Relevance in UPSC:
GS Paper 1: India’s Ancient Past
Prelims: About Jainism
Mains: Significance of Teaching of Jainism
Why in News?
The Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar has greeted the people of the nation on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti.
About Mahavir Jayanti
- This day marks the birth of Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara who succeeded the 23rd Tirthankara, Pars
- According to Jain texts, Lord Mahavira was born on the 13th day of the bright half of Chaitra month.
- A procession is usually called with an image of Lord Mahavira known as Rath Yatra. While reciting stavans or Jain prayers, the statue of God receives a ritual bath called abhisheka.
About Mahavira Swami
- He was born at King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala of the Ikshvaku Dynasty in Kshatriyakund, Bihar (part of the famous Vaishali Republic) in 540 BC.
- Beginning of life His name was Vardhaman, which means to increase. He was the Kshatriya Prince of Lichchavis, a group that was part of the Vajji Sangha.
- Although he was born with worldly comforts and luxuries, they never fascinated him, and at the age of 30 he left home to live in the forest.
- For twelve years he lived a difficult and lonely life.
- The word Jaina comes from Jina, meaning conqueror.
- Tirthankara is a Sanskrit word meaning “Fordmaker”, meaning one who is able to cross the river through the eternal flow of earthly life.
- Jainism emphasizes ahimsa, or non-violence.
It states the 5 mahavratas (5 great vows):
- Ahimsa (non-violence)
- Satya (truth)
- Asteya or Acharya (non-stealing)
- Aparigraha (non-attachment/non-possession)
- Brahmacharya (Celibacy/Chastity)
To these 5 teachings, Mahavira added Brahmacharya (celibacy/chastity).
The three jewels or triple jewels of Jainism include:
- Samyak Darshana (right faith)
- Samyak Gyana (right knowledge)
- Samyak Charitra (right movement)
Jainism is a self-help religion.
- There are no gods or spiritual beings who help people.
- It does not condemn the Varna system.
- Later it was divided into two sects:
- Shvetambaras (Whites) under Sthalabahu
Digambaras (Capes of Heaven) under the leadership of Bhadrabahu
Mahila Samman Savings Certificate
GS Paper 3: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections
Prelims: About Mahila Samman Savings Certificate
Mains: Significance of Mahila Samman Savings Certificate
Why in News?
The Government notified Mahila Samman Savings Certificate 2023, which will allow women and girls to invest up to Rs 2 lakh for a period of 2 years and earn a fixed interest of 7.5%.
About Mahila Samman Scheme
- This is a small, one-time savings scheme for women to celebrate the 75th anniversary of independence.
- It will be available for two years until March 2025.
- It will be under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Account can be open in Post Office and authorised banks
- Account can be made by a woman for herself or by the guardian on behalf of a minor girl.
- Any number of MSSC accounts can be opened by a woman, or in the name of a minor girl by the guardian, subject to the maximum limit of Rs 2 lakh.
- The minimum amount required for opening an MSSC account is Rs 1000 and thereafter in multiples of Rs 100. The maximum deposit limit is Rs 2 lakh.
MSSC Interest Rate
- The Government has notified 7.5% interest on deposits in an MSSC account.
- The interest will be compounded on a quarterly basis and credited to the account.
- An MSSC accountholder will be allowed to withdraw a maximum up to 40% of the eligible balance once after the expiry of one year from the date of opening of the account but before the maturity of the account.
The notification further said that in case of an account opened on behalf of a minor girl, the guardian may apply for the withdrawal for the benefit of the minor girl by submitting the certificate
OPEC+ surprise output cuts
GS Paper 3: Mobilization of resources
Prelims: About Crude Oil
Mains: Role of OPEC
Why in News?
Oil prices surged posting the biggest daily rise in nearly a year, after a surprise announcement by OPEC+ to cut more production jolted markets.
- Brent crude was trading at $84.22 a barrel
- The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies including Russia shook markets by announcing further production cuts of about 1.16 million barrels per day (bpd)
- Goldman Sachs lowered its end¬2023 production forecast for OPEC+ by 1 million bpd and raised its Brent price forecasts to $95 and $100 a barrel for 2023 and 2024, respectively
- Crude oil is the most traded and used commodity on earth.
- Petroleum and its derivatives continue to drive global transportation and are used for cooking and heating in developing countries.
- With the world’s continued reliance on crude oil, its price is heavily influenced by economic growth rates, which impacts demand forecasts.
- Because we depend on petroleum products for transportation, chemicals, and manufacturing, changes in the price of petroleum affect rates of economic growth.
Difference between Brent and WTI
- Brent crude oil is produced from the North Sea oil fields between the Shetland Islands and Norway.
- West Texas Intermediate (WTI) comes from American deposits, mainly in Texas, Louisiana and North Dakota.
- Both are relatively light in both oils, but Brent has a slightly higher API gravity, making WTI the lighter of the two.
- American Petroleum Institute (API) Gravity is an indication of the density of crude oil or refined products.
- WTI has a lower sulfur content (0. 24%) than Brent (0.37%), considered “softer”.
- Brent crude oil price is the international benchmark price used by OPEC, while WTI crude oil price is the benchmark price for US oil prices.
- Brent is the benchmark for Indian oil prices as India mainly imports from OPEC countries.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
- It was founded in Baghdad, Iraq, with the signing of an agreement in September 1960 by five countries namely Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. They were to become the Founder Members of the Organization.
- OPEC was formed in 1960 and its 13 current member states hold more than 80% of the world’s proven oil reserves.
- Another 10 major oil producing countries including Russia have aligned with the group to form an alliance known as OPEC+.
- OPEC produces about 40% of the world’s crude oil and its members’ exports make up around 60% of global petroleum trade.
- The group aims to regulate global oil prices by coordinating on reductions or increases in production.