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:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Places in News- Nagorno-Karabakh.
2. Places in News- Mecca.
3. Places in News- New Caledonia.
4. Atal Tunnel.
5. Two new plant species discovered in Western Ghats.
6. Xoo infection.
7. Section 29 of POCSO Act.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
A Supreme Court-appointed expert committee has alleged violations of the court orders in the execution of the Chardham road project.
(What violations? Not so important).
What was the Court ruling?
A controversial aspect was the proposed width of the two-lane highways envisaged.
- The top court ruled last month that a width of 5.5 metre be enforced as it was in conformity with a 2018 recommendation of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) for mountain roads.
What is Chardham Project?
- The project comprises improvement as well as the development of 889 km length of national highways.
- The project will connect Badrinath Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra.
- Overview of the project.
- Important National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the region.
- Important rivers flowing through these places.
- Difference between National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
Discuss the significance of Chardham Project.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
EC announces new rules for postal ballot.
- The rules aim to make it more convenient for those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities to vote.
New rules announced:
- The returning officer would deploy polling teams, which will deliver and collect the postal ballot on pre-informed dates and then deposit it with the returning officer.
- The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered at the residence of all those aged above 80 and people with disabilities by the booth level officer under his polling station.
What is postal voting?
A restricted set of voters can exercise postal voting. Through this facility, a voter can cast her vote remotely by recording her preference on the ballot paper and sending it back to the election officer before counting.
Who else can avail this facility?
Members of the armed forces like the Army, Navy and Air Force, members of the armed police force of a state (serving outside the state), government employees posted outside India and their spouses are entitled to vote only by post.
- The exception to the above-mentioned category of voters is provided under Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Representation of the People Act, 1951:
This act provides for the actual conduct of elections in India. It deals with the following matters:
- Details like Qualification and Disqualification of members of both the Houses of Parliament and the State Legislatures,
- Administrative machinery for conducting elections,
- Registration of Political parties,
- Conduct of Elections,
- Election Disputes,
- Corrupt practices & Electoral offences, &
- What is Postal Voting?
- Who is eligible?
- Who can decide matters related to postal voting?
- Role of Election Commission of India.
- Is Right to vote a constitutional right?
Discuss the features and benefits of postal voting.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Why in News?
Uttar Pradesh government is planning to subject the Hathras rape and murder victim’s family members to narco tests.
What are the concerns?
The consequences of such tests on “individuals from weaker sections of society who are unaware of their fundamental rights and unable to afford legal advice” can be devastating.
- It may involve future abuse, harassment and surveillance, even leakage of the video material to the Press for a “trial by media.”
- Such tests are an affront to human dignity and liberty, and have long-lasting effects.
What are narco test?
Narco test involves the injection of a drug, sodium pentothal, which induces a hypnotic or sedated state in which the subject’s imagination is neutralised, and they are expected to divulge true information.
- The drug, referred to as “truth serum” in this context, was used in larger doses as anaesthesia during surgery, and is said to have been used during World War II for intelligence operations.
How is it different from Polygraph test?
A polygraph test is based on the assumption that physiological responses that are triggered when a person is lying are different from what they would be otherwise.
- Instruments like cardio-cuffs or sensitive electrodes are attached to the person, and variables such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, change in sweat gland activity, blood flow, etc., are measured as questions are put to them.
- A numerical value is assigned to each response to conclude whether the person is telling the truth, is deceiving, or is uncertain.
Are Indian investigators allowed to put suspects through these tests?
In Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr (2010), a Supreme Court ruled that no lie detector tests should be administered “except on the basis of consent of the accused”.
- It also said the ‘Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test on an Accused’ published by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000, must be strictly followed.
The court took into consideration international norms on human rights, the right to a fair trial, and the right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.
- What is narco test?
- What is polygraph test?
- Article 20(3) of the Constitution is related to?
- Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr (2010) case is related to?
What are polygraph and narco tests? Discuss the issues associated.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Xi hails ‘steady’ China-Bangladesh friendship, seeks joint promotion of Belt & Road Initiative.
What is BRI?
The Belt and Road Initiative, reminiscent of the Silk Road, is a massive infrastructure project that would stretch from East Asia to Europe.
It was launched in 2013.
- The plan is two-pronged: the overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road- The two were collectively referred to first as the One Belt, One Road initiative but eventually became the Belt and Road Initiative.
- The project involves creating a vast network of railways, energy pipelines, highways, and streamlined border crossings.
Pakistan and BRI:
To date, more than sixty countries—accounting for two-thirds of the world’s population—have signed on to projects or indicated an interest in doing so.
- Analysts estimate the largest so far to be the estimated $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a collection of projects connecting China to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
What was the original Silk Road?
The original Silk Road arose during the westward expansion of China’s Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), which forged trade networks throughout the Central Asian countries, as well as modern-day India and Pakistan to the south. Those routes extended more than four thousand miles to Europe.
How have other countries responded to BRI?
Some countries see the project as a disturbing expansion of Chinese power.
The United States shares the concern of some in Asia that the BRI could be a Trojan horse for China-led regional development and military expansion.
What does China hope to achieve?
China has both geopolitical and economic motivations behind the initiative.
- The country has promoted a vision of a more assertive China, while slowing growth and rocky trade relations with the United States have pressured the country’s leadership to open new markets for its goods.
- Experts see the BRI as one of the main planks of a bolder Chinese statecraft under Xi, alongside the Made in China 2025 economic development strategy.
- The BRI also serves as pushback against the much-touted S. “pivot to Asia,” as well as a way for China to develop new investment opportunities, cultivate export markets, and boost Chinese incomes and domestic consumption.
India has tried to convince countries that the BRI is a plan to dominate Asia, warning of what some analysts have called a “String of Pearls” geoeconomic strategy whereby China creates unsustainable debt burdens for its Indian Ocean neighbors in order to seize control of regional choke points.
- In particular, New Delhi has long been unsettled by China’s decades-long embrace of its traditional rival, Pakistan.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Places in News- Nagorno-Karabakh:
Why in News?
Territorial disputes and ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Central Asia have impacted the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the South Caucasus.
Where is it?
Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, within the mountainous range of Karabakh.
It is a disputed territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent state.
Places in News- Mecca:
Why in News?
Mecca reopens for pilgrimage.
Where is it located?
It is the holiest city in Islam and the capital of the Makkah Province of Saudi Arabia.
It is located in the Hejaz region, a 200 km (124 mi) wide strip of mountains separating the Nafud desert from the Red Sea.
Places in News- New Caledonia:
Why in News?
The South Pacific territory of New Caledonia chose to remain French, narrowly rejecting independence from France in a referendum. The vote rejecting a breakaway from France after almost 170 years came in at 53.26%, according to final results, down from 56.7% in a referendum two years ago.
- Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, to the south of Vanuatu, about 1,210 km east of Australia.
- The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets.
- It is part of Zealandia.
- The Diahot River is the longest river of New Caledonia.
New Caledonia was classified as an overseas territory beginning in 1946, but as a result of the 1998 Nouméa Accord, it gained a special status (statut particulier or statut original) in 1999.
- The Atal Tunnel at Rohtang is at an altitude of above 3,000 metres in Himachal Pradesh.
- The 9.02 km-long-tunnel, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), is the world’s longest highway tunnel and connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley.
- The tunnel reduces the distance by 46 km between Manali and Leh and the travel time by about 4 to 5 hours.
Two new plant species discovered in Western Ghats:
- Eriocaulon parvicephalum (due to its minute inflorescence size).
- Eriocaulon karaavalense (named after Karaavali, Coastal Karnataka region).
Pipeworts (Eriocaulon) is a plant group which completes its life cycle within a small period during monsoon. Around 111 species of pipeworts are found in India.
- Most of these are reported from the Western Ghats and the eastern Himalayas, and around 70% of them are endemic to the country.
- They are known for its anti-cancerous, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties.
- Caused by bacterium called Xoo (Xanthomonas oryzaepv. oryzae).
- It causes a serious bacterial leaf blight disease in rice.
- It causes huge yield losses to rice cultivation throughout the world.
Section 29 of the POCSO Act:
Section 29 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act says that when a person is prosecuted for committing an offence of sexual assault against a minor, the special court trying the case shall presume that the accused is guilty.
Why in News?
The Delhi High Court has ruled that the presumption of guilt embedded in Section 29 of the POCSO Act gets triggered and applies only once the trial begins, i.e after charges are framed against the accused.
Articles to be covered tomorrow:
- Daring Cities Conference.