GS-1 Mains

QUESTION: Buddhism and Jainism were the prominent motivating forces for the artistic activity in in many parts of India during the ancient and medieval periods.  Substantiate.





  • Buddha’s first teaching


  • The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, will celebrate the upcoming Asadha Poornima (on July 4, 2020) as Dharma Chakra Day. It will be the annual flagship event of IBC.
  • The day marks Buddha’s first teaching after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples on the full-moon day of Asadha at ‘Deer Park’, Ṛiṣipatana in the current day Sarnath, near Varanasi, India.


  • The auspicious day of Asadha Poornima which falls on the first full moon day of the month of Asadha as per Indian sun calendar.
  • It is also known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand.
  • It is the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the Buddha Poornima or Vesak.


  • The day marks Buddha’s first teaching after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples on the full-moon.
  • This teaching of Dharma chakra Pravartana Sutra (Sanskrit) is also known as the First Turning of Wheels of Dharma and comprised of the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.
  • The Rainy Season retreat (Varsha Vassa) for the Monks and Nuns also starts with this day, during which they remain in temples dedicated to intensive meditation.
  • They are served during this period by the lay community who also observe eight precepts and meditate under the guidance of their teachers.


  • Buddhism is a faith that was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (“the Buddha”) more than 2,500 years ago in India. Its practice has historically been most prominent in East and Southeast Asia, but its influence is growing in the West. Many Buddhist ideas and philosophies overlap with those of other faiths.


  • When Gautama passed away around 483 B.C., his followers began to organize a religious movement. Buddha’s teachings became the foundation for what would develop into Buddhism.
  • In the 3rd century B.C., Ashoka the Great, the Mauryan Indian emperor, made Buddhism the state religion of India. Buddhist monasteries were built, and missionary work was encouraged.
  • Over the next few centuries, Buddhism began to spread beyond India.
  • In the sixth century, the Huns invaded India and destroyed hundreds of Buddhist monasteries, but the intruders were eventually driven out of the country.

 Buddhism Beliefs:

  • Followers of Buddhism don’t acknowledge a supreme god or deity. They instead focus on achieving enlightenment(nirvana) – a state of inner peace and wisdom.
  • The path to enlightenment is attained by utilizing morality, meditation and wisdom. Buddhists often meditate because they believe it helps awaken truth.
  • Specifically, all Buddhists live by five moral precepts, which prohibit :


  1. Killing living things
  2. Taking what is not yours
  3. Sexual misconduct
  4. Lying
  5. Using drugs or alcohol
  • Buddhism encourages its people to avoid self-indulgence but also self-denial.
  • Buddha’s most important teachings, known as The Four Noble Truths, are essential to understanding the religion.



  • Whole world is full of sorrow/grief (dukkha)
  • cause of suffering ( dukkha samudaya)
  • Renunciation of suffering (nirhodha)
  • path that frees us from suffering (magga)


EIGHT-FOLD PATH (Ashtangika Marg) :

  • The Buddha taught his followers that the end of suffering, as described in the fourth Noble Truths, could be achieved by following an Eightfold Path-


  1. Right understanding
  2. Right thought
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration


  • Buddhists embrace the concepts of karma (the law of cause and effect) and reincarnation (the continuous cycle of rebirth).
  • Buddhist monks, or bhikkhus, follow a strict code of conduct, which includes celibacy.
  • There is no single Buddhist symbol, but a number of images have evolved that represent Buddhist beliefs, including the lotus flower, the eight-spoked dharma wheel, the Bodhi tree and the swastika (an ancient symbol whose name means “well-being” or “good fortune” in Sanskrit).



  • The Buddha’s teachings were oral, rehearsed and authenticated at the First Council and were divided in Three Pitakas in 483 BC and were written down around 25 B.C.E. in Pali.
  • Three Pitakas: These texts, known as the “three baskets,” are thought to be the earliest collection of Buddhist writings.
    • The Vinaya Pitaka consists of rules of conduct and discipline applicable to the monastic life of the monks and nuns.
    • The Sutta Pitaka consists of the main teaching or Dhamma of Buddha.
    • The Abhidhamma Pitaka is a philosophical analysis and systematization of the teaching and the scholarly activity of the monks.
  • Sutras: There are more than 2,000 sutras, which are sacred teachings embraced mainly by Mahayana Buddhists.
  • Other important Buddhist texts include Divyavadana, Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Milind Panha etc.

 Buddhism and Diplomacy:

  • Buddhism has become an important tool in contemporary geopolitics particularly in Asia, and it has become increasingly evident that whoever controls the Buddhist discourse and activities will sway influence in Asia.
  • The celebration of Dharma Chakra Day is being pushed as an event to show India’s strong Buddhist heritage amid tensions with China. It will see the virtual participation of leaders from major Buddhist countries, except China.
  • The timing of the event is particularly important, because this is when both countries would like to resurrect their linkages with others. To show that like-minded countries are coming together sends across a message. What is however important is that one has to put in sustained effort at this, and have a relook at India-China policy with strategic cultural moves.
  • The Central Tibetan Administration has asked Tibetan Buddhists to participate in the online event in large numbers to “support and appreciate” the effort.
  • The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is an organisation headquartered in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, India. It is also referred to as the Tibetan Government in Exile which has never been recognized by China.
  • The position of the CTA is that Tibet is a distinct nation with a long history of independence and it considers China’s administration of Tibet as illegitimate military occupation.
  • In addition to political advocacy, it administers a network of schools and other cultural activities for Tibetans in India.
  • Meanwhile, the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s World Buddhist Forum (WBF) has been hosting congregations of buddhist monks since 2005. China’s extensive infrastructure investment in Lumbini, Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, is also seen as a strategic move to claim the Buddhist legacy.


  • There are also hundreds of millions of Chinese who have a deep devotion towards Buddhism. India needs to reach out to those Chinese constituencies too, for long term gains.
  • After all, India conquered the hearts and minds of Chinese for 200 years without sending a single troop to China.



GS-3 Mains

QUESTION: Briefly discuss the major challenges faced by Indian core sector industries. Give some suggested remedies.




  • India’s Core Sector


  • Output in the eight core industries suffered an overall contraction for a third straight month in May 2020.


  • The monthly Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) is a production volume index.
  • ICI measures collective and individual performance of production in selected eight core industries
  1. Coal,
  2. Crude oil,
  3. Natural Gas,
  4. Petroleum refinery products,
  5. Fertilizer,
  6. Cement,
  7. Steel, and
  8. Electricity generation.



  • Steel and cement were the worst hit, as construction activity and infrastructure projects remained mostly stalled.
  • Refinery products, with the largest weight in the index contributing 28%, contracted as the curbs on vehicular movement stymied demand for automobile fuels.
  • Crude oil and natural gas continued their slide adding to the problems dogging India’s hydrocarbon exploration and production industry.
  • Coal production also fell as the lack of demand for electricity from the nation’s factories depressed power production as well as the need for the key thermal plant fuel.
  • The output of electricity though contracted, it improved its performance from April aided by the partial easing of restrictions and peak summer consumption by households.
  • The fertilizer industry has registered a production rise of 7.5% reversing the slump seen in the preceding two months and signalling robust activity in the agricultural sector at the start of the Kharif season.


  • It is compiled and released by Office of the Economic Adviser (OEA), Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), and Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • ICI is an important lead indicator for overall industrial performance and general economic activities in the economy.
  • These eight industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of the items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP is released by CSO).


  • A promising and early start to this year’s monsoon bodes well for the crucial farm income-dependent rural economy.
  • With the pandemic and the lockdown having sent lakhs of people back to their rural homes from jobs in the cities, a strong uptick in economic activity across the hinterland is significant.
  • The above-average quantity and improved spatial distribution of rainfall in June have spurred a sharp jump in Kharif sowing, with the area sown more than doubling compared with a year earlier.


  • Also, there is a danger to the farm sector, especially in western, central and northern India this year from locust swarms.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization had in its recent update warned that India would need to remain on high alert through July for the possible arrival of swarms from northern Africa.
  • Much of agricultural output will depend on the monsoon staying its course.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization had in its June 27 update warned that India would need to remain on high alert through July for the possible arrival of swarms from northern Africa.
  • Increase in diesel prices during past one month (Rs11/litre) increases the cost of cultivation


  • The June survey showed sharp reductions in output, new orders and employment.
  • Policymakers must not only contain COVID-19’s tearaway spread but also simultaneously keep economic momentum from sliding further.
  • As output and demand slow, India must retain twin focus on the pandemic and economy.
  • The government’s decision to cut the corporate tax rate is expected to boost investment and consumption.
  • Given all, alongside the measures at containing the spread of COVID-19, government must also keep economic momentum from sliding further.


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