Prelim Bits 30-03-2024 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

iasparliament Logo
March 30, 2024

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)

AFSPA extended in parts of Arunachal, Nagaland for six more months.

Disturbed Area

  • A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA.
  • An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
  • The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
  • A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette.
  • As per Section 3, it can be invoked in places where the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.
  • Unbridled Power – AFSPA gives armed forces and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
  • Armed forces have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; kill anyone acting against the law and ban the possession of firearms.
  • Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.
  • Origin – The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the Northeastern States decades ago, which the State governments found difficult to control.
  • The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and it was approved by the President on September 11, 1958.
  • It became known as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.
  • States under AFSPA – Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958, was completely withdrawn in Meghalaya in 2018, Tripura in 2015 and Mizoram in the 1980s.

  • Issued by – Both the State and Central governments can issue notification regarding the AFSPA.
  • The MHA issues periodic “disturbed area” notification to extend the AFSPA only for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The notification for Manipur and Assam is issued by the State governments.


  1. The Hindu – AFSPA in Arunachal, Nagaland for 6 more months
  2. The Hindu – What is AFSPA, and where is it in force?
  3. Deccan Herald – AFSPA in Northeast States

Puppetry and its types

The Sangeet Natak Akademi began the revival of leather puppetry, by grooming young disciples through ‘Kala Diksha’ initiative that aims at preserving traditional arts and crafts in India.

  • Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance that involves the manipulation of puppets, often resembling some type of human or animal figure that are manipulated by a human called a puppeteer.
  • The history of puppetry can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization in 2500 B.C. a terracotta doll with a detachable head was found by archaeologists.
  • The root of Puppet is derived from the Latin word ‘Pupa’ meaning a doll.
  • The earliest reference to the art of puppetry is found in Tamil classic ‘Silappadikaaram’ written around the 1st or 2nd century B.C.
  • Almost all types of puppets are found in India.

Types of Puppets

String Puppets

  • India has a rich and ancient tradition of string puppets or marionettes.
  • Marionettes having jointed limbs controlled by strings allow far greater flexibility and are, therefore, the most articulate of the puppets.

Puppet Form





  • Carved from a single piece of wood, these puppets are like large dolls that are colorfully dressed.
  • Puppeteers manipulate them with two to five strings which are normally tied to their fingers and not to a prop or a support.



  • Made of light wood, the Odisha puppets have no legs but wear long flowing skirts.
  • The puppeteers often hold a wooden prop, triangular in shape, to which strings are attached for manipulation.
  • The music is drawn from the popular tunes of the region and is sometimes influenced by the music of Odissi dance.



  • The Gombeyatta puppet figures are highly stylized and have joints at the legs, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
  • These puppets are manipulated by five to seven strings tied to a prop.
  • Episodes enacted in Gombeyatta are usually based on Prasangas of the Yakshagana plays.


Tamil Nadu

  • Puppets from Tamil Nadu, known as Bommalattam combine the techniques of both rod and string puppets.
  • They are made of wood and the strings for manipulation are tied to an iron ring which the puppeteer wears like a crown on his head.
  • The Bommalattam puppets are the largest, heaviest and the most articulate of all traditional Indian marionettes.

Shadow Puppets

  • They are cut out of leather, which has been treated to make it translucent.
  • Shadow puppets are pressed against the screen with a strong source of light behind it.

Puppet Form



Togalu Gombeyatta


  • These puppets are mostly small in size.
  • The puppets however differ in size according to their social status, for instance, large size for kings and religious characters and smaller size for common people or servants.

Tholu Bommalata

Andhra Pradesh

  • The puppets are large in size and have jointed waist, shoulders, elbows and knees.
  • They are coloured on both sides.
  • Theme of the puppet plays are drawn from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas.



  • The puppets are in one piece and have no joints.
  • They are not coloured, hence throw opaque shadows on the screen.
  • The puppets are made of deer skin and are conceived in bold dramatic poses.
  • Apart from human and animal characters, many props such as trees, mountains, chariots, etc. are also used.

Rod Puppets

  • Rod puppets are an extension of glove-puppets, but often much larger and supported and manipulated by rods from below.

Puppet Form



Putul Nautch

West Bengal

  • They are carved from wood and follow the various artistic styles of a particular region.
  • A bamboo-made hub is tied firmly to the waist of the puppeteer on which the rod holding the puppet is placed.


  • The Orissa Rod puppets are much smaller in size.
  • The Orissa rod-puppeteers squat on the ground behind a screen and manipulate.



  • Unlike the traditional Rod puppets of West Bengal and Orissa, these puppets are in one piece and have no joints.
  • As these puppets have no joints, the manipulation is different from other Rod puppets.

Glove Puppets

  • Glove puppets, are also known as sleeve, hand or palm puppets.
  • The head is made of either papier mache, cloth or wood, with two hands emerging from just below the neck.
  • The rest of the figure consists of a long flowing skirt.

Puppet Form





  • It came into existence during the 18th century due to the influence of Kathakali, the famous classical dance-drama of Kerala, on puppet performances.
  • The manipulator puts his hand into the bag and moves the hands and head of the puppet.
  • The musical instruments used during the performance are Chenda, Chengiloa, Ilathalam and Shankhathe conch.
  • The theme for Glove puppet plays in Kerala is based on the episodes from either the Ramayana or the Mahabharata.

The first evidence of puppets were found in Egypt around 2000 B.C.

Quick Facts

Sangeet Natak Akademi

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi was set up in 1953 for the promotion of performing arts.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.
  • It is the nodal agency of the Ministry of Culture to coordinate the matters related to Intangible Cultural Heritage and various UNESCO Conventions.
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Fellowships (Akademi RatnaSadsya) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) are two awards presented annually.
  • These awards are recognised as the most coveted national honours bestowed on performing artists as well as teachers and scholars of performing arts.
  • The award will be given to the eminent persons from the field of tribal music, dance, theatre and traditional folk arts.
  • Kala Diksha is a training programme that will be conducted in the Guru-Shishya Parampara Scheme under eminent Gurus and experts of rare and endangered performing art forms of the country.
  • The Guru-Shishya Parampara Scheme aims to preserve and promote rare and vanishing art forms on classical or folk or tribal, so that the young talents be nurtured to acquire skills in their chosen field of art.

World Puppetry Day

  • World Puppetry Day is celebrated every year on 21 March and is dedicated as a tribute to the puppeteers.
  • The World Puppetry Day was first established in 2003 by the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA).


  1. The Hindu – A new dawn for leather puppetry
  2. CCRT – Puppet Forms

Red Fort

  • The Red Fort Complex was built by the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan.
  • It was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad, the new capital of the Mughal Emperor.
  • Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex.
  • The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise).
  • The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement.
  • The Red Fort Complex is a layered expression of both Mughal architecture and planning, and the later British military use of the forts.

Red Fort was recognised UNESCO World Heritage Centre in 2007.

Mughal Architecture

  • It is a building style that flourished in northern and central India under the patronage of the Mughal emperors from the mid-16th to the late 17th century.
  • The Mughal period marked a striking revival of Islamic architecture in northern India.
  • Under the patronage of the Mughal emperors, Persian, Indian, and various provincial styles were fused to produce works of unusual quality and refinement.
  • Features –
    1. White marbles and red sandstones were predominantly used.
    2. Pachin Kari ornamental work and jali-latticed screens are examples of exquisite ornamentation.
    3. On all four sides of the main buildings are encircled by gardens.
    4. Mosques with huge courtyards are very popular.
    5. Calligraphic inscriptions in Persian and Arabic, containing Quranic verses.
    6. Decorative chhatris are used.

Mughal Monuments

Built By



Agra Fort

Great White Mosque Islamia College Peshawar

Humayun’s Tomb

Fatehpur Sikri

Tomb of Salim Chisti


Begum Shahi Mosque

Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah

Shah Jahan

Taj Mahal

Wazir Khan Mosque

Shalimar Gardens

Shah Jahan Mosque

Shahi Hammam


Badshahi Mosque

Bibi ka Maqbara



  1. The Indian Express – Why is the Red Fort still popular?
  2. Britannica – Red Fort & Mughal Architecture
  3. UNESCO – Red Fort Complex

Digital Markets Act (DMA)

European Union investigates Tech giants under new digital Law.

  • The Digital Markets Act (DMA) was established by the European Union.
  • DMA establishes a set of narrowly defined objective criteria for qualifying a large online platform as a so-called gatekeeper.
  • This allows the DMA to remain well targeted to the problem that it aims to tackle as regards large, systemic online platforms.
  • These criteria will be met if a company:
    1. Has a strong economic position, significant impact on the internal market and is active in multiple EU countries.
    2. Has a strong intermediation position, meaning that it links a large user base to a large number of businesses.
    3. Has (or is about to have) an entrenched and durable position in the market, meaning that it is stable over time if the company met the two criteria above in each of the last three financial years.
  • Benefits – Business users who depend on gatekeepers to offer their services in the single market will have a fairer business environment.
  • Innovators and technology start-ups will have new opportunities to compete in the online platform environment without having to comply with unfair terms and conditions limiting their development.
  • Consumers will have more and better services to choose from, more opportunities to switch their provider if they wish so, direct access to services, and fairer prices.
  • Gatekeepers will keep all opportunities to innovate and offer new services.
  • They will simply not be allowed to use unfair practices towards the business users and customers that depend on them to gain an undue advantage.
  • To ensure that the new gatekeeper rules keep up with the fast pace of digital markets, the Commission will carry out market investigations.
  • These will allow the Commission to:
    1. Qualify companies as gatekeepers.
    2. Update dynamically the obligations for gatekeepers when necessary.
    3. Design remedies to tackle systematic infringements of the Digital Markets Act rules.


  1. The Hindu – EU probes against tech giants under DMA
  2. News 18 – How tech giants will be probed under DMA
  3. European Union – Digital Markets Act (DMA)

Lalit Kala Akademi (National Academy of Fine Arts)

Lalit Kala Akademi chief’s powers curbed by Culture Ministry.

  • The Lalit Kala Akademi was inaugurated in New Delhi on August 5th, 1954, by the then Minister for Education, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  • The youngest of the three Akademies founded by the Government of India, the Lalit Kala Akademi was established in pursuance of the dream of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for a cultural and national identity.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) was the first of the three to be established in 1953, followed shortly by Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA), and Sahitya Akademi (SA).

  • The academy promotes Indian arts both within India and outside India.
  • It is autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
  • The organisation functions through its General Council, Executive Board and other Committees.
  • Lalit Kala Akademi is the Government’s apex cultural body in the field of visual arts in India.
  • The Akademi is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture.
  • It has headquarters at New Delhi and regional centres at Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow and Shimla.
  • Journals – It publishes bi-annual art journals, Lalit Kala Contemporary (English), Lalit Kala Ancient (English) and Samkaleen Kala (Hindi).
  • Lalit Kala Akademi National Exhibition of Art – It is held every year to exhibit works of brilliance and to give appreciation and recognition to outstanding artists.
  • The exhibition covers artworks from extensive series of mediums like paintings, sculptures, graphics, photographs, drawings, installation and multimedia.
  • The Akademi conducts international exhibition on contemporary art in New Delhi every three years.
  • It also conducts the National Exhibition of Photography and Art.


  1. The Indian Express – Lalit Kala Akademi chief’s powers curbed by Culture Ministry
  2. The Hindu – Differences arose between Lalit Kala Akademi officials over exhibition
  3. LalitKala – Lalit Kala Akademi

Other Important Topics

C-Vigil App

  • cVIGIL is an innovative mobile application for citizens to report Model Code of Conduct and Expenditure violations during the elections.
  • It is developed by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • The app stands for Vigilant Citizen, and encourages citizens to take a proactive role in free and fair elections.
  • The app allows citizens to Register complaints, Report anonymously and Use geotagging.


'Meghayan-24', seminar was conducted recently as part of the World Meteorological Day (March 23).

  • It is a METOC (Meteorological and Oceanographic) seminar to share knowledge & insights on weather and climate services as well as way ahead to face the challenges of climate change.
  • Conducted by – School of Naval Oceanology & Meteorology (SNOM) and Indian Naval Meteorological Analysis Centre (INMAC).
  • Theme –At the Frontline of Climate Action”.

INDRA (Indian Naval Dynamic Resource for Weather Analysis)

  • Aim - It is an indigenous mobile application to disseminate weather related information and forecasts.
  • Developed by - BISAG (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics) in coordination with Directorate of Naval Oceanology and Meteorology, Indian Navy.

Solar waste in India

A recent study says that India generated about 100 kilotonnes (kt) of solar waste in the financial year (FY) 2022-2023.

  • Solar waste - Solar waste refers to the waste generated during the manufacturing of solar modules and waste from the field (project lifetime).
  • Findings - India to generate 600 kilotonnes of solar waste by 2030.
  • India’s current installed solar capacity will generate about 340 kt, 3 times more than the present by 2030.
  • Around 67% of this waste is expected to be produced by 5 states, including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

Chandra X-ray Observatory

  • The Chandra X-ray Observatory is a NASA space telescope that collects X-rays from distant environments to help scientists understand the universe's structure and evolution.
  • It was launched on 1999, aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with a mission duration of 24 years.
  • The Chandra X-ray Observatory is part of NASA's "Great Observatories" along with the
    1. Hubble Space Telescope
    2. The Spitizer Space Telescope
    3. The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory

Cotoneaster Cambricus

  • Cotoneaster Cambricus, also known as Great Orme Berry or Creigafaly Gogarth.
  • It is a deciduous shrub native to the Great Orme peninsula in north Wales.
  • It is the only species of Cotoneaster native to the British Isles and has never been found naturally at any other location.

Cotoneaster cambricus flower

  • Conservation status
    • IUCN - Critically Endangered.

South East Africa Montane Archipelago (SEAMA)

A recent study has unearthed a wealth of previously undocumented biodiversity in a newly recognised ecoregion called the South East Africa Montane Archipelago (SEAMA).

  • SEAMA is a newly discovered mountainous region stretches across northern Mozambique to Mount Mulanje in Malawi, southern Africa’s 2nd highest mountain.
  • SEAMA has distinctly higher annual rainfall and humidity, especially in the dry season, compared to surrounding regions.

Nuclear Energy Summit

Brussels hosted a first-of-its-kind Nuclear Energy Summit, billed as the most high-profile international meeting on nuclear energy ever.

  • Aim - To highlight the role of nuclear energy in addressing the global challenges to reduce the use of fossil fuels, enhance energy security and boost economic development.
  • Organized by - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • The meeting was not meant to produce any decisions or agreement rather, it was another attempt to build momentum for a greater acceptance of nuclear energy.
  • India participated in this summit and committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2070 and that nuclear energy should have a significant share in India's electricity mix by 2047.

White Rabbit Technology

CERN launches the White Rabbit Collaboration.

  • White Rabbit (WR) is a technology developed at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
  • It synchronizes devices in order to solve the  challenge of establishing a common notion of time across a network.
  • It's an open-source, fully deterministic Ethernet-based network for time synchronization and general-purpose data transfer.
  • It was included in the worldwide industry standard known as Precision Time Protocol (PTP), governed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Login or Register to Post Comments
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to review.



Free UPSC Interview Guidance Programme