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. 128th anniversary of the historic Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda.
2. Who was Subramaniya Bharathiyar?
GS Paper 2:
1. About NCLT and ITAT.
GS Paper 3:
1. CRISPR to control growth of mosquitoes.
2. National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID.
Facts for Prelims:
2. Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHP).
3. Saline Gargle RT-PCR technology.
5. 100% first dose vaccination in Goa.
GS Paper 1
Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
On September 11, 1893, Swami Vivekananda delivered his famed speech at the ‘Parliament of the World’s Religions’, garnering a full two minute standing ovation and the moniker of ‘cyclonic monk of India’ .
Significance of this event:
- The Chicago address had dwelt at length on Hinduism and Indian culture, and his words continue to remain resonant till date.
- He became popular in the western world after his famous speech at the World’s Parliament of Religions.
- He was considered a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and bringing it to the status of major world religion in the late 19th century.
- His address in the World “Parliament of Religions” at Chicago in 1893 drew the world’s attention to the ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta.
About Swami Vivekananda:
- He was a true luminary, credited with enlightening the western world about Hinduism.
- He was an ardent disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India.
- He pushed for national integration in colonial India, and his famous speech remains as the one that he gave in Chicago in 1893 (Parliament of the World Religions).
- In 1984 the Government of India declared that 12 January, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, will be celebrated as National Youth Day.
Early life- contributions:
- Born in Kolkata on January 12, 1863 in Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda was known as Narendra Nath Datta in his pre-monastic life.
- He is known to have introduced the Hindu philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the West.
- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had called Vivekananda the “maker of modern India.”
- In 1893, he took the name ‘Vivekananda’ after Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State requested him to do so.
- He formed the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 “to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest.”
- In 1899, he established the Belur Math, which became his permanent abode.
- He preached ‘neo-Vedanta’, an interpretation of Hinduism through a Western lens, and believed in combining spirituality with material progress.
Books written by him:
‘Raja Yoga’, ‘Jnana Yoga’, ‘Karma Yoga’ are some of the books he wrote.
How are Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts relevant still today?
- Swami Vivekananda, in his address, propagated the idea of tolerance and universal acceptance.
- He analysed the dangers posed by the meaningless and sectarian conflicts in society to the nations and the civilisations.
- He firmly believed that the true essence of religion was common good and tolerance. Religion should be above superstitions and rigidities.
- Swami Vivekananda believed that youngsters in India are the chain that binds our past to a greater future.
Therefore, there is greater need today, in contemporary India, to pay heed to the words spoken by Swami Vivekananda as early as in 1893.
Have you heard of Sri Vedānta Desikan? What were his teachings? Reference: read this.
- About 1893 Parliament of World’s Religions.
- Main participants.
- Who represented Hinduism?
- Headquarters of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
- International modern Parliaments held so far.
How Swami Vivekananda became the ‘messenger of Indian wisdom’ to West. Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 1
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Vice-President recently paid homage to Subramania Bharati to mark the death centenary of the poet and freedom fighter.
About Subramaniya Bharathi:
- Born on 11th December 1882, in Ettayapuram village of Tirunelveli District in Tamil Nadu.
- He was a poet, freedom fighter and social reformer from Tamil Nadu.
- He was known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar.
- His songs on nationalism and freedom of India helped to rally the masses to support the Indian Independence Movement in Tamil Nadu.
- Literary works: “Kannan Pattu” “Nilavum Vanminum Katrum” “Panchali Sabatam” “Kuyil Pattu”.
- He published the sensational “Sudesa Geethangal” in 1908.
- Sometime in mid-1908, Bharati began to serialise Gnanaratham in his political weekly, India.
- In 1949, he became the first poet whose works were nationalised by the state government.
Bharthi as a social reformer:
- He was against caste system. He declared that there were only two castes-men and women and nothing more than that. Above all, he himself had removed his sacred thread.
- He condemned certain Shastras that denigrated women. He believed in the equality of humankind and criticised many preachers for mixing their personal prejudices while teaching the Gita and the Vedas.
Significance in Present Times:
- The poet’s definition of progress had a central role for women. He wrote women should walk with their head held high, looking people in the eye.
- The government is inspired by this vision and is working to ensure women-led empowerment.
- He believed in a healthy mix between the ancient and the modern, indicating a need to develop a scientific temper, a spirit of inquiry and march towards progress.
Do you know about the Bharathi Award, instituted in 1994 by Vanavil Cultural Centre? What is the eligibility criteria? Reference:
- Where was Bharathiyar Born?
- Important literary works.
- His contributions to social reforms.
Who was Subramaniya Bharathiyar? Discuss his views on caste system.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Important statutory bodies.
- These developments assume significance as they come amid the Supreme Court flagging concerns about vacancies in various tribunals.
There are around 250 posts lying vacant at various key tribunals and appellate tribunals such as the NCLT, the DRT, the TDSAT and the SAT.
- Supreme Court had recently flagged concerns, saying the Centre was “emasculating” tribunals by not appointing officials to the quasi-judicial bodies that are facing a staff crunch.
- It is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudicates issues relating to companies in India.
- Established on 1st June, 2016 (Companies Act, 2013).
- Formed based on the recommendations of the Justice Eradi Committee.
- It deals with matters mainly related to companies law and the insolvency law.
- Term of members: Appointments will be for five years from the date of assumption of charge or till attaining the age of 65 or until further orders.
- It deals with income tax matters.
- It is statutory body in the field of direct taxes and its orders are accepted as final, on findings of fact.
- ITAT was the first Tribunal to be created on 25th January, 1941 and is also known as ‘Mother Tribunal’.
- With a view to ensuring highest degree of independence of the ITAT, it functions under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice and is kept away from any kind of control by the Ministry of Finance.
- The orders passed by the ITAT can be subjected to appellate challenge, on substantial questions of law, before the respective High Court.
Have you heard about ‘e-dwar’? It is a e-filing portal of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) launched recently. Know more about it, here.
- What are tribunals?
- Constitutional provisions in this regard.
- Composition and functions.
- Overview of the latest ordinance.
Are tribunals a panacea for judicial efficiency? Does tribunalisation of justice undermine the principles set in our constitution? Examine.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology.
Researchers from California have developed CRISPR-based system to safely restrain mosquito vectors via sterilization. It is called the new precision-guided sterile insect technique, or pgSIT.
How it works?
pgSIT is a new scalable genetic control system that uses a CRISPR-based approach to engineer deployable mosquitoes that can suppress populations.
- It alters genes linked to male fertility — creating sterile offspring — and female flight in Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species responsible for spreading wide-ranging diseases including dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika.
- pgSIT uses CRISPR to sterilize male mosquitoes and render female mosquitoes, which spread disease, as flightless.
Why is this significant?
pgSIT eggs can be shipped to a location threatened by mosquito-borne disease or developed at an on-site facility that could produce the eggs for nearby deployment. Once the pgSIT eggs are released in the wild, sterile pgSIT males will emerge and eventually mate with females, driving down the wild population as needed.
What is CRISPR?
CRISPR technology is basically a gene-editing technology that can be used for the purpose of altering genetic expression or changing the genome of an organism. The technology can be used for targeting specific stretches of an entire genetic code or editing the DNA at particular locations.
CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. However, its promise also raises ethical concerns.
How it works?
- The technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information.
- The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed, or “edited”, is identified on the DNA strand, and then, using the Cas9 protein, which acts like a pair of scissors, that location is cut off from the strand. A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself.
- Scientists intervene during this auto-repair process, supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes that binds itself with the broken DNA strand.
- It becomes contentious when used in humans. Leading scientists in the field have for long been calling for a “global pause” on clinical applications of the technology in human beings, until internationally accepted protocols are developed.
- Studies highlighted that CRISPR-Cas9-edited cells might trigger cancer.
- It may increase the risk of mutations elsewhere in the genome in those cells.
- Many things are not clear like how we should determine which disease or traits are appropriate for gene editing.
- Ethical concerns: In addition, there are concerns with manipulating human embryos for own interest.
- What are genes?
- How are genes edited?
- What is Crispr technology?
- Difference between DNA and RNA.
Discuss the concerns associated with CRISPR technology.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is soon expected to launch the National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID that aims to provide a “cutting-edge technology to enhance India’s counter-terror capabilities”.
What is NATGRID?
- Envisaged as a robust mechanism to track suspects, the NATGRID can help in preventing terrorist attacks with real-time data and access to classified information like immigration, banking, individual taxpayers, air and train travels.
- In 2010, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had given approval to the Rs 3,400-crore NATGRID project.
Who can access the data?
It will be a medium for at least 10 Central agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to access data on a secured platform. The data will be procured by NATGRID from 21 providing organisations such as the telecom, tax records, bank, immigration etc.
- NATGRID is facing opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.
- Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.
- According to few experts, digital databases such as NATGRID can be misused. Over the last two decades, the very digital tools that terrorists use have also become great weapons to fight the ideologies of violence.
- Intelligence agencies have also opposed amid fears that it would impinge on their territory and possibly result in leaks on the leads they were working on to other agencies.
But, Why do we need NATGRID?
- The danger from not having a sophisticated tool like the NATGRID is that it forces the police to rely on harsh and coercive means to extract information in a crude and degrading fashion.
- After every terrorist incident, it goes about rounding up suspects—many of who are innocent. If, instead, a pattern search and recognition system were in place, these violations of human rights would be much fewer.
- Natgrid would also help the Intelligence Bureau keep a tab on persons with suspicious backgrounds.
- The police would have access to all his data and any movement by this person would also be tracked with the help of this data base.
- What is CCTNS?
- NATGRID- aims and objectives.
- What is NCRB?
- Agencies covered under NATGRID.
Discuss the significance of NATGRID.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Light Combat Aircraft-Tejas Mark 2, the second generation fighter prototypes are underway in association with the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
- The first flight is expected to be ready by 2023.
- The Mk2 is 1,350 mm longer featuring canards and can carry a payload of 6,500 kg.
Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHP):
- Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP), is an under-construction gravity dam on the Subansiri river along the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
- Subansiri River (gold river), originates in the Tibet Plateau and enters India through Miri hills in Arunachal Pradesh.
- It is the largest tributary of Brahmaputra River.
- The project is being developed by the state-run National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).
- It will be the single largest hydroelectric plant in India when completed. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.
Controversy surrounding the project:
Resistance to the ongoing hydroelectric project was shown in the form of a far-reaching anti-dam movement. It is alleged that the dam is located in a seismic zone and it is significantly under-designed to resist earthquakes. The fluctuation of water level in the river is also feared to affect the ecology in the lower Subansiri region in future.
Saline Gargle RT-PCR technology:
- It is simple, fast, cost-effective, patient-friendly and comfortable.
- It also provides instant test results and is well-suited for rural and tribal areas, given minimal infrastructure requirements.
How it works?
- Saline Gargle RT-PCR method uses a simple collection tube filled with saline solution. The patient has to gargle the solution and rinse it in the tube.
- The sample is taken to the laboratory where it is kept at room temperature for about 30 minutes in a special buffer solution prepared by NEERI.
- An RNA template is produced when this solution is heated and then processed for RT-PCR.
Why in News?
Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has transferred the know-how of indigenously developed Saline Gargle RT-PCR technique to the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for commercialising it.
- NEERI is an institute under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- It is a festival celebrated by the Jain community, especially the Shwetambara sect.
- It is the last day of an eight-day observance of prayers called Paryushana Parva or Paryushana.
- It falls on Shukla Panchami each year in the Jain calendar month of Bhadrapada (somewhere between the middle of August and September in the Gregorian calendar).
- Samvatsari is also known as the Day of Forgiveness.
100% first dose vaccination in Goa:
- Goa has become the second state in India to complete 100% covid vaccination of the first dose for all its eligible residents.
- Himachal Pradesh was the first state to achieve this feat.