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Current Affairs 07 September 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Measuring Unemployment in India
  2. Impact of Human Activities on El Nino and La Nina Events
  3. Impossible Trinity
  4. Hubble Constant
  5. Black Sea Grain Deal
  6. Name of the Nation – India or Bharat
  7. Indian Green Building Council
  8. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

Measuring Unemployment in India


Context:

According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), India’s unemployment rate was 6.1% in 2017 (the highest ever recorded) and the PLFS of 2021-22 showed unemployment reducing to 4.1%. The article highlights the difficulties of measuring unemployment in India, which reduced between 2017-2022, but still higher than some developed economies (US – ~3.5%).

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Definition of Unemployment
  2. Measurement of Unemployment Rate
  3. Classification of Working Status in India
  4. Rural vs. Urban Unemployment Rates in India
  5. Challenges in Measuring Unemployment in India
  6. The Way Ahead for Addressing Unemployment in India

Definition of Unemployment:

  • ILO’s Perspective: According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), unemployment refers to the state of being without a job, actively seeking employment opportunities, and being available to engage in work.
  • Clarity: Therefore, someone who has lost their job but does not actively seek another job is not considered unemployed. This highlights that joblessness is not equivalent to unemployment.

Measurement of Unemployment Rate:

  • Formula: The unemployment rate is calculated as the ratio of the number of unemployed individuals to the total labour force.
  • Labour Force: The labour force is defined as the sum of those who are currently employed and those who are actively seeking employment (the unemployed).
  • Exclusion: Individuals such as students and those involved in unpaid domestic work who do not fall into either the employed or unemployed categories are considered outside the labour force.
  • Factors Affecting the Unemployment Rate: The unemployment rate can decrease if an economy fails to generate enough job opportunities or if individuals decide not to actively search for work.

Classification of Working Status in India:

  • Data Sources: In India, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) employs two main criteria to classify the working status of individuals: the Usual Principal and Subsidiary Status (UPSS) and the Current Weekly Status (CWS).
  • Principal Status: An individual’s principal working status, whether employed, unemployed, or out of the labour force, is determined by the primary activity they engaged in for a relatively long period in the previous year.
  • Subsidiary Status: However, under UPSS, even someone not classified as a worker based on their principal status can still be counted as employed if they participated in economic activities in a subsidiary role for a certain duration (typically not less than 30 days) in the previous year.
  • Current Weekly Status: In contrast, CWS uses a shorter reference period of one week. An individual is considered employed if they worked for at least one hour on at least one day within the seven days leading up to the survey.
  • Unemployment Rates Comparison: UPSS-based unemployment rates are consistently lower than those derived from CWS. This is because, over the course of a year, there is a greater likelihood that an individual will find employment compared to just one week.

Rural vs. Urban Unemployment Rates in India:

  • Criteria for Employment: The relatively lenient criteria for classifying an individual as employed contribute to lower unemployment rates in rural areas compared to urban areas.
  • Agrarian Economies: In rural, agrarian economies, individuals often have access to family farms or opportunities for casual agrarian employment. This increased availability of employment options raises the likelihood of individuals finding some form of work, even if it’s sporadic.
  • Informal Economy Focus: These definitions are designed to capture the extent of the informal economy, which is prevalent in many rural areas. While they may seemingly underestimate unemployment, they align with the nature of work in these regions.

Challenges in Measuring Unemployment in India:

Social Norms and Job Search:

  • In a developing economy like India, social norms and constraints often influence an individual’s decision to actively seek employment.
  • This can lead to an underestimation of the true unemployment rate.

Domestic Work Example:

  • A survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) found that a significant percentage of women engaged in domestic work expressed a willingness to work if job opportunities were available within their households.
  • However, since they were not actively looking for work, they would not be counted as unemployed.

Informal Nature of Jobs:

  • In contrast to developed economies where individuals typically hold year-round jobs, India’s informal economy results in frequent job transitions.
  • An individual may be unemployed one week but could have worked as a casual laborer the previous month and as a farmer for most of the year.

Differing Methodologies:

  • Various organizations use different methodologies for measuring unemployment.
  • For example, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy classifies individuals based on their activity on the day preceding the interview.
  • This approach yields a higher unemployment rate but lower labor force participation rates because in an informal economy, there is a lower probability of individuals having work on any given day compared to longer reference periods of a week or a year.

Inaccurate Data Reflection:

  • Sometimes, the methodologies in use do not accurately reflect economic disruptions.
  • For example, the nationwide lockdown in March 2020 significantly impacted the Indian economy, but this was not immediately reflected in the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) unemployment rates, which cover a period from July of one year to June of the next. Consequently, unemployment rates measured under both UPSS and CWS standards decreased in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Developing Economy Trade-off:

  • Measuring unemployment in a developing economy involves an inherent trade-off. Adopting a very short reference period results in higher unemployment rates but lower employment rates, while a longer reference period yields the opposite.
  • Developed nations face less of this dilemma due to their more industrialized economies, where work tends to be consistent throughout the year.

The Way Ahead for Addressing Unemployment in India:

  • Election Significance: Unemployment is becoming a crucial issue in upcoming elections. Therefore, it is essential to address it effectively.
  • Understanding Definitions and Measurements: To tackle unemployment successfully, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of how it is defined and measured in a developing economy like India. This understanding will aid in crafting more targeted and impactful policies to address the issue.

-Source: The Hindu


Impact of Human Activities on El Nino and La Nina Events


Context:

A recent study highlights concerns regarding the influence of human activities on El Nino and La Nina events. It suggests that the Walker Circulation has shifted since the industrial era, potentially leading to an increased occurrence of multi-year El Nino and La Nina events.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Walker Circulation
  2. Key Details from the recent study
  3. El Nino
  4. La Nina
  5. El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

Walker Circulation:

The Walker Circulation is a significant atmospheric circulation pattern located in the tropical Pacific region of the Earth. It exerts a substantial influence on climate and weather patterns both within the tropics and on a global scale. Here are some key characteristics of the Walker Circulation:

  • Tropical Pacific Region: The Walker Circulation is primarily centered in the tropical Pacific Ocean but extends its effects to regions far beyond this area.
  • Climate and Weather Impact: This atmospheric system of winds plays a crucial role in shaping climate and weather patterns in tropical regions and can have cascading effects on weather systems worldwide.
  • El Nino and La Nina: The strength of the Walker Circulation is closely tied to phenomena known as El Nino and La Nina. A weaker Walker Circulation is associated with El Nino events, which can bring about irregular and extreme weather conditions in various parts of the world. In contrast, a stronger Walker Circulation typically signals La Nina, which can lead to its own set of climate anomalies.

Key Details from the recent study

Recent studies on the Walker Circulation and its relationship to climate change and volcanic eruptions have provided several important insights:

  • Slowing Transition from El Nino to La Nina: The transition from El Nino to La Nina has shown a slight slowing over time. This suggests that multi-year climate patterns may become more frequent in the future, leading to increased risks of droughts, fires, heavy rainfall, and floods.
  • Potential Influence of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: While the overall strength of the Walker Circulation has not yet decreased, researchers speculate that elevated carbon dioxide levels resulting from greenhouse gas emissions could weaken it over time.
  • Climate Models Predictions: Many climate models predict a decline in the Walker Circulation by the end of the century, indicating potential future changes in global weather patterns.
  • Link Between Volcanic Eruptions and Walker Circulation: The study identified a connection between volcanic eruptions and the weakening of the Walker Circulation. Volcanic eruptions have led to El Nino-like conditions in the past.
  • Significant El Nino Events Following Volcanic Eruptions: Researchers noted three significant El Nino events in the twentieth century that followed volcanic eruptions, including Mount Agung in 1963, El Chichón in 1982, and Mount Pinatubo in 1991. These events highlight the complex interactions between volcanic activity and climate systems.

El Nino:

El Nino is a climate pattern characterized by the unusual warming of surface waters in the Tropical Pacific Ocean. Here are some key points about El Nino:

  • Spanish Name: “El Nino” means “Little Boy” in Spanish, and it is named so because it often peaks around Christmas, which is traditionally associated with the birth of the Christ child.
  • Frequency: El Nino events occur more frequently than their counterpart, La Nina.
  • Effect on Indian Monsoon: El Nino is known to have a suppressing effect on monsoon rainfall in India. It can lead to drier-than-usual conditions and droughts in certain regions.
  • Cause: El Nino is caused by the weakening or reversal of trade winds in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Typically, trade winds blow from east to west, pushing warm surface waters towards the western Pacific.

La Nina:

La Nina, often referred to as “Little Girl” in Spanish, is a climate pattern characterized by the unusual cooling of the Tropical Pacific Ocean. Here are some key points about La Nina:

  • Spanish Name: “La Nina” translates to “Little Girl” in Spanish. It is sometimes referred to as “El Viejo” (The Old Man), anti-El Nino, or simply “a cold event.”
  • Effect on Indian Monsoon: Unlike El Nino, La Nina tends to promote rainfall over India. It can lead to wetter-than-usual conditions.
  • Cause: La Nina occurs as a result of the strengthening of the trade winds in the tropical Pacific Ocean. During La Nina events, these trade winds become even stronger, intensifying the east-to-west flow of warm surface waters across the equatorial Pacific.
  • Sea Surface Temperatures: The strengthening of the trade winds during La Nina leads to cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO):

ENSO is a complex climate phenomenon that results from the interaction between ocean and atmospheric conditions in the equatorial Pacific region. Here are some key points about ENSO:

  • Southern Oscillation: The term “southern oscillation” in ENSO refers to differences in sea-level air pressure between the western and eastern Pacific Oceans. These pressure differences play a crucial role in the development of ENSO events.
  • El Nino and La Nina: ENSO is characterized by two primary phases—El Nino and La Nina. These represent the warm and cool phases of the ENSO cycle, respectively.
  • Frequency: El Nino and La Nina events typically occur every 2 to 7 years. La Nina events can last between one and three years, while El Nino events are less likely to persist for more than a year.
  • Multi-year Events: Multi-year El Nino and La Nina events are those that continue for more than one year without returning to normal conditions in between. These extended phases are relatively unusual.
  • Recent Events: In 2023, La Nina concluded a three-year period, and El Nino made its presence felt. Such long-lasting ENSO phases are not common and can have significant impacts on global weather patterns.

-Source: Down To Earth


Impossible Trinity


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) and Indian investors are facing a challenge in overcoming the “impossible trinity”.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Impossible Trinity
  2. Challenges Related to the Impossible Trinity
  3. India’s Struggle with the Impossible Trinity
  4. Specific Measures and Their Implications
  5. Implications of the Impossible Trinity for Indian Investors

Impossible Trinity:

The Impossible Trinity, also known as the trilemma, is a concept in international economics and monetary policy. It posits that an economy cannot simultaneously pursue three specific policy objectives: independent monetary policy, a fixed exchange rate, and free capital movement across its borders.

  • Fixed Exchange Rate Regime: In a fixed exchange rate system, a country’s domestic currency is tied to the value of another foreign currency, such as the U.S. dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling, or a basket of currencies. The exchange rate remains relatively constant and is maintained by the central bank.
  • Achieving Two Objectives: According to the Impossible Trinity, even with skilled policymakers, a country can, at best, achieve only two of the three mentioned objectives at any given time. This means that if a country chooses to fix its exchange rate and allow free capital movement, it cannot have an independent monetary policy. Similarly, if it desires an independent monetary policy and a fixed exchange rate, it must restrict capital flows.
  • Origin: The concept of the Impossible Trinity was independently proposed by Canadian economist Robert Mundell and British economist Marcus Fleming in the early 1960s. It has since become a fundamental idea in the field of international economics and monetary policy.

Challenges Related to the Impossible Trinity:

Loss of Monetary Policy Control:

  • When a country prioritizes both free capital flow and a fixed exchange rate, it effectively relinquishes control over its monetary policy.
  • This means that the country’s central bank cannot independently adjust interest rates or money supply to address domestic economic issues without considering external economic pressures.

Imposition of Capital Controls:

  • If a country opts to maintain a fixed exchange rate and an independent monetary policy, it often needs to impose capital controls.
  • These controls restrict or regulate the flow of funds in and out of the country to prevent speculative attacks on its currency. Capital controls can limit financial market openness.

Exchange Rate Volatility:

  • Choosing an independent monetary policy and free capital flow implies accepting exchange rate fluctuations.
  • In this scenario, a country’s currency may experience volatility as it responds to market forces, potentially affecting trade and investment.

India’s Struggle with the Impossible Trinity:

India faces significant challenges related to the Impossible Trinity, where it grapples with the need to balance its exchange rate stability, independent monetary policy, and capital mobility. Here’s how India is struggling with this dilemma:

  • Interest Rate Policy: India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has been cautious in raising interest rates compared to the US Federal Reserve. This cautious approach is driven by concerns about potentially causing a recession, particularly with the national elections scheduled for 2024. However, maintaining lower interest rates can lead to a flight of capital back to the US due to more attractive returns, which could result in the depreciation of the Indian rupee.
  • Foreign Exchange Reserves Composition: India’s foreign exchange reserves are primarily composed of “hot money” from Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and corporate borrowings rather than money earned from trade. Relying on such reserves, which are not linked to trade earnings, poses challenges for maintaining currency stability.
  • Capital Control Measures: India has implemented various measures to control capital flows, such as import bans and increased taxes on outbound remittances. However, the effectiveness of these measures in managing the Impossible Trinity remains uncertain.

Specific Measures and Their Implications:

  • Import Bans and Licensing Policies: India imposed import bans, particularly on electronic goods, to limit capital outflows. These bans were later converted into license-based import policies. However, these measures could inadvertently contribute to supply-pull inflation instead of preventing capital outflows.
  • Increased Tax Rates on Outbound Remittances: India raised tax rates on outbound remittances from 5% to 20% to restrict capital outflows. The effectiveness of this tax increase in addressing the Impossible Trinity is being closely observed.
  • Currency Dynamics: China’s deflationary measures and rate cuts aimed at stimulating economic growth have resulted in a depreciating Chinese yuan. In contrast, the Indian rupee (INR) has appreciated by 4% against the Chinese yuan. A stronger INR can lead to increased imports from China, potentially affecting India’s trade balance and currency dynamics.
  • FIIs and Capital Flight: Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) have been selling their holdings of Indian debt securities and seeking more profitable investments abroad. This increased demand for foreign currency weakens the Indian rupee in the foreign exchange market.

Implications of the Impossible Trinity for Indian Investors:

The Impossible Trinity presents several implications for Indian investors as they navigate the challenges of exchange rate stability, independent monetary policy, and capital mobility. Here are some key considerations:

  • Sector Selection: Indian investors may consider focusing on sectors like Information Technology (IT) and Pharmaceuticals (Pharma) that primarily earn revenue in dollars. These sectors are less susceptible to rupee depreciation and can act as a shield against currency fluctuations.
  • Competitiveness and Returns: As the Indian rupee weakens relative to major foreign currencies like the US dollar, companies in export-oriented sectors, such as IT and Pharma, may become more competitive in international markets. This increased competitiveness can lead to higher export volumes and potentially offer attractive returns to investors.
  • Diversification: Indian investors should emphasize diversification across asset classes and geographies. Investing in international assets, such as foreign stocks and bonds, becomes crucial for protecting investments in a complex economic environment. Diversification helps spread risk and reduce exposure to domestic economic uncertainties.

-Source: The Hindu


Hubble Constant


Context:

Recently, a group of researchers from India and the United States has introduced an innovative technique for estimating the Hubble constant and the rate at which the universe is expanding.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Hubble Constant?
  2. Measuring the Hubble Constant
  3. Discrepancies in Measurement
  4. A Novel Approach to Estimate the Hubble Constant

What is Hubble Constant?

  • Edwin Hubble’s law, from 1929, marked the first description of the universe’s expansion.
  • The Hubble constant is the measure of this expansion, but its precise value remains a cosmological debate.
Measuring the Hubble Constant

Calculating the Hubble constant requires two key pieces of information:

  • The distance between observers and celestial objects
  • The velocity at which these objects recede due to the universe’s expansion.
Measurement methods:
  • By comparing the observed brightness of a supernova to its expected brightness, scientists estimate its distance. They also measure the redshift, the stretching of light’s wavelength caused by the universe’s expansion, to gauge its velocity.
  • Researchers use variations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the residual radiation from the Big Bang, to make Hubble constant estimates.
  • Gravitational waves, produced during massive celestial collisions like neutron stars or black holes, offer another approach. By analyzing the gravitational wave data’s shape, astronomers calculate the energy released in the collision and, hence, the distance to the objects.

Discrepancies in Measurement

  • Current measurements show a divergence in the Hubble constant values. The supernova-based method reports a value roughly two units higher than the CMB-based approach. The gravitational wave method is still evolving and lacks precision.
  • The discrepancy might stem from methodological errors or indicate that the Hubble constant itself changes over time.
  • This discrepancy arises because the three methods estimate the Hubble constant based on information from different cosmic eras. The CMB method relies on a younger universe, while the other two are anchored in an older cosmic epoch closer to the present day.

A Novel Approach to Estimate the Hubble Constant

  • Researchers have proposed a novel method for estimating the Hubble constant.
  • This method involves analyzing a set of lensed gravitational waves and their associated time delays.
  • Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive object, like a galaxy or galaxy cluster, bends and distorts the light from objects situated behind it.

Why is it Unique?

  • This approach provides an independent means of calculating the Hubble constant.
  • It has the potential to yield insights into other crucial cosmological parameters, including the density of matter in the universe.

Expert Insights

  • Experts in the field view this study as highly intriguing and a significant cosmological application of gravitational waves.
  • It introduces a fresh perspective on Hubble constant estimation, potentially contributing to a more precise understanding of the universe’s expansion rate and its fundamental properties.

-Source: The Hindu


Black Sea Grain Deal


Context:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he was confident Russia would soon revive the Black Sea grain deal.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Black Sea Grain Initiative?
  2. Importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative
  3. Why has Russia not agreed to renew it?
  4. About the Black Sea

What is the Black Sea Grain Initiative?

The Black Sea Grain Initiative is a response to supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s actions in the Black Sea region, which have led to escalating food prices. Here are the key points about the initiative:

  • Brokered by the UN and Turkey, the Black Sea Grain deal was signed in July 2022 in Istanbul.
  • Initially set for a period of 120 days, with the option to extend or terminate after November, the deal aimed to establish a safe maritime humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian exports, particularly food grains.
  • The corridor would operate from three key ports in Ukraine: Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.
  • The primary objective of the initiative was to stabilize markets by ensuring an adequate supply of grains, thus limiting food price inflation.
  • Ukraine is a major global exporter of wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds, and sunflower oil.
  • Its access to deep-sea ports in the Black Sea allows direct trade with Russia, Europe, and grain importers from West Asia and North Africa.
  • Russia’s actions in Ukraine had disrupted this trade route, which previously facilitated the shipping of 75% of Ukraine’s agricultural exports.
  • The Black Sea Grain Initiative aimed to address these disruptions and restore the flow of agricultural exports from Ukraine, thereby mitigating the impact on food prices and market stability.

Importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative:

Supply of Grains:

  • Approximately 10.1 million tonnes of grains have been shipped since the initiative started, ensuring a steady supply of food commodities.

Impact on Food Prices:

  • The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s Food Price Index has shown a six-month consecutive decrease in food prices during the September assessment period.
  • This indicates an improvement in the supply situation and the potential for further price drops.

Discouraging Hoarding:

  • The initiative has compelled people who were hoarding grain to sell it, reducing the likelihood of profiteering during supply shortages.

Addressing the Cost of Living Crisis:

  • The initiative has been credited with making a significant difference to the global cost of living crisis.

Distribution to Different Income Groups:

  • About 44% of the shipments reached high-income countries, 28% reached low and lower-middle-income countries, and 27% reached upper-middle-income countries.
  • This ensures a broad distribution of grains to meet the needs of different income groups.

Limitations in Addressing Global Hunger:

  • Observers note that while the initiative has had a significant reach, it alone cannot solve the issue of global hunger.
  • It can, however, prevent the global food crisis from worsening, particularly in the region that is yet to recover to previous production levels.

Why has Russia not agreed to renew it?

  • Unmet Promises: Russia claims that the promises made to it under the deal have not been fulfilled. It believes that it is still facing challenges in exporting its agricultural products and fertilizers.
  • Barriers on Export: Although there are no direct restrictions on Russia’s agricultural products, barriers related to payment platforms, insurance, shipping, and logistics have hindered its export activities. These obstacles have affected Russia’s ability to export its agricultural goods effectively.
  • Concerns about Global Food Security: Russia initially agreed to the grain deal to contribute to global food security. However, it has expressed dissatisfaction that Ukraine has primarily exported to high- and middle-income countries instead of focusing on poorer nations.
  • Impact on Food Prices: The United Nations acknowledges that while high- and middle-income countries have benefited from the cooling down of food prices, it also suggests that poorer countries have been assisted in terms of food availability and affordability.

About the Black Sea

  • The Black Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia; east of the Balkans (Southeast Europe), south of the East European Plain in Eastern Europe, west of the Caucasus, and north of Anatolia in Western Asia.
  • The Black Sea is bordered by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
  • The Black Sea ultimately drains into the Mediterranean Sea, via the Turkish Straits and the Aegean Sea.
  • The Bosporus Strait connects it to the small Sea of Marmara which in turn is connected to the Aegean Sea via the Strait of the Dardanelles. To the north, the Black Sea is connected to the Sea of Azov by the Kerch Strait.

-Source: Indian Express


Name of the Nation – India or Bharat


Context:

The invitations for the upcoming G-20 Summit in New Delhi have included a significant change. Rather than using the traditional “President of India,” the invitations now feature the term “President of Bharat.” This alteration has sparked discussions about the country’s nomenclature and its historical significance.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Historical Perspectives on the Names “India” and “Bharat”
  2. Constitutional Assembly Deliberation Regarding India and Bharat
  3. Historical Significance of the Name “Hindustan”

Historical Perspectives on the Names “India” and “Bharat”

Constitutionality and Interchangeability:
  • Article 1 of the Indian Constitution employs both “India” and “Bharat” interchangeably, establishing that “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
  • The preamble of the Indian Constitution, while beginning with “We the People of India,” uses “Bharat” in its Hindi version, demonstrating their interchangeability.
  • Certain government institutions, like the Indian Railways, have Hindi variants that include “Bharatiya.”
Origin of the Name Bharat:
  • The term “Bharat” has its origins in Puranic literature and the epic Mahabharata.
  • Vishnu Purana defines “Bharata” as the region between the southern sea and the northern Himalayan mountains.
  • It embodies a religious and socio-cultural identity more than a mere political or geographical one.
  • “Bharata” also serves as the name of a legendary ancient king, seen as the forefather of the Rig Vedic tribes of Bharatas, symbolizing the progenitor of all the subcontinent’s people.
Origin of the Name India:
  • The name “India” is derived from “Indus,” the name of a river flowing through the northwestern part of the subcontinent.
  • Ancient Greeks referred to the people beyond the Indus as “Indoi,” signifying “the people of Indus.”
  • Subsequently, Persians and Arabs adopted the terms “Hind” or “Hindustan” to denote the land of Indus.
  • Europeans adopted the name “India” from these sources, and it became the official appellation of the country during British colonial rule.

Constitutional Assembly Deliberation Regarding India and Bharat:

Debate in the Constituent Assembly (1949):
  • During the Constitution’s framing in 1949, there was a spirited debate regarding the country’s name.
  • Some members argued that “India” symbolized colonial oppression and advocated for giving precedence to “Bharat” in official documents.
  • Seth Govind Das from Jabalpur, for instance, proposed placing “Bharat” above “India,” emphasizing that the latter was merely an English translation.
  • Hari Vishnu Kamath cited the example of the Irish Constitution, which changed the country’s name upon gaining independence, as a precedent for adopting “Bharat.”
  • Hargovind Pant asserted that the people desired “Bharatvarsha” and rejected the term “India” imposed by foreign rulers.
Recent Developments:
  • In 2015, the Indian government opposed a name change, asserting that the issue had been extensively discussed during the Constitution’s drafting.
  • The Supreme Court has twice dismissed pleas to rename ‘India’ to ‘Bharat,’ first in 2016 and then again in 2020, reiterating that both “Bharat” and “India” are mentioned in the Constitution.

Historical Significance of the Name “Hindustan”:

  • In Sikhism: The term “Hindustan” holds historical importance within the Sikh community. Sikh founder Guru Nanak Dev mentioned “Hindustan” in Gurbani, the religious scriptures of Sikhism. Guru Teg Bahadur, one of the Sikh Gurus, is renowned as the protector of “Hind” and its religion, highlighting the spiritual connection to the region.
  • British-Sikh Conflicts: Shah Muhammad, a historian, documented the conflicts between the British and Sikhs as a battle between “Hind” and Punjab. This framing reflected the struggle for control and influence in the region during the colonial era.
  • Freedom Struggle: The Ghadar Party and other freedom struggle activists prominently used the term “Hindustan” in their movements. This usage rooted “Hindustan” in the history of Punjab, symbolizing the fight for independence and self-determination.

-Source: Indian Express


Indian Green Building Council


Context:

Vijayawada Railway Station was awarded the ‘Green Railway Station’ certification with the highest rating of Platinum by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

About the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC):

  • Formation: IGBC was established in 2001 and operates under the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • Premier Certification Body: It is recognized as India’s leading certification body for green buildings.
  • Services Offered: IGBC provides a range of services, including the development of new green building rating programs, certification services, and green building training programs.
  • Annual Event: The council hosts the Green Building Congress, its flagship annual event dedicated to green buildings.
  • Global Engagement: IGBC is one of five countries represented on the board of the World Green Building Council, participating in global discussions on issues like COP (Conference of the Parties) and similar international platforms.
  • Environmental Categories: IGBC’s building rating system is based on six environmental categories: sustainable station facility, health, hygiene, and sanitation, energy efficiency, water efficiency, smart and green initiatives, and innovation and development.
  • Headquarters: Located in Hyderabad.

-Source: The Hindu


Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)


Context:

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured the image of India’s Chandrayaan-3 lander.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

About the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO):

  • Launch Date: Launched by NASA on June 18, 2009.
  • Primary Objective: The primary mission objective is to create a comprehensive 3D map of the Moon’s surface while orbiting in a lunar polar orbit.
  • Scientific Exploration: LRO is not only dedicated to mapping but also conducts scientific research on the Moon’s geology, mineralogy, and environment.
  • Orbit: The spacecraft follows an eccentric polar mapping orbit around the Moon.
  • Instruments: LRO is equipped with seven science instruments. Notably, it features a powerful 195-millimeter (7.7-inch) telescope and camera system capable of capturing details as small as 2.5 meters across. It also carries a laser altimeter for generating 3D maps through laser reflections. Additionally, it possesses instruments specialized for exploring dark craters to search for water ice and a temperature instrument that led to the discovery of the coldest spot in the entire solar system.

-Source: Indian Express


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