Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020


About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 12th January 2022

    1.    LEGAL TENDER

    • News: The inquiry related to former AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala having bought malls and mills using ₹1,674.50 crore in demonetised currency notes has led to an interesting development, with the Madras High Court observing that such notes cannot be considered legal tender at all.
    • About Legal Tender:
      • Legal tender is anything recognized by law as a means to settle a public or private debt or meet a financial obligation, including tax payments, contracts, and legal fines or damages.
      • The national currency is legal tender in practically every country. A creditor is legally obligated to accept legal tender toward repayment of a debt.
      • Legal tender is the legally recognized money within a given political jurisdiction.
      • Legal tender laws effectively prevent the use of anything other than the existing legal tender as money in the economy.
      • Legal tender serves the economic functions of money plus a few additional functions, such as making monetary policy and currency manipulation possible.


    • News: The Idol Wing CID Police on Tuesday seized 11 idols, including eight antique ones, from an artefact shop in Mamallapuram.
    • About Mamallapuram:
      • Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a town in Chengalpattu district in the southeastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, best known for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of 7th- and 8th-century Hindu Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram. It is one of the famous tourist sites in India.
      • Mahabalipuram was one of two major port cities in the Pallva kingdom.
      • The town was named after Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who was also known as Mahabali. Along with economic prosperity, it became the site of a group of royal monuments, many carved out of the living rock.
      • These are dated to the 7th and 8th centuries: rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), the giant open-air rock relief the Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple dedicated to Shiva.
      • The town has a collection of 7th- and 8th-century Hindu religious monuments that has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
      • It is on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
    • About Shore Temple:
      • The Shore Temple (c. 725 AD) is a complex of temples and shrines that overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
      • It is located in Mahabalipuram, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India.
      • It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD.
      • At the time of its creation, the site was a busy port during the reign of Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty.
      • As one of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
      • It is one of the oldest structural (versus rock-cut) stone temples of South India.
      • Marco Polo and the European merchants who came to Asia after him called the site Seven Pagodas. One of these is believed to be the Shore Temple. The temple probably acted as a landmark for seafarers. As it appears like a Pagoda, the name became familiar to the seafarers.
      • This structural temple complex was the culmination of the architectural creations that were initiated by the King Narasimhavarman II in mid 7th century starting with the Cave temples and the monolithic Rathas.
      • The main Shore Temple, which faces east so that the sun rays shine on the main deity of Shiva Linga in the shrine, is a five-storied structural Hindu temple rather than rock-cut as are the other monuments at the site.
      • Built with sculpted granite stones hauled from a nearby quarry, it is the earliest important structural temple in South India.

    3.    THE DAM SAFETY ACT 2021

    • News: The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered notice to the Centre on a case filed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Lok Sabha member S. Ramalingam challenging the constitutional validity of the Dam Safety Act, 2021, on the grounds that it goes against federalism and is beyond the legislative competence of the Centre.
    • About The Dam Safety Act 2021:
      • The Act provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of all specified dams across the country
      • These are dams with height more than 15 metres, or height between 10 metres to 15 metres with certain design and structural conditions.
      • It constitutes two national bodies: the National Committee on Dam Safety, whose functions include evolving policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety standards; and the National Dam Safety Authority, whose functions include implementing policies of the National Committee, providing technical assistance to State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs), and resolving matters between SDSOs of states or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that state.
      • It also constitutes two state bodies: State Committee on Dam Safety, and State Dam Safety Organisation.  These bodies will be responsible for the surveillance, inspection, and monitoring the operation and maintenance of dams within their jurisdiction.
      • Functions of the national bodies and the State Committees on Dam Safety have been provided in Schedules to the Act.  These Schedules can be amended by a government notification.
      • An offence under the Act can lead to imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both.
      • The Act applies to all specified dams in the country.  This includes dams built on both inter and intra state rivers.
      • As per the Constitution, states can make laws on water including water storage and water power.
      • However, Parliament may regulate and develop inter-state river valleys if it deems it necessary in public interest.
      • The question is whether Parliament has the jurisdiction to regulate dams on rivers flowing entirely within a state.
      • The functions of the National Committee on Dam Safety, the National Dam Safety Authority, and the State Committee on Dam Safety are listed in Schedules to the Act.
      • These Schedules can be amended by the government through a notification.  The question is whether core functions of authorities should be amended through a notification or whether such amendments should be passed by Parliament.
      • The Bill applies to all specified dams in the country. These are dams with:
        • Height more than 15 metres, or
        • Height between 10 metres to 15 metres and satisfying certain additional design conditions such as, reservoir capacity of at least one million cubic meter, and length of top of the dam at least 500 metres.
      • Dam owners will be responsible for the safe construction, operation, maintenance and supervision of a dam. They must provide a dam safety unit in each dam.  This unit will inspect the dams:
        • Before and after monsoon season, and
        • During and after every earthquake, flood, calamity, or any sign of distress.
      • Functions of dam owners include:
        • Preparing an emergency action plan,
        • Carrying out risk assessment studies at specified regular intervals, and
        • Preparing a comprehensive dam safety evaluation through a panel of experts.


    • News: An extended range sea-to-sea variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was test fired on Tuesday from the recently commissioned stealth guided missile destroyer INSVisakhapatnam.
    • About Brahmos Cruise Missile:
      • The BrahMos (designated PJ-10) is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land. It is notably one of the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world.
      • It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace.
      • It is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology.
      • The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
      • It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile currently in operation.
      • A hypersonic version of the missile, BrahMos-II, is also presently under development with a speed of Mach 7–8 to boost aerial fast strike capability.
      • In 2016, as India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), India and Russia are now planning to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 800 km-plus range and an ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy. In 2019, India upgraded the missile with a new range of 650 km with plans to eventually upgrade all missiles to a range of 1500 km.