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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 8th July to 14th July – 2019

  • IASbaba
  • July 16, 2019
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IASbaba's Press Information Bureau
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 8th  to 14th July – 2019

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GS-2

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

(Topic: 

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

Under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), deposit free LPG connection is provided in the name of an adult woman member of a poor family and the beneficiary has an option to avail connection with 14.2 kg or 5 kg cylinder. The existing beneficiary with 14.2 kg LPG cylinder has an option to swap with 5 kg cylinder also.

Mantra: Swacch Indhan, Behtar Jeevan – Mahilaon ko mila samman

As on 01.07.2019 –

  • More than 10.27 crore prospective consumers filled their Know Your Customer (KYC) forms under PMUY, out of which more than 7.30 crore connections have been released.
  • More than one crore LPG consumers have given up their subsidy under “GiveItUp” campaign.

PAHAL

Government has introduced well targeted system of subsidy delivery to LPG consumers through PAHAL. This initiative of the Government was aimed at rationalizing subsidies based on approach to cut subsidy leakages, but not subsidy per se. Applicable subsidy is directly transferred into the bank account of the beneficiaries. PAHAL has helped in identifying ‘ghost’ accounts, multiple accounts and inactive accounts. This has helped in curbing diversion of subsidised LPG to commercial purposes.

Solve:

  1. Does there exist a direct relation of smokeless kitchens with economic development. Discuss.
  2. How far has the Ujjawala scheme been able to address the problems of rural women? Analyse.
  3. Why having an LPG connection important for woman empowerment? In this regard, do you think Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana can make a difference? Examine. Also discuss its other advantages.

The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019

(Topic: General studies 2

  • Important aspects of governance, social justice
  • Justice System

General studies 3

  • Technology
  • Security issues)

The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 has been introduced in the Parliament, with a view to creating a national DNA database for solving crimes and identifying missing persons.

About the Bill:

  • The purpose of the bill is to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
  • By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure that the DNA test results are reliable and the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.
  • Bill’s provisions will enable the cross-matching between persons who have been reported missing on the one hand and unidentified dead bodies found in various parts of the country on the other, and also for establishing the identity of victims in mass disasters.
  • The Bill includes provisions for the destruction of DNA samples and removal of innocent people’s DNA profiles from the database.

Criticism on DNA bill:

  • Creating large databases is often not a cost-effective way to solve more crimes, and limited resources must be targeted effectively.
  • Using DNA effectively during criminal investigations requires proper crime scene examination, trained and reliable policing, a trusted chain of custody of samples, reliable analysis, and proper use of expert evidence in court. Without these prerequisites, a DNA database will worsen rather than solve problems in the criminal justice system (false matches or misinterpretation or planting of evidence, etc.).
  • The Bill’s proposed DNA Regulatory Board is still too powerful and insufficiently transparent or accountable.
  • There are provisions which give the government or the Board the power to amend aspects of the safeguards in the Bill, and to avoid accountability in court.
  • A number of other privacy protections are also missing — the need to restrict DNA profiling so that it uses only non-coding DNA, a commonly used international standard for one.
  • There is no attempt to assess the cost effectiveness of these provisions or to estimate the database’s likely size.

Way Forward:

  • Consideration should be given to an independent forensic science regulator.
  • An independent ethics board should be set up.
  • The Board’s responsibilities for privacy protections need an independent regulator.
  • Privacy or data protection bill should be adopted first.
  • Any international sharing of DNA profiles should also be covered by a privacy or data protection law, and meet international human rights standards.
  • There should be separate the databases for missing persons and for criminals set up by the Bill, so that people who volunteer their DNA to help find their missing relatives are not treated as suspects for criminal offences.
  • It is needed to specify that volunteers must be fully informed about future storage and uses of their genetic information before they give consent.
  • International evidence shows that the success of a DNA database is driven primarily by the number of crime scene DNA profiles loaded on to it, not by the number of DNA profiles from individuals, so proper crime scene analysis should be the top priority.

Cabinet approves 

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019: The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. This will lead to inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.

Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012: It will make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children including death penalty. The amendments also provide for levy of fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.

Impact

  • The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act.
  • It intends to protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity.
  • The amendment is aimed to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.

Background

The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to Protect the Children from Offences of Sexual Assault, Sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as matter of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child. The act is gender neutral.

Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019: The Bill will help tackle the menace of illicit deposit taking activities in the country, which at present are exploiting regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings

Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019: This proposal would enhance the coverage of the safety, health and working conditions provisions manifold as compared to the present scenario. The decision will enhance the coverage of the safety, health and working conditions provisions manifold as compared to the present scenario.

The New Code has been drafted after amalgamation, simplification and rationalisation of the relevant provisions of the 13 Central Labour Acts:

  • The Factories Act, 1948;
  • The Mines Act, 1952; The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986;
  • The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996;
  • The Plantations Labour Act, 1951;
  • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970;
  • The Inter-State Migrant workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979;
  • The Working Journalist and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service and Misc. Provision) Act, 1955;
  • The Working Journalist (Fixation of rates of wages) Act, 1958;
  • The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961;
  • Sales Promotion Employees (Condition of Service) Act, 1976;
  • The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966; and
  • The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers Act, 1981. After the enactment of the Code, all these Acts being subsumed in the Code will be repealed.

Benefits: Safety, Health, welfare and improved Working Conditions are pre-requisite for well-being of the worker and also for economic growth of the country as healthy workforce of the country would be more productive and occurrence of less accidents and unforeseen incidents would be economically beneficial to the employers also. With the ultimate aim of extending the safety and healthy working conditions to all workforce of the country, the Code enhances the ambit of provisions of safety, health, welfare and working conditions from existing about 9 major sectors to all establishments having 10 or more employees.


GS-3

Challenges Faced by the Dairy Industry

  • On GST: As per Goods and Services Tax Act 2017, the current rate of GST applicable on dairy products ranges from 5% to 18%. The Department has received representations from stakeholders like Indian Dairy Association and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited, to reduce GST on some dairy products like ghee, butteroil and flavoured milk and to reduce import duty on some dairy machinery.
  • Indian cattle and buffaloes have among the lowest productivity in the world. Similarly there is a shortage of organized dairy farms and there is a need of high degree of investment to take dairy industry to global standards.
  • To improve low productivity of indigenous bovine breeds, Department has been implementing Rashtriya Gokul Mission with aim of development and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds and enhancing production and productivity thereby making milk production more remunerative to the farmers.
  • In order to promote organized dairy farming and investment, Department of Animal Husbandry And Dairying, Government of India has been supplementing the efforts of State Governments by implementing following dairy development schemes for creation/ strengthening of infrastructure for production of quality milk, procurement, processing and marketing of milk and milk products across the country:
  1. National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD)
  2. Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS)

iii. National Dairy Plan-I (NDP-I)

  1. Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF)
  2. Supporting Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations engaged in dairy activities (SDCFPO)

Must Read: Contribution of Dairy Farming in the Economy

Solve:

  1. What are the upstream requirements of the dairy sector? Examine the existing levels of backward and forward linkages in the dairy sector.
  2. Dairy farming is a source of income and nutrition to a large number of Indian families. What are the typical features of the dairy sector in India? What are the problems being faced by the sector? Also, suggest a roadmap for improving the performance of the dairy sector.
  3. Dairy farming can’t sustain itself without a vibrant livestock processing industry. Comment.

Prelims oriented News

Gold in Women’s 100m Sprint: Dutee Chand

India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO): At Pottipuram in the Theni District of Tamil Nadu

  • The project aims to set up a 51000 ton Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector to observe naturally occurring atmospheric neutrinos in a cavern at the end of an approximately 2 km long tunnel in a mountain. This will help to reduce the noise from cosmic rays that is ever present over-ground and which would outnumber the rare neutrino interactions even in a detector as large as ICAL.
  • The INO project does not disturb the ecosystem around the site and does not release any radiation, as it does not have any radioactive substance. It measures cosmic rays.
  • There is no other neutrino detector anywhere in India at present. ICAL at INO would be the first of its type.

Child Labour: As per information received from the District Project Societies set up under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme, a total number of 320488 children were rescued from all forms of child labour, and were rehabilitated and mainstreamed to formal education system during the last five years.

National Translation Mission (NTM) is a scheme launched in 2008 which is being implemented through the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore to establish translation as an industry in general and to facilitate higher education by making knowledge texts accessible to students and academics in Indian languages. Under the scheme, the books of knowledge texts mostly text books of various subjects prescribed in Universities and Colleges are being translated in all Languages of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India. 

Operation Thirst An All India Drive to crack down selling of unauthorised Packaged Drinking Water

“Silk Samagra” through Central Silk Board: 

  • It focuses on improving quality and productivity of domestic silk thereby reducing the country’s dependence on imported silk. 
  • Under the scheme, assistance is extended to sericulture stakeholders for the beneficiary oriented components like, raising of Kissan nursery, plantation with improved Mulberry varieties, Irrigation, chawki rearing centres with incubation facility, construction of rearing houses, rearing equipment, door to door service agents for disinfection and input supply, support for Improved reeling units like Automatic Reeling units, multi-end Reeling machines, Improved Twisting machines and support for post yarn facilities for quality silk and fabric production.
  • Under North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) implemented to promote Textile Industry in the North East Region by the Ministry of Textiles, 38 Sericulture projects have been implemented in the identified potential districts under three broad categories viz., Integrated Sericulture Development Project (ISDP) and Intensive BivoltineSericulture Development Project andAspirational Districts.

Swadhar Greh Scheme for rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances.  The scheme covers women who are deserted and without any social and economic support, women victims of domestic violence, family tension and natural disaster.

Model Tenancy Act’, 2019 

  • It envisages to balance the interest and rights of both the owner and tenant and to create an accountable and transparent ecosystem for renting the premises in disciplined and efficient manner. 
  • It will enable creation of adequate rental housing stock for various income segments of society including migrants, formal and informal sector workers, professionals, students etc. and increase access to quality rented accommodation, enable gradual formalization of rental housing market.  
  • It will help overhaul the legal framework vis-à-vis rental housing across the country. 
  • It is also expected to give a fillip to private participation in rental housing for addressing the huge housing shortage across the country.

As per Census 2011, nearly 1.1 crore houses were lying vacant in the country and making these houses available on rent will complement the vision of ‘Housing for All’ by 2022.

Buddhist Circuit: One of the fifteen thematic circuits for development under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. All sites in the country related to Buddhism are covered under this Circuit.

Menstrual Hygiene Scheme for Adolescent Girls (aged 10 – 19)

  • Increasing awareness among adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene
  • Improving access to and use of high quality sanitary napkins by adolescent girls residing primarily in rural areas
  • Ensuring safe disposal of sanitary napkins in an environmentally friendly manner
  • Provision of funds to ASHAs to hold monthly meetings with adolescents to discuss issues related to menstrual hygiene.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III) 

It involves consolidation of Through Routes and Major Rural Links connecting habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals. Under the PMGSY-III Scheme, it is proposed to consolidate 1,25,000 Km road length in the States.The Scheme will also include Through Routes and Major Rural Links that connect habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.

Impact

  • This would facilitate easy and faster movement to and from Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
  • Roads constructed under PMGSY would also be maintained properly.

Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 provides for protection of witnesses based on the threat assessment and protection measures inter alia include protection/change of identity of witnesses, their relocation, installation of security devices at the residence of witnesses, usage of specially designed Court rooms, etc.

The Scheme provides for three categories of witness as per threat perception:

Category ‘A’: Where the threat extends to life of witness or his family members, during investigation/trial or thereafter.

Category ‘B’: Where the threat extends to safety, reputation or property of the witness or his family members, during the investigation/trial or thereafter.

Category ‘C’: Where   the   threat   is   moderate   and   extends   to harassment or intimidation of the witness or his family member’s, reputation          or property, during the investigation/trial or thereafter.

Creation of Gaganyaan National Advisory Council

The Gaganyaan project is on track to be realized by the 75th Independence day or earlier. The design and configuration of major subsystems are finalised. The qualification tests pertaining to human rating of flight systems has commenced and Cryogenic Engine tests are in progress. The crew training plan is finalised and the crew selection process has commenced.

Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Bill

Articles 15(6) and 16(6) have been inserted in the Constitution, vide the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019.  This enables the State to provide the benefits of reservation on preferential basis to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) in civil posts and services in the Government of India and admission in Educational Institutions.  Accordingly, the provision for 10% reservation to the EWS was implemented by the Government in January 2019.  

  • Instructions have been issued by the Ministry of HRD for increasing the total number of seats over a period of two years, to provide for 10% EWS reservation, without adversely affecting the proportionate seats of SCs, STs and OBCs. 
  • An amount of Rs.4315.15 crores has been sanctioned for creation of additional 2,14,766 seats (1,18,983 additional seats during 2019-20 and 9,783 additional seats during 2020-21) in 158 Central Educational Institutions.
  • 10% reservation under EWS category is applicable to those persons who are not covered under the existing scheme of reservations for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.

Women in Agriculture

  • As per Agriculture Census conducted at an interval of every five years by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, the percentage of female operational holdings in the country have increased from 12.78 percent during 2010-11 to 13.78 percent during 2015-16.
  • Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP), which is a sub-component of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM): The primary objective of MKSP is to empower women by enhancing their participation in agriculture and to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for them. Funding support to the tune of up to 60% (90% for North Eastern States) for such projects is provided by the Government of India.
  • The Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare is also promoting mainstreaming of Gender Concerns in agriculture by ensuring flow of funds and benefits to the tune of 30% for women farmers under its beneficiary oriented Schemes and Programmes. 
  • Besides, Government is providing additional support and assistance to women farmers, over and above the male farmers under a few selected Schemes.

LaQshya” (Labour room Quality improvement Initiative) to improve quality of care in labour room and maternity operation theatres in public health facilities. It’s a multipronged approach focused at Intrapartum and immediate postpartum period.

Aim: To reduce preventable maternal and newborn mortality, morbidity and stillbirths associated with the care around delivery in Labour room and Maternity Operation Theatre and ensure respectful maternity care.

Objectives:

  1. To reduce maternal and newborn mortality & morbidity due to hemorrhage, retained placenta, preterm, preeclampsia and eclampsia, obstructed labour, puerperal sepsis, newborn asphyxia, and newborn sepsis, etc.
  2. To improve Quality of care during the delivery and immediate post-partum care, stabilization of complications and ensure timely referrals, and enable an effective two-way follow-up system.
  3. To enhance satisfaction of beneficiaries visiting the health facilities and provide Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) to all pregnant women attending the public health facilities.

Following types of healthcare facilities have been identified for implementation of LaQshya program

  • Government medical college hospitals
  • District Hospitals & equivalent health facilities
  • Designated FRUs and high case load CHCs with over 100 deliveries/month ( 60 in hills and desert areas)

Conservation of Mural Paintings

A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. Murals are important in that they bring art into the public sphere. Since these projects used to be huge and time consuming, they were commissioned by local government or patrons.

IGNCA, an autonomous organisation under this Ministry is actively involved in the Government’s endeavor for conservation of Mural Paintings and ancient folk paintings which are on the verge of extinction. 

‘The Condition of Buddhist Wall Painting Sites in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh (Tribal and Backward Areas)’ aimed to develop a laboratory in Ladakh in collaboration with the partner institute especially for Himalayan material – thangkha and manuscript, with wall painting as a super specialty. 

  • In the first phase of this project, conservations work of
  • Maitreay Temple (Hunder- Nurba),
  • Karsha Monastery – Nyingm/lakhangand
  • Gonkhang- Thiksey monastery had been completed.

Saboo and Diskit Monasteries have a sizeable collection of tangkha that are not in use for puja.

  • IGNCA has signed MOU with Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (a Deemed University), Leh, Ladakh to explore, research, and for field work and capacity building programme in this domain. 
  • In Jammu and Kashmir, the conservation work of Karsha Monastery- Nyingma Lakhang, Gonkhang- Thiksey monastery and in Himachal Pradesh, conservation work of Maitreay Temple (Hunder- Nurba), Saboo and Diskit monasteries has been done by IGNCA.

Must Read: Later Mural Traditions

Qn: 

  1. What information of about the contemporary society is provided by Ajanta Paintings?
  2. How are murals different from frescoes?

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020

A National Mission document providing the vision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country. This plan has been designed to enhance national fuel security, to provide affordable and environmentally friendly transportation and to enable the Indian automotive industry to achieve global manufacturing leadership.

  • As part of the NEMMP 2020, Department of Heavy Industry formulated a Scheme viz. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme in the year 2015 to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
  • The 1st Phase of FAME India Scheme was implemented through four focus areas namely 

(i) Demand Creation

(ii) Technology Platform

(iii) Pilot Project

(iv) Charging Infrastructure

Under the NEMMP 2020, there is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles by the year 2020. Based on the experience gained in the Phase-I of FAME India Scheme, it has been observed that sufficient number of charging infrastructure is required to achieve expected outcome of the plan, which is being addressed presently in Phase-II of FAME Scheme.

Various initiatives have been taken by the Government to promote electric mobility in the country. Some of them are summarized here under:

  • Under new GST regime, the rates of GST on Electric Vehicles has been kept in the lower bracket of 12% (with no Cess) as against the 28% GST rate with Cess up to 22% for conventional vehicles.
  • Ministry of Power has allowed sale of electricity as ‘service’ for charging of electric vehicles. This would provide a huge incentive to attract investments into charging infrastructure.
  • Ministry of Road Transport Highways issued notification regarding exemption of permit in case of battery operated vehicles.
  • Issue of Expression of Interest (EoI) for deployment of 5000 electric buses by State Transport Departments/Undertakings etc.

Quotes

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

On Indian Culture & Ancient Knowledge

  • India needs a cultural renaissance, a large scale awareness and knowledge-sharing movement to bring the best in the Indian thought to the common man.
  • Indians have been fortunate that spiritual leaders like Adi Shankaracharya and Swami Vivekananda have shaped our country’s ethical foundations.
  • The pieces of wisdom initially written by Adi Shankaracharya in Prashnottara Ratnamalika have universal relevance irrespective of religion or community and they represent the ethical and moral perspectives underpinning the Indian world view.
  • Schools and colleges across the country should take the lead along with non-governmental organisations like Vedanta Bharati to spread the universal message of tolerance, inclusion, harmony, peace, well-being, righteous conduct, excellence and empathy that recurs in the Indian spiritual tradition with resounding clarity.

Personality in News

Adi Shankaracharya – Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker

  • Was an early 8th century Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta
  • He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism
  • His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes”.
  • He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts “Atman (Soul, Self) exists”, while Buddhism asserts that there is “no Soul, no Self”.
  • He is reputed to have founded four mathas (“monasteries”), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist
  • On Women: Adi Shankaracharya opens his beautiful hymn called “Saundarya Lahari” (The wave of beauty; a set of shlokas) with a clear statement on how Lord Shiva is totally powerless without his wife Shakthi. One complements the other.

Qn: Assess the contribution of Adi Shankara in the development of Hindu philosophy.

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda’s ideas of universal tolerance, compassion, and concern for the poor are as relevant today as they were during his lifetime. 

  • Was born Narendra Nath Datta, on 12th January, 1863.
  • He was the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
  • He introduced Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the world stage during the late 19th century.
  • Represented India in the first Parliament of Religion held in Chicago (U.S.) in 1893.

Some of his quotes:

  1. Arise awake and stop not till the goal is reached — Swami Vivekananda (This quote can be used in Ethics/Essay answers dealing with Hope/Corruption/Faith)
  2. One ounce of practice is worth twenty thousand tons of big talk (Swami Vivekananda – This quote can be used to conclude almost every essay).
  3. “It is impossible to think about the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is impossible for a bird to fly on only one wing” – Swami Vivekananda. (On women empowerment)
  4. All nations have attained greatness by paying proper respect to women. That country and that nation which do not respect women have never become great, nor will ever be in future.
  5. “All the different religions are but applications of the one religion adapted to suite the requirements of different nations”. – Swami Vivekananda. (on Religion)
  6. “If in this hell of a world one can bring a little joy & peace even for a day into the heart of a single person, that much alone is true; this I have learnt after suffering all my life, all else is mere moonshine” – Swami Vivekananda (on serving Humanity)
  7. “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.”

Two excerpts from Swami Vivekananda’s letters to Sister Nivedita, written in Sanskrit, translated to English reads –

  • “Tougher than rocks; more tender than flowers”. It points to Swamiji’s ability to balance the idealism of his work with the practical aspects of everyday life.
  • “A person who does good to others, never meets a bad end …”

Karma Yoga and Niskama Karma – In this he emphasized the selflessness of an individual in all his endeavors.Today, when the world around us engulfed in acts of sheer selfishness, his teachings can show a new path.

Love and compassion as the law of life – He emphasized on loving all living beings and to be compassionate and sensitive towards sufferings. He said that – “So long as millions live in poverty and hunger, I consider every person a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them” He believed that every Indian must work hard to uplift the millions from the clutches of poverty and superstitions.

Note:

  • National Youth Festival is celebrated every year on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda – January 12
  • For supporting single girl child, a special scholarship is Swami Vivekananda Single Girl Child Scholarship for Research in Social Science.
  • Belur Math in Kolkata is built by Swami Vivekananda.

Vedanta

  • It was based on Upanishads and their interpretation.
  • Its aim was to enquire about ‘Brahman’ (ultimate reality) which was the central concept of Upanishads.
  • It saw Veda as the ultimate source of information and whose authority could not be questioned.
  • It emphasized on path of knowledge (jnana) as opposed to that of sacrifice (karma).
  • Ultimate aim of knowledge was ‘Moksha’ i.e. liberation from ‘sansara’.

Qns: 

  1. What lessons have you learnt from the life and ideas of Swami Vivekanand? How do you apply them in your daily life?
  2. We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. Comment.
  3. Do you find the ideas of Swami Vivekananda relevant today? Examine.
  4. “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of woman is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.” Comment.
  5. Be the Servant of all, and do not try in the least to govern other. Nobody will come to help you if you will put yourself forward as a leader. Kill self first, if you want to lead. Discuss.

Celebrating 550th birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji

  • Born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan
  • He advocated nirguna bhakti
  • He firmly repudiated practices of religions around him like sacrifices, ritual baths, idol worship, austerities, and scriptures of both Hindus and Muslims.
  • He took the god as formless which has no gender and proposed a simple way to connect to him by just remembering and repeating his name.
  • He set up rules for congregational worship (sangat) involving collective recitation.
  • He appointed Angad to succeed him as the Guru.
  • He never wished to establish new religion, but after his death his followers consolidated his practices and distinguished from both Hindus and Muslims by calling themselves ‘Sikhs’.
  • Fifth Guru Arjandev Ji compiled Guru Nanak, his successor, and other religious poets teaching in Adi Granth Sahib.

Values & teaching of Guru Nanak and present social challenges —

  • The time in which Guru Nanak lived and present time are not very different. Back then, caste system, idol worship, exploitation of poor and women, intolerance towards other religions, fraud godman, addiction of drugs and other problems were prevalent. Unfortunately, all of them are present today also.
  • Some basic teachings of Guru Nanak were —
    • Submission to the will of God (Waheguru)
    • One God
    • Goodwill for all
    • Speaking truth
    • Social Service
    • Overcoming 5 evils — Ego, Anger, Greed, Attachment and Lust
    • Adopting 5 virtues — Truth, Compassion, Contentment, Discipline and Contemplation
    • No discrimination
    • Stop following rituals/idol worship/superstitions
  • Guru Nanak opined that moral principles have great value not just in thinking but also in practical orientation in society. Therefore, social philosophy of Guru Nanak was primarily based on moral philosophy with support of religious outlook.
  • His teaching hold great value today in overcoming caste and religious discrimination, intolerance of other views, corruption, addiction of alcohol and drugs, clash of civilisations, terrorism and other social evils.
  • Problem with today’s generation is we have limited Guru Nanak and his teaching just to Guru Granth Sahib and have not adopted it, i.e., moral philosophy is lacking. Therefore, there is a strong need to revive the values and teachings of Guru Nanak.

Kartarpur corridor

Founding stone for the four-lane “human corridor” i.e. Kartarpur corridor was laid, it is to be completed by November 23, 2019

A public rally was organised for the event in the border town of Dera Baba Nanak, just 2 km from the International Border with Pakistan. It is hoped that the corridor would pave the way for peace and greater progress of all people. The corridor will drastically cut down the journey pilgrims have to make from more than 200 km to just 6 km.

  • The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.
  • It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
  • The shrine is visible from the Indian side, Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak.
  • Access to gurdwaras in Pakistan: Sikh jathas from India travel to Pakistan on four occasions every year — for Baisakhi, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev. These Indian pilgrims are given access to all gurdwaras in Pakistan.

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