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. Elderly may outnumber the youth
2. Role of NITI Aayog in cooperative federalism
GS Paper 3:
1. 10 years of CRISPR Gene editing
2. The 1st image from NASA’s James Webb
Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)
1. Trafficking and slavery – Mo Farah
2. Age No Bar
3. Flower waste upcycling
4. F for the Textile industry
Facts for Prelims:
1. Interpol’s ICSE initiative on child sex abuse
2. Pilot licence for Transgender
3. Govt deletes NGO’s data from FCRA site
4. Sovereign wealth funds (SWF)
5. Decriminalisation of Indian forest act, 1927
6. Nord Stream
7. Green hydrogen from biomass
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Issues related to poverty and population, demography etc.
(this is in continuation to yesterday’s article on population)
- The population share of the youth is starting to taper off as the share of the elderly is expected to steadily surge during 2021-2036.
- The world Population prospects are released by the UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs(UNDESA).
Key Findings in the report:
- Decrease in youth population: Youth in the age group of 15-29 years comprise 27.2 per cent of the population for 2021, which is expected to decrease to 22.7 by 2036.
- The more populous states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which experienced a rise in the proportion of youth population to total population till 2021, are expected to see a decline from hereon, according to the ‘Youth in India 2022’ report released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are projected to see a higher elderly population than the youth by 2036.
- Bihar and Uttar Pradesh along with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, are projected to have over half (52 per cent) of the country’s youth,” the report said.
- Fluctuation in population growth: The total youth population is projected to reach around 37cr by 2021 and, thereafter, decrease.
- Increase in elderly population for some states: For Kerala, which saw the youth population peak earlier than other states, the elderly population share in the total population has been projected at 16.5 per cent compared with 22.1 per cent of the youth population in 2021.
● According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demographic dividend means, “the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older)”
Q. Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable? (UPSC 2016)
Q. Consider the following statements:
- The share of the youth population of Bihar is higher than that of Rajasthan.
- Demographic dividend is higher when the population under 14 years is larger than the population above 15 years of age.
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
- Refer to the above diagram for youth population comparison.Demographic Dividend:
- According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demographic dividend means, “the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Statutory, executive, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies and their functions, NITI Ayog etc
- Since its inception in 2015, NITI Aayog has been instrumental in promoting competitive and cooperative federalism.
- NITI Aayog organizes the annual meeting of the Governing Council (GC) under the leadership of the PM, which brings together chief ministers/Lieutenant-governors of the states/UTs to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues to accelerate the implementation of the National Development Agenda.
- As a run-up to the 2022 GC meeting, the first National Conference of Chief Secretaries was held in Dharamshala from June 15-17.
Seven Propositions by NITI Ayog:
- Growth led by states/UTs: India’s growth is that of its states and UTs. As custodians of regional policy and prime executors of development programmes, states are the Indian economy’s growth drivers.
- Income convergence: To achieve greater socio-economic cohesion within the country, achieving income convergence across states must be a policy priority.
- Social indicators: In addition to income growth, performance on social indicators is a sound metric for assessing a state’s performance.
- Social outcomes are de-linked from income in several states. Mizoram’s performance on the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is one example.
- Growth from the grassroots level: We must focus on ensuring that growth originates from the grassroots while addressing significant inter-state and inter-district variations.
- Better urbanization: Better managed urbanization is crucial. Cities face challenges such as affordable housing, water supply and waste management.
- NITI Ayog as an intermediary: Several best practices are already being implemented by states across India. NITI Aayog must act as an intermediary between the Centre and states to ensure cross-sharing of these best practices, insights and perspectives.
- Some areas that merit particular focus are the use of advanced technology using blockchain and AI, development of social registry, reducing compliance burden, implementation of PM Gati Shakti, decriminalization of minor offences and simplification of laws and processes to enhance ease of doing business.
- Tackling climate change: The challenge of climate change is upon us. The world has so far witnessed two models of development— the Industrial Revolution and the rise of East Asia. Both depended on cheap, fossil-fuel energy. India aspires to grow equally fast but is now subject to a carbon constraint.
Q. The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings. (UPSC 2015)
Q. With reference to the full-time organizational framework of NITI Ayog, consider the following statements:
- The Prime Minister acts as the Chairperson of the organization.
- It comprises the Chief Executive Officer who is appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure.
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
- The full-time organizational framework will comprise of, in addition to the Prime Minister as the Chairperson:
- Vice-Chairperson: To be appointed by the Prime Minister.
- Members: Full-time.
- Part-time members: Maximum of 2 from leading universities, research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity. Part-time members will be on a rotational basis.
- Ex Officio members: Maximum of 4 members of the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
- Chief Executive Officer: To be appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure, in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Science and Technology- Biotech
10 years back in 2012, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier published their finding that CRISPR-Cas9 could be programmed with RNA to edit genomic DNA, now considered one of the most significant discoveries in the history of biology.
- CRISPR-Cas9: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats Associated protein 9
- CRISPR gene editingis a genetic engineering technique by which the genomes of living organisms may be modified.
- It is based on a simplified version of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 antiviral defence system. By delivering the Cas9 enzyme with a synthetic guide RNA (gRNA) into a cell, the cell’s genome can be cut at the desired location. (see diagram)
A genome is the complete set of genetic information in an organism. The genome is stored in long molecules of DNA called chromosomes.
Other Genome editing systems include TALENs, Zinc-Finger Nucleases etc.
Q. Discuss the CRISPR gene-editing technology and the concerns raised by it. (250 words)
Q. What is the Cas9 protein that is often mentioned in news? (UPSC 2019)
(a) A molecular scissors used in targeted gene editing
(b) A biosensor used in the accurate detection of pathogens in patients
(c) A gene that makes plants pest-resistant
(d) A herbicidal substance synthesized in genetically modified crops
Q. With reference to agriculture in India, how can the technique of ‘genome sequencing’, often seen in the news, be used in the immediate future? (UPSC 2017)
- Genome sequencing can be used to identify genetic markers for disease resistance and drought tolerance in various crop plants.
- This technique helps in reducing the time required to develop new varieties of crop plants.
- It can be used to decipher the host-pathogen relationships in crops
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
Genome sequencing is a laboratory method that is used to determine the entire genetic makeup of a specific organism or cell type. This method can be used to find changes in areas of the genome. These changes may help scientists understand how specific diseases (such as cancer) form as well as modify the genetic makeup of crops as per our needs.
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Awareness in space.
Source: The Hindu
The first image from NASA’s new space telescope offers the deepest look of the cosmos ever captured.
About James Webb:
- Infrared observatory that will be much more powerful than the presently deployed Hubble space telescope.
- JSWT will observe in near-infrared light rather than light in the visible part of the spectrum (unlike Hubble) and thus it will have a much greater capacity to see obscure stars and galaxies
- Collaboration: It is a joint venture of NASA (US), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada)
- Webb was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST) and it was renamed in 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.
Significance of new Astronomical discoveries:
- Provides a look into the past: Part of the image is light from not too long after the Big Bang, which was 13.8 billion years ago.
- James Webb can see backwards in time to just after the Big Bang by looking for galaxies that are so far away that the light has taken many billions of years to get from those galaxies to our telescopes
- JSWT has the largest mirror in space and it will look deeper into the universe – and thus further back in time – than is possible with a presently deployed telescope such as Hubble
- Decipher mysteries of the Universe: Mysteries such as what made the universe expand so quickly less than a nanosecond after the Big Bang
- Explore the Dark Age of the Universe: The Dark Ages is the period before gravity formed the first stars and galaxies that eventually began to emit the first light.
- Understand the formation of the planetary system and look for signs of life on exoplanets: JSWT can achieve it with much greater accuracy owing to its large mirror and superior Infrared Spectrograph instrument
Difference between JWST and Hubble Telescope
|Orbit||It will not orbit the earth but will sit at Lagrange Point 2 (over millions of KMs away): |
· This will allow it to shield from the light of the Sun, Moon, and Earth and thus avoid light interference
|Orbits Low Earth Orbit (597Km)|
|Light Mirror||Much bigger at 6.5m diameter: This allows it to capture light 6 times greater than Hubble can.|
· It will be able to study Old and distant galaxies, which is not currently possible with Hubble
|At 2.4m diameter|
|Strength||It is 100 times more powerful than Hubble is.|
· It will show images from 250 million years after Big Bang- taking us closer to the starting point of the Universe
|Shows images formed 400 million years after the Big Bang|
|Spectrum||Infrared- It will reveal clearer details about objects in distant places|
· Analogically, Hubble can see the equivalent of “toddler galaxies” and the James Webb Telescope will be able to see “baby galaxies”.
|Mostly ultraviolet (visible) light|
Other missions to explore the universe:
- Hubble Space Telescope (1990): Observation in Visible and Ultra-violet
- Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO): Observation in Gamma Ray
- Chandra X-Ray Observatory (CXO)
- SPHEREx’s (to be launched in 2023): It aims to search for the fundamentals of life — such as water and organic matterwithin the Milky Way
- Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST, to be launched in 2027): It aims to study dark energy, explore exoplanets, and perform galactic and extragalactic surveys
Q. The James Webb telescope is an exemplar of collaborative science and human ingenuity. Discuss its significance to the scientific community. (10M)
Q. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2018)
- Light is affected by gravity.
- The Universe is constantly expanding.
- Matter warps its surrounding space-time.
Which of the above is/are the prediction/predictions of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, often discussed in media?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Albert Einstein proposed three tests of general relativity, subsequently called the “classical tests” of general relativity, in 1916: the perihelion precession of Mercury’s orbit. the deflection of light by the Sun. the gravitational redshift of light (universe expansion)
According to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, matter bends the fabric of space and time. The distortion of the space-time continuum even affects the behaviour of light. General relativity predicts that the path of light will follow the curvature of spacetime as it passes near a star. So, the light will be affected by gravity.
Which of the following is/are cited by the scientists as evidence/evidences for the continued expansion of the universe? (UPSC 2012)
- Detection of microwaves in space
- Observation of redshift phenomenon in space
- Movement of asteroids in space
- Occurrence of supernova explosions in space
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1, 3 and 4
(d) None of the above
Evidence for the continued expansion of the universe:
- Cosmic microwave background(CMB): It is radiation left over from the early stages of the formation of the universe. As the universe is expanding the light has changed its wavelength and currently, it can be detected in the microwave region of the radio spectrum.
- Redshift and blueshift describe the change in the frequency of a light wave depending on whether an object is moving towards or away from us. When an object is moving away from us, the light from the object is known as redshift, and when an object is moving towards us, the light from the object is known as blueshift.
Trafficking and slavery – Mo Farah
In a BBC documentary, Sir Mo Farah revealed that he was brought to the UK illegally as a child, and was given the name Mohamed Farah by those who trafficked him and was forced to work as a domestic servant. His real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin.
Sir Mo says he had to do housework and childcare if he wanted food to eat.
For the first few years, the family didn’t allow him to go to school, but when he was about 12 he enrolled in Year 7 at Feltham Community College.
Sir Mo says sport was a lifeline for him as “the only thing I could do to get away from this [living situation] was to get out and run”.
He eventually confided in his Physical Education teacher about his identity, his background, and the family he was being forced to work for.
This example highlights the values of struggle, determination, never dying spirit and humbleness.
Age No Bar
Giving the latest example of ‘age has no bar’, an 82-year-old former MLA and CPM veteran from Kerala has clinched two bronze medals for India in the World Masters Athletics Championship (WMAC) 2022.
Follows Healthy Style Diligently
MJ Jacob from Piravom won medals in the 200m and 80m hurdles competitions in the men’s M80 category. He now plans to work more on his fitness, improve his performance and win a gold at the Masters in 2023.
Flower waste upcycling
Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee, taking a cue from Kashi Vishwanath and Jagganathpuri Temples have decided to make incense sticks from flower waste, leather wagon and other biodegradable material.
5 F for the Textile industry
Union Minister Piyush Goyal revised the mantra of 5 F’s for the fashion industry:- farms to fibre to fabric to fashion to foreign export to make the Textile industry of India a strong name in the world.
Facts For Prelims
Interpol’s ICSE initiative on child sex abuse
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has joined Interpol’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) initiative that will allow it to collaborate with investigators in other countries for detecting child sexual abuse online and identifying abusers, victims, and crime scenes from audio-visual clips using specialised software.
The ICSE database uses video and image comparison to analyse Child Sex Exploitation Material (CSEM) and make connections between victims, abusers and places.
- Avoids duplications and enables collaboration: The database avoids duplication of effort and saves precious time by letting investigators know whether a series of images have already been discovered or identified in another country, or whether it has similar features to other images.
- Statistics show that in India, every 155 minutes, a child under 16 years of age is raped. Parents of sexually abused children are scared to tell anyone due to fear of being shamed in society.
- Previously, CBI had set up ‘Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/Investigation (OCSAE) unit for using CSEM data.
DGCA’s denial of a pilot licence to transgender person discriminatory: Ministry
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA’s) denial of a commercial pilot licence to a transgender candidate is “discriminatory” and “violates” the law on the rights of transgender people, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has written to the aviation regulator.
- It demanded guidelines for licensing and separate medical standards to enable them to join the profession.
The issue came to the limelight due to the denial of a pilot licence by DGCA to a transgender Adam Harry.
Govt deletes NGO’s data from FCRA site
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has removed some crucial data from its Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) website which includes a list of NGOs whose licences have been cancelled, and the annual returns of NGOs.
- Impact: It will lessen the transparency in the functioning of the FCRA division (At a time when allegations of corruption within the FCRA division are being investigated by the CBI)
- Recently, the Ministry notified a series of changes in FCRA rulesin “an effort to lessen the compliance burden on NGOs”. These included changes in Rule 13 which deal with “declaration of receipt of foreign contribution”
- Controversies: MHA had rejected the application for renewal of the FCRA licence of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and Oxfam India and recently cancelled the licence of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
- Insta Link: FCRA
Sovereign wealth funds (SWF)
High Crude Oil prices have been advantageous for the countries to invest through their Sovereign wealth funds.
- Six of the top 10 countries by SWFs are oil-rich economies.
A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund comprised of the money generated by the government, often derived from a country’s surplus reserves.
- Use: Oil-rich countries such as Norway, those in West Asia, and others such as China use SWFs to invest in businesses, both at home and abroad.
- There are 169 SWFs from 49 countries managing $11.5 trillion of assets in July 2022.
- Positive Current account balance: A common underpinning of most major SWFs is a surplus in the current account. E.g. Kuwait’s current account balance was about 21% of GDP in 2021 (India’s is 1.1% of its GDP)
Decriminalisation of Indian forest act, 1927
MoEFCC is reviewing to decriminalize the Indian forest act, 1927
- Indian Forest Act, 1927: It classified the forests into three – reserved forests, protected forests and village forests.
- It attempted to regulate the collection of forests produce by forest dwellers and some activities were declared as offences and imprisonment and fines were imposed in this policy to establish the state control over forests
- Changes suggested: Decriminalizing kindling of fire or carrying fire in the forest areas, felling and dragging timbers; violation of the act will only attract a fine of Rs 500 (previously it was six-month imprisonment and fine)
- Previously, the Ministry had proposed the decriminalisation of the existing provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 in order to weed out fear of imprisonment for simple violations (e.g. violation of a ban on single-use-plastic)
There is a fear that the recent shutdown of Nord Stream 1, (Germany’s main source of gas from Russia) may be extended by Russia in retaliation against the current sanctions against Russia.
Nord Stream 1 is a 1,224 km underwater gas pipeline that runs from Vyborg in northwest Russia to Lubmin in northeastern Germany via the Baltic Sea.
Importance of Nord Stream:
- The pipeline is the primary route through which its gas enters Germany and then travels west and southwards through onshore links to other European countries.
- Nord Stream 2 Pipeline that would have doubled the flow of Russian gas to Germany was suspended in February 2022 (due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine)
Green hydrogen from biomass
A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has developed a technology to produce green hydrogen from biomass
This indigenous technology is a step toward achieving the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap, an initiative of the Government of India that aims to promote the use of hydrogen as a fuel and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India supported the project.
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