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. Yoga: Why the Post COVID-19 World needs this Indian Export
GS Paper 2:
1. HC stays suspension of Rajasthan woman sarpanch
2. Australia seeks to revitalize Indo-Pacific ties
3. SC must not touch issues that require lawmaker’s role
GS Paper 3:
1. Five states need to take steps to stabilise debt levels: RBI
2. Banning single-use plastic
3. Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate
GS Paper 4:
1. Ethical Duties of Manufacturing Companies
Facts for Prelims:
1. Rare dragonfly spotted in Kerala for the first time
2. New species of bamboo-dwelling bat found in Meghalaya
3. ICICI, HDFC, and NPCI’s IT resources as critical information infra
4. PM eVidya
5. 21st amendment
6. Female, male and ‘open’ category
7. Google tax
Syllabus: Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Each year on 21 June, the world comes together to observe the International Day of Yoga, a day designated by the United Nations to celebrate the power of yoga in promoting holistic health practices worldwide.
Yoga derives its name from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ which means to join or to unite. It symbolizes the unity of one’s mind, body, and spirit with the world outside, through a set of exercises that include breathing techniques, physical postures, and relaxation methods.
The International Yoga Day 2022 will be celebrated under the theme ‘Yoga for Humanity’.
Yoga process is described in eight stages (ashtanga-yoga, “eight-membered Yoga”)
- The first two stages are ethical preparations.
- Yama(“restraint”), which denotes abstinence from injury falsehood, stealing, lust, and avarice;
- Niyama(“discipline”), denotes cleanliness of body, contentment, austerity, study, and devotion to God.
- The next two stages are physical preparations.
- Asana(“seat”), is a series of exercises to make the body supple, flexible, and healthy.
- Pranayama(“breath control”) is a series of exercises intended to stabilize the rhythm of breathing in order to encourage complete respiratory relaxation.
- The fifth stage, pratyahara(“withdrawal of the senses”), involves control of the senses, or the ability to withdraw the attention of the senses from outward objects.
Mental or internal aids:
- Dharana(“holding on”) is the ability to hold and confine awareness of externals to one object for a long period of time.
- Dhyana(“concentrated meditation”) is the uninterrupted contemplation of the object of meditation, beyond any memory of ego.
- Samadhi(“total self-collectedness”) is the final stage and is a precondition of attaining release from samsara, or the cycle of rebirth. In this stage, the meditator perceives or experiences the object of his meditation and himself as one.
Q. Which one of the following pairs does not form part of the six systems of Indian Philosophy? (UPSC CSE 2014)
(a) Mimamsa and Vedanta
(b) Nyaya and Vaisheshika
(c) Lokayata and Kapalika
(d) Sankhya and Yoga
Q. With reference to the history of philosophical thought in India, consider the following statements regarding the Sankhya school: (UPSC 2013)
- Sankhya does not accept the theory of rebirth or the transmigration of soul.
- Sankhya holds that it is the self-knowledge that leads to liberation and not any exterior influence or agent.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Syllabus: 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment Acts, Important aspects of governance.
- The Rajasthan High Court has stayed the suspension order against a woman sarpanch and issued notices to a Minister and an MLA in the State for initiating the action against her.
Rajasthan Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 provisions related to Sarpanch
- Removal and Suspension:
- The State Government may, by order in writing and after giving him an opportunity of being heard and making such enquiry as may be deemed necessary, remove from office any member including a Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson of a Panchayati Raj Institution, who:
(a) refuses to act or becomes incapable of acting as such; or
(b) is guilty of misconduct in the discharge of duties or any disgraceful conduct.
- The State Government may suspend any member including a Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson of a Panchayati Raj Institution against whom:
- An enquiry has been initiated under
- Against whom any criminal proceedings in regard to an offence involving moral turpitude are pending trial in a Court of law and such person shall stand debarred from taking part in any act or proceeding of the Panchayati Raj Institution concerned while being under such suspension.
Q. With reference to the 73rd constitutional amendment act, consider the following statements:
- All questions related to disqualification of members of panchayat shall be referred to such authority as the state legislature determines.
- Superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls and the conduct of all elections to the panchayats shall be vested in the election commission of India.
Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q. The devolution of power and responsibilities to the panchayats will result in flexible and committed responses at the grass-root level. Discuss (10M)
Syllabus: Regional grouping involving India, Indo-Pacific region
- India is one of Australia’s Closest security partners and the government is focused on revitalizing Australia’s Historically deep engagement with our partners across the Indo-Pacific, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Australia ahead of visit to India.
- This is the first high-level visit from Australia after the formation of a new government.
India-Australia Defense cooperation:
- An MoU on Defense Cooperation has been signed as well as a Joint Declaration on Security Co-operation.
- There are frequent exchanges of visits including at the level of Service Chiefs, regular Naval, Air Force, and Army Talks; joint naval exercises; regular exchanges at each other’s training institutes and seminars.
- The India-Australia defence relationship now encompasses almost every major function of the military:
- Strategic dialogues, coordination, and information exchanges.
- Military exercises involving ground, air, and maritime forces.
- Exchanges and training.
- Defense scientific and technological cooperation.
Q. Which of the following Islands is/are part of the Pacific Ocean?
- Solomon Islands
- Marshall Islands
- Savage Islands
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
a. 1, 2 and 3 only
b. 2, 3 and 4 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 1, 2, 3 and 4
Q. Australia forms an important partner for India in the Indo-Pacific region. Comment. (10M)
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: Separation of powers between various organs, functioning of the executive and judiciary.
- The Supreme Court judge said that the apex court cannot and must not transcend its role by deciding issues requiring the involvement of elected representatives.
- He also said that thinking of the Supreme Court as a “one-stop solution to resolve complicated issues of policy and society” is a reflection of the waning power of discourse and consensus-building.
It provides discretionary power to the Supreme Court as it states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
Cases of Judicial Overreach:
There have been several judgments of the Supreme Court wherein it has been foraying into areas which had long been forbidden to the judiciary by reason of the doctrine of ‘separation of powers’, which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
- The ban on the sale of alcohol along national and state highways.
- Imposition of Patriotism in National Anthem Case.
- Ban on Firecrackers.
- Order on sex workers
● It is the power exerted by the courts of a country to examine the actions of the legislatures, and executive and administrative arms of government and to ensure that such actions conform to the provisions of the nation’s Constitution.
● In simpler terms, it is when the judiciary starts interfering with the proper functioning of the legislative or executive organs of the government. Judicial Overreach is undesirable in a democracy as it breaches the principle of separation of powers.
|Instances of the court straying into the legislative sphere:|
● Recently, Allahabad High Court, while allowing two criminal revisions pertaining to a dowry case, took cognisance of the misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
● It proposed certain safeguards and directed the State authorities of Uttar Pradesh to take the necessary steps for their implementation in a given time period.
● The directions include the constitution of a family welfare committee in each district under the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), handing over the first information report to such a committee immediately after its registration, and no arrest to be made by the police during this “cooling period” of two months.
Other cases :
● Vishaka vs State of Rajasthan (1997):
The Supreme Court issued directions to enforce fundamental rights in the absence of law in certain cases of sexual harassment at the workplace.
● Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar (supra)
1. the Court held that a third agency (i.e., the family welfare committee) had nothing to do with the CrPC, and more so installing arrest till a report is submitted by the committee.
2. The directions to settle a case after it is registered is not a correct expression of law, the top court held.
Q. Which of the following is/are part of basic structure doctrine?
- Power of HC under Article 226
- Federal character
- Parliamentary system
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus: Government Budgeting
As per the Recent RBI study, five states -Bihar, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal are highly stressed states.
Status of states Debt:
- Punjab: its debt-GSDP ratio is projected to exceed 45 per cent in 2026-27
- Rajasthan, Kerala and West Bengal: projected to exceed the debt-GSDP ratio of 35 per cent by 2026-27. These states will need to undertake significant corrective steps to stabilise their debt levels.
- Ten states accounting for half of the total expenditure in India are Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
- Debt/GSDP ratio definition: It is a metric that shows what a state owes with what it produces. It indicates that particular state’s ability to pay back its debts.
Reasons for fiscal deterioration in states:
- Not adhering to targets set by the 15th FC: Among the ten states, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Punjab exceeded both debt and fiscal deficit targets for 2020-21 set by the 15th Finance Commission.
- Fall in own tax revenue: It said the own tax revenue of some of these 10 states, viz., Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Kerala, has been declining over time, making them fiscally more vulnerable.
- Volatile non-tax revenue: For most of these states, non-tax revenue has remained volatile, dropping significantly in recent years.
- The decline in non-tax revenue is under general services, interest receipts and economic services.
- High revenue expenditure: The share of revenue expenditure in total expenditure of these states varies in the range of 80-90 per cent.
- Some states like Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab and Kerala spend around 90 per cent on revenue accounts. This results in poor expenditure quality, as reflected in their high revenue spending to capital outlay ratios.
- Definition of Revenue expenditures: These include the expenses required to meet the ongoing operational costs of running the government, and thus are essentially the same as operating expenses e.g., rent, employee salary etc.
- High committed expenditure: These include interest payments, pensions and administrative expenses, account for a significant portion (over 35 per cent) of the total revenue expenditure in states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and Punjab, leaving limited fiscal space for undertaking developmental expenditure.
- Consequently, the share of developmental expenditure in these states is considerably lower than in the other states.
- Although welfare-enhancing, the impact of revenue spending on economic activity lasts for just about a year. In contrast, the impact of capital outlay is stronger and lasts longer, with the peak effect materialising after two-three years.
- High losses of DISCOMs: After the UDAY scheme, the losses of DISCOMs were made part of state government liability. This further worsened the situation.
- Impact of COVID19: It led to high expenditure and low revenue, thus misbalancing state finance
- Impact of the Russia-Ukraine war: The high oil prices have led the states to cut duty on Petroleum, thus further impacting their revenue.
What happens if the debt-to-GDP ratio widens?
- Each year’s borrowing (or deficit) adds to the total debt. Paying back this debt depends on a state’s ability to raise revenues.
- If a state, or all the states in aggregate, finds it difficult to raise revenues, a rising mountain of debt — captured in the debt-to-GDP ratio — could start a vicious cycle.
- Then, states end up paying more and more towards interest payments instead of spending their revenues on creating new assets that provide better education, health and welfare for their residents.
- Central government directives: The Centre has urged chief secretaries of all states to keep a check on the increasing debt burden and fiscal deficit as their performance will have a huge bearing on the country’s economy.
Other long-term measures suggested by the central government:
- Need to adopt the best practices of other states for crop diversification: discourage more paddy and wheat cultivation, and focus on pulses and oilseeds.
- Focus on slums redevelopment and cluster development
- Advance urban planning for Tier II and Tier III cities
- Urban development along the transit corridor
- Focus on the quality of their teachers: The states have been asked to fill vacancies of teachers, train them and equip them with the latest technologies.
- Which of the following is/are included in the capital budget of the Government of India? (UPSC 2016)
- Expenditure on acquisition of assets like roads, buildings, machinery, etc,
- Loans received from foreign governments
- Loans and advances granted to the States and Union Territories
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Q. With reference to the Fourteenth Finance Commission, which of the following statements is/are correct? (UPSC CSE 2015)
- It has increased the share of States in the central divisible pool from 32 percent to 42 percent.
- It has made recommendations concerning sector-specific grants.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Q. Increasing fiscal deficit of states is a cause of worry and there is a considerable need to focus on state government finances. Analyse. (15M)
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus: Environment Conservation
The Centre has banned the use of ‘single-use-plastic’ from July 1 and now defined a list of single-use plastic items that will be banned from this date.
What does the Notification say?
As per MoEFCC: The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022.
What is single-use plastic?
As the name suggests, it refers to plastic items that are used once and discarded. E.g., plastics used in packaging of items, bottles (shampoo, detergents, cosmetics), polythene bags, face masks, coffee cups, cling film, trash bags, food packaging etc.
As per the Minderoo Foundation report (2021): single-use plastics account for a third of all plastic produced globally, with 98% manufactured from fossil fuels.
- India features in the top 100 countries of single-use plastic waste generation – at rank 94 (the top three being Singapore, Australia and Oman).
- India’s domestic production of SUP is 8 million metric tonnes annually, and its import of 2.9 MMT.
- India’s per capita generation is 4 kg.
- The largest share of single-use plastic is that of packaging – with as much as 95% of single-use belonging to this category – from toothpaste to shaving cream to frozen foods.
Why SUP is a cause of concern?
- Harm environment: Single-use plastic also accounts for the majority of plastic discarded – 130 million metric tonnes globally in 2019 — all of which are burned, buried in landfills or discarded directly into the environment.
- GHG emission: On the current trajectory of production, it has been projected that single-use plastic could account for 5-10% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
What are the items being banned?
- Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have announced a ban on – earbuds; balloon sticks; candy and ice-cream sticks; cutlery items including plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, trays; sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packs; PVC banners measuring under 100 microns; and polystyrene for decoration.
- Polythene bag: The Ministry had already banned polythene bags under 75 microns in September 2021, expanding the limit from the earlier 50 microns. From December 2022, the ban will be extended to polythene bags under 120 micron
- Sachets: According to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, there is also a complete ban on sachets using plastic material for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala.
Why these items?
As per the ministry: The choice for the first set of single-use plastic items for the ban was based on “difficulty of collection, and therefore recycling”.
How will the ban be enforced?
- Monitoring by CPCB: The ban will be monitored by the CPCB from the Centre and by the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) that will report to the Centre regularly.
- Stop raw materials supply: Directions have been issued at national, state and local levels — for example, to all petrochemical industries — to not supply raw materials to industries engaged in the banned items.
- Directions to industries: SPCBs and Pollution Control Committees will modify or revoke consent to operate issued under the Air/Water Act to industries engaged in single-use plastic items.
- Fresh licensing required: Local authorities have been directed to issue fresh commercial licenses with the condition that SUP items will not be sold on their premises, and existing commercial licences will be cancelled if they are found to be selling these items.
- Encouraging compostable plastics: CPCB has issued one-time certificates to 200 manufacturers of compostable plastic and the BIS passed standards for biodegradable plastic.
- Penalty: Those found violating the ban can be penalised under the Environment Protection Act 1986 – which allows for imprisonment up to 5 years, or a penalty up to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
- Violators can also be asked to pay Environmental Damage Compensation by the SPCB.
How are other countries dealing with single-use plastic?
- Consensus on SUP in UN: This year, 124 countries, parties to the United Nations Environment Assembly, including India, signed a resolution to draw up an agreement which will in the future make it legally binding for the signatories to address the full life of plastics from production to disposal, to end plastic pollution.
- 68 countries have plastic bag bans with varying degrees of enforcement
- Bangladesh: Bangladesh became the first country to ban thin plastic bags in 2002.
- China: China issued a ban on plastic bags in 2020 with a phased implementation.
- EU: EU bans certain single-use plastics for which alternatives are available.
Q. What is single-use plastic and what are the concerns associated with it? How can it be successfully phased out in the country? (15M)
Sources: Indian Express
Syllabus: Environmental Conservation
At the virtual meeting of MEF, Union Minister calls upon the members of MEF to launch a global movement on LIFE i.e., Lifestyle for Environment
Aim of the meeting: The MEF meeting was aimed at galvanising actions (both developed and developing countries) that are to strengthen energy security and tackle the climate crisis thereby building momentum for COP27.
Background: MEF was launched in 2009 by US President Barack Obama.
India at MEF 2022
- India has already installed 159 GW of non-fossil fuel-based electricity generation capacity.
- During the last 7. 5 years, India’s installed solar energy capacity has increased over 18 times.
- India’s annual per capita emissions are only a third of the global average and its cumulative GHG emissions are less than 4 percent.
- India’s Panchamrit goals are being fructified through one of the largest clean energy development plans in the world.
- India is on track to meet its commitments, through the adoption of low carbon policies across key sectors of our economy ranging from the green hydrogen mission to e-mobility.
Syllabus: Ethical Duties of Manufacturing Companies
Nandu’s India’s largest hyperlocal and Omni Channel meat brand has released a series of informative videos and launched a print and digital campaign asking consumers to exercise their right to consume quality, healthy and fresh meat.
Ethical Manufacturing by Nandu’s:
- Ethical products: E.g. Breeding chickens in bio-secure farms to ensure that they are healthy and free of growth promoters (antibiotics, steroids, and hormones); processing only healthy goats and lambs; processing fish and seafood without using harmful chemicals
- Environment friendly: Nandu’s launched its eco-friendly packaging, for smart sustainable solutions that cater to the needs of consumers as well as the planet. It aims to make all of its packaging completely eco-friendly by 2023.
Source: The New Indian Express
Facts For Prelims
Rare dragonfly spotted in Kerala for the first time
- Spiny Horntail (Burmagomphus chaukulensis ) discovered in the Kottiyoor forests of Kannur
- The species that is known to be endemic to the Western Ghats was discovered in Maharashtra earlier this year.
- The new species can be separated from its congeners by the markings on the lateral thorax and peculiar shape of anal appendages
New species of bamboo-dwelling bat found in Meghalaya
Scientists have discovered a new species of bamboo-dwelling bat in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya. The species, found near the forested patch of Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, has been named Glischropus meghalayanus.
The present discovery is the first report of a thick-thumbed bat not only from India but also from South Asia.
ICICI, HDFC, and NPCI’s IT resources as critical information infra
The government has declared the IT resources of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and UPI managing entity NPCI as ‘critical information infrastructure’, implying any harm to them can have an impact on national security and any unauthorised person accessing these resources may be jailed for up to 10 years.
Critical Infrastructure: Critical infrastructure describes the physical and cyber systems and assets that are so vital to the country that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on our physical or economic security or public health or safety.
PM e Vidya
Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET), a constituent unit of NCERT, gets UNESCO recognition for use of ICT in school education. It has won UNESCO’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the year 2021.
Pradhan Mantri e-VIDYA (launched in 2020) is a programme that will provide multimode access to digital education. It consists of many educational TV channels, radio podcasts, and e-learning content.
Sri Lankan passed the 21st Amendment to the Constitution aimed at empowering Parliament over the executive president. It is expected to reduce the unfettered powers of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and will strengthen Parliament.
Female, male and ‘open’ category
Swimming’s international governing body FINA barred participation of transgenders in the women’s category – the exception being that the transgender athlete must have completed their transition before the age of 12. Athletics and FIFA may also follow swimming cues. It will have a new ‘open’ category to allow everybody equal opportunity to compete at an elite level.
India’s equalization levy, or the so-called Google tax on offshore digital economy firms, is set to stay beyond 2023, as a global tax deal for digital economy taxation and a plan for a minimum global corporate tax rate of 15% has faced implementation challenges.
Equalisation Levy is a direct tax, which is withheld at the time of payment by the service recipient. India introduced ‘Equalisation Levy 2.0’ (EL 2.0) vide Finance Act 2020, beginning 1 April 2020. The levy applies to non-resident e-commerce operators (ECO) for consideration received from the supply of goods or services