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. National Security vs Judicial Review.
2. Amendments to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.
3. Asian Development Bank (ADB).
GS Paper 3:
1. Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG).
2. Pegasus snooping case.
Facts for Prelims:
1. ‘Knock every door’ campaign.
2. ‘Time for India’ drive.
3. Integrated Teacher Education Programme.
4. Agni 5 missile.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Supreme Court has made few observations regarding the applicability of judicial review in matters related to ‘National Security’ of the Country.
What’s the issue?
The Court was responding to submissions made by Solicitor-General for the Centre, in the Pegasus snooping case.
The government had refused the court’s repeated advice to file a detailed affidavit responding to the snooping allegations, blankly stating that “the disclosure of certain facts might affect the national security and defence of the nation”.
Observations made by the Court:
- The state cannot keep a secret from the court merely on the bogey of “national security” and expect the judiciary to remain a “mute spectator”.
- The claim has to be backed by evidence to prove that the disclosure of the information sought by the court would affect national security concerns.
- National security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from, by virtue of its mere mentioning.
The court accepted that judicial review in national security matters was limited. However, the court’s delicacy did not licence the Government to call for an “omnibus prohibition” against judicial review.
The mere invocation of national security by the state does not render the court a mute spectator.
What is Judicial Review?
Judicial review is the power of Judiciary to review any act or order of Legislative and Executive wings and to pronounce upon the constitutional validity when challenged by the affected person.
Judicial review present in India:
- The power of Judicial Review comes from the Constitution of India itself (Articles 13, 32, 136, 142 and 147 of the Constitution).
- The power of judicial review is evoked to protect and enforce the fundamental rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution.
- Article 13 of the Constitution prohibits the Parliament and the state legislatures from making laws that “may take away or abridge the fundamental rights” guaranteed to the citizens of the country.
- The provisions of Article 13 ensure the protection of the fundamental rights and consider any law “inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights” as void.
- What is JR?
- Articles 13, 21 and 32.
What is Judicial Review in the Indian Context? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Government policies and related issues.
The Centre has proposed amendments to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 that will enable it to “maintain the database of registered birth and deaths at the national level”.
- Presently, the registration of births and deaths is done by the local registrar appointed by States.
The database may be used to update the Population Register and the electoral register, and Aadhaar, ration card, passport and driving licence databases.
Proposed amendments by the Centre:
- It is proposed that the Chief Registrar (appointed by the States) would maintain a unified database at the State level and integrate it with the data at the “national level,” maintained by the Registrar General of India (RGI). The amendments will imply that the Centre will be a parallel repository of data.
- “Special Sub-Registrars” shall be appointed, in the event of disaster, with any or all of his powers and duties for on the spot registration of deaths and issuance of extract thereof, as may be prescribed.”
What are the benefits of registration of birth and death?
The birth certificate is the first right of the child and it is the first step towards establishing its identity. The following compulsory uses of birth and death certificates are emerged:
- For admission to schools.
- As proof of age for employment.
- For proof of age at marriage.
- To establish parentage.
- To establish age for purpose of enrollment in Electoral Rolls.
- To establish age for insurance purposes.
- For registering in National Population Register (NPR).
- Compulsory production of death certificate for the purpose of inheritance of property and for claiming dues from insurance companies and other companies.
If birth occurred to Indian Citizen abroad (outside India), is there any provision to register such birth in India? Reference: read this.
- Registrar General of India- Appointment, tenure and functions.
- IMR and MMR- current rates and trends.
- Best and worst performing states.
- Who compiles SRS?
Discuss the key trends in the National Birth Rate of India.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
- The Manila-based ADB and the Beijing-based AIIB, where China and India are the biggest shareholders, are in the process of considering the loans.
The vaccines will be purchased by the Government of India through a competitive process and the ADB will be administering the purchasing system and implement it under ADB’s APVAX, or Asia-Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, mechanism.
- It is a regional development bank.
- established on 19 December 1966.
- headquartered — Manila, Philippines.
- official United Nations Observer.
Who can be its members?
The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.
- ADB now has 68 members, 49 from within Asia.
- It is modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
- As of 31 December 2019, ADB’s five largest shareholders are Japan and the United States (each with 15.6% of total shares), the People’s Republic of China (6.4%), India (6.3%), and Australia (5.8%).
Roles and functions:
- Dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
- This is carried out through investments – in the form of loans, grants and information sharing – in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, as well as other areas.
- About ADB.
- Funding and loans.
- ADB vs NDB vs AIIB.
How ADB differs from AIIB.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Biotechnology related issues.
INSACOG led team has traced a total of 108 mutations of the SARS-Cov-2, which include four novel mutations in India, in the wastewater samples collected from Pune city between December 2020 and April 2021.
How important is it for countries to continuously monitor variants and understand the emerging genomic epidemiology?
Genomic sequencing is a crucial part of every country’s approach for detecting and containing outbreaks of other pathogens.
- In India and around the world, the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the emergence of new variants made clear how important it is to be able to collect viral samples, sequence them and share that information nationally and regionally so that there is a clear, accurate real-time picture of how a pandemic is moving, how the pathogen is changing and the effectiveness of mitigation and countermeasure strategies that save lives.
Purpose of sequencing:
- The main purpose of sequencing is surveillance. It helps to get the true picture of prevailing variants, emerging variants (like delta) and those causing reinfection.
- WHO has stressed on the fact that data of sequencing should be submitted to open-access platforms like GISAID, so that a sequence done in one part of the world can be looked at by the global scientific community.
What is genome sequencing?
- A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes.
- Genomics also involves the sequencing and analysis of genomes through uses of high throughput DNA sequencing.
- Advances in genomics have triggered a revolution in discovery-based research and systems biology to facilitate understanding of even the most complex biological systems such as the brain.
Need for genome sequencing:
- Mapping the diversity of India’s genetic pool will lay the bedrock of personalised medicine and put it on the global map.
- Considering the diversity of population in our country, and the disease burden of complex disorders, including diabetes, mental health, etc., once we have a genetic basis, it may be possible to take action before the onset of a disease.
About Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG):
- The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is jointly initiated by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- It is a consortium of 28 National Laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.
- It carries out whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus across the nation, aiding in understanding the spread and evolution of the virus.
- INSACOG also aims to focus on sequencing of clinical samples to understand the disease dynamics and severity.
Have you heard about the Genomics for Public Health in India (IndiGen) programme?
- About Genome Sequencing
- Applications of Genome Sequencing
- About Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG)
- IndiGen programme
Significance, need and challenges in Genome Sequencing.
Source: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.
Stressing that the power of the state to snoop in the name of national security into the “sacred private space” of individuals is not absolute, the Supreme Court has appointed an expert technical committee overseen by former Supreme Court judge R.V. Raveendran to examine allegations that the Centre used Israeli software Pegasus to spy on citizens.
What’s the issue?
The complaint of the petitioners is about the misuse or likely misuse of spyware in violation of the right to privacy of citizens.
The continued use of spyware Pegasus, which an Israeli company sells to governments worldwide, has been confirmed with fresh reports. Like the phones it targets, Pegasus has been apparently updated and now comes with new surveillance capabilities.
What is Pegasus?
It is a spyware tool developed by an Israeli firm, the NSO Group.
Spyware spy on people through their phones.
- Pegasus works by sending an exploit link, and if the target user clicks on the link, the malware or the code that allows the surveillance is installed on the user’s phone.
- Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has complete access to the target user’s phone.
What can Pegasus do?
- Pegasus can “send back the target’s private data, including passwords, contact lists, calendar events, text messages, and live voice calls from popular mobile messaging apps”.
- The target’s phone camera and microphone can be turned on to capture all activity in the phone’s vicinity, expanding the scope of the surveillance.
What is a zero-click attack?
A zero-click attack helps spyware like Pegasus gain control over a device without human interaction or human error.
- So all awareness about how to avoid a phishing attack or which links not to click are pointless if the target is the system itself.
- Most of these attacks exploit software which receive data even before it can determine whether what is coming in is trustworthy or not, like an email client.
What’s the Difference Between Malware, Trojan, Virus, and Worm?
Malware is defined as a software designed to perform an unwanted illegal act via the computer network. It could be also defined as software with malicious intent.
Malware can be classified based on how they get executed, how they spread, and/or what they do. Some of them are discussed below.
- Virus: A program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a possible evolved copy of itself.
- Worms: Disseminated through computer networks, unlike viruses, computer worms are malicious programs that copy themselves from system to system, rather than infiltrating legitimate files.
- Trojans: Trojan or trojan horse is a program that generally impairs the security of a system. Trojans are used to create back-doors (a program that allows outside access into a secure network) on computers belonging to a secure network so that a hacker can have access to the secure network.
- Hoax: An e-mail that warns the user of a certain system that is harming the computer. The message thereafter instructs the user to run a procedure (most often in the form of a download) to correct the harming system. When this program is run, it invades the system and deletes an important file.
- Spyware: Invades a computer and, as its name implies, monitors a user’s activities without consent. Spywares are usually forwarded through unsuspecting e-mails with bonafide e-mail i.ds. Spyware continues to infect millions of computers globally.
Have you heard of Google Project Zero? Reference:
- About Spyware.
- About Pegasus.
- Differences between Spyware, malware and Trojans.
What is a zero-click attack? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
‘Knock every door’ campaign:
Health Ministry is planning to start the “Har Ghar Dastak” (Knock Every Door) campaign in districts with low vaccination rates to enthuse and motivate people towards getting their jab.
‘Time for India’ drive:
- Sweden set to launch ‘Time for India’ drive.
- This will be a trade promotion event to boost bilateral trade.
- Under it, there shall be no requirement for vaccination for entry nor will there be a quarantine regime in place. But travellers need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival.
Integrated Teacher Education Programme:
The Education Ministry on Wednesday notified a four-year Integrated Teacher Education Programme (ITEP), offering dual-major Bachelor’s degrees which will become a mandatory requirement for recruitment of school teachers by 2030, according to the National Education Policy (NEP).
- As a pilot project in 2022-23, the programme will initially be offered in 50 selected multi-disciplinary institutions.
- Admissions to the programme will be carried out by the National Testing Agency through the National Common Entrance Test (NET).
India successfully tests nuclear-capable Agni-V ballistic missile.
- The Agni-V Intercontinental-range Ballistic Missile (ICBM) has been developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
- It weighs close to 50,000 kilograms. The missile is 1.75 meters tall with a diameter of two metres.
- The 1,500-kilogram warhead will be placed on top of the three-stage rocket boosters powered by solid fuel.
- The missile can range the whole of Asia, Europe and parts of Africa. Once inducted, Agni-V will be maintained by the Strategic Forces command.
- India has already conducted seven trials of the missile, which has a range of over 5,000 kilometres.
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