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:
1. Vehicle-scrappage policy.
2. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).
3. Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).
GS Paper 3:
1. Import of crushed genetically modified (GM) soybean allowed.
2. IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report.
Facts for Prelims:
1. Prime Ministers Shram Awards.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled the National Automobile 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.
- The vehicle scrapping policy is aimed at creating an eco-system for phasing out unfit and polluting vehicles in an environmentally friendly and safe manner.
- The initiative will promote a circular economy and make the process of economic development more sustainable and environment friendly.
- The policy will also bring in investments of around Rs 10,000 crore and create 35,000 job opportunities.
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.
Did you know about the international convention related to ship recycling? It is also known as the Hong Kong Convention? Read here
- Key features of the policy.
Discuss the issues associated with the policy.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
Under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), the Union government’s health insurance scheme, approximately 20.32 lakh COVID-19 tests and 7.08 lakh treatments were authorised from April 2020 to July 2021.
- The total value of the tests and treatment stood at ₹2,794 crore.
Key Features of PM-JAY:
- The world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government.
- It provides cover of 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
- Coverage: Over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) are eligible for these benefits.
- Provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service.
- The National Health Authority (NHA) is the nodal agency responsible for the nationwide roll-out and implementation of the AB-PMJAY scheme.
- This scheme is a Centrally sponsored scheme with some Central sector components.
- No restrictions on family size, age or gender.
- All pre–existing conditions are covered from day one.
- Covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
- Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.
- Services include approximately 1,393 procedures covering all the costs related to treatment, including but not limited to drugs, supplies, diagnostic services, physician’s fees, room charges, surgeon charges, OT and ICU charges etc.
- Public hospitals are reimbursed for the healthcare services at par with the private hospitals.
As per the latest economic survey:
- The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) contributed to improvement in many health outcomes in States that implemented the programme.
- States that joined the PM-JAY, compared to those that did not, experienced greater penetration of health insurance, reduction in infant and child mortality rates, realised improved access and utilisation of family planning services and greater awareness of HIV/AIDS.
- Across all the States, the proportion of households with health insurance increased by 54% for States that implemented PM-JAY while falling by 10% in States that did not.
Did you know that the National Health Authority has also been given the responsibility to implement the National Digital Health Mission? Reference
- Components of Ayushman Bharat.
- PMJAY- Key features.
- About the National Health Agency.
- SEHAT scheme.
Discuss the significance and potential of PMJAY.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: e-governance related issues.
Context: The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry chaired a meeting for the review of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
What is ONDC?
Open Network for Digital Commerce christened ONDC is globally first-of-its-kind initiative that aims to democratise Digital Commerce, moving it from a platform-centric model to an open-network.
- As UPI is to the digital payment domain, ONDC is to e-commerce in India.
- ONDC will enable, buyers and sellers to be digitally visible and transact through an open network, no matter what platform/application they use.
- ONDC will empower merchants and consumers by breaking silos to form a single network to drive innovation and scale, transforming all businesses from retail goods, food to mobility.
Aims and objectives:
- ONDC aims at promoting open networks developed on open-sourced methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols independent of any specific platform.
- ONDC is expected to digitize the entire value chain, standardize operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and enhance value for consumers.
The BHIM apps has three levels of authentication. What are those? Reference:
- What is UPI?
- What is ONDC?
- Key features.
Discuss the significance of ONDC.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
The Union government has decided to allow the import of crushed genetically modified (GM) soybean, which is a major ingredient of poultry feed.
What necessitated this move?
The poultry industry has been crushed by multiple disasters over the last year and a half.
- In January 2020, a false rumour that COVID-19 could be spread by eating chicken meat led to a crash in demand.
- A year later, avian flu cases led to another crash, followed by a crippling rise in the prices of poultry feed.
- Besides, over the last three to four years, soy meal has been available at an average cost of ₹34 to 36/kg. This month, it shot up to ₹96/kg (Soy meal is the main protein ingredient in the feed).
- Environmental activists have raised concerns about the permission given for something derived from a genetically modified plant to enter the human food chain, given that India’s regulatory system has yet to approve GM foods.
- Besides, the 1989 rules of the Environment Protection Act applied not just to GM organisms, but also products and substances thereof.
What are Genetically Modified crops?
- A GM or transgenic crop is a plant that has a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.
- GM crop can contain a gene(s) that has been artificially inserted instead of the plant acquiring it through pollination.
Approval Process for GM crops in India:
- The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.
- Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 years and fine of Rs. 1 lakh under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the authorised body to regulate the imported crops in India.
Status of GM Soybean and soyabean seeds in India:
India allows the import of GM soybean and canola oil. Import of GM soya bean seeds was so far not approved in India.
Did you know about the Poultry Venture Capital Fund (PVCF)? Reference:
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
Context: Recently, IPCC released its Sixth Assessment Report “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science”.
- Several Indian Scientists have participated in the preparation of this report.
What is Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)?
The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the sixth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical, and socio-economic information concerning climate change.
- This report evaluates the physical science of climate change – looking at the past, present, and future climate.
- It reveals how human-caused emissions are altering our planet and what that means for our collective future.
Highlights of Sixth Assessment Report (AR6):
- Weather and climate events – such as extreme heat, heavy rainfall, fire conditions, and droughts – are becoming more severe and frequent because of climate change.
- The report finds we are already edging closer to a 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer world, and every day emissions rise the prospects for averting the worst impacts of climate change become dimmer.
- Carbon dioxide has been and will continue to be the dominant cause of global warming under all greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
- It says, if greenhouse gas emissions are halved by 2030 and net zero by 2050, global warming can be stopped.
- Also, IPCC report vindicates India’s position that historical cumulative emissions are the source of the climate crisis that the World faces today.
The report highlights that our climate is rapidly changing due to human influence and is already altering our planet in drastic ways –
- Arctic Sea ice is at its lowest level in more than 150 years;
- Sea levels are rising faster than at any time in at least the last 3,000 years; and
- Glaciers are declining at a rate unprecedented in at least 2,000 years.
Need of the hour:
- It is essential that all countries – in particular the major economies – do their part during this critical decade of the 2020s to put the world on a trajectory to keep a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit on warming within reach.
- This is why the United States has committed to a 50-52 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels in 2030 and is marshaling the entire federal government to tackle the climate crisis.
- As countries prepare for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, this report is a stark reminder that we must let science drive us to action.
- This moment requires world leaders, the private sector, and individuals to act together with urgency and do everything it takes to protect our planet and our future in this decade and beyond.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Prime Ministers Shram Awards:
Recently, The Government of India has announced the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards (PMSA) for the year 2018.
This year the Awards are given in three categories namely:
- Shram Bhushan Awards which carry a cash prize of Rs.1,00,000/- each,
- Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana Awards which carry a cash prize of Rs. 60,000/- each and
- Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awards which carry a cash prize of Rs.40,000/- each.
About the Awards:
The objective of the Prime Ministers Shram Awards is to recognize the outstanding contributions made by workmen in organizations both in public and private sector.
- The Awards will be presented to the workmen as defined in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and employed in the Departmental Undertakings of the Central and State Governments, Central and State Public Sector Undertakings as also private sector and having minimum of 500 employees on roll.
- These awards are given to the workmen, who have distinguished record of performance, devotion to duty of a high order, specific contribution in the field of productivity, proven innovative abilities, presence of mind and exceptional courage.
- These are also given to the workmen who have made supreme sacrifice of laying down their lives in the conscientious discharge of their duties.
- Workmen solely engaged in routine service duties would not be eligible.