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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 1:

1. Who was Hari Singh Nalwa, the Sikh warrior who won many battles against Afghans?


GS Paper 2:

1. Issues surrounding Haryana’s new land law.

2. India’s new drone rules.

3. Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP).

4. The Malabar Exercise of Quad nations.


GS Paper 3:

1. What is LiDAR?


Facts for Prelims:

1. Kilauea volcano.

Who was Hari Singh Nalwa, the Sikh warrior who won many battles against Afghans?

GS Paper 1

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.



Afghanistan, which has earned the name of graveyard of the empires, could not be controlled by anyone completely. But Hari Singh Nalwa, a legendary Sikh commander, tamed the turbulent forces at play in Afghanistan and earned the reputation of the most feared Sikh warrior there.


Who was Hari Singh Nalwa?

  1. He was a commander in Maharaja Ranjit Singhs force.
  2. He remained Governor of Kashmir, Hazara and Peshawar.
  3. He defeated various Afghans and established control over various regions along the boundary of Afghanistan.
  4. He, thus, prevented Afghans from entering Punjab through Khyber pass, which was the main route to enter India by the foreign invaders from 1000 AD till early 19th century.



  • Afghanistan was called the unconquered region and it was Hari Singh Nalwa who prevented Afghans from ravaging the North-West Frontier for the first time by taking control over several regions along the Afghanistan border and Khyber pass.
  • He had defeated thousands of Hazars, a tribe of Afghanistan, with less than three times their strength.

For his bravery and ferocity, the government of India released a stamp on the name of Nalwa in 2013.


Battles in which he participated:

  1. 1807 Battle of Kasur (now in Pakistan): He defeated Afghani ruler Kutab-ud-din Khan.
  2. Battle of Attock (in 1813) Nalwa along with other commanders won against Azim Khan and his brother Dost Mohammad Khan, who fought on behalf of Shah Mahmud of Kabul and this was the first major victory of the Sikhs over the Durrani Pathans.
  3. 1818 Battle of Peshawar: Nalwa took control over Jamrud in 1837, a fort at the entryway to Afghanistan through Khyber Pass.


What difference did these victories against Afghans make for India?

Historians maintain that if Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his commander Hari Singh Nalwa would have not won Peshawar and the North West Frontier, which is part of Pakistan now, then this area could have been part of Afghanistan and the invasions of Afghans into Punjab and Delhi would have never stopped.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that Nalwa was attached to his name when he had killed a tiger at a very young age? Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave him this title. Know more about Maharaja Ranjit Singh here.



Prelims Link:

  1. About Hari Singh Nalwa.
  2. His legacy.
  3. Important battles he took part in.
  4. Afghanistan- overview of Kingdoms which ruled there.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the legacy of Hari Singh Nalwa.

Sources: Indian Express.

Issues surrounding Haryana’s new land law

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


land law


The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Haryana Amendment), Bill, 2021 was recently passed by Haryana Assembly.

It seeks to expedite development projects by simplifying the procedure for acquisition of land.

  • However, the Bill has been criticised for allegedly being “anti-farmer” and promoting “crony capitalism”.


Controversial provisions in the new Bill:

It has brought Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects to the ‘exempt’ category, for which Social Impact Assessment (SIA)/ consent of landowners is not rerequired.

  1. This goes against the Central Land Acquisition Act of 2013 under which Social Impact Assessment (SIA)/ consent of landowners is a must.

The Bill seeks to do away with the condition of 48-hour prior notice to the occupants of an acquired building to evacuate. Occupants would be liable to vacate the building immediately after the Collector announces the award.

  1. This is extremely draconian and arbitrary. The state machinery shall be armed with powers to throw out the belongings of an affected person even at midnight without any notice or redress.
  2. The amendments also do away with the provision to give the evicted people plots of land in addition to monetary compensation.

The Collector can determine the fair compensation and make the award without further enquiry if he is satisfied that all persons interested in the land have consented to the terms and conditions of their free will.

  1. In such a situation, tenants and poor persons who may have non-proprietary rights on the land are likely to lose out.
  2. Also, the share of female heirs is often not recorded in rural areas.
  3. And persons with right of access, such as among the co-sharers of a Khewat, and usufructuary rights as in a mortgage or easement rights of an owner, are not duly recorded in official records.


Exempted projects include:

  1. Projects vital to national security or defence of India;
  2. rural infrastructure including electrification;
  3. affordable housing, housing for the poor and for rehabilitation of persons displaced due to land acquisition or a natural calamity;
  4. industrial corridors set up by the state government or its undertakings wherein land up to 2 km on either side of the designated railway lines or roads can be acquired;
  5. infrastructure projects relating to health and education, PPP projects wherein the ownership of land continues to vest with the state government, and urban Metro and rapid rail projects.


About the Land Acquisition Act of 2013:

The 2013 Act replaced the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1894 Act) and provides for higher compensation to those deprived of land by the government for both public and private sector projects.

Acquiring land: For private project, 80% affected families must agree. For PPP project, 70% affected families must agree. Only then land can be acquired.

Social impact assessment: Under Social impact assessment (SIA) even need to obtain consent of the affected artisans, labourers, share-croppers, tenant farmers etc whose (sustainable) livelihood will be affected because of the given project.

Compensation: Compensation proportion to market rates. 4 times the market rate in rural area. 2 times in urban area. Affected artisans, small traders, fishermen etc. will be given one-time payment, even if they don’t own any land.

To ensure food security: Fertile, irrigated, multi-cropped farmland can be acquired only in last resort. If such fertile land is acquired, then Government will have to develop equal size of wasteland for agriculture purpose.

Private entities: If Government acquires the lands for private company- the said private company will be responsible for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. Additional rehabilitation package for SC/ST owners.

Safeguards: State Governments have to setup dispute settlement Chairman must be a district judge or lawyer for 7 years.

Accountability: Head of the department will be made responsible, for any offense from Government’s side. If project doesn’t start in 5 years, land has to be returned to the original owner or the land bank. Establishment of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority for speedy disposal of disputes.


Insta Curious:

Do you know the differences between Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)? Reference: read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. About EIA.
  2. About Haryana’s new land law.
  3. How is it different from Centre’s Land Acquisition Act of 2013?
  4. Overview of the 2013 law.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with the new land law of Haryana.

Sources: Indian Express.

India’s new drone rules

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.



The central government has notified the Drone Rules 2021, a much more liberalised regime for unmanned aircraft systems than what existed previously.


Key changes:

  1. Digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
  2. No flight permission required upto 400 feet in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  3. No pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drone and for R&D organisations.
  4. No restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
  5. Import of drones and drone components to be regulated by DGFT.
  6. No security clearance required before any registration or licence issuance.
  7. No requirement of certificate of airworthiness, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.
  8. Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg.  This will cover drone taxis also.
  9. Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.
  10. Manufacturer may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
  11. Maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 reduced to INR 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.
  12. Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  13. Drone promotion council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.


Significance of the new rules:

  1. It highlights the government’s intent to allow the use of drones while at the same time ensuring security from rogue drones through the anti-rogue drone framework that was announced in 2019.
  2. The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification.
  3. The Rules will tremendously help start-ups and our youth working in this sector. It will open up new possibilities for innovation & business.
  4. It will help leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology & engineering to make India a drone hub.


Need for stricter rules and regulations:

  • Recently, Drones were used for the first time to drop explosive devices, triggering blasts inside the Air Force Station’s technical area in Jammu.
  • Over the past two years, drones have been deployed regularly by Pakistan-based outfits to smuggle arms, ammunition and drugs into Indian territory.
  • According to government figures, 167 drone sightings were recorded along the border with Pakistan in 2019, and in 2020, there were 77 such sightings.
  • With the rapid proliferation of drone technology and exponential growth of its global market in recent years, the possibility of a drone attack cannot be ruled out even in the safest cities in the world.
  • Drones are becoming security threats particularly in conflict zones where non-state actors are active and have easy access to the technology.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that there are a few countries in the world which do not have armed forces of their own? Which are those countries? Reference



Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of new rules.
  2. New rules vs old rules.
  3. Exemptions.
  4. Licenses required.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the new rules.

Sources: Indian Express.

Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP)

GS Paper 2

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



Maldives government has officially signed an agreement with Mumbai-based company AFCONS, for the construction of the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP).



The seeds of the project were planted during India’s External Affairs Minister’s visit to Malé in September 2019.


About the project:

  • This infrastructure project is the largest-ever by India in the Maldives.
  • It involves the construction of a 6.74-km-long bridge and causeway link that will connect the Maldives capital Malé with the neighbouring islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.
  • This project was funded by India in a grant of $100 million, with a line of credit of $400 million.

current affairs


Why were these islands chosen?

In the island of Gulhifalhu, a port is at present being built under the Indian line of credit. Located some 6 kilometers from Malé, since 2016, the island has been promoted by the Maldives government as a strategic location for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facilities due to its proximity to the capital city.

Island of Thilafushi: Located 7 km from the capital, the artificial island of Thilafushi was created and designated as a landfill in the early 1990s, to receive garbage created mostly in Malé.


Significance of the project:

The GMCP is not only the biggest project India is doing in the Maldives but also the biggest infrastructure project in the Maldives overall.

  • This project is significant because it facilitates inter-island connectivity in the country.
  • Also, the GMCP is concrete proof that India is a robust development partner of the Maldives in addition to being the First Responder in times of any emergency in the Maldives.


Need for this project:

Transport is a major challenge for residents who have to take boats or seaplanes to distant islands. Locals take ferries or boats. It becomes even more difficult during the monsoons when the seas are rough. This bridge that would connect Malé with the three neighbouring islands would ease the process.


What is Line of Credit (LOC)?

  • The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.


Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Sinamalé Bridge built by China in Maldives? Read here.

Sources: Indian Express.

The Malabar Exercise of Quad nations

GS Paper 2

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



Navies of the four member nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the QuadIndia, the United States, Japan, and Australia — are participating in the 25th edition of the Malabar Exercise, which began off the coast of Guam in the Pacific Ocean on August 26.


Overview of Malabar:

Malabar began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992, and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.


What is Quad grouping?

  • The quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
  • The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.


Significance of the grouping:

  • Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  • Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific.
  • It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.


Why is China concerned about these developments?

  1. Beijing has long opposed a coalition of democracies in the Indo-Pacific region.
  2. It sees the maritime Quadrilateral as an Asian-NATO that seeks only to contain China’s rise.
  3. Also, at a time of strained bilateral ties with China, India’s intention to involve Australia in the Malabar drill could only be construed as a move directed against Beijing.


Insta Curious:

Have you heard of RIC Grouping? What are its objectives? Read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. Quad- formation and members.
  2. Malabar exercise- formation and participants.
  3. Asia Pacific region vs Indo- Pacific region: Overview of geography.
  4. Important islands in South China Sea.
  5. Islands in Indian Ocean Region and related facts like 6 degree channel etc.

Mains Link:

Discuss why expansion of Malabar Exercise to include Australia is important for India.

Sources: the Hindu.

What is LiDAR?

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.



In its first major step towards mapping the jurisdiction of the entire stretch of the SoU Area Development Authority (SOUADA), the Gujarat government is employing the drone-based aerial Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and photogrammetry technology.

  • The technology will map with laser precision the exact contours, natural structures to buildings, including their cracks from the top with precision.


What is LiDAR?

It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.

  • These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.


How it works?

LiDAR follows a simple principle — throw laser light at an object on the earth surface and calculate the time it takes to return to the LiDAR source. Given the speed at which the light travels (approximately 186,000 miles per second), the process of measuring the exact distance through LiDAR appears to be incredibly fast.

  • A lidar instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.
  • Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring lidar data over broad areas.



Insta Curious:

LiDAR vs Radar: know the differences here.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is GPS?
  2. Location based navigation services of various countries including India.
  3. How LiDAR works?
  4. Applications of LiDAR.
  5. What is Laser?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of LiDAR technology.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:.

Kilauea volcano:

  • Kilauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands. Historically, it is the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.
  • Scientists have warned that the mountain could once again disgorge lava.
  • Kilauea has erupted 34 times since 1952.

current affairs

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