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 4:
Facts for Prelims:
1. ‘3-language policy is not applicable to Central govt. offices’.
2. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).
3. National Polio Immunisation programme.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Issues related to Women.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020 was passed in Lok Sabha in March 2020, and is likely to be brought before Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session.
The Bill proposes several amendments, including the constitution of a Medical Board in every State and UT.
- The board will decide on pregnancies beyond 24 weeks in cases of foetal abnormalities.
- Each board will have one gynaecologist, one radiologist or sonologist, one paediatrician, and other members prescribed by the State/UT government.
What’s the issue now?
As per the latest study, creation of this board is “unfeasible” as 82% of posts are lying vacant in the country.
Highlights of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020:
- It seeks to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances.
- The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors.
- The Bill proposes requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.
- It also provides for the requirement of opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks.
Need for overhaul:
- The present abortion law, which is about five decades old, permits abortion up to a maximum foetal gestation period of 20 weeks.
- In recent years, there have been strong demands to raise the foetal gestation period for abortion beyond 20 weeks.
- Provisions in the new bill vs 1971 act.
- Time limit for abortion in India vs other countries.
- Contraceptive-failure clause.
- Constitution and composition of Medical Board.
Discuss how Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 strives to provide reproductive rights to women in India.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Population and associated issues.
The Centre is on track to push the 2021 Census to 2022 on account of the country’s continuing preoccupation with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Census exercise was to be conducted in two phases — House Listing and Housing Census from April to September 2020 and Population Enumeration from February 9 to February 28, 2021.
- The first phase of the Census and the updating of the National Population Register (NPR) were initially to be rolled out in some States on April 1, 2020, but were postponed due to the pandemic.
The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
- The Census was first started under British Viceroy Lord Mayo in 1872. It helped in framing new policies, government programs to uplift areas of improvement in the community.
- The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
Who conducts census?
The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
The Census is one of the most credible sources of information on the following:
- Economic Activity.
- Literacy and Education.
- Housing & Household Amenities.
- Urbanization, Fertility, and Mortality.
- Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- ‘Rig-Veda’ reveals that some kind of population count was maintained during 800-600 BC in India.
- Arthashastr by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation.
- During the regime of the Mughal king Akbar, the administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
- Relation between Census and National Population Register.
- NPR vs NRC.
- How NRC is related to Assam accord.
- Constitutional provisions wrt to grant and revocation of citizenships.
- Who carries out Census?
Discuss why a nationwide NRC exercise may not be feasible.
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 government has decided to include 14 new minor forest produce items under the mechanism for marketing of minor forest produce through a minimum support price scheme.
- Newly included items are Tasar Cocoon, elephant apple dry, bamboo shoot, malkangani seed and wild dry mushroom among others.
About the Scheme:
The Central government had introduced a minimum support price for a selected list of minor produce items through mechanism for marketing of Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support price and development of Value Chain of MFP Scheme in 2011.
- It aims to provide a social safety net to these underprivileged forest dwellers, and to aid in their empowerment.
- The responsibility of purchasing MFP on MSP will be with State designated agencies.
- To ascertain market price, services of market correspondents would be availed by the designated agencies particularly for major markets trading in MFP.
- The scheme supports primary value addition as well as provides for supply chain infrastructure like cold storage, warehouses etc.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs will be the nodal Ministry for implementation and monitoring of the scheme. The Minimum Support Price would be determined by the Ministry with technical help of TRIFED.
What is MFP?
- Section 2(i) of the Forest Rights Act defines a Minor Forest Produce (MFP) as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants etc.
- Who decides about Products to be covered under MFP?
- How many products are currently covered under MFP?
- Permission for collection of MFPs inside National Parks and other protected areas?
- Centrally sponsored vs Central Sector schemes.
- Who decides on MSP?
Recognition of tribal rights over non-timber forest products (NTFPs) would accelerate empowerment of the poor and marginalised. Comment.
Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
India delivers 2 cranes for Chabahar. This is part of a bilateral contract between India and Iran signed in May 2016 for $85 million to equip and operationalise the port.
- Amid talks with Iranian authorities, it signals a push to the port project.
India’s plans to invest further in the port project are seen as an indicator that the government expects some easing up in U.S. sanctions in the upcoming months, once the new Biden administration begins to address its policy on re-entering the Iran nuclear deal.
Where is Chabahar Port?
Located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country.
Why Chabahar port is important for India?
- With this, India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
- It will also boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
- It also helps India counter Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.
- With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.
- Trade benefits: With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted.
- From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.
- Location of Chabahar Port.
- What is INSTC?
- Gulf of Oman.
- Countries in the Indian Ocean region.
Discuss why Chabahar port is significant for India.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Role of civil services in a democracy.
Corruption Perception Index 2020 has been released.
- It is prepared by Transparency International.
What is Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)?
It is a composite index that draws from 12 surveys to rank nations around the globe.
- It has become a benchmark gauge of perceptions of corruption and is used by analysts and investors.
- The index is also based on expert opinions of public sector corruption and takes note of range of factors like whether governmental leaders are held to account or go unpunished for corruption, the perceived prevalence of bribery, and whether public institutions respond to citizens’ needs.
How are the countries ranked?
- It ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
- It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
- India slipped six places to 86th position this year.
- India’s score is below the average score of the Asia-Pacific region (31 countries) and global average.
- India’s overall score is also two points less than that of China, which docked at 78th position.
Overall best and worst performers:
- The list was topped by New Zealand and Denmark (88 each).
- South Sudan and Somalia were at the bottom of the global ranking, with scores of 12 each.
Corruption and COVID-19:
The latest edition of CPI highlighted the impact of corruption on government responses to COVID-19, comparing countries’ performance in the index to their investment in health care and the extent to which democratic norms and institutions have been weakened during the pandemic.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper : 4
Topics Covered: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
- The untiring efforts of a 69-year-old man, paralysed below his knees, towards cleaning up Vembanad Lake, have earned recognition from the highest office of the country.
- In the edition of Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister hailed the commitment of S. Rajappan, a differently abled man from Kaippuzhamuttu, near Kumarakom, Kottayam.
- Rajappan, who was afflicted with polio at the age of five, lives alone in a partially damaged hut on a riverbank in Arpookkara panchayat.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration.
Indore District Magistrate Manish Singh has apologised to God for the local administration’s action of dumping homeless people outside the city in the cold weather, which had led to a massive public outrage.
Various people had termed the action as a “blot on humanity”.
What had happened?
The incident came to light after villagers along the highway, where the elderly were dropped off, objected to it and began making videos of it. Subsequently, the elderly people were put back in the vehicle and taken away. The vehicle belonged to the encroachment removal department.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
‘3-language policy is not applicable to Central govt. offices’:
- The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has said the three language policy is not applicable to offices of the Union government.
- As per the provision of the Official Language Act, 1963, and the Official Language Rules, 1976, the provision of bilingual policy is applicable in the offices of the Central government.
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):
It is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the MoEFCC, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated:
- To collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities.
- To disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals.
- To establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank.
- Assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.
National Polio Immunisation programme:
- The National Polio Immunisation programme in India began on Sunday, 31 January 2021.
- The National Immunisation Day (NID) is commonly known as Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme.
- Polio drops are given to children in the age group of 0 to 5 years.
- The polio vaccination programme is conducted twice in a year, usually in the early months.
- The pulse polio programme always begins on a Sunday, known as Polio Ravivar.