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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 3:

1. Currency Depreciation

2. A renewable energy revolution, rooted in agriculture

3. A crisis is brewing in the coffee industry

4. Climate change amplifying health impacts


Content for Mains Enrichment

1. Sustainability for business and ecology


Facts for Prelims:

1. Two idols stolen from Tamil Nadu were traced to the U.S.

2. I&B Ministry Advisory

3. The Roadmap 2030

4. Ethiopia- Tigray Conflict

5. ‘India’s exports to China

6. HAWK air defence equipment


Currency Depreciation

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Economy and related issues


Source: livemint

Direction: This article is in the continuation of yesterday’s article on Oil and the Dollar.


Context: Out of 34 currencies tracked by The Economist every week only four currencies – issued by Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Peru – have appreciated against the US dollar since October 2021. The Indian rupee depreciated by more than 10%.


What Is Currency Depreciation?

Currency depreciation is a fall in the value of a currency in terms of its exchange rate versus other currencies.

Orderly currency depreciation can increase a country’s export activity as its products and services become cheaper to buy. However, Currency depreciation in one country can spread to other countries.


Factors affecting Indian Currency depreciation:

  • Structure of trade: India being the net importer of commodities, the price of its import basket has risen more than the price of its export basket, or a negative terms-of-trade shock. This has led to more dollars going out and thus currency depreciating.
  • The state of the Current Account Balance (CAD): Countries that have CAD are less likely to experience a sudden outflow of foreign money. India has a wide current account deficit right now (of about $120bn).
  • Foreign exchange reserves: As the currency depreciates, RBI has to pump more dollars into the market to stabilize it. This reduces the forex reserve.
  • The extent of borrowing: Since external debt has to be paid in dollars, it means dollars will go out of the country with higher external debt. Thus depreciating currency further. Indian government borrowed close to $10bn from multi-lateral agencies in FY 21.

Way forward: 

India still has adequate foreign exchange reserves in terms of standard metrics such as import cover, foreign debt that is due within a year and the stock of broad money. However, the substantial fall in foreign exchange means that the exchange rate will have to play a bigger role in economic adjustment.


What Is the Current Account Balance?

The current account balance (CAB) is part of a country’s financial inflow and outflow record. It is part of the balance of payments, the statement of all transactions made between one country and another.

The balance of payments (BOP) is the place where countries record their monetary transactions with the rest of the world.


Mains question:

Q. Examining the current account balance of a country’s BOP can provide a good idea of its economic activity. Discuss.

A renewable energy revolution, rooted in agriculture

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental Conservation


Source: The Hindu

Context: The first bio-energy plant of a private company in the Sangrur district of Punjab will produce Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) from paddy straw, thus converting agricultural waste into wealth.


Benefits of CBG plant:

  • From paddy stubble, CBG valued at ₹46 per kg as per the SATAT scheme will be produced.
  • Paddy straw from one acre of the crop can yield energy output (CBG) worth more than ₹17,000 — an addition of more than 30% to the main output of grain.
  • Slurry or fermented organic manure from the plant (CBG) will be useful as compost to replenish soils heavily depleted of organic matter and reduce dependence on chemical fertilizers.
  • The CBG plant will also provide employment opportunities to rural youth in the large value chain.



Significance of crop residue supply chain:

FAO’s study suggests developing a crop residue supply chain in Punjab that can allow the collection, storage and final use of rice straw for other productive services, specifically for the production of renewable energy.

      • With 30% of the rice straw produced in Punjab, a 5% CBG production target set by the Government of India scheme, “Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)” can help increase the usage of rice straw.  

What is Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG)?

Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) is produced naturally through the process of anaerobic decomposition (without oxygen) of biomass sources like crop residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, sewage treatment plant waste, etc.

      • It has the potential to replace Compressed Natural Gas in automotive, industrial, and commercial uses in the future.


Benefits of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG):

      • Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution
      • Additional revenue source for farmers
      • Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment
      • Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals
      • Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil
      • Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations


What is stubble burning?

It is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare fields for the sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and the sowing of wheat.

Impact: Stubble burning results in the emission of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.



current affairs


Other Waste-to-Energy technology:

  • Landfill Gas (LFG) recovery: Methane gas is extracted from solid waste deposited in a landfill.
  • Torrefaction: It involves heating straw, grass and sawmill residue to over 250-degree C.
  • Polycrack Technology: It converts feedstocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon, and water.


Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Compressed Bio Gas.
  2. About CPCB.
  3. About CAQM
  4. Byproducts of stubble Burning.

Mains Link:

Q. Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three mega cities of the country but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so? (2021)

A crisis is brewing in the coffee industry

GS Paper 3


Source: The Hindu

 Context:  Coffee cultivation is becoming an increasingly loss-making proposition in India.


Coffee production in India

  • More than 75% of Indian coffee production is Exported.
  • India’s share in the global coffee market is less than 5%.
  • The coffee community in India, comprises close to 4 lakh coffee growers, hundreds of large planters, and associations.


Problems being faced by coffee producers

  • Erratic weather conditions are helping pests to breed and new diseases to emerge.
    • fruit rot, stalk rot, root rot and other irreparable damage due to heavy rainfall and landslides.
  • The volatility in market prices and the reduced influence of producers in the value chain render coffee cultivation an increasingly loss-making proposition.
  • Cost of financing: Most private banks insist that growers provide collateral for financing leading to interest rates being higher for small and medium-sized growers who lack collateral.
  • The rise in the cost of inputs year on year and the increase in the cost of labour and benefits, constitute 60% to 70% of total plantation expenditure.
  • Plantations face power cuts during the summer months. This makes irrigation expensive as the cost of diesel is high.
  • Identity crisis: Indian coffee is still facing an identity crisis in global markets as Indian coffee was never considered a separate origin coffee. It was always used as filler.


Way forward:

  • Finding alternative sources of revenue and increasing domestic consumption
  • Branding and promoting Indian coffee better in the global market on the other.
  • Inter-cropping: Growers should create additional revenue streams through inter-cropping or through innovative measures.
  • Considering the change in land use, the government could permit growers to plant alternate crops on land not suitable for coffee cultivation.
  • Sturdy and weather-resistant varieties of coffee may help.


Insta Links:

Coffee Promotion bill 2022 (check-in FFP)


Prelims Link

Which one of the following groups of plants was domesticated in the ‘New World’ and introduced into the ‘Old World’? (UPSC 2019)

(a) Tobacco, cocoa and rubber

(b) Tobacco, cotton and rubber

(c) Cotton, coffee and sugarcane

(d) Rubber, coffee and wheat

Answer: A

Tobacco, cocoa, and rubber came to India through Europeans in the late medieval or early modern era and so these are the groups of plants that were domesticated in the ‘New World’ and introduced into the ‘Old World’. All of them originated in South America

Climate change amplifying health impacts

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental pollution and degradation


Source: Indian Express

 Directions: This Article has been taken from the Indian Express editorial. Go through it once, you can use it for value addition.


Context:  Ahead of COP27, the Lancet report has said that the continued dependence on fossil fuels is compounding the health impacts of the multiple crises the world is facing.


Key highlights of the report:

  • Impact on Vulnerable populations – the elderly and children under 1 year of age – are at acute risk of heat stress, heat stroke, and other adverse physical and mental health
  • Wildfires: Drier and hotter weather is making conditions increasingly suitable for the start and spread of wildfires, putting people’s health and safety at risk.
  • Spread of diseases: Climate change is affecting the distribution and transmission of many infectious diseases, including vector-borne, food-borne, and waterborne diseases.
    • The climatic suitability for the transmission of dengue increased by about 11% for Aedes aegypti and 12% for Aedes albopictus from 1951–60 to 2012–21


  • Food insecurity: On average, 29% more of the global land area was affected by extreme drought annually between 2012–2021, than between 1951–1960.


  • India specific: Highlights
    • Decrease in growth season: The duration of the growing season for maize has decreased by 2%, compared to a 1981-2010 baseline, while rice and winter wheat have each decreased by 1%.
    • Increased heat wave events
    • Increase in heat-related deaths: From 2000-2004 to 2017-2021, heat-related deaths increased by 55% in India.
    • Loss of labour hours
    • Vector-borne diseases

Mitigation measures needed:

  • Adapting heat action plans in each city. For instance, the Ahmedabad heat action plan that has shown mortality can be reduced should be adapted everywhere.
  • Focus on achieving Paris goal: A failure to tackle climate change would see heat extremes escalate even more dangerously.
  • Specific programmes such as shock responsive protection schemes, social assistance programmes for inability to work and lost wages due to heat and expanded workplace protections – are some practical solutions.
  • Focus on Preventive measures like enhancement of green spaces (strategic planting and less pruning of trees to provide more shade).
    • Healthy and green urban redesign will promote physical activity and deliver more friendly, liveable cities. Today, just 27% of urban centres are classified as moderately-green or above.
  • Burning of dirty fuels needs to be minimised as soon as possible to reduce the accompanying health impacts.


Insta Links

Prelims link.

  • COP27
  • Outcome of COP26
  • Five Nectar Elements (Panchamrit)
  • About Lancet countdown report 2022
  • Paris climate change targets.

Mains Links:

Q. Analyse the growing impacts of climate change on India. Are the steps taken so far adequate enough to tackle climate change?

Q. Evaluate India’s response to the climate change crisis. Has India prioritised economic growth over environmental sustainability? (250 words)


Content for Mains Enrichment

Sustainability for business and ecology

 What is sustainability?

Sustainability consists of fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care and social well-being.

Sustainability in Business: Making the production process environmentally sustainable helps in economic sustainability as well.

Tools Businesses can use for environmental sustainability:

  • Moving to Cloud computing: According to the studies, both small and large enterprises can reduce their per-user carbon footprint from 30% to 90% by just moving to cloud computing.
    • Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.
  • Use a ‘sustainability calculator’ to track greenhouse gas emissions arising from their cloud use.
  • Banking:g., Flowe (a digital bank in Italy) went beyond banking to integrate green living and personal health goals into its services. Thus, including sustainability in business goals can help improvement in banks.


Facts for Prelims

Two idols stolen from Tamil Nadu were traced to the U.S.

Source: The Hindu

 Context:  The two antique idols of Yoganarasimha and Ganesha belonging to Sri Venugopala Swamy temple, Alathur, Thiruvarur district, were traced to the Nelson-Atkins Museums, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

They were suspected to be stolen fifty years ago and replaced with replicas.

 Steps taken by the government to protect arts and artefacts from being stolen:

  • Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the nodal agency to retrieve stolen or illegally exported art objects.
  • India is a signatory to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
    • India also ratified the convention in 1977.
  • National Mission On Monuments And Antiquities: aims to prepare a National database on Built Heritage and sites.
  • National Manuscript Mission: established in 2003 by the ministry of tourism to unearth and preserve the vast manuscript wealth of India.


I&B Ministry Advisory

 Source: The Hindu

Context: The I&B issued an advisory stating that no Ministry or department of the governments at the Center, States and Union Territories and their associated entities should enter into broadcasting or distribution of broadcasting activities in future.


Key Advisories:

  • States broadcasting their content should do it through the public broadcaster, Prasar Bharati, and the entities distributing the broadcasting content.
  • Advisory had been issued in view of:
    • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendation (‘Arm’s length’ distance between broadcaster and the state to enhance its autonomy and independence)
    • Supreme Court judgment in the Cricket Association of Bengal case
    • Law Ministry’s legal opinion
    • Sarkaria and Verghese Committee recommendation – that power of the state for broadcasting could not be supported.
  • Power of legislation rests with the centre10101000: On issues of “posts and telegraphs, telephones, wireless, broadcasting etc. and granting licenses in respect of “telegraphs and power.


Political implications of the move: It can impact Tamil Nadu’s Kalvi TV and Arasu Cable; Andhra Pradesh government’s IPTV; Kerela’s channels KITE VICTERS and KITE VICTERS Plus (for education)

Under the existing policy guidelines: Government universities, colleges, schools, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, certain autonomous bodies and agricultural universities are eligible to set up community radios.

Prasar Bharti: It is a statutory autonomous body, under the Prasar Bharati Act. It is the Public Service Broadcaster of the country.



The Roadmap 2030

Source: The Hindu

About The Roadmap 2030:

  • It was launched in 2021, during the India-U.K. virtual summit.
  • Mains focus area: Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
  • Bilateral relations: It elevated bilateral ties to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Framework for UK-India relations: across health, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defence.


Ethiopia- Tigray Conflict

Source: The Hindu

Context: The first formal African Union-led peace talks between an Ethiopian government team and Tigray forces (since the war of 2020 with Tigray) are currently going on.


Background of the Dispute:

Since 1994, Ethiopia has had a federal system in which different ethnic groups control the affairs of 10 regions. Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) (the party in power in the Tigray region of Ethiopia)- was influential in setting up this system.

However, the reforms started by Nobel Peace prize winner Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed (he ended a long-standing territorial dispute with neighbouring Eritrea) saw many of the top key Tigrayan government leaders being accused of corruption and being removed.

Tigray’s leaders saw Mr Abiy’s reforms as an attempt to centralise power and destroy Ethiopia’s federal system and revolted.

The conflict started, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray.



‘India’s exports to China

Source: The Hindu


Context:  India’s trade equation with China has been improving in recent years with outbound shipments rising faster than imports

 India’s Exports

  • Bilateral trade: China is the second largest trade partner of India, after the USA with trade flows between the two countries having grown 59% from about $72 billion in 2014-15, to around $115 billion in 2021-22.
    • From $11 billion in 2014-15, India’s exports to China has risen to $21 billion last year, while imports stood at $94 billion in the same period
  • Major import items: Intermediate goods account for more than a third of India’s imports from China, while capital goods constitute another 19%, with telecom and power sector equipment being the key drivers.
  • India’s dependence on such Chinese goods can be attributed largely to
    • The gap between domestic production and demand,
    • China is a manufacturing hub and has price competitiveness due to economies of scale and subsidies provided by its government.
  • Recent steps: The production-linked incentive schemes for different sectors will help reduce the dependence on such imports over time.
    • Technical regulations framed for products such as toys, electronics, chemicals and fertilizers will check sub-standard imports.


HAWK air defence equipment

Source: The Indian Express

The United States is considering sending older HAWK air defence equipment from storage to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian drone and cruise missile attacks.

  • The HAWK interceptor missiles would be an upgrade to the Stinger missile systems – a smaller, shorter-range air defence system – that the United States has already sent to blunt Russia’s invasion.

What is the HAWK air defence?

HAWK, short for ‘Homing All the Way Killer’, entered service with the US Army in 1959, during the Vietnam war.

  • It underwent several upgrades, including a major one in 1971 that produced the so-called I-HAWK (or improved HAWK), with a kill probability of 85%.
  • The HAWK system was the predecessor to the PATRIOT missile defence system.
  • US forces largely stopped using HAWK from the early years of the new century.


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