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. Babu Jagjivan Ram.
2. Geomagnetic storm.
GS Paper 2:
1. Nipah Virus.
GS Paper 3:
1. ‘Prakriti’ green initiatives for effective plastic waste management.
2. Hate Speech.
3. ‘Tour of Duty’.
4. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Babu Jagjivan Ram:
GS Paper 1:
Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
The Prime Minister paid tributes to freedom fighter Babu Jagjivan Ram on his 115th birth anniversary (5th April).
About Babu Jagjivan Ram:
- Jagjivan Ram, popularly known as Babuji was a national leader, a freedom fighter, a crusader of social justice, a champion of depressed classes, an outstanding Parliamentarian, a true democrat, a distinguished Union Minister, an able administrator and an exceptionally gifted orator.
- Jagjivan Ram had organized a number of Ravidas Sammelans and had celebrated Guru Ravidas Jayanti in different areas of Calcutta (Kolkata).
- In 1934, he founded the Akhil Bhartiya Ravidas Mahasabha in Calcutta.
- He was instrumental in the foundation of the All India Depressed Classes League.
- In October 1935, Babuji appeared before the Hammond Commission at Ranchi and demanded, for the first time, voting rights for the Dalits.
- Babu Jagjivan Ram played a very active and crucial role in the freedom struggle. Inspired by Gandhiji, Babuji courted arrest on 10 December 1940. After his release, he entrenched himself deeply into the Civil Disobedience Movement and Satyagraha.
- Babuji was arrested again on 19 August 1942 for his active participation in the Quit India Movement launched by the Indian National Congress.
- He has also served as the deputy prime minister of India.
Did you know that In 1925, Jagjivan Ram met scholar Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and was greatly inspired by him? On Malaviya’s invitation, he joined the Banaras Hindu University.
- About Babu Jagjivan Ram.
- His contributions to India’s freedom struggle.
- Post Independence contributions.
- All India Depressed Classes League.
- Guru Ravidas.
GS Paper 1:
Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomenon.
The earth is likely to hit by a geomagnetic storm on 7th April, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
What are Geomagnetic Storms?
Geomagnetic storms are caused when events such as solar flares can send higher than normal levels of radiation towards Earth. This radiation interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field causing a geomagnetic storm.
The disturbance that drives the magnetic storm may be a solar coronal mass ejection (CME) or (much less severely) a co-rotating interaction region (CIR), a high-speed stream of solar wind originating from a coronal hole.
Effects of Geomagnetic storms:
- Effects from the geomagnetic storm can range from the appearance of auroras or the northern and southern lights to disruptions in communications systems due to high radiation. This would make it difficult to communicate with others on Earth.
Classification of Geomagnetic storms:
Geomagnetic storms are classified according to a scale that measures the effect that storms will have.
- At its safest level, a G1 storm affects power grids by causing weak fluctuations, minor impacts on satellite operations, and causes the northern and southern lights to occur.
- At its most extreme, G5, there would be voltage control problems with some grid system collapses or blackouts, radio waves wouldn’t be able to travel for one to two days, low-frequency radio would be out for hours, and the auroras would be able to be seen at lower latitudes than usual.
In February this year, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Starlink project was hit hard when a geomagnetic storm damaged 40 of its satellites. What happened then? Reference: read this.
- What are solar flares?
- What are sunspots?
- How solar flares affect earth’s magnetic field?
- What is sun’s 11 year cycle?
What are geomagnetic storms? Discuss the concerns associated.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.
Scientists at Pune’s Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology were able to detect the presence of IgG antibodies against Nipah virus infection (NiV) in 51 bats that were captured from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
What is Nipah?
- It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
- It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
- It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
- The virus is transmitted to people from animals and can also be passed on through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person.
- Fruit bats are considered to be a natural reservoir of the virus.
Symptoms include acute encephalitis and respiratory illnesses.
Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.
Have you heard of the Tripartite Plus alliance? What are its objectives and achievements? Reference: read this.
- About the Virus.
Write a note on one health approach.
Sources: the Hindu.
‘Prakriti’ green initiatives for effective plastic waste management:
GS Paper 3:
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
In another step toward eliminating single-use plastic, the Union Environment Ministry has launched “Prakriti”, a mascot to spread greater awareness about small changes that can be sustainably adopted in the lifestyle for a better environment.
During the event, following green initiatives were launched for plastic waste management:
1 – National Dashboard on Elimination of Single Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management (MoEFCC):‘
- This aims to connect all stakeholders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State/UT Governments, etc. through one platform and track status and progress made for elimination of single use plastic & effective management of plastic waste.
2 – Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Portal for Plastic Packaging (CPCB):
- This portal will look after tasks that will help in overall operational functions like improving accountability, traceability, transparency and facilitating ease of reporting compliance to EPR Obligations by Producers, Importers and Brand-owners.
3 – Mobile App for Single Use Plastics Grievance Redressal (CPCB):
- This app will allow citizens to check sale/usage/manufacturing of single use plastic in their region and tackle the plastic menace.
4 – Monitoring module for single use plastic (CPCB):
- This will be for local bodies, State pollution control board/PCCs and CPCB, etc. to invent details of single use plastic production, its sale & usage, etc. in commercial establishments at district level, and on-ground enforcement of ban on single use plastics.
5 – Industrial production of Graphene from Waste Plastic (G B Pant NIHE & NRDC) will promote more industries to come forward to upcycle plastic waste.
Efforts by Government in this regard:
- To tackle the challenge of plastic pollution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s pledge to phase out Single-Use Plastics (SUPs) by 2022.
- India’s plastic waste management rules 2016 were amended banning the import of plastic waste SUVs with effect from July 2022 onward.
What are single use plastics?
Single-use plastics refer to disposable items like grocery bags, food packaging, bottles and straws that are used only once before they are thrown away, or sometimes recycled.
- As plastic is cheap, lightweight and easy to produce, it has led to a production boom over the last century, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming decades, according to the United Nations.
- But countries are now struggling with managing the amount of plastic waste they have generated.
About 60% of plastic waste in India is collected — that means the remaining 40% or 10,376 tons remain uncollected.
A government committee has identified the single use plastic (SUP) items to be banned based on an index of their utility and environmental impact. It has proposed a three-stage ban:
- The first category of SUP items proposed to be phased out are plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice-cream and ear buds, and thermocol that is used in decorations.
- The second category, proposed to be banned from July 1, 2022, includes items such as plates, cups, glasses and cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays; wrapping and packing films used in sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packets; stirrers and plastic banners that are less than 100 microns in thickness.
- A third category of prohibition is for non-woven bags below 240 microns in thickness. This is proposed to start from September next year.
- It is not going to be an easy task given that close to 26,000 tons of plastic waste is generated across India every day, of which more than 10,000 tons stays uncollected.
- A significant amount of plastic ends up in rivers, oceans and landfills.
What needs to be done?
- The government has to do a thorough economic and environmental cost-benefit analysis.
- The plan has to take into account social and economic impacts for the ban to be successful.
- We need better recycling policies because resources are poor and there needs to be a much broader strategy.
Do you know about Plastic eating Bacteria? Can it solve the rising problem of Plastic pollution? Read Here
- What are single use plastics?
- India’s targets.
- Other countries which are planning to phase out the use of single use plastics.
Sources: the Print.
GS Paper 3:
Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that hate speech should not be made against any community, be it minority or majority.
What’s the issue?
Concerns have been raised over concerted events in the recent past that targeted political, social and economic exclusion of Muslims through a series of rallies and hate speeches. Journalists too were attacked.
What is Hate Speech?
Hate speech is an incitement to hatred against a particular group of persons marginalized by their religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.
- The Law Commission, in its 267th report on hate speech, said such utterances have the potential to provoke individuals and society to commit acts of terrorism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing.
Why Hate Speech Must be curbed?
- Internal Security: The Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 was triggered by a fake video that incited communal passions.
- Igniting extremist sentiments.
- Mob lynching.
- Misinformation and disinformation: Delhi Riots.
- The world’s biggest social media companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter and ByteDance, are exploring an industry-wide alliance to curb fake news on their platforms in India.
- The Election Commission of India must tie up with tech companies to identify the creator of such news.
- Educating the end-users.
- The government should bring out a policy framework on the possible harm due to the internet messaging platforms to engage at a deeper level.
- Imposing hefty fines, like in Germany the Social media companies face fines of up to €50m if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites.
Need of the hour:
- Hate speech is a discursive process of pushing marginalised groups outside of social, economic and political spheres of society by disseminating hate propaganda and encouraging discrimination. At its most harmful, it is widely recognized as a precursor to ethnic cleansing.
- Public authorities must be held accountable for dereliction of the duty of care and also for non-compliance with this court’s orders by not taking action to prevent vigilante groups from inciting communal disharmony and spreading hate against citizens of the country and taking the laws into their own hands.
Provisions regarding Hate Speech:
Section 153A IPC penalises ‘promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony’.
Section 153B IPC penalises ‘imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration’.
Section 295A IPC penalises ‘deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs’.
Section 298 IPC penalises ‘uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person’.
Section 505 IPC penalises publication or circulation of any statement, rumour or report causing public mischief and enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.
Part VII of the Representation of People Act, 1951 classifies hate speech as an offence committed during elections into two categories: corrupt practices and electoral offences.
Various Committees and their Views:
T.K. Viswanathan Committee:
- It submitted a report recommending stricter laws to curb online hate speech and use of cyberspace to spread hatred and incitement.
- It proposed inserting Sections 153 C (b) and Section 505 A in the IPC for incitement to commit an offence on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe.
- It was constituted by the Centre in 2014 in the wake of a series of racial attacks on persons belonging to the northeast.
- It had proposed to insert two stricter anti-racial discrimination provisions in the IPC.
In a 2020 Supreme Court decision in Amish Devgun case, hate speech was linked to the violation of unity and fraternity and breach of human dignity, which constitutes an essential facet of the right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- About Information Technology Act.
- Section 66A of the Act.
- About the Law Commission of India.
- Regulation of Hate speech under IT Act.
What is Hate speech? How it should be curbed? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu
‘Tour of Duty’ recruitment model:
GS Paper 3:
Topics Covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
The Department of Military Affairs has finalised a radical proposal for future recruitment to the armed forces. The Army will be the first to try out the concept –the ‘Tour of Duty’ model, which involves recruiting some soldiers for a fixed period of three years.
- The ‘Tour of Duty’ (ToD) concept, first unveiled in 2020.
What is the ‘Tour of Duty’ model?
This model of recruitment would let young individuals voluntarily serve for a temporary period of three years.
- It will be a voluntary engagement.
- It is for youths who “do not want to make defence services their permanent vocation, but still want to experience the thrill and adventure of military professionalism”.
- The proposal is a shift from the concept of permanent service/job in the Armed Forces, towards ‘internship’/temporary experience for three years.
- While the original proposal in 2020 would have extended the ToD to officers as well, it’s now being restricted to jawans, as officers already have the Short Service Commission (SSC) route.
Benefits for the government:
- There are immense financial benefits to the organisation due to reduction in pay and gratuity payouts.
- The cost of a three-year service per officer will be a fraction of the cost incurred on Short Service Commission (SSC) officers.
- The cost incurred on an officer, who leaves after 10 or 14 years, is Rs 5 crore-Rs 6.8 crore, which includes the cost of pre-commission training, pay, allowances, gratuity, leave encashment among others. The corresponding cost for a three-year service will be Rs 80 lakh-85 lakh.
- SSC officers have the option to join the service permanently, which further increases the cost incurred, including pension bills.
- For soldiers, who usually serve for 17 years, the Army has calculated a lifetime savings of Rs 11.5 crore per person, as compared to a three-year service.
Benefits for citizens and the country:
- It will help to “channelise the youth energy into positive utilisation of their potential”.
- Rigorous military training and habits inculcated will lead to healthy citizenry.
- The entire nation will benefit from “trained, disciplined, confident, diligent and committed” young men or women who have done the three-year service.
- An “initial survey” has indicated that the corporate sector will prefer to hire such youths rather than fresh graduates.
- The Army’s pay and pension bill has been increasing steeply over the years, accounting for 60% of its budget allocation.
- According to a report of the Standing Committee of Defence, 2019, the deficiency in officer cadre of the Indian Army stood at approximately 14 per cent.
- Advocates of this scheme also cite “resurgence of nationalism and patriotism”, and the fact that “unemployment in our country is a reality”.
- SSC vs Permanent Commission in armed forces.
- How can civilians be recruited into armed forces?
Discuss the significance of Tour of Duty” (ToD) scheme.
Sources: the Print.
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:
GS Paper 3:
Topics Covered: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
On March 24, a Sessions Court in Delhi denied bail to Umar Khalid as part of a set of cases that have commonly come to be known as “the Delhi riots cases”.
What’s the issue?
The case of the police was that Mr. Khalid was one of the conspirators behind the February 2020 violence in Delhi, which had claimed more than 50 lives.
- For this, Mr. Khalid, along with many others, was charge-sheeted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, and jailed pending trial. Mr. Khalid has been in jail for over 500 days. The trial has not yet begun.
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.
Delhi High Court defines the contours of UAPA:
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).
- 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: Indian Express.
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