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Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 17th December – 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 17-12-2021

Daily Current Affairs – Topics

  • Historical episode:SalarMasud-Raja Suhaldev battle
  • Durga Puja gets UNESCO ICH tag
  • Raising the legal age of marriage for women
  • Program for Development of Semiconductors and Display
  • First Green Hydrogen Microgrid Project: Andhra Pradesh

1. Historical episode:SalarMasud-Raja Suhaldev battle

GS1-Indian History- important events and personalities.

Context

  • PM Modi mentioned the struggle between SalarMasud and Raja Suhaldev during the opening ceremony of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor in Varanasi.

In depth information

 

SalarMasud, who was he?

  • Ghazi Mian was another name for SalarMasud. In the 12th century, he rose to prominence as a fighter.
  • He was the nephew of Mahmud of Ghazni, a Turkik invader from the 11th century.
  • His grave in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, is a popular pilgrimage destination for Muslims and Hindus alike.
  • He followed Mahmud on all of his campaigns, including the famous trip to Kathiawar’s Somnath. Masud is said to have persuaded his uncle to smash Somnath’s famous idol, a deed that Persian poets have lauded as a tremendous triumph.
  • The Mirat-e-Masaud (Mirror of Masaud), a 17th century Persian hagiography composed by Abdur Rahman Chisti, a Sufi saint of the Chisti order, is the most thorough source of information about Ghazi Mian.
  • In 1571 CE, Mughal emperor Akbar is said to have provided a land grant to sustain Ghazi Miyan’s temple.

Raja Suhaldev and SalarMasud:

  • It’s a blend of myth and history.
  • According to the sources, Masud and a local ruler named Suhaldev met in battle in Bahraich in 1034 CE.
  • Masud was wounded by an arrow during the combat and died.
  • He became a martyr after dying while performing his duties as a warrior, earning the honorary designation ‘Ghazi Miyan,’ meaning master warrior for faith.

Suheldev and his conquest

  • Masud landed in Multan as a 17-year-old Afghan army commander and, after subjugating the city, proceeded to Delhi, where he remained over a year.
  • Masud continued his violent campaigns, destroying several temples and converting many people to Islam.
  • It was at Bahraich that Masud was wounded by an arrow and died in a battle with a local ruler named Suhaldev in 1034 CE.
  • Suheldev is thought to be the eldest son of the Bhar community’s ruler, from whom the Pasi community, a Dalit caste group in the region, arose.

Controversy engulfing these individuals:

  • Suhaldev was viewed as a dictator and oppressor of the people he reigned over, the majority of whom were Muslims, by few individuals who worshipped Ghazi Mian.
  • However, he is also given a combative persona and portrayed as a hero who fought against a foreign invader (Ghazi Mian) who attempted to plunder Hindu—or, more accurately, Indian—religion and culture.
  • Maharaja Suhaldev’s birthday is today, and there are celebrations in his honour.
  • Amit Shah, the then-BJP president, praised Suhaldev as a national hero and inaugurated his statue in Bahraich in February 2016.
  • From Ghazipur, the Indian Railways launched the Suhaldev Express.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government stated in 2017 that a statue of Suhaldev would be erected in Lucknow.

 

2. Durga Puja gets UNESCO ICH tag

#GS1-Arts & Culture

Context

  • Durga Puja in Kolkata was been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
  • It is the first festival in Asia to be designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • UNESCO has previously designated Dholavira, a Harappan city in Gujarat, as India’s 40th world historic site.

In depth information

 

What is ICH, or Intangible Cultural Heritage?

  • ICH refers to the behaviours, representations, expressions, knowledge, and abilities that communities, groups, and, in some circumstances, individuals acknowledge as part of their cultural heritage, as well as the instruments, items, artefacts, and cultural spaces associated with them.
  • Furthermore, its significance lies in the abundance of knowledge, know-how, and skills that are passed down from generation to generation, rather than in the cultural manifestation itself.
  • Durga Puja is a five-day event that begins on the fifth night of the nine-day Navratri holiday and concludes on Dashami, the tenth day.
  • People worship and invoke Goddess Durga, who is regarded as the feminine spirit of the cosmos, also known as ‘Shakti,’ during this period.
  • It’s one of the country’s largest cultural carnivals and street art festivals.
  • During this period, people gather in ‘pandals’ and pavilions to worship intricately-designed clay figures of the Goddess.
  • The festival includes folk music, cuisine, artisanal, and performing arts traditions.
  • Despite its origins in West Bengal, which has the country’s largest Bengali population, the holiday is now celebrated in many other parts of India and around the world.

Significance:

  • It recognises the festival’s role in preserving and maintaining a diverse range of traditional arts and crafts, community well-being and economic empowerment, and inspiring creativity.
  • The British Council in India estimated Durga Puja’s creative economy to be worth over Rs. 32,000 crore for the year 2019, and that the festival adds 2.58 percent to West Bengal’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

For the UNESCO badge, a citation is required.

  • The UNESCO Committee praised the organization’s efforts to incorporate marginalised groups, individuals, and women in the preservation of the element.
  • Scripture recitations, performance arts, partying, gift-giving, family visits, feasting, and public processions are all part of the event.
  • Durga Puja is a complete manifestation of dance, music, crafts, rituals, culinary traditions, and cultural components, as well as a celebration of the feminine goddess.
  • The holiday brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate it, regardless of caste, creed, or economic status.

India’s other ICH

  • India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the renowned UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity, thanks to the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata.
  • Kumbh Mela (inscribed 2017) and Yoga (inscribed 2016) are among the ICH aspects that have received inscriptions in recent years.
  • India is also a SIGNATORY to the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, including traditions and living expressions.

 

3. Raising the legal age of marriage for women

#GS2- Government Scheme/Policies

Context

  • The Union Cabinet decided to raise the legal marriage age for women from 18 to 21 years old.

In depth information

  • Currently, the legal age for girls to marry is 18 years old, while the legal age for men to marry is 21 years old.
  • Data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS): Child marriage has decreased slightly in the country, from 27% in 2015-16 to 23% in 2019-20, according to the newly released National Family Health Survey (NFHS).

Why is it necessary to raise the minimum age for women to marry?

  • Early marriage and pregnancy have an impact on mothers’ and children’s nutritional levels, as well as their overall health and emotional well-being.
  • It also has an effect on the Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates.
  • Women’s empowerment—This action expands women’s opportunities for higher education and careers.
  • It also encourages women to be financially self-sufficient.
  • Gender-neutrality- This proposal would also add to the government’s gender-neutrality initiatives.
  • Further decline of child marriage- According to the NFHS-5, child marriage in the country has decreased slightly from 27 percent in 2015-16 to 23 percent in 2019-20, and the government has been working to reduce it even further.

What is the Jaya Jaitly committee, and what does it do?

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development established a task force in June 2020, led by Jaya Jaitly and including members such as NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul and secretaries from various ministries.
  • The committee was to investigate the possibility of raising the marriage age and the implications for women’s and children’s health, as well as how to improve women’s access to education.
  • The committee must recommend a schedule for the government to execute the policy, as well as the changes that would need to be made to existing legislation.
  • Young adults from 16 universities across the country provided feedback to the committee.
  • Over 15 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were also enlisted to reach out to young adults in remote locations and marginalised populations.

Recommendations

  1. Raise the marriage age to 21 years.
  2. The government should look into improving girls’ access to schools and colleges, as well as their transportation.
  3. Girls receive skill and entrepreneurial training.
  4. Sex education in the classroom
  5. A large public awareness campaign will be launched to encourage social acceptance of the new legislation.

Problems and Obstacles

  • Personal rules of many religions that deal with marriage have their own criteria, which are frequently based on custom.
  • For Hindus, the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 stipulates that the bride must be 18 years old and the groom must be 21 years old.
  • The marriage of a minor who has reached puberty is considered acceptable in Islam.
  • Experts have opposed raising the age of marriage for women on the grounds that such legislation would force a huge proportion of the population into unlawful marriages.
  • Child weddings:
  • Despite the legal age of marriage for women being kept at 18, child marriages continue to occur in India, with a decrease in such marriages due to increased girl’s education and employment options rather than the existing law.
  • Negatively influence marginalised communities:
  • The law would become coercive, and it would disproportionately affect marginalised people, such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who would become lawbreakers.

Significance

  • Both genders will be equal:With this decision, the government will equalise the marriage age for men and women.
  • Child marriages should be prohibited, and minors should not be abused: The law establishes a minimum age for marriage in order to effectively prohibit child weddings and protect kids from abuse.
  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 both provide that women and men must be 18 and 21 years old, respectively, to consent to marriage.
  • These laws are anticipated to be changed in order to implement the new marriage age.

 

4. Program for Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem in India

#GS3- Effects Of Liberalization,Changes In Industrial Policy

Context

  • A 76,000 crore scheme to expand semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country has been approved by the Union Cabinet.

In depth information

Concerning the Program

  • The Program for the Development of India’s Semiconductor and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem intends to give a globally competitive incentive package to semiconductor and display manufacturing companies, as well as design firms.
  • By facilitating finance support and technological cooperation, the programme will boost semiconductor and display manufacturing.
  • The move was made to assist enterprises and consortiums working in Silicon Semiconductor Fabs, Display Fabs, Compound Semiconductors/Silicon Photonics/Sensors Fabs, Semiconductor Packaging, and Semiconductor Design with attractive incentive support.

Program Components in General

1.Display Fabs and Semiconductor Fabs

  • This will provide eligible applicants with financial assistance of up to 50% of the project cost.
  • The federal government will work closely with the states to construct High-Tech Clusters with the necessary land, semiconductor-grade water, high-quality power, logistics, and research infrastructure.

2.SCL (Semiconductor Laboratory):

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) will take the necessary efforts to modernise and commercialise the Semiconductor Laboratory (SCL).
  • MeitY will look into the prospect of a SCL-commercial fab partner forming a joint venture to modernise the brownfield fab plant.

3.Companies that design semiconductors:

  • For the next five years, the Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme will provide a product design linked incentive of up to 50% of qualifying spending and a product deployment linked incentive of 6%–4% on net sales.
  • 100 domestic semiconductor design companies will receive support for Integrated Circuits (ICs), Chipsets, System on Chips (SoCs), Systems, and IP Cores.

4.India’s Semiconductor Initiative:

  • A dedicated and independent ISM will be established to push long-term plans for developing sustainable semiconductors and display ecosystems.
  • The ISM will be led by semiconductor and display industry specialists from around the world.
  • It will serve as a focal point for the efficient and smooth deployment of the semiconductor and display ecosystem strategies.

5.Chips for Startups is a programme that provides financial assistance to small businesses.

  • He said that this programme would produce 85,000 well-trained engineers. Semiconductor designers would be able to start their own businesses.
  • Under the design-linked incentive plan, the government would cover half of the cost.
  • A total of 35,000 high-quality direct jobs and 1 lakh indirect jobs would be created as a result of the programme.

 Significance

  • Trusted suppliers of semiconductors and displays are important to the security of critical information infrastructure in the current geopolitical environment.
  • The semiconductor strategy comes at a time when semiconductors are in short supply around the world.
  • The COVID-19 epidemic has disrupted supply, forcing many industrial centres to close for short periods of time.
  • With deeper integration into the global value chain, the semiconductor and display ecosystem will have a multiplier effect across different sectors of the economy.
  • The programme will encourage increased domestic value addition in electronics manufacturing, which will help the country reach a $1 trillion digital economy and $5 trillion GDP by 2025.
  • To ensure India’s digital sovereignty, the authorised initiative would spur innovation and strengthen indigenous capabilities.
  • It will also provide highly skilled job opportunities in order to capitalise on the country’s demographic dividend.

India’s Semiconductors

  • India imports all of its semiconductors while simultaneously benefiting from its position as a prominent worldwide semiconductor chip designer.
  • The establishment of Semiconductor Wafer Fabrication (FAB) operations in India has proved difficult.
  • In terms of fundamental infrastructure, India is lagging behind the curve.
  • Other global actors, particularly China, are always putting pressure on prices.

 

5. First Green Hydrogen Microgrid Project: Andhra Pradesh

#GS3-Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Conservation

Context

  • At its Simhadri (near Visakhapatnam) plant in Andhra Pradesh, National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd was recently granted the country’s first green hydrogen microgrid project.

In depth information

  • NTPC created this one-of-a-kind project arrangement in-house. It would serve as a stepping stone toward large-scale hydrogen energy storage projects. It corresponds to India’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2070.
  • The hydrogen would be created utilising a state-of-the-art 240 kW Solid Oxide Electrolyser that would be powered by a nearby Floating Solar installation.
  • NTPC had previously announced the development of India’s largest floating solar facility in Ramagundam, Telangana.
  • The hydrogen generated during the day will be kept at high pressure and then powered by a 50 kW Solid Oxide Fuel Cell.
  • A solid oxide fuel cell (also known as a SOFC) is an electrochemical conversion device that generates energy by oxidising a fuel.

Significance:

  • Helpful in the Deployment of Several Microgrids: The project will be beneficial in the future study and deployment of multiple microgrids in off-grid and important places across the country.
  • Clean energy production is a critical tool for combating climate change and limiting its disastrous consequences.
  • It will open up the possibility of decarbonizing the country’s far-flung regions, such as Ladakh, J&K, and others, which are reliant on diesel generators.
  • Decarbonization refers to the removal or reduction of gaseous carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere.
  • NTPC Renewable Energy Limited (NTPC REL) has also agreed to collaborate on a green hydrogen mobility project with the Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • Energy Security: Hydrogen fuel has the potential to transform India’s energy security, as the country imports 85 percent of its oil and 53 percent of its gas.
  • India is considering making it necessary for fertiliser factories and oil refineries to purchase green hydrogen in order to boost clean fuels.
  • For the City Gas Distribution (CGD) network, NTPC is also planning to use hydrogen for transportation by combining it with natural gas.

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