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. Black Sea.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: RPA related issues.
Paribartan Electoral Trust has anonymously disbursed Rs 3 crore it received from Birla Corporation in 2019-20 using electoral bonds.
This is the first time that an electoral trust has taken the bonds route to disburse corporate donations to unnamed political parties.
- However, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an independent poll watchdog, has alleged that the use of electrical bonds route is “against the spirit” of the Electoral Trusts Scheme, 2013 and Income Tax Rules, 1962.
What’s the issue now?
It is mandatory for trusts to furnish each and every detail about the donor contributing to the trust and to whom the donations have been distributed.
- But, Paribartan Electoral Trust has said that since the donation was made through electoral bonds, in terms of the electoral bonds scheme, “information with regard to payee is not required to be disclosed”.
So the main concern now is that if Electoral trusts start adopting this precedent of donating through bonds, which do not permit disclosure norms and discourage transparency rules/laws then it is like going back in time before the Electoral Trusts Scheme, 2013 was incorporated.
- In such a scenario, it will be a complete mayhem of unfair practices i.e. total anonymity, unchecked and unlimited funding, free flow of black money circulation, corruption, foreign funding, corporate donations and related conflict of interest etc.
- Such a practice completely negates the very purpose behind the inception of the Electoral Trusts Scheme, 2013 and Rule 17CA of the I.T Rules, 1962.
About Electoral Trusts Scheme, 2013:
- Electoral Trust is a non-profit organization formed in India for orderly receiving of the contributions from any person.
- The scheme was notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
- Objectives of the Scheme: To lay down a procedure for grant of approval to an electoral trust which will receive voluntary contributions and distribute the same to the political parties.
- The sole object of the electoral trust is to distribute the contributions received by it to the political party, registered under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- These Electoral Trust companies are not allowed to accept contributions from foreign citizens or companies.
- The trust shall also maintain a list of persons from whom contributions have been received and to whom the same have been distributed.
The electoral trust may receive voluntary contributions from:
- An individual who is a citizen of India.
- A company which is registered in India.
- a firm or Hindu undivided family or an Association of persons or a body of individuals, resident in India.
Similar concept of political financing (especially in USA): Do you know what Hard Money & Soft Money is? Read Here
- What are electoral bonds?
- Who can issue these bonds?
- About Electoral Trust scheme.
Critically examine the effectiveness of electoral bonds in ensuring transparent political funding and suggest alternatives?
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Role of civil services in a democracy.
Former Infosys CEO S D Shibu Lal has been appointed chairperson of a three-member task force formed to help the government in bringing major bureaucratic reforms through its ambitious “Mission Karmayogi“.
- The task force has been constituted to draw a clear road map for the guidance and operationalisation of the ‘Karmayogi Bharat’ and the constitution of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
About Mission Karmayogi:
The ‘National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building – Mission Karmayogi’ was launched to effect a transformational shift from rule based training to role-based capacity development of all civil services in the country so as to enhance citizen experience for government services and improve availability of competent workforce.
The core guiding principles of the Programme will be:
- To emphasize on ‘on-site learning’ to complement the ‘off-site’ learning,
- To create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure including that of learning materials, institutions and personnel,
- To calibrate all Civil Service positions to a Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRACs) approach and to create and deliver learning content relevant to the identified FRACs in every Government entity.
- To make available to all civil servants, an opportunity to continuously build and strengthen their Behavioral, Functional and Domain Competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths.
Institutional framework and implementation of the programme:
- PM led Public Human Resources (HR) Council to approve and monitor Civil Service Capacity Building Plans.
- Capacity Building Commission to harmonize training standards, create shared faculty and resources, and have supervisory role over all Central Training Institutions.
- Wholly owned Special Purpose Vehicle to own and operate the online learning platform and facilitate world-class learning content market-place.
- Coordination Unit headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
Larger significance of the programme:
It aims to prepare the Indian Civil Servant for the future by making him more creative, constructive, imaginative, innovative, proactive, professional, progressive, energetic, enabling, transparent and technology-enabled. Empowered with specific role-competencies, the civil servant will be able to ensure efficient service delivery of the highest quality standards.
Do we have courses/initiatives to bridge the gap between Young talent & India’s Democartic Political entities & governance?
- About Mission Karmayogi.
Discuss the significance of the mission.
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
A person accused of sexually assaulting a minor recently said in a special court in Mumbai that he suffered from “Peter Pan Syndrome”.
- The court eventually granted bail to the accused based on different grounds.
But, what is Peter Pan syndrome?
The syndrome is named after a 1900s fictional character. Peter Pan is a care-free young boy, who never grows up. The character was created by Scottish novelist James Matthew Barrie.
- It is said that people who develop similar behaviours — of living life carefree, finding responsibilities challenging in adulthood, and basically, “never growing up” — suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome.
Please note that this syndrome has not been recognised by WHO as a health disorder.
What are the Concerns?
- It is seen as a “social-psychological phenomenon”. It is a mental health condition that can affect one’s quality of life.
- It could affect one’s daily routine, relationships, work ethic, and result in attitudinal changes.
Who can be affected?
- It affects people who do not want or feel unable to grow up, people with the body of an adult but the mind of a child. They don’t know how to or don’t want to stop being children and start being mothers or fathers.
The Syndrome can affect anyone, irrespective of gender, race or culture. However, it appears to be more common among men.
Do you know about Wendy Syndrome? Read what it means : Read here
Prelims and Mains Link:
Meaning, symptoms and Concerns associated with the syndrome.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has proposed an action plan against Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) NSAs meet.
- LeT and JeM have been responsible for many terror attacks in India, especially in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- JeM, created with the support of the Pakistan spy agency, was responsible for the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Indian soldiers died.
Action Plan proposed:
- Full implementation of UN resolutions and targeted sanctions against UN-designated terrorist individuals and entities.
- Adoption of international standards to counter terror financing including an MOU between SCO and Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- Monitoring new technologies used by terrorists. This included use of drones and misuse of dark web, artificial intelligence, blockchain and social media.
About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
It’s creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
- It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
The SCO’s main goals are as follows:
Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.
SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Do you know about SCO RATS? Read this to understand its roles and functions.
- What is Shanghai Five?
- When was SCO charter signed and when it entered into force?
- SCO founding members.
- When did India join the group?
- Observers and dialogue partners of SCO.
- Permanent bodies under SCO.
- Official languages of SCO.
Discuss the objectives and significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
Chandrayaan-2, hovering over the Moon, has found new developments on the hot outermost layer of the bright star known as Corona. These include:
- Abundances of magnesium, aluminium and silicon in the solar corona.
- Around 100 microflares were observed, providing new insights about coronal mass heating.
Reasons behind coronal heating problem:
The corona emits ultraviolet, X-rays and consists of ionised gas at temperatures exceeding 2 million degrees Fahrenheit, while just 1,000 miles below, the surface known as the photosphere simmers at just 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This mysterious difference in temperatures is called the coronal heating problem.
- As per the latest findings, the high temperatures could be due to strong magnetic fields present above the Sunspots (dark patches seen in visible images of the Sun).
The Chandrayaan-2 mission, which was lost after it hard landed on the dark side of the Moon in 2019, remains active in the form of its orbiter hovering over the Moon.
Scientists used the Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM) onboard Chandrayaan-2 in September 2019 to study the Sun.
- The primary objective of Chandrayaan 2 was to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the lunar surface and operate a robotic rover on the surface.
- The mission consisted of an Orbiter of the Moon, Vikram (after Vikram Sarabhai) – the lander and Pragyan (wisdom) – the rover, all equipped with scientific instruments to study the moon.
Do you know about Solar Prominence? Read Here
- About Chandrayaan-2.
- Instruments onboard.
Discuss the significance of Chandrayaan-2 mission.
Sources: India Today.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
23 June 2021- 60th anniversary of the entry into force of the Antarctic Treaty (23 June 1961).
Significance of the treaty:
- Negotiated during the middle of the Cold War by 12 countries with Antarctic interests, it remains the only example of a single treaty that governs a whole continent.
- It is also the foundation of a rules-based international order for a continent without a permanent population.
But, the treaty was negotiated in a very different era and is it still relevant today?
While the Antarctic Treaty has been able to successfully respond to a range of challenges, circumstances are radically different in the 2020s compared to the 1950s.
- Antarctica is much more accessible, partly due to technology but also climate change.
- More countries now have substantive interests in the continent than the original 12.
- Some global resources are becoming scarce, especially oil.
- There is also uncertainty as to China’s intentions in Antarctica. China joined the treaty in 1983 and became a consultative party in 1985.
- This will inevitably result in increased attention being given to the potential for Antarctic mining to take place sometime in the future.
Therefore, Calls to revisit the prohibition on Antarctic mining would seem inevitable.
About the Antarctic Treaty:
Signed between 12 countries in Washington on 1st December 1959 for making the Antarctic Continent a demilitarized zone to be preserved for scientific research only.
- The twelve original signatories are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the UK and the US.
- The treaty entered into force in 1961 and currently has 54 parties.
- Headquarters: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude.
- Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only(Art. I).
- Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end shall continue(Art. II).
- Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available(Art. III).
- Article IV effectively seeks to neutralise territorial sovereignty in Antarctica.
- The treaty also put a freeze on any disputes between claimants over their territories on the continent.
Antarctic Treaty System:
As disputes have arisen over the years, many have been addressed through the expansion of the treaty framework with these agreements. This framework is now referred to as the “Antarctic Treaty System”.
The Antarctic Treaty system is made up of four major international agreements:
- The 1959 Antarctic Treaty.
- The 1972 Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.
- The 1980 Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
- The 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
Do you know about India’s two operational research Stations- Maitri & Bharati in Antarctica? Read Here
- About Antarctic Treaty.
- About Antarctic Treaty System.
- India’s missions in Arctic and Antarctic.
Discuss the objectives of Antarctic Treaty. Is it relevant still today? Discuss.
Sources: Down to Earth.
Facts for Prelims:
- Black Sea is an inland sea located between far-southeastern Europe and the far-western edges of the continent of Asia and the country of Turkey.
- Bordering Countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, and Turkey.
- It connects to the Mediterranean Sea first through the Bosporus Strait, then through the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait, then south through the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Crete.
- The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch.
- Also known as Poson Poya, it is an annual festival held by Sri Lankan Buddhists celebrating the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC.
- The focal point of the religious festival is the Buddhist monastic complex on the mountain of Mihintale, where Arahath Mahinda Thero preached Buddhism to one of the kings of Sri Lanka.
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