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Current Affairs 22nd January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Andhra Becomes 2nd State to take up ‘Caste Census’

Context: The government of Andhra Pradesh has initiated an extensive caste census to count and document all communities within the state.

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  • Andhra Pradesh becomes the second state after Bihar to take up the caste census.
  • The comprehensive caste census is scheduled for 10 days in phase-I and if needed, it will be extended by four or five days.
  • The census aims to target the welfare requirements of castes that have been overlooked by government programs. This endeavour is crucial for promoting inclusive governance and advancing social justice.

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Gearing up for change

Context: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has marked the commencement of its 150th year in operation.

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  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD), initially established to study the southwest monsoon during colonial times for revenue-related reasons, now covers the entire spectrum of climate and weather, from cyclones to fog.
  • Over the years, the IMD has amassed a vast collection of meteorological data, crucial for monsoon forecasts. Recent research by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) analysed this data at a sub-divisional level, covering the period from 1982 to 2022.
    • Increased Rainfall: Over half of India’s tehsils (55%) are experiencing more monsoon rain, while only 11% have seen a decrease.
    • Uneven Distribution: However, the decrease is concentrated in crucial agricultural areas like the Indo-Gangetic plains, northeast India, and the Himalayas.
    • Rainfall Extremes: 30% of districts face repeated droughts, while 38% experience floods in some years.
    • Shifting Patterns: Traditionally dry regions like parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu are now receiving more rain.

Top court designates 56 lawyers as ‘senior advocates’

Context: The Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, along with Supreme Court judges, convened a Full Court meeting where 56 lawyers were appointed as senior advocates.

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  • Women Advocates Among New Senior Advocates: Out of the lawyers elevated to senior advocates by the Supreme Court, eleven are women. This includes Shobha Gupta, known for representing Bilkis Bano in a high-profile case against the Gujarat government’s decision to release 11 life convicts.
  • Advocates Act’s Definition: According to Section 16 of the Advocates Act, there exists a distinct category labelled ‘senior advocate’.
  • Criteria for Senior Advocate Designation: The Supreme Court and High Courts hold the authority to grant the status of senior advocate to lawyers. This decision is based on criteria such as merit, experience, in-depth knowledge of the law, and their reputation within the Bar.
  • Privileges of Senior Advocates: As per Section 23 of the Act, senior advocates are granted priority in court proceedings over other lawyers. Their precedence among each other is determined based on their individual seniority.
  • Recent Changes in Designation Process: This marks the first occasion that advocates have been appointed as senior advocates following the Supreme Court’s 2023 judgement, which revised the guidelines for the designation. The aim was to enhance transparency and fairness in the selection process.
  • Time Since Last Designation: The last group of lawyers to be designated as senior advocates by the court was nearly four years ago, prior to this recent appointment.

FIR reveals abuse faced by children at M.P. ‘orphanage’

Context: An FIR has been registered against a purported orphanage in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, detailing the different types of abuse and assault experienced by 21 girls who were rescued from the facility.

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  • The FIR registered is based on the statements given by the girls before the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
  • Abuse: They were forced to parade naked in front of other girls, thrown from the first floor, forced to inhale chilli powder smoke, burned by hot tongs, and left hungry for days, all part of punishments doled out for supposed mistakes.

Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

Context: The Supreme Court has instructed the Central government to clearly outline its conservation strategy for the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard by February.

About Green Indian Bustard

Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps


  • The Great Indian Bustard is native to the Indian subcontinent.
  • Its presence is noted in Rajasthan (specifically in Desert National Park), Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh in India, as well as certain regions in Pakistan.

Physical Characteristics:

  • These birds are notably tall, possessing long legs and necks, with the tallest standing around 1.2 metres (4 feet) in height.
  • Both males and females are similar in size, with the largest birds weighing up to 15 kg (33 pounds).
  • There is a distinction in feather coloration between male and female birds.

Dietary Habits:

  • Great Indian Bustards are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of food sources including arthropods, worms, small mammals, and reptiles.

Key Threats:

  • They face a high risk of mortality due to collisions with power lines and wind turbines.
  • Their natural grassland habitats are dwindling.
  • Hunting practices pose a significant threat.
  • The development of mines and expansion of human settlements in their habitats is a major concern.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered species with less than 150 birds left in the wild.
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972: Schedule I

Conservation Efforts:

The ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’ was initiated by the Rajasthan Government. This project focuses on preserving the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard, locally known as ‘Godawan’.

Airbus and CSIR-IIP to collaborate on producing sustainable aviation fuel

Context: Airbus and the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP) have signed an MoU to develop new technologies and to test and qualify indigenous sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

About Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

It is made from sustainable resources, such as waste oils from biological origin, agricultural residues, or non-fossil CO2. Unlike traditional jet fuel, which is derived from petroleum, these sources are renewable and can help reduce reliance on fossil fuels.


  • Targeted Emission Reductions: SAF blends, with about 65% inclusion, can align with the aviation industry’s 2050 emission reduction goals.
  • Lowering Aviation’s Carbon Impact: The civil aviation sector is responsible for 10-12% of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. This figure is even higher when considering the entire lifecycle of aircraft production.
  • Achieving a Net Negative Carbon Footprint:
    • CO2 Absorption: Certain SAF production methods actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
    • Methane Utilisation: Some types of SAF help in reducing methane emissions, often found in waste sources like manure and sewage.
  • Offsetting Future Emissions: The adoption of SAF can mitigate the environmental impact associated with updating or replacing aircraft engines across fleets.
  • Advantages in Waste Management: The production of SAF can also contribute to efficient recycling of biowaste, thereby benefiting waste management practices.

Government Efforts

The government has sanctioned preliminary blending ratios for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF):

  • 1% SAF blending goal is set for 2027, initially focusing on international flights.
  • 2% SAF blending objective is established for 2028, again primarily targeting international flights.

A Green Blueprint

Context: The article discusses the need for science-based, data-driven air quality control plans in India which focus on local environmental specifics and robust data to tackle pollution effectively.

Challenges Related To Air Pollution Control and Management in India

  • Geographic Variation: There’s a wide variation in air pollution levels across different geographic zones, which requires region-specific solutions.
  • Complex Emission Sources: The interplay between various sources of emissions leads to complex pollution patterns that are difficult to predict and manage.
  • Climate Change Impact: The close connection between air pollution and climate change creates a dual challenge of addressing health hazards and extreme weather events.
  • Data Gaps: For effective pollution management, there’s a need for robust and accurate air quality data, which may be lacking in certain areas.
  • National Standards Alignment: India’s current air quality standards, particularly for PM2.5, are less stringent than WHO guidelines, indicating a need for stricter measures.
  • Unified Framework Need: The absence of an efficient and unified framework for air quality management hampers the country’s ability to effectively tackle pollution.
  • Resource Allocation: The challenge of allocating sufficient resources and attention to the development of an indigenous air quality resource framework.
  • Expertise Integration: There is a need to integrate domain experts, health scientists, policymakers, and community groups effectively to manage air quality issues.
  • Policy Implementation: Translating scientific data into informed, actionable policies presents a significant challenge due to the complexity of air quality issues.

Government Initiatives

  • National Clean Air Action Plan (NCAP): Central regulatory framework in India aimed at tackling the issue of air pollution.
    • The plan’s primary goal is to decrease air pollution levels across India, aiming to bring down the concentration of particulate matter to permissible levels.
    • It emphasises the importance of science-based pollution control plans that are specific to the local environmental conditions and rely on robust data.
    • The Indian government, including institutions like the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), is involved in providing the requisite data and formulating strategies for the NCAP.
    • The use of data from authoritative sources for developing population prediction systems and emission inventories is a crucial aspect of the NCAP.

Suggestive Measures

  • Development of Prediction Systems: Implementing pollution prediction systems to forecast the impact of various emission sources on air quality.
  • Air Quality Resource Framework: Proposing a science-based air quality resource framework managed by a consortium including domain experts, health scientists, policymakers, and community groups.
  • Actionable Solutions: The consortium is expected to tackle air quality issues and offer practical, actionable recommendations.
  • Localising Strategies: Emphasising the importance of localising air quality management strategies to address specific regional challenges.
  • Data Utilisation and Standardisation: Leveraging data from monitoring stations and satellites to improve air quality management and decision-making processes.
    • Standardising methods for reporting and data handling to ensure consistency and reliability across various platforms and studies.
  • Public Engagement and Transparency: Involving the public in air quality management initiatives and maintaining transparency in data and strategy implementation.

Japan becomes 5th country to land on Moon

Context: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) developed spacecraft Smart Lander For Investigating Moon (SLIM) landed on the moon.

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  • Despite the successful landing, the spacecraft’s solar panels were unable to generate power, potentially due to incorrect angling.
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that the SLIM mission achieved a precise landing within 100 metres of its target area.
  • JAXA aims to send an astronaut to the moon as a part of NASA’s Artemis mission.

Scientists map largest deep sea coral reef till date in Atlantic

Context: Researchers in the USA discovered the largest deep sea coral reef found in the ocean off the Atlantic coast of the United States using new underwater mapping technology.

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  • The width of the reef is about 68 miles (109 kilometres).
  • The depth of the reef ranges from 200 metres to 1000 metres where even sunlight does not penetrate.

About Coral Reef

  • Coral reefs, often described as the marine equivalent of tropical rainforests, are aquatic formations built by coral polyps bound together by calcium carbonate.
  • Although they cover a mere 0.1% of the ocean’s expanse, they provide a habitat for a quarter of all marine life.
  • Coral Reefs In India:
    • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: These islands are surrounded by fringing reefs and are known for their rich marine biodiversity.
    • Lakshadweep Islands: The coral atolls of Lakshadweep are renowned for their lagoons and the rich coral cover they provide.
    • Gulf of Mannar: Situated between the southeastern tip of India and Sri Lanka, the Gulf of Mannar houses a diverse range of coral species within its marine national park.
    • Gulf of Kutch: The coral reefs in the Gulf of Kutch are the northernmost coral ecosystems in the Indian subcontinent and are primarily fringing reefs.
    • Palk Bay: Located between the Tamil Nadu state of India and Sri Lanka, Palk Bay also contains fringing reefs with significant coral diversity.

Nagara Style of Temple Architecture

Context: The Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, designed in the Nagara architectural style, is the work of 81-year-old Chandrakant Sompura and his 51-year-old son, Ashish.

About Nagara Style Of Temple Architecture

  • Origins of Nagara Style: This architectural style arose in the 5th century AD, during the late Gupta era, predominantly in northern India.
  • Parallel to Dravida Style: The Nagara style evolved simultaneously with the Dravida style, which is prevalent in southern India, both originating in the same time period.
  • Geographical Spread: Nagara style temples are predominantly found across various states including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, parts of Andhra Pradesh (near Odisha), and in certain areas of West Bengal like the southwest and Sundarbans.
  • Distinct Sub-Styles: The Nagara style encompasses several sub-styles or schools, namely the Orissa school, Chandel school, and Solanki school.


  • The Nagara style temple typically has a four-sided plan, with the inner sanctum or garbhagriha being a perfect square, while the overall temple structure may be oblong.
  • The garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum is the sacred space housing the main deity’s idol or image.
  • Leading to the garbhagriha is the mandapa, a hall where devotees gather for darshan or viewing of the deity.
  • Initially, temples had flat roofs, which later evolved into pyramidal shapes, culminating in the shikhara – a towering, tapering spire.

Current Affairs 22nd January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1

  • In later stages, additional mandapas and a pradakshinapatha (circumambulatory path) around the garbhagriha were included in the temple complex.
  • Some temples featured gavaksa, or window-like openings, for cross ventilation and light.
  • A Nāgara temple is often built on a raised platform called jagati, above which lies a smaller base platform, the pitha, and then the adhisthana, supporting the temple’s superstructure.
  • Among other architectural features are the bhadra, sirsa, amalaka, bijapuraka, and rathika.
  • Nagara temples are renowned for their intricate carvings and sculptures, embellishing various temple parts.
  • The temple’s entrance is elaborately adorned with images of deities, floral, and geometric designs.
  • The bottom of the door frame often portrays dvarapalas (door guardians) or representations of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
  • The temple’s walls and pillars are decorated with sculptures and carvings of devakanyas (divine maidens), apsaras (celestial nymphs), yaksas (nature spirits), yaksis (female counterparts of yaksas), amalakas, and floral garlands.

Difference Between Nagara & Dravidian Style Temple Architecture

Feature Nagara Style Dravida Style
Region Northern and central regions of India. Southern regions of India.
Shape and Structure Curvilinear or conical shikhara, resembling a beehive, with multiple horizontal levels. Pyramidal shikhara with progressively smaller stories stacked one over the other, often creating a stepped pyramidal effect.
Mandapa Connected to the sanctum with a pillared hall that has a pyramidal or conical roof. Connected to the sanctum and has a flat-roofed assembly hall.
Pillars Usually square-shaped with plain or slightly decorated capitals. Often round or octagonal with more elaborate and intricately carved capitals.
Entrance Generally one main entrance with a porch leading to the sanctum. Multiple entrances, with the main entrance typically adorned with a monumental pyramidal tower or gopuram.
Sanctum (Garbhagriha) Square in shape and centrally located in the temple. Rectangular and usually positioned at the rear of the temple.
Examples Sun Temple in Konark, Sun Temple in Modhera, Gujarat, and the Osian Temple in Gujarat. Chennakesava Temple in Belur, Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebidu, Karnataka, and the Kesava Temple in Somanathapura, Karnataka.

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