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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. Direct nutrition interventions


GS Paper 3:

1. Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs (DESH)

2. Niti Aayog Report on Alternatives to Plastics

3. Large Hadron Collider


GS Paper 4:

1. Sardar Patel’s vision for civil services


Facts for Prelims:

1. TN: Soil samples for Parliament Building

2. TiHAN

3. Donetsk and Luhansk

4. DPIIT startup rankings

5. Chenkurinji

India needs to scale up direct nutrition interventions

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of society, issues related to the development of the social sector, issues related to poverty and hunger etc



Data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 2019-21, as compared to NFHS-4 2015-16, reveals a substantial improvement in the period of four to five years in several proxy indicators of women’s empowerment.

  • India is affected by public health issues such as child malnutrition (35.5% stunted, 67.1% anaemic) attributing to 68.2% of under-five child mortality.
  • Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Women and Child(MWCD)
    • It align different ministries to work in tandem on the “window of opportunity” of the first 1,000 days in life (270 days of pregnancy and 730 days; 24 months).


National Family Health Survey(NFHS) data on nutrition (NFHS-5  Vs NFHS-4)

  • Progressive factors:
    • There is a substantial increase in antenatal service attendance (58.6- 70.0%)
    • Women having their own savings bank accounts (63.0 to78.6%)
    • Women owning mobile phones that they themselves use(49.9 % to 54.0%)
    • Women married before 18 years of age (26.8 % to 23.3 %)
    • Women with 10 or more years of schooling (35.7% to 41.0%)
    • Access to clean fuel for cooking (43.8 % to 68.6%).
  • Regressive factors:
    • The country has not progressed well in terms of direct nutrition interventions.
    • Preconception nutrition, maternal nutrition and appropriate infant and child feeding remain to be effectively addressed.
    • India has 20%to 30% undernutrition even in the first six months of life when exclusive breastfeeding is the only nourishment required.
    • Neither maternal nutrition care interventions nor feeding practices for infants and young child feeding practices have shown the desired improvement.
    • Only marginal improvement in the practice of exclusive breastfeeding(EBF).


The vicious cycle of poor nutrition: Poor nutrition not only adversely impacts health and survival but also leads to diminished learning capacity and poor school performance. And in adulthood, it means reduced earnings and increased risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.



Current Affairs

What needs to be done:

  • First 1000 days intervention: Preconception nutrition, maternal nutrition and child feeding practices in the first 1,000 days of life need priority
  • Well-planned breastfeeding counselling given to pregnant women during antenatal checkups before delivery and in follow-up frequent home visits makes a significant difference.
  • Creating awareness of Exclusive Breastfeeding
  • Complementary feeding practices,e., complementing semi-solid feeding with the continuation of breast milk from six months onwards.

Government Schemes to Tackle Malnutrition:

  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
  • National Health Mission (NHM)
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme
  • National Nutrition Mission


POSHAN Abhiyaan:

●      Also called National Nutrition Mission, was launched by the government on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8th March 2018.

●      The Abhiyaan targets to reduce Stunting, undernutrition, and Anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.

●      It also targets to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

●      Emphasis on: High impact essential nutrition-sensitive interventions, which indirectly impact mother, infant and young child nutrition (e.g., improving coverage of maternal-child health services, availability, and access to improved water, sanitation, diversified diet and hygiene)


Insta Links:


Mid-Day Meal Scheme


Practice Questions:

Q. Empowering women is key to controlling population growth. Discuss. (UPSC 2019)

Q. In order to enhance the prospects of social development, sound and adequate health care policies are needed particularly in the fields of geriatric and maternal health care. Discuss (UPSC 2020)


Q. With reference to Poshan Abhiyaan, consider the following statements:

  1. It targets to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2025.
  2. The Abhiyaan targets to reduce Stunting, undernutrition, Anemia among young children and adolescent girls only.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c)


POSHAN Abhiyaan:

  • Also called National Nutrition Mission, was launched by the government on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018.
  • The Abhiyaan targets to reduce Stunting, undernutrition, Anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • It also targets to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 4% to 25% by 2022.

Source: The Hindu

/ 05 July CA, Today's Article

Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs (DESH)

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Effects of liberalisation on the economy (post-1991 changes), changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.



The government plans to table the Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs (DESH) Bill to overhaul the special economic zones (SEZ) legislation. DESHs as the DESH Act will replace the current SEZ Act of 2005.

Why replace the existing SEZ Act?

WTO’s dispute settlement panel has ruled that India’s export-related schemes, including the SEZ Scheme, were inconsistent with WTO rules since they directly linked tax benefits to exports.

  • Countries aren’t allowed to directly subsidize exports as it can distort market prices.

Why SEZ is not so popular now?

  • MAT and Sunset clause: SEZ started losing its allure after the introduction of minimum alternate tax and a sunset clause to remove tax sops.
    • SEZ units used to enjoy 100% income tax exemption on export income for the first five years, 50% for the next five years, and 50% of the ploughed back export profit for another five years.

How is the DESH legislation different?

  • Boost domestic manufacturing: The DESH legislation goes beyond promoting exports and has a much wider objective of boosting domestic manufacturing and job creation through ‘development hubs’.
    • These hubs will no longer be required to be net foreign exchange positive cumulatively in five years (i.e, export more than they import) as mandated in the SEZ regime, and will be allowed to sell in the domestic area more easily.
    • The hubs will, therefore, be WTO-compliant.
  • Single window portal: DESH legislation also provides for an online single-window portal for the grant of time-bound approvals for establishing and operating the hubs.


Will it be easier to sell in the domestic market?

Yes. Companies can sell in the domestic market with duties only to be paid on the imported inputs and raw materials instead of the final product.

  • In the current SEZ regime, duty is paid on the final product when a product is sold in the domestic market. Besides, there is no mandatory payment requirement in forex, unlike in the case of SEZs.
  • Equalization Levy: As per the bill, the government may impose an equalization levy on goods or services supplied to the domestic market to bring taxes at par with those provided by units outside.


What role will states play in DESH?

Larger role for states: In the SEZ regime, most decisions were made by the commerce department at the Centre. Now, states will be able to participate and even directly send recommendations for development hubs to a central board for approval.

  • State boards would be set up to oversee the functioning of the hubs. They would have the powers to approve imports or procurement of goods and monitor the utilization of goods or services, warehousing, and trading in the development hub.


Current Affairs


Insta Links

Revamping SEZ

Practice Questions

Q. Critically analyse the social and economic costs of India’s SEZ policy. (250 words)

Source: Live Mint

/ 05 July CA, Today's Article

Niti Aayog Report on Alternatives to Plastics

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.



A Niti Ayog report has suggested on plastic alternatives or technologies making plastic degradable

What does the report say?


  • India produces 3.47 mn tn of plastic waste/year, out of which 60% is collected for recycling.
  • Goa, Delhi & Kerala have reported the highest per capita plastic waste generation, while Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura have reported the lowest per capita plastic waste generation.
  • Globally, 97-99% of these plastics are derived from fossil fuel feedstock while the remaining 1-3% come from bio (plant) based plastics



  • Develop emerging technologies:g., additives can make plastics biodegradable polyolefins, such as polypropylene and polyethylene
  • Use of Bio-plastics: as a cost-effective alternative to plastics
  • Appreciate the contribution of the Informal sector and vulnerable groups in recycling waste
  • Use Extended Producer responsibility to minimize waste
  • Levelling and collection of compostable and biodegradable plastics
  • Transparency: Disclose data on waste generation, collection and disposal
  • Avoid greenwashing: Greenwashing is the process of conveying misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound


Best Practices:


  • Arunachal Pradesh: Plastic banks were established in one district; Plastic was used in Road Construction in variable districts
  • Delhi: Environmental compensation of INR 88,00,000/- levied for violation of PWM Rules
  • Tamil Nadu Collection efficiency of plastic waste is 92%
  • Sikkim: Usage of plastic waste in road construction initiated
  • Uttarakhand: The use of plastic waste as fuel, RDF and waste in energy plants is proposed
  • Biodegradable cutlery: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Lab DFRL has developed technology for biodegradable cutlery


  • Edible Seaweed Cups (Indonesia): Seaweed can grow up to 60 times faster than land-based plants, making it an important carbon sink
  • Algae-blended ethylene-vinyl acetate: A US-based firm has created algae-blended ethylene-vinyl acetate transforming air and water pollution (ammonia, phosphates, and carbon dioxide) into plant biomass rich in proteins
  • Zero plastic recycled paper bottle: A UK firm has invented the only commercially available zero plastic recycled paper bottle in the world
  • Wood-based paper packaging: In 2020, a Scotland-based paper manufacturing company developed a sustainable wood-based alternative to plastic packaging
  • Biotransformation process: A UK-based company has developed an additive which, when added to the masterbatch of polyolefins, i.e., PE and PP, onsets the degradation

Types of Environmentally friendly plastics

  • Bio-plastics encompass many materials that are either bio-sourced or biodegradable or both and are made from renewable biomass resources, most often corn starch/ sugarcane/ cassava – which might be either biodegradable or not.
  • Biodegradable plastic means that plastics, other than compostable plastics, which undergo complete degradation by biological processes under ambient environmental (terrestrial or in water) conditions, in specified time periods, without leaving any microplastics, or visible, distinguishable or toxic residue, which has adverse environmental impacts, adhering to laid down standards of BIS and certified by CPCB.
  • Compostable plastics: Plastics that undergo degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, inorganic compounds and biomass, and do not leave toxic residue. These can be plant-based, but can also be petroleum-based as well.
    • BASF’s Ecoflex is an excellent example of a compostable polymer, which is partly petroleum-based but is compostable at industrial compost facilities.
  • Oxo-degradable: Plastics are conventional plastics such as PE, which include an additive to help them break down into smaller fragments, which could lead to microplastic leakage in the environment.


Current Affairs 


Single-Use Plastic

Single-use plastic banned from July 1:

  • The Centre defines it as an object made of plastic that is intended to be used “only once” before being disposed off or recycled.
  • A list of 21 items that come under the definition of single use plastic including earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, icecream sticks, thermocol for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons,knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, stirrers.
  • These objects were listed by the Environment Ministry under the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.
  • Single use plastic items such as these had “low utility and high littering potential.
  • Plastic Packaging waste, a major contributor to the much larger problem of plastic waste pollution, isn’t yet covered under the phaseout of single use plastic items.
  • Mineral water bottles or plastic bottles of aerated drinks are unaffected by the ban, though, in popular imagination, they are representative of ‘plastic pollution.’


 Insta Links

For more on SUP: Single-Use Plastics



Practice Question

Q. Enumerate the steps taken by India to tackle plastic pollution in the country. Do you think a legally binding global treaty on plastics and plastic pollution is the way forward? Critically examine. (250 words)


Q. Critically analyze Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules. 2021. Discuss how the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules will be implemented?


Q. Which one of the following has been constituted under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986? (UPSC CSE 2022)

(a) Central Water Commission
(b) Central Ground Water Board
(c) Central Ground Water Authority
(d) National Water Development Agency

Ans: (c)


Central Ground Water Authority has been constituted under Section 3 (3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to regulate and control the development and management of groundwater resources in the country.


Q. In India, ‘extended producer responsibility’ was introduced as an important feature in which of the following? (UPSC CSE 2019)


(a) The Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998

(b) The Recycled Plastic (Manufacturing and Usage) Rules, 1999

(c) The E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011

(d) The Food Safety and Standard Regulations, 2011

Answer: C

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. It was added through E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.

Source: Niti Ayog

/ 05 July CA, Today's Article

Large Hadron Collider

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Science and Technology



The world’s most powerful particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will begin smashing protons into each other at unprecedented levels of energy beginning July 5.

  • It is expected to throw up evidence of “new physics” — or physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics, which explains how the basic building blocks of matter interact, governed by four fundamental forces.


What is LHC?

The Large Hadron Collider is a giant, complex machine built to study particles that are the smallest known building blocks of all things.

  • Structure: LHC is a 27-km-long track-loop buried 100m underground on the Swiss-French border.
  • Operation: In its operational state, it fires two beams of protons almost at the speed of light in opposite directions inside a ring of superconducting electromagnets.
    • Guided by magnetic field: The magnetic field created by the superconducting electromagnets keeps the protons in a tight beam and guides them along the way as they travel through beam pipes and finally collide.
    • High precision: The particles are so tiny that the task of making them collide is akin to firing two needles 10 km apart with such precision that they meet halfway.
    • Supercooled: Since the LHC’s powerful electromagnets carry almost as much current as a bolt of lightning, they must be kept chilled. It uses liquid helium to keep its critical components ultracold at minus  271.3 degrees Celsius, which is colder than interstellar space.
  • Experiments:
    • ATLAS is the largest general-purpose particle detector experiment at the LHC
    • Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment is one of the largest international scientific collaborations in history, with the same goals as ATLAS, but which uses a different magnet-system design.)


Latest upgrade: After its maintenance and upgrades, the collider was switched back on this April. This is the LHC’s third run.



  • ‘God Particle’ discovery: In scientists at CERN had announced the discovery of the Higgs boson or the ‘God Particle’ during the LHC’s first run.
    • This led to Peter Higgs and his collaborator François Englert being awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 2013.
  • The Higgs boson is the fundamental particle associated with the Higgs field, a field that gives mass to other fundamental particles such as electrons and quarks.
  • ‘New Physics’ beyond Standard Model: After the discovery of the Higgs boson, scientists have started using the data collected as a tool to look beyond the Standard Model, which is currently the best theory of the most elementary building blocks of the universe and their interactions.


New quest: To further the understanding of so-called “dark matter”: Dar matter is a hard-to-detect, the hoped-for particle is believed to make up most of the universe, but is completely invisible as it does not absorb, reflect, or emit light.


Inst Links



Practice Questions

Q. Enumerate the main goals of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). How will it help us to understand the evolution of the universe? (250 words)

Q. Recently, Scientists observed the merger of giant blackholes’ billions of light-years away from the Earth. What is the significance of this observation? (UPSC CSE 2019)

(a) ‘Higgs boson particles’ were detected.

(b) ‘Gravitational waves’ were detected.

(c) Possibility of intergalactic space travel through ‘wormhole’ was confirmed.

(d) It enabled the scientists to understand ‘singularity’.

Answer: B

The merger of large heavenly bodies creates gravitational waves.


Q. Consider the following pairs: (UPSC CSE 2018)

Terms sometimes                         Context/Topic
seen in news

  1. Belle II experiment       —         Artificial Intelligence
  2. Blockchain technology —       Digital/Cryptocurrency
  3. CRISPR – Cas9             —        Particle Physics

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: B

The Belle II experiment is a particle physics experiment designed to study the properties of B mesons and other particles. CRISPR is used for gene editing.


Q. The efforts to detect the existence of Higgs boson particle have become frequent news in the recent past. What is/are the importance (s) of discovering this particle? (UPSC CSE 2013)

  1. It will enable us to understand as to why elementary particles have mass.
  2. It will enable us in the near future to develop the technology of tranferring matter from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them.
  3. It will enable us to create better fuels for nuclear fission.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: A

Higgs boson is related to particle physics.

Statement 2 and 3 are incorrect: No such evidence has been found.

Source: Indian Express

/ 05 July CA, Today's Article

Sardar Patel’s vision for civil services

GS Paper 4

Syllabus: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers



Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, address at Delhi’s Metcalf House gave a very important message to the civil servants, the “steel frame of India”.

Values that Civil Servants must have:

  • A civil servant must cultivate an esprit de corps. It means to have a shared feeling of pride among team or group members.
    • A civil servant should regard it as a proud privilege to belong to the Service, covenants of which you will sign, and to uphold throughout your service its dignity, integrity and incorruptibility.
  • In whatever position of responsibility, he or she may be a civil servant should always try how best to contribute to the well-being of India as a whole.


  • According to Patel, a civil servant can trust the government to keep her or him contented and happy so that she or he may give her or his best, “but it would be unworthy of you if you make that a condition of service”.
    • Patel advised civil servants to maintain to the utmost the impartiality and incorruptibilityof administration.
    • A civil servant cannot afford to, and must not, take part in politics. Nor must he involve himself in communal wrangles.


  • The larger message Patel was regarding the code of conductof a civil servant.


  • The future of the civil service will depend much upon the foundation and traditions laid down by civil servants, their character and abilities, and their spirit of service.
  • They should look forward to their future with trust and confidence. If they serve in the true spirit of service, they will have the best reward.


Current Affairs 


/ 05 July CA, Today's Article

Facts For Prelims


T.N. sends soil samples for a project relating to the new Parliament building

 They pertain to the 5 ecological regions mentioned in ancient Tamil Sangam literature

Soil samples from five ecological regions mentioned in ancient Tamil Sangam literature — Kurinji, Mullai, Marutham, Neithal and Paalai — have been collected and sent to the capital recently.


Current Affairs



Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation

Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation” is a multidisciplinary initiative, which aims at making India a global player in the futuristic and next-generation “Smart Mobility” technology.


It is seen as one of the steps toward India’s vision of ‘Atmanibhar Bharat’, ‘Skill India’ and ‘Digital India’.

The focus will be on solving various challenges hindering the real-time adoption of unmanned autonomous vehicles for both terrestrial and aerial applications.

There is no such testbed facility in India to evaluate the autonomous navigation of vehicles. TiHAN aims to fill this gap by developing a fully functional and exemplary testbed facility dedicated to connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs).


Current Affairs


Donetsk and Luhansk

Donetsk and Luhansk are the two areas that together make up the Donbas region on the Ukraine-Russia border.

Donbas is a key industrial hub and important from a resource perspective having the largest coal reserves in Ukraine.

These two areas broke away from the Ukrainian government’s control back in 2014 and proclaimed themselves independent “people’s republics”. Donbas region also offers strategic advantages for Russia. By controlling the region, Russia intends to create a ‘land bridge’ to Crimea, a territory it annexed in 2014.

Access to the Black Sea and warm water ports in Crimea such as Sevastopol allows it to access important trade routes throughout the year.


Current Affairs


Gujarat, Karnataka and Meghalaya best states for startup ecosystem: DPIIT rankings


The rankings are based on the initiatives taken to develop the startup ecosystem for promoting budding entrepreneurs.

The ranking has classified the states under two categories – category A and category B – based on their size. While Karnataka and Gujarat fall in the A category, Meghalaya is under the B category.

States such as Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Telangana in the A category, and J&K in the B category, have bagged the title of top performers. Meanwhile, eight states, including Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh, and three B category states have been named leaders.




Saving Chenkurinji from climate change

The Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary derives its name from Gluta travancorica, a species endemic to the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve known as ‘Chenkurinji’ in local parlance.

  • Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in the Western Ghats, India, located in Kollam district of Kerala and comes under the control of Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve.


  • Medicinal properties and are used to lower blood pressure and treat arthritis.
  • The heartwood is quite sturdy with deep red colour thus attracting the wood industry.

‘Save Chenkurinji’, is a campaign to be implemented in various areas to create awareness regarding its conservation.


Current Affairs


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