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 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Cess and surcharge.
2. What is Surcharge?
3. Hurun Global Rich List 2021.
4. LSTV-RSTV now merged.
5. Himalayan serow.
6. Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI).
7. Swachhta Saarthi Fellowships.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
The Election Commission has said it had reduced the public notice period for new political parties seeking registration from 30 days to seven days due to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The relaxation in notice period would remain in force till the last dates of nomination for the Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry and West Bengal elections, that is March 19 and April 7 respectively.
- According to guidelines, the applicants are supposed to publish the proposed name of their party in two national and local daily newspapers each on two days, seeking objections, if any, within 30 days.
Registration of political parties:
Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Election Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within the said period following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
To be eligible for a ‘National Political Party of India:
- It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly.
- In addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States.
- It wins at least two percent seats in the House of the People (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members), and these members are elected from at least three different States.
To be eligible for a ‘State Political Party:
- It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in the State at a general election, either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned
- In addition, it wins at least two seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.
- It wins at least three percent (3%) of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.
- If a party is recognised as a State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.
- Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.
- They also get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
- The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.
- Registration of Political Parties.
- Recognised vs Unrecognised political parties.
- State vs National parties.
- Benefits for recognised political parties.
- Who is a star campaigner?
- Article 324 of the Indian Constitution.
- Section 29A of RPA 1951.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Role of civil services in a democracy.
Recently, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) issued an advertisement seeking applications “from talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building” for three posts of Joint Secretary and 27 of Director in central government Departments.
- These individuals, who would make a “lateral entry” into the government secretariat, would be contracted for three to five years.
- These posts were “unreserved”, meaning were no quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs.
What is ‘lateral entry’ into government?
- Recommended by NITI Aayog, in its three-year Action Agenda.
- The induction of personnel will take place at the middle and senior management levels in the central government.
- These ‘lateral entrants’ would be part of the central secretariat which in the normal course has only career bureaucrats from the All India Services/ Central Civil Services.
Need for and significance:
- Lateral entrants have specialised knowledge and expertise in the domain area.
- Meets the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augment the availability of manpower.
- It provides stakeholders such as the private sector and non-profits an opportunity to participate in governance process.
- It will help in bringing change in organisation culture in Government sector culture.
Why is lateral entry sometimes criticised?
- There is no reservation in these appointments.
- They are seen as back doors for a political party to bring its own people openly.
- Overview of Articles 309 to 312.
Discuss the pros and cons of lateral entry into civil services.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Karnataka has launched the country’s maiden Engineering Research & Development (ER&D) Policy.
Significance of ER&D:
- According to industry apex body Nasscom, ER&D has the potential to become a $100-billion industry in the country in the next five years.
- The ER&D sector in the country is the fastest growing industry with a CAGR of 12.8%. Meanwhile, the global engineering research and development industry is expected to reach a spend of $2 trillion by 2025.
Highlights of the new policy:
- It seeks to raise contribution to the sector in the country to 45% in the next five years.
- It has the potential to create over 50,000 jobs in the ER&D space in five years.
- The policy aims to prepare the State to make use of the future opportunities emanating from this sector.
- It has identified five key focus sectors such as aerospace and defence; auto, auto components and EV; biotechnology, pharma and medical devices; semiconductors, telecom, ESDM; and software products.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March – the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
- The UNGA resolution also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of World Wildlife Day.
Theme this year: “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international regulatory treaty between 183 party states.
Formed in 1973 and regulates the international trade in over 35,000 wild species of plants and animals.
The focus of the convention is not solely on the protection of species. It also promotes controlled trade that is not detrimental to the sustainability of wild species.
How does CITES work?
The convention works primarily through a system of classification and licensing.
Wild species are categorised in Appendices I to III. This often reflects species’ threat status on the Red List of the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species first created in 1964.
- Appendix I prohibits trade in species classified as highly endangered.
- Appendix II allows trade under very specific conditions. This requires exporting countries obtain a permit, but not the importing country.
- Appendix III species require only a certificate of origin to be traded.
National CITES management authorities may issue permits once scientific authorities show non-detriment findings.
CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
- What are exotic species- definition in the advisory?
- What is CITES?
- Classification of species under CITES?
- What is Wildlife (Protection) Act? Species protected under various schedules of this act.
- As per the new guidelines, what is the procedure to be followed while importing new exotic species?
- About chief wildlife warden of the state.
Discuss the significance of recently issued guidelines for import of exotic species in the country.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
The National Board for Wildlife and Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change last month included the caracal, a medium-sized wildcat found in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, in the list of critically endangered species.
- The recovery programme for critically endangered species in India now includes 22 wildlife species.
- Besides India, the caracal is found in several dozen countries across Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia.
- While it flourishes in parts of Africa, its numbers in Asia are declining.
- The wildcat has long legs, a short face, long canine teeth, and distinctive ears — long and pointy, with tufts of black hair at their tips.
- The iconic ears are what give the animal its name — caracal comes from the Turkish karakulak, meaning ‘black ears’. In India, it is called siya gosh, a Persian name that translates as ‘black Ear’.
It finds mention in Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama, as a hunting animal in the time of Akbar (1556-1605). Descriptions and illustrations of the caracal can be found in medieval texts such as the Anvar-i-Suhayli, Tutinama, Khamsa-e-Nizami, and Shahnameh.
About the Species Recovery Programme:
It is one of the three components of the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH).
- IDWH was started in 2008-09 as a Centrally sponsored Scheme. It is meant for providing support to protected areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves and community reserves except tiger reserves), protection of wildlife outside protected areas and recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats.
- About IDWH.
- Components under IDWH.
- About Species Recovery Programme.
- About Caracal.
- About Akbarnama.
Discuss the significance of IDWH programme.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.
The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a digital liberties organisation, has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs that the Cyber Volunteer scheme will lead to a “culture of surveillance and constant suspicion in society creating potential social distrust”.
What are the concerns?
IFF said there is no information on how the Ministry will ensure that scheme is not misused to extract misguided personal or political vendettas. There is also no process in place for withdrawal of complaints once submitted.
About the Cyber Volunteer Scheme:
The Ministry of Home Affairs’s “cybercrime volunteers” plan targets to rope in around 500 persons to flag unlawful content on the Internet for “improvement in the cybercrime ecosystem of India”.
- The programme will include 200 “cyber awareness promoters” and 50 “cyber experts”.
- The project is known as Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C). It was started in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir last week where the police issued a circular asking citizens to register themselves as volunteers.
The volunteers are barred from issuing any public statement about their association with this program and are also “strictly prohibited” from using the name of Ministry of Home Affairs or claim to have an association with the ministry on any social media or public platform.
- About I4C.
- Who are Cyber Volunteers?
- Roles and responsibilities.
Who are Cyber Volunteers? Discuss the Concerns associated with their roles and functions.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Cess and surcharge:
The share of cess and surcharge in the gross tax revenue (GTR) of the Centre has almost doubled to 19.9% in 2020-21 from 10.4% in 2011-12, leading to the 15th Finance Commission (FC) recommending a higher grant-in-aid and lower tax devolution to the States, as per a report.
What is cess?
- It is a form of tax levied or collected by the government for the development or welfare of a particular service or sector.
- It is charged over and above direct and indirect taxes.
- Cess collected for a particular purpose cannot be used for or diverted to other purposes.
- It is not a permanent source of revenue for the government, and it is discontinued when the purpose levying it is fulfilled.
- Currently, the cess and surcharge collected by the Centre are not part of the tax devolution.
Education Cess, Swachh Bharat Cess, Krishi Kalyan Cess etc.
What is Surcharge?
- ‘Surcharge’ is an additional charge or tax levied on an existing tax.
- Unlike a cess, which is meant to raise revenue for a temporary need, surcharge is usually permanent in nature.
- It is levied as a percentage on the income tax payable as per normal rates. In case no tax is due for a financial year, then no surcharge is levied.
- The revenue earned via surcharge is solely retained by the Centre and, unlike other tax revenues, is not shared with States.
- Collections from surcharge flow into the Consolidated Fund of India.
Hurun Global Rich List 2021:
10th edition of Hurun Global Rich List 2021 was released recently.
- The world added 607 new billionaires, or more than three billionaires in two days.
- India added 55 new billionaires, or more than one billionaire every week, in 2020.
- Tesla’s Elon Musk added $151 billion to become the richest man in the world for the first time with a net worth of $197 billion, followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos ($189 billion), the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy.
- Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who emerged as the richest man in India with a net worth of $83 billion, came in at number eight.
- India retained the third spot in the number of billionaires from a country with a total of 177 billionaires living in the country.
- In the list of Indian billionaires, Mr. Ambani was followed by Adani Group’s Gautam Adani and family with his wealth almost doubling to $32 billion.
- Country wise, China leads with the most number of billionaires at 1058, followed by the US (696), India (177), Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland at over 100 each.
- By continent, Asia accounts for 51 per cent of the billionaires.
- Among cities, Mumbai hosts the maximum number of billionaires (60), followed by New Delhi (40) and Bengaluru (22).
LSTV-RSTV now merged:
- The merger of the Lok Sabha TV (LSTV) and the Rajya Sabha TV (RSTV) has been finalised and will be replaced by Sansad TV.
- Retired IAS officer Ravi Capoor has been appointed as its CEO.
- It is a Himalayan mammal, somewhere between a goat and an antelope.
- It has been confirmed as the newest creature to be spotted in Assam.
- It was spotted in the 950-sq.km Manas Tiger Reserve on December 3.
- Categorised as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- It is listed under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides absolute protection.
Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI):
- LPAI is a statutory body established under Land Ports Authority of India Act, 2010.
- The Act gives powers to LPAI to develop, sanitize and manage the facilities for cross-border movement of passengers and goods at designated points along the international borders of India.
Swachhta Saarthi Fellowships:
- Launched by The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser.
- It seeks to recognize students, community workers/self-help groups, and municipal/sanitary workers who are engaged in tackling the enormous challenge of waste management, scientifically and sustainably.
- It is part of the “Waste to Wealth” Mission.
The Waste to Wealth Mission is one of the nine national missions of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).