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. Chenab Bridge: World’s highest Railway Bridge.
2. LA PEROUSE.
3. International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IVEP) 2021.
GS Paper : 2
Topics: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
The President of India has promulgated the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.
- The proposed changes are based on the directions issued by the Supreme Court last year in the Madras Bar Association case.
- The ordinance seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
- It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.
- It provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
- It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.
- Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.
The Ordinance omits following Tribunals/ Appellate Authorities from the purview of Finance Act:
- Airport Appellate Tribunal established under the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994.
- Appellate Board established under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
- Authority for Advance Ruling established under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
- Film Certification Appellate Tribunal established under the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
What are tribunals?
Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes. It performs a number of functions like adjudicating disputes, determining rights between contesting parties, making an administrative decision, reviewing an existing administrative decision and so forth.
They were not originally a part of the Constitution.
The 42nd Amendment Act introduced these provisions in accordance with the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee.
The Amendment introduced Part XIV-A to the Constitution, which deals with ‘Tribunals’ and contains two articles:
- Article 323A deals with Administrative Tribunals. These are quasi-judicial institutions that resolve disputes related to the recruitment and service conditions of persons engaged in public service.
- Article 323B deals with tribunals for other subjects such as Taxation, Industrial and labour, Foreign exchange, import and export, Land reforms, Food, Ceiling on urban property, Elections to Parliament and state legislatures, Rent and tenancy rights.
- What are tribunals?
- Constitutional provisions in this regard.
- Composition and functions.
- Overview of the latest ordinance.
Are tribunals a panacea for judicial efficiency? Does tribunalisation of justice undermine the principles set in our constitution? Examine.
Topics Covered: Issues related to education.
Consultation meeting of Education Ministers of E9 countries on E9 initiative to be held tomorrow.
- The consultation is the first of a three-phased process to co-create an initiative on digital learning and skills, targeting marginalised children and youth, especially girls.
What is E9 initiative?
The initiative aims to accelerate recovery and advance the Sustainable Development Goal 4 agenda by driving rapid change in education systems in three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting priorities: (i) support to teachers; (ii) investment in skills; and (iii) narrowing of the digital divide.
Spearheaded by the UN, the E9 countries include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Building on the established partnership of E9 countries allows these nine countries the opportunity to benefit from this global initiative and accelerate progress on digital learning and skills towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education.
- What is E9 initiative?
- E9 countries.
- SDG 4 is related to?
- Is India part of this initiative?
Discuss the significance of E9 initiative.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has expressed strong concerns to his Chinese counterpart about the human rights situation of China’s Uighur minority.
Who are Uighurs?
- Uighurs are a Muslim minority community concentrated in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province.
- They claim closer ethnic ties to Turkey and other central Asian countries than to China, by brute — and brutal — force.
Why is China targeting the Uighurs?
Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China — its largest region, rich in minerals, and sharing borders with many countries, including India, Russia and Afghanistan.
- Over the past few decades, as economic prosperity has come to Xinjiang, it has brought with it in large numbers the majority Han Chinese,who have cornered the better jobs, and left the Uighurs feeling their livelihoods and identity were under threat.
- This led to sporadic violence, in 2009 culminating in a riot that killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, in the region’s capital Urumqi. And many other violent incidents have taken place since then.
- Beijing also says Uighur groups want to establish an independent state and, because of the Uighurs’ cultural ties to their neighbours, leaders fear that elements in places like Pakistan may back a separatist movement in Xinjiang.
Therefore, the Chinese policy seems to have been one of treating the entire community as suspect, and launching a systematic project to chip away at every marker of a distinct Uighur identity.
- Who are Uighurs?
- Where is Xinjiang?
- Who are Han Chinese?
- Indian states bordering Xinjiang province.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Disaster management.
Since the start of 2021, there has been a series of forest fires in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland-Manipur border, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, including in wildlife sanctuaries.
- April-May is the season when forest fires take place in various parts of the country. But, forest fires have been more frequent than usual in Uttarakhand and have also taken place during winter; dry soil caused by a weak monsoon is being seen as one of the causes.
How prone to fire are India’s forests?
- Most vulnerable areas: Forests of the Northeast and central India regions are the most vulnerable areas to forest fires.
- ‘Extremely prone’ areas: Forests in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura have been identified as ‘extremely prone’ to forest fire.
- ‘Very highly prone’ category: States with large forest areas under the ‘very highly prone’ category include Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
- ‘Extremely prone’ category: Western Maharashtra, Southern Chhattisgarh and areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, along with central Odisha, are turning into ‘extremely prone’ forest fire hotspots.
Areas under the ‘highly prone’ and ‘moderately prone’ categories make up about 26.2% of the total forest cover — a whopping 1,72,374 sq km.
What causes forest fires?
- Lack of soil moisture.
- Rainfall deficiency.
- Natural causes such as lightning, high atmospheric temperatures and low humidity
- Man-made causes like flame, cigarette, electric spark or any source of ignition will also cause forest fires.
- The problem has been aggravated with rising human and cattle population and the increase in demand for grazing, shifting cultivation and Forest products by individuals and communities.
Why are forest fires difficult to control?
- The locality of the forest and access to it pose hurdles in initiating firefighting efforts.
- During peak season, shortage of staff is another challenge in dispatching firefighting teams.
- Timely mobilisation of forest staff, fuel and equipment, depending on the type of fire, through the thick forests remain challenges.
- As it is impossible to transport heavy vehicles loaded with water into the thick forests, a majority of fire dousing is initiated manually, using blowers and similar devices.
- Wind speed and direction play a critical role in bringing a forest fire under control. The fire often spreads in the direction of the winds and towards higher elevations.
What efforts are being taken to protect forests from fire?
- Since 2004, the FSI developed the Forest Fire Alert System to monitor forest fires in real time.
- In its advanced version launched in January 2019, the system now uses satellite information gathered from NASA and ISRO.
- Real-time fire information from identified fire hotspots is gathered using MODIS sensors (1km by 1km grid) and electronically transmitted to FSI.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.
China in February launched the latest round of pilot trials of its new digital currency, with reported plans of a major roll-out by the end of the year and ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022.
How does China’s digital currency work?
Officially titled the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), the digital RMB (or Renminbi, China’s currency) is a digital version of China’s currency. It can be downloaded and exchanged via an application authorised by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank.
Key features of the digital currency:
- This is a legal tender guaranteed by the central bank, not a payment guaranteed by a third-party operator.
- There is no third-party transaction, and hence, no transaction fee.
- Unlike e-wallets, the digital currency does not require Internet connectivity. The payment is made through Near-field Communication (NFC) technology.
- Unlike non-bank payment platforms that require users to link bank accounts, this can be opened with a personal identification number.
- Various cryptocurrencies.
- Cryptocurrencies launched by various countries.
- What is Blockchain technology?
What are Cryptocurrencies? Why there is a need for regulation? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Chenab Bridge: World’s highest Railway Bridge:
- Arch closure of the Chenab Bridge has been completed.
- The Chenab bridge is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL).
- It is the World’s highest Railway Bridge being constructed in Jammu & Kashmir by Indian Railways.
- The length of the Chenab bridge will be 1,315 metres.
- It is 359m above the river bed level. The bridge is 35-metre higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
- It is a multilateral maritime exercise being conducted in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region.
- Led by French Navy.
- India is taking part in it.
International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IVEP) 2021:
- Hosted recently by the Election Commission of India.
- Election management bodies of 26 other countries and three international organisations took part in it.
- IEVP 2021 provided the participants an overview of the large canvas of Indian electoral process, the new initiatives taken by ECI on voter facilitation, transparency and accessibility of electoral system etc.
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