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. What is the Shankhalipi script?
2. Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK).
GS Paper 2:
1. Recognition/derecognition of political parties.
2. International Blue Flag Certification.
3. Havana Syndrome.
GS Paper 3:
1. Global Innovation Index 2021.
2. Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS).
Facts for Prelims:
1. Plant Discoveries 2020.
GS Paper 1
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- The inscriptions mention ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.
Significance of the latest findings:
Two decorative pillars close to one another, with human figurines have been discovered at Bilsarh site. The discovery becomes significant since only two other structural temples from the Gupta age have been found so far — Dashavatara Temple (Deogarh) and Bhitargaon Temple (Kanpur Dehat).
Who was Kumaragupta I?
- In the 5th century, Kumaragupta I ruled for 40 years over north-central India.
- He was the son of the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II and queen Dhruvadevi.
- Kumaragupta performed an Ashvamedha sacrifice.
- He may have subdued the Aulikaras of central India and the Traikutakas of western India.
- The Bhitari pillar inscription states that his successor Skandagupta restored the fallen fortunes of the Gupta family.
Kumaradeva ruled his empire through governors (Uparikas), who bore the title Maharaja (“great king”), and administered various provinces (Bhuktis).
The districts (vishayas) of the provinces were administered by district magistrates (Vishyapatis), who were supported by an advisory council comprising:
- The town president or mayor (Nagara-Shreshtin).
- Rhe representative of the merchant guild (Sarthavaha).
- The chief of the artisan guild (Prathama-Kulika).
- The chief of the guild of writers or scribes (Prathama-Kayastha).
About the Shankhalipi script:
- Shankhalipi or “shell-script” describe ornate spiral characters assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas.
- They are found in inscriptions across north-central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries.
- The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.
- The script was discovered in 1836 on a brass trident in Uttarakhand’s Barahat by English scholar James Prinsep, who was the founding editor of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.
James Prinsep was an officer in the mint of the East India Company. His contribution considered as a major turning point in early Indian history. What were his key contributions? Reference: read this.
- About Shankhalipi Script.
- Shankhalipi script vs Brahmi script.
- About James Princep.
- About latest findings.
- About Kumaragupta I and his administration.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 1
Topics Covered: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Centre government, for the first time issued uniform specifications for Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) for grade A & Common Rice. The specifications have been issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
Need for Rice fortification:
- The country has high levels of malnutrition among women and children.
- According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anaemic and every third child is stunted.
- India ranks 94 out of 107 countries and is in the ‘serious hunger’ category on the Global Hunger Index (GHI).
- Malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in poor women and poor children poses major obstacles in their development.
What is food fortification?
Food fortification is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.
- It is a proven, safe and cost-effective strategy for improving diets and for the prevention and control of micronutrient deficiencies.
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.
According to the Food Ministry, fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets.
- According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice will contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram) and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram).
- In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, with zinc (10 mg-15 mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5 mg-20 mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kg.
What are the benefits of Fortification?
Since the nutrients are added to staple foods that are widely consumed, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.
- Fortification is a safe method of improving nutrition among people. The addition of micronutrients to food does not pose a health risk to people.
- It does not require any changes in food habits and patterns of people. It is a socio-culturally acceptable way to deliver nutrients to people.
- It does not alter the characteristics of the food—the taste, the feel, the look.
- It can be implemented quickly as well as show results in improvement of health in a relatively short period of time.
- This method is cost-effective especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.
What is Biofortification? How is it different from fortification? Reference: read this.
- Bio fortification vs Genetic modifications.
- Micro vs Macronutrients.
- Approval for Biofortified and GM crops in India.
- GM crops allowed in India.
What do you understand by fortification of foods? Discuss its advantages.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre, Delhi government and Election Commission to respond to a petition seeking derecognition of the Aam Aadmi Party for organising a Ganesh Chaturthi event using public money.
What’s the issue?
The petitioner has demanded derecognition of AAP as a party and remove CM Arvind Kejriwal and other ministers from the Constitutional office due to alleged deliberate breach of the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act in the interest of the public.
Registration of political parties:
Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Election Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
To be eligible for a ‘National Political Party of India:
- It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly.
- In addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States.
- It wins at least two percent seats in the House of the People (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members), and these members are elected from at least three different States.
To be eligible for a ‘State Political Party:
- It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in the State at a general election, either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.
- In addition, it wins at least two seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.
- It wins at least three percent (3%) of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.
- If a party is recognised as a State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.
- Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.
- They also get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
- The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.
How Election Commission decides on party symbols? Read this to understand.
- Registration of Political Parties.
- Recognised vs Unrecognised political parties.
- State vs National parties.
- Benefits for recognised political parties.
- Who is a star campaigner?
- Article 324 of the Indian Constitution.
- Section 29A of RPA 1951.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Two more Indian Beaches (Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry) get coveted International Blue Flag Certification. India now has 10 Blue Flag beaches.
- This is another recognition of India’s commitment to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources.
8 nominated beaches in India were awarded the Blue Flag certificate last year.
- Kasarkod -Karnataka.
- Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh.
- Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar.
What is the Blue flag certification?
- Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by “Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria.
- The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation the ‘Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
- It was started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined.
- Neat and clean beaches are an indicator that the coastal environment is in good health and the Blue Flag certification is a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.
- A waving “Blue Flag” is an indication of 100% compliance to these 33 stringent criteria and sound health of the beach.
What is the ‘Blue Flag Beach’?
- The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an ‘eco-tourism model’.
- It marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment, and sustainable development of the area.
Sustainable Development Goals talk about Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Which goal specifically talks about this? Reference: read this.
- About Blue Flag certification.
- Programme implemented by?
- Announced by?
- India’s and Asia’s first beach to get this certificate.
- Country having highest number of blue flag beaches.
Write a note on the Blue flag programme.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.
A US intelligence officer travelling with CIA director William Burns has reported symptoms of Havana Syndrome while the two were in India earlier this month.
- This is the first instance of the phenomenon being reported in India, at least on record, and could have diplomatic implications.
What is Havana Syndrome?
Havana Syndrome refers to a set of mental health symptoms that are said to be experienced by US intelligence and embassy officials in various countries.
- It typically involves symptoms such as hearing certain sounds without any outside noise being present, nausea, vertigo and headaches, memory loss and issues with balance.
As the name suggests, it traces its roots to Cuba.
- Back in 2016, reports first emerged of US diplomats and other employees of the government falling ill in Havana, the capital of Cuba.
- The patients said they heard strange sounds and experienced odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes, and had symptoms of nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems and hearing loss.
- This mysterious illness came to be called the “Havana Syndrome”.
How the US has responded to Havana Syndrome?
The US has come to believe there is a “very strong possibility” the syndrome is intentionally caused.
- Over the years, the FBI, CIA, US military, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have investigated the incidents without coming out with anything conclusive.
- Some scientists even peddled theories like “psychological illness” due to the stressful environment of foreign missions.
- However, in December 2020, a report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) found “directed energy beams” as a “plausible” cause of the Havana Syndrome.
- What are Microwave weapons?
- What is Havana Syndrome? Why is it named so?
- Reasons behind?
- Overview of electromagnetic spectrum.
What is ‘Havana Syndrome’? Discuss why it was in news recently.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
India has climbed two spots and has been ranked 46th by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the Global Innovation Index 2021 rankings.
- India has been on a rising trajectory, over the past several years in the Global Innovation Index (GII), from a rank of 81 in 2015 to 46 in 2021.
- The consistent improvement in the GII ranking is owing to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant start-up ecosystem, and the amazing work done by the public and the private research organizations.
- The Scientific Departments like the Department of Atomic Energy; the Department of Science and Technology; the Department of Biotechnology and the Department of Space have played a pivotal role in enriching the National Innovation Ecosystem.
The top 10 countries in GII ranking for 2021:
Global Innovation Index:
The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation.
- It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organisations and institutions.
- It is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
- The index was started in 2007 by INSEAD and World Business, a British magazine.
- The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their level of innovation.
Do you know about India Innovation Index released by NITI Aayog? Reference: read this.
- Global Innovation Index is released by?
- When was the first edition released?
- Theme for 2021.
- Performance of India this year.
- Global performance.
- Top 10 countries in the index.
Discuss the features and significance of the Global Innovation Index.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS).
What is it?
- BEAMS is one of the initiatives under ‘Integrated coastal zone management’ (ICZM) approach that the MoEF&CC has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal regions of India.
- The prime objective of ICZM approach is to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources.
The objective of BEAMS program is:
- To abate pollution in coastal waters,
- Promote sustainable development of beach facilities,
- Protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and
- Seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness,
- Hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.
What is ICZM Project?
Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) aims to improve livelihood of coastal communities and conserve the coastal ecosystem.
- It is a World Bank assisted project.
- The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, will provide scientific and technical inputs.
- The concept of ICZM was born in 1992 during the Earth Summit of Rio de Janeiro.
Facts for Prelims:
Plant Discoveries 2020:
- The Botanical Survey of India, in its new publication Plant Discoveries 2020 has added 267 new taxa/ species to the country’s flora.
- The 267 new discoveries include 119 angiosperms; 3 pteridophytes; 5 bryophytes, 44 lichens; 57 fungi, 21 algae and 18 microbes.
- There are 14 new macro and 31 new micro fungi species recorded from various parts of India.
- 22% of the discoveries were made from the Western Ghats followed by the Western Himalayas (15%), the Eastern Himalayas (14%) and the Northeast ranges (12%).