- A) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
- Explained: What is Stardust 1.0, the first rocket to run on biofuel? (IE)
- Explained: South African Covid variant (IE)
- B) Art, Culture and History
- Lingaraj Temple (TH)
- Sri Thyagaraja (TH)
- C) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
- Subordinate Legislation and parliamentary control over executive (TH)
- National Population Register (NPR) (TH)
- D) Miscellaneous
- Hawk-Eye Live system (TH)
A) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
Explained: What is Stardust 1.0, the first rocket to run on biofuel? (IE)
- Context: On January 31, Stardust 1.0 was launched from Loring Commerce Centre in Maine, US, a former military base, becoming the first commercial space launch powered by biofuel, which is non-toxic for the environment as opposed to traditionally used rocket fuels.
- The launch marks another historic first for Maine since Stardust 1.0 has become the first commercial rocket launch for the state located in the northeastern US.
So, what is Stardust 1.0?
- Stardust 1.0 is a launch vehicle suited for student and budget payloads. The rocket is 20 feet tall and has a mass of roughly 250 kg. The rocket can carry a maximum payload mass of 8 kg.
- Last year in October, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space company called Blue Origin, tested a rocket system called New Shephard.
- The rocket system is meant to take tourists to space eventually and offers flights to space over 100 km above Earth and accommodation for payloads.
Explained: South African Covid variant (IE)
- Context: The latest South African variant (at least the third one after U.K. and Brazil) known as B.1.351, is different from the one in Britain and appears to be more infectious than the original virus and could render vaccine and antibody protection less effective and thereby, spread rapidly across dozens of countries in a short span of time.
- The South African variant carries a mutation called N501Y that appears to make it more contagious or easy to spread.
- This South African variant has become a major cause of worry for the scientists because of its unusually large number of mutations, especially in the spike protein, which the virus uses to gain entry into the cells within the human body.
- Notably, the spike protein is also the part of the virus targeted by Covid-19 vaccines and antibody treatments.
All about Mutation in cells
- A mutation is a change in a DNA sequence. This results in changes in the proteins that are made. This can be a bad or a good thing.
- Mutations can result from DNA copying mistakes made during cell division, exposure to ionizing radiation, exposure to chemicals called mutagens, or infection by viruses.
- Often cells can recognise any potentially mutation-causing damage and repair it before it becomes a fixed mutation.
- Mutations contribute to genetic variation within species.
- Mutations can also be inherited, particularly if they have a positive effect.
- For example, the disorder sickle cell anaemia is caused by a mutation in the gene that instructs the building of a protein called haemoglobin. This causes the red blood cells to become an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape. However, in African populations, having this mutation also protects against malaria.
- However, mutation can also disrupt normal gene activity and cause diseases, like cancer.
B) Art, Culture and History
3.Lingaraj Temple (TH)
- Context: The controversy over the destruction of ancient monuments (previously unknown 10th century temples) around the 11th century Lingaraj Temple in Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar amid a State-sponsored redevelopment drive (Ekamra Kshetra Heritage Project), spiralled with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) stating that irreparable damage had been done to the temple and ancient shrines around it.
- Suka-Sari temple complex (close to the Shree Lingaraj Temple) and Lord Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar are protected by the ASI under the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remain Act, 1958.
- The Act states that a prohibited area comprises up to 100 metres in all directions from a protected monument, while a regulated area comprises up to 200 metres around such monuments.
- Repairs, renovation and new constructions within 300 meters of the protected area are allowed only in extraordinary cases after obtaining a no-objection certificate from the national monument authority or state director of culture.
- “Municipal workers were removing encroachments as well as digging up the ground to level and beautify it. When we inspected the site, we saw some vital signs that signified the presence of ancient structures in and around the Suka-Sari temples.”
- These recent findings now have the archaeologists believing that the Suka-Sari temple complex could have been built in the Panchayatana style, where the main temple is surrounded by four sub-shrines.
- Lingaraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva.
- The 55-metre-tall temple is known as ‘Ekamravan Kshetra’ in Bhubaneswar.
- One typical form of the North Indian style is seen in the early temples at Orissa, such as the graceful 8th-century Parashurameshvara Temple at Bhubaneshwar, a city that was a great centre of temple-building activity.
- From the 10th century a characteristic Oriya style developed that exhibited a greater elevation of the wall and a more elaborate spire.
- The 11th-century Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneshwar is an example of the Oriya style in its fullest development.
- The Lingaraja Temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namely, vimana (structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor.
- In the later temples of Orissa, including the Lingaraja, there are two additional shrines attached along one axis – in front of the Jagamohana, a natamandapa, or a hall of dance and music, and a bhogmandapa, a hall of offerings.
- As a matter of fact, the temple was a total work of art in which we have not only sculptures and painting, but music, dancing and theatrical performance, making it a true civic centre for artistic and cultural activities, somewhat like the modern community halls, which are places for social and cultural gatherings.
The evolution of Orissan temple architecture
- Temples as free-standing structures came to Orissa after the Gupta period through Dakshina Kosala.
- The Hindu hegemony of Bhaumakaras, Somavamsis and Gangas inspired the Orissan architects to carry on the spirit of creating their own style of architectural temple representations without any Islamic or Persian influence.
- The period thus ranges from 6th century A.D. to 16th century A.D.
- The Indian temples in general are divided into three categories based on their geographical location and peculiar features:
- The Northern Indian temples branded as Nagara Style of Architecture.
- The temples of Deccan belong to the Vesara style.
- The third category is called Dravida Style found in South India.
- The Orissan temple architecture ranging from 7th to 13th century A.D. however corresponds to an altogether different category for their unique representations called Kalingan Style of temple architecture.
- Though broadly they come under the Northern style or Nagara style, they have certain special features which are unique of their own.
- The Orissan temples are of three types:
- Khakhara Deula
- Rekha Deula Pidha or
- Bhadra Deula
- In the formative period of Orissan temple architecture, there were only two structures of the temples.
- The first is original sanctum or Vimana or Bada Deula.
- The second is Jagamohana or Mukhasala.
- The sanctum of the temple is of Rekha order which has a curvilinear superstructure. But the Jagamohana standing before the main structure is of Pidha order.
- The Pidhas form several tiers sitting one upon the other rising to a pinnacle.
- With the march of time the Oriya architects began to invent new forms of structure. Thus, in big temples we find four structures –
- Vimana or Bada Deula
- Jagamohana or Mukhasala or Hall of Audiences
- Nata Mandira or Festive Hall
- Bhoga Mandapa or the Hall of Offerings
- The constructive peculiarities of Orissan temple are marked by uniqueness. The architects perceived the temple in the form of a human male figure or Purusha. Like human physical divisions of leg, thigh, waist, chest, neck and head, the temple had similar shapes and structures.
- The main temple of Orissa is always of Rekha designs with these special features.
- From the ground Vimana rises vertically to a height and then the temple slowly inclines inward is a curvilinear design up to the Beki or neck.
- Above the Beki is the portion called Mastaka or crown which consists of the Amlaka, inverted Kalasa and Dhvaja.
- Finally comes the mark of the deity – trident or trishul in case of a Siva temple and a discuss or Chakra in case of a Vishnu temple.
- The crown portion is called Khapuri or stone cap resembling an unfolded umbrella.
- Over the Ayudha there may be a flag as auspicious mark. Thus, a temple is represented as a Purusha.
- The two areas where temple architecture developed most markedly were the Deccan and Orissa and in both these areas the northern and southern style temples can be found side by side.
- The Vimana, the temple tower over the main shrine in Orissa is one of the most glorious inventions of architecture in India and is functionally a much finer conception than the south Indian Gopuram, where the barrel-shaped tower does not crown the sanctum sanctorum or the garbha-griha but is a glorified entrance gate.
- The architect wanted to impart to the temple more importance, prominence than the other buildings in the neighbourhood, because here lived his God in the garbha griha or the womb-house.
- The Orissan spire does precisely this, proclaiming the presence of God far and wide, from its lofty and imposing structure as at the Jagannath temple at Puri or the Lingaraja at Bhubaneswar.
- Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneswar marked the culmination of the evolution of Orissan temple architecture.
- Exactly a century later started the construction of Jagannath temple with the final product of Orissan architects – that was the temple of Konark.
Sri Thyagaraja (TH)
- Context: Scores of musicians and instrumentalists rendered ‘Pancha Ratna kritis’ in unison at the samadhi of Sri Thyagaraja on the banks of the Cauvery at Tiruvaiyaru, marking the high point of the 174th aradhana of the saint-composer.
- Kakarla Thyagabrahmam, populary known as Thyagaraja is one of the foremost devotees of Lord Rama.
- He is among the great composers who gave shape to Carnatic Music, the classical musical tradition of Southern India.
- Though born at Thiruvarur, in Tamil Nadu and proficient in Tamil, this poet saint composed thousands of soulful songs on Lord Rama in Telugu.
- Thyagaraja harnessed various scales exploring musical depths and ranges, bequeathing a multi-dimensional content of lasting value in the form of his krithis.
- Naama, roopa and guna varnanam are the descriptive presentation of the glory of Lord Rama in the compositions of Thyagaraj
- Through his works, he created a Ramabhakthi Samrajyam – a kind of spiritual feeling in the songs using a matrix of musical scales.
C) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
5.Subordinate Legislation and parliamentary control over executive (TH)
- Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed the Lok Sabha that in the wake of covid-19 parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation had granted it extension till April 9, 2021 to frame the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 Rules.
- Without the rules being notified, the Act remains ineffective.
- The Parliament makes laws in a skeleton form and authorises the Executive to make detailed rules and regulations within the framework of the parent law. This is known as delegated legislation or executive legislation or subordinate legislation.
- Such rules and regulations are placed before the Parliament for its examination.
- In view of newer areas emerging, law-making today has become not only time consuming but also an increasingly complicated and technical affair. Provision is, therefore, made for delegated legislation to obtain flexibility, elasticity, expedition and opportunity for experimentation.
Committee on Subordinate Legislation
- This committee examines and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules and bye-laws delegated by the Parliament or conferred by the Constitution to the Executive are being properly exercised by it.
- In both the Houses, the committee consists of 15 members including the Chairman.
- All are nominated by the Chairman/Speaker (depending upon the house to which it belongs).
- The Committee holds office until a new Committee is nominated. Normally, the Committee is re-constituted every year.
- Note: The Committee on Papers Laid on the Table does not examine statutory notifications and orders that fall under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation.
- A Minister is not eligible for election or nomination to the Financial Committees, Departmental Standing Committees, and Committees on Empowerment of Women, Government Assurances, Petitions, Subordinate Legislation and Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- The Speaker/chairman may also refer Bills containing provisions for delegation of legislative powers to the Committee.
- Functions of the Committee is to scrutinise that each rule, regulation, bye-law, scheme or other statutory instrument framed by the executive passes the following criteria:
- (1) whether it is in accord with the provisions of the Constitution or the Act pursuant to which it is made;
- (2) whether it contains matter which in the opinion of the Committee should more properly be dealt within an Act of Parliament;
- (3) whether it contains imposition of taxation;
- (4) whether it directly or indirectly bars the jurisdiction of the court;
- (5) whether it gives retrospective effect to any of the provisions in respect of which the Constitution or the Act does not expressly give any such power;
- (6) whether it involves expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India or the public revenues;
- (7) whether it appears to make some unusual or unexpected use of the powers conferred by the Constitution or the Act pursuant to which it is made;
- (8) whether there appears to have been unjustifiable delay in its publication or laying it before Parliament (under this the Home Ministry had sought extension in framing of rules from the parliamentary committee)
- On the recommendations contained in the reports of the Committee, the Government is required to take action within six months and keep the Committee informed of the action taken or proposed to be taken in each case.
- The Action Taken by the Government on the recommendations/observations of the Committee are examined and included in the Action taken Report which is also presented to the House.
- Judiciary has classified the judicial review into the following three categories:
- 1. Judicial review of constitutional amendments.
- 2. Judicial review of legislation of the Parliament and State Legislatures and subordinate legislations.
- 3. Judicial review of administrative action of the Union and State and authorities under the state.
- With reference to the Parliament of India, which of the following Parliamentary Committees scrutinizes and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, by-laws, etc. conferred by the Constitution or delegated by the Parliament are being properly exercised by the Executive within the scope of such delegation? (IAS 2018)
(a) Committee on Government Assurances
(b) Committee on Subordinate Legislation
(c) Rules Committee
(d) Business Advisory Committee
National Population Register (NPR) (TH)
- Context: The Union Home Ministry has informed a parliamentary panel that “right kind of messaging will be done to tackle the miscommunication and rumours around NPR and Census”.
- The first phase of house listing and housing census and the National Population Register (NPR) was to be rolled out in some States on April 1 last year but was postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.
- The parliamentary committee, while discussing the demands for grants had observed that there was a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among people regarding the coming NPR and Census.
- Home Ministry has clarified that, as per the provisions contained in Section 15 of the Census Act, 1948, all individual level information collected in Census are confidential.
What is the National Population Register (NPR)?
- The NPR is a database of usual residents in the country who have stayed in a local area for the past six months or more and who intend to remain in the same place for the next six months or more.
- The NPR is individual and identity specific unlike the Census which only provides information on the status of the residents of India and population swings.
- The NPR database was first created in 2010.
- The electronic database of more than 119 crore usual residents of the country has already been created under the NPR in English as well as the regional languages.
- The data collection is done under the aegis of the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.
- The NPR is undertaken under the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- The NPR was last updated, except in Assam and Meghalaya, in 2015-16.
- The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 mandates that particulars of “every family and individual” in the NPR would be used for verification in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process.
- The Local Registrar is empowered, during verification, to mark out the particulars of individuals whose citizenship is doubtful, with “appropriate remarks” for further enquiry.
- The individual concerned has to then appear before the Sub-district or Taluk Registrar of Citizen Registration to prove he or she is a citizen before a formal decision is taken to include or to exclude their particulars in the National Register of Indian Citizens.
- The onus to prove he or she is a citizen is entirely on the individual concerned.
- Thus, the data collected through NPR becomes the crux for determining the citizenship of a person.
What is the NPR format of 2010?
- Fifteen identity particulars of the individual members of the household are sought in the 2010 format. These include name, relationship to the head of the household, sex, date of birth, marital status, educational qualification, occupation/activity, names of parents, place of birth (of everybody staying in the household at the time), nationality, present address of usual residence, duration of stay at the present address and permanent residential address.
What does the updated manual of 2020 say?
- The NPR 2020 enumeration exercise will be undertaken during April–September this year. Certain new information will be collected by enumerators in a house-to-house collection exercise such as Aadhaar, mobile, voter ID, passport and driving license, if available with the residents on a voluntarily basis. Unlike in the 2010 NPR, the new format for NPR 2020 requires residents to disclose their mother tongue and the places and dates of birth of their parents even if they are not living in the same household at the time or not alive. Individuals have to disclose the districts and States of their parents’ birth.
7.Hawk-Eye Live system (TH)
- The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has decided to do away with line-officials and bring in the Hawk-Eye Live system for all hardcourt Masters 1000 events that will take place this year.
- The live-calling system – which makes instantaneous decisions on balls that are long or wide – will first feature this year at the tune-up events in Australia, along with the Australian Open.
- This will be the second Grand Slam – after US Open 2020 – to implement this feature.
- This pandemic-time measure to introduce the Hawk-Eye Live system, according to Tennis Majors, is aimed to decongest the court during a tennis match.
- Hawk-Eye’s Electronic Line Calling service takes the doubt out of close line calls by using the most sophisticated millimetre accurate ball tracking cameras to identify whether a ball has bounced in our out.
- In addition, Hawk-Eye’s SMART Replay technology can deliver instant video replays to assist officials with close decisions on foot faults or line calls on clay courts.
What impact will it have on line-umpires?
- There’s a possibility that the conveyor belt of top-chair umpires will be affected by implementing the technology. To become a chair umpire, one has to start by officiating along the lines of the tennis court.
- Removing line-umpires from events like the Masters and Grand Slams – where the best players in the world compete – may take away the experience an official may need to become a strong chair umpire. It also deprives those at the bottom of the chain of employment.