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Current Affairs 25th May 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 25th May 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Dancing Girl Sculpture

Context: The Dancing Girl figurine discovered in Mohenjodaro in 1926 recently found itself at the centre of controversy.

About the Dancing Girl Sculpture

  • The ‘Dancing Girl’ is a sculpture made of bronze. It belongs to the Indus Valley Civilization and dates back to circa 2500 BCE.
  • It is 10.5 cm in height, 5 cm in width and 2.5 cm in depth. Presently, it is on display in the Indus Valley Civilization gallery in the National Museum, New Delhi.
  • It was discovered in 1926 during excavations led by archaeologist Sir John Marshall at the ruins of Mohenjodaro.
  • The statue depicts a young girl in a dancing pose, with her arms by her sides and her left leg bent at the knee. She is shown wearing several ornaments, including bangles, a necklace, and a headdress.
  • Significance: The significance of the Dancing Girl lies in its artistic and cultural value. It provides insight into the artistic skills and craftsmanship of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization.

About the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC)

  • The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, was one of the world’s earliest urban civilizations.
  • It thrived in the Indus River Valley, encompassing parts of present-day Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, from approximately 2600 to 1900 BCE.
  • Important sites of IVC:
Site Excavated by Location Important Findings
Harappa Daya Ram Sahini in 1921 Situated on the bank of river Ravi in Montgomery district of Punjab (Pakistan).
  • Sandstone statues of Human anatomy.
  • Granaries.
  • Bullock carts.
Mohenjodaro (Mound of Dead) R.D Banerjee in 1922 Situated on the Bank of river Indus in Larkana district of Punjab (Pakistan).
  • Great bath
  • Granary
  • Bronze dancing girl
  • Seal of Pasupathi Mahadeva
  • Steatite statue of beard man
  • A piece of woven cotton
Chanhudaro N.G Majumdar in 1931 Sindh on the Indus river
  • Bead makers shop
  • Footprint of a dog chasing a cat
Sutkagendor Stein in 1929 In southwestern Balochistan province, Pakistan on Dast river
  • A trade point between Harappa and Babylon
Amri N.G Majumdar in 1935 On the bank of Indus river
  • Antelope evidence
Lothal R.Rao in 1953 Gujarat on Bhogva river near Gulf of Cambay
  • First manmade port
  • Dockyard
  • Rice husk
  • Fire altars
  • Chess playing
Kalibangan Ghose in 1953 Rajasthan on the bank of Ghaggar river
  • Fire altar
  • Camel bones
  • Wooden plough
Surkotada J.P Joshi in 1964 Gujarat
  • Bones of horses
  • Beads
Dholavira R.S Bisht in 1985 Gujarat in Rann of Kachchh
  • Water harnessing system
  • Water reservoir
Banawali R.S Bisht in 1974 Hisar district of Haryana
  • Beads
  • Barley
  • Evidence of both pre-Harappan and Harappan culture
dancing girl sculpture
dancing girl sculpture

Current Affairs 24th May 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam


Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)

Context: Recently, Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has deferred re-accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India for a year.


Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) to GANHRI had granted ‘A’ status of accreditation to NHRC in 2017.

About Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)

  • Formerly known as the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), GAHNRI is a global network of NHRIs.
  • It is constituted as a non-profit entity (under Swiss law) and Secretariat support is provided by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
  • It coordinates the relationship between NHRIs and the UN human rights system.


  • GANHRI is responsible for reviewing and accrediting National Human Rights Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles every five years.
    • Paris Principles (1991) are a crucial step in development of standards for national human rights institutions across the world.
    • Paris Principles set out six main criteria: mandate and competence; autonomy from government; independence guaranteed by a statute or constitution; pluralism; adequate resources; and adequate powers of investigation.
  • An NHRI is reviewed by the Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) to GANHRI when –
    • It applies for initial accreditation
    • It applies for re-accreditation every five years
    • The circumstances of the NHRI change in any way that may affect its compliance with the Paris Principles.
  • NHRIs that are assessed as complying with the Paris Principles are accredited with ‘A status’, while those that partially comply are accredited with ‘B status’.

Impact of Non-Accreditation

  • Without the accreditation, NHRC will be unable to represent India at the UN Human Rights Council.
  • Reasons for Non-Accreditation: Political interference in appointments, involvement of the police in inquiry into cases of human rights violation, insufficient action to protect marginalised groups, lack of diversity in staff and lack of cooperation with the civil society.

About National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

  • NHRC, India has been set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act, passed by Parliament in 1993.
  • NHRC got ‘A’ status of accreditation for the first time in 1999, which it retained in 2006, 2011, and in 2017 after it was deferred for a year.
  • The NHRC is headed by Justice Arun Mishra, former judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Objectives:
    • To strengthen the institutional arrangements through which human rights issues could be addressed in their entirety in a more focused manner;
    • To look into allegations of excesses, independently of the government, in a manner that would underline the government’s commitment to protect human rights.


Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)

Context:   Recently, Enforcement Directorate (ED) searches online gaming companies for violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), involving about ₹4,000 crore.

About Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)

  • FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) was introduced in the year 1999 to replace an earlier act FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act).
  • FEMA was formulated to fill all the loopholes and drawback of FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act) and hence several economic reforms (major reforms) were introduced under the FEMA act.
  • It was introduced to de-regularize and have a liberal economy in India.

Objectives of FEMA

  • To facilitate external trade and payments and to assist orderly development and maintenance of the Indian forex market.
  • FEMA outlines the formalities and procedures for the dealings of all foreign exchange transactions in India.
  • Under the FEMA Act, the balance of payment is the record of dealings between the citizen of different countries in goods, services and assets.
Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)
Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)

Significant features of the Foreign Exchange Management Act-

  • It is constant with full current account convertibility and contains provisions for the progressive liberalisation of the capital account transactions.
  • It is extremely transparent in its application as it lays down the areas necessitating specific permissions of the Reserve Bank and Government of India on acquisition or holding of foreign exchange.
  • Under FEMA, foreign exchange transactions are divided into two categories, they are capital account and current account transactions.
  • It gives power to the Reserve Bank of India for specializing in consultation with the Central Government, the classes of the capital account limits and transactions to which the exchange is acceptable for such kind of transactions.
  • It gives full freedom to an individual who is resident in India, who was previously resident outside India, to hold or own or transfer any foreign security or immovable property situated outside India and attained when she was resident.
  • This FEMA Act is a civil law and any kind of contraventions of the Act provide for arrest only in the exceptional cases.
Applicability of FEMA Act
Applicability of FEMA Act

Penalties Under FEMA

  • If any person contravenes the provisions of FEMA or any rule, direction, regulation, order or notification issued under FEMA, he shall be liable to pay a penalty up to thrice the sum involved in such contravention or up to Rs.2 lakh.
  • Where such contravention is a continuing one, he shall be liable to pay a further penalty which may extend to Rs.5,000 for every day during which the contravention continues.


Offshore Funds

Context:  India-focused offshore funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) witnessed a 9 per cent quarter-on-quarter decline in inflows to USD 803 million in the January-March 2023.

About Offshore Funds

  • Offshore funds invest in overseas and multinational companies.
  • Offshore funds are mutual fund schemes that invest in overseas or international markets.
    • They are also referred to as foreign funds or international funds.
    • These schemes invest in equities of a foreign country or region, or fixed income securities of foreign countries.
  • Indian investor can invest only in Indian rupees.
  • These funds invest in international markets either directly or have the option to invest in other funds in those markets.
    • The latter way is called a feeder route and is in the form of a fund of funds.

Advantages of Offshore Funds

  • Offshore mutual funds can give India further sectoral diversification.
  • Investors enjoy direct access and exposure to international brands and businesses.
  • The strengths of the two countries can join forces in terms of industrial innovation and quality.
    • For instance, if Japan is the leader in electrical goods, India has world-class IT services to offer.
  • Since offshore funds are generally established in countries that provide tax-efficiency to investors abroad, they get some tax relief.
  • An AMC starts them in overseas jurisdictions with fewer investment rules, and the overall asset management costs would also be less.
  • As per mutual fund tax rules, foreign funds come under the debt category.

Disadvantages of Offshore Funds

  • Currency Risk: This could happen due to fluctuations in the value of other markets’ currency against the Indian rupee.
    • Therefore, investors have to be prepared for currency risks because any fluctuation will directly impact the Net Asset Value (NAV) of the fund.
    • For example, if the rupee depreciates against the dollar, you will get more rupees for every dollar invested, and your NAV could be higher.
    • On the other hand, if the rupee appreciates against the dollar, you get fewer rupees for every dollar invested.



Context: In the upcoming inauguration of the new Parliament building, a significant item called the ‘Sengol’ sceptre will be installed at a prominent spot.

‘Sengol’ as a symbol of transfer of power

  • The ‘Sengol’ sceptre carries significant historical significance as it was gifted to Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s inaugural Prime Minister, representing the handover of authority from the British colonial rule.
  • Derived from the Tamil word ‘semmai,’ which means “Righteousness”.

Origin of Sengol

  • The idea of using the ‘Sengol’ sceptre for the symbolic transfer of power emerged when Lord Mountbatten, the then Viceroy of British India, inquired about a suitable symbol.
  • Seeking advice from C Rajagopalachari, the last Governor-General of India, it was Rajaji who suggested the use of the ‘Sengol’ sceptre.
  • Inspired by a similar ceremony in the Chola dynasty, where power was transferred between kings, Rajaji believed the ‘Sengol’ would be a fitting symbol for India.

‘Annai’ order

  • During the transfer of power ceremony, in addition to the presentation of the sceptre, an order called ‘aanai’ in Tamil was bestowed upon the new ruler.
  • This order symbolizes the responsibility to govern with unwavering adherence to the principles of ‘dharma,’ ensuring justice and fairness in the realm.

Craftsmanship behind the Sengol

  • To bring the ‘Sengol’ sceptre to life, Chennai-based jewellers Vummidi Bangaru Chetty undertook the task of crafting this historic symbol.
  • They meticulously designed the five-foot-long sceptre, featuring the majestic figure of Nandi, the divine bull, atop it. Nandi symbolizes ‘nyaya,’ representing the ideals of justice and fairness.

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