Daily Current Affairs

TODAY’s MOST POWERFUL DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS CONCEPTS-29TH-SEPT,2020

UPSC PRELIMS + MAINS

Index

  1. A) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues
  2. Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PIB)
  3. Bio-NEST Scheme (PIB)
  4. Recent Initiatives in School Education Sector (PIB)
  5. Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) (PIB)
  6. UMANG App (PIB)
  7. B) Science and Technology/Defence/Space
  8. Himalayan Chandra Telescope (PIB)
  9. Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) (PIB)
  10. Offset clause requirement (TH, pg 10)
  11. C) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
  12. Hydrogen enriched CNG (PIB)
  13. Green Strategic Partnership (PIB)
  14. D) Economy
  15. Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) (TH, pg 14)
  16. Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Scheme (TH, pg 14)
  17. E) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments
  18. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 (TH, pg 9)
  19. F) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations
  20. National Investigation Agency (NIA) (TH, pg 9)
  21. G) Art, Culture and History
  22. Qissagoi and Dastangoi (PIB)
  23. H) Miscellaneous
  24. Vasa and Guduchi

 

  1. A) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues
  2. Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PIB)
  • 1)Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana was announced in 2003 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:

Objectives

  • Correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/reliable tertiary healthcare services and;
  • To augment facilities for quality medical education and research; in underserved areas of the country

Components

  • PMSSY has two components:
  • (i) Setting up of AIIMS like institutions;
  • (ii) Upgradation of Government Medical Colleges/Institutions by setting-up Super Speciality Blocks.
  1. Bio-NEST Scheme (PIB):

  • Bio-NEST was launched by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) with a vision that focused on fostering the biotech innovation ecosystem in the country.
  • Bio-NEST program provides support to establish bio-incubators either as a standalone entity or as a part of the academia.

Aims

  • Provides incubation space to start-ups and entrepreneurs.
  • Connects industry and academia and enable interactions for efficient exchange of knowledge as well as facilitate technical and business mentorship.
  • Provides enabling services and required mentorship for IP and technology management, legal and contract, resource mobilization and networking platform.
  • Establishes an efficient governance model.
  1. Recent Initiatives in School Education Sector (PIB):

Samagra Shiksha (PIB)

  • A comprehensive program subsuming Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • For first time, it also includes provisions for support at the pre-school level, library grants and grants for sports and physical equipment.
  • The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education (SDG-4).

Swayam

  • Swayam platform offers 10 courses of Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) and more than 13 lakh unqualified teachers have enrolled for this diploma.

UDISE+

  • UDISE+, an updated online real-time version of UDISE (Unified District Information on School Education) has been launched with three additional features – GIS mapping, data verification through third-party mobile application and data analytics.

Performance Grading Index (PGI)

  • PGI, Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched a 70-point Performance Grading Index (PGI) to assess areas of deficiency in each state’s school education system so that targeted interventions can be made at every level from pedagogy to teacher training.

ICT driven initiatives

  • Shaala Sidhi: to enable all schools to self-evaluate their performance.
  • e-Pathshala: providing digital resources such as textbooks, audio, video, periodicals etc.
  • Saransh: an initiative of CBSE for schools to conduct self-review exercises.

 4)Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) (PIB):

  • Under the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides financial assistance to patients belonging to families living below State/UT-wise threshold poverty lines and who are suffering from major life-threatening diseases/cancer/rare diseases, to receive medical treatment at Government hospitals.
  • Financial assistance up to Rs.15 lakh is provided for eligible patients in the form of a ‘one-time grant’ to the Medical Superintendent of the Government hospital where the treatment is being received.
  • Funding pattern of Scheme: Budgetary provisions are made to fund the RAN Scheme.
  • The scheme has three components, namely:
  • (i) Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) – to provide financial assistance to patients suffering from life-threatening diseases other than Cancer,
  • (ii) Health Minister’s Cancer Patients Fund (HMCPF) – to provide financial assistance to patients suffering from Cancer; and
  • (iii) Scheme for financial assistance for patients suffering from specified rare diseases.
  • As per the policy, the assistance of Rs 15 lakh will be provided to patients suffering from rare diseases that require a one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme and that the beneficiaries would not be limited to families below the poverty line. Instead, support would be extended to 40% of the population in accordance with the norms of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
  • In a bid to speed up the assistance to the needy patients, revolving funds have been set up at 14 Government hospitals for RAN and Rare Diseases component and 27 Regional Cancer Centres for the HMCPF component.
  • An amount upto Rs. one crore (Rs. two crores in case of AIIMS, New Delhi in case of RAN) is placed at the disposal of the hospital with a revolving fund.
  • Powers have been delegated to the Medical Superintendent/Director of the hospitals with revolving funds for providing treatment up to Rs. 5 lakh for eligible patients in each case, out of revolving fund.
  • Only cases involving treatment beyond Rs. 5 lakh in hospitals with the revolving fund and all the cases for financial assistance from hospitals not having revolving funds are referred to the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India for approval.
  • Under the Umbrella Scheme of RAN funds are not released to States/UTs, but to the hospitals where eligible patients receive treatment.
  • An illustrative list of categories of treatment to be provided from the Fund is given below:
  • Cardiology & Cardiac Surgeries
  • Cancers
  • Urology/Nephrology/Gastroenterology
  • Orthopedics
  • Neurosurgery – Neurology
  • Endocrinology
  • Mental Illness
  • Drugs
  • Investigations
  • Other major illness/treatment/interventions considered appropriate for financial assistance by the Medical Superintendent/Committee of Doctors could be considered for grant.

 5)UMANG App (PIB):

  • UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) to drive Mobile Governance in India.
  • UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian Citizens to access pan India e-Gov services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies and other citizen-centric services.
  1. B) Science and Technology/Defence/Space
  2. Himalayan Chandra Telescope (PIB)
  • Context: The optical-infrared Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT)at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), which has been scanning the night sky in search of stellar explosions, comets, asteroids, and exo-planets, celebrates its 20th birthday

Analysis

  • The Indian Astronomical Observatory, at 4,517 meters above sea level in the village of Hanle, in Ladakh, was the world’s highest astronomy observatory when established.
  • University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory, in the Atacama desert, Chile is the highest astronomy observatory.
  • The telescope is remotely operated using a dedicated satellite communication link from the Centre for Research & Education in Science & Technology (CREST), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Hosakote, about 35 km northeast of Bangalore.
  • Astronomers always try to locate their telescopes in areas with low population densities to reduce the visibility problems caused by light pollution.
  • Hanle Observatory on Mount Saraswati is in the cold, barren desert of Ladakh, where few people venture.
  • The cloudless skies and low water vapour levels of the dry, cold desert make it an excellent site for astronomy.
  • The Chandra telescope has a mirror a little over two meters large.
  • The larger the mirror the better, as it allows a telescope to view more distant stars and galaxies.
  • The observatory’s telescope was christened the “Chandra” in honor of the India-born astrophysicist and Nobel laureate S. Chandrashekhar.
  1. Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) (PIB):

  • Context: The satellite that detected the first extreme-UV rays in the Universe from the cosmic noon celebrated its 5th birthday on September 28, 2020.
Analysis
  • The Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT), comprising two separate telescopes, is a remarkable 3-in-1 imaging telescope simultaneously observing in the visible, the near-ultraviolet (NUV), and the far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectrum.
  • Observations from UVIT has recently led to the discovery of a galaxy located at a distance of about 10 billion light-years from Earth and emitting extreme ultraviolet radiation that can ionize the intergalactic medium.
  • It is one of the five payloads onboard India’s first multi-wavelength astronomical observatory AstroSat.
  • AstroSat was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 28 September 2015 and has proved to be an important satellite capable of carrying out simultaneous observations over a range of wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the hard X-ray band.
  1. Offset Clause Requirement (TH, pg 10):

  • Context: The Defence Ministry has removed the offset clause requirement in Inter-Governmental Agreements (IGA) in the new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), 2020.
  • It also introduces a new category for the leasing of military equipment.
  • From now on there will be no offset clause in government-to-government, single vendor and IGAs.
  • Under the offset clause, foreign companies are required to invest part of their deal value in the country and meant to improve domestic defense manufacturing.
  • Other proposed measures include making after-sales support part of capital acquisition contract, higher indigenous content in acquisitions and incentives for local material and software and emphasis on product export under offsets.

Lease option

  • Leasing has been introduced as a new category for acquisition in addition to the existing ‘Buy’ and ‘Make’ categories to substitute huge initial capital outlays with periodical rental payments.
  • This will be useful for military equipment not used in actual warfare like transport fleets, trainers, simulators, among others.
  1. C) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
  2. Hydrogen enriched CNG (PIB)
  • Context: In a major step toward adopting alternative clean fuel for transportation, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has amended the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1979 to include Hydrogen enriched CNG or H-CNG (18% mix of hydrogen) in CNG engines as an automotive fuel.

Analysis

CNG to hydrogen-CNG:

  • CNG is relatively abundant and easily available compared to hydrogen.
  • However, it has lower flame speed, shorter flammability range and other limitations, which make it a sub-optimum fuel for internal combustion engines.
  • Hydrogen is a possible solution to some of these issues.
  • However, hydrogen has its own limitations in terms of low storage density.
  • It occupies a very large volume as a gas, and storing it in liquid form is extremely energy-intensive.
  • There is a sharp contrast in the vital properties of both these fuels; therefore, scientists are exploring using mixtures of hydrogen and CNG as alternative fuels.
  • This fuel exhibits the merits of hydrogen as well as CNG. Hence, hydrogen-enriched CNG, also known as hythaneor HCNG, is being investigated worldwide.
  • This fuel is storable, energy-efficient and emits fewer emissions compared to both constituent fuels individually.
  • CNG is compressed natural gas. With natural gas mainly composed of methane, CNG emits less air pollutants — carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter — than petrol or diesel.
  • H-CNG is a blend of hydrogen and CNG, the ideal hydrogen concentration being 18-20%.
  • Compared to conventional CNG, use of H-CNG can reduce the emission of carbon monoxide up to 70%, besides enabling up to 5% savings in fuel (emission level will be lowered and efficiency levels will increase).
  • H-CNG is a promising technology and can be set up in different locations, such as petrol pumps or bus depots.
  • The most promising aspect of this technology is that it will allow for the utilization of the existing infrastructure of CNG buses as well as the piping network and dispensing station.

Why are CNG and LPG considered “cleaner” fuels?

  • CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is usually around 70-90% methane with 10-20% ethane, 2-8% propane, and decreasing quantities of the higher hydrocarbons (HCs) up to butane.
  • The emissions from CNG have lower concentrations of the hydrocarbons responsible for photochemical smog.
  • Compressed natural gas is a clean-burning fuel. It is actually the cleanest of all fossil fuels. Since natural gas is composed mainly of methane, burning it produces carbon dioxide and water vapor.
  • These are the same compounds we exhale when we breathe.
  • Meanwhile, petroleum produces higher carbon emissions, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.
  • Burning fuel oil also produces ash particulates that worsen pollution.
  • Since CNG is a clean-burning fuel, combusting it leaves little or no residue compared to gasoline or diesel.
  • CNG is also lighter than air and will simply dissipate into the atmosphere in the case of leaks.
  • CNG is a non-toxic fuel that does not pose any danger of contamination to groundwater.
  1. Green Strategic Partnership (PIB):

  • India and Denmark have agreed to elevate their relations to a Green Strategic Partnership.
  • The Green Strategic Partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement to advance political cooperation, expand economic relations and green growth, create jobs and strengthen cooperation on addressing global challenges and opportunities; with focus on an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  1. D) Economy
  2. Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) (TH, pg 14)
  • Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has postponed the announcement of its monetary policy scheduled for October 1.

Analysis

  • The tenures of the three external members of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will end on September 30, a day before the policy is announced.
  • The MPC, which must have a quorum of four, cannot meet unless the Centre appoints new independent members.
  • This is the first time that the bi-monthly policy announcement has been deferred since the establishment of the MPC in 2016 through the RBI Act.
  • The three external members appointed by the government are not eligible for reappointment.
  • According to analysts, new external members should have been named by the government well before the deadline as monetary policy carries significance at a time when the economy is witnessing challenges.
  • The panel to select external members was set up earlier this year. It is headed by Cabinet Secretary and includes RBI Governor or a deputy governor representing him, NITI Aayog vice-chairman and Economic Affairs Secretary.

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee of the Central Bank in India (Reserve Bank of India), headed by its Governor.
  • It is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level.
  • Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. It is also used by monetary authorities to control inflation.
  • Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country borrows money from commercial banks within the country. It is a monetary policy instrument that can be used to control the money supply in the country.
  • It is defined and constituted under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 to provide for a statutory and institutionalized framework, for maintaining price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth.

Composition

  • The new MPC is to be a six-member panel.
  • It will feature three members from the RBI — the Governor, a Deputy Governor and another official — and three independent members to be selected by the Government.
  • A search committee will recommend three external members, experts in the field of economics, banking or finance, for the Government appointees.
  • The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee shall be held at least 4 times a year and it shall publish its decisions after each such meeting.
  • The decisions on monetary policy are taken by a majority vote.
  • And if there’s a tie, the RBI governor gets the deciding vote.
  • The Members of the Monetary Policy Committee appointed by the Central Government shall hold office for a period of four years.
  • Inflation Targets:
  • Inflation Target:                      Four percent.
  • Upper tolerance level:            Six percent.
  • Lower tolerance level:            Two percent.
  • In case the inflation target is failed to achieve (2% higher or lower than the set target of 4% for continuous three quarters), the RBI has to give an explanation to the government about the reasons, the remedial actions and the estimated time for realizing the target.
  • Another responsibility for the RBI is to publish a Monetary Policy Report every six months, elaborating inflation forecasts and inflation sources for the next six to eighteen months.
  • MPC uses ‘headline inflation’ to take its decision. Headline inflation is the raw inflation figure reported through the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Monetary Vs Fiscal Policy 

  • Monetary policy involves changing the interest rate and influencing the money supply.
  • Fiscal policy involves the government changing tax rates and levels of government spending to influence aggregate demand in the economy.

Administered by:

  • Fiscal policy: Ministry of Finance
  • Monetary policy: Central Bank/RBI

Focuses on:

  • Fiscal policy: Economic Growth
  • Monetary policy: Economic Stability

Political influence:

  • Fiscal policy: Yes
  • Monetary policy: No
  • Monetary policy is quicker to implement. Interest rates can be set every month.
  • A decision to increase government spending may take time to decide where to spend the money.

 12)Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Scheme (TH, pg 14):

  • Context: Amid the ongoing economic woes created by the coronavirus pandemic, the RBI has decided to extend the enhanced borrowing facility provided to banks to meet liquidity shortages, till March 31, 2021.
  • The RBI, as a temporary measure, had increased the borrowing limit of scheduled banks under the marginal standing facility (MSF) scheme from 2% to 3% of their Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL) with effect from March 27, 2020.
  • Under the MSF, banks can borrow overnight funds at their discretion by dipping into the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).
  • This relaxation, which was granted till June 30, 2020, later extended till September 30, 2020 and now till March 31,2021.

Analysis

Marginal Standing Facility

  • Marginal Standing Facility is a liquidity support arrangement provided by RBI to commercial banks if the latter doesn’t have the required eligible securities above the SLR limit.
  • Under MSF, a bank can borrow one-day loans from the RBI, even if it doesn’t have any eligible securities excess of its SLR requirement.
  • In the case of MSF, the bank can now borrow up to 3 % (can be changed by the RBI) below the SLR (means 1% of Net Demand and Time Liabilities or liabilities simply).
  • But the main condition is that for such borrowings the bank has to give higher interest rate to the RBI.
  • MSF, being a penal rate, is always fixed above the repo rate.
  • The interest rate for MSF borrowing was originally set at one percent higher than the repo rate. Now it is 0.25% higher than repo rate.
  • The Reserve Bank will reserve the right to accept or reject partially or fully, the request for funds under this facility.
  • Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) was a new scheme announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its Monetary Policy (2011-12) and refers to the penal rate at which banks can borrow money from the central bank over and above what is available to them through the LAF (Liquidity Adjustment Facility) window.
  • The MSF would be the last resort for banks once they exhaust all borrowing options including the liquidity adjustment facility by pledging government securities, where the rates are lower in comparison with the MSF

Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)

  • Banks also have to invest a certain portion of their deposits in government securities with the RBI. This percentage is known as SLR.
  1. E) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments
  2. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 (TH, pg 9)
  • Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs has extended the ban on the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) by notifying it as an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • The Naga insurgent group, since it was first banned in 2015, has been involved in 104 violent incidents, the MHA said.

Analysis

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019

  • The Act provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things.

Who may commit terrorism: 

  • Under the Act, the central government may designate an organization as a terrorist organization if it:
  • (i) commits or participates in acts of terrorism,
  • (ii) prepares for terrorism,
  • (iii) promotes terrorism, or
  • (iv) is otherwise involved in terrorism.
  • The Amendment Act additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.

Approval for the seizure of property by NIA: 

  • Under the Act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director-General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.
  • However, if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director-General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.

An investigation by NIA:

  • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
  • The Amendment Act additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.

Insertion to the schedule of treaties:

  • The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.
  • The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).
  • The Amendment Act adds another treaty to the list.This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005). 

Right to Reputation 

  • Last year, the Supreme Court asked the Union government to respond to petitions challenging its decision to amend the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act giving it powers to categorize anyone as a terrorist.
  • The petition said the right to reputation was an intrinsic part of the fundamental right to life with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution and tagging an individual as “terrorist” even before the commencement of trial or any application of judicial mind over it, did not amount to following the ‘procedure established by law’.
  • The right of dissent is a part and parcel of the fundamental right to free speech and expression and therefore, cannot be abridged in any circumstances except for mentioned in Article 19 (2).
  • The UAPA, 2019 empowers the ruling government, under the garb of curbing terrorism, to impose indirect restrictions on right of dissent which is detrimental for our developing democratic society.
  1. F) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations
  2. National Investigation Agency (NIA)
  • Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs has sanctioned three additional branches of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • This decision will help in ensuring quick response to any emergent situation in the States concerned by the premier anti-terror investigation agency.
  • It will strengthen the NIA’s capability in the investigation of terrorism-related cases and other national security-related matters.
  • It will also facilitate the timely collection of crucial information and evidence

Analysis

  • National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It is the only truly federal agency in the country, along the lines of the FBI in the United States, more powerful than the CBI.
  • NIA has powers to take suo moto cognizance of terror activities in any part of India and register a case, to enter any state without permission from the state government, and to investigate and arrest people.
  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Amendment Act, 2019 provides for the national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offenses listed in a schedule (scheduled offenses).
  • Scheduled offenses: The schedule to the Act specifies a list of offenses that are to be investigated and prosecuted by the NIA.
  • These include offenses under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
  • The Amendment Act also allows the NIA to investigate the following offenses, in addition:
  • (i) human trafficking,
  • (ii) offenses related to counterfeit currency or banknotes,
  • (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms,
  • (iv) cyber-terrorism, and
  • (v) offenses under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

Jurisdiction of the NIA

  • The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to the investigation of such offenses, across India.
  • In addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offenses committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
  • The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases as if the offense has been committed in India.
  • The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.

Special Courts

  • The central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offenses.
  • The central government is required to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court.
  • When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the senior-most judge will distribute cases among the courts.
  • Further, state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offenses.
  1. G) Art, Culture and History
  2. Qissagoi and Dastangoi (PIB)

Context: Discussing the rich tradition of storytelling or Qissagoi in the country, Prime Minister said that India has nurtured the tradition of Hitopadesh and Panchatantra, which impart wisdom through an imaginary world of animals, birds and fairies.

  • He mentioned ‘Katha’, an ancient form of religious storytelling, cited example of ‘Villu paat’ in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which is a confluence of story and music, and also talked about the vibrant tradition of Kathputli.

Analysis

  • Qissagoi/Storytelling was not a mere means of passing time in the Pre-independence era; rather it was an important source of entertainment.
  • Listening to stories narrated by professional raconteurs, known as Qissagohs, was an essential aspect of courts and gatherings.
  • The practice of storytelling had such a stronghold in Lucknow that there was no affluent household, which did not have its own appointed Qissagoh.
  • Qissa was a short tale, one that could be finished in a day whereas Daastaan was a longer tale, which could go on over a week, month or even a year.

Dastangoi

  • The word Dastangoi refers to the art of storytelling, in Urdu, performed by either one or two people.
  • Dastans were epics, often oral in nature, which were recited or read aloud, telling tales of adventure, magic and warfare.
  • It originated in pre-Islamic Arabia in the 13th century, and was extremely popular among the elites and commoners of Delhi and Lucknow.
  • Heavily inspired by the verse epic Shahnamah, dastans eventually evolved into an adventure involving djinns, fantastic beasts, demons, parees (fairies), princesses, magicians, evil kings and wizards.
  • Hamzah ibn Abd-ul Muttalib (Most popular Dastan).
  • It narrates the tales of Amir Hamza, the uncle of Prophet Mohammed, and his childhood friend Amar Ayyar, a trickster

The Dastan in India 

  • By the sixteenth century, versions of the Hamza story had begun to circulate in India.
  • It is thought to have come first to the Deccan region in southwestern India, and with the Mughal emperor Humayun when he returned from Iran.
  • Slowly, the Dastangoi began absorbing Indian culture and tradition, and artists began using Urdu in their performances.
  • The art form reached its peak in the late 16th and early 17th century under Emperor Akbar, known for his ambitious project of combining Hinduism and Islam into one world religion and for his encouragement of the arts and literature.
  • Akbar himself was exceedingly fond of the narrative and used to recite it himself. The emperor also commissioned the first artistic project based on Amir Hamza’s tales of adventure, called the “Hamzanama” [the epic of Hamza].
  • In Iran/Persia, these stories were musically rendered. But Indian Dastangoi, on the other hand, didn’t use any music or props. There was just one seated performer, who sometimes went on for hours, and sometimes for weeks and months.
  1. H) Miscellaneous
  2. Vasa and Guduchi (PIB)
  • In view of the need for accelerated solutions for Covid-19, the Ministry of AYUSH has taken up a clinical study to assess the role ofVasa and Guduchi in the therapeutic management of symptoms in Covid-19 positive cases has recently been approved.
  • Vasaand Guduchi are time tested herbs in Indian healthcare traditions, used in a variety of disease conditions.
Source-The Hindu, PIB, IE, and Others

Mains Answer Writing Practice…

 Q1. Discuss the role of NIA in combatting terror-related activities in India. Recent amendments to the NIA 2008 act and an increase in the number of branches signify increasing terror-related threats to the internal security of India. Do you agree? (250 Words)

 

 

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