Daily Current Affairs 26-02-2024

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    Syllabus: GS 1/Art and Culture 

    • The Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) proposes to conduct a linguistic survey across the country to create a ‘Language Atlas’ of India.
    • IGNCA was set up in 1985 under the Culture Ministry in honour of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after her death in 1984
    • It is meant to be a resource centre for the arts and to provide a forum for creative and critical dialogue.
    • The first and most exhaustive Linguistic Survey of India (LSI) was carried out by Sir George Abraham Grierson and published in 1928.
      •  The Indian map was redrawn after Independence, and therefore, the LSI includes languages and dialects that may not be a part of contemporary Indian States.
    • The proposed linguistic survey would focus on the number of languages and dialects in India, would try to know how many languages are spoken in India, and how many scripts and dialects there are.
      • It  would also have the number of languages and dialects which are extinct or on the verge of extinction
    • The stakeholders in the survey would be the Ministries of Culture, Education, Tribal Affairs, Home, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Development of the North East Region, apart from various language communities.
    • Phases : The DPR proposes that firstly, there should be State-wise data collection, and then region-wise.
      •  It also proposes to digitally archive the audio recordings of all the languages spoken.
    • Need: A language is a means of communication and  is essential for preserving local wisdom, knowledge, stories and culture.
      •  Many janjatis (tribal communities), for example, have their own localised medicinal plants and herbs, which they pass on to younger generations in their local language.
    Do you know ?

    India recognises 22 languages officially, which are part of Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution. 
    – According to Census data, 97 % of the Indian population speaks one of these languages. 
    – There are an additional 99 non-scheduled languages included in the Census, and according to the 2011 Census, around 37.8 million people identify one of these non-Scheduled languages as their mother tongue.
    – The native language of 1.2 million people remains unaccounted for due to the decision to not include languages with less than 10,000 speakers in the Census since 1971.
    A. of all the Census surveys, the official Census of 1961 was the most exhaustive and detailed with respect to linguistic data. In this Census, even languages with a single speaker were included in the records.

    Source:TH

    Syllabus:GS1/History and Culture

    • Two Badami Chalukya temples and a label inscription were discovered in Mudimanikyam village, Telangana.
    • The two temples date back to between 543 AD and 750 AD.
    • In one temple, a Panavattam (base of a Shiva lingam) without the Shiva Linga, has been found. The other temple contains a Vishnu idol lying inside. 
    • The label inscription, dating back to the 8th or 9th Century AD reads as ‘Gandaloranru’ (Ganda in Kannada means hero), and is inscribed on a pillar of a group of five temples, known as Panchakuta, in the village. 
    • Another inscription dating to 1673 AD, is present on two sides of the pillar in the Rama temple of Mudimanikyam. 
    • The discovery shows that the village of Mudimanikyam on the banks of river Krishna was part of the kingdom ruled by Badami Chalukyas.
    • The temples showcase unique architectural styles, blending Badami Chalukyan and Kadamba Nagara influences.
    • The monuments also integrate features of Rekha nagara architecture, characterized by a typical northern Indian shikhara with a slightly curved tower having four sides of equal length.
    Chalukya dynasty

    – The Chalukya dynasty was a Hindu dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries.
    – During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the “Badami Chalukyas”, ruled from Vatapi (modern Badami) from the middle of the 6th century. 
    – The Badami Chalukyas began to assert their independence at the decline of the Kadamba kingdom of Banavasi and rapidly rose to prominence during the reign of Pulakeshin II, also known as Immadi Pulakeshi.
    – After the death of Pulakeshin II, the Eastern Chalukyas became an independent kingdom in the eastern Deccan. They ruled from Vengi until about the 11th century.
    – The rise of the Rashtrakutas in the middle of the 8th century eclipsed the Chalukyas of Badami. Later they were revived by their descendants, the Western Chalukyas, in the late 10th century. 
    A. They ruled from Kalyani (modern Basavakalyan) until the end of the 12th century.

    Architecture of Badami Chalukya

    The Chalukya style of architecture is called “Chalukyan architecture” or “Karnata Dravida architecture”.
    – Temple building activity of Chalukyas were concentrated within Aihole, Badami, Pattadakal and Mahakuta in modern Karnataka state.
    – The building material used was locally found  reddish-golden Sandstone.
    – The temple building activity of Badami Chalukya can be categorized into three phases:
    A. The first phase includes cave temples like temples at Aihole and Badami. 
    B. The second phase includes the Lad Khan Temple, the Meguti Jain Temple etc.
    C. The third phase of the mature phase includes the Sangamesvara Temple,  Virupaksha Temple,  Papanatha temple etc.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Agriculture

    • Recently, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of multiple key initiatives for the Cooperative Sector at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi.
    Key Initiatives

    – A pilot Project of the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector’ in 11 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACSs) of 11 states.
    – Additional 500 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACSs) across the country for construction of godowns & other agri infrastructure.
    Project for Computerization in 18,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACSs) across the country.
    • They play a crucial role in the agricultural sector, providing a platform for farmers to pool their resources and prevent exploitation by money lenders.
      • They are business enterprises owned and controlled by the members that they serve. 
    • They provide a self-regulated institutional framework for the social and economic development of society.
    • They have the potential to convert an ordinary system related to daily life into a huge industry system, and are a proven way of changing the face of the rural and agricultural economy.
      • They are instrumental in shaping a resilient economy and propelling the development of rural areas.
    • Decisions made in cooperatives are balanced by the pursuit of profit and the needs and aspirations of members and their communities. They range from those providing credit to those producing, procuring, or marketing products like fertilisers, milk, sugar, and fish.
    • The Union Ministry of Cooperation was formed in 2021, its mandate was looked after by the Ministry of Agriculture before.
    • It established the right to form cooperative societies as a fundamental right (Article 19).
    • It included a new Directive Principle of State Policy on the Promotion of Cooperative Societies (Article 43-B).
    • It added a new Part IX-B to the Constitution titled “The Co-operative Societies” (Articles 243-ZH to 243-ZT). 
    • Cooperatives lend strength to farmers to minimise risks in agriculture and allied sectors and act as a shield against exploitation.
      • They have the potential to revive agriculture and make it sustainable.
    • The government has urged cooperatives to play a significant role in the implementation of initiatives taken for the welfare of the people.
    • Cooperatives can play a vital role in educating farmers to reduce the cost of cultivation through balanced use of fertiliser, improve water-use efficiency, establish more warehouses to avoid distress sale of produce, link with National E-market (e-NAM), emphasise value addition and encourage farmers to take up other allied activities like poultry, beekeeping, fisheries.
    • Financial Support: The government is making sure that every farmer in the country receives around ₹50,000 every year in some way or the other.
      • It means, under the government at the Centre, there is a guarantee that every farmer gets ₹50,000 in various forms.
    • Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs): It is a Central Sector Scheme with the aim at enabling farmers to enhance their bargaining power, leverage economies of scale, reduction in cost of production and enhancing farmers’ incomes through aggregation of their agricultural produce, thus playing a major role towards sustainable incomes.
    • The government has spent ₹10 lakh crore towards fertiliser subsidy in the last nine years to ensure that farmers get crop nutrients at reasonable prices despite rise in global rates.
    • Cooperatives have a significant role in the welfare of farmers. They not only provide financial support but also educate farmers about modern farming techniques, help in the marketing of produce, and assist in the procurement of necessary inputs.
    • By doing so, they contribute to the overall development of the agricultural sector and the welfare of farmers

    Source: PIB

    Syllabus: GS2/Polity and Governance

    • Recently, the Union Government has agreed to examine whether the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution can be implemented in Ladakh’s context.
    Background

    – The demand for inclusion in the Sixth Schedule came into prominence after Ladakh was carved out as a separate Union Territory from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.The move led to concerns among locals about potential loss of identity, resources, and bureaucratic overreach.


    Key Demands

    – These include statehood for Ladakh, safeguards under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, job reservation for the youth of Ladakh, and the creation of separate Parliamentary constituencies for the two parts of the region — Leh and Kargil.

    Issues faced by Ladakh

    No decentralization of power: There had been four MLAs from the region in the erstwhile J&K Assembly; the administration of the region is now completely in the hands of bureaucrats.
    A. To many in Ladakh, the government now looks even more distant than Srinagar.
    Changed domicile policy in Jammu and Kashmir: It raised fears in the region about its own land, employment, demography, and cultural identity.
    Limited Finances: The UT has two Hill councils in Leh and Kargil, but neither is under the Sixth Schedule. Their powers are limited to collection of some local taxes such as parking fees and allotment and use of land vested by the Centre.
    • It comes under Article 244 that provides for the formation of Autonomous Administrative Divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
    • It applies to the Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram (three Councils each), and Tripura (one Council).

    • Autonomy to Tribal Populations: It protects the autonomy of tribal populations through the creation of autonomous development councils.
      • These councils can frame laws on land, public health, and agriculture.
    • Administration of Tribal Areas: It provides for the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
      • As of now, ten autonomous councils exist in these states.
    • Protection of Tribal Rights: It is intended to protect tribal populations from exploitation and preserve their unique cultural and social practices.
      • It ensures that tribal communities have a say in their governance and development.
    • Safeguarding Resources: The autonomous councils under the Sixth Schedule have the power to regulate the issuance of licences for mining, control money lending to tribes, and regulate business and commerce in the areas.
    • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST): In September 2019, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes recommended the inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule.
      • The Commission took note of the fact that the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh is predominantly a tribal region in the country.
    • Report highlights of the Parliamentary Standing Committee: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs recently tabled a report in the Rajya Sabha.
      • The report stated that, according to the 2011 Census, the tribal population in the Union Territory of Ladakh is 2,18,355, that is 79.61% of the total population of 2,74,289.
      • Special Status: The committee recommended that special status may be granted to the Union Territory of Ladakh considering the developmental requirements of the tribal population.
    • The Sixth Schedule is a crucial constitutional provision that recognizes the unique cultural, social, and economic needs of tribal populations and provides a framework for self-governance.
      • It holds significant importance as it provides for the administration of tribal areas, thereby protecting the autonomy of tribal populations.
      • It protects tribal populations, allowing for the creation of autonomous development councils which can frame laws on land, public health, agriculture.
    • The demand for inclusion in the Sixth Schedule reflects the aspirations of the people of Ladakh for greater autonomy and preservation of their unique cultural identity.
    • The government’s response to these demands will have significant implications for the future of Ladakh and its people.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    • NITI Aayog has claimed that India’s poverty level has fallen to just five percent, citing the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) 2022-23.
    • The urban-rural consumption divide has narrowed to 71% in 2022-23 from a peak of 91% in 2004-05, so inequality is declining.
    • Rural households spending on food has dropped below 50% of their total expenditure for the first time ever.
    • There is a sharp rise in urban and rural consumption by over 2.5 times from 2011-12 levels in current prices, hence India’s growth is not restricted to a few, but is very broad-based.
    • As per the Niti Aayog’s multi-dimensional poverty index 2023, 11% of the population was below the poverty line, based on which it has argued that 25 crore people have escaped poverty.
    • There is lower spending on pulses and cereals — dropped below 5% of per capita consumer expenditure — and higher expenditures on conveyances, consumer durables, and consumer services.
      • It indicates that people are earning more and need to spend a lesser share of their income on food.
    • Within food, the consumption of beverages, processed food, milk, and fruits is going up, an indication of more diverse and balanced food consumption.
    • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS): It provides at least one hundred days of unskilled manual work in a financial year to every household in rural areas as per demand resulting in creation of productive assets of prescribed quality and durability.
    • National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013: It gives legal entitlement to 67% of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas) to receive highly subsidized foodgrains.
    • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) (2016): This initiative was introduced to provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to women belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
    • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM):  It aims to reduce poverty by enabling the poor household to access gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities resulting in sustainable and diversified livelihood options for the poor. 
    • Ayushman Bharat scheme: It offers health insurance coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year to shield beneficiaries from the financial burden of expensive medical treatments, thereby preventing them from falling deeper into poverty due to healthcare costs.
    • Employment Generation: Creating more employment opportunities, especially in sectors that absorb large numbers of low-skilled and semi-skilled workers, can significantly reduce poverty. 
    • Skill Development: Investing in education and skill development programs like vocational training, apprenticeship programs etc. to enhance the employability of the workforce is necessary.
    • Women’s Empowerment: Providing women with access to education, healthcare, financial services, and opportunities for employment can improve household income, enhance family well-being, and contribute to overall economic growth.
    Committees for Poverty Estimation

    Lakdawala Committee (1993)

    – It was constituted in 1993, made the following suggestions: 
    A. consumption expenditure should be calculated based on calorie consumption as earlier; 
    B. state specific poverty lines should be constructed and these should be updated using the Consumer Price Index of Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) in urban areas and Consumer Price Index of Agricultural Labour (CPI-AL) in rural areas; and 
    C. discontinuation of ‘scaling’ of poverty estimates based on National Accounts Statistics. 
    – This assumes that the basket of goods and services used to calculate CPI-IW and CPI-AL reflect the consumption patterns of the poor.

    Tendulkar Committee (2009)

    – It was constituted in 2005 and submitted its report in 2009.
    – The Committee recommended a shift away from calorie consumption based poverty estimation and incorporation of private expenditure on health and education while estimating poverty. 
    – Instead of monthly household consumption, consumption expenditure was broken up into per person per day consumption, resulting in the figure of Rs 32 and Rs 26 a day for urban and rural areas. 
    The national poverty line for 2011-12 was estimated at Rs. 816 per capita per month for rural areas and Rs. 1,000 per capita per month for urban areas.

    Rangarajan Committee (2014)

    – It was constituted in 2012 and submitted its report in 2014.
    – The Committee recommended separate consumption baskets for rural and urban areas.
    – This committee raised the daily per capita expenditure to Rs 47 for urban and Rs 32 for rural.
    – The government did not take a call on the report of the Rangarajan Committee,  therefore, poverty is measured using the Tendulkar poverty line.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology

    • The ability of Generative AI models to “converse” with humans and predict the next word or sentence is due to something known as the Large Language Model, or LLM.
    • It is to be noted that while not all generative AI tools are built on LLMs, all LLMs are forms of Generative AI which in itself is a broad and ever-expanding category or type of AI. 
    • LLMs are large general-purpose language models that can be pre-trained and then fine-tuned for specific purposes.
    • An LLM is like a super smart computer program that can comprehend and create human-like text.
    • Firstly, the ‘Large’ indicates two meanings — the enormous size of training data; and the parameter count. 
    • In Machine Learning, parameters, also known as hyperparameters, are essentially the memories and knowledge that a machine learned during its model training.
    • Various types are there, type depends on the specific aspect of tasks they are meant to do.
    • On the basis of architecture, there are three typesautoregressive, transformer-based, and encoder-decoder.
      • Autoregressive: GPT-3 is an example of an autoregressive model as they predict the next word in a sequence based on previous words.
      • Transformer-based: LaMDA or Gemini (formerly Bard) are transformer-based as they use a specific type of neural network architecture for language processing. 
      • Encoder-decoder: Models that encode input text into a representation and then decode it into another language or format.
    • Open-source: LLaMA2, BlOOM, Google BERT, Falcon 180B, OPT-175 B are some open-source LLMs
    • Closed-source: Claude 2, Bard, GPT-4
    • It works on the principle of “deep learning”. It involves the training of artificial neural networks, which are mathematical models which are believed to be inspired by the structure and functions of the human brain.
    • For LLMs, this neural network learns to predict the probability of a word or sequence of words given the previous words in a sentence.
    • Once trained, an LLM can predict the most likely next word or sequence of words based on inputs also known as prompts.
    • These models are trained to solve common language problems of humans such as text classification, question answering, text generation, document summarisation, aiding in marketing strategies etc. 
    • They have the ability to continuously improve their performance when provided with more data sets. 

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS1/Culture

    Context:

    • Recently, an annual event offering Pongala at Attukal was witnessed in Kerala.

    About Attukal Pongala:

    • It is a renowned religious event held annually at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and falls on the ninth day of the annual ten-day festival.
      • It is dubbed as the ‘Women’s Sabarimala’, symbolising the strength and power of women.

    • It involves women preparing a sweet pudding of rice, jaggery, grated coconut, ghee, and banana in earthen pots.
    • This offering, known as ‘Pongala’, is prepared on makeshift brick stoves and is offered to the presiding deity, the Attukal Bhagavathy.
    • It is dedicated to Kannaki, the heroine of the Chilappatikaram.
    • The ritual can only be performed by women, and the streets of the city are known to be jam-packed with faithful devotees during the time of the festival.

    Global Recognition

    • Over time, the Pongala has gained international recognition with the Malayali diaspora taking it to the US and the UK.
    • Known for its record assemblage of women devotees, the festival has made its entry into ‘The Guinness Book of World Records’ for being the largest religious gathering of women on a single day.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS2/International Relations/ International Organisation

    Context

    • Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’ exit from the the grey list, nearly two years after its inclusion by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

    More about the News

    • Earlier, the UAE was placed under closer scrutiny in 2022, when the FATF highlighted the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing involving banks, precious metals and stones, as well as property.

    Impacts on India

    • Boost in Bilateral Trade: The removal of the UAE from the FATF’s grey list could boost confidence in the country and attract more money from overseas.
    • Increased Investments: With the UAE’s international standing bolstered, it could attract more foreign investments, including from India.
      • It could provide Indian businesses with more opportunities to invest and expand in the UAE.
    • Enhanced Financial Security: The delisting of the UAE from the FATF’s grey list indicates its commitment to combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
      • It could enhance financial security for Indian businesses operating in the UAE.
    • Strengthened International Relations: The delisting could also strengthen the international relations between India and the UAE, fostering increased cooperation in various sectors.
    About FATF

    – It is an intergovernmental organisation established in 1989 by the G7 countries to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by setting global standards and monitoring their implementation.
    Headquarter: Paris, France
    Members: It has 39 member countries (37 jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations (the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Commission), including the United States, India, China, Saudi Arabia, and European countries such as Britain, Germany, and France.
    Objective: To develop and promote policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats to the integrity of the financial system.
    A. It has the authority to issue warnings and sanctions against countries that fail to comply with its standards, such as suspension of membership and blacklisting.

    Black List:

    – Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put on the blacklist.
    – These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities.
    – The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

    Grey List:

    – Countries that are considered a safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list.
    – This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
    Consequences of being in the FATF’s Grey List:
    1. Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB.
    2. Reduction in international trade.
    3. International boycott.

    Source: Businessline

    Syllabus: GS2/Polity and Governance

    Context

    • Assam’s government has decided to repeal the Assam Muslim Marriage and Divorce Registration Act, 1935.

    About

    • The Act is in line with the Muslim personal law. It lays down the process for registration of Muslim marriages and divorces. 
    • The Act authorizes the state to grant licenses to “any person, being a Muslim” to register marriages and divorces, with Muslim registrars deemed to be public servants.
    • A 2010 amendment replaced the word ‘voluntary’ in the original Act with ‘compulsory’, making registration of Muslim marriages and divorces compulsory in the state of Assam.

    Rationale behind repealing the Act

    • The move is the first step towards implementing Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state.
    • This decision is another significant step towards prohibiting child marriages in Assam.
      • The Act contains provisions allowing marriage registration even if the bride and groom have not reached the legal marriageable age of 18 and 21, respectively.
    What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?

    – A Uniform Civil Code refers to the provision of one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities, in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, etc.
    – Currently, separate personal laws apply for the members of different major religions.
    The Supreme Court in 2019 hailed Goa as a “shining example” of an Indian State which has a functioning UCC. 

    Constitutional Provisions

    Article 44 contained in part IV of the Constitution says that the state “shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. 
    – Part IV of the Constitution outlines the Directive Principles of State Policy, which, while not enforceable or justiciable in a court of law, are fundamental to the country’s governance.

    UCC in India

    UCC in Goa: It follows the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, which means that people of all religions in Goa are subject to the same laws on marriage, divorce, and succession.
    The Uttarakhand Assembly passed the Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill 2024, becoming the first state in independent India to implement the Uniform Civil Code. 

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS 3/Space

    In News

    • The dust clouds around supermassive black holes are the perfect breeding ground for Blanets.

    About Blanets

    • Scientists in Japan have theorised that planets could form in the massive dust and gas clouds.
    • Formation :
      • planets are formed when the dust and gas swirling around a young star collide and clump together. 
      • A similar process could be in play near supermassive black holes, where planets take shape inside the disc and eventually become blanets.

    • Blanets would be able to grow and reach sizes up to 3,000 times the mass of Earth, because of the active galactic nucleus and will have to orbit the black hole at a distance of about 100 trillion km.
    • A blanet would have an extremely long orbital period, taking around a million years to complete an orbit around its host black hole.

    Source:TH