Daily Prelims Notes 15 September 2020
- September 15, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- K.N. Dikshit committee
- Sri Guru Nanak Dev
- Amendments in the Income Tax Act 1961
- SwadeshDarsha Scheme/Buddhist sites/ PRASAD
- History of Parliamentary Question hour
- Phosphine gas
- Banking Regulation Bill
- Finance Commission devolution
- Supplementary demand for grants
Subject: Arts and culture
The government has formed an expert committee for conducting a study on the origin and evolution of Indian culture dating back to around 12,000 years ago
- 16-member committee will include K N Dikshit as Chairman, Indian Archaeological Society, New Delhi and former Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, among others.
- A committee has been set up for conducting a holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world.
Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (IC) has inaugurated a Sangeet Sandhya programme as a part of the 550th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in New Delhi.
- Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539) was born in a village, Talwandi Rai Bhoe, near Lahore (it was renamed later as Nankana Sahib).
- Guru Nanak Dev initiated inter-faith dialogue way back in the 16th century and had conversations with most of the religious denominations of his times.
- His written compositions were included in the AdiGranth compiled by Guru Arjan (1563-1606), the fifth Sikh guru.
- The cornerstone of the philosophy of Nanak Dev Ji is that he was an altruistic, which means that God is everywhere, that God is present in all the elements, substances and beings of the world and God is everything.
- He was opposed to idol worship and in addition he always opposed the evils spread in Hinduism. He told the path of worship of a divine being. This is the reason that his views are liked by people of both Hindu and Muslim religions.
3. Amendments in the Income Tax Act 1961
Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs in response to a question asked in the Lok Sabha said in September 2019, the Government announced several measures to promote growth, investment and create new employment opportunities through the amendments in the Income-tax Act, 1961 and Finance act 2019.
Measures taken by Ministry of Finance, which are as follows:
- reduction in the corporate tax rate from 30% to 22% provided the company did not avail any exemption or incentive.
- an option to pay income-tax at the rate of 15% for the new domestic companies incorporated on or after 1st October 2019 and making a fresh investment, subject to their not availing any exemption or incentives and provided they commence production by 31st March 2023.
- reduction in the Minimum Alternate Tax from the existing rate 18.5% to 15% for existing companies that are availing the exemption/incentives.
- In order to provide relief to listed companies which had already made a public announcement of buy-back before 5th July 2019, it was provided that tax on buy-back of shares in case of such companies shall not be charged.
- The amendments expanded the scope of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of 2 per cent spending. The CSR 2% fund can be spent on incubators funded by Central or State Government or any agency or Public Sector Undertaking and making contributions to public-funded Universities, IITs, National Laboratories, and Autonomous Bodies engaged in conducting research in science, technology, engineering and medicine aimed at promoting Sustainable Development Goals.
- Subsequently, structural reforms were announced as part of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package (ANBP) which, inter alia, includes change in definition of MSMEs, collateral-free automatic loans for businesses including MSMEs, subordinate debt for stressed MSMEs and equity infusion for MSMEs through Fund of Funds.
Scientists specialising in different aspects of the Himalayas discussed a range of areas like landslide disaster risk reduction, Himalayan seismicity, risk awareness, and mitigation, and journey of black carbon towards Himalayan cryosphere on the occasion of Himalaya Diwas.
- The discussions were part of an online celebration of ‘Himalaya Diwas’ by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.
- A day is celebrated to spread the message of conservation of the Himalayan ecosystems.
- From 2015, Uttarakhand government officially started observing September 9 as Himalaya Diwas.
5. SwadeshDarsha Scheme/Buddhist sites/ PRASAD
Subject: Arts and culture/ Schemes
- Ministry of Tourism has undertaken development of tourism related infrastructure and facilities at various Buddhist Sites in the country under its flagships schemes of Swadesh Darshan& PRASHAD.
- Ministry of Tourism presents its latest webinar on “In the Footsteps of the Buddha” under DekhoApnaDesh Webinar Series
Swadesh Darsha Scheme
- The Ministry of Tourism, under the Swadesh Darshan scheme is developing thematic circuits in the country in planned and prioritized manner.
- Under the scheme fifteen thematic circuits have been identified for development namely; North-East Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Sufi Circuit, and Tirthankara Circuit.
- Submission of proposals by the State Governments under the scheme is a continuous process.
- The projects under the scheme are identified for development in consultation with the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations and are sanctioned subject to availability of funds, submission of suitable Detailed Project Reports, adherence to scheme guidelines and utilization of funds released earlier.
- Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) is a government scheme that focuses on identifying and developing the pilgrim sites across the country to enrich the religious tourism experience introduced in 2015
- It was launched by Union Ministry of Tourism.
- It aims at integrated development of pilgrimage destinations in planned, prioritised and sustainable manner to provide complete religious tourism experience.
- Webinar on a virtual journey across the plains of the river Ganges to Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, meditation places such as Vulture peak in Rajgir, the Jeta Grove at Sravasti (where he spent 24 rainy season retreats), the site at Kapilavastu where he spent his childhood, the Deer Park at Sarnath, where he gave his first teachings and Kushinagar, where he passed away.
- No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. But from the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka (reigned c. 269–232 BCE) mention the Buddha, and particularly Ashoka’s Lumbini pillar inscription commemorates the Emperor’s pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha’s birthplace, calling him the Buddha Shakyamuni.
- The earliest accounts of the Buddha’s spiritual quest are found in texts such as the Pali Ariyapariyesana-sutta. This text shows that what led to Gautama’s renunciation was the thought that his life was subject to old age, disease and death and that there might be something better (i.e. liberation, nirvana).
- The presenter highlighted some important Buddhist sites:-
- Sarnath– The Deer Park adjoining the Archaeological Complex at Sarnath that the Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon after he attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya and preached his first teachings known as Dharmachakrapravartana Sutra.
- Rajgir– It was the capital of Magadh Kingdom. It was here that Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Gridhra-kuta, (Vulture peak). He also delivered some of his famous sermons and initiated king Bimbisara of Magadha and countless others to Buddhism. It was here that Budhha delivered his famous Atanatiya Sutra.
- Sravasti– It was the capital of ancient Kosala kingdom and is sacred to the Buddhists because it is here that Lord Buddha performed the greatest of his miracles to confound the Tirthika heretics. These miracles include Buddha creating multiple images of himself, which has been a favourite theme of Buddhist art. Buddha showed his divine prowess to impress upon the non-believers. The Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life in Sravasti.
- Vulture peak– One of the several sites frequented by the Buddha and his community of disciples for both training and retreat.
- Kesariya – Kesariya Stupa is a Buddhist stupa in Kesariya. The first construction of the Stupa is dated to the 3rd century BCE. Kesariya Stupa has a circumference of almost 400 feet (120 m) and raises to a height of about 104 feet.
- Vaishali– It is said that the Buddha visited this place thrice and spent quite a long time here. The Buddha also delivered his last sermon at Vaishali and announced his Nirvana here.
- Kushinagar- It is one of the four sacred places of Lord Buddha. Buddha delivered his last sermon, attained Mahaparinirvana (salvation) in 483 BC and was cremated at Rambhar Stupa.
6. History of Parliamentary Question hour
The decision to go without “Question Hour” during the Monsoon Session of Parliament has evoked serious concerns about the democratic functioning of the institution.
- The right to question the executive has been exercised by members of the House from the colonial period.
- The first Legislative Council in British India under the Charter Act, 1853, showed some degree of independence by giving members the power to ask questions to the executive.
- Later, the Indian Council Act of 1861 allowed members to elicit information by means of questions
- However, it was the Indian Council Act, 1892, which formulated the rules for asking questions including short notice questions.
- The next stage of the development of procedures related to questions came up with the framing of rules under the Indian Council Act, 1909, which incorporated provisions for asking supplementary questions by members.
- The Montague-Chelmsford reforms brought forth a significant change in 1919 by incorporating a rule that the first hour of every meeting was earmarked for questions. Parliament has continued this tradition.
- In 1921, there was another change. The question on which a member desired to have an oral answer, was distinguished by him with an asterisk, a star. This marked the beginning of starred questions.
Subject: Science and tech
An announcement by an international team of astronomers about the discovery of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus triggered global excitement.
- Phosphine is a colourless but smelly gas, known to be made only by some species of bacteria that survive in the absence of oxygen.
- Scientists have discovered this chemical which is known to be produced only through biological process, and not through any naturally occurring chemical process.
- There are some other ways in which this chemical might be produced, for example, in the underbelly of volcanoes or meteorite activity, but that would have shown in much lower concentrations. In any case, scientists have ruled out all those kinds of known possibilities which could be attributed for the presence of that gas.
- This is the most credible evidence yet for the possibility of life away from Earth
- The finding can further ignite interest in space missions to Venus. Missions to Venus are not new. Spacecraft have been going near the planet since the 1960s, and some of them have even made a landing. In fact, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is also planning a mission to Venus, tentatively called Shukrayaan, in the near future.
Banking Regulation Bill introduced in Lok Sabha.
- The Bill, which seeks to replace an ordinance issued by the Government in last week of June
- It likes to empower the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to effectively handle the mishaps in private banks without allowing any loss of public confidence and disruption in the financial system
- The bill will allow the RBI to prepare a reconstruction scheme (for failed banks) without having to first make an order of moratorium on barring deposit withdrawals.
- This will enable the RBI to find suitors for a stressed bank.
- Besides, the Bill also brings certain cooperative banks — urban cooperative banks (UCBs) and multi-state cooperative banks (MSCBs) — under the RBI supervision process applicable to commercial banks as part of efforts to protect the depositors of such cooperative banks.
9. Finance Commission devolution
FC chairperson N.K. Singh said that the pandemic has necessitated reconsideration of 42% devolution assigned in the 2020-21
- The Finance Commission is a constitutional body set up by the President of India, every five years or earlier to decide the share of the Union government and state governments in the divisible pool of tax revenue under Article 280
- Each Finance Commission is required to make recommendations on: (i) sharing of central taxes with states, (ii) distribution of central grants to states, (iii) measures to improve the finances of states to supplement the resources of panchayats and municipalities, and (iv) any other matter referred to it.
- The share in central taxes is distributed among states based on a formula. Previous Finance Commissions have considered various factors to determine the criteria such as the population and income needs of states, their area and infrastructure, etc. Further, the weightage assigned to each criterion has varied with each Finance Commission.
10. Supplementary demand for grants
The Supplementary Demand for Grants 2020-21, introduced in the House included Rs 40,000 crore for enhanced expenditure under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Program
- The additional grant required to meet the required expenditure of the government is called Supplementary Grants.
- When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants. These grants are presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.
- The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament.
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament.
- The Demand for Excess Grants is made after the actual expenditure is incurred and is presented to the Parliament after the end of the financial year in which the expenses were made.