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. Bhagat Singh.
GS Paper 2:
1. Anti-defection law, for independent legislators.
2. National Action Plan for dog Mediated Rabies Elimination.
3. Caste census.
GS Paper 3:
1. The burden of climate change on children born today.
2. Punjab’s desertification in 25 years.
3. National Disaster Management Authority.
Facts for Prelims:
1. World Maritime Day.
2. Zojila tunnel.
GS Paper 1
Topics Covered: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
28th September is the birth anniversary of revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
Key facts about him:
- Bhagat Singh was born in 1907 in Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan), and grew up in a Sikh family deeply involved in political activities.
- In 1923, Bhagat Singh joined the National College, Lahore which was founded and managed by Lala Lajpat Rai and Bhai Parmanand.
- In 1924 in Kanpur, he became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), started by Sachindranath Sanyal a year earlier.
- In 1928, HRA was renamed from Hindustan Republican Association to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
- In 1925-26 Bhagat Singh and his colleagues started a militant youth organization called the Naujawan Bharat Sabha.
- In 1927, he was first arrested on charges of association with the Kakori Case accused for an article written under the pseudonym Vidrohi (Rebel).
- In 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai had led a procession to protest against the arrival of the Simon Commission. The police resorted to a brutal lathi charge, in which Lala Lajpat Rai was severely injured and later succumbed to his injuries.
- To take revenge for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh and his associates plotted the assassination of James A. Scott, the Superintendent of Police.
- However, the revolutionaries mistakenly killed J.P. Saunders. The incident is famously known as Lahore Conspiracy case (1929).
- Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt threw a bomb on 8 April, 1929 in the Central Legislative Assembly, in protest against the passing of two repressive bills, the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Dispute Bill.
- The aim was not to kill but to make the deaf hear, and to remind the foreign government of its callous exploitation.
Both Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt surrendered thereafter and faced trial so they could further promote their cause. They were awarded life imprisonment for this incident.
- However, Bhagat Singh was re-arrested for the murder of J.P. Saunders and bomb manufacturing in the Lahore Conspiracy case.
- He was found guilty in this case and was hanged on 23rd March, 1931 in Lahore along with Sukhdev and Rajguru.
- Every year, March 23 is observed as Martyrs’ Day as a tribute to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru.
- Naujawan Bharat Sabha.
- Kakori Conspiracy case.
- Lahore Conspiracy case.
A revolutionary and a socialist, the contribution of Bhagat Singh to the Independence Movement of India is immense. Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Independent MLA from Gujarat’s Vadgam constituency, Jignesh Mevani, has pledged support to the Congress party, saying though he has not formally joined the Congress, he has joined the party’s ideology. Hence, provisions of the Tenth Schedule do not apply in this case.
Relevance: the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution:
Popularly known as the anti-defection law.
- It specifies the circumstances under which changing of political parties by legislators invites action under the law.
- It was added to the Constitution by the 52nd Amendment Act.
- It includes situations in which an independent MLA, too, joins a party after the election.
The law covers three scenarios with respect to shifting of political parties by an MP or an MLA. These include:
- When a member elected on the ticket of a political party “voluntarily gives up” membership of such a party or votes in the House against the wishes of the party.
- When a legislator who has won his or her seat as an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
In the above two cases, the legislator loses the seat in the legislature on changing (or joining) a party.
- Relates to nominated MPs. In their case, the law gives them six months to join a political party, after being nominated. If they join a party after such time, they stand to lose their seat in the House.
Matters related to disqualification:
- Under the anti-defection law, the power to decide the disqualification of an MP or MLA rests with the presiding officer of the legislature.
- The law does not specify a time frame in which such a decision has to be made.
- Last year, the Supreme Court observed that anti-defection cases should be decided by Speakers in three months’ time.
However, Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances. Exceptions:
- The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger.
- On being elected as the presiding officer of the House, if a member, voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office, he won’t be disqualified.
Did you know that the initial attempts at creating the anti-defection law (1969, 1973) did not cover independent legislators joining political parties? Then, when were they included under the law? Have a brief overview about it here.
- Names of various committees and commissions with regard to Anti Defection law.
- Committees vs Commissions.
- Decision of presiding officer vs Judicial review.
- Merger vs Split of political parties.
- Is anti- defection law applicable to the presiding officer?
- Relevant Supreme Court cases and verdicts.
Examine the provisions of Anti- defection law. Has this law largely failed to meet its objective? Discuss.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
On the occasion of World Rabies Day, central Government has unveiled the ‘National Action Plan for dog Mediated Rabies Elimination’(NAPRE) by 2030.
- The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has drafted the action plan in consultation with the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
What is the Rabies?
Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.
- Rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, dogs and most rabies deaths in people around the world are caused by dog bites.
- The rabies virus infects the central nervous system.
- If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death.
- Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.
How is rabies transmitted?
Rabies virus is transmitted through direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal.
- Rabies affects only mammals.
Rabies in India:
India has around 20,000 rabies deaths a year. Worldwide, over 59,000 people die every year from rabies, around 40% of them aged under 15.
Rabies is responsible for extensive morbidity and mortality in India.
- The disease is endemic throughout the country.
- With the exception of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands, human cases of rabies are reported from all over the country. The cases occur throughout the year.
- About 96% of the mortality and morbidity is associated with dog bites.
What is more dangerous? Tetanus or rabies? Reference: read this.
- About Rabies.
- About the National Action Plan.
- About NCDC.
Discuss the significance of the National action plan on Rabies.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
The Union government last week told the Supreme Court that the caste-based data enumerated in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 was “unusable”, but in 2016, the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India had informed the Standing Committee on Rural Development that 98.87% of the data on individual caste and religion was “error free”.
Why the data is “unusable” according to the government?
- The government had said that the total number of castes surveyed in 1931 was 4,147, while the SECC figures show that there are more than 46 lakh different castes. Assuming that some castes may bifurcate into sub-castes, the total number can not be exponentially high to this extent.
- The entire exercise was corrupted because the enumerators had used different spellings for the same castes. In many cases the respondents, the government said, had refused to divulge their castes.
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 labelling 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.
- About the National Commission for Backward.
Discuss the need for and significance of caste based census.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.
A study was recently published by Researchers on the impact of climate change on children born today.
- The study is based on data from the Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP).
How was the study carried out?
The ISIMIP data were used alongside country-scale, life-expectancy data, population data and temperature trajectories from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
- Children born today will be hit much harder by extreme climate events than today’s adults.
- During his or her lifetime, a child born in 2021 is likely to experience on average twice as many wildfires, two to three times more droughts, almost three times more river floods and crop failures and about seven times more heat waves compared to a person who is, say, 60 years old today.
What needs to be done?
Under a scenario of current “insufficient” climate policies, dangerous extreme heatwave events, which affect about 15% of the global land area today, could treble to 46% by the end of this century.
- Countries are able to follow through with their climate policies as decided under the Paris Climate Agreement, this effect could be limited to 22%, which is just seven percentage points more than the global land area that is affected today.
- Weincrease climate protection from current emission reduction pledges and get in line with a 1.5-degree target, we will reduce young people’s potential exposure to extreme events on average by 24% globally.
What is the Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP)?
This is a community-driven climate-impacts modelling initiative that assesses the differential impacts of climate change.
- Initiated by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and has since grown to involve over 100 modelling groups from around the world.
Who is involved?
NGO’s, Private sector, Policy-/decision -makers.
How is it carried out?
ISIMIP is organised into simulation rounds, which are guided by a focus topic. For each round, a simulation protocol defines a set of common simulation scenarios based on the focus topic. Participating modelling groups are provided with a common set of climate input data, and other data (in some cases unique to one sector) necessary to ensure cross-sectorally consistent impacts simulations.
Important Climate Summits:
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Disaster Management.
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha committee, constituted to study water table depletion, has recently said that the state will turn into a desert in the next 25 years if the present trend of drawing water from underground aquifers continues.
- This is a prediction that has been made before – over two decades ago, a study on water table depletion in Punjab (The State of the World Report, 1998) had projected almost the same time frame of 25 years, saying aquifers in Punjab could be depleted by 2025.
How alarming is the water situation in Punjab really?
- Out of 138 blocks in Punjab, 109 have already gone into the ‘dark’ or over-exploited zone, which means groundwater extraction is more than 100 per cent here.
- Two fall under the ‘dark/critical’ zone (groundwater extraction is 90 to 100 per cent), while five are under semi-critical (groundwater extraction 70 to 90 per cent) zone.
- This means that around 80 per cent blocks of the state have already dried up and four per cent are on the verge of it.
- Water availability at 3 to 10 meters, which needs a centrifugal pump to extract water, is the most desirable, but currently, water is available at 20 to 30 meters, or more than 30 meters down, in around 84 per cent of Punjab.
Reasons for this scarcity:
- More water is being drawn than it is being replenished. The rate of water extraction in Punjab is 1.66 times against the rate of replenishment.
- Because of the adoption of a faulty cropping pattern. Paddy crop hampers water recharging because of the puddling method used to prepare fields for transplanting.
What needs to be done?
Farmers must be incentivised to choose cropping patterns that require less water, and go for drip irrigation or other water management mechanisms to save our only available deeper aquifers.
Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India was recently released by the Government of India. What does it contain? Have a brief overview of this here.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
17th Foundation Day of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was celebrated on 28 September.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), is the apex statutory body for Disaster Management in India.
- It was constituted on 27th September 2006, under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
- NDMA is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management. India envisions the development of an ethos of Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness and Response.
Please note that the Disaster Management Act envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.
Functions and Responsibilities:
NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters.
Towards this, it has the following responsibilities:
- Lay down policies on disaster management;
- Approve the National Plan;
- Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan;
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan;
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects;
- Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management;
- Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation;
- Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government;
- Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary;
- Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.
- What is DM Act?
- Bodies established under this act.
- Composition of NDMA.
- Powers of states and centre under DM act.
- What is a notified disaster?
- Functions of NDRF.
Is the Disaster Management Act, 2005, ill-suited to be the main economic law of the country? Analyse the need for a pandemic law in the current situation facing the world.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
World Maritime Day:
World Maritime Day is celebrated annually on 30 September.
- It aims to provide an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
- Theme for 2021 is “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future”.
- Zojila tunnel will provide all-year connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh.
- It is set to be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.
- It will connect Srinagar, Dras, Kargil and Leh via a tunnel through the famous Zojila Pass.
- Located at more than 11,500 feet above sea level, the all-weather Zojila tunnel will be 15 km long.
- It will make the travel on the 434-km Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Section of NH-1 free from avalanches, enhance safety and reduce the travel time from more than 3 hours to just 15 minutes.
Government is pushing to complete the massive Zojila tunnel, its showpiece infra project in Kashmir and Ladakh, before Republic Day, 2024.