Print Friendly, PDF & Email



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


Current Affairs


Table of Contents:


GS Paper 2:

1. African Union suspends Burkina Faso over mutiny.

2. United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).


GS Paper 3:


2. Fortified Rice.

3. Ethanol as an alternate fuel.

4. Semiconductor chip shortage.


Facts for Prelims:

  • India ranks third globally in forest area gain: Survey.

African Union suspends Burkina Faso over mutiny:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.



The African Union (AU) has suspended Burkina Faso’s participation in the organization’s activities until the country restores constitutional order after the military mutiny.


What’s the issue?

Like its neighbors Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso has been caught in a spiral of violence since 2015, attributed to jihadist movements affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group that has left at least 2,000 dead and 1.4 million displaced.

The latest move came in response to January 24 Coup that ousted President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

  • This is the second suspension in one week following the Burkina Faso coup. ECOWAS was the first to suspend Burkina Faso.


About AU:

The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 countries of the continent of Africa, with exception of various territories of European possessions located in Africa.

  • The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa.
  • The intention of the AU is to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments.
  • The AU’s secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa.



  • It is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
  • Established in 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos.
  • The goal of ECOWAS is to achieve “collective self-sufficiency” for its member states by creating a single large trade bloc by building a full economic and trading union.
  • It also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region.
  • Considered one of the pillar regional blocs of the continent-wide African Economic Community (AEC).


ECOWAS includes two sub-regional blocs:

  1. The West African Economic and Monetary Union is an organisation of eight, mainly French-speaking states.
  2. The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries.


Current Affairs



Insta Curious:

Did you know about the African Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone Treaty?

Read here 



Prelims Link:

  1. About the Bloc.
  2. It’s goals and objectives.
  3. Members.
  4. Sub-regional blocs under it.

Sources: the Hindu

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL):

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.



The Economic Survey 2021-22 has highlighted the need for a “standardised framework for cross-border insolvency” that will help lenders of debt-ridden companies to claim and recover the corporations’ assets and liabilities on foreign shores also.


What needs to be done now?

The survey mentioned the report of the Insolvency Law Committee, which had recommended the adoption of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) with certain modifications to bring the foreign assets under the insolvency process.


Need for:

The IBC currently does not allow for automatic recognition of any insolvency proceedings in other countries” and the present provisions “leads to uncertainty of outcomes of claims for creditors, debtors and other stakeholders as well.



  • It provides a legislative framework that can be adopted by countries with modifications to suit the domestic context of the enacting jurisdiction.
  • It has been adopted by 49 countries, including Singapore, UK, US and South Africa.
  • UNCITRAL allows foreign professionals and creditors direct access to domestic courts and enables them to participate in and commence domestic insolvency proceedings.
  • It allows recognition of foreign proceedings and enables courts to determine relief accordingly.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is a subsidiary body of the U.N. General Assembly responsible for helping to facilitate international trade and investment? It was established by the UNGA in 1966.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Employment Related issues.



As per the latest economic survey:

  • Demand for work under MGNREGA scheme has dropped from the peak of the first lockdown, but is still higher than pre-COVID levels.
  • The highest demand for work under the scheme was seen in States which are usually the destination of migrant workers, rather than source States.


What’s the issue?

  • Advocates for rural workers have argued that the drop in demand is due to funding constraints, and urged a significant increase in allocations for the scheme in Union budget.
  • The Centre had infused ₹40,000 crore worth of additional funding early in the first lockdown.
  • However, additional funding was not available until late in the year when many States had already run out of money, forcing an artificial suppression in demand on the ground.



The scheme was introduced in 2005 as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.

  • The key tenet of this social measure and labour law is that the local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.


Currrent Affairs


Key objectives:

  1. Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
  2. Proactively ensuring social inclusion by strengthening the livelihood base of rural poor.
  3. Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
  4. Reduce urban migration from rural areas.
  5. Create rural infrastructure by using untapped rural labour.


The following are the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:

  1. Must be Citizen of India to seek MGNREGA benefits.
  2. Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
  3. The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
  4. Applicants must volunteer for unskilled labour.


Implementation of the scheme:

  1. Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
  2. Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
  3. Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
  4. The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands.
  5. It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that the Indian Constitution does not explicitly recognise the ‘right to work’ as a fundamental right? Then, how is it treated under the Constitution? Reference: read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. Under MGNREGA, what are the roles of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, States, State Food Commission, Centre?
  2. What are job cards, who issues them?
  3. Who sets up the State Employment Guarantee Fund?
  4. What is Wage employment?
  5. Who conducts social audits?

Mains Link:

Discuss the key features and significance of MGNREGA.

Sources: the Hindu.

Fortified Rice:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.



The Centre has distributed 3.38 lakh metric tonnes of fortified rice till December 2021 through anganwadis and mid-day meals at government schools, according to the Economic Survey.


Efforts by Government in this regard:

  • In 2019, the government approved a Centrally sponsored pilot scheme for fortification of rice for a period of three years beginning 2019-2020. The scheme is being implemented in 15 districts across as many States.
  • Last year, during his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that by 2024 rice made available under every government programme will be fortified to fight malnutrition.
  • The government ramped up distribution of fortified rice last year across anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (now rechristened Saksham anganwadi and Poshan 2.0) as well as mid-day meal scheme implemented at schools (renamed as PM Poshan).



  • Public health experts have however raised concerns over fortification of rice as an effective tool to fight malnutrition and have said diversification of diet is more important.
  • Many also argue that iron fortified rice along with ongoing government schemes that provide iron supplements could lead to excessive intake of iron and lead to risk of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.


Need for Rice fortification:

  • The country has high levels of malnutrition among women and children.
  • According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anaemic and every third child is stunted.
  • India ranks 94 out of 107 countries and is in the ‘serious hunger’ category on the Global Hunger Index (GHI).
  • Malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in poor women and poor children poses major obstacles in their development.


What is food fortification?

Food fortification is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.


Fortified rice:

According to the Food Ministry, fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets.

  • According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice will contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram) and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram).
  • In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, with zinc (10 mg-15 mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5 mg-20 mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kg.


What are the benefits of Fortification?

Since the nutrients are added to staple foods that are widely consumed, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.

  • Fortification is a safe method of improving nutrition among people. The addition of micronutrients to food does not pose a health risk to people.
  • It does not require any changes in food habits and patterns of people. It is a socio-culturally acceptable way to deliver nutrients to people.
  • It does not alter the characteristics of the food—the taste, the feel, the look.
  • It can be implemented quickly as well as show results in improvement of health in a relatively short period of time.
  • This method is cost-effective especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.


Insta Curious:

What is Biofortification? How is it different from fortification? Reference: read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. Bio fortification vs Genetic modifications.
  2. Micro vs Macronutrients.
  3. Approval for Biofortified and GM crops in India.
  4. GM crops allowed in India.

Mains Link:

What do you understand by fortification of foods? Discuss its advantages.

Sources: Indian Express.

Ethanol as an alternate fuel:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.



Although the country has made steady progress in raising the share of ethanol in auto-fuels, having increased it to 8.1% in Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2020-21 (December-November) from 5% a year earlier, several issues will need to be addressed if the target of 20% blending by 2025 is to be achieved.


Significance of ethanol blending:

  • Since most petroleum products are used in transport, a successful E20 (20% ethanol blended petrol) programme can potentially save the country $4 billion per annum.
  • Use of E20 leads to an estimated loss of 6-7% in the fuel efficiency of four-wheelers originally designed for regular petrol.



Government has been promoting use of ethanol as a blend stock with main automotive fuel like petrol in line with the National Policy on Biofuels (NBP) -2018 under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme.

  • This policy envisages an indicative target of blending 20% ethanol in petrol by 2025.


Factors limiting the extent of ethanol blending:

Lack of adequate quality feedstock and sporadic availability of ethanol across the country — as feedstock supply is primarily concentrated in sugar-producing states at present.


Efforts by the Government in this regard:

  1. Government has allowed production of ethanol from sugarcane and food grain based raw-materials.
  2. The Government has fixed the ex-mill price of ethanol from sugarcane based raw-materials.
  3. Remunerative prices of ethanol produced from different feedstock has been fixed.
  4. The government has notified interest subvention schemes for setting up of molasses and grain based new distilleries or expansion of existing distilleries.



  • Ethanol can be produced from sugarcane, maize, wheat, etc which are having high starch content.
  • In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by fermentation process.
  • Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends.
  • As the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in fewer emissions and thereby reducing the occurrence of environmental pollution.
  • Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as renewable fuel.


Insta Curious:

To boost the programme, the government has reintroduced an administered price mechanism for ethanol procurement, allowing ethanol production from multiple feedstock like heavy molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar, sugar syrup, damaged foodgrains, maize and surplus rice stocks with the Food Corporation of India.

  • Sugar mills and distilleries are also free to set up ethanol plants after obtaining statutory clearances, with the government notifying an interest subvention scheme to assist companies.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is ethanol? How is it produced?
  2. Difference between ethanol and molasses?
  3. What is ethanol blending programme?
  4. Benefits of ethanol blending?

Mains Link:

Write a note on the 2013 EBP programme.

Sources: PIB.

Semiconductor chip shortage:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Science and technology.



The Economic Survey for 2021-22 has said that Shortage of semiconductors led to closure or lowering of production by several firms from diverse industries.


What has the government done to address the shortage?

  • The government has earmarked Rs 76,000 crore for semiconductors and display manufacturing segment.
  • The PLI and other schemes to boost semiconductors will not only help domestic companies to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 but also assist them to become globally competitive, especially in chip making.
  • The government recently released a vision document for the electronics sector which envisages that the domestic electronic production has potential to reach around Rs 22 lakh crore by 2026.


Semiconductor Chips:

Semiconductors are materials which have a conductivity between conductors and insulators. They can be pure elements, silicon or germanium or compounds; gallium, arsenide or cadmium selenide.


Significance of Semiconductor Chips:

They are the basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products.

  • These chips are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.


Recent Increase in Demand:

The Covid-19 pandemic-driven push to take sizable parts of daily economic and essential activity online, or at least digitally enable them, has highlighted the centrality of the chip-powered computers and smartphones in people’s lives.

  • The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world also forced shut crucial chip-making facilities in countries including Japan, South Korea, China and the US.
  • Its shortage causes cascading effects, given that the first one creates pent-up demand that becomes the cause for the follow-up famine.


India’s Semiconductor Demand and Related Initiatives:

India currently imports all chips and the market is estimated to touch $100 billion by 2025 from $24 billion now.

  • The Union Cabinet has recently allocated an amount of ₹76,000 crore for supporting the development of a ‘semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem’.
  • India has also launched the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) under which a budget outlay of Rs 3,285 crore is spread over a period of eight years for manufacturing of electronics components and semiconductors.


Challenges ahead:

  1. High Investments Required.
  2. Minimal Fiscal Support from Government.
  3. Lack of Fab Capacities.
  4. Insufficient Grants under PLI Scheme.
  5. Resource Inefficient Sector.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that electronics is recognised as a ‘meta-resource’ across the world? What is a ‘meta-resource’? Reference: read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is India Semiconductor Mission?
  2. India’s Status in Semiconductor Design and manufacturing?
  3. Key proposals under the National Policy on Electronics.
  4. Production linked incentive scheme- when was it announced?
  5. Who will implement it?

Mains Link:

Growing importance of Semiconductors or chips/integrated circuits (ICs) and China’s experience with the manufacturing and design of the same provides a strong case for focusing on chip designs in India. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:


India ranks third globally in forest area gain: Survey:

As per the latest economic survey:

  • India has increased its forest area in the past decade and ranks third globally in average annual net gain in forest area from 2010-2020.
  • Forests covered 24% of India’s total geographical area accounting for 2% of the world’s total forest area in 2020.
  • The top 10 countries account for 66% of the world’s forest area. Of these Brazil (59%), Peru (57%), Democratic Republic of Congo (56%) and Russia (50%) have half or more of their total geographical area under forests.
  • Among Indian States, Madhya Pradesh with 11% of India’s total forest cover, had the largest area under forests in 2021, followed by Arunachal Pradesh (9%), Chhattisgarh (8%), Odisha (7%) and Maharashtra (7%).
  • Mizoram (85%), Arunachal Pradesh (79%), Meghalaya (76%), Manipur (74%) and Nagaland (74%) were the top five States in terms of highest proportion of forest cover to the geographical area of the State in 2021.


Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. 1962 India China war.
  2. UNSC Reforms.
  3. NCW Reforms.

Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos