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:
GS Paper 4:
Facts for Prelims:
1. SpaceX launches 143 satellites, breaks world space record.
2. Two new ant species discovered from Kerala.
3. National Voters’ Day (NVD).
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
OCHCR has called for release of Bhima Koregaon activists.
What’s the issue?
The Bhima Koregaon case dates back to January 1, 2018, which marked the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle.
- The event was organised to celebrate the victory of the British army, which included a large number of Mahars, against Peshwa Baji Rao II’s army.
- Several human rights activists, including Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha, were arrested during the course of the investigation.
About the Bhima- Koregaon battle:
- A battle was fought in Bhima Koregaon, a district in Pune with a strong historical Dalit connection, between the Peshwa forces and the British on January 1, 1818.
- The British army, which comprised mainly of Dalit soldiers, fought the upper caste-dominated Peshwa army. The British troops defeated the Peshwa army.
Outcomes of the battle:
- The victory was seen as a win against caste-based discrimination and oppression. Peshwas were notorious for their oppression and persecution of Mahar dalits. The victory in the battle over Peshwas gave dalits a moral victory a victory against caste-based discrimination and oppression and sense of identity.
- However, the divide and rule policy of the British created multiple fissures in Indian society which is even visible today in the way of excessive caste and religious discrimination which needs to be checked keeping in mind the tenets of the Constitution.
Why Bhima Koregaon is seen as a Dalit symbol?
- The battle has come to be seen as a symbol of Dalit pride because a large number of soldiers in the Company force were the Mahar Dalits. Since the Peshwas, who were Brahmins, were seen as oppressors of Dalits, the victory of the Mahar soldiers over the the Peshwa force is seen as Dalit assertion.
- On 1 January 1927, B.R. Ambedkar visited the memorial obelisk erected on the spot which bears the names of the dead including nearly two dozen Mahar soldiers. The men who fought in the battle of Koregaon were the Mahars, and the Mahars are Untouchables.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) is the leading UN entity on human rights.
- It is mandated to, Inter alia protect and promote all human rights and to conduct necessary advocacy in that regard, established pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 48/141.
- It also has to promote adherence to international human rights law and, with this purpose in mind, to support domestic courts, with their constitutional or judicial function, in ensuring the implementation of international legal obligations. This is the basis for seeking intervention.
- About the Battle.
- Why Bhima Koregaon is seen as a Dalit symbol?
The celebration of Bhima Koregaon Battle Victory not only challenges the conventional narrative of anti-colonialism, it also tells the story of the making of an autonomous culture of Dalits against the inferior culture of caste. Discuss critically.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to Women.
India celebrates National Girl Child Day, an initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, every year on January 24.
- The objective is to raise awareness on the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR).
- The celebrations will also mark the anniversary of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme.
- Punjab has announced January 2021 to be the “month of the girl child”. The scheme Dheeiyan Di Lohri has also been launched.
- Launch and expansion: Launched in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana. All India Expansion of BBBP covering all 640 districts (as per Census 2011) was launched at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan on 8th March 2018.
- It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
It is a Central Sector Scheme with 100% financial assistance for District level component and the fund are directly released to the DC/DM’s account for smooth operation of the Scheme.
- Main Objective of the scheme is to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum.
- The specific objectives of the scheme include preventing gender biased sex selective elimination; ensuring survival and protection of the girl child and ensuring education and participation of the girl child.
Outcomes of the scheme:
- As per the Ministry of Health, the sex ratio at birth is showing promising trends of improvement and has improved by 16 points from 918 (2014-15) to 934 (2019-20).
- Health percentage of first trimester Antenatal Care (ANC) has shown an improving trend from 61 per cent in 2014-15 to 71 per cent in 2019-20.
- The education gross enrolment ratio of girls in the schools at the secondary level has also improved from 77.45 per cent (2014-15) to 81.32 per cent (2018-19-provisional figures).
- About the National Grl Child Day.
- About BBBP.
Discuss the significance of BBBP.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.
‘Ayushman CAPF’ scheme was launched recently, extending the benefit of the central health insurance programme to the personnel of all armed police forces in the country.
Key features of the scheme:
Under this scheme, around 28 lakh personnel of CAPF, Assam Rifles and National Security Guard (NSG) and their families will be covered by ‘Ayushman Bharat: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’ (AB PM-JAY)
Key Features of PM-JAY:
- The world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government.
- It provides cover of 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
- Coverage: Over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) are eligible for these benefits.
- Provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service.
- No restrictions on family size, age or gender.
- All pre–existing conditions are covered from day one.
- Covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
- Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.
- Services include approximately 1,393 procedures covering all the costs related to treatment, including but not limited to drugs, supplies, diagnostic services, physician’s fees, room charges, surgeon charges, OT and ICU charges etc.
- Public hospitals are reimbursed for the healthcare services at par with the private hospitals.
- Components of Ayushman Bharat.
- PMJAY- Key features.
- About the National Health Agency.
Discuss the significance and potential of PMJAY.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently said she planned to hold a legal referendum on independence from Britain despite Westminster’s opposition, as an opinion poll showed a majority would vote yes.
When was the last referendum held?
Referendum for Scottish independence was held in 2014. Scotland had voted to remain in the UK.
When did Scotland and England unite?
- The Act of Union between Scotland and England was signed on Jan. 16, 1707.
- It came into effect on May 1 of that year, creating the United Kingdom of Britain.
- The Scottish Parliament was dissolved, and a single Parliament was created at Westminster in London.
Why did Scotland and England join in the first place?
Scotland and England have a complicated history, but the short answer is that Scotland needed an economic boost. The country’s finances were a mess after a failed attempt to establish a trading colony in Panama. This unsuccessful scheme was conclusive evidence that Scotland’s future prosperity was best served by union.
What is the main case for independence?
- Those who support independence believe Scotland “would be richer” if it breaks from England.
- Proponents of independence want Scotland to make its own decisions about how resources are controlled and money is invested.
- Rather than investing billions of pounds in nuclear weapons, for example, they would focus on things like childcare or programs to retain talent and encourage young Scots to stay.
- Scotland- location.
- Demand for independence.
- When and why it was united with Britain?
Discuss the significance of Referendum.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Conservation and biodiversity related issues.
The report was recently published by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- The report not only documents the avifauna of the Sunderbans, but also serves as a comprehensive photographic field guide, with detailed distribution and locality data for all the species from the region.
- The Indian Sunderbans, which is part of the largest mangrove forest in the world, is home to 428 species of birds. This means that one in every three birds in the country is found in the unique ecosystem.
- Some birds, like the masked finfoot and the Buffy fish owl, are recorded only from the Sunderbans.
- The area is home to nine out of 12 species of kingfishers found in the country as well rare species such as the Goliath heron and the spoon-billed sandpiper.
About Indian Sundarbans:
- Covers 4,200 sq. km and includes the Sunderban Tiger Reserve of 2,585 sq. km — home to about 96 royal Bengal tigers (as per the last census in 2020).
- It is a world heritage site and a Ramsar site (a wetland site designated to be of international importance).
- It is also home to a large number of “rare and globally threatened species, such as the critically endangered northern river terrapin (Batagur baska), the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), and the vulnerable fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus).”
- Two of the world’s four horseshoe crab species, and eight of India’s 12 species of kingfisher are also found here. Recent studies claim that the Indian Sundarban is home to 2,626 faunal species and 90% of the country’s mangrove varieties.
- Where is Sundarbans?
- What are mangroves?
- Flora and fauna in the regions.
- Recent cyclones in BoB region.
Discuss the impact of cyclone amphan on Mangroves in India.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
Assam is celebrating the first anniversary of the historic Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) agreement.
- The BTAD district is currently spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
Overview of the agreement signed:
- As per the agreement, villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded.
- The memorandum of settlement says that the criminal cases registered against members of the NDFB factions for “non-heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn by the Assam government and in cases of heinous crimes it will be reviewed.
- The families of those killed during the Bodo movement would get Rs. 5 lakh each.
- A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 Crore would be given by the Centre to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.
- A committee will decide the exclusion and inclusion of new areas in the BTAD. Subsequent to this alteration, the total number of Assembly seats will go up to 60, from the existing 40.
The signing of the agreement ended the 50-year-old Bodo crisis.
- Around 1500 cadres of NDFB(P), NDFB(RD) and NDFB(S) will be rehabilitated by Centre and Assam Government. They will be assimilated in the mainstream now.
- After the agreement, the NDFB factions will leave the path of violence, surrender their weapons and disband their armed organisations within a month of signing the deal.
Who are Bodos?
- Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam, making up over 5-6 per cent of the state’s population. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.
- The four districts in Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang — that constitute the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD), are home to several ethnic groups.
The Bodoland dispute:
- In 1966-67, the demand for a separate state called Bodoland was raised under the banner of the Plains Tribals Council of Assam (PTCA), a political outfit.
- In 1987, the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) renewed the demand. “Divide Assam fifty-fifty”, was a call given by the ABSU’s then leader, Upendra Nath Brahma.
- The unrest was a fallout of the Assam Movement (1979-85), whose culmination — the Assam Accord — addressed the demands of protection and safeguards for the “Assamese people”, leading the Bodos to launch a movement to protect their own identity.
- Who are bodos?
- What is Bodoland?
- Highlights of BTR agreement.
Discuss the significance of BTR Agreement.
GS Paper : 4
Topics Covered: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
- Two of Ms. Behera’s sisters, who are B. Tech and Class XII students under 19 years of age, have also been working to earn ₹207 each a day in Odisha under MGNREGA.
- They belong to a Dalit family in Goradipidha village under Chainpur panchayat.
- They are desperate to arrange funds to help Ms. Behera, the eldest of five sisters, finish her higher studies.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
SpaceX launches 143 satellites, breaks world space record:
- SpaceX recently broke a world space record by launching 143 satellites in quick succession, beating India’s record of deploying 104 satellites in February 2017.
- The launch vehicle for the SpaceX record-breaking flight was the Falcon 9 and the mission was designated as Transporter-1.
- The launch marks the first dedicated mission for SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program, which enables small-satellite customers to book a ride to orbit with SpaceX directly.
Two new ant species discovered:
Two new species of a rare ant genus have been discovered in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They differ from others of the same genus on the basis of the number of antennal segments.
The new species are:
- Ooceraea Joshii:
Found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve of Kerala.
Named after Ooceraea Joshii in honour of professor Amitabh Joshi — a distinguished evolutionary biologist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).
- Ooceraea decamera:
Decamera refers to the ten-segmented antennal count. Discovered from Alagarkoil in Madurai.
National Voters’ Day (NVD):
- 11th National Voters’ Day (NVD) to be celebrated on 25th January 2021.
- Theme for this year’s NVD is ‘Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed’.
- The National Voters’ Day has been celebrated on January 25 every year since 2011, all across the country to mark the foundation day of Election Commission of India, i.e. 25th January 1950.