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Prelims Booster

18th September – Prelims Booster

Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Award

Union Education Minister has conferred the Second Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Award in 14 categories to the Institutions under AICTE.

What is ‘Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Award’?

  • The Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Awardis being organised by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) since 2019, which aims to motivate, recognise and honour the AICTE approved institutions to raise their performance in the specific domain leading to significant contribution for the growth and development of the society.
  • In order to motivate and honor technical institutions, AICTE under its Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Award (USVA) 2020 has proposed the theme of the year as “INDIA FIGHTS CORONA”.

More details –

  • College of Engineering, Pune gets first award in overall category.
  • In addition to Utkrishtha Sansthan Vishwakarma Awards, AICTE conducts AICTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards since 2017 for promoting innovative spirit and scientific temperament for holistic development of society through the stake holders of its approved institutes. By means of this competition, the innovations and achievements of individuals are recognized and applauded.

Republic of Barbados

Queen Elizabeth II, who is the head of state in the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, will be dropped as monarch by Barbados next year.

Before it celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence from British rule in November 2021, the prosperous West Indies nation will make history by becoming the first country in almost three decades to sever ties with the British royal family and become a republic; Mauritius being the last to do so in 1992.

Why Barbados wants to become a republic?

  • After Barbados became independent in 1966 after 341 years of British rule, it chose to retain a formal link with the British royal family, as did other self-governing Commonwealth nations such as Canada and Australia.
  • In 1998, a constitutional review commission in the country recommended that Barbados become a republic.
  • The recent announcement does not come as a surprise to Britain, and both the British royal family and the UK foreign ministry have reacted by saying that the decision was up to the people of Barbados.
  • The Caribbean nation is, however, expected to remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the 54-nation club of mostly former British colonies which is led by the queen, and includes India.

Significance of the move –

  • When Barbados decided to retain the British monarch as head of state even after achieving independence, it was seen as a strategic move to maintain close ties with the United Kingdom.
  • However, many thought of the link as a lingering symbol of imperialism and racism– a view that seems to have become overwhelmingly popular today.
  • Experts have also said that move could have received an impetus thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and its worldwide anti-racism protests after the death of George Floyd in the US in May.
  • In the Caribbean region, Barbados will now follow the lead of Guyana, who dropped the queen as head of state in 1970, Trinidad and Tobago in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.
  • The decision could also have an effect on Jamaica, whose prime minister has pledged to hold a referendum on the topic.

History of ‘Queen’ rule in India –

  • When the British ruled India, the Queen’s family, known as the House of Windsor, held the title of ‘Emperor/Empress of India’ from 1876 when Victoria was the ruling monarch.
  • The last person in the family styled as ‘Emperor’ of India was George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father.
  • The Windsors’ legal ties with India were severed after the country became a republic in 1950, but continued with Pakistan, which did not adopt its first constitution until 1956, and Elizabeth II officially served as the country’s ‘Queen’ for four years after her coronation in 1952.

Banking Regulation Act, 1949

The Lok Sabha has passed an amendment to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

Need –

  • The government had to go for an ordinance because the financial health of many of the cooperative societies, which are also performing as banks, “was becoming very delicate”.
  • The financial state of affairs of 277 urban cooperative banks is weak and they are reporting loss. 105 cooperative banks are unable to meet the minimum regulatory capital requirement. 47 banks have net worth is negative. 328 urban cooperative banks have more than 15 per cent gross NPA ratio.
  • The stress in cooperative banks increased due to pandemic and gross ratios of urban cooperative banks increased from 7.7 per cent in March 2019 to over 10 per cent in March 2020.

About the changes –

  • It will bring cooperative banks under the direct supervision of the RBI and bring them under some of the same governance norms as commercial banks.
  • It will also allow the RBI to amalgamate or reconstruct a stressed cooperative bank without first imposing a moratorium, thus protecting the interests of the depositors.
  • Few more amendments have been proposed under Section 45 of the Act that will help the central bank to develop a scheme to ensure the interest of the public, banking system, account holders in the bank and banking company’s proper management, without disrupting any banking functionalities. However, the changes will not affect the existing powers of the state registrars of co-operative societies under state laws.
  • Besides, amendments in Sections 3 and 56 extend the provisions applicable to scheduled commercial banks to cooperative banks and brings them within the central bank’s regulation.
  • The amendments do not apply to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) or co-operative societies whose primary object and principal business is long-term finance for agricultural development, and which do not use the words “bank“, “banker” or “banking.
  • The amendments do not affect existing powers of the State Registrars of Co-operative Societies under state co-operative laws.

Kapila Vatsyayan

Kapila Vatsyayan, the grand matriarch of cultural research has passed away recently.

About Kapila Vatsyayan –

  • Born into a Punjabi Arya Samaji family on December 25, 1928, the fiercely independent and multi-faceted personality effortlessly combined theoretical knowledge with rigorous practice and brought a multidisciplinary approach to understanding Indian culture.
  • Her holistic approach broke new ground in the study of Indian dance forms and not only positioned them on the cultural map of the world but also led to extensive research work, opening new vistas.
  • Having imbibed the rich cultural values of Oriental dance during her stay at Shantiniketan, she went on to learn Kathak from Achhan Maharaj, Manipuri from Guru Amobi Singh, and Bharatanatyam from guru Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai. She performed a Kathak recital at the first Dance Festival held at the Feroz Shah Kotla Grounds in 1945.
  • Over the years, Ms. Vatsyayan, a Padma Vibhushan awardee, engaged extensively with western dance forms as well, and maintained that while the Indian tradition is in dialogue with the earth, the West aspires to be free from it. “But never manages to,” she would assert.
  • Blending tangible with the intangible and finding connections between the arts and the sciences, she wrote extensively on the geometrical body stances in Indian dance forms and complex rhythmic patterns that reflect mathematical flourishes in the Indian cultural firmament.
  • She was the former representative of India to UNESCO’s executive board. She would often underline that any experiment should be to augment Indian classical forms, not to dilute or distract the new generation from its essence.
  • Her canvas was not limited to dance, though. This is evident in her vast corpus of writings, such as Plural Cultures and Monolithic Structures: Comprehending India, Dance in Indian Painting and The Indian Arts, Their Ideational Background and Principles of Forms.

Contribution –

  • During the decades of the Nehru-Gandhi rule, Vatsyayan was the go-to person for showcasing Indian culture to the world. She helped legends like Birju Maharaj and Balasaraswati find a global audience.
  • From taking troupes of artistes all over the world as part of Jawaharlal Nehru’s cultural diplomacy to borrowing Chola bronzes at the National Museum for the Non-Aligned Movement Conference in 1983 from south Indian temples, she did it all, cutting a lot of red tape along the way.
  • She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2006 but had to vacate her seat following the office of profit controversy. In April 2007, she was renominated.
  • She was married to Hindi writer S.H. Vatsyayan ‘Ageya’.

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