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. Are data localization requirements necessary and proportionate?
GS Paper 3:
1. Importance of Agri exports
Content for Mains Enrichment
1. ‘Reverse mentorship’
Facts for Prelims:
1. Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer
2. New regulations for awarding PhD
3. Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)
4. Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution
5. ‘Friend-Shoring’ Plan
6. Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at UNHRC
7. Increase in Per Capita Income
8. NFRA introduces audit quality inspections
9. India’s first multimodal logistics park
10. IUU Fishing in Indian Ocean Region
11. The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)
13. Ayush for Global Health
14. Zoonotic Disease
15. LOFTID mission
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Governance/ Internal Security/ Effect of Policies of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests
Source: The Hindu
Context: The value and importance of data in today’s technologically driven society underline the demand for data localisation.
- Data localisation refers to policy initiatives that limit data flows by restricting the physical storage and processing of data inside the boundaries of a specific jurisdiction.
The need for data localisation: Governments across the world prefer data localisation to –
- Strengthens the protection of personal data: For instance, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), obligates businesses in the EU to keep their data secured within the boundaries of the EU.
- Protect the privacy of citizens.
- Exercise control of the data for law enforcement purposes.
- Drive their economy.
Case of India:
- Because India is one of the most powerful markets in terms of data creation and use, data localisation is critical.
- The long-awaited Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019, was recently withdrawn by the Government of India in order to be replaced by a new bill with a “comprehensive framework” and “contemporary digital privacy laws.”
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also ordered that payment system data must be maintained in India for better monitoring and safety, owing to the increasing volume of digital payments in the country.
Fears about data localisation:
- Against ease of doing business: According to the UNCTAD’s Digital Economy Report, the cross-border data flow is an important pillar for established as well as growing businesses, and data localisation increases the operational costs of the businesses.
- Promotes monopoly: It results in the eradication of small and mid-size businesses from the market, impacting daily consumers who would be deprived of making choices.
- Make data security more vulnerable: This is particularly true for countries with poor IT infrastructure.
- Misuse by rich countries: Developed countries may employ advanced data surveillance tools, which may defeat the aim of establishing data security by relocation.
- Increased risk of local surveillance: Through the implementation of stringent data localisation laws.
- Varied nature of compliances amongst different countries: Posing varied sets of challenges in different settings and the nature of businesses.
- A multiple stakeholder approach: It can help in looking not only at data localisation but also other issues such as privacy and governance.
- Data encryption rather than delocalisation: In this age of rapid technological growth, governments should shift to alternate standards of data encryption.
- Glocalization approach: Wherein laws can be harmonised globally, but by paying attention to local interests.
- Assess the security of domestic systems for storing sensitive data.
Data is the enabler of businesses and digitisation has been essential for growth and innovation. There must be a balance between the sovereignty-based model for data localization and the need for data to be independent and autonomous.
Q. “Data localization policies, while allowing government agencies to regulate the data efficiently, hinder the growth of global trade and investments”. In this context, analyze the pros and cons of data localization for India.
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Indian economy and related issues
Source: The Indian Express
Context: India’s agricultural exports this year are on track to surpass the $50 billion mark achieved in 2021-22. However, rising imports have reduced the agricultural trade surplus.
Reason for this increase: This is mainly due to an increase in shipments of commodities whose exports have been restricted – wheat, rice and sugar.
Agri-trade trends in India:
Signs of concern:
- Growth in exports is offset by imports: The agricultural trade surplus fell from $7.86 billion to $7.46 billion between April-September 2021 and April-September this year.
- Main agri-commodities imported by India:
- Vegetable oils:
- After petroleum, electronics, gold and coal, vegetable oils are now the country’s fifth largest import item.
- In 2021-22, their imports were valued at $19 billion, which is expected to be increased fiscal year.
- Cotton: India has turned into a net cotton importer primarily due to lower domestic production (in 2021-22, only 307.05 lakh bales (1 bale = 170 kg) are predicted, compared to 353 and 365 lakh bales in the preceding years).
- Spices: Exports have been driven mostly by chilli, cumin, turmeric, ginger, etc. In pepper and cardamom, the country’s imports and exports are equal.
- In pepper, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Brazil have outcompeted India, while Guatemala has gained market share in cardamom.
- Cashew: In 2021-22, the country’s cashew exports were valued at $453.08 million, compared to imports of $1.26 billion.
- Vegetable oils:
Why is a surplus in agricultural trade matter?
Because, apart from software services, this is one sector in which India has a comparative advantage (at a lower opportunity cost than its trading partners).
Steps taken by the government:
- Raising the minimum support price of mustard
- Granting environmental clearance for commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) hybrid mustard (DMH-11).
- The “barnase-barstar” GM technology, which gives higher yields, better disease-resistance or oil quality traits than DMH-11, can be used to develop new mustard hybrids
- Cotton may require a similar approach to enhance domestic output and yields. For example, the GM Bt technology helped nearly treble India’s cotton production to 398 lakh bales in 2013-14.
- It demonstrates the necessity of focusing on domestic output and productivity while not restricting the development of technology that enables these.
Q. Examine how the government’s agriculture policies impact the Indian economy in the short and long term, with a special emphasis on the agricultural sector. (15M)
Content for Mains Enrichment
Context: Current workplaces have the widest generational spread of employees: as Gen Zers begin to enter the workforce, four generations are now working together – a phenomenon we have not seen before this decade.
Reverse mentoring pairs staff across generational divides, encouraging a bottom-up flow of information, alongside the traditional top-down approach.
The reversed approach can take the form of a one-way mentorship, with junior staff teaching specific skills or sharing information upwards, or it can be part of traditional mentorship structures, with both parties seeking to learn from each other.
Reverse mentoring schemes can make younger staff feel listened to and welcome in offices, helping reduce employment churn.
Source: Indian Express
The Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2022 is “permacrisis”. The word, most widely understood as a combination of “permanent” and “crisis”, has been in use for a little longer from the COVID crisis to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Facts for Prelims
Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer
Source: The Indian Express
Context: The name of former Travancore Diwan Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer has been mentioned in the middle of the ongoing disagreement between the Kerala administration and the Governor .
About Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer:
- From 1936 to 1947, Sir Chetput Pattabhiraman Ramaswamy Iyer/Sir CP was the Diwan of the old Travancore princely state.
- His policies led to a massive uprising, the Punnapra-Vayalar revolt (Oct 1946) – a militant communist movement in the Princely State of Travancore.
- In 1947, Sir CP was in favour of an independent state of Travancore (on the American model) that would be open to the idea of signing a treaty with the Indian union. Communists were opposed to his move.
- The rage and discontent culminated in an assassination attempt on Sir CP, and he soon agreed to Travancore state’s entry to the Indian Union.
New regulations for awarding PhD
Source: The Hindu
Context: The University Grants Commission (UGC) notified the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022.
Changes in the legislation governing the award of PhDs:
- Abolishing MPhils
- Relaxing coursework for obtaining PhDs
- Allowing candidates to register for a PhD after finishing four years of a graduation programme
However, experts fear that the said steps may lead to dilution of standards in PhDs and thus low-quality research in the country.
Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)
Source: The Hindu
Context: The Tribal Affairs Ministry intends to go ahead with its plan to build a new EMRS, despite concerns raised by a Parliamentary panel.
- EMRS will be constructed on 15 acres of land in all sub-districts with Scheduled Tribe (ST) populations of more than 20,000 people, accounting for at least 50% of the total
- Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment suggested that this criterion be reviewed
- This is due to severe challenges in acquiring properties in several districts, particularly in forested or hilly places.
- This criterion would also deny scattered ST populations access to Eklavya schools.
- The Tribal Affairs Ministry started the EMRS in the year 1997-98 to impart quality education to ST children in remote areas.
- The schools focus not only on academic education but on the all-round development of the students from Class VI to XII .
- Previously, funds were given to state governments for school construction and recurring expenses under Article 275 (1) of the
- To provide EMRS with even greater momentum, it has been agreed that by 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people will have an EMRS.
Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution
Source: Indian Express
Context: Jharkhand government has passed a bill increasing the reservation in vacant government posts and services to 77%, thus violating the 50% mandate of the Supreme Court (Indra Sawhney Case). The government has further called for putting the bill in the 9th Schedule to avoid Judicial Review.
- A Tamil Nadu law that provides 69 per cent reservation in the state is part of the Schedule.
What is the Ninth Schedule?
The Ninth Schedule (inserted by the 1st Constitutional Amendment) contains a list of central and state laws which cannot be challenged in courts. Currently, 284 such laws are shielded from judicial review.
1st CAA also created Article 31A (extends protection to ‘classes’ of laws) and Article 31B (it shields specific laws or enactments)
- Article 31B can be applied retrospectively: If laws are inserted in the Ninth Schedule after they are declared unconstitutional, they are considered to have been in the Schedule since their commencement, and thus valid.
Although Article 31B excludes judicial review, laws under the Ninth Schedule are open to scrutiny if they are violative of the basic structure of the Constitution (I R Coelho case (2007)). So any law that was added to the Ninth Schedule after April 24, 1973, can be contested.
Source: Live Mint
Context: US will pursue the ‘friendshoring’ approach of deepening economic integration with trusted trading partners like India to diversify away from countries that present geopolitical and security risks to supply chains.
Friendshoring means deploying economic policies that will encourage the companies to spread business and manufacturing within the group (sharing similar values). Friendshoring is part of a “deglobalisation” process, which could see further supply shocks and higher prices in the short term and lower growth in the long run.
Many of the western companies that embraced offshoring – cutting costs by shifting manufacturing to countries with cheaper labour – have been encouraged by tariffs and pandemic supply chain disruption to bring production back to their home country, in a trend known as onshoring or reshoring.
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at UNHRC
Source: The Print
Context: At the UPR of UNHRC, many countries have raised concerns over the FCRA 2010 and its use against NGOs, members of civil society, and journalists.
Government’s response: Action was taken against only those individuals/organizations who were involved in illegal practices.
The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). UNHRC was reconstituted from its predecessor organisation, the UN Commission on Human Rights to help overcome the “credibility deficit” of the previous organisation.
- Headquarteredin Geneva, Switzerland.
FCRA 2010 regulates financial acceptance and the utilization of foreign contributions. Recently it was amended to ensure NGOs regularly report their foreign contributions.
Increase in Per Capita Income
Source: Business Today
Context: On the order of SC to re-determine the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 beneficiaries, the central government has said that the per capita income of the population has increased in real terms by over 33% in eight years since the enactment of NFSA.
For NFSA, the union government provides beneficiary identification norms and States identify based on it. However, there have been concerns regarding omission and commission in the beneficiaries list.
NFRA introduces audit quality inspections
Context: The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) has published its audit quality inspection guidelines as a step towards further improving the quality of the audit profession.
- The inspection guidelines are on the lines of the best practices followed by International Audit Regulators
NFRA was created in 2018 under the Companies Act 2013 and recommends accounting and auditing policies to be adopted by companies. It also monitors the compliance and quality of auditing standards.
Source: Economic Times
Context: Nine new countries have joined the Global Offshore Wind Alliance (GOWA), pledging to a rapid ramp-up of offshore wind in order to tackle the climate and energy security crises.
The alliance, initiated by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Denmark and the Global Wind Energy Council, will bring together governments, the private sector, international organisations and other stakeholders to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind power.
Offshore wind energy is the generation of electricity through wind farms in bodies of water, usually at sea. There are higher wind speeds offshore than on land, so offshore farms generate more electricity per amount of capacity installed.
Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)
Context: The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) was launched at the COP27 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
- Methane (CH4) accounts for a small portion of human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to carbon dioxide (CO2), but it is 80 times more potent GHG than CO2.
- According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world must cut methane emissions by at least 30 % by 2030 – the goal of the Global Methane Pledge – to keep the 1.5°C temperature limit within reach.
- MARS is a part of global efforts to slow climate change by tackling global warming gas.
- The data-to-action platform was set up as part of the UNEP International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy to get policy-relevant data into the right hands for emissions mitigation.
- The system will be the first publicly available global system to connect methane detection to notification processes transparently.
- It will use state-of-the-art satellite data to identify significant emission events, notify relevant stakeholders, and support and track mitigation progress.
Previously, The Global Methane Pledge was launched at COP (Conference of Parties) to catalyse action to reduce methane emissions. It was led by the United States and the European Union. However, India is not part of it.
IUU Fishing in Indian Ocean Region
Source: The Hindu
Context: According to the Indian Navy, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to rise beyond India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
- IUU fishing depletes fish stocks, destroys marine habitats, puts fishermen at disadvantage and impacts coastal communities, especially in developing countries.
- As per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), coastal nations are responsible for addressing IUU fishing issues within their respective EEZ.
- There are two main regulations globally on IUU fishing: the Cape Town Agreement and the Agreement on Ports State Measures. So far, India is not a signatory of either agreement.
In July 2022, Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (AFS) was concluded at WTO ministerial meeting and it prohibited subsidies from being provided for IUU fishing and overfished stocks.
The agreement also prohibits providing subsidies for fishing on high seas, which are outside the jurisdiction of coastal countries.
India’s first multimodal logistics park
Context: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has been awarded the project to build India’s first multimodal logistics park (MMLP) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
MMLP is officially defined as a freight-handling facility with a minimum area of 100 acres, with various modes of transport access, mechanized warehouses, specialized storage solutions such as cold storage, facilities for mechanized material handling and inter-modal transfer container terminals (roads, railways, and inland waterways)
- MMLP at Chennai which is strategically located 52 Km from Chennai Port, 80 Km from Ennore Port, and 87 Km from Katupalli Airport will be a focal point of logistics in the southern region.
Under the National Logistics Policy (NLP) and PM-GatiShakti, it wants to bring down logistics costs to under 10 per cent of the GDP (from the current 14%) in a bid to make exports competitive and supply chains more efficient.
Ayush for Global Health
Context: Ministry of Ayush will showcase its initiatives and various achievements at the 41st India International Trade Fair (IITF) around the theme “Ayush for Global Health’.
Initiatives for Ayush
- “Create Your Own” Ayush items like soap, gel, cream, goli, etc.
- Identification and matching of spices
- “Daadi se Pucho” where you will be briefed about know kitchen solutions can be used for some of your health problems.
- Software based Prakriti Parikshan and Mizaj Parikshan
Ministry of Ayush (formed in 2014) has been promoting entrepreneurship in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy sector through India’s agile startup ecosystem.
Initiatives by the Ministry: National AYUSH Mission, Scheme for Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professional/ Medicinal Plant Produce, AYUSH Gram.
Context: India shares one of the highest zoonotic disease burdens along with Ethiopia Nigeria and Tanzania ( as per the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
Pigs and poultry have become mixing vessels for viruses from humans, livestock and wildlife and farmed animals simply act as bridging hosts, carrying the infection from wildlife to humans.
A UN report released just months after COVID-19 exploded into the world shows that in the last 170 years, nine epidemics among livestock have spilled over to people; six of them have emerged since the 1990s.
In India, out of the 13 livestock diseases being monitored, four are zoonotic. India has recently been ravaged by lumpy skin disease ( not zoonotic).
Zoonotic diseases are those which pass from an animal or insect o a human e.g Anthrax, Rabies etc.
Source: Indian Express
Context: NASA completed the technology demonstration of its Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) mission.
The cone-shaped structure will have an inflatable structure that is capable of holding its shape against drag forces. It will also have a protective flexible thermal protection system that will protect it from the heat generated during re-entry.
- When a spacecraft or anything else enters a planet’s atmosphere, drag acts upon the body and slows it down, converting kinetic energy into heat.
- Bring massive objects back from Earth’s orbit, like items from the International Space Station.
- Used for bringing back rocket assets after they are launched
- Help land humans on Mars