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. 12-foot statue of Adi Shankaracharya unveiled at Kedarnath.
GS Paper 2:
1. Why is Tamil Nadu’s DMK govt opposed to National Education Policy?
2. Haryana private sector quota law to take effect from Jan 15.
GS Paper 3:
1. Extinction risk for leopards in North India.
2. What is the Global Methane Pledge?
3. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Facts for Prelims:
1. Abu Dhabi gives nod to non-Muslim civil marriage.
GS Paper 1:
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
A 12-foot statue of Adi Shankaracharya has been unveiled at Kedarnath, where the acharya is believed to have attained samadhi at the age of 32 in the ninth century.
About Adi Shankaracharya:
- Born in Kaladi village on the bank of the Periyar, the largest river in Kerala
- He was a disciple of the scholar Govindacharya.
- He was constantly on the move — bearing the flag of Advaita Vedanta, challenging prevailing philosophical traditions including Buddhism and Jainism.
- He is believed to have established the ritual practices at the Badri and Kedar dhams.
- Adi Shankara is generally identified as the author of 116 works — among them the celebrated commentaries (bhashyas) on 10 Upanishads, the Brahmasutra and the Gita, and poetic works including Vivekachudamani, Maneesha Panchakam, and Saundaryalahiri.
- He also composed texts like Shankarasmrithi, which seeks to establish the social supremacy of Nambuthiri Brahmins.
What is Advaita Vedanta?
- Advaita Vedanta articulates a philosophical position of radical nondualism, a revisionary worldview which it derives from the ancient Upanishadic texts.
- According to Advaita Vedantins, the Upanishads reveal a fundamental principle of nonduality termed ‘brahman’, which is the reality of all things.
- Advaitins understand brahman as transcending individuality and empirical plurality.
- They seek to establish that the essential core of one’s self (atman) is brahman. The fundamental thrust of Advaita Vedanta is that the atman is pure non-intentional consciousness.
- It is one without a second, nondual, infinite existence, and numerically identical with brahman.
Shankara’s contested legacy:
The essence of Adi Shankara’s philosophy is encapsulated in the much quoted formulation: “brahma satyam jagan-mithya, jivo brahmaiva naaparah” (brahman alone is real, this world is an illusion/ and the jiva is non-differential from brahman).
- Custodians of the caste system cite from Shankara’s commentaries to justify the unequal and unjust social order, whereas others claim these are extrapolations and point to works like Maneesha Panchakam to suggest a different reading of the acharya’s outlook.
- Among the interpreters of his philosophy would be those who suggested that the Advaita Vedanta borrowed the categories of Buddhist thinkers and called him the Prachhanna Buddha (Buddha in disguise), to Sri Narayana Guru who in the 20th century offered a radical reading of Advaita Vedanta to dismantle the theory and praxis of caste.
- About Adi Shankaracharya.
- His literary works.
- His philosophy.
- What is Advaita Vedanta?
- Different schools of philosophy.
Discuss about the legacy of Adi Shankaracharya.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Chief Minister M K Stalin has said the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will not be implemented in Tamil Nadu. An expert committee would be formed soon to prepare a new education policy of the state.
Why is Tamil Nadu opposed to NEP?
Tamil Nadu’s arguments:
NEP being recommended by the Centre was “for elites” and the education “will be confined and limited to a few sections”.
- Besides the opposition to three-language policy, the state has also questioned the prominence given to Sanskrit over and above Tamil and other languages.
- Above all, NEP intrudes into a crucial domain of the state – education.
- Therefore, NEP is being viewed as a policy against social justice, federalism, pluralism and equality.
Is it possible for Tamil Nadu to not implement NEP and formulate its own education policy?
- The very word ‘policy’ in the National Education Policy, 2020 indicates that it is only a recommendation, not binding on anything or anyone.
- Also, education is in the concurrent list, not in the union list.
Previously, when Rajiv Gandhi brought in the second national education policy in 1986, many parties had opposed it. Like the agriculture policy, even after the law was passed by Parliament, a number of legislatures passed resolutions against it.
Do you know about the first Kothari Commission? What were its recommendations? Reference: read this.
- Overview of new Pedagogical Structure with 5+3+3+4 design.
- What are Special Educational Zones as per the new policy?
- Who will set up the Gender Education Fund as per the policy?
- Role of the proposed Academic Bank of Credit.
- Gross Enrolment Ratio target in higher education?
- About the proposed national educational technology forum.
Discuss the significance of the recently announced New Education Policy 2020.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 2:
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Haryana government has ordered that the law (the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill) providing for 75% reservation for locals in private sector jobs come into force from January 15, 2022.
Highlights of the law:
- The law provides for 75% reservation in private sector jobs to those having a resident certificate (domicile).
- The law will be applicable for a period of 10 years.
- Jobs with a gross monthly salary of not more than ₹30,000 will be up for hiring from among local candidates.
Rationale behind the law:
To create a harmonious environment for industry as well as the youth along with creating the right balance between the progress of industries and the economy.
Concerns over the bill:
- It could lead to multinational firms moving out of the state.
- Reservation affects productivity and industry competitiveness.
What are the legal issues in such laws?
- The question of domicile reservation in jobs: While domicile quotas in education are fairly common, courts have been reluctant in expanding this to public employment. It raises questions relating to the fundamental right to equality of citizens.
- The issue of forcing the private sector to comply with reservations in employment. For mandating reservation in public employment, the state draws its power from Article 16(4) of the Constitution. But, the Constitution has no manifest provision for private employment from which the state draws the power to make laws mandating reservation.
- It may not be able to withstand judicial scrutiny on the touchstone of Article 19(1)(g).
- Key provisions of the Bill.
- Article 16 of the Indian Constitution is related to?
- Reservations vs Articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.
Discuss issues associated with Jharkhand’s move to reserve 75% private jobs.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
An international study we conducted that quantifies the threat posed by roads to the survival of animal populations around the world.
Key findings related to India:
- The leopard faces an 83% increased risk of extinction in North India due to roadkill.
- The leopard population of North India is at highest risk among four animal populations identified as being the most vulnerable to extinction in the next 50 years if observed roadkill levels persist.
- Leopard is followed by the maned wolf and the little spotted cat, both of Brazil, and the brown hyena of southern Africa.
- At an 83% increased risk, the study estimates the time to the North Indian leopard population’s extinction at 33 years.
In August 2021, the Union Environment Ministry released a new report titled- Status of Leopards, Co-predators and Megaherbivores-2018.
- The report was released on July 29, 2021 — World Tiger Day.
As per the report:
- India’s official leopard count has increased 63 per cent from 2014-2018. There were 12,852 leopards in the country in 2018 (7,910 in 2014).
- The largest number of leopards have been estimated in Madhya Pradesh (3,421) followed by Karnataka (1,783) and Maharashtra (1,690).
- Scientific Name- Panthera pardus.
- Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Included in Appendix I of CITES.
- Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
- Nine subspecies of the leopard have been recognized, and they are distributed across Africa and Asia.
Did you know that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognises roadkill as a threat to 10 mammalian species? What are the other threats?
- IUCN status of Leopard.
- What is CITES?
- Subspecies of leopard.
- Various Schedules under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
- Tiger census in India is conducted by?
- IUCN red list categories.
Discuss why a separate census is necessary for the estimation of leopards in India.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation and Pollution related issues.
The Global Methane Pledge was launched at the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
- It is an effort led jointly by the United States and the European Union.
- So far, over 90 countries have signed this pledge.
About the Global Methane Pledge:
- The pledge was first announced in September by the US and EU, and is essentially an agreement to reduce global methane emissions.
- One of the central aims of this agreement is to cut down methane emissions by up to 30 per cent from 2020 levels by the year 2030.
- Methane is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, after carbon dioxide, and, therefore, pledges related to cutting down its emissions are significant.
- According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, methane accounts for about half of the 1.0 degrees Celsius net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era.
- Rapidly reducing methane emissions is complementary to action on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and is regarded as the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming in the near term and keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
- According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), while methane has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime (12 years as compared to centuries for CO2), it is a much more potent greenhouse gas simply because it absorbs more energy while it is in the atmosphere.
- In its factsheet on methane, the UN notes that methane is a powerful pollutant and has a global warming potential that is 80 times greater than carbon dioxide, about 20 years after it has been released into the atmosphere.
- Significantly, the average methane leak rate of 2.3 per cent “erodes much of the climate advantage gas has over coal”.
- The IEA has also said that more than 75 per cent of methane emissions can be mitigated with the technology that exists today, and that up to 40 per cent of this can be done at no additional costs.
Sources of human-caused methane emissions:
- Most human-caused methane emissions came from three sectors: Fossil fuels, waste and agriculture.
- Oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution accounted for 23 per cent of methane emissions in the fossil fuel sector. Coal mining accounted for 12 per cent of emissions.
- Landfills and wastewater made up about 20 per cent of emissions in the waste sector. In the agricultural sector, livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation constituted for roughly 32 per cent and rice cultivation eight per cent of emissions.
Mitigation potential varied between countries and regions:
- Europe had the greatest potential to curb methane emissions from farming, fossil fuel operations and waste management.
- India had the greatest potential to reduce methane emissions in the waste sector. China’s mitigation potential was best in coal production and livestock, while Africa’s was in livestock, followed by oil and gas.
- The fossil fuel industry had the greatest potential for low-cost methane cuts.
- Human-caused methane emissions must be cut by 45 per cent to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
- Such a cut would prevent a rise in global warming by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2045.
- It would also prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits annually, as well as 25 million tonnes of crop losses.
Three behavioural changes — reducing food waste and loss, improving livestock management and adopting healthy diets (vegetarian or with a lower meat and dairy content) — could reduce methane emissions by 65–80 million tonnes per year over the next few decades.
Do you know about the anti-Methanogenic Feed Supplement: Harit Dhara? Reference: read this.
- What is methane? How is it produced?
- What is methane hydrate?
- Coalbed methane vs Shale gas.
- What is coalification?
- Greenhouse gases emitted during CBM extraction?
Discuss steps taken by India to reduce methane emissions.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has expressed shock over the Tripura police’s action of booking 102 people, including journalists, under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. This was for reporting and writing on the recent communal violence in the State.
About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:
Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
- It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.
- It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
- Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.
As per amendments of 2019:
- The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
- The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.
- It also included the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist.
In June 2021, delivering a judgment defining the contours of the otherwise “vague” Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA), the Delhi High Court laid down some important principles upon the imposition of Section 15, 17 & 18 of the Act.
Sections 15, 17 and 18 of UAPA:
- S. 15 engrafts the offence of ‘terrorist act’.
- S. 17 lays-down the punishment for raising funds for committing a terrorist act.
- S. 18 engrafts the offence of ‘punishment for conspiracy etc. to commit a terrorist act or any act preparatory to commit a terrorist act’.
Key observations made by the court:
- “Terrorist Act” Should not be used lightly so as to trivialise them.
- Terrorist activity is that which travels beyond the capacity of law enforcement agencies to deal with under ordinary penal law (Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Hitendra Vishnu Thakur).
Did you know that under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), “if the Central government is of opinion that any association is, or has become, an unlawful association, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare such association to be unlawful?
- Definition of unlawful activity.
- Powers of Centre under the act.
- Is judicial review applicable in such cases?
- Changes brought about by amendments in 2004 and 2019.
- Can foreign nationals be charged under the act?
Do you agree that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act could prove catastrophic for fundamental rights? Is sacrificing liberty for national security justified? Discuss and provide for your opinion.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Abu Dhabi gives nod to non-Muslim civil marriage:
- Non-Muslims will be allowed to marry, divorce and get joint child custody under civil law in Abu Dhabi according to a new decree issued by its ruler.
- It aims to “enhance the position and global competitiveness of the emirate as one of the most attractive destinations for talent and skills.
- It is the latest step in the United Arab Emirates — where personal status laws on marriage and divorce had been based on Islamic sharia principles, as in other Gulf states — to maintain its competitive edge as a regional commercial hub.
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