DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |13 Jan 2021| RaghukulCS

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  • DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |13 Jan 2021| RaghukulCS
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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |13 Jan 2021| RaghukulCS

UPSC News Analysis

Mural art, Kalaripayattu

Context: In today’s newspaper there a mention of Mural art & Kalaripayattu

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Art & culture

What is Mural art?

·      A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surfaces. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

·      Some wall paintings are painted on large canvases, which are then attached to the wall

·      This technique has been in common use since the late 19th century. Murals of sorts date to Upper Palaeolithic times.

·      In the history of mural several methods have been used: A fresco painting, describes a method in which the paint is applied on plaster on walls or ceilings. 

·      Murals are important in that they bring art into the public sphere. Due to the size, cost, and work involved in creating a mural, muralists must often be commissioned by a sponsor.

Mural Art


What is Kalaripayattu?

·      Kalaripayattu, also known simply as Kalari, is an Indian martial art that originated in modern-day Kerala, a state on the southwestern coast of India.

It is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India.It is also considered to be among the oldest martial arts still in existence, with its origin in the martial arts timeline dating back to at least the 3rd century BCE.

·      Kalaripayattu is mentioned in the Vadakkan Pattukal, a collection of ballads written about the Chekavar of the Malabar region of Kerala.

·      Like most Indian martial arts, Kalaripayattu contains rituals and philosophies inspired by Hinduism.

·      The art also bases medical treatments upon concepts found in the ancient Indian medical text, the Ayurveda.

·      Practitioners of Kalaripayattu possess intricate knowledge of pressure points on the human body and healing techniques that incorporate the knowledge of Ayurveda and Yoga.

·      Kalaripayattu is taught in accordance with the Indian guru-shishya system. Kalaripayattu differs from many other martial arts systems in the world in that weapon based techniques are taught first, and barehanded techniques are taught last.

·      Unlike other parts of India, warriors in Kerala belonged to all castes. Women in Keralite society also underwent training in Kalaripayattu, and still do so to this day.

Benami property

Context: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has unveiled an e­-portal for filing complaints about tax evasions, ‘benami’ properties and undisclosed assets overseas.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Economy | Mains – e-­governance (GS-2), Economy (GS-3)

What is Benami property?

·      Benami in Hindi means without name. So, a property bought by an individual not under his or her name is benami property.

·      It can include property held in the name of spouse or child for which the amount is paid out of known sources of income. 

·      A joint property with brother, sister or other relatives for which the amount is paid out of known sources of income also falls under benami property.

·      The transaction involved in the same is called benami transaction. As a usual practice, to evade taxation, people invest their black money in buying benami property.

·      The real owner of these properties are hard to trace due to fake names and identities. The person on whose name the property is purhcased is called benamdar.

·      The benami transactions include buying assets of any kind — movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, any right or interest, or legal documents.

What are the laws against benami properties?

·      The first act against benami properties ws passed in 1988 as the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988. To curb black money, the Modi government in July 2016 decided to amend the original act. So after further amendment, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 came into force on November 1, 2016.

·      The PBPT Act defines benami transactions, prohibits them and further provides that violation of the PBPT Act is punishable with imprisonment and fine.

·      The PBPT Act prohibits recovery of the property held benami from benamidar by the real owner. Properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government without payment of compensation.

Effect of benami transactions on people:

·      Rather than hoarding the black money in cash, the tax evader invests their accumulated illegal money in buying benami properties.

·      The whole process affects the revenue generation of government hampering growth and development of the state. 

·      Since the percentage of tax payer in the country is a dismal low, the government fails to successfully implement its policies and schemes due to lack of resources.

Important news in short

·      The four labour law codes enacted by Parliament in 2020 and 2019 could be implemented before the earlier target of April 1, according to Union Labour and Employment Ministry officials.

Examples related to Ethics (GS-4) in today’s newspaper

·      Temple in Kadapa out of bounds for women – The restrictions on entry of women into the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and the controversies surrounding the tradition have been making headlines for years now. But not many know that a similar practice is in vogue in the little-known Hanuman shrine in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district. (Social Influence and Persuasion)

·      Read today’s editorial analysis on Swami Vivekananda.

UPSC Editorial Analysis

(The Hindu & The Indian Express)

Reclaiming SAARC from the ashes of 2020

Source: The Hindu

Written by: Suhasini Haidar

Topic in syllabus: India and its Neighbourhood- Relations. (GS-2)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about why revival of SAARC is important.


·      Thirty-­six years after it first began, the South Asian Asso­ciation for Regional Cooperation ­(SAARC), appears to be all but dead in the water. The year 2020 marked the sixth year since the leaders of the eight nations that make up SAARC were able to meet.

Reasons behind dead SAARC and its impact:

Over the past year, India­-Pakistan issues have impacted other meetings of SAARC as well, making it

·      easier for member countries, as well as international agencies to deal with South Asia as a fragmented group rather than a collective, working with each country in separate silos or in smaller configurations.

·      India’s problems with Pakistan on terrorism, territorial claims and on its role in blocking SAARC initiatives on connectivity and trade are well known. Even so, India’s refusal to allow Pakistan to host the SAARC summit because of those problems is akin to giving Pakistan a ‘veto’ over the entire SAARC process.

Puzzling & beyond the understanding behaviour of India:

·      The insistence is particularly puzzling given that Mr. Modi and his cabinet ministers continued to attend Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meetings along with their Pakistani counterparts, including the SCO Heads of Government meeting in November where New Delhi even invited Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

·      While China’s incursions in Ladakh and the Galwan killings constituted the larger concern in the year, India did not decline to attend meetings with the Chinese leadership at the SCO, the Russia-India­-China trilateral, the G­20 and others.

·      No concerns over territorial claims stopped the Modi government from engaging with Nepal either, despite Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli’s decision to change Nepal’s map and Constitution to include Indian territories.

Why the revival of SAARC is important?

Reviving SAARC is crucial to countering the common challenges brought about by the pandemic. To begin with, studies have shown that South Asia’s experience of the pandemic has been unique from other regions of the world     and this needs to be studied further in a comprehensive manner in order to counter future pandemics.

·     Such an approach is also necessary for the distribution and further trials needed for vaccines, as well as developing cold storage chains for the vast market that South Asia represents.

·      World Bank reports that have estimated the losses have all suggested that South Asian countries work as a collective to set standards for labour from the region, and also to promoting a more intra­regional, transnational approach towards tourism, citing successful examples including the ‘East Africa Single Joint Visa’ system, or similar joint tourism initiatives like in the Mekong region or the Caribbean islands.

·      In the longer term, there will be a shift in priorities towards health security, food security, and job security, that will also benefit from an “all­ of” South Asia approach.

·      The pandemic’s impact on South Asian economies is another area that calls for coordination.

o   The impact of COVID­19 will be seen in broader, global trends: a growing distaste for ‘globalisation’ of trade, travel and migration all of which were seen to have helped the pandemic spread from China, as well as a growing preference for nativism, self-dependence and localising supply chains. While it will be impossible for countries to cut themselves off from the global market entirely, regional initiatives will become the “Goldilocks option”.

  • It would be important to note therefore, that as the world is divided between regional trade arrangements such as new United States­-Mexico-­Canada Agreement, or USMCA (North America), the Southern Common Market, or MERCOSUR for its Spanish initials (South America), the European Union (Europe), the African Continental Free Trade Area, or AfCFTA (Africa), the Gulf ·      Cooperation Council, or GCC (Gulf) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP (South East Asia and Australasia including China), India’s only regional trading agreement at present is the South

    Asian Free Trade Area, or SAFTA (with SAARC countries).

    ·      In dealing with the challenge from China too, both at India’s borders and in its neighbourhood, a unified South Asian platform remains India’s most potent countermeasure.

    o   At the border, it is clear that tensions with Pakistan and Nepal amplify the threat perception from China, while other SAARC members (minus Bhutan), all of whom are Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partners of China will be hard placed to help individually.

    o   Experts suggest that it is only a matter of time before Beijing holds a meeting of all SAARC countries
    (minus India and Bhutan), for they are all part of the BRI, and even that they will be invited to join RCEP, which India declined.


    ·      New Delhi must find its own prism with which to view its South Asian neighbourhood as it should be: a
    unit that has a common future, and as a force multiplier for India’s ambitions on the global stage.

    An abiding inspiration

    Source: The Indian express

    Written by: Prahlad Singh Patel (Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

Topic in syllabus: Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and World (GS-4)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about the ideas of Swami Vivekanand.


·      Swami Vivekananda is the inspiration behind National Youth Day. In just 39 years, 14 of which were in public life, he filled the country with a thought whose energy is still felt today.

Thoughts of Swamiji which are still relevant:

·      “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.” This mantra of Vivekananda’s is as effective, relevant and inspiring today as it was in the days of colonialism.

·      Now, India is ready to be a global leader. With the power of yoga and the energy that comes from spirituality, the youth of the country are impatient about giving direction to the world.

·      Swami Vivekananda’s lessons still inspire the youth: “Make a life’s aim and incorporate that idea into your life…. Think that thought over and over again. Dream it, Live it… that is the secret to being successful.”

·      His mantra for the youth is evergreen: “Until you can trust yourself, you cannot trust Allah or God.” If we are not able to see God in other humans and ourselves, then where can we go to find divinity?

·      Vivekananda caught the world’s attention with his ideas when he represented Sanatan Dharma in Chicago in 1893. The themes in that speech included “Vishwabandhutva”, tolerance, cooperativeness, participation, religion, culture, nation, nationalism and the collective India-Indianness.

·      It is the nature of the Indian soil to accept all religions as true. We were the first laboratory and protector of secularism.

·      He addressed the Parliament of World Religions as: “American brothers and sisters”.

·      Swami Vivekananda took forward the efforts made by other thinkers to reach the roots of Indian culture. His inclusive thinking is reflected in the Narendra Modi government’s slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.

·      Swami Vivekananda taught the world that it is our duty to encourage all those doing good so that they can make their dreams come true.

·      His vision also gave rise to the idea of Antyodaya. Until the upliftment of the last poor person in the country is ensured, development is meaningless, he said.

·      Swami Vivekananda’s belief about God is tied to every religion. Charity was a way of life for him. For Vivekananda it was important to connect everyone with this way of life. He said, “The more we come to help and help others, the purer our heart becomes. Such people are like God.”

·      Swami Vivekananda combined thinking of different religions, communities and traditions. His thoughts inspire liberation from inertia. This is the reason Swami Vivekananda has no opponent in this country.


·      Everyone bows to his ideas. In the 19th century, who was called the “Cyclonic Hindu” due to his views, is still standing firmly on the world stage with his positive thinking. His ideas remain fresh and relevant.

Imposing a compromise

Source: The Hindu

Topic in syllabus: Polity (judicial activism) (GS-2) | Issues related agriculture (GS-3)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about judicial activism related to ruling on laws.


·      The Supreme Court’s interim order in the ongoing contestation between large sections of the farm­ers and the Centre over the new farm laws may be motivated by a laudable intention to break the deadlock in negotiations.

·      However, it is difficult to shake off the impression that the Court is seeking to impose a compromise on the farmers’ unions. One portion of the order stays the three laws.

·      The stated reason is that the stay would “assuage the hurt feelings of the farmers” and encourage them to go to the negotiating table.

What are the concerns?

·      The Court’s approach raises the question whether it should traverse beyond its adjudicative role and pass judicial orders of significant import on the basis of sanguine hope and mediational zeal.

·      It is only in the wake of the government’s perceived failure that the Court has chosen to intervene, but it is unfortunate that it is not in the form of adjudicating key questions such as the constitutionality of the laws, but by handing over the role of thrashing out the issues involved to a four-member panel.

·      It is not clear how the four members on the committee were chosen, and there is already some well-founded criticism that some of them have already voiced their support for the farm laws in question.

·      The Court wants the panel to give its recommendations on hearing the views of all stakeholders. Here, the exercise could turn tricky. How will the Court deal with a possible recommendation that the laws be amended?

·      It would be strange and even questionable if the Court directed Parliament to bring the laws in line with the committee’s views.


·      It is equally important that judicial power is not seen as being used to dilute the import of the protest or de­legitimise farmer unions that stay away from the proceedings of the panel or interfere with the powers of Parliament to legislate.

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