involving multiple stakeholders from the financial sector, to enhance financial inclusion across the country.
Comprehensive Index: ‘Antardrishti’ builds upon the FI-Index, incorporating a broad range of parameters to assess financial inclusion across various sectors, including banking, investments, insurance, postal services, and pensions.
- The launch of ‘Antardrishti’ reflects the RBI’s commitment to advancing financial inclusion in India. By leveraging the comprehensive FI-Index and capturing relevant parameters, the dashboard will provide valuable insights into the progress of financial inclusion efforts.
Poson Poya Festival
Why in news?
- As part of the Poson Poya festivities, the High Commission of India has organized an exhibition in Homagama, near Colombo, showcasing the rich heritage of Indian Buddhism.
Poson Poya festival
- The ongoing Poson Poya festivities in Sri Lanka commemorate the arrival of Buddhism in the country more than 2,000 years ago. Marked during the full moon of June, this auspicious occasion is celebrated with great fervor.
- Inauguration of Exhibition: Sri Lanka’s Minister for Mass Media, Dr. Bandula Gunawardane, inaugurated the exhibition organized by the High Commission of India. The exhibition highlights the Indian Buddhist heritage and features a special lantern portraying the arrival of Arahant Mahinda to Sri Lanka, bringing Buddhist teachings from India.
- Homage at Mihintale Hill: Devotees gathered in large numbers at Mihintale Hill to pay homage to the sacred site where Arahat Mahinda, the son of Emperor Ashoka, converted King Devanampiyatissa to Buddhism. Mihintale holds great significance in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and attracts numerous pilgrims during the Poson Poya festival.
- Elaborate Decorations: The island-wide celebrations include the adornment of streets, homes, and public spaces with beautifully crafted paper lanterns and pandals. These intricate designs depict significant episodes from the life of the Buddha, adding a vibrant and spiritual atmosphere to the festivities.
- Challenges Faced: In recent years, the grandeur of the Poson Poya celebrations had been hampered by economic crises and lockdowns. However, this year’s festival seeks to revive the spirit of the event despite the challenges faced.
- Continuation of Festivities: The Poson Poya festivities will continue until June 6th, with the main events taking place at Mihintale and Anuradhapura. These locations hold immense historical and religious significance and provide devotees with an opportunity to engage in religious activities and seek spiritual solace.
- Poson Poya, the festival celebrating the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, is an occasion of deep reverence and devotion. The exhibition organized by the High Commission of India, along with the traditional decorations and homage-paying ceremonies, adds to the cultural richness of the festivities
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve: A Treasure of Marine Biodiversity
Why in news?
- The Gulf of Mannar, stretching from Rameswaram to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, holds the distinction of being the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South East Asia.
- It encompasses a chain of 21 islands, covering a vast area of 10,500 sq. km.
- ‘Recognized for its exceptional biodiversity and revered religiously, the Government of India designated it as the country’s inaugural Marine Biosphere Reserve in 1989.
Rich Biodiversity and Conservation Zones
- The Gulf of Mannar boasts a remarkable array of marine life and habitats.
- The region is divided into two distinct zones: the Core Zone, which comprises the National Park, and the Buffer Zone surrounding it.
- The Core Zone strictly prohibits any disturbing or destructive activities, safeguarding breeding populations of fish and other organisms.
- In contrast, the Buffer Zone allows for controlled uses such as fishing, fisheries-related activities, and tourism, benefiting local communities.
Avian Fauna and Marine Mammals
- Gulf of Mannar National Park has gained recognition as an Important Bird Area by BNHS-Birdlife International.
- It harbors an impressive avian population, with a reported 187 species, including both aquatic and terrestrial varieties.
- Furthermore, the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve has been identified as an Important Marine Mammal Area by the IUCN, primarily due to the presence of the endangered Dugong (Sea Cow) and other marine mammals.
Fishing Communities and Socio-Cultural Significance
- The Gulf of Mannar serves as a lifeline for thousands of fishing families residing along its coasts.
- Approximately 110,000 families from 268 fishing villages depend on the reserve’s abundant fishery resources for their livelihoods.
- The intimate connection between these communities and the marine environment has profoundly shaped their lifestyle, culture, and social fabric, with the sea serving as the very core of their existence.
Marine Components and Endangered Species
- Within the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, various marine components contribute to its extraordinary biodiversity.
- These include algae communities, sea grasses, coral reefs, salt marshes, and mangroves, spread across an area of 560 sq. km.
- The reserve is home to a staggering diversity of approximately 3,600 plant and animal species, some of which are endangered.
- Notably, the endangered Dugong and six mangrove species find sanctuary in these waters.
- Additionally, the reserve hosts five species of sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sea cucumbers, and dugongs.
Coral Reef Ecosystem
- The coral reefs within the Gulf of Mannar National Park form a crucial and intricate ecosystem that sustains a wide array of ecologically and economically important marine life.
- These coral reefs are primarily located around the 21 uninhabited islands, covering an area of approximately 683 hectares.
- These islands are grouped as the Mandapam group, Keelakarai group, and Tuticorin group.
- Preserving and protecting these fragile coral reef habitats is of utmost importance for the conservation of marine biodiversity.
- The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of thriving marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.
GS II & III
India and Namibia Co-Chair Inaugural Joint Commission of Cooperation
Why in news?
- India and Namibia recently co-chaired the first session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation, marking a significant step towards strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.
Objective and Importance of the Joint Commission
- The inaugural session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation aimed to enhance and consolidate the friendly relations between India and Namibia.
- This platform provides an opportunity to deepen cooperation and explore new areas of collaboration for mutual benefit.
Discussion Points and Areas of Cooperation
- During the session, both sides discussed various aspects of their bilateral relationship and explored avenues for advancing cooperation in key sectors.
- The areas of focus included energy, green hydrogen, transport and connectivity, digital technology, pharmaceuticals, food security, science and technology, culture, wildlife collaboration, and eco-tourism.
- The shared perspectives on regional and global issues were highlighted as driving forces for continued collaboration in international forums.
Special Bond and Historical Significance
- External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar emphasized the special place occupied by Namibia in the hearts of Indians.
- India has been a steadfast supporter of Namibia’s independence, and witnessing Namibia’s growth and progress as a respected member of the international community has been a source of pride for Indians.
Engaging with the Indian Diaspora
- Prior to official engagements, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar interacted with the Indian diaspora in Windhoek, Namibia.
- During the address, he highlighted the historical ties between India and Namibia, as well as the evolving friendship between the two nations.
- The EAM also updated the Indian diaspora on the progress taking place in India and its impact on Indians living abroad.
- The India-Namibia joint commission signifies a milestone in bilateral relations, fostering deeper cooperation across sectors. EAM Dr. S Jaishankar’s visit and the inauguration of the India-Namibia Centre of Excellence in IT highlight the growing partnership between the two countries.