Daily Current Affairs 08-11-2023

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    Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

    Syllabus: GS1/History/Art and Culture

    Context:

    • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue unveiled in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir

    More about the News:

    • The foundation stone of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue was laid in the Indian Army’s 41 Rashtriya Rifles Maratha Light Infantry Regiment at Kupwara district in north Kashmir which shares its border with Pakistan.
    • For this, soil and water from five forts namely Shivneri, Torna, Rajgad, Pratapgad and Raigad were brought. 

    Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

    • He is one of the most revered rulers in India and is credited to have founded the Maratha Empire in the 17th century. 

    Early days:

    • Shivaji Maharaj was born in the hill fort of Shivneri now located in Pune city of Maharashtra. 
    • Shivaji is believed to have been named after a local deity called the goddess Shivai.
    • Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai was the daughter of Lakhuji Jadhavrao of Sindkhed. His father Shahajiraje Bhosale was a prominent Sardar in the Deccan. 
    • From an early age, he showed leadership qualities and a keen interest in politics.

    Alliance & Hostilities:

    • Over the course of his life, Shivaji engaged in both alliances and hostilities with the Mughal Empire, the Sultanate of Golkonda, the Sultanate of Bijapur and the European colonial powers. 
    • Shivaji’s military forces expanded the Maratha sphere of influence, capturing and building forts, and forming a Maratha navy.
    • The Maratha Navy guarded the Jaigad, Sindhudurg, Vijaydurg and other forts along the coast of Maharashtra.

    Guerilla Tactics of Shivaji:

    • Shivaji’s armed forces had some major limitations. He did not have the man or horsepower compared to most of his enemies, especially during the early stages of his life.
    • This meant that in conventional battle, he would have seldom stood a chance against his foes.
      • Unlike the plains of Northern India, suited to conventional battle with large standing armies, the terrain of the Maratha country was different. 
    • His men would travel in small, highly mobile and heavily armed attachments, wreak havoc in the often sluggish Mughal or Adil Shahi armies, loot supplies and treasure, and quickly retreat.
      • With the Arabian Sea on one side, the Konkan plains in the centre and the Western Ghats overlooking the plains, in the 17th century much of the region was covered in thick jungles.
      • Warfare in such terrain is qualitatively different, with large conventional armies prone to getting bogged down.

    Significance of Forts (Shivneri, Torna, Rajgad, Pratapgad and Raigad):

    • For a long time in history, before air power took centre stage in military tactics and strategy, forts were crucial to the defence of any country.

    Geographical Factors:

    • Over his storied life, he captured multiple such forts, including Torna (when he was only 16), Rajgadh, Sinhagadh and Purandar.
    • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, at the time of his death, is said to have control of over 200 forts across his territories, with some estimates putting the number over 300.

    Coronation:

    • In 1674, he was formally crowned as the Chhatrapati (Monarch) of his realm at Raigad.

    Administration & Civil Rule:

    • He assigned separate responsibilities to the ministers and each of them was made responsible for his work to him.
    • He had a council of ministers (Asht Pradhan) to advise him on the matters of the state but he was not bound by it.
    • He also believed in religious tolerance and gave equal respect to all religions.
    • He made no office hereditary.
    • In general, he did not assign jagirs to his civil and military officers.

    Art & Culture:

    • The historical figure was not only a great warrior but also a patron of art and culture. 
    • He encouraged literature and music, and his court was a centre of creativity and intellectualism. 

    Death:

    • The brave warrior died in 1680 but is still known for his courage and intelligence.

    Contemporary Accounts:

    • Shivaji was admired for his heroic exploits and clever stratagems in the contemporary accounts of English, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Italian writers.
    • The celebration of Shiv Jayanti was set by Jyotirao Govindrao Phule in 1870, and since then, people have been celebrating the day with great zeal.
      • The celebrations were carried on by the great liberation fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The freedom fighter was also given the credit for drawing attention to the Maratha King’s contributions to the public during the freedom struggle. Bal Gangadhar Tilak portrayed Shivaji as the ‘opponent of the oppressor’, with possible negative implications concerning the colonial government.

    Legacy:

    • The Indian Navy’s INS Shivaji is named after him.
    • The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus in Mumbai is also named after him.
    • Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial National Committee – Conceptualised & pioneered in 1981 by Late Smt. Indira Gandhi.

    Conclusion:

    • By unleashing his military genius and moral force, Shivaji mobilised millions of Indians and achieved sovereignty for the Maratha empire. His universal and eternal values continue to be relevant today and guide us on the path of social equality and peaceful coexistence.

    Source: IE

    ‘3,000-year-old Iron Age’ Geoglyph Circle Discovered in Telangana

    Syllabus:  GS1/ Ancient Indian History

    In News

    • Recently, a geoglyph in the form of a circle said to be 3,000 years old, has been unearthed in Telangana.
    What is Geoglyph?
    – A geoglyph is a work of art which is created by arranging or moving objects within a landscape. These objects are usually stones or earth.They are the intentional human-made renderings. 
    – These are usually made by removing or clearing sand or stones or sometimes adding stones.
    A.  This creates the contrast between the figure and the ground, enhancing visibility.

    More about the news

    • Location: The geoglyph is discovered on the outskirts of Mudichu Thalapalli in the Medchal-Malkajgiri district of Telangana.
    • Characteristics: Etched on a low-lying granitoid hillock, the geoglyph spans 7.5 metres in diameter and has a perfect circular shape.
      • Surrounding the circle is a 30-centimetre-wide rim, and within the circle are two triangles.
    • Period: The geoglyph has been dated back to the Iron Age, specifically around 1000 BCE.
    • Significance: The archaeologists suggested that this circle might have served as a model for megalithic communities in planning their circular burial sites.
      • The newly found geoglyph displays the artistic skills and etching techniques of Telangana’s Iron Age inhabitants
      • Archaeologists have termed it a first-of-its-kind discovery in Telangana.
    • Tourism Potential: The site could be developed into an archaeological tourism destination, comparable to the renowned Konkan petroglyph sites in the Ratnagiri zone of Maharashtra.
      • The site is only 30-40 kilometres from Hyderabad and Secunderabad, making it easily accessible to tourists.

    Discovery of rock shelters & Groves

    • The team has also identified several grooves, which they believe to be from the Neolithic period, dating to 4000 BCE, located five metres away from the geoglyph.
    • Also, within a one-kilometre radius of the geoglyph’s location, they discovered three prehistoric rock shelters adorned with depictions of bulls, deer, porcupines and human figures wearing masks.
      • According to the team, these artworks date to Mesolithic and Megalithic periods.

    Prehistoric Period in India

    • About: Human colonization in India encompasses a span of at least half-a-million years and is divided into two broad periods, namely
      • The prehistoric (before the emergence of writing) and 
      • The historic (after writing). 
    • The prehistoric period is further divided into stone, bronze and iron ages.
      • The stone age is further divided into palaeolithic, mesolithic and neolithic periods
    • The stone age:
      • As the name suggests, the technology in these periods was primarily based on stone. 
      • Economically, the palaeolithic and mesolithic periods represented a nomadic, hunting-gathering way of life.
      • The neolithic period represented a settled, food-producing way of life.
        • Subsequently copper was introduced as a new material and this period was designated as the chalcolithic period
      • Agriculture: The invention of agriculture, which took place about 8000 years ago, brought about dramatic changes in the economy, technology and demography of human societies.
        • Human habitat in the hunting-gathering stage was essentially on hilly, rocky and forested regions, which had ample wild plant and animal food resources. 
        • The introduction of agriculture saw it shifting to the alluvial plains which had fertile soil and perennial availability of water.
    • The bronze age:
      • The first urbanization took place during the bronze age in the arid and semi-arid region of northwest India in the valleys of the Indus and the Saraswati rivers, the latter represented by the now dry Ghaggar-Hakra bed
      • This urbanization is known as the Indus or Harappan civilization which flourished during 3500-1500 B.C. 
      • The rest of India during this period was inhabited by neolithic and chalcolithic farmers and mesolithic hunter-gatherers. 
    • The iron age:
      • With the introduction of iron technology about 3000 years ago, the focus of development shifted eastward into the Indo-Gangetic divide and the Ganga valley. 
      • The Painted Grey Ware culture and the Northern Black Polished Ware were the most prominent culture of this period. 
      • The Janapadas emerged in this period and gave rise to 16 Mahajanapadas.

    Source: TH

    WHO 2023 Global TB Report

    Syllabus: GS2/ Health

    Context

    • The global progress toward achieving the WHO End TB Strategy’s goal of a 50% reduction by 2025 is still a long way off.

    About

    • The WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2023 provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic and of progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, at global, regional and country levels. This is done in the context of global TB commitments, strategies and targets.
    •  According to the WHO Report, 7.5 million new cases of TB will be registered in 2022.
    • TB remains the world’s second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent.

    Key Findings of the Report

    • Overall, 30 high burden TB countries accounted for 87 percent of the world’s TB cases in 2022. 
    • Among the top eight high burden countries, Indonesia (10 per cent), China (7.1 per cent), the Philippines (7.0 per cent), Pakistan (5.7 per cent), Nigeria (4.5 per cent), Bangladesh (3.6 per cent), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (3.0 per cent) are included.
    • India accounted for the highest number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the world in 2022, representing a staggering 27 percent of the global burden.
    • The report highlights that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis, with 1.1 lakh cases recorded in India in 2022.
    • India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which together accounted for over 60 per cent of the global reductions in the number of people newly diagnosed with TB in 2020 and 2021, all recovered to beyond pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

    Challenges in Combating Tuberculosis in India

    • Undernutrition and Poverty:
      • Data from various agencies reveals that approximately 16.4% of India’s population lives in poverty, with 4.2% facing extreme poverty (deprivation score exceeding 50%).
      • Poverty is closely linked to issues of undernourishment and substandard living conditions.
    • Underreporting of TB Cases:
      • A significant challenge in India’s fight against tuberculosis is the under-reporting of TB cases.
      • Underreporting poses the risk of further transmission to healthy individuals.
    • Inequitable Access to Diagnosis and Treatment:
      • Ensuring equitable access to quality diagnosis and treatment remains a major obstacle in the battle against tuberculosis.
      • The private healthcare sector, a substantial contributor to TB care, is fragmented and consists of diverse healthcare providers, often lacking regulation.
    • Drug Resistance in TB: 
      • Non-uniform adherence to standard TB treatment protocols within the private sector has contributed to the emergence of drug-resistant strains.
    • Issues with RNTCP (Revised National TB Control Program): Weak implementation of the Revised National TB Control Program at the state level is a significant concern, hindering effective control and management of TB.
    • Social Stigma and Discrimination: Many TB patients hesitate to seek treatment or even deny their condition due to the fear of social discrimination and stigmatization.

    Government Initiatives

    • Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana: It  provides monetary support through direct benefit transfer to the patients.
    • National TB Elimination Programme: It aims to meet the goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2025 the country, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030
    • Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan: It’s an initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to accelerate the country’s progress towards TB elimination by 2025.it provides additional patient support to improve treatment outcomes of TB patients.
    • TB Mukt Gram Panchayat Abhiyaan: It aims to involve the community  to realize the goal of TB elimination.it provides for TB Champions who have been identified and sensitized on TB at the Panchayat level .
    • Inclusion of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine in the Indradhanush program.
    • Two vaccines VPM (Vaccine Projekt Management) 1002 and MIP (Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii) have been developed and are under  clinical trials.
    Tuberculosis
    – TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In humans, TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB).
    – TB is spread from person to person through the air. Its common symptoms are cough with sputum and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
    – Many new cases of TB are attributable to five risk factors: 
    1. Undernutrition
    2. HIV infection
    3. Alcohol use disorders
    4. Smoking
    5. Diabetes. 
    – TB is preventable and curable and around 85% of people who develop the disease can be successfully treated with a 4/6-month drug regimen. 
    A. Treatment has also the added benefit of curtailing onward transmission of infection. While TB is detected in every part of the world, 30 countries carry the highest burden. 
    World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed on 24th March to spread awareness about the disastrous health, social, and economic consequences of TB and to take efforts to end the TB epidemic globally.
    A. It was on this day that Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of a Mycobacterium that causes TB and his discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

    Source: IE

    Aditya-L1 captures first glimpse of solar flares

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology

    Context:

    • The High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS) payload, onboard the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, has captured the first glimpse of solar flares.

    Background

    • Aditya-L1, the first space-based Indian mission to study the sun, is currently on its journey to the destination of sun-earth L1 point (L1), and expected to reach at L1 point in January 2024 and the satellite will spend its mission life orbiting around L1 in an irregularly shaped orbit.
      • L1 is about 1.5 million km from the earth.
    • The project was initially proposed as Aditya-1, a 400 kg class satellite carrying a single payload, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC).
    • It was however renamed ‘Aditya-L1 mission’ since the satellite was positioned in the hallowed orbit of the Sun-Earth system’s Lagrangian point 1 (L1).
    • Named after one of many Sanskrit names for the Sun- Aditya- is scheduled to be launched from  Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL).

    Payloads in Aditya-L1

    • High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): It was developed by the Space Astronomy Group of the U. R. Rao Satellite Centre, ISRO, Bengaluru, and set to monitor the sun’s high-energy X-ray activity with fast timing and high-resolution spectra.
      • HEL1OS data enables researchers to study explosive energy release and electron acceleration during impulsive phases of solar flares.
    • Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): It allows viewing of the corona (the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere) by masking the glare of the photosphere (sun’s surface).
      • VELC will help to observe the corona continuously and the data provided by it is expected to answer many outstanding problems in the field of solar astronomy.
      • No other solar coronagraph in space has the ability to image the solar corona as close to the solar disk as VELC which can image it as close as 1.05 times the solar radius.
      • It can also do imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry at the same time, and can take observations at a very high resolution (level of detail) and many times a second.
    • Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS): It studies solar flares. The sun’s interiors contort the magnetic field, throwing out high-energy particles that reach Earth in the form of solar flares, disrupting radio communication and damaging satellites.
    • Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA): It is designed to understand solar winds (outward expansion of plasma or a collection of charged particles) from the sun’s corona and their composition. Solar winds pose a threat to communications networks.
    • Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT): It is a UV telescope to image the solar disk in the near ultraviolet wavelength range to study complex active regions of the sun (where the magnetic field is more concentrated) and coronal mass ejections.
    • Aditya Solar wind Particle EXperiment (ASPEX): It comprises two subsystems:
    • Solar Wind Ion Spectrometer (SWIS): is a low energy spectrometer designed to measure the proton and alpha particles, the two primary ion components of solar winds.
    • Suprathermal and Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS): is designed to measure high-energy ions of the solar wind. They allow scientists to study the properties of plasmas and their role in the transfer of mass, momentum, and energy from the sun to Earth.
    • MAGNETOMETER: It will study the sun’s low intensity interplanetary magnetic field, which is carried by solar winds.

    Significance

    • Studying solar flares and other space weather phenomena is important because they can affect life here on Earth.
    • They can affect power systems, satellite communication systems and radio communications. 
    • During worst-case scenarios, they can cause blackouts that affect large parts of the Earth for hours. Studying solar flares and solar activity can help prepare for and insulate against such risks.

    Source: TH

    Facts In News

    SilverLine Semi-High-Speed Rail Project

    Syllabus: GS1/Geography

    In News

    • The Railway Board has directed the Southern Railway to engage in discussions with K-Rail (Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited) regarding issues related to the SilverLine project.

    Aboutsilverline project map

    • The K-Rail project aims to establish a 529.45-kilometer railway line that will connect Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north, passing through 11 districts and featuring 11 stations.
    • The project aims to reduce travel time between these two points to 4 hours, with a target speed of 200 km/hr.
      • The existing rail network in the state has numerous curves and bends, resulting in trains running at an average speed of 45 km/hr. 
    • Protests: The project faced opposition from various quarters, including political parties, local communities, and environmental activists.
    • Issues with Project:
      • Environmental impact: Project passes through wetlands, paddy fields, and hills.
      • Financial viability of the project.
      • Displacement of local residents.
    • Project Delay Concerns:
      • Delays in obtaining final clearance for the SilverLine project have raised concerns.
      • K-Rail was requested to provide a comprehensive report for acquiring railway land, existing railway buildings, and railway crossings within the proposed alignment of the SilverLine.

    Source: TH

    World Local Production Forum (WLPF)

    Syllabus: GS2/International Institutions

    In News

    • An Indian delegation led by the Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, participated in the 2nd World Local Production Forum.

    About 

    • Initiated by: World Health Organisation (WHO). 
    • Secretariat: Local Production and Assistance (LPA) Unit.
    • Aim: Aligning with WHO’s mission it aims to increase access to medicines and other health technologies. 
    • Working: It provides Member States and the global community with a regular platform to shape strategies, galvanize collective action, and foster partnerships on sustainable local production to improve timely and equitable access to quality assured health products.
    • 1st Edition: Organized in a virtual format in 2021 to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global events. 
    • 2nd Edition: Organized from 6 to 8 November 2023 at Hague, Netherlands.
      • To provide a global platform for discussions on key challenges related to promoting local production and technology transfer in the healthcare sector.
      • To explore opportunities and mechanisms to overcome bottlenecks in local production.
    • Relevance of India’s Participation: India is recognized as a major player in the pharmaceutical supply chain and global public healthcare, offering affordable and quality healthcare solutions.

    Source: PIB

    Legal Literacy and legal Awareness Program (LLLAP)

    Syllabus: GS 2/Polity and Governance 

    In News

    • The Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness Program (LLLAP) of the Department of Justice reaches more than 6 lakh people through 14 implementing agencies under the DISHA scheme.

    About Legal Literacy and legal Awareness Program (LLLAP)

    • Since 2012, the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India has been implementing the Access to Justice Scheme in North Eastern States including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and in UT of Jammu & Kashmir.
    • Major focus of these programmes are on Legal Empowerment of community, dissemination of simplified Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials in local languages and dialects and capacity development of Panchayati Raj Functionaries and Village Chiefs on formal justice delivery system.
    • Objectives:  Aims  to empower the poor and disadvantaged sections of society to seek and demand justice services.
      • To improve the institutional capacities of key justice service providers to enable them to effectively serve the poor and disadvantaged.
      • Use of Technology for enhanced delivery of legal literacy, its Knowledge Products and implementation of Innovative and Holistic ideas.
      • Mainstreaming legal literacy through building and forging partnerships across Ministries and allied Departments, Institutions, Schools etc.
      • Developing Indicators to measure Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness in India.
    • Duration: DoJ has formulated a scheme on Access to Justice named ‘Designing Innovating Solutions and Holistic Access to Justice (DISHA)’ to be implemented during the period of 2021 to 2026.
      • DISHA aims to merge different Access to Justice (North East & Jammu and Kashmir) programmes being implemented by DoJ while simultaneously upscaling them to all India level. 
      • One of the key objectives of DISHA is implementation of Pan India Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness Programme.

    Source:PIB

    IREDA Launches CSR Portal

    Syllabus: GS2/Cooperative Federalism/Welfare Schemes

    Context:

    • Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has launched a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) portal for enhancing transparency in its CSR initiatives.

    About

    • The portal was launched during the valedictory function of ‘Vigilance Awareness Week 2023’.
    • The portal (https://onlinela.ireda.in/OnlineCSR/) is developed by IREDA’s IT team, which aims to facilitate transparency in receipt and disposal of CSR requests from various organisations and institutions.
      • It aims to contribute to the more efficient execution of IREDA’s social welfare initiatives as part of its CSR efforts, making them readily available to the public.
      • CSR portal symbolises its resolute dedication to these guiding principles, promoting a paperless approach and unwavering determination to better serve communities and stakeholders.
    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    – The CSR concept in India is governed by Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, Schedule VII of the Act and Companies (CSR Policy) Rules, 2014.
    –  The Companies Act encourages companies to spend 2% of their average net profit in the previous three years on CSR activities.
    – Companies having a net worth of at least 500 crore rupees or a minimum turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or a net profit of Rs 5 crore or more during the immediately preceding financial year have to spend on CSR activities.
    Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA):
    – It is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
    Motto: ‘ENERGY FOR EVER’
    – IREDA has been notified as a ‘Public Financial Institution’ under section 4 ‘A’ of the Companies Act, 1956 and registered as Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    Objectives:
    – To give financial support to specific projects and schemes for generating electricity and/or energy through new and renewable sources and conserving energy through energy efficiency.
    – To maintain its position as a leading organisation to provide efficient and effective financing in renewable energy and energy efficiency/conservation projects.
    – Improvement in the efficiency of services provided to customers through continual improvement of systems, processes and resources.
    – To strive to be a competitive institution through customer satisfaction.

    Source: PIB

    National Coal Index 

    Syllabus :GS 3/Economy 

     In News

    • The National Coal Index increased  by 3.83 points in September. This incline was influenced by temporary rise of coal prices in global markets.

    About National Coal Index (NCI)

    • It was rolled out on 4th June 2020 by the Ministry of Coal and it is a price index which reflects the change in price of coal in a particular month relative to the fixed base year.
    • The NCI is used  to determine the Premium (on a per tonne basis) or Revenue Share (on a percentage basis) based on a market-based mechanism. 
    • The Index is meant to encompass all transactions of raw coal in the Indian market.
      • This includes coking and non-coking of various grades transacted in the regulated (power and fertilizer) and non-regulated sectors. 
      • The transactions include those at notified price, coal auctions and coal imports.
    • The NCI’s upward movement indicates rising demand for coal because  of the upcoming festive season and  winter in the country, which will encourage coal producers to take maximum benefit by further scaling-up domestic coal production to meet the growing energy demands.

    Source: PIB