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September 21, 2021
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September 23, 2021
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22nd September Current Affairs

Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS)

(GS-III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

In News:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS).

What is it?

BEAMS is one of the initiatives under ‘Integrated coastal zone management’ (ICZM) approach that the MoEF&CC has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal regions of India.

The prime objective of ICZM approach is to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources.

The objective of BEAMS program is:

To abate pollution in coastal waters,

Promote sustainable development of beach facilities,

Protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and

Seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness,

Hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.

What is ICZM Project?

Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) aims to improve livelihood of coastal communities and conserve the coastal ecosystem.

It is a World Bank assisted project.

The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, will provide scientific and technical inputs.

The concept of ICZM was born in 1992 during the Earth Summit of Rio de Janeiro.

Havana Syndrome

(GS-II: Issues related to Health)

In News:

A US intelligence officer travelling with CIA director William Burns has reported symptoms of Havana Syndrome while the two were in India earlier this month.

This is the first instance of the phenomenon being reported in India, at least on record, and could have diplomatic implications.

What is Havana Syndrome?

Havana Syndrome refers to a set of mental health symptoms that are said to be experienced by US intelligence and embassy officials in various countries.

It typically involves symptoms such as hearing certain sounds without any outside noise being present, nausea, vertigo and headaches, memory loss and issues with balance.

As the name suggests, it traces its roots to Cuba.

Back in 2016, reports first emerged of US diplomats and other employees of the government falling ill in Havana, the capital of Cuba.

The patients said they heard strange sounds and experienced odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes, and had symptoms of nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems and hearing loss.

This mysterious illness came to be called the “Havana Syndrome”.

How the US has responded to Havana Syndrome?

The US has come to believe there is a “very strong possibility” the syndrome is intentionally caused.

Over the years, the FBI, CIA, US military, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have investigated the incidents without coming out with anything conclusive.

Some scientists even peddled theories like “psychological illness” due to the stressful environment of foreign missions.

However, in December 2020, a report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) found “directed energy beams” as a “plausible” cause of the Havana Syndrome.

Recognition/derecognition of political parties

(GS-II: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act)

In News:

The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre, Delhi government and Election Commission to respond to a petition seeking derecognition of the Aam Aadmi Party for organising a Ganesh Chaturthi event using public money.

What’s the issue?

The petitioner has demanded derecognition of AAP as a party and remove CM Arvind Kejriwal and other ministers from the Constitutional office due to alleged deliberate breach of the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act in the interest of the public.

Registration of political parties:

Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Election Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

To be eligible for a ‘National Political Party of India:

It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly.

In addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States.

It wins at least two percent seats in the House of the People (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members), and these members are elected from at least three different States.

To be eligible for a ‘State Political Party:

It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in the State at a general election, either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.

In addition, it wins at least two seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.

It wins at least three percent (3%) of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.

Benefits:

If a party is recognised as a State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.

Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.

They also get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.

The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.

What is the Shankhalipi script?

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

Archeologists have found ‘shankhalipi’ inscriptions on the stairs on an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta period in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.

The inscriptions mention ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.

Significance of the latest findings:

Two decorative pillars close to one another, with human figurines have been discovered at Bilsarh site. The discovery becomes significant since only two other structural temples from the Gupta age have been found so far — Dashavatara Temple (Deogarh) and Bhitargaon Temple (Kanpur Dehat).

Who was Kumaragupta I?

In the 5th century, Kumaragupta I ruled for 40 years over north-central India.

He was the son of the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II and queen Dhruvadevi.

Kumaragupta performed an Ashvamedha sacrifice.

He may have subdued the Aulikaras of central India and the Traikutakas of western India.

The Bhitari pillar inscription states that his successor Skandagupta restored the fallen fortunes of the Gupta family.

Administration:

Kumaradeva ruled his empire through governors (Uparikas), who bore the title Maharaja (“great king”), and administered various provinces (Bhuktis).

The districts (vishayas) of the provinces were administered by district magistrates (Vishyapatis), who were supported by an advisory council comprising:

  • The town president or mayor (Nagara-Shreshtin).
  • Rhe representative of the merchant guild (Sarthavaha).
  • The chief of the artisan guild (Prathama-Kulika).
  • The chief of the guild of writers or scribes (Prathama-Kayastha).

About the Shankhalipi script:

Shankhalipi or “shell-script” describe ornate spiral characters assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas.

They are found in inscriptions across north-central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries.

The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.

The script was discovered in 1836 on a brass trident in Uttarakhand’s Barahat by English scholar James Prinsep, who was the founding editor of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.