Daily Current Affairs – 01-05-2023

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    Thrissur Pooram

    Syllabus: GS1/Art & Culture

    In News

    • Kerala is going to celebrate a 36 hours long festival which is known as Thrissur Pooram.

    More about the festival Thrissur Pooram

    • About:
      • Thrissur Pooram is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Medam (April-May).
      • This festival is considered the “mother of all poorams”.
      • It is held in the Thekkinkadu Maidanam in Thrissur
    • Festival highlights:
      • It is confined to the temples of Devis and Sasthas.
        • Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu Devaswoms are the main participants of the Pooram.
      • The festival signifies the symbolic meeting of 10 temples.
        • The processions carrying the idols of participating temples — Kanimangalam Sastha, Naithalakkavu Bhagavathy, Lalur Bhagavathy, Ayyantole Bhagavathy, Panamukkampally Sastha, Choorakkottukavu Bhagavathy, Chembukkavu Karthyayani and Karumukku Bhagavathy – left for Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in the morning.
      • Arrival of the Kanimangalam Sastha marks the beginning of Pooram rituals in the morning, followed by procession from other participating temples.
      • Presence of popular elephants Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran and Pambadi Rajan added to the grandeur of the cheru poorams this time.

    History

    • Thrissur Pooram is an important temple festival in Kerala that dates back over 200 years.
    • The festival was founded by Shakthan Thampuran, the ruler of the Kingdom of Cochin from 1790 to 1805.
    • The story behind the festival goes back to the year 1796 when a group of temples were banned from attending the popular Arattupuzha Pooram due to heavy rains.
    • Upon hearing their complaints, Shakthan Thampuran decided to start his own festival, Thrissur Pooram, on the same day in May.
    • The festival has since become a significant cultural and spiritual event in Kerala, attracting both domestic and international tourists.
    • Today, it is one of the most famous temple festivals in the world.

    Celebrations

    • Obeisance to the Shiva:
      • The Pooram is centered on the Vadakkunnathan Temple, with all these temples sending their processions to pay obeisance to the Shiva, the presiding deity.
      • The Thampuran is believed to have chalked out the program and the main events of the Thrissur Pooram festival.
    • Flag Hoisting:
      • The pooram officially begins from the event of flag hoisting.
      • The flag hosting ceremony (Kodiyettam) begins seven days before Thrissur Pooram.
      • All the participating temples of Thrissur Pooram are present for the ceremony, and there is a light fireworks to announce the commencement of the festival.
    • Poora Vilambharam:
      • Poora Vilambaram is a custom where the elephant pushes open the south entrance gate of the Vadakkunnathan Temple, which hosts the Thrissur Pooram, with the idol of ‘Neithilakkavilamma’ atop it.
    • Madathil varavu:
      • One of the major events in Thrissur Pooram is “Madathil varavu”, a panchavadhyam melam, involving more than 200 artists, with instruments such as thimila, madhalam, trumpet, cymbal and edakka.
    • Sample Vedikettu – the fireworks show:
      • On the fourth day after flag hoisting, Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devaswoms present a one-hour-long firework show known as the Sample Vedikettu.

    Significance

    • It is an impressive exhibition of cultural customs and traditions, featuring adorned elephants, colourful umbrellas, and percussion music.
    • The festival is a splendid blend of Kerala’s spiritual and cultural heritage.
    • Thrissur Pooram is a significant festival that attracts a huge number of tourists every year and is considered one of the largest gatherings in Asia.
    • It has an important place in the tourism map of India.

    Source: TH

    100 episodes of PM Modi’s Mann ki Baat

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies & interventions

    In News

    • Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popular radio programme, completed 100 episodes.

    Role of Man ki Baat

    • At 100th episode PM framed the radio show as a national conversation that helps connect with the people — “a matter of faith, of worship”, and a “thaal of prasad” at the feet of “Janata Janardan”.
    • Radio can also reach those people who do not own a mobile device and have Internet connection.
    • Recognition of important initiatives like ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign in Haryana.
    • Idea is to convey positivity and to spread optimism like during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
    • Spreading awareness about government schemes and initiatives — Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, Har Ghar Tiranga, digital payments, startups and unicorns etc.
    • Almost every show includes little-known information about India’s arts, craft, folk culture and heroes, etc. that inform and educate, and evoke and sustain listener interest.

    Evolution of Radio

    • Radio Broadcasting began in June 1923 during the British Raj with programs by the Bombay Presidency Radio Club.
    • Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is the use of the radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radio sport, contesting, and emergency communications.
      • Amateur radio is practised by more than 22,000 licensed users in India.
    • Amateur radio operators played an important part in the Indian independence movement with the establishment of illegal pro-independence radio stations in the 1940s.
    • Congress Radio, also known as Azad Radio, was an underground radio station that operated for about three months during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
      • It was organized by Usha Mehta (1920–2000), then a 22-year student activist, with the help of amateur radio operators.

    All India Radio (AIR)

    • All India Radio (AIR) was established in 1936 (named as Akashvani in 1956) is the national public radio broadcaster of India and is a division of Prasar Bharati. Its headquarter is in New Delhi.
    • It is the sister service of Prasar Bharati’s Doordarshan, an Indian television broadcaster.
    • All India Radio is the largest radio network in the world, and one of the largest broadcasting organizations in the world in terms of the number of languages broadcast and the spectrum of socio-economic and cultural diversity it serves.
    • AIR motto – ‘Bahujan Hitaya: Bahujan Sukhaya’.
    • AIR’s home service comprises 420 stations located across the country, reaching nearly 92% of the country’s area and 99.19% of the total population.
    • AIR originates programming in 23 languages and 179 dialects.

    Private Radio

    • Private participation wasn’t allowed until 1993 when the government experimented with a daily, two-hour private show slot on the FM channels in Delhi and Mumbai.
    • Radio City Bangalore, which started on July 3, 2001, is India’s first private FM radio station.

    Community radio stations

    • Community radio is a radio service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting. Community radio is when local people produce and broadcast their own programs and participate in operating the station. It is a community space for people to meet and collaborate.
    • In December 2002, the government of India approved a policy for the grant of licenses for setting up of community radio stations to well-established educational institutions including IITs/IIMs.
    • Sreedher Ramamurthy is regarded as the father of community radio in India.
    • Currently India has 372 Community radio stations serving Farmer, Tribal, Coastal communities, ethnic minorities and special interests.

    Relevance of Radio

    Pandemic and the contribution of radio

    • The community radio broadcasters highlighted their best practices adopted during the pandemic through their presentations. They are reaching out to hinterland through songs, drama and discussions.
    • Six community radio stations in Uttarakhand have come together to spread information related to new quarantine rules, locally available food that can be nutritious and healthy, stress-busting techniques, educational programming and entertainment.

    Recent government Initiatives

    • It was further announced in November 2019 that 118 new community radio stations are in the process of setting up.
    • Allow companies with a net worth of Rs 1 crore — instead of Rs 1.5 crore earlier — to participate in the bidding process for category C and D cities
    • Removal of the three-year lock-in for restructuring.
    • Removal of 15% national cap on channel holdings.

    Do you know?

    • The earliest example of the use of radio broadcasts by a national leader remains the “Fireside Chats”, a series of 30 radio addresses, each typically 20-30 minutes long, delivered by United States President Franklin D Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944.
    • Currently, Analog terrestrial radio broadcast in India is carried out in Short Wave (SW) (6–22 MHz), Medium Wave (MW) (526–1606 kHz) and Frequency Modulation (FM) (88–108 MHz).

    Source: PIB

    Solid waste management and stray dog attacks

    Syllabus :GS 2/GS 3/Governance/Environment

    In News

    • Recently, Many dog bite incidents spotlighted the link between urban solid waste management and stray dog attacks in Indian cities.

    About Linkages between waste management and stray dog attacks

    • The “carrying capacity” — the ability of a city to support a species — is determined by the availability of food and shelter.
    • Free-ranging dogs are scavengers that forage around for food, eventually gravitating toward exposed garbage dumping sites.
    • Dogs congregate around urban dumps, such as landfills or garbage dumps, due to feeding opportunities.
    • Free-roaming dogs move towards densely-populated areas in cities, such as urban slums which are usually located next to garbage dumping sites and landfills.
    • The proximity of residential areas to dumping sites and the rise in dog attacks speak to “core issues of unplanned and unregulated urban development.

    Data Analysis

    • A population boom in Indian cities has contributed to a staggering rise in solid waste.
    • The estimates by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India show that only 75-80% of the total municipal waste is collected, and only 22-28% of it is processed.
      • The rest is dumped across cities, becoming food for stray dogs or clogging sewage systems.
    • Cities have also witnessed a sharp increase in the stray dog population, which as per the official 2019 livestock census stood at 1.5 crores.

    Issues and Challenges

    • The existing systems for solid waste collection and disposal are chequered, with poor implementation and underfunding.
    • Most metro cities are littered with garbage bins that are either old, damaged, or insufficient in containing solid wastes
    • Urban local bodies are struggling to implement and sustain rules under the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, such as the door-to-door collection of segregated waste.
    • Development of cities, managing solid waste has become a daunting challenge,” and the “unconfined and unmanaged leftovers” end up aiding the proliferation of stray dogs.
    • Tepid animal birth control programmes and insufficient rescue centres, in conjunction with poor waste management, result in a proliferation of street animals in India.
    • India also shoulders the highest rabies burden in the world, accounting for a third of global deaths caused due to the disease.
    • Frequent reports of dogs chasing people down the road, attacking and even “mauling” people to death have made the management of stray dogs an administrative and legal issue.

    Measures and Initiatives of India

    • India’s response to the “stray dog menace” has relied upon the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, through which municipal bodies trap, sterilise and release dogs to slow down the dog population.
    • The second anchor is rabies control measures, including vaccination drives.
    • Other measures include mass culling of dogs in States like Kerala or imposing bans on the entry of stray dogs in colonies or feeding them in public.
    • In November 2022, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court ruled that people interested in feeding strays should first formally adopt them and feed them in their own homes, directing the municipality to impose a fine of ?200 on anyone found feeding dogs in public places.

    Suggestion  and Measures 

    • Taking measures to curb exposed garbage is the first step to addressing stray dog bites.
      • Responsible waste management is the solution to this issue
    • Proper management of refuse [solid waste] and a tolerant attitude towards dogs can ensure their peaceful co-existence with us.
    • The cities need to learn to manage solid waste better, rabies vaccines, and dog sterilisation .
    • All the waste collected should be transported to designated landfill sites.

    Source: TH

    Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)

    Syllabus: GS 3/Economy

    In News

    • The Enforcement Directorate carried out searches at the three premises of Byju Raveendran under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

    About Foreign Exchange Management Act

    • The Parliament enacted the Foreign Exchange Management Act, of 1999 to replace the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, of 1973.
      • This Act came into force on the 1st day of June 2000.
    • The Central government has established the Directorate of Enforcement with the Director and other officers, for the purpose of taking up investigations of cases under the said Act.
    • It has been amended from time to time according to the changing economic policies and objectives of the government.

    Key Provisions

    • It extends to the whole of India and also applies to all branches, offices, and agencies outside India owned or controlled by a person resident in India and also to any contravention thereunder committed outside India by any person to whom this Act applies.
    • The statutory power under this Act empowers the RBI as well as the Central Government to frame and pass regulations and rules from time to time, which are consistent with the foreign trade policy of the country.
    • The Act provides for a legislative and regulatory framework, for inbound and outbound investments, and facilitates trade and business opportunities between Indian and other countries.
    • It lays down provisions for current account and capital account transactions.
    • The RBI is the regulatory body and plays a controlling role in the management of foreign exchange.
    • The Act also makes provisions for enforcement, penalties, adjudication, and appeal.

    Objectives

    • It has been formulated by the Central Government to consolidate and amend the law relating to foreign exchange with the objective of facilitating external trade and payments and promoting the orderly development and maintenance of the foreign exchange market in India.

    Progress

    • It can be said that the Central Government and the RBI have been able to fulfill the broad objectives of FEMA.
    • FEMA has been a reformative legislation that has also been successful in eliminating the ills of its predecessor.

    Source: HT

     

    Gum arabic

    Syllabus: GS1/ Distribution of Key natural resources across the world, Places in News

    In News

    • Companies like Coca Cola and Pepsico, have stockpiled gum arabic due to Sudan conflict.

    What is Gum arabic?

    • Gum arabic is a natural gum originally consisting of the hardened sap of two species of the Acacia tree.
    • The term “gum arabic” does not legally indicate a particular botanical source.
    • The gum is harvested commercially from wild trees, mostly in Sudan (80%) and throughout the Sahel region, from Senegal to Somalia.

    Uses of Gum arabic

    • It is soluble in water, edible, and used primarily in the food industry and soft-drink industry as a stabilizer (which helps bind together food and drink ingredients)
    • It is a key ingredient in traditional lithography and is used in printing, paints, glues, cosmetics, and various industrial applications, including viscosity control in inks and in textile industries.

    Sahel region

    • The Sahel is a region in Africa that extends south of the Sahara from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east of Africa.
    • It is defined as the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.
    • Vast areas of the formerly fertile region are now virtually uncultivated due to droughts, poor agricultural cultivation methods as well as land overuse due to the growing demand for food and firewood.

    Source: IE

    Ratnagiri Oil Refinery

    Syllabus: GS3/ Indian Economy/ GS2/ Government policies & intervention

    In News

    • Hundreds of villagers continued their protest against the proposed Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical Limited at Barsu.

    Why is there a Protest?

    • Locals vehemently opposed the project, saying the oil refinery would be detrimental for the environment of Konkan region.
    • Protesters claim that once the project commences, mango orchards, cashew and other plantations in the region will be destroyed within months due to chemicals.
    • They demanded that the State government stop soil survey of the proposed site.

    About Ratnagiri Oil Refinery Project

    • The Ratnagiri Oil Refinery Project was mooted by the Centre and the Maharashtra government in 2014.
    • The project was originally supposed to come up on around 16,000 acres of land, spread across 17 villages in the adjoining districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in the Konkan region. The main oil refinery was to be set up in Nanar village, which falls in the Ratnagiri district.
    • It was aimed at bringing development to the backward Konkan region and would generate employment for at least one lakh local residents and also create new job generating avenues by setting up ancillary units.
    • Upon completion, the project is expected to bring some stability to the oil industry in the region enabling Saudi Aramco and ADNOC to provide a steady supply of fuel to India.

    Konkan Region

    • The Konkan extends throughout the western coasts of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
    • It is bounded by the Western Ghats mountain range (also known as Sahyadri) in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west, the Daman Ganga River in the north and the River Aghanashini in the south.
    • The Gangavalli flows in the district of Uttara Kannada in present-day Karnataka. Its northern bank constitutes the southernmost portion of Konkan.

    Source: TH

     

    Anji Khad Bridge

    Syllabus: GS3/ Infrastructure

    In News

    • The Prime Minister praised the completion of India’s first cable-stayed rail bridge, the Anji Khad Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir.

    More about News

    • The Anji-Khad rail bridge is India’s first cable-stayed rail bridge on Anji river (Anji River is a tributary of Chenab River)
    • It is a cable-stayed bridge connecting Katra and Reasi section of Jammu–Baramulla line in the Jammu Division of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The bridge is a part of rail line connecting Udhampur to Baramulla via Srinagar, a crucial connector between Kashmir and rest of India via railways.
    • The project is being executed by Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) and Hindustan Construction Company.

    Specifications of bridge

    • The total length of the bridge is 725 meters, out of which the main bridge is 473.25 meters long.
    • Trains will be able to run at speeds of 100 kilometers per hour on the bridge.
    • It has been designed to handle heavy storms and wind speed of up to 213 kilometers per hour.
    • A large number of sensors have been placed on the Anji bridge so that the structural health can be monitored regularly.
    • Also, an explosion with up to 40 kg explosives will also not be able to destroy the bridge.

    Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla Railway Link

    • It is a National project undertaken by the Indian Railways for construction of a 272 km long broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas, with the aim of connecting the Kashmir region with the rest of the country.
    • The project comprises 3 ‘legs’:
    • A 25 km length going northwest from Udhampur to Katra in Reasi district, the site of the renowned Vaishno Devi temple
    • a 111 km track rising northeast from Katra to Banihal in Ramban district
    • a 136 km stretch from Banihal to Baramulla, going north and then northwest, with Anantnag and Srinagar along the way.

     

    Source: ET