UPSC Daily Current Affairs - 9th February 2023 (3)

UPSC Daily Current Affairs – Mains [9th February 2023]

GS 1

Vijayanagara Kingdom

Syllabus: Ancient India: Vijayanagara Kingdom

Source: Indian Express

In News

Salman Rushdie released a new novel “Victory City” – a fictionalized story of the Vijayanagara Kingdom.

About Vijayanagara Kingdom

  • The Vijayanagara Kingdom was an Indian kingdom that existed from 1336 AD to 1646 AD.
  • It was founded by Harihara I of the Sangama dynasty and was strategically located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river with Hampi as its capital city.
  • The kingdom experienced significant growth and reached its pinnacle under the reign of Krishna Deva Raya from 1509 to 1529.
  • During this time, the Vijayanagara Kingdom possessed military might and dominated over other rival kingdoms such as the Bahmani Sultanate, the Golconda Sultanate, and the Gajapatis of Odisha.

Vijayanagar Economy

  • The Vijayanagara kingdom’s economy relied heavily on agriculture and was thriving in trade through its various ports along both coasts.
  • According to traveler Abd al-Razzaq Samarqandi, the ports of Mangalore, Honavar, Bhatkal, Barkur, Cochin, Cannanore, Machilipatnam, and Dharmadam served as both centers of trade and shipbuilding, attracting merchants from all over Africa, Arabia, Aden, the Red sea, China, and Bengal.
  • The empire’s main exports included spices such as pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom, as well as valuable goods like precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, musk, ambergris, and porcelain.
  • The state and merchant guilds alike minted coins using materials like gold, silver, copper, and brass, with their value determined by the weight of the material.

Vijayanagar Society and Culture:

  • The society of the Vijayanagara Kingdom was made up of various castes and communities, including Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras, as well as Muslims, Jains, and Christians.
  • Vijayanagara was known for its rich cultural heritage, with literature, music, dance, and architecture all flourishing.
  • The capital, Hampi, was famous for its grand monuments and temples, including the Virupaksha Temple, the Hampi Bazaar, and the Lotus Mahal.
  • Religious tolerance was a hallmark of the kingdom, with people of different beliefs living in harmony.
  • The kingdom also had a vibrant tradition of education and learning, with many scholars and philosophers residing there.
  • The era of the Vijayanagara Kingdom remains an important chapter in Indian history, renowned for its cultural achievements, economic prosperity, and religious tolerance.

Vijayanagara Architecture and Literature:

  • The Vijayanagara kingdom was a hub for literary works, producing works in a variety of languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Sanskrit.
  • This period saw the emergence of new writing styles and techniques.
  • The architecture of Vijayanagara is known for its unique blend of styles from the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya, and Chola periods.
  • The Prasanna Virupaksha temple, built by Bukka I, and the Hazara Rama temple, constructed during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya, are outstanding examples of the kingdom’s signature style and intricate artwork.

Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara kingdom, is renowned for its grand fortifications and elaborate temples. According to accounts from foreign travelers, by the early 16th century, Hampi-Vijayanagara was likely the second largest city in the world, after Beijing. The site is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its remarkable architecture and artistry.

GS 3

Repo Rate hike and its impact

Syllabus: Indian Economic, Banking

Source: TH

In News

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which is the policy-making body of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has increased the Repo rate by 0.25 percentage points to 6.50 percent. The move is aimed at controlling the rising retail inflation in the country.

Impact of Increase in Repo Rate:

  • With the hike in Repo rate, the lending rates of banks are anticipated to increase, causing a rise in the Equated Monthly Installments (EMIs) on various loans such as vehicle loans, home loans, and personal loans.
  • It is estimated that over 43% of the total loans are linked to the Repo rate, and as a result, their interest rates are expected to go up.
  • The increase in Repo rate aims to curb retail inflation by making borrowing more expensive, thereby reducing the demand for goods and services and moderating inflation in the country.

Millets

Syllabus: Agriculture

Source: Indian Express

Push for Millets in India:

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken the lead in promoting the consumption of millets by developing guidelines to incorporate the grains in school, hospital, and government canteen menus.
  • Millets Canteen” program to offer millet-based foods in hospitals.
  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs has also joined the push by conducting webinars and conferences on millets, featuring experts in the fields of athletics, nutrition, and dietetics, through the Fit India app.
  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries has also taken an active role by organizing millet fairs and exhibitions in various states across the country, to raise awareness and promote the consumption of these nutritious grains.

Benefits of Consuming Millets:

  • Eco-Friendly: Millets are a more sustainable crop as they require less water compared to rice and wheat and can be grown in areas without irrigation.
    • These crops belong to the grass family and are more tolerant to harsh weather conditions and can grow in poor soil and hilly regions.
  • Healthy: By incorporating millets into your diet, you can reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
    • Millets have a lower glycemic index compared to processed rice or wheat, meaning they won’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.
  • High in Fiber: Millets are rich in fiber which is essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Micronutrient Rich: Millets are a great source of important micronutrients like iron and zinc, which can help combat anaemia.
  • Cholesterol-Friendly: Millets contain niacin, which has been linked to lowering triglycerides and increasing levels of good cholesterol.
  • Gluten-Free: Millets are naturally gluten-free, making them a suitable option for those with gluten allergies or irritable bowel syndrome.

Earthquake in India

Syllabus: Disaster Management and Preparedness

Source: TH

Why is Indian terrain prone to Earthquake?

  • The Indian terrain is prone to earthquakes due to the presence of several tectonic divides along the political boundaries in the west, north and east, particularly the 2,500-km-long Himalayan plate boundary from northwest to northeast.
  • Although the historical release of geological tension provides some explanation for the strain that has built up, there are other factors that contribute to this vulnerability.
  • For instance, the Central Himalayas has seen a lack of earthquakes despite the accumulated strain.
  • The construction of new dams at the foothills of the Himalayas may also contribute to the risk of earthquakes.

In terms of disaster losses, there has been a noticeable upward trend in recent years, largely due to the growing extent of human habitation in areas that are vulnerable to earthquakes.

Way ahead

  • In order to mitigate the effects of earthquakes in India, it is crucial to undertake a thorough study of the vulnerability of buildings and structures.
  • This includes ensuring that all new constructions in high-risk zones have the ability to resist seismic activity and retrofitting existing buildings to protect them.
  • Additionally, measures should be taken to reinforce traditional earthquake-resistant structures, particularly in areas where these types of buildings are prevalent.
  • To achieve these goals, it is important to overhaul town and municipal planning regulations to incorporate hazard-safety measures and to use building codes developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
  • An environmental land zonation scheme should also be established for urban and rural areas.
  • Furthermore, the extensive scientific knowledge on earthquake safety should be made easily available, accessible, and actionable for the public.
  • Data sharing, particularly in real-time and free of charge, should become a common practice.

Further Practices

  • Conduct regular drills and training sessions for communities and emergency responders.
  • Establish a robust early warning system to alert people before an earthquake strikes.
  • Develop an efficient evacuation plan to minimize casualties.
  • Strengthen collaboration between government agencies and civil society organizations to improve disaster response efforts.
  • Ensure that disaster risk reduction is integrated into development policies and plans.
  • Invest in research to better understand earthquakes and develop innovative technologies for predicting and mitigating their impact.

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