Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 28 May, 2021

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Installation of “Reclining Buddha” Statue Postponed

What is the News? On the occasion of Buddha Jayanti, India’s largest statue of the Reclining Buddha was scheduled for installation at the Buddha International Welfare Mission temple in Bodh Gaya. However, the ceremony has been postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

What is Reclining Buddha?

  • Reclining Buddha is a statue or image of Buddha lying down on his right side. It represents Buddha during his last illness i.e. about to enter Parinirvana.


  • Parinirvana is the stage of great salvation after death that can only be attained by enlightened souls.
  • The Buddha’s death came when he was 80 years old, in a state of meditation, in Kushinagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh, close to the state’s border with Bihar.

Iconographic Representation of Reclining Buddha:

  • The statues and images of the Reclining Buddha show him lying on his right side, his head resting on a cushion or on his right elbow.
  • It is a popular iconographic depiction in Buddhism. It shows that all beings have the potential to be awakened and release from the cycle of death and rebirth.

 Origin of Depiction of Reclining Buddha:

  • The Reclining Buddha was first depicted in Gandhara art which began in the period between 50 BC and 75 AD. It peaked during the Kushana period from the first to the fifth centuries AD.
  • However, since Buddha was against idol worship, his representation was through symbols, in the centuries immediately following his parinirvana (483 BC).
  • But as the devotional aspect subsequently entered Buddhist practice, the iconographic representations of the Buddha also began.

Statues of Reclining Buddha Outside India: Reclining postures are more prevalent in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia.

  • The largest reclining Buddha in the world is the 600-foot Winsein Tawya Buddha built-in 1992 in Mawlamyine, Myanmar.
  • The Bhamala Buddha Parinirvana in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dates back to the 2nd century AD. It is considered the oldest statue of its kind in the world.

Statues of Reclining Buddha in India:

  • Cave No 26 of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta contains a 24-foot-long and nine-foot-tall sculpture of the Reclining Buddha. It is believed to have been carved in the 5th century AD.
  • Kushinagar where the Buddha actually attained parinirvana has a 6-metre-long red sandstone monolith statue of the Reclining Buddha inside the Parinirvana Stupa.

Other depictions of the Buddha in India:

  • At the Mahabodhi temple, the Buddha is sitting in the bhoomi-sparsha mudra. His hand is pointing towards the ground. It symbolises earth as being witness to his enlightenment.
  • At Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first sermon, the stone statue has a hand gesture called the dharma-chakra mudra which signifies preaching. This is also the most popular depiction in India along with the Bodhi tree depiction.
  • The Walking Buddha is either beginning his journey toward enlightenment or returning after giving a sermon. This is the least common of the Buddha postures and is seen mostly in Thailand.

Source: Indian Express

Traceability Provision of New IT Rules 2021

What is the News?

The Government of India has referred to the 2019 Supreme Court order to justify the introduction of Traceability Provision in the IT (Information Technology) Rules, 2021.

The Traceability Provision requires the social media platforms to compulsorily identify the first originator of the information in India, upon government or court order.

About the 2019 Supreme Court order:

  • In 2019, the SC was hearing a petition filed by Facebook. SC showed concern at the utilisation of social media for committing crime.
  • The court had said that social media had become a source for activities such as:
    • Pornography
    • Criminals use it to sell weapons, drugs
    • Hate and violence are shared and
    • Some messages on social media may even threaten national sovereignty.
  • Hence, the court had asked to bring a well-framed policy to allow the Government to get information about the first originators of messages. It was to apply to major social media intermediaries with end-to-end encryption technology.
    • End-to-end encryption ensures that no one can read the message, except for the sender and the receiver.
  • However, the court had also said that the Decryption policy should not invade the individual’s Right to Privacy. Hence, the order underlined that traceability should be restricted to “specific circumstances”.

Arguments against the Traceability Provision of IT Rules,2021:

  • Compromises Privacy of Individual: The traceability provision compromises the privacy of each user. Because there is no way to predict which message would be subject to a tracing order from the government.
  • Against Doctrine of Proportionality: The principle says that It is a principle where courts examine processes of the administration for reaching or recalling a decision. Proportionality means that the action should not be more drastic than it ought to be for obtaining the desired result.
    • A court can examine whether the executive could achieve the goal (i.e. elimination of the threat to security and sovereignty of the nation by social media) by adopting less drastic measures.
  • Subordinate Legislation: The 2021 IT Rules is subordinate legislation under the Information Technology Act,2000. But neither the Act nor any other law requires a social media intermediary using end-to-end encryption to reveal the identity of the first originator of a message.
    • However, the subordinate law has overshot the original intent and boundaries of the parent Act.

Source: The Hindu

India Abstains on “UNHRC Resolution” to Probe in Gaza Violence

What is the News?

India has abstained from voting on the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council(UNHRC) on Gaza. The resolution calls for the setting up of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in the recent conflict between Israel and Palestine.

About the UNHRC Resolution:

  • The resolution was moved by Pakistan and Palestine. It called on the president of the UN Human rights council to set up the Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations to investigate violence in the recent conflict between Israel and Palestine.
  • The resolution was passed by 24 votes in favour and nine votes against the resolution,
  • Significance: This would be the first time that a Commission of Inquiry received a mandate that is not time-bound i.e.  “continuing mandate”.
    • Until now, the Commissions of Inquiry set up by UNHRC to probe human rights violations like in Syria or Sri Lanka had a validity of one year. It has to be renewed periodically.

Why has India abstained from voting on the resolution?

  • India has abstained from voting on the resolution along with 13 other countries including France, Japan, Nepal, Brazil, and South Korea. But India did not give an explanation of its vote at the session.
  • But while speaking at the session, India has welcomed the ceasefire announced by Israel and Palestine.
  • India has also called on both parties to refrain from any attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhood.
  • Further, India has also reiterated its demand for the establishment of two States living side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.
  • However, India has dropped the stock phrase of its strong support to the “just Palestinian cause” in its statement. This phrase used to be part of Indian statements in the past. This signals a slight shift away from Palestine and towards Israel.

Source: Indian Express

Defence Minister launches “SeHAT OPD portal”

What is the News?

The Defence Minister has launched the ‘Services e-Health Assistance & Tele-consultation (SeHAT) OPD portal.

About SeHAT OPD portal:

  • SeHAT OPD Portal aims to provide tele-medicine services to the serving Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families of the three Services.
  • The services will be provided by defence services doctors who are on regular duties.
  • Developed by: The portal has been developed and maintained by the Integrated Defence Staff & Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
  • The portal has been designed on the lines of e Sanjeevani, a similar free OPD service run by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW) for all citizens.
  • Significance: As the portal provides contactless consultations in an easy and effective manner. The portal will help reduce the load on hospitals and patients from the armed services.

Source: PIB

“Ayush Clinical Case Repository (ACCR) portal” and “Ayush Sanjivani App”

What is the News?

The Ministry of Ayush has launched the Ayush Clinical Case Repository (ACCR) portal and the third version of the Ayush Sanjivani App.

About Ayush Clinical Case Repository(ACCR):

  • The Ayush Clinical Case Repository(ACCR) Portal is conceptualized and developed by the Ministry of Ayush. It is a platform to support both Ayush practitioners and the public.
  • Purpose: The portal aims at aggregating information about clinical outcomes achieved by Ayush practitioners on a large scale.

Significance of this Portal:

  • Firstly, the portal will help the Ayush practitioners to know approaches adopted by their colleagues in the treatment of various patients.
  • Secondly, the public can also go through the portal to understand the strengths of various Ayush systems in the treatment of various diseases.
  • Lastly, the portal will not only benefit the Ayush practitioner and the public but will also help widen the research in the field of Ayush.

About Ayush Sanjivani app:

  • Ayush Sanjivani app has been developed by the Ministry of Ayush and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Purpose: The app intends to generate a significant study and data regarding the efficacy of selected Ayush interventions. The data analyzed will be helpful for the further development of Ayush Systems.

Source: PIB

“Banni Grasslands” -NGT Upholds Rights of Maldharis

What is the News?

The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has ordered all encroachments to be removed from Gujarat’s Banni grasslands within six months. Further, NGT directed a joint committee to prepare an action plan in a month.

The court also said the Maldharis will continue to hold the right to conserve the community forests in the Banni Grasslands area. These rights were granted to them as per the provisions in Section 3 of Forest Rights Act, 2006.

About Banni Grasslands:

  • Banni Grassland is situated near the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. It is considered to be the largest Grassland in Asia.
  • The grassland spreads over 2,618 kilometers and accounts for almost 45% of the pastures in Gujarat.
  • Formation: The word ‘Banni’ comes from the Hindi word ‘banai’, meaning made. The land here was formed from the sediments that were deposited by the Indus and other rivers over thousands of years.
  • Ecosystem: Two ecosystems, wetlands and grasslands are juxtaposed in Banni.
  • Vegetation: The vegetation in Banni is sparse and highly dependent on rainfall. It is dominated by low-growing forbs and graminoids, many of which are halophiles (salt-tolerant), as well as scattered tree cover and scrub. The grasslands were traditionally managed by a system of rotational grazing.
  • Flora and Fauna: The area is rich in flora and fauna with 192 species of plants, 262 species of birds, several species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
  • Reserve Forest: In 1955, the court notified the grassland will be a reserve forest. In, 2019, the NGT ordered to demarcate the boundaries of the Banni grassland and restricted non-forest activities.
  • Significance: Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has identified this grassland reserve as one of the last remaining habitats of the cheetah in India. Also, a possible reintroduction site for the species.

About Maldhari Tribe:

  • Maldharis are a tribal herdsmen community in Gujarat, India. The literal meaning of Maldhari is a keeper (dhari) of the animal stock (mal).
  • The Maldharis have lived in the Gir National Park, in the Banni Grasslands Reserve area, for the past thousand years.
  • They have co-existed with the lions which the Gir National Park was created to preserve, for these thousand years.
  • Maldhari community breeds Banni Buffaloes, a species endemic to the region. The buffaloes are adaptive to Kutch’s hot weather condition.

Source: Down To Earth

A study found the reason behind “crocodile tears”

What is the News?

Around the world, the phrase Crocodile Tears is most often used for politicians who are seen as being fake and theatrical in their reactions to misery and suffering. But scientists so far never understood the complete reason behind Crocodile tears.

When do Crocodiles Cry?

  • A study was conducted in 2006 by the researchers to understand when crocodiles cry.
  • The researchers filmed seven crocodiles as they were fed on dry land in a park away from the water.
  • They found that five of the seven crocodiles developed moisture in their eyes. Apart from moisture, they also develop bubbles or overflow bubbles within minutes before, during or after eating.
  • Hence, the conclusion was made that crocodiles do indeed cry when they eat.

What makes the crocodiles cry while eating?

  • While eating the aggressive movement of jaws might be a possible reason for tears. As the movement forces air into the sinuses of the crocodiles and stimulates the tear glands. Hence, crocodile tears are not from emotional distress.

Can a human being also cry while eating?

  • In humans, there is something called “crocodile tear syndrome” or Bogorad syndrome. It is a medical condition in which patients who are recovering from Bell’s Palsy shed tears while eating or drinking.
    • Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes a temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in the face. It can occur when the nerve that controls facial muscles becomes inflamed, swollen, or compressed. It can also occur due to a viral infection.

Source: Indian Express

Very Severe “Cyclone Yaas” hits the coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal

What is the News?

Cyclone Yaas hit the coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal. Upon landfall, the cyclone weakened.

About Cyclone Yaas:

  • Cyclone Yaas is a Tropical Cyclone. It has been named by Oman. Yaas means a tree bearing fragrant flowers.
  • Cyclone Yaas is the first cyclonic storm to develop over the Bay of Bengal in 2021.
  • Cyclone Yaas crossed the northern Odisha coast around 20 km south of Balasore at its peak intensity as a very severe cyclonic storm.

Click Here to Read how Cyclones are Named

upcoming Cyclone names

Classification of Cyclones: The Indian Meteorological Department(IMD)’s criterion to classify the cyclones is based upon the method adopted by the World Meteorological Organisation(WMO). The classification is:

Type of Disturbances (and Associated Wind Speed in the Circulation):

  • Low-pressure Area: Wind Speed less than 17 knots (<31 kmph)
  • Depression: 17 to 27 knots (31 to 49 kmph)
  • Deep Depression: 28 to 33 knots (50 to 61 kmph)
  • Cyclonic storm: 34 to 47 knots (62 to 88 kmph)
  • Severe Cyclonic Storm: 48 to 63 knots (89 to 118 kmph)
  • Very Severe Cyclonic Storm: 64 to 119 knots (119 to 221 kmph)
  • Super Cyclonic Storm: 119 knots and above (221 kmph and above).

Source: The Hindu


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