Why in news?
- On August 29, the North East Regional Centre (NERC) of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) staged Malati Mem, a multilingual play based on the life and the revolutionary zeal of Mangri Orang, an Adivasi with roots in central India. Fellow plantation workers used to call her Malati Mem, the second word being a shorter form of memsahib.
About Mangri Orang
- Mangri Orang is an unsung hero of India’s struggle for freedom from British rule. She was gunned down in 1921 for leading a fight against foreign liquor and opium pushed during the colonial period.
- She is said to be the first female martyr of India’s freedom movement.
- Malati Mem (Mangri Orang) was one of the leading members of the anti-opium campaign in tea gardens. In 1921, she was killed by government supporters at Lalmati in Darrang district for supporting Congress Volunteers in the prohibition campaign.
About the Play
- More than a century after she was shot in Assam’s Darrang district for leading a fight against foreign liquor and opium, an unsung tea plantation worker has been rediscovered on stage.
- The play, directed by Pari Sarania, an alumnus of the National School of Drama’s Sikkim campus, and scripted by Pranab Kumar Barman, was held at the Madhavadeva International Auditorium in Guwahati.
- The theatrical production, an outcome of a month-long workshop, was an initiative to showcase the life and contributions of the icons of the northeast on the national stage.
- A team of about 40 members took part in the production of the play. A preview show was also held at Nalbari Natya Mandir, about 70 km northwest of Guwahati, for feedback and suggestions on the content and treatment of the play.
GS PAPER – III
India’s first solar observatory mission
Why in news?
- India’s first solar observatory mission, named Aditya-L1, will be launched onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 11.50 a.m. on 2nd September, 2023.
Details the Mission:
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) commenced the 23-hour 40-minute countdown for the launch of the Aditya-L1 mission.
- Approximately sixty-three minutes after lift-off, the satellite separation is expected to take place as the PSLV will launch the Aditya-L1 spacecraft into a highly eccentric earth-bound orbit at around 12.53 p.m.
- This PSLV-C57/Aditya-L1 mission can be counted as one of the longest missions involving ISRO’s workhorse launch vehicle.
- However, the longest of the PSLV missions is still the 2016 PSLV-C35 mission which was completed two hours, 15 minutes and 33 seconds after lift-off.
- Following the launch, Aditya-L1 will stay in earth-bound orbits for 16 days, during which it will undergo five manoeuvres to gain the necessary velocity for its journey.
- “Subsequently, Aditya-L1 undergoes a Trans-Lagrangian1 insertion manoeuvre, marking the beginning of its 110-day trajectory to the destination.
- Aditya-L1 will stay approximately 1.5 million km away from the earth, directed towards the sun; this is about 1% of the distance between the earth and the sun.
- The Aditya L-1 payloads are expected to provide crucial information to understand the problem of coronal heating, coronal mass ejection, pre-flare and flare activities and their characteristics, dynamics of space weather, propagation of particles and fields etc.
- The satellite placed in the halo orbit can continuously view the sun without any occultation or eclipse.
GS PAPER – III
National Pension System (NPS)
Why in news?
- The State governments that have ostensibly opted out of the National Pension System (NPS) for their employees and have reverted to the Old Pension Scheme, continue to remit due contributions to the NPS corpus.
About the National Pension Scheme (NPS)
- The NPS, which was earlier referred to as the New Pension Scheme, now offers retirement schemes for the unorganised sector through the Atal Pension Yojana (APY), which has 4.94 crore members and 18.13 lakh formal sector employees, apart from managing Union and State government employees’ retirement savings.
- The NPS has made pension accessible to all, irrespective of their salaried status, and the journey from ₹5-lakh crore to ₹10-lakh crore in terms of assets under management has taken just two years and 10 months.
- State government employees account for the largest chunk of the savings pool which crossed ₹10-lakh crore on August 25, 14 years and three months after the NPS regulated by the Pension Fund and Regulatory Development Authority actively started managing the old-age savings of government employees who joined service on or after January 1, 2004.
Related Data to NPS
- Nearly 53 lakh State government employees account for about 44% of the NPS corpus, while members who have joined on a voluntary basis stand at around 49 lakh with savings worth ₹1.82 lakh crore.
- 66 central public sector enterprises have logged on to the NPS while public sector banks have enrolled over 5.2 lakh employees.
- While 46% of APY members are women, this ratio is far lower in the other NPS schemes at around 27% to 28%.
Changes forwarded by PFRDA
- The PFRDA is ringing in two important changes to expand the options available to NPS members at the time of retirement, likely as early as next month.
- Presently, on superannuation, members have to purchase an annuity with 40% of their accumulated retirement savings and withdraw the balance.
- Now, members will be allowed to opt for a systematic withdrawal plan for 60% of the corpus, by which they can choose to receive a fixed sum from their savings on a monthly, quarterly or half-yearly basis.
- This will be helpful for those who retire, during a bearish market, and also help members continue to earn better returns in the NPS framework rather than look for alternative investment options.
- Moreover, for the mandatory annuity purchases, members would be able to opt for a mix of schemes rather than a single scheme. Annuity products entail a fixed payout to investors after they invest a lumpsum.
- Some schemes assure a return of capital to members’ next of kin after their demise, but offer lower regular incomes.
GS PAPER: II
The Government Announces Special Session of Parliament
Why in the news?
Recently, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, announced that a “special session” of Parliament would be held from September 18 to 22.
- The Minister was quoted as stating that “important items” were on the session’s agenda, which the government would circulate shortly.
When does Parliament meet?
- India’s Parliament does not have a fixed calendar of sittings.
- The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs decides the date and duration of each session.
- The President is informed about the Committee’s decision and then summons Members of Parliament to meet for the session.
- The Constitution specifies that six months should not elapse between two parliamentary sessions.
What is a special session of Parliament?
- The Constitution does not use the term “special session”. The term sometimes refers to sessions the government has convened for specific occasions, like commemorating parliamentary or national milestones.
Special Sitting During Emergency:
- However, Article 352 (Proclamation of Emergency) of the Constitution does refer to a“special sitting of the House”.
- Parliament added the part relating to the special sitting through the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978. Its purpose was to add safeguards to the power of proclaiming Emergency in the country.
- It specifies that if a Proclamation of Emergency is issued and Parliament is not in session, then one-tenth of Lok Sabha MPs can ask the President to convene a special meeting to disapprove the Emergency.
Do You Know?
- The US Congress and parliaments of Canada, Germany, and the UK are in session throughout the year, and their calendar of sitting days is fixed at the beginning of the year.
How often do Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha meet?
- Before independence, the central assembly met for a little more than 60 days a year. This number increased to 120 days a year in the first 20 years after Independence. Since then, the sitting days of the national legislature have declined.
- Between 2002 and 2021, Lok Sabha aver- aged 67 working days. The situation in state legislatures is much worse. In 2022, 28 state Assemblies met for 21 days on average. This year, Parliament has met for 42 days so far.
GS PAPER – II
Indian-origin Singaporean becomes President
Why in news?
Recently, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, an Indian-origin Singaporean economist, has been elected as Singapore’s president, marking the country’s first contested presidential election since 2011.
- With 70.4% of the votes, Shanmugaratnam emerged victorious, defeating two other contenders. As the president, he will represent Singapore domestically and internationally, while also exercising custodial powers over reserves and key appointments.
- History: India and Singapore have a long history of interaction, dating back to the early centuries CE.
- Strategic Relationship: India and Singapore established diplomatic relations in 1965, shortly after Singapore’s independence. The two countries have a strong relationship, and they cooperate closely on a wide range of issues, including trade, investment, defence, and security.
- Economic cooperation: The two countries have signed a number of agreements to promote economic cooperation, including the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in 2005.
- Trade and investment: India and Singapore are major trading partners. Singapore is also the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India.
- Defense and security: The two countries have held joint military exercises and training programs such as SIMBEX etc.
GS PAPER – II
NCERT Granted Deemed-to-be University Status
Why in news?
Recently, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been granted deemed-to-be university status by the Union Education Minister.
- The announcement was made on the 63rd Foundation Day of the NCERT.
Significance of the University Status:
- With this status, the NCERT will be able to offer its own graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees.
- It will also be able to conduct research and collaborate with other universities and institutions around the world.
About the NCERT:
- The NCERT is a statutory body under the Ministry of Education. It was established in 1961 to improve the quality of school education in India.
- The NCERT is responsible for developing curriculum, textbooks, and other teaching materials for schools. It also conducts research in education and provides training to teachers.
Do You Know?
- Jadui Pitara is a play-based learning-teaching material developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for children in the age group of three to eight years.
GS PAPER – I
Sree Narayana Guru on His Jayanti
Why in news?
Recently, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Sree Narayana Guru on his Jayanti.
- He championed the cause of the downtrodden and transformed the societal landscape with his wisdom.
Who was Sree Narayana Guru?
- Sree Narayana Guru (1856-1928) was a revered Indian spiritual leader and social reformer born in Chempazhanthy, Kerala. He was a champion of equality and social upliftment, and his teachings continue to inspire people around the world.
- His Background: Guru was born into a poor family of the Ezhava caste, which was considered to be low-caste at the time. He faced discrimination and prejudice throughout his life, but he never gave up his fight for equality. He believed that all people are equal, regardless of their caste, religion, or social status.
- His Philosophy: Guru’s philosophy emphasized the importance of education and social upliftment. He founded several schools and hostels for the poor, and he also worked to improve the lives of women and other marginalized groups. He was a strong advocate for women’s education, and he believed that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.
- He rose to prominence as one of the most vocal exponents of Advaita Vedanta, Adi Shankara’s non-duality theory.
- He founded a charitable organisation known as the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP).