23 Jan 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs


1. With no iron or steel, Ayodhya temple is a study in sandstone

Topic: GS1 – Indian Culture – Architecture

Relevant for UPSC as it highlights the construction, architectural features, and eco-friendly aspects of the Ayodhya temple.
  • The consecration of the Ayodhya temple, constructed without iron or steel, showcases intricate sandstone carvings sourced from Rajasthan.
  • The eco-friendly structure, in Nagara style, features a vast green area, artificial foundation, and preservation of trees.

Additional information on this news:

  • Ayodhya temple consecrated, a sprawling structure built with sandstones overcoming engineering challenges.
  • No iron or steel used, stones sourced from Rajasthan’s Bansi Paharpur area with intricate carvings of deities.
  • Traditional Nagara style, 380 feet long, 250 feet wide, 161 feet high, three-storey structure with 392 pillars and 44 gates.
  • Overcame foundation challenges with an artificial foundation, and a rectangular periphery called percota surrounds the temple.
  • Ornate figures of elephants, lions, Lord Hanuman, and Garuda installed at the main entrance.
  • Green area constitutes 70% of the complex, preserving nearly 600 trees, sewage, water treatment plants, and a dedicated electricity line incorporated.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers prayers at the Kuber Tila and praises the temple’s eco-friendly and sensitive construction.
More about Nagara Style Temple Architecture
  • Origin: Nagara style temple architecture originated in northern India during the 5th century and is associated with the Indo-Aryan Nagara school of architecture.
  • Characteristics:
  1. Distinctive shikhara or tower with a curvilinear spire, representing Mount Meru.
  2. Mandapa (assembly hall) with pyramidal or tiered roofs.
  3.  Amalaka, a disk-like ornament atop the shikhara.
  4. Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) usually square-shaped.
  5. Ornate entrance porch or ardhamandapa.
  • Materials: Typically constructed using sandstone or other locally available stone.
  • Decorative Elements: Elaborate carvings depicting deities, celestial beings, and mythological scenes. Intricate relief work on the temple walls.
  • Regional Variations: Different styles within Nagara architecture include the Northern or Indo-Aryan style and the Western or Solanki style.
  • Prominent Examples: Famous Nagara style temples include the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, and the Sun Temple at Modhera, Gujarat.
  • Symbolism: The architecture reflects Hindu cosmology and symbolism, with the towering shikhara representing the cosmic mountain and the sanctum symbolizing the divine center.
PYQ: Indian philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss.
(250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2020)

2. Odisha govt. seeks urgent deployment of kumki elephants from Tamil Nadu.

Topic: GS3 – Environment and Ecology – Conservations

UPSC-relevant: Highlights Odisha seeking Tamil Nadu’s help with trained elephants to tackle rising human-elephant conflicts, emphasizing conservation and mitigation strategies.
  • Odisha requests Tamil Nadu’s assistance in addressing a surge in human-elephant conflicts, seeking at least four trained kumki elephants and accompanying mahouts to minimize casualties and protect crops.

More information on this news:

  • Odisha government seeks assistance from Tamil Nadu to address worsening human-elephant conflicts in the state.
  • 230 human-elephant encounters reported in Odisha during the financial year 2023-24, resulting in 139 human deaths and 108 injuries.
  • Last financial year saw 257 encounters with 146 deaths and 157 injuries, suggesting a potential all-time high in human casualties this year.
  • Kumki elephants are proposed to be strategically deployed to manage and drive wild elephants, minimizing damage to crops, human habitations, and loss of lives.
  • Request includes at least four kumki elephants from Tamil Nadu to be deployed in conflict-prone areas of Odisha.
  • Odisha acknowledges Tamil Nadu’s successful kumki elephant program for wildlife conservation and seeks their expertise.
  • Mahouts accompanying kumki elephants requested to provide initial support and assist local mahouts in Odisha.
Man – Animal conflict
Reasons for the Conflict:

  • Habitat Loss: Human encroachment on animal habitats shrinks their territory, forcing them closer to human settlements and resources.
  • Climate Change: Altered weather patterns disrupt wildlife food sources and migration routes, pushing animals into unfamiliar areas.
  • Resource Competition: Sharing water sources, crops, and grazing land with humans can lead to competition and conflict.
  • Negative Interactions: Fear, misinformation, and lack of awareness can fuel negative interactions between humans and animals.

Moving Forward:

  • Habitat Restoration and Protection: Conserving and restoring natural habitats allows animals to thrive without encroaching on human spaces.
  • Human-Wildlife Corridors: Building safe passageways for animals to move between habitats minimizes contact with humans.
  • Sustainable Practices: Adopting agricultural and land management techniques that coexist with wildlife reduces competition for resources.
  • Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about animal behavior and promoting empathy foster peaceful coexistence.
  • Conflict Mitigation Strategies: Implementing early warning systems and deterrents like chilli fences can help prevent animal attacks.
Practice Question: Discuss the significance of interstate cooperation in wildlife conservation, citing the recent request from Odisha to Tamil Nadu for kumki elephants. (150 words/10 m)

3. Poachers kill female rhino in Kaziranga and steal its horn.

Topic: GS3 – Environment and Ecology – Conservations

Relevant for UPSC as it underscores the persistent challenge of wildlife poaching, impacting conservation efforts and biodiversity protection.
  • Poachers targeted Kaziranga National Park, killing an adult female rhino in Agaratoli Range.
  • The rhino was shot, and its horn was sawn off. Authorities are conducting investigations.

More information on this news:

  • Poachers target Kaziranga National Park after almost a year, killing an adult female rhino in Agaratoli Range.
  • Rhino shot, horn sawn off; carcass discovered by forest staff on Monday.
  • Likely killed on January 21 night; post-mortem report awaited.
  • Forest Department and police intensify combing operations.
  • Preliminary probe indicates poachers crossed Brahmaputra by boat to reach the southern bank where the Range is located.
More about One Horned Rhino
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable; Despite challenges, the population has risen from ~200 in 1960s to over 2,600 now.
  • Habitat: Primarily alluvial grasslands and riverine forests of northeastern India and Nepal. Kaziranga National Park in Assam shelters over 2,400 rhinos – the highest density in the world!
  • Threats: Poaching for their keratin-rich horns used in traditional medicine, habitat loss due to encroachment and floods, and inbreeding within smaller populations.
  • Conservation Efforts: Project Rhino, launched in 1976, has been instrumental in anti-poaching patrols, community engagement, and habitat management.

4. Intersectionality of gender and caste in women’s participation in the labour force.

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues relating to development and employment.

Relevant for UPSC as it addresses the complex interplay of gender and caste in influencing women’s workforce participation in India.
  • The article explores the decline in female Labour Force Participation (LFP) in India, examining how gender and caste dynamics influence women’s involvement in the informal sector, emphasizing societal benefits despite obstacles.


  • Significant decline in female Labour Force Participation (LFP) in the last two decades.
  • Structural rigidities in manufacturing and service sectors limit informal sector employment opportunities.
  • Gender bias and caste discrimination compound, placing women at the bottom of the labour pyramid.


  • Ashay Kadam and Kingshuk Sarkar use Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data.
  • Analyze labour force participation at the tehsil level in Bihar, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Examine women’s involvement in rural informal sector based on caste positions.

Influence of Variables:

  • Consider interplay between high income and the percentage of female-headed households, and low income and the proportion of lower caste households.
  • Women’s LFP rises in rural informal economy under two conditions: higher number of lower caste households and high prevalence of female-headed households.
  • Participation increases predominantly when female-headed households are economically disadvantaged.

Gender Bias and Societal Expectations:

  • Women face barriers in contributing to economic activities due to societal expectations.
  • Legal and economic constraints hinder women’s employment in various sectors.
  • Non-farm, informal sector laws do not impede women, especially in female-headed households, promoting workforce participation.

Caste Dynamics:

  • Lower-caste women’s higher LFP in the informal sector explained through economic constraints and limitations in social mobility.
  • Historical expectations dictate lower-caste women’s engagement in manual and domestic work.
  • Education’s role: Lower-caste women’s limited educational opportunities confine them to informal sector jobs.

Benefits of Women’s Workforce Participation:

  • Women’s participation in the labour force contributes positively to the socio-economic fabric of society.
  • Economic independence leads to delayed marriage and childbirth, increased child schooling, and reduced vulnerability to domestic violence.
  • Despite caste and gender obstacles, women’s workforce participation shapes a more educated and enlightened future.


  • Comprehensive exploration of gender and caste dynamics in India’s labour market.
  • Insights contribute to inclusive policies, addressing gender and caste disparities in the workforce.
Practice Question: How do gender and caste dynamics impact women’s Labour Force Participation in India, and what socio-economic benefits arise despite challenges?  (250 words/15 m)

5. Global Food Prices Plummet in 2023, but India’s Domestic Factors Keep Inflation Stubbornly High

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues relating to growth

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of the impact of global food price trends on India, emphasizing the significance of understanding both international and domestic factors.
  • The article discusses the significant drop in world food prices in 2023, following the peaks recorded in 2022, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index, a trade-weighted average of global food commodities, fell by 13.7% in 2023, reaching 124 points, compared to the all-time high of 159.7 points in March 2022.
  • Despite this global trend, food inflation in India has remained high at 9.5% in December 2023, contrary to negative global food inflation since November 2022.

Divergence in Global and Domestic Food Inflation:

  • The article highlights the divergence between global and domestic food inflation, illustrating a 10-year period where international food prices experienced greater volatility than domestic inflation in India.
  • The limited transmission of international prices to domestic inflation in India is attributed to the country’s self-sufficiency and export capabilities in various commodities.

Global Cues and India’s De-Globalized Food Inflation:

  • The article emphasizes that India’s food inflation is currently de-globalized due to government measures, such as export restrictions and controlled imports.
  • While global prices have lowered, the threat of imported inflation in India is practically ruled out.
  • The ongoing Red Sea attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants, disrupting vessel movements through the Suez Canal, have limited impact on major food imports into India.

Domestic Factors Driving Food Inflation in India:

  • The article predicts that the course of food inflation in India will be determined more by domestic production than global factors in the coming months.
  • Cereals, pulses, and sugar are identified as key concerns.
  • While wheat production is promising, potential risks such as heat stress during grain formation could impact yields.
  • Sugar mills, starting the new season with low stocks, face uncertainty in production. In the pulses sector, elevated prices are exacerbated by reduced planting areas.


  • The article underscores that the drivers of food inflation in India are currently more influenced by domestic factors than global events.
  • Despite the significant drop in world food prices, challenges in domestic production, particularly in cereals, pulses, and sugar, may continue to contribute to inflationary pressures in the Indian food market.
PYQ: Do you agree with the view that steady GDP growth and low inflation have left the Indian economy in good shape? Give reasons in support of your arguments. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2019)
Practice Question: Evaluate the impact of the 2023 global food price downturn on India’s economy and agriculture. (150 words/10)

6. WEF 2024 Highlights: AI Dominates Discussions, Global Challenges Addressed, and Optimistic Outlook for India’s Transformation

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International Institutions.

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of Word Economic Forum’s discussions and key takeaways.
  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) held its Annual Meeting from 15th January to 19th January, 2024 in Davos, Switzerland.
    World Economic Forum (WEF) 2024: Key Themes and Highlights
  • Artificial Intelligence Takes Center Stage:
  • The primary focus of this year’s WEF annual meeting was on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • Discussions ranged from AI’s transformative potential for human welfare to concerns about the lack of regulation, fear of job losses, risks of impersonation, misinformation, and potential exacerbation of inequalities.
  • Notably, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, struck a positive note, emphasizing the improved tools humans will develop to navigate the challenges posed by AI.
  • War and Uncertainty on the Global Stage:
  • Leaders addressed the fragility of the geopolitical situation, emphasizing the risks associated with wars in the Middle East and Europe, threats to global supply chains, and uncertainties surrounding food security.
  • However, despite discussions on various global issues, including the Israel-Gaza conflict, concrete plans or roadmaps for peace were notably absent from the forum.
  • Climate Change and Business Adaptation
  • The urgent need for businesses to adapt to climate change and the call for global unity in combating climate-related challenges were significant topics.
  • Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank Group, stressed the “existential climate crisis” facing the world, highlighting the importance of a collective sense of urgency.
  • Discussions also emphasized the benefits businesses can derive from adopting sustainable practices and the critical allocation of resources in the fight against climate change.
  • China’s Economic Landscape and Global Relations
  • With a slowing economy and efforts to attract more investment from the West, China featured prominently in discussions.
  • Despite a 5.2% GDP growth in 2023, still below pre-pandemic levels, China faces challenges, including attempts by the United States to isolate it, as seen in the semiconductor trade standoff.
  • The dynamics of China’s economic situation and its global relations were a crucial aspect of the conversations.
  • India’s Transformation and Future Prospects
  • In a McKinsey and Company assessment of Davos 2024, India was highlighted as one of the fastest-growing large economies globally.
  • The report emphasized India’s rapid transformation, especially in technology, talent, healthcare, and other sectors.
  • The WEF recognized India’s potential and suggested that its trajectory in 2024 and beyond deserves close attention, portraying a positive outlook for the country’s future.
PYQ: The Global Competitiveness Report is published by the (2019)
(a) International Monetary Fund
(b) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
(c) World Economic Forum
(d) World Bank
Ans: (c)
Practice Question: Examine the key themes discussed at the World Economic Forum 2024. Analyze how these discussions align with India’s strategic interests and the measures needed for adapting to emerging global trends

7. New Study Suggests Daily Multivitamins Could Enhance Cognitive Health in Older Adults, But Experts Urge Caution on Interpretation

Topic: Important topics for Prelims 
  • A recent study, part of the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), suggests that individuals aged 60 and older who took a daily multivitamin for two years showed higher scores on memory and cognitive tests compared to those who took a placebo.
  • Cautionary Notes from Experts:
  •  Despite the positive findings, experts not involved in the trial have cautioned that the observed benefits were relatively small.
  • They emphasize that it remains unclear whether these modest improvements in cognitive scores would result in tangible enhancements in people’s daily lives.
  • COSMOS Trial and Cognitive Scores Improvement:
  • The research, conducted as part of the COSMOS trial, involved more than 21,000 older adults and aimed to investigate whether supplements could protect against age-related diseases.
  • Both the multivitamin and placebo groups demonstrated improvements in cognitive scores over the two-year study period, potentially due to participants’ familiarity with the tests.
  • However, individuals taking the multivitamin showed a slightly greater gain, particularly in memory assessments.


  • This study provides a unique example of a clinical trial indicating potential benefits of a nutritional supplement, specifically multivitamins, for cognitive health in healthy older adults.
  • While the findings are promising, further research is necessary to understand the extent of these benefits and their real-world implications for the aging population.

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