PESA Act & Conversions

In News

  • Recently, Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Minister stated that PESA Act will help curb conversions and marriages for tribal land.

More about the news

  • Issue:
    • Many times by deception, trickery, marriages done by means of allurement to our tribal sisters’ daughters, land is given in their name and called tribal lands. 
    • Sometimes even the means of conversion is used to achieve the purpose.
  • Use of PESA to curb this practice:
    • State CM said that the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, which gives more power to gram sabhas, will ensure that conversions and marriages done by “alluring” tribal women to get land notified as tribal land is stopped.
      • He said that Gram sabhas will intervene when land is taken away from someone, emphasising that conversions will not be allowed to happen in the state.
    • He also announced rules for enforcement of the Act in Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Not against any community:
    • He also made it clear that initiative was not against any community, but aimed at empowering the tribal community.
  • Highest tribal population:
    • The state has the highest tribal population in the country and that the rules under PESA would help in the development of tribal communities.

Tribals & issue of Conversions

  • About:
    • Tribals in India follow their own aboriginal religion and more than 89% of the tribals follow Hindu religion. 
    • Due to their tact with other Hindu communities, they have turned to Hinduism.
  • Tribals of India & the problem of religious conversion:
    • Issue:
      • The overall helpless condition of the tribals due to poverty, illiteracy, little opposition to conversion, lack of control over conversion, enticing offers and social status besides the tribal community’s desire to improve economic condition are some of the factors responsible for the religious conversion of the tribals.
    • As a result, in different parts of India tribals of certain areas and several main tribal community groups have converted themselves to Christianity & other religions in the last hundred and fifty years.
  • Influence of Christianity:
    • The influence of Christianity on the tribals began in the Khasi of Meghalaya in 1813; in Urano of Chooa Nagpur in 1850 and in the Bhils of Madhya Pradesh in 1880.
      • The tribals have been facing the problem of religious conversion for a long time.
  • Problem for society as a whole:
    • The religious conversion among the tribals has also created certain influences on the tribal communities which has become problematic for the tribal community and the Indian society as a whole. 
    • It has resulted in westernization, urbanization and industrialization of cultural practices, ritual, occupation, tradition causing harmful repercussions of tribal ethnicity and values.

Anti-conversion laws in India

  • About:
    • There are a few states (Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand) which have enacted upon anti-conversion law in India.
  • Aim:
    • The basic aim of the legislation was to prevent the individual and communities from converting one’s religion of their forefathers to another religion mainly weaker or influential sectors of society namely women, children, backward classes and untouchables. 
  • Major Criticisms of Anti Conversion Law:
    • Right to Choice of religion:
      • The Anti-Conversion law enacted a restriction on conversion to one’s choice of religion, practice, propagate and promote so converted religion and thereby infringes the right to privacy of individuals.
    • Forced prosecutions:
      • Religious leaders of minority communities faced apprehension of being arrested and prosecuted under anti-conversion law.
        • For example, Catholic nuns and four other tribal women were detained based on suspicion of inducing conversion.
About Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, 1996About:PESA allows gram panchayats to decide matters related to minor forest produce, land and small water bodies along with implementation of government schemes and maintaining records of migrant labourers for curbing bonded labour in these scheduled areas.Background:The 73rd and the 74th Amendments to the Indian Constitution passed in 1992 took the three-tier Panchayati Raj governance structure to rural and urban parts of the country It came into force in April 1993. However, scheduled areas, predominantly inhabited by the tribal population, were exempted from the new amendments.Given low human development indicators, there was a huge demand to empower local governance in the scheduled area as well.Thus Parliament enacted special legislation called Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) in 1996 It came into force on 24th December 1996.Objectives: To extend the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas with certain modifications.To provide self-rule for the bulk of the tribal population.To have village governance with participatory democracy and to make the Gram Sabha a nucleus of all activities.To evolve a suitable administrative framework consistent with traditional practices.To safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of tribal communities.Applicability: It is now applicable in the Fifth Schedule areas, which deals with the administration of the districts dominated by the tribal communities. It is in force in 10 states of the country.Six States namely Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana have notified PESA Rules. The remaining four States namely Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha should also frame PESA Rules and start implementing them soon.The Gram Sabhas under PESA Act were entrusted with wide-ranging powers to:Enforce prohibition or to regulate or restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant.Ownership of minor forest produce.Prevent alienation of land in the Scheduled Areas and to take appropriate action to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a Scheduled Tribe.Manage village markets by whatever name is called.Exercise control over money lending to the Scheduled Tribes.Exercise control over institutions and functionaries in all social sectors.Control over local plans and resources for such plans including tribal sub-plans.

Revamped Digital Personal Data Protection Bill

In News

  • The government is close to finalising the revamped Bill and will come out with a final draft version soon.


  • The data protection Bill has been in the works since 2018 when a panel led by Justice B N Srikrishna had prepared a draft version of the Bill.
    • It is India’s first attempt to domestically legislate on the issue of data protection.
  • In August 2022, the government withdrew the earlier Personal Data Protection Bill from Parliament after putting in nearly four years and having gone through multiple iterations including deliberations by a Joint Committee of Parliament.  
  • It aims at regulating online space including separate legislation on data privacy, the overall internet ecosystem, cyber security, telecom regulations, and harnessing non-personal data for boosting innovation in the country.

Major provisions of the revamped Bill

  • High penalties
    • Companies dealing in personal data of consumers that fail to take reasonable safeguards to prevent data breaches could end up facing penalties as high as around Rs 200 crore.
      • Penalties are expected to vary on the basis of the nature of non-compliance by data fiduciaries (entities that handle and process personal data of individuals).
    • Companies failing to notify people impacted by a data breach could be fined around Rs 150 crore.
    • Those failing to safeguard children’s personal data could be fined close to Rs 100 crore. 
    • In the previous version of the Bill, withdrawn earlier this year, the penalty proposed on a company for violation of the law was Rs 15 crore or 4 percent of its annual turnover, whichever is higher. 
  • The Data Protection Board
    • It is an adjudicating body proposed to enforce the provisions of the Bill which is likely to be empowered to impose the fine after giving the companies an opportunity of being heard.
  • Personal data
    • The new Bill will only deal with safeguards around personal data and is learnt to have excluded non-personal data from its ambit.
      • Non-personal data essentially means any data which cannot reveal the identity of an individual. 
Do you know?Data Principal: The individual whose data is being stored and processed is called the data principal in the PDP Bill.Data Transfer: Data is transported across country borders in underwater cables.Data localisation: It is the act of storing data on any device physically present within the borders of a country.

Criticism of the previous Bill  

  • Pushback from big tech companies: It faced major push back from a range of stakeholders including big tech companies such as Facebook and Google, and privacy and civil society activists.
    • They have questioned the provision of data localisation, under which it would have been mandatory for companies to store a copy of certain sensitive personal data within India, and the export of undefined “critical” personal data from the country would be prohibited.
  • Too many delays in the Bill: it is a matter of grave concern that India, one of the world’s largest Internet markets, did not have a basic framework to protect people’s privacy.
  • No relevance of Localised Data: Few critics point out to the fact that even if the data is stored in the country, the encryption keys may still be out of reach of national agencies.
  • Open Ended Definitions: National security or reasonable purposes are open-ended terms; this may lead to intrusion of the state into the private lives of citizens.
  • Against the concept of Free Market: Protectionist regime suppresses the values of a globalised, competitive internet marketplace, where costs and speeds determine information flows rather than nationalistic borders.

Significance of the revamped Bill 

  • Strong safeguards: Fines for data misuse prescribed in the previous version of the Bill were not seen as an effective deterrent.
    • The higher penalties being proposed now will prompt entities to build strong safeguards to protect data and enforce fiduciary discipline.
  • Companies would face punitive actions in the nature of financial penalties in the event of misuse of data and data breaches.
  • The upcoming data protection Bill will put an end to misuse of customer data with companies facing financial consequences.
  • There will also be a strict or purpose limitation of data collected by companies and the time till which they can store it under the new Bill.
  • Data fiduciaries will be required to stop retaining personal data and delete previously collected data after the initial purpose for which it was collected was fulfilled. 


  • The prime challenge is to balance between the growth opportunities posed by Free Data and Right to Privacy as Fundamental Right as declared by Puttaswamy Judgement 2017. In this context, India must promote Data Localisation with care and by more scientific and organic categorisations. The open ended definitions must be clearly defined.

India-Norway Relations

In News

  • Norway’s Ambassador to India recently said that the bilateral trade between India and Norway has doubled to $2 billion in the last two years.
    • He recently took part in the silver jubilee celebration of the National Institute of Ocean Technology.

Upcoming Areas of Cooperation in India Norway Relations

  • Climate investments:
    • Norway is planning to invest in climate investments, clean energy and ocean technology worldwide.
    • Norway would invest $1 billion from its climate investment fund in five years worldwide.
      • Substantial part of the investments will take place in India. India is one of the countries with a large potential for solar energy.
  • Wind Energy:
    • Norway is working with the National Institute of Wind Energy to expand Wind energy infrastructure in India.
      • The problem in India, when it came to wind energy, was that only Tamil Nadu and Gujarat had stable wind to make it viable. 
  • Ship-breaking industry in India:
    • Norway has the fifth largest commercial fleet in the world, and ship recycling was crucial to keep up a modern fleet, both for environmental as also for competitive reasons. 
    • Norway is cooperating closely with India over this.
  • Hong Kong Convention:
    • The Hong Kong Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives; do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment. 
    • India has joined the Hong Kong Convention
    • It will be a binding international legal instrument.
  • Academic relations:
    • There is an academic relation between the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and the Institute of Wind Energy in Chennai with institutions in Norway
  • Digitising historical monuments:
    • The Norwegian company, Piql, was involved in creating a digital archive for Indian monuments such as the Taj Mahal.
    • The company was also involved in digitising historical monuments such as Dholavira in Gujarat and the Bhimbetka Caves in Madhya Pradesh.

Norway-India relations

  • History
    • Ties between Norway and India have deep historical roots. 
    • As early as the 1600s, a Danish-Norwegian trading station was established in Tranquebar (Tharangambadi), which today lies in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
    • Norway’s first Consulates in India opened in Kolkata and Mumbai in 1845 and 1857, respectively.
    • In 1952, the “India fund” was established with the aim to provide development assistance with a focus on fisheries.
  • Consulate General
    • The Consulate General in Mumbai re-opened its doors in 2015. 
    • It had been closed since the 1970s.
  • India Strategy
    • In 2018 the Norwegian government launched a new ‘India Strategy’.
    • The India Strategy outlines five thematic priorities:
      • Democracy and a rules-based world order
      • The oceans
      • Energy
      • Climate and Environment
      • Research, higher education and global health.
  • Ocean nations
    • Norway and India are both ocean nations seeking to develop the vast economic, scientific and ecological potential of the oceans. 
    • In 2019, Norway and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing a structured and strategic cooperation on the oceans. 
    • This cooperation is based on our shared interest in the blue economy and the sustainable use of marine resources, as well as a desire to advance scientific knowledge about our oceans.
  • Climate change
    • Norway considers India a critical partner in addressing global climate, environment and resource challenges, and continuously seeks to increase cooperation in support of the Paris agreement and the SDG-agenda.
  • Bilateral Trade
    • Total bilateral trade increased from US$ 974.22 million in 2013-2014 to US$ 1,202.06 million in 2017-2018. 

World Population Reaches 8 Billion: UN

In News

  • Recently, the United Nations Population Fund, stated that the world’s population has reached 8 billion.

More about the news

  • Reasons for the growth:
    • This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. 
    • It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries, the United Nations said.
  • Reaching 9 billion:
    • The UN said that it took the global population 12 years to grow from 7 billion to 8 billion. 
    • It will take approximately 15 years — until 2037 — for it to reach 9 billion.
      • It is a sign that the overall growth rate of the global population is slowing.
  • Projections of the peak:
    • The UNFPA projects world population to peak at 10.4 billion in the 2080s and stay there until the end of the century.
  • Trends of growth:
    • Slowing growth:
      • According to the UN, falling mortality rate first led to a “spectacular population growth, but as fewer children were born generation to generation, growth started to slow.
    • Impact of Per Capita income: 
      • Countries with the highest fertility levels tend to be those with the lowest income per capita as per UN.
    • International migration:
      • International migration is now the driver of growth in many countries, with 281 million people living outside their country of birth in 2020.
      • All South Asian nations — India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — have seen high levels of emigration in recent years.
  • India’s “youth bulge”:
    • UNFPA has noted that India has its largest ever adolescent and youth population. 
    • According to UNFPA projections, India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world till 2030 and is currently experiencing a demographic window of opportunity, a “youth bulge” that will last till 2025.
    • It noted that India’s fertility rate has hit 2.1 births per woman — replacement-level fertility — and is falling.
  • India surpassing China:
    • As of 2022, more than half the world’s population lives in Asia, China and India being the two most populous countries with more than 1.4 billion people each.
    • According to the United Nations Population Fund, while India’s population growth is stablising, it is “still growing at 0.7% per year” and is set to surpass China in 2023 as the world’s most populous country.
    • China’s population is no longer growing and “may start declining as early as 2023”, the UN stated. 
  • Challenges:
  • Rapid population growth can make challenges of hunger and poverty steeper. 
  • Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combating hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult.

Challenges for India & Way ahead:

  • A population of more than 1.4 billion will require the unflinching focus of policymakers on areas fundamental to human well-being — education, nutrition, healthcare, housing, and employment
  • Productivity and economy:
    • The youth will have to be equipped with skills that are indispensable to the knowledge economy
    • People’s productivity will have to increase for any given per capita income.
    • Will need policies to increase jobs so that labour force participation rate increases for both men and women.
  • Climate change:
    • The climate crisis and other ecological imperatives will mean that the footprints of many activities are kept light. 
  • Democratic challenges:
    • Most importantly, the challenges will spur debate, discussion, even dissension, and require that diverse voices are heard. 
    • India’s democratic traditions and the strength of its institutions will be needed to navigate the way forward from here.
  • Elderly population:
    • The 65+ category is going to grow quite fast and it faces several challenges. Provisioning of social security is obviously a big challenge. This will stretch the resources of future governments. 
    • If the aged stay within the family set-up, the burden on the government could be reduced. “If we go back to our roots and stick around as families, as against the western tendency to go for individualism, then the challenges would be less
  • State-wise focus:
    • Much more needs to be done on this, of course, in large parts of the country, including in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, whose TFR is higher than the national average and where gender discrimination has deep social roots.
  • Choice to women:
    • To actually realise Population Control, educating women and giving them freedom to make choice and implement it, should be first to have attention by the Government.
    • State must ensure contraceptives are accessible, affordable and available in a range of forms acceptable to those using them.
World Population Day:World Population Day is observed annually on July 11 every yearIt aims to highlight the problems of overpopulation and raise awareness about the effects of overpopulation on the environment and development.This year’s World Population Day [July 11, 2022] falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant. World Population Day was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached five billion people on July 11, 1987.

Birth Anniversary of Birsa Munda

In News

  • Recently, the President of India visited Ulihatu village in Jharkhand on the Janjatiya Gaurav Divas and paid respects before the statue of Bhagwan Birsa Munda.

Key Points 

  • The history of freedom struggle also includes several streams of struggles by the tribal communities.
    • Bhagwan Birsa Munda and Sidhu-Kanhu of Jharkhand, Tantia Bhil and Bhima Nayak of Madhya Pradesh, 
    • Alluri Sitarama Raju of Andhra Pradesh, 
    • Rani Gaidinliu of Manipur and  
    • Saheed Laxman Nayak of Odisha. 
  • Revolutionary warriors of Madhya Pradesh:
    • Kishore Singh, Khajya Nayak, Rani Phool Kunwar, Sitaram Kanwar, Mahua Kol, Shankar Shah and Raghunath Shah. 
    • Revered as the ‘Gandhi of Chhindwara‘, Shri Badal Bhoi had chosen the path of non-violence for the freedom struggle. 
  • Significance of  tribal communities:
    • The tribal communities have been instrumental in enriching the cultural heritage of Chambal, Malwa, Bundelkhand, Baghelkhand and Mahakoshal regions of Madhya Pradesh. 
    • The tribal community gives equal importance to humanity and nature. They give priority to the community over individuality, cooperation over competition and equality over distinctiveness. 
    • Most of the tribal areas have been rich in forest and mineral wealth. In today’s time of climate change and global warming, everyone needs to learn from the lifestyle of tribal society and their determination towards forest conservation.
    • Equality between men and women is a feature of the tribal society. Gender-ratio in tribal society is better than that of the general population. 

Bhagwan Birsa Munda

  • Early Life:
    • He was an Indian freedom fighter, religious leader and folk hero from the Munda Tribe of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau area.
    • Born on 15th November 1875 in Ulihatu of the erstwhile Bengal Presidency which is now in the Khunti district of Jharkhand.
    • He learned about Hindu religious teachings from a Vaishnav monk and studied ancient scriptures along with the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
  • Founder of New religion Birsait:
    • It believed in One God and encouraged them to revert to their original religious beliefs.
    • People of the Munda and Oraon community joined the sect and posed a challenge to British conversion activities of tribals.
    • Through the religion, Munda preached a strong Anti – British sentiment and mobilized thousands of tribal folk to form guerrilla armies to attack the Raj.
    • He was referred to as  ‘Dharti Abba or Father of Earth’ by his followers.
    • In March 1900, while fighting the British alongside his guerilla army, Munda was arrested in Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur. A few months later, on 9 June, he passed away while in custody.
  • Munda Rebellion:
    • It was the tribal movement led by Munda against the oppressions of the British Raj.
    • The movement was referred to as ‘Ulgulan’ or the ‘Great Tumult’  and aimed to establish Munda raj.
    • Munda used traditional symbols and language to rouse people and urged them to destroy the dikus.
    • Dikus was the name given to the outsiders like the British, moneylenders and traders and it was believed that the dikus were responsible for all the miseries.
    • Birsa and his rebellions started to attack the symbols of the outsiders like police stations and churches and raided the property of moneylenders and zamindars.
    • Birsa Munda was arrested by the British in March 1900 while he was sleeping with his tribal guerilla army at Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur (Jharkhand).
    • Birsa died of cholera in jail at the age of 25 and with his death, the Munda rebellion movement faded out.
  • Outcomes of the Rebellion:
    • After his death, the British government introduced the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act in 1908, which prohibited the transfer of tribal land to non-tribals (Dikus).
    • The British learned the lesson not to interfere with the faith and beliefs of the tribals in India and after that, they kept a lenient attitude towards the tribals of India.


  • The holistic national development and the development of the tribal community are interlinked. Development of tribal areas in the spirit of harmony is beneficial for all.
  • Efforts should be made to maintain the identity of tribal communities, increase the sense of self-pride among them and at the same time benefit from the fruits of development. 



In News

  • The act of gaslighting isolates people from society and distorts their reality.

Key Points

  • Background: 
    • In 1938, playwright Patrick Hamilton wrote a thriller play called the Gas Light, which tells the story of a man who attempts to drive his wife insane in order to steal from her. 
      • He convinces her that she was going insane, to the point where she was made to believe that the noises from the attic and the flickering gas light were imagined by her, while in reality, he was responsible for it. 
  • Origin of Term:
    • Psychologists R. Barton and J. A. Whitehead coined the term “gaslighting” in 1969 as they analysed involuntary hospitalisation as a form of abuse. 
    • Rarely used after this, the term was popularised by psychotherapist Robin Stern in 2007 and has now become a ubiquitous term.

Gaslighting and it’s Working

  • Definition:
    • Gaslighting is a type of psychological abuse. One person or a group manipulates another, making them question or doubt their own mental health.
  • The workings of the phenomenon:
    • Gaslighting is a phenomenon wherein techniques of manipulation are used to control people in politics and interpersonal relationships. 
    • Stern explained that in order for such abuse to exist the “mutual participation” between the “gaslighter” (perpetrator) and the “gaslightee” (victim) is imperative. 
  • Experience:
    • When a person is gaslighted they experience confusion, anxiety and loss of trust in themselves. 
    • If successful in the act of gaslighting, the perpetrator can isolate the victim from society and even from their closest social circles to the extent that the gaslightee starts believing that the gaslighter is the only person they can trust.


  • There are various methods used by gaslighters to manipulate their victims into questioning their realities.
    • Under countering, the perpetrator questions the victim’s memory.
    • The perpetrator acts like they don’t understand the conversation or refuses to listen, convincing the victim that they must have misunderstood.
    • By trivialising the victim’s experiences or feelings, the perpetrator makes sure that the victim starts questioning their own character.
  • The perpetrator also tends to deny taking responsibility for their actions of hurting the victim by blaming the victim for causing the situation that resulted in abuse by the gaslighter. 
  • Moreover, they divert the focus of a discussion, when the gaslightee starts questioning the gaslighter’s credibility. 
  • Perpetrators can also use negative stereotypes, based on the victim’s gender, class, caste, race or ethnicity to lower their self-esteem.

Impact of the Gaslighting

  • It highlights the importance of intimate relationships in the phenomenon, ignoring the gender-based inequalities that make it a common feature of domestic violence
  • Perpetrators of such abuse, use the already present structural inequalities and stereotypes, and institutional vulnerabilities to control their victims
  • Persistent gaslighting can be catastrophic for the mental health of the person on the receiving end causing him/her to believe they deserve the abuse. 
  • The impact can last long after the gaslighter is out of the victim’s life and very often leads to a lifetime of self-doubt and difficulty making decisions.

How to protect self from Gaslighting

  • Pay attention to what the person does, not what they say. Gaslighters say one thing, but their actions say another.
  • Don’t listen to someone who constantly tells you “you’re crazy” or makes similar comments that make you routinely question yourself.
  • Don’t believe anyone who tells you that others, especially your family and/or friends, agree with them and not you. Gaslighters will often use those closest to you as ammunition.
  • Remember that it’s not you; the gaslighter is 100% responsible for their behavior.
  • Present incontrovertible evidence and be direct with the gaslighter when they try to deny or evade the truth, as long as you are in a position of safety when doing so.


  • Gaslighting is a serious issue which can be difficult to recognise especially when one is involved in an intimate relationship. 
  • Moreover, it is possible for a person to get used to such behaviour from their partners, mistaking it for love. 
  • The first step in abusive relationships is to become aware of one’s own role in gaslighting, the ways in which one’s behaviour, desires, and fantasies may lead to idealising the gaslighter and seeking their approval.

Tirupati’s Megalithic Burial Sites

In News

  • Most of the megalithic burial sites in Tirupati are found to be in a state of neglect.

More about the news

  • Tirupati district is dotted with anthropomorphic burial sites, said to be the largest as a collection in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Anthropomorphic sites are those marked by a representation of human form above the megalithic burials. 
  • However, most of them are in a state of neglect, with neither the government nor the local residents caring to protect what could become a cherished heritage.

More about the Megalithic structures in the region

  • Significance of the region:
    • Compared to other districts, the erstwhile combined Chittoor district (Tirupati district was carved out of it in April 2022) has an array of megalithic structures, found almost in every mandal. 
    • This could be an indication to the presence of humans living in groups during the megalithic period (300–500 BC) in this region.
  • Mallayyagaripalle’s ‘pillared dolmen’:
    • Location:
      • The most prominent one is the ‘pillared dolmen’ of the megalithic era, found at Mallayyagaripalle, nestling on a hillock between Chandragiri and Dornakambala, 20 km from Tirupati. 
    • Timeline:
      • The structure locally referred to as ‘Pandava Gullu’ or ‘Pandavula Banda’ in memory of the Pandavas, is estimated to be 2,500 years old.
    • Burial chamber:
      • The Mallayyagaripalle structure is a cist burial chamber.
      • Such chambers are built by arranging slabs neatly broken from huge stones at a time when there were no proper tools.
  • Monument at Kullur:
    • There is another endangered megalith monument in Palem village near Kallur, which resembles a bull’s horn. 
    • It is locally called as ‘Devara Yeddhu’.
  • Other:
    • A menhir: a tall or grand structure erected in memory of a dead person – found at Boyapalle.
    • ‘Slab circles’: An arrangement of three or seven slabs in a circular fashion, found in Eguva Gunthalacheruvu of Annamayya district.

Challenges faced by these megalithic monuments

  • The pillared dolmen with rock art beneath the capstone at Mallayyagaripalle came under threat owing to granite mining in the vicinity. 
  • The sites have suffered repeated damage due to clandestine excavation by treasure hunters. 
  • Also, the neglect around few sites are indicative of official apathy like,
    • Fixing of Electric posts very close to the site,
    • The installation of a mobile tower, etc
MegalithsIt is a huge, often undressed stone used in various types of Neolithic (New Stone Age) and Early Bronze Age monuments.Works about the megalithic people’s staunch belief in life after death and the travel embarked by soul to other worlds.The megalithic people used to keep food and tools inside the chamber for use by the dead person which is indicative of this belief.

Ancient link between Kashi and Tamil Land

In News

  • The month-long Kashi Tamil Sangamam is going to begin in Varanasi.

Kashi Tamil Sangamam

  • Organized by: the Ministry of Education, Government of India
  • Some 2,400 people from Tamil Nadu will be taken to Varanasi in groups for visits and trips to Ayodhya and Prayagraj.
  • Objective:
    • To bring the two knowledge and cultural traditions (of the North and South) closer, create an understanding of our shared heritage and deepen the people-to-people bond between the regions.
    • This is in sync with the National Education Policy, 2020 which emphasises “on nurturing a generation that is modern and in sync with the 21st-century mindset, while being rooted in the Indian culture and ethos”.

Linkages between Kashi and Kanchi

  • The connection between the two centers of knowledge (Kashi and Kanchi) is evident in the similar themes in literature, and the presence of the name Kashi in every village in Tamil Nadu.
  • Since ancient times, higher education in Southern India was not considered complete without a visit by the scholar to Kashi.
  • Kashinath is a popular name in Tamil Nadu.
  • Besides the Kasi Viswanathar temple in Tenkasi, there are hundreds of Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu that bear the name of Kashi — there are some 18 of them in the area around Chennai alone.
  • People from Rameswaram would take a dip in the Koti teertha (in the temple) before visiting Kashi for darshan; and they would bring back (Ganga) water from Kashi for abhiseka at the temple in Rameswaram.

History of ties between Kashi and Tamil Nadu

  • King Parakrama Pandya:
    • He ruled over the region around Madurai in the 15th century
    • Legend has it that he wanted to build a temple to Lord Shiva, and traveled to Kashi to bring back a lingam. 
    • While returning, the king stopped to rest under a tree — but when he tried to continue his journey, the cow carrying the lingam refused to move.
    • Then he installed the lingam there, a place that came to be known as Sivakasi
    • For devotees who could not visit Kashi, the Pandyas had built the Kasi Viswanathar Temple in what is today Tenkasi in southwestern Tamil Nadu.
  • Adhivir Ram Pandyan:
    • Much later, another king, Adhivir Ram Pandyan, after returning from a pilgrimage to Kashi, constructed another Shiva temple in Tenkasi in the 19th century
  • Sant Kumara Gurupara:
    • He was from Thoothukudi district and had negotiated with the princely state of Kashi to get a place for the consecration of Kedarghat and Vishvesvaralingam in Varanasi. 
    • He also composed Kashi Kalambagam, a collection of grammar poems on Kashi.

National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

In News 

  • The new National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) has now been brought under the Drug Prices Control Order, which fixes ceiling prices for these essential formulations based on average cost to retailers.

About National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

  • It is one of the key instruments in a balanced healthcare delivery system of a country which inter alia includes accessible, affordable quality medicine at all the primary, secondary, tertiary levels of healthcare. 
  • The first National List of Essential Medicines of India was prepared and released in 1996. 
  • It focuses on three aspects – cost, safety and efficacy.
    •  It comprised 384 drugs across 27 categories.
  • Purpose : The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e., cost, safety and efficacy.
    • It also helps in optimum utilisation of healthcare resources and budget; drug procurement policies, health insurance; improving prescribing habits; medical education and training  for UG/PG; and drafting pharmaceutical policies.


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