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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 1 September 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Rare Renati Chola era inscription unearthed.

2. Hampi

 

GS Paper 2:

1. What is a review petition?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What are Open Market Operations?

2. Coal Gasification and Liquefaction.

3. World’s Largest Solar Tree.

4. What is the importance of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso’s south bank?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Baltic Nations.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Rare Renati Chola era inscription unearthed:


Context:

This rare inscription was recently unearthed from a remote village of Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh.

Key points:

  • It was found engraved on a dolomite slab and shale.
  • The inscription was written in archaic Telugu.
  • It was assigned to the 8th Century A.D., when the region was under the rule of the Chola Maharaja of Renadu.

dolomite_slab

What this inscription reveals?

It throws light on the record of a gift of six marttus (a measuring unit) of land gifted to a person.

The last lines of the inscription are indicative of the priority given to morality in those days.

  • “It says the people who safeguard this inscription for future generations will acquire the status of conducting Aswamedha Yaga, and those destroying it will incur sin equivalent to causing a death in Varanasi”.

Who were Renati Cholas?

  • The Telugu Cholas of Renadu (also called as Renati Cholas) ruled over Renadu region, the present day Cuddapah district.
  • They were originally independent, later forced to the suzerainty of the Eastern Chalukyas.
  • They had the unique honour of using the Telugu language in their inscriptions belonging to the 7th and 8th centuries.
  • The earliest of this family was Nandivarman (500 AD) who claimed descent from the family of Karikala and the Kasyapa gotra.
  • Their territory extended over the whole of Cuddapah district and the adjoining areas of Anantapur, Kurnool and Chittoor districts.

Relevant points for exams:

Chola Local Administration:

  • The most important feature of the Chola administration was the local administration at districts, towns and villages level.
  • Uttaramerur inscriptions speak much about the Chola administration.
  • Village autonomy was the most unique feature of Chola administrative system.
  • Nadu was one of the important administrative units of the Cholas. Nadus had representative assemblies. The heads of the Nadus were called Nattars.
  • The council of Nadu was called Nattavai.

Variyams:

Village Assemblies carried on village administration effectively with the help of variyams.

The male members of the society were the members of these variyams.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Renati Cholas ruled over?
  2. Important rulers.
  3. About Chalukyas.
  4. Uttaramerur inscriptions are related to?
  5. Local administration under Renati Cholas.

Mains Link:

Who were Renati Cholas? Write a note on local administration during their rule.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Hampi:


Context:

Ministry of Tourism recently organised their latest webinar titled Hampi- Inspired by the past; Going into the future under Dekho Apna DeshWebinar series.

  • Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series is an effort to showcase India’s rich diversity under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme.

About Hampi:

It was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. In 1336 CE, the Vijayanagara Empire arose from the ruins of the Kampili kingdom. It grew into one of the famed Hindu empires of South India that ruled for over 200 years.

It was a part of the Mauryan Empire back in the third century BC.

  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Its name is derived from Pampa which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built.
  • The site used to be multi-religious and multi-ethnic; it included Hindu and Jain monuments next to each other.

Architecture:

It has been described by UNESCO as an “austere, grandiose site” of more than 1,600 surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India.

  • The buildings here predominantly followed South Indian Hindu arts and architecture dating to the Aihole-Pattadakal styles, but the Hampi builders also used elements of Indo-Islamic architecture in the Lotus Mahal, the public bath and the elephant stables.
  • The 15th Century Virupaksha temple is one of the oldest monuments of the town.
  • Hemkunta Hill, south of the Virupaksha temple contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a form of Lord Vishnu.
  • Vittal temple built in the 16th Century, is now a World Heritage monument. The columns of the temple are so balanced that they have a musical quality.

Vittal_temple

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Various dynasties which rules hampi.
  2. About Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme.
  3. Tungabhadra river basin.
  4. Temple architecture during the Vijayanagara Empire.
  5. Important UNESCORTED world heritage sites in India.

Mains Link:

Write a note on architectural significance of Hampi.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

What is a review petition?


Context:

The Supreme Court has fined senior advocate Prashant Bhushan Re 1 in the contempt case for his tweets on the judiciary.

  • He will be imprisoned for three months and will be debarred from practicing for three years if he defaults on the payment of the penalty.

Background:

  • On August 25, the court had reserved its ruling after numerous arguments as Bhushan refused to apologise.

What next?

He has agreed to pay the fine but has said that he will file a review petition against the conviction.

What is a review petition and when can it be filed?

A judgment of the Supreme Court becomes the law of the land, according to the Constitution. It is final because it provides certainty for deciding future cases.

However, the Constitution itself gives, under Article 137, the Supreme Court the power to review any of its judgments or orders. This departure from the Supreme Court’s final authority is entertained under specific, narrow grounds.

  • So, when a review takes place, the law is that it is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.

When can a review petition be accepted?

In a 1975 ruling, Justice Krishna Iyer said a review can be accepted “only where a glaring omission or patent mistake or like grave error has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility”.

A review is by no means an appeal in disguise.

  • That means the Court is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.

Filing Review Petition:

As per the Civil Procedure Code and the Supreme Court Rules, any person aggrieved by a ruling can seek a review. This implies that it is not necessary that only parties to a case can seek a review of the judgment.

  • A Review Petition has to be filed within 30 days of the date of judgment or order.
  • In certain circumstances, the court can condone the delay in filing the review petition if the petitioner can establish strong reasons that justify the delay.

The procedure to be followed:

  1. The rules state that review petitions would ordinarily be entertained without oral arguments by lawyers. It is heard “through circulation” by the judges in their chambers.
  2. Review petitions are also heard, as far as practicable, by the same combination of judges who delivered the order or judgment that is sought to be reviewed.
  3. If a judge has retired or is unavailable, a replacement is made keeping in mind the seniority of judges.
  4. In exceptional cases, the court allows an oral hearing. In a 2014 case, the Supreme Court held that review petitions in all death penalty cases will be heard in open court by a Bench of three judges.

Option after Review Petition Fails:

In Roopa Hurra v Ashok Hurra case (2002), the Court evolved the concept of a curative petition, which can be heard after a review petition is dismissed.

  • A curative petition is also entertained on very narrow grounds like a review petition and is generally not granted an oral hearing.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Review vs Curative petition.
  2. Procedure to be followed.
  3. Who can file?
  4. Time- period within which a review petition should be filed?
  5. What is Section 497 of IPC?
  6. What is Article 137?

Mains Link:

What is a review petition? What is the procedure to be followed? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

What are Open Market Operations?


Context:

RBI has announced the following measures to cool the rising bond yields and assuage liquidity pressures that could arise due to advance tax outflows:

  1. Two more tranches of ‘Operation Twist’ aggregating Rs 20,000 crore.
  2. Term repo operations aggregating Rs 1 lakh crore in September.
  3. Created more room under the so-called ‘held to maturity’ (HTM) category, which Banks’ can utilise from September 1, 2020 to park their fresh G-Sec acquisitions.

What is ‘Operation Twist’?

‘Operation Twist’ is RBI’s simultaneous selling of short-term securities and buying of long term securities through open market operations (OMO). Under this mechanism, the short-term securities are transitioned into long-term securities.

How does RBI manage ‘Operation Twist’?

  • This operation involves buying and selling government securities simultaneously in order to bring down long-term interest rates and bolster short-term rates.
  • There is an inverse relationship between the bond prices and their yields. As the central bank buys long-term securities (bonds), their demand rise which in turn pushes up their prices.
  • However, the bond yield comes down with an increase in prices. Yield is the return an investor gets on his (bond) holding/investment.
  • The interest rate in an economy is determined by yield. Thus, lower long-term interest rates mean people can avail long-term loans (such as buying houses, cars or financing projects) at lower rates.
  • This also results in a dip in the expected returns from long-term savings which tilts the balance from saving towards spending. Hence, cheaper retail loans can help encourage consumption spending which is the largest GDP component in the economy.

Benefits:

  • Fixed income investors with higher exposure to long term debt will benefit from easing yield of long-term bonds.
  • Consumers/borrowers will also profit from ‘Operation Twist’ as the retail loans will now get cheaper.
  • Cheaper retail loans mean a boost in consumption and spending in the economy which in turn will revive growth.

What are Open Market Operations?

OMOs are the market operations conducted by the RBI by way of sale and purchase of G-Secs to and from the market with an objective to adjust the rupee liquidity conditions in the market on a durable basis.

  • When the RBI feels that there is excess liquidity in the market, it resorts to sale of securities thereby sucking out the rupee liquidity.
  • Similarly, when the liquidity conditions are tight, the RBI may buy securities from the market, thereby releasing liquidity into the market.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Types of Government securities?
  2. What are T- Bills?
  3. Which government securities carry interest?
  4. Which securities are sold at discounted price?
  5. Difference between monetary vs fiscal policies.
  6. What is Operation Twist?

Mains Link:

  1. Discuss the significance of Operation Twist being conducted by RBI.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

Coal Gasification and Liquefaction:


Context:

Union Minister of Coal and Mines recently addressed a webinar on Coal Gasification and Liquefaction. He said;

  1. India aims for 100 million tonnes (MT) coal gasification by 2030 with investments worth over Rs. 4 lakh crores.
  2. For encouraging use of clean sources of fuel, government has provided for a concession of 20% on revenue share of coal used for gasification. This will boost production of synthetic natural gas, energy fuel, urea for fertilisers and production of other chemicals.

What is coal gasification?

It is the process of producing syngas, a mixture consisting carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), natural gas (CH4), and water vapour (H2O).

  • During gasification, coal is blown with oxygen and steam while also being heated under high pressure. During the reaction, oxygen and water molecules oxidize the coal and produce syngas.

Benefits of gasification:

  1. Transporting gas is a lot cheaper than transporting coal.
  2. Help address local pollution problems.
  3. Has greater efficiency than conventional coal-burning because it can effectively use the gases twice: the coal gases are first cleansed of impurities and fired in a turbine to generate electricity. The exhaust heat from the gas turbine can be captured and used to generate steam for a steam turbine-generator.

Concerns and challenges:

Coal gasification is one of the more water-intensive forms of energy production.

There are also concerns about water contamination, land subsidence and disposing of waste water safely.

What is coal liquefaction?

Also called Coal to Liquid (CTL) technology, it is an alternative route to produce diesel and gasoline and makes economic sense only in a world of high crude oil prices.

  • The process involves gasification of coal, which in turn will produce synthetic gas (a mix of CO+H2). The synthetic gas can be liquefied to its fuel equivalent in presence of cobalt/iron-based catalysts at higher pressure and temperature.
  • However, liquefied coal emits twice as much CO2 as burning oil. It also emits a large volume of SO2.

Benefits of liquefaction:

The CO2 emissions are more readily and cheaply captured from CTL plants than from conventional coal-fired power stations. The captured CO2 can be transported and injected into underground storage reservoirs (a procedure known as “carbon capture and storage”—CCS—or “geosequestration”).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Coal Gasification?
  2. How is it done?
  3. What are the byproducts?
  4. Benefits of Gasification?
  5. What is Underground Coal Gasification?
  6. What is coal liquefaction?
  7. Benefits of Liquefaction.

Mains Link:

Write a note on goal gasification and liquefaction. Discuss their significance.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

World’s Largest Solar Tree:


Context:

CSIR-CMERI has developed the World’s Largest Solar Tree, which is installed at CSIR-CMERI Residential Colony, Durgapur.

Key points:

  • The installed capacity of the Solar Tree is above 11.5 kWp.
  • It has the annual capacity to generate 12,000-14,000 units of Clean and Green Power.
  • The Tree has been designed in a manner to ensure maximum exposure of each Solar PV Panel to Sunlight and also creation of the least amount of shadow area beneath.

Significance and potential of solar trees:

These Solar Trees can be aligned with Agriculture for substituting price-volatile fossil fuels.

  • Each Solar Tree has the potential to save 10-12 tons of CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere as Greenhouse Gases when compared with fossil fuel fired energy generation.
  • Besides, the surplus generated power can be fed into an Energy Grid.
  • This Agricultural Model can provide a consistent economic return and help the farmers counter the effects of the uncertain variations in Agriculture related activities, thus, making farming an Economic and Energy Sustainable practice.
  • The solar tree also has the capability to incorporate IOT based features,e. round-the-clock CCTV surveillance in agricultural fields, real-time humidity, wind speed, rainfall prediction and soil analytics sensors.
  • The CSIR-CMERI developed solar powered e-Suvidha Kiosks may also be connected to the Solar Trees for real-time access to the vast majority of agricultural database as well as to the eNAM i.e. National Agricultural MarketPlace for instant and real-time access to an unified online market.

solar_plate

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

What is the importance of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso’s south bank?


Context:

India and China have unsettled borders, and the perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) differs in multiple sectors, including on Pangong Tso.

  • Recently, Indian soldiers thwarted an attempt by Chinese troops to occupy some heights near the southern bank of Pangong Tso.

face_off

Why there is a dispute here?

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the line that separates Indian and Chinese troops since 1962 – generally runs along the land except for the width of Pangong Tso. Here, it runs through water.

  • Both sides have marked their areas announcing which side belongs to which country.
  • India controls about 45 km stretch of the Pangong Tso and China the rest.

The lake is divided into sections called fingers. There are eight of them in contention here. India and China have different understanding of where the LAC passes through.

  • India has maintained that the LAC passes through Finger 8, which has been the site of the final military post of China.
  • India has been patrolling the area – mostly on foot because of the nature of the terrain – up to Finger 8. But Indian forces have not had active control beyond Finger 4.
  • China, on the other hand, says the LAC passes through Finger 2. It has been patrolling up to Finger 4- mostly in light vehicles, and at times up to Finger 2.

Why China wants to encroach areas alongside Pangong Tso?

  • Pangong Tso is strategically crucial as it is very close to Chusul Valley,which was one of the battlefronts between India and China during the 1962 war.
  • China appears to keep India constricted in the region by taking strategic advantage of looking over the Chusul Valley, which it can do if it advances along Pangong Tso.
  • China also does not want India to boost its infrastructure anywhere near the LAC. China fears it threatens its occupation of Aksai Chin and Lhasa-Kashgar highway.
  • Any threat to this highway also puts Chinese rather imperialist plans in Pakistan-occupied territories in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, and beyond in Pakistan.

About Pangong Tso:

Pangong Tso literally translates into a “conclave lake”. Pangong means conclave in Ladakhi and Tso means a lake in Tibetan language.

  • Situated at over 14,000 feet, the Lake is about 135 km long.
  • It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.
  • The Karakoram Mountain range, which crosses Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India, with heights of over 6,000 metres including K2, the world’s second highest peak, ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso. Its southern bank too has high broken mountains sloping towards Spangur Lake in the south.
  • The lake’s water, while crystal clear, is brackish, making it undrinkable.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is LoC and how is it established, geographical extent and significance?
  2. What is LAC?
  3. Where is Nathu la?
  4. Where is Pangong Tso?
  5. Who administers Akashi Chin?
  6. Where is Naku La?
  7. Who controls what in Pangong Tso lake region?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Baltic Nations:

  • It is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the three sovereign states in Northern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
  • The most important areas of cooperation between the three countries are foreign and security policy, defence, energy and transportation.
  • All three countries are members of the European Union, NATO, the eurozone and the OECD.
  • All three are classified as high-income economies by the World Bank and maintain a very high Human Development Index.

latvia


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