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 1:
1. Behind Mumbai’s unusually foul air, changes in wind patterns
GS Paper 3:
1. ILO declaration urges countries to ensure labour protection
2. Action against pharma pollution
3. Why have countries failed to meet their biodiversity goals?
Facts for Prelims:
1. Textbooks in Indian languages
2. Maulana Azad Fellowship
3. GHAR- Go Home and RE-Unite
4. Job reservation for Women in Uttarakhand
5. Districts as Export Hub (DEH) initiative
6. Circular Trading
7. Anti-Bacterial Resistance
8. PathoDetect Kit
9. India’s Space Headway
10. Three Himalayan medicinal plants enter IUCN Red List
11. Cactus Plantation
Note: There were few editorial articles which were not so important for GS but important for Optional papers
Pub Administration Optional
- IE: The I of Y K Alagh by Shreekant Sambrani
- IE: A bad idea returns by Sushi Kumar Modi
- IE: All’s in the name: Time to designate district collector as development Commissioners
Behind Mumbai’s unusually foul air, changes in wind patterns
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Geographical phenomenon and their environmental impacts
Direction: The article mainly highlights how local winds like sea breezes could influence the pollution level of a place.
Context: Over the last month, air quality in India’s financial hub, Mumbai, has been noticeably worse than in prior years, giving Mumbaikars a taste of what people in Delhi have become used to at this time of year.
Background: Since December 5, the AQI in Mumbai has consistently been in the “very poor” range (AQI > 300), according to the SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) network.
Why is this unusual?
- This is not the first time Mumbai’s air has been so toxic, but it has never lasted more than 1-2 days.
- Though Mumbai generates pollutants in equivalent amounts as compared to Delhi, it has an important location advantage.
- Mumbai’s relatively clean air is the result of strong sea breezes that sweep air pollutants away from the land.
Reasons for this unusual pattern:
- Change in flow patterns: In Mumbai, winds move from land to sea for a few days and then from sea to land and this cyclic pattern usually repeats every 3-4 days.
- When the wind is not moving away from the land, air pollutants accumulate over the city. But then the wind direction changes, and it all gets cleaned.
- This cycle is delayed this year. Instead of repeating every 3-4 days, it is happening after a week, even 10 days.
- Even when the wind direction turns favourable, the lack of adequate speed means that the air is not entirely cleaned.
- Though the meteorological reasons behind this change needed to be probed, this can be attributed to some unusual global events like the third consecutive year of La Niña.
- La Nina is an abnormal cooling of the Pacific Ocean that impacts weather events across the world.
- More construction activities: Large infrastructure projects, like the Mumbai Metro or the Coastal Road Project, could be generating significantly higher amounts of pollutants.
- This could be possible, as Mumbai is currently witnessing a rise in PM10 (particulate matter of the size of 10 micrometres or smaller) levels as well.
● It is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) launched in 2010 (for Delhi) for greater metropolitan cities to provide –
○ Location-specific information on air quality in near real-time and
○ It’s forecast 1-3 days in advance.
● It is developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, and is operationalised by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
● SAFAR framework considers almost all pollutant levels – PM10, 1, 2.5, CO, NOx, SO2, Volatile Organic Compounds, etc., to compile the Air Quality Index (AQI).
● It promotes public awareness by educating the public, encouraging self-mitigation, and assisting policymakers in developing mitigation policies.
Q. Explain local winds and how they impact the weather condition of a region? (250 words)
Consider the following statements:
- The air pressure is highest at sea level and decreases with height.
- In nature, the air always moves from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas.
- Low-pressure systems are usually characterised by dry and settled weather.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1, 2
- 1, 3
- 2, 3
- 1, 2 and 3
Air pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by the weight of air on the earth’s surface. As we go up the layers of the atmosphere, the pressure falls rapidly.
In areas where the temperature is high the air gets heated and rises. This creates a low-pressure area. Low pressure is associated with cloudy skies and wet weather.
- In areas having lower temperatures, the air is cold. It is therefore heavy.
- Heavy air sinks and creates a high-pressure area. High pressure is associated with clear and sunny skies.
- In nature, the air always moves from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas.
ILO declaration urges countries to ensure labour protection
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment
Direction: The article covers Singapore Declaration, which highlights certain reforms to ensure labour protection, and measures to be taken by governments. Do look out for the previous articles on labour published recently- New labour codes give a free hand to employers: Unions and The lingering crisis of labour post-pandemic
Context: The 17th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the ILO set 10-point priorities of national action for the members to deal with the issue of dwindling wages, inflation and unemployment.
Background: The tripartite (governments, employers and workers) declaration – the “Singapore Declaration”, adopted by the delegates agreed to address labour market challenges and find solutions to crises like the pandemic, natural disasters and economic uncertainty.
Highlights of the Singapore Declaration:
- The governments must strengthen governance frameworks and ensure –
- Labour protection through the promotion of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
- Rights of migrant workers, including improved accommodation, protection of wages and extension of social protection, etc.
- It called for closing gender gaps through measures that –
- Increase women’s labour force participation,
- Promote equal pay for equal work and responsibilities, and
- Promote women’s leadership.
- Governments and social partners should urgently take effective measures to address allegations of serious violations of these rights.
Measures suggested in the declaration: Governments must –
- Develop inclusive labour market programmes and policies.
- Implement collective and determined efforts to accelerate a smooth transition from the informal to formal economy.
- Facilitate the transition to peace, security and decent work in situations of crisis.
- Recognise the impact of climate change and develop national plans that help build environmentally sustainable economies and societies.
- Frame policies to regulate labour migration to coordinate labour mobility and social protection and harness opportunities arising from labour migration.
Way ahead in the declaration:
- Strengthening the foundation for social and employment protection, especially for workers in the informal economy.
- The capacities and skills of the employer, worker representatives and governments must be strengthened.
- Recognising that strong and representative organisations of workers and employers are key to achieving social justice and decent work.
Conclusion: Social dialogue is key to building trust and resilient labour market institutions are essential to sustained recovery and inclusive and sustainable growth.
International Labour Organization (ILO) is the only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919. It brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men
New labour codes give a free hand to employers: Unions
Q. What are the issues with current labour laws in the country? Examine the need for carrying out labour reforms to progress the performance of India’s manufacturing sector. (250 words)
Action against pharma pollution
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Issues related to health
Direction: The article discusses pharma/drug pollution, its causes, effect and the way ahead to reduce it.
Context: According to a paper published in the journal The Lancet, pharmaceutical pollution is an overlooked but urgent issue that needs coordinated action from across the pharmaceutical, healthcare and environmental sectors.
About drug or pharmaceutical pollution:
- It is mainly a form of water pollution, caused by pharmaceutical drugs and their molecules which reach the aquatic environment (groundwater, rivers, lakes, and oceans) through wastewater.
- It is now detected in waters throughout the world and its causes include –
- Effluents from pharmaceutical manufacturing,
- Ageing infrastructure (such as water treatment plants which cannot filter our too small molecules),
- Sewage overflows (drugs in urine and excreta) and
- Agricultural runoff (antibiotic use in livestock).
- On human health: For example, Endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) (e.g. endosulfan) directly influence sex hormones.
- On aquatic life: A suspected contributor in fish kills, amphibian die-offs, etc.
Key highlights of The Lancet study:
- Almost 43% of the world’s rivers are contaminated with active pharmaceutical ingredients in concentrations that can have disastrous ramifications on health.
- Medicines are a vital part of the human healthcare system, so there is a need to find ways to use them without poisoning the environment.
- Returning unused drugs to pharmacies rather than disposing of them down the sink or toilet.
- The domestic pharmaceutical industry needs to take the lead in limiting antibiotic pollution.
- Upgrading existing water treatment plants to use advanced oxidation processes that can remove small molecules.
Conclusion: Societal-wide action on reducing pharmaceutical pollution from human healthcare is the need of the hour.
Q. How does the pharma industry pollute the environment and what are the effects of this pollution? Examine. (200 Words)
Why have countries failed to meet their biodiversity goals?
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Source: Indian Express
Context: Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are meeting in Montreal, Canada for a new global agreement on halting environmental loss.
Many of the 24 conservation targets under discussion at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) aim to avoid past mistakes and improve on the world’s last set of conservation goals — the Aichi Biodiversity Targets that expired in 2020.
What were the Aichi Targets?
The Aichi Targets, adopted during the 2010 CBD summit in Nagoya, included goals such as reducing deforestation by at least half during the coming decade and curbing pollution so that it no longer harmed ecosystems.
To what extent were the Aichi Targets met?
Aichi was deemed a failure by the United Nations and the CBD secretariat called on parties to come up with another guiding document to direct conservation efforts through 2030 and beyond.
Why did the Aichi Targets fail?
- Policy lacuna:
- Siloed approach of conservation: Integrating protected areas across landscapes and seascapes and in development sectors has been lacking.
- 15% of parties to the Aichi targets have still not created a national biodiversity strategy and action plan
- Implementation lacuna:
- Lack of financing for conservation
- Poor data collection
- Lack of standard uniform accounting tool for biodiversity services estimation: UN’s SEEA (System of environmental-economic accounting) has not been uniformly adopted by countries.
- Low awareness regarding government programs: especially among tribal communities due to issues such as language and accessibility barriers.
- Poor capacity building esp. at the local level: In India, Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (under Biological Diversity Act, 2002) are often ill-equipped to make informed decisions regarding biodiversity-related issues.
- Other reasons:
- Land degradation: Only 25% of land on earth is currently, free of the impacts of human activities and even this is projected to decline to less than 10% by 2050.
- Inability to control Plastic pollution
- Inability to form a common consensus on reducing climate change
- Resource overuse and deforestation: It is estimated that around 50% of the world’s mature forests have been cleared by humans.
India amended its National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) to cover all 20 Aichi targets into 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs). As per India’s 6th National Report, India is on track to achieve 9 out of its 12 NBTs.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Q. How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 helpful in the conservation of flora and fauna? (UPSC – 2018)
Consider the following international agreements (UPSC – 2014)
- The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
- The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
- The World Heritage Convention
Which of the above has/have a bearing on biodiversity?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Solution: D – 1, 2 and 3.
All of them have a bearing on the biodiversity
Facts for Prelims
Textbooks in Indian languages
Source: The Hindu
Context: UGC forms a panel to work on textbooks in Indian languages for undergraduate and post-graduate courses in regional languages
UGC held meetings with international publishers to publish books in regional languages and help narrow the language divide in the higher education
Initiatives to promote regional languages: NEP2020 (promoting mother tongue), AICTE books on engineering in regional languages, Madhya Pradesh: MBBS books in Hindi, Bar Council: Translating legal books in regional languages, The National Translation Mission (NTM) is being implemented through the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL).
A language is considered regional when it is mostly spoken by people who reside largely in one particular area of a state or country.
Article related to regional languages:
Article 343(1) (the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagiri Script); Article 345 (the legislature of a State may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the State); Article 347 (President has the power to recognize a language as an official language of a given state); Article 350A (instruction in mother-tongue at the primary stage); Article 350B( Special Officer for linguistic minorities); Article 351 (power to the union government for the development of the Hindi language)
Maulana Azad Fellowship
Source: Indian Express
Context: The Ministry of Minority Affairs has stopped the Maulana Azad Fellowship — dedicated to pursuing higher education — to minority students, from 2022-23.
About the Fellowship:
A 5-year fellowship provided by the Centre, in the form of financial assistance to six notified minority communities – Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsi and Sikhs to pursue M Phils and PhDs
- Overlaps with other fellowship schemes for higher education.
- Minority students are already covered under such schemes.
GHAR- Go Home and RE-Unite
Context: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has developed and launched a portal namely GHAR – GO Home and Re-Unite (Portal for Restoration and Repatriation of Child).
The GHAR portal has been developed to digitally monitor and track the restoration and repatriation of children according to the protocol.
NCPCR is a statutory body (set up in 2007) under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India
Insta Links: Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act 2015, NCPCR
Job reservation for Women in Uttarakhand
Source: Indian Express
Context: Uttarakhand has passed a bill giving 30% horizontal reservation for women in public services and posts, in addition to existing quotas applicable in the state.
What are ‘Horizontal Reservation’ and ‘Vertical Reservation’?
- Vertical reservation – applies separately for each of the groups specified under the law. Ex- SC, ST, OBC
- Horizontal reservation – applies separately to each vertical category, and not across the board. Ex- women, veterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, cutting through the vertical categories.
Why did the bill end up in court?
- In 2006 Uttarakhand issued a government order to provide 30% horizontal reservation to women domiciled in the state, irrespective of their caste, creed, place of birth, place of origin, and social status.
- It waschallenged by women from outside the state belonging to the unreserved category who had appeared for the state civil examination.
- The Uttarakhand HC stayed the order and said the quota should be interpreted as a horizontal reservation for women irrespective of their domicile or place of residence.
State government’s argument to justify ‘Quota based on domicile’ at the Supreme Court: The state’s terrain and climate forced its youth to migrate elsewhere in search of livelihood, leaving the responsibility to run the household and raise children to women. So state made the initiative to include such women under the quota system. SC accepted this argument and lifted the stay by HC.
Districts as Export Hub (DEH) initiative
Context: ODOP (One District One Product) initiative is operationally merged with the ‘Districts as Export Hub (DEH)’ initiative of the DGFT, Department of Commerce, with DPIIT as a major stakeholder.
ODOP focuses on identifying products in the districts that have manufacturing and export potential. It comes under the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
Under DEH, a list of products and services with export potential is regularly updated for all districts of the country. It comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- District Export Promotion Committees (DEPCs) are to be constituted in each District, headed by a Collector.
- The primary function of the DEPC is to prepare and act on District Specific Export Action Plans in collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders from the Centre, State and District.
RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products) Scheme has been now extended to chemical, Pharma, Iron and Steel. RoDTEP replaces the previous MEIS scheme which violated the provision of WTO. In RoDTEP (under the ministry of Commerce and Industry), exporters get the refund of the embedded duties/taxes that are not rebated under other schemes.
Source: Financial Express
Context: The issue of circular trading could be taken up by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in its upcoming meeting.
There are different forms of Circular trading:
Form 1: Circular trading refers to fraudulently availing input tax credit by traders by issuing invoices without availing any real goods or services.
Form 2: Circular trading is a fraudulent scheme where sales orders are entered by a broker who knows that offsetting buy orders for the exact same number of shares at the same time and, at the same price, have either been or will be entered. This artificially shows boosts up sales.
Form 3: Please see attached image
Source: Down To Earth
Context: Over 50% of life-threatening bacterial infections are becoming resistant to treatment: the Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) report of WHO.
Concerns as per the recent report:
- 8% of infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniawere resistant to carbapenems (the last resort antibiotic).
- Over 60% of Neisseria gonorrhoea, a common sexually transmitted disease, show resistance to ciprofloxacin.
- 20% of coli isolates, common in urinary tract infections were resistant to ampicillin and co-trimoxazole.
- Bloodstream infections due to resistant coli, Salmonella and gonorrhoea infections, have jumped by at least 15 per cent compared to 2017 rates.
Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS):
- Provides a standardized approach to the collection, analysis, interpretation and sharing of data by countries and seeks to actively support capacity building and monitor the status of existing and new national surveillance systems.
Insta Links: Antimicrobial Resistance: here’s what can be done
Context: It is India’s 1st indigenous TB detection kit produced by Pune-based Mylab
Using a single test, it can detect tuberculosis and multi-drug resistance (against Isoniazid and Rifampicin). The test kit is low-cost and can be stored at room temperature.
India’s Space Headway
Source: The Hindu
Context: ISRO successfully conducted the Hot test of Scramjet and the ‘Blowdown test’ of a new Trisonic Wind Tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram).
Three Himalayan medicinal plants enter IUCN Red List
Source: The Hindu
Context: Three medicinal plant species found in the Himalayas have made it to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- However, a recent assessment shows that deforestation, habitat loss, forest fires, illegal trade and climate change pose a serious threat to the species.
Source – PIB
Context: The government is promoting Cactus plantation and its economic usage.
About Cactus –
- It is a xerophytic plant which grows at a slower pace.
- It is adapted to grow in an arid and semi-arid climate
Economic advantages of promoting Cactus Cultivation –
- Plantations of cacti will help in the restoration of degraded land
- Cactus can be used as– biofuel, food, fodder and in bio fertiliser production
- Contributing to employment and income generation for poor farmers.
- Help in achieving Nationally Determined Contributions and Sustainable Development Goals
Other Facts –
- 30% of India’s land is categorised as ‘Degraded Land’.
- The Watershed Development component of PM Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (WDC-PMKSY) aims to restore degraded land under the Department of Land Resources.
Q. The government of India encourages the cultivation of ‘sea buckthorn’. What is the importance of this plant? [ UPSC 2012]
- It helps in controlling soil erosion and in preventing desertification.
- It is a rich source of biodiesel.
- It has nutritional value and is well-adapted to live in cold areas of high altitudes.
- Its timber is of great commercial value.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Seabuckthorn is a medicinal plant which has health-promoting properties. It can play a crucial role in preventing soil erosion and help nitrogen fix options in cold and desert areas.
Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE
Please subscribe to Our podcast channel HERE
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE
Follow our Twitter Account HERE
Follow our Instagram ID HERE .