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. China-Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital opened.
2. Umling La.
3. National Security Guard (NSG).
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
The Supreme Court has asked the West Bengal government to implement the One Nation One Ration Card scheme “immediately” to help beneficiaries, especially migrant workers, to avail of subsidised food commodities from anywhere in the country.
- Apart from West Bengal, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Delhi are the other states yet to implement it.
The court is hearing a suo motu (registered on its own motion) case pertaining to “problems and miseries of migrant workers”.
About the scheme:
One Nation One Ration Card (RC) will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.
Benefits: no poor person is deprived of getting subsidised foodgrains under the food security scheme when they shift from one place to another. It also removes the chance of anyone holding more than one ration card to avail benefits from different states.
Significance: This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.
Standard format of ‘one nation, one ration card’:
- For national portability, the state governments have been asked to issue the ration card in bi-lingual format, wherein besides the local language, the other language could be Hindi or English.
- The states have also been told to have a 10-digit standard ration card number, wherein first two digits will be state code and the next two digits will be running ration card numbers.
- Besides this, a set of another two digits will be appended with ration card number to create unique member IDs for each member of the household in a ration card.
- What is PDS?
- What is NFSA? Eligibility? Benefits?
- How are fair price shops established?
- Key features of One Nation One Ration Card (RC) scheme.
Discuss the significance of One Nation One Ration Card scheme.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Pakistan’s National Assembly has passed the ICJ (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020 to provide the right of appeal to death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav.
- The Bill is aimed at allowing Jadhav to have consular access in line with the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
What’s the issue?
- Jadhav, a 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
- India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
- The Hague-based ICJ had ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
Key observations made by the ICJ:
- Islamabad has violated Article 36 of Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, 1963, by not informing India about Jadhav’s arrest immediately after Pakistan Army had taken him into custody.
- India had been deprived of ‘right to communicate with and have access to Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation’.
- ICJ was established in 1945 by the United Nations charter and started working in April 1946.
- It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, situated at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
- Unlike the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (USA).
- It settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions in accordance with international law, on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
- The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These organs vote simultaneously but separately.
- In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.
- In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years and Judges are eligible for re-election.
- ICJ is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.
The 15 judges of the Court are distributed in following regions:
- Three from Africa.
- Two from Latin America and Caribbean.
- Three from Asia.
- Five from Western Europe and other states.
- Two from Eastern Europe.
Independence of judges:
Unlike other organs of international organizations, the Court is not composed of representatives of governments. Members of the Court are independent judges whose first task, before taking up their duties, is to make a solemn declaration in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.
Jurisdiction and Functioning:
- ICJ acts as a world court with two fold jurisdiction i.e. legal disputes between States submitted to it by them (contentious cases) and requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and specialized agencies (advisory proceedings).
- Only States which are members of the United Nations and which have become parties to the Statute of the Court or which have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions, are parties to contentious cases.
- The judgment is final, binding on the parties to a case and without appeal (at the most it may be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision).
Do you know what extraterritoriality is? Read Here
- Differences between ICJ and ICC.
- Geographical locations of these organisations and overview of surrounding countries.
- Doha accord between US and Taliban.
- What is Rome statute?
Write a note on ICJ.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called for expediting the implementation of the vehicle scrappage policy.
About the Vehicle Scrappage Policy:
- Old vehicles will have to pass a fitness test before re-registration and as per the policy government commercial vehicles more than 15 years old and private vehicles which are over 20 years old will be scrapped.
- As a disincentive, increased re-registration fees would be applicable for vehicles 15 years or older from the initial date registration.
- The state governments may be advised to offer a road-tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles to provide incentive to owners of old vehicles to scrap old and unfit vehicles.
Issues with the new policy:
- Limited incentive and poor cost economics for trucks.
- Lack of addressable volumes for other segments.
- The potential benefit from scrapping a 15-year-old, entry-level small car will be ₹70,000, whereas its resale value is around ₹95,000. That makes scrapping unattractive.
Need of the hour:
With this background, for the scrappage policy to be seamlessly implemented, we should have a comprehensive plan in terms of removing ELV (End of life vehicles) from the road. Freight transporters need stronger financial support. However, that said, it is important to note that unless old fleet vehicles are off the road, the benefits of implementation of BSVI vehicles will not be fully leveraged.
- Do you know about the International Ship Recycling Convention, also known as the Hong Kong Convention? Read Here
- Do you know about the Green Tax? Read here
- Key features of the policy.
Discuss the issues associated with the policy.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that it has selected EnVision as its next orbiter that will visit Venus sometime in the 2030s.
What is EnVision?
- EnVision is an ESA led mission with contributions from NASA.
- It will be launched on an Ariane 6 rocket, the spacecraft will take about 15 months to reach Venus and will take 16 more months to achieve orbit circularisation.
- Objectives: To study the planet’s atmosphere and surface, monitor trace gases in the atmosphere and analyse its surface composition. A radar provided by NASA will help to image and map the surface.
Other missions to Venus:
- NASA recently selected two missions to the planet Venus- DAVINCI+ and VERITAS.
- Previously, an ESA-led mission to Venus called ‘Venus Express’ (2005-2014) focussed on atmospheric research and pointed to volcanic hotspots on the planet’s surface.
- The first spacecraft to Venus was the Soviet Union’s Venera series, followed by NASA’s Magellan Mission that studied Venus from 1990-1994.
- As of now, Japan’s Akatsuki mission is studying the planet from Orbit.
Why are scientists interested in studying Venus?
Earth and Venus have evolved so differently from each other even though they are roughly of the same size and composition. Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system because of the heat that is trapped by its thick cloud cover.
With such missions, scientists seek to address the following questions:
- What history did Venus experience to arrive at this state and does this foretell Earth’s fate should it, too, undergo a catastrophic greenhouse effect?
- Is Venus still geologically active?
- Could it have once hosted an ocean and even sustained life?
- What lessons can be learned about the evolution of terrestrial planets in general, as we discover more Earth-like exoplanets?
- For those on Earth, Venus is the second-brightest object in the sky after the moon.
- It appears bright because of its thick cloud cover that reflects and scatters light.
- It is the second closest planet to the Sun.
- It is called the Earth’s twin because of their similar sizes.
How is Venus different from Earth?
- Venus’ thick atmosphere traps heat and is the reason that it is the hottest planet in the solar system, despite coming after Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. Surface temperatures on Venus can go up to 471 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to melt lead.
- Venus moves forward on its orbit around the Sun but spins backwards around its axis slowly. This means on Venus the Sun rises in the west and sets in the East.
- Venus also does not have a moon and no rings.
Do you know about Atmospheric super-rotation? Read Here
- Key facts related to Venus.
- Why is it called earth’s twin?
- About the latest missions announced by NASA.
- Previous historic missions.
- Venus vs Earth- comparison.
Discuss why NASA’s latest missions to Venus are significant.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
The Maharashtra government has proposed amendments to the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act of 1975, to introduce provisions for the protection of ‘heritage trees’.
What are heritage trees?
A tree with an estimated age of 50 years or more shall be defined as a heritage tree. It may belong to specific species, which will be notified from time to time.
Why was the concept of heritage tree introduced?
- A heritage tree will get special protection. Compensatory plantation– anyone cutting a heritage tree will need to plant trees in the same numbers as the cut tree’s age.
- The organization planting the compensation trees will also have to ensure the survival of the plantation for seven years and geo-tag the trees.
- In case compensatory plantation is not possible, the tree feller has to pay compensation for the economic valuation of the trees being felled.
- As per amendments, tree Authority will be formed in local civic bodies and councils which will take all decisions regarding the protection of trees.
- It will have to ensure tree census to be carried out every five years along with counting of heritage trees.
- The Tree Authority is tasked with “increasing the tree cover in urban areas and protecting the existing ones.”
- A proposal to cut more than 200 trees of age 5 years or more, will be referred to the state tree authority.
Can you recollect the natural sites of India being recognized as the World Heritage Sites? Check here
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Scientists with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Collaboration have assembled the largest collection of fast radio bursts (FRBs) in the telescope’s first FRB catalogue.
Why this is significant?
While catching sight of an FRB is considered a rare thing in the field of radio astronomy, prior to the CHIME project, radio astronomers had only caught sight of around 140 bursts in their scopes since the first FRB was spotted in 2007.
What are FRBs?
- FRBs are oddly bright flashes of light, registering in the radio band of the electromagnetic spectrum, which blaze for a few milliseconds before vanishing without a trace.
- These brief and mysterious beacons have been spotted in various and distant parts of the universe, as well as in our own galaxy.
- Their origins are unknown and their appearance is highly unpredictable.
About the CHIME project:
- It is a large stationary radio telescope in British Columbia, Canada.
- The telescope receives radio signals each day from half of the sky as the Earth rotates.
- The telescope has no moving parts and observes half of the sky each day as the Earth turns.
- CHIME is a partnership between the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto and the Canadian National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.
What is the Square Kilometre Array Project? Read here
- What are radio waves?
- What is electromagnetic spectrum?
- What are Magnetars?
- What is a neutron star?
Write a note on FRBs.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
China-Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital opened:
- China-Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital was recently inaugurated in Polonnaruwa- located in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province.
- It has been built with a Chinese grant of $60 million.
- At 5,793m (19,005ft) above the sea level, Umling La is one of the highest motorable roads in the world.
- Located in the Ladakh region.
- The 54 km long road passing through Umling La Pass connected the villages of Chisumle and Demchok and took six years to be built by BRO under Project Himank.
National Security Guard (NSG):
- The NSG is a counter-terrorism unit that formally came into existence in 1986 by an act of Parliament- ‘National Security Guard Act, 1986’.
- It operates under the Ministry of Home Affairs and is a task-oriented force.
- It is considered a federal contingency force that has been given the specific task of handling all forms of terrorism in India.
- NSG personnel are also called Black Cats because of their black uniform and black cat insignia on their uniform.
Articles to be covered tomorrow:
- Ram Prasad Bismil.
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