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. SPARSH [System for Pension Administration (Raksha)].
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
Small farms in Asia are the worst hit by the African Swine Fever outbreak. Why?
- Pig farms remain dominantly an affair of small-scale farmers.
- In many countries, including India, 70 per cent of the pig farms are owned by small-scale farmers.
- In China, almost 98 per cent of the total pork production is by small-scale farmers who have fewer than 100 pigs each.
Impact in India:
- African swine fever, a century-old disease that infects pigs and wild boars with a near 100 per cent fatality rate, has claimed a third of the world’s pigs since 2018.
- Its latest victim is India, where cases have been reported since May 2020 but have exploded in the past couple of months.
- Estimates show that ASF has caused a 50 per cent shortage in northeastern states’ pork production.
About African Swine Fever (ASF):
- ASF is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects domestic and wild pigs, typically resulting in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.
- It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.
- The mortality is close to 100 per cent, and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.
- As of now, there is no approved vaccine, which is also a reason why animals are culled to prevent the spread of infection.
Do you know that ASF is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code? Read this,
Do you know that WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures “recognises the OIE as the international standard setting organisation for animal health and zoonotic diseases?
- Can swine fever affect humans?
- Is it a viral disease?
- Where was it first discovered?
- Which countries have been affected by this in 2020?
- Is there any vaccine available against this?
Write a note African Swine Fever, symptoms and its spread.
Sources: Down to Earth.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has inaugurated the online filing of Authorised Economic Operators (AEO).
- The new version (V 2.0) of the web application is designed to ensure continuous real-time and digital monitoring of physically filed applications for timely intervention and expedience.
Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme:
- AEO is a programme under the aegis of the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate Global Trade.
- The programme aims to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate movement of legitimate goods.
- AEO is a voluntary compliance programme.
How it works?
Under this programme, an entity engaged in international trade is approved by Customs as compliant with supply chain security standards and granted AEO status & certain benefits.
- Benefits of AEO status include expedited clearance times, fewer examinations, improved security and communication between supply chain partners.
In June 2005 the WCO Council adopted the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework) that would act as a deterrent to international terrorism, to secure revenue collections and to promote trade facilitation worldwide.
- It prescribes baseline standards that have been tested and are working well around the globe.
Did you know that Central Revenues Control Laboratory gets recognised as a Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL) of the World Customs Organisation for Asia-Pacific Region? Read more about this,
- About SAFE Framework.
- About WCO.
- AEO Programme.
- Key features.
Discuss the significance of the AEO Programme.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has made the following discoveries in the moons of Saturn by flying through their plumes:
- Titan has methane in its atmosphere.
- Enceladus has a liquid ocean with erupting plumes of gas and water.
Researchers have concluded that there may be unknown methane-producing processes on Enceladus that await discovery.
Methane-producing organisms on Earth:
- Most of the methane on Earth has a biological origin. Microorganisms called methanogens are capable of generating methane as a metabolic byproduct. They do not require oxygen to live and are widely distributed in nature.
- Methanogens are found in swamps, dead organic matter, and even in the human gut. They are known to survive in high temperatures and simulation studies have shown that they can live in Martian conditions.
How else can methane be produced on Enceladus?
- Methane could be formed by the chemical breakdown of organic matter present in Enceladus’ core.
- Hydrothermal processes could help the formation of carbon dioxide and methane.
About Cassini Mission:
- Launched in 1997.
- The mission is a cooperation between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
- This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.
- Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit.
- Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan. The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005.
Objectives of the mission:
- Determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn.
- Determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object.
- Determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus’s leading hemisphere.
- Measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the magnetosphere.
- Study the dynamic behavior of Saturn’s atmosphere at cloud level.
- Study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes.
- Characterize Titan’s surface on a regional scale.
NASA’s Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter interstellar space after Voyager 1? Where Does Interstellar Space Begin? Read this,
- About the mission.
- Saturn- key facts.
- Saturn moons.
- About methane.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the various modifications in Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’.
- Eligibility has now been extended to State Agencies/APMCs, National & State Federations of Cooperatives, Federations of Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Federations of Self Help Groups (SHGs).
- For APMCs, interest subvention for a loan upto Rs. 2 crore will be provided for each project of different infrastructure types e.g. cold storage, sorting, grading and assaying units, silos, et within the same market yard.
- The power has been delegated to Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare to make necessary changes with regard to addition or deletion of beneficiary.
- The period of financial facility has been extended from 4 to 6 years upto 2025-26 and overall period of the scheme has been extended from 10 to 13 upto 2032-33.
About the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:
- It is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.
- Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE for loans up to Rs. 2 Crores.
Eligible beneficiaries include:
Farmers, Marketing Cooperative Societies, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.
All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crore. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years.
- Credit guarantee coverage will be available for eligible borrowers from this financing facility under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crore.
- The fee for this coverage will be paid by the Government.
- In case of FPOs the credit guarantee may be availed from the facility created under FPO promotion scheme of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DACFW).
Management of the fund:
- It will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform.
- The National, State and District level Monitoring Committees will be set up to ensure real-time monitoring and effective feed-back.
Do you know what Garnishment is? (General Economy Term) Read Here
- About the Fund.
- What are FPOs?
- What are Cooperatives? Constitutional provisions.
- About CGTMSE.
- Central sector vs Centrally sponsored schemes.
- Core vs core of core schemes.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
A report titled, A future for all – the need for human-wildlife coexistence, was recently released by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Highlights of the Report:
- Conflict between humans and animals is one of the main threats to the long-term survival of some of the world’s most iconic species.
- Globally, conflict-related killing affects more than 75 per cent of the world’s wild cat species. It also affects polar bears and Mediterranean monk seals as well as large herbivores such as elephants.
- Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 68 per cent since 1970.
- Over 500 elephants were killed between 2014-2015 and 2018-2019, mostly due to human-elephant conflict.
- During the same period, 2,361 people were killed as a result of conflict with elephants.
- India will be most-affected by human-wildlife conflict because it had the world’s second-largest human population as well as large populations of tigers, Asian elephants, one-horned rhinos, Asiatic lions and other species.
What needs to be done?
Completely eradicating human-wildlife conflict is not possible. But well-planned, integrated approaches to managing it can reduce conflicts and lead to a form of coexistence between people and animals.
- In Sonitpur district in Assam, destruction of forests had forced elephants to raid crops, in turn causing deaths of both, elephants and humans.
- In response, WWF India had developed the ‘Sonitpur Model’ during 2003-2004 by which community members were connected with the state forest department.
- They were given training on how to work with them to drive elephants away from crop fields safely.
- WWF India had also developed a low-cost, single strand, non-lethal electric fence to ease the guarding of crops from elephants.
- Afterwards, crop losses dropped to zero for four years running. Human and elephant deaths also reduced significantly.
Advisory for management of Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) approved by Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (SC-NBWL):
- Empower gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Utilise add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC.
- Augment fodder and water sources within the forest areas.
- Other measures: The advisory prescribes inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise Control Rooms with toll free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis.
Do you know about the Protected Planet Report of UNEP-WCMC, UNEP, IUCN? Read Here
Sources: Down to Earth.
Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Former civil servants have demanded an end to the misuse of the National Security Act terming it a draconian preventive detention law.
About the National Security Act (NSA):
The NSA is a preventive detention law.
- Preventive Detention involves the detainment (containment) of a person in order to keep him/her from committing future crimes and/or from escaping future prosecution.
Article 22 (3) (b) of the Constitution allows for preventive detention and restriction on personal liberty for reasons of state security and public order.
Article 22(4)states that:
No law providing for preventive detention shall authorise the detention of a person for a longer period than three months unless:
- An Advisory Board reports sufficient cause for extended detention.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 has reduced the period of detention without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board from three to two months. However, this provision has not yet been brought into force, hence, the original period of three months still continues.
Period of Confinement:
- The maximum period for which one may be detained is 12 months. But the term can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence.
- A person can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against them. The person can appeal before a high court advisory board but will not be allowed a lawyer during the trial.
Concerns associated with the misuse of this law:
- Article 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution says an arrested person cannot be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.
- According to Section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC), any person arrested has to be informed of the grounds of arrest and has the right to bail.
However, under National Security Act, none of these rights are available to the person detained. The government holds the right to conceal information which it considers to be against public interest to disclose.
Know the History of Preventive detention laws in India,briefly
- Who can invoke NSA?
- Appeals against preventive detention?
- Right to be informed the reason for arrest under this?
- Applicability of Constitutional rights in this regard.
- The writs under the constitution.
What is the National security act? Why is it termed as a draconian law? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
SPARSH [System for Pension Administration (Raksha)]:
- It is an integrated system for automation of sanction and disbursement of defence pension.
- Implemented by the Ministry of Defence.
- This web-based system processes pension claims and credits pension directly into the bank accounts of defence pensioners without relying on any external intermediary.
- It is the world’s first database of genomic variants of oral cancer.
- It is created by the DBT-National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani an autonomous institute funded by the Department of Biotechnology, GOI.
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