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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. 

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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. ‘The Opportunity Index 2021’ report.


GS Paper 2:

1. The US 2021 President’s Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report.


GS Paper 3:

1. What are spectrum auctions?

2. Chinese cyber-attack foiled: Power Ministry.

3. WhatsApp’s new policy being examined: govt.


GS Paper 4:

1. SC asks man accused of rape if he can marry girl.


Facts for Prelims:

1. What is a PMI?


GS Paper  :  1


Topics Covered: Issues related to Women.

‘The Opportunity Index 2021’ report:


It is a new report by LinkedIn.

  • The survey, conducted in January, saw participation from more than 10,000 respondents across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. It covered 2,285 respondents in India.

Key findings:

  1. 9 in 10 or 89 per cent of women were negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. About 85%, or four in five working women in India believe they have missed out on a raise, promotion, or work offer because of their gender. This average stands at 60% for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
  3. More women in India have experienced the impact of gender on career development when compared to the APAC region.

Challenges for women:

  1. Lack of time and discrimination for family care.
  2. Gender is a barrier when it comes to attaining opportunities.
  3. Lack of guidance through networks.
  4. Workplace discrimination because of household responsibilities.


Prelims Link:

  1. ‘The Opportunity Index 2021’ report is released by?
  2. Sex Ratio- India.
  3. Women in workforce- brief overview.

Mains Link:

More women in India have experienced the impact of gender on career development when compared to the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

The US 2021 President’s Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report:


It is an annual report submitted by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to the US Congress.

Key observations made by the USTR:

  1. While India’s large market, economic growth, and progress towards development make it an essential market for many U.S. exporters, a general and consistent trend of trade-restrictive policies have inhibited the potential of the bilateral trade relationship.
  2. Recent Indian emphasis on import substitution through a “Make in India” campaign has epitomised the challenges facing the bilateral trade relationship.
  3. The report describes the Trump administration’s revocation of India’s preferential trading status under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program in June 2019 and the ensuing discussion to achieve a mini trade deal (“package”) throughout 2020.

About the Make in India campaign:

  • Launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2014 to incentivise production in India.
  • It seeks to encourage manufacturing in India and galvanize the economy with dedicated investments in manufacturing and services.

To achieve it’s goal, targets were identified and policies outlined.

  1. To increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum in order to increase the sector’s share in the economy.
  2. To create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022.
  3. To ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (revised to 2025) from the current 15-16%.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

What are spectrum auctions?


The government has received bids worth ₹77,146 crore on the first day of the auction for telecom airwaves, exceeding its own pre-bid estimates of about ₹45,000 crore.


Airwaves worth ₹3.92 lakh crore have been put up for sale across 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz frequency bands.

What are spectrum auctions?

  • Devices such as cellphones and wireline telephones require signals to connect from one end to another. These signals are carried on airwaves, which must be sent at designated frequencies to avoid any kind of interference.
  • The Union government owns all the publicly available assets within the geographical boundaries of the country, which also include airwaves.
  • To sell these assets to companies willing to set up the required infrastructure to transport these waves from one end to another, the central government through the DoT auctions these airwaves from time to time.

These airwaves are called spectrum, which is subdivided into bands which have varying frequencies. All these airwaves are sold for a certain period of time, after which their validity lapses, which is generally set at 20 years.


Prelims Link:

  1. What are spectrum auctions?
  2. Objectives of the sale.
  3. Need for a new spectrum auction
  4. Who can participate in auction?

Mains Link:

Spectrum auction in India has turned into a buyer’s market. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Chinese cyber attack foiled: Power Ministry:


Recently, few “State-sponsored” Chinese hacker groups targeted various Indian power centres. However, these groups have been thwarted after government cyber agencies warned it about their activities.

Union Power Ministry has clarified that:

  1. There is no impact on any of the functionalities carried out by the Power Sector Operations Corporation (POSOCO) due to the referred threat.
  2. No data breach/data loss has been detected due to these incidents.
  3. Prompt actions are being taken by the Chief Information Security Officers at all these control centres under operation by POSOCO for any incident/advisory received from various agencies.

US Report on the incident:

According to U.S. cyber security and intelligence firm:

  1. Chinese state-sponsored actors may have deployed malware into Indian power grids and seaports as border tensions between India and China began escalating last May, culminating in a deadly clash along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in mid-June.
  2. An October 12 grid failure in Mumbai may have been caused by the Chinese malware.
  3. There is still some evidence of ongoing intrusion although a significant amount of it has subsided recently.


Steps taken by the Government to spread awareness about cyber crimes:

  1. Online cybercrime reporting portal has been launched to enable complainants to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content.
  2. A scheme for establishment of Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has been established to handle issues related to cybercrime in the country in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
  3. Establishment of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) for protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.
  4. All organizations providing digital services have been mandated to report cyber security incidents to CERT-In expeditiously.
  5. Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) has been launched for providing detection of malicious programmes and free tools to remove such programmes.
  6. Formulation of Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber-attacks and cyber terrorism.

What needs to be done ahead?

  • Regularly issue alerts/advisories.
  • Capacity building/training of law enforcement personnel/ prosecutors/ judicial officers.
  • Improving cyber forensics facilities etc.
  • Speed up investigation.

Finally, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects as per the Constitution of India. States/UTs are primarily responsible for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes through their law enforcement machinery.


Prelims Link:

  1. About the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
  2. National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
  3. CERT- In.
  4. Cyber Swachhta Kendra’s.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.

WhatsApp’s new policy being examined: govt:


The Central government has informed the Delhi High Court that it was examining WhatsApp’s controversial new privacy policy, which is scheduled to come into effect from May 15, at the highest level.

What’s the issue?

The court was hearing a petition claiming that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy violates the right to privacy guaranteed under the Constitution.

  • The plea said the new policy “virtually gives a 360-degree profile into a person’s online activity” without there being any supervision of the government.
  • The plea sought direction to issue guidelines to ensure such change in privacy policy by WhatsApp are carried out.

Key Features of the Policy:

  1. Information Sharing with Third Party Services: When users rely on third-party services or other Facebook Company Products that are integrated with our Services, those third-party services may receive information about what you or others share with them.
  2. Hardware Information: WhatsApp collects information from devices such as battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP) among others.
  3. Deleting the Account: If someone only deletes the WhatsApp app from their device without using the in-app delete my account feature, then that user’s information will remain stored with the platform.
  4. Data Storage: WhatsApp mentions that it uses Facebook’s global infrastructure and data centers including those in the United States to store user data. It also states that the data in some cases will be transferred to the United States or other parts where Facebook’s affiliate companies are based.
  5. Location: Even if a user does not use their location-relation features, Whatsapp collects IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country).
  6. Payment Services: WhatsApp says that if anyone uses their payments services they will process additional information about you, including payment account and transaction information.

Issues and concerns:

  1. The new Whatsapp policy contradicts the recommendations of the Srikrishna Committee report, which forms the basis of the Data Protection Bill 2019.
  2. The principle of Data Localisation, which aims to put curbs on the transfer of personal data outside the country, may come in conflict with WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.
  3. With the updated privacy policy, WhatsApp can now share one’s metadata, essentially everything beyond the conversation’s actual text.
  4. If users disagree with the messaging platform’s updated privacy policy, they will have to quit WhatsApp when the new terms of service are set to come into effect.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  4


SC asks man accused of rape if he can marry girl:

The Supreme Court recently asked a State government employee whether he would marry a girl he was accused of raping repeatedly while she was a minor.

  • The man refused saying he was married. The court then asked to seek regular bail from the concerned court.

What’s the issue?

The top court was hearing a plea filed by the accused against the Bombay High Court’s February 5 order cancelling the anticipatory bail granted to him by the trial court in January last year.

He has also been accused of offences punishable under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

  • The accused was initially willing to marry the girl but she had refused and now he was married to someone else.

What has the court said?

The bench said, “You should have thought this before raping the girl. You knew that you are a government servant”.

Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

What is a PMI?

PMI or a Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of business activity — both in the manufacturing and services sectors.

  • It is a survey-based measures that asks the respondents about changes in their perception of some key business variables from the month before.
  • It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is constructed.
  • A figure above 50 denotes expansion in business activity. Anything below 50 denotes contraction.
  • Higher the difference from this mid-point greater the expansion or contraction.

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