Monday, 26th June 2023
1 Editorial of the day
2 Daily Current Affairs
Mandya’s Hoysala legacy
State Election Commission
Global Gender Gap Report - 2023
Market Access for Organic and Natural Produce
Treatment of Textile Wastewater
Technology Facilitated Gender Based Violence (TFGBV)
Gangotri National Park
Kalasa Banduri Project
Heliopolis Memorial in Egypt
Exam View: High-level visits; ‘Power’ dynamics; Irritants.
Context: Repairing the relationship of India and Nepal has been a slow process but the results are now quite visible with a rebuilding of trust.
Background: High-level visits
- On his return to Kathmandu after concluding his four-day official visit to India, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ described it as “successful”. Many controversial issues were successfully skirted.
- During his path-breaking visit to Nepal in August 2014, Prime Minister of India had invoked ‘neighbourhood first’ to denote a new beginning in relations.
- To highlight the focus on connectivity, he coined the acronym HIT, covering Highways, Infoways, and Transways.
- The relations took a downturn in 2015 with the economic blockade.
- Nepal is endowed with an economically viable potential of 50,000 MW of hydropower, but till a decade ago, had an installed capacity of barely 1,200 MW, making it dependent on electricity imports from India.
- Today, Nepal has an installed capacity of 2,200 MW, and in season, can export power to India.
- A 400 KV transmission is now operational.
- In 2021, Nepal made a modest beginning by exporting 39 MW; the following year it went up to 452 MW, earning Nepali rupees 11 billion in export earnings.
- In the lean season, Nepal does import power from India but its dependence has dropped from 20% to 10% during the last five years.
- A long-term power trade agreement has been finalised, targeting the export of 10,000 MW within a 10-year time frame.
- The 900 MW Arun III project started in 2018 by the SJVN (formerly the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) will be operational later this year.
- Nepal also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the 695 MW Arun IV project last year.
- Announcements have been made about the SJVN signing the 669 MW Lower Arun project and the NHPC Limited, the 480 MW Phukot-Karnali projects.
- Work has begun on a second high voltage transmission line between Butwal and Gorakhpur.
- By agreeing to the Nepali demand for the facility to export electricity to Bangladesh using the Indian grid, India has highlighted the prospects for sub-regional cooperation.
- Agnipath scheme
- It impacts the recruitment of Gurkha soldiers into the Indian Army’s Gurkha regiments, a practice that began in 1816 by the British Indian Army.
- This was continued under a 1947 treaty based on ‘equal treatment’.
- Kalapani boundary issue
- It was deliberately stoked as a nationalist cause by Mr. Oli in 2020, when his position as Prime Minister was under threat.
- A constitutional amendment was pushed through and Nepal’s map changed unilaterally.
- A lasting solution will need political wisdom and understanding.
- India–Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950
- It is a legacy issue. In Nepal, conviction has taken root that the Treaty is unfair.
- This ignores the reality that in 1949, the Nepali regime was perturbed by the Maoist revolution in China and the subsequent takeover of Tibet.
- It sought an understanding with India, and the 1950 Treaty, in large measure, reflects the provisions of the 1923 Treaty between Nepal and British India.
- The Treaty enables Nepali nationals equal treatment in terms of employment and permits them to apply for any government job, except for the Indian Foreign Service, the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service.
- Nepali nationals work in the Indian private and public sector, have joined the revenue services, and in the Army, have risen to become two-star generals.
Both sides successfully avoided controversial issues ensuring that the Prachanda visit was successful. Repairing the relationship has been a slow process but results are now visible, leading Mr. Modi to recall and revive the old acronym.
Mandya’s Hoysala legacy
In News: Tourism Department and the Mandya district administration can promote the lesser-known Hoysala monuments by installing signboard about them in places where tourist footfall is high.
- Mandya district is an excellent place for an immersive experience in history and archaeology. It has more monuments of national importance than Mysuru district. The temples in Mandya belong to the period of the Hoysalas.
- The Hoysala dynasty, founded by Sala, was a powerful Kannadiga kingdom that held sway over a significant portion of present-day Karnataka from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Initially, the capital of the Hoysalas was situated in Belur, but it was later relocated to Halebidu.
- During a period of conflict between the Western Chalukya Empire and the Kalachuris of Kalyani, the Hoysalas seized the opportunity and expanded their dominion over the fertile regions to the north of the Kaveri delta. By the 13th century, they held sway over most of Karnataka, including the entire northwestern territories of Tamil Nadu, as well as parts of western Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Importance of the Hoysala era:
Hoysala era was an important period in the development of South Indian art, architecture, and religion. The empire is remembered today primarily for Hoysala architecture – 100 surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka.
Most famous temples in Mandya include:
- Chennakeshava Temple
- Hoysaleswara Temple
- Lakshminarayana Temple
- Mahadeva Temple
- Amriteshwara Temple
- The Panchalingeshwara temple, located in Govindanahalli, K.R. Pet taluk of Mandya district, Karnataka, is an architecturally significant temple.
- The region has a rich history, being a part of Gangawadi under the Gangas of Talakad and later coming under the rule of the Cholas.
- The temple was constructed during the Hoysala period, a dynasty that ruled over Karnataka in the 12th and 13th centuries CE.
- Most of the temples built during the Hoysala period followed the ekakuta, dvikuta, or trikuta pattern, featuring a single, double, or triple sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha).
- Panchalingeshwara temple stands out as one of the rare examples of a Panchakuta shrine, a temple with five shrines. The other surviving Panchakuta temple is located near the famous Keshava temple at Somanathapur in T. Narsipur taluk of Mysuru district.
- The Govindanahalli temple is renowned for its Hoysala style, characterized by five sanctums housing five shivalingas.
- Each shrine is connected to a long pillared hall, and there are two porched doorways supported by lathe-turned pillars.
- The temple bears the signature of the renowned sculptor Mallithamma, who was active during the Hoysala period. The temple's construction is estimated to have taken place around 1237-1238 CE.
- Originally, the temple had four shrines arranged in a straight line (Chatushkuta), but a fifth shrine was added later, resulting in a slight architectural difference between the extreme right shrine and the other four.
- Lakshminarayana temple in Hosaholalu, near K.R. Pet. This temple showcases exquisite Hoysala-style architecture, featuring ornate embellishments with sculptures and carvings.
- The temple's outer walls are adorned with remarkable sculptures depicting various deities and mythological figures.
- Brahmeshwara temple in Kikkeri, constructed during the reign of Narasimha I in the 12th century.
- It possesses typical Hoysala architectural elements and deserves recognition along with the other two temples.
- Saumyakeshava temple is the Yoga Narasimhaswamy temple atop the Yadugiri Hill and the Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple in the town below where the exploration ends apart from the Kalyani or the stepped water tank.
- Saumyakeshava temple dated to the 12th century CE and renovated by successive dynasties, it has both Vijayanagar and post-Vijayanagar features, according to historians.
To promote these lesser-known Hoysala monuments, the Tourism Department and Mandya district administration could install signboards at popular tourist destinations, providing information about these sites, their historical significance, and their locations. This would encourage tourists to explore these hidden gems and enhance the overall tourism experience in the region.
State Election Commission
Why in News: State Election Commission accountable for all bloodshed during panchayat polls, says West Bengal Governor.
State Election Commission (SEC):
- A Constitutional Body responsible for conducting free, fair, and impartial elections to local bodies in the state.
- The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.
- Powers: As per Article 243K(1) and 243ZA, the superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of electoral rolls and conduct elections to Panchayats (243K(1)) and Municipalities (243ZA) is vested in the SEC.
- Tenure: As per Article 243K(2), The service and tenure of the State Election Commissioner is subject to the law made by the State Legislature.
- Removal: As per Article 243K(2), The State Election Commissioner shall not be removed except in like manner and on like ground as a Judge of a High Court. Also, the condition of service shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
Challenges of SECs:
- Violence during elections: As per the recent statement of West Bengal Governor, SEC is accountable for violence during recent panchayat polls.
- Lack of Autonomy: Tenure and appointment of the State Election Commissioner are subject to the law made by the respective state legislature.
- Conflict with the state government: In 2008 state election commissioner of Maharashtra was arrested and sent to jail after the Legislative assembly found him guilty of breach of privilege in an alleged conflict over his jurisdiction and powers.
- Non-Uniform Service Conditions: Each SEC is governed by a separate law as passed by respective state legislatures.
Suggestions for Reforms in SECs:
- In 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that serving bureaucrats must not be appointed as election commissioners to ensure the independence of the SECs.
- As per the suggestion of 2nd ARC, the State Election Commissioner should be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a collegium comprising the Chief Minister, the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
Global Gender Gap Report - 2023
Why in News: Recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released its 17th edition of Global Gender Gap Report 2023.
About Global Gender Gap Index:
- It is an annual index that started published in 2006 by WEF to measure Gender Equality in a country.
- It considers four key dimensions:
- Economic Participation and Opportunity;
- Educational Attainment;
- Health and Survival;
- Political Empowerment.
- It provides scores between 0 and 1, where 0 shows complete imparity and 1 is full gender parity.
Key findings of the 2023 report:
- Iceland (91.2%) ranked 1 and is the only country having closed more than 90% of the gender gap.
- Norway (87.9%) ranked 2 and Finland (86.3%) ranked 3.
- India ranked 127 out of 146 countries (an improvement of 8 ranks from last year).
- India has closed 64.3% of the overall gender gap.
- Political empowerment – India got 25.3% parity (15.1% of parliamentarians are women) which is the highest for India since 2006.
- India’s neighbours: Bangladesh – 59; Bhutan – 103; China – 107; Sri Lanka – 115; Nepal – 116; Pakistan – 142.
Challenges for India:
- In Economic participation and Opportunity India could reach only 36.7%.
- There is a slight drop in the women’s representation in senior positions and technical roles.
- India has relatively low scores in the Health and Survival because of the skewed sex ratios.
- To increase women’s economic participation in leadership positions in business as well as government.
- Collective and coordinated actions should be taken by private and public sector leaders to accelerate toward gender parity.
Market Access for Organic and Natural Produce
In News: A report of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), highlights the significance of market access for the success of India’s momentum towards organic and natural farming.
About the Report:
- To understand the role of three important stakeholders i.e. Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), food retail corporations and state governments, the CSE identified six cases pan India to illustrate means to provide better market access to make organic and natural farming.
- The report highlights how various stakeholders procure, process and sell organic and natural produce while trying to ensure remunerative prices to farmers and also highlights the challenges faced by them.
Key Findings of the Report:
- For a sustainable and large-scale transition, two basic issues need to be addressed
- Knowledge of practising organic or natural farming to farmers,
- Effective access to markets that pay remunerative prices.
- Government plans to create more farmer producer organisations (FPOs), shows recognition of the issue of market access. Additionally, food retail corporations and state government programmes have helped connect farmers with consumers.
- Bhoomgaadi, a farmers’ collective from Chhattisgarh, leveraged the pan India presence of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Federation of India to market their products.
- Sresta Bioproducts, Hyderabad used online selling effectively as well as its wide network of processing facilities to increase its market access.
- Bigbasket, an online supermarket, demonstrated increased sales through an efficient supply chain, where “organically grown” fruits and vegetables reach the doorstep of the consumer in reduced time.
Recommendation of the report:
- Coherence in different certification systems like Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and third-party National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) certification as acceptability of PGS certification is facing difficulty.
- Expansion of value addition and move towards shorter supply chains for better price realisation by farmers.
- Providing similar benefits to organic farmers which conventional farmers get in terms of input subsidies.
- Unlocking consumer demand is the key to stabilising prices of organic produce.
Treatment of Textile Wastewater
In News: NIT Warangal in collaboration with Prime Textiles, with support from IMPRINT developed a pilot-scale textile effluent treatment plant.
About Textile Effluents:
- Textile effluents are heavily contaminated with pollutants such as dyes, dissolved solids, suspended solids and toxic metals, which needs robust, efficient technologies to treat such effluent before they are discharged.
- These effluents have high total dissolved solids (TDS) because of the use of common salt and Glauber salt. Their direct discharge may increase the level of TDS in groundwater and surface water.
Technology developed to treat textile wastewater:
The pilot-scale textile effluent treatment plant uses bio surfactants (BS), cavitation (C), and membrane (M) technology.
- Bio surfactants: They are natural compounds produced by microorganisms, which possess surface-active properties.
- They can be used in the Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) to assist in the removal of dyes from the wastewater.
- Bio surfactant to be used was extracted from microorganisms isolated from textile effluent and textile effluent contaminated soil.
- Cavitation: It is a process in which pressure variations in a liquid can in a short period of time cause countless small cavities to form and then implode.
- It is an advanced oxidation process, which aids in reducing installation cost as well as reducing carbon footprint.
- It generates oxidising radicals in-situ, reducing the reliance on external oxidising agents.
- Membrane: It helps in textile effluent treatment by enhancing the separation and removal of pollutants.
- Modifying the membrane surface using boehmite sol decreases the pore size from micro-scale to nano-scale and leads to significant improvement in its performance.
- With this sequence, the pilot plant of 200 Litres Per Day capacity removes pollutants and the treated water can be utilised for agricultural activities, and cleaning purposes.
Technology Facilitated Gender Based Violence (TFGBV)
In News: Government deliberates on Digital India Bill to establish an internet-age governance framework to secure the vulnerable
About Technology Facilitated Gender Based Violence (TFGBV)
- Technology Facilitated Gender Based Violence (TFGBV) refers to the misuse of technology to perpetrate harm, threaten, stalk, or harass individuals based on their sexual or gender identity.
- It involves the exploitation of devices, accounts, software, and platforms to control, abuse, track, and intimidate victim-survivors.
- The increased exposure of personal lives on the internet and enhanced user data sharing have led to the emergence of TFGBV.
- Perpetrators of tech abuse utilize various tools such as phones, computers, email accounts, social media, and tracking apps to carry out their abusive actions.
- It poses significant harm to the safety and well-being of individuals, necessitating the strengthening of response mechanisms and victim redressal measures.
- Existing social norms and a widening gender digital divide contribute to the vulnerability of marginalized groups to online violence.
- Women often face restricted access to the internet, leading to lower reporting rates due to fear of losing ownership and usage of technology.
- Research indicates that female journalists, women's rights workers, and politicians experience higher rates of online abuse compared to other women.
- The outdated legal frameworks, such as the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, are ill-equipped to address the evolving nature of internet-based harms.
- Specific laws aimed at the digital ecosystem, like the Information Technology Act, do not adequately address gender-based crimes in the tech space.
- Steps to improve situation:
- It is crucial to revamp regulatory interventions and enact legislation that specifically addresses gender-based violence on the internet.
- Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) should facilitate dedicated training to understand the forms and effects of tech-based violence and effectively prevent and respond to such incidents.
- Legislative measures should prioritize accountability from platforms while safeguarding the rights of younger users.
- Additional funding should be allocated to create survivor-centric resources, such as legal support and therapy services, through community-led collaborations.
- In the due course, India can learn from time tested international frameworks, such as those in Singapore, Australia, and the US for development of targeted responsibility sharing.
- Overall, coordinated action among stakeholders, including the government, LEAs, platforms, and community organizations can go a long way for creation of an effective response system.
In News: Indian Prime Minister presents gifts to US President during his visit to White House in Washington DC.
About Biden Yeats:
- Biden Yeats refers to the gift exchange between Indian Prime Minister and US President especially the Yeats' translation work of Indian Upanishads.
- The gifts given by Indian PM includes:
- Yeats' 'Ten Principal Upanishads': First edition print of the book from 1937 which is a collaborative translation by Irish poet WB Yeats and scholar Shri Purohit Swami.
- Lab-grown Diamond: A 7.5 carat lab-grown diamond to President which are created in a controlled environment using technological processes, offering an ethical and sustainable alternative to mined diamonds.
- Sandalwood Box: An exquisite sandalwood box which is highly valued in Indian culture for its fragrance and aesthetic appeal.
- Importance of Book:
- The Upanishads are foundational texts in Hindu theology and explore concepts such as the connection between humanity and the cosmos.
- They are considered more significant than the Vedas themselves and have attracted widespread attention.
- The Upanishads discuss topics like transmigration and emphasize the illusory nature of the transient world.
- The philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, which emphasizes the non-dualistic nature of reality, is closely associated with the Upanishads.
- The Ten Principal Upanishads include titles such as Esha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, and Brihadaranyaka.
- WB Yeats, a renowned figure in modern English literature, was deeply interested in Indian culture and had a close friendship with Rabindranath Tagore.
- Overall, the gift of the 'Ten Principal Upanishads' reflects the cultural exchange and appreciation between India and the United States.
Why in news? Recently, Amul Paid Tribute to Creator Of 'Utterly Butterly' Campaign, Sylvester daCunha.
- Sylvester daCunha was the creator of the iconic ‘Amul Girl’ and ‘Utterly Butterly’ campaigns, the brand owned by Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), in 1966.
- In 1969, daCunha solidified his legacy by establishing daCunha Communications.
- Lessons from Sylvester daCunha’s life:
- Creating a memorable and iconic campaign can leave a lasting impact.
- Building trust and respect with clients is crucial for long-term success.
- Creativity and humour can be powerful tools in advertising.
- Embracing topical and relevant content can help connect with consumers.
Gangotri National Park
Why in news? Recently, Gangotri National Park (GNP) in Uttarakhand, has decided to transfer approximately 50 hectares of land to the Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) for the development of new bunkers and border outposts near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- Gangotri National Park was established in 1989 and is spread over an area of 1,553 sq kms.
- It is situated in the upper catchment of the Bhagirathi River, in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
- The park serves as a connecting link between Govind National Park and Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Park’s northeastern boundary is along the international boundary with China.
- It has various types of landscapes which include Coniferous Tree forests, Meadows, and Glaciers, High ridges, deep gorges, precipitous cliffs etc.
- Gangotri glacier is in the middle of the park, and it is connected to Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh) by Lamkhanga Pass.
- Various species like Snow Leopard, Leopard, , Himalaya Black Bear, Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Bharal or blue sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Serow, Red Fox, Yellow-throated Marten etc are found here.
- Indo-Tibetan Border Police was created in 1962 for reorganising the border intelligence and security set up along the Indo-Tibetan border.
- It is a central paramilitary force responsible for border guarding duties along the Sino-India Border, covering a distance of 3,488 km from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The ITBP is known for its specialization in mountain operations, with its officers and personnel being trained mountaineers and skiers.
- In November 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs proposed the merger of the Assam Rifles with the ITBP.
- HQ: New Delhi
Kalasa Banduri Project
Why in news? Recently, The Kalasa-Banduri project aims to divert water from Mahadayi to satisfy the drinking water needs of Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Gadag districts in Karnataka.
- Though the project was first proposed in the early 1980s, it has remained on paper owing to a dispute between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
- As per plans, barrages are to be built against Kalasa and Banduri streams — tributaries of Mahadayi — and water diverted towards Karnataka’s parched districts.
- Mahadayi originates inside the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in the Belagavi district of Karnataka and flows into the Arabian Sea in Goa.
- It has its basin in Maharastra and Goa as well.
- It is described as the lifeline of the Indian state of Goa.
- Mahadayi joins with the Zuari River at a common creek at Cabo Aguada, forming the Mormugao harbour in Goa.
Heliopolis Memorial in Egypt
Why in news? Prime Minister of India will pay his respects at the Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial in the Heliopolis War Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt.
- The Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial is part of the larger Heliopolis Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.
- This memorial commemorates the memory of Indian soldiers who died fighting in various campaigns in Egypt and Palestine in the First World War.
- The original Port Tewfik memorial was unveiled in 1926 and was situated at the entrance to the Suez Canal.
- Port Tewfik is now known as Port Suez.
- The memorial was destroyed in the Israeli-Egyptian War of 1967 by retreating Egyptian soldiers, and a new memorial was erected in Heliopolis Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in 1980.
- The Indian troops played a key role in securing the Suez Canal in Egypt and in Palestine, where Indian cavalry participated in the Battle of Haifa and also played a key role in Mesopotamia in the First World War.
- The memorial includes the names of soldiers from various Indian regiments and also commemorates Risaldar Badlu Singh, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery (the highest British wartime gallantry award)
- It is located in Egypt along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Suez.
- The port and city mark the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, which runs north-south through Egypt from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez.
- The port serves vessels transporting general cargo, oil tankers, and both commercial and private passenger vessels.
Why in news? Death anniversary of Syama Prasad Mookerjee was marked recently. He resigned from the cabinet of JL Nehru in April 1950 over the controversial Nehru-Liaquat Pact.
- The Nehru-Liaquat Pact is also known as the Delhi Pact.
- It was signed on April 8, 1950, between Jawaharlal Nehru (Prime Minister of India) and Liaquat Ali Khan (Prime Minister of Pakistan).
- Purpose was to establish a framework for the treatment of minorities in India and Pakistan due to Communal tensions and violence during the Partition of India in 1947.
- Provisions of the Pact:
- Refugees were allowed to return safe and unmolested to dispose of their property.
- Abducted women and looted property were to be returned.
- Forced conversions were derecognized.
- Minority rights were confirmed.
- Setting up minority commissions in both India and Pakistan
- Countries to ensure complete equality of citizenship for minorities in both countries.
- Countries will guarantee freedom of movement within each country, freedom of occupation, speech, and worship for minorities.
Why in news? Recently, The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has signed sub-licence agreements with some Indian companies, as well as an Indonesian firm to produce generic versions of the cancer drug Nilotinib.
- The drug Nilotinib is used for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia, which is a type of blood cancer, is currently marketed by Novartis under the brand name Tasigna.
Medicines Patent Pool
- The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nation-backed international organisation founded in July 2010, based in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is working to increase access to and facilitate the development of life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.
- Through its innovative business model, MPP partners with civil society, governments, international organisations, industry, patient groups, and other stakeholders, to prioritise and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations.
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