Daily Current Affairs 27-01-2024

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    India and France Strengthen Ties

    Syllabus: GS2/IR

    In Context

    • French President Emmanuel Macron was the Chief guest at the 75th Republic Day Celebration.

    Major Highlights of India and France Relations

    • Strategic Partnership: After India’s 1998 nuclear tests, France was the first country to initiate a Strategic Dialogue with India.
      • By displaying a greater understanding of India’s security compulsions as compared to other countries, France refused to impose bilateral sanctions on India. 
      • France was the first western country India signed a strategic partnership with. 
      • The year 2023  marked 25 years of India-France Strategic Partnership.
        • The comprehensive Roadmap between India and France, which was adopted  last year at Bastille Day, was classified under three pillars — Partnership for Security and Sovereignty; Partnership for the Planet; and Partnership for People.
    • Economic: Trade relations have witnessed steady growth, with bilateral trade reaching $13.4 Bn in 2022-23.
      • France is one of the largest investors in India with FDI inflow of US$ 659.77 million for FY 2022-23. 
      • For FY 2023-24, Indian exports to France totaled $3.06 billion and imports from France totaled $2.36 billion. 
    • Defence: Bilateral defence cooperation between the two sides is reviewed under Annual Defence Dialogue (Defence Minister level) and High Committee on Defence Cooperation (Secretary level).
      • P-75 Scorpene Deal 2005: An agreement for building six Scorpène submarines under technology transfer at Mazagaon Docks Ltd. in India with French help.
      • The procurement of Rafale jets as part of India’s air power is a testament to the deep defence ties.
      • Joint defense exercises between the Air forces (Garuda series) and the Armies (Shakti), Navies (Varuna) are conducted regularly.
    • Space: There’s a rich history of cooperation in the field of space for over 50 years between ISRO and the French Space Agency, Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).
      • France remains a major supplier of components and equipment for the Indian space programme.
    • Energy Cooperation: In 2023, both leaders welcomed the progress made during discussions related to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP). However, the progress here has been slow, though the first pact was agreed in 2008.
      • The two sides have also agreed to establish a partnership on Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR).
      • The International Solar Alliance was launched jointly by India and France.
    • Education: It is estimated that there are about 10,000 Indian students in France. An agreement on mutual recognition of degrees was signed in 2018.
      • In 2023, it was agreed to increase the number of Indian students in France to 30,000 by 2030. 
    • Community in France: Mainland France has an estimated 1,19,000 Indian community (including NRIs) members, largely originating from erstwhile French colonies of Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore and the States of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Punjab.
    • Tourism: About 2.5 lakh French travelled to India in 2019 while about 7 lakh Indians went to France for tourism.
      • Rajasthan continues to lead among all Indian destinations for French tourists. 
    • Support on international fora: France has continued to support India’s claim for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the reforms of the United Nations.
      • France’s support was vital in India’s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and Australia Group (AG). France continues to support India’s bid for accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
      • India and France have resolved to work together for adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN.

    Future Outlook 

    • As we look ahead, the India-France relationship is poised for even greater heights as the Prime Minister’s state visit to France in 2023 marked a turning point in the bilateral relationship.
    • Closer ties with India can assist France in pursuing its interests in the Global South. 
    • Both countries recognize the strategic importance of continuing to enhance this partnership for maintaining regional stability and paving the way for advancements across several sectors of importance.
    • The current visit will give both countries an opportunity to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war, Israel-Hamas war, China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, and defence and security cooperation.

    Source: IE

    India’s First AI Unicorn

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In Context

    • Ola group’s AI firm Krutrim is  India’s first artificial intelligence unicorn.
    • Krutrim has raised $50 million at a valuation of $1 billion in a funding round.

    What is a Unicorn?

    • Unicorn is a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion.
    • The term was coined to represent the rarity and uniqueness of such companies, much like the mythical creature. 
    • Unicorns are often characterized by their rapid growth, disruptive business models, and the ability to attract substantial investment.
    • Growth of Unicorns: Work from home during the pandemic fueled the growth of digital businesses in India, the incident also resulted in a long unicorn list.
      • Mainly three factors, a thriving digital payments ecosystem, large smartphone user base and digital-first business models, have come together to attract investors. 
    • Companies that achieve unicorn status are considered to be high-value and have the potential to impact their respective industries significantly.

    Unicorns Of India 

    • As of 2023, India is home to 111 unicorns with a total valuation of $349.67 Bn.
    • The year 2021, 2020, and 2019 saw the birth of the maximum number of Indian unicorns. 
    • Bengaluru is India’s unicorn capital with the largest number of unicorn headquarters followed by Delhi (NCR) and Mumbai
    • Traditional sectors such as E-commerce, Fin-tech, E-commerce, Supply Chain & Logistics, Internet Software & Services do dominate the arena but a strong wave of unconventional sectors such as Content, Gaming, Hospitality, Data management & analytics, etc are making their place on the list. 
    • Mensa Brands took only 6 months to become a unicorn in 2021, making it one of fastest unicorns in Asia.   
    Do you know ?The global startup ecosystem is witnessing a shift of gradually transitioning from the age of unicorns to the age of decacorns.A decacorn is company that has attained a valuation of more than $ 10 Bn.India has five startups namely, Flipkart, BYJU’s, Nykaa and Swiggy, added in decacorn cohort.   

    Significance of Rise of Unicorns for Indian Economy

    • Job Creation: Unicorns often experience rapid growth, leading to an increase in job opportunities. 
    • Innovation and Technology: Their success signifies a thriving ecosystem that fosters innovation, research, and the development of cutting-edge technologies.
    • Foreign Investments: Foreign investments not only provide capital for these companies but also contribute to the overall inflow of foreign capital into the Indian economy, supporting economic growth.
    • Entrepreneurship Ecosystem: The success stories of these companies motivate aspiring entrepreneurs, creating a positive impact on the overall entrepreneurship ecosystem.
    • Global Recognition: Indian unicorns, especially those expanding globally, enhance the global recognition of India as a hub for technology and business innovation. 
    • Economic Growth: The success of unicorns contributes to economic growth by adding value to various sectors of the economy. 

    Measures Taken by Government of India to support Unicorn/Startups

    • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM): The scheme was launched by the government in 2016, and aims to foster innovation as the government creates new programs and policies to assist start-up development in several economic areas.
      • It grants approximately Rs 10 crores to finance firms over five years.
    • Multiplier Grant Scheme (MGS): The Department of Electronics and Information Technology initiated the Multiplier Grant Scheme (MGS) to empower collaborative research and development among industries for the growth of goods and services.
      • The government gives a maximum amount of Rs 2 crore per project for a duration of less than two years. 
    • Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS): The Department of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, and Dairying has launched the DEDS scheme, which aims to create self-employment in the dairy sector.
      • The activities include milk production, procurement, preservation, marketing, etc. 
    • Startup India Initiative: This is one of the most popular government schemes for startups in India. The Startup India Initiative aims to provide tax benefits to entrepreneurs for over five years. 
    • Startup India Seed Fund Scheme: The government of India introduced this scheme in 2021 to assist early-stage startups.
      • The selected entrepreneurs under this scheme will get the funding of Rs 5 crore. 
    • Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS): The government has established the Fund in 2016 with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to provide financial support to startups.
      • This fund is managed by SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) and aims to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

    Challenges 

    • India is home to a vibrant and diverse startup ecosystem, with a growing number of unicorn startups 
    • However, most of these unicorns have not gone public yet, due to various reasons, such as regulatory hurdles, high costs, and abundant private capital. 
    • India does not have a dedicated stock exchange for startups, unlike the US, which has the Nasdaq, or China, which has the STAR Market.
      • The existing exchanges, such as the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE), have stringent listing norms, such as profitability criteria, minimum promoter holding, lock-in periods, and disclosure requirements, that may not suit the growth-oriented and innovation-driven nature of startups. 

    Conclusion and Way ahead 

    • The Indian economy is intricately tied to the success of its startup ecosystem.
    • The long-term prospects are still promising as the IMF projects that India’s economy will grow to become the third largest in the world by 2027.
    •  An uptick in investment activity is anticipated in the upcoming years as the world economy stabilizes, solidifying India’s standing as a top investment destination.
    • There is a need to make  more investments in startups that emphasize professional upskilling and ongoing education, demonstrating the industry’s dedication to worker empowerment.

    Source: TH

    AISHE Report 2021-22

    Syllabus:GS2/ Education

    Context

    • Recently, the Ministry of Education has released the All-India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE), 2021-22.

    About

    • It has been conducted since 2011, covering all Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in the country registered with AISHE.
    • It collects detailed information on different parameters such as student enrollment, teachers’ data, infrastructural information, financial information, etc.

    Key Findings

    • The total enrolment in higher education has increased to nearly 4.33 crore in 2021-22 from 4.14 crore in 2020-21.
      • Out of 4.33 crore, 15.3% belong to Scheduled Caste, 6.3% belong to Scheduled Tribe, 37.8% are from Other Backward Class and remaining 40.6% students are from other communities.
      • The Female enrolment has seen 32% increase in 2021-22 from 2014-15.
      • The Minority enrolment has increased to 38% in 2021-22 from 2014-15.
    • The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education for the age group 18-23 years has increased to 28.4 in 2021-22,, from 27.3 in 2020-21 and 23.7 in 2014-15 
    • The top States in terms of Student Enrolment are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan. 
    • The highest share of foreign students is from Nepal (28%), followed by Afghanistan (6.7%), United States (6.2%), Bangladesh (5.6%), UAE (4.9%), and Bhutan (3.3%).
    • The enrollment is highest in Arts (34.2%), followed by Science (14.8%), Commerce (13.3%) and Engineering & Technology (11.8%).

    Student enrollments in Engineering Substreams

    • The top five sub-streams of engineering and technology as per enrollment are Computer Engineering (CE), Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering (ME), Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering.
    • Among these only CE and EE saw an increase in enrollments while ME, Electronics Engineering and Civil Engineering saw a dip.

    Number of Institutions

    • The total number of Universities / University level institutions registered is 1,168, Colleges 45,473 and Standalone Institutions 12,002.
    • 341 Universities/University level institutions have been established since 2014-15.
    • 17 Universities (of which 14 are State Public Universities) and 4,470 Colleges are exclusively for women.

    Faculty

    • The total number of faculty/teachers in 2021-22 are 15.98 lakh, of which about 56.6% are male and 43.4% are female.
    • Female faculty/teachers have increased to 6.94 lakh in 2021-22 from 5.69 lakh in 2014-15 (an increase of 22% since 2014-15)

    Source: IE

    Minority Status and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)

    Syllabus: GS2/Polity

    Context

    • A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court (SC) is hearing the dispute over the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

    About AMU

    • Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a Muslim reformer, in 1877 founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO College) at Aligarh to address Muslim educational backwardness while protecting Islamic values. 
    • MOA not only imparted Western education but also emphasized Islamic theology. 
    • The Aligarh Muslim University Act, 1920 (AMU Act) was passed to incorporate the MAO college and the Muslim University Association into AMU.

    Dispute over the minority character 

    • In 1951, the AMU Act was amended, removing compulsory religious education for Muslims and the exclusive Muslim representation mandate in the University Court. 
    • The legal dispute began in 1967 when the SC in S. Azeez Basha versus Union of India (UOI), reviewed the 1951 and 1965 amendments.
      • The petitioners argued that since Muslims established AMU, they had the right to manage it. 
      • However, a five-judge SC bench upheld the amendments, reasoning that AMU was neither established nor administered by the Muslim minority, highlighting the Act’s enactment through Central legislation.
      • This ruling triggered nationwide protests, leading to the amendment of the AMU Act in 1981, affirming the university’s minority status. 
      • In 2005, AMU reserved 50% of postgraduate medical seats for Muslim candidates.
    •  The Allahabad High Court struck down the reservation policy in Dr Naresh Agarwal vs UOI (2005) holding the 1981 amendment unconstitutional.

    Case in Supreme Court

    • The apex court is addressing two issues — the criteria for determining the minority status of an educational institution and whether an institution established under a statute can enjoy such status. 
    • While the petitioners argue that AMU is entitled to the minority status, the UOI is now endorsing the S. Azeez Basha verdict.
      • The judgment in this case will set a precedent impacting the rights and legal recognition of all minority institutions.

    What constitutes a ‘minority character?

    • Article 30 in Part III, of the Indian Constitution states the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
    • Features of Article 30 of the Indian Constitution: 
      • Article 30(1) says that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. 
      • Article 30(1A) deals with the fixation of the amount for acquisition of property of any educational institution established by minority groups.
      • Article 30(2) states that the government should not discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language, while giving aid.
    • These institutions enjoy exemptions from the implementation of SC, ST, and OBC reservations in both admissions and employment. They can reserve up to 50% of seats for students from their community.
    • In the T.M.A Pai Foundation (2002) case, the SC clarified that a ‘minority’ is to be determined by the concerned State’s demography, not the national population.
    Religious Minority in IndiaThe basic ground for a community to be nominated as a religious minority is the numerical strength of the community. For example, in India, Hindus are the majority community. As India is a multi-religious country, it becomes important for the government to conserve and protect the religious minorities of the country.Section 2, clause (c) of the National Commission of Minorities Act, declares six communities as minority communities. They are: Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Zoroastrians (Parsis).Linguistic Minorities: Class or group of people whose mother language or mother tongue is different from that of the majority groups is known as the linguistic minorities. 

    Source: TH

    Gyanvapi Mosque Dispute 

    Syllabus :History /Governance 

    In News

    The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) handed over its report on the Gyanvapi mosque complex to the Hindu and Muslim sides .

    About Mosque 

    • The Gyanvapi Mosque is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
    • It is near the Kashi Vishwanath temple .
    • Legal dispute:  The dispute first reached the courts in 1991, when a petition sought the removal of the mosque from the site and the transfer of possession of the land to the Hindu community.
      • The petitioners, which included the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust, claimed that Maharaja Vikramaditya had built the temple more than 2,000 years ago .
      • Hindu litigants have claimed that the mosque was built by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb on the site of the original Kashi Vishwanath temple after its destruction in the 17th century. 
      • The Vishwa Hindu Parishad contends that the Places of Worship Act is not applicable to the Gyanvapi issue, as there was no change to the religious structure since 1947, and that Hindus have always been performing puja at the site.
    • ASI survey : The survey began on August 4, 2023, concerning the dispute around the complex.
    • The ASI report concluded that it can be said there existed a Hindu temple prior to the construction of the existing structure, that is the mosque.
    What does the Places of Worship Act say?The law was enacted to freeze the status of all places of worship in the country as on August 15, 1947. Features : The Act says that no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section. It contains a declaration that a place of worship shall continue to be as it was on August 15, 1947.Significantly, it prohibits any legal proceedings from being instituted regarding the character of a place of worship, and declares that all suits and appeals pending before any court or authority on the cut-off date regarding the conversion of the character of a place of worship shall abate.In other words, all pending cases will come to an end, and no further proceedings can be filed. However, any suit or proceedings relating to any conversion of status that happened after the cut-off date can continue.Exclusion : The 1991 Act will not apply in some cases. It will not apply to ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains that are covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It will also not apply to any suit that has been finally settled or disposed of, any dispute that has been settled by the parties before the 1991 Act came into force, or to the conversion of any place that took place by acquiescence.The Act specifically exempted from its purview the place of worship commonly referred to at the time as Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. It was done to allow the pending litigation to continue as well as to preserve the scope for a negotiated settlement.The dispute ended after the court ruled that the land on which the Masjid stood should be handed over to the Hindu community for the construction of a Ram temple. Anyone contravening the prohibition on converting the status of a place of worship is liable to be imprisoned for up to three years, and a fine. Those abetting or participating in a criminal conspiracy to commit this offence will also get the same punishment.

    Source:IE

    Facts In News

    Sapinda Marriage

    Syllabus: GS1/Society

    In Context

    • Delhi High Court has rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5(v) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA), which prohibits marriage between two Hindus if they are “sapindas” of each other. 

    What is a Sapinda Marriage?

    • A sapinda marriage is one between individuals who are related to each other within a certain degree of closeness.
    • Sapinda relationships for the purposes of the HMA are defined in Section 3 of the Act.
      • Two persons are said to be sapindas of each other if one is a lineal ascendant of the other within the limits of sapinda relationship, or if they have a common lineal ascendant who is within the limits of sapinda relationship with reference to each of them.
    • Under the provisions of the HMA, on the mother’s side, a Hindu individual cannot marry anyone who is within three generations of them in the “line of ascent”.
      • On the father’s side, this prohibition applies to anyone within five generations of the individual.
    • Violation: If a marriage is found to violate Section 5(v) for being a sapinda marriage, and there is no established custom that allows such a practice, it will be declared void.

    Exception for Sapinda Marriage under HMA

    • The sole exception can be found within the same provision is when the customs of each individual permits sapinda marriages.
    • It states that a custom has to be “continuously and uniformly observed for a long time”, and should have gained enough legitimacy among Hindus in a local area, tribe, group, or family, such that it has obtained “the force of law”.

    Are marriages similar to sapinda marriages allowed in other countries?

    • In France, the crime of incest was abolished under the Penal Code of 1810, so long as the marriage was between consenting adults.
    • Portuguese law also does not criminalise incest.
    • Under Italian law, incest is a crime only if it causes a “public scandal”.
    • In the United States, incestuous marriages are banned in all 50 states, though incestuous relationships between consenting adults are allowed in New Jersey and Rhode Island.

    Source: IE

    Rashtriya Samar Smarak

    Syllabus:Miscellaneous

    Context

    • Prime Minister Modi, paid tributes at the Rashtriya Samar Smarak in the national capital.

    Rashtriya Samar Smarak (National War Memorial)

    • It is a national monument built to honor and remember soldiers of the Indian military who fought in armed conflicts of independent India.
    • It was established in January 2019.
    • The names of armed forces personnel martyred during the armed conflicts with Pakistan and China as well as the 1961 War in Goa, Operation Pawan and other operations such as Operation Rakshak are inscribed on the memorial walls in golden letters.
    • The memorial has distinct scheme of concentric circles, as follows:
      • Amar Chakra (Circle of Immortality): This has an Obelisk with Eternal Flame. The flame symbolizes the immortality of the spirit of fallen soldiers with the assurance that the Nation will never forget their sacrifices.
      • Veerta Chakra (Circle of Bravery): This circle depicts the Bravery of Indian forces in the form of a covered gallery that exhibits six bronze murals, depicting valiant battle actions of Indian Armed Forces.
      • Tyag Chakra (Circle of Sacrifice): This includes circular concentric walls of honor, which symbolize the ancient war formation ‘Chakravyuh’. The walls are clad with granite tablets where an independent granite tablet is dedicated to each soldier who has made the supreme sacrifice. 
      • Raksha Chakra (Circle of Protection): The outermost circle made of rows of trees in the Raksha Chakra is a reassurance to the citizens of the country about their safety against any threat.

    Source: PIB

    Kottai Ameer Communal Harmony Award, 2024

    Syllabus: Miscellaneous

    Context:

    • Tamil Nadu government handed over the ‘Kottai Ameer Communal Harmony Award for 2024’ to Mohammed Zubair (co-founder of Alt News) for peace efforts.

    The Kottai Ameer Communal Harmony Award:

    • It was instituted by the Tamil Nadu government in 2000 to recognize outstanding services in building harmony.
    • It is presented by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu during the Republic Day Celebration every year.
    • It is presented to a person belonging to Tamil Nadu for the outstanding services rendered to promote Communal Harmony.
    • It includes a medal worth of Rs.2000/-, and a cash component of Rs 25,000, and a certificate honouring the services.

    Source: TH

    Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards-2023

    Syllabus: Miscellaneous

    Context:

    • The President of India approved conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards-2023

    About the Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards-2023:

    • These awards are given to a person for a meritorious act of human nature in saving the life of a person. 
    • The award is given in three categories, namely:
      • Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak;
      • Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak;
      • Jeevan Raksha Padak;
    • Persons of all walks of life are eligible for these awards. 
    • The award can also be conferred posthumously.
    • The decoration of the award (medal, certificate and lump sum monetary allowance) is presented to the awardees in due course by the respective Union Ministries/Organizations/State Government. 

    Source: PIB

    SARATHI App

    Syllabus: GS2/Government Policy and Intervention

    Context:

    • Recently, the government has launched the ‘SARATHI’ App for Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).

    About the SARATHI App:

    • It is a technological solution to help the poorest of the poor set up sustainable livelihoods which is developed by the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
    • It is expected to increase the effectiveness of work at multiple levels, reduce cognitive and administrative load, and ensure transparency.
    • Real-time usage of the app mitigates the risk of leakage of consumption and livelihood support being provided to the target households.
    DAY-NRLM:It was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development in 2011.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. It seeks to achieve its objective through investing in four core components:Social mobilisation and promotion and strengthening of self-managed and financially sustainable community institutions of the rural poor women;Financial inclusion;Sustainable livelihoods; andSocial inclusion, social development and access to entitlements through convergence.

    Source: PIB

    PM YASASVI Scheme 

    Syllabus: GS2/Welfare Scheme

    Context:

    • Recently, scholarships funds under the PM YASASVI Scheme for Pre-Matric and Post-Matric have been released.

    PM YASASVI (PM Young Achievers’ Scholarship Award Scheme for a Vibrant India) Scheme:

    • It is a scholarship program designed for students belonging to Other Backward Class (OBC), Economically Backward Class (EBC), and Denotified Nomadic Tribes (DNT).
    • It offers pre-matric scholarships for students in grades 9 and 10, as well as post-matric scholarships for higher education.

    Salient Features of the Schemes:

    • Pre-Matric Scholarship for students studying in class IX and X on a full-time basis in Government Schools only.
      • Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/- per annum.
      • The students shall be given a consolidated academic allowance of Rs. 4000/- per annum.
    • Post-Matric Scholarship to enable the students to complete their education.
      • Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/- per annum.
      • Academic allowance from Rs.5000 to Rs.20000 is awarded to students as per category of course.
    • Top Class School and College Education: It is to recognize and promote quality education amongst Students belonging to OBC, EBC and DNT categories by providing full financial support.
      • Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/- per annum.
    • Construction of Hostel for OBC Students: It aims to provide hostel facilities to students belonging to socially and educationally backward classes, especially from rural areas to enable them to pursue secondary and higher education.

    Source: PIB

    Magnetic Cooling Effect

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology

    Context:

    • Recently, researchers have found a new alloy (specifically Ni (Co)-Mn-Ti Heusler alloy) that can act as an effective magnetic refrigerant for minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

    Magnetic Cooling Effect (MCE):

    • It is defined as the reversible temperature change of a magnetic material when it is subjected to an external applied magnetic field.
    • In the magnetic refrigeration cycle, a magnetic field is applied on the magnetic material under an adiabatic process (no exchange of heat with the surrounding).
    • Initially randomly oriented magnetic moments get aligned along the external magnetic field, resulting in the heating of the magnetic material.
    • When the magnetic field is removed during adiabatic demagnetization, the magnetic moments of the material become randomised, resulting in a decrease in temperature below the ambient temperature.
      • It causes the material to absorb heat from the surrounding heat-transfer medium.
    Magnetic Refrigeration:It offers an energy-efficient and environment-friendly cooling technology. It needs to fabricate for household, industrial, and technological applications.It acts as an alternative to the vapour-cycle refrigeration technology.

    Source: PIB

    Yuva Sangam

    Syllabus: GS2/Government Intervention

    Context:

    • Recently, online registrations for Yuva Sangam (Phase IV) was launched by the Union Ministry of Education.

    About the Yuva Sangam:

    • It is an initiative by the Government of India to strengthen people-to-people connect between youth belonging to different States/UTs of India.
      • It was conceptualised by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with various other ministries and departments, and was launched under the banner of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB).
    • It has been organised collaboratively on the model of Kashi Tamil Sangamam (KTS).

    Objective

    • To strengthen people-to-people connect and build empathy among youth across the nation.
    • To provide an immersive, multidimensional experience of various facets under five broad areas of Paryatan (Tourism), Parampara (Traditions), Pragati (Development), Prodyogik (Technology), and Paraspar Sampark (People-to-people connect).

    Participation

    • Youth in the age group of 18-30 years, including students, NSS/NYKS volunteers, employed/self-employed persons, etc are eligible to participate.
    • Interested individuals can register through the YUVA SANGAM portal.

    Source: PIB

    Artwork in the Indian Constitution

    Syllabus: GS1/Art and Culture/GS2/Polity

    In News

    Government shared the original pic of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution on 75 Republic Day.

    Paintings in the Indian Constitution

    • A constitution is a body of fundamental principles according to which a state is constituted or governed.
    • The Indian Constitution, which came into effect on 26 January 1950, has the dubious distinction of being the longest in the world.
    • Two copies of the Constitution, one in English and one in Hindi, are handwritten and bear the paintings.
    • The Constitution was handwritten by calligrapher Prem Behari Narain Raizada, the paintings were conceived and implemented in Santiniketan by artist-pedagogue Nandalal Bose and his team.
    • Theme: When placed in sequence, the narrative scheme of the paintings represents different periods in Indian history, from the Indus Valley civilisation to the freedom struggle, also including scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
      • The illustrations also showcase the diverse geography of India, from camels marching in the desert to the mighty Himalayas. 
    • Specifications: The Bull Seal, excavated from the Indus Valley region, is the first pictorial representation in the Constitution, appearing in ‘Part I: The Union and its Territory’.
      • The only female figure illustrated prominently in the Constitution, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, is sketched in her armour as she shares the page with Tipu Sultan, the king of Mysore, in Part XVI of the Constitution.
      • Three landscapes in the Constitution are a homage to Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and the National Anthem he composed, which also celebrates the diverse geographical landscapes of India.
    • The text and images in the Constitution have no direct correlation and are not illustrating the content of the Constitution.

    Artists

    • The Preamble page has intricate patterns sketched by Beohar Rammanohar Sinha and bears his signature, while Dinanath Bhargava sketched the National Emblem, the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

    Source: IE

    Torkham border

    Syllabus: Prelims/Current Events of national importance

    Context: 

    Trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan resumed recently after the two sides reopened a key northwestern border crossing-Torkham border, shut for more than 10 days.

    About:

    The Torkham border crossing:

    • The Torkham border crossing is an important economic and strategic lifeline for both Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
    • The Torkham border crossing links Pakistan’s western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province to Nangarhar, an eastern Afghan province, through the historic Khyber Pass.
    • It is one of the busiest border crossings located along the Grand Trunk Road on the international border between the two countries. 
    • Issues : 
      • The crossing has been a flashpoint for tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan for many years, due to its strategic location and the porous nature of the border.
      • In 2021, the crossing was briefly seized by Taliban fighters during their offensive that ultimately led to the fall of the Afghan government.
      • It has been closed a number of times in recent months, mainly following clashes between the security forces for varied reasons including repairs of the border fence by Pakistan.

    Source:TH