UPSC CA: 1st September 2020

Webinar on Hampi under Dekho Apna Desh Series

Context: 

  • Under the Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series the Ministry of Tourism conducted a webinar on Hampi on 29th August 2020.

Hampi:

  • Hampi is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in central Karnataka.
  • Its name is derived from Pampa (old name of the Tungabhadra River) on whose banks the city is built.
  • It was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar from 1343 to 1565 AD.
  • Hampi was amongst the largest and most prosperous cities of the world during its period of power and vigour.
  • It reached its prime during the rule of Krishna Deva Raya, ruled between 1509 and 1529 AD.
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi:
    • The group of Monuments at Hampi were built between 1336-1570 A.D., from the times of Harihara-I to Sadasiva Raya.
    • It is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Group of Monuments at Hampi).
    • Colin Mackenzie, in 1800 discovered the remains of Hampi and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been conducting excavation works in the site.
    • The site used to be multi-religious and multi-ethnic; it included Hindu and Jain monuments next to each other.
    • With the death of Krishnadevaraya, the combined armies of the five Muslim kingdoms– Bidar, Golconda, Ahmednagar and Berar destroyed this mighty empire and Hampi city in 1565.
  • Architecture:
    • Primarily Dravidian style and architecture dating to Aihole-Pattadakal styles.
    • Combinations of Cholas, Pandya’s & Chalukya Style.
    • Built mainly from local granite along with lime, mortar etc.
    • Noted for their large dimensions, ornamentation, high towers, pillars and magnificent pavilions.
    • There are more than 500 monuments and the notable Structures at Hampi are Vittala temple, Virupaksha temple, Hampi Bazaar, Achyuta Raya’s Temple, Hazara Rama Temple etc.

 

GDP falls 23.9% in first quarter

Context:

  • The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India has shrunk by a record 23.9% in the April to June 2020 quarter in comparison to the same period in 2019, according to data released by the National Statistical Office.

Key points:

  • The contraction reflects the severe impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as the slowdown trend of the economy even pre-COVID-19.
  • Agriculture was the only sector which recorded a modest growth of 3.4% in year-on-year terms.
  • All other sectors saw a contraction, with the steepest fall of 50% in construction, and the trade, hotels, transport and communication services category shrinking 47%.
  • On the expenditure side, private consumption fell 26.7%, while investments, as reflected by gross fixed capital formation plunged 47%, and exports contracted almost 20%.
  • Government final consumption expenditure grew 16.4%.

 

Rare Renati Chola era inscription unearthed

Context:

  • In  a remote village of Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh a rare inscription dating back to the Renati Chola era has been unearthed.

Key points:

  • The inscription was written in archaic Telugu.
  • It was assigned to the 8th century A.D. when the region was under the rule of the Chola Maharaja of Renadu.
  • The inscription also throws light upon the priority given to morality in those days.
  • Renati Cholas:
    • The Telugu Cholas of Renadu (also called Renati Cholas) ruled over the Renadu region, the present-day Kadapa district.
    • They had the unique honour of using the Telugu language in their inscriptions belonging to the 6th and 8th centuries.
    • The inscriptions at Gandikota at Jammulamadugu and Proddatur are proof of this fact.

 

World’s Largest Solar Tree: CSIR-CMERI

Context: 

  • CSIR-CMERI has developed the World’s Largest Solar Tree, and installed at CSIR-CMERI Residential Colony, Durgapur, West Bengal. 

Key points:

  • The installed capacity of the Solar Tree is above 11.5 kWp (kilowatts peak).
  • It has the annual capacity to generate 12,000-14,000 units of Clean and Green Power.
  • The Solar Trees have been designed in a manner to ensure minimum Shadow Area.
  • This will make them available for widespread usage in Agricultural activities such as High Capacity Pumps, e-Tractors and e-Power Tillers.
  • The solar tree has the capability to incorporate IOT based features, i.e. round-the-clock CCTV surveillance in agricultural fields, real-time humidity, wind speed, rainfall prediction and soil analytics sensors.

 

Quantum Enabled Science and Technology (QuEST) programme

Context: 

  • India’s Department of Science & Technology had set up a program called Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST) in 2018.

Key points:

  • As a part of the program, it will invest a sum of Rs 80 crore in a span of three years to facilitate research in this field.
  • In the Phase 1 of India’s quantum computing program, the country will be laying out the basic infrastructure that is needed to promote research in this field.
  • It will help in improving the state of national security as quantum-level encrypted information becomes a common communication standard.
  • The Union Budget 2020-21 proposed to spend Rs 8000 crores ($ 1.2 billion) on the newly launched National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NMQTA).

 

Operation Twist

Context: 

  • Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced several measures to ensure orderly market conditions and smooth financial conditions.

Key points:

  • These measures include two more tranches of special Open Market Operations (OMOs) in bonds and a hike in the Held-To-Maturity (HTM) limit under the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) for banks.
  • Operation Twist is the name given to a USA Federal Reserve monetary policy operation, which involves the purchase and sale of government securities to boost the economy by bringing down long-term interest rates.
  • It is now being used for similar measures taken by RBI in Indian context as well.