Harvest Festivals of India

In News

  • India is popularly known as the land of festivals and on the 14th of January different parts of the country celebrate harvest festivals under different names.

More about the Harvest Festivals of India

  • Lohri:
    • Significance:
      • Lohri, the popular North Indian festival, marks the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days.
      • Lohri celebrates the harvest of rabi crop in North India
    • Time of celebration:
      • It is celebrated every year during the month of Paush, a day before Makar Sankranti – usually on January 13th.
    • Regions:
      • It is observed by both Hindus and Sikhs in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Makar Sankranti:
    • About:
      • Makar Sankranti is the first Hindu festival that is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm across India and usually takes place in January. 
    • Significance:
      • It is a major harvest festival celebrated by Hindus across India but different states celebrate the festival under different names, traditions and festivities. 
      • Makar Sankranti marks the end of winter as well as the beginning of longer days on account of the sun’s northward journey.
        • This period is also known as Uttarayan on this account and is considered to be very auspicious.
    • Different Names:
      • It is called Makara Sankranti and also Poush sôngkr?nti in Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Telangana.
      • It is called Sukarat in central India.
    • Kite Flying:
      • Another customary and popular practice associated with this festival is kite flying and in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, since 1989, the day has been observed as International Kite Festival. 
  • Magh Bihu:
    • Significance:
      • A significant Assamese festival, Magh Bihu marks the end of the harvesting season in the month of Magh (between January and February)
      • Also known as Maghor Bihu, it is celebrated to mark a slight shift in the earth’s rotational axis that brings in the end of chilly winters and the beginning of spring.
    • Characteristics:
      • This is one of the three Bihu celebrated by the community and the term Bhogali Bihu is derived from the word Bhog, which refers to eating and enjoyment.
      • The eve of the Bhogali Bihu is called the Uruka, the last day of the lunar month of Pousha. 
      • The festival is also marked by bonfires, made of green bamboo, firewood, hay, and dried banana leaves
    • Traditional games:
      • People also play traditional Assamese games like tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking) and buffalo fighting. They also pray to ancestral gods for their blessings.
    • Delicacies:
      • People also make delicious rice cakes known by various names such as Sunga Pitha, Til Pith and coconut laddoos.
  • Pongal:
    • About:
      • One of India’s most well-known festivals, Pongal is widely observed by the Tamil population around the world
      • It is one of the biggest harvest festivals, along with Makar Sankranti.
    • Significance:
      • It is celebrated in the Tai month of the Tamil solar calendar. 
      • The four-day event, dedicated to the Sun God, marks the beginning of Uttarayan, the sun’s journey northward. 
      • Spread over four days, the festival begins with Bhogi Pongal which is followed by Surya Pongal, then Maattu Pongal, and Kanum Pongal.
        • Each of the days has a unique significance with the second day being more most important day. 
    • The Sweet dish-Pongal:
      • This festival is named after the traditional sweet dish Pongal (“boiling over”) made with rice boiled in milk with jaggery.  
      • The origin of the Pongal dish can be traced back to the Chola period; it appears in a lot of texts and inscriptions. 
      • Some Hindu temple inscriptions from the Chola to Vijayanagara Empire periods are also known to include detailed recipes. 
    • Celebrations:
      • Celebrations also involve decorating cows, ritual bathing, making rice powder-based kolam artworks, offering prayers, and meeting friends and relatives. 

Significance of the Harvest Festival

  • These festivals are primarily celebrated to mark the beginning of the harvesting season in the country and is probably the only one that is celebrated in every region of India, on the same day, but in different manners and names.
  • Sun’s northward journey: 
    • It is associated with the sun’s northward journey.
  • A Harvest festival is a celebration of the food grown on the land: 
    • Given the difference in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times at different places.
  • Harvest festivals in Asia: 
    • It includes the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most widely spread harvest festivals in the world.

Acute Malnutrition

In Context

  • Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) in its press brief stated that acute malnutrition is risking 30 million children’s lives.

More about the news

  • Global state of Malnutrition:
    • According to WHO, Currently, more than 30 million children in the 15 worst-affected countries suffer from wasting — or acute malnutrition.
    • 8 million of these children are severely wasted, the deadliest form of undernutrition.
  • Causes:
    • Conflict, climate shocks, the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and rising living costs are leaving increasing numbers of children acutely malnourished. 
    • Meanwhile, critical health, nutrition and other life-saving services are becoming less accessible.
  • Impacts:
    • The global food crisis is also a health crisis, and a vicious cycle: malnutrition leads to disease, and disease leads to malnutrition.
    • Acute malnutrition is a major threat to children’s lives and their long-term health and development, the impacts of which are felt by individuals, their communities and their countries, the WHO added.      

UN’s response: Global Action Plan on Child Wasting

  • Action Plan:
    • In response to the WHO’s report, five UN agencies subsuming WHO are calling for accelerated progress on the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting. 
  • Agencies:
    • These agencies are
      • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 
      • UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 
      • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 
      • World Food Programme (WFP) and 
      • World Health Organization (WHO).  
  • Aim:
    • The action plan aims to prevent, detect and treat acute malnutrition among children in the worst-affected countries:
      • Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, the Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen.
  • Need of support, action & investment:
    • The agencies have called for decisive and timely action to prevent this crisis from becoming a tragedy for the world’s most vulnerable children. 
    • All agencies urged greater investment in support of a coordinated UN response that will meet the unprecedented needs of this growing crisis before it is too late.


  • About:
    • It refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. 
    • It is a chronic problem and a longstanding challenge for the public administration of India.
  • The term malnutrition addresses 3 broad groups of conditions:
    • Undernutrition:
      • It includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age)
      • Together, the stunted and wasted children are considered to be underweight, indicating a lack of proper nutritional intake and inadequate care post-childbirth.
    • Micronutrient-related malnutrition:
      • It includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess; and
    • Overweight:
      • It includes obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers).

Government initiatives to address Malnutrition

  • Poshan Abhiyan:
    • It is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to ensure the attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
    • The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition (POSHAN) 2.0 scheme: 
    • It now includes the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, which seeks to work with adolescent girls, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children below three.
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS):
    • It represents one of the world’s largest and unique programmes for early childhood care and development.
    • The beneficiaries under the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers
    • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is the implementing agency.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme:
    • The Mid-day Meal Scheme is a school meal programme in India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children
    • It covers all school students studying in Classes 1 to 8 of government schools, government-aided schools, special training centres, including madrasas supported under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.
  • National Food Security Mission:
    • It was launched in 2007-08 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
    • It focuses on the sustainable increase in the production of targeted crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement.
  • National Nutrition Mission:
    • It is the government’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • Aim: 
      • To reduce stunting and wasting by 2 percent per year (total 6 per cent until 2022) among children and anemia by 3 percent per year (total 9 per cent until 2022) among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is the nodal ministry for implementation.

Way ahead

  • It is being speculated that this situation is likely to deteriorate even further in 2023.
  • Urgent support is needed now in the hardest-hit countries to protect children’s lives and health, including ensuring critical access to healthy foods and nutrition services, especially for women and children.
  • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of existing nutrition investments can increase the impact of available resources on malnutrition. 
  • Policy initiatives are urgently needed to transform food systems, increase intake of health-promoting foods, and reduce animal-based foods, to ensure diets are healthy and sustainable for people and the planet.

Governor-CM Tussle in Tamil Nadu

In Context

  • Governor walks out of Tamil Nadu state assembly amid growing rift with the government in state.


  • While delivering the annual address to the state assembly, Governor R. N. Ravi left out some passages from the text prepared by the State government.
  • The step led to unprecedented scenes in the Assembly with CM moving a motion to merely record the transcript provided to lawmakers, which caused the Governor to leave the House.


  • About: The Governor is the head of the executive branch of a state government in India and is appointed by the President of India.
  • Constitution: The Constitution of India provides for the office of Governor in Article 153, which states that there shall be a Governor for each state.
  • Tenure: Governor is appointed in general for a term of five years and is eligible for re-appointment.
  • Executive head: Governor acts as the representative of the President in the state and is responsible for ensuring that the state government functions within the framework of the Constitution.
  • Removal: The Governor may be removed by the President on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers at the Centre.

Key responsibilities in the state assembly

  • Summoning and proroguing the state legislature: The Governor has the power to summon and prorogue the state legislative assembly as per the requirement.
  • Address the assembly: The Governor addresses the state legislative assembly at the beginning of the first session after each general election and the first session of each year.
  • Recommendation for dissolving assembly: The Governor has the power to recommend the dissolution of the state legislative assembly to the President of India in certain circumstances, such as when the government loses a vote of confidence.
  • Assent to bills: The Governor has the power to give assent to bills passed by the state legislature, or to withhold assent or reserve the bill for the President’s consideration.
  • Appointment of members of the Legislative Council: In states where the Legislative Council exists, the Governor has the power to appoint certain members of the council in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
  • Assent to money bills: The Governor has the power to give assent to money bills passed by the state legislature, or to recommend amendments to such bills.

Other important roles

  • Appointing the Chief Minister of a state: The Governor appoints the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in the state legislative assembly as the Chief Minister.
  • Emergency powers: The Governor has the power to declare a state of emergency in the state, in case of a breakdown of law and order or a threat to the security of the state, on the advice of the Chief Minister or on his own.
  • Administering oaths to the Chief Minister and other Ministers: Governor administers oaths of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and other Ministers.
  • Returning or withholding assent to bills passed by the Legislative Assembly: The Governor has the power to return a bill for reconsideration or withhold assent to it if he believes it to be unconstitutional or against the public interest.
  • Appointment of Judges: The Governor appoints judges to the High Court and other subordinate courts in the state in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the State Government.
  • Appointment of officials: The Governor appoints the Advocate General, Chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission, and other officials of the state.
  • Representing the state: The Governor represents the state at the Centre and participates in the meetings of the National Development Council and other forums.
  • Chancellor of Universities: The Governor is the Chancellor of state universities and is responsible for their overall administration.
  • Custodian of the Constitution: The Governor is the custodian of the Constitution in the state and is responsible for ensuring that the state government functions within the framework of the Constitution.
Important Powers & Functions of GovernorLegislative powers:Article 356: Presidential rule in stateso   It allows the President to take over the administration of a state if the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.o   The President can impose President’s rule in a state on the advice of the Council of Ministers at the Centre, and appoint an Administrator to govern the state.o   The President’s rule can be in effect for a maximum of six months, after which it must be approved by the Parliament.Article 365: Failure of constitutional machinery in statesIf the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the President may by Proclamation assume to himself all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by the Governor or anybody or authority in the state.The President’s rule can be in effect for a maximum of six months, after which it must be approved by the Parliament.Financial powers ((Article 207))Advances: The Governor has the power to make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the State, to meet unforeseen expenditure.Grants: The Governor is also empowered to make grants in anticipation of the Consolidated Fund of the State.Emergency: The Governor may also authorize, in the case of urgent necessity, expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the State before the grant of such expenditure has been voted by the State legislature.Veto powersVeto on Ordinances: The Governor has the power to withhold assent to an ordinance issued by the state government or return it for reconsideration.Veto on Bills: The Governor has the power to return a bill passed by the state legislature for reconsideration, or withhold assent to it if he believes it to be unconstitutional or against the public interest.Veto on money bills: Governor can only make recommendations on money bills, if the recommendations are not accepted by the assembly, the bill is deemed to have been passed.Veto on Resolutions: The Governor has the power to withhold assent to a resolution passed by the state legislature.Veto on appointments: The Governor has the power to disapprove appointments made by the state government to certain offices such as Advocate General, Chairman, and members of the State Public Service Commission, and other officials of the state.Judicial powers:Appointment of Judges: The Governor is responsible for the appointment of judges to the High Court and other subordinate courts in the state in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the State Government.Pardoning powers: The Governor has the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offense against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.Granting of Parole: The Governor has the power to grant parole to any person sentenced to imprisonment by a court in the state.Appointment of Acting Chief Justice: The Governor has the power to appoint an acting Chief Justice in case of a vacancy or absence of the Chief Justice of a High Court.Appointment of Acting Judges: The Governor has the power to appoint acting judges in case of a vacancy or absence of regular judges in the High Court.NOTE:  Governor’s power in regard to judicial appointments is not absolute, and is subject to the advice of the Chief Justice of India and the President in some cases.

Way Ahead

  • Although the governor has legislative, emergency and financial powers, it’s not meant to be used lightly and should be only in exceptional circumstances, as it can undermine the principles of federalism in India.
  • Thus, there is a need to maintain checks and balances between the state government and the governor’s office for smooth functioning of the state machinery and welfare of people at large. 

Global Risks Report 2023: WEF

In News

  • Recently, the Global Risks Report 2023 was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Key Points

  • Most severe risks facing the world in the next decade:
    • Failure to mitigate climate change’ 
    • Failure of climate change adaptation’ 
    • Natural disasters and extreme weather events:
      • It is also the second-most severe risk that the world needs to be prepared for in the next two years.
    • Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse
    • Cost of living:
      • It  ranks as the top most serious global risk in the short term (over the next two years).
  • Reason: 
    • Current global pandemic 
    • War in Europe 
  • Most impacted:
    • The impact of natural disasters or extreme weather events disproportionately affects low- and middle-income countries. 
    • Such events figure among the top five risks in 25 countries, especially developing coastal countries across Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia including India.
  • India:
    • India recorded extreme weather events on 291 of the 334 days between January 1 and November 30, 2022.
    • This means that the country witnessed an extreme weather event of some sort in one or more of its regions for more than 87 percent of the time over these 11 months.
    • These extreme events have a link with human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis
      • Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions have led to an increased frequency and / or intensity of some weather and climate extremes since pre-industrial times.
  • Dangerous interconnections: 
    • Over the next 10 years or by 2033, the interconnections between biodiversity loss, pollution, natural resource consumption, climate change and socioeconomic drivers will make for a dangerous mix.
  • Major global risks 
    • In the next 2 years: Cost of living; Natural disasters and extreme weather events; Geoeconomic confrontation
    • In the next 10 years: Failure to mitigate climate change; Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse

Image Courtesy: WEF 

What is ‘Global risk’?

  • It is defined as the possibility of the occurrence of an event or condition which, if it occurs, would negatively impact a significant proportion of global gross domestic product, population or natural resources.
  • The Global Risks Report series tracks global risks perceptions among risk experts and world leaders in business, government, and civil society. 
  • It examines risks across five categories:
    • Economic
    • Environmental
    • Geopolitical
    • Societal
    • Technological. 


  • The world is struggling to make the required progress on climate change despite 30 years of global climate advocacy and diplomacy
  • Failure on climate action to address climate change’ has continued to figure among the top risks in the report since 2011.
  • Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have all reached record highs
  • Emission trajectories make it very unlikely that global ambitions to limit warming to 1.5°C will be achieved.
  • Failure to mitigate climate change’ ranks among one of the most severe threats in the short term too. It is also a significant global risk that the world is least prepared for.
  • Existing measures to prevent or prepare for climate change have been ineffective.
  • Biodiversity within and between ecosystems is already declining faster than at any other point during human history. But unlike other climate-related risks, ‘Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse’ has not been perceived to be of concern over the short term.
  • Growing demands on public- and private-sector resources from these socio-economic short term crises attributed to geopolitical tensions, will likely reduce the speed and scale of mitigation efforts over the next two years.

Way Ahead

  • Follow the Bottom-up Approach:
    • Resilience would be more effective if it is built on a bottom-up approach, by understanding the needs of the community at the local level, rather than providing directions from the leadership.
  • Democratisation of data:
    • There is a need for the dissemination of data to the general public in a more robust and simple manner as information is necessary to create an impact at the local level.
    • It also provides a nudge to the local communities and creates a competitive environment for better climate action.
  • Expanding the horizon of Indian actions:
    • Right now the efforts are concentrated in the field of energy emissions and utilisation of energy. 
    • However, there is a need to apply the same to sectors like agriculture, which have a measurable impact on climate change. 
  • Protecting vulnerable communities: 
    • It is important to protect the vulnerable communities from extreme events and rationalising the use of fertilisers and subsidies, to create a low carbon economy.
  • Access to Finance:
    • It is important for the world to realise the importance of incentivising the developing countries towards the usage of renewable energy. 
  • Holistic view:
    • A less carbon-intensive economy will also benefit the country in the long term as India is a vulnerable country in the context of climate change. 
  • Strict implementation of the Agreements:
    • The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) adopted at 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a significant breakthrough as far as global action on biodiversity is concerned.
    • Other such agreements have to be sincerely implemented and monitored.
World Economic ForumIt is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests.The report aims to serve “as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics”.Some major reports published by WEF areFostering Effective Energy Transition reportGlobal Competitiveness Report.Global Gender Gap Report.Global Risk Report.Global Travel and Tourism Report.Global Social Mobility ReportChief Economists Outlook

IMD Doppler Weather Radar Network

In News

  • The Keynote Address was delivered on the occasion of 148th Foundation Day of India Meteorological Department (IMD) in New Delhi.

Minute of Address

  • Key Point: 
    • The Doppler Weather Radar Network will cover the entire country by 2025 to predict extreme weather events more accurately.
    • Recently, IMD has taken proactive steps to increase the Radar Network from mere 15 in 2013 to 37 in 2023 and will add 25 more in the next 2-3 years.
  • States: 
    • Four Doppler Weather Radar Systems in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. 
  • Climate Services:
    • They are very important for short and long term planning and strategy development
    • IMD has already initiated these services in five major thrust areas of:
      • Agriculture, 
      • Health, 
      • Water, 
      • Energy and 
      • Disaster Risk Reduction
    • It has lined up plans to expand them through customization of products. 

Doppler Weather Radar Network

  • It is a specialized radar that uses the Doppler effect to produce velocity data about objects at a distance.
  • It is designed to improve precision in long-range weather forecasting and surveillance using a parabolic dish antenna and a foam sandwich spherical radome.
  • It has the equipment to measure rainfall intensity, wind shear and velocity and locate a storm centre and the direction of a tornado or gust front.
  • It provides advanced information, enhancing the lead-time so essential for saving lives and property, in the event of natural disaster associated with severe weather. 
  • Division of  Doppler Radars and their applications: Doppler radar can be divided into several different categories according to the wavelength which are L, S, C, X, K.

Image Courtesy: 

  • L Band Radars: Operate on a wavelength of 15-30 cm and a frequency of 1-2 GHz.
    • Mostly used for clear air turbulence studies.
  • S-band radars: They operate on a wavelength of 8-15 cm and a frequency of 2-4 GHz. Because of the wavelength and frequency, S-band radars are not easily attenuated. This makes them useful for near and far range weather observation.
    • The drawback to this band of radar is that it requires a large antenna dish and a large motor to power it.
  • C band radars: They operate on a wavelength of 4-8 cm and a frequency of 4-8 GHz. Because of the wavelength and frequency, the dish size does not need to be very large.
    • This makes C band radars affordable for TV stations. The signal is more easily attenuated, so this type of radar is best used for short-range weather observation.
  • X-band radars: They operate on a wavelength of 2.5-4 cm and a frequency of 8-12 GHz. Because of the smaller wavelength, the X band radar is more sensitive and can detect smaller particles.
    • It is used to detect thunderstorms and lightning.
  • K band radars: They operate on a wavelength of .75-1.2 cm or 1.7-2.5 cm and a corresponding frequency of 27-40 GHz and 12-18 GHz. This band is split down the middle due to a strong absorption line in water vapour. This band is similar to the X band but is just more sensitive.
About Doppler effectDoppler Effect refers to the change in wave frequency during the relative motion between a wave source and its observer. It was discovered by Christian Johann Doppler who described it as the process of increase or decrease of starlight that depends on the relative movement of the star.Doppler Effect works on both light and sound objectsRadars (Radio Detection and Ranging)It is a device that uses electromagnetic waves in the microwaves region to detect location (range & direction), altitude, intensity and movement of moving and non-moving objects.It has its own source of illumination (a transmitter) for locating targets. Image Courtesy: Brittanica 


  • The Weather prediction accuracy has increased by about 20-40% for different severe weather events forecast..
  • The warning and advisory services are helping farmers and fishermen to improve their economy.
    • For example, the investment in the monsoon mission programme has resulted in return of 50 rupees for investment of each one rupee.
  • The farmers below the poverty line specially have benefited immensely as Agromet Advisories at District and Block Levels are used effectively by crores of farmers during various stages of farming and the service is being expanded. 
  • Its helps the public, disaster managers and stakeholders to initiate timely response action to mitigate the disasters further.
  • The forecasting of monsoons that are a lifeline to our food security has resulted not only in the improvement of the economy but also reducing the loss of lives due to monsoonal floods and droughts in the south Asian region.
  • Such developments have helped in  minimizing loss of lives from various extreme events like cyclone, heavy rain, thunderstorm, heat wave and cold wave etc. in recent years with its precise forecasting and timely warnings. 

Way Ahead

  • National Framework should be created on priority to provide climate products and information for Sectoral applications.
  • The disaster managers, general public and stakeholders under the umbrella of National Disaster Management Plans, guidelines, SOPs introduced by the present Government need to be vehemently followed so as to continue the rewards being reaped.
India Meteorological Department (IMD)It was established in 1875.It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.IMD has been continuously redefining its focus for accurate Prediction of Monsoon and cyclones as our GDP is mainly based on agriculture.Initiatives of weather predictionsMausam App: It is a new mobile application called “Mausam” for the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) which will help users track weather updates and also bring in the enhanced forecast as well as warning services from the government.Meghdoot App: The Ministries of Earth Sciences and Agriculture have launched a mobile application that will provide location, and crop and livestock-specific weather-based agro advisories to farmers in local languagesDamini App: The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM)  launched ‘Damini’, a free mobile-based application that can warn people about lightning at least 30-45 minutes before it strikes.

Miniature Stupas of Nalanda

In News

  • Recently, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered two 1200-year-old  miniature votive stupas.

More about the news

  • Location:
    • Miniature stupas have been discovered near Sarai Tila mound within the premises of ‘Nalanda Mahavihara’, a world heritage site in Nalanda district in the state. 
  • About:
    • A Stupa is a hemispherical structure which symbolizes the burial mound of Buddha. It rose to prominence after the advent of Buddhism and peaked during Ashoka’s reign. Stupas evolved as Chorten in Tibet and pagodas in East Asia.
    • Archeologists suggest that the stupas must be around 1200 years old. 
  • Miniature stupa building:
    • Beginning in the 7th century CE in India, small miniature terracotta stupas became popular as votive offerings.  
    • Votive is the form of the stupa, with its distinctive domelike drum, originating in eight cylindrical structures in which the Buddha’s relics were placed after his death.

About Nalanda Mahavihara site complex

  • History:
    • Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar) in India. 
    • It is considered by historians to be the world’s very first residential university and among the greatest centers of learning in the ancient world.
    • It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. 
  • Establishment:
    • Nalanda was established during the Gupta Empire era and was supported by numerous Indian and Javanese patrons – both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.
  • Archaeological remains:
    • The Nalanda Mahavihara site comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. 
    • It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.
  • Significance:
    • The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions.

Pashu Sakhi Project

In News

  • The doctor didis (friend of the animals) creating social capital in rural Jharkhand under the Pashu Sakhi project.

About Pashu Sakhi project

  • Pashu Sakhi is a Community Animal care Service Provider (CASP) which will enable the last mile coverage in rural areas where clinical services for livestock are not available on time or are expensive to afford for the rural poor. 
  • The project was conceived under the National Rural Livelihood Mission, with the objective of building a line of community resource persons.
    • The World Bank funds it.
  • The pashu Sakhi model under JOHAR had been selected by the UN’sFood and Agriculture Organization and the International Food Policy Research Institute as one of the top eight global best practice models for farmer service delivery.
  • Features: Sakhi project that trains village women in basic livestock care, has changed the way that women are seen as well as how domestic animals are reared
    • They advise farmers about health check-ups for their livestock, vaccinations, de-worming, hygiene, breeding, feeding, and the management of animal waste.

Rajasthan: First State to implement blindness control policy

In News

  • Rajasthan has become the first State to implement a policy to control blindness, with the objective of ensuring the “right to sight”.

About the Policy

  • The Department of Medical and Health, on the direction of the Chief Minister released the policy document for the prevention of blindness.
  • It is aimed to bring light to the lives of more than three lakh people suffering from visual impairment in the state
  • The prevalence rate of blindness in the country was 1.1 percent in 2020 and work would be done to bring it down to 0.3 percent through the blindness control policy.
  • Features: Under the policy, the Rajasthan government will mandatorily run Keratoplasty Centres and Eye Banks at all the government medical colleges.
    • Efforts to eliminate visual impairment would be made in the districts in collaboration with voluntary organisations, trusts, hospitals and other charitable institutions working in this field.
    • In this regard, the state government will carry out a campaign for eye donation on an extensive level along with the private institutions.
    • Special training will be imparted to eye experts, eye surgeons, post-graduate students, counsellors working for eye donation and eye assistants etc.

Thiruvalluvar Day

In News

  • Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah has extended his warm greetings to the people on Thiruvalluvar day.


  • Thiruvalluvar Day was first celebrated on May 17 and 18 in 1935. 
  • In the present time, it is usually observed either on January 15 or 16 in Tamil Nadu and is a part of Pongal celebrations. 

Who is Thiruvalluvar?

  • He is a poet, and philosopher 
  • He is regarded as a cultural icon by Tamils.
  • Very little is known about his family background, religious affiliation, or birthplace.
    • It is believed that he used to live in the town of Mylapore, which in today’s time is a neighborhood in Chennai.
      • Some accounts say that he lived from the 8th to the 9th century.
      • Tamil orator and writer and father of the Pure Tamil movement, Maraimalai Adigal deduced 31 BC as the birth year of Valluvar, while Czech scholar in Indian literature and linguistics, Kamil Zvelebil inferred that Thiruvalluvar lived around 500 AD.


  • Thiruvalluvar’s primary work Thirukkural contains 1330 couplets (kurals) that are divided into 133 sections of 10 couplets each.
    • The text is divided into three parts with teachings on dharma, artha, and kama (virtue, wealth and love).

Social significance 

  • In the early 16th century, a temple was built within the Ekambareswarar temple complex in Mylapore and it was dedicated to Thiruvalluvar. 
  • In 1976, a temple memorial called Valluvar Kotam was built in Chennai and houses one of the largest auditoriums in Asia. 
  • Another statue of the legendary Tamil poet was unveiled in Ulsoor, near Bengaluru, in 2009. 
  • A statue of Valluvar was also erected outside the School of Oriental and African Studies in Russell Square, London.


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