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Monthly DNA

26 Feb, 2021

67 Min Read

Aerial mapping of Islands by INCOIS

GS-I : Indian Geography Indian Geography

Aerial mapping of Islands by INCOIS

  • The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is planning to take the help of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for aerial mapping of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep to get a better picture of the ocean floor, also called ‘bathymetric’ study.
  • “NRSC has already done a similar high-resolution topographic Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping (ALTM) for the entire coastal areas of the country and we are in the process of integrating the data for a 3D multi-hazard mapping of both the east and west coastline for a more precise picture of the ocean floor,” said director T. Srinivasa Kumar, in an exclusive interaction.
  • Such a study has become imperative in view of the recent tsunamis on the Indonesian coasts were more than the quake-related high waves, damage was due to landslides under the sea beds causing sudden wave surges leading to much damage without giving sufficient time to alert people, he pointed out.
  • The research institute, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, had also identified ‘gaps’ across the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha for installing more tide gauges for better monitoring of the sea and more accurate prediction of impending disasters like cyclones.
  • These will be in addition to the 36 already in the Bay of Bengal, said senior scientist E. Pattabhi Rama Rao.
  • INCOIS scientists with their counterparts in the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology and a United States independent scientific agency, Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, have been mining the data recorded by a unique ‘Flux Buoy’ retrieved from the Bay of Bengal off the Kolkota coast recently.

About INCOIS, Hyderabad

  • INCOIS provides a number of free services for users in the marine realm.
  • The institute is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • INCOIS prioritises requests for specific services from its diverse user community that ranges right from fishermen to offshore oil exploration industries.

Source: TH

Nepal’s present political crisis

GS-II : International Relations Nepal

Nepal’s present political crisis


  • A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of Nepal quite rightly overturned Prime Minister K.P. Oli’s decision to unilaterally dissolve Parliament in December 2020 and which was later approved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

Reason for dissolution of the Parliament

  • The Court correctly observed that there was the possibility of the formation of a new government in case Mr Oli did not enjoy the confidence of Parliament, and therefore ruled his decision unconstitutional.
  • The ostensible reason for Mr Oli’s decision was inner party intrigue within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
    • The NCP has since then fractured politically into two factions, one led by Mr Oli and the other by Pushpa Kumar Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, both former Prime Ministers who belonged to the erstwhile Nepali Maoists and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), respectively.
    • These parties had merged into the NCP in 2018.
    • But this fracture is not yet formalised even though the Dahal-Nepal faction has “expelled” Mr. Oli from the party.
  • The Court also went on to scrap all appointments made by the government after the dissolution of Parliament on December 20, 2020.

Split of NCP

  • The NCP’s vertical split into two near-equal factions in Parliament should allow the formation of a new government if the Dahal-Nepal faction chooses to support an alternative — it has already pledged support to Nepali Congress (NC) leader Sher Bahadur Deuba if the NC stakes claim to form a new coalition government.

Missed opportunity by NCP

  • The repeated changes in government should not surprise anyone as Nepal has a history of unstable regimes and frequent changes in Singha Durbar’s occupants since the end of absolute monarchy in 1990.
  • But the NCP missed a historic opportunity after it came to power with a two-thirds majority in the bicameral Federal parliament and in six of the seven provinces.
    • Mr. Oli could have used the mandate in 2018 to ensure a stable regime, and governance and development in a country battered by the 2015 earthquake, political instability, and now the COVID-19 threat.
    • The electorate’s expectations of a stable regime, the first elected one since the promulgation of its Constitution, have been belied yet again due to the failure of the political leadership.

Read more about India-Nepal Relations- Click here

Source: TH

India Pakistan relations

GS-II : International Relations Border disputes

India Pakistan relations

  • In a first joint statement issued by the two sides in years, India and Pakistan said they have agreed to a “strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors” with effect from the midnight of February 24/25 (Wednesday).
  • The decision was announced after discussions between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGsMO).
  • “The agreement comes in the wake of over 5000 CFVs [cease-fire violations] last year, the highest in 19 years, and this shows the realisation in New Delhi and Islamabad that they cannot afford to let violence spiral out of control given its inherently escalatory nature,”.
  • According to data provided by the Ministry of Defence in Parliament earlier this month, there were 5133 instances of CFVs along the LoC and other areas in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in 46 fatal casualties in 2020, and 3,479 CFVs in 2019.
  • In May 2018, the DGsMO agreed during a similar hotline conversation to observe the ceasefire strictly, but subsequent tensions over the Pulwama attack, Balakot air strikes and the Article 370 move led to a sharp spike in CFVs.

What is the November 2003 Ceasefire Agreement?

  • It came after a long cycle of violence along the 725-kilometre-long Line of Control (LoC) which divides Jammu and Kashmir into two parts.
  • It followed a framework of military confidence-building measures (CBMs) that kept the artillery pieces at least 20 km away from the LoC, thus promising a sustained halt to heavy firing.
  • On November 26, 2003, the ceasefire took effect along the entire stretch of the India-Pakistan frontier i.e. the IB, the LoC and the AGPL.
  • For the first time in several decades, the guns along this frontier went silent, bringing much-needed respite to the shelling-scarred lives of people in hamlets along the LoC and to soldiers guarding the border posts.
  • It facilitated the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot routes, paving the way for bus and truck services linking the two Kashmirs for the first time in six decades and encouraging cross-LoC contacts, exchanges, travel, and trade.
  • The ceasefire also enabled India to complete the construction of a fence near the LoC to prevent Pakistan’s infiltration of terrorists into Kashmir, a project that it had begun a couple of decades earlier but had to suspend due to Pakistan’s artillery fire.
  • This ceasefire agreement, reached between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was respected until 2008. From 2008, there were occasional spikes in firing across the LoC. This situation changed in late 2012 – around the time that India began to build additional bunkers along the LoC. Firing across the LoC has now increased.

What is LoC?

  • The 435-mile stretch along the Kashmir divide has been termed the LoC since the 1972 Simla Agreement.
  • What India terms the International Border, and what Pakistan terms the Working Boundary, runs southward from the LoC.

U.S., EU & UN welcomes India-Pak. ceasefire agreement

  • The United States has welcomed the announcement by India and Pakistan that they would observe the 2003 ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).
  • The White House called for the two countries to build upon this progress and the State Department encouraged a reduction in tensions and violence along the LoC
  • Even the UN and EU have welcomed the deal.

What is the role of USA?

  • In response to a question on the role of the U.S., if any, in brokering the agreement between India and Pakistan, Mr. Price did not identify any specific actions but articulated the general U.S. position — a reduction in tensions and a condemnation of cross-border terror as well as a dialogue on Kashmir and other issues.
  • “When it comes to the U.S. role, USA continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern.
  • This is an important step in the interest of regional peace and stability on which to build further bilateral dialogue.

Source: TH

Inscription on Krishnadevraya’s death (of Vijayanagar) discovered

GS-I : Art and Culture World heritage site

Inscription on Krishnadevraya’s death (of Vijayanagar) discovered

  • The first-ever epigraphical reference to the date of death of Vijayanagar king Krishnadevaraya has been discovered at Honnenahalli in the Tumakuru district.
  • As per the inscription, Krishnadevaraya, one of the greatest emperors of India who ruled from the South, died on October 17, 1529, Sunday, and incidentally, this day was marked by a lunar eclipse.
  • The inscription (written in Kannada) is engraved on a slab kept on the north side of the Gopalakrishna temple at Honnenahalli in the Tumakuru district.
  • The inscription also registers gift of village Honnenahalli in Tumakuru for conducting worship to the god Veeraprasanna Hanumantha of Tumakuru.

The Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1646 A.D.)

  • Harihara and Bukka are the founders of the Vijayanagar City in 1336 A.D. on the southern banks of Tungabhadr.
  • They made Hampi as the capital city. Hampi is on the banks of Tungabhadra River.
  • They served under Vira Ballala III, the Hoysala King
  • Vijayanagar Empire was ruled by four important dynasties and they are: Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva, Aravidu and Harihara I.
  • In 1336 A.D. Harihara I became the ruler of Sangama Dynasty. He captured Mysore and Madurai.
  • In 1356 A.D. Bukka-I succeeded him

Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 A.D.)

  • Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluva dynasty was the most famous king of the Vijayanagar Empire
  • According to Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveller “Krishnadeva Raya was the most feared and perfect king there could possibly be”.

Krishnadeva Raya‘s Conquests

  • He conquered Sivasamudram in 1510A.D and Raichur in 1512A.D
  • In 1523 A.D. he captured Orissa and Warangal
  • His empire extended from the river Krishna in the north to River Cauvery in the south; the Arabian Sea in the west to Bay of Bengal in the east.

Significance of Krishnadevaraya

(a) Political

  1. Character: Great miltary ability, imposing personality, high intellectual quality.
  2. He restored the former glory of Vijaynagar empire and even surpassed it.
  3. His was the period of expansion and consolidation. He wrested back Krishna-Godavari delta, defeated an alliance of Bijapur and Odisha and kept Portuguese in check.
  4. He also kept internal law and order.

(b) Cultural

  1. Though a Vaishnavite, he respected all. He was a great patron of Telugu, Tamil and Kannada literature as well as Sanskrit.
  2. Ashtadiggajas (8 eminent scholars) were at his court with Alladi Pesanna (Manuchitram) being the greatest.
  3. He wrote Amukhtamalayada (Telugu) & Sanskrit Jambavati Kalyanam and Ushaparinayam. He was ka Andhra Bhoja.
  4. He was a great builder. He constructed a new town near Hampi named Nagalapuram (after his mother) , Vithhalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswami temples at Vijaynagar and built massive tank there and temples, added many gopurams.

(c) Social

  1. Although the kingdom remained in constant military preparedness, it flourished under unparalleled peace and prosperity.
  2. He give complete religious freedom to his subjects.
  3. Anybody could settle down and move freely in his kingdom without any distinction of religion.

His Contributions

  • An able administrator.
  • He built large tanks and canals for irrigation.
  • He developed the naval power understanding the vital role of overseas trade.
  • He maintained friendly relations with the Portuguese and Arab traders.
  • He increased the revenue of his government.
  • He patronized art and architecture.
  • It was during his period the Vijayanagar Empire reached its zenith of glory.
  • Krishnadeva Raya was a great scholar.
  • Ashtadiggajas: A group of eight scholars adorned his court and they were:
    1. Allasani Peddanna – the author of Manucharitram, he was also known as Andhra Kavitapitamaha’
    2. Nandi Thimmana – the author of Parijathapaharanam
    3. Madayagari Mallana
    4. Dhurjati
    5. Ayyalaraju Ramabhadra Kavi
    6. Pingali Surana
    7. Ramaraja Bhushana
    8. Tenali Ramakrishna

Battle of Talikota (1565 A.D.)

  • The successors of Krishnadeva Raya were weak
  • The combined forces of Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Golconda and Bidar declared war on Vijayanagar during the rule of Aliya Rama Raya
  • Aliya Rama Raya was defeated. He and his people were killed mercilessly.
  • Vijayanagar was pillaged and ruined.

Contribution to Architecture and Literature

  • The Hazara Ramasami temple and Vittalaswamy temple was built during this period
  • The bronze image of Krishnadeva Raya is a masterpiece.
  • Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada literature were developed.
  • Sayana wrote commentaries on Vedas.
  • Krishnadevaraya wrote Amuktamalyada in Telugu and Usha Parinayam and Jambavathi Kalyanam in Sanskrit.

The decline of the Empire

  • The rulers of the Aravidu dynasty were weak and incompetent.
  • Many provincial governors became independent.
  • The rulers of Bijapur and Golconda seized some areas of Vijayanagar.

Source: TH

IT Regulation Rules 2021

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Laws

IT Regulation Rules 2021

  • Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 have been framed under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and it supersedes the IT Rules, 2011.
  • It will ensure a harmonious, soft-touch oversight mechanism in relation to social media platform, digital media and OTT platforms etc.
  • Part- II of these Rules to Social Media shall be administered by Ministry of Electronics and IT.
  • These Rules empower the users of digital platforms to seek redressal for their grievances on infringement of their rights.
  • If due diligence is not followed by the intermediaries, including social media, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.
  • Grievance Officer, appointed by intermediaries, shall acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days.
  • Ensures online safety and dignity of users, especially women, by removing or disabling the contents within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents.
  • A distinction between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries is made, based on the number of users.
  • Chief Compliance Officer shall be appointed for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules.
  • Nodal Contact Person shall be appointed for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
  • Part III of the Ethics Code in relation to digital media shall be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • This Code of Ethics prescribes the guidelines to be followed by OTT platforms and online news and digital media entities.
  • OTT platforms would self-classify the content into 5 age-based categories - U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
  • Publishers of digital news would observe the Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.
  • A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the rules with 3 levels of self-regulation.

Source: TH

Swachh Iconic Places

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

Swachh Iconic Places

  • Ministry of Jal Shakti has selected 12 iconic sites to be transformed into ‘Swachh Tourist Destinations’ under Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G).
  • Sites - Ajanta Caves, Sanchi Stupa, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Sun Temple, Ramdevra, Golconda Fort, Chandigarh Rock Garden, Dal Lake, Mathura Banke Bihari Temple, Agra Fort, Bengal Kalighat Temple.
  • SIP initiative aims at enhancing the experience of visitors by improving the sanitation and cleanliness standards at and around the sites.
  • It is coordinated by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Tourism Ministry, Ministry of Culture and the concerned State/UT governments.

Source: TH

OTT Platforms are now under Government’s ambit

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

OTT Platforms are now under Government’s ambit

What is the news?

  • The government has brought video streaming over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Hotstar, and others under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. These platforms were so far under the purview of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • With a market size of nearly Rs 500 crore at the end of March 2019, the online video streaming platforms may become a Rs 4000-crore revenue market by the end of 2025, according to reports. At the end of 2019, India had as many as 17 crore OTT platform users.

What are OTT Platforms?

  • OTT, or over-the-top platforms, are audio and video hosting and streaming services which started out as content hosting platforms, but soon branched out into the production and release of short movies, feature films, documentaries and web series themselves.
  • These platforms offer a range of content and use artificial intelligence to suggest to users the content they are likely to view based on their past viewership on the platform.
  • Most OTT platforms generally offer some content for free and charge a monthly subscription fee for premium content which is generally unavailable elsewhere.
  • The premium content is usually produced and marketed by the OTT platform themselves, in association with established production houses which historically have made feature films.

What are the laws regulating OTT platforms?

  • So far in India, there were no laws or rules regulating OTT platforms as it is a relatively new medium of entertainment.
  • Unlike television, print or radio, which follow guidelines released by governments, OTT platforms, classified as digital media or social media, had little to no regulation on the choice of content they offered, the subscription rates, certification for adult movies and others.
  • In India, the regulation of such platforms has been widely debated and discussed. Following pressure to regulate the content being made available on these streaming platforms, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a representative body of the OTT platforms had proposed a self-regulatory model.
  • The Online Curated Content Providers or OCCPs had also proposed a Digital Curated Content Complaints Council along with the self-regulatory mechanism as a part of its proposed two-tier structure.
  • The proposal, however, was shot down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which will now oversee these platforms.

New rules for OTT Platforms

  • For the first time, the government, under the ambit of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, has brought in detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over The Top (OTT) platforms, while giving itself overriding powers.
  • The new rules lay down a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism.
  1. Tier I: One will be at the level of each OTT provider. Each complaint will have to be addressed within 15 days. If the complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, then the complainant can scale it up to a self-regulatory body collectively established by the OTTs.
  2. Tier II: The Self-Regulatory Body will be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court, or an independent eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, child rights, human rights or other relevant fields. This self-regulatory body also has “censuring” powers in case of any incriminating content. The rules say, “In case of any content where it is satisfied that there is a need for taking action to delete or modify the content for preventing incitement to the commission of a cognizable offence relating to public order.”
  3. Tier III: Government: To top this, at the third tier, the government has equipped itself with overriding powers in the form of an “oversight mechanism”. An inter-ministerial committee will perform this function and it will largely have the same powers as the collective self-regulatory body of the OTTs.
  • However, over and above this framework, the government has equipped itself with “emergency” powers to block public access of any information.
  • The rules state, “in case of emergency nature” the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, may “if he is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient and justifiable” give orders to block access.
  • Such orders can be released “without giving an opportunity of hearing” to the publishing platform.
  • He added that both OTT and digital media would have to disclose details about themselves, their area of operation, the number of subscribers, and so on.
  • OTT platforms will have to self-classify content into five age-based categories — U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
  • Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”. The majority of OTT platforms currently follow this mechanism.

Other platforms

  • TV has to follow the code under the Cable Network Act.
  • Print media is regulated by the Press Council of India.
  • There is a Censor Board for films.

  • Publishers of news on digital media would be required to observe the ‘Norms of Journalistic Conduct’ of the Press Council of India and the ‘Programme Code’ under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.
  • Setting out general principles, the rules say that publishers should take into consideration that the content does not “affect the sovereignty and integrity of India” or “jeopardises the security of the State”, among other things.

Source: TH

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