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. Impact of climate change on El Niño-Southern Oscillation.
GS Paper 2:
1. Right to Sit to be mandated in Tamil Nadu.
2. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
GS Paper 3:
1. What is an Account Aggregator?
2. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Facts for Prelims:
1. GST tribunal.
2. Chandigarh gets its first pollen calendar.
GS Paper 1
Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.
- A study was conducted recently on this using one of South Korea’s fastest supercomputers,
Findings of the latest study:
- Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide can cause a “weakening of future simulated ENSO sea surface temperature variability.”
- Future El Niño events will lose heat to the atmosphere more quickly due to the evaporation of water vapour.
- In the future there will be a reduced temperature difference between the eastern and western tropical Pacific, inhibiting the development of temperature extremes during the ENSO cycle.
- Also, there can be a weakening of tropical instability waves in the projected future, which can cause a disruption of the La Niña event.
What are the Niño and La Niña?
They are two natural climate phenomena occurring across the tropical Pacific Ocean and influence the weather conditions all over the world.
- While the El Niño period is characterised by warming or increased sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, a La Niña event causes the water in the eastern Pacific Ocean to be colder than usual.
- Together, they are called ENSO or El Niño-Southern Oscillation.
What causes El Nino?
- El Nino sets in when there is an anomaly in the pattern.
- The westward-blowing trade winds weaken along the Equator and due to changes in air pressure, the surface water moves eastwards to the coast of northern South America.
- The central and eastern Pacific regions warm up for over six months and result in an El Nino condition.
Do you know about Param Shivay, a Supercomputer built under the National Super Computing Mission? Reference: https://www.cdac.in/index.aspx?id=pk_itn_spot1230.
- What is El Nino?
- What is La Nina?
- What is ENSO?
- When do these events occur?
- Impact of ENSO on Asia, Africa and Australia.
Discuss the impact of La Nina weather phenomenon on India.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
The Tamil Nadu government has tabled a Bill in the Legislative Assembly making it mandatory for establishments to provide seating facilities for employees. It is popularly being called the “Right to Sit”.
Right to Sit:
- It is aimed to benefit thousands of employees of large and small establishments, particularly those working in textile and jewelry showrooms.
- The bill mandates for every premises of establishments to have suitable seating arrangements for all employees so that they may take advantage of any opportunity to sit in the course of their work.
- The bill seeks to amend the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947, by adding a sub-section.
- Persons employed in shops and establishments in the State are made to stand throughout their duty time resulting in varied health issues.
- Most owners of shops and other retail outlets forbid women, the bulk of the shop workforce, to sit. Even leaning against a wall was punished. They had developed varicose veins and joint pain from standing.
Right to Sit would avoid the ‘on their toes’ situation throughout the working hours.
Inspired from Kerala:
A few years ago, workers of textile showrooms in Kerala had gone on a protest demanding the ‘Right to Sit’, prompting the government there to amend the Kerala Shops and Establishments Act in 2018. This in turn provided seating arrangements for them.
- About the Right to Sit.
- Which states have enforced this right?
- Is it a statutory right or Constitutional right?
Discuss the significance of the Right to Sit.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Sri Lanka and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are working together to promote the island’s agriculture-based economy.
- They are now partnering to create the Smallholder Agribusiness and Resilience Project (SARP) to combat poverty, food insecurity and gender inequality.
How SARP Will Prevent Food Insecurity?
Part of food insecurity goes hand in hand with poverty. Farmers who cannot afford to manage their land or crops cannot produce an adequate supply of food. In turn, many of SARP’s poverty reduction efforts will ultimately improve food production levels.
- It is a specialized United Nations agency created in 1977 engaged in providing grants and loans with low interest for allied projects.
- The IFAD works with rural people allowing them to enhance their food security, improve nutrition and raise their incomes.
- It also helps people to expand their businesses.
- The organization is an outcome of the World Food Conference of 1974.
- It is headquartered in Rome and headed by a President.
- It has 177 member countries.
- IFAD brings out the Rural Development Report every year.
The objectives of the IFAD are three-fold:
- To increase the productive capacity of poor people.
- To increase benefits for them from market participation.
- To strengthen the environmental sustainability & climate resilience of their economic activities.
How roles and functions of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) differ from IFAD? Reference: read this.
- About IFAD.
Discuss about the roles and functions of IFAD.
Sources: down to earth.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
The account aggregator system in banking has kicked off with eight of India’s largest banks, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.
- When fully functional, the system can make lending and wealth management a lot faster and cheaper.
What are account aggregators?
An Account Aggregator is a non-banking financial company engaged in the business of providing, under a contract, the service of retrieving or collecting financial information pertaining to its customer.
- It is also engaged in consolidating, organising and presenting such information to the customer or any other financial information user as may be specified by the bank.
How does an AA work?
It has a three-tier structure: Account Aggregator, FIP (Financial Information Provider) and FIU (Financial Information User).
- An FIP is the data fiduciary, which holds customers’ data. It can be a bank, NBFC, mutual fund, insurance repository or pension fund repository.
- An FIU consumes the data from an FIP to provide various services to the consumer. An FIU is a lending bank that wants access to the borrower’s data to determine if the borrower qualifies for a loan.
Banks play a dual role – as an FIP and as an FIU.
- The new system makes it possible for banks, tax authorities, insurers and other finance firms to aggregate data of customers — who have provided their consent — to get a better understanding about their potential customers, make informed decisions and ensure smoother transactions.
- This will also enable customers to easily access and share their financial data. It allows customers to avail various financial services from a host of providers on a single portal based on a consent method.
- It reduces the need for individuals to wait in long bank queues, use Internet banking portals, share their passwords, or seek out physical notarisation to access and share their financial documents.
- This will help banks reduce transaction costs, which will enable us to offer lower ticket size loans and more tailored products and services to our customers.
The AA framework:
The AA framework was created through an inter-regulatory decision by RBI and other regulators including Securities and Exchange Board of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) through an initiative of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).
- The licence for AAs is issued by the RBI, and the financial sector will have many AAs.
Is it necessary that every NBFC should be registered with RBI? Reference:
- Payment aggregators vs Payment Gateways- functions.
- Capital requirements of NBFCs.
- NBFCs vs SFBs.
Who are payment aggregators? Why there is a need for regulation of these entities? Discuss.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released its latest Red List of Threatened Species.
- Some 902 species are officially extinct.
- 30 per cent of the species (38,543) that it assessed (138,374) face the threat of extinction.
- Some 80 species are extinct in the wild, 8,404 are critically endangered, 14,647 are endangered, 15,492 are vulnerable and 8,127 are near threatened.
- Some 71,148 species are of least concern, while 19,404 are data deficient.
Important Species mentioned in the report:
- The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) moved from endangered to least concern while the Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) moved from critically endangered to endangered.
- The world’s largest living lizard, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), has been moved from vulnerable to endangered. The species is endemic to Indonesia and occurs only in the World Heritage-listed Komodo National Park and neighbouring Flores.
What is IUCN red list of threatened species?
It is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
How are species categorised?
It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species.
The IUCN Red List Categories:
- The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).
- Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.
Utility of the red list:
- It brings into focus the ongoing decline of Earth’s biodiversity and the influence humans have on life on the planet. It provides a globally accepted standard with which to measure the conservation status of species over time.
- Scientists can analyze the percentage of species in a given category and how these percentages change over time; they can also analyze the threats and conservation measures that underpin the observed trends.
Sources: down to earth.
Facts for Prelims:
The Supreme Court has warned that the government had no option but to constitute the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Appellate Tribunal.
What is GST Appellate Tribunal?
- The GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) is the second appeal forum under GST for any dissatisfactory order passed by the First Appellate Authorities.
- The National Appellate Tribunal is also the first common forum to resolve disputes between the centre and the states.
- It holds the same powers as the court and is deemed Civil Court for trying a case.
- Section 109 of the GST Act mandates the constitution of the Tribunal.
The GSTAT has the following structure:
- National Bench: The National Appellate Tribunal is situated in New Delhi, constitutes a National President (Head) along with 2 Technical Members (1 from Centre and State each).
- Regional Benches: On the recommendations of the GST Council, the government can constitute (by notification) Regional Benches, as required. As of now, there are 3 Regional Benches (situated in Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad) in India.
- State Bench and Area Bench.
Chandigarh gets its first pollen calendar:
The city of Chandigarh now has its first pollen calendar.
- Pollen calendars are graphical representations of the time dynamics of airborne pollen taxa in a certain geographic area.
- They are location-specific, with concentrations strongly tied to the flora found in the area.
- They provide easy-to-understand visual information on diverse airborne pollen species that are present throughout the year, as well as their seasonality, in a single image.
- Pollens are considered major outdoor airborne allergens responsible for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis in humans.
- These calendars can identify potential allergy triggers and provide a clear understanding for clinicians as well as allergy sufferers about their causes to help limit their exposure during high pollen loads.