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. SC calls out centre over short tenures of CEC
GS Paper 3:
1. Think local climate action, think Meenangadi
Content for Mains Enrichment:
1. ‘REDS’ strategy for suicide prevention
2. Data Point: India’s loan to Neighbours
3. Godrej company takes in LGBTQ+ interns
4. Cinema’s Influence
Facts for Prelims:
1. Tipu Sultan
2. Project Unnati
3. Toilets 2.0 campaign
4. National Centre of Excellence for Green Port and Shipping (NCoEGPS)
5. Global Partnership on AI (GPAI)
6. Ronnagrams and Quettametres
7. Ethnoveterinary Medicine (EVM)
8. The Plastic Life-Cycle report
9. Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage site
10. Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon
11. European Eels and Sea Cucumbers
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Direction: The article highlights the SC’s views on the deficiencies in India’s Election Commissioners appointment procedure, as well as solutions to address these shortcomings.
Context: According to the Supreme Court, the government does not give much importance to Election Commissioners’ independence, as evidenced by the reduction in tenures of Chief Election Commissioners (CECs) from over 8 years (in the 1950s) to just a few 100 days (after 2004).
- Presently, Election Commissioners are appointed by the President of India, on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers
- The Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991, prescribes that the term of a CEC and Election Commissioner is 6 years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, dealing with the appointment of Election Commissioners, called for the enactment of legislation to oversee such appointments, but the government had yet to do so.
- The SC was hearing petitions seeking reforms in the system of appointing Election Commissioners.
What has the SC said about the Election Commissioners?
- The Constitution of India has vested vast powers on the shoulders of the CEC and the 2 Election Commissioners.
- Apart from competence, the character is crucial, so that those appointed as Election Commissioners will not allow themselves to be bulldozed.
- In the absence of a law to oversee such appointments, the silence of the Indian Constitution is being exploited by all.
- The government assures that the person nominated does not serve the full six years by picking someone close to 65, thus undermining independence.
The government’s reply:
- There is no vacuum in the Constitution on the issue.
- If the Constitution takes a position despite multiple ideas put forward by the original Constituent Assembly, that position cannot be contested.
- The separation of powers cannot be challenged, as it is the basic feature of the Constitution.
- This matter is for Parliament to debate and not the court.
Suggestions given by the SC: An appointment committee including the Chief Justice of India to appoint the Election Commissioners to ensure neutrality.
Conclusion: A CEC of the calibre of TN Sheshan is required to ensure free and fair elections and to strengthen democracy in India. Though such personalities appear occasionally, appointments without any bias can provide close to one.
Q. Critically analyse the role and powers of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in conducting free and fair elections. (250 words)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment Conservation, Governance, Local Bodies
Source: The Hindu
Direction: The editorial article highlights the role of local bodies in climate actions. The following examples can be used in Governance or Environment conservation Qn as examples/Case study
Context: If India has to achieve the set of goals enunciated in the ‘Panchamrit’ resolution of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow 2021, panchayati raj institutions must play a pivotal role in tackling many of the causes and effects of climate change
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
‘REDS’ strategy for suicide prevention
Context: This is in continuation of Yesterday’s article on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy
R= Reinforce leadership
E= Enhance capacity of health services/institutions
D= Develop community/societal support
S= Strengthen Surveillance
Data Point: India’s loan to Neighbours
India’s Soft loans (at zero or minimum interest rates) to neighbours have increased from $3 billion to almost $15 billion in the last 8 years. The largest concessional credit given by India to a country has been to Bangladesh
India’s Lines of Credit (LOC) to its neighbours have increased fourfold since 2014.
A line of credit is a flexible loan from a financial institution that consists of a defined amount of money that you can access as needed and repay either immediately or over time. Interest is charged on a line of credit as soon as money is borrowed.
Godrej company takes in LGBTQ+ interns
Direction: Can be used as an example for ethics/essay/social justice Qn. Also, check the steps taken by other organizations for the LGBTQ community
Godrej Properties has started an internship programme for the LGBTQIA+ community in order to promote inclusion, diversity & equity (IDE).
The internship module includes a nine-month learning in the same role, structured performance feedback every three months, a mentor and buddy assigned to all interns and a permanent role with the company upon successful completion of the internship.
Source: Indian Express
Direction: This article was published a few days back, but it had several good examples of how Cinemas can be very impactful in enhancing the soft power of a country.
Joseph Nye, the noted political scientist, introduced the concept of “soft power” in his book Bound to Lead: the Changing Nature of American Power. The idea is not to force someone to do something you want him to do, but to make him want what you want him to do.
Impact of Cinema:
- Source of information about other cultures. g: Marvel Movie – Wakanda Forever (2022) showed the Yukatan culture, the songs and dress used in the movie are highly influenced by African customs and traditions.
- Influenced how foreigners are treated in a host country. g: Namesake (2006) – by Jhumpa Lahari showed how immigrants are treated.
- Preserving one’s traditional culture and showing it to the outside world. g Kannada Movie Kantara (2022).
Examples from the globe:
- Hollywood movie Top Gun: Maverick is the highest-grossing film this year so far. Its prequel, Top Gun was released in 1986, and even though it was a major success too, there is another reason it became famous. It helped elevate the reputation of the American armed forces and increased recruitment to the US Navy by five times.
- Korean leaders in the 1990s decided to use their music to build cultural influence after the Asian financial crisis and poured millions of dollars into creating a Ministry of Culture. The result is today’s K-Pop.
Facts for Prelims
Context: Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary was recently observed, bringing his controversial legacy to the forefront of political conversation once more.
- Tipu Sultan was born Sultan Fateh Ali Sahab Tipu in 1750 in Devanahalli, present-day Bangalore.
- He was born to Hyder Ali, who rose through the ranks of the army of the Wodeyars, the then-Hindu rulers of Mysore.
- Hyder Ali seized power in 1761 with Tipu succeeding his father in 1782.
Reforms Tipu Sultan introduced:
- Tipu’s fascination with European culture was evident in many of the innovations.
- Tipu wanted Mysore to be a modern rival of the European powers and made investments in technology accordingly.
- For example, Tipu is credited for the introduction of iron-cased rockets in warfare.
- Tipu Sultan also pioneered administrative and economic reforms. He introduced new coins, started a new land revenue system in Mysore, as well as introduced sericulture, which continues to employ many Kannadigas to date.
- In 1796, he set up a Board of Admiralty and planned for a fleet of battleships and large frigates.
- Tipu was a great lover of democracy and a great diplomatwho gave his support to the French soldiers at Seringapatam in setting up a Jacobin Club in 1797
- He planted the Tree of Liberty at Seringapatam
Tipu Sultan died defending his fortress of Srirangapatna against British forces in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799. His final act of valour and defiance has been glorified by many who see him as a nationalist, anti-colonial icon.
Context: Faced with a lukewarm response to Project Unnati, the Union Rural Development Ministry wants to link the performances of the States under the project to its budget for the coming fiscal year.
- Since its inception in 2020, just a little over 25,000 persons have been trained under the project, falling far short of its target of 2 lakh.
- The project was slated to end in March 2022 but has now been extended by two years
Toilets 2.0 campaign
Direction: The campaign can be used as an example in the Governance as well as for the ethics syllabus (Persuasion, Attitude change)
Context: Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched the Toilets 2.0 campaign in Bengaluru on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2022, with the aim to change the face of public and community toilets in urban India through collective action involving citizens and Urban Local Bodies.
The campaign has five thematic areas —
- ‘People for Toilets’ will focus on cleaning and maintaining community and public toilets,
- ‘Partners for Toilets’ aimed at the adoption of public toilets,
- ‘Design Toilets’– to design convenient and low-cost toilets
- ‘Rate your Toilet’ for the promotion of user feedback to improve public toilets
- ‘My thoughts – Our Toilets’ will seek to gather public opinion for toilets
National Centre of Excellence for Green Port and Shipping (NCoEGPS)
Source: Economic Times
Direction: Go through it once
Context: Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways launched NCoEGPS (India’s 1st) to develop a regulatory framework and alternate technology adoption roadmap for Green Shipping. NCoEGPS will act as a technological arm of MoPSW.
“Green ship” is a name given to any seagoing vessel that would leave the least amount of carbon emissions. Green ship technology adopts procedures to decrease emissions, consume less energy, and be more efficient.
International Maritime Organization (IMO, a UN agency) aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry by 50% by 2050 (from the 2008 level).
India’s other initiatives:
- Maritime Vision Document 2030 for the sustainable maritime sector, increasing the share of renewable energy at major ports to nearly 60% by 2030
- Draft “green port policy”
- Sagarmala Programme
Global Partnership on AI (GPAI)
Source: Live Mint
Direction: Since India is to chair it. It becomes important for UPSC.
Context: India assumed the Chair of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) from France
GPAI is an international initiative (launched in 2020) for the responsible development of AI consistent with values such as – Human Rights, Fundamental freedom and Shared democratic values.
India is a founding member of this 25-member group, whose membership is open to all. Its secretariat is hosted by OECD
India’s Programmes for AI:
- National programme on AI
- National data governance framework policy (NDGFP)- to ensure equitable access to non-personal data
- Envisaged Indian Data Management Office IDMO for data collection and management
Ronnagrams and Quettametres
Direction: It becomes important since it marks the first time in more than three decades that new prefixes have been added to the International System of Units (SI).
Context: International scientists gathered in France voted on Friday for new metric prefixes to express the world’s largest and smallest measurements, prompted by an ever-growing amount of data.
- Prefixes for Largest numbers: Ronna (10 to the power 27 zeros) and Quetta (10 to the power 30 zeros)
- Prefixes for smallest numbers: Ronto (10 to the negative 27th power) and Quecto (10 to the negative 30th power)
The International System of Units (SI) is the agreed global standard for the metric system.
Ethnoveterinary Medicine (EVM)
Direction: AMR is coming in focus time and again. Keep a watch on the issues and solutions related to AMR
Context: Delhi-based think-tank, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report focuses on a major ethnoveterinary medicine programme as an alternative to antibiotics for the dairy sector
Ethnoveterinary medicine (EVM) involves the use of traditional/herbal preparations in treating diseases of cattle.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been recognised as a ‘silent pandemic’ and is a global public health threat today. It is a One Health issue. It accelerates due to the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in human health, animal health, food-animal production, aquaculture and crop production
The Plastic Life-Cycle report
Context: According to a new report by Delhi-based think-tank, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India’s petrochemical industry is adding to the burgeoning problem of plastic pollution in the country.
Background: CSE’s report comes at a time when the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) meeting is soon convening at Punta del Este, Uruguay, to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
Highlights of the report:
- India’s total petrochemical production capacity is 29.10 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA), divided into five categories – synthetic fibres (polyester, nylon), polymers (plastics), elastomers (synthetic rubber), synthetic detergent intermediates, and performance plastics
- Plastics accounted for more than 67% of the total petrochemicals produced in India in 2020-21.
- While the UN and several governments worldwide are attempting to limit the use of petrochemicals in the production of plastics, India is going in the opposite direction.
Steps taken by the government to promote plastic production:
- ‘Cluster approach’ for developing plastic parks across the country.
- The government also revised the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) in 2020 for 2020-35.
- The PCPIR ensures raw material availability by importing crude oil, refining it, and passing on the processed building blocks for further processing.
Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage site
- To prevent the loss of biodiversity and to preserve the cultural and architectural heritage of past times, the State government declared Arittapatti a biodiversity heritage site on the recommendation of the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board.
- The declaration of the site has been made under (Section 37) of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
About the site:
- Arittapatti village is known for its ecological and historical significance, housing around 250 species of birds including three important raptors – the Laggar Falcon, the Shaheen Falcon and Bonelli’s Eagle.
- It is also home to wildlife such as the Indian Pangolin, Slender Loris and pythons.
- Several megalithic structures, rock-cut temples, Tamil Brahmi inscriptions and Jain sculptures add to the historical significance of the region.
- The Anaikondan tank, built during the reign of Pandiyan kings in the 16th century, is also located in the region.
Direction: Just know the name. No need to remember.
Context: Some 140 years after the black-naped pheasant-pigeon was last sighted by scientists, researchers have “rediscovered” the rare bird deep in the forest of a tiny island off Papua New Guinea
Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon is a large bird which usually lives around hilly areas and lower mountain areas.
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI, 2023)
Context: India has been ranked among the top 5 countries in the world, and the best among the G20 countries, based on its Climate Change performance.
- India jumps 2 spots higher, and is now ranked 8thas per Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI, 2023). India’s rank is the best among all large economies
- The first, second and third ranks were not awarded to any country. Denmark, Sweden, Chile and Morocco as the only four small countries that were ranked above India as 4th, 5th, 6thand 7th
- As per the CCPI report, India is on track to meet its 2030 emissions targets (compatible with a well-below-2°C scenario).
CCPI aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries. Published annually since 2005, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is an independent monitoring tool for tracking the climate protection performance of 59 countries and the EU.
Published by German Watch, New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network International based in Germany
European Eels and Sea Cucumbers
Context: COP19 of CITES has asked for improved traceability and enforcement measures for trade in Species like European eels and accepted the proposal to include ‘Sea Cucumber’ under Appendix II of the convention (as ‘threatened’)
- European eels are snake-like fish found in freshwater and estuarine habitats. It is Critically endangered and under Appendix II of CITES.
- Sea cucumbers perform the same role on the seabed that earthworms perform on land.
- An analysis published by the Wildlife Conservation Society-India (WCS-India) this September showed that sea cucumbers were the most frequently trafficked marine species in India from 2015-2021.
- Sea cucumber in India is treated as an endangered species listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
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