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. This was the year that said goodbye to hyper-globalisation
GS Paper 2:
1. What is the CAG audit report on Assam’s NRC?
GS Paper 3:
1. NGT extends stay on the ministry of environment’s notification on construction projects
Facts for Prelims
1. Dhanu Yatra
2. Veer Bal Diwas (26th December)
3. Repository of palaeoclimatic records of Himalayan tectonics & geomorphic evolution in Kashmir Valley
4. Official recognition of Esports
5. National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS)
6. e-HRMS (Electronic Human Resource Management System) 2.0 Portal
7. National E-Governance Services Limited (NeSL)
8. Bimetallic antitumor agents can help manage platinum-resistant cancers
9. Project ICARUS
This was the year that said goodbye to hyper globalisation
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Effects of Globalisation on Indian Society
Direction: The article highlights the evolution of globalisation to hyper-globalisation and signs of the end of the era of hyper-globalisation.
Context: Two wars (Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an economic war – a geopolitical confrontation between two superpowers – the US and China) are raging in 2022, which have undermined the assumption of “hyper-globalisation”.
- Though the term “globalisation” refers to the increasing integration of world trade and financial markets, the term “hyper-globalisation” refers to the dramatic increase in international trade.
- This occurred for about a decade and a half beginning in the early 1990s, resulting in unprecedented capital and human movement across borders.
Ups and downs in the globalisation era:
- The first golden age of globalisation (1870 – 1914): It saw the world trade in goods surging from 9% to 16% of global GDP, leading to the internationalisation of economic and social life.
- This led the British journalist Norman Angell (in his book ‘The Great Illusion’) to claim in 1910 that war in the modern era was an economic impossibility due to the sheer extent of financial and commercial interdependence between countries.
- This made conflict as futile for the conqueror as the conquered.
- The era of world wars and the decline in world trade:
- In 1914, World War-I broke out and War War II began in 1939.
- The share of merchandise trade in global GDP had collapsed to 5.5%, recovering gradually to reach the pre-World War-I levels only towards the late-1970s.
- The second golden age of globalisation – The era of “hyper globalisation”:
- Between 1990 and 2008, global trade in goods soared from 15.3% to 25.2% of the world GDP.
- Thomas L Friedman asserted in 1996 that no two countries with Mcdonald’s have ever fought a war against each other.
- Hyper-globalisation’s chief protagonist was China which emerged as the “world’s factory” and a “mega-trader.”
- China’s estimated share in world merchandise trade has risen from 1.8% in 1990 to 11.1% in 2012 compared to the US (11.3% to 8.4%).
- Characteristics of a hyper-globalised world:
- In such societies, there was the absence of wars and economies largely followed the laws established by late-18th/early-19th century economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo.
- According to Smith (in his book ‘Wealth of Nations), if a foreign country can supply us with a commodity at a lower cost, then we should buy it.
- Ricardo gave the concept of “comparative advantage” – each country devoting its resources to produce goods most beneficial to each. For example, wine shall be made in France and Portugal, corn shall be grown in America and Poland, etc.
- The entire system of free trade was founded upon trust and comparative advantage trumping geopolitics. For example, Russia supplied close to 40% of the European Union’s total natural gas consumption in 2021.
- The end of the era of hyper-globalisation: It formally ended in 2022, which has seen not one, but two wars.
Impact of the end of the era of hyper-globalisation:
- The greatest collateral damage is to the global trading order. From production based on comparative advantage and gains from trade, it’s each nation for itself now.
- For example, India is granting incentives amounting to 30-50% of project cost for semiconductor units manufacturing less-sophisticated chips that can be used in mobile phones, home appliances and cars.
- Five years ago, it may not have considered this to be worth spending taxpayer money on.
According to the French philosopher Montesquieu – “Commerce heals the most harmful biases,” and “peace is the inevitable result of trade.” However, rebuilding trust and restoring global trade from the ravages of militarism takes time.
Impact of globalisation on the Indian economy
Q. Are diversity and pluralism in India under threat due to globalisation? Justify your answer. (UPSC 2020)
What is the CAG audit report on Assam’s NRC?
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Direction: The article highlights the NRC exercise in Assam and the issues raised in a recent CAG report. The article also covers the exercise of delimitation of constituencies that recently began in Assam.
Context: The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) have flagged serious concerns in a compliance report of ‘logistical arrangements for National Register of Citizens (NRC) update project in Assam’ tabled in the Assam Assembly recently.
What is the NRC exercise?
- It contains demographic information on all legal Indian citizens, allowing illegal immigrants to be recognised and deported.
- It is mandated under a 2003 amendment to the Citizenship Act of 1955, which specifies the criteria under which a person obtains Indian citizenship.
- Until now, such a database has only been maintained for Assam. However, India’s Home Minister recently stated that the register would be expanded to include the entire country.
- An NRC was first created in 1951 in Assam to identify those born in India and migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
- In 2013 (on a petition urging the removal of illegal immigrants’ names from voter lists), the Supreme Court issued directions to the Centre and State to initiate an exercise to update the 1951 register.
- The final list (2019) included those who could establish their Indian citizenship by being residents or descendants of people living in Assam before March 25, 1971 – the cut-off date for deportation of foreigners as per the Assam Accord of August 1985.
- As many as 06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants were excluded due to a lack of adequate documents to prove their citizenship.
- The final list was rejected by some stakeholders as faulty, and the process is still on hold because the Registrar General of India (RGI) is yet to notify the final list.
Findings in the CAG report:
- Haphazard development of software for the exercise, making it prone to data tampering.
- Undue profits worth crores amassed by the system integrator (SI) by violating the Minimum Wages Act.
Concerns raised by the CAG:
- The process to update the NRC has seen a five-fold increase in the cost (Rs 1,600 crore) due to time overruns and updates in the software.
- Irregularities in the utilisation of funds including excess and inadmissible payment to vendors.
Recommendations of the CAG:
- Penal measures against Wipro Limited for violating the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act and for paying data operators less than minimum wages.
- Action against the State Coordinator of National Registration (SCNR) for excess, irregular and inadmissible payments.
- Fixing accountability of the SCNR as the principal employer for not ensuring compliance with the Minimum Wage Act.
Context: The Election Commission of India (EC) has begun the process of delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in Assam, based on the 2001 Census data.
● Article 82: Following each census, the allocation of Lok Sabha seats to the states, as well as the division of each state into territorial constituencies, shall be readjusted by such authority as Parliament may by law determine.
● Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950: It allows for delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur or Nagaland.
● Article 170 (Composition of the Legislative Assemblies): Census figures (2001) shall be used for the purpose of readjustment of constituencies in the State.
● Reservation of seats for the SCs/STs will be provided as per Articles 330 (Lok Sabha) and 332 (State Assemblies) of the Constitution.
● Delimitation is the responsibility of a high-level body known as the Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission, whose orders have the force of law and cannot be challenged in court.
● Article 82 of the Indian Constitution provides for the establishment of such a commission through a Parliamentary act.
● The orders will come into effect on a date to be determined by India’s President.
Need of delimitation in Assam:
● Assam currently has 14 Lok Sabha and 126 Assembly constituencies.
● The last delimitation of constituencies in Assam was done in 1976 on the basis of the 1971 Census.
● In 1971, Assam’s population was 1.46 crore, which increased to 2.66 crore (2001) and to 3.12 crore (2011).
● Why is the delimitation exercise being done on the basis of the 2001 Census, and not the 2011 Census?
● Several pressure groups have urged to stop the delimitation till the NRC is final.
Insta Links: NRC
NGT extends stay on the ministry of environment’s notification on construction projects
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment: Environmental impact assessment
Source: Economic Times
Context: The National Green Tribunal has extended the stay on the Ministry of Environment notification modifying the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conditions for certain construction projects.
Previously, in the 2018 notification, the ministry had given the powers to local bodies instead of State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs) to do EIA of:
- Construction projects (built-up areas between 20,000 sqm to 50,000 sqm)
- Industrial sheds, educational institutions, hospitals and hostels for educational institutions (built-up areas between 20,000 sqm and 1,50,000 sqm)
- NGT has now given the decision that such changes will result in diluting the mechanism of EIA by SEIAA and thus cannot be sustained.
Significance of EIA for Developmental Projects in India:
- Make all the stakeholders aware of the environmental and socio-economic impact of the project
- Facilitates a basis for policy decisions: EIA provides the impact assessment well before the project is implemented.
- Helps to eliminate or minimize the adverse impact of developmental projects
- EIA encourages the adaptation of mitigation strategies in the developmental plan
- Protects the biodiversity of the environment by suggesting alternative safe project designs and methods.
- Simplifies the technical issues: EIA produces an environmental management plan and summary for the non-tech general public.
EIA is backed by the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. EIA notification of 2006 made it mandatory to take EIA for various projects such as mining, thermal power plants, river valley, infrastructure and industries. EIA was drastically changed in the ministry’s 2020 notification.
EIA notification 2020 and its impact:
- Public Consultation: Reduced to max 40 days and only 20 days (from 30 days) for submitting a response
- This will help speed up the process of EIA. However, it may give very little time for Tribal and forest dwellers who are not aware of technical details or have the means to access them.
- More Discretionary power for Government: Power to declare ‘economically sensitive areas’ without a public hearing as well as give any project a ‘strategic tag’ (so no EIA obligation)
- This is important for the clearance of strategic projects related to defence and national security as well as projects deemed too important for the nation.
- However, there is fear of misuse of this clause for political or economic reasons to circumvent EIA
- Post-Facto-project clearance:
- This will enable ease of doing business and reduce bureaucratic delays. But it is a violation of the fundamental principles of environmental jurisprudence and is contrary to both the precautionary principle as well as the need for sustainable development.
- An extended period of Environmental clearance: From 30 years to 50 years
- However, it raises the risk of irreversible environmental, health, and social consequence.
- Common assessment for all the seasons by replacing seasonal assessment: No need to cover all the seasons in a year.
- This may make EIA less reliable and not reveal the full impact of EIA
- Report Issues: reduced from once every six months to once every year.
- This will dilute the scrutiny and it may be late before any mitigation measures could be taken for highlighted project impact.
EIA needs to provide the balance between ‘ease of doing business and maintaining environmental sustainability. In this context, an Independent EIA Authority can be set up for fair and objective decisions. Also, a centralized data bank for storing information and providing access to local communities and the general public to all the aspects of projects.
Q. Environmental Impact Assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before a project is cleared by the Government. Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at coal pitheads. ( UPSC 2014)
Facts for Prelims:
Context: The ‘Dhanu Yatra’ festival, considered to be the world’s largest open-air theatre, has commenced recently in the Western Odisha town of Bargarh.
About Dhanu Yatra:
The plays in the festival start with the dethroning of Emperor Ugrasen of Mathura by angry Kansa over the marriage of his sister Devaki with Vasudev.
The festival will conclude with the death of demon king Kansa and the restoration of the throne to Ugrasen
With the commencement of the festival, Bargarh becomes King Kansa’s Mathura, and Amapali, located about eight km away, becomes Gopapura, where Lord Krishna is said to have spent his childhood. The Jeera River which flows between the two places becomes the Yamuna River.
Veer Bal Diwas (26th December)
Source: Indian Express
Context: As a tribute to Guru Gobind Singh’s martyred sons- Zorawar (6 years) and Fateh Singh (9 years), the nation observed the 1st Veer Bal Diwas
- Also, the last week of December is observed as ‘Shaheedi Saptah’ (martyr’s week)
- Four sons of Guru Gobind Singh were martyred on this day by the army of Aurangzeb (1704).
About Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh was born on 22nd December 1666 in Patna (Bihar) (based on the Nanakshahi calendar). He became a Sikh guru at age of 9 (the 10th and last Sikh guru) and was assassinated in 1708. He created Khalsa Panth and fought the battles of Anandpur (1700) and Chamkaur (1704). He wrote Zafarnamah in 1705.
Repository of palaeoclimatic records of Himalayan tectonics & geomorphic evolution in Kashmir Valley
Source: Department of Science and Technology
Context: Researchers investigating sedimentary landforms present in parts of the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh regions of the NW Trans-Himalaya have found them to be a repository of palaeoclimatic records of Himalayan tectonics and geomorphic evolution of the scenic landscape.
What is Paleoclimatology?
Palaeoclimatology is the study of climates for which direct measurements were not taken. It helps in the reconstruction of ancient climates and is important to understand natural variation and the evolution of the current climate.
Regions under threat:
Some of the Geosites of Kashmir valley & Ladakh sector (A) Burzahama Section (B) Dilpur (C) Parigam (D) Palar (E) Lamayuru (F) Saspol (G) Spituk (H) Shey, being mined ruthlessly, hence under threat
Official recognition of Esports
Source: The Hindu
Context: The President of India in the exercise of the powers “conferred by clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution” amended the rules governing Esports and asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Sports Ministry to include “e-Sports as part of multi-sports events“.
- IT Ministry (MeitY) will be the nodal agency for online gaming-related matters
- Sports ministry will be responsible for including esports in the curriculum
What Is E-Sports?
ESports turns online gaming into a spectator sport. It mimics the experience of watching a professional sporting event, except instead of watching a physical event, spectators watch video gamers compete against each other.
Article 77 (Conduct of business of the Government of India)
- Clause 1: All executive action will be taken in the name of the President
- Clause 2: Authentication of orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the President shall be done by the rules to be made by the President.
- Clause 3: The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business
National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS)
Source: The Hindu
Context: Digitally capturing the attendance of workers employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGREGS) through NMMS has been made universal by the Centre from January 1, 2023.
- Any worksite having 20 or more workers under MGREGS are to compulsorily mark the attendance through NMMS
- The NMMS App was launched by the Minister of Rural Development on May 21 2021. This app is aimed at bringing more transparency and ensuring proper monitoring of the schemes.
- It permits taking real-time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGA worksites along with a geo-tagged photograph.
- The app helps in increasing citizen oversight of the programme.
- The App is applicable for the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA workers for all the States/ Union Territories.
e-HRMS (Electronic Human Resource Management System) 2.0 Portal
Source: Live Mint
Context: Government (Department of Personnel and Training) launched revamped probity portal and e-HRMS 2.0 portal for central government employees.
Previously, employees could avail of limited Human Resources Services and were not connected with other HR applications. Now with the revamped portal, employees will get end-to-end HR services and save time and money on the management of human resources of the central government
Meaning of Probity: It means the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency
Difference between Integrity and Probity: Integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. Probity implies tried and proven honesty or integrity.
Fig: Sample of working of the e-HRMS portal
National E-Governance Services Limited (NeSL)
Source: Economic Times
Context: Two years after the first completely digital loan document agreement was executed, the government-backed National E-Governance Services (NeSL) processed one million transactions through its digital document execution (DDE) platform.
NeSL’s DDE platform digitalises loan documents from submission to payment of stamp duty, to digital e-stamping to e-sign by the signatories to a completely secure digital storage system.
- So far, more than 25 financial sector entities have already been onboarded on the NeSL DDE platform and are undertaking transactions.
- NeSL’s DDE system’s end-to-end electronic execution helps in preventing fraud, especially in small ticket loans
- It helps in saving the time and cost of documentation
It is India’s 1st Information Utility, registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board (IBBI) under the aegis of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016. It holds a repository of legal evidence and information pertaining to any debt/claims.
Bimetallic antitumor agents can help manage platinum-resistant cancers
Source: Department of Science and Technology
Context: A newly found bimetallic highly potent antitumor agent that inhibits new blood vessel development (antiangiogenic) can help treat cancer cases that become resistant to platinum drugs commonly used for tackling the disease.
- Several platinum-based anticancer drugs, including cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin, nedaplatin, and lobaplatin, are the frontline treatment options for various cancers.
Unfortunately, the acquired or intrinsic resistance significantly limits the uses of platinum-based treatment
About the new agent:
- Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, have discovered a Ruthenium−Ferrocene Bimetallic agent that shows a highly potent antitumor effect in platinum-resistant cancers.
- The study published in the journal ACS Publication and Translation Science shows the potential therapeutic implications of Ruthenium−Ferrocene Bimetallic agents to manage platinum-resistant cancers.
- They showed that Ru-Fc (Ruthenium–Ferrocene) hybrid binds to nucleophilic biomolecules and produces reactive oxygen species, which causes mitochondrial dysfunction and induces stress on the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) of cells, leading to poly (ADP–ribose) polymerase-mediated cell death.
Source: Indian Express Editorial section
Context: Recently US government has asked for further research on the controversial idea of solar geo-engineering ( similar to one seen in science fiction work such as Neal Stephenson’s Novel ‘Terminal Shock’)
It involves shooting reflective particles into the stratosphere to deflect the rays of the Sun and help bring down territorial temperature.
- However, last time in 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (Phillippines) brought about a ‘volcanic winter’, with global temperature cooling by 0.4 degrees Celcius, leading to the issue of food scarcity.
What is Solar Geo-engineering?
Solar geoengineering involves spraying substances into the atmosphere that form reflective aerosols and bounce sunlight back into space.
- This could stop global temperatures from increasing, but temperatures locally or regionally might continue to increase over the following few years, new research shows.
- The wider consequences of solar geoengineering are still poorly understood, making it a potentially risky approach to tackle global warming.
Note: Don’t confuse this with a similar project for nuclear fusion. Project Icarus is a theoretical engineering design study aimed at designing a credible, mainly nuclear fusion-based, an unmanned interstellar space probe
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 .
Follow us on LinkedIn : HERE