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.
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. What is “letter of credence” that is sometimes heard in news?
2. With which country India recently signed an agreement on Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services?
3. Doorstep Banking Services by PSBs launched.
4. What is The 1619 Project?
5. National School of Drama.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
A report to the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has suggested dropping the Communist martyrs of Punnapra-Vayalar, Karivelloor and Kavumbayi agitations from the list of martyrs of India’s Independence struggle.
ICHR says, these Communist agitations cannot be counted as the part of the Independence movement as they took place after the interim government led by Jawaharlal Nehru assumed office. These riots were basically against the interim government.
About Punnapara-Vayalar revolt:
It was an organized working class uprising in the Princely State of Travancore, British India against the Prime Minister, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and the state.
The objectives of the revolt were:
- To overthrow the exploitative diwan of Travancore.
- To liberate the working class from unjust taxation and exploitation of the establishment.
The significances of this revolt were:
(a) It was an unique agitation where the working class rose against government.
(b) It saw the people of all classes up in arms against a common tyrant hence it dissolved class and religion distinction and induced unity among people.
(c) It resulted in establishing democracy in the region and also gave a decisive turn to the politics of the state.
Implications of the revolt:
- Historianss maintain this was a proper struggle against the declaration of ‘Independent Travancore’ by the then Travancore.
- T K Varghese Vaidyan, a leader of the struggle, had gone on record saying it was a rehearsal for a larger revolution with the ultimate objective of establishing a “Communist India”.
- The above mentioned revolt is related to?
- Who took part in it?
- What was the main demand?
- About ICHR.
Discuss the significance and issues surrounding the Punnapara-Vayalar revolt.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
127th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s in Chicago.
- The Parliament of World’s Religions, held for the first time in 1893, from September 11 to September 27, saw eminent personalities from around the world at the same forum.
- Swami Vivekananda addressed the audience first on September 11 followed by the closing speech on September 27.
- He stressed upon world harmony, and how religions, while co-existing with one another, must preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.
Things you need to know about the Parliament of World’s Religions:
- There have been several meetings referred to as a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the first being the World’s Parliament of Religions of 1893, which was an attempt to create a global dialogue of faiths.
- The event was celebrated by another conference on its centenary in 1993.
- So far, six international modern Parliaments have been hosted.
- An organization was incorporated in 1988 to carry out the tradition of the Parliament of the World’s Religions by marking the centennial of the first Parliament.
- The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is headquartered in Chicago. Its board of trustees are elected from various faith communities.
Participants in the first conference:
- Jain preacher Virchand Gandhi.
- Buddhist preacher Anagarika Dharmapala.
- Soyen Shaku, the “First American Ancestor” of Zen.
- Swami Vivekananda represented Hinduism.
- Christianity was represented by G. Bonet Maury.
- Islam was represented by Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb.
- Theism or the Brahmo Samaj was represented by Pratap Chandra Majumdar.
- The Theosophical Society was represented by the Vice-President of the society, William Quan Judge and by activist Annie Besant.
- About 1893 Parliament of World’s Religions.
- Main participants.
- Who represented Hinduism?
- Headquarters of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
- International modern Parliaments held so far.
How Swami Vivekananda became the ‘messenger of Indian wisdom’ to West. Discuss.
Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
Who was Viswanatha Satyanarayana?
- He is the first writer to impart a true Teluguness to the Ramayana.
- Ramayana Kalpavruksham, the seminal work of Shri Viswanatha had fetched him the prestigious Jnanpith Award.
- Through his works, he had highlighted the importance of imparting learning in the mother tongue, preserving culture and protecting the nature.
- Viswanatha’s literary canvas was large comprising novels, critical works, poems, epics, plays, songs and verses, among others.
- Who wrote Ramayana Kalpavruksham?
- Viswanatha Satyanarayana belongs to which state?
- His important literary works.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Why in News?
This week, the Houses in Maharashtra moved motions of breach of privilege against Arnab Goswami and Kangana Ranaut.
What are privileges?
Parliamentary privilege refers to the right and immunity enjoyed by legislatures, in which legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made in the course of their legislative duties.
Which provisions of the Constitution protect the privileges of the legislature?
- The powers, privileges and immunities of either House of the Indian Parliament and of its Members and committees are laid down in Article 105 of the Constitution.
- Article 194 deals with the powers, privileges and immunities of the State Legislatures, their Members and their committees.
What constitutes a breach of this privilege?
There are no clear, notified rules to decide what constitutes a breach of privilege, and the punishment it attracts.
- Generally, any act that obstructs or impedes either House of the state legislature in performing its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results is treated as breach of privilege.
- It is a breach of privilege and contempt of the House to make speeches or to print or publish libel reflecting on the character or proceedings of the House, or its Committees, or on any member of the House for or relating to his character or conduct as a legislator.
What is the procedure to be followed in cases of alleged breach of the legislature’s privilege?
- The Legislative Assembly Speaker or Legislative Council Chairman constitutes a Privileges Committee consisting of 15 members in the Assembly and 11 members in the Council.
- The members to the committee are nominated based on the party strength in the Houses.
- Speaker or Chairman first decides on the motions.
- If the privilege and contempt are found prima facie, then the Speaker or Chairman will forward it to the Privileges Committee by following the due procedure.
- The Committee will examine whether statements made by him had insulted the state legislature and its Members, and whether their image was maligned before the public.
- The Committee, which has quasi-judicial powers, will seek an explanation from all the concerned, will conduct an inquiry and will make a recommendation based on the findings to the state legislature for its consideration.
What is the punishment for an individual who is found guilty of breaching the legislature’s privilege?
- If the Committee finds the offender guilty of breach of privilege and contempt, it can recommend the punishment.
- The punishment can include communicating the displeasure of the state legislature to the offender, summoning the offender before the House and giving a warning, and even sending the offender to jail.
- In the case of the media, press facilities of the state legislature may be withdrawn, and a public apology may be sought.
- Which provisions of the Constitution protect the privileges of the legislature?
- What is the procedure to be followed in cases of alleged breach of the legislature’s privilege?
- Composition and functions of Privileges Committees in Parliament and State Legislatures.
- What is the punishment for an individual who is found guilty of breaching the legislature’s privilege?
What do you understand by legislative privileges? Discuss the problem of legislative privileges as seen in India time to time.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
The Department of Posts has launched a scheme called Five Star Villages, to ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country.
- The scheme is being launched on pilot basis in Maharashtra.
The schemes covered under the Five Star scheme include:
- Savings Bank accounts, Recurrent Deposit Accounts, NSC / KVP certificates.
- Sukanya Samridhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts.
- Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts.
- Postal Life Insurance Policy/Rural Postal Life Insurance Policy.
- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana Account / Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana Account.
Rating of villages:
If a village attains universal coverage for four schemes from the above list, then that village gets four-star status; if a village completes three schemes, then that village get three-star status and so on.
Scheme Implementation Team:
- The scheme will be implemented by a team of five Gramin Dak Sevaks who will be assigned a village for marketing of all products, savings and insurance schemes of the Department of Posts.
- This team will be headed by the Branch Post Master of the concerned Branch Office.
- Mail overseer will keep personal watch on progress of team on daily basis.
- The teams will be led and monitored by concerned Divisional Head, Assistant Superintendents Posts and Inspector Posts.
- The above mentioned scheme has been launched by?
- Schemes covered under it.
- How are villages rated under the scheme?
- Implementation of the scheme.
Discuss the significance of Five Star Villages Scheme.
Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance.
‘SAROD-Ports’ stands for Society for Affordable Redressal of Disputes – Ports.
- Launched by the Union Shipping Ministry.
- It is Affordable Dispute Redressal Mechanism for all kind of disputes of maritime sector.
SAROD-Ports is established under Societies Registration Act, 1860 with the following objectives:
- Affordable and timely resolution of disputes in fair manner.
- Enrichment of Dispute Resolution Mechanism with the panel of technical experts as arbitrators.
Composition of the society:
SAROD-Ports consists members from Indian Ports Association (IPA) and Indian Private Ports and Terminals Association (IPTTA).
- The scheme has been launched by?
- Composition of the said society.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
The BJP has become the first mainstream political party from India to have named itself as a foreign principal of an organisation in the United States, after the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) registered under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) under the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Following the registration, the OFBJP will have to declare any meetings with U.S. legislators, organisation of events and funding from U.S. groups.
- It will also not be possible for OFBJP members to use organisational help during the U.S. elections as it would then be seen as foreign interference.
- The law came into force in 1938 to combat the spread of fascist propaganda into the United States.
- It requires foreign agents to register with the Justice Department and disclose their activities to the public.
- The also requires “agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a political or quasi political capacity [to]disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related finances.”
Why is it used?
- FARA is an important tool to identify foreign influence in the United States and address threats to national security.
- The central purpose of FARA is to promote transparency with respect to foreign influence within the United States by ensuring that the US government and the public know the source of certain information from foreign agents intended to influence American public opinion, policy and laws, thereby facilitating informed evaluation of that information.
Violation of the law:
“Willful violation” of the law is punishable with up to five years in jail and or a maximum fine of $250,000, or both. The punishment for certain lesser violations is a jail term of no more than six months or a fine of $5,000, or both.
- US FARA law is related to?
- India’s first political party to have named itself a foreign principal of an organisation in the United States.
- Implications of becoming a foreign principal of an organization under FARA.
- Who has to compulsorily register under FARA?
- What happens in case of violation?
Discuss the significance of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) under the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Recently, the EASE (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence) 2.0 Banking Reforms Index on performance of Public Sector Banks (PSB) from March 2018-2020 was released and best performing banks on EASE were felicitated.
What is EASE Reforms Agenda?
- It was launched in January 2018 jointly by the government and PSBs.
- It was commissioned through Indian Banks’ Association and authored by Boston Consulting Group.
- EASE Agenda is aimed at institutionalizing CLEAN and SMART banking.
- The Index measures performance of each PSB on 120+ objective metrics.
What is EASE 2.0?
EASE 2.0 builds on the foundation of EASE 1.0 and introduces new reform Action Points across six themes to make reforms journey irreversible, strengthen processes and systems, and drive outcomes.
The six themes of EASE are:
- Responsible Banking.
- Customer Responsiveness.
- Credit Off-take.
- PSBs as UdyamiMitra (SIDBI portal for credit management of MSMEs).
- Financial Inclusion & Digitalisation.
- Governance and HR.
Performance of PSB on EASE 2.0 Index:
- The Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have shown a healthy trajectory as their overall score increased by 37% between March-2019 and March-2020.
- The PSBs have adopted tech-enabled, smart banking in all areas, setting up retail and MSME Loan Management Systems for reduced loan turn-around time and PSBloansin59minutes.com and TReDS for digital lending.
- The Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, and erstwhile Oriental Bank of Commerce were felicitated for being the top three in the ‘Top Performing Banks’ category.
- The Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India & erstwhile Corporation Bank were awarded in the ‘Top Improvers’ category.
- Ease Reforms Agenda has been commissioned by?
- Differences between EASE 1.0 vs 2.0 vs 3.0.
- Themes of EASE 2.0.
- Top three in the ‘Top Performing Banks’ category.
- Banks in ‘Top Improvers’ category.
What is EASE 2.0 Banking Reforms Index? How are PSBs ranked?
Topics Covered: Internal security related issues.
The government has allowed Sudarshan News, a Hindi channel, to air a controversial programme that seeks to “expose” a “conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims” into the Indian civil services.
What has the government said?
Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has said it cannot pre-censor a programme, or stop it from being telecast.
- It is because Indian broadcast rules do not permit pre-censorship of TV programmes and advertisements — that is banning them before they are aired — and only films and film trailers are pre-certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
What’s the issue?
The Sudarshan News episode came to light after the channel released a promotional trailer, terming the alleged conspiracy “bureaucracy jihad” and “UPSC jihad”. The trailer at once elicited widespread criticism, with many alleging the content amounted to hate speech.
- The episode was also challenged in the Delhi High Court, which stayed its telecast. When Sudarshan News approached the court to vacate the stay, the latter asked the I&B Ministry to take a call.
What the rules say?
Section 20 of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, states that the government can regulate or prohibit the transmission or retransmission of any programme that it feels is not in conformity with the Programme and Advertising Code, which oversees television content in India.
- However, since there is no body to pre-certify content for TV, potentially problematic programmes only come to notice once they have been aired.
- The Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC), under the I&B Ministry, monitors the content telecast on private TV channels to check if they adhere to the Programme and Advertising Code.
- Specific complaints on code violations are looked into by an inter-ministerial committee (IMC).
Rule 6 of the Cable TV Network Rules:
It is also the responsibility of the channel to ensure its programmes are not violative of the programme code, laid down in Rule 6 of the Cable TV Network Rules.
- Sub-section ‘c’ of Rule 6 specifically mentions that programmes that contain attacks on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes should not be carried in the cable service.
Sources: the Hindu, Indian Express.
Facts for Prelims
What is “letter of credence” that is sometimes heard in news?
It is a letter of introduction or recommendation, especially of an ambassador.
Why in News?
President Ram Nath Kovind accepts letter of credence from Singapore’s High Commissioner to India.
With which country India recently signed an agreement on Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services?
- India and Japan sign agreement on Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between Forces of both countries.
- This agreement establishes the enabling framework for closer cooperation between the two Forces in reciprocal provision of supplies and services while engaged in bilateral training activities, United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Humanitarian International Relief and other mutually agreed activities.
Doorstep Banking Services by PSBs launched:
- As part of the EASE Reforms, Doorstep Banking Services is envisaged to provide convenience of banking services to the customers at their door step through the universal touch points of Call Centre, Web Portal or Mobile App. Customers canalso track their service request through these channels.
- The services shall be rendered by the Doorstep Banking Agents deployed by the selected Service Providers at 100 centres across the country.
What is The 1619 Project?
The Project is a special initiative of The New York Times Magazine, launched in 2019 to mark the completion of 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in colonial Virginia’s Jamestown in August 1619.
- The edition examines how social structures that developed in the US as a consequence of slavery affect present-day laws, policies, systems and culture, and the contributions of Black people in America’s nation-building.
National School of Drama:
Why in News?
Paresh Rawal, actor and former BJP MP, has been appointed Chairperson of the National School of Drama Society by President Ram Nath Kovind.
- Set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi as one of its constituent units in 1959.
- In 1975, it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
- Bharat Rang Mahotsav, or the ‘National Theatre Festival’, established in 1999, is the annual theatre festival of National School of Drama (NSD), held in New Delhi, today it is acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia, dedicated solely to theatre.