ART AND CULTURE
THE CONTEXT: The filmmaker and art historian recently gave a talk on the cham dance form at an online event organised by India Habitat Centre.
ABOUT CHAM DANCE
- The Yogachara school of Buddhism was founded in Kashmir in the fourth century by Asanga and Vasubandhu. This developed into the sophisticated Vajrayana form of Buddhism, which incorporated the Cham dance.
- From Ladakh to Mongolia, the Cham is the deepest form of meditation for the Lamas.
- The purpose of this meditation is for the Lama (priest) to be able to free himself entirely from his own ephemeral personality.
- The Lamas celebrate the victory of good over evil with two days of the monastic dance.
- The costumes and masks are an integral part of the dance.
- All sounds in Cham are sacred mantras. The drum is a reminder of the deep sound that resounded at the beginning of creation and at the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenment.
- Once popularly practised in Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Tibet, Southern China and Mongolia, today Cham has been kept alive mainly at annual celebrations in parts of Ladakh and Spiti.
INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
JABS TO BE GIVEN AT HOME FOR DISABLED
THE CONTEXT: Persons with restricted mobility, disabilities and those with special needs can avail of COVID vaccination at-home facility while following all safety protocols.
- India had already achieved the milestone of vaccinating 66% of its adult population with one dose of the vaccine.
- A detailed SOP had been issued for States and Union Territories for the upcoming festival season, with the direction that relaxations and restrictions be imposed based on weekly case positivity
SC INTRODUCESFASTER SYSTEM
THE CONTEXT: The Supreme Court has introduced the “Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records” (FASTER) system.
- The system is meant to ensure that undertrials are not made to wait for days on end behind bars to be released because the certified hard copies of their bail orders were late to reach the prison.
- The system would also prevent unnecessary arrests and custody of people even after the court has already granted them its protection. It may even communicate a stay on an execution ordered by the final court on time.
- It is proposed that the e-authenticated copies of the record of proceedings/orders, digitally signed by the authorised officer may be transmitted through the FASTER [Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records] system to the duty-holders of the justice system.
PM CARES NOT GOVERNMENT FUND
THE CONTEXT: The Central government has informed the Delhi High Court that the PM CARES Fund is not a fund of the Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India.
- The affidavit filed by an Under Secretary at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the PM CARES Fund is a charitable trust not created by or under the Constitution of India or by any law made by the Parliament or by any State legislature.
- Under Secretary said despite being an officer of the Central government, he was permitted to discharge his functions in PM CARES Trust on an honorary basis.
- Under Secretary said the PM CARES functions with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor who is a Chartered Accountant drawn from the panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
- It said irrespective of whether the trust is a ‘State’ or other authority within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution or whether it is a ‘public authority’ within the meaning of provisions of the Right to Information Act (RTI), it is not permissible to disclose third party information.
- The plea had argued that if the court concluded that the PM CARES Fund is not a ‘State’ under the Constitution, usage of the domain name ‘gov’, the Prime Minister’s photograph, State emblem, among others, has to stop. A Bench of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Amit Bansal will hear the case on September 27.
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
PHILANTHROPISTS ANNOUNCE $5 BILLION FOR BIODIVERSITY RESTORATION
THE CONTEXT: An amount of $5 billion of funding was announced for the restoration of global biodiversity at a high-level event on the margins of the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2021.
- The $5 billion pledged will be used over the next 10 years to ensure that 30 per cent of the planet is protected and preserved in the most important places for biodiversity by 2030, according to a statement by the World Wide Fund for Nature.
- The fund will be used to create, monitor, expand and manage protected and conserved areas on land, in freshwater and in the sea.
- Indigenous people, local communities, civil society and governments will be involved in the projects.
- Some 75 financial institutions from around the globe also committed to ending investments harmful to nature at the event. These institutions are worth 12 trillion euros in assets.
- Recent research from WWF has revealed that 39 million jobs could be created if governments reallocated the $500 billion governments spent on harmful subsidies every year to employment which is nature-positive.
- The Green Climate Fund is seeking to expand its investments to restore ecosystems while creating jobs across developing countries.
GEM BAGS PRESTIGIOUS CIPS AWARD
THE CONTEXT: Government e-Marketplace (GeM) was announced as the winner in the “Best Use of Digital Technology” category at the CIPS Excellence in Procurement Awards 2021 (CIPS Awards).
- GeM emerged the winner in this category after competing with some of the biggest and best names in procurement across the public and private sector globally, including GEP, Jaguar Land Rover, Royal Dutch Shell, Vendigital and Shell.
- The CIPS Awards are one of the leading recognitions around procurement globally, which is conducted under the aegis of The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), London.
- CIPS is a global not-for-profit organisation and professional body dedicated to promoting good practices in procurement and supply management, with a community across 150 countries.
- GeM has brought its technology-driven innovations and strategic business processes in pursuit of three fundamental goals: driving transparency, efficiency and inclusiveness in public procurement.
ABOUT THE GEM PLATFORM
- Government e-Marketplace is a 100% Government owned Section 8 Company set up under the aegis of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry for procurement of goods and services by Central and State Government organizations.
- The design and development of the GeM platform- its digital features and functionalities, key business processes as well as ancillary offline activities like outreach and training of stakeholders-is guided by these three goals.
- The use of forward-looking technologies has helped GeM to broadly achieve these goals and more, over the past five years.
- GeM offers a cashless, contactless, and paperless experience for sellers and buyers, and serves as an end-to-end solution for procurement of common use goods and services by Government buyers. GeM has completely replaced a previously fragmented public procurement ecosystem by a unified and easy-to-use e-marketplace helping to leverage competitiveness, accessibility, and economies of scale of a diverse, open and transparent procurement system.
ADB CUTS INDIA’S GROWTH FORECAST TO 10%
THE CONTEXT: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered India’s growth projections for the current financial year by a percentage point to 10 per cent, mainly due to disruptions in economic activity caused by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In April, ADB had projected a growth rate of 11% in 2021-22 for India.
- It also trimmed the growth forecast for Asia as a region from 7.3 per cent to 7.1 per cent for 2021, though it retained the growth projections for China at 8.1 per cent.
- Meanwhile, RBI also trimmed the country’s growth projection by a similar margin to 9.5% in June this year.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Consider the following statements about Cham Dance:
- It is a traditional monastic dance form of Lamas in the Ladakh region.
- The costumes and masks are an integral part of the dance.
- The Theravada form of Buddhism practised in Tibet has incorporated Cham dance.
Which of the statements given is/are correct?
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3
ANSWER FOR SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS (REFER TO RELEVANT ARTICLE)
Q1 Answer: c)
- Three species of rhino—black, Javan, and Sumatran—are critically endangered.
- White rhino- Near threatened
- One-horned rhino- Vulnerable