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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. Ease of Living Index (EoLI).

2. Municipal Performance Index 2020.


GS Paper 2:

1. QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021.

2. International North South Transport Corridor.


GS Paper 3:

1. Haryana’s quota law.

2. Indian Special Forces (SF).


Facts for Prelims:

1. Hazaras.

2. CERAWeek Award.

3. Bao-dhaan.


GS Paper  :  1


Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Ease of Living Index (EoLI):


The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has released the final rankings of Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020.

What is it?

The Ease of Living Index (EoLI) is an assessment tool that evaluates the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban development.

  • It provides a comprehensive understanding of participating cities across India based on quality of life, economic-ability of a city, and its sustainability and resilience.

How were the cities ranked?

The analysis categorises them into:

  1. Million+ populated cities (those with a population of more than a million).
  2. Less than Million populated cites (those with a population of less than a million) along with all the cities under the Smart Cities Program.

EoLI 2020 ranking:

  1. Million+ category: Bengaluru emerged as the top performer followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Indore, and Greater Mumbai.
  2. In the Less than Million category: Shimla was ranked the highest in ease of living, followed by Bhubaneshwar, Silvassa, Kakinada, Salem, Vellore, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Davangere, and Tiruchirappalli.


Prelims Link:

  1. About EoLI.
  2. Ranking Methodology.
  3. Top performers.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of recently released Urban Affairs Ministry’s Ease of Living Index (EoLI).

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Municipal Performance Index 2020:


Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has released the Municipal Performance Index 2020.

  • It seeks to simplify and evaluate the complexities in local governance practice and promote the ethos of transparency and accountability.

Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020:

The MPI examined the sectoral performance of 111 municipalities (with Delhi being assessed separately for NDMC, and the three Municipal Corporations) across five verticals which comprise of 20 sectors and 100 indicators in all totality.

The five verticals under MPI are Services, Finance, Policy, Technology and Governance.

Ranking of cities:

The assessment framework under MPI 2020 has classified municipalities based on their population- Million+ (municipalities having over a million population) and Less than Million Population.

  1. In the Million+ category: Indore has emerged as the highest ranked municipality, followed by Surat and Bhopal.
  2. In the Less than Million category: New Delhi Municipal Council has emerged as the leader, followed by Tirupati and Gandhinagar.


Prelims Link:

  1. About MPI.
  2. Ranking Methodology.
  3. Top performers.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of recently released Urban Affairs Ministry’s Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


Topics Covered: Issues related to Education.

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021:


12 Indian Institutions have secured positions in top 100 in the QS Subject Rankings for the year 2021.

  • These are IT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IISC Bangalore, IIT Guwahati,, IIM Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad, JNU, Anna University, University of Delhi, and O.P Jindal University .

Amongst these:

  1. IIT Madras has been ranked 30th in the world for Petroleum Engineering,
  2. IIT Bombay has been ranked 41st and IIT Kharagpur has been ranked 44th in the world for Minerals and Mining Engineering,
  3. University of Delhi has been ranked 50th in the world for Development Studies.

About QS World University Rankings by Subject:

  • Compiled annually to help prospective students identify the leading universities in a particular subject.
  • Research citations, along with the results of major global surveys of employers and academics are used to rank universities.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 cover a total of 51 disciplines, grouped into five broad subject areas.

  1. Arts & Humanities.
  2. Engineering and Technology.
  3. Life Sciences & Medicine.
  4. Natural Sciences.
  5. Social Sciences & Management.

What is QS World University rankings?

It is an annual publication of University rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) – A british company specialising in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world.

Previously, it was called Times Higher Education – QS world University rankings. The name changed since 2010.

  • It is the only international ranking to have received the approval of International Ranking Expert Group (IREG).


Prelims Link:

  1. Indicators used to rank institutions.
  2. Performance of Indian Institutions.
  3. When was institutions of eminence scheme launched?
  4. Top 10 institutions worldwide.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

International North South Transport Corridor:


India has made the following demands wrt INSTC at the 3-day “Maritime India” summit that was conducted virtually:

  1. Include Chabahar port in the 13-nation International North South Transport Corridor.
  2. Expand INSTC membership by including Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Need for and significance:

Establishing an eastern corridor through Afghanistan would maximise its potential.

About INSTC:

It is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight.

Regions involved: India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

Dry runs of two routes were conducted in 2014:

  1. First was Mumbai to Baku via Bandar Abbas.
  2. Second was Mumbai to Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas, Tehran and Bandar Anzali.

Significance of the corridor:

  1. Conceived well before China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), INSTC will not only help cut down on costs and time taken for transfer of goods from India to Russia and Europe via Iran but also provide an alternative connectivity initiative to countries in the Eurasian region.
  2. This will also synchronize with the Ashgabat agreement, a Multimodal transport agreement signed by India, Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, for creating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.


Prelims Link:

  1. About INSTC.
  2. Countries covered.
  3. Important cities.
  4. Key ports.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of INSTC.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Haryana’s quota law:


The Haryana government recently notified a new law that requires 75% of private sector jobs in the state reserved for local candidates.

  • In July 2019, the Andhra Pradesh government had passed a similar law, which was challenged in court.

About Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020:

  1. It requires private companies to set aside for domiciles 75% of jobs up to a monthly salary of Rs 50,000 or as may be notified by the government from time to time.
  2. The law is applicable to all the companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms and any person employing 10 or more persons and an entity, as may be notified by the government from time to time shall come under the ambit of this Act.

What are the legal issues in such laws?

  1. The question of domicile reservation in jobs: While domicile quotas in education are fairly common, courts have been reluctant in expanding this to public employment. It raises questions relating to the fundamental right to equality of citizens.
  2. The issue of forcing the private sector to comply with reservations in employment. For mandating reservation in public employment, the state draws its power from Article 16(4) of the Constitution. But, the Constitution has no manifest provision for private employment from which the state draws the power to make laws mandating reservation.
  3. It may not be able to withstand judicial scrutiny on the touchstone of Article 19(1)(g).

What is the government’s rationale in bringing such laws?

  1. Public sector jobs constitute only a minuscule proportion of all jobs. Therefore, talks about extending the legal protections to the private sector to really achieve the constitutional mandate of equality for all citizens has been on.
  2. Since private industries use public infrastructure in many ways — from accessing land through subsidised allotment to receiving credit from public banks, tax exemptions and in many cases subsidies for fuel etc, the state has a legitimate right to require them to comply with the reservation policy.

Do other countries take such affirmative action in employment?

Affirmative action is adopted in many countries in the context of race and gender.

  1. For example, in the US, although there is no statutory requirement for employers to have quotas, courts can order monetary damages and injunctive relief, including “such affirmative action as may be appropriate”, for victims of discrimination.
  2. The Employment Equity Act in Canada also protects minority groups, especially aboriginals from discrimination in federally regulated industries, even in the private sector.

Concerns and challenges ahead:

  1. It poses challenges for industrial development and private investment in Haryana.
  2. It could also provide a shield to some firms indulging in unethical practices to retrench the existing workforce.
  3. Investors and businesses may start moving out of the state in search for best human resources.
  4. Against the spirit of the Constitution, which gives citizens of India the freedom to work anywhere in the country.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Indian Special Forces (SF):


Turkmenistan Special Forces Commence Combat Free Fall Training at Indian Special Forces Training School.


The Indian Special Forces (SF) have over a period earned immense respect and reputation of being one of the finest Special Forces in the world due to its professionalism, operational expertise, and sacrifice.

  • Special Forces of friendly nations including the USA, Australia, countries of Central Asian Region & the Middle East have increasingly shown their desire to train with the battle-hardened Indian SF troops.

What are Indian Special Forces (SF)?

India has several Special Forces (SF) units.

These are working under the commands of the Indian Armed Forces, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.

There are other special forces which are not controlled by the military but operate under civilian organisations such as Home ministry.

Major Special Forces (SF) of India:

MARCOS (Marine Commandos), is a Special Forces unit that was raised by the Indian Navy in 1987 for direct action, special reconnaissance, amphibious warfare and counter-terrorism.

Para Commandos: Formed in 1966, the Para Commandos are part of the highly-trained Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army and are the largest part of the Special Forces of India. The parachute units of the Indian Army are among the oldest airborne units in the world.

Ghatak Force: True to its name ghatak, this infantry platoon goes for the kill and spearheads strikes ahead of a battalion. Every infantry battalion in the Indian Army has one platoon and only the most physically fit and motivated soldiers make it to the Ghatak Platoon.

COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) is a specialised unit of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) that was formed to counter Naxalism in India. It’s one of the few Indian Special Forces, that’s exclusively trained in guerrilla warfare.

Force One came into being in the year 2010 after the deadly 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. The prime role of this special elite force is to protect the city of Mumbai from terrorist attacks.

The National Security Guard is India’s premier counter-terrorist force. The NSG provides security to VIPs, conducts anti-sabotage checks, and is responsible for neutralising terrorist threats to vital installations.

The Special Protection Group: It is a security force of the Government of India that is responsible for the protection of the Prime Minister of India.


Prelims Link:

Overview of:

  1. Marcos.
  2. SPG.
  3. NSG.
  4. COBRA.
  5. Ghatak force.

Mains Link:

What are Indian Special Forces (SF)? Discuss their significance.

Sources: PIB.


Facts for Prelims:


  • They are a Persian-speaking ethnic group native to, and primarily residing in, the mountainous region of Hazarajat, in central Afghanistan.
  • Hazaras are considered to be one of the most oppressed groups in Afghanistan.

CERAWeek Award:

PM Narendra Modi will receive the CERAWeek Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award.

Instituted in 2016, the CERAWeek Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award recognizes the commitment of leadership on the future of global energy & environment and for offering solutions and policies for energy access, affordability & environmental stewardship.

  • CERA (Cambridge Energy Research Associates Week) was founded in 1983 by Dr. Daniel Yergin.
  • It has been organized in Houston in March every year since 1983 and is considered the world’s premier annual energy platform.


Assam’s Bao-dhaan is being exported to America now.

  • Iron-rich ‘red rice’ is grown in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam without the use of any chemical fertilizer. This variety of rice is referred to as ‘Bao-dhaan’, which is an integral part of the Assamese food culture.

Articles Covered Previously:

1. OTT platforms will not have to register: Centre:

Dispelling rumours, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has clarified that:

  1. Over-the-top (OTT) platforms will not have to register with the government.
  2. No government nominee will be present in the self-regulatory body.

For more details:


Articles to be covered tomorrow:

1. GoM suggests steps to stem ‘negative narrative’.

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