Current Affairs Analysis

7th August 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

National Handloom Day; Key Policy Changes in MPC’s 24th bi-annual meeting; Priority Sector Lending; Link between growth, inflation and interest rates; Headline inflation and Retail inflation; What is Monetary Policy Committee? Bru community; Innovation and Agripreneurship; Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana: Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR); Handloom Weaving Sector; India Handloom Brand; Handloom Mark; Deendayal Hastkala Sankul (Trade Centre & Museum), Varanasi; Scheme of Offline Retail Payments; Online Dispute Resolution (ODR); Positive Pay for all cheques; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India; IBBI; Kumaun Himalaya; Abanindranath Tagore; National Gallery of Modern Art; etc.
By IASToppers
August 07, 2020

Contents

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Virtual Event on UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready
  • Innovation and Agripreneurship under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana
  • National Handloom Day

Economy

  • RBI keeps key policy rates unchanged
  • Initiatives by Reserve Bank of India
  • Startups in Priority Sector Lending Category
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board amends Liquidation Process Regulations
  • KISAN RAIL

Art & Culture

  • Brus reject resettlement sites proposed by Tripura non-Brus

Geophysical Phenomena

  • Research on Kumaun Himalaya

Persons in News

  • Abanindranath Tagore

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Government Schemes & Policies

Virtual Event on UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready

  • UNESCO-IOC has approved the recognition of two communities viz., Venkatraipur and Noliasahi as Tsunami Ready Communities in Odisha.
  • With this recognition, India is the first country to implement Tsunami Ready in the Indian Ocean Region and Odisha is the first state.

Details

  • To implement the Tsunami Ready and IOWave Exercises in India, Ministry of Earth Sciences established a National Board under the chairmanship of Director, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Centre (INCOIS).
  • The National Board, after the verification of implementation of the indicators at those villages as per guidelines, decided to recognize them nationally and recommended to UNESCO-IOC for the recognition.

AboutTsunami Ready programme

  • Tsunami Ready is a community performance-based programme initiated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.

It aims to-

  • Improve coastal community’s preparedness for tsunami emergencies,
  • Minimize the loss of life and property and
  • Ensure building community preparedness through fulfilling the best-practice indicators set by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS) of UNESCO-IOC.

About IOC-UNESCO

  • The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), established in 1960 as a body within UNESCO, is the only competent organization for marine science within the UN system.
  • IOC coordinates ocean observation through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) which aims to develop a unified network providing information and data exchange on the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the ocean.
  • UNESCO-IOC is co-convener with the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations Climate Change conference.

About Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

  • INCOIS is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • It is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO) of Ministry of Earth Sciences
  • It is headquartered in Hyderabad.
  • It was established in 1999 as a central repository for marine data in India.
  • Objective: to provide ocean information and advisory services to government agencies, society, industry and the scientific community.
  • Further, INCOIS serves as the National Argo Data Centre and Regional Argo Data Centre.
  • INCOIS has been designated as the National Oceanographic Data Centre by the International Oceanographic Data Exchange Programme (IODE) of International Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
  • INCOIS is also providing tsunami advisories to Indian Ocean region (25 countries) as a Tsunami Service Providers as the responsibility assigned by IOC-UNESCO.
  • INCOIS is also founding member of the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS) Programme.

Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre

  • The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) was established in 2007 at INCOIS, Hyderabad.
  • It is the nodal agency to provide tsunami advisories to India.
  • ITEWC conducts IOWave Tsunami mock exercises biannually and conducts at National level mock exercises alternative years in coordination with Ministry of Home Affairs and National/State Disaster Management Authority.
    • The last tsunami mock exercises i.e. IOWave18 was held in September 2018.

What is a tsunami?

  • A tsunami is a series of waves with a long wavelength and period (time between crests). Time between crests of the wave can vary from a few minutes to over an hour.
  • Tsunamis are often incorrectly called tidal waves; they have no relation to the daily ocean tides.

 [Ref: PIB]

Innovation and Agripreneurship under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer`s Welfare is having launched the Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development programme component under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
  • The component seeks to promote innovation and agripreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.

Components:

  • Agripreneurship Orientation – 2 months duration with a monthly stipend of Rs.  10,000/- per month.  Mentorship is provided on financial, technical, IP issues etc.
  • Seed Stage Funding of R-ABI IncubateesFunding up to Rs. 25 lakhs (85% grant & 15% contribution from the incubatee).
  • Idea/Pre-Seed Stage Funding of AgripreneursFunding up to Rs. 5 lakhs (90% grant and 10% contribution from the incubatee).

Knowledge Partners:

Selected by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare these are:

  • National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad,
  • National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM) Jaipur,
  • Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) PUSA, New Delhi,
  • University of Agriculture Science, Dharwad, Karnataka and
  • Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat, Assam

Services provided by the Institutes:

  • The institutes’ issue calls for application for their programmes and based on a rigorous process of selection through various stages and training of two months, the final list of start-ups that are to be funded through grants-in-aid are finalised.
  • Training on technical, finance, intellectual property, statutory compliance issues etc. is provided.
  • Mentoring of start-ups through monitoring of milestones and timelines is part of the programme.

About Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana: Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR)

  • RKVY-RAFTAAR is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • It is aimed at strengthening infrastructure in Agriculture and Allied sectors to promote Agribusiness by facilitating financial aid.
  • Centre for Innovation and Agripreneurship (CIA) (which is a National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE)), is a Knowledge Partner for Implementation of this Scheme.

Objectives:

  • Creation of required pre and postharvest agri-infrastructure.
  • To provide autonomy, flexibility to States to plan and execute schemes as per local/ farmers needs.
  • To promote value chain addition linked production models that will help farmers increase their income.
  • To mitigate the risk of farmers with a focus on additional income generation activities– like integrated farming, mushroom cultivation etc.
  • To attend national priorities through several sub-schemes.
  • To empower youth through skill development and Agri entrepreneurship based agribusiness models that attract them to agriculture.

Funding:

  • 60: 40 (Government of India and State Share).
  • 90 (Centre):10 (the Hilly States and northeastern states)
  • For UTs the grant is 100% as Central share.

Background:

  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana was initiated in 2007.
  • It is an umbrella scheme for ensuring holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors by allowing states to choose their agriculture and allied sector development activities.
  • RKVY guidelines were revamped as RKVY – RAFTAAR to increase the inclusiveness of the programme for the remaining period of the Fourteenth Finance Commission.
[Ref: PIB]

National Handloom Day

  • Recently the National Handloom Day (07th August 2020) was held by the Ministry of Textiles on a virtual platform.

Key Points:

  • The first National Handloom Day was held on 7th August 2015.
  • 7th August was chosen as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on the same date in the year 1905.
  • The objective is to generate awareness about Handloom Industry amongst the public at large and its contribution to the socio-economic development.
  • Other initiatives launched were launching of Mobile App & Backend Website for Handloom Mark Scheme (HLM), launching of My Handloom Portal, the inauguration of Virtual Fair on linking Handloom exporters with prospective buyers being organized by Handloom Export Promotion Council at Chennai.
  • Patolas, Paithanis, Ikats, Kandangis, Maheshwaris, Venkatagiris and numerous other GI tagged products will be on display.

About Handloom Weaving Sector:

  • Handloom weaving is one of the largest economic activities after agriculture providing direct and indirect employment to more than 43 lakh weavers and allied workers.
  • This sector contributes nearly 15% of the cloth production in the country.
  • 95% of the world’s hand-woven fabric comes from India.

Various Initiatives:

India Handloom brand:

  • The India Handloom Brand (IHB) was launched by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the first handloom day.
  • It seeks to endorse the quality of the products in terms of raw material, processing, weaving and other parameters besides social and environmental compliances for earning the trust of the customers.
  • Given only to high-quality defect-free authentic handloom products for catering to the needs of those consumers who are looking for niche handmade products.
  • Aimed at generating a special market space and increased earnings to the weavers.

Benefits of the brand ‘India Handloom:

  • Product differentiation.
  • Assured quality to the customer.
  • Empower women and other disadvantaged segments engaged in the handloom sector.

Handloom Mark:

  • The Handloom mark was launched to serve as a guarantee to the buyers regarding handloom products being purchased by them is a genuine handwoven product.
  • Handloom mark is promoted and popularized through advertisements in newspapers and magazine, electronic media, syndicated articles, fashion shows, films etc.
  • The Textiles Committee is the implementing agency for the promotion of handloom mark.

Deendayal Hastkala Sankul (Trade Centre & Museum), Varanasi:

  • The Complex of Trade Facilitation Centre & Crafts Museum, Varanasi was dedicated to the Public by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 22nd Sept.2017 as Deendayal Hastkala Sankul (Trade Centre & Museum), Varanasi.
  • This project will help the weavers and artisans of Varanasi and nearby areas.
  • The project has facilities of Convention hall, Shops, Food Court, Restaurants, Marts -cum-Offices and among others.
[Ref: PIB]

Economy

RBI keeps key policy rates unchanged

In 24th bimonthly meeting of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee, RBI kept interest rates on hold to contain a rise in retail inflation even as growth remains a concern.

Key Policy Changes

  • Keep the benchmark repo rate unchanged at 4 % and reverse repo rate at 3.35 %.
    • Repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends to commercial banks, and reverse repo is the rate at which it borrows from them.
  • Didn’t extend the moratorium on loan repayments offered to borrowers beyond August 31.
  • Allowed banks to restructure loans (a lender grants concessions to borrower due to borrower’s financial difficulty) from large corporates, MSMEs and individuals to help stem the rising stress on incomes and balance sheets.
    • For large loans: An expert committee will be set up under K V Kamath to make modalities of eligible borrowers.
    • For personal loans: Only personal loan accounts which were classified as standard, but were not in default for more than 30 days as on March 1, 2020, are eligible for resolution.
  • Additional special liquidity facility of Rs 5,000 crore each to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the National Housing Bank (NHB), which are umbrella organizations that finance mortgage lenders and housing finance companies, as well as agriculture.
  • Enhanced the amount of loan that banks can give against the pledge of gold ornaments and Jewellery for non-agricultural purposes from 75 % of the value of gold pledged to 90 %.

Changes in PSL guidelines:

  • RBI would amend priority-sector lending (PSL) guidelines to remove regional disparity — a higher weight would be accorded to districts with lower credit flows.
  • The start-up sector has been included as a priority sector and cap on credit to the renewable energy sector has been raised.

Expected Benefit:

  • Easier for startups to raise funds from banks.
  • Help startups free up their equity and raise low-cost debt.
  • Enhance the liquidity options available to startups
  • Banks will now see startups more seriously while providing them with loans.

Possible issues:

  • Startups have relied on expensive venture debt.
  • Traditional lenders might find it difficult to understand the capital dependency of high-growth businesses.

About Priority Sector Lending:

  • Priority Sector Lending is the process of providing a specified portion of the bank lending to a few specific sectors like agriculture and allied activities, micro and small enterprises, education etc.
  • The focus is on the all-round development of the economy.
  • Priority Sector Lending is mandated by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Under PSL guidelines, all scheduled commercial banks and foreign banks with a sizeable presence in India are mandated to set aside 40% of their Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANDC) for lending to sectors deemed important by the central bank.

Priority Sector includes the following categories (other than Startups):

(i) Agriculture
(ii) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
(iii) Export Credit
(iv) Education
(v) Housing
(vi) Social Infrastructure
(vii) Renewable Energy
(viii) Other

Forecasting Economic Outlook

  • Inflation might remain elevated in the second quarter of 2020-21 and ease thereafter in the second half of the year.
  • India’s real gross domestic product would contract in the first half of FY21 as well as full financial year.
  • Liquidity measures (announced as part of Aatm nirbhar abhiyan) have helped in lowering of interest costs for corporate borrowers, resulting in lower policy rates and improvement in financial conditions.

What is the link between growth, inflation and interest rates?

  • In a fast-growing economy, incomes go up quickly and more and more people have the money to buy the existing goods, which results in increase in prices of such goods rise and hece inflation spikes.

To contain inflation, RBI typically changes the interest rates.

  • When there is inflation: By increasing interest rates, it incentivizes people to spend less and save more because saving becomes more profitable as interest rates go up. As more and more people choose to save, money is taken out of the market and inflation rate moderates.
  • When there is deflation: By decreasing interest rates, it incentivizes spending and by that route boost economic activity in the economy.

Why did the Monetary Policy Committee not slash interest rates?

So if there is deflation (prices are decreasing) due to lockdown and covid-19 pandemic, why MPC did not reduced the interest rates?

It is due to:

  • Retail inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose in June (to 6.09% from 5.84% in March) due to higher prices of food items especially meat, fish, cereals and pulses. Hence, it breached the maximum limit of government’s target of 6%.
    • Central Government has set target of 4 % Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation from August 5, 2016 to March 31, 2021 while allowing the rate to fluctuate in a 2%-to-6% band.
    • If the RBI cuts the interest rate, it may be fuelling retail inflation further. Inflation hits the poor the hardest.
  • Also, the data of Headline retail inflation of April-May 2020 are not clear due to the spike in food prices because of floods in eastern India, lockdown-related disruptions and cost-push pressures in the form of high taxes on petroleum products, Supply chain disruptions etc.

Hence, raising interest rates at this stage would be catastrophic for India’s GDP growth.

What is headline inflation and retail inflation?

  • The headline inflation measures overall inflation in the economy, including commodities such as food and energy prices, which tend to be much more volatile and prone to inflationary spikes.
    • Core inflation is the change in the costs of goods and services but does not include those from the food and energy sectors.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) monitors retail prices at a certain level for a particular commodity; price movement of goods and services at rural, urban and all-India levels. The change in the price index over a period of time is referred to as CPI-based inflation, or retail inflation.

Criticism for RBI’s decision of not decreasing repo rate

  • RBI missed an opportunity to cut policy rate at a time when the economy needed a strong boost to spur consumption and banks are risk averse.
  • The headline inflation was at 6.1% in June 2020, which is marginally outside the RBI’s target. Reducing repo rate won’t suddenly push inflation. And if it did, such inflationary pressure could be temporary.
  • Much of the high prices (inflation) was due to food led by lockdown-induced supply side distortions. However, as these constraints ease, the pressure on prices will subside. Hence, RBI should not worry that much about inflation in future.

What is Monetary Policy?

  • Monetary policy refers to the policy of RBI with regard to the use of monetary instruments under its control to achieve the goals specified in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934.
    • The RBI is vested with the responsibility of conducting monetary policy. This responsibility is explicitly mandated under RBI Act, 1934.
  • Primary goal of Monetary policy: To maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.

About Monetary Policy Process

  • The MPC is six-member committee constituted by the Central Government under Section 45ZB to determine the policy interest rate required to achieve the inflation target.
    • Accordingly, Central Government has set target of 4 % Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation as from August 5, 2016 to March 31, 2021 while allowing the rate to fluctuate in a 2%-to-6% band.
    • Consumer Price Index measures retail inflation in the economy by collecting the change in prices of most common goods and services used by consumers.

Background

  • Prior to the amendment in the RBI Act in 2016, the inflation targeting was governed by an Agreement on Monetary Policy Framework between the Government and the RBI. However, the amended RBI Act explicitly provides the legislative mandate to RBI to operate the monetary policy framework.
  • Before the constitution of the MPC, a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on monetary policy advised RBI on the stance of monetary policy. With the formation of MPC, the TAC on Monetary Policy ceased to exist.

Composition:

  • RBI chairman – Head of committee
    • Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (ex-officio),
    • One officer of the Reserve Bank of India to be nominated by the Central Board (ex-officio) 
    • Three other members

Under the amended RBI Act, the monetary policy making is as under:

  • The MPC is required to meet at least four times in a year.
  • The quorum for the meeting of the MPC is four members.
  • Each member of the MPC has one vote, and in the event of an equality of votes, the Governor has a second or casting vote.
  • The resolution adopted by the MPC is published after conclusion of every meeting of the MPC in accordance with RBI Act, 1934.

Assistance to MPC

  • Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Department (MPD): assists the MPC in formulating the monetary policy.
  •  Financial Markets Operations Department (FMOD): operationalises the monetary policy, mainly through day-to-day liquidity management operations.
  • Financial Markets Committee (FMC): meets daily to review the liquidity conditions.

Once in every six months, RBI is required to publish a document called the Monetary Policy Report to explain:

  1. the sources of inflation; and
  2. the forecast of inflation for 6-18 months ahead.
[Ref: Indian Express, Financial Express, The Hindu]

Initiatives by Reserve Bank of India

Recently, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced 3 initiatives, these are:

Scheme of Offline Retail Payments

  • This scheme seeks to provide an option of offline payments through cards, wallets and mobile devices
  • It seeks to address the problem of lack of Internet connectivity or low speed of the Internet, especially in remote areas, which is a major impediment in the adoption of digital payments.

Expected Benefits:

  • Greater adoption of digital payments.
  • Boost financial inclusion.

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

  • An Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) mechanism for digital payments.
  • The Reserve Bank shall require payment system operators (PSOs) to introduce online dispute resolution (ODR) systems in a phased manner.
  • This is to deal with the rising number of digital transactions which may resultin disputes.

Positive Pay for all cheques

  • RBI has decided to introduce a mechanism of Positive Pay for all cheques of value ₹50,000 and above.
  • Under this mechanism, cheques will be processed for payment by the drawee bank based on information passed on by the issuer at the time of issuance of the cheque.
  • The intent is to reduce instances of fraud occurring on account of tampering of cheque leaves.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board amends Liquidation Process Regulations

  • Recently, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016
  • These regulations pertain to the liquidation process.

Key Facts:

  • The regulations require the Committee of Creditors (CoC) to fix the fee payable to the liquidator.
  • Where the fee has not been fixed by the CoC, the regulations provide for a fee as a percentage of the amount realised and of the amount distributed by the liquidator.

About IBBI:

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) was established on October 1, 2016, under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Commerce.

Members:

  • It has a chairman and 10 members.
  • One Chairperson; three members from Central Government officers not below the rank of Joint Secretary or equivalent; One nominated member from the RBI; Five members nominated by the Central Government; of these, three shall be whole-time members; More than half of the directors of its board shall be independent directors.

Functions:

  • It provides a market-determined and time-bound mechanism for an orderly resolution of insolvency and orderly exit, wherever required.
  • It writes and enforces rules for transactions, namely, corporate insolvency resolution, corporate liquidation, individual insolvency resolution and individual bankruptcy under the Code.
  • It seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganization as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner.
  • It has been set up to regulate professionals, information utilities (IUs) and agencies engaged in the resolution of insolvencies of companies.
  • IBC handles cases under it using tribunals’ namely National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT).
[Ref: PIB, IASToppers.com]

Kisan Rail

  • In the Union Budget 2020-21, Minister of Finance had made an announcement ‘to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of milk, meat, and fish’. It was also stated that the Indian Railways will set up a KISAN RAIL.
  • As per the announcement, the Indian Railways introduced the Kisan Rail. It is a special Parcel Train from Devlali (Maharashtra) to Danapur (Bihar) running on a weekly basis.

Features:

  • First-ever multi-commodity trains and will carry fruits like Pomegranate, Banana, Grapes etc. and vegetables like Capsicum, Onion, Chillies etc.
  • The train will provide seamless supply chain of Perishable produce.
  • Freight of this train will be charged as per parcel tariff of normal train.
  • Also, has frozen containers to move perishables like fish, meat and milk.

Expected Benefits:

  • Help double farmers income.
  • Help in bringing perishable agricultural products like vegetables, fruits to the market in a short period.
  • Benefit supply centres like Nasik and surrounding region where a huge quantity of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and other agro products are produced as well as demand centres like Patna, Prayagraj, etc.
[Ref: PIB]

Art & Culture

Brus reject resettlement sites proposed by Tripura non-Brus

Three organisations representing the Bru community displaced from Mizoram have rejected the sites proposed by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC).

Background

  • The Joint Movement Committee (JMC), comprising the Bengali, Mizo, Buddhist Barua and other communities, is an umbrella group of non-Brus in Tripura for the resettlement of Brus community.
  • In July, 2020, JMC submitted a memorandum to the Tripura government specifying six places in Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisions of North Tripura district for the resettlement of the Brus. The JMC also proposed settling 500 families at most in these places.

Demand of Bru Community

  • The three Bru refugee groups insisted on resettling 6,500 families in clusters of at least 500 families at each of the sites of their choice —seven in North Tripura district and five in the adjoining Dhalai district.

Opposition by Bru community

  • The involvement of the JMC in site selection is completely unjustified as they are not a part of either the quadrilateral agreement or signatory.
  • The sites proposed by the JMC are unconnected by road and electricity and too far from hospitals, schools and other facilities.
  • They have also trashed the demand for inclusion of 4 JMC members in the monitoring team for the resettlement of the Brus as they have no connection in the issue of either repatriation to Mizoram or resettlement in Tripura during the last 23 years.

Who are Bru community?

  • The Bru are a community indigenous to Northeast India, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram (Kolasib, Lunglei and Mamit districts) and parts of southern Assam.
  • The Brus are ethnically distinct from the Mizos, unlike Mizos and Kukis, who share close linguistic and cultural ties.
  • In Tripura, the Brus are known as Reangs (most populous tribe after the Tripuris) and in Mizoram they are known as Tuikuk.
  • In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
  • As of 2011 Census, the Bru population is 2 lakhs.

Background:

  • In mid-1990s, the Mizo tribe perceived the Brus as a non-indigenous tribe of Mizoram. Clashes in 1995 of Brus with the majority Mizos led to the demand for the removal of the Brus from Mizoram’s electoral rolls.
    • This led to an armed movement by a Bru, which killed a Mizo forest official in 1997. That year, Bru leaders demanded an Autonomous District Council (ADC) for the tribe under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution in the western areas of Mizoram, where they were present in sizable numbers but where Mizos formed the majority.
  • As a result of retaliatory ethnic violence, more than 40,000 Brus fled to adjoining Tripura where they took shelter in six relief camps at Jampui Hills, which separates Tripura from Mizoram and Bangladesh.
  • Tripura forces Brus to return to Mizoram, since they add to the sizeable tribal population, and because the land occupied by the relief camps is owned by domicile tribals.
  • In January 2020, the Central government, Tripura and Mizoram state government and Bru community signed a quadrilateral agreement to resolve the Bru-Mizo issue (i.e., to settle 35,000 Brus to permanently in Tripura).

 [Ref: The Hindu]

Geophysical Phenomena

Research on Kumaon Himalaya

  • Research by the scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India was published in the Scientific journal ‘Lithos’,
  • The study sought for understanding the geodynamic scenario of Kumaon Himalayas. The study would provide an important link towards an understanding of the seismic and geomorphic characteristics of Himalayas.

Key Findings:

  • Inverted metamorphism (a condition in which higher-grade metamorphic rocks lie on top of lower-grade rocks), leading to partial melting of the Himalayan crust in two short spans of 27 to 32 and 22 to 26 million years.
  • Partial melting means only a portion of a solid is melted.
  • Unlike other parts of the western Himalaya, in Kumaun, partial melting of the crust is caused by activation of a tabular to sheet-like, planar or curvi-planar zone composed of rocks that are more strained than rocks adjacent to the zone (major shear zones), instead of a continuous zone of mid-crustal partial melts.
  • The study also suggested that brittle deformation of these shear zones/ thrust planes may still control exhumation [means the process by which a parcel of rock (that was formerly buried), approaches Earth’s surface] and seismicity in this region of the Himalaya.

Kumaon Himalayas:

  • Kumaon Himalayas extending to 320 km lie in the west-central section of the Himalayas in northern India.
  • It lies largely within the state of Uttarakhand and northwest of Nepal.
  • The range includes the Siwalik Range in the south and part of the Great Himalayas in the north.
  • Lies between Sutlej River in the east and the Kali River in the west.
  • Nanda Devi, the range’s highest peak.
  • Glaciers and snowmelt feed the headstreams of the Ganga River.
  • Deodar, cedar forests are found here.
  • Challenges include deforestation, land degradation and erosion.
[Ref: PIB]

Persons in News

Abanindranath Tagore

Recently, the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi organized a virtual tour titled “The Great Maestro | Abanindranath Tagore” to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Abanindranath Tagore.

About Abanindranath Tagore

  • Abanindranath Tagore was born on 7 August 1871.
  • He was an accomplished painter and writer.
  • He was the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore.

Contributions:

  • Founded the Bengal school of art, which led to the development of modern Indian painting.
  • Was the principal artist and creator of the Indian Society of Oriental Art.
  • Was also the first major exponent of Swadeshi values in Indian art.
  • Tagore advocated in favour of a nationalistic Indian art derived from Indian art history, drawing inspiration from the Ajanta Caves.
  • He liked to paint sets of images dealing with a theme or a text such as the ‘Arabian Nights’ or the ‘Krishna Leela’. He also enjoyed painting theatrical subjects.
  • He was an accomplished writer.  Books like Aban Thakur, Rajkahini, etc. were landmarks in Bengali language children’s literature and art.

About the National Gallery of Modern Art

  • National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is housed at Jaipur House, located in New Delhi.
  • It is run and administered as a subordinate office to the Department of Culture, Government of India.
  • The gallery is a repository of the cultural ethos of the country.
  • It showcases the changing art forms through the passage of the last hundred and fifty years starting from about 1857 in the field of Visual and Plastic arts.

Aims and objectives

  • To acquire and preserve works of modern art from the 1850s onwards.
  • To organize, maintain and develop galleries for permanent display.
  • To organize special exhibitions not only in its own premises but in other parts of the country and abroad.
  • To develop an education and documentation centre in order to acquire, maintain and preserve documents relating to works of modern art.
  • To develop a specialized library of books, periodicals, photographs and other audiovisual materials.
  • To organize lectures, seminars and conferences, and to encourage higher studies and research in the field of art history, art criticism, art appreciation, museology and the inter-relations on visual and performing arts.
[Ref: PIB]
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