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 4:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Tiananmen square massacre.
2. World Environment Day.
3. YounTab scheme.
4. CBSE collaborates with Microsoft to introduce Coding & Data Science in schools.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Union Home Ministry has clarified that migrants belonging to six non-Muslim minority communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, while applying for long-term visas (LTVs), can also produce National Population Register (NPR) enrolment slips as proof of the duration of their stay in India.
The NPR number is part of an illustrative list of more than 10 documents that could be provided to apply for an LTV, which is a precursor to acquiring Indian citizenship either by naturalisation or registration under Section 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, for the six communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from the three countries.
- The special provision of LTVs for Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and Afghanistan was first made in 2011.
What are LTVs?
For foreigners of non-Indian origin, a longer-term visa is classed as one that permits the holder to stay in India for longer than 180 days (six months) continuously. The main visas that provide this are the Employment, Entry and Student visas.
Benefits of LTV:
- People belonging to minority communities from neighbouring countries having LTVs are allowed to purchase a small house for their family and can even establish a business.
- They are eligible to obtain Aadhaar card, PAN card and driving licences. The LTV also allows them to buy property.
What is NPR?
The NPR was first compiled in 2010 simultaneously with the decadal Census exercise and later updated in 2015.
The NPR is a register of usual residents linked with location particulars down to the village level and is updated periodically “to incorporate the changes due to birth, death and migration”.
- The next phase of the NPR, expected to include contentious questions on date and place of birth of father and mother, last place of residence and mother tongue.
- The next phase was to be simultaneously updated with the 2021 House Listing and Housing Census but has been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acquisition and Determination of Indian Citizenship:
There are four ways in which Indian citizenship can be acquired: birth, descent, registration and naturalisation. The provisions are listed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Citizenship can also be acquired by registration. Some of the mandatory rules are:
- A person of Indian origin who has been a resident of India for 7 years before applying for registration.
- A person of Indian origin who is a resident of any country outside undivided India.
- A person who is married to an Indian citizen and is ordinarily resident for 7 years before applying for registration.
- Minor children of persons who are citizens of India.
- A person can acquire citizenship by naturalisation if he/she is ordinarily resident of India for 12 years (throughout 12 months preceding the date of application and 11 years in the aggregate) and fulfils all qualifications in the third schedule of the Citizenship Act.
- The amendment provides that the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, will not be treated as illegal migrants.
- For these groups of persons, the 11 years’ requirement will be reduced to five years.
- Did you know that the process of updating NPR will be carried out under the aegis of the Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India? Know all about NPR Click here,
- Are you aware of the security features of ‘Aadhaar PVC Card’? Read Here
- Constitutional provisions related to Citizenship.
- Components of NPR data.
- Who is an usual resident?
- Who prepares NPR?
- How can a person acquire Indian citizenship?
- Can an Indian citizen hold dual citizenship?
- What are long term visas?
- Latest amendments to the Citizenship Act.
Why are states opposed to the collection of data under NPR. Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to education.
The Ministry of Education has released the Performance Grading Index for 2019-20.
About the Performance Grading Index:
- PGI is a tool to grade all States and UTs on their performance across 70 indicators on school education.
- First published in 2019 with reference year 2017-18.
- The Indicators have been grouped into 2 Categories – Outcomes and Governance & Management with 4 Domains under the first category and 1 under the second.
- Objective: To encourage States & UTs to adopt best practices like online recruitment and transfer of teachers, electronic attendance of students & teachers.
- Significance: Grading system assists the States & UTs to identify gaps and design appropriate interventions to bridge them.
- Punjab, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Kerala occupy the highest grade A++ in 2019-20.
- Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli are in the A+ category.
- Punjab has scored the maximum points for governance and management.
- Bihar and Meghalaya have scored the lowest in terms of infrastructure and facilities.
Do you know about the EFA(Education For All) Development Index? Read Here
- About PGI.
- Released by?
- Indicators used for ranking.
- Performance of states and UTs in the latest index.
Discuss the significance of the index.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
A study was conducted recently to study the real-world effectiveness of vaccination in India. It was conducted on healthcare workers (HCW).
- For the study, 515 healthcare workers from 13 States and covering 22 cities were evaluated from January to May 2021.
- Covishield vaccine produced more antibodies than Covaxin.
- Seropositivity rates to anti-spike antibodies were significantly higher in Covishield recipients compared to Covaxin after the first dose.
- Responder rate and median (IQR) rise in anti-spike antibody were significantly higher in Covishield vs. Covaxin recipient.
What are vaccines?
Vaccines train our immune system to fight a disease-causing agent, which has not yet affected a person. They prepare the body for future protection.
How do they work?
- Vaccines are known to have a component called antigen, which is usually a part of the pathogen against which the vaccine is being developed.
- The role of antigen, once inside the human body, is to activate the immune system in order to develop protective antibodies, without having any ability to cause the full-fledged disease.
- This way, once a person is fully vaccinated, he or she develops antibodies and remains protected.
- Covishield (the vaccine by Oxford University-AstraZeneca) is based on the viral-vectored platform.
- Covaxin (jointly developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research), is an inactivated vaccine.
What are Viral-vectored vaccines?
A vector, in infectious disease biology, is what works as a vehicle to transport a disease-causing agent.
- For example, mosquitoes are the vector of malaria, a disease caused by a parasite called plasmodium.
In viral-vectored vaccines, a virus is used to carry the target antigen gene into human cells.
- There are many such viral vectors, which have different advantages. The most widely known are the adenovirus vectors, which cause very mild colds or asymptomatic infections in humans.
- Covishield uses a chimpanzee adenovirus (AZD1222 or ChAdOx1), which carries the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
- The chimpanzee adenovirus has been used because humans will not have pre-existing antibodies to this adenovirus.
What are Inactivated or killed vaccines?
Pathogens (viruses or bacteria) that cannot multiply cannot cause disease. So inactivating a virus or bacteria, using chemicals like formalin, can convert them into a safe immunogen.
- Because inactivated viruses or bacteria do not multiply, we may need to use multiple doses of the vaccine and also give another substance to improve the immune response — this is called an adjuvant. The most common adjuvant is the alum but shark oil suspensions and a few others are also used.
A number of vaccines developed in China, and Covaxin in India are on the inactivated platform.
Did you know what RNA Vaccines, Subunit vaccines, Live-attenuated vaccines etc are? Read more
- What are antibodies?
- What are antigens?
- What are Vaccines? How do they work?
- Types of Vaccines.
- What is mRNA?
Write a note on Vaccine wastage.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told the UN Security Council that its experts have investigated 77 allegations against Syria, and concluded that in 17 cases chemical weapons were likely or definitely used.
Syria was pressed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention in September 2013 by its close ally Russia after a deadly chemical weapons attack that the West blamed on Damascus.
- It is an international organization established by the Chemical Weapons Convention, 1997 to implement and enforce the terms of the non-proliferation treaty, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, or transfer of chemical weapons by signatory states.
- By the 2001 Relationship Agreement between the OPCW and the United Nations, the OPCW reports on its inspections and other activities to the UN through the office of the Secretary General.
- The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
- The OPCW is authorized to perform inspections to verify that signatory states are complying with the convention.
The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits:
- Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.
- The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons.
- Chemical weapons use or military preparation for use.
- Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.
- The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”
Did you know? India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has been chosen as the external auditor by the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for a three-year term starting 2021. Read here,
- About OPCW.
- What is CWC?
- Functions of the executive council.
- Roles and functions of the external auditor of OPCW.
Write a note on the chemical weapons convention.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important international organisations.
India’s largest power utility, NTPC Ltd, has become a signatory of UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate.
What is CEO Water Mandate?
It is a UN Global Compact initiative which demonstrates commitment and efforts of companies to enhance their water and sanitation agendas in line with Sustainable Development Goals.
- It has been designed to assist companies in developing, implementing and disclosing comprehensive water strategies and policies.
- It provides a platform for companies to link with like-minded businesses, public authorities, UN agencies, civil society organizations etc.
What is UN Global Compact initiative?
- It is a non-binding United Nations pact to encourage businesses and firms worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.
- Launched in 2000.
- It is a principle-based framework for businesses, stating ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.
- Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labor groups and civil society.
- Cities can join the Global Compact through the Cities Programme.
NTPC has already taken a series of measures across its plant locations on sound water management.
- NTPC will further imbibe the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) for water conservation and management while carrying out its core business activity of power generation.
What is the extent of water crisis in India?
- The NITI Aayog report on ‘Composite Water Management Index (2018)’ underlines that over 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress.
- According to a World Bank report, the amount of water currently available to an individual will fall below half of the 1,588 cubic meters per year by 2030. This will create unimaginable disaster for the majority people in India.
India has 4% of the world’s freshwater which has to cater to 17% of the world’s population.
Do you know about the Protocol on Water and Health? Is India a signatory to this? Read here,
Did you know, Uttarakhand is the first state in the country to introduce Gross Environment Product? Read Here
- About UN CEO water mandate.
- About UN Global Compact initiative.
- Global Compact Cities Programme.
- NITI Aayog report on ‘Composite Water Management Index.
Write a note on UN Global Compact Initiative.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Citizens Charter.
A Model Panchayat Citizens Charter/ framework for delivery of the services across the 29 sectors, aligning actions with localised Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was released recently.
- It has been prepared by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) in collaboration with National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR).
The Citizen Charter would ensure transparent and effective delivery of public services for sustainable development and enhanced citizen service experiences; deepening inclusive and accountable Local Self Governments by incorporating diverse views while designing and delivering services.
- Panchayats constitute the third tier of government in the rural areas and represent the first level of Government interaction for over 60 per cent of the Indian populace.
- Panchayats are responsible for delivery of basic services as enshrined under article 243G of the Constitution of India, specifically in the areas of Health & Sanitation, Education, Nutrition, Drinking Water.
About Citizens’ Charters:
- Citizens’ Charters initiative is a response to the quest for solving the problems which a citizen encounters, day in and day out, while dealing with the organisations providing public services.
- The concept of Citizens’ Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.
- The concept was first articulated and implemented in the United Kingdom in 1991.
Six principles of the Citizens Charter movement as originally framed, were:
(i) Quality: Improving the quality of services.
(ii) Choice : Wherever possible.
(iii) Standards :Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met.
(iv) Value: For the taxpayers money.
(v) Accountability : Individuals and Organisations.
The concept of citizen’s charter was first adopted at a ‘Conference of Chief Ministers of various States and Union Territories’ held in May 1997 in the national capital.
Facts for Prelims:
Tiananmen square massacre:
Context: 32nd anniversary of the event was observed recently.
On June 4, 1989 Chinese troops cracked down on pro-democracy protesters around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. No official death toll has ever been released, but rights groups estimate hundreds, if not thousands were killed.
- The protests were primarily student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China.
World Environment Day:
Observed on the 5th of June annually to encourage awareness and environmental protection.
- The United Nations Assembly established World Environment Day in 1972, which was the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the human environment.
- However, it was first observed in the United States in 1974 with the theme- ‘Only one earth’.
- The theme of World Environment Day 2021 is ‘Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.’ The theme is based on the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which will be launched by the United Nations this year.
- Pakistan will be the global host for 2021.
Ladakh Lt Governor has launched the YounTab scheme for students in the Union Territory to encourage digital learning.
- Under the scheme, 12,300 tablets with pre-loaded online and offline content, including textbooks, video lectures and online class applications, would be distributed to government school students from Class 6th to 12th.
CBSE collaborates with Microsoft to introduce Coding & Data Science in schools:
- CBSE has collaborated with Microsoft to introduce Coding and Data Science in schools for classes 6 to 12.
- These new subjects will be introduced in 2021-22 academic session.
- It is a Global database to identify missing persons.
- Launched by Interpol.
- It can identify missing persons through family DNA and help the police solve cold cases in member countries.
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