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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. New draft digital data protection bill tabled for comments


GS Paper 3:

1. Vikram-S Rocket launch: India’s first privately developed rocket under Mission Prarambh


Content for Mains Enrichment

1. Civil Servants and Social Media


Facts for Prelims:

1. Baliyatra

2. Kashi-Tamil Sangamam

3. Battle of Rezang La

4. Recusal by a Judge

5. CAG to audit urban bodies

6. PESA Rules

7. Aadhaar Norms for prisoners simplified

8. UK India Young Professional Scheme

9. Why are India’s exports falling?

10. Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture

11. Geospatial Technology

12. Photonic crystal

13. Rhino horns trafficking

14. Environmental DNA

15. Melocanna baccifera, a tropical bamboo species

16. HELS

17. Mapping

New draft digital data protection bill tabled for comments

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Government policies and issues arising out of it


Source: TH

 Direction: The article highlights the key provisions of the new draft and where it falls short in protecting citizens’ rights.

 Context: The draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, was recently opened by the Union Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) for public comments.

 About the new draft:

  • The Bill seeks to establish a comprehensive legal framework governing digital personal data protection in India, recognizing both the –
    • Rights of citizens (Digital Nagrik), societal rights to protect their personal data – a strict user-consent regime for data processing.
    • Duties/obligations of the Data Fiduciary (consumer internet and social-media companies) to process and use collected data lawfully.


  • The revamped draft was released after the government withdrew an earlier version – the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, that sparked outrage from Big Tech and civil society.
  • The 2019 Bill was prepared by former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna, to guarantee the protection of persons’ personal data and to establish a Data Protection Authority.
  • The government has decided to come up with a fresh bill that fits into the comprehensive suggestions made by the Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP) on the 2019 Bill.
  • The JPC had submitted many recommendations (such as broad data protection in line with KS Puttaswamy judgement of 2017) to the 2019 Bill in 2021


Key provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022:


  • Data Protection Board: It will act as the adjudicating body to enforce the provisions of the Bill.
  • Data Protection Officer and independent data auditor: They will be appointed by businesses of “significant” size (based on the volume of data they process), to evaluate compliance with provisions of the law.
  • Easing cross-border data flows:
    • The new Bill relaxes data localisation rules and permits data to flow to certain global destinations, based on their data security landscape.
    • The previous Bill mandated enterprises to keep a copy of sensitive personal data within India and prohibited the transfer of critical personal data from the country, the most important concern expressed by IT firms.
  • Right to correction/eraser: Users will have the right to have their personal data in the custody of enterprises corrected and erased.
  • Duties of companies:
    • Companies will not be obligated to keep user data that no longer serves a business purpose.
    • Companies should not process personal data that could harm minors (less than 18 years of age).
  • Promoting start-up ecosystem: The government may also exclude certain enterprises from Bill’s restrictions based on the volume of users and personal data handling.
  • Exemptions: The Central government has been empowered to exempt its agencies from adhering to provisions of the Bill in the interest of –
    • Sovereignty and integrity of India,
    • Security of the state,
    • Friendly relations with foreign states,
    • Maintenance of public order or preventing incitement to any cognisable offence.
  • Penalties: Focus is more on financial penalties than a criminal conviction.
    • For companies: Between Rs 50 – 500 crore for data breaches and noncompliance.

For users: A consumer who submits false documents for an online service or makes bogus grievance complaints may face a Rs 10,000 fine.



  • Based on global best practices: The government says that it has reviewed the Personal Data Protection laws of Singapore, Australia, the European Union and the US.
  • Economic benefits: The bill draft also considers the country’s 1 trillion-dollar Digital Economy goals and the rapidly growing innovation and startup ecosystem.


  • State agencies are granted broad-vague exemptions. This may not meet the ‘necessity’ and ‘proportionality’ tests outlined in the landmark right to privacy judgement (KS Puttaswamy case) of 2017.
  • The independence of a proposed regulator – the Data Protection Board, has been reduced. Unlike the Data Protection Authority, which is envisioned as a statutory body under the 2019 Bill, the appointment of the chairperson and members of the Board is entirely up to the discretion of the central government.
  • Relaxing data localisation requirements will make it difficult to detect and investigate non-compliance and breaches.

Conclusion: Though the bill is significantly simpler this time excluding non-personal data, it will require several modifications before it is practical.


Insta Links:

Data Protection Bill

 Mains Links:

Q. Critically analyse the provisions of the Data protection bill. Mention the changes suggested by various committees on the data protection bill.

Vikram-S Rocket launch: India’s first privately developed rocket under Mission Prarambh

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology, Awareness in the fields of Space


Source: TH

 Directive: The article will help to understand Mission Prarambh, Vikram-S, Artemis 1 and their significance (we had previously covered Mission Prarambh, but this is a much more detailed analysis)

 Context: In a historic moment, Vikram-S, India’s first privately developed rocket, lifted off recently from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) launchpad in Sriharikota.


  • The mission, codenamed Prarambh (the beginning), is the Indian private sector’s first entry into the lucrative space launch market.
  • It is a mission under which Vikram-S – India’s first privately developed launch vehicle by Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace will carry 3 customer satellites (2 Indian and 1 foreign) in a sub-orbital flight.


About Vikram-S rocket:

  • It is a single-stage solid-fuel suborbital launch vehicle named after Vikram Sarabhai, the pioneer of India’s space program.
    • The spacecraft travels slower than the orbital velocity in a sub-orbital flight, which means it is fast enough to reach outer space but not fast enough to maintain an orbit around the Earth.
  • The launch vehicle’s engine, Kalam-80, is named after former President A P J Abdul Kalam.
  • The Vikram-S is a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) that will carry payloads weighing between 290 and 560 kg (PSLV, India’s workhorse, can carry up to 1,750 kg) into sun-synchronous polar orbits.


  • Technology-demonstration mission: The Vikram-S, Kalam-80 and 3D printed parts (thrusters) will be used to test and certify technology in the Vikram series space launch vehicles.
    • The company is developing three Vikram rockets that will use various solid and cryogenic fuels and have a carbon composite core structure.
  • More private sector missions on the way:
    • Agnikul Cosmos, for example, whose semi-cryogenic Agnilet engine was recently tested at ISRO’s vertical testing facility at Thumba (TERLS), Thiruvananthapuram.
    • ISRO’s SSLV is also expected to be manufactured and operated by private players in the near future.
  • Promoting startups: Around 100 start-ups have registered with the ISRO and are collaborating with it in various areas of the space program.


Related news: Artemis-1 lunar mission

Source: IE

Context: NASA recently launched the Artemis 1 mission, heading to the Moon on board Orion with the intention of carrying out tests ahead of future manned missions to the Moon and beyond.

 Background: The Apollo program/Project Apollo, was NASA’s third human spaceflight program (after Project Mercury and Project Gemini), responsible for preparing and landing the first humans on the Moon between 1968 and 1972.


About the Artemis-1 mission:

●        Artemis 1, formerly known as Exploration Mission-1, is the first planned uncrewed test flight in NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the Moon.

●        It will also be the maiden flight of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will be the most powerful rocket engine ever flown into space, even more, powerful than Apollo’s Saturn V rocket, which carried people to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Significance: Artemis-1 will test how well SLS and Orion can complete a mission to the Moon and back. Artemis-2 (2024) will be a crewed flight but not land on the moon; Artemis-3 (2026) will land on the south pole of the moon.

Other missions to Moon: Luna 2 (USSR), Apollo 11 (USA), Chandrayaan 1 and 2 (India)


Insta Links:

Space Technology


Mains Links:

Q. In order to reap the maximum benefits, it becomes pertinent to increase private participation and nudge India towards a scientific pursuit of space exploration driven by economic aims. Discuss. (250 words)

/ Nov 19 CA, Today's Article

Content for Mains Enrichment

Facts for Prelims

Civil Servants and Social Media

Source: Indian Express

Direction: This can be mentioned as an example of the increasing use of Social Media by Public Servants to influence public perception.


Context: Taking “a very serious view” of what it termed a “publicity stunt”, the Election Commission of India (EC) directed the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to immediately relieve an Uttar Pradesh-cadre IAS officer Abhishek Singh from the post of General Observer for the upcoming Assembly elections.

Though the Officer claimed that there was nothing wrong with what he did – but accepted the decision by ECI.


Arguments: For using Social Media by public Servants

  • Public interaction: Continuous connectivity between officers and citizens, which helps in quick problem-solving and hassle-free administration.
  • Accountability: Through Social Media, officers portray their life – thus there are chances of being scrutinized at every point.
  • To gather information and public help.


Arguments: Against using Social Media by public servants

  • Against Anonymity
  • Gain public support for personal purpose/fame.
  • Against Secrecy


 Source: IE

 Context: In his address to the Indian diaspora at the G20 summit, in Bali, the Indian PM mentioned the annual Baliyatra, which celebrates the ancient trade relations between India and Indonesia.

Background: This year’s Baliyatra, which concluded recently, also found a place in the Guinness World Records for achieving an impressive feat of origami, the creation of beautiful paper sculptures.

The historical significance of Baliyatra:

  • Baliyatra, literally ‘voyage to Bali’, is one of the country’s largest open-air fairs, which is organised every year on the banks of the Mahanadi in Cuttack, Odisha. It is similar to the ‘Masakapan Ke Tukad’ festival in Bali.
  • It commemorates the 2,000-year-old maritime and cultural links between ancient Kalinga (today’s Odisha) and Bali and other South and Southeast Asian regions like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

 The connection between Kalinga and Bali: Roulette ware, temples as socio-culture centres, 14th CE inscription in Bali is in Odia language, presence of Brahmana-Bouddha-Kalinga in Bali.

Battle of Rezang La

Source: Indian Express

Context: November 18, 2022, was the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Rezang La, one of the few bright spots in the War of 1962 with China. On that day, 13 Kumaon’s C Company made their heroic last stand against the Chinese army in the high Himalayas of Ladakh

Recusal by a Judge

Source: Indian Express

Direction: Have a clear understanding of the Key legal terms that often appear in newspaper e.g. recusal, contempt of court etc.

 Context: Supreme Court judge Justice S K Kaul recused himself from hearing a petition challenging the extension in tenure granted to Enforcement Directorate chief S K Mishra last year

Recusal is the “removal of oneself as a judge or policymaker in a particular matter, especially because of a conflict of interest.” Its genesis is based on the principle of fairness and reasonableness. There is no formal rule governing recusal. If a judge recuses, the case is listed before the CJI ( or Chief justice of the High court ) for allotment to a fresh Bench in the court.

  • g. Justice Markandey Katju, followed the practice of automatic recusal when he withdrew his name from the Novartis case by saying that it would not be proper for him to deal with the appeal filed by Novartis.

Background of the Case: 

The central government had amended the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, 2003, through an ordinance on November 14, 2021, giving itself the power to extend the tenure of the ED Director by up to five years

S K Mishra was appointed ED Director on November 19, 2018, for two years. On November 13, 2020, this was extended by one year. It was again extended by another year in 2021.

CAG to audit urban bodies

Source: Business Standards

Direction: Keep a note of CAG, articles related to it, its powers and conditions of services.

Context: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has decided to audit the urban local bodies (ULBs) to bring out the performance of these authorities in the context of the 74th constitutional amendment carried out in the early 1990s and respective state Acts.

 15th Finance Commission has said that State Finance Commissions (SFC) need to play a much more critical role in recommending taxes assigned to municipalities and other local governments. However, barring a few states, SFCs of most states have been rendered ineffective by state governments.

About CAG:

The Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in  Part V (Article 148 – 151). He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.

CAG is appointed by the President of India by a warrant under his hand and seal. He holds office for a period of six years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditures from the Consolidated Fund of India, the Consolidated Fund of each state and UT having a legislative assembly. He acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

He submits 3 audit reports to the President: an audit report on appropriation accounts, an audit report on finance accounts and an audit report on public undertakings.

PESA Rules

Source: PIB

Direction: PESA is important for both Prelims and Mains. Know a few of its provisions and the extent of their applications.

 Context:  Madhya Pradesh has notified its PESA Rules on the occasion of Janjatiya Gaurav Divas on 15th November 2022

 Significance of the move:

  • It will empower the Gram Sabhas to decide on the rules and regulations about all natural resources in the forest areas.
  • It will give more constitutional rights to the tribal people to reap the benefits of natural resources from the forest areas where they live.
  • Empowering the lives of tribal communities and giving the tribals their rights


To bring the people residing in Fifth Schedule Areas into the mainstream, the Parliament, in terms of Article 243M(4)(b) of the Constitution, has enacted “the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996” (PESA) to extend Part IX of the Constitution, relating to Panchayats, to the Fifth Schedule areas, with certain modifications and exceptions. States, having Fifth Schedule Areas, have been empowered to make Panchayat Laws for these areas.

With the objective of effective implementation of PESA, Ministry of Panchayati Raj circulated Draft Model PESA Rules in 2009

Aadhaar Norms for prisoners simplified

 Source: TH 

Context: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has consented to accept the Prisoner Induction Document (PID) as a valid document for Aadhaar enrolment or update as a special step to enrol prison inmates across the country.



  • The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 allows the use of the Aadhaar Number for establishing the identity of an individual.
  • Though the effort to extend Aadhaar to prisons began in 2017, the procedure did not proceed as planned since enrolment requires proper supporting documents.
  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 1,319 prisons in the country as of 2021, with a total inmate population of approximately 5.5 lakh.


  • It is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained voluntarily by the citizens of India and resident foreign nationals (spent over 182 days in 12 months), based on their biometric and demographic data.
  • The data is collected by the UIDAI, an authority established in 2009 by the Government of India, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and which became a statutory body following the enactment of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

UK India Young Professional Scheme

Source: Live Mint

 Direction: It is not a very important scheme for Prelims. Can be used as an example for showing the India-UK partnership in Mains answers

 Context: UK has given the go-ahead for 3,000 visas for young Indian professionals to live and work in the country each year.

  • India is the first visa-national country to benefit from such a scheme under the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership agreed upon last year

Under it young professionals (18 to 30 years) degree-holding Indian nationals can live and work in the UK for up to two years

Why are India’s exports falling?

 Source: IE

 Context: India exported almost 17% less in October this year ($29.78 billion) as compared to what it did in October 2021 ($35.73 billion).

Reason – Weaker global demand: Global economic growth is slowing rapidly as a result of consistently high inflation in developed countries, which has resulted in a sharp tightening of monetary policy by almost all central banks.

Going forward, the weakness in India’s exports is likely to sustain and in turn, will have a dampening effect on the growth of India’s gross domestic product (GDP). India exports nearly $400 bn worth of products but ranks poor 20th in total export by country. Its top export item is Refined petroleum.

Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA)

Source: Hindustan Times


Context: India has opposed KJWA which sought to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector.

India opposed it saying emissions from the agricultural sectors are not “luxury” emissions but “survival emissions” of the poor

 KJWA is a landmark decision under UNFCCC that works to reduce GHGs emissions from the Agriculture sector.

India is the third-largest carbon emitter in the world although our per capita carbon emissions are low

The agriculture sector is responsible for 7 per cent of global GHG emissions

Geospatial Technology

Source: NewsonAir

Direction: Although the conference is not so important, but do know the word ‘geospatial’ and its applications.

Context: A conference was recently held on geospatial technology  “Geo smart India 2022”

 Geospatial Technology is an emerging field of study that includes Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

  • Geospatial technology enables us to acquire data that is referenced to the earth and use it for analysis, modelling, simulations, and visualization

The government had previously released guidelines on Geospatial Data 2021, Drone Rules 2021 and SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India.

It is a scheme for mapping the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using drone technology and a Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS).

Photonic crystal

Source: PIB

 Direction: No need to go into very details. Just know the basics of a few key terms. A similar development in LCD technology was in the FFP section of 15th November Daily CA

 Context: A research team from the Centre for Nano and Soft Sciences (CeNS) (an autonomous institute of the Department and Science and Technology) have developed Graphene-stabilised tunable photonic crystal that can make more durable & better reflective display and lasers devices

A photonic crystal is an optical nanostructure in which the refractive index changes periodically (e.g. opal, butterfly wings, peacock feathers). Photonic crystals are attractive optical materials for controlling and manipulating light flow.

Applications: One-dimensional photonic crystals are already in widespread use, in the form of thin-film optics, with applications from low and high-reflection coatings on lenses and mirrors to colour-changing paints and inks

Basic information:

Light is made of particles called photons, bundles of the electromagnetic field that carry a specific amount of energy.

Graphene is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice nanostructure. It is used for its high strength, low weight and high conducting capability

Reflective Index: In optics, the refractive index of an optical medium is a dimensionless number that gives an indication of the light-bending ability of that medium.

Rhino horns trafficking

SourceThe Hindu

Context:  As per the findings presented in the ongoing COP19 of CITES, smugglers are trafficking rhino horn with impunity.

rhino horns are most frequently smuggled on commercial airlines. However, the modus operandi is shifting from small shipments in passenger luggage to larger shipments by air cargo.

One-horned Rhinos

  • Also known as the Indian rhino, it is the largest of the rhino species.
  • It is identified by a single black horn and a grey-brown hide with skin folds.
  • Food: They primarily graze, with a diet consisting almost entirely of grasses as well as leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruit, and aquatic plants.
  • Almost 75% of the world’s entire population can be found in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • Kaziranga National Parkhosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses and is a World Heritage Site

 Protection status

  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I

Other species of Rhinos (see diagram)

Environmental DNA

Source: DTE

Context: Invasive alien species are a severe threat to biodiversity, causing local extinction of native species and affecting ecosystem services, human livelihood, economy, and health, one such species is invasive catfish, their presence in the waterbodies will be detected using an Environmental DNA-based assay.

 About eDNA:

eDNA is defined as “genetic material obtained directly from environmental samples (soil, sediment, water, etc.) without any obvious signs of the biological source material.”

Melocanna baccifera, a tropical bamboo species

Source: TH

 Context: A study has shed interesting light on flowering in Melocanna baccifera, a tropical bamboo species.


  • The species has long fascinated researchers for its association with the occurrence of ‘bamboo death,’ ‘rat floods’ and famines in northeast India.
  • Researchers detected a correlation between the sugar content in the fruit of Melocanna baccifera and the rat population explosion due to excessive feeding.

Melocanna baccifera:

  • Called ‘Muli’ in northeast India, Melocanna baccifera is the largest fruit-producing bamboo and is native to the northeast India-Myanmar region.
  • During its gregarious flowering, the bamboo produces large fruits which draw animal visitors/predators.

India contributes only 2% of the world’s bamboo supply. The Central government by amending the Forest Act of 1927, freed private growers to undertake the cultivation of bamboo without any restrictions and launched National Bamboo Mission.


Direction: No need to go into details. Just know what is LASER and based on it HELS.

Context:  DRDO and a private company have partnered to develop High Energy Laser System (HELS) weapons to render a target ineffective without using a conventional munition.

HELS is a laser weapon of the Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) category that could hit targets across the air, ground, sea and space.

  • Lasers are a device that generates an intense beam of coherent monochromatic light (or other electromagnetic radiation) by stimulated emission of photons from excited atoms or molecules.

 Projects using DEW technology are: Directionally Unrestricted Ray-Gun Array (DURGA II), Kilo Ampere Linear Injector (KALI), Project Aditya and air defence dazzlers


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