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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. Reduction of Child Mortality


GS Paper3:

1. Indian Agri-Tech


Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. Productivity Paranoia

2. World Rivers Day


Facts for Prelims:

1. Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)

2. Nutri-gardens

3. G4 countries highlight ‘urgent need’ for reform in U.N. Security Council

4. Quad countries sign Agreement

5. Lancet Commission criticizes WHO for acting ‘too slowly

6. Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment

7. Algal biofuels


9. Swarm drone competition for start-ups

10. Mapping


Reduction of Child Mortality

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Social Justice/Governance/ Health


Source: PIB

 Direction: No need to remember the data. Observe the trend and know the basic definitions of terms.

 Context: As per the recently released Sample Registration System (SRS) Statistical Report 2020, India has witnessed a progressive reduction in IMR, U5MR and NMR since 2014.

  • The report is released by the Registrar General of India (RGI)
INDICATOR SRS 2014 SRS 2019 SRS 2020
Crude Birth Rate (CBR) 21.0 19.7 19.5
Total Fertility Rate 2.3 2.1 2.0
Early Neonatal Mortality Rate (ENMR) – 0- 7 days 20 16 15
Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) 26 22 20
Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) 39 30 28
Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) 45 35 32


Other findings:

  • Six (6) States/ UT have already attained the SDG target of NMR (<=12 by 2030):  Kerala (4), Delhi (9), Tamil Nadu (9), Maharashtra (11), Jammu & Kashmir (12) and Punjab (12).
  • Eleven (11) States/UT has already attained the SDGs target of U5MR (<=25 by 2030)
  • U5MR for females is higher (33) than for males (31).



Basic Terms:

  • Crude Birth rate: It is expressed as births per 1,000 population.
  • The total Fertility Rate is the average number of children a woman would bear at her reproductive age.
    • The current fertility rate for India in 2022 is 2.159 births per woman, a 0.92% decline from 2021
  • Neonatal deaths (deaths within the first 28 days of life of an infant)
  • U5MR: The mortality rate of children aged under 5 years
  • The infant mortality Rate is the number of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births.


About SRS 

  • The SRS is a demographic survey for providing annual estimates of IMR, BR, DR and other fertility at the national and sub-national levels. It was started in 1964-65 by the Registrar General of India.


About RGI 

  • It was founded in 1961 by the Government of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It conducts and analyses the results of the demographic surveys (including the Census of India and the Linguistic Survey of India).


SDG Target 3| Health:

  • By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age
  • Aim: To reduce neonatal mortality and under5 mortality


Insta Links:

SDG Report 2022

Child mortality


Mains Links:

Q. Besides being a moral imperative of the Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary precondition for sustainable development.” Analyze. (UPSC 2021)


Prelims Links:

  • IMR
  • U5MR
  • NMR
  • Registrar General of India

Consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2016)

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals were first proposed in 1972 by a global think tank called the ‘Club of Rome’.
  2. The Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030.

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: (b)


  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to end poverty, reduce inequality and build more peaceful, prosperous societies by 2030.

Indian Agri-Tech

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Agriculture: transport and marketing of agricultural produce


Context: FSG, a global consulting firm, has launched the Agritech Report 2022, “What’s next for Indian agri-tech


Agricultural technology, or agri-tech, is the use of technology in agriculture based on agricultural science, agronomy, and agricultural engineering.

  • It aims to improve yield, efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of agricultural operations.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Agri-tech startups are driving India’s agri-tech innovations and investment story with significant private equity inflows.
  • Areas of focus: Market linkages, agri-fintech, farm management software, remote sensing and advisory, and farm automation.
  • Technology has irreversibly disrupted the traditional agricultural value chain – from how farmers access information and inputs to how they grow and sell their produce.

As per Agricultural experts, Ashok Gulati: Agritech startups can steer the shift from government-controlled agricultural markets towards more demand-driven digital markets.

Currently, it is estimated that there are about 600 to 700 agri-tech startups in India operating at different levels of agri-value chains.

  • Many of them use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT), etc, to unlock the potential of big data for greater resource use efficiency, transparency and inclusiveness.
  • g. Ninjacart, Dehaat, and Crofarm (Otipy)

Impact of Agri-tech startups:

  • Ninjacart reduced wastage to 4 per cent compared to up to 25 per cent in traditional chains through a demand-driven harvest schedule.
  • Dehaat has enabled up to 50 per cent increase in farmers’ income as a result of savings in input costs, increased farm productivity, and better price discovery.

Role of technology in agrarian changes:

Other examples of the use of technology in agriculture:

  • Seed quality enhancing
    • High-yielding varieties and genetically engineered seeds (BT Cotton) lead to efficient use of pesticides, water, etc and can increase yields.
  • Efficiency in farm inputs:
    • Water: drip irrigation technology, use of sensors for moisture control, sprinklers for irrigation.
    • Fertilizers and pesticides: fertilizer sensors, drones for spraying pesticides
    • Efficient input data: Kisan suvidha portal, M-Kisan
    • Electricity: Solar-powered water pumps.
    • Labour: Mechanization of harvest led to improved labour productivity.


  • Harvest management:
    • PUSA Biodecomposer- for dealing with stubble/crop residue
    • Agricultural waste is used as input for bioethical production.


Insta Links

E-Technology in aid of farmers

Mains Link

Q. Discuss the role of technology in agrarian change in India. (10M)

Prelims Link

With respect to Agriculture in India, which of the following statements is incorrect


a) Agriculture Infrastructure Fund offers long-term financial assistance for building infrastructure for the post-harvest stage.

b) India is the top producer of milk, spices, tea, jute, and rice.

c) The objective of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.

d)Agriculture’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has reduced to less than 20 per cent.


Answer: B

The share of agriculture in GDP increased to 19.9 per cent in 2020-21 from 17.8 per cent in 2019-20. The last time the contribution of the agriculture sector to GDP was at 20 per cent was in 2003-04.

China is the top producer of Tea and Rice. India comes 2nd.


Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

Productivity Paranoia

 Source: LiveMint

Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella has coined a fresh term called ‘Productivity Paranoia’. It happens when leaders think their employees are not productive, whereas employees think they are being productive and in many cases even feel burnt out.

Managers’ fears about idle workers are creating what Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella calls “productivity paranoia,” with undesirable results—like spying on employees.


World Rivers Day

 Source: DTE

World Rivers Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of September every year to increase public awareness about rivers and to encourage their conservation. The day celebrates Earth’s waterways, in which over 60 countries participate every year.

 Case Study:

neha Shahi a student who cleaned the Vadodara stream highlighted the importance of a bottoms-up approach for cleaning rivers and rejuvenating them.

Back in 2019, Sneha Shahi, then a student at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in Vadodara, Gujarat, led a team of students and volunteers to clean the Bhukhi, a natural stream that had turned into a sewer. Her efforts enabled wildlife such as crocodiles, turtles, fish and birds to return to the Bhukhi.


According to her working on a smaller water body would be more logical and feasible because these feed into the main river.



Facts for Prelims

 Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)

Source: Indian Express

Context: Recently, American meteorologist Vernon Dvorak, credited with having developed ADT in the 1970s,  passed away at the age of 100.

 What is ADT?

The Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) utilizes longwave-infrared, temperature measurements from geostationary satellites to estimate tropical cyclone (TC) intensity. 

  • During day time, images in the visible spectrum were used while at night, the ocean would be observed using infrared images.


The Dvorak technique said to be one of the greatest meteorological innovations, has undergone several advancements since its inception. The current estimation method is based on it. It has saved the lives of millions of people across the world.



Source: PIB

Context:  Poshan Vatikas or Nutri- gardens are being set up across the country to provide easy and affordable access  to fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and herbs

What is Nutri-garden?

Nutri-garden is an advanced form of kitchen garden in which fruits and vegetables are grown as a source of food and income.

In order to provide the right kind of nourishment, Poshan Vatikas or Nutri-gardens are being set under POSHAN Abhiyaan. It will provide easy and affordable access to locally produced fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and herbs to women and children.


  • Enhance dietary diversity by providing key micronutrients through local fruits and vegetables.
  • It will reduce external dependency and make communities Atmanirbharfor their nutritional security.

 POSHAN Abhiyaan

Launched in 2018, POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescents, pregnant women & lactating mothers.

  • It is part of Mission Poshan 2.0

Poshan Maah” is celebrated during the month of September 2022. Through Jan Andolan and community mobilization, activities for setting up Nutri-gardens or retro-fitting Poshan Vatikas with backyard poultry/fishery units are being carried out at Anganwadi centres.

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Women and Child Development


G4 countries highlight ‘urgent need’ for reform in U.N. Security Council

 Directions: It can be asked directly in prelims. Also, see mapping section on G4

Source: The Hindu

Context: India’s Foreign Minister met with his counterparts from Germany, Brazil and Japan under The Group of Four (G4) banner.

Key Highlights:

  • Support to each other: They reiterated their support for each other’s bids to become permanent members of the UNSC.
  • Support for African Nations: G4 also reiterated its support for African countries being represented in a permanent and non-permanent capacity on a reformed Council.
  • Urgent reforms: N. decision-making bodies needed to be urgently reformed as global issues were increasingly complex and interconnected, a joint press statement from the group said.
  • No meaningful progress: G4 ministers expressed concern that the 76th Session of the N.General Assembly did not make “meaningful progress” in the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN).
  • Recommendation of the President: The G4 Ministers welcomed the recommendation of the President of the 76th General Assembly to “gradually move the process towards text-based negotiation

Intergovernmental Negotiations:

  • IGN is a group of nation-states working within the United Nations to further reform the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
  • The IGN is composed of several different international organizations, namely:
    • African Union
    • G4 nations
    • Uniting for Consensus Group (UfC)
    • 69 Group of Developing Countries
    • Arab League
    • Caribbean Community (CARICOM).


Quad countries sign Agreement

 Source: The Hind


  • Foreign Ministers of the Quad group of countries met on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to sign a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) partnership.

 Several programs that have been previously announced:

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fellowship
  • Economic framework with other partners (Indo Pacific Economic Framework)
  • Maritime domain awareness initiative.

 Australia’s Foreign Minister:

  • Quad is about bringing tangible benefits to the region and ensuring the region is “ peaceful, stable, prosperous and in which sovereignty is respected”.

Japan’s Foreign Minister:

  • The world is witnessing “direct attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force” and the international order based on the rule of law was under threat.

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue(QUAD):

  • It is the informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan and Australia
  • Objective: ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
  • Spirit of the Quad: In 2021, Quad countries issued a joint statement promoting a free, open rules border, rooted in international law to advance security and combat threats both in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
  • 3C strategy of QUAD


Lancet Commission criticizes WHO for acting ‘too slowly

 Source: The Hind

Context: The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic castigated the World Health Organization (WHO) for acting “too cautiously and too slowly” on several important matters.

  • Issues over which WHO was criticized:
    • Warning about the human transmissibility of the virus
    • Declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
    • Support international travel protocols designed to slow the spread of the virus
    • Endorse the public use of face masks as protection
    • Recognise airborne transmission of the virus.

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission:

  • It was established in July 2020
  • 28 commissioners were appointed for the global experts in:
    • Public policy
    • International cooperation
    • Epidemiology and vaccinology
    • Economics and financial systems
    • Sustainability sciences
    • Mental health.

The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is the world’s highest-impact general medical journal, and one of the oldest. It was founded in England in 1823.


Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment

Source: PIB

Context: The Government of India has launched a Scheme Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment for 2022-23.

Under this Scheme, financial assistance is provided to the States Governments in the form of a 50-year interest-free loan for capital investment projects.

Status of State Finances:

  • As per the RBI report
    • States like Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, etc. had the highest debt burden in 2020-21.
    • Revenue expenditure of these states constitutes 80-90% of the total expenses and therefore they have poor capital spending.
    • Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Punjab exceeded both debt and fiscal deficit targets for 2020-21 set by the 15th Finance Commission.

Capital investment is the money spent on acquiring assets while revenue expenditure indicates daily operations expenses like salaries and pensions.



Algal biofuels

Source: DTE

 Context: India’s Reliance Industries Ltd recently released a short video on the social media platform Instagram highlighting the cutting-edge algae-to-fuel technology it has developed.

Algae can be used to synthesize large volumes of oil (20 times more than that of mustard per acre), grow fast (10 times quicker than terrestrial plants) and capture carbon dioxide (CO2). 

The company has been successfully running large algae raceway ponds for the last five years at their facility near Jamnagar, to convert sunshine, CO2 and seawater into bio-oil.

It also displayed the utilisation of catalytic hydrothermal liquefaction technology to convert algae biomass to oil. Under this process, water is used as a solvent under high temperature and pressure to extract oil from the biomass.

The benefits of this technology include direct utilisation of wet biomass without any need for drying and conversion of every organic fragment of biomass into the oil without any wastage.




Source: Live Mint

Context: In collaboration with the space agency ISRO, the Indian Railways will develop an RTIS system for real-time tracking of the train.

About Real-Time Train Information System (RTIS)

Developed in collaboration with ISRO, RTIS will help in the automatic acquisition of train movement timing at the stations, including that of arrival and departure or run-through.

It will help track train’s movement information as current as 30 seconds to railway passengers


Swarm drone competition for start-ups

Source: The Hindu

 Context: Defence Ministry has unveiled the second edition of the ‘Mehar Baba’ swarm drone competition by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for Indian start-ups.

Swarm drones consist of a number of drones controlled from the same station and coordinate with each other to complete the mission.

  • It will help them develop a swarm drone-based system to detect foreign objects (even of sub-centimetre size) on aircraft operating surfaces.
  • Indian Army has inducted Swarm drones into operational use.



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