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InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Permanent commission to all women officers in Army.


GS Paper 2:

1. Bubonic plague.

2. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

3. New US visa rule puts students  in  a  corner.


GS Paper 3:

1. Namami Gange.

2. Financial and technological commitments under UNFCCC and Paris agreement.


Facts for Prelims:

1. What is the name of butterfly recently recorded as the largest in India?

2. Is Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) a statutory body?

3. Places in News- Idlib.


GS Paper  : 1


Topics Covered: Women related issues.

Permanent commission to all women officers in Army

The Supreme Court has allowed a one-month extension to the government to implement its February 17 judgment to grant permanent commission/command posts to eligible women officers in the armed forces.

What’s the issue?

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court which said the government was creating hurdles in the implementation of the judgment.

However, the government has clarified that it is in the process of implementation of the judgment was at an “advanced state” and a circular would be issued soon.

SC’s February order and its implications:

  1. Women officers are be eligible to tenant all the command appointments, at par with male officers, which would open avenues for further promotions to higher ranks for them.
  2. The court dismissed the government’s stand that only women officers with less than 14 years of service ought to be considered for permanent commission, and those with over 20 years service should be pensioned immediately.
  3. The court has done away with all discrimination on the basis of years of service for grant of PC in 10 streams of combat support arms and services, bringing them on a par with male officers.

Observations made by the Court in its judgment:

It rejected arguments against greater role for women officers, saying these violated equality under law (Article 14).

The biological argument was also rejected as disturbing.

The court had rejected government’s arguments, saying they are based on sex stereotypes premised on assumptions about socially ascribed roles of gender which discriminate against women (Article 16).

It had also said that it only shows the need “to emphasise the need for change in mindsets to bring about true equality in the Army”.

What were the arguments put forth by the government in its defence?

  • Motherhood, childcare, psychological limitations have a bearing on the employment of women officers in the Army.
  • Family separation, career prospects of spouses, education of children, prolonged absence due to pregnancy, motherhood were a greater challenge for women to meet the exigencies of service.

Physical limitations: Soldiers will be asked to work in difficult terrains, isolated posts and adverse climate conditions. Officers have to lead from the front. They should be in prime physical condition to undertake combat tasks. The Govt. said women were not fit to serve in ground combat roles.

Behavioural and Psychological Challenges: Army units were a “unique all-male environment”. The presence of women officers would require “moderated behaviour”. The male troop predominantly comes from a rural background and may not be in a position to accept commands from a female leader.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is SSC?
  2. What is permanent Commission?
  3. Article 14 vs 16.
  4. Overview of SC judgment.
  5. What is WSES?

Mains Link:

Supreme Court’s ruling granting permanent commission to women on a par with men has been hailed as a “great leap” towards equality in the army. Comment.


Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Bubonic Plague

Bayannur, a city in northern China, is on high alert after a suspected case of Bubonic plague was reported Recently.

  • Authorities in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region announced a level III warning of plague prevention and control.

Local authorities announced that the warning period will continue until the end of 2020 since the plague ran the risk of spreading.

What is the plague?

The plague is a disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which is found in animals, particularly rodents.

It can be transmitted to humans through infected animals and fleas. 

  • In the Middle Ages (5th-15th century), plague was also known as the ‘Black Death’ as it was responsible for the deaths of millions of people in Europe.

There are three types of plague:  

Bubonic plague: This infects a person’s lymphatic system (which is a part of their immune system), causing inflammation in the lymph nodes. If left untreated, the bubonic plague can also convert into either pneumonic of septicemic plague. Its symptoms include fever, chills, weakness and headaches.

Pneumonic plague: According to WHO, pneumonic plague is the ‘most virulent form of plague’ and can be fatal within 24 to 72 hours. It occurs when the bacteria infects the lungs. It is the only type of plague that can be transmitted from human to human. Symptoms are chest pain, fever and cough. It is highly contagious and transmissible merely by coughing.

Septicemic plague: This is when the bacteria enters the blood stream and multiplies there.

If left untreated, pneumonic and bubonic plague can lead to septicemic plague. A person infected by septicemic plague may also notice their skin turning black.

How to treat and control plague?

The plague is a life-threatening disease but if caught early, can be treated with antibiotics. However, without prompt treatment, the disease can lead to serious illnesses and even death.

At times, antibiotics alone are not enough —additionally intravenous fluids and extra oxygen are required to treat a person.

Since it is highly contagious, those who are infected with pneumonic plague are kept in isolation.

  • And people in close contact with the person infected are given a dose of antibiotics as a preventive measure.
  • Other preventive measures to curb a plague outbreak are to keep the rodent population in control with pest control measures, ensuring that surrounding areas are clear of stacks of wood that rodents feed on among others.

India chapter:

The Bubonic plague severely impacted India too.

  • The first official case was reportedon 23 September 1896 in what was then Bombay. It was a part of the third plague pandemic, which originated in China in 1855.
  • The disease was spread in India through trading ships, hitting the port cities of Calcutta, Karachi, Punjab and United Provinces among others.

Over 12 million Indians were estimated to have succumbed to this disease.

The situation went so out of hand that it led to the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897 being ‘hastily’ drafted. The law has the “power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic disease”.


Prelims Link:

  1. Plague is caused by?
  2. Is it zoonotic?
  3. Types and differences?
  4. Why is it called the “Black Death”?
  5. Overview of the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897.

Mains Link:

Discuss the causes, symptoms and effects of bubonic plague.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)

The US has urged all its allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

  • This indicates that despite a change in the ground realities following the deadly clash between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) last month, the U.S’s message to countries, including India, on sanctions for the purchase of Russian arms has not changed.

What is CAATSA?

Enacted in 2017, it is a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia.

Includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.

The Act empowers the US President to impose at least five of the 12 listed sanctions on persons engaged in a “significant transaction” with Russian defence and intelligence sectors.

What sanctions will be imposed?

  1. prohibition on loans to the sanctioned person.
  2. prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons.
  3. prohibition on procurement by United States Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned person.
  4. denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned person.

Implications on India:

Although the sanctions are not directly imposed on India, it affects India nevertheless. The major reason for this is the nature of relationship India has with Iran and Russia. India happens to have strong trade ties with both these nation states.

No, as per the provisions of the bill, US imposes sanctions on all its adversaries, as well as all countries and firms dealing with this adversaries.

  • So, if India does not remove ties with Russia and Iran, the US may invoke sanctions against India. India cannot afford to lose the growing diplomatic relations with the US, but neither can it afford to forego supplies of defence and oil from Russia and Iran.


Prelims Link:

  1. CAATSA is associated with?
  2. Powers of US president under CAATSA.
  3. Types of sanctions that can be imposed.
  4. Significant defence deals between India and Russia.
  5. Overview of Iran Nuclear deal.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of CAATSA.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

New US visa rule puts students  in  a  corner

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued a new directive barring international students from continuing their higher education in the country unless they meet specific quotas of in-person classes. 

Who will be affected?

Students participating in university programmes that rely entirely on online courses now risk deportation if they do not leave the country, or transfer to schools with “in-person instruction.”

The order directly relates to those students on F-1 and M-1 visas.

  1. F-1 visa holders are those pursuing undergraduate, post-graduate or doctoral studies at tertiary education institutions.
  2. M-1 holders are those engaged in vocational courses.

Overall impact:

Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.

  • Those whose colleges and universities were moving to an online only model would therefore have to leave the country or find another way to stay in status.
  • Other measures include such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.

How will this order affect the Indian students?

International students, reportedly, make up 5.5 per cent of the US’ higher education population, numbering just short of 1.1 million.

The Indian student cohort is second only to the Chinese, representing 18 per cent of all foreign students in the US, according to 2017-2018 ICE data.

  • The announcement comes weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump suspended H1-B highly skilled worker visas through the end of the year. Most of these visas go to Indian citizens each year.


Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between H1B, F1 and M1 Visas.
  2. Difference between an NRI and an OCI cardholder.
  3. When OCI and PIO were merged?
  4. The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 grants citizenship to?
  5. Constitutional provisions related to citizenship in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of recent changes in US visa rules on Indian students in the US.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  : 3


Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Namami Gange

The World Bank and the Government of India have signed a loan agreement to enhance support for the Namami Gange programme that seeks to rejuvenate the Ganga river.

  • World Bank provides $400 million to enhance support for rejuvenating the Ganga.

About Namami Gange Programme:

It is an umbrella programme which integrates previous and currently ongoing initiatives by enhancing efficiency, extracting synergies and supplementing them with more comprehensive & better coordinated interventions.

Implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterparts—State Programme Management Groups.

National Ganga Council (NGC):

Created in October 2016 under the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016, dissolving the National Ganga River Basin Authority.

Headed by the Prime Minister.

It replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).

  • NGC would have on board the chief ministers of five Ganga basin states—Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal—besides several Union ministers and it was supposed to meet once every year.

Main Pillars of the Namami Gange Programme are:

  1. Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure
  2. River-Surface Cleaning
  3. Afforestation
  4. Industrial Effluent Monitoring
  5. River-Front Development
  6. Bio-Diversity
  7. Public Awareness
  8. Ganga Gram

Why we need “Namami Gange” programme?

  1. River Ganga has significant economic, environmental and cultural value in India.
  2. Rising in the Himalayas and flowing to the Bay of Bengal, the river traverses a course of more than 2,500 km through the plains of north and eastern India.
  3. The Ganga basin – which also extends into parts of Nepal, China and Bangladesh – accounts for 26 per cent of India’s landmass.
  4. The Ganga also serves as one of India’s holiest rivers whose cultural and spiritual significance transcends the boundaries of the basin.

If we are able to clean it, it will be a huge help for the 40 per cent population of the country.

What are the pollution threats to Ganga?

  1. Rapidly increasing population, rising standards of living and exponential growth of industrialization and urbanization have exposed water resources to various forms of degradation.
  2. The deterioration in the water quality of Ganga impacts the people immediately.
  3. Ganga has become unfit even for bathing during lean seasons.
  4. The impacts of infrastructural projects in the upper reaches of the river Ganga raise issues.

Challenges ahead:

  1. Sewage treatment.
  2. Restoring the flow.
  3. Sludge control.
  4. Cost overruns.
  5. Governance glitches.


Prelims Link:

  1. Composition of NGC.
  2. About NGRBA.
  3. What is NMCG?
  4. Components of Namami Gange Programme.
  5. World Bank group.

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Financial and technological commitments under UNFCCC and Paris agreement

The fourth edition of the virtual Ministerial on Climate Action was recently held.

  • The meeting was co-chaired by European Union, China and Canada.

Outcomes of the meet:

Developed country parties were called upon to do their part as envisaged under UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement, for extending financial and technological support to developing countries.

What was announced under the Paris Agreement?

At the Paris Conference in 2015 where the Agreement was negotiated, the developed countries reaffirmed the commitment to mobilize $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020, and agreed to continue mobilizing finance at the level of $100 billion a year until 2025.

What is the Paris Agreement?

It is a historic international accord that brings almost 200 countries together in setting a common target to reduce global greenhouse emissions in an effort to fight climate change.

  1. The pact seeks to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, and to try and limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  2. To this end, each country has pledged to implement targeted action plans that will limit their greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. The Agreement asks rich and developed countries to provide financial and technological support to the developing world in its quest to fight and adapt to climate change.


The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, which marked the beginning of the international community’s first concerted effort to confront the problem of climate change.

Known also as the Rio Convention, the UNFCCC established a framework for action to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.

  • The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994.


Sources: pib.


Facts for Prelims

What is the name of butterfly recently recorded as the largest in India?

A Himalayan butterfly named Golden Birdwing is now India’s largest.

  • While the female Golden Birdwing was recorded from Didihat in Uttarakhand, the largest male was from the Wankhar Butterfly Museum in Meghalaya capital Shillong.

So far, the record was held by the Southern Birdwing, recorded in 1932.

The only measurement used in the study of Lepidoptera is wingspan — a simple concept with various interpretations of the term.

  • The wingspan of female Golden Birdwing is 194 mm, marginally larger than the Southern Birdwing (190 mm).

The smallest is the Quaker (Neopithecops zalmora) with a wingspan of 18 mm and forewing length of 8 mm.


Is Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) a statutory body?

DUAC is a statutory body formed by an Act of Parliament in 1973.

DUAC is meant to advise the Centre on matters of preservation, development and maintenance of the aesthetic quality of the capital’s urban and environmental design.

It also provides advice and guidance to any local body.

DUAC plays a three fold role – a policy advisor to the Government of India, a regulatory body and a think tank.

Places in News- Idlib:

Syrian and Russian planes have carried out deadly aerial strikes on schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib province. UN investigators have termed these attacks as war crimes.

Where is Idlib?

Idlib is a city in northwestern Syria, 59 kilometers southwest of Aleppo, which is the capital of the Idlib Governorate. It has an elevation of nearly 500 meters above sea level.


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