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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. The many ways of helping Sri Lanka

2. Challenging the Special Marriage Act, 1954


GS Paper 3:

1. Data gathering by public agencies picks up even as the law hangs fire


Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)

1. Punjab bans sarpanch proxies (‘Panchayat/Sarpanch Pati’)

2. How a ‘Podcast’ helped solve a murder

3. WB: India managed to get many things right during COVID


Facts for Prelims:

1. Indian Navy’s ensign

2. La Ninã conditions enter 3rd year, 6th time since 1950

3. Cloud Seeding

4. Zombie Ice

5. Snakebites in India

6. Delhi: forensic evidence made mandatory



9. Geneva Convention

10. UNGA praises India’s role at United Nations

10. Abhijit Sen

11. Map in News


The many ways of helping Sri Lanka

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India, India and its neighbourhood etc


Source: The Hindu

Directions: This is an editorial piece. You can go through it once. The recent crisis in Sri Lanka and India’s role in neighbouring countries is important for this year’s mains.


Context: India has assisted with nearly $4 billion to Sri Lanka.


How can India help?

      • Provide Liberal loans
      • Sharing technical expertise or knowledge
      • Helping the country upgrade skills in different areas of economic activity.


Engagement areas:

      • Agriculture and allied activities: India can help Sri Lanka develop its dairy sector.
        • Sri Lanka imports a considerable quantity of milk powder from India and annually imports dairy products worth $315 million.
      • Poultry sector: India can share its knowledge on the productivity of wheat which is largely used as the primary ingredient in domestic poultry feed.
      • Energy projects:
        • Provisional approvals for the Adani Group’s wind power projects of over $500 million in the Northern Province.
      • MSME sector: Programmes including the ‘Digital MSME’ and ‘RAMP’ (Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance) can provide leads to the MSME sector.
      • School education: India can expand its scheme of establishing smart classrooms and modern computer labs to cover all those institutions teaching children of hill country Tamils, the most underprivileged section in Sri Lankan society.
      • Higher education: Indian universities can consider setting up satellite campuses in Sri Lanka.
      • Training employees of the public sector: A collaborative project can be conceived for training second and third rung employees of the public sector.
      • Culture front: India can arrange for greater numbers of Buddhist monks to visit religious places.


Way forward:

      • Engagement: There is enormous scope for India to engage in a constructive way with its southern neighbour, which is known for performing better than most other economies in Asia.
      • Equitable distribution of developmental programmes: India can ensure that the proposed development programme is equitably distributed in coverage.
        • The Northern and Eastern Provinces, where the Tamil and Muslim ethnic minorities live, should be given special attention as their contribution to Sri Lanka’s GDP is hardly 10%.
      • Stability: Politically and economically stable Sri Lanka will be in India’s interest too.


Insta Links:

India-Sri Lanka Relations


Mains Link:

The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalized Nations has disappeared on account of its newfound role in the emerging global order” Elaborate. (UPSC 2019)


Prelims Link:

      • Hambantota port
      • Mapping important areas of Sri Lanka
      • Palk Bay

Which of the following is the correct arrangement of Islands from North to South in the Indian Ocean?

a. Sri Lanka-Maldives-Assumption Islands-Agalega Islands

b. Maldives-Sri-Lanka-Assumption Islands-Agalega Islands

c. Sri-Lanka-Maldives-Agalega Islands-Assumption Islands

d. Sri-Lanka-Assumption Islands-Maldives-Agalega Islands

Ans: (a)


Challenging the Special Marriage Act, 1954

GS paper  2

Syllabus: Social empowerment, Government policies and interventions for the development of the social sector and issues arising out of it, special marriage Act etc


Directions: These are contentious provisions. Know a few but no need to remember all.

Source: The Hindu


Context: The Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 requiring couples to give a notice declaring their intent to marry 30 days before their marriage.


What does the petition seek?

      • Article 21: This provision in the act violates the right to privacy of the parties.
      • Article 14: The requirement violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution since no other laws prescribe such a requirement.


What are the provisions that have been challenged?

      • Section 5 of the SMA: It requires couples getting married under it to give notice to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the date of marriage.
      • Section 6: It requires notice to be entered into the Marriage Notice Book maintained by the Marriage Officer, which can be inspected by “any person desirous of inspecting the same.
      • Section 7: It provides the process for making an objection such as if either party has a living spouse, is incapable of giving consent due to “unsoundness of mind” or is suffering from a mental disorder resulting in the person being unfit for marriage or procreation.
      • Section 8:It Specifies the inquiry procedure to be followed after an objection has been submitted.


What did the Court say:

      • SC rejected the writ petition on the grounds that the petitioner(35- year-old Athira Sujatha) was no longer an aggrieved party as she had already solemnized her marriage under SMA.


Rules and laws in different states:

      • Haryana: The Haryana government has laid down 16 prerequisites which ask couples to issue a notice in a newspaper and that such notices be sent to their parents.
      • No-objection certificate: In certain States, couples have to seek a no-objection certificate from their parents.
      • Maharashtra: The Maharashtra Department of Registration and Stamps publicly shares the details of couples marrying under SMA on its website.
      • Love Jihad law: 11 States passed anti-conversion laws.example: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc



How do these provisions make couples vulnerable?

      • Harassment by anti-social elements: Public notices have been used by anti-social elements to harass couples getting married.
      • Officers’ incompetence: There have been instances, where marriage officers have gone over and beyond the law and sent such notices to the parents of the couple.
        • Example: Muslim woman in Delhi being confined to her house by her parents in March 2020.


Special Marriage Act:

      • The SMA is a law which allows the solemnization of marriages without going through any religious customs or rituals.
      • People from different castes or religions or states get married under SMA in which marriage is solemnized by way of registration.


Insta Links:

Special Marriage Act 1954


Mains Links:

Q. Critically analyze the provisions of the special marriage Act 1954.


Prelims Links:

  • Special Marriage Act
  • Article 14 and 21

With reference to the Special Marriage Act, consider the following statements:

      1. It allows the solemnization of marriages without going through any religious customs or rituals.
      2. The prime purpose of the act was to address inter-religious marriages.

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

Ans: (c)


Refer to article

Data gathering by public agencies picks up even as the law hangs fire

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Internal Security/ Governance


Source: Indian Express

Direction: Personal data protection/Surveillance is an important topic. Keep a note on it including a few points of the now withdrawn Personal data protection bill 2021. No need to note down all examples, have 1-2 examples ready.


Context: Experts have raised concerns about the trend of increasing the government’s efforts in data collection and monetisation in the absence of a basic data protection regime.


Instances of increasing data collection:

  • Customs department mandating airlines to share personal details of international flyers,
  • Civil Aviation Ministry’s facial recognition system DigiYatra
  • MeitY’s proposal to share non-personal data collected by the government with start-ups and researchers
  • CERT-In’s mandate asks virtual private network (VPN) service providers to store data of their users
  • Department of Telecommunications (DoT) (2021): Telecom operators and internet service providers to maintain commercial and call detail records for at least two years (instead of 1 year currently)
  • Contact tracing app Aarogya Setu —and collected data like their names, phone numbers and location.
    • Karnataka High Court in October 2020 ordered that the app cannot be made mandatory.



Instances of increasing efforts for Data Monetisation:

  • IRCTC released a tender detailing its plans to monetise its bank of passenger data (including sensitive data such as mobile numbers, email, and passwords) for doing business with government and private entities. (now withdrawn)
  • MeitY had floated a draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy which proposed that data collected by the Centre that has “undergone value addition” can be sold in the open market for an “appropriate price”. (now withdrawn)
  • The Ministry of Road Transport (2020): Bulk Data Sharing Policy, under which the ministry used to sell vehicle registration data (Vahan) and driving licence data (Sarathi) to private and public entities. (Now Scrapped)



Previously, the government withdrew the Data Protection Bill, 2021, saying that it will soon come out with a “comprehensive legal framework” for the online ecosystem.

  • The bill laid down a framework for consent-related mechanisms before gathering data and how personal data was supposed to be handled by various entities and provided for a recourse mechanism in case a person’s data was compromised.


Fundamental issue in treating citizens’ data as a “wealth resource”:

  • The 2018-2019 Economic Survey of India referred to data as a ‘public good’. By definition, that means it should be treated as a ‘non-excludable and non-rivalrous public good’ and not traded as if it were a commodity.
  • Data is not a ‘sovereign wealth resource’: Treating it as such will lead to attempts to accumulate, and subsequently monetise large volumes of data, without data protection law.
  • Violating SC order (Puttaswamy Judgement 2017): ‘Right to Privacy’ as a fundamental right.




The government’s primary concern should be service delivery and safeguarding the information it gathers from citizens towards this end. Its key objective should not be to monetise this data for profit.


Insta Links

Data Protection Bill


Mains Links

Those giving mains this time, have notes ready on personal data protection, implications and need for government surveillance, and Facial recognition technology (in S&T).

Q. What is the CyberDome Project? Explain how it can be useful in controlling internet crimes in India. (UPSC 2019)


Prelims Links

Link it with types of data- personal and non-personal, committee for data protection, what are biometric data etc. Now answer the Question.

In addition to fingerprint scanning, which of the following can be used in the biometric identification of a person?

      1. Iris scanning
      2. Retinal scanning
      3. Voice recognition

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

Answer: D


Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)

Punjab bans sarpanch proxies (‘Panchayat/Sarpanch Pati’)

Source: Indian Express

Direction: This is a very positive move. You can use it for a case study for Governance/women empowerment-related questions in Mains.

Context: Male kin of women can’t attend meetings of Panchayat as the Punjab government order.

 ‘Sarpanch pati’, where men relatives (mostly husbands) of elected women run the office in place of them.

(even shown in the recent web series Panchayat)

Issues with ‘Panchyat Pati’:

      • Most of the women’s sarpanches do not attend meetings that take place at the district/block/village.
      • Defeats the purpose of reservation for women in Panchayat
      • Study says, more than 80 per cent of women sarpanches are proxy sarpanches even today
        • Punjab had implemented a 50 per cent reservation for women in Panchayati Raj institutions.

Benefit of women reservation in Panchayat: A 2010 study published by the India Policy Forum, organised by the NCAER, noted that “villages with female leaders experienced increased female participation and responsiveness to female policy concerns”

Related News:

Previously, the Panchayat Raj department of Madhya Pradesh had asked to take action against relatives of elected women representatives who administer the official oath on her behalf.


How a ‘Podcast’ helped solve a murder

Source: The New Indian Express

Direction: It can be used to highlight the positive impact that media/journalism has on criminal justice

Context: Podcast leads to Australian man’s conviction in the murder of wife who ‘disappeared’ in 1982

“The Teacher’s Pet” podcast, which 60 million people have listened to since 2018, reinvigorated the demand for justice when the journalist Hedley Thomas, set out a circumstantial case that Dawson had murdered his wife, Lynette.

The judge found it to be true and Chris Dawson has been found guilty by the court.


India managed to get many things right during COVID, says World Bank

Source: The Hindu

Directions: It can be used as an example in mains about India’s successful management of the pandemic.

Context: India managed to get many things right in its management of the pandemic including putting in place a central procurement agency says the world bank Report.

 India’s successful management of the pandemic:

      • COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Strengthening Project: jointly funded by World Bank (WB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
      • Expert panel: An expert panel was also put in place to develop specifications for overalls, goggles, and N95 masks which supported the Health Ministry’s long-term market development and production of Emergency Medical Equipment (EME) in India.
      • Preventing fraudulent business practices: Indian agencies caught a company from Singapore trying to dispatch millions of substandard Chinese KN95 masks to India in 2021 by forging a third-party Inspection Certificate
      • Empowered inter-ministerial groups: India managed efficient distribution of medical supplies nationwide and had early restrictions.
      • Testing laboratories: India managed to scale up from 18 to over 2,500 testing laboratories rapidly within four months and become ready to face future pandemics and health emergencies.


Facts for Prelims:

Indian Navy’s ensign

Source: Indian Express

Context: PM will unveil the new naval ensign (flag) for the Indian Navy in Kochi on the sidelines of the commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited.

 What is the Saint George’s Cross?

The red cross on a white background is known as the Saint George’s Cross and is named after a Christian Warrior Saint who is believed to have been a crusader during the third crusade. (This cross also serves as the flag of England)

Background: After Independence, on August 15, 1947, the Indian defence forces continued with the British colonial flags and badges and it was only on Jan 26, 1950, that a changeover to Indianised pattern was made, however, in the Navy’s flag Union Jack was replaced with the Tricolour, and the George’s Cross was retained.

      • In 2014, the words ‘Satyamev Jayate’ were included on the flag below the Ashoka emblem in the Devanagri script.

Fig: The Indian naval ensign at present (left) and Indian naval ensign till Jan 26, 1950 (right)


La Ninã conditions enter 3rd year, 6th time since 1950

Source: Indian Express

Context: In an uncommon phenomenon, La Ninã conditions prevailing over the equatorial Pacific Ocean since September 2020 have entered the third year.

La Ninã is when the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) along the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean are colder than normal, which, favours the Indian summer monsoon.

      • However, La Niña years are also infamous for frequent and intense hurricanes and cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.

The opposite is El Niño, that is, warmer SSTs prevail over these regions.


Cloud Seeding


Context: Countries in middle-east and north Africa are racing to develop chemicals to get rain drops out of the cloud.

Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification that aims to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds by dispersing substances (such as silver iodide, potassium iodide and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) and liquid propane)  into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei.

      • Benefit: It improves a cloud’s ability to produce rain or snow, supplements the rainwater supplyand cleans the atmosphere by introducing tiny ice nuclei into certain types of subfreezing clouds. These nuclei provide a base for snowflakes to form.
      • Dangers: So far, experts haven’t found any harmful effects of cloud seeding with silver iodide on the environment. But Silver iodide can be toxic to aquatic life.
        • The concentration of silver in a storm from cloud seeding is far below the accepted limit of 50 micrograms per litre.
      • India: In India, cloud seeding operations were conducted during the years 1983, 1984–87,1993-94 by Tamil Nadu Govt due to severe drought. In the years 2003 and 2004 Karnataka government initiated cloud seeding.


Zombie Ice

Source: Indian Express

Context: Zombie ice from Greenland may raise the sea level 10 inches

Zombie Ice is the ‘doomed ice’ that, while still attached to thicker areas of the ice, is no longer getting replenished by parent glaciers now receiving less snow.

      • Without replenishment, the doomed ice is melting from climate change and will inevitably raise seas,

Impact: The unavoidable ten inches is more than twice as much sea level rise that scientists had previously expected from the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet


Snakebites in India

Source: Down to Earth

Context: Half of all global deaths due to venomous snakes occur in India

      • Snakebites are classified as a neglected tropical disease (NTD).

Snakes in India

      • Over 300 species (60 venomous)
      • India has seen an estimated 1.2 million (12 lakh) snakebite deaths from 2000 to 2019, an average of 58,000 per year.
      • ICMR’s National Task Force for Research on Snake Bite in India


Delhi: Collection of forensic evidence is mandatory

Source: The Hindu


      • Delhi Police has become the first police force in the country to make the collection of forensic evidence mandatory in crimes punishable by more than six years.
      • A forensic mobile van: will be allotted to each district to provide scientific and forensic assistance on the spot whenever any need arises.
        • These forensic mobile vans shall not be under the administrative control of the police but shall be an independent entity responsible to the court of law.
      • The recently released NCRB report showed a 40% increase in crimes against women in Delhi, the highest among all metropolitan cities in the country.

Forensic Evidence:

      • Any evidence which can make investigators identify the criminal easily amounts.
      • Some major categories of forensic evidence are DNA, fingerprints, and bloodstain pattern analysis.
      • Forensic evidence is useful in helping solve the most violent and brutal of cases, as well as completely nonviolent cases related to crimes such as fraud and hacking.




Source: Indian Express

Direction: Know the name, but objectives can be just gone through once. No need to remember.

Context: Govt proposes a new regulator for ‘uniformity’ in all board exams

Objectives of PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) (a constituent unit of NCERT):

      • Holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.
      • Set norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognised school boards in India
      • Encourage and help school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.
      • Tackle the problem of students of some state boards being at a disadvantage during college admissions as compared to their peers in CBSE schools.
      • Develop and implement “technical standards for the design, conduct, analysis and reporting” of tests at all levels of school education


PARAKH, the proposed implementing agency is also part of the NEP 2020 proposal. It is also one of the components of  World Banks’ sponsored STARS Project (to improve the quality and governance of school education in Indian states)

Presently, different state and central boards follow different standards of evaluation, leading to wide disparities in scores and confusion among universities to set admission criteria.



Direction: Seed Scheme is an umbrella scheme of MoSJ&E. There are higher chances of Qn being asked from Umbrella schemes of respective ministries.

Context: The scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) for the welfare of De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Communities,  has been delayed due to tribe categorization work


Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?

They are communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminals’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. This law was repealed and these communities became ‘De-Notified’.


Their numbers:

      • The Renke commission (2006) estimated their population at around 10.74 crores ( remember as nearly 11 Cr) based on Census 2001.
      • 1,262 communities have been identified as de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic.


About SEED

It is being implemented through an online portal (from 2021 to 2026) and would issue a unique ID to each applicant. But delay in the categorization of 1262 tribes is delaying the implementation of the scheme.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is implementing this umbrella scheme for empowerment  (educational e.g. free coaching; Health e.g. insurance; Housing e.g. PMAY and income generation activities)


Geneva Convention

Source: Business-Standard

Context: In adherence to the Convention of International Road Traffic of 1949 (also known as the Geneva convention), the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways have notified on standardizing the process for issuance of International Driving Permit (IDP)

      • India is a signatory of the convention and is required to issue IDPs.

About Geneva Convention

It is an international treaty signed in 1949 that helps support the development and safety of International Road traffic.

Please Take care: Geneva Convention contained multiple international agreements including rules for Prisoners of war, protection for civilians during wartime (including civil war) and limiting barbarity of war. (see infographic below)


UNGA praises India’s role at United Nations

Source: Live Mint

Context: The President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), praised India for its contributions to the global body.

    • Source of pride: He described India as a “source of pride” not only for South Asia but for all peace-loving democracies.
    • Fight against injustice: e.g., India was 1st country to raise Apartheid issue at UN.
    • Peacekeeping: More than 2 lakh troops to 49 UN peacekeeping missions.
        • India (in 2007) was the 1st country to deploy all women contingent to UN mission in Liberia.
    • Pharmacy of the world: He acknowledged the crucial role India played during the Covid-19 pandemic.
        • India not only recovered from the disease itself but even assisted several other countries and acted as a “pharmacy of the world”.
    • UNCTAD: India was instrumental in setting up of UNCTAD (1964)
    • Terrorism: India drafted Comprehensive Convention on international Terrorism.
    • Reform of UN: India is collaborating with G4 and L69 countries on reform and expansion of UN security council.


United Nations General Assembly (UNGA): The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

    • The President of the General Assembly is elected each year by assembly to serve a one-year term of office.

Abhijit Sen

Source: The Hindu

Direction: Go through once.

Context:  India’s most distinguished development economist, teacher and policymaker Abhijit Sen passed away.

About him:

He was a renowned agriculture economist and former member of the Planning Commission

He was also chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) and authored the report of the High-Level Committee on Long Term Grain Policy (2000)

Reforms suggested in his report:

      • Greater diversification and decentralisation of public procurement to include a much larger number of crops and regions
      • Simplifying legal conditions on private trade.
      • Recommended that the CACP be made an empowered statutory body and its fixation of minimum support prices—which the government was bound to accept—be based on the ‘C2’ cost of production.
        • This paved the way for the ‘Swaminathan Formula’ in agriculture (2006)
      • An advocate of decentralized governance: Abhijit was a great believer in the principle of subsidiarity, that solutions to problems are best found closest to where they arise.
        • g. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), which Abhijit conceptualised as a Member of, the Planning Commission in 2007. It sought to provide flexibility and autonomy to the States in planning and executing programmes, based on location-specific plans emanating from the districts.


He was a great proponent of the enduring role of the state in providing the basic needs of life.


Map In News


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