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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 2:

1. What is ranked choice voting, which made its debut in New York mayoral polls?

2. What is Delta Plus, a variant of coronavirus with K417N mutation?

3. Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR).

4. Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) programme.


GS Paper 3:

1. CCI probes Google for ‘unfair’ business practices.

2. Climate crisis to hit sooner than feared.


Facts for Prelims:

1. Suez Canal.

2. Pygmy hogs.

3. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

GS Paper  :  2


Topics Covered: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

What is ranked choice voting, which made its debut in New York mayoral polls?


New York city used ranked-choice voting for Mayoral Polls.

What is it?

The method allows voters to rank candidates by preference rather than selecting just their top choice. New York City is having voters rank their top five — though voters are not required to choose five.

Benefits/rationale behind this process:

Ranking candidates is far more complicated, but advocates believe it is fairer and more accurately reflects the collective will of the majority.

How does it work?

  1. If someone gets 50% plus one after all the first-choice votes are counted, then the election is over and that candidate wins.
  2. But if no one gets 50% plus one, it’s on to Round 2.
  3. The person with the lowest number of first-place votes is eliminated, and that candidate’s voters’ second choices get redistributed as votes for other candidates.
  4. This reallocation of votes goes on until someone reaches 50% plus one.

Where else has this been used?

There are some 20 jurisdictions across the country that use ranked-choice voting.

  • It has also been used by Australia, Ireland and Malta since the early 20th century. Northern Ireland, New Zealand and Scotland have all adopted it as well.

What are the arguments in favor of it?

  1. It means the winner gets a majority of the vote. The usual system of “most votes wins” can mean someone with only a plurality of the overall vote can be elected, not necessarily the person with majority support.
  2. More moderate candidates. It’s less likely that extreme candidates who have a strong base of support but aren’t liked more broadly could get through in a crowded primary.
  3. Less negative campaigning. The argument goes that candidates need a majority of voters to like them.
  4. People can feel good about casting their vote. Instead of holding their nose for that one choice they get, voters can express at least a first choice for the person they really like.

What are the arguments against it?

  1. It’s complicated. And complications can lead to errors.
  2. Some argue it’s less democratic because it eschews the idea of one person, one vote.
  3. It could encourage horse-trading. Ranked-choice voting might make for less strategic voting, but it could open the door for candidates to make deals with one another about who their voters should go for as a second choice.


Insta Curious: 

Do you know What Approval Voting is? Read Here



Prelims Link:

  1. About the method.
  2. Benefits.
  3. What is First Past the Post system.
  4. What is proportional representation system.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of ranked choice voting system.

Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is Delta Plus, a variant of coronavirus with K417N mutation?


The Health Ministry has categorised Delta Plus variant of coronavirus as a ‘variant of concern’. It has been detected in many states.

What is a ‘variant of concern’?

It is one for which there is evidence of:

  1. An increase in transmissibility.
  2. More severe diseases that require hospitalisation or death.
  3. A significant reduction in neutralisation by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination.
  4. Reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.

In the case of the Delta Plus variant, the Health Ministry identified three characteristics — increased transmissibility; stronger binding in receptors of lung cells; and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

How do variants of a virus emerge and why?

  1. Variants of a virus have one or more mutations that differentiate it from the other variants that are in circulation.
  2. Essentially, the goal of the virus is to reach a stage where it can cohabitate with humans because it needs a host to survive.
  3. Errors in the viral RNA are called mutations, and viruses with these mutations are called variants. Variants could differ by a single or many mutations.

What is a mutation?

  • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the virus.
  • In the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is an Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.
  • A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.

Variants of Concern so far:

‘Variants of concern’ include B.1.1.7 or Alpha first identified in the UK, B.1.351 or Beta first identified in South Africa, and B.1.427 or Epsilon first identified in the US.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified the Delta variant or B.1.617.2, first found in India, as a ‘variant of concern’.

How can a variant of concern be controlled?

  1. They require appropriate health actions like increased testing or “research to determine the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments against the variant”.
  2. Based on the characteristics of the variant, additional considerations may include the development of new diagnostics or the modification of vaccines or treatments.


Insta Curious: 

Do you know Variants of Interest and Variants of High Consequence ? Read here



Prelims Link:

  1. What is Covid 19?
  2. What is mutation?
  3. What is mRNA?
  4. What is the RT- PCR test?
  5. What is genome sequencing?
  6. What is a variant of concern?

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with mutations of Covid- 19 virus.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR):


The United Kingdom has appointed a liaison officer to the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), which is meant for maritime domain awareness.

About IFC-IOR:

  • The IFC-IOR was set up in 2018 to coordinate with regional countries on maritime issues and act as a regional repository of maritime data.
  • It presently has linkages with 21 partner countries and 22 multi-national agencies across the globe.
  • It is located in Gurugram, India.

Roles and functions of a liaison officer:

The liaison officer will be based full-time at the centre, working directly with the Indian armed forces and fellow liaison officers from partner nations to enhance maritime domain awareness in the region.

  • International Liaison Officers (ILO) from 13 countries have been invited, and ILOs from countries had joined earlier- Australia, France, Japan and the U.S.. The U.K. is the 5th country to post an ILO.


Insta Curious: 

Do you know about the Indian Ocean Commision? Read Here (Briefly)



Prelims Link:

  1. What is IFC- IOR?
  2. What is the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC)?
  3. Who established European-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH)?
  4. Locate Persian Gulf and strait of Hormuz.

Mains Link:

Discuss how observer status at the Indian Ocean Commission helps India secure its strategic objectives.


Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) programme:


Bhutan’s Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) programme launched in partnership with India.

  • This programme is expected to be of about 24 months’ duration.
  • The focus of the programme will be in the area of International Taxation and Transfer Pricing.

Benefits of the programme:

Through this India in collaboration with the UNDP and the TIWB Secretariat aims to aid Bhutan in strengthening its tax administration by transferring technical know-how and skills to its tax auditors, and through sharing of best audit practices.

About TIWB Programme:

  1. It is a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  2. The objective of the TIWB Initiative is to enable sharing of tax audit knowledge and skills with tax administrations in developing countries through a targeted, real time “learning by doing” approach.
  3. TIWB is focused on promoting hands-on assistance by sending Experts to build audit and audit-related skills pertaining to specific international tax matters and the development of general audit skills within developing tax administrations.


Insta Curious: 

Did you know about the Better Life Index developed by OECD? Read here, 



Prelims Link:

  1. About TIWB Programme.
  2. Implementation.
  3. Developed by?
  4. Significance.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Programme.

Sources: PIB.

GS Paper  :  3


Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

CCI probes Google for ‘unfair’ business practices:


The Competition Commission has ordered a detailed probe against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices in the smart television operating systems market in the country.

What’s the issue?

CCI found that Google was dominant in the relevant market for licensable smart TV device operating systems in India. It also said that prima facie mandatory pre-installation of all the Google applications under Television App Distribution Agreement (TADA) amounts to imposition of unfair conditions on the smart TV device manufacturers. This is in contravention of Section 4(2)(a) of the Competition Act.

  • Section 4 of the Act pertains to abuse of dominant position.

About Competition Commission Of India:

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009. Chairman and members are appointed by the central government.

Functions of the commission:

  1. It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  2. The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

The Competition Act:

The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act) was repealed and replaced by the Competition Act, 2002, on the recommendations of Raghavan committee.

  • The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.


Insta Curious: 

Do you know what Tied Selling is? Read Here



Prelims Link:

  1. About CCI.
  2. Highlights of the Competition Act and amendments to it.
  3. About NCLT and its jurisdiction.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of CCI.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Climate crisis to hit sooner than feared:


A landmark draft report was recently released by the UN’s climate science advisers. The report has not yet been officially released. It is, however, designed to influence critical policy decisions.

Highlights of the report:

Climate change will fundamentally reshape life on Earth in the coming decades, even if humans can tame planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Impacts: Species extinction, more widespread disease, unliveable heat, ecosystem collapse, cities menaced by rising seas — these and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious by 2050.

Concern: Dangerous thresholds are closer than once thought, and dire consequences stemming from decades of unbridled carbon pollution are unavoidable in the short term.

Food insecurity: Tens of millions more people are likely to face chronic hunger by 2050, and 130 million more could experience extreme poverty within a decade if inequality is allowed to deepen.

In 2050, coastal cities on the “frontline” of the climate crisis will see hundreds of millions of people at risk from floods and increasingly frequent storm surges made more deadly by rising seas.

Water scarcity: Some 350 million more people living in urban areas will be exposed to water scarcity from severe droughts at 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming — 410 million at two degrees Celsius.

About the Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary-General:

The UN Secretary-General announced the creation of the Scientific Advisory Board on 24 September 2013, during the inaugural meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

  • Composition: It will comprise renowned scientists representing various fields of natural, social and human sciences.
  • The central function of the Board will be to provide advice on science, technology and innovation (STI) for sustainable development to the UN Secretary-General and to Executive Heads of UN organizations.


Insta Curious: 

Do you know what Super Pollutants or Forcers are?  Read here


Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

Suez Canal:

  • The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt, to connect the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
  • The canal separates the African continent from Asia.
  • It provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans.
  • It is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes, carrying over 12% of world trade by volume.

Pygmy hogs:


  • Eight pygmy hogs released in Manas National Park, Assam.
  • They were released by the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP).
  • By 2025, the PHCP plans to release a target of 60 pygmy hogs in Manas- their home where their last original population still survives, albeit in declined numbers.

What is PHCP?

In 1995, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, UK partnered with Forest Department, Government of Assam, IUCN, Wild Pig Specialist Group and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and formed PHCP which is being implemented with the PHCP’s key partner Aaranyak and EcoSystems India.

About Pygmy hogs:

  1. They are the world’s rarest and smallest wild pigs.
  2. The pygmy hog is native to dense alluvial grasslands in the southern foothills of the Himalayas.
  3. Endemic to India, they are restricted to very few locations around Manas National Park in north-western Assam.
  4. With just around 250 animals in the wild, the pygmy hog is one of the world’s most threatened mammals.
  5. Currently listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  6. The pygmy hog is designated as a Schedule I species in India under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines:

  • It is an island country in the Caribbean.
  • It is located in the southeast Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, which lie in the West Indies at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Why in News?

Cabinet approved the agreement between India and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines for the Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to Taxes.

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