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19th September 2023

‘The Sacred Ensembles’ of the Hoysala


Recently, the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, which includes three temples in Karnataka, has been inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

  • With this several other sites has also been nominated to get included in the list.
About the recent nominations:
  • At the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the UNESCO has released a tentative list of sites.
  • The Hoysala Temples will be India’s 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan, the university town in West Bengal, was also included as a world heritage site.

The Hoysala Temples:

  • The Hoysala Temples, built in the 12th and 13 centuries by the Hoysala kings, are dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.
  • The three temples include;
    • The Chennakeshava temple, the main temple in the complex at Belur (Hassan district), located at the centre of the traditional settlement
    • The Hoysaleswara Temple on the banks of Dwarasamudra tank in Halebidu (Hassan district), and
    • The Keshava Temple at the centre of Somanathapura village (Mysore district).
Previously, two other groups of monuments of Karnataka at Hampi (1986) and Pattadakal (1987) along with the Ecological hotspot Western Ghats (2012) had the coveted status form UNESCO from the State.
  • The excellence of the sculptural art underpins the artistic achievement of these temple complexes, which represent a significant stage in development of Hindi architecture.

Hoysala Kingdom:

  • The Hoysala rulers ruled over parts of Southern India from the parts of Southern India from the 11th Century to the 14th Century.

Hoysala Empire


Area of Rule

Karnataka and  Kaveri delta in present-day Tamil Nadu.

Time Period

Between the 10th and the 14thcenturies.

Preceded by

Western Chalukyas

Succeeded by

Vijaynagara Empire


Nripakama II/Sala

Most important ruler

Bittaga Vishnuvardhana. Annexed Chola province of Gangawadi.Defeated Chalukya Vikramaditya VI


Initially Belur. Later- Halebidu


Divided into provinces: Nadu, Vishaya, Kampana and Desha

Remarkable for

Art, Architecture, and Religion. Hoysala Architecture


Kannada and Sanskrit.

Important Temples

Chennakeshava Temple, Belur; the Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebidu; Chennakesava Temple


Hybrid or vesara style

Learning Schools



Jainism, Vaishnavism and Lingayatism


Basava, Madhvacharya and Ramanuja in Karnataka


Mathematician who wrote Vyavaharaganita and Lilavati  during Vishnuvardhana’s reign

Last Ruler

Veera Ballala III


10th meeting of India-Malaysia Joint Sub-Committee


The 10th meeting of India-Malaysia Joint Sub-Committee on Defence Science, Technology and Industry Cooperation was held in New Delhi on September 18, 2023.

About the meet:
  • The meeting was co-chaired by Joint Secretary (Naval Systems), Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence and Under Secretary, Defence Industry Division, Ministry of Defence, Malaysia.
  • During the meeting, the existing defence research and industry cooperation between the two countries was reviewed and discussions were held on issues pertaining to mutual interest.
  • Both sides explored effective and practical initiatives to further expand the ongoing interactions related to the defence industry sector.

India-Malaysia relations:

  • Historical Ties: India and Malaysia have deep historical connections, with Indian traders and immigrants contributing to Malaysia's cultural diversity.
  • Trade Partnership: Bilateral trade is robust, with Malaysia being a significant exporter of palm oil to India, while India exports machinery, textiles, and chemicals.
  • Diplomatic Strains: Political issues, such as Malaysia's criticism of India's actions in Kashmir, have strained relations, leading to trade restrictions on palm oil.
  • Cultural Exchanges: Cultural ties are strengthened through various festivals and events, fostering people-to-people connections.
  • Indian Diaspora: Malaysia hosts a sizable Indian diaspora, contributing to socio-cultural interactions and trade connections between the two countries.

Bima Sugam platform


As per the latest update Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to form a steering committee, which will act as the apex decision making body for creation of its ambitious ‘Bima Sugam platform’.

About the Platform:
  • ‘Bima Sugam’ will enable individuals to buy a life, health, motor or property insurance policies online.
  • The platform will enable easy access under a single roof for insurance companies, agents, brokers, banks and even aggregators.
  • The platform will act as a centralised database which will assist consumers with all insurance related queries.
  • It will be a centralised marketplace and a one-stop-shop for all insurance-related queries, including policy purchase, claim settlement, insurance advice and grievance redressal.


  • The platform will have to demonstrate end-to-end digital on-boarding journey for all insurance products without any manual interventions, including customer acquisition and lead management, customer onboarding, application management, documentation, risk management, underwriting process, policy issuance, and customer service management, analytics and MIS and user interface.
  • The platform will have an easy-to-use interface for the online users to easily access the information on the portal, help them in making a decision towards purchase of policy and also support them in servicing of the policy purchased from the platform.

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):

  • It is a statutory body formed under an Act of Parliament,e., Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (IRDAI Act 1999) for overall supervision and development of the Insurance sector in India.
  • As per 4 of IRDAI Act, 1999, the composition of the Authority is:
    • Chairman;
    • Five whole-time members;
    • Four part-time members,
  • Entities regulated by IRDAI:
    • Life Insurance Companies - Both public and private sector Companies
    • General Insurance Companies - Both public and private sector Companies. Among them, there are some standalone Health Insurance Companies which offer health Insurance policies.
    • Re-Insurance Companies
    • Agency Channel
  • Intermediaries which include the following: Corporate Agents, Brokers, Third Party Administrators, Surveyors and Loss Assessors.
  • The IRDAI had issued micro Insurance regulations for the protection of low income people with affordable Insurance products to help cope with and recover from common risks with standardised popular Insurance products adhering to certain levels of cover, premium and benefit standards.
  • These regulations have allowed Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs) and other permitted entities to act as agents to Insurance companies in marketing the micro Insurance products and have also allowed both life and non-life insurers to promote combi-micro Insurance products.

Women’s Reservation Bill gets approval


The Union Cabinet in its first sitting of the special session of Parliament passed Women’s Reservation Bill.

  • The Bill was introduced by United Front government for the first time introduced the 81st Constitution Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha for reservation of women in the Parliament in
  • Later on the Bill was again introduced as the Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008.
  • But it was never passed by both the houses of the Parliament till now.
  • The Bill was awaited for 27 years.

Highlights of the Bill:

  • It aims to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in Parliament and legislative Assemblies.
  • The Bill will be rolled out only after the delimitation process is over, most probably in 2029.
  • Key points:
    • As per the Bill, it seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies.
    • The allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament.
    • One third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be reserved for women of those groups in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies.
    • Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory.
    • Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of this Amendment Act.

Arguments against the Bill:

  • Reservation of seats in Parliament restricts choice of voters to women candidates. Therefore, some experts have suggested alternate methods such as reservation in political parties and dual member constituencies.
  • Rotation of reserved constituencies in every election may reduce the incentive for an MP to work for his constituency as he may be ineligible to seek re-election from that constituency.
  • The report examining the 1996 women’s reservation Bill recommended that reservation be provided for women of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) once the Constitution was amended to allow for reservation for OBCs.
  • It also recommended that reservation be extended to the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Councils. Neither of these recommendations has been incorporated in the Bill.

Basmati Rice research in India


Publicly-funded research, like India's basmati rice innovation by IARI scientists, can lead to significant real-world benefits, boosting exports and income.

About Basmati Revolution in India:
  • The Basmati rice revolution in India refers to the remarkable growth in the cultivation and export of Basmati rice varieties.
  • This transformation has been driven by advancements in agricultural research and technology, particularly the efforts of scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi.
  • Over the past three decades, India's Basmati rice exports have surged from around 0.3-0.35 million tonnes valued at 200-250 million dollars to 4.5-4.6 million tonnes worth 7-4.8 billion dollars.
  • This success story showcases the potential of scientific research to significantly impact the agricultural sector and boost the country's economy.

Basmati Rice varieties in India:

  • Pusa Basmati-1121 (PB-1121): PB-1121 has gained immense popularity both in India and in international markets due to its quality and unique attributes.
    • This rice variety is prized for its distinct and appealing aroma, often described as nutty or floral.
  • PB-1509: PB-1509 is another variety of Basmati rice developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi, India.
    • Similar to other Basmati varieties, PB-1509 is known for its distinct characteristics, including long grains, aromatic fragrance, and excellent taste.
    • It is a popular choice among consumers, especially in regions where Basmati rice is highly valued for its culinary qualities.

What are concerns associated with Basmati rice in India?

  • Lack of Minimum Support Price (MSP): Basmati paddy doesn't have a minimum support price (MSP), making farmers reliant on market prices, which can be volatile.
  • Reliance on Export Market: Most of India's basmati rice is exported, leaving farmers vulnerable to fluctuations in international markets and government policies, such as export restrictions.
  • Market and Policy Risks: Recent export restrictions, like the minimum price requirement of 1,200 per tonne dollars, highlight the potential risks associated with basmati farming, affecting farmers' income and livelihoods.

Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI):

  • The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) is India’s largest and foremost Institute in the field of research and higher education and training in agricultural sciences.
  • It has served the cause of science and society with distinction through first rate research, generation of appropriate technologies and development of human resources.
  • The administrative control of the Institute is vested with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which is an autonomous organization established under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • The Institute was originally established by the Government of India in 1905 at the village Pusa in north Bihar.
  •  After a devastating earthquake in 1934, it was shifted to New Delhi in 1936.

Short News Article

Geography (GS-I)

Hurricane Lee

The National Geodetic Survey of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has started releasing aerial images that show the extent of damage caused by the Atlantic tropical ‘storm Lee’.


  • Lee started as a tropical depression in the central Atlantic Ocean on September 5, 2023.
  • It intensified into a Category 5 storm with a windspeed of 160 miles per hour (mph).
  • The storm swept over Nova Scotia in Canada and Maine in the US after making landfall on September 16, 2023, bringing ferocious winds and heavy rainfall.

Classification of Hurricanes:

  • Category 1 (Wind Speed: 74-95 mph or 119-153 km/h): Hurricanes in this category are considered weak.
    • They can cause minimal damage to structures, trees, and power lines. Storm surges may result in some coastal flooding.
  • Category 2 (Wind Speed: 96-110 mph or 154-177 km/h): Category 2 hurricanes are moderately strong and can cause more significant damage to buildings, roofs, and trees.
  • Category 3 (Wind Speed: 111-129 mph or 178-208 km/h): These are classified as major hurricanes.
    • They have the potential to cause extensive damage to homes, buildings, and infrastructure. Coastal flooding and storm surges can be severe.
  • Category 4 (Wind Speed: 130-156 mph or 209-251 km/h): Category 4 hurricanes are extremely dangerous.
    • They can cause catastrophic damage, including the destruction of well-built homes, significant power outages, and severe coastal flooding from storm surges.
  • Category 5 (Wind Speed: 157 mph or higher or 252 km/h or higher): Category 5 hurricanes are the most powerful and destructive.
    • They can lead to total devastation, including the destruction of buildings, widespread power outages, and life-threatening storm surges with massive coastal flooding.

Species in News

Ghost orchid

Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit before the federal government to list a rare orchid, found mainly in Florida, as an endangered species.

About the species:

  • Epipogium aphyllum, the ghost orchid is a hardy myco-heterotrophic orchid lacking chlorophyll.
  • It is famous for its unpredictable appearance; in many localities it has been seen just once.
  • It is found in beech, oak, pine and spruce forests on base-rich soils.
  • It is a rare and critically endangered plant in habitat, and is believed to be extinct throughout much of its former range.
  • They grow from an underground, burrowing stem which lacks chlorophyll and possesses ephemeral leaves that are small scales.
  • The plants only emerge above ground to flower, especially during very wet summers in Western Europe.

Species in News

Indian peacock softshell turtle

A turtle rescued in Howrah and was identified as an Indian peacock softshell, an endangered species.

About the species:

  • Scientific Name: Nilssonia hurum.
  • They have a large head, downturned snout with low and oval carapace of dark olive green to nearly black, sometimes with a yellow rim.
  • The head and limbs are olive green; the forehead has dark reticulations and large yellow or orange patches or spots, especially behind the eyes and across the snout.
  • Males possess relatively longer and thicker tails than females.


  • This species is confined to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • In India, it is widespread in the northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent.
  • These are found in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds with mud or sand bottoms.

Conservation Status:

  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I



Corridor to a New World


With the recently introduced India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC) has immense potential to put India, Middle East and Europe on collective path to growth, triggering regional and global cooperation.

Historic Establishment of IMEC

  • Global Summit for Connectivity: World leaders convened in New Delhi to establish IMEC, fostering trade and connectivity on a global scale.
  • Ancient Roots, Modern Vision: IMEC draws inspiration from ancient trade routes, envisioning a reliable, cost-effective transport network for goods and services.
  • Revolutionizing Regional Trade: IMEC shortens transit times and enhances accessibility, promising economic benefits for India, the Middle East, and Europe.

IMEC's Dual Corridors and Infrastructure Challenges

  • Two Vital Corridors: IMEC comprises an eastern corridor connecting India to the Arabian Gulf and a northern corridor linking the Gulf to Europe.
  • Eastern Strength, Western Potential: India boasts robust infrastructure in the east, while the west offers established sea routes to Europe.
  • Bridging Land Gaps: The main challenge is connecting Gulf and Mediterranean ports, especially the critical Saudi Arabia-Haifa Standardization and funding are essential.

IMEC's Advantages and Vision

  • Green and Sustainable Growth: IMEC includes electricity and hydrogen pipelines, contributing to eco-friendly development and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India's Leadership Role: India, as a regional leader, can support rail projects through its public sector units, enhancing connectivity.
  • Global Cooperation for Prosperity: IMEC initiates a new era of global cooperation, fostering socio-economic development across continents, benefiting millions.
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The Health of Nations


Health is today a political priority and is linked with economic interests and international relations. It's concerning that the world's leaders cannot make sure that poorer countries must get what need from global rules and systems.

Global South in Foreign Policy

  • Inclusive Global Leadership: G20 presidencies from the Global South show a positive trend in prioritizing the needs of less endowed countries.
  • Questioning equity: The intersection of global health and foreign policy raises questions about equity.
  • Health must be the priority: Foreign policy's role in health can be either self-serving or driven by global altruism.

Challenges in Global Health Governance

  • Lack of R & D: Global health governance should ensure equitable access to healthcare, fair R&D, and balanced research
  • Gaps in global leadership: The COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in global leadership, with national interests often taking precedence.
  • Cooperation form international bodies: Existing frameworks like the International Health Regulations and WHO fell short in addressing the pandemic's challenges.

The Way Forward for Global Governance

  • Need of a strategy: Geopolitical interests often overshadow global equity, highlighting the need for checks and balances.
  • Aligning National Interest: Future conventions must focus on aligning national interests with global equity goals.
  • Covert commitments to policies: Effective global governance mechanisms are essential to translate commitments into action for the benefit of all nations.
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Taming the big fat food inflation


The increasing trend of food inflation in the country has led to a made it a political agenda for elections, but with fewer results.

India's Inflation Challenges

  • Inflation trends: India's headline inflation remains high at 6.83%, above the acceptable range of 2-6% set by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Food inflation: it is a crucial factor for the public, is still at 9.19%, influencing political outcomes.
  • Political Impact: Past elections have been shaped by rising food prices, such as the "Onion elections" in 1980 and 1998.

Persistent Food Inflation:

  • Increasing Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI): Despite overall inflation dropping, food inflation remains concerning at 9.19%, with Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) even higher.
  • Rapid rising Vegetable prices: They have soared by 26.14%, with spices and pulses following closely.
  • Creating Urban-Rural Divide: Rural areas face higher food inflation, creating a significant urban-rural divide.

State Disparities

  • Politicization of price-rise in states: Inflation rates vary across states, potentially leading to political debates in upcoming elections.
  • Varied growth: Maharashtra, a top onion-producing state, has shown slower production growth compared to Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka.
  • Supply-Side Solutions: Low-production states must improve yield, invest in supply chains, and avoid market-distorting measures for effective inflation management.
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