Hung Assembly and the Governor
- The Governor has the task of inviting the leader of the largest party/alliance, post-election, to form the government; overseeing the dismissal of the government in case of a breakdown of the Constitution in the State; and, through his report, recommending the imposition of President’s rule.
- There are examples of the last two having been frequently misused to dismiss “belligerent” State governments, but this has been checked substantially by the Supreme Court through S.R. Bommai v. Union of India
- Following the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendations, the Court underlined that the breakdown of constitutional machinery implied a virtual impossibility, and not mere difficulty, in carrying out governance in a State.
- It said that while the subjective satisfaction of the President regarding such a breakdown was beyond judicial scrutiny, the material on which such satisfaction was based could certainly be analyzed by the judiciary, including the Governor’s report
- It reserved the power to declare this report mala fide and restore the dismissed government. The same idea can be extended in case of the Governor’s discretion in inviting a party to form the government
- Since the Bommai verdict allows the Supreme Court to investigate claims of mala fide in the Governor’s report, a similar extension to cover mala fide in the invitation process could be a potential solution
- A rare sculpture of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati dating back to the 7th century was discovered at a Chalukyan temple in Satyavolu village of Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh.
- The red sandstone sculpture portrays Lord Siva as the therapeutic physician (Rudra Bhaishajana) — as described in Rigveda — in which he holds a bowl in his left hand, which contains medicine from herbs to revive the ailing horse lying at his feet.
- Siva was fairly represented in sculptural art of ancient India in many forms right from the Indus Valley civilization to the late medieval period.
- The sculpture belongs to early 7th century Chalukyan School of Art.
- The vertical stone slab prominently illustrates Siva and Parvati. The Lord is gracefully seated on a pedestal with the left leg on the seat, the other with knee bent and resting on the ground.
- Two locks of hair falling over his shoulders, he wears neatly entangled hair with a protrusion over the left of his head and knotted in a mountain dweller fashion.
Chalukyan Architecture (5th – 8th CE)
- The temples under the Chalukyas are a good example of the Vesara style of architecture.
- This is also called the Deccan style or Karnataka Dravida or Chalukyan style. It is a combination of Dravida and Nagara styles.
- The building material they used was reddish-golden Sandstone found locally.
- The temples had beautiful mural paintings also.
- The temples are located on the banks of River Tungabhadra and Malprabaha in Karnataka and Alampur in Andhra Pradesh.
- Aihole temples: Ladh Khan temple (Surya Temple), Durga temple, Huchimalligudi temple, Jain temple at Meguti by Ravikirti..
- Badami temples: Virupaksha temple and Sangameshwara Temple are in Dravida style. Papanatha temple is in Nagara style.
- Pattadakkal: is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are ten temples here – 4 in Nagar style and 6 in Dravida style.
- The Bamiyan valley is enclosed by the Hindu Kush Mountains, which is located in Afghanistan.
- The valley lies on the ancient Silk Route and hence, witnessed several developments.
- It was an important hub for trade and served as the site for early Hindu-Buddhist settlements from which it takes its name.
- Several Buddhist monasteries, caves and Buddha statues can be found across the valley.
- The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley comprise eight separate sites spread across the valley and its tributaries.
- Of these, the Bamiyan cliffs where once two giant Buddhas stood are the most famous.
- The valley is a UNESCO world heritage site.
- The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and people living in the Arctic region
- The first step towards the formation of the Council occurred in 1991 when eight Arctic countries signed the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS)
- The Ottawa Declaration of 1996 formally established the Arctic Council
- The Ottawa Declaration named eight members of the Arctic Council: Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the United States, Sweden, and Finland
- Observer states consist of the following (2017): Germany, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, France, Spain, China, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland
- Fragile Five is a term coined in August 2013 by a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley to represent emerging market economies that have become too dependent on unreliable foreign investment to finance their growth ambitions.
- The acronym follows a long line of analyst acronyms that have caught on over the years, including Jim O’Neill’s BRICS and MINTS acronyms.
- As capital flows out of emerging markets to developed markets, many of their currencies experienced significant weakness and made it difficult to finance current account deficits.
- The lack of new investment also made it impossible to finance many growth projects, which contributed to a slowdown in their respective economies. This created a potential issue for certain vulnerable economies.
- The five members of the Fragile Five include:
- South Africa
Paraben Levels in Water
- A project is initiated to identify parabens and triclosan in water bodies to help develop measures to correct their harmful effects.
- Parabens are a group of organic compounds used as preservatives in cosmetics and hygiene products.
- They are harmful for human health and when they end up in water bodies with urban and hospital waste, they become a threat to corals and may cause hormonal disruptions in dolphins and other marine animals as well.
- Use of cosmetics with parabens could pose a risk of breast cancer in women.
- Multiple studies have linked chlorinated parabens to endocrine disrupting functions, specifically mimicking the effects of Estrogen.
- Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food
- This is done to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health
- Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology
- Biofortification differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops
Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR)
- In an effort to encourage and equip PhD scholars and post-doctoral fellows with skills to communicate science with lay people, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) plans to reward students who write popular articles about their research
- The Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) initiative will each year reward 100 best articles by PhD students with cash prize of Rs.1,00,000 each and a certificate of appreciation.
- The programme allows students to write only about their research
- Students will be encouraged to write at least one popular science article during the tenancy of their scholarship
- The articles can either be submitted to DST directly or published in newspapers
- The intent of the programme is to inculcate popular science writing skills and bring science closer to the society
- Green GDP is a term used for expressing GDP after adjusting for environment degradations.
- Green GDP is an attempt to measure the growth of an economy by subtracting the costs of environmental damages and ecological degradations from the GDP
- The concept was first initiated through a System of National Accounts.
- The System of National Accounts (SNA) is an accounting framework for measuring the economic activities of production, consumption and accumulation of wealth in an economy during a period of time.
- When information on economy’s use of the natural environment is integrated into the system of national accounts, it becomes green national accounts or environmental accounting.
B.P. Singhal v. Union of India
- This deals with interpreting Article 156 of the Constitution and the arbitrary removal of Governors before the expiration of their tenure
- This judgment is crucial since a fixed tenure for Governors could go quite far in encouraging neutrality and fairness in the discharge of their duties, unmindful of the dispensation at the Centre
Changi Naval Base
- Changi Naval Base (CNB) is the prime naval base for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
- Changi and Tuas naval bases together enhance the operational ability and efficiency of the RSN. The Changi base protects the sea line of communications and defends the country against sea-borne threats in littoral waters of the Singapore Strait. CNB is a state-of-the-art facility and has been built to meet the growing operational needs of the naval forces.
- Singapore is strategically situated on the major international sea routes – the Straits of Singapore and Malacca – and connects the Pacific and Indian Oceans making it economically important.
- The country acts as the centre for international communications, transportations and trade to southeast Asia. It works with neighbouring littoral states for safety, stability, regional peace and navigational freedom.
- Recently India and Indonesia covered the expanse from defence cooperation to shared cultural links, and led to the signing of several agreements, including the joint development of Sabang Port, 90 km from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, at the entrance to the Strait of Malacca.
- The two countries upgraded their strategic partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and adopted a document called the “Shared Vision on Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific between India and Indonesia”.