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. Reservation in ULB
2. Recent issues related to India’s law on abortion
GS Paper 3:
1. Balancing development and devotion
2. Science of Genetics
GS Paper 4:
1. Gregor Mendel: values from his life
2. Ethical Values to be taken from Madam President
Content for Mains enrichment (Ethics/Essay)
1. Crimes against SCs, STs: the rise in cases, and trends by state – Data
2. Rwanda is ahead of India and others – The Gender Parity Index
Facts for Prelims:
1. Kali Bein
2. Keshava temple at Somanathapur
3. Report on Digital Banks
4. Opium opened for private players
5. NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022
6. World Press Freedom Index
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Constitutional bodies, government policies and interventions.
Source: The Hindu
Context: Bhakthavatsala Commission recommends a 33% quota for OBCs in ULB polls in Karnataka. The committee was formed following the SC directive. The article is state-specific but can be read once.
- Reserve 33% seats for OBCs, including minorities, in ULB elections (44% of the population in Karnataka comes from OBC background)
- Ensure the aggregate of all reservations of seats does not exceed 50%
- Bring all ULB election wings under the control of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms
- Make term of office of Mayor and Deputy Mayor 30 months in all city corporations like in Bangalore BBMP
- Provide OBC reservations for the office of Mayor and the Deputy Mayor in BBMP
Similarly, Recently Supreme Court accepted the recommendations of the Banthia commission to apply 27 per cent OBC reservations in local body elections in Maharashtra.
In December 2021 the Supreme Court directed that reservation for OBCs in local bodies will not be permitted unless they fulfil the triple test ( laid down in the SC’s own 2010 decision)
Article 243T makes the provisions for the reservation of seats in ULBs
- Seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in every Municipally.
- Not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved for women
- The office of Chairpersons in the Municipalities shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.
- The Kalelkar Commission, set up in 1953, was the first to identify backward classes other than the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) at the national level.
- The Mandal Commission Report, 1980 estimated the OBC population at 52% and classified 1,257 communities as backward.
- It recommended increasing the existing quotas, which were only for SC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include the OBCs.
- The central government reserved 27% of seats in union civil posts and services for OBCs [Article 16(4)].
- The quotas were subsequently enforced in central government educational institutions [Article 15 (4)].
- The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
Q. Critically analyse the Fifteenth Finance Commission recommendations on urban local bodies. (10M)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Government policies and interventions
Source: Indian Express
Context: A 25-year-old pregnant woman challenged Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003, (in Supreme court) which allows only some categories of women to seek termination of pregnancy between 20 and 24 weeks.
Background of the case:
An unmarried 25-year-old woman sought Delhi High Court’s permission for termination of a pregnancy of 23 weeks and 5 days, as her partner had refused to marry her. However, Delhi HC refused to grant her permission. So, she moved to SC.
What is India’s law on abortion?
- Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, criminalises voluntarily “causing miscarriage”.
- As per the amended law (2021), termination under the opinion of one doctor for pregnancies up to 20 weeks is allowed. For pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks, the amended law requires the opinion of two doctors.
- Section 3B of Rules prescribed under the MTP Act: It allows seven categories of women who shall be considered eligible for termination of pregnancy up to twenty-four weeks, e.g. rape survivors, minors, change of marital status (from married to divorced), etc.
- However, the law doesn’t recognize the situation of unmarried women.
Supreme court order:
- Law covered ‘unmarried’ women: An amendment to the Act in 2021 had substituted the term ‘husband’ with ‘partner’, a clear signal that the law covered unmarried women within its ambit. Thus, SC allowed women to have an abortion.
- The court ordered a medical board to be formed by the AIIMS to check whether it was safe to conduct an abortion on the woman and submit a report in a week.
- Denying an unmarried woman the right to a safe abortion violates her personal autonomy and freedom. A woman’s right to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. She has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity.
- Live-in relationships had already been recognised by the Supreme Court.
|Features||MTP Act 1971||MTP Amendment Act 2021|
|Medical practitioner’s opinions required||-One Doctor’s opinion if termination is within 12 weeks of conception|
-Two Doctor’s opinions for 20 weeks
|-One doctor’s opinion till 20 weeks|
-Two for 20-24 weeks
-Medical board permission for beyond 24 weeks
|Gestation limit||20 weeks for all||-20-24 weeks for vulnerable women e.g. rape victim|
-beyond 24 weeks for ‘substantial foetal abnormalities
|Privacy||Not mentioned||protects the confidentiality of data related to termination and privacy of women and the case|
Q. In the context of The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021, critically examine various issues in India’s law on abortion.
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Different sectors of the economy
Source: BBC News
Context: The Himalayan region has witnessed several natural disasters over the years, killing thousands. The article is in continuation of the previous article Amendment of EIA rule and should be read solely from the perspective of the main.
The religious value of the Himalayas: It is home to temple towns of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri which are part of the Himalayan Char Dham Yatra (Four Pilgrimages), the Amarnath cave shrine and Vaishno Devi temple.
As per the report “Environmental Assessment of Tourism in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR)’” by GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, demand for tourism has increased pressure on Indian Himalayan Region (IHR).
Dangers: Surge in the number of worshippers over the past couple of decades – partly due to greater mobility and connectivity – and the infrastructural development to accommodate them are damaging the fragile ecological balance of the region, which is vulnerable to earthquakes and landslides.
- Climate change: Rising temperatures were increasing the frequency of rock falls in the Himalayas, which could increase the danger to people.
- Revenue dependence: Tourism brings much-needed revenue to state governments – this can reduce the incentive to take tough calls to conserve nature.
- Environmental impact: Pollution, biodiversity loss, waste generation.
- Loss of indigenous culture
- Removing “institutional vacuum”: Develop better policies for environmentally fragile pilgrimage.
- This should include consultation with religious actors who actively participate in the promotion and management of the religious tourism economy at local levels.
- National Strategy for Sustainable tourism: Ministry of tourism launched this for the development of sustainable tourism like promoting environmental sustainability, protecting biodiversity, promoting economic sustainability, etc.
- Development to cater to local needs: Current infrastructure development doesn’t cater as much to locals as they do to people from other states.
- Community-based tourism will enable conservation along with the development
- Planned management of religious gatherings: India has successfully shown that during the Kumbh Mela, which is held across four states.
- Sustainable development demands an approach that is both geologically and ecologically sound.
- Efficient and wider data collection: The flash flood ( July 2022) at the Amarnath shrine was triggered by a cloudburst, which led to “highly intense and highly localised rainfall that our automatic weather station could not catch”.
- Regulation of numbers: Most experts agree that regulating pilgrim numbers according to the terrain’s capacity is essential.
- g. Bhutan charges a tourism tax and only allows a certain number of tourists a year, so as not to harm the fragile environment.
- Levying a green tax on tourist vehicles can be another measure.
- Awareness programmes: Authorities need to provide regular, updated information through advertisements and public service broadcasters that also highlight the risks and dangers involved in the journey.
- Rajasthan govt has accorded industry status to tourism & hospitality sector
- New Tourism Policy: The government is coming out with a new policy aimed at making India a sustainable, tourist-friendly destination through various green initiatives, skill development, and engaging with the private sector.
Q. Evaluate the policies and schemes that are being used to promote eco-tourism in India. (15M)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Science and Technology
Source: The Hindu
Context: 200 years of the father of genetics, Gregor Mendel.
Genetics: Genetics is the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.
It was first experimentally established by Gregor Mendel (a monk) (1822 to 1884)
His contributions to Science:
- Principles of Inheritance: By experimenting with pea plant breeding, Mendel developed three principles of inheritance that described the transmission of genetic traits, before anyone knew genes existed.
- To this day, scientists use Mendel’s principles to explain the most basic phenomena of inheritance.
- Foundation of biology: Mendel’s theory, together with the evolutionary theory propounded by Charles Darwin, laid the foundations of biology.
- Cure for many human diseases: Assisted clinicians in human diseaseresearch
- For example, within just a couple of years of the rediscovery of Mendel’s work, Archibald Garrod applied Mendel’s principles to his study of alkaptonuria (discolouration of the skin)
- Science of genomics and gene editing has its root in the work of Mendel.
- First to apply maths to biology: He may have been the first botanist who seriously applied mathematics to biology, unlike Charles Darwin, who was judged by observation rather than by calculation.
- He was the one who coined the terms dominant and recessive to describe these traits, which are used even today.
GS Paper 4
Syllabus: Contributions of great personalities
Source: The Hindu
Context: 200 years of the father of genetics, Gregor Mendel.
Values we can learn from Gregor Mendel:
- Dedication: He was an extremely keen student, interested in science and pursued his studies despite the fact that his family was impoverished. In order to fund his studies, Mendel became a monk.
- Defeating failures: Even though he failed to pass the exam of ‘natural history’ during his college years, later his contribution revolutionized the field.
- Courage and Persistence: He worked with ‘Pea’ for eight years and—by his own admission— he needed “some courage” to persist with them. Ultimately, it led to three foundational principles of inheritance.
- Struggle: Mendel’s findings were not accepted and his records were burnt down when he died. It was only after 35 years of his death that his ideas were rediscovered.
His present relevance: The historic neglect of Mendel’s scientific contribution has many lessons for us: Our mind should be open to absorbing new ideas, even if radical.
GS Paper 4
Syllabus: Contributions of great personalities
Droupadi Murmu is elected as the first Tribal president and second women President of India.
Hailing from Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district and coming from a tribal community, Murmu started out as a teacher and then entered into Odisha politics. In 2015, Murmu was sworn in as the first woman Governor of Jharkhand. She lost her husband and two sons within a span of five years.
- Simplicity: She belonged to a humble background and despite having risen in her political and social status, she has maintained her humbleness and simplicity of lifestyle.
- Dedication – Towards her political career and social causes
- Courage – even after losing her husband and two sons she was courageous enough to carry on with her life and social work.
- Empowerment and emancipation: Being a woman from a tribal family she fought all odds to get an education and enter into politics. She is now an insipiration for millions of tribal girls.
Content for main enrichment (Ethics/Essay)
Crimes against SCs, STs: the rise in cases, and trends by state – Data
According to figures tabled by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Lok Sabha, Cases of crime against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have risen progressively in the years between 2018 and 2020.
This information can be used in GS answers to show inequality, increasing atrocities etc.
Rwanda is ahead of India and others – The Gender Parity Index
In the 2022 Gender Parity Index released by UNESCO, Rwanda has been ranked 6th among 146 nations way ahead of India (135), the US (27) and the UK (22).
- Rwanda is the first and the only country in the world to have a female majority Parliamen
- Thirteen of the 26 members of the Rwandan Cabinet are women. And so are the four of seven Supreme Court judges. Their share among workers in the informal sector is 88 per cent.
Steps Taken to achieve this status:
- Thirty per cent of seats in any decision-making organ of the government were reserved for women.
- A tough law on gender-based violence was introduced in 2009. Marital rape is now a crime
- Gender Monitoring Office became operational to oversee gender indicators both in the government and private sectors.
- A National Education Task Force was set up and gender parity was achieved in primary education.
Rwanda has shown that whatever the deep-rooted cultural norms and stereotypes or the economic status if there is political will it is possible to significantly bridge the gender gap
Facts for Prelims
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has been admitted to Delhi’s Apollo Hospital, days after he had drunk a glass of water directly from the Kali Bein, a holy rivulet in Sultanpur Lodhi.
- It is a 165-km rivulet that starts from Hoshiarpur and meets the confluence of the rivers Beas and Sutlej in Kapurthala.
- It is called Kali Bein (black rivulet) as industrial wastes from around 80 villages and half a dozen small and big towns flow into it.
- Religious significance: The Kali Bein is of great significance to the Sikh religion and history, because the first Guru, Nanak Dev, is said to have gotten enlightenment
- When Guru Nanak Dev was staying at Sultanpur Lodhi, he would bathe in the Kali Bein. He is said to have disappeared into the waters one day, before emerging on the third day. The first thing he recited became the “Mool Mantra” of the Sikh religion.
Keshava temple at Somanathapur
The 13th-century Keshava temple also called “poetry in stone”, is getting a makeover ahead of the proposed visit of the UNESCO team to inspect the Hoysala monument nominated for inscription as a World Heritage Site.
The Chennakesava Temple, is a Vaishnava Hindu temple on the banks of River Kaveri at Somanathapura, Karnataka, India. The temple was consecrated in 1258 CE by Somanatha Dandanayaka, a general of the Hoysala King Narasimha III. It is located 38 kilometres (24 mi) east of Mysuru city
Hoysala Art and Architecture: Hoysalas combined Vesara and Dravida styles and developed a new Hoysala style.
Important features of this style are
- Star shapedplatform
- The jagati around the temple is the open pradakshinapatha.
- Polished pillar with a variety of designs.
- Elaborate carvings and beautifully carved madanika figures.
- Vimana(shikara) in pyramidical shape.
- Most of their temples are in Bhumija style. In this style, miniature shikhara is carved on the outer wall of the temple.
Report on Digital Banks
Context: Niti Aayog has called for setting up Digital Banks (DBs)
It has highlighted the challenges presented by the ‘partnership model’ of neo-banking—which has emerged in India due to a regulatory vacuum and the absence of a digital bank licence.
Digital Banks: The Digital Banking definition is banking done through the digital platform, doing away with all the paperwork like cheques, pay-in slips, Demand Drafts, and so on.
Other measures are taken for financial inclusion in India:
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, India Stack, Aadhaar, UPI, extending microcredit facilities to street vendors through PM-SVANIDHI, ‘open banking’ through the Account Aggregator (AA) regulatory framework.
Opium opened for private players
Context: For 1st time, the central government has allowed a private company, Bajaj Healthcare to produce concentrated poppy straw that is used to derive alkaloids that are the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in pain medication (morphine) and cough syrups.
- The move is also aimed at offsetting the declining area under cultivation of poppy in India.
- Last year, the government allowed the production of – Opium gum and Concentrate of Poppy Straw (CPS) (previously only opium gum was allowed).
- India has been growing poppy at least since the 15th century. The British East India Company assumed a monopoly on the cultivation of poppy, and the entire trade was brought under government control by 1873.
- At present, the cultivation and processing of poppy and opium are controlled by the provisions of The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and Rules.
- Due to fear of illegal cropping, Opium is allowed to be sown only in tracts of land notified by the central government in 22 districts in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
- The government announces the licensing policy for opium cultivation every year
- This entire quantity is bought by the government and processed in its own factories (in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur and Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch. )
- Only 12 countries including India allow its cultivation legally for medicinal use.
NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022
The index determines innovation capacities and ecosystems at the sub-national level.
- Karnataka topped the ranking, followed by Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
- Manipur secured the lead in the Northeast and Hill States category
- Chandigarh was the top performer in the Union Territories and the City States category.
- Bottom rank: Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Gujarat were at the bottom of the index.
Issues in India’s innovation system (as pointed out by reports):
- India’s innovation insufficient: India’s average innovation score is arguably insufficient, given the country’s ambitious targets to be named among the top 25 nations in the Global Innovation Index
- Low funding: India’s GDERD as a percentage of GDP stood at about 0.7%.
- Countries that spend less on Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GDERD) fail to retain their human capital in the long run and the ability to innovate is dependent on the quality of human capital
- The expenditure on human capital has been unable to create that knowledge base in the country.
- Innovation is skewed against the manufacturing sector due to the problems pertaining to and the missing middle.
- It has recommended measures such as increasing GDERD, promoting private sector participation in R&D ( as is present in South Korea, the USA, and Germany) and closing the gap between industry demand and what the country produces through its education systems.
- GDERD needs considerable improvement and should touch at least 2%
World Press Freedom Index 2022
Context: India has been ranked India at 150 (declined from 142) among 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
- Top: Norway (1st) Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd)
- Worse: North Korea (bottom) and Russia were placed in 155th position.
- Increased polarization: The report reveals a two-fold increase in “polarisation” amplified by information chaos, that is, media polarisation fuelling divisions within countries, as well as polarization between countries at the international level.
- India is “one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media” and noted that “journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence.
- India’s position has been consistently falling in the index since 2016 when it was ranked 133.
- India’s Neighbour: Nepal (76th position), Pakistan (157th position), Sri Lanka ( 146th), Bangladesh (162nd) and China (175th position)
The government doesn’t agree with the findings of the report: Reasons cited by the government are:- “very low sample size, little or no weightage to fundamentals of democracy, adoption of a methodology which is questionable and non-transparent”.
A wormhole is like a tunnel connecting two places in space. By going through the wormhole, you could – in theory – travel immense distances across space remarkably quickly, even if the two ends of the wormhole were very far apart.
The existence of wormholes has been predicted by Ludwig Flamm, in 1916, soon after Einstein proposed his General Theory of Relativity. However, the presence of wormholes has not yet been established through observation or inference by astronomers.
With rapid advances in observational cosmology in recent times, there is gathering support for the existence of entities such as the wormhole and others that have not yet been “seen”.
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