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. Khadi Prakritik paint.
2. Makaravilakku festival season.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
At its meeting on textbook reforms, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education heard presentations from right-wing organisations and educationists.
- Few experts at the meeting argued that Mughal history is being whitewashed in Indian textbooks, and crowding out space for history from the Vedic era.
Why this meeting was convened?
- To remove “references to un-historical facts and distortions about our national heroes”,
- To ensure “equal or proportionate references to all periods of Indian history” and
- To highlight the role of great women in Indian history.
- The amount of space given to the Mughal era versus the reign of Hindu kings needed to be balanced.
- The Indian history was falsely written as though foreign rule existed only for 200 years of the British Raj, without taking into account the 1,000 years before that.
- The Mughal era had been whitewashed, and their role as invaders had been muted.
- There was a need for children to be taught “Indian culture” from the Vedic era onwards.
The NCERT is currently in the process of revising textbooks, and is likely to complete the process by 2024. Recommendations have been given to change higher education syllabi as well, to ensure that it aligns with the changes in school textbooks.
- About Mughal Rule in India.
- Important rulers.
- Contributions to art and architecture.
Write a note on important contributions of Mughals to Indian art and architecture.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.
Meteorologists have predicted that the polar vortex, which is splitting into two and swirling southward, will send the US and European countries into a chilling deep freeze.
- Previously, such vortex Developed in 2014.
Polar vortex is losing stability and its splitting causes dramatic, extreme weather implications across the western nations such as the US and Europe. With a ‘disrupted’ polar vortex in 2021, the colder air is expected to spill out of the Arctic and result in the onset of extremely harsh winters.
What exactly is a polar vortex?
It is described as a whirling cone of low pressure over the poles that is strongest in the winter months due to the increased temperature contrast between the polar regions and the mid-latitudes, such as the US and Europe.
- The polar vortex spins in the stratosphere.
- Usually, when the vortex is strongest, cold air is less-likely to plunge deep into North America or Europe. In other words, it forms a wall that protects the mid-latitudes from cold Arctic air.
- But occasionally, the polar vortex is disrupted and weakens, due to wave energy propagating upward from the lower atmosphere. When this happens, the stratosphere warms sharply in an event known as sudden stratospheric warming, in just a few days, miles above the Earth’s surface.
- The warming weakens the polar vortex, shifting its location somewhat south of the pole or, in some instances, ‘splitting’ the vortex up into ‘sister vortices’.
Effects of Polar Vortex:
- The split higher up in the atmosphere can give rise to both, sudden and delayed effects, much of which involves declining temperatures and extreme winter weather in the eastern US along with northern and western Europe.
- A sudden stratospheric warming also leads to a warm Arctic not only in the stratosphere but also in the troposphere as well.
- A warmer Arctic, in turn, favours more severe winter weather in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes including the eastern US.
- What is Polar Vortex?
- Where is it formed?
- Movement of winds in Polar Vortex.
What is Polar Vortex? Discuss
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the Central government’s request to keep adultery a crime in the armed forces.
- The matter has been referred to Chief Justice S A Bobde for setting up of a five-judge Constitution Bench which can clarify the position.
What’s the issue?
The Centre, in its plea, said the 2018 verdict should not apply to armed forces where personnel can be cashiered from service on the grounds of unbecoming conduct for committing adultery with a colleague’s wife.
Personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were a “distinct class”. They were governed by special legislation, the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act.
September 2018 Supreme Court verdict:
In September 2018, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code that makes adultery a punishable offence for men.
The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court said:
- The 158-year-old law was unconstitutional and fell foul of Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) and Article 14 (Right to equality).
- Section 198(1) and 198(2) of the CrPC, which allows a husband to bring charges against the man with whom his wife committed adultery, are unconstitutional.
- While adultery could be a ground for civil issues, including dissolution of marriage, it could not be a criminal offence.
- Review vs Curative petition.
- Procedure to be followed.
- Who can file?
- Time- period within which a review petition should be filed?
- What is Section 497 of IPC?
- What is Article 137?
What is a review petition? What is the procedure to be followed? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
The Trump administration has declassified a sensitive document on the U.S. strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific’ from 2018.
- The document outlines objectives and strategies with regard to China, North Korea, India and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Declassified document outlines objectives on China:
As per the document, The U.S.’s first national security challenge are:
- Maintaining “U.S. strategic primacy” in the region and promoting a “liberal economic order”.
- Stopping China from establishing “illiberal spheres of influence”.
- Ensuring that North Korea does not threaten the U.S. and
- Advancing U.S. economic leadership globally.
Objectives towards India:
- The U.S. aims to help India become a net security provider in the region and solidify a lasting strategic partnership with India.
- It plans to achieve via enhanced defence cooperation and interoperability;
- Working with India “toward domestic economic reform”, and
- Greater leadership roles for India in the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.
Act-East policy in the document:
The U.S. aims to support India’s “Act East” policy and “its aspiration to be a leading global power, highlighting its compatibility with the U.S., Japanese and Australian vision” of the Indo-Pacific.
- A strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China, is one of the underlying assumptions of the strategy.
- China aims to dissolve U.S. alliances and partnerships across the region. China will exploit vacuums and opportunities created by these diminished bonds.
- On Russia, it says the country will “remain a marginal player” in the region relative to the U.S., China and India.
- On North Korea, a stated U.S. objective is to, “Convince the Kim regime that the only path to its survival is to relinquish its nuclear weapons.”
The reason for the early declassification of the document:
- To communicate to the American people and to our allies and partners, the enduring commitment of the U.S. to keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open long into the future.
Significance of declassification:
- It is an attempt by some in the outgoing administration to make their mark on policy clear and public, but it’s not a document that speaks to tremendous strategic foresight.
- There’s a considerable bit of dissonance across this document, however, in its professed goal of spreading American and liberal values and the complete lack of any language on human rights.
- Indo- Pacific vs Asia- Pacific.
- South China sea.
Maintaining “the U.S. strategic primacy” in Asia-Pacific is a challenge. Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a working group on digital lending — including online platforms and mobile apps — to study all aspects of digital lending activities in the regulated financial sector as well as by unregulated players.
- This is to ensure that an appropriate regulatory approach is put in place.
The working group will:
- Evaluate digital lending activities and assess the penetration and standards of outsourced digital lending activities in RBI regulated entities.
- Identify the risks posed by unregulated digital lending to financial stability, regulated entities and consumers.
- Suggest regulatory changes to promote orderly growth of digital lending.
- Recommend measures for expansion of specific regulatory or statutory perimeter and suggest the role of various regulatory and government agencies.
- Recommend a robust fair practices code for digital lending players.
Benefits of digital lending:
- Digital lending has the potential to make access to financial products and services more fair, efficient and inclusive.
- From a peripheral supporting role a few years ago, FinTech-led innovation is now at the core of the design, pricing and delivery of financial products and services.
Need of the hour:
A balanced approach needs to be followed so that the regulatory framework supports innovation while ensuring data security, privacy, confidentiality and consumer protection.
What are the issues wrt digital lending apps?
- They attract borrowers with promise of loans in a quick and hassle-free manner.
- But, Excessive rates of interest and additional hidden charges are demanded from borrowers.
- Such platforms adopt unacceptable and high-handed recovery methods.
- They misuse agreements to access data on the mobile phones of the borrowers.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
The scheme completes five years.
- Launched in 2016.
- Merged schemes include National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
- It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum.
The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Commercial/Horticultural Crops for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are being conducted under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).
PMFBY to PMFBY 2.0:
Completely Voluntary: It has been decided to make enrolment 100% voluntary for all farmers from 2020 Kharif.
Limit to Central Subsidy: The Cabinet has decided to cap the Centre’s premium subsidy under these schemes for premium rates up to 30% for unirrigated areas/crops and 25% for irrigated areas/crops.
More Flexibility to States: The government has given the flexibility to states/UTs to implement PMFBY and given them the option to select any number of additional risk covers/features like prevented sowing, localised calamity, mid-season adversity, and post-harvest losses.
Penalising the Pendency: In the revamped PMFBY, a provision has been incorporated wherein if states don’t release their share before March 31 for the Kharif season and September 30 for rabi, they would not be allowed to participate in the scheme in subsequent seasons.
Investing in ICE Activities: Insurance companies have to now spend 0.5% of the total premium collected on information, education and communication (IEC) activities.
Facts for Prelims:
Khadi Prakritik paint:
- It is India’s first cow dung paint – developed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission.
- It is an eco-friendly, non-toxic paint.
- It is a first-of-its-kind product, with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties.
- Based on cow dung as its main ingredient, the paint is cost-effective and odorless, and has been certified by Bureau of Indian Standards.
- The paint is free from heavy metals like lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, cadmium and others.
Makaravilakku festival season:
Makaravilakku is an annual festival held on Makar Sankranti in Kerala, at the shrine of Sabarimala. The festival includes the Thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments of Ayyappan) procession and a congregation at the hill shrine of Sabarimala.
- Tejas is a single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter.
- It is the smallest and lightest multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force.
- It has been designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- It is designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided, and standoff weaponry.
- Spintronic, also known as spin electronics, is the study of the intrinsic spin of the electron and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to its fundamental electronic charge, in solid-state devices.
- A phenomenon called the ‘Rashba effect’, which consists of splitting of spin-bands in an electronic system, might play a key role in spintronic devices.
The Rashba effect, or Rashba-Dresselhaus effect, is a momentum-dependent splitting of spin bands in two-dimensional condensed matter systems.
Note: Current Affairs of 13th January will be uploaded by Sunday.