Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Mughal Gardens
- Child Marriage
- Grievance Appellate Committee
- All India Survey on Higher Education
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Mughal Gardens
Context: The Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens — popularly known as the Mughal Gardens was renamed as Amrit Udyan on January 28, 2023.
About the news
- The Mughal Garden, located within the grounds of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
- The garden, known for its beautiful flowers and lush green plants, has now been renamed Amrit Udyan
About Planned Gardens during Mughal Era
- The concept of a planned garden, also known as the Charbagh was introduced in South Asia by the Mughal Emperor Babur. The first garden was established by him in Afghanistan.
- He brought the Persian wheel water supply system to create the gardens as the Indian plains were different from his homeland where the natural flow of water was used.
- The main elements of Mughal gardens include running water and a pool to reflect the beauties of the sky and the garden, different varieties of trees– to provide shade, to bear colorful and fragrant fruits or flowers; grass; birds to fill the gardens with song and the whole cooled by a pleasant breeze.
- The Turkish- Mongolian elements of the gardens are usually the inclusion of tents, carpets, and canopies reflecting the nomadic roots.
- Mughal Gardens served various functions which include their use as airy quadrangles within their palatial complexes, pleasurable retreats, and also as a base for hunting expeditions.
- The gardens were also used as official halting spaces; while the park was exclusively reserved for women (Zenan khana) and provided with additional facilities, such as hammams.
- These gardens have usually highly disciplined geometry and are of the following types:
- Most gardens are rectilinear, with four sections crisscrossed by pathways and water, also known as the Charbagh concept.
- Until the rule of Shah Jahan, the usual way of designing a garden was with the main structure at the center with an enclosure and gate (sometimes even multiple) and subsidiary structures like pavilions setting into walls.
- During Shah Jahan’s period, the importance was placed on the garden and the structure was built on one end of the site, rather than, at the center.
- The Taj Mahal stands as a great example of this concept, as it’s constructed on one end of the platform overlooking the river. Hence, the riverfront gardens became an important aspect during Shah Jahan’s reign.
Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan
- There are three gardens in the Rashtrapati Bhavan inspired by Mughal and Persian gardens. The one inspired from the garden in Srinagar is known as Mughal Garden. But the gardens were never officially named Mughal Gardens, they came to be known so owing to the style of architecture.
- The style was influenced by the Persian gardens, particularly the charbagh structure, which is intended to create a representation of harmony with the elements of nature. Typical features include pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens.
- Mughal Gardens were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and inspired by the Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir, the gardens at the Taj Mahal as well as Persian & Indian miniature paintings.
- Sir Edwin Lutyens designed the Mughal Garden in Delhi in 1917 in the Persian Charbagh style
- It features a variety of flowers and plants. The garden is divided into different sections, each showcasing a different type of plant or flower. The main attraction of the garden is the Mughal-style water channels that run through the garden and are surrounded by colourful flowers and plants.
Other gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan
- The Rashtrapati Bhavan houses a variety of gardens. Originally, they included East Lawn, Central Lawn, Long Garden and Circular Garden. However, during the term of former Presidents APJ Abdul Kalam and Ram Nath Kovind, more gardens were developed – such as Herbal-I, Herbal-II, Tactile Garden, Bonsai Garden and Arogya Vanam.
- Over time, Presidents have contributed to the gardens in their own ways for social or developmental works. C Rajagopalachari, the first Indian resident of Rashtrapati Bhavan, used a portion to cultivate wheat, President APJ Abdul Kalam contributed to the making of Herbal Gardens, Tactile Gardens for the visually handicapped, and others.
- The herbal garden, bonsai garden, central lawn, long garden and circular garden are now collectively called Amrit Udyan.
About Edwin Lutyens
- Sir Edwin Lutyens is an English architect noted for his versatility and range of invention along traditional lines.
- He is known especially for his planning of New Delhi and his design of the Viceroy’s House there.
- Edwin Lutyens had finalised the designs of the Mughal Gardens in 1917, but it was only during the year 1928-1929 that plantings were done. His collaborator for the gardens was Director of Horticulture, William Mustoe.
- Like the building of Rashtrapati Bhavan has two different styles of architecture, Indian and western, similarly, Lutyens brought together two different horticulture traditions together for the gardens — the Mughal style and the English flower garden. Mughal canals, terraces and flowering shrubs are beautifully blended with European flowerbeds, lawns and private hedges.
- He played an instrumental role in designing and building a section of the city of Delhi, known as New Delhi, which serves as the seat of the Government of India. In recognition of his contribution, New Delhi is also known as “Lutyens’ Delhi”. In collaboration with Sir Herbert Baker, he was also the main architect of several monuments in New Delhi such as the India Gate. He also designed the Viceroy’s House now known as the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
2 . Child Marriage
Context: Earlier this month, the Supreme Court announced that it would examine whether minor girls, as young as 15 years, can marry on the basis of custom or personal law when such marriages are considered an offence in statutory law.
- Earlier this month, the Supreme Court announced that it would examine whether minor girls, as young as 15 years, can marry on the basis of custom or personal law when such marriages are considered an offence in statutory law.
- The legal age for marriage is 18 years for women and 21 years for men. Marriage below this age is considered to be child marriage, and hence an offence.
- In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is below 18 years, is rape, reading down Exception 2 to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code which allowed the husband of a girl child — between 15 and 18 years of age — to have non-consensual sex with her.
What is the Supreme Court looking at?
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud issued a formal notice on a petition filed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) against a recent order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that said a girl, on attaining puberty or the age of 15 years and above, could be married on the basis of Muslim personal law, irrespective of the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
- The Supreme Court said the High Court order would not act as a judicial precedent for other courts. The NCPCR argued that when girls as young as 14 and 15 are being married off, a plea of personal law and custom cannot be used when the POCSO Act and the Indian Penal Code make such marriages an offence.
- The Supreme Court has also appealed to Parliament to lower the age of consent under the POCSO Act and the IPC which set it at 18 years, thus criminalising all adolescent consensual sexual activity. Last December, the government told Parliament that it does not plan to do that yet.
Why is there a minimum age of marriage?
- The law prescribes a minimum age of marriage to essentially outlaw child marriages and prevent the abuse of minors.
- Personal laws of various religions that deal with marriage have their own standards, often reflecting custom.
What are the various laws that govern marriage in India?
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has sought to amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006, to increase the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years. In December 2021, it was referred to a parliamentary standing committee for further deliberations, and it has already got three extensions to submit its report, the last being in October 2022.
- NCPCR & NCW had raised the question whether personal law could override statutory provisions of the POCSO Act and other laws. The NCW petition stated that under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, Special Marriage Act, 1954 and Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the minimum age of marriage for a man is 21 years and for a woman it is 18 years. “However, under the Muslim personal law in India, persons who have attained puberty are eligible to get married i.e. on attaining the age of 15 years, while they are still minor
What has the Assam government decreed?
- The Assam Cabinet recently announced that men who marry minor girls would be booked under stringent laws prescribing imprisonment from two years to life. Citing the National Family Health Survey-5 report, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said an average of 31.8% of girls in Assam get married at the “prohibited age” and 11.7% become mothers before adulthood. The national average is 23.3% and 6.8% respectively.
Which are the other States where child marriage is high?
- According to a recent survey 70 districts spread across 13 States including Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal where prevalence of child marriage is high.
- In Jharkhand, according to NFHS-5 (2021), 32.2% women married before they turned 18 compared to 37.9% in 2016 (NFHS 4); in West Bengal, 41.6% women got married before they turned 18 (NFHS-5) and the percentage was the same in NFHS-4; Madhya Pradesh has seen a reduction in child marriage (from 32.4% in NFHS-4 to 23.1% in NFHS-5), though the infant mortality rate is high — 41.3 per 1000 live births.
What are the effects of early marriage?
- The Young Lives, India-NCPCR study pointed out that girls who got married before turning into adults lacked reproductive choices and were denied a host of other rights, including education, autonomy and often a lack of livelihood.
- With 59% of Indian girls in the 15-19 group suffering from anaemia — it stood at 54% in NFHS-4 — early child-bearing could result in poor maternal and child health and poor nutritional status.
Are provisions of the PCMA misused?
- Women’s rights activists point out that parents often use the PCMA to punish their daughters who marry against their wishes or elope to evade forced marriages, domestic abuse, and lack of education possibilities. Hence, within a patriarchal setting, it is more likely that the change in the age limit will increase parents’ authority over young adults. A 2008 Law Commission report on family law reform recommended a uniform age of marriage for boys and girls at 18 years and not 21. It held that since 18 is the age at which a citizen can vote, they should be allowed to marry at that age too.
3 . Grievance Appellate Committee
Context: The Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) set up by the government to look into users’ complaints against large social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will commence operation from March 1, said the Ministry of Electronics and IT.
About the News
- The government has established three Grievance Appellate Committees based on the recently amended Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021) to look into users’ complaints against internet intermediaries.
- The notification to this effect has been published. As per the notification, three Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) have been constituted with three members each.
- The IT rules 2021 provide for creating avenues for grievance redressal apart from Courts and ensure that the Constitutional rights of Indian citizens are not contravened by any Big-tech Platform by ensuring new accountability standards for SSMIs.
Need for GAC
- The Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) is a critical piece of overall policy and legal framework to ensure that Internet in India is Open, Safe & Trusted and Accountable.
- The need for GAC was created due to large numbers of grievances being left unaddressed or unsatisfactorily addressed by Internet Intermediaries.
- GAC is expected to create a culture of responsiveness amongst all Internet Platforms and Intermediaries towards their consumers.
- The GAC will be a virtual Digital platform that will operate only online and digitally – wherein the entire appeal process, from filing of appeal to the decision thereof, shall be conducted digitally.
- Users will have the option to appeal against decision of the grievance officer of the social media intermediaries and other online intermediaries before this new appellate body.
- The Committee will endeavour to address the user’s appeal within a period of 30 days.
Composition of the GAC
- Each of the three GACs will have a chairperson, two whole-time members from various government entities and retired senior executives from the industry for a term of three years from the date of assumption of office
- The first panel will be chaired by the chief executive officer of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ashutosh Shukla and Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) former chief general manager and chief information officer Sunil Soni have been appointed as the whole-time members of the panel.
- The second panel will be chaired by the joint secretary in charge of the Policy and Administration Division in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- The third panel will be chaired by Kavita Bhatia, a senior scientist at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Former traffic service officer of the Indian Railways Sanjay Goel and former managing director and chief executive officer of IDBI Intech Krishnagiri Ragothamarao have been appointed as the whole-time members of the third panel.
What are Significant Social Media Intermediary
- The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were released via a notification dating 25th February 2021. It introduced the concept of SSMIs – Significant Social Media Intermediaries.
- Rule 2(1)(w) of the IT Rules 2021 define a “social media intermediary” as “an intermediary which primarily or solely enables online interaction between two or more users and allows them to create, upload, share, disseminate, modify or access information using its services.”
- Social media intermediaries with more than 50,00,000 registered users in India fall in the category of being classified as SSMIs and are thus mandated to meet the additional due diligence requirements.
- Mandatory Appointments under Rule 4:
- A Chief Compliance Officer
- A Nodal Contact Officer who should be available round the clock
- A Resident Grievance Officer
- Grievance Redressal Mechanism: The guidelines have instructed social media platforms to have a grievance redressal mechanism so that any content that is shared and if it is violative of public order or is not regulatory, a complaint of the same can be registered with the Grievance Redressal Officer.
- This officer is mandated to acknowledge the complaint made, within a time span of 24 hours and provide a resolution for it within a 15 days’ time slot. In those cases which are directly related to crimes against women, the mandate is that the complaint should be resolved within 24 hours
- These compliance related regulations/procedures/mandates are to be strictly followed by SSMI’s in order to avoid losing the ‘safe harbour’ protection that is offered to them under Section 79 of the IT Act 2000
4 . All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE)
Context: The Union Ministry of Education on Sunday released data from the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2020-2021, which showed a 7.5% increase in student enrolments across the country compared to 2019-20, with total student enrolments reaching 4.13 crore.
About the Study
- The Ministry of Education, Government of India has released All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-2021.
- The Ministry has been conducting All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) since 2011, covering all higher educational institutions located in Indian Territory and imparting higher education in the country.
- The survey collects detailed information on different parameters such as student enrolment, teacher’s data, infrastructural information, financial information etc.
- For the first time, in AISHE 2020-21, HEIs have filled data using entirely online data collection platform through the Web Data Capture Format (DCF) developed by Department of Higher Education through the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
About All India survey on Higher education
- The survey covers all the Institutions in the country engaged in imparting of higher education. Data is being collected on several parameters such as teachers, student enrolment, programmes, examination results, education finance, infrastructure.
- Indicators of educational development such as Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Pupil-teacher ratio, Gender Parity Index, Per Student Expenditure will also be calculated from the data collected through AISHE.
- These are useful in making informed policy decisions and research for development of education sector.
Findings of the Survey
- Enrollment in Distance Education : The survey also revealed that in 2020-21, the year when the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a 7% rise in enrolments in distance education programmes.
- SC, ST and OBC students enrollment – The data showed that there were 2 lakh more SC students who got enrolled in 2020-21 compared to the previous year. The year also saw about 3 lakh more ST students and 6 lakh more OBC students getting enrolled for higher education.
- There is a notable increase in OBC student enrolment since 2014-15 of around 36 Lakh (32%). While the increase was noted in absolute numbers compared to 2019-20, the proportion of SC students dropped to 14.2% in 2020-21 from 14.7% the previous year and the proportion of OBC students dropped to 35.8% in 2020-21 from 37% the previous year.
- Enrollment of Muslim Students : Further, the proportion of Muslim students enrolling for higher education dropped from 5.5% in 2019-20 to 4.6% in 2020-21 with the proportion of ‘other minority students’ dropping from 2.3% to 2% in the same period.
- Enrollment of PWD students – The number of students in the Persons with Disabilities category also dropped in 2020-21 to 79,035 from 92,831 the previous year.
- Female Enrollment – Female enrolment in higher education programmes had increased to 49% of total enrolments in 2020-21 compared to 45% the previous year and the Gross Enrolment Ratio for all enrolments (as per 2011 Census) increased by over 2 points to 27.3.
- The highest enrolment was seen at the undergraduate level, which accounted for 78.9% of all enrolments, followed by postgraduate level courses, which accounted for 11.4% of the year’s total enrolments.
- Most Popular Courses : Among all undergraduate enrolments, the most popular remained the Bachelor of Arts programme, which saw 104 lakh enrolments (52.7% women; 47.3% men), followed by Bachelor of Science courses, where too women outnumbered men.
- At the postgraduate level, the most popular courses remained in the Social Sciences stream, where women accounted for 56% enrolments in 2020-21, followed by Science courses, where women accounted for 61.3% of all enrolments.
- Except for management courses at the PG-level, where enrolment of women stood at 43.1%, all other PG courses saw women outnumbering men.
- At the PhD level, the most popular course was in the field of Engineering and Technology, followed by Science; in both disciplines, women accounted for less than 50% enrolments (33.3% for Engineering and Tech; and 48.8% for Science).
- The overall figures for STEM enrolments (at all levels of higher education) showed that women lagged behind men, who accounted for over 56% of enrolments in these fields.
- Teachers : While the survey found that the number of teachers increased across higher education institutes, SC and ST teachers continued to be under-represented. “At All-India level, 56.2% teachers belong to General category; 32.2% to OBC; 9.1% to SC and 2.5% to ST category. About 5.6% teachers come from Muslim minority group and 8.8% are from other minority groups.”
- The survey also found that there were 75 women teachers to every 100 male ones across institutes in the country. The teacher-pupil ratio was at 27 for all universities, colleges and standalone institutions and at 24 if only regular mode is considered. It concluded that the best teacher-pupil ratio was found in States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
- While Uttar Pradesh; Maharashtra; Tamil Nadu; Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka and Rajasthan are the top 6 States in terms of number of students enrolled, Uttar Pradesh; Maharashtra; Karnataka; Rajasthan; Tamil Nadu; Madhya Pradesh; Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are the top 8 States in terms of number of colleges
5 . Facts for Prelims
- Jatar Deul is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located at Kanakan Dighi Village near Raidighi Town in the State of West Bengal.
- The Temple stands on a small hill in the landscape of the southern Sundarbans settlements.
- The temple has been classified as a Monument of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Temple is believed to be built in 10th– 11th century CE and follows Kalinga style of architecture.
- Jatar Deul adopts the Oriya style of the colossal spire, “Deul,” rather than the conventional Bengali style of Chala or Ratna.
- In Kalinga style – the temple is made up of two structures: a tower and hall. The Tower is called Deula., and the hall is called as Jagmohan.
- Titanosaurs were a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, including genera from all seven continents.
- The titanosaurs were the last surviving group of long-necked sauropods, with taxa still thriving at the time of the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous.
- This group includes some of the largest land animals known to have ever existed, such as Patagotitan—estimated at 37 m (121 ft) long with a weight of 69 tonnes (76 tons) and the comparably-sized Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus from the same region.
- The group’s name alludes to the mythological Titans of ancient Greek mythology, via the type genus (now considered a nomen dubium) Titanosaurus.
- Together with the brachiosaurids and relatives, titanosaurs make up the larger sauropod clade Titanosauriformes. Titanosaurs have long been a poorly-known group, and the relationships between titanosaur species are still not well-understood.
- Munroe Island or Mundrothuruthu is an inland island group located at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River, in Kollam district of Kerala
- It is a group of eight small islets comprising a total area of about 13.4 km2.
- Each of them is separated by small water channels and lakes.
- The place is named in honour of Resident Colonel John Munroe, of the former princely state of Travancore. He is said to have integrated several backwater regions by digging canals.
Noble’s Helen Butterfly
- It is a swallowtail butterfly which was disappearing from its previously known ranges from Myanmar and southern China to Vietnam. It has been recently recorded for the first time in India
- It is characterised by a much large dorsal white spot, was once common in the montane forest at moderate elevations in northern Thailand.
- Apart from Thailand, this species of swallowtail butterfly has been reported from Myanmar, Yunnan and Hubai regions of China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.