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. CJI flags communal content in media
GS Paper 2:
1. Long wait for a Deputy Speaker for Lok Sabha
GS Paper 3:
1. Exports rose 45% in August
2. Winged visitors arrive in Pulicat
3. Apple faces antitrust case in India over apps issue
4. India’s coronavirus genome sequencing system
Facts for Prelims:
1. Indian biologist wins global award for turtle conservation
GS Paper 1
Topics covered: Communalism
Context: Observation made by Chief Justice of India (CJI) while adjudicating on a case relating to communalization of some sections of media in the country
- The petition before the SC drew the court’s attention on how some sections of media linked Tablighi Jamaat to the spread of Covid-19
- Such cases of communalized reporting are increasing in the country in recent times. Ex: UPSC Jihad, Hadiya case, Triple Talaq case etc
- The court also lamented about the lack of adequate accountability to hold social media and over the top content platforms for their actions
- The government highlighted the recent steps it had taken to ensure accountability in this regard. That is- Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules of 2021.
- It mandates a grievance redressal system for over the top (OTT) and digital portals in the country. This is necessary for the users of social media to raise their grievance against the misuse of social media.
- Significant social media firms have to appoint a chief compliance officer and have a nodal contact person who can be in touch with law enforcement agencies 24/7.
- A grievance officer: Social media platforms will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and dispose of it in 15 days.
- Removal of content: If there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – social media platforms will be required to remove that within 24 hours after a complaint is made.
- A monthly report: They also will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal.
- There will be three levels of regulation for news publishers — self-regulation, a self-regulatory body, headed by a retired judge or an eminent person, and oversight from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, including codes of practices and a grievance committee.
- It provides for a three-level grievance redressal mechanism — self-regulation by broadcasters, self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the broadcasters, and oversight by an Inter-Departmental Committee at the level of the Union government.
- Procedure for grievance redressal:
- A viewer can file a complaint directly to the broadcaster, who will have to respond within 15 days.
- If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, the complaint can be escalated to the self-regulating bodies set up by TV channels, which should deal with the case in 60 days.
- If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the self-regulating body, he may, within 15 days of such decision, prefer an appeal to the Central Government for its consideration under the Oversight Mechanism.
- Such appeals will be dealt with by the Inter-Departmental Committee set up under the Oversight Mechanism.
- The committee will be headed by the Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and have members from various ministries.
- What is communalization?
- About Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules of 2021.
- Measures taken to tackle communalization of media
Source: The Hindu
GS Paper 2
Topics covered: Parliament
Context: Post of Deputy-speaker in Lok Sabha (LS) still remains vacant
- Delhi High Court directed the central government to explain its stand over the issue of not holding elections to the post of Deputy Speaker of LS. The position has remained vacant for last 830 days
- Keeping the post of deputy speaker vacant is a violation of Article 93 of the Indian constitution.
- A Deputy Speaker enjoys the same legislative powers as the Speaker. And in absence of the Speaker because of death, illness or any other reason, the Deputy Speaker also assumes the administrative powers.
- The responsibility to elect a Deputy Speaker is the responsibility of the House
- By parliamentary convention in recent times, the post of Deputy-Speaker usually went to a member from the major opposition party in the house.
- The delay in electing a Deputy Speaker has been attributed to lack of opposition strength of elect a candidate of their choice, lackadaisical attitude of the present central government to nominate a suitable candidate to the post
- Currently, when Speaker is not preceding over the house, a member from the panel from the panel of Chairperson precede over the house
- There is a constitution-mandated panel of 10 members to preside over the proceedings of the Lok Sabha in the absence of Speaker.
- Article 93 of the Constitution provides for the election of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
- The constitutional office of the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is more symbolic of parliamentary democracy than some real authority.
- There is no need to resign from their original party though as a Deputy Speaker, they have to remain impartial.
Roles and functions: They act as the presiding officer in case of leave or absence caused by death or illness of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- Usually, the Deputy Speaker is elected in the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after the General elections from amongst the members of the Lok Sabha.
- It is by convention that position of Deputy Speaker is offered to opposition party in India.
Tenure and removal:
- They hold office until either they cease to be a member of the Lok Sabha or they resign.
- They can be removed from office by a resolution passed in the Lok Sabha by an effective majority of its members.
How is a speaker elected? Click here
- Constitutional provisions related to the office of Deputy Speaker.
- Roles and functions.
- Appointment and election.
- Does he need to resign from his party after being elected?
- Tenure and removal.
The constitutional office of the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is more symbolic of parliamentary democracy than some real authority. Discuss.
Source: The Hindu
GS Paper 3
Topics covered: Indian economy- growth and issues arising from it
Context: India’s merchandise exports in August touched $33.14 billion, 45.17% higher than a year ago and 27.5% over the pre-pandemic level of August 2019
- Despite the increase in export, the trade deficit widened to a four-month high driven by a sharp uptick in gold imports
- Merchandise imports grew during this time. It grew 51.47% year-on-year to $47 billion, which is also 18% higher than August 2019. This was the primary reason for the widened trade deficit despite an increase in export
- Gold saw the large increase in import numbers. Gold imports surged to a five-month high of $6.7 billion in August 2021 and were responsible for 88% of the rise in the merchandise trade deficit relative to July 2021.
- The government has set a target of merchandise exports worth $400 billion for the year and so far as achieved 163 billions of dollar exports
- Though the global trade is recovering which is helping Indian exporters, attention must be given to resolving increasing freight rates, large container shortages and releasing benefits under various export schemes
- Growth in export in labour-intensive sector such as textiles and apparel sector has been less than expected (14%) during this period.
India’s export growth story- Click here
- What are merchandise exports?
- Measures taken in recent times to increase exports
- Major items of exports and imports
- What is trade deficit?
Why has India not been able to increase its share in global export market?
Source: The Hindu
GS Paper 3
Topics covered: Environment
Context: Increase in numbers of migratory birds visiting the Pulicat Lake in India
- This positive development is largely due to increase in the storage levels in the reservoir in adjoining areas
- Pulicat lake is the second largest brackish water lake in the country; next only to Chilika lake
- Greater flamingos and pelicans are some of the famous migratory birds that visit this place
- The region in which Pulicat lake is situated receives rainfall from both South-West as well as North-East monsoon winds
- Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is a famous bird sanctuary located near this lake
- The lake is also home for black-headed ibis, Asian openbill, black-crowned night heron, and little cormorant. Other migratory birds that visit the sanctuary include northern pintail, common teal, little grebe, northern shoveler, Eurasian coot, Indian spot-billed duck, grey heron, Oriental darter, black-winged stilt, garganey and gadwall
- The presence of Barringtonia and Acacia nilotica species near the Pulicat lake region provides an ideal breeding site for spot-billed pelicans.
- Nelapattu bird sanctuary is considered one of the biggest habitats for some hundreds of pelicans and other birds. Located about 20 km north of the Pulicat Lake on the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border, the sanctuary is spread in about 459 hectares.
- Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish water lake or lagoon in India, after Chilika Lake. It straddles the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states with over 96% of it in Andhra Pradesh. The lake encompasses the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary. The barrier island of Sriharikota separates the lake from the Bay of Bengal and is home to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Two rivers which feed the lagoon are the Arani River at the southern tip and the Kalangi River from the northwest, in addition to some smaller streams. The Buckingham Canal, a navigation channel, is part of the lagoon on its western side.
- Flamingo Festival is held every year to promote tourism in Pulicat and Nelapattu.
Insta curious link
How do migratory birds find their way? Click here
- About Pulicat lake
- Famous migratory birds that visit the region
- Any steps or measures taken to conserve this lake
Source: The Hindu
GS Paper 3
Topics covered: Effects of liberalization
Context: An anti-trust case filed against Apple Inc for allegedly abusing its market position in the Indian economy.
- Apple is instituting policies that forces developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system
- This allegation is similar to what Apple faced in the EU where regulators last year started an investigation into Apple’s imposition of an in-app fee of 30% for distribution of paid digital content and other restrictions.
- Such policies hurt the domestic companies by raising their cost of doing business
- Competition Commission of India (CCI) will review the case and could order its investigations arm to conduct a wider probe, or dismiss it altogether if it finds no merit in it
- Note: Filings and details of cases reviewed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) are not made public.
- Recently, South Korea’s parliament this week approved a bill that bans major app store operators like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems.
- Justification given by the companies for their current policy: The fees levied by them covers the security and marketing benefits their app stores provide for companies
- CCI is conducting an investigation into a similar payment system concerning Google
- Other significant charges brought against Apple:
- Restriction on developers to use domestic payment systems which offer services at lower rates of 1-5%
- Restriction on developers on informing customers of alternative payment systems
- In recent times, such restrictions have been loosened. However, this behavior will not have an impact when CCI takes up the case for review.
It is a statutory body of the Government of India, responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition.
Objectives of the Commission:
- To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition.
- To promote and sustain competition in markets.
- To protect the interests of consumers.
- To ensure freedom of trade.
Functions of the commission:
- It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
- The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
The Competition Act:
The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
Know about EU’s case against Google- Click here
- What is anti-trust case?
- CCI- roles, responsibilities and functions
- Important anti-trust related cases
- Competition Commission Act
Ensuring a fair competition in the Indian digital market is in the best interest of every stakeholder involved. Comment
Source: The Hindu
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Issues related to biotechnology.
Context: Novel Coronavirus Sequencing and analysis has declined sharply in India.
- The number of coronavirus samples sequenced and analysed in India has dropped.
- India formed the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a consortium of genome sequencing labs, in December 2020.
- While announcing INSACOG, the central government aimed to analyse 5 per cent of all positive samples. This method is known as ‘randomised surveillance’.
Purpose of sequencing
- The main purpose of sequencing is surveillance. It helps to get the true picture of prevailing variants, emerging variants (like delta) and those causing reinfection.
- Currently there are four ‘Variants of concern’ (VoCs) — Alpha (emerged in the UK), Beta (emerged in Brazil), Gama (emerged in South Africa) and Delta (emerged in India).
- WHO has stressed on the fact that data of sequencing should be submitted to open-access platforms like GISAID, so that a sequence done in one part of the world can be looked at by the global scientific community.
What is genome sequencing?
- A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes.
- Genomics also involves the sequencing and analysis of genomes through uses of high throughput DNA sequencing.
- Advances in genomics have triggered a revolution in discovery-based research and systems biology to facilitate understanding of even the most complex biological systems such as the brain.
Need for genome sequencing:
- Mapping the diversity of India’s genetic pool will lay the bedrock of personalised medicine and put it on the global map.
- Considering the diversity of population in our country, and the disease burden of complex disorders, including diabetes, mental health, etc., once we have a genetic basis, it may be possible to take action before the onset of a disease.
About Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG):
- The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is jointly initiated by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- It is a consortium of 28 National Laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.
- It carries out whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus across the nation, aiding in understanding the spread and evolution of the virus.
- INSACOG also aims to focus on sequencing of clinical samples to understand the disease dynamics and severity.
About GISAID (Global initiative on sharing avian influenza data):
- GISAID, established in 2008, provides open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 available on GISAID enabled global responses to the pandemic, including the development of the first vaccines and diagnostic tests.
About the Genomics for Public Health in India (IndiGen) programme:
- CSIR initiated the Program in April 2019.
- It aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
- The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technologies applications using population genome data.
- About Genome Sequencing
- Applications of Genome Sequencing
- About Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG)
- IndiGen programme
Significance, need and challenges in Genome Sequencing.
Source: Down to Earth
Facts for Prelims:
Indian biologist wins global award for turtle conservation
- Indian biologist Shailendra Singh has been awarded the Behler Turtle Conservation Award for bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species back from the brink of extinction- Red-crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga), Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska), and Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans)
- This award is bestowed by several global bodies involved in turtle conservation such as Turtle Survival Alliance, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Conservancy, and the Turtle Conservation Fund.
- There are 29 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises in the country.
Note: Difference between Tortoise and turtle: Tortoises have more rounded and domed shells where turtles have thinner, more water-dynamic shells. Tortoises spend most of their time on land and turtles are adapted for life spent in water.
About Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)
The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) was formed in 2001 as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) partnership for sustainable captive management of freshwater turtles and tortoises, and initially designated a Task Force of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.