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. Could India be a mediator between Russia and Ukraine?
GS Paper 3:
1. What the Vande Bharat train says about the lopsided priorities of Indian modernity
2. Government notified E-waste (management) rules 2022
Content for Mains Enrichment
1. Women friendly workspaces
2. The University of Life or Syamantak
Facts for Prelims:
1. Sri Kanaka Dasa, Maharshi Valmiki, Maulana Azad, Acharya Kripalani
2. Citizen Perception Survey
5. Amendment to Foreign Trade Policy
6. Self-Reliant India Fund
7. Action plan to promote Exports of Millet
8. National Fisheries Development Board
9. Atal New India Challenge
10. Indian Biological Data Center (IBDC)
11. India’s updated NDCs insufficient
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests
Source: The Indian Express
Context: During his first visit to Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, India’s External Affairs Minister expressed strong support for dialogue and diplomacy to restore peace.
India’s reaction to the conflict:
- Expressed concern without openly condemning Russian actions.
- Emphasised the importance of the UN Charter – the sanctity of territorial sovereignty.
- The economic impact of the war on the “Global South” ( Global south refers to the developing and less developed countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. )
- As a result, India strongly favours a return to dialogue and diplomacy.
Why is India regarded as the best mediator?
- Neutral player: As India has walked the diplomatic tightrope, it has won credibility on both sides as a mediator between them.
- Successful diplomatic involvement earlier:
- Preventing the attack on the nuclear power station at Zaporizhzhia in eastern Ukraine.
- During the Black Sea grain shipment, discussions to intervene with Russia.
- Leader of Global South: Mexico had suggested that the PM of India, Pope Francis and the UN Secretary-General should mediate the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
- Good relations with Moscow and the West: India can use this unique leverage to put pressure on Russia to end its war in Ukraine.
- Geopolitical aspirations: Peace-making might help India gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Challenges ahead for India to be a mediator:
- Understanding the dynamics: Between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and the European players, Ukraine and European partners and move ahead accordingly.
- Experience: India has effectively negotiated in bilateral and multilateral formats, but negotiating in a crisis is a different question.
- Risk-taking ability: While India has shown risk-taking abilities in its immediate region (surgical strikes in Pakistan), entering a geopolitical crisis of this size is different.
- Credibility: The West sees India as closer to Russia, as India keeps buying Russian oil at discounted prices despite the west’s criticism.
- Cannot afford a slide in relations with Russia:
- Both India-Russia has strategic ties in nuclear, space, defence, energy, and connectivity – sectors.
- Russia does not transfer to any other country the military technologies shared with India.
- Also, India cannot afford a closer strategic relationship between Russia and China.
Conclusion: The Russia-Ukraine crisis has entered a new phase, in which Indian diplomacy could aid in a range of realistic ways to address the stated challenges.
Q. The Ukraine conflict seems to have reached a deadlock. How can Indian diplomacy participate and contribute to the peace efforts in the Russia-Ukraine war? Examine. (15M)
GS Paper 3
Source: The Indian Express
Context: With the latest edition of the Vande Bharat train, India made a huge leap into the future of mass transportation. However, it has also raised questions, as the poor may not be able to afford these trains.
Examples of skewed priorities of new India:
- Medical facilities: While Indian hospitals attract people from other countries, most of its primary care clinics don’t have enough doctors.
- Education: India has the world’s most prestigious engineering institutions, but still half of its children are unable to read and write at the minimum level expected for their age.
- Food security: While India has food stored in granaries, tens of millions of its children go hungry and are stunted.
- Road safety: Though all Indian cars must have seatbelts, the most basic rules of road safety such as breaking a red light are not enforced.
- Sports: While India has the richest sports leagues in the world, it performs dismally at most global sporting competitions.
- Infrastructure: India builds ultra-modern infrastructure on the banks of the holiest rivers, while these rivers are slowly dying from the most toxic pollution on the planet.
Reasons behind these mismatches: Tension between two competing ideas – achieving Modernisation vs universal access to basic things.
Way ahead – Realising the journey to development:
- Like western countries, first invest in high-quality primary health care and primary education, and basic infrastructure (like sanitation, and public transportation).
- Thus, focusing on simple and fundamental things that India overlooks.
Q. “Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth.” Discuss in light of India’s experience. (UPSC Mains 2021)
GS Paper 3
Source: Live Mint
Context: The government has notified E-waste (management) rules 2022, which will come into force from 1 April next year and apply to every manufacturer, producer refurbisher, dismantler and recycler of e-waste
Key provisions of the Rules:
- Restricted the use of hazardous substances (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium) in manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment that have an adverse impact on human health and the environment.
- Increased the range of electronic goods covered e.g., laptops, mobile, cameras etc.
- Targets fixed: Producers of electronic goods have to ensure at least 60% of their electronic waste is collected and recycled by 2023 with targets to increase them to 70% and 80% in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
- Companies will report these on an online portal.
- Extended Producer Responsibility Certificates (similar to carbon credit mechanism): This will allow the offsetting of e-waste responsibility to a third party.
- ‘Environmental compensation’ to be provided by the companies that don’t meet their target.
- Role of State Governments: They will earmark industrial space for e-waste dismantling and recycling facilities, undertaking industrial skill development and establishing measures for protecting the health and safety of workers engaged in the dismantling and recycling facilities for e-waste.
- Role of manufacturers:
- Make the end product recyclable
- A component made by different manufacturers be compatible with each other
- Role of Central Pollution Control Board: It shall conduct random sampling of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market to monitor and verify the compliance of reduction of hazardous substances provisions.
Impact of E-Wastes:
Toxins’ harmful health impact on humans includes damage to the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and skeletal system. They can also have a significant effect on neurological and reproductive systems, resulting in sickness and birth abnormalities.
E-Waste refers to all items of electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by their owner as waste without the intent of re-use. India is the third-largest e-waste generator in the world after China and the USA (Global E-waste Monitor 2020).
Status of E-waste in India
- One of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world
- 95% of e-waste in India is recycled by the informal sector
What is needed is a sound market-based incentive that encourages both demand and supply-side factors to voluntarily adopt e-waste recycling. In this respect, the e-waste clinic at Bhopal is a pilot project wherein e-waste will be collected door-to-door or could be deposited directly at the clinic in exchange for a fee, which needs to be studied for its success.
Q. The Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the fastest-growing waste streams worldwide. Discuss the measures that are needed for the safe disposal of e-waste in the country. (250 Words)
Content for Mains Enrichment
Women friendly workspaces
Source: Indian Express
Context: A video of a civil servant ( Divya S Iyer, District Collector, Pathanamthitta) in the southern Indian state of Kerala holding her three-year-old son in her arms while delivering a speech at an event went viral, starting a lively debate on social media.
Concerns that working women face in our society:
- Working mothers especially poor daily-wage labourers and domestic helpers are forced to take their children to work every day.
- The reintegration of working mothers after maternity is an issue in today’s highly ambitious workplace. Many high-performing women lose out in the race in their post-pregnancy innings.
Instances from around the globe:
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought her infant to the UN General Assembly
- Australian Senator Larissa Waters breastfed her baby in parliament – highlights how “workspaces needed to change and become more accommodating”.
Four major stakeholders in the case of working women:
- The partner
- The family
- The workspace
- Society at large
- Partners and families should realise that parenting is their responsibility.
- Gone are the days when parenting was a “female” role and earning money was the male role.
- The need for equal parenting: Wherein each parent does interchangeable roles of childcare. It helps future generations be free from gender stereotypes and become more liberal and inclusive.
- Workspaces need to change and become more accommodating
- Policy intervention to provide adequate childcare options for women workers
- Increased maternity leave from 84 days to six months and by introducing paternity leave.
- Creche facilities are getting installed in public and private facilities.
- MGNREGA has regulations for the provision of crèches at worksites
Working women do not require sympathy or a paternalistic mindset. But we need to provide them with a positive space, both physically and mentally, to perform well. There is a need for greater sensitisation.
The University of Life or Syamantak
Direction: This can be used as an example for bringing practical changes in the education system/improving the quality of education etc.
Context: “The University of Life” is a residential community centre. Processes of self-designed organic learning run by the residents of the Syamantak community.
Located in the lush green forests of Dhampur in Maharashtra, The University of Life, or Syamantak, is the brainchild of Sachin Desai and his wife. The unconventional school has no fixed curriculum and exams; just as there is no set pattern to life, the school aims to make its students ready for any challenge life throws their way.
The school also has an entrepreneurial venture called Swayam, where students make natural and preservative-free products like wood apple syrup, raw jackfruit pickle, turmeric powder, and soap made out of natural ingredients.
Some students carry out research in the food labs, while others experiment with cow-related products in a gaushala (cow shelter).
Facts for Prelims
Sri Kanaka Dasa, Maharshi Valmiki, Maulana Azad, Acharya Kripalani
Context: The Prime Minister of India paid tributes to saint poet Sri Kanaka Dasa, Maharshi Valmiki, Maulana Azad and Acharya Kripalani (for multiple reasons).
About these personalities:
- Kanaka Dasa (1509–1609) was a Haridasa saint and philosopher, who was a renowned Carnatic music composer, poet, reformer and musician.
- Maharshi Valmiki is celebrated as the harbinger-poet in Sanskrit literature. He is revered as Adi Kavi – the first poet, and author of Ramayana (the first epic poem).
- Abul Kalam Azad (1888 – 1958) was an Indian independence activist and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. Following India’s independence, he became the first Minister of Education in the Indian government and for his contribution to establishing the foundation of Indian education, his birthday is celebrated as National Education Day across India.
- Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani (1888-1982), popularly known as Acharya Kripalani, was an Indian politician best known for his presidency of the Indian National Congress during the 1947 power transfer.
Citizen Perception Survey (CPS)
Context: As a part of the Ease of Living Index, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched CPS to directly capture the perception of citizens with respect to the quality of life.
The Ease of living index and Municipal Performance Index are the assessment tools used by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs to evaluate the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban development in the city.
CPS (1st conducted in 2020) carries 30% weightage in the Ease of Living Index and is undertaken by the National Institute of Urban Affairs ( a think tank) and Quality Council of India ( a Non-Profit organization).
Context: DigiLocker has successfully completed its second level of integration with Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).
- DigiLocker users can now digitally store health records and link them with Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA)
- DigiLocker is a secure cloud-based document storage and exchange platform launched in 2015 under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- DigiLocker can be used now as a health locker for storing and accessing health records such as vaccination records, doctor prescriptions, lab reports, hospital discharge summaries, etc.
Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM):
- Launched in 2021, ABDM will connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other.
- The Digital Ecosystem will also enable a host of other facilities like Digital Consultation, Consent of patients in letting medical practitioners access their records, etc.
Source: The Hindu
Context: Extradition of Nirav Modi to India has been approved by the UK high court.
Nirav Deepak Modi is an Indian businessman and fugitive who was charged by Interpol and the government of India for criminal conspiracy, corruption, money laundering, fraud, and embezzlement in August 2018.
India-UK has an extradition treaty signed in 1992. In India, Extradition Act 1962 governs extradition laws and the Ministry of External Affairs is the central authority to handle all extradition cases. The request for extradition can be initiated even in cases of under-investigation, or under-trial, apart from a convicted criminal.
Amendment to Foreign Trade Policy (FTP)
Context: The government has allowed invoicing and settlement of exporters/importers in the Indian Rupee.
- Previously exporters could avail of export promotion schemes such as duty drawback only if the payments were done in freely convertible currencies such as the US dollar, British Pound etc.
This will help in the Internationalization of the Indian Rupee ( increasing the use of the local currency in cross-border transactions). Currently, while the dollar accounts for 88% of international trade, Rupee accounts for less than 1.7% of global trade.
Other measures for the Internationalization of the Rupee are the Currency Swaps Agreement, Cross-border borrowings in the Indian Rupee, and RBI’s framework of trade settlement in the Rupee.
Self-Reliant India Fund (SRIF)
Source: Economic Times
Context: SEBI’s SRIF will provide Rs 5000cr to MSMEs to give impetus to the industry.
- SRI is Category II Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) launched in 2020 to provide growth capital to MSMEs based on
Action plan to promote Exports of Millet
Context: Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has prepared an action plan to promote Indian millet exports commencing December 2022.
- Currently, the share of export of millets is nearly 1% of the total millet production
- Role of Indian missions abroad: They would help in the branding and publicity of Indian millets, and identification of international chefs as well as potential buyers.
- Targeting Ambassadors of Foreign missions in India for showcasing various millet-based products, including Ready to Eat millet products.
- Millet promotional activities in various countries through food shows, Buyer sellers meet etc.
- Promotion of Indian millets in International Food festivals: E.g. Gulfood 2023, Foodex, Seoul Food & Hotel Show, etc.
- The government has also started formulating a five-year strategic plan for the promotion of millets and value-added millet products in the international market
- Centre has created the Nutri Cereals Export Promotion Forum
- The government is also mobilizing start-ups for export promotion of value-added products in the Ready to Eat (RTE) and Ready Serve (RTS) category
UN declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYoM) (India-led proposal)
- It will help popularize Indian millets as well as its value-added products across the world and make it a people’s movement.
National Fisheries Development Board
Context: National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), was one of the organizations to be awarded the “India Agribusiness Awards 2022” for the best Agribusiness Award under the Fisheries Sector.
About National Fisheries Development Board(NFDB)
The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) was established in 2006 as an autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India to enhance fish production and productivity in the country and to coordinate fishery development in an integrated and holistic manner.
Atal New India Challenge (ANIC)
Context: Women Centric Challenge under ANIC has been launched to address the issues faced by women in different spheres of life using technology-based innovations.
ANIC is part of the Atal Innovation Mission (by Niti Aayog). AIM provides funds (up to 1 Cr) through grants to any Indian company which comes up with innovations to solve sector-based challenges of national importance and social relevance.
Indian Biological Data Center (IBDC)
Context: The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has dedicated to the nation India’s first national repository for life science data – the Indian Biological Data Center (IBDC).
- Supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), it has been established at the Regional Centre of Biotechnology (RCB), Faridabad, Haryana.
- As per the BIOTECH-PRIDE guidelines of the Government of India, it is mandated to archive all life science data generated from publicly-funded research in India.
- It houses the ‘Brahm’ High-Performance Computing (HPC) facility and has a data ‘Disaster Recovery’ site at National Informatics Centre (NIC), Bhubaneshwar.
India’s updated NDCs insufficient
Context: As per the report of Climate Action Tracker (CAT), India will meet their NDC and overachieve it. Still, the targets need to get more ambitious to reach the 1.5°C target.
Targets announced by India in COP26:
- 2070 Net Zero target
- Reducing the emission intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030 from 2005 level
- Getting 50% of its cumulative electrical power installed capacity sourced from Renewable sources of energy by 2030
A committee on Just Transition setup under sustainable growth pillar of India-US Strategic Clean Energy Partnership has suggested setting up Green Energy Transition India Fund to shift away from non-renewables such as coal.
Climate Action Tracker (CAT) is an independent scientific analysis produced by two research organisations tracking climate action since 2009