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. Waiver to India for purchase of S-400 missile system
2. Iran, and Belarus to be the newest SCO members
3. India Rankings 2022 of higher educational institutes
4. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh sign pact aiming to solve the border dispute
GS Paper 3:
1. Financial Inclusion
Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)
1. Sarjubai Meena’s mission to conserve soil and water in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district
2. Carbon neutrality in places of worship
3. Fact: World off track on protecting life on land finds UN report
Facts for Prelims:
1. TIME’s list of the world’s greatest places of 2022
2. Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill, 2019
3. POSOCO to run single window green energy system
6. Build- Operate- Transfer Model
7. Shifting agriculture (podu)
8. Asiatic black bears
Syllabus: Global grouping involving India, SCO etc
- Iran and Belarus are likely to be the two newest additions to the China and Russia-backed Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
- India will host the SCO summit next year, and Varanasi has been selected as the SCO region’s first “Tourism and Cultural Capital”.
- Iran to become a member and call on Belarus’s membership: Iran will become a full member after completing the formalities while Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states who follow the system of consensus in deciding admission of new members will take a call on Belarus’s application.
- First expansion after 2017: This is the first expansion of the SCO after India and Pakistan were admitted to the grouping in 2017.
- Counter to west: China and Russia are looking to frame the grouping as a counter to the West — particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- SCO’s rising international influence: The significance of this round of expansion is that it shows SCO’s rising international influence and that the principles of the SCO charter are widely accepted, Secretary General SCO Zhang Ming said.
- SCO is different from NATO: The expansion of NATO is totally different as the SCO is a cooperative organization based on non-alignment and not targeting a third party, while NATO is based on Cold War thinking
- Security at the expense of other countries: The SCO believes one should not build its security at the expense of other countries while NATO is creating new enemies to sustain its own existence.
- International order fairer and more reasonable: The SCO member states are thinking of how to adapt to the profound changes that the international situation is undergoing so as to make the international order fairer and more reasonable.
- Agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors: Samarkand summit is expected to have agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors and a roadmap for local currency settlement among member states.
Objectives of SCO:
Q. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. What importance does it hold for India? (UPSC 2021)
Q. Which of the following is/are observer members of SCO?
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
a. 1, 2 and 3 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 2, 3 and 4 only
d. 1, 3 and 4 only
Refer to the image above
Syllabus: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Source: Live Mint
US House of Representatives has passed a legislative amendment that approves a waiver to India against the punitive CAATSA sanctions for its purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia to help deter aggressors like China.
- Ro Khanna, the US representative from California’s 17th congressional district said, “The United States must stand with India in the face of escalating aggression from China.
- The US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the CAATSA for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.
CAATSA authorises the US administration to impose sanctions on countries that purchase major defence hardware from Russia.
- Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
- It was passed in 2017 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea (2014) and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.
- Sanctions that may be imposed: prohibition on loans, prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance, prohibition on procurement of goods or services, denial of visas to persons.
- The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system developed in the 1990s.
- It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
- India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia (in 2018) to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems.
Q. How is the S-400 air defence system technically superior to any other system presently available in the world? (UPSC 2021)
Q. What is “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)”, sometimes seen in the news? (UPSC 2018)
(a) An Israeli radar system
(b) India’s indigenous anti-missile programme
(c) An American anti-missile system
(d) A defence collaboration between Japan and South Korea.
Q. With reference to Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct? (UPSC 2014)
- It is surface-to-surface missile.
- It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
- It can deliver one tonne nuclear warhead about 7500 km away.
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
Agni-IV is surface-to-surface intermediate-range ballistic missile.
|Operational range||4,000 km|
|Flight altitude||900 kilometres (560 mi)|
|Guidance system||Ring laser gyro inertial navigation system with redundant micro inertial navigation and digital control system|
Syllabus: Higher educational institutions, NIRF Ranking, Issues related to the development of social sector related to Education etc
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, is yet again the top higher educational institute in the country followed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and IIT Bombay, according to the Ministry of Education’s National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2022.
- This is the seventh consecutive edition of NIRF. It ranks colleges, universities and research institutions and also provides an overall ranking of all of them combined.
- Institutes are also ranked across seven subject domains, namely engineering, management, pharmacy, law, medical, architecture and dental.
Parameters for Evaluation:
- Compulsory for government-run institutions: Participation in the NIRF was voluntary in the initial years; it was made compulsory for all government-run educational institutions in 2018.
- Will be made mandatory for all: The Education Minister said, the rankings that accreditation and assessment of every higher education institution will be made mandatory and all institutions will have to be part of the NIRF ranking system.
- Merger of NAAC and NBA: The two accreditation systems – National Assessment and Accreditation Council for institutional accreditation (NAAC) and the National Board of Accreditation for programmes (NBA) – will be merged and institutes will have to have either NAAC accreditation or NIRF rank to be able to receive government funds.
- System for accreditation for schools: There will be a system for accreditation of schools in the country.
Q. National Education Policy 2020 is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals-4 (2030). It intended to restructure and re-orient the education system in India. Critically examine the statement(UPSC 2020)
Q. Which of the following is/are parameters used by NIRF for ranking of higher educational institutions?
- Teaching, learning and resources(TLR)
- Graduation outcome
- Number of students enrolled yearly
- Inclusivity and perception
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
a. 1, 2 and 4 only
b. 1, 3 and 4 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1, 2, 3 and 4
Refer to the diagram above
Syllabus: Inter-State relations, special provisions for some states, Namsai Declaration etc
- A boundary line delineated in 1960 by a committee will be the basis for the realignment of the Assam and Arunachal Pradesh interstate boundary as the two states attempt to solve their longstanding border disputes.
- Assam CM and his Arunachal counterpart held their third meeting on the disputes at Namsai in Arunachal.
- Later, they jointly issued the ‘Namsai Declaration’.
- Boundary line delineated by High-Powered Tripartite Committee taken as a basis: The boundary line delineated and signed on the 29 toposheets by the High-Powered Tripartite Committee as notified boundary during the year 1960 would be taken as the basis for realignment of boundary by both states,” the declaration reads.
- 12 Regional committees: Both states decided to constitute 12 “regional committees”, each covering 12 districts of Arunachal and the counterpart districts of Assam for joint verification of 123 villages.
- They will make their recommendations to the respective governments keeping in view the historical perspective, administrative convenience, contiguity and people’s will to delineate the interstate boundary.
- Both agreed in principle regarding 37 villages.
- Final decision on the basis of regional committees: The final decision will be made based on the recommendations of the regional committees.
- Distribution of villages: Twenty-eight villages, which are within the constitutional boundary of Arunachal, will remain with it.
- Three villages, on which claims were withdrawn by Arunachal, will remain with Assam. The locations of six villages could not be located in Assam and if they exist in Arunachal, they will continue to be with it.
- Final tranche before august 15: It was also agreed upon that the regional committees will submit their first tranche of reports on areas where consensus is arrived at before Aug. 15.
- Present-day Arunachal Pradesh, which attained Statehood in February 1987, used to be the North East Frontier Tract, administered by the Governor of Assam as an agent of the President of India. It was renamed North East Frontier Agency and brought under the Central government’s control in 1954.
● This declaration is signed between the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on July 15, 2022, at Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh to minimize the border dispute between the two states in respect of 123 villages placed before the Local Commission by Arunachal Pradesh.
● According to the declaration, all border issues between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will be confined to those raised before the local commission in 2007.
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. Which of the following is the correct arrangement of Northeast states from North to South?
a. Arunachal Pradesh-Assam-Nagaland-Meghalaya-Mizoram
b. Arunachal Pradesh-Nagaland-Assam-Meghalaya-Mizoram
c. Assam-Arunachal Pradesh-Meghalaya-Mizoram-Nagaland
d. Arunachal Pradesh-Assam-Mizoram-Meghalaya-Nagaland
Syllabus: Inclusive growth and associated issues/challenges
Source: Live Mint
An article by David Malpass (president of the World Bank Group) on financial inclusion.
*The article can be read along with one on 7th July 2022 (World Bank releases Global Findex database 2021)
Data: Global Findex found that 71% of adults in developing economies now have a formal financial account.
Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
Benefits of the financial inclusion revolution:
- Easier, cheaper and safer for people to receive wages from employers, and send remittances to family members.
- Mobile money accounts can better handle high-volume, small-denomination transactions
Successful example – Kenya’s M-Pesa, allows users with or without bank accounts to transfer and make payments through a basic mobile phone is an example of a digital financial inclusion success story which now accounted for 20% of GDP and improved per capita consumption and lifted 2% of Kenyan households—out of poverty
- Women empowerment: Individual accounts also give women more privacy, security and control over their money.
- Reduce leakage and delay in government transfers –It benefits directly the people through their Aadhaar seeded bank accounts.
- For example – MGNREGA has been attached to the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) platform, which aims to prevent leakages and delays and is a right step in this direction.
- Government of Andhra Pradesh launched a smart-card program for MGNREGS and social security pensions where payments were delivered to bank accounts linked with biometric smart cards has resulted in a faster, less corrupt payment process.
- It enhances financial resilience (the ability to deal with an unexpected financial event)- Financial access facilitates day-to-day living and helps families and businesses plan for everything from long-term goals to unexpected emergencies.
- Against corruption: It helps to increase transparency as money flows from a government’s budget to public agencies to citizens.
Suggestions given by the world bank chief:
- Create a favourable operating and policy environment: E.g. enable the interoperability of systems (e.g. UPI), access to the mobile-phone system for banking, Consumer protections and stable regulations.
- Establishing digital-identification systems: g. Aadhar in India
- Promote the digitalization of payments: This will also promote formal-sector employment without making compliance excessively burdensome.
- Inclusion: The gender gap in financial access has narrowed, but it still exists. Women, along with the poor, are more likely to lack a form of personal identification or a mobile phone, to live far from a bank branch, and to need support to open and use a financial account.
Expanding people’s access to finance, reducing the cost of digital transactions, and channelling wage payments and social transfers through financial accounts will be vital to mitigating development setbacks resulting from the ongoing turbulence.
Q. India still has a long way to go to bridge the gender gap in access and use of financial services. Comment (250 Words)
Q. Consider the following statements:
- National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) helps in promoting financial inclusion in the country
- NPCI has launched RuPay, a card payment scheme.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither1 nor 2
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
Applications under NPCI: RuPay, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Automated Clearing House (NACH), Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) System, Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS), National Financial Switch (NFS), Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Bharat Bill Payment System, National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program
Sarjubai Meena’s mission to conserve soil and water in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district
Residents of Amartiya and nearby villages in the Bhilwara district have traditionally depended on dug wells as they used to yield enough water for household needs, to grow rain-fed crops like corn, and feed animals but in recent years there was a shortage of groundwater. It was found out that there was an overuse of water through Bore wells.
Sarjubai Meena along with other residents planned water conservation measures for the village and spread awareness among people on the judicious use of water. They also constructed check dams across it to control soil erosion and promote groundwater recharge. Various grass and tree species were planted in the next step.
Meena has gained recognition for her efforts by several organisations. In 2021, the UN Development Programme named her as one of the 41 “Women Water Champions” working for conservation in India.
Carbon neutrality in places of worship – Role of society in achieving SDG goals/tackling climate crisis
St Michael Church, known popularly as Mahim Church, is the first place of worship in India to decarbonize, they did this by installing Solar panels, converting flower waste into Biogas, investing in community projects for tree plantation, etc.
Carbon-neutrality means reducing an organization’s or individual’s carbon footprint to zero through a series of emission-reducing actions.
These can include switching to clean energy and taking public transport instead of a private car. Investing in carbon offsets — such as planting trees on farms or public land — is another way to achieve the neutrality goal
The Mahim church’s pioneering effort at carbon neutrality has found an echo in other places of worship. A few temples in south India also wish to explore this possibility and a management team will visit the church.
It is not only the government’s responsibility but also individuals, businesses, civil society organizations, and even places of worship that can also play a role in addressing the crisis.
World off track on protecting life on land finds UN report
SDG-15 is an ambitious goal to protect life on land by 2030, which covers all land-based ecosystems and biodiversity.
Brief findings of the report:
- All regions of the world face major and significant challenges in achieving the goal.
- The world’s forest area continues to decline, but at a slightly slower rate than in previous decades.
Facts For Prelims
TIME’s list of the world’s greatest places of 2022
Indian city Ahmedabad and the state of Kerala have been mentioned in TIME magazine’s list of the world’s greatest places of 2022.
Nomination: TIME solicited nominations of places from our international network of correspondents and contributors, with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences.
- India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City
- Cultural tourism: Ancient landmarks and contemporary innovations, Gandhi Ashram, Navratri (longest dance festival in the world)
- Ahmedabad’s Gujarat Science City, a “sprawling entertainment centre and theme park”, unveiled three major attractions last year, including a 20-acre nature park to educate the public on local flora as well as provide new spaces for playing chess and practising yoga.
- Kerala is one of India’s most beautiful states
- Spectacular beaches and lush backwaters, temples, and palaces, it’s known as “God’s own country”
- Kerala is boosting motor-home tourism
- State’s first caravan park, Karavan Meadows, opened in Vagamon, a scenic hill station
Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill, 2019
Government will revive the Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill, 2019 for a new registration regime for newspapers that will include digital Media as well (the current registration framework doesn’t include digital news)
It will replace the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 ( the act currently regulates the newspaper and printing press industry)
- It will enable the Central and State Government to formulate appropriate rules or regulations for issuing govt advertisements in newspapers, accreditation of newspapers and such other facilities for newspapers.
- Create a Press Registrar General along with laying down a simple system of registration of e-papers.
- It is mandatory for the editor of the periodical to be an Indian citizen.
- Allows anyone who is a citizen of India to bring out its publication
- Bill seeks to punish the concerned only with a fine (the previous bill had fine + imprisonment)
POSOCO to run single window green energy system
The power ministry has notified Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) as the central nodal agency to set up and run a single window green energy system.
- POSOCO is CPSE under the Ministry of Power to monitor and ensure round-the-clock integrated operation of the Indian Power System in a reliable, efficient and secure manner thus serving a mission-critical activity.
- Green Energy: Green energy is that which comes from natural sources, such as the sun.
- Approval process will be quicker (POSOCO will approve or reject the applications for green power supply within 15 days)
- Large consumers can now take power (under Green Open Access) without any limits
- Distribution companies can demand a supply of green power from generation companies.
- Uniform renewable purchase obligation on users under the open access norms, including captive consumers and commercial entities, in areas assigned to the discoms.
- Tariffs for green energy will be determined separately by an appropriate commission.
The 2003 Electricity Act allowed consumers to buy power directly from the generators by using the grid under open access arrangement.
SAMARTH and NTPC have collaborated on the utilization of agriculture residue for co-firing in thermal power plant
- Cofiring is a term used to describe incorporating a secondary fuel with a primary fuel utilizing the same combustion equipment. A common application of cofiring is used in coal-fired power plants where coal use is supplemented with biomass.
SAMARTH was launched by the Ministry of power (2021) and mandates all thermal power plants in India use 5-10% of biomass alongside coal to produce power. Consequently, it promotes research on modern boilers which can handle a greater amount of silica and alkalis in biomass pellets.
*Don’t get confused with the SAMARTH Scheme of the Ministry of textile (for capacity building in the textile sector)
Build- Operate- Transfer Model
For new projects, NHAI will prefer the build-operate-transfer model
What is the BOT Model?
Under the BOT model, a private player will finance, build and operate a project for a period of time (20 or 30-year period). The developers will be recouping the investments by way of user charges or tolls charged from customers using the facility.
- The BOT (toll) model was the preferred model for road projects, accounting for 96% of all projects awarded in 2011-12. But this progressively reduced to nil.
Shift to other models: When the private company didn’t had incentives post-2011, the government shifted to the EPC and HAM models to plug the funding gap. The return to BOT could be a big positive for the sector.
Low-power memory device
Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bangalore, an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India (DST), has developed a low-power memory device with excellent switching characteristics made from the chemical hafnium oxide, a replacement for silicon oxide, for data storage applications.
Hafnium element is a good absorber of neutrons and is used to make control rods, such as those found in nuclear submarines. It also has a very high melting point and because of this is used in plasma welding torches.
Shifting agriculture (podu)
Podu cultivation is a type of shifting cultivation that employs methods like slash and burns. This is extensively used by the tribes living in the forests of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Asiatic black bears
Scientists have calculated the density and population of Asiatic black without identifying individual animals through hair samples or camera trap images using a relatively new statistical model known as the Spatial Presence-Absence Model.
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