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. Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenya and Somalia.
GS Paper 3:
1. River Ranching Programme.
2. NASA’s Lucy mission.
3. WMO report on terrestrial water storage (TWS) loss.
4. Clean, healthy and sustainable environment, a universal right.
5. Territorial Army.
Facts for Prelims:
1. 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature.
2. Athirappilly hydroelectric project.
3. 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
4. Iraq elections.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Kenya has said it rejected the jurisdiction of the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) ahead of a ruling next week on its long-running maritime border dispute with Somalia.
- It said, as a sovereign nation, Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent.
What’s the issue?
The main point of disagreement between the two neighbours is the direction in which their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should extend.
Where is the disputed area?
- According to Somalia, the sea border should be an extension of the same direction in which their land border runs as it approaches the Indian Ocean, i.e. towards the southeast.
- Kenya, on the other hand, argues that the territorial southeast border should take a 45 degree turn as it reaches the sea, and then run in a latitudinal direction, i.e. parallel to the equator. Such an arrangement would be advantageous for Kenya, whose coastline of 536 km is more than 6 times smaller than Somalia’s (3,333 km).
Why is this area important?
The triangular area thus created by the dispute is around 1.6 lakh sq km large, and boasts of rich marine reserves. It is also believed to have oil and gas deposits.
- ICJ was established in 1945 by the United Nations charter and started working in April 1946.
- It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, situated at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
- Unlike the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (USA).
- It settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions in accordance with international law, on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
- The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These organs vote simultaneously but separately.
- In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.
- In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years and Judges are eligible for re-election.
- ICJ is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.
The 15 judges of the Court are distributed in following regions:
- Three from Africa.
- Two from Latin America and Caribbean.
- Three from Asia.
- Five from Western Europe and other states.
- Two from Eastern Europe.
Jurisdiction and Functioning:
- ICJ acts as a world court with two fold jurisdiction i.e. legal disputes between States submitted to it by them (contentious cases) and requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and specialized agencies (advisory proceedings).
- Only States which are members of the United Nations and which have become parties to the Statute of the Court or which have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions, are parties to contentious cases.
- The judgment is final, binding on the parties to a case and without appeal (at the most it may be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision).
Did you know that ICJ is not composed of representatives of governments? Reference: read this.
- What is UNCLOS?
- Countries in the Indian Ocean region.
- Horn of Africa.
- Differences between ICJ and ICC.
- Geographical locations of these organisations and overview of surrounding countries.
- What is Rome statute?
Discuss the significance of Indian Ocean Region.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Economics of animal rearing.
Nationwide River Ranching Programme was recently launched in Uttar Pradesh.
- Along with Uttar Pradesh, other 4 states namely, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Tripura and Chhattisgarh also participated in the launch of ‘nationwide River Ranching program’.
- 3 lakhs fingerlings were ranched at 3 sites in UP, namely, Brijghat, Tigri, Meerut, Garhmukteshwar and Bijnor.
What is River Ranching?
- River Ranching is a form of aquaculture in which a population of a fish species (such as salmon) is held in captivity for the first stage of their lives.
- They are then released, and later harvested as adults when they return from the sea to their freshwater birthplace to spawn.
About the Programme:
River ranching programme was introduced as special activity under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme to augment and enhance fish production and productivity by expanding, intensifying, diversifying and utilizing land & water productively.
Who is the implementing agency?
National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad is the nodal agency under central component of the PMMSY.
What is the need of programme?
As the human population is growing, requirement of high-quality protein & demand of fish is increasing gradually. Thus, to promote sustainable use and conservation of fishery resources in an economical and environmentally responsible manner, River Ranching Programme was launched.
- This programme will help in achieving sustainable fisheries, conserving biodiversity, assessing ecosystem services, reducing habitat degradation and maximizing social-economic benefits.
- It will also ensure the upgradation of traditional fishery, trade & social protection of Inland communities and ecosystem sustainability.
- It is a scheme for focused and sustainable development of fisheries sector in the country.
- 20,050 crores has been sanctioned for its implementation during a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories, as a part of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package.
- The scheme focuses on beneficiary-oriented activities in Marine, Inland fisheries and Aquaculture.
- It seeks to adopt ‘Cluster or Area based approaches’.
Aims and targets of the scheme:
- Enhance fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25.
- Increase fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.
- Double incomes of fishers and fish farmers.
- Reduce post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10%.
- Generate additional 55 lakhs direct and indirect gainful employment opportunities in fisheries sector and allied activities.
Have you heard about rainbow revolution? Reference: read this.
- About the River Ranching Programme.
- About PMSSY.
- Duration of the scheme.
- Targets under the scheme.
- What is Blue Revolution scheme?
- Aquatic Disease Referral Laboratory has been established at?
Discuss the significance of the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
NASA has announced the launch of ‘Lucy’ mission. It will be launched next week.
- The spacecraft will fly by the Earth twice in order to use the planet’s gravitational field to assist it on its journey to the asteroids.
About ‘Lucy’ Mission:
This is NASA’s first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids.
It is a solar-powered mission.
It is estimated to be over 12 years long, during the course of which the spacecraft will visit eight asteroids covering a distance of about 6.3 billion km to deepen the understanding of the “young solar system”.
Aim of the mission:
The mission is designed to understand the composition of the diverse asteroids that are a part of the Trojan asteroid swarms, to determine the mass and densities of the materials and to look for and study the satellites and rings that may orbit the Trojan asteroids.
What are Trojan Asteroids? Why are they called so?
These asteroids are believed to be the remnants of the early solar system, and studying them will help scientists understand its origins and evolution, and why it looks the way it does.
- The Trojan asteroids are believed to be formed from the same material that led to the formation of planets nearly 4 billion years ago when the solar system was formed.
Did you know that the mission is named after ‘Lucy’, a 3.2 million-year-old ancestor who belonged to a species of hominins (which include humans and their ancestors)?
Did you know that the Asteroids are divided into three categories? Which are those? Reference: read this.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
What is terrestrial water storage (TWS)?
TWS is the sum of all water on the land surface and in the subsurface, ie surface water, soil moisture, snow and ice and ground water.
Highlights of the report:
- Overall, terrestrial water storage (TWS) dropped at a rate of 1 cm per year in 20 years (2002-2021).
- The biggest losses have occurred in Antarctica and Greenland.
- Many highly populated, lower latitude locations have also experienced TWS losses.
- India is the ‘topmost hotspot of TWS loss’: India has recorded the highest loss in terrestrial water storage if the loss of water storage in Antarctica and Greenland is excluded.
- In India, the TWS has been lost at a rate of at least 3 cm per year. In some regions, the loss has been over 4 cm per year too.
- The northern part of India has experienced the maximum loss within the country.
Water resources across the world are under tremendous pressure due to human and naturally-induced stressors.
- These include population growth, urbanisation and decreasing availability of freshwater.
- Extreme weather events too have been responsible for the pressure on water resources realised across sectors and regions.
- In India, per capita water availability is reducing due to an increase in population.
- The average annual per capita water availability has been consistently decreasing. It reduced to 1,545 cubic metres in 2011, from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001.
- It is projected to further decrease to 1,367 cubic metres in 2031, according to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- Five of the 21 river basins in India are ‘absolute water scarce’ (per capita water availability below 500 cubic metres).
- By 2050, six will become absolute water scarce, six will become water scarce and four will become water stressed.
Steps Taken by The Government:
- MGNREGA for water conservation.
- Jal Kranti Abhiyan.
- National Water Mission.
- National Rural Drinking Water Programme.
- NITI Aayog Composite Water Management Index.
- Formation of Jal Shakti Ministry and Jal Jeevan Mission.
Do you know about the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission? Reference: read this.
- About TWS.
- About WMO.
- Distribution of terrestrial water.
Discuss the concerns associated with the Territorial Water Loss. Suggest measures to address the issue.
Sources: Down to Earth.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has unanimously voted for recognising a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right in Geneva, Switzerland.
Need for recognition:
The resolution emphasises “the rights to life, liberty and security of human rights defenders working in environmental matters, referred to as environmental human rights defenders.”
- Environmental defenders across the globe are subject to constant physical attacks, detentions, arrests, legal action and smear campaigns.
- Some 200 environmental defenders have been murdered in 2020 alone.
Over 13,000 civil society organisations and indigenous peoples’ groups, more than 90,000 children worldwide, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and private sector stakeholders had campaigned relentlessly for the right.
A human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment has not been agreed in any human rights treaty and it is yet to emerge as a customary right.
- Recognising rights without due consideration and a common understanding at an international level of what they comprise creates ambiguity.
- Individuals cannot know what they can legitimately claim from the State, and the State has no clear understanding of the protection it is obliged to afford to the individual.
- Besides, human rights resolutions are not legally binding instruments, and as such the recognition of the right in this resolution does not bind States to its terms.
Expected outcomes of this recognition:
- Stronger environmental laws and policies.
- Improved implementation and enforcement.
- Greater public participation in environmental decision-making.
- Reduced environmental injustices.
- A level playing field with social and economic rights.
- And better environmental performance.
Did you know that the right to a clean environment was rooted in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration? Reference: read this.
- About UNHRC.
- About Universal Human Rights.
- Latest addition to the list.
Discuss the need for recognition of this right.
Sources: down to earth.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
Indian Army celebrated the 72nd Territorial Army Day on October 9.
About the territorial army:
- India’s first Governor General Shri C Rajagopalachari formally inaugurated the Indian Territorial Army on October 9 in 1949.
- It is an organization where volunteers apply for a short period of training every year, so as to be ready to tackle any emergent situation or to serve for the defence of India.
- The Territorial Army, also known as the ‘Terriers’, is considered the second line of national defence after the regular Army.
Any male Indian citizen between the ages of 18 and 42 can apply and enter into the TA service provided they clear the written test, interview, medical examination and the necessary training.
Roles and responsibilities:
The Territorial Army is part of a Regular Army and its present role is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened and to provide units for Regulars Army as and when required.
Territorial Army comes under the Defence Ministry.
- About TA.
- Roles and responsibilities.
Write a note on the Territorial Army and its significance.
Facts for Prelims:
2021 Nobel Prize in Literature:
Abdulrazak Gurnah, a Zanzibari Arab writer settled in the United Kingdom, has been declared the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature for his works on colonialism and the lives of refugees.
- Gurnah was born in 1948 and grew up on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. He was forced to flee to the UK, the former colonial power, at the end of the 1960s after a revolution occurred in Zanzibar.
- Gurnah has published ten novels and a number of short stories. The theme of the refugee’s disruption runs throughout his work.
Memory of Departure, Pilgrims Way from 1988, Dottie (1990), Paradise (1994) etc. Afterlives (2020) is his latest novel.
Where is Zanzibar? It is part of East Africa, a region known as the Swahili coast, stretching from present-day Somalia to Mozambique on the western shores of the Indian Ocean.
What is Swahili? For centuries, traders from Arabia, Persia and the Indian subcontinent mixed with local Bantu populations to give rise to a new culture and language: Swahili.
Tanzania (Tanganyika and Zanzibar), where Gurnah comes from, was part of German East Africa in the 19th century. After World War I, it was taken over by the British.
The Nobel Prize in Literature:
- It is a Swedish literature prize that is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, “in the field of literature, produced the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction”.
- Though individual works are sometimes cited as being particularly noteworthy, the award is based on an author’s body of work as a whole.
Athirappilly hydroelectric project:
The Kerala government has called off the proposed 163-megwatt Athirappilly hydroelectric power project on the Chalakudy river basin in Thrissur district.
- The Chalakudy River is a tributary of the Periyar River and originates in the Anamalai region of Tamil Nadu.
Why was it abandoned?
The decision came amid mounting opposition from environmentalists and tribal organisations against the construction in the biodiverse and state’s only riverine forest.
Related key points:
- The Kadar tribal community has faced continued displacement due to the commissioning of different hydel power projects in the Chalakudy river basin.
- Did you know? Silent Valley was among the first of India’s ecological movements with massive participation, during the end of the 1970s and early 1980s. It forced the Kerala government to abandon a dam project across Kunthi River, inside the evergreen tropical forests of Silent Valley in the Palakkad district of Kerala.
- The Madhav Gadgil report had termed Athirappilly hydel project ‘undesirable’ and categorised it as futile on environmental technical and economic grounds.
- The Kasturirangan panel simply recommended a re-evaluation of the project’s impact on ecological grounds.
2021 Nobel Peace Prize:
Journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia have won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment and even murder.
- Nobel peace prize has been awarded annually (with some exceptions) to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
Iraq elections and its significance:
The elections are being held early, in response to mass protests that erupted in 2019.
- It’s the first time a vote is taking place because of demands by Iraqi protesters on the streets.
- The vote is also taking place under a new election law that divides Iraq into smaller constituencies.
- A UN Security Council resolution adopted earlier this year authorized an expanded team to monitor the elections. There will be up to 600 international observers in place, including 150 from the United Nations.
- Iraq is also for the first time introducing biometric cards for voters. To prevent abuse of electronic voter cards, they will be disabled for 72 hours after each person votes, to avoid double voting.
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