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Insights Daily Current Events, 28 October 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 28 October 2015

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Paper 1 Topic: Art and culture.

Ancient temples in Mandya district unearthed

The Archaeological Survey of India, in its recent excavations in Karnataka, has found five temple complexes defining Jaina identity.

  • These temples were found at Chikkabetta of Artipura in Mandya district, Karnataka.
  • Archaeologists say that these temples were built during the Western Ganga dynasty rule.mandya

Significance of these findings:

These temples are believed to be the oldest known archaeological find belonging to the Western Ganga dynasty. Western Ganga dynasty was said to have thrived from 4th century BC. However, there were no evidences to prove that. The earliest archaeological evidence available was only from the 10th century inscriptions of Shravanabelagola in Hassan district. But, the latest archaeological discovery at Artipura brings to light the temple relics of the early, first quarter of the Ganga Dynasty in 925 AD or the beginning of the 10th century.

Western Ganga Dynasty:

  • It was an important ruling dynasty of ancient Karnataka. Some experts believe that the dynasty lasted from about 350 to 1000 AD.
  • They are known as ‘Western Gangas’ to distinguish them from the Eastern Gangas who in later centuries ruled over Kalinga (modern Odisha).
  • The Western Gangas began their rule during a time when multiple native clans asserted their freedom due to the weakening of the Pallava empire in South India.
  • After the rise of the imperial Chalukyas of Badami, the Gangas accepted Chalukya overlordship and fought for the cause of their overlords against the Pallavas of Kanchi. The Chalukyas were replaced by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta in 753 AD ganga dynasty architectureas the dominant power in the Deccan. The Western Gangas accepted Rashtrakuta overlordship and successfully fought alongside them against their foes, the Chola Dynasty of Tanjavur. The defeat of the Western Gangas by Cholas around 1000 resulted in the end of the Ganga influence over the region.
  • They showed tolerance towards all faiths. They are most famous for their patronage toward Jainism resulting in the construction of monuments in places such as Shravanabelagola and Kambadahalli.

sources: the hindu, wiki.

 

 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy.

India moves up in ‘ease of doing business’ ranking

India now ranks 130 out of 189 countries in the ease of doing business 2016, according to a World Bank report.

  • The original ranking for 2015 had been pegged at 142, which would give India a jump of 12 ranks, but the WB’s mid-year revision had bumped up India’s rank to 134.
  • The improvement in two indicators, ‘starting a business’ and ‘getting electricity,’ pushed India up the ladder, according to the report.
  • The report also commended the legislative changes that eliminated the minimum capital requirement and the requirement to obtain a certificate to start business operations.

Performance of other countries:

  • Singapore remains the easiest place to do business.
  • China is ranked 84 and Pakistan is at 138th place. Pakistan has slipped 10 spots from 128 last year while China has moved six spots in a year from 90 since the last report.
  • New Zealand remained in the number-two position, followed by Denmark (3), South Korea (4), Hong Kong (5), Britain (6) and the United States (7). Sweden moved up a notch to number eight, switching places with Norway. Finland kept its 10th place.

The World Bank Doing Business report was started in 2002. The report reviews business regulations and their enforcement across 189 countries. The report looks at the regulatory environment for small and medium-sized companies to see how it hampers or helps them conduct business, from starting up and paying taxes to registering property and trading across borders.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 2 Topic: transparency and accountability.

Info panel turning down more RTI requests now

Data from the Central Information Commission’s website show that CIC has admitted fewer and fewer cases every month this year, under the Right to Information Act.

  • Hence, RTI activists have asked for greater transparency in the process of turning down requests.
  • Data show that from September 2014 to June this year, the CIC admitted between 2,500 and 3,500 cases every month. However, since June, the number of cases the CIC admits has crashed precipitously, falling to just 119 last month.

What the CIC says?

  • The CIC says it is not rejecting requests but is returning them for “technical deficiencies, including lack of proper identification.”

However, it has not made public details of these requests being returned, nor why the need to return requests has suddenly arisen.

Cases come before the CIC in two ways:

  • One, if an applicant is not satisfied with the response to his or her request for information from a Central government authority, and with the verdict of the first appeal made to the authority concerned, he or she can approach the CIC for the second appeal.
  • Second, if a citizen has a complaint — his or her request was not taken or wrong information was given or he or she has faced threats — he or she can come directly before the CIC.

CIC:

The Central Information Commission (CIC) is set up under the Right to Information Act and is the authorized body, established in 2005, under the Government of India.

  • The Chief Information Commissioner heads the Central Information Commission.
  • CIC hears appeals from information-seekers who have not been satisfied by the public authority, and also addresses major issues concerning the RTI Act.

sources: the hindu, cic.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Income Tax Dept sets up panel to simplify tax law

The Income Tax Department has set up a panel to help simplify the Income Tax Act, 1961, as part of the government’s move to improve the ease of doing business.

  • The committee will be chaired by Justice R.V. Easwar, a former judge of the Delhi High Court and former president Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.
  • Objective of the committee is to study and identify the provisions or phrases in the Act that are leading to litigation due to different interpretations, impacting the ease of doing business, and those that can be simplified.
  • The committee is also tasked with suggesting alternatives to these provisions or phrases “to bring about predictability and certainty in tax laws without substantial impact on the tax base and revenue collection.
  • Members of the committee include accountants, advocates and current and former bureaucrats from the Indian Revenue Service.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Transparency and accountability.

Centre backs publishing CMs’ photos in govt. advertisements

The Centre has sought a review of the Supreme Court judgment banning the publication of photographs of political leaders and Chief Ministers in government-issued advertisements.

Centre’s arguments:

  • People have the right to know about government welfare work in a participative democracy, and hence the ban should be lifted.
  • It was contrary to the federal structure of governance envisioned in the Constitution to prohibit the publication of the pictures of Chief Ministers and Governors.

Background:

  • In May 2015, the Supreme Court issued guidelines for the publication of government advertisements and held that publication of photographs of politicians and government functionaries, including Chief Ministers, defeated the public interest behind advertising welfare schemes and encouraged personality cults.
  • However, the court had exempted the President, the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India from this ban, leaving it to their discretion to decide whether they wanted their pictures published in the advertisements or not.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Maharashtra withdraws sedition order

The Maharashtra government recently told the Bombay High Court that it had withdrawn the controversial circular on sedition.

  • The circular had left the field open for the police to register sedition charge against critics of the government. Hence, it was widely opposed.
  • Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was arrested in 2012 under the sedition charge for his political cartoons and advocate Narendra Sharma had sought to quash the circular on the ground that it violated the constitutional rights of people and was liable to be misused.

About the circular:

  • The Maharashtra government through a circular had given police the powers to take action against those critical of the state or central government if it deemed such critiques to be particularly offensive.
  • The order allowed the police to invoke a colonial era sedition clause — 124-A of the Indian Penal Code — against any person who “by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, dissatisfaction and provoking violence against the central or the state government.”
  • According to the circular those who lawfully try to change the government without invoking anger or disaffection should not be charged with sedition. But it is still left to the police to determine whether someone is employing “hatred and contempt” while democratically protesting against the government.

sources: the hindu.