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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 4 February 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Excavation of Jain temple in Halebidu
  2. Former SC Judge: Collection of DNA samples will lead to misuse
  3. Union Budget on India’s weak fiscal position

EXCAVATION OF JAIN TEMPLE IN HALEBIDU

Context:

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed significant remains of what is presumed to be a Jain temple belonging to the Hoysala period at Halebid in Hassan district.

Relevance:

GS-I: Art and Culture (Archaeological Sites in India)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the recent excavation of Jain temple in Halebidu
  2. Jain temples in Halebidu and Hoysala Architecture
  3. Hoysaleswara Temple
  4. Chennakeshava Temple
  5. About Hoysala Empire

About the recent excavation of Jain temple in Halebidu

  • The excavation promises to throw up interesting antiquities from the 11th to the 14th century when the Hoysala dynasty ruled parts of Karnataka.
  • Apart from exposing the remains of the temple, the ASI team has recovered a sculpture of a Jain upasaka.
  • The discovery of a new temple reinforces the view that the Hoysalas encouraged and patronised all sects and cults and the presence of a Jain temple close to the Hoysaleshwara temple underlines the harmony that prevailed during those times.

Jain temples in Halebidu and Hoysala Architecture

  • Jain Basadi complex in Halebidu, Hassan district consists of three Jain Basadis (Basti or temples) dedicated to the Jain Tirthankars Parshvanatha, Shantinatha and Adinatha.
  • The complex is situated near Kedareshwara temple and Dwarasamudra lake.
  • These temples were constructed in the 12th century during the reign of Hoysala Empire along with Kedareshwara temple and Hoysaleswara Temple.
  • Hoysala temples are sometimes called hybrid or vesara as their unique style seems neither completely Dravida nor Nagara, but somewhere in between.
  • The Hoysala temples, instead of consisting of a simple inner chamber with its pillared hall, contain multiple shrines grouped around a central pillared hall and laid out in the shape of an intricately-designed star.
  • The most characteristic feature of these temples is that they grow extremely complex with so many projecting angles emerging from the previously straightforward square temple, that the plan of these temples starts looking like a star, and is thus known as a stellate-plan.
  • Since they are made out of soapstone which is a relatively soft stone, the artists were able to carve their sculptures intricately. This can be seen particularly in the jewellery of the gods that adorn their temple walls.
  • They are easily distinguishable from other medieval temples by their highly original star-like ground-plans and a profusion of decorative carvings.
  • Some of the famous temples are the Hoysaleshvara temple (Lord of the Hoysalas) at Halebid in Karnataka that was built in dark schist stone and the Chennakeshava temple in Somnathpura, Karnataka built under Narasimha III.
  • Two notable locations of Jain worship in the Hoysala territory were Shravanabelagola and Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli.

Hoysaleswara Temple

  • Hoysaleswara temple, also referred simply as the Halebidu temple, is a 12th-century Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva.
  • It is the largest monument in Halebidu built on the banks of a large man-made lake, and sponsored by King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala Empire.
  • During the early 14th century, Halebidu was twice sacked and plundered by the Muslim armies of the Delhi Sultanate from northern India, and the temple and the capital fell into a state of ruin and neglect.
  • The Hoysaleswara temple is a Shaivism tradition monument, yet reverentially includes many themes from Vaishnavism and Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, as well as images from Jainism.

Chennakeshava Temple

  • The Chennakeshava Temple, also referred to as Keshava, Kesava or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur, is a 12th-century Hindu temple in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, India.
  • It was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 CE, on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur also called Velapura, an early Hoysala Empire capital.
  • It was repeatedly damaged and plundered during wars, repeatedly rebuilt and repaired over its history.
  • Chennakesava is a form of the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and has been an active Hindu temple since its founding.
  • The Hoysala Empire and its capital was invaded, plundered and destroyed in the early 14th century by Malik Kafur, a commander of the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji.

About Hoysala Empire

  • The Hoysala Empire was a Kannadiga power originating from the Indian subcontinent that ruled most of what is now Karnataka, India between the 10th and the 14th centuries.
  • In the 12th century, taking advantage of the internecine warfare between the Western Chalukya Empire and Kalachuris of Kalyani, they annexed areas of present-day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri delta in present-day Tamil Nadu.
  • The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu.
  • Halebidu was the capital of the Hoysala Empire between the c. 11th to 14th century CE when Jainism maintained a strong presence in the region.
  • The region was called Dorasamudra or Dwarasamundra during the rule of Hoysala.
  • Bittiga (later became Vishnuvardhana), is considered the greatest ruler of Hoysala kingdom and was a Jain till around 1115 after which he converted to Vaishnavism under the influence of the Hindu saint Ramanujacharya.
  • However, he still recognized Jainism on par with Hinduism. During their regime, Hinduism and Jainism co-existed with utmost religious harmony.
  • Along with the famous Hoysala Architecture, the Hoysala rulers also patronised the fine arts, encouraging literature to flourish in Kannada and Sanskrit.
  • During the rule of the Hoysalas, three important religious developments took place in present-day Karnataka inspired by three philosophers, Basava, Madhvacharya and Ramanuja.

-Source: The Hindu


FORMER SC JUDGE: COLLECTION OF DNA SAMPLES WILL LEAD TO MISUSE

Context:

Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology that allowing investigating agencies to collect DNA samples from “suspects” as laid down in the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2019, will give them “unbridled power that is easily capable of misuse and abuse” and amount to a “threat to the life, liberty, dignity and privacy of a person”.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019
  2. Usage of DNA Evidence in India
  3. Why is the bill required (according to the government)?
  4. Arguments Against the Bill
  5. More about the recent report tabled in the Parliament regarding DNA profiling bill

DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019

  • The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 also known as the DNA profiling bill, tries to check use of DNA technology to establish the identity of a person.
  • According to the government, the DNA technology bill aims to establish the identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, under trials and unknown deceased persons.

Provisions of the Bill

  • It seeks to establish a national data bank and regional DNA data banks.
  • It envisages that every databank will maintain indices like the crime scene index, suspects’ or undertrials’ index, offenders’ index, missing persons’ index and unknown deceased persons’ index.
  • It also seeks to establish a DNA Regulatory Board. Every laboratory that analyses DNA samples to establish the identity of an individual, has to be accredited by the board.
  • The bill also proposes a written consent by individuals be obtained before collection of their DNA samples. However, consent is not required for offences with punishment of more than seven years in jail or death.
  • It also provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on the filing of a police report or court order, and of undertrials on the basis of a court order. Profiles in the crime scene and missing persons’ index will be removed on a written request.

Usage of DNA Evidence in India

  • DNA evidence was first accepted by the Indian courts in 1985, but it was not till January, 2019 that a bill on the issue was first introduced in Parliament and even passed by the Lok Sabha.
  • The initiative to draft a bill regulating the use of DNA samples for crime related reasons began in the year 2003.
  • The Department of Biotechnology established a committee known as the DNA Profiling Advisory Committee to make recommendations for the drafting of the DNA profiling bill 2006. This eventually became the Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2007.
  • In 2016, the Use and Regulation of DNA based technology in Civil and Criminal Proceedings, Identification of Missing Persons and Human Remains Bill was listed for introduction, consideration and passing. Activists and experts raised concerns over the 2016 version of the bill as well.
  • In 2018, the Law Commision of India in its 271st report prepared the draft bill and examined various judicial pronouncements and constitutional provisions and recorded that DNA profiling was indeed used for disaster victim identification, investigations of crime, identification of missing persons and human remains and also for medical research purposes. – However, it also flagged the privacy concerns and the ethics involved in this scientific collection of data were very high.

Why is the bill required (according to the government)?

  • The Bill is urgently required as its applications would be to enable identification of missing children.
  • As per the National Crime Records Bureau, annually 1,00,000 children go missing.
  • The Bill will also help in identifying unidentified deceased, including disaster victims and apprehend repeat offenders for heinous crimes such as rape and murder.
  • DNA testing is currently being done on an extremely limited scale in India

The standards of the laboratories are not monitored or regulated.

Arguments Against the Bill

  • Many claim that the DNA profiling bill is a violation of human rights as it could compromise with the privacy of the individuals, that is because all the details of the person’s body and his DNA profile will be with the state. The Supreme Court has recognised the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right.
  • It will be used not only in the settlement of criminal cases but also in civil matters like using DNA profiling in matters such as surrogacy, maternity or paternity check, organ transplantation and immigration.
  • The Declaration of Helsinki, 1964, which contains principles stressing on informed consent, confidentiality of data, vulnerable population and requirement of a protocol etc., is used to cite against the DNA profiling bill.

More about the recent report tabled in the Parliament regarding DNA profiling bill

  • In his submission, Justice Lokur has argued that in a blind crime or a crime involving a large number of persons (such as a riot) everybody is suspect, without any real basis – Which will mean that thousands of persons can be subjected to DNA profiling on a mere suspicion.
  • Justice Lokur has stated that the provisions of the bill can lead to targeting of select groupings, including social, linguistic, religious and other minorities on the ground of being suspects.
  • Many members of the committee too had expressed concern over including “suspects” in this list, flagging that it could lead to misuse and targeting certain categories of people.
  • At the same time, the committee has observed that it does not negate the need for such legislation especially when DNA technology was in use.

-Source: The Hindu


UNION BUDGET ON INDIA’S WEAK FISCAL POSITION

Context:

The Union Budget’s focus on higher capital expenditure, financial sector reforms and asset sales would help to stimulate growth and supply broad-based credit support, but India’s weak fiscal position would remain a key credit challenge compared with its rating peers.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Economic Development)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Moody’s Investors Service on India’s Weak financial position based on the budget
  2. What was in the Budget regarding Deficits?
  3. What is Fiscal Deficit?
  4. What is Revenue Deficit?

Moody’s Investors Service on India’s Weak financial position based on the budget

  • The budget projects a narrowing of the central government’s fiscal deficit to almost 7% of GDP in fiscal 2022 from an estimated 9.5% in fiscal 2021.
  • The ratings agency said the widening of the deficit in fiscal 2021 was driven almost entirely by expenditure to support Indian households and the economy from the pandemic shock.

What was in the Budget regarding Deficits?

  • Revenue deficit is targeted at 5.1% of GDP in 2021-22, which is lower than the revised estimate of 7.5% in 2020-21 (3.3% in 2019-20).
  • Fiscal deficit is targeted at 6.8% of GDP in 2021-22, down from the revised estimate of 9.5% in 2020-21 (4.6% in 2019-20). 
  • The government aims to steadily reduce fiscal deficit to 4.5% of GDP by 2025-26.

What is Fiscal Deficit?

  • Fiscal Deficit is the difference between the total income of the government (total taxes and non-debt capital receipts) and its total expenditure.
  • A fiscal deficit situation occurs when the government’s expenditure exceeds its income.
  • A recurring high fiscal deficit means that the government has been spending beyond its means.
  • The government describes fiscal deficit of India as “the excess of total disbursements from the Consolidated Fund of India, excluding repayment of the debt, over total receipts into the Fund (excluding the debt receipts) during a financial year”.

What is Revenue Deficit?

  • Revenue deficit arises when the government’s revenue expenditure exceeds the total revenue receipts.
  • Revenue deficit includes those transactions that have a direct impact on a government’s current income and expenditure.
  • This represents that the government’s own earnings are not sufficient to meet the day-to-day operations of its departments.
  • Revenue deficit turns into borrowings when the government spends more than what it earns and has to resort to the external borrowings.
  • Note that revenue receipts are receipts which neither create liability nor lead to a reduction in assets.

It is further divided into two heads:

  1. Receipt from Tax
  2. Receipts from Non-Tax Revenue

-Source: The Hindu

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