Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Daily Current Affairs 24th August

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 24th August-2021

Daily Current Affairs 24th August – Topics

  • Ubharte Sitaare: Alternative Investment Fund
  • Indus Valley Civilization (IVC): linguistic culture
  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI): Geo-Tourism in Northeast
  • Global: Rise in Heat Waves
  • Moral policing in India.

 

  1. Ubharte Sitaare: Alternative Investment Fund

#GS3 #Growth & Development, Mobilization of Resources, Industrial Policy

Context:

  • The Ministry of Finance recently established the ‘Ubharte Sitaare’ Alternative Investment Fund to facilitate debt and equity funding for export-oriented MSMEs (Micro Small and medium Enterprises).
  • The fund is expected to identify Indian businesses that have potential advantages but are currently underperforming or unable to capitalize on their latent growth potential.

In details:

  • An identified company is supported under the scheme even if it is currently underperforming or may be unable to tap its latent potential for growth.
  • The scheme identifies such challenges and offers assistance in the form of a structured support package that includes equity, debt, and technical assistance. It will also have a Rs 250 crore Greenshoe Option.
  • A greenshoe option is an over-allotment option, which is a common term for a special arrangement in a share offering, such as an IPO (Initial Public Offering), that allows the investment bank to support the share price after the offering without putting their own capital at risk.
  • Exim Bank and SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) have jointly established the fund, which will invest in it through equity and equity-like products in export-oriented units in both the manufacturing and services sectors.

Criteria for Selecting Companies:

1.Unique value:

  • Companies will be chosen for assistance based on their unique value proposition in technology, products, or processes that meet global requirements;

2.Financial Strength:

  • Fundamentally strong companies with acceptable financials and an outward orientation; small and mid-sized companies with the ability to penetrate global markets and an annual turnover of up to Rs 500 crore.

3.Business Model:

  • Companies with a good business model, strong management capabilities, and focus on product quality.

4.Support:

  • Eligible companies can receive financial and advisory assistance in the form of equity/equity-like instruments, term loans for modernization, technology, or capacity enhancement, and technical assistance for product adaptation, market development activities, and viability studies.

Objectives:

  • To boost India’s competitiveness in specific sectors through financing and extensive hand holding.
  • Identify and nurture companies with differentiated technology, products, or processes, and help them expand their export business; assist units with export potential that are unable to scale up their operations due to a lack of funds.
  • Identify and mitigate challenges that successful companies face that impede their exports.
  • Through a strategic and structured export market development initiative, assist existing exporters in broadening their product basket and targeting new markets.

 

Alternative Investment Fund

  •    Alternative investments include anything that is not a traditional form of investment.
  • Regulation 2(1)(b) of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 defines AIFs in India.
  •     It refers to any privately pooled investment fund (whether from Indian or foreign sources), in the form of a trust, a company, a body corporate, or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), that is not currently covered by any SEBI Regulation governing fund management and is not directly regulated by any other sectoral regulator in India.
  •   Thus, venture capital funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, commodity funds, debt funds, infrastructure funds, and so on are all included in the definition of AIFs.

 

2.Indus Valley Civilization (IVC): linguistic culture

#GS1 #Ancient Indian History # Indian Heritage & Culture

Context:

  • A new research paper has shed some light on the Indus Valley Civilization’s linguistic culture (IVC).
  • Previously, a study discovered that the diet of the people of IVC was dominated by meat, including extensive consumption of beef.
  • UNESCO designated the Harappan city of Dholavira in Gujarat as India’s 40th world heritage site in July 2021.

In details

Indus Valley Civilization

  • The Indus civilization, also known as the Indus valley civilization, is the Indian subcontinent’s earliest known urban culture.
  • It is also known as the Harappan Civilization, after the first city to be discovered, Harappa (Punjab, Pakistan).
  • The Indus civilization was the most extensive of the world’s three earliest civilizations (the other two being Mesopotamia and Egypt).

Time Period:

  • It was founded around 3300 BC. It thrived between 2600 and 1900 BC. It began to decline around 1900 BC and vanished around 1400 BC.

Geographical Extent:

  • Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Western Uttar Pradesh were all covered.
  • It stretched from Sutkagengor (in Balochistan) in the west to Alamgirpur (in Western Uttar Pradesh) in the east, and from Mandu (in Jammu) in the north to Daimabad (in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra) in the south. Some Indus Valley sites have also been discovered in Afghanistan.

Important Sites:

  • Lothal, Dholavira, Rangpur, Surkotda (Gujarat), Banawali (Haryana), and Ropar (Rajasthan) (Punjab).
  • In Pakistan, there are three archaeological sites: Harappa (on the Ravi River), Mohenjodaro (on the Indus River in Sindh), and Chanhudaro (in Sindh).

Some Significant Characteristics:

  • The Indus Valley cities exhibit a level of sophistication and advancement not seen in other modern civilizations.
  • Most cities followed a similar pattern. There were two sections: a citadel and the lower town, which demonstrated the presence of hierarchy in society.
  • A Great Bath could be found in almost every city.
  • There were also granaries, two-story burnt brick houses, closed drainage lines, an excellent stormwater and wastewater management system, weights for measurements, toys, pots, and so on.
  • A plethora of seals have been discovered.

Agriculture:

  • Cotton cultivation was practised by the first civilization.
  • Domesticated animals included sheep, goats, and pigs.
  • Wheat, barley, cotton, ragi, dates, and other crops were grown.
  • Trade was conducted with the Sumerians (Mesopotamia).

Metal products, such as copper, bronze, tin, and lead, were manufactured. Gold and silver were also available.

  • They had never heard of iron.

Beliefs in God:

  • There have been no discoveries of temples or palaces.
  • People worshipped both male and female deities.
  • A seal known as the ‘Pashupati Seal’ was discovered, and it depicts a three-eyed figure.

Pottery:

  • Excellent examples of red pottery with black designs have been discovered.
  • Beads, bangles, earrings, and vessels were all made from faience.

Forms of Art:

  • A statuette known as the ‘Dancing Girl’ was discovered in Mohenjodaro and is thought to be 4000 years old.

IVC & Dravidian Language:

  • IVCs are descended from Proto-Dravidian, the ancestral language of all modern Dravidian languages.
  • A significant portion of the IVC population’s basic vocabulary items must have been proto-Dravidian, or ancestral Dravidian languages must have been spoken in the Indus Valley region.
  • Ancestral Dravidian language speakers had a greater historical presence in northern India, including the Indus Valley region, from which they migrated.
  • In the Indus Valley region, Proto-Dravidian was one of several languages spoken.
  • According to the study, more than one or one group of languages were spoken across the one-million square kilometre area of IVC.

IVC & Other Civilizations:

  • Few words in Akkadian (an ancient Mesopotamian language) had roots in the Indus Valley.
  • The study considered the IVC’s thriving trade relations with the Persian Gulf as well as Mesopotamia.
  • Mesopotamian civilizations arose along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now Iraq and Kuwait.
  • Elephant ivory was a sought-after luxury item in the ancient Near East, and archaeological and zoological evidence confirms that the Indus Valley was the sole supplier of ivory to the ancient Near East from the mid-third to early-second millennium BC.
  • The Near East is typically defined as the lands surrounding the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, including northeastern Africa, southwestern Asia, and, on rare occasions, the Balkan Peninsula.
  • Because ancient Persia’s people served as intermediaries between Mesopotamia and IVC traders, exporting IVC’s ivory, they arguably spread the Indic language to Mesopotamia as well.

 

3.The Geological Survey of India (GSI): Geo-Tourism in Northeast

#GS3 #Conservation #GS1 # Geographical Features and their Location

Context

  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) recently identified geological sites in the Northeast for geotourism promotion.
  • Twelve Northeast locations are among the country’s 32 approved geotourism or geo-heritage sites.

Key details:

Geo-heritage Sites:

  • Geo-heritage refers to geological features that are intrinsically or culturally significant, providing insight into Earth’s evolution or history to earth science, or that can be used for education.
  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is the parent organisation responsible for identifying and protecting geo-heritage sites/national geological monuments in the country.
  • Marine Gondwana fossil park in Chhattisgarh; Siwalik vertebrate fossil park in Himachal Pradesh; Stromatolite park in Rajasthan; Pillow lava in Karnataka, Eparchaean unconformity and Tirumala hills in Andhra Pradesh, Lonar Lake in Maharashtra, and others are among these sites.

Geo Tourism:

  • Geotourism is defined as “tourism that preserves or improves a place’s geographical character – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”
  • It will increase community involvement, boost the local economy, and instil a sense of pride in local culture and tradition.
  • India is a country with diverse physical characteristics, a rich cultural heritage, and an eventful ancient history, and its subcontinent bears the imprints of various geological processes over time and is a treasure trove of intriguing geological features.

Geo-heritage sites in Northeast:

  1. Majuli (Assam):
  • A river “island” in the Brahmaputra, one of the world’s largest.
  • Because of a number of ‘satras’ or Vaishnav monasteries established by the 15th-16th century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciples, the island is also a spiritual hub in Assam.
  1. Arunachal Pradesh’s Sangetsar Tso:
  • Madhuri Lake is the most well-known name for it.
  • It is located near the Tibetan border and was formed as a result of a river damming during a major earthquake in 1950.
  1. Loktak Lake (Manipur) is the Northeast’s largest freshwater lake.
  • The phumdis, or floating biomass, and the phumsangs, or fishermen’s huts, are the main draws of this lake.
  • The Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world’s only floating wildlife habitat, is located on the lake’s southwestern shore and is the last natural habitat of the sangai, or brow-antlered dancing deer.
  1. Others
  • Mawmluh Cave, Mawblei or God’s Rock, Therriaghat (Meghalaya); Umananda (Assam), Chabimura, Unakoti (Tripura); Sangetsar Tso (Arunachal Pradesh); Reiek Tlang (Mizoram); Naga Hill Ophiolite (Nagaland); Stromatolite Park (Nagaland); Stromatolite Park (Nagaland); Stromato (Sikkim).
Geological Survey of India

  •   It was founded in 1851 with the primary goal of locating coal deposits for the railways. GSI is currently an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.
  • The GSI’s primary functions are the creation and updating of national geoscientific information, as well as the assessment of mineral resource
  •   Its headquarters are in Kolkata.

 

  1. Global: Rise in Heat Waves

#GS2 #Issues related to Health #GS3 #Climate Change # Disaster Management

Context: According to a recent study, more than 3,56,000 people died as a result of extreme heat in 2019, and that figure is expected to rise in the future.

  • Recent global heat waves have been alarming in terms of global warming and have been attributed to climate change.

In details

Heat Waves:

  • A heat wave is a condition of high air temperature that can be fatal to the human body if it is exposed.
  • Heat waves are common in India between March and June, and in rare cases, they can last into July.
  • A heat wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, above the normal maximum temperature, that occurs during the summer season in India’s North-Western and South-Central regions.
  • To be classified as a heatwave, temperatures must reach at least 40°C in the plains and at least 30°C in the hilly regions, and must reflect an increase of at least 5°C-6°C above the normal temperature.

Heat Waves’ Impact:

  • Heat Strokes:
    • Extremely hot or humid conditions increase the risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
    • As the body’s ability to regulate heat deteriorates with age, older people and people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are more vulnerable to heatstroke.
  • Increased Healthcare Costs:
    • The effects of extreme heat have also been linked to an increase in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, as well as an increase in deaths from cardio-respiratory and other diseases, mental health issues, adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, and so on.
  • Reduces Worker Productivity:
    • Extreme heat reduces worker productivity, particularly among the more than 1 billion workers who are regularly exposed to high temperatures. These workers frequently report reduced work output as a result of heat stress.
  • Wildfire Risk:
    • Heat domes act as fuel for wildfires, which destroy a large amount of land area each year in countries such as the United States.
  • Prevents Cloud Formation:
    • The condition also prevents clouds from forming, allowing more sunlight to reach the ground.
  • Effect on Vegetation:
    • Heat trapping can also harm crops, dry out vegetation, and cause droughts.
  • Increased Energy Demands:
    • The sweltering heat wave raises energy demand, particularly for electricity, causing rates to rise.
  • Power Issues:
    • Heat waves are frequently high-fatality disasters.
    • Avoiding heat-related disasters is dependent on the electrical grid’s resilience, which can fail if electricity demand due to air conditioning use exceeds supply.
    • As a result, there is a double risk of infrastructure failure as well as health consequences.

Recommendations:

  • Cooling Measures:
    • Cooling measures that are both effective and environmentally sustainable can protect against the worst health effects of heat.
    • Increased green space in cities, wall coatings that reflect heat from buildings, and widespread use of electric fans and other readily available personal cooling techniques are among these.
  • Climate Change Mitigation:
    • Climate change mitigation can help reduce carbon emissions and prevent further warming of the planet.

Measures for Effective Prevention:

  • Identifying timely and effective prevention and response measures, particularly for low-resource settings, can aid in problem mitigation.

Initiatives Taken:

  • Global climate change forums, such as the World Health Organization, World Economic Forum, First Global Forum on Heat and Health, and Global Forum for Environment-OECD, focus on heat waves by investing in research on the health risks of extreme heat, climate and weather information, heat wave survival advice, partnerships and capacity building, and communication.
  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in India has issued guidelines on how to deal with heatwaves.
  • However, according to India’s Disaster Management Act, heatwaves are not considered a disaster (2005).

 

  1. Moral policing in India.

#GS2 #Fundamental Rights #Salient Features of Indian Society # Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions

Context: Police recently arrested five teenagers in connection with an attack on a 23-year-old man in Kerala. This attack is one of many instances of moral policing in India.

In details

Definition:

  • In its broadest sense, moral policing could refer to a system that imposes strict vigilance and restrictions on those who violate our society’s basic standards.
  • Our society’s fundamental standards can be found in its cultures, age-old customs, and religious doctrines.
  • It is a situation in which those who support this phenomenon question an individual’s moral character.

Manifestations of Moral Policing:

Lynching:

  • Lynching is a form of violence in which a mob executes a presumed offender under the guise of administering justice without trial, often after torturing and mutilating the victim.

Cow Vigilantism:

  • Cow vigilantism or lynching in the name of cow protection poses a serious threat to the nation’s secular fabric.
  • The killing of people solely on the suspicion of beef exemplifies the vigilantes’ intolerance.

Cultural terrorism:

  • Various extra-constitutional actors, such as Anti Romeo Squads, use physical violence to impose their subjective beliefs.
  • Honor killings are one of the most extreme examples of moral policing, which ostensibly curtails western influences by infringing on individual freedom.

Affecting Fundamental Rights:

  • There are many instances where moral policing impedes the citizen’s basic fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, such as the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to privacy, the right to live with dignity, and so on.
    • For example, as a result of moral policing, the LGBT community is facing severe consequences, and their fundamental right to life and liberty is under threat.

Factors Promoting Moral Policing:

  • Religious Values:
    • Cows are revered and worshipped in the Hindu religion because they are seen as a symbol of life.
    • This can sometimes lead to cow vigilantism, which is perpetrated by the majority against the minority on the assumption that the minorities consume bovine meat on a regular basis.
  • Platforms for Social Networking:
    • Platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook act as a catalyst for moral policing by amplifying the spread of fake news.
    • Fake news can lead to events such as lynching and communal clashes, among other things.
  • Patriarchy:
    • People with a patriarchal mindset see women’s security as their duty because they are perceived as the weaker sex and more gullible.
    • As a result, they would impose restrictions on women’s speech, attitude, clothing, public behavior, and so on.
  • Overreach by the Police:
    • The police are a public organization with extraordinary powers to use force. As a result, police officers frequently overstep their authority. For example, Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalised obscene materials such as books and paintings. The term obscenity, on the other hand, has not been defined.
    • However, police officers use Section 292 to file cases against obscene film posters and advertisement hoardings. This undermines artistic creativity and limits the freedom of expression of artists.
    • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (PITA) was enacted to combat human trafficking.
    • However, it has been used by police to raid hotels if they suspect a sex racket is operating there, even if there is no evidence, embarrassing legal couples and young people.

The Way Forward:

  • Reforming the Criminal Justice System:
    • Reforming the criminal justice system is necessary in order to instill sensitivity and awareness of constitutional values in the administration.
    • Judicial reforms, prison reforms, and police reforms are the three broad categories of criminal justice system reforms.
  • Public Debates and Discussions:
    • Public debates and discussions should be encouraged in schools and colleges to raise awareness and sensitization to various moral policing issues.

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