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 1:
1. Glued to their names, a slice of Malabar rebellion
2. JD (U) calls for caste-based census
3. Hurricane Ida strikes USA
GS Paper 2:
1. India and Russia Ties amidst uncertainties in Afghanistan:
2. The Relevance of QUAD
GS Paper 3:
1. NITI bats for tax breaks to achieve monetization goal
2. Oil palm plan is a recipe for disaster
3. India Inc. not sanguine about growth
GS Paper 1:
Topics covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
Context: 100th anniversary of the Moplah rebellion
The story of Pookkottur: The people of Pookkottur, which saw a crucial battle between the Moplahs and the British on August 26, 1921, as part of the Malabar Rebellion, use the name of the village as their surname
Recent controversy surrounding the rebellion
In the ‘Dictionary of Martyrs’, published by the Union Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Indian Council of Historical Research, Variankunnath Kunhamad Haji and Ali Musliyar, the chief architects of the Moplah Massacre, were deemed to be martyrs. The book was published in 2019. However, a report by the ICHR-constituted committee has sought the removal of names of 387 ‘Moplah rioters’ (Including leaders Ali Musliyar and Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji) from the list of martyrs.
- The report describes Haji as the “notorious Moplah Riot leader” and a “hardcore criminal,” who “killed innumerable innocent Hindu men, women, and children during the 1921 Moplah Riot, and deposited their bodies in a well, locally known as Thoovoor Kinar”.
- It also noted that almost all the Moplah outrages were communal. They were against Hindu society and done out of sheer intolerance. Thus, their names should be deleted.
About Moplah rebellion
The Mapilla rebellion or Moplah Rebellion (Moplah Riots) of 1921 was the culmination of a series of riots by Moplahs (Muslims of Malabar) in the 19th and early 20th centuries against the British and the Hindu landlords in Malabar (Northern Kerala). The year 2021 will mark the 100th year anniversary of the uprising.
Causes and outcomes of the revolt:
- The resistance which started against the British colonial rule and the feudal system later ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.
- Gandhiji along with Shaukat Ali, the leader of the Khilafat movement in India, visited Calicut in August 1920 to spread the combined message of non-cooperation and Khilafat among the residents of Malabar.
- In response to Gandhiji’s call, a Khilafat committee was formed in Malabar and the Mappilas, under their religious head Mahadum Tangal of Ponnani who pledged support to the non-cooperation movement.
- Most of tenants’ grievances were related to the security of tenure, high rents, renewal fees and other unfair exactions of the landlords.
- The British government responded with much aggression, bringing in Gurkha regiments to suppress it and imposing martial law.
A noteworthy event of the British suppression was the wagon tragedy when approximately 60 Mappila prisoners on their way to prison, were suffocated to death in a closed railway goods wagon.
Do you know who Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji was? How did his rule come to an end? Reference
- What is Moplah rebellion?
- Issues that caused this rebellion?
- Who were the major leaders of the rebellion?
- About ICHR
- Situation that gave rise to the rebellion and its effect
- Reason for the controversy related to this rebellion in recent times
GS Paper 1:
Topics covered: Salient features of Indian society
Context: JD (U) party in Bihar passed resolutions calling for caste census to be conducted in India. Many parties across the political spectrum have supported this proposal. So far, the Government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in Census.
How have caste details been collected so far?
- While SC/ST details are collected as part of the census, details of other castes are not collected by the enumerators. The main method is by self-declaration to the enumerator.
- So far, backward classes commissions in various States have been conducting their own counts to ascertain the population of backward castes.
What kind of caste data is published in the Census?
Every Census in independent India from 1951 to 2011 has published data on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but not on other castes. Before that, every Census until 1931 had data on caste.
What is SECC 2011?
The Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011 was a major exercise to obtain data about the socio-economic status of various communities.
- It had two components: a survey of the rural and urban households and ranking of these households based on pre-set parameters, and a caste census.
- However, only the details of the economic conditions of the people in rural and urban households were released. The caste data has not been released till now.
Difference between Census & SECC:
- The Census provides a portrait of the Indian population, while the SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.
- Since the Census falls under the Census Act of 1948, all data are considered confidential, whereas all the personal information given in the SECC is open for use by Government departments to grant and/or restrict benefits to households.
Pros of caste census: The precise number of the population of each caste would help tailor the reservation policy to ensure equitable representation of all of them.
- There is a possibility that it will lead to heartburn among some sections and spawn demands for larger or separate quotas.
- It has been alleged that the mere act of labeling persons as belonging to a caste tends to perpetuate the system.
Did you know that ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics? What were the other contents of this? Reference
- What is a census?
- Statutory provisions in this regard.
- How is the census carried out?
- Highlights of the Census 2011.
- Pros and cons of conducting caste-census in India
GS Paper 1:
Topics covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.
Context: Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday. It is an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, forcing those who did not flee to brace themselves for the toughest
When do hurricanes occur?
The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June to November and covers the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, while the Eastern Pacific Hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30.
- Hurricanes are categorized on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 based on wind speed.
- Hurricanes that reach category three or higher are called ‘major hurricanes’ because of their potential to cause devastating damage to life and property.
What are hurricanes and how do they form?
Tropical cyclones or hurricanes use warm, moist air as fuel, and therefore form over warm ocean waters near the equator.
- As NASA describes it, when the warm, moist air rises upward from the surface of the ocean, it creates an area of low air pressure below.
- Air from the surrounding areas rushes to fill this place, eventually rising when it becomes warm and moist too.
- When the warm air rises and cools off, the moisture forms clouds. This system of clouds and winds continues to grow and spin, fuelled by the ocean’s heat and the water that evaporates from its surface.
- As such storm systems rotate faster and faster, an eye forms in the centre.
- Storms that form towards the north of the equator rotate counterclockwise, while those that form to the south spin clockwise because of the rotation of the Earth.
What is the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm?
There is no difference. Depending on where they occur, hurricanes may be called typhoons or cyclones.
- As per NASA, the scientific name for all these kinds of storms is tropical cyclones.
- The tropical cyclones that form over the Atlantic Ocean or the eastern Pacific Ocean are called hurricanes and the ones that form in the Northwest Pacific are called
- Tropical storms that form in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea are called
- What is a hurricane?
- Regions where it is formed
- Conditions that give rise to hurricanes
- Differences between hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones
- Disaster preparedness vis-à-vis hurricanes
GS Paper 2:
Topics covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Context: Amid unprecedented developments in the region, India and Russia have a series of engagements lined up in the next few months leading up to the summit between the two leaders.
Facts for prelims:
- Indian pavilion showcasing ‘Make in India’ in the defence sector at the International Army 2021 expo in Moscow.
- INS Tabartook part in naval exercises with the Russian Navy as part of INDRA-NAVY 2021.
- 250 troops from the First Mechanized Regiment will be taking part in the INDRA-ARMY 2021 in Volgograd.
- 200 strong battalion from 3 Nagas to come for ZAPAD exercises in Russia in September.
Uncertainty in Afghanistan and its impact on Indo-Russian ties:
- The fast-changing developments in Afghanistan have, of course, taken everyone by surprise — unexpected as to their speed, as well as their consequences.
- Security ramifications: India and Russia are in affected even more due to the rise of Islamic fundamentalist and radical groups.
- The sanctuary that could be claimed by terror groups – their impact on security interests- both for India and Russia and the impact on normal inter-state relations especially with respect to Central Asia.
- The additional threats emanating from drug trafficking, organized crime and the flow of refugees. This could potentially upend the very foundations of interstate relations in the broader region.
- The S-400 anti-aircraft weapon system will be delivered shortly.
- Manufacture of two frigates of Project 1135.6 in Kaliningrad, in parallel with the production of 3rd and 4th units of the same frigates at the Goa shipyard.
- Production of AK-203 advanced assault Kalashnikov rifle which will be produced by an India-Russia joint venture in Uttar Pradesh, which when completed will be a 100% Indian product.
- The Kamov Ka-226, twin-engine Russian utility helicopter, one more project as part of made in India.
- Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS) and a Navy-to-Navy cooperation MoU planned to be signed later this year.
- A 2+2 mechanism at Ministerial level is envisaged to hold its first meeting in Delhi later this year.
Deepening Trade ties with Russia:
- The Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation, co-Chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Borisov on the Russian side and the External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on the Indian side to meet and discuss various aspects of trade.
- The major components are coking coal for our growing steel industry or fertilizers for our expanding agriculture sector.
- Prime Minister has announced an export target of 400 billion dollars.
- PM announced a 1-billion-dollar credit line for India’s business participation in Russia’s Far East, which is geo-politically and economically significant.
- Indian investments in major projects such as Vostok Oil, which is one of the largest energy projects in the world, Arctic LNG and petrochemical sector in Russia as well as Russian investments in the very attractive Indian energy sector are being considered.
Science and Technology Cooperation:
- Joint Commission on Science and Technology:Proposal to establish a separate Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation which would encompass high technology areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, nano, bio-advances etc.
- climate change: Cooperation on Hydrogen Economy.Adapting our economies to the imperatives of climate change.
- Vaccine: Cooperation in production of new vaccines, building on our cooperation on Sputnik V is another promising area.
- Nuclear Energy:On the nuclear front, construction of 6 nuclear reactors in Kudankulam and the amount of indigenization and technologies that are used in India is increasing.
- India and Russia are working closely Rooppur nuclear power project in Bangladesh
- In other projects as well, especially in third country markets, India and Russia have the potential of designing a nuclear reactor specifically for developing countries and this too is a very promising area of cooperation.
- Space Technology: Space and nuclear power continue to be two important pillars of our cooperation with Russia.
- In March this year, upcoming astronauts completed a year-long program of training of fourIAF officers in the Russian Space Academy.
- India-Russia Cooperation in the space field, on Gaganyaan would continue in certain other aspects. Russia is helping us with the design of view ports and life support systems.
- The space suits are being stitched in Russia and the Astronauts will be coming here to Moscow to undertake individual-wise tailoring measurements.
- Set up a mechanism that would provide for quality conversations between India and Russia that would be action oriented, to align our interests in such a way that our security interests bilaterally.
- As Indiabelong to this region, unlike extra regional powers, India and Russia will need to work together even more than before.
- It is important for India and Russia to adapt to new realities, step up their cooperation and to insulate and protect their national interests from the instability that is expected to radiate out of Afghanistan for some time to come.
- This is vital for protecting India’s continental security interests.
Do you know the historical timeline of Afghanistan? Reference
- About Taliban.
- Afghan Crisis.
- About NATO.
- India’s investments in Afghanistan Projects.
Discuss how India should engage with Afghanistan now.
GS Paper 2:
Topics covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Context: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday while stating that unexpected Paradigm shifts affects countries globally that the Quadrilateral grouping has been constituted keeping these things in mind.
Facts for prelims:
- The quadrilateral security dialogue includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
- In March 2020, the Quad members held a meeting with representatives from New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam to discuss their respective approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instigated by the US, this new grouping of key Indo-Pacific states was called “Quad Plus”.
Recent developments and QUAD:
- Today the enemy no longer needs to enter the border. He can also target our security apparatus from outside the border.
- Alignment and re-alignment of global powers have added to the already changing security challenges.
- The changing equations in Afghanistan are a recent and important example of this. These circumstances have forced every country to think on its strategy today.
- The stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Eastern Ladakh
- A positive agenda built around collective action in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, monitoring shipping for search and rescue or anti-piracy operations, infrastructure assistance to climatically vulnerable states, connectivity initiatives and similar activities.
- Quad has been constituted keeping these things in mind.
What is Quad grouping?
The quadrilateral security dialogue 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 grouping traces its genesis to 2004 when the four countries came together to coordinate relief operations in the aftermath of the tsunami.
- It then met for the first time in 2007 on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
- The intention was to enhance maritime cooperation between the four nations.
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. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.
- 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.
- The Quad is a plurilateral mechanism between countries that share interest on specific matters.
- What is Quad?
- Idea behind its genesis
- Objectives of Quad
- Importance of Quad for India and how it will impact India’s relationship with other countries- Russia and China
GS Paper 3:
Topics covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
Context: Recommendation made by NITI AYOG pertaining to the monetization plan unveiled by the government recently
- NITI AYOG has opined that to make the National Monetization Pipeline (NMP) a success, the government should give Income tax breaks to attract retail investors into instruments like Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)
- The AYOG has also recommended bringing such Trusts (InvITs) under the ambit of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to provide greater comfort to investors. (Presently, such trusts are not considered ‘legal persons’ in India, this inhibits investment from potential investors into this. However, investments made is protected under the SARFAESI act and the Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993)
- The above recommendation if implemented will help in expanding investor base, a critical element for the success of NMP.
- What is needed to implement these changes suggested?
- Policy changes should be notified by the government. Ex: Taxation breaks
- Coordination between the regulators concerned
- How will the recommendations benefit the InvITS? The changes recommended will provide a structured opportunity for investors to invest in infrastructure assets with predictable cash flows, while the asset owners can raise upfront resources against future revenue cash flows from those assets, which in turn can be deployed in new assets or used to repay debt.
Figure: Major recommendations of the AYOG pertaining to National Monetization Pipeline (NMP)
The Centre launched the National Monetization pipeline (NMP) in an effort to list out the government’s infrastructure assets to be sold over the next four-years.
- The four-year National Monetization Pipeline (NMP) will unlock value in brown-field projects by engaging the private sector, transferring to them the rights but not the ownership in projects.
- Components: Roads, railways and power sector assets will comprise over 66 per cent of the total estimated value of the assets to be monetized, with the balance coming from sectors including telecom, mining, aviation, ports, natural gas and petroleum product pipelines, warehouses and stadiums.
Objective of the programme:
- To unlock the value of investments in brown-field public sector assets by tapping institutional and long-term capital, which can thereafter be leveraged for public investments
- To enable ‘Infrastructure Creation through Monetization wherein the public and private sector collaborate, each excelling in their core areas of competence, so as to deliver socio-economic growth.
Currently, only assets of central government line ministries and CPSEs in infrastructure sectors have been included.
- Monetization through disinvestment and monetization of non-core assets have not been included in the NMP.
The framework for monetization of core asset monetization has three key imperatives:
Considering that infrastructure creation is inextricably linked to monetization, the period for NMP is co-terminus with the balance period under National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) i.e for FY 2022-2025.
NMP is indicatively valued at Rs 6.0 lakh crore for 4 years.
Significance of the scheme:
Asset Monetization needs to be viewed not just as a funding mechanism, but as an overall paradigm shift in infrastructure operations, augmentation and maintenance considering the private sector’s resource efficiencies and its ability to dynamically adapt to the evolving global and economic reality.
- Such new models will enable not just financial and strategic investors but also common people to participate in this asset class thereby opening new avenues for investment.
- Hence, the NMP document is a critical step towards making India’s Infrastructure truly world class.
Challenges to NMP:
- Lack of identifiable revenue streams in various assets.
- Level of capacity utilization in gas and petroleum pipeline networks.
- Dispute resolution mechanism.
- Regulated tariffs in power sector assets.
- Low interest among investors in national highways below four lanes.
- The lack of independent sectoral regulators.
What is InvIT model?
It is a Collective Investment Scheme similar to a mutual fund, which enables direct investment of money from individual and institutional investors in infrastructure projects to earn a small portion of the income as return.
- The InvITs are regulated by the SEBI (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.
- What is NMP?
- What the salient features of NMP?
- Who is the implementing ministry for this project?
Issues and challenges pertaining to the NMP and possible solutions to address them
GS Paper 3:
Topics covered: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
Context: Environmental activists and politicians have expressed concerns over the centre’s proposal to promote oil palm cultivation in the Northeastern states and in the Andaman and Nicobar islands
- The concerns are primarily expressed on the ground that promotion of oil palm cultivation will further result in environmental degradation (oil palm is an invasive species) of the pristine ecosystem already threatened by various other threats
- Other concerns expressed include– impact on community ownership of tribal lands, oil palm cultivation is a water-intensive task, monoculture cropping with a long gestation period will be unsuitable for small farmers, endangering wildlife etc
- However, the government has allayed some of these concerns through its justification that the land identified for the cultivation in the north-eastern states have already been cleared and are cultivating in some cases, oilseeds; shifting to oil palm is more productive than cultivating oilseeds for the farmers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced this new national initiative on palm oil production to help increase farm incomes. The scheme involves investment of over Rs 11,000 crore.
Aims and Objectives of the scheme:
- Achieve self-reliance in edible oil.
- Harness domestic edible oil prices that are dictated by expensive palm oil imports.
- To raise the domestic production of palm oil by three times to 11 lakh MT by 2025-26.
Key features of the scheme:
- The special emphasis of the scheme will be in India’s north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the conducive weather conditions in the regions.
- Under the scheme, oil palm farmers will be provided financial assistance and will get remuneration under a price and viability formula.
Benefits and significance of the scheme:
It is expected to incentivize production of palm oil to reduce dependence on imports and help farmers cash in on the huge market.
Need for such schemes:
- India is the largest consumer of vegetable oil in the world. Of this, palm oil imports are almost 60% of its total vegetable oil imports.
- In 2016- 2017, the total domestic consumption of palm oil by India was 9.3 million MT, with 98.97 percent of it imported from Malaysia and Indonesia. This means India was producing only 1.027 per cent of its requirement.
- Also, in India, 94.1 per cent of its palm oil is used in food products, especially for cooking purposes. This makes palm oil extremely critical to India’s edible oils economy.
- Palm oil is currently the world’s most consumed vegetable oil.
- It is used extensively in the production of detergents, plastics, cosmetics, and biofuels.
- Top consumers of the commodity are India, China, and the European Union (EU).
What are the alternatives to palm oil? Reference
- What is National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm and the need for such a programme?
- What are its salient features?
- Status of oil palm cultivation in India?
- Threats posed to the North-Eastern environment because of this proposal and how to combat them
GS Paper 3:
Topics covered: Indian economy- issues related to growth and mobilization of resources
Context: A recent poll survey result conducted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) involving the CEO of companies
Observations made through this survey:
- Growth expected by the government and RBI: The central bank has recently downgraded its GDP growth projection for the year to 9.5% from 10.5% earlier, while the Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian expects growth to be at 11% as estimated in the Economic Survey.
- Nearly two-thirds of CEOs of large corporates polled by CII at its national council meeting earlier this month expect India’s GDP growth in 2021-22 to be 9% or less.
- Just 12% of CEOs expect growth to be over 10%, while 20% expect GDP to grow at 8% or less than 8%. As many as 44% of CEOs expect growth to be between 8% and 9%, while 23% expect it to hit the 9%-10% range
- The poll survey shows that CEOs of industries believe that inflation in the present economy is not a transient problem has made out by the government. Just 33% CEOs expect average retail inflation during the year to cool off from the present level (5.6% in July), while 67% expect it to be uncomfortably close to or beyond the RBI’s monetary policy tolerance threshold of 6%.
- The poll survey also indicated that significant amount of CEOs felt that the cost of doing business presently is high in the country. 32% also blamed the high cost of doing business in the country
- Other reasons for low investment as the survey include– lack of animal spirits, ease of doing business remains cumbersome at the ground level, 33% of the CEOs said fresh investments were not in the offing as current capacities exceed demand
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.
CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, with over 9000 members from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from 294 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.
For more than 125 years, CII has been engaged in shaping India’s development journey and works proactively on transforming Indian Industry’s engagement in national development. CII charts change by working closely with Government on policy issues, interfacing with thought leaders, and enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages. It also provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues.
As India marches towards its 75th year of Independence in 2022, CII, with the Theme for 2021-22 as Building India for a New World: Competitiveness, Growth, Sustainability, Technology, rededicates itself to meeting the aspirations of citizens for a morally, economically and technologically advanced country in partnership with the Government, Industry and all stakeholders
- What is CII?
- Important activities or initiatives taken by them?
- What is inflation?
- Inflation targeting approach of RBI
- Major issues Indian companies are facing in the present scenario and steps that needs to be taken to overcome these issues