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Daily Current Affairs

5 -January-2024

1. Inauguration of Ram Mandir: A Culmination of Cultural Resurgence and Economic Prospects in Ayodhya

Topic: GS1 – Culture – Architecture This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of the features of the newly built Ram temple.
Context:
  • Being the birthplace of Lord Rama, the Ram Mandir, located at the Ram Janmabhoomi site, is of great cultural and religious significance.
  • On August 5, 2020, the Prime Minister placed the foundation stone.
  • Following the Supreme Court’s 2019 ruling in the Ayodhya land dispute case, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust was formed to oversee construction.
Trust Composition and Supervision:
  • 15 trustees make up the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust, which was established in 2020 to supervise the temple’s construction.
  • The national government has selected twelve trustees, led by Mahant Nrityagopal Das.
  • The composition of the trust guarantees that voting rights in its proceedings are restricted to practicing Hindus, including permanent and nominated members.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Movement: From Dispute to Construction:
  • Included in the historical background is the controversial Ram Janmabhoomi campaign, which was started in the 1980s by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad with the goal of giving Hindus back their rightful claim to the location and building a temple honouring Lord Rama.
  • In 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished as the movement’s result.
  • Following a protracted legal proceeding, the Supreme Court rendered a historic decision in 2019 favouring the construction of the Ram Mandir and creating the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust for that purpose.
Architecture of Ram Mandir: Nagara Style Grandeur and Design:
  • Chief architect Chandrakant Bhai Sompura created the Nagara-style Ram Mandir, which is expected to be an architectural wonder.
  • With dimensions of 235 feet broad by 360 feet long by 161 feet high, it is expected to be the third largest Hindu shrine globally.
  • The Nagara architectural style honours India’s long history of temple building with elements like mantapas, shikhara, amalak, and vahana.
Ram Mandir’s Significance: Cultural, Economic, and Social Implications:
  • For Hindus, the building of the Ram Mandir fulfils a long-held dream and has great religious and cultural importance.
  • Ayodhya’s temple is a representation of India’s cultural legacy because of its historical ties to the Ramayana.
  • Economically speaking, it is anticipated to promote employment, growth, and tourism, all of which will support local development.
  • It is also expected that the construction of the temple will result in increased charity giving, better infrastructure, and religious harmony in the area.
Conclusion:
  • The opening of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya is a significant event in the cultural and religious history of India as it represents the settlement of a long-running land dispute.
  • Beyond its significance for religion and culture, the building of the temple is expected to bring in new prosperity, social harmony, and better infrastructure for the area, ushering in a new era for Ayodhya.
PYQ: The rock-cut architecture represents one of the most important sources of our knowledge of early Indian art and history. Discuss. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2020)
Practice Question: Evaluate the cultural, economic, and social implications of the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Analyze its significance in the historical and legal context, considering the complexities of the Ayodhya dispute. (200 words/12.5 m)

2. AdityaL1, ISRO’s mission to study Sun, Set to be placed in final orbit tomorrow

Topic: GS3 – Science and Tech- Developing New Technology- Space  This topic relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of India’s Space Missions.
Context:
  • Aditya L1, India’s groundbreaking solar mission, is getting closer to its last orbit.
  • On January 6, it is scheduled to enter a “halo orbit” around Lagrange Point 1 (L1).
  • The spacecraft was launched on September 2 with the goal of studying the Sun from a position where the Earth and Sun’s gravitational pull are balanced.
  • Being the first space agency to perform a complicated orbital manoeuvre, this is a major accomplishment for ISRO.
Approaching the L1 Point:
  • Aditya L1 will do a critical manoeuvre on January 6 in order to enter the appropriate orbit, having already reached the L1 point.
  • The spacecraft provides a steady position to view the Sun from various angles.
  • It is intended to be in a halo orbit around the L1 point.
  • The halo orbit is the better option since it is easier to maintain a constant position even when the L1 point is largely stationary.
Challenges and Novelty of the Maneuver:
  • It is a difficult task to enter the halo orbit since it requires firing thrusters to change the spacecraft’s course and speed.
  • This is ISRO’s first attempt at such a manoeuvre, hence its success is vital. The intricacy of this orbital adjustment is shown by the requirement for numerous adjustments and thruster firings in the event that the first attempt fails.
Scientific Achievements and Payloads:
  • After 124 days of operation, Aditya has already begun to gather scientific data and take pictures of the Sun.
  • Images of the entire solar disc and high-energy X-rays from solar flares have been made possible by the project.
  • The seven scientific payloads—VELC, SUIT, SoLEXS, and HEL1OS, among others are made to track the Sun directly and provide an in-depth analysis of solar events.
  • Thanks to Aditya’s special coronagraph, scientists can now see the Sun’s corona at a distance that was not previously possible.
Global Significance and Comprehensive Solar Study:
  • Aditya L1’s mission is closely watched globally because of its thorough analysis of the Sun.
  • The seven payloads provide multi-wavelength observation, allowing for the study of the Sun’s magnetic fields, particles, and radiation from several angles.
  • Because of its location at L1, the spacecraft may see solar storms and emissions before they affect Earth, which offers a special perspective for solar studies.
Conclusion:
  • Aditya L1 is a living example of ISRO’s prowess in solar exploration as it nears its halo orbit around Lagrange Point 1.
  • If the manoeuvre into the halo orbit is successful, it will open up previously unheard-of prospects for Sun research, yielding important data for scientists around the world.
  • Aditya L1’s distinct location and sophisticated payloads increase scientific understanding of solar processes and solidify India’s role in solar research.
What is the Significance of Exploring the Sun?
  • Understanding Our Solar System: The Sun is the center of our solar system, and its characteristics greatly influence the behavior of all other celestial bodies. Studying the Sun enhances our understanding of the dynamics of our solar neighborhood.
  • Space Weather Prediction: Solar activities, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, can impact Earth’s space environment.
  • Understanding these phenomena is crucial for predicting and mitigating potential disruptions to communication systems, navigation, and power grids.
  • Advancing Solar Physics: Exploring the Sun’s complex behavior, including its magnetic fields, heating mechanisms, and plasma dynamics, contributes to advances in fundamental physics and astrophysics.
  • Enhancing Energy Research: The Sun is a natural fusion reactor. Insights gained from studying its core and nuclear reactions can inform our pursuit of clean and sustainable fusion energy on Earth.
  • Improving Satellite Operations: Solar radiation and solar wind affect the functioning of satellites and spacecraft. Understanding these solar interactions allows for better spacecraft design and operation.
PYQ: Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2016)
Practice Question: Evaluate the potential contributions of Aditya L1’s unique position and advanced payloads in the field of solar research. (200 words/12.5 m)

3. India, Nepal sign power pact, MoU in renewable energy

Topic: GS2 – International Relations- India and it’s neighbourhood 
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of Indo-Nepal bilateral relations
Context:
  • A major long-term deal has been formalised between Nepal and India for the export of 10,000 MW of power from Nepal to India over the next ten years.
  • The goal of the bilateral agreement, which was inked during the seventh meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission, is to improve the two countries’ energy cooperation.
Renewable Energy Cooperation:
  • The two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in renewable energy in addition to the power export pact.
  • The partners in this partnership were the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited of India and the Nepal Electricity Authority.
  • The MoU represents a dedication to supporting cooperative efforts in furthering renewable energy projects, in line with the sustainable development objectives of both countries.
Inauguration of Cross-Border Transmission Lines:
  • Three cross-border transmission lines were inaugurated by Nepal’s Foreign Minister N.P. Saud and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar together virtually.
  • The 132 kV Raxaul-Parwanipur, 132 kV Kushaha-Kataiya, and New Nautanwa-Mainahiya transmission lines were completed with India’s help.
  • Improving cross-border energy connectivity and fostering effective electricity transmission between the two nations depend on this cooperative infrastructure.
Bilateral Discussions and Comprehensive Partnership:
  • Discussions on a range of aspects of bilateral ties were enhanced by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Nepal.
  • Talks covered trade and economic relations, joint ventures in the areas of land, rail, and air connectivity, cooperation in defence and security, energy, agriculture, water resources, tourism, civil aviation, people-to-people exchanges, cultural ties, and development partnerships.
  • The breadth of these conversations demonstrates both countries’ desire to deepen their complex relationship.
Prime Minister Prachanda’s Perspective:
  • Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the prime minister of Nepal, praised the power export deal as a significant development for the country’s electricity industry.
  • This support emphasises how strategically significant the agreement is for Nepal’s energy sector.
  • The Nepalese Foreign Ministry emphasised the wide range of topics covered during the meeting, highlighting the various aspects of relations between Nepal and India.
Conclusion:
  • Along with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on renewable energy cooperation and the opening of cross-border transmission lines, the long-term power export deal represents a major advancement in Nepal and India’s energy cooperation.
  • The extensive talks and collaborations in a range of fields highlight how committed both countries are to creating a strong and mutually beneficial relationship.
  • The foundation for improved collaboration in the areas of infrastructure, energy, and wider bilateral relations is laid by this diplomatic and strategic engagement.
Challenges in India-Nepal Relationship
  • Issues with Peace and Friendship Treaty: The 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Nepal guaranteed Nepali citizens free movement across the border and employment opportunities in India. However, some perceive this treaty as unequal and imposed by India.
  • Territorial Disputes: Certain areas along the India-Nepal boundary, such as Kalapani, have remained unresolved. Nepal claims these territories as part of its own, while India inherited them from British colonial rule.
  • Chinese Interference: In recent years, Nepal has been moving away from India’s influence and China has been stepping in with investments, aid and loans. China’s involvement in Nepal’s infrastructure projects through its Belt and Road Initiative poses a threat to Nepal’s role as a buffer state between India and China.
  • Security Threat: The porous and poorly guarded border between India and Nepal allows terrorist groups to exploit it for smuggling weapons, ammunition, trained members and fake currency, which poses a significant security risk to India.
  • Trust Deficit: The trust between India and Nepal has weakened over time due to India’s slow implementation of projects. Some Nepalese ethnic groups feel that India interferes too much in Nepal’s politics and undermines their political independence, leading to a dislike for India.
PYQ: Consider the following pairs: (2016) Community sometimes in the affairs of mentioned in the news 1.Kurd — Bangladesh 2.Madhesi — Nepal 3.Rohingya — Myanmar Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched? (a) 1 and 2 (b) 2 only (c) 2 and 3 (d) 3 only Ans: (c)
Practice Question: Assess the recent agreements between India and Nepal, including the long-term power export deal and cooperation in renewable energy. Examine their potential implications on bilateral relations and regional energy cooperation. (250 words/15 m)

4. 10th century Kadamba inscription written in Kannada and Sanskrit found in Goa.

Topic: GS1 – History – Indian Heritage
Crucial for UPSC: Unearthed 10th-century inscription sheds light on Goa’s historical battles, reflecting regional power dynamics and conquests. 
Context:
  • Discovery of a 10th-century inscription in Mahadeva temple, Cacoda, Goa, details a battle for Goa’s port by Gundayya.
Additional information on this news:
  • Discovery of a 10th-century inscription in Kannada and Sanskrit in the Mahadeva temple at Cacoda in southern Goa.
  • Studied by T. Murugeshi, revealing details about Talara Nevayya and his son Gundayya’s battle for capturing the port of Goa.
  • The inscription, engraved in Kannada and Nagari characters, follows a literary style similar to the Talangre inscription of Jayasimha I.
  • Kadambas of Goa, subordinates of Chalukyas of Kalyana, played a significant role in the region’s history.
  • Kadamba Shasthadeva, appointed mahamandaleshwara of Goa by Chalukyan emperor Tailapa II, conquered Chandavara and Gopakapattana.
  • Gundayya, likely involved in the battle for Gopakapattana, sacrificed his life, commemorated by a memorial stone and inscription in Mahadeva temple at Cacoda.
More about Kadamba Dynasty
  • The Kadamba Dynasty was an ancient Indian dynasty that ruled from the 4th to 6th centuries in the Deccan region.
  • Founded by Mayurasharma, it initially had Banavasi as its capital.
  • The dynasty played a significant role in the cultural and religious development of the region.
  • They were known for their patronage of art, literature, and the Brahmanical tradition.
  • Eventually, the Chalukyas overpowered the Kadambas, leading to the decline of their rule.
PYQ: Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions. (100 words/5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2013)

5. ISRO to perform crucial manoeuvre tomorrow to bind Aditya-L1 into L1 orbit.

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology – Developing new technology – Space
Critical for UPSC: Aditya-L1’s orbit manoeuvre at Lagrangian Point enhances solar observation, showcasing advancements in space research. 
Context:
  • Aditya-L1, India’s sun observatory, set to reach Lagrangian Point; ISRO attempts crucial orbit-binding manoeuvre for continuous solar observation.
More information about the news:
  • Aditya-L1, India’s first sun-studying space observatory, set to reach Lagrangian Point (L1).
  • ISRO plans a crucial manoeuvre on Saturday to bind Aditya-L1 to an orbit around L1.
  • Launched on September 2, 2023, it underwent earth-bound manoeuvres between September 3 and 15.
  • L1 is 1.5 million km from Earth, offering an advantageous vantage point for continuous solar observation.
  • Propulsion system includes a 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) engine and thrusters for the manoeuvre.
  • Aditya-L1 carries seven payloads to study the sun’s photosphere, chromosphere, and corona from the special vantage point.
More about Aditya–L1 Mission
  • Aditya-L1 Mission: India’s first dedicated solar mission.
  • Objective: Study the Sun’s outermost layer (corona) and its impact on space weather.
  • Payload: Aditya Solar Observatory equipped with seven instruments.
  • Instruments Include: Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), and more.
  • Significance: Enhancing understanding of solar processes, aiding space weather prediction, and minimizing potential impacts on communication and power systems.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration with international space agencies for data exchange and joint studies.
  • Anticipated Outcomes: Insights into solar dynamics, magnetic fields, and eruptions contributing to improved space weather forecasting.

6. New antibiotic could target drug-resistant bacterium: scientists.

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology- Developing new technology- Bio-technology Critical for UPSC as it addresses antibiotic resistance, a global health threat, showcasing a breakthrough in combating drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.
Context:
  • Researchers discover zosurabalpin, a novel antibiotic effective against drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.
  • It uniquely inhibits lipopolysaccharide transport, demonstrating high efficacy in mouse models, reducing bacterial levels, and preventing death.
  • Published in Nature, it marks a significant breakthrough against antibiotic-resistant strains.
Antibiotic Resistance: What is antibiotic resistance?          Antibiotic resistance refers to the ability of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms to withstand the effects of antibiotics, rendering these medications ineffective in treating infections. This occurs when microbes evolve and develop mechanisms to counteract the drugs meant to eliminate or control them, posing a serious threat to public health as common infections become harder to treat and may lead to prolonged illness, increased healthcare costs, and a higher risk of mortality. Drivers of Resistance:
  • High burden of infectious diseases: India grapples with a heavy load of bacterial infections, leading to frequent antibiotic use.
  • Inadequate access to healthcare: Public healthcare often lacks diagnostic tools and trained personnel, leading to over-prescribed and misdiagnosed infections.
  • Affordability and availability: The private sector, relied upon by many, often prioritizes profitability, encouraging unnecessary antibiotic use and sales.
  • Antibiotic misuse and lack of awareness:Over-the-counter access, self-medication, and incomplete treatment courses fuel resistance development.
  • Antibiotic use in agriculture and animal husbandry:The overuse of antibiotics in livestock contributes to resistant bacteria entering the food chain and environment.
Challenges in Combating Resistance:
  • Strengthening healthcare infrastructure:Expanding access to diagnostics, qualified doctors, and essential medicines in the public sector is crucial.
  • Antibiotic stewardship programs:Promoting responsible prescribing, educating healthcare professionals and patients, and advocating for diagnostic-driven antibiotic use are essential.
  • Regulation and surveillance:Stricter regulations on antibiotic availability, monitoring antibiotic use trends, and implementing robust surveillance systems are vital.
  • Research and development:Investing in research for new antibiotics and alternative therapeutics is critical for the future.
  • One Health approach: Addressing antibiotic use across human health, animal husbandry, and the environment requires a coordinated effort.
Way Forward: A Collective Responsibility: Tackling antibiotic resistance requires a multi-pronged approach, involving the government, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, farmers, and the public.
  • Government leadership: Implementing national action plans, enforcing regulations, and promoting public awareness campaigns are crucial.
  • Professional responsibility:Doctors must adopt antibiotic stewardship practices, educate patients, and advocate for diagnostic-driven treatment.
  • Industry accountability:Pharmaceutical companies must invest in research, promote responsible marketing, and support antibiotic stewardship programs.
  • Community engagement:Educating the public about responsible antibiotic use, encouraging hand hygiene, and promoting vaccination can significantly reduce infections and lessen the reliance on antibiotics.
PYQ: Can overuse and the availability of antibiotics without doctor’s prescription, the contributors to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically discuss the various issues involved. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2014)
Practice Question: In the context of India, discuss the key challenges posed by antibiotic resistance and propose effective strategies for mitigation.                 (150 words/10 m)

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