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GS Paper I- Indian Heritage and Culture.

Parsi New Year Celebrated In India On August 17, 2017.

Background-

  • India is the origin of a number of religions and is home to followers of many more. One such community which migrated to India and has been a prominent part of the Indian culture since is the Parsi community. They follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, which was founded by the Prophet Zarathustra in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago.
  • Parsis in India are considered to be the largest single group of the Zoroastrian community, which also consists of Iranis. Though smaller in number compared to other communities of India, Parsis form an integral part of the Indian demographic. One of the major festivals celebrated by the Parsi community is the Parsi New Year which marks the first day of the year. While the Iranian calendar celebrates the Persian New Year on the spring equinox, Indians and Pakistanis follow the Shahenshahi calendar.

 

Highlights And Significance Of The Celebration–

  • The celebrations begin on the eve of the New Year and is known as Pateti. The emperor Jamshed is believed to have begun the celebrations some 3,000 years ago. The day when both North Pole and South Pole have equal duration of day and night is the spring equinox and that is the day when Pateti is celebrated. It falls in the month of August, according to the Gregorian calendar. People pray for prosperity, health and wealth on this day. It is also believed to the day of remittance of sins and repentance.
  • Like every year, Parsi New Year 2017 will be celebrated with great pomp by people in India. For the Zoroastrian community, Parsi New Year stands for the annual renewal of everything in the universe.
  • Like all other festivals and observance in India, Parsi New Year celebrations begin with cleaning the house on the eve of the festival. Homes are decorated with flowers and chalk decorations. People of the Parsi community buy and wear new clothes on this day. After bathing and dressing up, a visit to the Fire temple to pay their respects and offer prayers is customary.
  • Friends and relatives visit each other and also have meals together. They are welcomed with a sprinkling of rose water. Delicacies prepared for the day of Navroz include moog dal, pulav and sali boti, dhansak, farcha and patra ni macchi.
  • Parsis in Mumbai also make a day out of Parsi New Year by going for Gujarati plays at theatres across the city. Several places in Mumbai that serve authentic Parsi food have a number of visitors on Parsi New Year.
  • Many people also make charitable donations on this day. It is a day that signifies new beginnings and the Parsis do their best to start it on a positive note.

Sources- The Free Press Journal.

GS Paper II- Governance. International Relations.

India, Turkmenistan Hold Talks On Crucial Transit Corridor Via Iran, Oman.

Background

  • India and Turkmenistan on 14th August, 2017 discussed ways to establish a transport transit corridor between Iran, Oman and Turkmenistan.
  • Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Shipping, met Rashid Meredov, Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister of Turkmenistan, on Monday, 14th August, 2017.
  • The two sides discussed India’s joining the Ashgabat Agreement that envisages establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor between Iran, Oman and Turkmenistan. They also discussed ways to expand and deepen bilateral cooperation.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The meeting comes within days of Gadkari visiting Iran and stating that Chabahar port would be operational next year. Turkmenistan is known for having one of the largest gas reserves globally.
  • Turkmenistan is the Depository State of Ashgabat Agreement, which has Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as founding members. Kazakhstan has also joined this arrangement.
  • In 2016, the Indian government decided to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement, a move that would enable the country to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region. India would become party to the agreement after consent from the founding members.
  • Further, this move would also be in synch with India’s efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity. INSTC-Express Corridor is a transport link between India and Russia.
  • Recently, the External Affairs Ministry had a multi-stakeholder meet focussed on possible routes of INSTC, its popularisation, development and optimal utilisation of Chabahar port to complement INSTC and to provide connectivity to Central Asia, modalities of and impediments to multi-modal transport and way ahead.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.

GS Paper III- Technology.

Retail Inflation Increases To 2.36% In July From 1.46% In June, Wholesale Inflation Rises To 1.88%, Showing Effects Of Implementation Of GST And 7th Pay Commission.

Background

  • India’s retail inflation quickened to 2.36% in July, reversing its downward trend, as vegetables prices shot up, reducing the probability of any near-term interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation was at 1.46% a month ago.
  • The pace of decline in vegetable prices slowed to 3.57% in July, 2017 from a 16.53% contraction in the previous month, data released by the Central Statistics Office on Monday showed.
  • Data separately released on 14th August, 2017 by the department of industrial policy and promotion showed India’s Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation quickened to 1.88% in July, led by increases in food and mineral prices, compared with a 0.90% gain a month ago.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • Inflation for housing (4.98%) and fuel and light (4.86%) segments also accelerated in July, 2017, reflecting the government’s decision to implement the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for central government employees regarding allowances and hike in fuel prices. The government’s recent decision to hike cooking gas prices by Rs4 a month till the subsidy is eliminated may further fuel retail inflation.
  • Higher prices on account of implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), which came into effect from 1 July, 2017 also contributed to the reversal in inflationary trends.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which cut its repo rate by 0.25 percentage points earlier this month (August, 2017), retained its neutral policy stance, citing uncertainty on the future trajectory of inflation because of several uncertainties.
  • The second volume of the Economic Survey 2016-17 presented on 11th August, 2017 in Parliament took a contrarian view and maintained that India is undergoing a structural shift toward low inflation, mostly due to changing dynamics in the oil market, which has capped upside risks.
  • The Economic Survey implicitly blamed RBI for the slowdown in economic growth due to “tighter than assumed” monetary policy.
  • While the volume of monsoon rainfall is near-normal, its uneven geographic spread poses a concern to future inflationary trends. For instance, the southern peninsula has seen a substantial 16% shortfall in rainfall. The decline in sowing of various oilseeds (-9.9%), pulses (-1.6%) and coarse cereals (-1.5%) may also affect their prices and exert some upward pressure on inflation in the coming months.

Sources- Livemint.d