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. How climate change fuels tropical cyclones
2. Geology to unplanned construction: Decoding why Joshimath is sinking
GS Paper 2:
1. Asian Ageing society
GS Paper 4:
1. Values that make us Human
Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay/ Governance)
1. Manpreet Monica Singh
Facts for Prelims
1. Kangla Nongpok Thong
2. Parshuram Kund Festival
3. Airglow makes sky green, yellow and red too
4. World’s longest river cruise ‘Ganga Vilas’
5. Decadal Census to be delayed again
6. BIND Scheme
7. 1st Advance Estimates
8. Technical Textiles
9. IISER Pune’s new material removes pollutants from water
10. PEOPLE’S Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) and Resistance Front declared a terrorist group
How climate change fuels tropical cyclones
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Geophysical Phenomenon
Source: The Hindu
Context: It is clear that climate change increases the upper limit on hurricane strength and rain rate and that it also raises the average sea level and therefore storm surge.
Factors that fuels tropical cyclones:
Rainfall: Temperature has a clear influence
- The temperature of both the ocean and atmosphere are critical to hurricane development.
- Hurricanes are powered by the release of heat when water that evaporates from the ocean’s surface condenses into the storm’s rain.
- A warmer ocean produces more evaporation, which means more water is available to the atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water, which allows more rain.
- More rain means more heat is released, and more heat released means stronger winds.
- The rise in water at a coast caused by a storm – is related to a number of factors including storm speed, storm size, wind direction and coastal sea bottom topography. Climate change could have at least two important influences.
Difference between cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons.
Favourable condition for formation of tropical cyclones
Q. Tropical cyclones are largely confined to South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. Why? (UPSC CSE MAINS 2014)
Geology to unplanned construction: Decoding why Joshimath is sinking
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Important Geophysical Phenomena/Disaster Management
Direction: The article examines the causes of the recent incidents of land subsidence in Joshimath, as well as the preventive measures that are required.
- The Uttarakhand government has banned construction work in and around Joshimath due to land subsidence, which has resulted in cracks in over 560 homes, prompting panicked locals to protest.
- Joshimath is the starting point for many Himalayan Mountain climbing expeditions, pilgrimage sites such as Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib
- It is the location of one of Adi Shankara’s four cardinal monasteries.
Science behind the subsidence:
- Also known as Jyotirmath, it is a town (of over 20,000 population) in the Garhwal Himalayas in Chamoli District in Uttarakhand, located on the NH-7 (Rishikesh-Badrinath) at an altitude of 1890
- It is situated in the middle slopes of a hill bounded by the Karmanasa and Dhaknala streams on the west and the east and the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers on the south and the north.
- According to the Mishra Commission report (1976), the first instance of subsidence in Joshimath was reported way back in 1976 and the town is –
- Located on the site of ancient landslides
- Covered with thick layer of overburden material
- The town area is prone to landslides and highly vulnerable to sinking due to scattered and highly weathered gneissic rocks with a low bearing capacity and loose soil due to seepage from streams uphill.
Extreme weather events:
- Flood events of June 2013 and February 2021 (flooding of Rishi Ganga) had adverse impact on the landslide zone as a result of extreme erosion.
- According to the latest satellite data, mountain streams have expanded their channels and changed course, thereby inducing more slope instability in an already fragile belt.
- According to the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA), Joshimath falls in Zone V of the Seismic Zonation Map and has witnessed several earthquakes of magnitude of less than 5 on the Richter scale.
- Joshimath being on a fault line makes it highly vulnerable to sinking because of tectonic activity.
- The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is building the Helang bypass that will reduce the distance to Badrinath shrine by about 30 km, using heavy machinery.
- Hydroelectric (HE) schemes have been sanctioned around Joshimath and Tapovan, including the Vishnugad HE Project and a tunnel boring machine (TBM) was employed for excavating the tunnel for the project.
- In 2009, it punctured a water-bearing strata and experts had warned that this sudden and large-scale dewatering of the strata had the potential of initiating ground subsidence in the region.
Improper water drainage: According to the USDMA, this could be the reason for increase in ground seepage of water from the surface, which is a probable cause for subsidence.
|● Relocating residents to a safer place.
● Experts recommend that all development and hydroelectric projects in the region be halted completely.
|● The town’s planning must be reimagined to accommodate the new variables and changing geographical factors.
● One of the most important factors that needs to be studied and redeveloped is drainage and sewer planning.
● Experts have also suggested replanting in the region, particularly in vulnerable areas, to retain soil capacity.
Conclusion: To save Joshimath, the government and civil bodies must work together, with the assistance of military organisations such as the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
Q escribe the various causes and the effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the National Landslide Risk Management Strategy. (UPSC 2021)
Asian Ageing society
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Indian Society/ Social justice
Context: With populations across East Asia declining and fewer young people entering the workforce, workers are working well into their 70s and beyond.
Impact of an ageing society:
- On Finance: Early retirement ages have bloated the pension bills, making it difficult for governments in Asia to pay retirees enough money.
- On Workplace: Companies desperately need workers, and older employees desperately need the work. Thereby the working age has gone beyond 70 years.
- On rising poverty: In South Korea, the poverty rate among older people is close to 40 per cent
- On Jobs: Many older workers engage in precarious, low-wage contract jobs after being forced out of their long-term employment by low retirement ages.
- On Successions Plans: Many owners of firms in Japan in their mid-seventies have chosen to accelerate plans to either hand over control or watch their cherished firms disappear.
- As a consequence, Japan faces the most extensive evaporation of know-how and institutional memory in modern history.
What is ageing?
Ageing is an irreversible, continuous, universal process, by which an individual’s productive contribution declines.
Status of Ageing in India?
- India is ageing much faster than previously thought and is expected to have nearly 20% population of the world’s 60 years.
- This will increase India’s dependency ratio from 9.8 (one of the lowest currently) to 20.3
What is Active Ageing?
Active ageing is a concept (deployed by the European Commission and WHO) for longer activity, with a higher retirement age and working practices adapted to the age of the employee. It sees the ageing population as the demographic dividend
Some of the Government measures for Elderly Population
Steps taken for Active ageing:
- Community support: Germany is one of the super-aged societies but the Elderly are organized into community participants. They take care of children, discuss the important matter and suggest policy initiatives in their community meetings
- Trade Union support: In Japan and South Korea, temporary job agencies and unions have formed to support older labourers.
- Government support: The Japanese government now provides subsidies to small- and medium-sized companies that install accommodations for older workers, such as additional railings on staircases or extra rest areas for workers.
- Increasing Retirement Age: Ireland plans to increase the retirement age to 68 years by 2028.
- Catering to the problems of elderly women: By ensuring women’s property and inheritance rights, promoting literacy rate among elder women, and paying special attention to the rights of marginalized and Transgender women
- Technology measures
- Use of Data-driven policy for more age-inclusive government interventions:g. Data on old-age homeless persons can help decide the number of Old Age Homes required in the area
- Technological empowerment of the elderly: Integrating older persons with digital technologies will help them become self-dependent on their needs.
- g. PMGDISHA can be extended for the digital literacy of Elderly persons
- Japan is using robots for elderly care. e.g., Paro, a robot seal made in Japan can be used to mitigate loneliness and dementia in the Elderly
- Tele-Health can be used for elderly care in far and remote areas
- Financial security
- Enhancing Social security of the Elderly: Experts say that pension for the elderly is currently too meagre and should be at least 50% more than the minimum wage for older persons.
- Also, Pensions must be indexed to inflation
- CSR funds can be incorporated to support elderly care
- A Universal Pension scheme for the elderly will help reduce the fiscal burden for elderly care as well as create a culture of long-term saving and investments
- Enhancing Social security of the Elderly: Experts say that pension for the elderly is currently too meagre and should be at least 50% more than the minimum wage for older persons.
- Behavioural change: By treating Elders as an asset to society and using innovative means such as Switzerland’s Time-Bank
- Under this bank, young people bank their time by taking care of seniors which they can utilize when they get old or fall sick or need someone to take care of them
Thus India faces unprecedented population ageing due to lengthening lifespans, but this also presents an opportunity for India to bring about complex and ambitious changes in health, fiscal and social policies. Active ageing should be a government priority together with making a long-term policy for Old age. The Elderly in India report 2021 by MOSPI is a welcome step in this regard.
Q. India is ageing much faster than previously thought, but unlike many countries, preparation for active ageing is not a priority in India. Highlighting the statement, suggest various measures to address the challenge posed by unprecedented population ageing. (15M)
Values that make us Human
GS Paper 4
Syllabus: Human Values
Context: Rising incidents of brutality in society (E.g. Shraddha Murder Case, Delhi – Hit and Drag case) have questioned our understanding regarding Human Values.
What is Value?
Value means the worth or utility of a thing.
According to Rokeach, “Value is an enduring belief, a specific mode of conduct or an end state of existence, along a continuum of relative importance.”
What are Human Values?
When we associate the worth or utility of human attributes in life or personality, we refer to them as Human Values. Simply put, values which make us Human.
It promotes harmonious living as well as guides our relationship with the environment across.
In this article, we will be emphasising on value of service to humanity.
Value of service to humanity
Example: Mother Teresa
- One of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century, she devoted her life serving the poorest of the poor. She was a ray of hope for many, including the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families.
- In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.” She didn’t attend the ceremonial banquet but asked that the $192,000 fund be given to the poor.
- Mother Teresa was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, on January 25, 1980, for her humanitarian work.
Example: COVID Pandemic
- This sense of service as key to the human relationship got sharply defined during the pandemic. To care for and serve somebody without any prejudice or immediate interest became the calling card of compassion.
- The values of interpersonal relationships, community bonding, and intrapersonal relationships emerged larger than life.
- Swami Vivekananda affirmed that “if one wants to find God, serve man. To reach Narayana, one must serve the Daridra Narayan.”
Why do we study Human Values as aspiring bureaucrats?
- Governance is based on the ideals of justice, transparency, and the spirit of civil service. It is expected that a civil servant must carry those human feelings or attributes which can do justice and take care of the needs of the last person in society.
- A civil servant must exhibit the values of empathy, transparency, trust, integrity, courage, and many other human values in the execution or decision-making process.
- Human values are equally needed even in policy formulation.
Mains Link: UPSC 2018
Q. State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil services and bring out their importance.
Content for Mains Enrichment
Manpreet Monica Singh
Indian-origin Manpreet Monica Singh has been sworn in as a Harris county judge (US), becoming the first female Sikh judge in the US. Singh was born and raised in Houston and now lives in Bellaire with her husband and two children. There are an estimated 500,000 Sikhs in the US.
“When they see someone of colour, someone a little different, they know that possibility is available to them. Manpreet is not only an ambassador for Sikhs, but she’s an ambassador for all women of colour.”
Kangla Nongpok Thong
Context: The Prime Minister has congratulated the people of Manipur on opening of Kangla Nongpok Thong in the state.
The development came after Union home minister opened the eastern gate of the fort.
About Kangla Nongpok Thong:
- The Nongpok Thong was dismantled by the British after the 1891 Anglo-Manipur War.
- The opening of Kangla Nongpok Thong has a very important cultural significance.
- The Eastern Gate of Kangla is considered to be the pathway to peace, prosperity and happiness for the people of Manipur.
Parshuram Kund Festival
Context: The Prime Minister has shared glimpses of Parshuram Kund Festival in Arunachal Pradesh.
About Parshuram Kund:
A Hindu pilgrimage on the Brahmaputra plateau in the lower reaches of the Lohit River.
Religious importance: Dedicated to sage Parshuram
- The project “Development of Parasuram Kund, Lohit District Arunachal Pradesh” was approved by the Ministry of Tourism in January 2021.
- The project is sanctioned under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’(PRASHAD) Scheme of Ministry of Tourism.
Airglow makes sky green, yellow and red too
Source: The Hindu
Context: The night sky is dark but it glows itself in a coloured mix of green, yellow and red.
The glow produced by atoms and molecules in the atmosphere is called airglow.
The distinct colours of airglow are the result of atoms and molecules releasing particular amounts of energy (quanta) in the form of light.
In visible light,
- Oxygen produces green and red light.
- Hydroxyl (OH) molecules produce red light.
- Sodium produces a sickly yellow.
- Nitrogen does not contribute much to airglow.
At high altitudes ultraviolet light can split oxygen molecules (O₂) into pairs of oxygen atoms.
When these oxygen atoms later recombine into oxygen molecules, they produce a distinct green light.
Sodium atoms make up a minuscule fraction of our atmosphere, but they make up a big part of airglow.
These sodium atoms in atmosphere unusually originates from the smoke trails of shooting stars.
World’s longest river cruise ‘Ganga Vilas’
Context: The launch of world’s longest river cruise with MV Ganga Vilas from Varanasi to Dibrugarh via Bangladesh by the Prime Minister will herald a new age of river cruise tourism for India.
- The MV Ganga Vilas cruise is a first-of-its-kind cruise service. With support from the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) under Ministry of Shipping, Ports and Waterways (MoPSW).
Significant spots of its itinerary: The trip includes many major spots of historical, cultural, and religious importance like “Ganga Arti” in Varanasi, Sarnath, Mayong, and Majuli in Assam. Travelers will also get a chance to see Sunderban’s famous for Royal Bengal Tigers, and Kaziranga National Park, known for one horn rhino.
Decadal Census to be delayed again
Source: Indian Express
Context: As per the Registrar General of India (RGI), the Census enumeration scheduled to take place in 2021 has been further pushed to 2024-25 until further orders due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.
- RGI has also extended the deadline for freezing administrative boundaries to June 30, 2023.
- As per the norms, the census can be conducted only 3 months after the freezing of boundary limits of administrative units ( e.g. districts, sub-districts, tehsils etc.)
- The origin of the Census in India goes back to the colonial exercise of 1881
The Bihar government started the first phase of the caste-based survey in the State on 7th Jan 2023.
What is the Socio-economic survey of all castes and communities (SECC)?
SECC was conducted in 2011 for the first time since 1931 to canvass every Indian family, both in rural and urban India, and ask about their Economic status and their specific caste name.
Importance of SECC: It will allow Central and State authorities to come up with a range of indicators of social and economic deprivation to define a poor or deprived person.
What is the difference Between Census & SECC?
Census provides data about the Indian population. Since the Census falls under the Census Act of 1948, all data are considered confidential
However, SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support and all the personal information given in the SECC is open for use by Government departments to grant and/or restrict benefits to households.
Consider the following statements: ( UPSC 2009)
- Between Census 1951 and Census 2001, the density of the population of India has increased more than three times.
- Between the Census of 1951 and the Census of 2001, the annual growth rate (exponential) of the population of India has doubled.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
The population density of India in 2001 was 324 persons per square kilometre and in 1951 it was 117.
The average Annual Growth Rate in 2001 was 1.93 whereas in 1951 it was 1.25. Thus, it increased, but not doubled.
Source: India Today
Context: Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND) is a central sector Scheme (100% Central funding) to modernize the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati (under which comes All India Radio (AIR), Door darshan (DD) and other channels)
- To widen Prasar Bharati’s reach, including in the LWE (Left Wing Extremism), border and strategic areas and provide high-quality content to the viewers.
- To increase the coverage of AIR FM in the country to 66% by geographical area and 80% by population (currently 59% and 68% respectively)
- Free distribution of over 8 lahks DD Free Dish STBs (Set Top Box) to people living in remote, tribal, LWE and border areas.
Importance of Prasar Bharati?
Prasar Bharati, as the public broadcaster of the country, is the most important vehicle of information, education, entertainment and engagement for the people, especially in the remote areas of the country through Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR).
1st Advance Estimates
Source: Live Mint
Context: As per NSO’s 1st Advance estimates ( under Ministry of Statistics), India’s GDP may grow 7% for 2022-23
1st Advance estimate (1st introduced in 2016-17) is the 1st official advance estimate of expected GDP growth in the current year. Union Finance minister uses this 1st advance estimate to decide the next financial year’s budget allocations.
Structure of under Ministry of Statistics
Context: Ministry of Textiles has issued guidelines (under the National Technical Textiles Mission) for:
- Enabling Academic Institute and degrees (graduate and Postgraduate) in technical textiles
- Grant for Internship Support in Technical Textiles (GIST)
What are technical textiles?
They are functional fabrics that have applications across various industries including automobiles, civil engineering and construction, agriculture, healthcare, industrial safety, personal protection etc.
- Based on usage, there are 12 technical textile segments: Agrotech, Meditech, Buildtech, Mobiltech, Clothtech, Oekotech, Geotech, Packtech, Hometech, Protech, Indutech and Sportech.
- The penetration level of technical textiles is low in India varying between 5-10% against the level of 30-70% in developed countries.
- The biggest players are the USA, western Europe, China and Japan (20-40% share).
What is the National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM)?
It was approved in 2020 for four years period (FY 2020-21 to FY 2023-24) to position India as a global leader in Technical Textiles.
- It further aims to increase the domestic market size of technical textiles from USD 40 billion to USD 50 billion by 2024.
- It has four components: R&D; Development of the market for technical textiles; export promotion, and focus on education, training and skill development.
IISER Pune’s new material removes pollutants from water
Source: The Hindu
Context: Team at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune came up with a custom-designed unique molecular sponge-like material — macro/microporous ionic organic framework, which can swiftly clean, polluted water by soaking up contaminants.
How does it work:
- Commonly utilised sorbent materials often trap these pollutants through ion-exchange strategy to purify water but suffer from poor kinetics and specificity. To mitigate this issue, IISER has prepared a newly engineered material called viologen-unit grafted organic-framework (iVOFm).
- The material employs amalgamation of electrostatics driven ion-exchange combined with nanometer-sized macropores and specific binding sites for the targeted pollutants. The size and number of tunable macropores along with the strong electrostatic interaction of iVOFm can quickly remove various toxic pollutants from water.
- The fast pollutant trapping capacity is attributed to faster diffusion of pollutants through the ordered interconnected presence of macropores in the material.
- This cationic compound is adaptable for sequestering various pollutants and is a possible solution to the water pollution problem.
PEOPLE’S Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) and Resistance Front declared a terrorist group
Context: THE PEOPLE’S Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) (an affiliate of Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and The Resistance Front (TRF) (an off-shoot of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)) were declared as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967, by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
What is TRF?
TRF began as an online entity in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 and the revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It soon launched its on-ground activities together with other groups such as Tehreek-e-Millat Islamia and Ghaznavi Hind, apart from the Lashkar.
What is PAFF?
According to a notification issued by the MHA, the PAFF emerged in 2019 as a proxy outfit of JeM, a proscribed terrorist organisation.
- Both organizations have been formed as a front organization to deflect the global attention from LeT and JeM activities. Previously, FATF had put Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ for terror funding.
About UAPA Act:
This act gives power to the government to declare any organization as an “unlawful association” or a “terrorist organization”.
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