18 March 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs

18-March -2024- Top News of the Day

1. Where names indicate the order of birth in a family

Topic: GS1 – Indian Society – Diversity of India

Understanding cultural practices like numbered names enriches knowledge of India’s diverse ethnic groups for UPSC aspirants

●   The news explores the tradition of numbered names in the Lisu community of Arunachal Pradesh, indicating birth order and reflecting cultural heritage.

Additional information on this news:

  • In the Lisu community of Arunachal Pradesh, names indicate birth order; Ayu means seventh, Agey means eighth.
  • Lisu boys and girls have separate sets of numbered names reflecting their birth order.
  • Mechanisms exist to resolve numerical confusion among families with similar numbers of boys or girls.
  • Prefixes or suffixes are added to given names to differentiate individuals within the same numerical order.
  • Lisu names may also incorporate clan names, reflecting the cultural heritage of the community.
  • Lisus belong to the Tibeto-Burman family and inhabit hilly regions across Arunachal Pradesh, China, Myanmar, and Thailand.
  • The tradition of numbered names is also found among the Singpho ethnic group in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.


More About The Lisu community

●  The Lisu community is an ethnic group belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family.

●  They inhabit hilly regions across Arunachal Pradesh, China, Myanmar, and Thailand.

● In India, they are primarily found in pockets of the Miao subdivision in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

●  The Lisu have their distinct language and cultural practices, including unique naming traditions.

● Lisu names indicate birth order, with specific numbers assigned to boys and girls to denote their position in the family.

●  For example, “Ayu” means seventh for boys, while “Ana” signifies the eldest girl.

●  They also use prefixes or suffixes to differentiate individuals within the same numerical order.

●  Lisu culture reflects influences from neighboring regions and has similarities with other Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups.

● The Lisu community contributes to the rich cultural tapestry of India’s northeastern states.

PYQ: In the context of diversity of India, can it be said that the regions form cultural units rather than the States? Give reasons with examples for your viewpoint. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2017)
Practice Question:  Discuss the unique cultural practices, particularly the tradition of numbered names, prevalent among the Lisu community in Arunachal Pradesh. (150 Words /10 marks)

2. Kerala to move SC on President withholding her assent to Bills

Topic: GS2 – Polity – Indian Constitution – Significant provisions

Understanding the scope of judicial review over the President’s decisions is crucial for comprehending constitutional processes in India.

●     The news concerns Kerala’s plan to challenge President Droupadi Murmu’s withholding of assent to Bills passed by the state legislature before the Supreme Court.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Kerala plans to challenge President Droupadi Murmu’s withholding of assent to Bills passed by the state legislature.
  • Bills affected include Kerala University Laws Amendment No. 2, University Law Amendment 2022, and University Law Amendment 2021.
  • The President assented to the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2022, but the fate of two other University Law Amendment Bills remains unknown.
  • Kerala seeks a constitutional debate on the judicial review scope of the President’s decisions.
  • It argues that the legality and influencing factors of the President’s decisions can be judicially reviewed.
  • The state intends to present its case before the Supreme Court on March 22, coinciding with a writ petition seeking directives to the Governor on the passed Bills.
Scope of judicial review regarding the President’s withholding of assent to state Bills

●  In India, the President has the power to withhold assent to state bills under Article 200 of the Constitution.

● Judicial review of the President’s withholding of assent to state bills is limited in scope.

● The courts generally do not interfere with the President’s decision unless there is a clear violation of constitutional provisions or established legal principles.

●The grounds for judicial review include violations of fundamental rights, procedural irregularities, or if the President’s decision is arbitrary or mala fide.

●   Courts may examine whether the President acted within the bounds of the Constitution and whether there was proper application of mind in the decision-making process.

● However, courts usually exercise restraint in reviewing the President’s discretionary powers in this regard.

● The judiciary respects the principle of separation of powers and is hesitant to intervene in matters falling within the executive domain unless there are compelling reasons.

● Despite the limited scope of judicial review, the courts can play a crucial role in upholding constitutional principles and ensuring that the President’s powers are exercised fairly and in accordance with the law.

PYQ: What was held in the Coelho case? In this context, can you say that judicial review is of key importance amongst the basic features of the Constitution? (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2016)
Practice Question:  Discuss the constitutional provisions and scope of judicial review regarding the President’s withholding of assent to state Bills. (150 Words /10 marks)

3. As some parties did not disclose poll bond donors, SC sought their ‘detailed particulars’ in April 2019 order

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary

GS2 – Governance – Important aspects of governance – Transparency and accountability

The topic is significant for UPSC as it pertains to electoral transparency, judicial directives, and political funding regulations.


● The news concerns political parties’ non-disclosure of donors in electoral bonds pre-April 2019 despite a Supreme Court order.

●Questions arise over non-inclusion of bond numbers and compliance with court directives.

 Additional information on this news:

  • A recent report by the Election Commission revealed that many political parties failed to disclose the identities of donors in electoral bonds purchased before April 12, 2019, despite a Supreme Court order.
  • The Supreme Court, in an interim order on April 12, 2019, directed political parties to submit detailed particulars of donors for each electoral bond purchased, covering the period from March 2018 to April 2019.
  • The court required disclosure of donor details, bond amounts, and credit particulars to the Election Commission in sealed covers.
  • The current debate, likely to be addressed by a five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, revolves around why some parties disclosed donors like DMK while others did not, and the failure of the State Bank of India (SBI) to include unique alphanumeric serial numbers of electoral bonds in the first data set.
  • The court expressed dissatisfaction with SBI’s non-disclosure of bond numbers despite these being confirmed as an in-built security feature.
  • The Ministry of Finance affirmed the existence of unique bond numbers in a March 15, 2019 affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court.
  • The court questioned why parties or the Election Commission did not seek modification of the April 12, 2019 order to disclose donor details earlier, particularly as the second data set was provided by political parties.
  • The Supreme Court, in its judgment on February 15, 2024, declared the anonymous political funding scheme unconstitutional and mandated complete disclosure of electoral bond details purchased from April 12, 2019, to February 15, 2024.
  • The required information includes purchase dates, donor names, bond denominations, recipient parties, and encashment dates, now also encompassing unique bond alphanumeric numbers.
  • The court instructed the EC to publish details supplied to the court per interim orders on its official website, implying the judgement applied to electoral bonds purchased and redeemed before April 12, 2019.
  • The court had earlier directed the EC to update information till September 30, 2023, which was returned to the EC for publication after a recent application.
Issues with anonymous funding of political parties

Lack of transparency: Anonymous funding conceals the true sources of financial support, making it difficult for the public to know who is influencing political decisions.

● Potential for corruption: Without knowing where the money is coming from, there’s a risk that politicians may be unduly influenced by special interests or wealthy donors seeking to advance their agendas.

Undermines democracy: Anonymous funding distorts the democratic process by allowing wealthy individuals or organizations to exert disproportionate influence without being held accountable for their actions.

● Erosion of trust: When political parties receive anonymous donations, it can erode public trust in the integrity of the political system, leading to cynicism and disengagement among voters.

●  Legal loopholes: Some jurisdictions may have loopholes or lax regulations that allow for anonymous donations, creating opportunities for illicit funds to enter the political sphere.

● Difficulty in enforcement: Without proper mechanisms in place to track and regulate anonymous donations, enforcement becomes challenging, leading to potential abuses of the system.

Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of political parties’ non-disclosure of donors in electoral bonds pre-April 2019, considering judicial directives and electoral transparency. (150 Words /10 marks)

4. IceCube: the big, chill neutrino-spotter – WHAT IS IT?

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology

IceCube neutrino discovery aids understanding of cosmic phenomena, relevant for UPSC in physics, astrophysics, and scientific advancements.

●   Scientists report detecting tau neutrinos with significant confidence in data from 2011 to 2020 at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica.

 Additional information on this news:

  • IceCube Neutrino Observatory: Located at the South Pole, it detects neutrinos using thousands of sensors buried over 1.4 km beneath the ice and detectors above the surface.
  • Neutrinos: Subatomic particles with minimal interaction with matter, often termed “ghost particles.”
  • IceCube’s Scale: World’s largest neutrino telescope, covering a cubic kilometer of ice to increase the chances of detecting neutrinos.
  • Detection Process: When neutrinos interact with ice, they may produce charged particles and radiation, which IceCube sensors detect to infer neutrino presence.
  • Neutrino Types: IceCube can identify some neutrino types in real-time, while others require long-term data collection for analysis.
  • Recent Discovery: Scientists reported instances of tau neutrinos in IceCube’s data from 2011 to 2020 with over 99.999999% confidence, offering insights into neutrino behavior and cosmic phenomena.
  • Collaboration: IceCube Collaboration, led by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, involves numerous universities globally in operating and maintaining the observatory.

PYQ: In the context of modern scientific research, consider the following statements about ‘IceCube’, a particle detector located at South Pole, which was recently in the news: (2015)


1.     It is the world’s largest neutrino detector, encompassing a cubic kilometre of ice.

2.     It is a powerful telescope to search for dark matter.

3.     It is buried deep in the ice.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Ans: (d)

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of recent findings regarding tau neutrinos detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory for our understanding of astrophysical phenomena. (150 Words /10 marks)

5. Son’s tribute to father, ‘piece of Gujarat in Delhi’: Story of Chausath Khamba

Topic: GS1 – Indian Art and Culture – Architecture

Chausath Khamba’s historical and architectural significance illustrates cultural heritage preservation, relevant for UPSC in history and conservation studies.


● The news highlights the historical significance and restoration efforts of Chausath Khamba, a 17th-century marble tomb near Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi, India.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Chausath Khamba, near Nizamuddin Dargah, is a 17th-century marble structure housing the tomb of Mirza Aziz Koka.
  • Built in 1623-24 AD, it features 25 marble domes and intricate marble arches with lattice screens.
  • The design may have been inspired by Persian pavilions and influenced Shah Jahan’s architecture.
  • Conservation efforts by Aga Khan Trust and ASI (2011-2014) restored the structure, co-funded by Germany.
  • Historian Sam Dalrymple notes its resemblance to Gujarat’s architecture, highlighting regional influence in ancient India.
  • Sohail Hashmi mentions the unique feature of “64 pillars,” formed by joining corner pillars.
  • Early repair attempts with cement caused damage, necessitating extensive restoration.
  • Mentioned in Sir Gordon Risley Hearn’s book, it’s attributed to Mirza Aziz Koka’s son, Mirza Aziz Kokaltash.

Persian influence on Indian architecture in medieval times

Persian Influence:

●  Persian architecture profoundly influenced Indian architectural styles during mediaeval times, particularly under the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire.

●  This influence is evident in the use of techniques, motifs, and structural elements in Indian buildings.

Architectural Elements:

●   Persian architectural features such as domes, arches, and minarets were integrated into Indian structures.

●  Intricate carvings, geometric patterns, and use of glazed tiles were common Persian influences seen in Indian buildings.


Persian architectural styles merged with indigenous Indian architectural traditions, resulting in a unique blend known as Indo-Islamic architecture.

● Examples include the Qutub Minar in Delhi, built by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, showcasing Persian elements like the use of red sandstone and intricate calligraphy.

Cultural Exchange:

● Persian architects and craftsmen migrated to India, contributing their expertise and knowledge to local architectural projects.

● Notable examples include the construction of the Taj Mahal, a masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.


●The Persian influence on Indian architecture left a lasting legacy, shaping the architectural landscape of the Indian subcontinent for centuries to come.

PYQ: With reference to Chausath Yogini Temple situated near Morena, consider the following statements: (2021)

1.     It is a circular temple built during the reign of Kachchhapaghata Dynasty.

2.     It is the only circular temple built in India.

3.     It was meant to promote the Vaishnava cult in the region.

4.     Its design has given rise to a popular belief that it was the inspiration behind the Indian Parliament building.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 2, 3 and 4 only

 Ans: (c)

Practice Question:  Discuss the architectural and historical significance of Chausath Khamba and its restoration efforts, highlighting its cultural heritage impact. (150 Words /10 marks)

6. Arunachal Pradesh ‘inherent part of China’s territory’, claims Chinese military

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations

Critical for UPSC as it highlights India-China border tensions, territorial disputes, and diplomatic implications for bilateral relations.

●   Chinese military reiterates claim over Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory, objecting to Prime Minister Modi’s visit and inauguration of the Sela Tunnel.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Chinese military asserts claim over Arunachal Pradesh as “inherent part of China’s territory”, rejecting India’s objections.
  • Reiterated after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Arunachal Pradesh, inaugurating the Sela Tunnel for all-weather connectivity.
  • China claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet and objects to Indian leaders’ visits.
  • India rejects China’s claims, asserting Arunachal Pradesh’s integral part of India and dismissing China’s “invented” names for the region.
  • Sela Tunnel aims to enhance troop movement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
  • Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman criticizes India’s actions, urging for peace and stability in the border area.
  • India counters China’s objection, reaffirming Arunachal Pradesh’s integral status and rejecting interference in its internal affairs.
India – China dispute along Arunachal Pradesh border

●  Background: Arunachal Pradesh, a northeastern Indian state, shares a disputed border with China, stemming from historical territorial claims.

● Recent Tensions: Escalating tensions between India and China have been observed along the Arunachal Pradesh border, marked by increased military presence and occasional skirmishes.

●  Strategic Importance: Arunachal Pradesh holds strategic significance for both nations due to its border proximity to Tibet and its geopolitical implications for regional dominance.

●  Territorial Claims: China claims the region as part of its territory, referring to it as “South Tibet,” whereas India firmly asserts its sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh.

●  Military Buildup: Both India and China have bolstered their military infrastructure along the border, including roads, airstrips, and troop deployments, heightening the potential for conflict.

● Diplomatic Efforts: Despite tensions, diplomatic channels remain open between India and China, with sporadic talks aimed at de-escalating tensions and maintaining peace along the border.

International Concerns: The dispute has garnered international attention, with neighbouring countries and global powers urging restraint and peaceful resolution of the conflict.

●  Impact on Regional Stability: The ongoing dispute poses challenges to regional stability and has the potential to disrupt economic and diplomatic ties between India and China, as well as neighbouring nations.

●  Future Prospects: Resolving the Arunachal Pradesh border dispute remains a complex and long-standing challenge, requiring diplomatic dialogue, mutual trust-building, and possibly third-party mediation to achieve a lasting solution.

PYQ: Border management is a complex task due to difficult terrain and hostile relations with some countries. Elucidate the challenges and strategies for effective border management. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2016)
Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of China’s assertion over Arunachal Pradesh and India’s response, considering border disputes and diplomatic relations.  (250 Words /15 marks)

7. T M Krishna gets Sangita Kalanidhi award

Topic: GS1 – Indian Art and Culture – Art forms

The topic highlights art recognition, societal reform, inclusivity, and cultural preservation, relevant for understanding social dynamics and cultural heritage in India.

●   Renowned Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna receives Sangita Kalanidhi award for challenging caste and gender biases, advocating inclusivity and social reform in Carnatic music.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Thodur Madabusi Krishna, a Carnatic classical vocalist, has been awarded the Sangita Kalanidhi by the Madras Music Academy for his contributions to music and social reform.
  • Krishna is recognized for his powerful voice, adherence to tradition, exploration within the art form, and using music for social change.
  • He criticised the December Music Season for its commodification and lack of inclusivity, leading him to opt out of performing there in 2015.
  • Krishna initiated music festivals in non-traditional spaces to promote inclusivity and challenge caste elitism in Carnatic music.
  • Despite his earlier decision, he returned to the Academy for a concert and organised events to showcase non-Brahmin musicians and traditional instruments like nadaswaram and thavil.
  • Other awardees include Mohiniyattam exponent Neena Prasad, mridangam guru Professor Parasalla Ravi, and Carnatic vocalist Geetha Raja.
  • Krishna’s musical journey began under notable mentors and he made his debut concert at the Madras Music Academy at the age of 12.
  • His approach to music reflects a blend of tradition, innovation, and social consciousness, marking him as a significant figure in the Carnatic music landscape.
Sangita Kalanidhi award

● The Sangita Kalanidhi award is one of the highest honors in the field of Carnatic music, presented annually by the Music Academy in Chennai, India.

● Established in 1929, it recognizes outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to Carnatic music.

●  Recipients are typically esteemed musicians, composers, scholars, or musicologists who have demonstrated mastery in their craft and have enriched the Carnatic music tradition.

● The award is presented during the Margazhi season, a prominent period for classical music concerts in Chennai.

●Notable recipients include M.S. Subbulakshmi, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M. Balamuralikrishna, and T.N. Krishnan, among others.

●  The title “Sangita Kalanidhi” translates to “Treasure of the Art of Music,” symbolizing the recipient’s profound knowledge and contribution to the musical heritage.

● Alongside the Sangita Kalanidhi, the Music Academy also presents the Sangita Kala Acharya award, honoring senior musicians for their lifelong dedication to Carnatic music.

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of T.M. Krishna’s advocacy for inclusivity and social reform in Carnatic music, elucidating its implications on cultural preservation. (150 Words /10 marks)

8. What is SIMA, Google Deepmind’s new AI that can play video games with you

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology – Development & their applications

The emergence of SIMA highlights advancements in AI technology, relevant for UPSC’s understanding of cutting-edge innovations and their implications.

●       Google DeepMind introduces SIMA, an AI gaming agent, capable of executing tasks across various video game environments using natural language instructions, marking a significant AI advancement.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Google DeepMind introduced SIMA (Scalable Instructable Multiworld Agent), an AI gaming agent capable of executing tasks across various video game environments using natural language instructions.
  • Unlike AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, SIMA is an AI Agent capable of processing data and taking actions independently, without relying solely on pre-trained datasets.
  • SIMA is a generalist AI Agent proficient in diverse tasks, serving as a virtual companion in virtual environments, from dungeon exploration to castle construction.
  • It understands human commands through natural language processing and learns and adapts through user interactions, improving its abilities over time.
  • SIMA’s capability to comprehend and execute instructions across multiple game settings signifies a significant advancement in AI development.
  • The training involved collaboration with game developers, enabling SIMA to grasp a wide range of gaming worlds and perform tasks within them based on natural language instructions.
  • Google DeepMind aims to leverage SIMA and similar AI agents to explore how AI systems can be more helpful in real-world scenarios through interactions in virtual environments.

PYQ: With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (2020)

1) Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units

2) Create meaningful short stories and songs

3) Disease diagnosis

4) Text-to-Speech Conversion

5) Wireless transmission of electrical energy

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 4 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

 Ans: (b)

Practice Question:  How does the development of SIMA by Google DeepMind signify advancements in artificial intelligence technology and its potential implications? (150 Words /10 marks)

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