UPSC Prelims News of 10 February 2023
Context: In the latest development, the Sangam age has been pushed to 800 BCE based on the archaeological findings from Keeladi site.
About Keeladi Site:
- Keeladi is a hamlet located near Madurai city in Tamil Nadu.
- It is along the banks of River Vaigai.
- The ASI started its excavations in Keeladi in 2014.
- Evidence was found that the civilization at Keeladi, that is, the Sangam Age civilization is older than thought before.
- It has been classified into three periods:
- The pre-early historic period between 800 BCE to 500 BCE
- The mature early history between 500 BCE to the end of 1st century BCE
- Post-early history from 1st century BCE to 300 CE
- Items found: Brick structures, terracotta ring wells, fallen roofing with tiles, golden ornaments, broken parts of copper objects, iron implements, ear ornaments, black and red-ware, and semi-precious stones.
- Skeletal fragments of cow/ox, buffalo, sheep, goat, nilgai, blackbuck, wild boar, and peacock were also found.
- Long walls, well-laid floors along with roof tiles in a collapsed state, and iron nails fastened to the poles and rafters prove a high standard of living during the Sangam age.
- Graffiti marks are found in earthenware, caves, and rocks in or near the excavation sites.
- It is an east-flowing river.
- The Vaigai river basin is an important basin among the 12 basins lying between the Cauvery and Kanyakumari.
- This basin is bounded by the Cardamom Hills and the Palani Hills on the West and by the Palk Strait and Palk Bay on the East.
Global Quality Infrastructure Index (GQII) 2021
Context: India’s national accreditation system under the Quality Council of India (QCI) has been ranked 5th in the world in the recent GQII 2021.
- The GQII ranks the 184 economies in the world on the basis of quality infrastructure (QI).
- The GQII rankings are published and presented post-facto for each year based on the data collected till the end of that year.
- It is an initiative on metrology, standardization, accreditation, and related services, supported by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany.
Outcomes of the Report
- India’s overall QI system ranking continues to be in the Top 10 at the 10th position, with the standardization system (under BIS) at 9th and the metrology system (under NPL-CSIR) at the 21st position in the world.
- QI is the technical backbone for international trade, with metrology, standardization, accreditation, and conformity assessment services providing reliability and trust between trading partners.
- The top 25 countries are mainly located in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific, with some exceptions, such as India (10th), Brazil (13th), Australia (14th), and Turkey (16th).
Context: According to data provided by the government in Rajya Sabha, more than 16 lakh Indians renounced their Indian citizenship since 2011.
- Citizens are full members of the Indian State and owe allegiance to it, and they enjoy all civil and political rights.
- In Constitution: The India Constitution deals with the citizenship from Articles 5 to 11 under Part II.
- However, it contains neither any permanent nor any elaborate provisions in this regard.
- It only identifies the persons who became citizens of India at its commencement.
- Powers: The constitution empowers the Parliament to enact a law to provide for such matters and any other matter relating to citizenship.
- Accordingly, the Parliament has enacted the Citizenship Act, 1955, which has been amended in 1957, 1960, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005 and 2015.
- Acquiring citizenship: The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship viz, birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory.
- Renouncing: Through renunciation, deprivation and termination.
- Single citizenship: It is to be noted that, though the Indian Constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity (Centre and states), it provides for only a single citizenship, that is, the Indian citizenship.
Context: Researchers have confirmed the detection of a star system that will one day end in a kilonova.
- Labelling it CPD-29 2176, scientists believe that only ten star systems that exist in the Milky Way will end in kilonovae.
- It has been and is located about 11,400 light-years from the earth.
- CPD-29 2176 is currently a neutron star and a star orbiting each other.
- Neutron stars are formed when massive stars explode in a supernova while their cores implode, crushing their constituent protons and electrons together into a super-dense ball of neutrons.
- Kilonova is a cosmic event that occurs not when stars die but when a neutron star smashes into another neutron star or a black hole.
- To create a kilonova, the other star would also need to explode as an ultra-stripped supernova so the two neutron stars could eventually collide and merge
- Kilonova releases heavy metals like gold, silver, and selenium into outer space at tremendous velocities, as well as radiation, to the accompaniment of a gamma-ray burst – one of the most energetic cosmic events ever known.
- Radiations that are released when two neutron stars or any other binary system merge are known as kilonova emissions.
- Events like kilonovae are windows into the formation of the universe.
Context: Central Board of Direct Taxes has introduced fresh norms for filing statements for equalisation levy by companies.
About Equalisation Levy
- Equalisation Levy was introduced in India in 2016, with the intention of taxing digital transactions i.e. the income accruing to foreign e-commerce companies from India.
- It is aimed at taxing business-to-business transactions.
- It is a direct tax on consideration received from non-residents for specified services.
- It is included in Chapter VIII of the Finance Act 2016 but does not form a part of the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961.
Characteristics of Equalisation Levy:
- It is taxed on the digital commerce transaction conducted without regard for national borders.
- Specific services refer to online advertisements and any digital advertising or any other facility/service used for online advertising.
- Applicability of Equalisation Levy: It applies to an Indian resident who is engaged in any profession or business or who has a permanent business in India or if:
- The money has been paid to a non-resident service company.
- A service provider’s total annual remittances are greater than Rs 1 lakh for a single financial year.
- It will be inapplicable in the following situations:
- The non-resident service provider concerned has a permanent office in India. Also, the requested service is linked to that permanent establishment.
- The total amount of the consideration to be paid for the specific service received or payable is less than Rs 1 lakh.
- The service described is not intended to be used to pursue work or profession.
Context: Former US Secretary of state visited the famous Ellora Caves in Maharashtra.
About Ellora Caves
- Location: Ellora caves are a UNESCO World Heritage site located at Charanandri hills near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
- Sect: The site contains architectural activities carried out by the followers of three prominent religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
- Patronage: Ellora monuments were built during the Kalachuri dynasty (Shaivite), Chalukya dynasty (Buddhist), Rashtrakuta dynasty (Hindu and Jain) and the Yadava dynasty (Jain).
- The Buddhist group reflects the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. The Jain groups of caves are dedicated to the Digambara sect.
- The rock-cut Ellora caves served as a group of monasteries (viharas) and temples (chaityas).
- The Hindu group contains temples dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu. The temples are decorated with erotic sculptures.
- Famous structures in Ellora
- Kailasa temple (chariot-shaped monument dedicated to the god Shiva.) constructed by Rashtrakuta King Krishna I.
- The sculpture depicting Ravana attempting to lift Mount Kailasa
- Indra Sabha (Jain)
- Chhota Kailasa (Jain)
- Vishwakarma Cave (Buddhist)
Gram Ujala Scheme
Context: Around one crore LED Bulbs have been distributed in rural areas under the Gram Ujala Scheme.
About the Scheme:
- “Gram Ujala” is an LED bulb distribution program launched by Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) in India.
- Aim: To provide energy-efficient LED bulbs to households in rural areas at an affordable price, in order to promote the use of energy-saving technology and reduce energy consumption.
- The distribution of LED bulbs was carried out through local distribution centres and retail outlets in villages, making it easier for rural households to access them.
- Energy Efficiency: The LED bulbs distributed under the scheme are more energy efficient compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, thus reducing energy consumption and helping households save money on their electricity bills.
- Improved Quality of Life: By providing access to efficient lighting, the scheme can improve the quality of life for people living in rural areas, especially in terms of safety, health, and education.
- Job Creation: The implementation of the scheme has created jobs in rural areas, as local distribution centres and retail outlets were set up to distribute the LED bulbs.
- Promotion of Clean Energy: The “Gram Ujala” scheme promotes the use of clean energy and helps reduce the country’s carbon footprint by reducing overall energy consumption.
- Cost-effectiveness: The scheme makes energy-efficient LED bulbs affordable for rural households, as the bulbs are sold at a subsidized price.