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. The poor state of elementary education in Jharkhand
GS Paper 3:
1. COP15 Montreal: 3 days of ministerial talks on Post-2020 GBF end with limited success
2. What are carbon markets and how do they operate?
GS Paper 4:
1. Ambedkar’s idea of a moral democracy
Facts for Prelims
1. Underutilisation of Fund
2. “World-first” operation using stem cells
3. Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System
5. Oran land
6. Google is building an AI model to support over 100 Indian languages
7. INS Mormugao
The poor state of elementary education in Jharkhand
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education
Source: Economic Times, Indian Express
Context: Following the pandemic, attendance of students in Jharkhand schools dropped to 58 per cent at the upper primary level and 68 per cent at the primary level, according to a survey ‘Gloom in the Classroom: The Schooling Crisis in Jharkhand’ conducted by Gyan Vigyan Samiti Jharkhand.
The report, prepared by economist Jean Dreze and researcher Paran Amitava slammed “decades of state apathy” towards education in the state and said it was “both a mistake and an injustice”.
Key findings of the report:
- The survey showed that underprivileged and tribal children were left abandoned by the Education Department.
- Out of the 138 schools surveyed for the report, 20 per cent had a single teacher.
- At 55 per cent, para-teachers (teachers who are not qualified to teach) accounted for the majority of teachers at the primary level in these schools. At the upper-primary level, the figure was 37 per cent.
- Not one of the schools surveyed had a functional toilet, electricity, or water supply.
- Around 66 per cent of the primary schools had no boundary wall, 64 per cent did not have a playground and 37 per cent had no library books.
- The majority of the teachers said that the school did not have adequate funds for the midday meals
Issues prevailing in the Education sector:
- Inadequate government Funding: The country spent 3% of its total GDP on education in 2018-19 according to the Economic Survey.
- Pandemic impact
- Digital Divide
- Quality of Education: Only 16% of children in Class 1 can read the text at the prescribed level, while almost 40% cannot even recognize letters.
- Lack of infrastructure
- Inadequate teachers and their training
- Huge dropout numbers
- Experiential Learning Approach
- Implementation of National Education Policy
- Education-Employment Corridor
- Reducing the Language Barrier
Some Government Initiatives Related to Educational Reforms:
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
- Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
- PM SHRI Schools
Initiatives to boost Education Sector
Mains Link: UPSC 2016
Q. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance?
Prelims Link: UPSC 2012
Which of the following provisions of the Constitution of India have a bearing on Education?
- Directive Principles of State Policy
- Rural and Urban Local Bodies
- Fifth Schedule
- Sixth Schedule
- Seventh Schedule
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3, 4 and 5 only
(c) 1, 2 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Solution: C – 1, 2, and 5 only
COP15 Montreal: 3 days of ministerial talks on Post-2020 GBF end with limited success
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment and Conservation
Direction: The article discusses key areas agreed upon at COP 15, concerns and India’s stance on the GBF.
Context: Will biodiversity see a ‘Paris moment,’ remains a question, as the COP15 to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada, ended with limited success.
- At COP 15, the members were supposed to provide political direction and momentum to the final stages of the negotiations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
- Once agreed unanimously by all 195 countries under the CBD, the GBF will be signed as a worldwide accord to implement concrete measures under 23 set targets by 2030.
- Targets that are not recognized by one or more nations will be excluded from the Framework.
- GBF is a new draft of the UN CBD to lead actions worldwide through 2030, to avoid biodiversity loss and preserve the environment.
- Its suggested goals include lowering pesticide use by at least two-thirds and eliminating the most harmful subsidies, such as those for fisheries and agriculture.
- The GBF’s 30×30 objective is to safeguard at least 30% of the earth, particularly places of importance – land and water – for biodiversity, by 2030.
Some of the key areas agreed upon at the COP15:
Conservation, protection and restoration:
- Delegates committed to protecting 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030, fulfilling the deal’s highest-profile goal, known as 30-by-30.
- This will prevent species losses and bring them close to zero by 2030.
Money for nature:
- Signatories aim to ensure $200 billion per year is channelled to conservation initiatives, from public and private sources.
- Wealthier countries should contribute at least $20 billion of this every year by 2025, and at least $30 billion a year by 2030.
Big companies report impacts on biodiversity:
- The parties agreed to large companies and financial institutions being subject to requirements to make disclosures regarding their operations, to promote biodiversity, reduce the risks posed by/to businesses and encourage sustainable production.
Harmful subsidies: Countries committed to identifying subsidies that deplete biodiversity by 2025, and then eliminate, phase out or reform them.
Pollution and pesticides:
- The final language focuses on the risks associated with pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals and will focus on reducing the negative impacts of pollution to levels that are not considered harmful to nature.
Monitoring and reporting progress:
- All the agreed aims will be supported by methods to monitor progress in the future, in a bid to prevent this agreement from meeting the same fate as the Aichi targets of 2010.
- National action plans will be set and reviewed, following a similar format used for GHG emissions under U.N-led efforts to curb climate change.
- The text provides no quantifiable target.
- On pesticides, the text missed highlighting the reduction target and other forms of pest management.
- Some observers objected to the lack of a deadline for countries to submit national plans.
- According to civil society groups, GBF is turning out to be a “Global Biodiversity Fraud” or a “Global Biodiversity Funeral.”
India’s stance on the GBF:
- The GBF should be framed in terms of science and equity.
- The notion of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) must also apply to biodiversity.
- The necessary assistance to vulnerable groups cannot be considered subsidies and may be rationalised.
- A quantifiable worldwide pesticide reduction target is unnecessary and should be left up to individual governments to determine.
- Without sufficient scientific evidence, the stated numerical target for coping with the impacts of invasive alien species on native biodiversity is not possible.
- Nature-based solutions to global warming and other environmental concerns will not be effective until developed countries take decisive action to meet their historical and current responsibilities.
- Sustainable use and access and benefit sharing are vital to promoting biodiversity, complementing the efforts to conserve, protect and restore.
UNCCD Conference of Parties (COP 15)
Q. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India at this conference? (UPSC 2021)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2020)
With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon Frogmouth, Coppersmith Barbet, Gray Chinned Minivet and White-throated Redstart are
What are carbon markets and how do they operate?
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment and Conservation
Direction: The article tries to explain carbon markets, their types, significance and challenges to carbon markets. For details about the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, kindly visit this page.
Context: The Parliament passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, declining the Opposition’s demands to send it for scrutiny to a parliamentary committee amid concerns expressed by members over carbon markets.
- The Bill amends the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, to empower the Government to establish carbon markets in India and specify a carbon credit trading scheme.
- In order to keep global warming within 2°C, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced by 25 to 50% by 2030.
- Nearly 170 countries have submitted their nationally determined contributions (NDCs are targeting to achieve net-zero emissions) under the 2015 Paris Agreement, which have to be updated every 5 years.
- In order to meet their NDCs, one mitigation strategy is becoming popular with several countries – carbon markets. The Paris Agreement provides for the use of international carbon markets (yet to kick off) by countries to fulfil their NDCs.
- In the past, developing countries, particularly India, China and Brazil, gained significantly from a similar carbon market under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997.
What are carbon markets?
- They are essentially a tool for putting a price on carbon emissions and establishing trading systems where carbon credits or allowances can be bought and sold.
- A carbon credit is a kind of tradable permit that equals (as per the UN) one tonne of carbon dioxide removed, reduced or sequestered from the atmosphere.
- Carbon allowances or caps are determined by countries or governments according to their emission reduction targets.
Types of carbon markets:
- Voluntary markets: These markets are those in which emitters (corporations, private individuals, etc) buy carbon credits to offset the emission of one tonne of CO2 or equivalent GHGs.
- Such carbon credits are created by activities which reduce CO2 from the air, such as afforestation.
- Compliance markets (cap and trade): These are set up by policies (means officially regulated) at the national, regional, and/or international levels.
- Entities in this sector are issued annual allowances or permits by governments equal to the emissions they can generate.
- If companies produce emissions beyond the capped amount, they have to purchase additional permits, either through official auctions or from companies which emit below the limit.
- Through this kind of carbon trading, companies can decide if it is more cost-efficient to employ clean energy technologies or to purchase additional allowances.
- Today, compliance markets are most popular in the EU and China launched the world’s largest emission trading system (ETS) in 2021.
Significance of these markets: They may –
- Promote the reduction of energy use
- Encourage the shift to cleaner fuels
- Reduce the cost of implementing NDCs (WB – By $250 billion by 2030)
Challenges to carbon markets:
- Double counting of GHG reductions
- Quality and authenticity of climate projects that generate credits
- Poor market transparency
- There are also concerns about greenwashing – companies may buy credits to offset their carbon footprints rather than reducing overall emissions or investing in clean technologies.
Conclusion: For carbon markets to be successful, emission reductions and removals must be real and aligned with the country’s NDCs and there must be transparency in the institutional and financial infrastructure for carbon market transactions.
Bill to amend energy conservation act introduced in RS
Q. “Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. (UPSC 2018)
Ambedkar’s idea of a moral democracy
GS Paper 4
Syllabus: Moral Thinkers
Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu
Context: There have been many studies on Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s conceptualization of democracy, predominantly explained through the lens of social, political, and economic philosophies.
- Ambedkar’s last work, The Buddha and His Dhamma shed light on how he understood democracy as a concept that affected every aspect of human life; it was essentially a way of life.
- Ambedkar’s moral principles were rooted in Buddhist philosophies, he was also critical of extreme individualism that was a possible outcome of Buddhism, as such characteristics failed to engage in activism that challenged social order. Thus, he believed that there needed to be a balance between individualism and fraternity for a harmonious society.
- Ambedkar gave utmost importance to practicality. For him, concepts and theories needed to be tested as they were supposed to be practised in society. He used rationality and critical reasoning to analyze any subject matter, because he believed that a subject must first pass the test of rationality, failing which, it must be rejected, altered, or modified.
Types of morality according to Ambedkar:
Ambedkar divides morality into social morality and constitutional morality.
- Social morality was built through interaction and such interaction was based on the mutual recognition of human beings.
- Social morality was based on equality among human beings and a recognition of respect.
- Constitutional morality for Ambedkar was a prerequisite to maintaining a system of democracy in a country.
Ambedkar’s concept of moral democracy must also be studied through the lenses of particularism (a political theory where one group promotes its own interests without regard to the interests of larger groups) and universality (a theory that some ideas have universal application or applicability).
Ethics perspective of morality:
Humans tend to rate themselves more highly than other people not just on factors like intelligence and friendliness, but also ironically, on modesty.
This is the “self-enhancement effect”, and it holds true for several parameters.
- Believing ourselves to be more moral than other people is problematic for more than one reason — the first, and most obvious, is that it is irrational to believe so, and can cause us to look down upon people who act differently than we do, either due to circumstance or by choice.
- Second, and perhaps even more troubling, is that believing oneself to be morally superior leads to a phenomenon known as moral licensing. This is when somebody acts morally and then relaxes their moral standards and allows themselves to act unethically in other circumstances.
- This moral licensing plays out in our lives in small ways every day. I might feel less guilty indulging in a big serving of chocolate cake post-dinner if I ate a salad for lunch. I might also feel justified liberally using environmentally unfriendly paper towels to clean my kitchen simply because I drive an electric car.
Morality and Sources of Morality
Mains Link: UPSC 2019
Q. What is meant by the term ‘constitutional morality’? How does one uphold constitutional morality?
Facts for Prelims
Underutilisation of Fund
Context: As per the parliamentary committee, funds for schemes under the SHREYAS scheme have remained underutilized. In another News, the Union minister of Women and Child Development has told Lok Sabha that, 70% of the non-lapsable corpus Nirbhaya fund remains unutilized.
About Nirbhaya fund:
- It is a non-lapsable corpus fund of Rs 1000 crores given by the centre and utilized by states to ensure women’s safety.
- Nodal Agency for the administration of funds: Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance
- Nodal Agency for expenditure: Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry
- The schemes being implemented by WCD under this fund are:- One Stop Centre; Universalisation of Women Helpline; Mahila Police Volunteer
- The schemes being implemented by Home Ministry under this fund are: Emergency Response Support System; Central Victim Compensation Fund
- Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura and Daman & Diu have not spent any money under the fund
- Only four states have used the Nirbhaya fund for the Mahila Police volunteer Scheme
About Scholarship for Higher Education for Young Achievers Scheme (SHREYAS):
It is a central sector scheme under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) that provides financial assistance to students from Scheduled Castes (SC) and other communities for pursuing education.
It is proposed to be implemented during 2021-22 to 2025-26 and covers:
- Top-class education for SCs
- National Overseas Scholarship for SC students (NOS)
- National Fellowship for SCs (NFSC)
- Free coaching for SC and OBC students
“World-first” operation using stem cells
Context: A heart surgeon in England has carried out a “world-first” operation using stem cells from the placentas.
For details (see Infographic)
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the body’s raw materials — cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.
What is stem cell scaffolding?
Developing a stem cell scaffolding architecture (temporary platform to build tissues) supports vascular cell ingrowth, and promotes wound healing and regenerative medicine that is effective in treating bone, cartilage, blood vessel, skin, tendon, and nerve damage.
- Using a bio-printer, a stem cell scaffold is made to repair abnormalities to valves in blood vessels and to mend holes between the two main pumping chambers of the heart.
Significance of the operation:
- It can help develop technology so children born with congenital cardiac disease won’t need as many operations.
What was done previously?
- Artificial tissue is normally used on babies for cardiac repairs, but it can fail and it doesn’t grow with the heart, so as the children grow, they require more operations.
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System
Source: Indian Express
Context: Haryana Police was awarded the first rank among all major state police in the implementation of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS)
An Annual Conference on Good Practices in CCTNS/Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was organized by the National Crime Records Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs to recognise the implementation of CCTNS and ICJS projects.
Context: Deepening restrictions on Elephant ivory trafficking have led to an increase in the trade in hippopotamus teeth.
- This could potentially have serious effects on a species already listed as “vulnerable to extinction”
Google is building an AI model to support over 100 Indian languages
Source: The Hindu
Context: Google, the world’s most popular search engine, is working on making text and voice internet searches available in over 100 Indian languages
- Google was supporting small businesses and start-ups, investing in cybersecurity, providing education and skills training, and applying AI (Artificial Intelligence) in sectors like agriculture and healthcare.
- Google is making search results pages bilingual in India by tapping into its advanced ML (Machine Learning)-based translation models and cross-language search technology.
- Looking to the longer term, we’ve joined hands with the Indian Institute of Science on ‘Project Vaani’ – an initiative that aims at collecting and transcribing open source speech data from across all of India’s 773 districts, making it available through the Government of India’s Bhashini project
Source: Indian Express
Context: Indian Naval Ship (INS) Mormugao was commissioned recently. It is the 2nd warship of the P15B class of stealth guided-missile destroyers
- Built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL)
- Named after: It has been named after a key port in Goa which was commissioned a day before the Goa Liberation Day celebrations
- A ship ‘class’ describes a group of vessels of similar tonnage, usage, capabilities, and weaponry.
- Other upcoming ships of this class: Imphal, and Surat
About Project 15A: Over the last decade, the Indian Navy has commissioned three guided missile destroyers of the Kolkata class — INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, and INS Chennai.
About Project 15B: This is the advanced version of Project 15A with four guided missile destroyers. Its lead ship INS Visakhapatnam (Pennant D66) was commissioned into the Navy in November 2021.
- A ship class is identified by its lead ship, in this case, INS Visakhapatnam
- All these ships were built by MDSL (including Project 15A), one of the country’s most important Defence PSUs.
Goa Liberation Day: It is celebrated on 19 December every year as a reminder that the state of Goa got its freedom from the Portuguese after a long time and it remained under the control for 450 years.
On December 19, 1961, Jawaharlal Nehru sent armed forces to the coastal state. The Portuguese surrendered and the state was liberated. As a result, Goa, Daman, and Diu became Union Territories of India.
Context: Residents from around 40 villages of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan have walked 225 kilometers to protect community-conserved sacred spaces known as ‘orans’.
Currently, the biodiversity hotspots are classified as wastelands.
The current categorization is causing a loss of biodiversity and is affecting the livelihood of the locals in the area, as huge chunks of land are being allotted for setting up solar plants. Thus need to recategorize the area as ‘oran land’.
- The orans are among the last natural habitats of the great Indian bustard
- The open stretch of land, which receives long hours of sunlight and brisk winds, has become a hub of green energy with windmills and solar photovoltaic dotting
- There are other orans like Mokla, Salkha, Kemde, which also spread across several hectares but are listed as wastelands
- These orans are hotspots of biodiversity with trees and flowers like rohida, bordi, kumbhat, and desi babool in large numbers.
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