Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 10th September 2023



Today’s Topics List:

  1. Odisha’s Konark Wheel

  2. Morocco Earthquake

  3. Education policy – Government of West Bengal

  4. Monkeypox Surveillance



Odisha’s Konark Wheel

    • News:
    • A replica of the Konark Wheel from Odisha’s Sun temple served as the backdrop for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s welcome handshake with G 20 leaders as they arrived.
      • The backdrop carried a striking image of the Konark Wheel with the G 20 logo on one side and the theme of India’s presidency of the grouping – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One Earth. One Family. One Future).

The Konark Wheel:

  • Sun Temple of Konark is renowned throughout the world for its stone sculptures. The temple was designed in the shape of a huge chariot drawn by 7 mighty spirited horses on 12 pairs (total 24 wheels) of gorgeously decorated wheels at its base.
    • The size of the wheel is of 9 feet 9 inches in diameter and each one of them having 8 wider spokes and 8 thinner spokes.
    • Out of these 24 wheels 6 are in either side of the main temple, 4 wheels are on each side of the Mukhasala and 2 wheels on each side of steps at eastern front.
    • The huge wheels of the Konark Temple are one of the major attractions for visitors.

Significance of the Wheel: Various theories

  • According to some, the 7 horses represent the days of the week and the 12 pairs of wheels represent the 12 months of the year and the 24 wheels signifies 24 hours of a day and the 8 major spokes signifies prahars (three hour period) of a day.
  • According to others, the wheels of the chariot have been interpreted as the ‘Wheel of Life’.
    • They portray the cycle of creation, preservation and achievement of realisation.
  • These 12 pairs of wheels may also possibly represent the 12 zodiac signs.
  • Some also believe that the Wheel of Konark is the same as the Dharmachakra of the Buddhists – The Wheel of Karma, The Wheel of the Law.


  • The size and architecture of the 24 wheels is same but each one of them has been differently carved all over.
    • The thicker ones are all carved with circular medallions at their centres on the widest part of the face.
    • The axels of the wheels project by about one foot from the surface, having similar decorations at their ends.
    • The rims are carved with designs of foliages with various birds and animals, whereas the medallions in the spokes are carved with the figures of women in various luxurious poses, mostly of sensual nature.


On India’s Currency Notes:

  • Due to Odisha’s rich cultural heritage, it finds place in India’s currency notes. The world famous Konark Wheel sculpture, the eternal symbol of Odisha’s craftmanship, is depicted in the old Rs. 20 and new Rs. 10 currency notes.
    • The Rs 10 currency note was announced by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on January 5, 2018. The front side of the note has the profile portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and the back side has the gorgeously carved Konark wheel.
    • The Rs 20 currency note was introduced by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on April 5, 1976. The back side of the note has the gorgeously carved Konark wheel.



Morocco Earthquake

    • A rare powerful earthquake struck Morocco on Friday night. It took lives of 1037 people, injuring 1,204, damaging buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakech.
      • The magnitude of the earthquake was reported to be 6.8 at Al
      • It damaged the 12th Century Koutoubia Mosque.
      • It was the strongest ever quake to hit Morocco in more than 120 years.



  • Earthquakes are vibrations of the earth, caused by the rupture and sudden movement of rocks that have been strained beyond their elastic limits.
    • That is, it is a series of shocks and tremors resulting from the sudden release of pressure along active faults and in areas of volcanic activity

Magnitude of the earthquake:

  • The Magnitude of the earth quake is estimated by the Richter Scale.
    • It is an open ended and logarithmic, i.e. each whole number on the scale represents a 10-fold increase in the measured wave amplitude.
    • When it is translated into energy, each whole number demonstrates a 31.5-fold increase in the amount of energy released.



Education policy – Government of West Bengal


  • The West Bengal government has come up with a state education policy, 2023.
    • The policy takes note of the federal spirit of the country’s Constitution and seeks to avoid over centralisation in education.
    • The Panel consulted various education policies, including reports on the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 and the recently published report of the task force for NEP implementation in Maharashtra and the report on NEP by Kerala.


  • It recommends Bangla as a subject along with a three-language formula for class V to VIII.
    • Bangla as a subject may be introduced from classes I to X for students of other mediums of instructions.
    • The three-language formula for classes V to VIII lays stress on the mother tongue of the students.
    • It is suggested that the first language (mother tongue) would be the medium of instruction of the school, i.e. Nepali in Nepali medium school, Santhali in Santhali medium school, Rajbanshi in Rajbanshi medium school.
  • To introduce the semester system from class VIII in a phased manner over the next three years.
  • On Higher education, the new policy recommends increasing gross enrolment ratio and sharing of resources between universities and colleges.
  • It also recommended earmarking 6% of the GDP for education. It also urges the Centre to help the state governments allocate a relative share of State GDP for education since education is in the Concurrent list of the Constitution.

Why a new Policy?

  • West Bengal on May 31, 2023 had announced that it will accept NEP, particularly in colleges and universities run and aided by the state government.
    • However, in school education, the government differed on various fronts, including the necessity of having a Class X board examination.
    • The three-language formula is in tune with the NEP.

School Structure:

  • The State education policy rejected changing the school structure to a 5+3+3+4 system from the existing mode.
    • It is because it advocates abolishing the Class X board examination.
    • It proposed the continuation of present structure of 5+4+2+2 in the state.
  • This education policy is being envisaged for the next 13 years.



Monkeypox Surveillance

    • The Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) has for the first time found the presence of Clade 9 variant of varicella zoster virus (VZV) in India.
    • Chickenpox or varicella is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).
      • It is a herpesvirus with worldwide distribution.
      • It establishes latency after primary infection, a feature unique to most herpes viruses.

Need for surveillance:

  • The multi-country mpox (monkeypox) outbreak across the globehas led to the systematic surveillance of mpox cases in India.
    • During the surveillance of mpox, we encountered cases of VZV in suspected mpox cases amongst children and adults.
    • This study focused on the genomic characterization of VZV in India.
  • This is the first study reporting the circulations of VZV clade 9 in India.
    • Whereas the variant is the most common strain in circulation in countries such as Germany, the UK, and the USA.
  • Monkeypox disease symptoms are frequently mistaken for VZV, as their clinical presentations often closely resemble each other.
    • There is a need for clinical differentiation between mpox and VZV for accurate diagnosis, said the study.
    • It added that despite infection with the VZV clade 9 strain there were no significant indications of heightened disease severity in the patients.

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