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 2:
1. Right to be Forgotten.
2. Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS).
3. PM Poshan Shakti Nirman Scheme.
4. Antibodies against Nipah virus detected in bats from Kerala.
5. Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030.
GS Paper 3:
1. National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) scheme.
2. Indian scientists develop reactors for cost-effective production of hydrogen using sunlight and water.
3. Senegalo-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin.
Facts for Prelims:
1. New eel species discovered in Mumbai well.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
The Delhi High Court has sought replies from the Centre, Google and India Kanoon on a plea seeking removal of a judgment and an order in connection with a seven-year-old FIR under ‘Right to be Forgotten’, and asked how far this rule can be stretched.
The court was hearing a petition by one Sukhmeet Singh Anand seeking removal of a judgment and an order passed in 2015 and 2018 in connection with an FIR registered against him in 2014 by the Economic Offences Wing.
- The plea referred to an interim order passed by the High Court in April this year, directing removal of the judgment from the search results regarding the petitioner in that case.
What is the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context?
- The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy, which is governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.
- In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).
- The court said at the time that “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.
What does the Personal Data Protection Bill say about this?
Right to privacy is also governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.
The bill exclusively talks about the “Right to be Forgotten.”
- Broadly, under the Right to be forgotten, users can de-link, limit, delete or correct the disclosure of their personal information held by data fiduciaries.
But, what are the issues associated with this provision in the Bill?
The main issue with the provision is that the sensitivity of the personal data and information cannot be determined independently by the person concerned, but will be overseen by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).
- This means that while the draft bill gives some provisions under which a user can seek that his data be removed, his or her rights are subject to authorisation by the Adjudicating Officer who works for the DPA.
- About the Right to be forgotten.
- What is right to privacy?
- Highlights of Personal Data Protection Bill.
Discuss the significance of the right to be forgotten.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.
The government has extended the emergency credit line guarantee scheme till the end of March 2022 or till guarantees for an amount of Rs 4.5 lakh crore are issued under the scheme, whichever is earlier.
About the scheme:
The scheme was launched as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package announced in May 2020 to mitigate the distress caused by coronavirus-induced lockdown, by providing credit to different sectors, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
- 100% guarantee coverage is being provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company, whereas Banks and Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) provide loans.
- The credit will be provided in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.
- No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from the Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.
- Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, and at 14% for NBFCs.
- Borrowers with credit outstanding up to Rs. 50 crore as on 29th February, 2020, and with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 250 crore are eligible under the Scheme.
- On 1st August 2020, the government widened the scope of the Rs. 3 lakh crore-ECLGS scheme by doubling the upper ceiling of loans outstanding and including certain loans given to professionals like doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants for business purposes under its ambit.
Benefits of the scheme:
- The scheme is expected to provide credit to the sector at a low cost, thereby enabling MSMEs to meet their operational liabilities and restart their businesses.
- By supporting MSMEs to continue functioning during the current unprecedented situation, the Scheme is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.
First Ever International SME Convention was held in 2018 in New Delhi. What were its objectives? Reference
- Classification of MSMEs- old vs new.
- Contributions of MSMEs to GDP.
- What are NBFCs?
- What is GECL facility?
- What is NCGTC?
Discuss the significance of the scheme.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
The existing Mid-Day Meal scheme, which provides hot meals to students, has been renamed as the National Scheme for PM Poshan Shakti Nirman.
Key propositions in the PM POSHAN Scheme:
Supplementary nutrition: The new scheme has a provision for supplementary nutrition for children in aspirational districts and those with high prevalence of anaemia.
States to decide diet: It essentially does away with the restriction on the part of the Centre to provide funds only for wheat, rice, pulses and vegetables. Currently, if a state decides to add any component like milk or eggs to the menu, the Centre does not bear the additional cost. Now that restriction has been lifted.
Nutri-gardens: They will be developed in schools to give children “firsthand experience with nature and gardening”.
Women and FPOs: To promote vocals for local, women self-help groups and farmer producer organisations will be encouraged to provide a fillip to locally grown traditional food items.
Social Audit: The scheme also plans “inspection” by students of colleges and universities for ground-level execution.
Tithi-Bhojan: Communities would also be encouraged to provide the children food at festivals etc, while cooking festivals to encourage local cuisines are also envisaged.
DBTs to school: In other procedural changes meant to promote transparency and reduce leakages, States will be asked to do direct benefit cash transfers of cooking costs to individual school accounts, and honorarium amounts to the bank accounts of cooks and helpers.
Holistic nutrition: The rebranded scheme aims to focus on “holistic nutrition” goals. Use of locally grown traditional foods will be encouraged, along with school nutrition gardens.
About the Mid-Day meal scheme:
The scheme guarantees one meal to all children in government and aided schools and madarsas supported under Samagra Shiksha.
- Students up to Class VIII are guaranteed one nutritional cooked meal at least 200 days in a year.
- The Scheme comes under the Ministry of HRD.
- It was launched in 1995 as the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP – NSPE), a centrally sponsored scheme. In 2004, the scheme was relaunched as the Mid Day Meal Scheme.
- The Scheme is also covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.
Address hunger and malnutrition, increase enrolment and attendance in school, improve socialisation among castes, provide employment at grassroot level especially to women.
The MDM rules 2015, provide that:
- The place of serving meals to the children shall be school only.
- If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.
- The School Management Committee mandated under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 shall also monitor implementation of the Mid-day meal Scheme.
In terms of calorie intake, as per the MDM guidelines, the children in primary schools must be provided with at least 450 calories with 12 grams of protein through MDM while the children in upper primary schools should get 700 calories with 20 grams of protein, as per MHRD.
The food intake per meal by the children of primary classes, as provided by MHRD is 100 grams of food grains, 20 grams of pulses, 50 grams of vegetables and 5 grams of oils and fats. For the children of upper-primary schools, the mandated breakup is 150 grams of food grains, 30 grams of pulses, 75 grams of vegetables and 7.5 grams of oils and fats.
Do you know about the 2012: RIO+20 – Zero Hunger Challenge? Reference: read this.
- Origin of MDMS.
- When was it renamed?
- Difference between centrally sponsored and Central sector schemes? What kind of scheme of the MDMS?
- Financing under the scheme.
- Nutritional norms prescribed.
- Coverage under the scheme.
- Responsibility to pay food security allowance under the scheme.
Discuss the significance of Mid-Day Meal scheme.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
Nipah virus antibodies (IgG antibodies) were detected in bat samples collected by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, from two districts in Kerala where a Nipah infection was confirmed.
Significance of the discovery:
Given the current evidence, it has been logically concluded that the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode did originate from bats, even though the authorities are still in the dark as to the route of virus transmission from bats to humans.
Nipah Virus outbreaks in India:
- India has experienced four NiV outbreaks, with the case fatality rate between 65 percent and 100 percent.
- The most recent outbreak started in Kerala in 2018.
- Southern Asian countries and some Indian states have been identified as potential hotspots for the disease.
What’s the Concern now?
Nipah is considered dangerous as there is no medicine or vaccines and the death rate among those affected is high. While the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) among COVID-19 affected patients is between 1-2%, that for Nipah infections is in the range of 65-100%.
About the Nipah virus:
- It is a zoonotic virus, meaning that it can spread between animals and people.
- The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
- Fruit bats, also called flying foxes, are the animal reservoir for NiV in nature.
- Symptoms: Infection with NiV is associated with encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and can cause mild to severe illness and even death.
The Nipah virus (NiV) is classified as a “highly pathogenic paramyxovirus”. Which other viruses are included in this? Reference: read this.
- About Nipah.
- Treatment and prevention.
- What are zoonotic diseases?
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
- This is the first-ever global strategy to defeat meningitis.
- It aims to eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis and to reduce deaths by 70 per cent and halve the number of cases.
The new roadmap will aim for:
- Achievement of high immunisation coverage, development of new affordable vaccines and improved prevention strategies and outbreak response.
- Speedy diagnosis and optimal treatment for patients.
- Good data to guide prevention and control efforts.
- Care and support for those affected, focusing on early recognition and improved access to care and support for after-effects.
- Advocacy and engagement, to ensure high awareness of meningitis, accountability for national plans, and affirmation of the right to prevention, care and after-care services.
The strategy could save more than 200,000 lives annually and significantly reduce disability caused by the disease.
- Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
- It is predominantly caused by bacterial and viral infection.
- Meningitis caused by bacterial infection causes around 250,000 deaths a year and can lead to fast-spreading epidemics.
- It kills a tenth of those infected — mostly children and young people — and leaves a fifth with long-lasting disability.
Have you heard about the ‘Meningitis Belt’ which spans 26 countries across sub-Saharan Africa? Reference: read this.
Sources: down to earth.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Government approves continuation of the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) scheme and infusion of Rs. 1,650 crore Grant-in-Aid over 5 years.
Significance of the move:
Capital infusion in the NEIA will generate output from the vast potential of project exports in the focus market. The infusion can be seen as a part of different measures to provide a boost to the exports sector.
- The NEIA Trust was set up in 2006 to promote project exports from India that could be of strategic and national importance.
- The Trust promotes medium and long term (MLT)/project exports by extending (partial/full) support to covers issued by ECGC (ECGC Ltd, formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd) to MLT/project export and to Exim Bank for Buyer’s Credit (BC-NEIA) tied to project exports from India.
National Export Insurance Account (NEIA):
- It has been set up by the Government of India to facilitate medium and long-term exports, which are commercially viable, considering the limitations of the ECGC Limited in providing adequate cover on its own and non-availability of reinsurance cover to such exporters.
- NEIA aims to ensure the availability of credit risk cover for projects and other high-value exports, which are desirable from the point of view of national interest, but which ECGC is unable to underwrite at terms which will not affect the competitiveness of the exports.
Various Export Related Schemes and Initiatives taken by Govt. in last few years:
- Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20) extended upto 30-09-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
- Rs 56,027 crore released in September 2021 to liquidate all pending arrears under all script base Schemes to provide liquidity in the COVID-19 times.
- Roll out of a new Scheme – Remission of Duties and Taxes and Exported Products (RoDTEP). Rs 12,454 crore sanctioned for the Scheme in the FY 2021-22. It is a WTO compatible mechanism for reimbursement of taxes/ duties/ levies, which are currently not being refunded under any other mechanism, at the central, state and local level.
- Support to the textiles sector was increased by the remission of Central/ State taxes through the ROSCTL scheme, which has now been extended till March 2024.
- Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES), Market Access Initiatives (MAI) Scheme and Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) schemes to promote trade infrastructure and marketing.
Indian scientists develop reactor for cost-effective production of hydrogen using sunlight and water:
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.
Scientists have, for the first time, developed a large-scale reactor which produces a substantial amount of hydrogen using sustainable sources like sunlight and water, which is a cost-effective and sustainable process.
- They have used an earth-abundant chemical called carbon nitrides as a catalyst for the purpose.
- This work is supported by the DST Nano Mission NATDP project.
How does the reactor work?
- The team employed a low-cost organic semiconductor in carbon nitrides which can be prepared using cheaper precursors like urea and melamine at ease in a kilogram scale.
- When the sunlight falls on this semiconductor, electrons and holes are generated.
- The electrons reduced the protons to produce hydrogen, and holes are consumed by some chemical agents called sacrificial agents.
- If the holes are not consumed, then they will recombine with the electrons.
- The reactor is about 1 metre square, and the photocatalyst was coated in the form of panels where water flow is maintained.
- Upon natural sunlight irradiation, hydrogen production occurs and is quantified through gas chromatography.
Significance of the development:
- Hydrogen generated in this manner can be used in many forms like electricity generation through fuel cells in remote tribal areas, hydrogen stoves, and powering small gadgets, to mention a few.
- Eventually, they can power the transformers and e-vehicles, which are long-term research goals under progress.
During his Independence Day speech, PM had announced the launch of a National Hydrogen Mission to accelerate plans to generate carbon-free fuel from renewables as he set a target of 2047 for the country to achieve self-reliance in energy.
- India has set a target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. To achieve this, researchers are working towards renewable energy solutions that should be sustainable with a limited carbon footprint.
What is Hydrogen fuel?
Hydrogen is the lightest and first element on the periodic table. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.
At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas.
Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.
Occurrence of Hydrogen:
- It is the most abundant element in the universe. The sun and other stars are composed largely of hydrogen.
- Astronomers estimate that 90% of the atoms in the universe are hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen is a component of more compounds than any other element.
- Water is the most abundant compound of hydrogen found on earth.
- Molecular hydrogen is not available on Earth in convenient natural reservoirs. Most hydrogen on Earth is bonded to oxygen in water and to carbon in live or dead and/or fossilized biomass. It can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Hydrogen can be stored physically as either a gas or a liquid.
- Storage of hydrogen as a gas typically requires high-pressure tanks.
- Storage of hydrogen as a liquid requires cryogenic temperatures because the boiling point of hydrogen at one atmosphere pressure is −252.8°C.
- Hydrogen can also be stored on the surfaces of solids (by adsorption) or within solids (by absorption).
Potential of clean hydrogen industry in reducing greenhouse gas emissions:
- The only by-product or emission that results from the usage of hydrogen fuel is water — making the fuel 100 per cent clean.
- Hydrogen is considered an alternative fuel. It is due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission electric vehicles, its potential for domestic production, and the fuel cell’s potential for high efficiency.
- In fact, a fuel cell coupled with an electric motor is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline.
- Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines.
- The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas contains about the same as the energy in 1 gallon (6.2 pounds, 2.8 kilograms) of gasoline.
Efforts in this regard:
- Recently, the Finance Minister in the Union budget for 2020-21 formally announced the National Hydrogen Mission which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources.
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also disclosed that the draft regulations for NHM will be finalised by the end of this month and will thereafter proceed for approval of the Union Cabinet.
Challenges for India:
- One of the colossal challenges faced by the industry for using hydrogen commercially is the economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen.
- The technology used in production and use of hydrogen like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuel cell technology are at nascent stage and is expensive which in turn increases the cost of production of hydrogen.
- The maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly, like in South Korea.
- The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation and demand creation for hydrogen.
There are several ways of extracting hydrogen and, depending on the method, the hydrogen produced is classified as ‘grey’, ‘blue’, or ‘green’ hydrogen. Reference: read this.
- About Hydrogen fuel.
- Why is it called a clean fuel?
- Production and storage.
Discuss the significance of Hydrogen as a fuel.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation and Pollution related issues.
The four West African countries- Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal- have signed a joint declaration to advance transboundary cooperation in the Senegal-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin (SMAB).
- They have agreed to establish a legal and institutional framework for cooperation on SMAB.
- This would be the first such mechanism in West Africa and pave the way for strengthened collaboration on shared groundwater resources worldwide.
- The Senegalo-Mauritanian aquifer basin is the largest basin in the Atlantic margin of north-west Africa, having an area of 350,000 square kilometres.
- More than 24 million inhabitants of the region are dependent on it for drinking water and other needs.
Senegal, upon accession to the UNECE Water Convention in 2018, had requested for such a declaration.
- The Water Convention Secretariat, together with the Geneva Water Hub and the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre, subsequently facilitated the declaration.
About the Water Convention:
- The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) was adopted in Helsinki in 1992 and entered into force in 1996.
- The Convention is a unique legally binding instrument promoting the sustainable management of shared water resources, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the prevention of conflicts, and the promotion of peace and regional integration.
- The Water Convention requires Parties to prevent, control and reduce transboundary impact, use transboundary waters in a reasonable and equitable way and ensure their sustainable management.
- Parties bordering the same transboundary waters have to cooperate by entering into specific agreements and establishing joint bodies.
- As a framework agreement, the Convention does not replace bilateral and multilateral agreements for specific basins or aquifers; instead, it fosters their establishment and implementation, as well as further development.
As of September 2018, it has been ratified by 43 parties, which includes 42 states and the European Union. It has been signed but not ratified by the United Kingdom.
The Water Convention is one of five UNECE’s negotiated environmental treaties. Reference: read this.
Sources: down to earth.
Facts for Prelims:
New eel species discovered in Mumbai well:
- A new species of swamp eel belonging to the genus Rakthamicthys that is endemic to India was discovered in a well in Mumbai.
- It was named Rakthamichthys mumba.
- Unlike other species of its genus, the mumba lacks eyes, fins and scales, has jaws equal in forward extent, different gill aperture, crescentic-shaped cephalic.
- The species differs from its congener from Western Ghats of India by the possession of jaws-projecting forward equally, when viewed laterally, absence of eyes and having more vertebrae.
- The present known habitat of the species is only the Mumbai well.
Members of the family synbranchidae are very peculiar, relict lineages of percomorphs, consisting of eel-like fishes, distributed across all countries except Antarctica. Presently, this family consists of 26 valid species and are unique among teleosts by lacking paired, median and caudal fins.