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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 1:

1. The grandeur of the Chola Empire


GS Paper 2:

2. The Court and the problem with its collegium


GS Paper 3:

3. We need a forest-led COP27


Facts for Prelims:

1. Tana Bhagat Movement

2. Nanaji Deshmukh

3. Jayaprakash Narayan

4. No more prosecutions under Section 66A


6. Andhra’s SALT Project


8. IMF’s latest world economy report: Red flags for India


10. Bank Run

11. Doom Loop

12. Reverse Auctions (RA)

13. National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET)

11. Auction under HELP

12. Lead poisoning

13. Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEV)


15. Sloth Bear


The grandeur of the Chola Empire

GS Paper I:


Source: The Hindu

Syllabus Ancient India (Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

Directions: This article is taken from The Hindu. Go through it and prepare a holistic note on the Chola empire both from the Prelims and Mains perspective.

Later Chola Dynasty

  • Chola dynasty ruled from 850 to 1279 AD from Vijalaya Aditya I to Rajendra III, up to the end of the dynasty.
  • Sources of History:
    • Literary sources, such as Tamil literature flourished during this period.
      • Rise in bhakti saints and compilation of hyms reflect sociocultural features of that period
      • Muvarula, and Kamba Ramayanam, the great epic, belong to this period.
    • Uttarameruru Inscription issued by Pranthaka Chola gives details of election to local self-government bodies.

  • Famous rulers:
    • Rajaraja I (985 – 1014 A.D.)- engaged in naval expeditions and emerged victorious on the West Coast, Sri Lanka and conquered the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
      • He completed the construction of the famous Rajarajeswara temple or Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore in 1010 A.D.
    • Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.) – founded the city of Gangaikondacholapuram, annexed complete Ceylon, got the title Pandita Chola and constructed the famous Rajesvaram temple.
    • Rajendra III – the last Chola king who was defeated by Jatavarman Sundarapandya II
    • On the ruins of the Chola empire, Pandya and Hoysala kingdoms came into existence.
  • Administration: Chola Empire was divided into mandalams and each mandalam was into valanadus and nadus.
    • In each nadu there were a number of autonomous villages.
    • The royal princes or officers were in charge of mandalam.
    • Various units of land measurement are kuli,ma, veli, patti, padagam, etc.
    • The tax rates were fixed depending on the fertility of the soil.
  • Architecture: Chola art saw the culmination of Dravida temple art.
    • They followed the architectural style of the
    • They used material of stone instead of bricks due to their greater durability.
    • The temples had a Garbhaghriha(Deity room); Vimana(Brihadeshwara Temple); Shikhara(Stone weighing 90 tonnes);
      • Metal Art(Nataraja at Chidamabaram Temple) Lofty Gates
      • Presence of a water tank is the unique feature of Chola architecture.
    • Chola bronze sculptures: The well-known dancing figure of Shiva as Nataraja evolved and fully developed during the Chola Period.
      • The bronze casting technique and the making of bronze images of traditional icons reached a high stage of development during this period.

Insta Links

Prelims link:

Chola empire

Mains Links:

Q. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss. (UPSC MAINS 2013)

Q. The Chola period witnessed remarkable development in sculptures and bronze works with a special emphasis on Hindu iconography. They portray a classic grace, grandeur and taste. Discuss.

The Court and the problem with its collegium

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Judiciary- Structure, functioning and conduct of business, issues with the collegium system


Directions: There have been many articles on collegium system (including yesterday). We are including only unique points from this article.

Source: The Hindu

Issues with the Collegium system:

  • Extra-constitutional or non-constitutional body: brought in force by judgments of the Supreme Court.
  • No seat for Non-Judge: There is no seat in the collegium for any non-judge neither from the executive, the Bar etc. This violates the principle of checks and balances.
  • Opaqueness: lack of transparency as meetings are held a closed door.
  • Nepotism: Scope for nepotism.
  • Overlooks talent: Overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.


Issues with judicial appointments:

  • ‘Biased’ Collegium: Successive collegiums not putting forth names disliked by the Government.
  • No one from ‘distinguished’ Jurist: There have been no appointments from the category of distinguished jurists (under Article 124)
  • Preserve of judges: Appointments to the top court seem to be the preserve of judges from the High Courts with a handful of appointments from the Bar.


Way forward:

  • Transparency: There is a need to revisit this and secure a better, broad-based and transparent method of appointing senior judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
  • Constitutional mandates: Some nodding acknowledgement should be given to a specific provision made by the founding fathers in the Constitution.


Insta Links:

Collegium system

The principle of seniority and next CJI(FFP)


Mains Links:

Q. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgment on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India.(UPSC 2017)


Prelims Links:

  • Collegium system
  • NJAC
  • CJI
  • Article 124
  • Memorandum of Procedure of 1999

Consider the following statements:

  1. The SC collegium is headed by the CJI and comprises four other senior most judges of the court.
  2. A HC collegium is led by its Chief Justice and four other senior most judges of that court.

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: :(a)


Collegium System:

  • It is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the SC, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
  • The SC collegium is headed by the CJI and comprises four other senior-most judges of the court.
  • An HC collegium is led by its Chief Justice and two other senior-most judges of that court.

We need a forest-led COP27

GS Paper III


Source: The Hindu

Syllabus : Environment (Conservation-related issues.)

Directions: The article highlights the flaws in current climate mitigation strategies. Go through it once, you can use it for value addition.

Context: A study published in the journal Science said earth may have already passed through five dangerous tipping points due to the 1.1°C of global heating caused by humanity to date.

Issues with current climate mitigation strategies

  • Technology not yet developed: Technology at the required scale is unprepared to deal with the climate challenge.
  • Limited sources for renewables: electricity (non-emitting electricity generated by hydropower, renewables or nuclear fission), carbon capture and storage (CCS) or
    • The total demand for those resources required by the plans discussed at COP26 cannot be met by 2050.
  • Ignores forest economies: Tech-centric mitigation conversations leave forest economies and their conservation.
  • Vague pledge:g. Countries may easily attempt to achieve their ‘net zero deforestation goals’ through monoculture farming. But this won’t be of much help.

What does the research say?

  • In 2003, Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution found that the world would need a nuclear plant’s worth of clean-energy capacity every day between 2000 and 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Why we need a forest led- mitigation effort:

  • Absorption of CO2: Forests absorb a net 6 billion metric tonnes of CO2 a year.
  • Cooling: A new study has found that their biophysical aspects have a tendency to cool the earth by an additional 0.5%.
  • More effective: The conservation of forests, along with other nature-based solutions, can provide up to 37% of the emissions reductions needed to tackle climate change.
    • Scientists, in a commentary in Nature, have stated that naturally preserved forests are 40% more effective than planted ones.
  • Cheaper: green infrastructure (salt marshes and mangroves) is 2-5 times cheaper

What are the other measures that can be taken?

  • The IPCC Land Report estimates that land serves as a large CO2 sink.
  • Preserving earth’s cyclical processes by protecting terrestrial ecosystems and natural sinks and transformative agricultural practices under the leadership of indigenous people and local communities.

Thus, Technology, at best, can assist us, not lead us, on the pathway to a sustainable, regenerative and equitable world.

Insta Links:

Prelims link:

Mains Links:

Q. Discuss the measures required to realize the climate change targets that India had declared to achieve by 2070.

/ Oct 13 CA, Today's Article


Facts for Prelims

Tana Bhagat Movement

Source: Times of India

Context: Tribals of the Tana Bhagat sect are demanding complete self-rule in the Latehar district of Jharkhand.

  • They are a sect of the Oraon Tribes and are ardent followers of Gandhian philosophy.



Tana Bhagat Movement

Tana Bhagat movement( started in April 1914), under the leadership of Jatra Bhagat, to stop the evil practices which were taking place in the Oraon community of Chotanagpur and to oppose the exploiting Jamindars policies.


Nanaji Deshmukh

Source: Times of India

Context:  Nanaji Deshmukh was born on 11th October 1916 in Maharashtra’s Hingoli district.

His contribution:

  • Social Reformer, educationist, and politicians (Janata Party)
  • Established Chitrakoot Gramodya Vishwavijyalaya (India’s 1st rural university)
  • Influenced by: Lokamanya Tilak and his nationalist ideology.
  • He actively participated in Acharya Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan
  • Deshmukh was the main force behind social activist Jayaprakash Narayan’s agitation for total revolution.
  • In 2019, the President of India, conferred the Bharat Ratnaupon him (posthumously) for his services to the nation.
  • Values: Compassion, Service to people, Patriotism, political acumen.


Jayaprakash Narayan: The man, the movement and his protégés

Source: Indian Express

Context:  Union Home Minister unveiled a 15-foot statue of Jayaprakash Narayan or JP on his 120th birth anniversary at the socialist icon’s birthplace, Sitab Diara village in Bihar’s Saran district.


  • Political activity: founding member of the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in 1934.
    • He formed the Socialist Party ( which was merged with J B Kripalani’s Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party to form the Praja Socialist Party in 1952).
  • He led the Sampoorn Kranti (Total Revolution) movement organised during Indira Gandhi’s regime (during the National emergency in 1975).
  • He was disillusioned with political parties and called for communitarian democracy.
    • Parties, he believed, were centralised and susceptible to moral and financial corruption.

Values: Patriotism, Socialism, Selflessness, perseverance for justice.


No more prosecutions under Section 66A

Source: The Hindu

Context: The Supreme Court ordered States and police forces to stop prosecuting free speech on social media under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act which was declared unconstitutional by the court in a judgment.

Section 66A:

  • It empowered police to make arrests over what policemen, in terms of their subjective discretion, could construe as “offensive” or “menacing” or for the purposes of causing annoyance, inconvenience,
  • It prescribed the punishment for sending messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet, and a conviction could fetch a maximum of three years in jail.



Source: PIB

Context: PM-DevINE, was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23 to address development gaps in the North Eastern Region (NER).


  • Fund infrastructure convergently, in the spirit of PM GatiShakti
  • Support social development projects: Based on felt needs of the NER
  • Enable livelihood activities: for youth and women
  • Developmental gaps: Fill the development gaps in various sectors.


Key Highlights:

  • Efforts will be made to complete the PMDevINE projects by 2025-26.
  • Funding: It will have 100% Central funding.
  • Implementation: PMDevINE will be implemented by the Ministry of DoNER through the North Eastern Council or Central Ministries/ agencies.
  • End-to-end development: It will provide an end-to-end development solution instead of isolated projects.
  • No duplication of projects: It will ensure that there is no duplication of project support under PMDevINE with any of the other schemes of MDoNER or those of any other Ministry/ Department.


Andhra’s SALT Project

Source: The Hindu

Context: World Bank has provided the loan to Support Andhra’s Learning Transformation (SALT) project.

The project aims to transform the state’s school education system by focusing on improving foundational learning, professional development of teachers, early childhood education etc.



Source: Indian Express

CONTEXT– INTERPOL has rejected India’s request for red notice against Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (Canada-based founder and legal advisor of pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs for Justice ) as there is not sufficient information.

REASON BEHIND REQUEST: Mr Pannun has been listed as a “terrorist” under Indian UAPA law.

INTERPOL: INTERPOL known as the ‘International Criminal Police Organisation’, is an international organization and a UN agency that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control. Headquartered in Lyon, France.

  • It was Formed in 1923.
  • India has been a member since
  • India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), is the national coordinating agency with INTERPOL.


RED NOTICE –  It is a request to locate and provisionally arrest individual pending extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant. Apart from ‘red notice’, INTERPOL also issues 7 other notices i.e – Black notice, yellow notice etc.


IMF’s latest world economy report: Red flags for India

Source: Indian Express

Context: The central message of the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) is worst is yet to come for the world economy.

Key highlights of the report

  • More than a third of the global economy will contract this year or next, while the three largest economies—the United States, the European Union, and China—will continue to stall.
  • Inflation remains the most immediate threat to current and future prosperity.
    • Global inflation is now expected to peak at 9.5 per cent in late 2022.
  • IMF has sharply cut the forecast for global growth — from 6.0 per cent in 2021 to 3.2 per cent in 2022 and 2.7 per cent in 2023- weakest in the decades.
  • Cause of challenge to the global economy: Russian invasion of Ukraine, broadening inflation pressures, and the slowdown in China.

What does it mean for India?

  • India’s GDP growth rate is better and inflation is not as high.
  • The threat to India comes from at least four sources:
    • higher crude oil and fertiliser prices will spike domestic inflation.
    • Global slowdown will hurt exports, dragging down domestic growth and worsening the trade deficit.
    • A strong dollar will put pressure on the rupee’s exchange rate.
    • Also, given the low demand among most Indians, the government might be forced to spend more.

What is World Economic Outlook?

It is a survey by the IMF that is usually published twice a year in the months of April and October.  It analyses and predicts global economic developments during the near and medium term. Other report published by IMF is the Global Financial Stability report.



Context: Kyrgyzstan cancelled its military exercises for Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to be held this month.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (est. In 1992) is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia consisting of six post-Soviet states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.


Bank Run

Context: Recently three economists were awarded the Nobel prize for their research on banking and financial crises. It highlighted the term ‘Bank Run’.

A bank run occurs when many clients withdraw their money from a bank because they believe the bank may cease to function in the near future.

  • g. 1930 Economic crisis was majorly due to the Bank Run. Previously it was believed that bank failures were “consequences” and not the “cause” of the financial crisis.

The economist recommended that countries have deposit insurance provisions ( e.g. India provides Rs 5 Lakh deposit insurance) to build trust and prevent a bank run.


Doom Loop

Source: Economist

Context: Many economists have warned that Europe may be headed for a doom loop

The doom loop is the circle of vulnerability where a country’s banking system can be severely hurt by volatility in the economy. A country is at risk of a doom loop when a shock to one part of its economic system is amplified by its effect on another.


Note: In ethics/psychology: A doom loop is a negative belief cycle, where a series of beliefs, actions, and reactions work to reinforce negative beliefs and unwanted behaviours.


Reverse Auctions (RA)

Context: Government may scrap the reverse auction process for wind and solar projects.

A reverse auction is a type of auction in which sellers bid for the prices at which they are willing to sell their goods and services. It is the opposite of a regular auction, where a seller puts up an item and buyers place bids until the close of the auction, at which time the item goes to the highest bidder.


National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET)

Source: PIB

It is a non-profit autonomous body constituted under the Mines& Minerals (Development Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, with the aim of boosting mineral exploration activities in the country.

  • A mining lease holder pays an NMET sum equivalent to 2% of the royalty.

It funds various Notified Exploration Agencies to carry out exploration projects across the country.



Auction under HELP

Source: Live Mint

Context: Several Oil and Gas and coal-bed methane blocks were offered under the HELP auction.

What is HELP?

The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) replacing the erstwhile New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was approved in March 2016.

The main features of HELP are a Revenue Sharing Contract, single Licence for exploration and production of conventional as well as unconventional Hydrocarbon resources, Open Acreage Licensing Policy (choice of blocks for investors), marketing & pricing freedom, no oil cess, year-round bidding, etc.


Lead poisoning

Source: DTE

Context:  A report by Niti Aayog and the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has found that India bears the world’s highest health and economic burden due to lead poisoning.

Key highlights of the report

  • Most affected states: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.
    • Some 23 states have an average BLL that goes beyond five micrograms per decilitre (μg / dl) — the standard used to gauge poisoning.
  • Affected children: As per the 2020 UNICEF report half of India’s children were poisoned by lead

What is lead poisoning?

It is a medical condition caused by increased levels of heavy metal lead in the body and its interference with a variety of body processes resulting in toxicity to many organs and tissues (called plumbism)

What are the factors that contribute to lead poisoning?

  • Battery recycling.
  • Occupational sources such as lead mining, smelting, welding, soldering and automobile repatriating.
  • Other inconspicuous sources include adulterated spices, cosmetics and traditional medicines.

What needs to be done?

  • Identifying at-risk populations through BLL monitoring,
  • Investigating sources of elevated BLLs and healthcare
  • Workforce training to sensitise them to monitor, detect and treat lead poisoning.
  • R&D: Undertake targeted research and intervention studies to identify potential newer sources


Insta Facts:

  • Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time.
  • Lead in bone is released into the blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing foetus.
  • WHO has identified lead as 1 of 10 chemicals of major public health concern.
  • WHO has joined with the United Nations Environment Programme to form the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint.


Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEV)

Source: PIB

Context: 1st of this kind of project has been launched by the Ministry of Road and Transport

Flexi-fuel vehicles(FFV) can run on Petrol as well as a blended Petro-ethanol mixture. FFV- Hybrid electric vehicles can run on a combination of 100% Petrol or Petrol+ ethanol/methanol or Electric power.

Hybrid EVs can be:

  • Full hybrid (can use electric and combustion engine at the same time or independently)
  • Mild hybrid ( starter generator linked to a li-ion battery to run air conditioning or other devices)
  • Strong hybrid (batteries can be recharged completely by the engine or regenerative braking)




CONTEXT – Tamil Nadu government has notified the Kaduvur slender loris sanctuary, spread across Karur and Dindigul districts.


  • They are small nocturnal mammals and they are arboreal (spend most of their life on trees).
  • They act as a biological predator of pests in agricultural crops and benefit farmers.
  • They are native to India and Sri Lanka. They are found in tropical forests, shrub forests, semi-deciduous forests, and swamps.
  • IUCN status –
  • CITES status – Appendix II
  • Schedule I Of the Wildlife Protection Act


India’s first Dugong conservation reserve (in Palk bay) is also in Tamil Nadu.

Which of the following are the most likely places to find the musk deer in its natural habitat? (UPSC 2020)

  1. Askot Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Gangotri National Park
  3. Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Manas National Park

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 and 4 only

(d) 1 and 4 only


Musk deer largely can be seen in Himalayan states. States such as Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. It inhabits high alpine environments above altitudes of 2,500 m. Both the parks- Askot and Gangotri are in Uttarakhand.


Sloth Bear


CONTEXT: The First World Sloth bear day was observed on 12th October.

SLOTH BEAR – They are ‘endemic’ to the Indian subcontinent and almost 90% of their population is concentrated in India (almost throughout India) with small numbers in Sri Lanka and Nepal. They are omnivorous.  They do not hibernate.

  • IUCN status – Vulnerable
  • Schedule I in Wildlife Protection Act.
  • CITES – Appendix I.



  1. Asiatic Black Bear – they are found across the Himalayas. They are Vulnerable in IUCN.
  2. Himalayan Brown Bear- They are Critically endangered in IUCN. Found in India, Pakistan, Nepal, China etc.
  3. Sun Bear- They are a very rare and elusive animal, and are only found in north-east India. They are vulnerable in IUCN.

In India, if a species of tortoise is declared protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, what does it imply? (UPSC 2017)

(a) It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger.

(b) It no longer exists in the wild, a few individuals are under captive protection, and now it is impossible to prevent its extinction.

(c) It is endemic to a particular region of India.

(d) Both (b) and (c) stated above are correct in this context.


It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 Act provides for the protection of a listed species. Schedule I is endangered species.



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