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Today’s News Diary 26-05-2022|A compilation of articles published today for UPSC CSE

National Achievement Survey 2021

In News: Ministry of Education releases National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 report.

About NAS

– The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education releases National Achievement Survey (NAS) report.
– The survey assesses the health of school education system in the country by conducting comprehensive evaluation survey of children’s learning competencies at classes III, V, VIII and X with a cycle period of three years.
– It reflects the overall assessment of school education system. The last NAS was held in 2017.

Objective of NAS

– The objective of NAS is to evaluate children’s progress and learning competencies as an indicator of the efficiency of the education system, so as to take appropriate steps for remedial actions at different levels.
– It helps to unravel the gaps in learning and will support state/UT governments in developing long term, mid-term and short-term interventions to improve learning levels and orient on differential planning based on NAS data.
– The achievement tests along with the questionnaires, i.e., pupil questionnaire, teacher questionnaire and school questionnaire are developed and translated in 22 different languages by NCERT.

About NAS 2021

– The NAS 2021 was held on 12.11.2021 at all India level and covered (a) Government Schools (Central Government and State Government); (b) Government Aided Schools; and (c) Private Unaided Schools.
– Subjects covered are Language, Mathematics & EVS for class 3 & 5; Language, Mathematics, Science & Social Science for class 8 and Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and English for class 10.

PRAGATI Interaction

In News: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the meeting of 40th edition of PRAGATI.

About PRAGATI

– PRAGATI is the ICT based multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation, involving Centre and State governments.
– PRAGATI is a unique integrated and interactive platform through which Hon’ble Prime Minister oversees the implementation of various government schemes, grievances, state and central related projects & programmes by directly interacting with all stake holders through Videoconferencing on a single platform.
– PRAGATI is aimed for a culture of Pro-Active Governance through online video conferencing & meetings and Timely Implementation of projects and schemes.
– It is also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.

World Economic Forum

In News: India projects itself as a reliable partner, stable economy and an attractive investment destination at World Economic at Davos.

About WEF

– Launched in 1971, WEF aims to “improve the state of the world”.
– Held every year in the Alpine ski resort of Davos, the conference puts leaders from business in the same room as key players from politics, charity and academia.
– Many use the opportunity to hold private meetings on things like investment in their countries, and as a chance to do business deals.  -High profile figures often use it to influence the global agenda.
– Every year some of the world’s top business people and politicians – plus a smattering of celebrities – gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (WEF)

PARAM PORUL

In News: PARAM PORUL, a state-of the art Supercomputer at NIT Tiruchirappalli dedicated to the nation under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).

Key Points

– PARAM PORUL supercomputing facility is established under Phase 2 of the NSM, where in majority of the components used to build this system have been manufactured and assembled within the country, along with an indigenous software stack developed by C-DAC, in line with the Make in India initiative.
– PARAM PORUL system is based on Direct Contact Liquid Cooling technology to obtain a high power usage effectiveness and thereby reducing the operational cost.
– Multiple applications from various scientific domains such as Weather and Climate, Bioinformatics, Computational Chemistry, Molecular Dynamics, Material Sciences, Computational Fluid Dynamics etc. has been installed on the system for the benefit of researchers.
– 
This high end computing system will be a great value addition for the research community.

About NSM

– India has showcased its talent on building supercomputers at low cost with its PARAM series.
– To further enhance its capacity and to meet requirements, Government of India launched National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) in 2015.
– Under NSM, the plan was to connect R&D institutions and academic institutions in the country using a supercomputing grid with more than 70 high performance computing facilities.
– Under NSM, till date 15 supercomputers have been installed across the nation with compute capacity of 24 petaflops.
– All these supercomputers have been manufactured in India and operating with indigenously developed software stack.

Lessons from Russia for India

Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: International Relations- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Lessons from Russia for India in news

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had many impacts, but one area which merits more attention is whether it has produced effects sufficient to alter our understanding of warfare.

Lessons from Russia for India- Key Changes in Warfare

  • Relevance of Tanks: The battle tank has been rendered obsolescent, because of the highly effective performance of anti-tank missiles such as the American-built Javelin or Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System in visiting destruction upon Russian T-90s.
    • But tanks have withstood past obituaries.
    • Fundamentally, at a tactical level, for the tank to be effective requires the use of infantry in close support of armoured operations.
    • As was the case in past wars in which the tank suffered losses, this is still absent in Russia’s strategy, which explains why the Russians have suffered such heavy tank losses.
    • As a standalone capability, the tank provides advantages in the form of a trinity of elements – firepower, mobility and protection.
    • No weapons platform for ground operations can serve as a credible substitute.
  • Role of new Technologies in warfare: emerging technologies such as cyber and digital technology, Artificial Intelligence, etc. have rendered obsolescent legacy platforms such as fighter planes, warships, and artillery weapons. However-
    • Emerging technologies cannot be a substitute for legacy platforms; they can at best enhance their performance.
    • If precision firepower is to be delivered against adversary targets, legacy systems will matter for launch of ordinance.
    • The devastating losses incurred by the Russian ground forces from drone and anti-tank attacks operating in Battalion Tactical Groups, comprising largely armour and artillery units and little infantry, seem to have convinced proponents that there is a change in the nature of warfare.
    • Infantry plays a key role in providing protection to any advancing tank column and retaliating when threatened.
    • This doesn’t herald a change in warfare, it is just poor tactics.
  • Role of Air Power: the failure of the Russians to effectively apply air power botched the invasion from the outset.
    • This has convinced proponents that air power is not consequential.
    • Indeed, Suppression of Enemy Air Defences should be the foremost requirement for any invading force.
    • Russia’s failure to neutralise Ukrainian air defences remains a glaring weakness.

UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Russia Ukraine War

Key Takeaway for India from Russia-Ukraine War

  • Investing in Warfare Technologies: India must invest more in sensors, electronic warfare, greater digitisation, satellite communications and unmanned systems not just for reconnaissance and surveillance, but also attack missions.
    • This does not require dispensing with legacy platforms, but rather making them more lethal and effective.
  • Developing Offensive Capabilities: India will also need greater missile forces to enhance its offensive capability.
    • The Indian armed forces will need to be proficient at combined arms warfare.
  • Role of Morale and Leadership: No amount of advanced technology can substitute or compensate for low morale and training, weak command, poor tactics and strategy.

The Editorial Analysis- The Learning Grounds of Ukraine

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Swachh Survekshan 2023

Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Swachh Survekshan 2023 in News

  • Recently, the Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has launched the eighth edition of Swachh Survekshan (SS) – SS 2023 under Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0, in a virtual event.

Key Points about Swachh Survekshan 2023

  • About: Swachh Survekshan 2023 reiterates the commitment towards moving towards a circular economy in waste management while tapping the immense scope of recovering value from waste.
  • Theme: Swachh Survekshan 2023 theme is ‘Waste to Wealth’ as its driving philosophy.
  • Significance: Swachh Survekshan 2023 is curated towards achieving circularity in waste management.
    • The Swachh Survekshan 2023 survey would give priority to the principle of 3Rs – Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
  • Evaluation Process: In SS 2023, the evaluation will be conducted in 4 phases, instead of 3 phases in earlier editions and citizen validation and field assessment of processing facilities is being introduced in the phase 3 also, in addition to phase 4.
    • This is because, It was observed that whenever the SS survey starts, there is enhanced level of activities undertaken by the cities and cities are visibly cleaner during the months the survey is conducted.
  • Key Features:
    • Source Segregation: In SS 2023, additional weightage has been given to source segregation of waste, enhancement of waste processing capacity of cities to match the waste generation and reduction of waste going to the dumpsites.
    • Plastic Pollution: Indicators have been introduced with additional weightage on emphasizing the need for phased reduction of plastic, plastic waste processing, encourage waste to wonder parks and zero waste events.
    • Cleanest Wards: Ranking of Wards within the cities is also being promoted through Swachh Survekshan 2023. The Mayors of the cities are being encouraged to participate in the ranking and felicitate the cleanest wards.
    • The cities would also be assessed on dedicated indicators on the issues of ‘open urination’ (Yellow Spots) and ‘open spitting’ (Red Spots), being faced by the cities.
    • Further, this year MoHUA is also promoting cleaning of back lanes of the residential and commercial areas.

Swachh Survekshan 2021- Swachh Survekshan Awards 2021 Declared

About Swachh Survekshan

  • About: Swachh Survekshan was introduced by MoHUA in 2016 as a competitive framework to encourage cities to improve the status of urban sanitation while encouraging large scale citizen participation.
  • Implementing Ministry: Swachh Survekshan survey is being implemented by Ministry of Housing and urban Affairs under its broader program- SBM(Urban) Scheme.
  • Importance: Over the years Swachh Survekshan has been an enabler for Mission acceleration in the cities.
    • Swachh Survekshan has led to a healthy competition among cities to improve their performance on sanitation parameters thereby improving sanitation services delivery to the citizens.
  • Performance: SS 2023 started in 2016 with only 73 cities with million plus population has grown manifold, with-
    • 434 cities in 2017,
    • 4,203 cities in 2018,
    • 4,237 cities in 2019,
    • 4,242 cities in SS 2020,
    • 4,320 cities in SS 2021, and
    • 4,355 cities in SS 2022, including 62 Cantonment Boards.

Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2021

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SSR
Relevance

  • GS 3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Scientific Social Responsibility UPSC: Context

  • Recently, Ministry of Science and Technology has released the Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Guidelines to harness the potential of the scientific community in achieving social goals.

Scientific Social Responsibility : Key points

  • Scientific Social Responsibility is in tune with the spirit of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • SSR is aimed at creating an effective ecosystem for optimum use of existing assets with an objective to empower the marginalised and exploited sections of society by enhancing their capacity and capability.
  • All central ministries and state governments are required to plan and strategize their SSR as per their respective mandates.

Scientific Social Responsibility DST: Key provisions of the guidelines

  • Evert scientist in the country is expected to contribute at least 10 days in a year towards Scientific Social Responsibility.
  • Such voluntary activities would be above and over their routine works and will be duly acknowledged in their annual performance appraisal.
  • The Ministry has enlisted 17 broad activities which can be taken up by the scientists as part of their SSR to bridge the gap between science and society.
  • The activities include:
    • Lectures by scientists in schools and colleges to inspire students to take up a career in science;
    • Mentoring of school students in their innovation projects;
    • Organising visits to planetariums, laboratories, science centres, skill development through training and workshops;
    • Delivering scientific talks on popular themes like artificial intelligence in simple language.
  • The guidelines would be applicable to scientists working in public and private knowledge institutions, government ministries and departments, and associated autonomous agencies.
  • As per the guidelines, individual and institutional SSR activities would be incentivised by the government with budgetary support.
  • The SSR activities would not be allowed to be outsourced or subcontracted.

Scientific Social Responsibility SERB: Benefits of SSR

  • Expanding the domain of science and its benefits to the community. Encouraging students into science through handholding and nurturing their interest.
  • Creating an opportunity for cooperation and sharing of S&T resources in laboratories with other researchers in universities and colleges.
  • Providing training for skill development and upgrading scientific knowledge.
  • Helping MSMEs, Start-ups and informal sector enterprises in increasing their overall productivity.
  • Facilitating scientific intervention in rural innovation.
  • Empowering women, disadvantaged and weaker sections of the society through scientific intervention.
  • Facilitating actions towards addressing Technology Vision 2035 Prerogatives and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the country such as water, ecology, health and livelihood.

Food Processing industry 

What is food processing?

  • Food processing meaning: Food processing means using any method to turn fresh food into food products.
  • It can involve processes like washing, chopping, pasteurising, freezing, fermenting, packaging, cooking, among others.
  • Example: apple to apple jam; mango to mango pickle, among others.

Food processing in India: Present situation

  • Presently, food processing grows at 8% while agriculture is growing at around 4%
  • Currently, only 2% of India’s fruits and vegetables production is processed while China and US process their 40% and 90%.
  • 75% market of food processing is in unorganised sector in India.
  • Currently, India ranks 5th in the world in terms of exports, production and consumption of processed food.

Potential of food processing in India

India has huge potential due to

  • 26 climatic conditions, 46 different soils thus huge variety in food.
  • Different region has different culture and thus different food.
  • India is the largest producer of pulses, banana, milk and second largest producer of rice, wheat, potato.
  • India is the net exporter of agricultural products.
  • Needs of celebrities and sportsperson to eat healthy food to remain fit.

Advantages of food processing

  • Employment generation: Food processing industry can provide employment of large section of Indian population, and can also reduce disguised unemployment in the agriculture sector.
  • Doubling farmers income: Given the growth of food processing sector in India and the potential India has, the sector is poised to grow further and contribute significantly in doubling farmer income.
  • Reduce malnutrition: India has more than 33 malnourished children. On the other hand, processed foods can also be fortified with additional nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber to boost the health profile of foods.
  • Decreases food inflation: Processed food reduces the impact of food inflation by making it available all around the year. E.g., Safal peas
  • Enhance consumer choice: Processed food provides more option to the consumers and hence enhances consumer choice.
  • Curb migration: Food processing can curb migration from rural areas to urban areas. If food processing will be taken up by the farmers and the small entrepreneurs, it will reduce migration and thus reduce the urban-rural divide.
  • Crop diversification: Food processing will also allow crop diversification and the crops under MSP will not be as lucrative as it is today.

Food processing India: Government steps

  • PM-Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PMFME) has been launched to provide financial, technical and business support for setting up/upgradation of 2 lakh micro food processing enterprises.
  • The expansion in the scope of “Operation Greens” scheme under Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana from Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) to all notified fruits & vegetables (TOTAL).
  • Production Linked Incentive scheme (PLIS) for Food Processing Sector with an outlay of Rs 10,900 crore to support creation of global food manufacturing champions and support Indian brands of food products in international market.
  • The Ministry is implementing a Central Sector Scheme–Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (PMKSY) for overall development of the food processing.
  • 100% FDI is permitted in the automatic route

International standards of food processing

  • Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures under WTO
  • CODEX by FAO

Challenges in food processing

  • Most processing took place at primary level. E.g., packet milk. Very few reaches the tertiary level (milk ice cream).
  • Week infrastructure: Food processing needs robust infrastructure like cold storage, transport, backward forward linkage. These facilities are missing in India
  • Restrictive legislation: APMC, market-distorting subsidies, GST on processed products. All these policies restrict the growth of food processing in India.
  • No ease of doing business, back ended grants (money given after project completion).
  • Issue of GM crops is still not resolved.
  • No proper training to undertake international standards like CODEX.
  • Branding of famous regional foods is not done at global level. Till now focus only on basmati rice, mango, tea. Crop diversification is missing.

National Women Legislators conference 2022

  • GS Paper 2: Indian Constitution- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

National Women Legislators conference 2022 in News

  • The President Ram Nath Kovind is expected to inaugurate the two-day National Women Legislators’ Conference-2022.

Key Facts about National Women Legislators conference 2022

  • Background: National Conference of Women Legislators was organized by the government in 2016 in New Delhi.
  • Key Focus Areas: The two-day National Women Legislators conference would discuss various topics of contemporary relevance centered on-
    • Women’s rights,
    • Gender equality,
    • Ample women’s representation in decision making bodies and so on.
  • Host State Assembly: National Women Legislators conference 2022 is being organized for the first time by the Kerala Legislative Assembly.
  • Venue: National Women Legislators conference 2022 is being organized at the Legislature Complex in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • Participation: Women legislators from the Parliament and State Legislatures are expected to participate in National Women Legislators conference 2022.
    • Union Ministers, Speakers, Deputy Speakers, and Members of Parliament are also expected to participate in National Women Legislators conference 2022.
  • Significance: National Women Legislators conference 2022 is being organized as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’ to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of Independence.
  • Key Sessions: National Women Legislators conference 2022 will have sessions on the following topics-
    • “Constitution and Women’s Rights”
    • “Role of Women in India’s Freedom Struggle”
    • “Women’s Rights and Legal Gaps”
    • “Under Representation of Women in Decision Making Bodies”

PoSH Act (Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act)

Key Facts about Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM)

  • About: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.
    • Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is an embodiment of all that is progressive about India’s socio-cultural, political, and economic identity.
  • Celebrating People of India: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is dedicated to the people of India who have been instrumental in bringing India thus far in its evolutionary journey.
    • People of India also hold within them the power and potential to enable the Prime Minister’s vision of activating India 2.0, fuelled by the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Beginning of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: The official journey of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” commenced on 12th March 2021 which starts a 75-week countdown to our 75th anniversary of Independence.
  • Categorize: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is envisioned to be celebrated in five categories –
    • Freedom Struggle,
    • Idea @75,
    • Achievements @75,
    • Action @75 and
    • Resolve @75

250th Birth Anniversary of Raja Ram Mohan Roy to be celebrated under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsava (AKAM)

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Exercise ‘Bongosagar’

Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: International Relations- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • GS Paper 3: Security- Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ in News

  • Recently, the third edition of Indian Navy (IN)- Bangladesh Navy (BN) Bilateral Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ commenced at Port Mongla, Bangladesh.
  • The Harbour Phase of ‘Bongosagar’ exercise is scheduled from 24-25 May which will be followed by a Sea Phase in the Northern Bay of Bengal from 26-27 May.

Key Facts about Exercise ‘Bongosagar’

  • About: Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ is a bilateral naval exercise between India and Bangladesh. ‘Bongosagar’ began in 2019.
  • Background: the first edition of Ex ‘Bongosagar’ was held in 2019 in Bangladesh. The second edition of ‘Bongosagar’ Exercise was held in 2020 in Northern Bay of Bengal.
  • Mandate: Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ is aimed at developing a high degree of interoperability and joint operational skills through the conduct of a wide spectrum of maritime exercises and operations between the two navies.
  • Participation: Indian Naval Ships Kora, an indigenously built Guided Missile Corvette, and Sumedha, an indigenously built Offshore Patrol Vessel are participating in the Exercise.
    • Bangladesh Navy is being represented by BNS Abu Ubaidah and Ali Haider, both Guided Missile Frigates.
  • Key Events: Ex ‘Bongosagar’ 2022 will be conducted in following two phases-
    • Harbour Phase: It includes professional and social interactions, and friendly sporting fixtures, in addition to the tactical level planning discussions on the conduct of the exercises at sea.
    • Sea Phase: It would facilitate ships from both the navies to participate in intensive surface warfare drills, weapon firing drills, seamanship evolutions and coordinated air operations in a tactical scenario.

EXERCISE VARUNA 2022

Significance of Exercise ‘Bongosagar’

  • Promoting Mutual Trust and Cooperation: Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ will promote cooperation and mutual trust between the two countries.
  • SAGAR Initiative: Exercise ‘Bongosagar’ shows the importance India accords to the Bangladesh as part of the SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) Vision.
  • Strengthening close cultural bonds and a shared vision of democratic society and a rules-based order between India and Bangladesh.

Exercise Lamitiye 2022 | India- Seychelles Joint Military Exercise

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Diversifying Plates For Girls

Relevance

  • GS 2: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.

Girls need more nutrition

  • Girls face more physiological demands than boys and thus require a higher intake of macro and micro nutrients.
  • Susceptibility of adolescent girls to anaemia is 40% compared to boys at 18%.
  • This is why promoting dietary diversity is crucial during adolescence, as dietary habits are in the formative stage and thus can be continued in adult life.

Why to focus on girls?

  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 data show an increase in anaemia among adolescent girls by 5% when compared to NFHS-4.
  • Similarly, the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2019 shows that even before the pandemic, consumption of diverse food groups among adolescents was low.
  • The fallout of COVID-19 has further worsened dietary diversity, especially of women, adolescents and children.
  • The lockdowns also led to the loss of mid-day meals and interruptions in Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) and nutrition education in schools for adolescent girls.
  • This was compounded by challenges in providing nutrition services to out-of-school adolescent girls which further increased their vulnerability to poor nutrition outcomes.

Recommendations

  • Along with continued service delivery of WIFS, the government’s health and nutrition policies need to emphasise on strong compliance to diverse diets and physical activities.
    • This includes locally sourced fruits and vegetables, seasonal diets, and the inclusion of millets.
    • We need to promote good nutrition among adolescents through Nutri-Smart schools (building kitchen gardens in schools).
  • we need to think beyond schools. Young girls need to be equipped with accurate information about adequate and appropriate diets so that they can act as change agents for their families, community, and peer groups.
    • Further, food diversification is required to be complemented with reformative steps such as the recent amendment of increasing the legal age of marriage for women from 18 years to 21 years.
  • Currently, 80% of adolescents suffer ‘hidden hunger’ due to micro nutrient deficiencies. The trend is more prevalent in girls as they already suffer multiple nutritional deprivations. We need to strengthen our policy initiatives to address deficiencies of not just iron and folic acid, but also vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc.
  • The design of POSHAN Abhiyan needs to be inclusive of the growing risk of non-communicable diseases and obesity among adolescents.
    • Since over 10% of adolescents are overweight in 12 States of India, strict action plans need to be devised against the sale and advertisement of unhealthy foods and beverages.

Qutub Minar

Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 1- Indian History- Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Qutub Minar in News

  • Recently the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) submitted in a Delhi court that the Qutub Minar complex is not a place of worship and its character cannot be changed now.
  • SAI responded in the court while opposing a plea challenging the dismissal of a civil suit seeking “restoration” of Hindu and Jain temples on the premises.

Qutub Minar Controversy- The Story So Far

  • A petition was filed in a court which claimed that 27 temples were demolished to build the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque at the Qutub Minar complex.
  • The petition was dismissed last year under the provisions of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
  • However, petitioner disputed it by saying that dismissal of the original suit based on the 1991 Act was wrong as the Qutub Minar complex comes under the purview of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958.
  • The ASI, however, submitted that the Qutub Minar complex was not a place of worship when it was first notified as a protected monument in 1914.
    • ASI explained that the character of a monument is decided on the date when it comes under protection.
    • ASI said that the petitioner cannot at this juncture seek to change the character of the monument.

National Monument Tag to Anang Tal Lake

About Qutub Minar                                                                   

  • About: Qutub Minar is a five-storeyed red sandstone tower (72.5 m high), construction of which begun in 1192 by Qutbu’d-Din Aibak and completed in 1198, using the demolished remains of Hindu temples.
  • Modification: Qutub Minar was enlarged by Iltutmish (1211-36) and again by Alauld-Din Khalji (1296-1316).
    • In 1503 Sikandar Lodi carried out some restoration and enlargement of the upper storeys.
  • Importance: Qutub Minar was built in thirteenth century by muslim rulers to commemorate their final triumph over the Rajput rulers of Delhi (Qutub means victory).
    • It also served as a tower from where muezzins (criers) call for prayer at the Quwwatu’l-Islam mosque nearby.
  • Iron Pillar within Qutub Complex: The iron pillar in the mosque compound was brought from elsewhere in India.
    • It bears a Sanskrit inscription from the 4th century AD describing the exploits of a ruler named Chandra, believed to be the Gupta King Chandragupta II (375-413).
  • Other Important Monuments in the Qutub Minar Complex: The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably-
    • The magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art (built in 1311), and
    • Two mosques, including the Quwwatu’l-Islam, the oldest in northern India, built of materials reused from some 20 Brahman temples.
  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site: Qutub Minar and its monuments were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Dholavira: A City of Harappan Civilization

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Net Zero India

Relevance

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Net Zero India: Context

  • World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched the India chapter of the Alliance of CEO climate action leaders to stimulate India’s climate action and decarbonisation efforts.

Net Zero India: Key points

  • It is part of the WEF’s Climate Action Platform and will build upon learnings from global projects such as the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders and the First Movers Coalition.
  • The alliance will serve as a high-level platform to support business leaders in planning and implementing programmes to achieve climate targets, including net-zero economic growth.
  • It will bring together the government, businesses and other key stakeholders to achieve the ambitious “Panchamrit” pledge, which includes the country’s target to become net-zero by 2070.
  • As a major global economy, India’s role in mitigating climate change is critical, and India Inc must add its full weight to the country’s efforts against global warming.
  • The alliance is an integral part of the comprehensive nature and climate action agenda in India, which includes
    • collaborative initiatives such as trillion trees,
    • moving India for rapid electric vehicle deployment,
    • clean energy financing,
    • Food Innovation Hubs,
    • Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics and Clean Skies for Tomorrow.

 

Net Zero India WEF: Why needed?

  • The signs of climate change with varying temperature and weather patterns impacting human lives are clearly visible to all of us. Hence, the global initiative and commitment towards climate change, is indeed a positive sign of hope.
  • It is possible for us to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius target from the Paris agreement if adequate steps are taken. Example: A number of initiatives have baeen launched— greening ourselves, decarbonising our industry and rejuvenating our planet —to make India carbon neutral by 2040.
  • A just transition could generate annual business opportunities worth over $10 trillion and create 395 million jobs worldwide by 2030. India alone could create more than 50 million net new jobs and generate over $15 trillion in economic value.
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