News: June 08, 2020

Sub: History
Topic: Art & Culture Language, Religion, and Culture
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/5

Styles of temple architecture

Nagara style / North Indian temple style

From fifth century A.D. onwards, a distinct style of temple architecture developed in the northern part of India, known as the Nagara style of architecture. Some of the features of Nagara style are:

  • The temples generally followed the Panchayatan style of temple making, which consisted of subsidiary shrines laid out in a crucified ground plan with respect to the principal shrine
  • Presence of assembly halls or mandaps in front of the principal shrine. There were no water tanks or reservoirs present in the temple premises
  • The temples were generally built on upraised platforms. The ambulatory passageway or the pradakshina path around the sanctum sanctorum was covered.
  • The entrance would usually have sculptures of mithunas and the river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna
  • Generally, the temple premises did not have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  • While the earliest temples had just one tower, or shikhara, later temples had several. The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.
  • There are many subdivisions of nagara temples depending on the shape of the shikhara:
    • Latina or rekha-prasad: Square at the base and whose walls curve or slope inward to a point on top is called the 'latina'
    • Phamsana: Phamsana buildings tend to be broader and shorter than latina ones. Their roofs are composed of several slabs that gently rise to a single point over the centre of the building, unlike the latina ones which look like sharply rising tall towers. Phamsana roofs do not curve inward, instead they slope upwards on a straight incline.
    • Valabhi: These are rectangular buildings with a roof that rises into a vaulted chamber.

Under Nagara school , following three schools emerged

  1. Odisha School
    • The exterior walls were lavishly decorated with intricate carvings, but interior walls were plain.
    • There was no use of pillars in the porch. Iron girders were used instead to support the roof.
    • The shikharas in the Odisha school were known as rekhadeuls
    • The mandap was known as jagmohan
    • Temples were surrounded by a boundary wall as in Dravidian style of temple architecture.
  2. Khajuraho school
  3. Solanki school / Maru-Gurjara
    • Developed during 11-13th century in western India
    • The influence of the woodcarving tradition of Gujarat is evident in the lavish carving and sculpture work. However, the walls of the central small shrine are devoid of carving and are left plain
    • The temple were east facing, and had step water tank, known as surya-kund nearby.
    • Eg: Modhera Sun temple

Gurjara-Pratihara style

  • Gurjara/Pratihara dynasty was an imperial power in west and north India 8th to the 11th century.
  • Somnath Temple, Naresaar and Batesar group of temple, Baroli group of temples were some fine examples of Parithara style
  • The Nagara style received a big boost under their rule, and later temples adopted their ornamentation style and rafter end designs. In some cases false balconies were created to give double storey effect.

Dravidan style / South Indian temple style

  • Unlike the nagara temple, the dravida temple is enclosed within a compound wall. The front wall has an entrance gateway in its centre, which is known as a gopuram.
  • The shape of the main temple tower known as vimana in Tamil Nadu is like a stepped pyramid that rises up geometrically rather than the curving shikhara of North India.
  • In the South Indian temple, the word ‘shikhara’ is used only for the crowning element at the top of the temple which is usually shaped like a small stupika or an octagonal cupola - this is equivalent to the amlak and kalasha of North Indian temples.
  • Entrances have sculptures of dvarapalas or the door-keeper. It is common to find a large water reservoir, or a temple tank
  • Kerala style / Chera style: Very large temples are rare, and sloping roofs with projecting eaves dominate the outline, often arranged in a number of tiers, to fend off heavy monsoon in region

Vesara style / Karnataka school of architecture

Vesara style was conceptualised under the later Chalukya rulers in the mid-seventh century A.D. It combined features of both Nagara school and Dravidian school and resulted in a hybridized style

  • Emphasis on vimana and mandapa
  • Open ambulatory passageway
  • The pillars, doorways and the ceilings were decorated with intricate carvings.

Three prominent dynasties who made Vesara style temples are:

  • Chalukyas - temples in Badami and Kalyani
    • Present Somnath temple is built in Chalukya style
  • Rashtrakutas - Kailashnath temple in Ellora, etc
  • Hoysala Dynasty - temples at Halebid, Belur etc.

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • Puri Jagannath temple
    • Somnath temple
  • July, 20
    • Padmanabha Swamy temple, Kerala - Supreme court ruling over authority of temple trust. (Temple was built in Chera style and dravidan style)
    • Stolen sculpture of Shiva (Natesa), a rare sandstone idol in the 9th century Prathihara style of Rajasthan is being returned to India by UK

Sub: Geography
Topic: India Physical Setiings Resources
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/5

Fossil Fuels

Coal

  • Most of the world’s coal was formed in Carboniferous age (Gondwana coal), about 350 million years ago
  • Based on amount of carbon, ash and moisture content, coals are classified into
    • Lignite : First stage of coal, 40-55% carbon, prone to self combustion
      • Peat : precursor to coat formation, it is soft organic material of decayed plants
    • Bituminous coal: Second stage of coal, about 40-80% carbon. USed for electricity, coke and gas.
    • Anthracite : High concentration of carbon

Initiatives in focus

  • 100% FDI has been allowed in coal and lignite mining subject to provisions of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
  • FDI is also permitted for setting up processing plants like washeries provided company do not sell the washed or sized coal in the open market, but supply the processed coal back to those who are supplied them raw coal

Oil

  • Properties - upto 95% hydrocarbons, and rest is organic compounds like oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur
  • It is obtained from sedimentary rocks of earth, and formed 3 million years ago in tertiary period
  • India
    • In India, oil is mainly found in Mumbai High, Khambhat gulf, and Assam
    • Assam is the oldest oil producing state in India. Oil is mainly found in upper Assam area along Brahmaputra valley
      • Baghjan natural gas - Near Maguri-Motapung wetland and close to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
  • Extraction
    • Fracking -  Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting specialized fluid into cracks to force them to open further. 

Global Bodies

  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
    • OPEC was founded in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum policies of its members and mutual corporation
    • Ecuador, Indonesia and Qatar were former members

Natural Gas

  • Consists mainly methane along with small percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, sulfur
  • It is mainly found dissolved in oil or as gas cap above oil.
  • 70% of India’s natural gas reserves are found in the Bombay High basin and in Gujarat especially in Gulf of Khambhat or Cambay
  • Offshore gas reserves are also located in Assam, Andhra Pradesh coast (Krishna Godavari Basin) and Tamil Nadu coast (Cauvery Basin)

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • 100% FDI has been allowed in coal and lignite mining 
    • OPEC struggling in pandemic

Sub: Geography
Topic: Environment Ecosystem Vegetation and Wildlife
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/5

Animal Protection

Acts

Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972

The main object of the Act is to provide protection to the wild animals birds and plants. Salient features:

  • Hunting of all wild animals except vermin prohibited, with exceptions.
    • Boars have been declared vermin
  • The Act empowers Central Government to declare certain areas as Sanctuaries or National Parks. Central Government is empowered to appoint the Director and Asst. Director Wild Life Preservation and other officials and employees
  • The Act empowers State Government to appoint Chief Wild Life Warden, Wild Life Wardens and on Honorary Wild Life Warden in each District and other officers and employees as may be necessary.
  • The State govt. by notification, may declare any area as national park; and any area within the reserved forest or territorial waters as a sanctuary. If there are tribals in the area, then their rights need to be met before declaration
  • Setting of 'Wild Life Advisory Board' in each State or Union Territory to advise the State government.
  • All zoos to be monitored by Central Zoo Authority (CZA). Thus CZA is a statutory body chaired by the Environment Minister
  • Any authorized person under this Act is entitled and has power of entry, search, arrest and detention of any premises.
  •  Schedules
    • Sechedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection - offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties
    • Penalties for Schedule III and Schedule IV are less and these animals are protected.
    • Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted
    • Schedule VI contains the plants, which are prohibited from cultivation and planting. 

Advisory for dealing with import of exotic live species in India and declaration of stock

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued an advisory in June, 2020 to streamline the process for import and possession of exotic live species in India.
  • The advisory has defined exotic animals as those that are mentioned in Appendices I, II and III of CITES, but not under the schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • A person trying to import a live exotic animal will have to submit an application for grant of a licence to the Director General of Foreign Trade  (DGFT). He will also have to attach a No Objection Certificate (NOC) of the chief wildlife warden  (CWLW) of the state concerned
  • The processes under this Advisory shall be dealt online through the Parivesh Portal
    • PARIVESH portal - Single window clearances of Environment, Forests and Wildlife and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Clearances. By Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change 

Indian Bodies

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)

  • WCCB is statutory multi-disciplinary body under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to combat organized wildlife crime.
  • WCCB is mandated under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies
  • It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna

Wildlife Institute of India (WII)

  • an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, established in 1982

Global Bodies

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) / Washington Convention, 1975

  • CITES is an international treaty to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. India has ratified the convention
  • Does not have arbitration or dispute resolution powers.
  • CITES Appendices: Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels of protection. Species are proposed for inclusion or deletion from the Appendices I and II, at meetings of the Conference of the Parties (CoP), held approximately once every three years. However, species from Appendix III may be added or removed at any time and by any Party unilaterally
    • Appendix I: Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants. These species are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except for non commercial purposes like scientific research.
    • Appendix II: Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but that may become unless trade is closely controlled. International trade is authorized with export permit, but no permit is required for import
    • Appendix III: Appendix III is a list of species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade. For trading, an export permit and a certificate of origin is required.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau busts syndicate smuggling exotic macaws
  • July, 20
    • Environment Ministry has reconstituted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) 
    • KURMA app  - One of the major challenges for freshwater turtle conservation in the country is that wildlife crime prevention agencies are not sufficiently equipped to know how to distinguish one species from the other, or their protection status in accordance with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and the Wildlife Protection Act.
  • Aug, 20
    • Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has slammed a petroleum exploration major for not learning any lesson from two earlier oil well blowouts in Assam

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/5

High Court And Subordinate Courts

High Court

  • THE CONSTITUTION (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956 authorised the Parliament to establish a common high court for two or more states, or for two or more states and a union territory
  • A High Court judge can hold office till 62 years of age. Post retirement he can be asked by Chief Justice to serve as an Acting Judge for High Court. As an Acting Judge, he shall have all power and privileges of high court judge, but still wont be deemed as a judge of High Court.
  • President of India:
    • Determines strength of high court
    • Appoints Chief Justice after consultation with Governor and CJI; and appoints judges after consulting CJI and a collegium of two senior judges of Supreme Court.
    • Can accept resignations
    • Transfer judges
    • Can remove judges after approval by special majority from each House.
  • Parliament:
    • Determines salaries, pensions, leaves, allowances, expenses. They are charged on consolidation fund of state, thus they can be discussed on but can not be voted on. However pension of High Court judges is charged on Consolidated Fund of India.
    • Parliament and state legislature determine the jurisdiction and powers of a High Court.
  • Jurisdiction
    • Original Jurisdiction : It means the power of a high court to hear disputes in the first instance, not by way of appeal. High Court does not have original criminal jurisdiction.
    • Writ Jurisdiction : Article 226 of the Constitution empowers a high court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo-warrento for the enforcement of the fundamental rights or an ordinary legal right.
    • Appellate Jurisdiction : A high court is primarily a court of appeal, to hear appeals from subordinate courts in both civil and criminal matters.
    • Judicial Review : High Courts can examine the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both the Central and state governments; and can declare them illegal and unconstitutional, if they are found to be violative of the Constitution.

Advocate General

  • Article 165: Advocate General for the State
    • Governor of each State shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed as a Judge of a High Court to be Advocate General for the State. In other words, he should have held a judicial office for ten years or been an advocate of a high court for ten years
    • The Advocate General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor, and shall receive such remuneration as the Governor may determine 
  • Duties - Attorney General gives advise to state goverenment, performs duties of a legal character that are assigned to him by the governor, and discharges functions as defined in Constitution or any other law.
  • Rights
    • He has the right of audience in any court in the State.
    • He has the right to speak or to take part in the proceedings of state legislature [Article 177], but without a right to vote.
    • He enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of the state legislature.

Subordinate Courts

Part VI of the Constitution from Articles 233 to 237 deal with subordinate courts

  • The organisational structure and jurisdiction of subordinate judiciary is under state discretion.
  • Governor
    • Appointment, posting and promotion of 'district judges' in consultation with the high court.
    • Appointment of persons (other than district judges) to the judicial service of a state, after consultation with the State Public Service Commission and the high court
  • The district judge is the highest judicial authority in the district. He possesses original and appellate jurisdiction in both civil as well as criminal matters. In other words, the district judge is also the sessions judge. When he deals with civil cases, he is known as the district judge and when he hears the criminal cases, he is called as the sessions judge.
  • The sessions judge has the power to impose capital punishment (after confirmation by High Court) and life imprisonment.
  • Below the District and Sessions Court
    • Civil:
      • Court of Subordinate Judge
      • Court of Munsiff : Subordinate to Court of Subordinate Judge, decides civil cases of small pecuniary stake
      • City Civil court: Some metropolitan like Bengaluru, Mumbai, have their own civil courts subordinate to High Court.
    • Criminal:
      • Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate. The chief judicial magistrate decides criminal cases which are punishable with imprisonment for a term up to seven years.
      • Court of Judicial Magistrate : Subordinate to Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, and tries cases which are punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years
      • Courts of metropolitan magistrates: May pass sentence upto 3 years

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

  • Constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to monitor and evaluate implementation of legal aid programmes, and to lay down policies and principles for making legal services available under the Act.
  • Legal Services Committee exists in Supreme Court, high courts, districts, and talukas
  • Functions - To provide free and competent legal services to the eligible persons, to organize Lok Adalats, to organize legal awareness camps in the rural areas.

Lok Adalat 

  • Lok Adalat is a statutory body under Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
  • Lok Adalat settles pending cases, or which are at pre-litigation stage (not yet brought before a court)
  • Offences which are non-compoundable under any law fall outside the purview of the Lok Adalat.
  • It has same power as civil court while presiding a suit.
  • The decision of Lok Adalat shall be final and binding on all the parties to the dispute and can not be appealed against.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • NALSA to provide online legal assistance for domestic violence

Sub: Economics
Topic: Banking, Finance and Tax System Finance and Banking - India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/5

Type Of Banks

Small Banks and Payment Banks

In 2014, the RBI issued the draft guidelines for setting up small banks and payment banks, with following guidelines:

  • The minimum capital requirement would be Rs 100 crore.
  • Promoter contribution would be at least 40% for the first five years. Excess share holding to be bought down to 26% in 12 years. Entities other than promoters can not have more than 10% stake.
  • Foreign shareholding in these banks will be as per FDI policy
  • RBI regulations that apply to existing commercial banks, including maintenance of CRR and SLR, apply to Small Banks as well
  • They can not open subsidiaries to undertake non banking financial services.

Small Banks

  • The purpose of Small Banks is to increase financial inclusion. Their operation is normally restricted to small homogenous clusters.
  • They provide basic services like deposits and credits.
  • For the initial three years after set up, prior approval will be required for branch expansion.
  • The maximum loan size and investment limit exposure to single/group borrowers/issuers would be restricted to 15 per cent of capital funds.
  • Loans upto 25 lakhs should constitute at least 50% portfolio towards micro enterprises.
  • Eligibility - Professionals with 10 years of experience in banking / finance / Micro Finance Institutions.

Payment Banks

  • A payments bank is like any other bank, but operating on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk.
  • It can carry out most banking operations but can not advance loans or issue credit cards.
  • It can accept demand deposits (up to Rs 1 lakh), offer remittance services, mobile payments and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers. 

Commercial Banks 

Commercial Banks refer to both scheduled and non-scheduled commercial banks which are regulated under Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs)

  • Any bank which is listed in the 2nd schedule of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 is considered a scheduled bank
  • They need to maintain their CRR with RBI; they are allowed to take part in RBI's house clearing; and they should submit their returns periodically to RBI
  • SCBs should have a minimum paid up capital and reserve of 5 lakh; and they can not conduct their business determinal to their depositors
  • The bank needs to be a corporation rather than a sole-proprietorship or partnership firm.
  • Scheduled Commercial Banks are grouped under following categories:
    • Public sector banks
      • State Bank of India and its Associates
      • Nationalised Banks
    • Private sector banks
      • Foreign Banks
      • Regional Rural Banks
      • Other Scheduled Commercial Banks.

Non-Scheduled Commercial Banks

  • Banks not listed in the 2nd schedule of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 are considered a non scheduled commercial bank
  • They need to maintain CRR with themselves.
  • They are not required to submit their returns periodically to RBI
  • They can not borrow money from RBI for normal banking purposes except in

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Small Banks giving more interest than normal banks
  • July, 20
    • RBI said said stress tests indicated that gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) could worsen to as high as 14.7% by the end of the current financial year, from 8.5% in March 2020

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