The Outrage Over the New ‘National Emblem’


Prime Minister recently gave the nation a first glimpse of the national emblem atop the new Parliament House coming up as part of the Central Vista Project.

  • The first look at the new 6.5 metre bronze emblem disappointed many with its alleged inaccuracies in depiction.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. History behind the national emblem
  2. Why did the Constituent Assembly embrace the Sarnath pillar as the national emblem?
  3. What is the controversy behind the latest replica?

History behind the national emblem

  • Four Asiatic lions are part of the national emblem with three lions being visible to the naked eye and the fourth one always hidden from general view.
  • They are taken from the Sarnath Lion Capital of the Mauryan emperor Asoka.
  • The seven feet tall sculpture made of polished sandstone represented courage, power and pride.
  • Built in 250 BC to commemorate the first sermon of Gautama Buddha, where he is said to have shared the Four Noble Truths of life, it was mounted on a base of a frieze of smaller sculptures, including
    • a horse
    • a lion,
    • a bull
    • an elephant
  • All moving in a clockwise direction.
  • The four animals are said to be guardians of the four directions — north, south, east and west.
  • They are separated by a wheel, representing the Dharmachakra of Buddhism, on all four sides.
  • Each chakra or wheel has 24 spokes.
  • The chakra was later adopted as part of the national flag.
  • This abacus was mounted on an inverted lotus which is a symbol of Buddhism.
  • Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang has left a detailed account of Asoka’s lion pillar in his writings
  • The pillar was part of Asoka’s plan to spread Buddha’s teachings.
  • After the large-scale massacre in the Battle of Kalinga, Asoka was shaken and embraced Buddhism with its emphasis on ahimsa.
  • He decided to propagate his principles throughout his empire through the Major and Minor Edicts.

Why did the Constituent Assembly embrace the Sarnath pillar as the national emblem?

  • As India won independence, the Constituent Assembly decided on the Sarnath pillar as the national emblem.
  • It was felt that the pillar epitomised the power, courage and confidence of the free nation.
  • The emblem depicts a two-dimensional sculpture with the words Satyameva Jayate (truth alone triumphs) written below it, taken from the Mundaka Upanishad, written in Devanagari script.
  • On January 26, 1950, the Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath officially became the national emblem of India.
  • The emblem represents the seal of the Republic of India.
  • Five students of renowned artist Nandalal Bose created the emblem.
  • Among them were Jagdish Mittal, Kripal Singh Shekhawat, Gauri Bhanja and Dinanath Bhargava who was a young man in his 20s then.
  • He was advised by Bose to visit the Kolkata zoo to observe the lions closely so as to get the exact expression of the majestic animal.
  • He is said to have travelled 200 kilometres to observe the lions from close quarters.

What is the controversy behind the latest replica?

  • The latest replica by Deore and Moses has a steel pillar support of 6,500 kgs. The lions, many alleged, looked “too aggressive”, which amounted to tampering with the original in a hurry to meet the deadline of the Central Vista Project.
  • The designers countered the criticism about the lions looking aggressive by insisting that it was a matter of perspective, and claimed that the new emblem is a huge structure meant to be appreciated from a distance.
  • The original structure was 1.6 metre tall whereas the new depiction is 6.5 metre high.
  • Also, the original Lion Capital was at the ground level while the latest depiction is at a height of 33 metre from the ground.

RBI Seeks Ban on Cryptocurrency


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recommended a ban on cryptocurrencies citing ‘destabilising effects’ for the country’s monetary and fiscal health.

  • China has declared all cryptocurrency transactions illegal, effectively imposing a complete ban, whereas El Salvador has permitted Bitcoin as legal tender.


GS III- Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the state of cryptocurrency right now?
  2. What are the RBIs Concerns?
  3. What are cryptocurrencies?
  4. How are they different from actual currency?
  5. How do cryptocurrencies derive their value?

What is the state of cryptocurrency right now?

  • In India, there is currently no legislation that addresses cryptocurrency. Owning cryptocurrencies is still legal in India. The Reserve Bank of India’s restriction on the trade of cryptocurrency in India was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2020.
  • Since as early as 2013, the central bank has issued warnings against the use of virtual currencies.

What are the RBIs Concerns?

  • Because every modern money must be issued by the government or the central bank, cryptocurrencies are not considered to be legal tender.
  • While monetary policy and their status as legal tender serve as the foundation for the value of fiat currencies, the value of cryptocurrencies is solely based on speculation and unfounded expectations of high returns, which will have a destabilising effect on a nation’s monetary and fiscal stability.

What are cryptocurrencies?

  • Cryptocurrencies are e-currencies that are based on decentralized technology and operate on a distributed public ledger called the blockchain.
  • Blockchain records all transactions updated and held by currency holders.
  • The technology allows people to make payments and store money digitally without having to use their names or a financial intermediary such as banks.
  • Cryptocurrency units such as Bitcoin are created through a ‘mining’ process which involves using a computer to solve numerical problems that generate coins.
  • Bitcoin was one of the first cryptocurrencies to be launched and was created in 2009.

How are they different from actual currency?

  • The Main difference is that unlike actual currencies cryptocurrencies are not issued by Governments.
  • Actual money is created or printed by the government which has a monopoly in terms of issuing currency. Central banks across the world issue paper notes and therefore create money and assign paper notes their value.
  • Money created through this process derives its value via government fiat, which is why the paper currency is also called fiat currency.
  • In the case of cryptocurrencies, the process of creating the currency is not monopolized as anyone can create it through the mining process.

How do cryptocurrencies derive their value?

  • Any currency has its value if it can be exchanged for goods or services and if it is a store of value (it can maintain purchasing power over time).
  • Cryptocurrencies, in contrast to fiat currencies, derive their value from exchanges.
  • The extent of involvement of the community in terms of demand and supply of cryptocurrencies helps determine their value.

Minimum Support Price


The Centre has finally constituted a committee headed by former Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal here to look into the issues of Minimum Support Price (MSP), as promised to protestant farmers after the repeal of three farm laws.


GS-III: Agriculture (Agriculture Pricing), GS-II: Social Justice (Welfare Schemes)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Minimum Support Price (MSP)?
  2. Why is there a need for MSP?
  3. What are the issues related to MSP?

Terms of reference of constituted panel:

  • The panel will consist of representatives of the Central and State governments, farmers, agricultural scientists and agricultural economists.
  • This panel will be constituted:
    • To promote zero budget-based farming,
    • To change crop patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the country
    • To make MSP more effective and transparent
  • It also says that the committee will discuss methods to strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements of the country
  • It would ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic output and export.
  • On natural farming, the committee will make suggestions for programs and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation, and research for future needs.
  • It would support area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System through publicity and through the involvement and contribution of farmer organizations.

What is Minimum Support Price (MSP)?

  • Minimum Support Price is the price at which government purchases crops from the farmers, whatever may be the price for the crops.
  • MSPs have no statutory backing — a farmer cannot demand MSP as a matter of right.
  • Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) in the Ministry of Agriculture recommends MSPs for 23 crops.
  • CACP consider various factors while recommending the MSP for a commodity like cost of cultivation, supply and demand situation for the commodity; market price trends (domestic and global) and parity vis-à-vis other crops etc.
  • MSP seeks to:
    • Assured Value: To give guaranteed prices and assured market to the farmers and save them from the price fluctuations (National or International).
    • Improving Productivity: By encouraging higher investment and adoption of modern technologies in agricultural activities.
    • Consumer Interest: To safeguard the interests of consumers by making available supplies at reasonable prices.

While recommending MSPs, the CACP looks at the following factors:

  •  the demand and supply of a commodity;
  •  its cost of production;
  •  the market price trends (both domestic and international);
  • inter-crop price parity;
  • the terms of trade between agriculture and non-agriculture (that is, the ratio of prices of farm inputs and farm outputs);
  • a minimum of 50 per cent as the margin over the cost of production; and
  • the likely implications of an MSP on consumers of that product.
Crops covered

Crops covered by MSPs include:

  • 7 types of cereals (paddy, wheat, maize, bajra, jowar, ragi and barley),
  •  5 types of pulses (chana, arhar/tur, urad, moong and masur),
  • 7 oilseeds (rapeseed-mustard, groundnut, soyabean, sunflower, sesamum, safflower, nigerseed),
  • 4 commercial crops (cotton, sugarcane, copra, raw jute)

Why is there a need for MSP?

  • The MSP is a minimum price guarantee that acts as a safety net or insurance for farmers when they sell particular crops.
  • The guaranteed price and assured market are expected to encourage higher investment and in adoption of modern technologies in agricultural activities.
  • With globalization resulting in freer trade in agricultural commodities, it is very important to protect farmers from the unwarranted fluctuation in prices.

What are the issues related to MSP?

  • Low accessibility and awareness of the MSP regime: A survey highlighted that, 81% of the cultivators were aware of MSP fixed by the Government for different crops and out of them only 10% knew about MSP before the sowing season.
  • Arrears in payments: More than 50% of the farmers receive their payments of MSP after one week.
  • Poor marketing arrangements: Almost 67% of the farmers sell their produce at MSP rate through their own arrangement and 21% through brokers.
  • According to NITI Aayog report on MSP, 21% of the farmers of the sample States expressed their satisfaction about MSP declared by the Government whereas 79% expressed their dissatisfaction due to various reasons. Although, majority of the farmers of the sample States were dissatisfied on MSP rates, still 94% of them desired that the MSP rates should be continued.

Fast Radio Bursts (FRB)


A strange radio signal (called Fast Radio Bursts) has been detected in a galaxy several billion light-years from Earth, a recent study claimed.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is an FRB?
  2. Why are they significant?

What is an FRB?

  • Since the first FRB was spotted in 2007, researchers have been trying to determine where they came from.
  • FRBs are essentially brilliant radio wave bursts (radio waves can be produced by astronomical objects with changing magnetic fields).
  • The X-ray component of the simultaneous bursts was detected by several satellites, including NASA’s Wind mission; in addition, a NASA-funded project called Survey for Transient Astronomical Radio Emission 2 (STARE2) also detected the radio burst;
  • However, because of their millisecond durations, it is challenging to detect them and determine their position in the sky.

Why are they significant?

  • First noticed in 2018 by the Canadian observatory the waves have created ripples across the globe for one reason — they arrive in a pattern.
  • This gave birth to theories that they could be from an alien civilization.
  • Initially, it was believed that the collision of black holes or neutron stars triggers them.
  • But the discovery of repeating FRBs debunked the theory of colliding objects


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