Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Tagore- early life, important works and contributions to India’s freedom struggle.
Context: National Gallery of Modern Art will organise the Virtual Tour titled “Gurudev – Journey of the Maestro through his visual vocabulary” from 7th May 2020 to commemorate the 159th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
About Rabindranath Tagore:
- Popularly known as ‘Gurudev’, he was born in an affluent Family.
- Tagore was primarily known as a writer, poet, playwright, philosopher and aesthetician, music composer and choreographer, founder of a unique educational institution – Visva- Bharati and a painter.
- Tagore began writing poetry at the tender age of eight years old and at 16 years of age,Tagore released his first collection of poems under the pen name ‘Bhanusimha’.
- He had spoken at the World Parliament for Religions in the years 1929 and 1937.
- He wrote the National Anthems of India and Bangladesh.
- He left his imprint on art and played a role in transforming its practices and ushering into modernism.
- Between 1928 and 1940, Rabindranath painted more than 2000 images. He never gave any title to his paintings.
- Expressionism in European art and the primitive art of ancient cultures inspired him.
In 1913, he became the first Indian to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel ‘Geetanjali’.
Role in the freedom struggle:
- He denounced British imperialism, yet he did not fully support or agree with Gandhi and his Non-cooperation Movement.
- He viewed British rule as a symptom of the overall “sickness” of the social “disease” of the public.
- In his writings, he also voiced his support of Indian nationalists.
- Rabindranath Tagore wrote the song Banglar Mati Banglar Jol (Soil of Bengal, Water of Bengal) to unite the Bengali population after Bengal partition in 1905.
- He also wrote the famed ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’which helped ignite a feeling of nationalism amongst people.
- He started the Rakhi Utsavwhere people from Hindu and Muslim communities tied colourful threads on each other’s wrists.
- Tagore rejected violence from the British as well and renounced the knighthood that had been given to him by Lord Hardinge in 1915 in protest of the violent Amritsar massacre in which the British killed at least 1526 unarmed Indian citizens.
- The cornerstone of Tagore’s beliefs and work is the idea that anti-colonialism cannot simply be achieved by rejecting all things British, but should consist of incorporating all the best aspects of western culture into the best of Indian culture.
What freedom meant for Tagore?
“Freedom” does not simply mean political freedom from the British; True freedom means the ability to be truthful and honest with oneself otherwise autonomy loses all of its worth.
- Essence in Tagore’s paintings.
- When and why he renounced his knighthood?
- His contributions to literature?
- About Vishwabharati University.
- Tagore award.
Explain how Rabindranath Tagore catalyzed the progress of Indian national movement in innumerable ways.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key provisions of Sarfaesi Act, about Co- op banks.
For Mains: Relevance of Sarfaesi act for cooperative banks, need for and significance.
Context: The Supreme Court has held that the cooperative banks involved in the activities related to banking are covered within the meaning of ‘banking company’ and Parliament has legislative competence to provide for procedure for recovery of loan under the Sarfaesi Act.
What’s the issue?
The judgment came in view of several conflicting decisions by high courts on the issues of:
- Whether the Co-operative banks can be called ‘Banks (financial Institution)’ under the Banking Regulation Act of 1949.
- Whether the Parliament has legislative competence to regulate financial assets of cooperative banks formed under state law.
What has the Court said?
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said,
- The meaning of ‘banking’ cannot be confined to a particular definition, as given in the Banking Regulation (BR) Act, 1949. The word ‘banking’ has been incorporated in Entry 45 of List I.
- The decision in Rustom Cavasjee Cooper (1970 verdict) vividly leaves no room for doubt that banking done by the cooperative bank is covered within the ambit of Entry 45 of List I.
- Therefore, cooperative banks come under the category of banks as defined under Section 2(1)(c) of the Sarfaesi Act, and the recovery procedures mentioned under that law apply to cooperative banks as well.
Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (Sarfaesi) Act, 2002:
- It allows banks and financial institutions to auction properties (residential and commercial) when borrowers fail to repay their loans.
- It enables banks to reduce their non-performing assets by adopting measures for recovery or reconstruction.
- It is effective only against secured loanswhere banks can enforce the underlying security.
- It promotes the setting up of asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) and asset securitization companies (SCs) to deal with NPAs accumulated with the banks and financial institutions.
According to an RBI report, there were 1,551 urban cooperative banks as on 31 March 2018, and 96,612 rural cooperative banks as on 31 March 2017, with the latter accounting for 65.8% of the total asset size of all cooperative banks.
- The recent crisis surrounding Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank Ltd and other such lenders exposed the vulnerability of cooperative banks, after the central bank superseded the lenders’ boards after uncovering several irregularities.
- Recognizing that cooperative banks can have Sarfaesi rights should enable cooperatives get better control over handling defaults and on the negotiation table with defaulters.
- What are ARCs and who can set up?
- Can courts interfere in matters related to ARCs?
- What are NPAs?
- Definition of banking.
- Banking under 7th
- Powers of parliament under Sarfaesi act.
Discuss the significance of Sarfaesi Act of 2002.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
What to study?
For Prelims: Name of the currency and the reasons for latest changes.
For Mains: Need for and significance of these changes, implications.
Context: Iran’s currency is set to be re-named and re-valued.
- Long called the rial, Iran’s money will soon likely be called the Toman, and an impressive four zeros will be shaved off all denominations.
- What was previously 10,000 rials will become one Toman under the plans.
What’s the issue?
Iran has seen the value of its national currency decline steadily since the Islamic Revolution brought the religious government to power in 1979. That drop has accelerated in recent years as harsh US sanctions battered the country’s economy.
The currency has been devalued 3,500 times since 1971. It declined steadily since the Iranian Revolution, 1979 brought the religious government to power.
The devaluation of the rial has been marked by four key turning points:
- The Islamic Revolution of 1979. When the government of the Western-allied Shah collapsed and an ideological cadre of mullahs took over, many entrepreneurs and business moguls left the country for fear of persecution, and they took their wealth with them.
- The end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1989. It took Iran almost eight years to rebuild its shattered economy, during which time the rial lost almost 100% of its value compared to the US dollar thanks to rampant inflation and the unchecked printing of cash.
- Last years of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tenure. Before he left power in 2013, Iran was slammed with severe international sanctions that saw the rial hemorrhage almost 400% more of its value on global currency markets.
- The last major turning point, which is still playing out, came when President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal. It was like an electric shock that sizzled through every aspect of Iran’s already beleaguered economy. The rial’s plunge has continued, leaving it almost 600% weaker against the US dollar than it was before the Revolution.
What else contributed to this crisis?
- Iran has faced a litany of financial disasters since 1979, including international sanctions that have severely limited its ability to sell oil, which in turn have all but dried up its primary source of revenue.
- The government has also implemented strict rules on access to foreign currency, leading to a flourishing black market for non-Iranian cash inside the country and further eroding the value of the national currency.
- The global pandemic has piled even more stress onto the lives of people already bludgeoned by a White House bent on ramping up maximum pressure on Iran.
Implications of the latest move:
If implemented carefully and as part of wider financial reforms, redenomination would be a positive move but hardly an answer for all the country’s intertwined economic woes.
However, it was a necessary action to simplify financial transactions.
It would vastly simplify financial calculations by eliminating the need for Iranian shoppers to carry loads of rials to make purchases, which they have to do because of inflation.
- Islamic Revolution- causes, effects and implications.
- Iran- Iraq war of 1989.
- US- Iran nuclear deal.
- What is devaluation of currency? Its effects?
- Iran’s geographical location and surrounding regions.
Why Iran is revaluing and renaming its currency? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in IT.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Key findings and significance of these findings, potential ahead.
Context: Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company released its ICUBE 2019 report on digital adoption and usage trends in India.
The annual tracking study; considered to be the currency for digital adoption in the country, gauges the changing digital ecosystem in India, measuring Internet usage by demographic, activity and device segments.
- Estimated at 574 million, the number of monthly active Internet users have registered an annual growth of 24% indicating an overall penetration of 41%.
- The report projects 11% growth for 2020; estimates 639 million monthly active Internet users.
- All monthly active Internet users use a mobile phone as one of the devices to access the Internet.
- About 84% of users access the Internet for entertainment purposes.
- At 38%, school-going children segment in the age group of 15 years or below has shown a promising growth on internet usage. Access to information and education, social media, gaming and entertainment, especially, Sports, are driving the adoption.
- Content is the king and is driving the surge in daily internet usage.
- India’s digital revolution continues to be propelled by the rural masses — Rural India registered a 45% growth in the monthly active internet users in 2019. It is now estimated that there are 264 million internet users in rural India, and this is expected to reach 304 million in 2020.
Factors responsible for this growth:
- The convenience of content availability across devices and on the go low-cost Internet service resulted in a significant growth in the entertainment consumption in the last year. This is expected to continue in 2020 too, especially in view of the lockdown.
- Local language and video are the underlying factors for the internet boom in rural.
- Children and housewives will be the new Internet adopters in the next year or two. Most of these users already have Internet at home, and it will be more about breaking the mindset barriers to access the web.
- Video, Voice and Vernacular (3 Vs) will be significant usage factors for the Internet users. These will drive higher engagement and frequency of usage, thereby, helping the users mature in their Internet journey.
- IOT and Smart Devices will make the internet as much a household phenomenon as it is an individual phenomenon.
Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings, about BEE.
For Mains: Need for energy efficiency, ways to achieve it.
Context: Recently the Ministry of Power and New & Renewable Energy released a report on the “Impact of energy efficiency measures for the year 2018-19”.
This report was prepared by an Expert agency PWC Ltd, who was engaged by Bureau of Energy efficiency (BEE) for an independent verification to assess the resultant annual savings in energy as well as CO2 emissions through various initiatives in India.
Since 2017-18, every year Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) appoints an third party expert agency to conduct study for comparing the actual energy consumption due to different energy efficiency schemes, with the estimated energy consumption, had the current energy efficiency measures were not undertaken i.e. counterfactual.
- The objective of this study is to evaluate the performance and impact of all the key energy efficiency programmes in India, in terms of total energy saved and the related reduction in the CO2 emissions.
- The study assesses the resultant impact of current schemes at national as well as state level for the FY 2018-19 and compares it with a situation where the same were not implemented.
- India has reduced the energy intensity by 20% compared to 2005 levels which is a very good performance indeed.
- Implementation of various energy efficiency schemes have led to total electricity savings to the tune of 113.16 Billion Units in 2018-19, which is 9.39% of the net electricity consumption.
- The study has identified following major programmes, Perform, Achieve and Trade Scheme, Standards &Labelling Programme, UJALA Programme, Municipal Demand Side Management Programme, etc.
- Energy savings (electrical + thermal), achieved in the energy consuming sectors (i.e. Demand Side sectors) is to the tune of 16.54 Mtoe, which is 2.84% of the net total energy consumption (approx..581.60 Mtoe) in 2018-19.
- These efforts have also contributed in reducing 151.74 Million Tonnes of CO2 emissions, whereas last year this number was 108 Million Tonnes of CO2.
India’s energy saving potential is estimated to be 86.9 Mtoe in case of a moderate implementation of energy efficiency programs and 129 Mtoe in case of an ambitious implementation of programs by the year 2031.
- What is BEE?
- What Ujjwala scheme?
- What PAT scheme?
Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Leaked gas, effects and the reasons for leakage.
Context: A gas leak, reminiscent of the 1984 Bhopal tragedy, has affected thousands of residents in five villages in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
The source of the leak was a styrene plant owned by South Korean electronics giant LG, located at RRV Puram near Gopalapatnam, about 15 kms from the coast city.
What is styrene?
It is a flammable liquid that is used in the manufacturing of polystyrene plastics, fiberglass, rubber, and latex.
It is also found in vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, and in natural foods like fruits and vegetables.
What happens when exposed to styrene?
Short-term exposure to the substance can result in respiratory problems, irritation in the eyes, irritation in the mucous membrane, and gastrointestinal issues.
Long-term exposure could drastically affect the central nervous system and lead to other related problems like peripheral neuropathy. It could also lead to cancer and depression in some cases.
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms include headache, hearing loss, fatigue, weakness, difficulty in concentrating etc.
- Animal studies, according to the EPA, have reported effects on the CNS, liver, kidney, and eye and nasal irritation from inhalation exposure to styrene.
Sources: Indian Express.
Facts for Prelims
‘Vesak’, the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is being observed by United Nations on May 7, 2020.
- It is also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day.
- The day commemorates birth, enlightenment and Death (or Parinirvana) of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, all of which is said to take have taken place on the same day.
Vesak, falls on the full moon day (Purnima) of the month Vaishakha (May), hence the occasion is referred to as Buddha Purnima in India.
- Recognition by United Nations (UN): The General Assembly, by its resolution in 1999, recognized internationally the Day of Vesak. It was done to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism made to humanity.
Insights Current Affairs Analysis (I–CAN) by IAS Topper