Panini’s ‘Ashtadhyayi’

In News

  • An Indian student claims to have solved Sanskrit’s biggest puzzle—a grammar problem found in the ‘Ashtadhyayi’.


  • Confusion in Interpretation of Ashtadhyayi:
    • Ashtadhyayi delves deep into the language’s phonetics, syntax and grammar.
    • It also offers a ‘language machine’, where you can feed in the root and suffix of any Sanskrit word, and get grammatically correct words and sentences in return. 
    • To ensure this ‘machine’ was accurate, Panini wrote a set of 4,000 rules dictating its logic. 
    • But as scholars studied it, they found that two or more of the rules could apply at the same time, causing confusion. To resolve this, Panini had provided a ‘meta-rule’ (a rule governing rules), which had historically been interpreted as:
      • ‘In the event of a conflict between two rules of equal strength, the rule that comes later in the serial order of the ‘Ashtadhyayi’ wins’.
    • However, following this interpretation did not solve the machine’s problem. 
    • It kept producing exceptions, for which scholars had to keep writing additional rules
  • Solution to This Problem:
    • In his thesis titled ‘In Panini We Trust’, Dr Rishi Rajpopat took a simpler approach, arguing that the meta-rule has been wrongly interpreted throughout history; what Panini actually meant, was that for rules applying to the left and right sides of a word, readers should use the right-hand side rule.
    • Using this logic, he found that the ‘Ashtadhyayi’ could finally become an accurate ‘language machine’, producing grammatically sound words and sentences almost every time.
    • The discovery now makes it possible to construct millions of Sanskrit words using Panini’s system—and since his grammar rules were exact and formulaic, they can act as a Sanskrit language algorithm that can be taught to computers.

Panini, the ‘father of linguistics’

  • Period:
    • Panini probably lived in the 4th century BC, the age of the conquests of Alexander and the founding of the Mauryan Empire.
    • He has also been dated to the 6th century BC, the age of The Buddha and Mahavira.
  • Location:
    • He likely lived in Salatura (Gandhara), which today would lie in north-west Pakistan.
    • Panini was probably associated with the great university at Taksasila, which also produced Kautilya and Charaka, the ancient Indian masters of statecraft and medicine respectively.

About Ashtadhyayi

  • ‘Ashtadhyayi’, or ‘Eight Chapters’ – Panini’s great grammar
  • It is a linguistics text that set the standard for how Sanskrit was meant to be written and spoken
  • The Ashtadhyayi laid down more than 4,000 grammatical rules, couched in a sort of shorthand, which employs single letters or syllables for the names of the cases, moods, persons, tenses, etc. in which linguistic phenomena are classified.
  • Significance:
    • By the time it was composed, Sanskrit had virtually reached its classical form — and developed little thereafter, except in its vocabulary.
    • Panini’s grammar, which built on the work of many earlier grammarians, effectively stabilized the Sanskrit language. 
    • Panini’s grammar is one of the greatest intellectual achievements of any ancient civilization, and the most detailed and scientific grammar composed before the 19th century in any part of the world.
    • The earlier works had recognised the root as the basic element of a word, and had classified some 2,000 monosyllabic roots which, with the addition of prefixes, suffixes and inflexions, were thought to provide all the words of the language.
  • Commentaries on Panini:
    • Later Indian grammars such as the Mahabhasya of Patanjali (2nd century BC) and 
    • the Kashika Vritti of Jayaditya and Vamana (7th century AD)

Bihar Hooch Tragedy

In News

  • Recently, the Bihar government has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe deaths due to consumption of spurious liquor in Saran district which took 82 lives as of now.

More about the news

  • State Subject: Although the prohibition of alcohol use is encouraged in the constitution of India (Article 47, DPSP), alcohol policy is a state subject.
    • States are having full control of alcohol-related legislation, excise rates and the production, distribution and sale of alcohol. 
  • The sale and consumption of alcohol were banned in Bihar in 2016.
    • Bihar continues to witness liquor sales on the black market and deaths owing to the consumption of locally made spurious liquor.

History of Hooch tragedies

  • Increasing trend: The number of hooch-related deaths has been on a rise in the country.
    • 3 people on average die every single day due to spurious liquor poisoning in the country. 
  • Top states: Recently, the Lok Sabha released a detailed report of the top 5 states that reported the greatest number of deaths due to consumption of illegal and spurious liquor in the year 2016 to 2020 with Bihar and Chhattisgarh topping the list. 
  • Data: According to the data, over 6,000 deaths were reported between 2016 and 2020 due to the consumption of spurious liquor with the lowest number of deaths in 2020 at 947.

What is spurious liquor? 

  • Spurious liquor means liquor which has been adulterated with an object to bring intoxication and is harmful to consumers. 
  • It is cheap and is mostly used by the lower strata of our society. 
  • It contains a higher percentage of methyl alcohol which is poisonous. 
  • Consumption of such liquor may cause blindness, other serious health problems and even death. 
  • Sometimes even other chemicals are mixed with the ethyl alcohol so that the consumer gets a feeling of intoxication. 
    • Even these are highly poisonous and can cause severe damages to the body and even death can occur.

Why do people fall prey to such liquor?

  • Demand-supply relation: It is a result of a simple demand vs supply problem, and the cost adds to the complication. 
  • Liquor ban: Several instances of hooch tragedies can mostly be traced back to incidents that occur in states where liquor is banned. 
  • Cheap alternative: People tend to look for a cheap alternative out of desperation. 
  • They are also easy targets for bootleggers trying to make quick money by selling cheap, low-quality liquor that they sell in a bid to make good profits.

Arguments in favour of Liquor ban

  • Not a loss of revenue: it is possible to have a robust economy even without selling liquor. If the government ensures that there are zero tax evasions, black money stashed abroad is brought back to the country and corruption is controlled in the government.
  • DPSP: the state government has a responsibility to safeguard public health. The Directive Principles of State Policy clearly say that the State is responsible for raising the level of nutrition, standard of living and public health.
  • Injurious to Health: It is known to everyone that liquor is injurious to health and no doctor has ever suggested that liquor will improve a person’s health. It causes damage not only to the liver but also hampers the functioning of the entire body.
  • Affects poor people: In poor households where a person is addicted to alcohol, a major share of the household income which should have been spent for betterment of standard of life goes into liquor.
  • Social Issues: Liquor is also the reason behind perpetuating domestic violence, hampering of family bonds, couples getting divorced and children getting neglected.
  • Addiction and rise in crimes: With easy availability of liquor youngsters are getting addicted. As far as crimes are concerned, it appears that a large percentage of crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol.
  • Crime rate: If the government prohibits liquor it will also result in a decline in the crime rate.

Arguments against Liquor ban

  • Revenue for the Government: The government argues that the sale of liquor provides it with good revenue in terms of excise duty and that the money is required to develop the economy.
  • The Legal Angle: A rise in crime due to withdrawal symptoms and an inability to find and consume alcohol would be a major problem.
  • Rise in violent crime: This is indicative because if someone wants to consume alcohol under prohibition, then they will have to employ illegal methods. This is the fear that is there behind prohibiting alcohol.
  • Right to Liquor: The arguments that support the contention that the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution include the right to consume and trade liquor mainly pertain to Articles 21 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

Way Forward

  • Not a fundamental Right: Presently, no Indian citizen has the fundamental right to consume and trade liquor. Respective state governments have a monopoly over the liquor market in India. 
  • Awareness: Experts continue to advocate awareness and not prohibition to be the way to go especially in states where the law already prohibits the use of it.
  • Inelastic behaviour: Experts continue to argue that alcohol consumption is inelastic, and this is true for states that don’t have a ban on liquor and yet see a huge spike in deaths due to spurious liquor consumption

Law on Acid Attacks in India

In News

  • A recent attack on a 17-year-old girl with an acid-like substance in Delhi has once again brought back to focus the heinous crime of acid attacks and the easy availability of corrosive substances.


  • Prevalence of Acid Attack:
    • As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, there were 150 such cases recorded in 2019, 105 in 2020 and 102 in 2021. 
    • West Bengal and UP consistently record the highest number of such cases generally accounting for nearly 50% of all cases in the country year on year.
  • Conviction Rate: 
    • 2019 –  54%  
    • 2020 – 72%  
    • 2021 – 20% 


  • Law on Acid Attack:
    • Origin: 
      • Until 2013, acid attacks were not treated as separate crimes. 
      • In 2013, after some amendments, acid attacks were put under a separate section (326A) of the IPC.
    • Punishment: 
      • A minimum imprisonment of 10 years which is extendable to life along with fine.
      • Punishment for denial of treatment to victims or police officers refusing to register an FIR or record any piece of evidence. 
      • Denial of treatment (by both public and private hospitals) can lead to imprisonment of up to one year and dereliction of duty by a police officer is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years.
    • Victim compensation and care:
      • Based on Supreme Court directions, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked States to make sure acid attack victims are paid compensation of at least Rs. 3 lakhs by the concerned State Government/Union Territory as the aftercare and rehabilitation cost. 
      • States are supposed to ensure that treatment provided to acid attack victims in any hospital, public or private, is free of cost. 
      • The cost incurred on treatment is not to be included in the Rs 1 lakh compensation given to the victim.
  • Regulation of acid sales:
    • Order by Supreme Court:
      • In 2013, the Supreme Court took cognizance of acid attacks and passed an order on the regulation of sales of corrosive substances. 
    • Model Poisons Possession and Sale Rules, 2013:
      • Based on the order, the MHA issued an advisory to all states on how to regulate acid sales and framed the Rules under The Poisons Act, 1919.
        • It asked states to frame their own rules based on model rules, as the matter fell under the purview of states.
      • Over-the-counter sale of acid was not allowed unless the seller maintains a logbook/register recording the sale of acid.
        • This logbook was to also contain the details of the person to whom acid is sold, the quantity sold, the address of the person and also specify the reason for procuring acid.
      • The sale is also to be made only when the buyer produces a photo ID containing his address issued by the government. 
      • The buyer must also prove he/she is above 18 years of age.
      • Sellers are required to declare all stocks of acid with the concerned Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) within 15 days and in case of undeclared stock of acid.
        • The SDM can confiscate the stock and suitably impose a fine of up to Rs 50,000 for a breach of any of the directions.
      • The rules ask educational institutions, research laboratories, hospitals, government departments and the departments of Public Sector Undertakings, which are required to keep and store acid, to maintain a register of usage of acid and file the same with the concerned SDM.
    • Advisory by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA): 
      • In 2015, MHA issued an advisory to all states to ensure speedy justice in cases of acid attacks by expediting prosecution.
      • In August 2021, MHA issued another advisory to all States/ UTs to review and ensure that the retail sale of acids and chemicals is strictly regulated in terms of the Poison Rules so that these are not used in crime.
      • MHA suggested that states should also extend social integration programs to the victims for which NGOs could be funded to exclusively look after their rehabilitative requirements.

Way Ahead

  • The key to solving this problem remains in societyParents must teach their children the importance of boundaries and consent.
  • There is a strong need to create more awareness
  • Things have improved compared to the past as social attitudes are changing and the focus of the police in dealing with crimes against women can cause some deterrence.

Reforms in Telecom Sector

In News

  • The Union government had approved various structural and procedural reforms in the telecom sector.

Key Points

  • The reforms include:
    • Rationalisation of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)
    • Rationalisation of Bank Guarantees (BGs)
    • Rationalisation of interest rates and removal of penalties
    • Dispensing with the requirement of BGs (for auctions held henceforth) to secure instalment payments; 
    • Increasing spectrum tenure from 20 years to 30 years (in future auctions); 
    • Permission for surrender of spectrum after 10 years (in future auctions); 
    • Dispensing with the requirement of Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for spectrum acquired in future spectrum auctions; 
    • Removal of additional SUC of 0.5% for spectrum sharing; 
    • Permission for 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom sector under automatic route subject to safeguards; 
    • Fixed time for spectrum auctions (normally in the last quarter of every financial year); 
    • Requirement of licenses under 1953 Customs Notification for wireless equipment replaced with self-declaration; 
    • Permission for Self-KYC
    • e-KYC rate revised to only one Rupee; Dispensing with the requirement of fresh KYC for shifting from Prepaid to Post-paid and vice-versa; 
    • Replacement of paper Customer Acquisition Forms with digital storage of data; 
    • Easing SACFA clearance for telecom towers; and Addressing liquidity requirements of the Telecom Service Providers by way of moratorium/deferment.
  • 4G:
    • 4G mobile coverage has been provided to 98% of the population of India. 
    • This massive 4G roll- out has boosted economic activities across the country, which has resulted in growth and creation of job opportunities. 
  • 5G:
    • As far as 5G is concerned, permissions have been accorded to Indian TSPs for conducting trials for use and applications of 5G technology. 

Structural Reforms

  • Rationalisation of Adjusted Gross Revenue: 
    • Non-telecom revenue will be excluded on prospective basis from the definition of AGR.
  • Bank Guarantees (BGs) rationalised: 
    • Huge reduction in BG requirements (80%) against License Fee (LF) and other similar Levies. 
    • No requirements for multiple BGs in different Licenced Service Areas (LSAs) regions in the country. Instead, One BG will be enough.
  • Interest rates rationalised/ Penalties removed:
    • From 1st October, 2021, Delayed payments of License Fee (LF)/Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) will attract interest rate of SBI’s MCLR plus 2% instead of MCLR plus 4%; interest compounded annually instead of monthly; penalty and interest on penalty removed.
    • For Auctions held henceforth, no BGs will be required to secure instalment payments. Industry has matured and the past practice of BG is no longer required.
  • Spectrum Tenure:
    • In future Auctions, tenure of the spectrum increased from 20 to 30 years.
    • Surrender of spectrum will be permitted after 10 years for spectrum acquired in the future auctions.
    • No Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for spectrum acquired in future spectrum auctions.
  • Spectrum sharing encouraged:
    • Additional SUC of 0.5% for spectrum sharing removed.
  • FDI Reforms: 
    • To encourage investment, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under automatic route permitted in Telecom Sector. All safeguards will apply.

Procedural Reforms

  • Auction calendar fixed: Spectrum auctions to be normally held in the last quarter of every financial year.
  • Ease of doing business promoted: The cumbersome requirement of licenses under 1953 Customs Notification for wireless equipment removed. Replaced with self-declaration.
  • Know Your Customers (KYC) reforms: Self-KYC (App based) permitted. E-KYC rate revised to only One Rupee. Shifting from Prepaid to Post-paid and vice-versa will not require fresh KYC.

Significance of Reforms

  • Investment & Employment: This will pave the way for large-scale investments in the telecom sector. Investment means employment – more the investment, more the employment.
  • Healthy Competition: It is a welcome step towards strengthening the industry and ensuring survival of players to maintain healthy competition for the benefit of the customers. 
  • Cash Flow & Relief: These measures are expected to ease the cash flow issues being faced by some players in the industry and provide relief to companies such as Vodafone Idea that have to pay thousands of crores of rupees in unprovisioned past statutory dues.
  • Reducing NPAs: The telecom package comes as a relief to the banks as it mitigates the imminent possibility of default by vulnerable operators. This would help in stabilising and reducing the non-performing assets in the sector.
  • Increased Repayments: The steps announced by the government will help the companies conserve cash and it will significantly improve the probability of repayment at least for the next 3-4 years.

Way Ahead

  • The removal of non-telecom revenues from the definition of AGR and the removal of penalty is a much needed change that has been brought in. 
  • There is a need for the government’s intervention in setting sustainable telecom floor tariffs, as it has done in the civil aviation sector to protect competition.
  • More efforts are needed to address the significant losses in the balance sheets of a majority of the stakeholders.
  • With a view to lead innovations in the next phase of technology development, the Department of Telecommunications has constituted a Technology Study Group on 6G.
  • The government should work on the recommendations it will receive from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on auction of spectrum in frequency bands identified for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)/5G in India

DNA Fingerprinting

In News

  • Delhi Police recovered bones from the Mehrauli forest area in connection with the Shraddha Walkar murder investigation using DNA Fingerprinting.

Origin of DNA Fingerprinting

  • DNA fingerprinting was first developed in 1984 by Alec Jeffreys in the UK.
    • No two people could have the same DNA sequence. 
  • UK achieved the world’s first conviction based on DNA evidence in a case of rape and murder.

How is DNA fingerprinting done?

  • Each person’s DNA except for identical twins is unique. 
  • By analysing selected DNA sequences (called loci), a crime laboratory can develop a profile to be used in identifying a suspect.
  • DNA can be extracted from many sources: such as hair, bone, teeth, saliva, and blood.
    • Samples may even be extracted from used clothes, linen, combs, or other frequently used items.
  • There is DNA in most cells in the human body: even a minuscule amount of bodily fluid or tissue can yield useful information. 
  • Advanced DNA fingerprinting can make separate prints of various individuals even from a sample mixture found at the crime scene this is of help during gang rape investigations as each perpetrator can be individually identified.
DNA evidence is used to solve crimes in two ways:If a suspect is known that person’s DNA sample can be compared to biological evidence found at a crime scene to establish whether the suspect was at the crime scene or whether they committed the crime.If a suspect is not known, biological evidence from the crime scene can be analysed and compared to offender profiles in existing DNA databases to assist in identifying a suspect.

DNA fingerprinting in India

  • By 1988, Lalji Singh, who had been in the UK from 1974 to 1987 on a Commonwealth Fellowship, developed DNA fingerprinting for crime investigations at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
    • Lalji Singh, who passed away in 2017, is known as the father of DNA fingerprinting in India.
  • In 1989, DNA fingerprinting was first used in a case by the Kerala Police. 
  • By the early 1990s, the technology had begun to be used for establishing paternity, and to link criminals and identify victims in sensational crimes. 
  • From the 2000s onwards: the technology became a staple in rape cases where vaginal swab samples were matched with semen samples from suspects.

Challenges with DNA fingerprinting in India

  • Use of proper equipment is needed: It is vital to ensure that the DNA of the investigators does not get mixed with that of the victims or the suspects. Thus, picking up samples from a crime scene with sterile tools and storing samples in a proper manner are crucial for the evidence to stand a judicial test.
  • Lack of expertise: While central agencies such as CBI have the expertise to ensure that crime scenes are protected and correct procedure is followed, state police forces are inadequately trained or fully equipped.
  • The capacity for DNA fingerprinting in the country itself is lacking. DNA fingerprinting is available only at a few places Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.
    • Advanced practices in the technology are limited to the Centre For DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad.
Some famous investigations where DNA fingerprinting was usedShiney Ahuja rape case: Despite his maid’s statement denying that she was raped, in March 2011, Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja was convicted and sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment. The fast-track court delivering the verdict relied heavily on DNA evidence, in which semen samples from the vaginal swab of the victim matched with the samples obtained from the accused.Establishing the identity of suicide bomber who killed Rajiv Gandhi: It was DNA evidence that established the identity of Thenmozhi Rajaratnam who had detonated the bomb that killed ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi and 15 others in 1991. Evidence was gathered from charred flesh and bones found at the site of the explosion.Sheena Bora murder case: DNA from some charred bones were discovered in a forest in Raigad, Maharashtra, in August 2015, and matched with the DNA of media entrepreneur Indrani Mukherjea. Until then, she had maintained that her daughter Sheena Bora was away in the USA

GI Tag to Gamosa and Five Agricultural Products

In News 

  • Recently ,’ Gamocha‘ and Five agricultural products of Kerala have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) status.

About Gamosa 

  • A ‘gamocha’ literally means a towel and is a handwoven rectangular cotton piece of cloth with red borders and different designs and motifs.
  • It is traditionally offered to elders and guests as a mark of respect and honour by Assamese people.
  • It is an integral part of all socio-religious ceremonies in the state and is considered as an Assamese identity and pride.
    • It is a symbol of the culture and identity of Assam.
  • Features : For specific purposes, it is also made of expensive materials like traditional Assamese ‘Pat’ silk and in different colours as well.
    • A ‘gamocha’ meant for exchange during ‘Bihu’ festival is known as ‘Bihuwan’. 
    • This unique scarf, which is found only in Assam, is also used as a signifier of reverence while decorating altars or covering religious books.

About Five agricultural products

  • Attappady Attukombu Avara (beans): It is cultivated in the Attappady region of Palakkad, and is curved like a goat’s horn as its name indicates.
    • Its higher anthocyanin content compared to other dolichos beans imparts violet colour in the stem and fruits.
      • Anthocyanin is helpful against cardiovascular diseases along with its antidiabetic properties. 
      • Calcium, protein, and fibre content are also high and the higher phenolic content in it imparts resistance against pests and diseases, making the crop suitable for organic cultivation.
  • Attappady Thuvara (red gram): It is having seeds with a white coat. Compared to other red grams, its seeds are bigger and have higher seed weight.
    • This delicious red gram, which is used as vegetable and dal, is rich in protein, carbohydrate, fibre, calcium and magnesium.
  • Kanthalloor-Vattavada Veluthulli (garlic): It contains higher amount of sulphides, flavonoids, and proteins.
    • It is rich in allicin, which is effective against microbial infections, blood sugar, cancer, cholesterol, heart diseases, and damages to blood vessels..
  • Onattukara Ellu (sesame): Onattukara Ellu and its oil are famous for its unique health benefits. Relatively higher antioxidant content in Onattukara Ellu helps in fighting the free radicals, which destroy the body cells.
    • Also, the high content of unsaturated fat makes it beneficial for heart patients.
  • Kodungalloor Pottuvellari (snap melon): It is consumed as juice and in other forms.
    • This snap melon, which is harvested in summer, is an excellent for quenching thirst. 
    • It contains high amount of Vitamin C and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, fiber, and fat content are also high.
Geographical Indication (GI) TagAbout:GI or Geographical Indication Tag is used for products which have specific geographical origin or have qualities that can be attributed specifically to the region.A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.Paris Convention:It is a part of the intellectual property rights that comes under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.Act in India: In India, Geographical Indications registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999.Protection:Once a product gets this tag, any person or company cannot sell a similar item under that name.Validity:This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.Benefits of GI Tag: It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in IndiaPrevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by othersIt provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications which in turn boost exports.It promotes the economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory

Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) Mission

In News 

  • Recently, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched with the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft.

About SWOT  Satellite

  • SWOT will cover the entire Earth’s surface between 78 degrees south and 78 degrees north latitude at least once every 21 days, sending back about one terabyte of unprocessed data per day. 
  • The satellite will measure the height of water in freshwater bodies and the ocean on more than 90% of Earth’s surface


  • It will help researchers, policymakers, and resource managers better assess and plan for things, including floods and droughts.
  • It will provide insights into how the ocean influences climate change; how a warming world affects lakes, rivers, and reservoirs; and how communities can better prepare for disasters, such as floods.
  • It aims to provide scientists with a deeper understanding of the water covering the planet and how climate change affects the oceans and life on Earth.


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