Who was Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis or ‘PCM’?

Headline : Who was Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis or ‘PCM’?

Details :

About P C Mahalanobis

Early life:

  • P.C. Mahalanobis was born in Calcutta on June 29, 1893.
  • He was educated at the Brahmo Boys School, founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and went on to receive a B.Sc in Physics from Presidency College, Kolkata.
  • After completing his majors in Physics from Presidency College in Calcutta in 1912, Mahalabonis joined the University of London the following year.

 

Anthropometry:

  • He introduced to the concepts of anthropometry (the study of measurements and proportions of the human body) and anthropological data through Biometrika, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  • From here, he developed a keen interest in statistics and its utility to problems in meteorology and anthropology.

 

Founder of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI):

  • As Mahalabonis had many colleagues who were interested in statistics, an informal group formed in the Statistical Laboratory located in his room in Presidency College.
  • After calling a meeting with few of his colleagues, Mahalabonis established the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and formally registered it on April 28, 1932.
  • The ISI, under Mahalanobis, would go on to do some of the most spectacular large-scale survey and data analyses including assessing the impact of the 1942-43 Bengal famine, tabulating the 1941 census, surveys on rural indebtedness, velocity of circulation of rupee coins, traffic flow, crop yield estimation etc.
  • The institute founded the journal ‘Sankhya: the Indian Journal of Statistics’.

 

Mahalabonis Distance (MD):

  • Mahalabonis Distance (MD) is a multi-dimensional generalisation of the idea of measuring how many standard deviations away is point P from the mean of a distribution D.
  • Apart from MD, which measures distance relative to the centroid – a base or central point which can be thought of as an overall mean for multivariate data.
  • The most common use for the Mahalanobis distance is to find multivariate outliers, which indicates unusual combinations of two or more variables.

 

Contribution to sample survey:

  • Mahalabonis’ important contributions involved large-scale sample surveys.
  • He introduced the concept of pilot surveys and advocated the utility of sampling methods.

 

Mahalanobis model:

  • Mahalanobis played a key role in formulating the Second Five-Year Plan, which is synonymous with the ‘Mahalanobis model’, also known as the Feldman-Mahalanobis Model.
  • The basic idea of the model said that in order to increase domestic consumption, there needed to be an investment in the production of capital goods.
  • He emphasized on the importance of industrialization and also corrected previous census methodology errors.

 

Honors:

  • Mahalabonis was deeply interested in cultural pursuits and was awarded one of the highest civilian awards, the Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India for his contribution to science.
  • In 2006, named June 29 as National Statistics Day in honour of Mahalanobis.
  • Mahalabonis died on June 28, 1972, a day before his seventy-ninth birthday.

 

 

Section : Miscellaneous

About: Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT)

About: Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT)

  • AIT was first propounded by Max Muller.
  • According to this model, the Indo-Aryans migrated into India rather than invaded it, which nevertheless had the same effect on the indigenous peoples: their subjugation and the imposition of Indo-Aryan religion (Hinduism) and culture.
  • So far, it’s been the bedrock upon which Indian history has been written. Its central thesis has three main components:
  • India’s original inhabitants were “dark-skinned” Dravidians, who built a peaceful, highly developed, urban civilization in western India and present-day Pakistan, referred to as the Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization (IVC).
  • India was invaded and conquered from the West by a nomadic people called the Indo-Aryans around 1500 BCE. Various different homelands were suggested for these ‘Aryans’ / Indo-Europeans: central Asia, Scandinavia, North Germany, Hungary and Ukraine. They destroyed the indigenous Dravidian civilization, subjugated the natives, and forced them to migrate to India’s South.
  • The Indo-Aryans were white-skinned and spoke Vedic Sanskrit, and composed the Vedas, and imposed Indo-Aryan religion (Hinduism) and culture.

AIT has been countered in various ways:

  • The opposing view is that the Indo-Aryan people and their languages originated in the Indian subcontinent and that the Indus valley civilization (Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization) was the Vedic civilization, not a Dravidian civilization as claimed in the AIT.
  • The renowned archaeologist Professor B. B. Lal asserts that there is no evidence for warfare or invasion, and that the theory of Aryan migration too is a myth. The Harappan civilization along the now-defunct Sarasvati river gradually deurbanized due to declining monsoons, rather than collapsed abruptly.
  • Critics of AIT note that Sarasvati river is extensively mentioned in the Rig Veda, and is referred to as “greatest of rivers”. This falsifies the AIT account that the Rig Veda was composed after a purported Aryan invasion/migration circa 1,500 BCE, and indicates that it was composed closer to 5,000 BCE when the river was last in its prime.
  • Professor Lal gives extensive archaeological evidence that many of the traditions and customs prevalent in the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization continue to exist in modern India, like Yoga, use of sindur, namaste greeting etc. and thus it refutes the AIT theory that the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization was destroyed and supplanted with a “foreign” Hindu culture and civilization.
  • Some genetic studies have demonstrated the absence of any significant outside genetic influence in India for the past 10,000 – 15,000 years.

 

News Summary:

  • Two DNA studies on ancient remains were released.
  • Study 1: One of the studies examined DNA samples extracted from 4,500-year-old skeletal remains of a woman found in Rakhigarhi, the IVC site in Haryana. The study conclusively points to the following facts:
    • There is no evidence of large-scale migration of any kind in the Harappan civilisation to corroborate the Aryan invasion.
    • The study also says the people of Harappan civilisation are the ancestors of the most of the population of South Asia.
    • Most importantly, Harappan people are the same as Vedic people. The researchers said there was archaeological and genetic data to buttress their claims, including the one about Vedic culture being developed by the indigenous people.
  • Study 2: The other study, the largest ever study of ancient human DNA, analyses the genomes of 523 ancient individuals spanning the last 8,000 years, mostly from central Asia and northernmost South Asia.
    • The study showed that there was no central Asian Steppe ancestry among the Harappans, indicating that the Steppe pastoralists migrated to India after the decline of the Harappan civilisation.
    • The indigenous people migrated from the north to south India between 1800 BC and 1600 BC, likely following the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation. This was nearly 100 years before Arabians and central Asian Steppe population arrived in India.
    • The study suggests that farming was indigenous to India contradicting an earlier belief that it was brought to the region through migrations from Iran.
    • As the Harappans traded with Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and almost all across South Asia, there was bound to be movement of people resulting in a mixed genetic history.
    • India had a heterogeneous population right from the beginning of settled life.
Section : History & Culture

In Cave 16: the Kailasa temple

Headline : In Cave 16: the Kailasa temple

Details :

Introduction

  • Kailasa temple in cave 16 of Ellora is one of the largest rock-cut temples in the world.

 

Story behind the temple

  • According to a legend cited in the 10th century book Katha Kalpa Taru, sometime in the 8th century, the queen of the Rashtrakuta ruler Elu made a vow that she would not eat till a magnificent temple was built to Lord Shiva, and she saw its amlaka (finial).
  • The king invited many architects, but none of them was able to fulfil this vow.
  • Finally, an architect named Kokasa from Paithan completed the task in no time.

 

Construction of the temple

  • The construction of the temple began during the rule of the Rashtrakuta king, Dantidurga (735-757 AD).
  • A group of skilled artisans cut and carved the vertical face of the basalt rock of a hill in Elapura, known today as Ellora, near Aurangabad.
  • Unlike the Buddhists who made carvings inside the rock to construct cave temples, this group cut the rock internally and externally, with precision, to build a monolithic rock temple.
  • The result is that the magnificent Kailasa temple is one of the largest rock-cut temples in the world.
  • Major work on the temple was done by King Dantidurga’s successor, Krishna I (757-773 AD), although work continued under many successive kings for more than a century.

 

 

History of the temple

  • The Kailasa or Kailasanatha temple is one of the largest rock-cutancient Hindu temples located in Ellora, Maharashtra, India.
  • It is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment.
  • The Kailasanatha temple (Cave 16) is one of the 32 cave temples and monasteries known collectively as the Ellora Caves.
  • Its construction is generally attributed to the 8th century Rashtrakutaking Krishna I in 756-773 CE.
  • The temple architecture shows traces of Pallavaand Chalukya styles

 

Features of cave 16

  • At the entrance there is a huge rock screen with carvings and a two-level doorway with eaves on top.
  • A door on the lower level leads into the double-storey gopuram, which has exquisitely carved sculptures on the walls.
  • Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna flank the entrance gateway.
  • The gopuram at the lower level leads to the portico.
  • On the either side of the portico are the north and south courts with life-size elephants and a victory pillar framing the Kailasa.
  • There are five subsidiary shrines around the main temple in the circumambulatory path that runs along the side of the hill.
  • This includes a shrine dedicated to river goddesses Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, and a yajna-shala (hall of sacrifice).
  • However, the main temple is the most impressive.
  • The elephants and lions that form the high plinth of the main temple signify Rashtrakuta power and prosperity.
  • Rock steps in the left court lead up to the top where Nandi and a 36-column mandap with a Shiv ling are located.
  • There are many beautiful carvings: of Durga, Mahishasuramardini, Gajalakshmi seated in a lotus pool, Shiva as Ardhanari and Virbhadra, Ravana shaking the Kailash parvat , and the Mahabharata and Ramayana panels.

 

Features of the main kailasa temple

  • Apart from the gopura , the main temple has a sabha griha ( hall), vestibules and a Nandi mandap which leads to the garba griha (sanctum) with the Shiv linga, all of which are profusely carved and with Dravidian shikharas (towers).
  • A bridge connects the Nandi mandap to the gopuram.
  • The stiff climb up the hill was made worthwhile by the loveliness of the lotus on the roof of the sanctum.
  • The lotus is crowned by a finial with four mythical lions, each facing one cardinal direction.

 

About the Ellora caves

  • Ellora, located in the Aurangabad districtof Maharashtra, India, is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world.
  • It is a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site, featuring Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments, and artwork, dating from the 600-1000 CE period.
  • There are 32 caves in Ellora, numbered according to their age.
  • Temples 1 to 12 in the southern side are the Buddhist caves.
  • Temples 13 to 29 are the Hindu caves, and in the northern side are the Jain temples.
  • All of the Ellora monuments were built during Hindu dynasties such as the Rashtrakuta dynasty, which constructed part of the Hindu & Buddhist caves, and the Yadava dynasty, which constructed a number of the Jain caves.
  • Funding for the construction of the monuments was provided by royals, traders and the wealthy of the region.
Section : History & Culture

How govt regulates religious pilgrimages?

Headline : How govt regulates religious pilgrimages?

Details :

Amarnath Yatra:

About Amarnath cave:

  • Amarnath cave is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir, India.
  • The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), about 141 km from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The peak pilgrimage occurs when the iced stalagmite Shiv lingam reaches the apex of its waxing phase through the summer months.

 

 

Regulation of the AmarnathYatra:

  • Before 2000, there wasn’t much government intervention in the yatra. A heavy downpour in 1996 resulted in the death of about 250 yatris.
  • Subsequently, the Nitish Sengupta Committee was set up to enquire into the deaths. After it was decided that the government should intervene, the J&K Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Act 2000 was passed that provided for the setting up of a board to manage the yatra.
  • The Act states that the 10-member board is to be headed by the governor of J&K if he is a Hindu. A non-Hindu governor is supposed to nominate an eminent Hindu from the state to head the board, which also has government officials on deputation as its members.

 

Haj pilgrimage:

About Haj yatra:

  • The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime.
  • It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm.

 

Regulation of the Haj pilgrimage:

  • The Haj pilgrimage works on a quota basis.
    • Saudi authorities usually allocate 1,000 places for every million Muslim persons per country.
    • As a result, the overwhelming majority of Haj berths go to Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
  • The Haj Committee of India regulates the state-wise quota based on the state’s Muslim population.
  • Until last year, Haj was subsidised by the Centre with discounts on Air India flights and other forms of assistance provided. From this year, the subsidy has been discontinued.

 

 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra:

  • According to Hinduism, Shiva resided at the summit of a mountain named Kailasa, where he sat in a state of meditation along with his wife Parvati. He is believed to be the founder of Yoga and so is named as “Adi-Yogi”.
  • Mount Kailash is a 6,638 m (21,778 ft) high peak in the Kailash Range, which forms part of Transhimalaya in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
  • The mountain is located near Lake Manasarovar and Lake Rakshastal, close to the source of some of the longest Asian rivers: the Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra, and Karnali also known as Ghaghara (a tributary of the Ganges) in India.
  • Mount Kailash is considered to be sacred in four religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön and Jainism.

 

 

Regulation of the KailashMansarovarYatra:

  • For this yatra, two routes are open, one Lipulekh Pass route (at the border of Uttarakhand and Tibet) and second is the Nathu La route (at the border between Sikkim and Tibet).
  • The pilgrims’ list is finalised in a computerised draw. Government appoints liaison officers for each batch to coordinate with Indian and Chinese authorities. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police provides security, medical assistance to the yatris.

 

Subsidise the Kailash Mansoravar and Amarnath yatras:

  • According to a parliamentary question, government of India does not extend any direct monetary subsidy to individual pilgrims for the Amarnath and Kailash Manasarovar yatras.
  • But the foreign ministry assists, on a self-financing basis, pilgrims for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra by providing facilities like transportation, accommodation, food, medical tests, guides, etc.
  • News reports also state that the Kailash Mansoravar yatra is subsidised by some state governments.

 

 

 

Section : Miscellaneous

In focus: Superconductivity at room temperature

In focus: Superconductivity at room temperature

Basic concepts

  • ResistanceMaterials that conduct electricity well are called conductors. Eg: Metals.
    • Resistance is an electrical quantity that measures how the device or material reduces the electric current flow through it. The resistance is measured in units of ohms (Ω).
  • SuperconductorsSuperconductors are conductors that have zero resistancee. they don’t impede electricity at all.

 

Superconductors at present

  • All known superconductors have the zero resistance property only at extremely low temperature and/or extremely high pressure.
  • Right now, the highest temperature superconductor works at a temperature of about 150 K, equal to -123 C.
  • To achieve superconductivity, these materials immersed in liquid helium that boils at a temperature of 4 Kelvin i.e. -273 degree Celsius.

Challenge

  • The conductors that are generally used for transporting energy are copper and aluminum wires.
  • The problem with these conductors is that much of the energy that is transported is wasted because of inherent resistance in these wires.
  • Thus, wires made of superconductors which have zero-resistance would revolutionize the way energy is transported as energy-loss is minimum.
  • However, since superconductivity is achieved at very low temperatures, they are not being used in wires.
  • Besides, at such low temperatures, metal becomes extremely brittle and cannot be made into wires.

The breakthrough: Superconductivity at room temperature

  • The researchers at IISC have achieved superconductivity in silver nanoparticles embedded in a gold matrix at room temperature.
  • The gold-silver nano-material used exhibited superconductivity at a temperature below 13°C which can go up to 70°C.

Significance

  • The achievement of superconductivity at room temperature is a breakthrough in physics as it can reduce energy loss significantly.
  • Reducing energy-loss can also be significant in achieving the Paris goal of 1.5° rise in the temperature.
Section : Science & Tech

Ranjit Singh: Personal Life

Ranjit Singh: Personal Life

  • Ranjit Singh was born in 1780 in Gujranwala, now in Pakistan.
  • He honoured men of reputed sanctity and enabled them to practise an enlarged charity. He attributed every success to the favour of God. He styled himself and his people collectively the Khalsa.
  • The maharaja was known for his just and secular rule; both Hindus and Muslims were given powerful positions in his darbar.
  • The Sikhs take pride in him for he turned Harimandir Sahib at Amritsar into the Golden Temple by covering it with gold.

 

Ranjit Singh: His Rule and Legacy

  • At that time, Punjab was ruled by powerful chieftains who had divided the territory into Misls. Ranjit Singh overthrew the warring Misls and established a unified Sikh empire after he conquered Lahore in 1799.
  • He built up a big and powerful empire which extended not only from the Sutlej to Indus but also to trans- Indus regions like Dera Ismail Khan and Dera Gazi Khan.
  • Territorial Extent: Ranjit Singh’s trans-regional empire spread over several states. His empire included the former Mughal provinces of Lahore and Multan besides part of Kabul and the entire Peshawar. The boundaries of his state went up to Ladakh — Zorawar Singh, a general from Jammu, had conquered Ladakh in Ranjit Singh’s name — in the northeast, Khyber pass in the northwest, and up to Panjnad in the south where the five rivers of Punjab fell into the Indus.
  • He was given the title Lion of Punjab (Sher-e-Punjab) because he stemmed the tide of Afghan invaders in Lahore, which remained his capital until his death.
  • His general Hari Singh Nalwa built the Fort of Jamrud at the mouth of the Khyber Pass, the route the foreign rulers took to invade India.
  • At the time of his death, he was the only sovereign leader left in India, all others having come under the control of the East India Company in some way or the other.

 

Ranjit Singh And His Administration

The pivot of the whole structure of government was the Maharaja. However, the civil and military business of the government was arranged into twelve departments.

  • Military administration:
  • Ranjit Sing combined the strong points of the traditional Khalsa army with western advances in warfare to raise Asia’s most powerful indigenous army of that time.
  • He also employed a large number of European officers, especially French, to train his troops.
  • Ranjit Singh’s army was a match for the one raised by the East India Company. During the Battle of Chillianwala, the second of the Anglo-Sikh wars that followed Ranjit Singh’s death, the British suffered the maximum casualties of officers in their entire history in India.

 

  • Financial administration:
  • Originally Ranjit Sing had fixed money assessment for every village, but gradually the system had been subverted.
  • According to the sikh system, the government share was half of the gross produce.
  • However there was no uniform rate of land revenue for the whole kingdom. Different methods of assessment prevailed in each State.

 

  • Civil administration:
  • There were no special officers for the dispensation of civil and criminal justice.
  • There was no written law.
  • The Maharaja made extensive tours and heard appeals and levied fines in almost all cases.

 

 

 

 

 

Section : History & Culture

About Bogibeel Bridge

About Bogibeel Bridge

  • The Bogibeel double-deck bridge is a rail-road bridge across Brahmaputra River connecting Dibrugarh in Assam and Dehmaji in Assam.
  • The 4.94 km long bridge is the longest rail-road bridge in India.
  • The longest road bridge on Brahmaputra is the 9.15 km Dhola-Sadiya Bridge.
  • The double-deck bridge will have a three-lane road in the upper deck and a 74 km two-line railway track in the lower deck.
  • The 3-lane road will be connected to the NH37 on the south bank of the Brahmaputra and to the NH52 on the north bank.
  • Further Bogibeel rail-road bridge is the fourth being built on Brahmaputra, the other three being :
    • Pandu Saraighat
    • Kolia-Bjumuraguri
    • Naranarayan Setu at Jogighopa

 

Significance

  • Boost to development of North-eastern region
    • The Bridge will provide rail and road connectivity between the lesser developed districts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • It will provide direct access to the districts of Upper Assam from the rest of the country through the North bank.
    • Connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh will give a fillip to the tourist industry.
  • Connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh
    • Currently a cargo from Dibrugarh in the north-eastern corner of Assam takes over a 600 km detour merely to cross the Brahmaputra via Guwahati.
    • With this bridge, the journey will be less than 100 km.
    • Besides this will solve the problems associated with ferry services namely
    • Ferry services are often disrupted during monsoon between May-October.
    • Further ferry services are not suitable for heavy cargo
  • Strategic significance
    • The project will give a major boost to defence logistics along the border with China.
    • India and China share a nearly 4,000 km border and a considerable portion of the border lies in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • It will solve the logistical issues face by the armed forces stationed at the China border to get supplies from Tezpur.
    • Besides the bridge will also ramp up the movement of troops of armed forces in Arunachal Pradesh cutting down the distance to the border with China by 10 hours.
    • Other important projects to boost logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh include:
      • Trans-Arunachal highway on the north bank of the Brahmaputra
      • Road and rail links over the Brahmaputra and its major tributaries such as the Dibang, Lohit, Subansiri and Kameng.
Section : Miscellaneous

Giving MSMEs the right push Editorial 13th Sep’20 FinancialExpress

Giving MSMEs the right push Editorial 13th Sep’20 FinancialExpress

Importance of MSME sector:

  • The MSME sector contributes approximately 40% to the GDP and generates employment for 114 million Indians, comprising about 93% of the total labour force of the country.

This sector under severe stress:

  • Over the last few years, economic distress has hurt the sector on several counts, and this has only gotten exacerbated by the Covid pandemic.
  • All India Manufacturers Organisation (AIMO) suggests that 35% MSME businesses are now beyond recovery.
  • The sector is staring at massive unemployment, which will only to worsen the unemployment problem in the country.

Package for MSMEs under Atmanirbhar Bharat:

  • The government revealed its commitment to revive the MSME sector in its Rs 20,000 crore economic stimulus package for Atmanirbhar India, including a Rs 10,000 crore fund to finance equity infusion.
    • The objective of the Rs 10,000 crore Fund of Funds scheme is to help MSMEs with growth potential at a time when they are facing severe shortage of equity and low revenues. 
  • The government also has Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the MSME sector impacted by the economic slowdown triggered by COVID-19.
    • However, credit guarantee has a limited appeal as only 15% of the credit requirement is fulfilled through formal financial channels.

But this itself is not enough:

  • A major problem with the MSME sector is that 86% of the enterprises are unregistered, while 71% of the workers have no contracts.
  • Therefore, opening new lines of credit may not be adequate to revive the sector.
  • It was noticed that the sanctioned loans are not being availed and utilised by enterprises in the absence of strong demand and consumption.

Need to create an enabling environment for MSMEs:

  • The UK Sinha-led expert committee on MSME in 2019 highlighted the need to create an enabling environment for MSMEs.
  • It proposed several long-term solutions to ensure financial sustainability.
  • However, a holistic MSME policy rests on the ability to overcome some historical barriers.  

This needs help to overcome historical issues in the MSME sector:

  • Timely payments for their goods and services:
  • The inability to receive timely payments in return for the goods and services, and slim profit margin is a nagging issue for the sector.
  • An urgent solution is the payment of dues.
  • More loan cannot resolve the limited working capital problem as it would unnecessarily increase the debt burden, which, in turn, would put pressure on the already thin profit margins.
  • Need a mechanism for this:
    • A new regime could be brought, with options such as:
      • Discounting for early clearance of dues by their principals or
      • All supplies being made against advance payments or
      • Creating a hold in the bank which gets released right after receipt of supply from the MSME supplier
    • Only an incentive-based mechanism will work.
  • Lower cost of capital:
    • The average cost of capital is still high, at around 13%, compared to agriculture.
    • It is challenging to generate reasonable returns in the near future to pay back loans, and it could takes years for demand to fully pick up.
    • To help MSMEs avail capital at sub-5% rates, lending institutions must reduce transaction costs.
  • Improve competitiveness:
    • Historically, a lack of internal competitiveness in the industry has reduced the urgency for innovation within the sector, despite the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ campaigns.
    • This requires support to reorient production lines and investments in R&D.
  • Creating a global market:
    • The sector has been unable to channelise a global market for products and services.
    • Further, the current crisis has drastically contracted export-led growth opportunities as importing nations adopt a protectionist policy.
    • With the global demand at an all-time low, consumers are not compelled to make non-essential purchases.
    • As per a survey, about 97% of MSME respondents expect to be affected as the business is focused on essential goods.
    • Leverage e-commerce channels:
      • A sustained push through e-commerce channels can enhance the scope of domestic goods and services with low transaction and intermediation cost.
      • It will also help eliminate the middleman and reduce cost of doing business, an important factor in the survival of small businesses.

Conclusion:

  • India now has the opportunity to leverage its technological prowess in enhancing the competitive advantage that we already have in the export of IT/ITes products and services.
  • With new business paradigms evolving with the rise of IT, AI and communication-based businesses, MSME’s should be encouraged to harness this through the right kind of policy push.
  • The government must adopt a comprehensive approach to revamp the MSME ecosystem.

Importance:

GS Paper III: Indian Economy

About Soras

Background:About Soras

  • The Saoras inhabit the remote ranges flanking the great Bansadhara river in southern Odisha.
  • The Saora people are a jungle tribe with a shamanic culture.
    • A shaman, usually a woman, serves as an intermediary between the two worlds [of the living and the dead].
    • One by one the spirits speak through her mouth and communicate with the people of the community.
  • They are primarily an agricultural community, with some practicing shifting cultivation.

Saora paintings

  • Tribal paintings are like prayers that become part of the offerings made to Gods, ancestors and spirits.
  • Themes of these paintings emphasize on nature, the great outdoors and also on the cycle of ploughing, sowing & harvesting.
  • The ritualistic pictographs are drawn on the inner walls of their mud dwellings called ‘Ittlans.’
  • A Saora painting is called Iditaland the person who creates it is known as the iditalmar who draws to instructions from the shaman to appease Saora ancestors and deities that may have caused diseases faced by the community.
  • Some frequently featured motifs include Labasum (the Earth God), Jodisum (the village deity), Manduasum (the Sun God) and Jananglosum (the wind deity).
  • Distinct paintings are drawn with different occasions between birth and death in mind.

More such efforts:

  • Similar efforts are on to add value to the Dongria Kondh shawl, Dokra relics, bamboo and paddy handicrafts, the tribal jewellery of Nilagiri, Koraput’s workmanship in iron, and the beed jewellery of the Bonda tribals.
Section : History & Culture

Demonetisation and Farmers

What is demonetisation?

  • Demonetisation is a situation where the Central Bank of the country (Reserve Bank in India) withdraws the old currency notes of certain denomination as an official mode of payment. Notes of a particular denomination cease to be legal tender.
  • In other words, the notes lose their value as a currency
  • On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the biggest-ever demonetisation exercise in India.
  • Currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination were withdrawn from public use. It was said that these notes accounted for 86 per cent of the currency in circulation at that time.

Why did the government do it?

  • The demonetisation move was to tackle black money and corruption; to curb fake currency and terror funding; and to make India a cash-free economy.
  • Black money is the unaccountable income hoarded by people – that is, income for which they have not paid tax.

How demonetisation affected famers?

  • Cash-based economy: India’s 263 million farmers live mostly in the cash economy. The agrarian economy of India is primarily cash-based and village-based.
  • Sale decreased: Farmers are also suffered a cash-crunch due to demonetisation, as many have crops lying around, but with buyers whatsoever. Failure to get a  reasonable  price  on their produce,  pushed  many  farmers under massive debts, burdened by interests.
  • Digital illiteracy: Farmers tend to be unable to avail digital services as such they tend to be digitally illiterate.
  • Fruit and vegetable were badly hit: They need cash on daily basis to purchase inputs like pesticides, fertilizers and hired labour for harvest and also to transport and sell at urban centres. Lack of cash with farmers leading to less-than optimal use of inputs resulted in lower yields, reduced sales, higher wastage and lower price realization.
  • Lack of Banks and ATMs in APMC markets: Most of the APMC markets (more than 50%) in the rural areas don’t have banks and also ATMs. Even though, some markets had ATMs, they are not working, if they are working cash was unavailable. Non-accessibility to ATMs was serious problem faced by farmers for their daily transactions.
  • Timing of the demonetisation: Demonetisation came at a time when farmers were engaged in either selling their Kharif crops or sowing the Rabi crops. Both these operations needed huge amounts of cash, which demonetisation removed from the market.
  • Exploitation by local moneylenders: Furthermore, when banks failed to exchange the farmers’ old notes or give them loans, local moneylenders exploited the situation by charging inhumanly high-interest rates.

Note:

  • Even the National Seeds Corporation (NSC) failed to sell nearly 1.38 lakh quintals of wheat seeds because of the cash crunch.
  • The sale failed to pick up even after the government, subsequently, allowed the use of old currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 for wheat seed sales.