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. Adding digital layers of indignity
2. ASHA for elderly
3. India and Japan should rethink their nuclear policy
GS Paper 3:
1. Human-animal conflict
Content for Mains enrichment (Ethics/Essay)
1. Chachi ki Rasoi
2. “Operation Hawk-Eye”
Facts for Prelims:
1. Modhera Sun Temple
2. Four tribal revolts
3. Flag Code of India 2022
4. Swadesh Darshan Scheme 2.0
5. Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal
6. Snow leopard
8. System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
9. N-Treat technology
10. Lumpy Skin Disease
11. India-Japan Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Governance: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
Source: The Hindu
Context: The article highlights a few threats to digital governance as technology also dehumanizes humane aspects. A few examples of the negatives of technology can be noted down.
Examples of how digital initiatives in governance may over-ride human rights and dignity:
- Biometrics use in PDS: As was seen in the Jharkhand study a few years ago, the use of biometrics had led to numerous cases of omissions from the PDS list (as many times biometrics doesn’t work), leading to deaths due to hunger.
- Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)-
- It provides supplementary nutrition for children in the 0 to 6 years age group, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- Poshan Tracker (a centralised platform, to monitor all nutrition initiatives, including ICDS) makes it mandatory for linking the Aadhaar data of beneficiaries.
- Technocratic issues: Nearly three-fourths of children between the ages of 0 to 5 years do not have Aadhaar cards, and Supreme Court orders specify that children cannot be denied their rights for lack of Aadhaar.
- Common Service Centres (CSC) owners reported that the biometrics of 42% of the users don’t work on the first attempt.
- It uses National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) app to obtain “two time-stamped and geo-tagged photographs of the workers in a day”.
- It was introduced to “increase citizen oversight of the programme besides potentially enabling processing of payments faster.”
- Issues: Workers have to stay back after work to take photographs, many times ‘Mates’ (supervisors) don’t have smartphones, and technical glitches in uploading image lead to loss of attendance.
Thus, when trust and humane aspects of governance are outsourced to technologies, dehumanisation is the likely outcome.
- Social audits need strengthening instead of technocratic solutions of transparency. Democratic dictum suggests that people should be able to ‘see’ the state clearly, not the other way around. It is the dignity and trust of people at stake otherwise.
Q. Digital governance and initiatives are the future but they should not compromise the dignity and rights of the poor and needy. Examine. (250 words)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Government policies and intervention for vulnerable populations
Source: Indian Express
Context: The article came in the editorial section and suggests some solutions for caring elderly with chronic diseases. You can copy a few points from this in your notes for ‘elderly care’.
Status of elderly in India:
- The UN World Population Ageing Report notes that India’s ageing population (those aged 60 and above) is projected to increase to nearly 20% by 2050 from about 8% now.
- By 2050, the percentage of elderly people will increase by 326%, with those aged 80 years and above set to increase by 700%, making them the fastest-growing age group in India.
- A study suggests 8 per cent of the population over 75 was afflicted by dementia
- Alzheimer’s Association suggests that the country is already home to 4 million people with this condition.
- Dementia is a condition associated with ageing and resulting from progressive degeneration of the brain.
- Lack of family support: Transition to a nuclear family means that an increasing proportion of the elderly will live only with their elderly spouse or alone.
Solution for elderly with chronic disease:
- Strengthening Primary health care which integrates care for diverse health conditions, home-based nursing, palliative care and rehabilitation.
- NGOs/Civil Society help: E.g. Asha Deep Foundation provides Day Care Centre for the elderly members of our community who are either neglected, have no children or are abandoned by their families.
- Community-based care system for elders
- ASHA program could be used for building a community-based workforce to support the diverse health and social care needs of elders.
What elders need, most of all, is a caring and compassionate person, with the requisite skills, to accompany them on the last journey of their lives.
Q. “Care for the elderly in the country needs to primarily adopt an approach which emphasizes on seeing them as assets in India’s growth rather than as seeing them as mere dependents to be cared for”. Discuss. (250 Words)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting the Indian interests
Source: The Indian Express
Context: It is a C. Raja Mohan article and a few good suggestions for countering aggressive China could be noted down from this article.
Rising China and Need for nuclear deterrence:
- Rising Chinese nuclear military power: Some estimates say China’s arsenal could grow to 1,000 warheads by 2030 from about 350 now.
- China has taken a muscular approach to its territorial disputes, including with India and Japan.
- China’s tactics of salami slicing and coercive diplomacy have come into sharp view in the East China Sea that Beijing shares with Japan and the vast Himalayan frontier with India.
- Russia-Ukraine war has made it clear that Ukraine giving up its nuclear arsenal was a wrong move.
Issues with the nuclear posture of India and Japan
- Low on deterrence: Indian and Japanese capacity to deter China is eroding steadily thanks to the problems with India’s minimum deterrence posture and the US nuclear umbrella over Japan.
- In the wake of the nuclear tests of 1998, India quickly announced a policy of minimum deterrence and a doctrine of no first use of nuclear weapons.
- Moral issues: India and Japan have long presented themselves as champions of nuclear disarmament.
- India is a nuclear weapon power and Japan is not (but it relies on the US nuclear umbrella for its security)
What should be done:
- US should review its attitude towards India’s Nuclear programme: In the past, the US insisted on constraining India’s nuclear weapon programme. Today a strong Indian nuclear deterrent against China is critical for the geopolitical stability of Asia and the Indo-Pacific and in the US interest.
- Go for the “INFRUS” agreement — between India, France and the US ( similar to the AUKUS agreement): Under this US should midwife an agreement under which France would help India accelerate the development of an Indian underwater deterrent based on ballistic missile carrying submarines (SSBN) as well as nuclear attack submarines (SSN).
- While Japan’s priority is to transform its conventional forces, India might need to consider both conventional and nuclear modernisation.
Q. In recent years Japan has grown closer to India in an unprecedented manner compared to other countries in the East or West. Comment (10M)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment Conservation
Source: Indian Express
Context: The article gives a few data points on Human-Animal Conflict. No need to remember, just notice the trend, and reasons for such conflicts and note down unique solutions and case studies in your notes.
- Elephant: Between 2018-19 and 2020-21, 222 elephants were killed by electrocution across the country, 45 by trains, 29 by poachers and 11 by poisoning.
- Tigers: Among tigers, too, 29 were killed by poaching between 2019 and 2021, while 197 tiger deaths are under scrutiny.
- Human casualties: Elephants killed 1,579 humans in three years — 585 in 2019-20
(most in Odisha) and Tigers killed 125 humans (2019- 2021)- most in Maharastra.
Definition: Human-wildlife conflict refers to the interaction between wild animals and people and the resultant negative impact on people or their resources or wild animals or their habitat. It occurs when growing human/animal populations overlap with established wildlife/human territory, creating a reduction of resources or life for some people and/or wild animals.
Reasons for the conflict: Main causes of human-wildlife conflict include habitat loss, growth of the population of wild animals, changing cropping patterns that attract wild animals to farmlands, movement of wild animals from forests area to human-dominated landscapes for food and fodder, movement of human beings to forests for illegal collection of forest produce, habitat degradation due to the growth of invasive alien species, etc.
Suggestions and Way forward
- A Future For All Report 2021 report jointly published by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was titled: A future for all – the need for human-wildlife co-existence.
- The report suggests an approach of coexistence between humans and wildlife, and involvement of local communities, as it is not possible to wholly suppress human-wildlife conflict.
- Community Participation: The full participation of local communities can help reduce HWC and lead to coexistence between humans and wildlife.
- Periodic awareness campaigns to sensitize guide and advise the general public on man-animal conflict, including dissemination of information through various forms of media.
- It is necessary to include positive interactions, coexistence, and attitudes of tolerance toward wildlife.
- Skill-development programs for people living in and around the forest would offer them better opportunities for self-employment and consequently reduce the combined pressures on agricultural land as well as forest land.
- Specific targets for coexistence must be key elements within the Global Biodiversity Framework of the CBD.
- Global leaders such as those at the CoP work hand-in-hand with local communities and other stakeholders across Asia and the world to secure a future in which Wildlife and people live in harmony.
- Implementing Wildlife Institute of India Guidelines “Eco-Friendly Measures to Mitigate Impacts of linear infrastructure on Wildlife”
- These guidelines suggest modification in the designs of the linear infrastructures by way of providing an eco-friendly structure that will ensure the safe movement of wildlife across these linear infrastructures.
Q. Conflict between people and animals is one of the main threats to the continued survival of many species. Analyse the causes behind rising cases of man-animal conflict. (15M)
Content For Mains Enrichment
Chachi ki Rasoi
In many villages in the Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, having a single meal a day is considered a luxury, as starvation and food scarcity has been gripping these villages for so long.
Bipin Devi and her husband Kallu Yadav run a ration shop in the Rajpur village of Sonbhadra district. They use most of their earnings to feed poor families, especially the children of the villages who have often slept hungry for the past two years.
This example can be used to highlight compassion towards society and service towards humanity in whatever way possible.
Best Practices: “Operation Hawk-Eye”
Context: Delhi police project to curb street crimes, snatching and robbery by analyzing the behaviour, body type, clothing etc. of the perpetrators and using best practices.
- Spotters would be recruited and trained to identify snatchers and robbers.
- Direction: A person with an ‘ectomorph’ body type (tall and slim) and bikers riding either a dilapidated or high-end motorbike in a zig-zag manner with only the front rider wearing a helmet.
- Scorpian Squad: Dedicated interrogation team consisting of two to three personnel who keep track of the “latest mobile numbers used by criminals, their general activities and the whereabouts of those released on bail”.
Facts for Prelims:
Modhera Sun Temple
Ahmedabad railway station to get ‘Modhera temple’ facelift
The Sun Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat, India. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chalukyas dynasty.
- There is a massive rectangular stepped tank called the Surya Kund in front of it, perhaps the grandest temple tank in India.
- Every year, at the time of the equinoxes, the sun shines directly into this central shrine of the temple.
Four tribal revolts President Murmu invoked in her inaugural speech
Flag Code of India 2022
Context: National Flag can now be flown day and night if it has been hoisted in the open or on the house of a member of the public (previously it was allowed only from sunrise to sunset)
Previous amendments to the Flag Code:
- 2002: SC judgement: Common citizens could hoist and unfurl the national flag 24 hours a day (day and night) at their homes and office locations
- The Indian national flag or Tricolour can be made of polyester and with the help of machines (previously only Khadi was allowed)
Har Ghar Tiranga: It is a campaign under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to encourage people to bring the Tiranga home and to hoist it to mark the 75th year of India’s independence. (people are encouraged to hoist a flag in their home from 13 to 15th August)
Art 51A(a) – To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
Statutes Governing Use of Flag:
- Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.
- Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act, 1971.
Swadesh Darshan Scheme 2.0
Context: Ministry of Tourism (MOT) revamps Swadesh Darshan Scheme
Key features of the revamped scheme:
- Develop sustainable and responsible tourism
- Development of benchmark and standards
- Promote domestic tourism mainly in tier-II and tier-III cities
- State government will designate implementing agencies for the projects (earlier ministry of tourism used to do that)
- 100% centrally funded
About Swadesh Darshan Scheme
Tourism Ministry launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014 to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country using 100% central funds and CSR funding.
- Funding of individual projects will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
Status of the Tourism sector: India’s Tourism is ranked in 10th position (World Travel and Tourism Council’s report in 2019 in terms of contribution to GDP). It contributed 6.8% to India’s GDP and 8% of the total employment created.
- India has 40 sites listed under World Heritage List (32 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed site)
- India recently came up with Draft National Tourism Policyfocusing on Green, and digital tourism. Its main points were-
- Industry status of the tourism sector
- focus on green, digital, destination management, skilling and tourism-related support to MSMEs
Other initiatives: Namaste India, Incredible India, PRASAD Scheme
Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal
Context: Ukraine and Russia have signed “mirror” deals which will allow Kyiv to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea.
Significance: The agreement will allow millions of tonnes of grain, currently trapped in Ukraine by the war, to be exported.
- The world shortage of Ukrainian grain since Russia’s 24 February invasion has left millions at risk of hunger.
Snow leopard regulates its prey population
Context: As per the study by the Zoological Survey of India, the Snow leopard regulates the population of its herbivores prey species (Siberian ibex and blue sheep)
- Snow leopard detection probability was high if the site was used by its prey species.
- Indicator species and flagship species: Snow leopards act as an indicator of the health of the mountain ecosystem in which they live, due to their position as the top predator in the food web.
- Threats: loss of natural prey species, retaliatory killing due to conflict with humans and illegal trade of its fur and bones.
- Habitat: Snow leopards use rugged mountainous areas or non-forested areas covering an altitude between 3200m-5200m
- habitat covariates, such as barren area, grassland, aspect, slope and distance to water were important drivers of habitat use for the snow leopard as well as its prey species.
Conservation Effort: Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme (2013), HimalSanrakshak (community volunteer programme, 2020), SECURE Himalaya (GEF and UNDP funded programme), Project Snow Leopard (2009), 21 critically endangered species for the recovery programme (MoEFCC), Snow Leopard conservation breeding programme (at Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling)
Context: Congo, home to one of the largest old-growth rainforests on Earth, is auctioning off vast amounts of peatland and rainforest in a push to become “the new destination for oil investments”.
Threats: The oil and gas blocks, extend into Virunga National Park, the world’s most important gorilla sanctuary, as well as tropical peatlands that store vast amounts of carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere and from contributing to global warming.
Backtracking on climate pledge:
- At the climate summit, Congo endorsed a 10-year agreement to protect its rainforest, part of the vast Congo Basin, which is second in size only to the Amazon.
- Norway, a leading advocate of saving forests, is increasing oil production with plans for more offshore drilling.
- S. President Joe Biden, who pledged early in his term to wean the world from fossil fuels, travelled to Saudi Arabia recently, where he raised the need for more oil production.
System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
It is also called the Madagascar method of rice cultivation as it was first developed there. It promises to save 15 to 20 per cent of ground water, and improve rice productivity, which is almost at a stagnant point now.
Experts said that it gives equal to or more productive than conventional rice cultivation, with less water, less seed and less chemicals. The net effect is a substantial reduction in the investments in external inputs.
SRI is suitable in all types of soil including less fertile soil as in such soil the number of seedlings can be increased to double.
IIT-Bombay to help treat Mumbai’s sewage with new technology.
N-Treat is a seven-stage process for waste treatment that uses screens, gates, silt traps, curtains of coconut fibres for filtration, and disinfection using sodium hypochlorite.
- The first stage involves screening to prevent the entry of floating objects such as plastic cups, paper dishes, polythene bags, sanitary napkins, or wood.
- The second stage has proposed the construction of a silt trap, which creates an inclination and ‘parking spot’ on the bed of the nullah for sedimentation.
- The next three stages are the installation of ‘bio zones’ in the form of coconut fibre curtains that will act as filters and promote the growth of biofilm to help in the decomposition of organic matter.
- The final stage for sewage treatment will include disinfection using sodium hypochlorite, to kill the bacteria in the water.
Lumpy Skin Disease
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is an infectious disease in cattle caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae, also known as the Neethling virus.
Characteristics: The disease is characterized by fever, enlarged superficial lymph nodes and multiple nodules (measuring 2–5 centimetres (1–2 in) in diameter) on the skin and mucous membranes (including those of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts).
- It is transmitted by blood-feeding insects, such as certain species of flies and mosquitoes, or ticks.
- Lumpy skin disease virus is capable of infecting humans with direct transmission without the need for an insect vector; most probably by inhalation and certainly by direct contact with infected materials, infected persons [man to man], and as laboratory-acquired infection.
India-Japan Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX)
Context: The exercise is between Japan’s maritime self-defence force and the Indian navy in the Andaman Sea.
- Aim: Enhancing interoperability, communication and streamlining seamanship
- Unique feature: INS Sukanya ( named after notable women from Indian epics), an offshore patrol vessel of the Indian Navy will be participating in it.
- Other exercises with Japan: Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) and Malabar Exercise (India – US-Japan – Australia)
- Maritime exercises with other countries: India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT), Konkan – Shakti (UK), Samudra Shakti (Indonesia), Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX), Zair-Al-Bahr (Qatar)
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