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  • Early Vedic period

    The Early Vedic period (1500-1000 BCE) also known as   the Rigvedic period includes the family books (Mandal 2-7). The word Veda has been derived from the word ‘vid’ which means to know/knowledge. The literature of the Vedic period gives a detailed account of the Geographical, Political, Social, and Economic conditions of the society and is classified as shruti and smriti. There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda was compiled during the early Vedic period, and the other three Vedas in the later Vedic period.  Every Veda generally has four parts Brahmanas, Aranyaka, Samhita, and Upanishad. The Rig Veda is divided into 10 mandals (books) comprising 1028 hymns. Mandals 2-7 are the earliest mandals and the remaining 1,8, 9, and 10 were written later. Rig Ved is included in the UNESCO world cultural intangible heritage. Aittareya and Kaushitaki are the Brahmanas of the Rig Ved. Geography The geographical spread of early Rig Vedic people covers present-day eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and western Uttar Pradesh.  The creation of the universe is mentioned in the Nasadiya Sukta and rivers in Nadistuti in the 10th Mandal of the Rig Veda.  Polity The political structure was similar to the monarchical form but the Gopati(chief) was elected by the assembly called samiti.  Tribal assemblies were used to help the Rajan (king) in administration.  No system of Taxation but voluntary offerings were taken.  The battle of 10 kings, is recounted in the 7th Mandal.  Economy  The economy was mainly pastoral but they were also familiar with agriculture. We find mention of cattle used for ploughing. Shifting agriculture was practiced.  They did not use iron but were familiar with the Ayas (Copper) and bronze.  Limited crafts such as Takshan(Carpenter), Hiranakara(Goldsmith), Vaptri(Barbers), potters, Grinders, etc are mentioned. Society The active participation of women in Sabha and Samiti signifies the political hold of women and reflects their egalitarian nature. Women were allowed to learn and write Vedas and after taking part in the Upanayana ceremony (Thread Ceremony) women were considered the Dwija(Twice Born).  Monogamy was generally practiced and there are instances of polyandry and polygamy. Women were allowed to choose their partner (Swayamvar).  There are few instances of Widow remarriage and no instances of sati, purdah, and child marriage.   Religion The nature of worship was Henotheism and Kathenotheism. There was neither temple worship nor idol worship. They personified natural forces and divided divinities into 3 categories i.e., Prithvisthana, Madhyamsthana, and Dyusthana.  Rig Vedic God and goddesses include Indra, Agni, Varuna, Soma, Yama, Rudra, Surya, Pushan, Aditi, Prithvi, Usha, and Savitri (Gayatri Mantra is attributed to the 3rd Mandal).  The education, Political inclusion, Socio-cultural practice, and condition of women of the Rig Vedic period have influenced many reformers such as Swami Dayanand Saraswati who gave the slogan “Go back to the Vedas” . References: A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India, Upinder Singh Ancient and Medieval India, Poonam Dalal Dahiya Higher Secondary First year, Tamil Nadu Board Prateek Nayak Notes

  • Distribution of continents and ocean (Part 2)

    In our Previous article, we discussed a few major theories proposed at different times regarding the distribution of Oceans and Continents. Continuing the discussion we will learn about Seafloor Spreading and Mid-Oceanic Ridges. Seafloor spreading  In 1960, American geophysicist Harry H. Hess proposed the seafloor spreading hypothesis. According to this theory, the ocean floor is moving or spreading away from ridges, due to repetitive magma intrusion that split and spread the older sea floor, causing them to be moved away from the ridges in a nearly horizontal position. Cold sea water cools the magma, by creating a new crust. The upward movement and eventual cooling of magma have created high ridges on the ocean floor over millions of years.  Seafloor spreading also indicates, that since the new floor forms constantly at the ridge crust and moves sideways, there is a progressive increase in age away from the ridge crest. Accordingly, there is a lack of pelagic sediments at the ridge crust while it is progressively thicker on the older sea floor as it moves.  Mid-Oceanic Ridges (MOR): Mid Oceanic Ridges (MOR), are submarine relief features. Generally, they submerge beneath the ocean water, however, local crowning above the level of oceanic water gives rise to islands such as Iceland, Mauritius, Lakshadweep, etc. MORs are divergent-type plate boundaries, the sites of active seismicity. Shallow-focus earthquakes occur at MOR, whereas deep-focus earthquakes are generally associated with island arcs/ subduction zones (convergent plant boundaries).  The rift valley of MOR crust is formed when the rising mantle rock/lava splits and diverges sideways, as a result, tensional cracks open, where shallow focus earthquakes occur, consequently the rift valley fills up with basaltic lava and creates new crust. Intense magmatism of low potassium-olivine lava types is associated with MOR, which results in the formation of basic rocks such as olivine-gabbro, serpentine, basalt diabase, etc. Geophysical studies on MOR show that, the basaltic roots are present about 30 km deep into the lower mantle for a height of the ridge of 1.6 km above the ocean bottom. This deep rooting ensures isostatic balance.  MOR is characterized by high gravity anomaly, whereas the paleomagnetic studies on MOR reveal that, the normally and reversely magnetized rocks on one side of the ridge were the mirror image of those on the other side (which is also called bilaterally symmetrical arrangement of magnetized rocks). So far the best known MOR is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; Carlsberg Ridge in the Indian Ocean; Lomonosov Ridge in the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge which lies between Antarctica and New Zealand and Australia.

  • India-Bangladesh Relationship (Part-2)

    In the previous article, we discussed trade and economic relations. Now we shall discuss the transportation and energy relationship between the two nations. Transport and Energy relationship   Energy links and connectivity have been a key focus for both countries in recent years. Both countries are looking to deepen the relationship with multi-faceted connectivity because connectivity ensures increased productivity and socio-economic benefits. Connectivity includes a multi-modal approach including highways, waterways, railways, and airways. Some of the key projects that were recently inaugurated or are under implementation are: In November 2023, both countries inaugurated the Akhaura-Agartala rail link. The MoU to develop the said rail link was signed in 2013 with grant assistance from India. This link will bring North East states of India closer to the Chittagong port of Bangladesh. Also, with the opening of this section, India can run trains from Kolkata to Agartala via Bangladesh which will reduce the time from currently 38 hours to 12 hours. Currently, 3 trains viz the Bandhan Express, the Maitree Express, and the Mitali Express, run between West Bengal and Bangladesh. The two countries also inaugurated the Khulna-Mongla Port rail line project, implemented under Indian concessional credit with a total project cost of $388.92 million, a true demonstration of its neighborhood-first policy. With this, Mongla port which is the second largest port of Bangladesh, gets connected with the existing broad-gauge railway network at Khulna. This will also help India as well to access Mongla port for trade. In August 2023, India and Bangladesh signed an agreement, allowing Indian traders to use Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh for the transportation of goods to northeastern Indian states. The four routes that have been identified for the same are (a) Chittagong Port-Akhaura-Agartala, (b) Mongla Port-Akhaura-Agartala, (c) Chittagong- Bibirbazar - Srimantapur, and (d) Mongla Port-Bibirbazar - Srimantapur. So these routes highlight the importance of the recently inaugurated Akhaura - Agartala rail link and Khulna Mongla rail link Both countries are also developing Matabari deep sea port off the coast of the Bay of Bengal in collaboration with Japan. This is part of the “Bay of Bengal Northeast Industrial Value Chain Concept", which aims to attract global manufacturing to India’s Northeast and Bangladesh by relying on improved connectivity. Another focus is to improve cross-border power and energy trade. In November 2023, both countries inaugurated the Maitree super thermal power of 1320 MW. This joint venture is between the Bangladesh Power Development Board and India’s NTPC.  Earlier in March 2023, both countries also inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline. This is a first-of-its-kind cross-border energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh, built for INR 377 crore, under grant assistance by the Government of India. The India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline will transport one Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MMTPA) of High-Speed Diesel to Bangladesh in a sustainable, reliable, and cost-effective manner with a minimal carbon footprint.

  • Amendments to the Indian Constitution (Part 2)

    The earlier article discussed the importance of the provision of amendment in the Constitution and its procedure. Continuing from there, this article will throw light on the more recent amendments made in the 21st century.  The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act , of 2002 made Elementary Education a fundamental right. Free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 14 years was granted under the pretext of Article 21A and Article 51A. The former entrusted the duty to the State while the latter made the parents of such children duty-bound to do the same. The 93rd Amendment Act  of 2005, added a provision in Article 15 that the State is empowered to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes or scheduled tribes regarding their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, except the minority educational institutions.   Cooperative societies were given constitutional status under the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act , 2011. The 100th Constitutional Amendment Act  2015 gave effect on the acquisition of certain territories by India and the transfer of certain other territories to Bangladesh (through exchange of enclaves and retention of adverse possessions) in pursuance of the Land Boundary Agreement of 1974 and its Protocol of 2011. The 101st Amendment Act , of 2016 introduced the Goods and Services Tax(GST).  Constitutional Status was granted to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) by the 102nd Amendment Act , of 2018. 103rd Amendment Act , 2019 Empowered the state to make any special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections (EWS) of citizens. Clause 6 was added in both Article 15 and Article 16 which permitted the State to set aside up to 10% of seats for certain sections when it came to admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions that were either assisted or unassisted by the state, with the exception of minority educational institutions. This additional reservation of up to 10% would be made in addition to the ones already made. 104th Constitutional Amendment Act  2020 extended the deadline for the cessation of reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by ten years. The 105th Constitution Amendment Act , 2021 restored the power of State governments to recognize socially and educationally backward classes. The 106th Constitutional Amendment , 2023 provides 1/3rd reservation for women in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. Till now, a total of 106 Constitutional Amendment Acts have been enacted which give a great insight as to the fact that the Indian Federation does not suffer from the faults of rigidity of legalism. Its distinguishing feature is that of a flexible federation. A balance between, the danger of having a non-amendable Constitution and a Constitution which is too easily amendable, was kept by the Constitution makers.

  • Renewable Energy Sources

    Renewable energy is extracted from nature i.e. sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) guards the work related to Renewable Energy Sources. Along with various advantages like being environment-friendly, reliable, and economical, it also has many disadvantages such as dependency on weather conditions, large initial investments, and unavailability in large amounts. Let’s flip through different Renewable Energy Sources: Solar Energy Solar energy is when we harness energy and electricity from the heat and light from the sun. Bharat, between tropical cancer and the equator, has an average temperature of 25-27 degrees, gives approximately 300 sunny days, and has much potential for the generation of Solar Energy. Solar Energy Utilization has different ways: Photosynthesis, Solar Energy into Thermal Energy, Concentrated Solar Thermal Systems, and Photovoltaic Cells.  Ongrid and Offgrid System of Solar Power Ongrid:  Systems that generate power only when the utility power grid is available are called Ongrid systems. The system is connected to the home's main force, i.e. whenever solar power is less, home direct power can be used. Offgrid:  Systems that allow you to store your solar power in batteries are called off-grid. In this, you can use these batteries when you are out of power or not on the grid.   The government runs several missions for Solar Energy, whose details you can find in our next article.  Wind Energy Electricity produced by wind through wind turbines is called Wind energy. The turbine blades with specific properties like aerodynamics show efficient results when mounted at least 100 feet from the ground. The minimum and maximum speed that can be used for electricity generation is 8 km/hr and 36-54 km/hr. Through a tool called a wind vane, the speed of the wind can be checked. Wind energy has the lowest gestation period, requires less time to set up, has minimal running expenses, requires less maintenance, and is a clean and safe energy source. Globally, China has the maximum wind power generation capacity but America has the maximum wind energy generation. In India, Tamil Nadu has 29% of India’s total wind power capacity, and hence in 1985, the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) was set up there. Some other states with wind energy plants are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. Geothermal Energy The energy that can be generated using the heat received from Earth in the form of steam of rocks, underground water, or magma is called Geothermal Energy. The geothermal field is usually available at a depth of around 80 km and at 300m to 3000m in some places. There are three types of Geothermal Power Plants: (i) Dry Steam Power Plant, (ii) Flash Steam Power Plant, (iii) Binary Cycle Power Plant This clean source of energy is frequently used to heat buildings, grow plants in greenhouses, fry crops, heat water in fish farms, and for various industrial purposes such as pasteurizing milk. India has a potential of 10,000 Megawatts of Geothermal energy. It has around 300 sites, the most efficient being Tattapani in Himachal Pradesh. Ocean Energy Oceans cover 70% area of the whole earth and hence are a great source of energy collectors. The ocean's energy is generated by thermal energy from the sun's heat and mechanical energy from tides and waves. We can tap this energy in three ways: Tidal Energy Wave Energy Ocean Thermal Energy Some potential locations in India to gather Ocean Energy are the Gulf of Cambay and the Gulf of Kachchh on the west coast and the Ganges Delta in the Sunderbans in West Bengal. Hydro Energy The energy generated after capturing flowing water, for which dams and water reservoirs are mostly used, is called Hydro Power. India stands in 7th position globally for generating Hydroelectricity. India’s Darjeeling (1898) and Shivanasamudra (1902) hydropower plants were among the first in Asia. According to the installation capacity they are classified into 3 classes: Micro (up to 100 KW) Mini (up to 101 KW to 2MW) Small (2 MW to 25 MW) Mega (more than 500 MW) Biomass Energy Biomass Energy can be classified into: Solid Biomass: includes organic, non-fossil material of biological origins Biogas: methane and carbon dioxide that is produced by anaerobic digestion of biomass Liquid Biofuels: bio-based liquid fuel from biomass transformation Municipal Waste: wastes produced by the residential, commercial, and public service sectors References:

  • Indian Service Sector

    The service industry can be defined as an industry that provides products and services mostly in intangible form. It is not involved in manufacturing or production of physical goods. The service sector, also known as the tertiary sector, is the third tier in the three-sector economy.  In the last few decades, the services industry has contributed significantly to India’s GDP. It has also drawn major foreign investment and has provided large-scale employment. Trade, hotels and restaurants, transportation, storage and communication, financing, insurance, real estate, commercial services, community, social and personal services, and construction-related services are all part of India's service industry. Reasons for the growth of the service sector in India: LPG reforms in 1991:  The liberalization, privatization, and globalization of the Indian economy played a significant role in the development of the service sector in India. Sectors like banking, insurance, telecommunication, and aviation experienced faster growth due to the participation of private and foreign players. Expansion of Information Technology:  As the IT sectors have grown and advanced, there has been a substantial increase in the usage of mobile phones, telecommunications, and the internet resulting in a momentous increase in digital services. With the arrival of new-age technology such as AI, ML, and data analysis the service sectors will receive a further boost.  Structural transformation:  India's economy has advanced rapidly from agriculture to services. The manufacturing sector's percentage of GDP has stayed constant at 16–17% since 1991. As a result, the share of the services sector rises in proportion to the decline in the agriculture sector's share. Domestic market:  The growth in the service industry is also driven by India's large, dynamic, and young population, with 65% of Indians being under 35 years old. The large and young population creates a high demand for services as the final product which in turn leads to a high growth rate in the service sector. Outsourcing by developed countries:  India's labor cost is relatively cheaper than developed countries. Also, India has a vast workforce of both skilled and unskilled laborers. Thus, developed countries found outsourcing business to India feasible and lucrative; providing significant incentives for the expansion of the service sector Future Challenges: Sustainability:  Many experts have expressed concern over the sustainability of service sectors. The last 2-3 years have witnessed massive layoffs in IT and allied sectors. Also, dependency majorly over external demand is risky. Internal demand should be promoted. Government Support:  The government has provided good support to the service sector but much more is needed. Regulations that are intricate and subject to frequent change can present challenges for service-oriented enterprises. The government should also develop better transportation and logistics to ensure efficient delivery of services. Growth of all subsectors:  The different subsectors of service sectors have performed unevenly.  The IT-BPM and financial services sectors dominate the services sector, while the growth rates of other subsectors like tourism, transportation, and communication are lower. More focus should be given to underperforming subsectors.  Low employment:  Although the service sector forms the major part of India's GDP, it absorbs less than a third of the workforce. A low employment rate in the service sector cannot sustain a high growth rate for long.

  • Biosphere

    The biosphere is a relatively narrow layer around the Earth’s surface where life can exist. It extends from a few kilometers in the atmosphere to the depth of the oceans. It is also referred to as the “Zone of Life”, comprising the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), and lithosphere (land). The energy required to support life on earth comes from the sun in the form of solar energy which producers like green plants capture to produce food through photosynthesis.  Origin of Biosphere The term “biosphere” was coined in 1875 by a geologist named Eduard Suess. He defined the biosphere as “the place on the earth where life dwells”. The earliest evidence of life on the earth was found about 3.5 billion years ago. The earliest life forms included prokaryotes. They were single-celled organisms like bacteria that survived without oxygen.  Some of these prokaryotes were able to use sunlight to make sugar and oxygen from water and carbon dioxide, a process that came to be known as photosynthesis. By the process of photosynthesis, these organisms were able to change the structure of the biosphere completely. Over a long time, the atmosphere of the Earth developed oxygen and other gases that could support life. By this addition of oxygen to the biosphere, more complex life forms were evolved which included millions of different plants (producers) and animals (consumers and decomposers) species. Thus the biosphere developed a food web that helps in sustaining life on the earth. The remains of dead plants and animals release nutrients into the soil and ocean. These nutrients are reabsorbed by growing plants. This exchange of energy and food makes the biosphere a self-regulating and self-supporting system. Characteristics The biosphere is unique as so far, the existence of life has not been found elsewhere in the universe. It is characterized by continuous cycles of matter which is continuously recycled for continuing life on earth. The biosphere can be thought of as one large ecosystem—a complex community of living beings and nonliving things functioning as a single unit. It comprises biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components which continuously interact with each other. More often, however, the biosphere is described as having many ecosystems. It measures about 20 kilometers from top to bottom, and almost all life exists between about 500 meters below the ocean’s surface to about 6 kilometers above sea level. Since life exists on the ground, air, and water, the biosphere overlaps all three spheres vis-à-vis lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere.   Importance The biosphere has great importance for all living beings and is termed the zone of life” on the earth. It is the layer around the Earth where life exists. It supports life on the Earth by providing shelter and food etc. to all living beings. It helps in preserving biodiversity on the planet Earth. It allows the interaction between different life forms and the environment or between biotic and abiotic components. It is self-regulating. It plays an important role in maintaining ecological balance on the earth. References NCERT Biology IGNOU Material Shankar IAS Environment book Recitals Magazine

  • Later Vedic Culture

    Later Vedic Culture (1000-600 BCE) is categorized based on the Geographical, social, economic, and political changes that took place after the early Vedic age.   Geography The Shatpatha Brahmanya of the Yajurveda gives information about the gradual expansion of Aryans to Southeast Uttar Pradesh in the Ganga-Yamuna doab including Kosala and Videha. Geographical division-Aryavarta, Madhyadesh, Dakshinpath Polity The term ‘Rashtra’ first appeared in this period. The New Kingdom and Hereditary Kingship emerged. During this period the ‘Janas’ was slowly turning to ‘Janapads’. To prove Legitimacy different yagna such as Aswamedha, Rajasuya, and Vajapaya were performed. Taxes were made mandatory. Small clan becoming powerful. The Emergence of the new kingdom such as Videha-king Janak, Kosala-Ruled by Ikshvaku Clan (Vansh), Magadh, Anga, Vidhrbha. Atharvaveda mentions the king Parikshit who belonged to kuru (Puru+Bharata).   Economy  During this period cattle lost its importance and agriculture became the chief occupation. This phase was the beginning of using Krishna ayas (iron). They practiced mixed farming and cultivation was done by plough, Tin, Lead, Silver, gold, bronze, and copper were also known. Painted grey ware, Red and Black Ware, and Red Ware pottery were used during this period. Society The Gotra system evolved. The emergence of the Varna system can be traced to Purusha sukta and the role of the Varna system in Aitreya Brahmana. There used to be a Vratsyatoma ceremony to include non-Aryans into Aryans—significant decline in the political status of Women. Education was restricted to upper varnas. At times daughters were considered a source of misery, in some prayers daughters were not likened whereas in Brihadaryanak Upanishad there was a ritual mentioned for obtaining a learned daughter. Gargi and Maitreya participated in philosophical debates.    Religion The most important early Vedic gods Indra and Agni lost their importance and Prajapati became superior, Vishnu and Rudra also became prominent. Important Literature: The Sama Veda  is a collection of 1080 Hymns in a poetic form that also contains Dhrupad raga. The Yajur Veda talks about the procedure for the performance of Sacrifices. The Atharvaveda talks about knowledge of magic spells diseases and medicine.   Brahmanas describes the rules for sacrificial ceremonies. Aranyakas also known as forest books are related to mysticism and philosophy. Upanishads  emphasize ‘knowledge of self’ and the relation between ‘Atman and Brahman’ should be understood. National Motto of India-Satyamev Jayate, Mandaka Upanishad Yajnvalkya and Gargi conversation- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Four Ashrams- Jabala Upanishad Story of Yam and Nachiketa- kathopanishad Story of Wise Beggar- Chadogya Upanishad References A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India, Upinder Singh Ancient and Medieval India, Poonam Dalal Dahiya Higher Secondary First year, Tamil Nadu Board Prateek Nayak Notes

  • Distribution of continents and ocean

    The relative position of landmass and ocean basins is referred to as the distribution of continents and oceans. The movements of tectonic plates take place over millions of years, which moves at a rate of 2-10 cm/year. The movement of tectonic plates by this slow speed causes movements of hundreds to tens of thousands of kilometers over millions of years, bringing change in size, shape, and depth of the ocean basins, and distribution of oceans and continents on Earth’s surface. Oceans comprise 69% whereas continents comprise 29% of the Earth’s surface.  The following major theories were proposed during different times regarding the distribution of Oceans and Continents Continental Drift Theory  Seafloor Spreading Theory  Plate Tectonics Theory  Continental Drift Theory: The continental drift refers to the horizontal movement of the continents on a vast scale. In 1908, F. B. Taylor proposed the continental drift hypothesis. Then in 1910, and 1912, Alfred Wegener, advocated that continents had drifted apart, and suggested mechanisms by which this might have occurred. Taylor’s Hypothesis According to Taylor’s hypothesis, there were two landmasses in the past, one in the northern hemisphere, Laurasia, and the other in the southern hemisphere, Gondwana Land. With time, these landmasses start spreading outward towards the equator, more or less radially from the polar regions. Taylor suggested that this land spreading was due to the sudden increase of tidal action of the moon, which was sufficient to increase the rate of rotation of the earth and also dragged the continents away from the pole. However, Taylor’s hypothesis fails to justify, that how could these tidal forces increase the Earth’s rate of rotation, and the equatorial movement of continents. He also fails to explain, the drifting of South America and Africa. Wegener’s Hypothesis Wegener suggested that till the end of the Carboniferous period, the present-day continents were one supercontinent called Pangea , surrounded by the world ocean called Panthalassa . In the late Palaeozoic period, probably during Permian or in early Mesozoic time Pangea broke into pieces and the separated continental blocks began to migrate away from each other. After Pangea broke apart, the African block (Gondwana land) and the Eurasian block (Laurasia) moved towards the equator, America drifted towards the west, the Atlantic Ocean created between North and South America in the west Europe and Africa in the East, and Australia swung to the east. India after getting separated from Africa moved north. It left Madagascar behind and collided with the northern plate resulted the formation of the great Himalayan mountain chain. These hypotheses were based on palaeontological and paleoclimatic evidence, such as the presence of the plant fossil Glossopteris , in late Palaeozoic age rocks of South America, Africa, India, and Australia, which suggests that these continents were once joined. The similarity of Precambrian rocks of Central Africa, South India, Brazil, and Australia. Evidence of widespread glaciation towards the Palaeozoic era was found on the continents of the South hemisphere. The shift of climate belts through geological time is related to Polar wandering , i.e. the apparent movement of the earth’s geographic north and south pole.                                                                                                                        To be continued…

  • Significant Provisions of the Indian Constitution

    Part III of the Constitution contains a long list of fundamental rights. This chapter of the Constitution of India has very well been described as the Magna Carta of India. The fundamental rights are deemed essential to protect the rights and liberties of the people against the encroachment of the power delegated by them to their Government. These rights are regarded as fundamental because they are essential for the attainment by the individual of his full intellectual, moral, and spiritual status. The main objective behind the inclusion of this chapter was to establish a ‘Government of law and not of man’ i.e. establish the Rule of Law. These rights are not only enshrined in the Constitution which guarantees them but also are justiciable (enforceable by courts). In case of a violation, a person can approach a court of law. Fundamental rights are very important because they are like the backbone of the country. They are essential for safeguarding the people’s interests. According to Article 13 , all laws that are violative of fundamental rights shall be void. Here, there is an express provision for judicial review. The SC and the High Courts can declare any law unconstitutional because it is violative of fundamental rights. Article 13 talks about not just laws, but also ordinances, orders, regulations, notifications, etc. As per the Constitution, Article 13(2) states that no laws can be made that take away fundamental rights. The fundamental rights as incorporated in the Indian Constitution can be classified under the following six groups: Right to equality (Articles 14-18) Right to freedom (Articles 19-22) Right against exploitation (Articles 23-24) Right to freedom of religion (Articles 25-29) Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29-30) Right to constitutional remedies (Articles 32-35) The 44th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1978 has abolished the right to property as a fundamental right as guaranteed by Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31 of the Constitution, and hence these two have been omitted.   Articles 14 to 18  guarantee the right to equality for every citizen of India. Article 14 embodies the general principles of equality before the law and prohibits unreasonable discrimination between persons. Article 14 embodies the idea of equality expressed in the Preamble. Article 15 relates to the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. These articles also guarantee equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and abolish ‘Untouchability’ and titles. Personal liberty is the most important of all fundamental rights.  Article 19  guarantees six fundamental freedoms– Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom to form Associations or Unions or Co-operative Societies, Freedom of movement, Freedom to reside and settle, and Freedom of the profession, occupation, trade, or business. However, these freedoms are not ‘absolute’ as there are reasonable restrictions imposed on them. Right against exploitation implies the prohibition of traffic in human beings, begar, and other forms of forced labor. It also implies the prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. The Constitution prohibits the employment of children under 14 years in hazardous conditions.  Article 21  provides two rights- The Right to Life and the Right to Personal Liberty. The Supreme Court of India has described this right as the ‘heart of fundamental rights’. The right specifically mentions that no person shall be deprived of life and liberty except as per the procedure established by law. This implies that this right has been provided against the State only. State here includes not just the government, but also, government departments, local bodies, the Legislatures, etc. Judicial intervention has ensured that the scope of Article 21 is not narrow and restricted. It has been widened by several landmark judgments. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25 – 28)  indicates the secular nature of Indian polity. There is equal respect given to all religions. There is freedom of conscience, profession, practice, and propagation of religion. The State has no official religion. Every person has the right to freely practice his or her faith, and establish and maintain religious and charitable institutions.  Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29 – 30)  protect the rights of religious, cultural, and linguistic minorities, by facilitating them to preserve their heritage and culture. Educational rights are for ensuring education for everyone without any discrimination.  Right to Constitutional Remedies (Articles 32 – 35)  guarantees remedies if citizens’ fundamental rights are violated. The government cannot infringe upon or curb anyone’s rights. When these rights are violated, the aggrieved party can approach the courts. Citizens can even go directly to the Supreme Court which can issue writs for enforcing fundamental rights. The Directive Principles of State Policy  contained in Part IV of the Constitution (Articles 36-51) set out the aims and objectives to be taken up by the States in the governance of the country. This is borrowed from the Constitution of Ireland which had copied it from the Spanish Constitution. At one time it was thought that the State was mainly concerned with the maintenance of law and order and the protection of life, liberty, and property of the subject. Such a restrictive role of the State is no longer a valid concept. Today, we are living in a Welfare State which has to promote the prosperity and well-being of the people. The Directive Principles lay down certain economic and social policies to be pursued by the Government.

  • India-Bangladesh Relations (Part 3)

    Despite strong relations in various fields, there are a few areas of concern between the two countries. Major of them are Transborder river water management, and illegal migration from Bangladesh, and China factor.  One of the major areas of conflict between the two countries is the Sharing of Transboundary River Waters: both countries share 54 common rivers, but to date, only two treaties have been signed so far viz the Ganga Waters Treaty and The Kushiyara River Treaty. The major issue has been for sharing of water of Teesta River which is still under negotiation. Teesta River is the 4th largest river (after Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Meghna), the water which both countries share. Teesta River originates from Sikkim. Out of its total length of 414 km, the Teesta River flows for about 151 km through Sikkim, nearly 142 km through West Bengal, and the final 121 km through Bangladesh. The major population of Bangladesh and the West Bengal state of India rely on the Teesta River.  In 1984 agreement was reached with Bangladesh's share at 37.5% and India’s share at 42.5% was decided by the Joint River Commission while the rest was unallocated. This was an ad-hoc agreement. In 2011, both countries were about to reach the 15-year agreement, however, water being a state subject in India, the state government of West Bengal is opposing the water-sharing agreement stating it will affect crops and irrigation in its state. Further Bangladesh has been asking 50% share of water, which is also an area of contention.  Another major area of contention is the illegal migration of the population from Bangladesh to India. This influx strains Indian border states, impacting the resources and security of India. The issue is further complicated by Rohingya’s entering India through the Bangladesh route.  The migrants in question are mainly poor people, mostly Muslim, looking for livelihoods that will help them survive affecting not only resources but changing the demography of India. Further, they are used by anti-nationals for their insidious designs against India including sabotage, drug trafficking, fake currency, etc. In 2016, Kiren Rijiju, the then Minister of State for Home Affairs, told India's parliament: "According to available information, there are about 20 million illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in India." Certainly, these numbers are more than enough to put constraints on India’s resources.  The China factor is also an important issue between the two countries. India and China are known rivals and even security relations are not cordial between the two countries. Hence Bangladesh moving close to China is alarming for India. Currently, Bangladesh is an active partner in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) (of which India is not a part). China's increasing involvement with Bangladesh could potentially undermine India's regional standing and impede its security concerns. Further China wants to encircle India via its ‘String of Pearls’ strategy and Bangladesh is important for China in this aspect. Bangladesh also receives substantial defense support from China and was been the recipient of a Chinese Submarine in 2019 thus any bonhomie between Bangladesh and China can be risky from India’s perspective.   Despite India acting as a midwife for the birth of Bangladesh, the relations between the two countries have evolved over the years. There have been few areas where there has been very strong partnership while certain areas are there which need to be tackled with much sensibility. Both are neighboring countries and both have to live with it. As Vajpayee ji once said, ‘You can change friends but not neighbors. Hence it is in the best favor of both countries to cooperate on pending issues and set an example of friendship for the rest of the world.

  • National Income

    National income is defined as the total monetary worth of all final products and services generated in a country over time. As regards the term 'final goods and services', productive activities generate a large number of goods and services. While certain goods and services are reused during the production process, others are converted into capital. In all circumstances, national income is calculated using just final products and services. It may be defined as the total of all factor incomes. Goods and services are produced using factors of production such as land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship. The use of factors of production creates factor incomes such as rent, wages, interest, and profit. These component incomes combine to make up a country's national income. The aggregate of these factor incomes yields an estimate of national income. Measuring national income is a highly complex and difficult endeavor that involves both conceptual and practical issues. Let’s see below a few terms frequently used on the topic of national income. Gross Domestic Product (GDP):  It is the measure of the total market value of all final goods and services produced in the domestic economy during one year plus income earned by the foreigners in the country minus income earned by countrymen from abroad. Gross National Product (GNP):  It is the measure of the total market value of all final goods and services produced in the domestic economy during one year plus incomes earned abroad by the citizens minus income earned by the foreigners in the country. Net Domestic Product (NDP):  It is defined as GDP less depreciation. Depreciation is the portion of total productive assets that is utilized to replace the capital worn out during the process of production. An estimated value of depreciation is deducted from the GDP to arrive at NDP. Net National Product (NNP):  Similar to NDP, NNP is defined as GNP less depreciation.   Methods to Measure National Income There are three methods to measure the national income of an economy.  Production method or Value-added method,  Income method Expenditure method.  Each of these methods corresponds to a flow taking place in the economy. In actuality, these three approaches are just three perspectives on the same variable—national income. Although the statistical information and instruments used in each of the three methods to calculate national income may differ, each will theoretically produce the same outcome. Significance of National Income: Measurement of economic performance:  A nation's national income is used to gauge its economic performance and provides insight into the general trends in the growth and development of the economy. Economic policy formulation:  Taxation, government expenditure, and trade policies are all formulated with the aid of national income data. Forecasting:  Estimating future economic trends and challenges is made possible by national income data. Resource allocation:  Data on national income can be used to identify areas that need more investment, allocate resources more effectively, and stimulate economic growth. Employment generation:  Data on national income is useful for examining employment patterns and pinpointing regions needing increased job creation. Standard of living:  By formulating policies that foster economic growth, national income data assists in assessing and raising the standard of living of citizens in a nation.

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