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PM IAS ACADEMY

PM IAS FEB 09 NEWS ANALYSIS

Vijayanagara empire

In Context 

Salman Rushdie’s latest work, “Victory City” is a fictionalised telling of the story of Vijayanagara, one of the richest and most powerful kingdoms in medieval India.

About Vijayanagara Vijayanagara: It is a district in the Indian state of Karnataka, located in the Kalyana Karnataka region. This district was carved out of Bellary district in 2020 to become the 31st district of the state with Hosapete as district headquarters.

About Vijayanagara empire 

  • It was based in the Deccan, in peninsular and southern India, from 1336 onwards.
    • It is named after its capital city (now ruined) of Vijayanagara, in modern Karnataka, India. 
  •  It was founded by Harihara, also known as Hakka, and his brother Bukka Raya of the Sangama dynasty
  • It lasted from about 1336 to perhaps about 1660, though throughout its last century it was in a slow decline due to a massive and catastrophic defeat at the hands of an alliance of the sultanates, and the capital was taken and brutally razed, and looted.
  • It expanded from a strategic position on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. By the 15th century, it had become a force to reckon with.
  • The empire served as a bulwark against invasion from the Turkic Sultanates of the Indo-Gangetic Plain; and remained in constant competition and conflict with the five Deccan Sultanates that established themselves in the Deccan to the north of it.

Characteristics and Timeline 

  • In about 1510, Goa, which had been under the rule of the Sultan of Bijapur, was captured by the Portuguese, possibly with the approval or connivance of Vijayanagara.
    • Commerce between the Portuguese and Vijayanagara became very important to both sides. 
  • The empire is generally considered to have reached its peak during the rule of Krishna Deva Raya( 1509-1529 ) of the Saluva Dynasty.
    • He enjoyed military superiority over its rival kingdoms such as the Bahmani Sultanate, the Golconda Sultanate, and the Gajapatis of Odisha.
      • He conquered or subjugated territories on the east of the Deccan that belonged previously to Orissa. 
  • He was followed by Achyuta Raya in 1530
  • In 1542, Achyuta was succeeded by Sada Siva Raya.
    • But the real power lay with Rama (of the third dynasty), who seems to have made a point of unnecessarily provoking the Deccan sultanates so that eventually they allied against him. 
  • In 1565, at the Battle of Talikota, the army of Vijayanagara was routed by an alliance of the Deccan sultanates.
    • Rama Raya was killed in the Battle of Tallikot and his head (the real head) annually covered with oil and red pigment has been exhibited to the pious Mahomedans of Ahmudnuggur till 1829.
    •  With this, the last significant Hindu kingdom in the Deccan came to an end. 
  • Tirumala Raya the sole survivor left Vijayanagar with treasure on the back of 550 elephants to Penukonda.
Dynasties and Rulers
Sangama Dynasty                                                 Harihara I (Deva Raya) 1336-1343Bukka I 1343-1379Harihara II 1379-1399Bukka II 1399-1406Deva Raya I 1406-1412Vira Vijaya 1412-1419Deva Raya II 1419-1444Mallikarjuna 1452-1465Rajasekhara 1468-1469Virupaksha I 1470-1471Saluva DynastyNarasimha Narasa (Vira Narasimha)Krishna DevaAchyuta Sadasiva (in name only) 1542-1567Tuluva dynasty Rama (ruled in practice) 1542-1565Tirumala (ruled in practice) 1565-1567Tirumala (crowned ruler) 1567-1575Ranga II 1575-1586Venkata I 1586-1614
 

Economy 

  • The economy of the kingdom was largely dependent on agriculture, and trade thrived in its many ports on either coast. 
  • The empire’s principal exports were pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, myrobalan, tamarind timber, ana fistula, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, musk, ambergris, rhubarb, aloe, cotton cloth, and porcelain.
  • Abd al-Razzaq Samarqand chronicled the high degree of monetisation in the Vijayanagara kingdom.
  •  In his classic History of South India, K A Nilakanta Sastri wrote that coins were minted by the state as well as by merchant guilds using gold, silver, copper, and brass, and their value depended on material weight.

Contributions to culture and architecture.

  • Vijayanagara has been remembered as an era of “cultural conservatism”, when classical forms of Hinduism were preserved amidst the growing Islamization of the rest of the subcontinent, especially the North.
  • Literature in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, as well as Sanskrit, was produced in the kingdom, with new writing styles and methods emerging.
  • In architecture, Vijayanagara saw various enduring constructions. According to art historian Percy Brown, Vijayanagara architecture is “a vibrant combination and blossoming of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya, and Chola styles, idioms that prospered in previous centuries.”
    • The Prasanna Virupaksha temple of Bukka I and many of the great monuments of the empire date from Krishna Deva Raya’s time. 
  • Among these are the Hazara Rama temple, the Krishna temple, and the Ugra Narasimha idol, all at Vijayanagara. 
  • They are striking examples of Vijayanagara’s characteristic style and intricate artistry
  • Vijayanagara’s capital Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today, known for its sophisticated fortifications as well as innumerable temples and other architectural marvels

Aldermen

In News

  • The Supreme Court said the Constitution does not allow nominated members (aldermen) of a municipality the right to vote in meetings.

About Alderman

  • Alderman” refers to a member of a city council or municipal body, with exact responsibilities depending on the location of its usage. It is derived from Old English.

Historical Linkages 

  • It originally referred to elders of a clan or tribe, though soon it became a term for king’s viceroys, regardless of age. 
  • Soon, it denoted a more specific title – “chief magistrate of a county,” having both civic and military duties.
  • As time passed, it became particularly associated with guilds with chiefs/leaders being referred to as aldormonn. 
  • In the 12th century CE, as guilds became increasingly associated with municipal governments, the term came to be used for officers of municipal bodies.
    • This is the sense in which it is used till date.

Global Status 

  • Britain: Until the 19th century, there was no one role/definition of an alderman in Britain.
    • Under the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, municipal borough corporations consisted of councilors and aldermen. 
  • The Local Government Act of 1972 finally abolished Aldermen with voting rights, with effect from 1974, except in the Greater London Council and the London borough councils, where they remained a possibility until 1978.
  • US: In the US, depending upon the jurisdiction, an alderman could have been part of the legislative or judicial local government.
    •  A “board of aldermen” is the governing executive or legislative body of many cities and towns in the United States.
  • Historically, in Canada, the term “alderman” was used for those persons elected to a municipal council to represent the wards. 
  • As women were increasingly elected to the municipal office, the term “councillor” slowly replaced “alderman”, although there was some use of the term “alderperson”. Today the term is rarely used.
  • Australia and Ireland have also abolished the term and specific post of an alderman whereas, in South Africa, the term alderman refers to senior members of municipal councils. 
  • In the Netherlands, the term refers to members of the municipal executive (rather than the council).

The Scenario in Delhi

  • As per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, ten people, over the age of 25 can be nominated to the corporation by the administrator (the Lieutenant Governor).
    • These people are expected to have special knowledge or experience in municipal administration. They are meant to assist the house in taking decisions of public importance.

Appointment of DGP’s

Context

  • The Nagaland government appointed the State Director General of Police (DGP) following the directions of the Supreme Court.

About

  • The Supreme  Court (SC) had directed the Nagaland government to appoint a 1992-batch IPS officer as the state DGP after the Nagaland government challenged the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recommendation of the officer as the only candidate for the post.

What is the Appointment Process?

For the appointment of State DGP, the SC judgement on police reforms in Prakash Singh vs Union of India is followed. According to the guidelines:

  • States are supposed to draw up and send to the UPSC a list of eligible officers with at least 30 years of service behind them, along with these officers’ service records, performance appraisals, and vigilance clearance.
  • These officers are to be of the rank of ADG or the rank of police chief (and one below) stipulated for that state. The list is supposed to be given to UPSC six months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • An empanelment committee headed by the UPSC chairman, and with the union home secretary, state chief secretary, state DGP, and the chief of a central police organisation in it, is supposed to select a panel of three officers “based on merit”.
  • For smaller states that may have only one cadre post of DGP, the committee is supposed to send two names.
  • Under the rules, the consent of an officer is not required for his/her posting. Also, the Centre has the power to not relieve an officer for posting in the state.
  • Through orders passed in 2018 and 2019, the SC has stipulated that the UPSC shall not put on the panel any officer with less than six months to retirement.

Prakash Singh Judgement

  • Select the DGP of the state from amongst three senior-most officers of the department empanelled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC and once selected, provide him a minimum tenure of at least two years irrespective of his date of superannuation.
  • UPSC must prepare the panel based on seniority, service record, and range of experience. The SC has also repeatedly emphasised “merit” as the basis of appointment.

Issues with Appointments

  • Interim Status: The appointed DGP officer spent their entire tenure in interim status which is against the supreme court order where the SC has said there must be no temporary or ad hoc appointments of police chiefs.
  • Seniority vs Merit issue: The senior officers challenge the appointment of Junior officers as DGP on grounds of seniority. The UPSC defended its decision in court on the grounds of merit over seniority.
  • Extension of Tenure: Sometimes the officers are given an extension of tenure beyond the stipulated term of 2 years.
  • State-Centre friction: The center has the power to not release the officer for posting in the state which the state recommends in the list, leading to frici

Way Ahead

  • The States and UPSC should follow the Prakash Singh Judgement and the orders passed in 2018 and 2019 for the appointment process where SC clarified:
    • None of the states shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of DGP on an acting basis for there is no concept of acting Director General of Police.
    • The UPSC shall not put on the panel any officer with less than six months to retirement.
                                          High Time for Police ReformsThe Indian police system in 2022, still works under the framework of the archaic Police Act, 1861.The expectations of the public from the police forces have changed in entirety and what is required today is largely reformative policing and not retributive.The nature of the crimes has changed entirely with the coming of technology and other factors like white-collar and sophisticated crimes.Therefore, it’s high time to revamp the policing system in India and make it relevant to today’s crime and requisite investigation.

Status and Proceeds of Disinvestment

Context

  • In the Union Budget 2023-24, the government has set a disinvestment target of Rs. 51,000 crore which is the lowest in 7 years and 21% less than the budget estimate for the current year.

Disinvestment

  • About:
    • Disinvestment means the sale or liquidation of assets by the government like Central public sector enterprises (CPSE) and state public sector enterprises, projects, or other fixed assets.
    • There is a Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) under the Ministry of Finance for disinvestment which set the targets under each Union Budget
    • The government then takes the final decision on whether to raise the divestment target or not.
  • Objectives: 
    • Reducing Fiscal Burden: The government undertakes disinvestment to reduce the fiscal burden on the exchequer.
    • Improving Public Finances: To raise money for meeting specific needs, such as to bridge the revenue shortfall from other regular sources.
    • Encourage Private Ownership: Disinvestment may be done to privatise assets. However, not all disinvestment is privatisation.
  • Significance & Benefits:
    • Disinvestment allows a larger share of PSU ownership in the open market, which in turn allows for the development of a strong capital market in India.
    • Disinvestment proceeds can be used to finance the fiscal deficit, to invest in the economy and development or social sector programmes.
    • It allows the government and even the company to reduce debt which means the government does not have to fund the losses of a loss-making unit anymore. Eg. Air India
    • It can be helpful in the long-term growth of the country.

Strategic Disinvestment, Disinvestment & Privatisation

  • Strategic Disinvestment: It implies the sale of a substantial portion of the government shareholding of a CPSE of up to 50%, or such higher percentage as the competent authority may determine, along with transfer of management control.
    • In Disinvestment the government sells minority shares of public enterprises to another entity and retains ownership of the enterprise.
    • In Strategic disinvestment/sale, the government sells majority shares in an enterprise and gives up the ownership of the entity as well.
  • Majority Disinvestment: It refers to complete privatisation wherein 100 percent control goes to the private sector.
  • Minority Disinvestment: The government retains a majority in the company, typically greater than 51%, thus ensuring management control.
  • Privatisation: The government whenever it so desires, may sell a whole enterprise or a majority stake in it to private investors. This is known as privatisation where the resulting ownership and control of an organisation does not rest with the government.

Timeline of Disinvestment

  • Post independence the government passed the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951, following which nationalisation of private firms became a standard policy tool by the government.
  • This led to nationalisation of airlines, insurance businesses, and banking systems through the Air Corporations Act, 1953Life Insurance Corporation Act 1956Banking Companies (Acquisition and transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970, etc.
  • After the 1991 LPG reforms, there was a transition in thinking about the public and private sector. The policy formulation gathered steam lately in 2001 when a separate ministry for disinvestment came into being. 
  • The process of disinvestment continued intermittently over the next decade 2004-2014. After 2014, the disinvestment policy was renewed with stake sales in PSEs.
  • Against this backdrop, New Public Sector Enterprise (PSE) Policy for Atmanirbhar Bharat was notified in 2021.

New Public Sector Enterprise Policy (PSE),2021

  • The policy intends to minimize the presence of the Government in the PSEs across all sectors of the economy.
  • Under the new PSE policy, public sector commercial enterprises have been classified as Strategic and Non-Strategic sectors.
  • Four broad strategic sectors have been delineated:
    • Atomic Energy, Space and Defense
    • Transport and Telecommunication
    • Power Petroleum, Coal, and other minerals
    • Banking, Insurance, and Financial Services
  • Non-Strategic Sector: In this sector, CPSEs will be privatised, otherwise shall be closed.
  • Moving forward task: Further to fast forward the policy, NITI Aayog has been asked to work out the next list of Central Public Sector companies that would be taken up for strategic disinvestment.
  • Incentivising states for disinvestment: To incentivise States to take to disinvestment of their Public Sector Companies, an incentive package of Central Funds for them will be worked out.
  • Special purpose vehicle (SPV) for monetising idle land: The SPV will contribute towards Atmanirbhar Bharat by monetising the non-core assets largely consisting of surplus land with the Ministries and PSEs.

Disinvestment in Recent years

  • Different central governments over the last three decades have been able to meet annual disinvestment targets only six times.
  • In 2017-18, the government earned disinvestment receipts of a little over ?1 lakh crore as against a target of ?72,500 crore, and in 2018-19, it brought in ?94,700 crores when the target was set at ?80,000 crores.
  • In recent years, in cases of strategic disinvestment its stake was sold to another public sector enterprise.
    • When the Centre exceeded its target in 2017-18, it earned ?36,915 crores by selling Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
  • In 2021-22, the Centre missed its high disinvestment target of ?1.75 lakh crore by a significant margin, raising just ?13,534 crores in disinvestment proceeds.
  • The Strategic sale in many firms was called off due to a lack of bidders and lapses in the bidding process. Eg. BPCL and Central electronics.

CAR T-cell Therapy

Context

  • Oncologists explain the importance of CAR T-cell technology in curing people with leukemia and lymphomas.

Key Takeaways

  • Leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, while lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system.
  • Ar present,there are three major forms of treatment for any cancer viz.,
    • Surgery: removing the cancer
    • Radiotherapy: delivering ionising radiation to the tumour
    • Systemic therapy: administering medicines that act on the tumour.
  • CAR T-cell therapy is a quantum leap in sophistication in treating these cancers and uses the patient’s own cells, which are modified in the lab to attack tumours.
  • Although the world’s first clinical trial was published a decade ago,the first indigenously developed therapy was done in India in 2021.
  • At present, the cost of treatment is high, over $1 million in the US, with trials underway in India for indigenously manufactured CAR T-cells at a lower cost.
  • As per U.S.-based experts, India is expected to face a ‘tsunami’ of chronic diseases like cancer.

What is CAR T-cell Therapy?

  • About: Systemic therapy primarily includes:
    • Chemotherapy: preferentially acts on cancer cells but has modest response rates and significant side-effects
    • Targeted agents (immunotherapy): drugs bind to specific targets on cancer cells, has fewer side-effects but is effective only against certain tumours
  • Unlike chemotherapy or immunotherapy, which require mass-produced injectable or oral medication, CAR T-cell therapies use a patient’s own cells to attack tumours.
  • In this therapy, modified cells are infused back into the patient’s bloodstream to activate their immune system against cancer resulting in a more clinically effective treatment, also known as “living drugs”

Advantages of CAR T-cell therapy

  • Personalized Medicine: CAR T-cell therapy is a personalized form of cancer treatment, as the patient’s own immune cells are used to create the CAR T cells.
  • High Efficacy: Clinical trials have shown that CAR T-cell therapy can be highly effective in treating certain types of cancer, particularly blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
  • Long-lasting response: The CAR T cells can persist in the body for a long time, providing long-lasting immunity against cancer cells.
  • Minimal side effects: Compared to traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments, CAR T-cell therapy has fewer side effects.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Patients who receive CAR T-cell therapy may experience an improved quality of life, with less fatigue and fewer side effects than traditional cancer treatments.
  • Targeted Therapy: It is a targeted form of therapy, meaning it only attacks cancer cells, reducing the risk of damage to healthy cells and tissues.
  • Non-invasive: Unlike traditional cancer treatments, CAR T-cell therapy is a non-invasive procedure, with the CAR T cells being infused into the patient’s bloodstream.
  • Potential for cure: It has the potential to cure cancer, particularly in patients with otherwise untreatable diseases.

Challenges in India

  • Complexity of preparation: CAR T-cell therapy requires technical and human resources, making it challenging to administer.
  • Cost: Treatments in the US can cost over a million dollars, making it unaffordable for many patients.
  • Availability: The complexity of preparation has been a major barrier to widespread use, with the first clinical trial showing its effectiveness only a decade ago.
  • Value and access: In India, introducing the therapy faces challenges related to cost and access, with critics arguing that it may not be appropriate or affordable even if made cheaper.
  • Side-effects: CAR T-cell therapy can have significant potential side-effects, such as cytokine release syndrome (widespread activation of the immune system) and neurological symptoms.
  • Response rate: The response rate of CAR T-cell therapy can be variable, with efficacy as high as 90% in some leukaemias and lymphomas but significantly lower in other types of cancers.
Important types of cell therapies
CAR T-cell therapy: This is a type of immunotherapy that involves the genetic modification of a patient’s T cells to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) on their surface. The CAR allows the T cells to recognize and attack cancer cells.Stem cell therapy: This type of therapy involves the transplantation of stem cells to replace damaged or diseased cells. Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into various types of cells, including blood cells, nerve cells, and muscle cells, and can help repair damaged tissue.Dendritic cell therapy: This type of therapy involves the use of dendritic cells, which are immune cells that help to coordinate the immune response against cancer.T-cell therapy: T-cell therapy can involve the activation, expansion, and infusion of T cells with the goal of boosting a patient’s immune response against cancer.Natural Killer cell therapy: This type of therapy involves the infusion of natural killer (NK) cells, which are a type of immune cell that can directly target and kill cancer cells.Mesenchymal stem cell therapy: This type of therapy involves the use of mesenchymal stem cells, which are a type of stem cell that can differentiate into various types of cells, including bone, cartilage, and muscle cells.iPS cell therapy: This type of therapy involves the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are adult cells that have been reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state.

Source: TH

Gaganyaan: Human Spaceflight Mission

In News

  • Recently, The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), along with the Indian Navy, has conducted a trial for the Gaganyaan.

More about the mission

  • About:
    • ISRO & Indian Navy has carried out initial recovery trials of the Crew Module in the Navy’s Water Survival Test Facility (WSTF) in Kochi.
    • The trials were part of the preparation for crew module recovery operations for the Gaganyaan mission that will be carried out in Indian waters with the participation of Indian Government agencies. 
    • The overall recovery operations are being led by the Indian Navy.
  • Significance of the trial:
    • Need of recovery:
      • According to ISRO, as the safe recovery of the crew is the final step to be accomplished for any successful human spaceflight, it is of paramount importance and it has to be carried out with the minimum lapse of time.
    • Feedback operation:
      • These trials assist in validating the SoP, and training recovery teams as well as the flight crew. 
      • They provide valuable inputs for the utilization of recovery accessories. 
      • The feedback from the recovery team/trainers helps improve the recovery operations SoP, design various recovery accessories, and finalize the training plan
Navy’s Water Survival Test Facility (WSTF)WSTF, Kochi, is a state-of-the-art facility of the Indian Navy that provides realistic training of aircrew for escape from a ditched aircraft under varied simulated conditions and crash scenarios. WSTF simulates different sea state conditions, environmental conditions, and day/night conditions.

Gaganyaan Mission

  • About:
    • The Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching a crew of three members to an orbit of 400 km for a three day mission and bringing them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.
    • The first trial (uncrewed flight) for Gaganyaan is being planned by the end of 2023 or early 2024. This will be followed by sending Vyom Mitra, a humanoid and then with the crew onboard.
  • ISRO’s first human spaceflight mission:
    • This manned mission will be the first of ISRO’s human spaceflight missions.
      • The US, Russia and China are the only three countries to have conducted human spaceflights yet.
  • Launched by: 
  • ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III (3 stages heavy-lift vehicle).

Significance of the Gaganyaan mission

  • India’s aim of Self-reliance:
    • It will help India in achieving self-reliance, in line with the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and also boost the capacity development in launching satellites under the Make in India Initiative.
    • It will reduce India’s dependence on foreign cooperation in this direction.
  • R&D and robotic programme:
    • It will also enhance the research and development (R&D) at science and technology levels especially in the space sector.
    • It is in line with India’s progress towards a sustained and affordable human and robotic programme to explore the solar system and beyond.
  • Focus on regional needs:
    • Gaganyaan will focus on regional needs because one International Space Station (ISS) may not be enough to cater to global requirements.
  • Strengthening international partnerships:
    • The programme will strengthen international partnerships and global security through the sharing of challenging and peaceful goals.  

Challenges:

  • Environmental Hazards: 
    • Hostile space environment with a lack of gravity and atmosphere and danger of radiation.
  • Astronauts may have medical issues due to:
    • Microgravity: 
      • Transition from one gravity field to another affects hand-eye and head-eye coordination leading to orientation-loss, vision, muscle strength, aerobic capacity, etc.
    • Isolation: 
      • Behavioural issues are likely to crop up when astronauts are confined into small spaces and have to rely on limited resources. 
      • They may encounter depression, cabin fever, fatigue, sleep disorder and other psychiatric disorders.
  • Artificial Atmosphere: 
    • There are two choices for an artificial atmosphere, either an Earth-like mixture of oxygen in inert gas or pure oxygen. 
    • A pure or concentrated oxygen atmosphere is toxic and has fire risk, especially in ground operations.
  • Aerospace Technology Challenges:
    • Space flight requires much higher velocities than air transportation. Travelling in a rocket is like sitting on an exploding bomb with a speed increasing from 0 to over 25,000 km per hour in a few minutes. 
    • Anything may go wrong during the launch and pre and post phases, including the explosion of the rocket.

Suggestions & way ahead

  • A well-developed Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) is needed to supply the essentials, maintain the acceptable environment and deal with the management of waste products.
  • Ground testing will have to be followed by tests in the space orbit while simulating zero gravity and deep vacuum.
  • Launch escape system safety features have to be built to minimize the loss and warning of anything abnormal
  • The crew and mission control team require extensive training to prepare. They also need to familiarize themselves with man-machine interfaces within the crew module and various safety drills.

Source: TH

Grishneshwar Temple

In Context

  • Recently, Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the historic Grishneshwar temple, which is the 12th Jyotirlinga in the country.

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple 

  • About:
    • Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple also known as Ghushmeshwar Temple, is one of the shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva that is referenced in the Shiva Purana.
      • The word Ghrneshwara means “lord of compassion”.
      • The temple houses carvings and sculptures of many Hindu gods and goddesses.
      • It is an important pilgrimage site in the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, which considers it as the twelfth Jyotirlinga (linga of light).
    • It is situated in the state of Maharashtra. This pilgrimage site is located in Ellora (also called Verul), less than a kilometer from Ellora Caves – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
  • Historical background:
    • The temple structure was destroyed by the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th and 14th-century. 
    • It went through several rounds of rebuilding followed by re-destruction during the Mughal-Maratha conflict.
    •  It was rebuilt in the current form in the 18th century by Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, after the fall of the Mughal Empire.
  • Architectural Design:
    • The Grishneshwar temple is an illustration of maratha temple architectural style and structure. 
    • It is built of red rocks and is composed of a five-tier shikara. 
    • This 240 ft x 185 ft temple is the smallest Jyotirlinga temple in India. 
    • A court hall is built on 24 pillars.
    • The Garbhagriha measures 17 ft x 17 ft. 
    • There is a Nandi bull in the court hall. 

Vivad Se Vishwas-2 Scheme

In News

  • The Ministry of Finance has circulated the draft scheme for a one-time settlement of contractual disputes in which an arbitral award is under challenge called Vivad se Vishwas 2.
    • Arbitration is a mechanism to resolve disputes between parties without having to initiate a case in court.

Need

  • To settle long-pending litigation in cases where an arbitration order has been challenged in any Indian court.
    • The Union government is aiming to resolve about 500 cases, involving an estimated Rs 1 trillion of funds.
    • Government held entities such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have many disputes with private contractors.
  • Such cases are not only holding back fresh investment but are also reducing the ease of doing business with the government.

Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme-2

  • Aim: To promote ease of doing business and will cover disputes up to 30 September 2022.
  • On whom Scheme will apply: The Scheme will apply to disputes where one of the parties is either the Government of India or its bodies like public sector banks, public sector financial institutions, central public sector enterprises, Union territories, National Capital Territory of Delhi.
    • It will also cover all organisations where the central government has a shareholding of 50% like Metro Corporation. 
    • Disputes, where claims are raised against procuring entities along with some other party like the State Government or private party will not be eligible under the scheme. 
    • Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) are proposed to be eligible to submit their claims under the scheme.
  • Disputes covered: The Scheme is proposed to cover only domestic arbitration and not international arbitration.
    • Settlement of disputed tax, disputed interests, disputed penalty or disputed fees in relation to an assessment or reassessment order on payment of 100% of the disputed tax and 25% of the disputed penalty or interest or fee.
  • Opting out of the scheme: Bodies can opt out of the Scheme at their discretion with approval of the Board of Directors.
  • Implementation: The scheme will be implemented through Government e-Marketplace (GeM), which shall provide an online functionality for the same.
  •  Significance: The scheme will boost developer and investor confidence, and will free up financial resources locked in disputes.
Vivad Se Vishwas scheme The Vivad Se Vishwas scheme was announced under Union Budget 2020 to reduce ongoing legal disputes under direct taxation.Around 150,000 cases were resolved with the recovery of about 54 percent of the amount under litigation. The scheme started in March 2020, and closed on March 31, 2021.
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