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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 1:

1. A brief history of the INC

2. Rapidly warming Arctic linked to extreme cold weather in the US


GS Paper 2:

1. Maharashtra passes Lokayukta Bill that brings CM under the ambit of the anti-corruption body

2. The caste census debate to craft reasoned and inclusive policies


GS Paper 3:

1. Report on Trends and Progress of Banking in India 2021-22

2. India is all set to go for its first waste-to-hydrogen project

3. The Green in our Weaves: Sustainable Cotton Textiles


Content for Mains Enrichment

1. Guidelines for finance-based ranking of cities

2. Pension scheme for Gig workers

3. Stan Lee’s 100th birth anniversary


Facts for Prelims

1. Development of Pilgrimage Infrastructure at Bhadrachalam group of temples and Ramappa Temple

2. ‘Stay Safe Online’ Campaign and ‘G20 Digital Innovation Alliance’


4. Brain-eating amoeba

5. CrCoNi alloy

6. Omega Centauri

7. Five space exploration missions to look out for in 2023

8. Mapping


A brief history of the INC

GS  Paper 1

Syllabus: National Movement


Source: Indian Express

Context: The Indian National Congress (INC), India’s largest opposition party, marked its 138th foundation day on December 28.



How the Congress was founded:

The English bureaucrat Allan Octavian Hume or AO Hume is credited as the founder of the organization. On December 28, 1885, 72 social reformers, journalists and lawyers congregated for the first session of the INC at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, Bombay.


Its objective is often described as providing a “safety valve” as the time, through which Indians could air out their grievances and frustration.


Struggle for Independence:

  • As time passed, people within the Congress were influenced by the Swadeshi movement, and wished to follow the concept of ‘home rule’
  • Finally, by the end of the British Rule, the Congress saw the Quit India Movement, the formation of the Indian National Army Defense Committee, and the unfortunate Partition of India and Pakistan



Important INC Sessions:

  • First Session:Bombay in 1885. President: W.C. Bannerjee
  • Second Session: Calcutta in 1886. President: Dadabhai Naoroji
  • Third Session: Madras in 1887. President: Syed Badruddin Tyabji, the first Muslim President.
  • Fourth Session: Allahabad in 1888. President: George Yule, the first English President.
  • 1896: Calcutta. President: Rahimtullah Sayani – National Song ‘Vande Mataram’ sung for the first time by Rabindranath Tagore.
  • 1899:President: Romesh Chandra Dutt – Demand for permanent fixation of Land revenue
  • 1905:Benaras, President: Gopal Krishan Gokhale – Formal proclamation of Swadeshi movement against the government
  • 1906: Calcutta, President: Dadabhai Naoroji – Adopted four resolutions on: Swaraj (Self Government), Boycott Movement, Swadeshi & National Education
  • 1907: Surat, President: Rashbihari Ghosh – Split in Congress- Moderates & Extremist
  • 1911: Calcutta, President: B.N. Dhar – First recital of Jan-Gan-Man in Congress session
  • 1915: President: Sir S.P. Sinha – Constitution of the Congress was altered to admit the delegates from the extremist section
  • 1916: Lucknow. President: A.C. Majumdar – Unity between two factions-Moderates and Extremists of Congress
    • Lucknow Pact signed between Congress and Muslim League to build political consensus
  • 1917: President: Annie Besant, First Woman President of Congress
  • 1918 (Special session): Bombay. President: Syed Hasan Imam – The session was convened to deliberate the contentious Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms Scheme
  • 1919: Amritsar.President: Motilal Nehru – Congress extended support to Khilafat Movement
  • 1920 (Special Session):President: Lala Lajpat Rai – Mahatma Gandhi moved the Non -cooperation resolution
  • 1920: Nagpur. President: C. Vijayaraghavachariar – MA Jinnah left the Indian National Congress
  • 1922: Gaya. President: C.R. Das – CR Das and other leaders broke away from INC
    • Formation of Swaraj Party
  • 1924: Belgaum. President: M.K. Gandhi – Only Session presided over by Mahatma Gandhi
  • 1925: Kanpur. President: Sarojini Naidu, First Indian Woman President
  • 1927: Madras. President: Dr M.A. Ansari – Passed a resolution against the boycott of the Simon Commission
    • Adoption of resolution on Purna Swaraj
  • 1928: Calcutta. President: Motilal Nehru – Formation of All India Youth Congress
  • 1929: Lahore. President: Jawahar Lal Nehru – Passed the resolution on ‘Poorna Swaraj.’
    • Civil Disobedience movement for complete independence to be launched
  • 26 January is to be observed as ‘Independence Day’.
  • 1931: Karachi. President: Vallabhbhai Patel – Resolutions on Fundamental Rights and National Economic Programme
    • Endorsement of the Gandhi-Irwin pact
  • Gandhi was nominated to represent INC in the Second Round Table Conference to be held in London
  • 1934: Bombay. President: Rajendra Prasad
    1936: Lucknow. President: Jawahar Lal Nehru – Push towards socialist ideas by Jawahar Lal Nehru
  • 1937: Faizpur. President: Jawahar Lal Nehru – First Session to be held in a village
  • 1938: Haripura. President: Subhas Chandra Bose – National Planning Committee set up under Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • 1939: Tripuri. President: Rajendra Prasad – Subhas Chandra Bose was re-elected but had to resign
  • Rajendra Prasad was appointed in his place
  • Subhash Chandra Bose formed Forward Bloc
  • 1940: Ramgarh. President: Abul Kalam Azad – Civil Disobedience movement to be launched at appropriate time and circumstances.
  • 1941–45: This Period is marked by events i.e., the Quit India movement, RIN Mutiny & INA trials.
  • The phase of constitutional negotiations such as the Cripps Mission, Wavell Plan and Cabinet Mission.
  • On account of these events during this phase, no congress session was held.
  • 1946: Meerut. President: J.B Kripalani – Last session before independence


Insta Links:

Foundation of the Indian National Congress


Prelims Link: UPSC 2016

What was the main reason for the split in the Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907?

(a) Introduction of communalism into Indian politics by Lord Minto

(b) Extremists’ lack of faith in the capacity of the moderates to negotiate with the British Government

(c) Foundation of Muslim League

(d) Aurobindo Ghosh’s inability to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress

Solution: B

Mains Link: UPSC 2015

Q. How different would have been the achievement of Indian independence without Mahatma Gandhi? Discuss.

Rapidly warming Arctic linked to extreme cold weather in the US

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Important Geophysical Phenomena such as cyclones etc


Source: IE


Direction: While the earlier article explained the phenomena of bomb cyclones, today’s article highlights the probable reasons behind such an extreme weather event.




Context: In a report published in The Washington Post, scientists have once again started to discuss if the rising temperatures of the Arctic are responsible for extremely cold conditions in the US and other areas of the Northern Hemisphere.





  • A deadly blizzard (bomb cyclone) has gripped the US, leading to the death of more than 60 people as of now and the complete disruption of normal life.
  • A similar chain of events took place back in 2021 when Texas witnessed a deadly cold storm that killed 246 people.




The findings of the study:

  • The study largely focused on the polar vortex, which is a mass of cold, low-pressure air that consistently spins over the Arctic region counter-clockwise, just like a hurricane does.
    • Usually, the polar vortex remains strong and compact, meaning the mass of frigid air stays at the North Pole.
    • But sometimes it weakens (like a wobbling top) and expands to influence the jet stream – an area of fast-moving air high in the atmosphere that surrounds the polar vortex.
    • Once the jet stream is impacted, the cold polar air finds its way towards the mid-latitude regions.
  • The polar vortex has been expanding more than twice as frequently in recent years, owing to the steadily warming Arctic.
  • The melting sea ice in the Barents and Kara seas north of Russia and Scandinavia and increasing Siberian snowfall create larger and more energetic atmospheric waves that ultimately stretch the polar vortex
  • This has resulted in extreme winter weather in the US and other places.




Earlier studies:

  • The debate started in 2012 after research showed that the warming of the Arctic was reducing the temperature difference between the polar and tropical regions.
  • This has weakened the jet stream, allowing the southward movement of frigid air.


Conclusion: Despite some evidence, the scientific community still has conflicting opinions about its claim. Hence, more data is required to determine whether and where warming is weakening the jet stream.


Insta Links:

What is a ‘bomb cyclone’?

Maharashtra passes Lokayukta Bill that brings CM under the ambit of the anti-corruption body

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Source: Scroll

Context: This bill will replace the 1971 Lokayukta bill



Important provisions of the Maharastra Bill:

  • Will need assembly approval: Lokayukta will need to seek the approval of two-thirds of the total strength of the Assembly before starting any inquiry against a minister and the motion to do so has to be placed before the House.
    • Analysis: Such Two-third strength may not be possible in most the cases
  • Transparency and privacy provisions: Any such inquiry shall be held in-camera and if the Lokayukta comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry shall not be published or made available to anyone.
    • Analysis: It’s a good provision to ensure that public figures are not victimized.
  • Exceptions added: Lokayukta will not investigate cases involving allegations of corruption against the chief minister on matters related to internal security or public order
    • Analysis: Which matter will be considered related to internal security or public order has not been clearly defined
  • Limited timeline: The trial against the chief minister, any other Cabinet minister and elected representatives will need to be completed within a year of the date of complaint
    • Analysis: Good provision but many times investigation and trial take more than a year.
  • Selection of members of the Lokayukta: They will be selected by a panel of the chief minister, deputy chief minister, Assembly Speaker, Legislative Council chairperson, Leaders of the Opposition in the Assembly and the Council and a judge appointed by the chief justice of India or the chief justice of the Bombay High Court.
    • Analysis: There is a heavy bias towards government nominees in the selection panel.
  • Chairperson: The chairperson of the anti-corruption body will be led by a person who is the present or former chief justice of a High Court. The body will also have judges of the Supreme Court or the Bombay High Court as its member.
  • The number of members: The Lokayukta will have a maximum of four members, of whom two will be from the judiciary.



Good points:

  • Wider consultations: Discussions were held with social activist Anna Hazare before bringing the Bill and a committee had been formed to obtain suggestions and objections on the draft Bill.
  • Provisions against misuse: If in verification, the case is wrongly filed then there is a provision in the law to take action against that person.




  • The Bill was passed without any discussion and in the absence of the Opposition.




What are Lokpal and Lokayukta?

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States (as statutory bodies without any constitutional status)


Aim: “ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and related matters.

  • Till 2011 eight attempts were made to pass the Bill, but all met with failure.
  • Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2002) headed by M.N. Venkatachaliah, 1st ARC and 2nd ARC recommended the appointment of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas.

Insta Links:




Mains Links

Q. Lokpal and Lokayukta as the ombudsmen for anti-corruption are underperforming and need reforms to achieve their true potential and ensure accountability in the administration.  Examine. (250 words)

The caste census debate to craft reasoned and inclusive policies

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections


Source: TH


Direction: The article highlights the triple test formula to provide OBC reservation in ULBs and discusses the need to have a caste-based census.




Context: The judiciary has repeatedly established that caste population surveys conducted by the states are insufficient to provide for political reservation in local body elections.





  • The Allahabad HC recently dismissed the UP government’s caste census to count the Other Backward Class (OBC) population across the state, ruling that “counting of heads” is insufficient.
    • The UP government had ordered (in 2017) a “rapid survey” to count the population of OBCs ward-wise in each municipal corporation, municipal council, and panchayat area.
  • The HC, while directing that local body elections be held in UP without any reservation for the OBC, added that the State had not followed the “triple test formula” as suggested by the Supreme Court.
  • This comes as the call for a caste census intensifies in India, with several states considering introducing reservations for the Backward Classes in urban local body elections.




What is the Triple Test Formula to provide OBC reservation in urban local body (ULB) elections? It requires a state government to –

  • Set up a dedicated commission for a rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of backwardness specifically with respect to local bodies;
  • Specify the proportion of reservations required for political representation based on the commission’s recommendation;
  • Ensure total reservations for SC/ST/ OBC groups do not exceed 50% of the total seats.





The case of UP:

  • The Allahabad HC noted that the government’s enumeration exercise does not provide for inquiry into the political representation of the backward class.
  • The court stated that the dedicated commission must also ascertain under­representation in municipal bodies (if any).




Similar case: The Patna HC had made a similar point on distinguishing the social and education backwardness of a group from its political backwardness.




The debate on caste census in India:

Background: The decennial Census currently collects data only on SCs and STs and fails to provide comprehensive data on India’s graded caste hierarchy.


The 2011 Census:

●        Though the political leadership agreed to include a full caste count in the Census, it later excluded a caste-wise enumeration in the Census.

●        The probable reasons for this exclusion –

○        Caste elites generally believe that caste no longer matters in shaping opportunities and outcomes in the 21st century.

○        The exercise may lead to the misuse of public resources.

○        The exercise may be administratively difficult and cumbersome, jeopardising the whole exercise and compromising the basic integrity of the Census.

●        Following the suppression of the caste count in Census 2011, the bureaucracy reconfigured the Below Poverty Line survey and renamed it the 2011 Socio-­Economic Caste Census.

○        This had little resemblance to the caste census and produced unusable caste data.


Need for collecting caste-wise data in the decennial Census:

●        To understand the contours of inequality.

●        To understand how caste intersects with class, gender, and regionality to structure access to resources.

●        The Census has the legal/constitutional standing, public trust, operational expertise, and resources to collect, analyse and make public caste data.


Global practices: Census bureaus in the U.S., Brazil, and South Africa, etc., with long histories of white supremacy, collect detailed data on race and class to understand the current scope of inequality and develop justice-oriented policies.



●        Some progressive scholars fear that a caste-wise count will further entrench caste identities, as a caste census will require all households to think about, acknowledge, and speak about caste identities.

●        Misuse of the caste data by the political parties.


Way ahead:

●        The entire process requires external oversight (Anti Caste organisations and public intellectuals) if the data are to be usable and to minimise potential harm.

●        A public oversight group should work to ensure that major operational and methodological decisions align with the data collection’s purpose.


Conclusion: While counting (or not counting) caste is political, the decision should not be reduced to immediate political contingencies i.e., the expansion of reservation policies, the caste-based mobilisation by political parties, etc.

Insta Links:

Caste census

Report on Trends and Progress of Banking in India 2021-22

GS Paper 2

Source: RBI, Indian Express


Context: In a report – Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2021-22 – RBI said that banks must ensure due diligence and robust credit appraisal to limit credit risk.

  • This report is statutory compliance in accordance with the Banking Regulation Act 1949, and presents the performance of banking sectors ( including cooperative banks and NBFCs)



Key findings of the report:

  • Double-digit growth in the balance sheet of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs)
    • Impact: This is good news for the banking sector in India.
    • Definition: SCBs are those banks which are included in the second schedule of the RBI Act 1934and which carry out the normal business of banking such as accepting deposits, giving out loans and other banking services.
  • Gross non-performing assets (GNPA) for SCBs have declined (from 9% (2017-18) to 5.8% (march 2022))
    • Reasons for decline in GNPAs: Banks have given write-offs or upgradation; greater scrutiny and monitoring of loans; greater recovery of loans after the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act 2016
  • The financial performance of Urban cooperative banks showed improvement
  • Non-banking financial company (NBFC) sector improved in 2021-22. With strong capital buffers, adequate provisions, and sufficient liquidity, NBFCs are poised for expansion.
    • Definition: NBFC or Non-Banking Financial Institutions are the institutions that have been registered under the Companies Act, 1956. NBFCs offer bank-related services without having banking licenses. Even though NBFCs provide financial services, they differ from banks in many ways.



Insta Links

RBI financial stability report



Mains Links

  1. Enumerate the steps taken so far to expedite and enable the resolution of NPAs in India. Critically analyse the potential of National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) as the “Bad Bank” in addressing the issue of NPAs.
  2. How far can financial inclusion help in containing the high level of NPAs of banks in India? Substantiate your views with two examples. (200 words)




Prelims Links

  1. Which of the following statements best describes the term ‘Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A)’, recently seen in the news? (UPSC CSE 2017)

(a) It is a procedure for considering the ecological costs of developmental schemes formulated by the Government.

(b) It is a scheme of RBI for reworking the financial structure of big corporate entities facing genuine difficulties.

(c) It is a disinvestment plan of the Government regarding Central Public Sector Undertakings.

(d) It is an important provision in The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’ recently implemented by the Government.


Answer: B

India is all set to go for its first waste-to-hydrogen project

GS Paper 3


Syllabus: Conservation-related issues.

Source: DTE


Context: Hydrogen generated at a facility in Pune will be utilized locally to help the city lower its emissions, and manage waste optimally.

  • Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has collaborated with business management consultant The Green Billions (TGBL) to manage its waste and generate it into useable green hydrogen.
  • The new facility will solve two major problems: Inefficient waste management and carbon emissions. Waste management is one of the prime issues in the country, which is blamed for generating the pollution in the surroundings.
  • With this project, Pune city can reduce up to 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, over 3.8 million tonnes of waste would be diverted from the landfill/dumping site and more than 180,000 estimated households will be served directly.



About Green Hydrogen:

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced by splitting water by electrolysis using power from renewable energy sources.



How green hydrogen could help in meeting India’s Net-zero target?

  • Replacement for fossil fuels.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells: Hydrogen fuel cells (HFCs) produce heat and water as byproducts, eliminating the costs associated with handling and storing toxic materials like battery acid or diesel fuel.
  • Energy storage
  • Stored for a long period: The stored hydrogen can be used to produce electricity using fuel cells.
  • Decarbonization of industries: green hydrogen can easily be converted to green ammonia. It, therefore, assumes vast applications for agriculture, fertilizer-producing industries and refineries, steel and heavy-duty transportation industry.
  • Commercialization of Oxygen produced
  • Reduced Dependence on Rare Minerals: Green Hydrogen holds the key to clean electric mobility that doesn’t depend on rare minerals.



Challenges associated:

  • Economic feasibility
  • Technological challenges: E.g., hydrogen storage due to its embrittlement of storage metals is a major issue in creating a sustainable supply chain.
  • Investments needed
  • Consumer adoption



India’s stand on renewable energy:

India is one of the few countries that has kept up its Paris Agreement (21st Conference of Parties or COP21 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) commitments, with an exponential increase in renewable energy capacity.



Insta Links:

Green Hydrogen Potential

National Hydrogen Mission



Mains Link:

  1. The national hydrogen policy is a step in the right direction to harness the potential of green hydrogen but removing production bottlenecks and incentivizing production can be a game-changer for the energy security of India. Comment.


The Green in our Weaves: Sustainable Cotton Textiles

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment


Source: IE


Direction: The article tries to present the scenario of India’s cotton textiles since colonial times and suggests a way ahead and a best practice that makes it sustainable.


Context: The article discusses the past (colonial times), present and future of cotton textiles in India.


Past scenario:

  • Since the first century of the Common Era, Indian weavers have supplied cotton cloth to the world’s markets.
  • The many forms of Indian cotton cloth – bafta, mulmul, mashru, jamdani, more, percale, nainsukh, chintz, etc., were the source of India’s famed wealth in pre-industrial times (before 1750).
  • Until the industrial revolution in Britain (1750), all yarn for handloom weaving in India was spun by hand.
  • But this occupation vanished with the invention of spinning machines in Britain and the import of machine-spun cotton yarn.
  • Since India was a British colony, the latter dictated its economic policies (raw cotton was shipped to supply British industry and machine-woven cotton fabrics began to be imported).




Situation by 1947:

  • Mass production was well established, and India’s own spinning and weaving mills took over the role of Lancashire in Britain.
  • American cotton varieties and their hybrids gradually replaced native ones and native varieties grew only in a few pocket





  • Cotton in India is grown largely by small farmers.
  • Farm practices shifted from sustainable, family-based agriculture to intense commercial farming.
  • Input costs rose because –
    • Seeds supplied by large multinational corporations are costly.
    • Use of fertiliser, pesticide and fungicide. American varieties → irrigation → increases humidity → encourages pests and fungi → adds to the cost of cultivation, but does not guarantee a good harvest.
  • Farmer indebtedness, impoverishment and suicides.
  • Diversity compromised – The machines needed a uniform kind of cotton, so the hundreds of varieties of Indian cotton (like the finest fabrics Dhaka muslins) lost importance.


Current scenario:

  • India is the largest producer (of 34.1 million bales (bales of 170 kg each) in 2021-22) of cotton globally.
  • It is a crop that holds significant importance for the Indian economy (grows over 11.7 million hectares in India compared to 31.2 million hectares globally) and the livelihood of about 60 million Indian farmers.
  • In 2020, India stood as the third highest exporter of raw cotton globally, amounting to US$ 6.3 billion (10.2% of the total global exports).
  • The government has been implementing various policy initiatives and schemes to encourage cotton spinning mills in the country. For example,
    • Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS)
    • Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme
    • SAMARTH (Scheme for Capacity Building in the Textile Sector)
    • Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA), etc.
  • However, the introduction of genetically modified seeds (Bt. cotton) is causing worry because its long-term impact on productivity and biodiversity is unknown.





Way ahead:

  • The world is looking for “green” industries.
  • As independent India turns 100 in @2047, handloom weaving located close to cotton fields can make it a world leader in sustainable production.




Best practice (The malkha process):

  • The process has pioneered yarn spinning suited to the small scale of handloom production, using the different cotton varieties grown in various regions of India to provide an alternative to the mass production of cotton yarn.
  • Malkha has also added natural dyeing of yarn to make its fabrics even more sustainable.

The textile sector in India:


India is one of the largest consumers and producers of cotton and jute in the world. 95% of the world’s hand-woven fabric comes from India. The Indian technical textiles segment is estimated at $16 bn, approximately 6% of the global market.


It is the 2nd largest employment provider after agriculture. India is 2nd largest manufacturer of PPE and producer of polyester, silk and fibre in the world.



The government has launched the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme to promote the production of MMF Apparel, MMF Fabrics and Products of Technical Textiles in the country to enable Textiles Industry to achieve size and scale and to become competitive.


Insta Links: Textile industry seeks govt support to stay competitive


Mains Links:

Q. Analyse the factors for the highly decentralised cotton textile industry in India. (UPSC 2013)



Content for Mains Enrichment

Guidelines for finance-based ranking of cities

  • It will evaluate urban units on 15 key parameters, including resource mobilisation, expenditure performance and fiscal governance.
  • Cities will be ranked as per the four population categories — above four million, between 1-4 million, between 100,000 to 1 million, and less than 100,000.
    • The top three cities in each population category will be recognised and rewarded at the national level as well as within each State or State cluster.



  • Motivate reforms: The rankings are aimed at motivating city and State officials to implement municipal financial reforms.
  • Inculcating Competition: A healthy sense of competition gives the best-performing cities a sense of pride.
  • Identifying reforms: The effort is also aimed at identifying areas in the financial performance of the cities where they can make further improvements.
  • Enabling quality infrastructure: This will enable them to deliver quality infrastructure and services, and hence a good quality of life to citizens.


A separate ranking:

A ‘City Beauty Competition’ initiative: This was to encourage and recognise the transformational efforts made by cities and wards in India towards creating beautiful, innovative and inclusive public spaces.

  • Parameters: In this ranking, wards and public places in cities will be judged against the five broad pillars of accessibility, amenities, activities, aesthetics, and ecology.


Pension scheme for Gig workers

India’s pension fund regulator (PFRDA) has recommended the federal government introduce a UK-like pension scheme for the country’s gig workers, a move aimed at bringing about 90 per cent of the overall workforce into the pension fold under the National Pension Scheme (NPS)

In a landmark UK Supreme Court ruling in February 2021, it declared that Uber’s tens of thousands of drivers were “workers”, as defined in legislation, and not independent contractors. This meant they were entitled to employment rights, including minimum pay and a pension.

Since then, the UK regulator has told that Employers are obliged to automatically enrol those identified as eligible workers into a pension and contribute a minimum of 3 per cent of their pensionable salary towards their retirement fund.

Since the ruling, Uber and most other companies have moved to reclassify their gig workers as workers, setting up a pension scheme as part of the process.


Stan Lee’s 100th birth anniversary


Stan Lee revolutionised the comic book world in the 1960s which is relevant even today. A writer, editor, publisher, Hollywood executive and tireless promoter (of Marvel and of himself), he played a critical role in what comics fans call the medium’s silver age. Lee passed away in 2018, aged 95.


His contributions:

  • Lee was a central player in the creation of many beloved characters in Marvel Comics, from the X-Men to Ironman and the Hulk.
  • Humanising his heroes: The success of Lee’s heroes was built on the interactions between the imperfections of their characters and their superhuman abilities.
  • Social awareness: For instance, with Black Panther, he created an African superhero with the comics often reflecting prevalent debates around race and racism.



Lee has often been faulted for not adequately acknowledging the contributions of his illustrators, especially Jack Kirby. Spider-Man became Marvel’s best-known property, but Steve Ditko, its co-creator, quit Marvel in bitterness in 1966. Kirby, who visually designed countless characters, left in 1969.

In September 2014, Marvel and the Kirby estate reached a settlement. Lee and Kirby now both receive credit on numerous screen productions based on their work.



Facts for Prelims:

Development of Pilgrimage Infrastructure at Bhadrachalam group of temples and Ramappa Temple

Source: PIB


Context: President Droupadi Murmu laid the foundation stone for the development of pilgrimage facilities at Bhadrachalam Group of Temples under the PRASHAD scheme at Telangana’s Bhadrachalam.


About the Bhadrachalam group of temples:

  • Lord Sree Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple in Bhadrachalam is a Hindu temple of Lord Rama located in Telangana, India.
  • The area is called Bhadrachalam and is the venue of grand celebrations on Rama Navami day when the wedding anniversary of Lord Rama and his consort Sita takes place with much fanfare.
  • Situated on the left bank of the Godavari River in the state of Telangana. It has a Dravidian style of architecture with an influence of Mughal Art.
  • It was constructed in the 17th Century by Bhakta Ramdasu (Popularly known as Bhakt Raamadaas)


About Ramappa Temple:

  • It was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire by Recherla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva.
  • The presiding deity here is Ramalingeswara Swamy.
  • It is also known as the Ramappa temple, after the sculptor who executed the work in the temple for 40 years.
  • The temple stands on a 6 feet high star-shaped platform with walls, pillars and ceilings adorned with intricate carvings that attest to the unique skill of the Kakatiya sculptors.
  • The foundation is built with the “sandbox technique”.
  • This temple has been recognised as India’s 39th UNESCO world heritage site.


Insta links: Ramappa Temple


‘Stay Safe Online’ Campaign and ‘G20 Digital Innovation Alliance’

Source: PIB

Context: As part of India’s G20 presidency, the Minister for Electronics & Information Technology, Communications and Railways, has launched the “Stay Safe Online” campaign and the “G20 Digital Innovation Alliance” (G20-DIA).

About Stay Safe Online Campaign:

  • To raise awareness among citizens to stay safe in the online world due to the widespread use of social media platforms and the rapid adoption of digital payments. The campaign will be carried out in English, Hindi and local languages to reach a wider audience.



About G20 Digital Innovation Alliance (G20-DIA)

  • The objective of the G20 Digital Innovation Alliance (G20-DIA) is to identify, recognize, and enable the adoption of innovative and impactful digital technologies developed by startups, from G20 nations as well as the invited non-member nations, which can address the needs of humanity in the critically important sectors of Agri-tech, Health-tech, Ed-tech, Fin-tech, Secured Digital Infrastructure, and Circular Economy.




Source: PIB

Context: Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited, a government of India Enterprise (under Ministry of Jal Shakti)  has been ranked as a top consulting firm in water and other infrastructure sectors by Asian Development Bank (ADB).

  • WAPCO (launched in 1969) has been given “Mini Ratna” company
  • WAPCOS is a leading technology-driven Consultancy and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) organization in the fields of Water Resources, Power and Infrastructure Development.
  • Apart from India, the Company has successfully completed/ongoing consultancy assignments in more than 51 Countries covering Asia, Africa, CIS, Pacific Islands and South America.



Brain-eating amoeba

Source: Indian Express

Context: South Korea on Monday reported its first case of infection from Naegleria fowleri or brain-eating amoeba.


What is Naegleria fowleri?

Naegleria is an amoeba, a single-celled organism, and only one of its species, called Naegleria fowleri, can infect humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was first discovered in Australia in 1965 and is commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such as hot springs, rivers and lakes.


How does it infect humans?

  • The amoeba enters the human body through the nose and then travels up to the brain. This can usually happen when someone goes for a swim, or dive or even when they dip their head in a freshwater body. In some cases, it was found that people got infected when they cleaned their nostrils with contaminated water.
  • It causes a dangerous infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), according to the CDC.



CrCoNi alloy

Source: The Hindu

Direction: This news came a few weeks back in the online Hindu Edition. We are covering it now.


 Context: An alloy made from chromium, cobalt and nickel has been found to be the toughest material ever recorded. And CrCoNi only gets tougher as the temperature drops.


Usages: It can be used to build structures which can withstand extremely cold conditions, such as those in deep space.


What makes it so tough?

The secret of the alloy’s strength lies in its internal structure.  When force is applied, a phenomenon called nanotwinning occurs, where portions of the lattice create a mirror symmetry with a border between them. If more force is applied, the CrCoNi atoms use this energy to rearrange the unit cells from a face-centred cubic crystal to hexagonal close packing, thus making the structure very hard.




What is an alloy?

An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a metal. Unlike chemical compounds with metallic bases, an alloy will retain all the properties of metal in the resulting material.


What are HEAs?

High-entropy alloys (HEAs) are alloys that are formed by mixing equal or relatively large proportions of (usually) five or more elements.

  • This equal mix makes the CrCoNialloy exceptionally strong and ductile when tested
  • Other alloys are made with high amounts of one element along with low amounts of others


Omega Centauri

Source: DST

Context: A strange class of high-temperature stars detected in the globular cluster Omega Centauri, the largest-known globular cluster in the Milky Way may provide clues to its formation.

  • Scientists at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics detected strange hot stars in the cluster using the Ultra Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) images on AstroSat (India’s first dedicated space observatory, which has been operating since 2015).


What are Globular clusters?

Globular clusters are spherical aggregates of several thousand to millions of stars bound by gravity. These systems are thought to have formed early on in the Universe and can serve as perfect astrophysical laboratories for astronomers to understand how stars evolve through various phases


What is Galaxy?

A galaxy is a system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter, bound together by gravity.

  • Milky Way, is stuffed with between 100 billion and 400 billion other stars, many of them with planets of their own. The Milky Way got its name from the way it looks from the ground: like a streak of spilt milk across the sky
  • Galileo Galilei 1st resolved the band of light into individual stars with his telescope in 1610


What is Omega Centauri?

Omega Centauri is a globular cluster in the constellation of Centaurus that was first identified as a non-stellar object by Edmond Halley in 1677. Located at a distance of 17,090 light-years, it is the largest-known globular cluster in the Milky Way at a diameter of roughly 150 light-years.




Five space exploration missions to look out for in 2023

Source: DTE

Context: 2023 is going to be an eventful year in the arena of space explorations.

Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer


European Space Agency (ESA)·         Europe’s first dedicated robotic mission to Jupiter.

·         The is set to launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice), to enter numerous flybys of its large icy moons: Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

·         After four years of moon flybys, Juice will then enter into orbit around Ganymede, the largest moon in the Solar System — becoming the first spacecraft ever to reach orbit around the moon of another planet.





SpaceXStarship will be the largest spacecraft capable of carrying humans from Earth to destinations in space. It will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever to fly, capable of lifting 100 tonnes of cargo to Low Earth orbit.


dearMoonSpaceXIt will take public on a six-day trip around the Moon and back.

It will be the first true deep space tourism launch.


Asteroid explorer returns to Earth – The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security — Regolith Explorer, mercifully more commonly known as OSIRIS-REx,NASASamples from Asteroid Bennu, will be ‘Parcel Dropped’ back to earth. It is believed to have broken off from a much larger asteroid in the first 10 million years of the Solar System.


India’s private space launchSkyroot AerospaceSkyroot’s first satellite launch is planned for 2023, with a goal of undercutting the cost of private space launch rivals by producing its 3D-printed rockets in a matter of days.



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