geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

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

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 23rd July 2021

    1.     VENKATESWARA TEMPLE, TIRUMALA

    • News: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is planning to deploy anti-drone technology around the Sri Venkateswara temple. The temple management is in talks with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the technology provider, as well as Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL, Bengaluru), in this regard. The cost of the anti-drone installation is likely to be ₹25 crore.
    • About Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala:
      • Venkateswara Temple is a Hindu temple situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India.
      • The temple is dedicated to Venkateswara, a form of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared here to save mankind from trials and troubles of Kali Yuga.
      • Hence the place has also got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntha and the Lord here is referred to as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam. The temple is also known by other names including Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple.
      • Venkateswara is known by many other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
      • The temple is run by the body Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) which is under direct control of the Andhra Pradesh Government, which also appoints the head of TTD and uses the revenue from the shrine.
      • Tirumala Hills are part of the Seshachalam Hills range. The hills are 853 metres (2,799 ft) above sea level. The Hills comprise seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha.
      • The temple lies on the seventh peak, Venkatadri, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. Hence the temple is also referred to as the “Temple of Seven Hills”.
      • The temple is constructed in Dravidian architecture.
    • About Dravidian Style Architecture:
      • The temple is enclosed within a compound wall.
      • Gopuram: The entrance gateway in the centre of the front wall.
      • Vimana: The shape of the main temple tower. It is a stepped pyramid that rises up geometrically (unlike the Nagara style Shikhara that is curving).
      • In the Dravida style, shikhara is the word used for the crowning element at the top of the temple (which is shaped like a stupika or octagonal cupola).
      • At the entrance to the garbhagriha, there would be sculptures of fierce dvarapalas guarding the temple.
      • Generally, there is a temple tank within the compound.
      • Subsidiary shrines could be found wither within the main tower or beside the main tower.
      • In many temples, the garbhagriha is located in the smallest tower. It is also the oldest. With the passage of time and the rise of the population of the temple-town, additional boundary walls were added. The newest structure would mostly have the tallest gopuram.
      • Example in the Sriranganathar Temple at Srirangam, Tiruchirappally, there are 7 concentric rectangular enclosure walls each having gopurams. The tower at the centre has the garbhagriha.
      • Famous temple towns of Tamil Nadu: Kanchipuram, Thanjavur (Tanjore), Madurai and Kumbakonam.
      • In the 8th to 12th centuries – temples were not confined to being religious centres but became administrative centres as well with large swathes of land.

    2.     DIGITAL CURRENCY OF INDIA

    • News: The Reserve Bank of India is likely to soon kick off pilot projects to assess the viability of using digital currency to make wholesale and retail payments to help calibrate its strategy for introducing a full-scale central bank digital currency (CBDC).
    • Details:
      • India is already a leader in digital payments, but cash remains dominant for small-value transactions, he said, stressing that an official digital currency would reduce the cost of currency management while enabling real-time payments without any inter-bank settlement.
      • Some key issues are being examined: whether they should be used in retail or wholesale payments, the underlying technology, if the validation mechanism should be token-based, etc. Conducting pilots in wholesale and retail segments may be a possibility in the near future
      • A high-level inter-ministerial committee set up by the Finance Ministry had recommended the introduction of a CBDC with changes in the legal framework including the RBI Act, which currently empowers the RBI to regulate issuance of bank notes.
      • India’s fairly high currency-to-GDP ratio holds out another benefit of CBDC — to the extent large cash usage can be replaced by CBDC, the cost of printing, transporting and storing paper currency can be substantially reduced.
      • The advent of private virtual currencies is another reason… If these private currencies gain recognition, national currencies with limited convertibility are likely to come under some kind of threat.
      • Transacting with CBDC would be an instantaneous process as the need for inter-bank settlement would disappear as it would be a central bank liability handed over from one person to another.
      • They could enable a cheaper and more real-time globalisation of payment systems — it is conceivable for an Indian exporter to be paid on a real-time basis without any intermediary…The risks of dollar-rupee transactions, the time zone difference in such transactions would virtually disappear.
    • About Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC):
      • The phrase “central bank digital currency” (CBDC) has been used to refer to various proposals involving digital currency issued by a central bank.
      • A report by the Bank for International Settlements states that, although the term “central bank digital currency” is not well-defined, “it is envisioned by most to be a new form of central bank money […] that is different from balances in traditional reserve or settlement accounts.”
      • Central bank digital currencies are also called digital fiat currencies or digital base money.
      • The present concept of CBDCs was directly inspired by Bitcoin, but a CBDC is different from virtual currency and cryptocurrency, which are not issued by a state and lack the legal tender status declared by the government.
      • CBDC implementations will likely not use any sort of distributed ledger such as a blockchain.
    • About currency-to-GDP ratio: It represents the amount of currency in physical form against the total GDP of a nation. It shows under – development of financial sector in a nation. The ratio of currency in circulation to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) takes into account the size of the Indian economy. As any economy grows, the total amount of currency being used in it also grows in absolute terms.