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 ina 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:
- Does the anti-defection law need changes?
- Giving data its due: National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP)
GS Paper 3:
- India’s R&D estimates are an incomplete picture
- The third patient is cured of HIV: How did this happen and what are its implications?
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
- Examples of Sustainability
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- Kanak Rele
- What are the Sansad Ratna Awards?
- Extension of 22nd Law Commission
- Neutral citation system
- Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
- MOU between IFC-IOR and RCOC
- Virtual trade corridor
- Perpetual funds
- Social Stock Exchange
- 1st indigenously developed ATS system
- Blue foods can help India improve nutrition, livelihood: Study
- Environment Ministry seeks report on Kaziranga rhino estimation
- Jaipur Declaration
Does the anti-defection law need changes?
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure
Context: Maharashtra political controversy cases that are currently pending before the SC will have wide consequences as they raise certain fundamental issues about the working of India’s “anti-defection law”.
- Last year, the ruling MVA coalition lost power after an internal splintering of the Shiv Sena party.
- A faction then joined hands with the BJP to form the new ruling coalition and the disputes between the various parties have been continuing since then.
The Tenth Schedule:
|Anti-defection law||What leads to defection?||Deciding authority|
|● It punishes individual MPs/MLAs for leaving one party for another to bring stability to governments.
● However, it allows a group (at least 2/3rd) of MP/MLAs to join/merge with another political party without inviting the penalty for defection.
● The Parliament of India added it to the Constitution as the Tenth Schedule in 1985 (52nd Amendment).
|● When legislators are elected on the ticket of one political party –
○ Voluntarily give up membership of that party or
○ Vote in the legislature against the party’s wishes.
● When an independent MP/MLA joins a party later.
● A nominated legislator can join a political party within six months of being appointed to the House and not after such time.
|● The Presiding Officers of the Legislature – Speaker, Chairman.
● However, the law does not provide a time frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case
● The SC held that, Ideally, the Speakers/Chairman should take a decision on a defection petition within 3 months.
● Legislators can challenge the decisions before the higher judiciary.
The working of the 10th Schedule:
- Innumerable instances of governments being “toppled” mid-term.
- Power-politics and intra-party dissent.
- Mass resignations (instead of defections) to force a fresh election.
- Partisan actions by State Governors with respect to swearing-in ceremonies and the timing of floor tests.
- Partisan actions by Speakers – refusing to decide disqualification petitions/acting in undue haste.
- In effect, the 10th Schedule has been reduced to a nullity, governments that do not have clear majorities are vulnerable.
The challenging task before the court:
- Has to adjudicate the actions of a number of constitutional functionaries: Governors, Speakers, legislative party leaders, and elected representatives.
- It does not have the liberty of presuming dishonesty.
- It must maintain an institutional arm’s-length from the political actors and adjudicate according to legalities.
SC’s judgments on defection:
- In the Kihoto Hollohan case (1992), the SC upheld the sweeping discretion available to the Speaker in deciding cases of disqualification of MLAs.
- In the Nabam Rebia judgment (2016), the SC held that the Speaker cannot decide on a disqualification petition while a notice under Article 179(c) for the Speaker’s removal is pending.
- In the Keisham Meghachandra case (2020),
The politicians are cunning enough to find loopholes in the 10th Schedule as well as the SC judgments. Therefore, the SC should not leave any stone unturned this time.
The role of individual MPs (Members of Parliament) has diminished over the years and as a result, healthy constructive debates on policy issues are not usually witnessed. How far can this be attributed to the anti-defection law, which was legislated but with a different intention? (UPSC 2013)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2014)
Which one of the following Schedules of the Constitution of India contains provisions regarding anti-defection?
- Second Schedule
- Fifth Schedule
- Eighth Schedule
- Tenth Schedule
Giving data its due: National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP)
GS Paper 2
Context: The government of India is drawing up a data ecosystem (through NDAP) thus enabling policy-makers and researchers to exploit the potential of public data
About National Data & Analytics Platform (NDAP) (NDAP):
The National Data & Analytics Platform (NDAP) was launched in 2022 by NITI Aayog in collaboration with different ministries and state governments in India.
- NDAP aims to democratize access to public government data by making it accessible, interoperable, interactive, and available on a user-friendly platform for various stakeholders such as policymakers, civil servants, university students and researchers, journalists, innovators, and civil society groups.
- It has been part of the State Support Mission of NITI Aayog
- Lack of uniformity in data format and no interoperability: The need to bring NDAP arose because public data in India was difficult to use, and users couldn’t compare data from different departments or data gathered over time due to differences in format and quality.
- Implications of rising digital Technologies: The rise of data and digital technologies is rapidly transforming economies and societies, with enormous implications for governments’ daily operations.
How NDAP solves these issues?
NDAP solves these issues by providing a user-friendly platform that presents standardized datasets from central and state government entities and provides tools for analytics and visualization.
For example, A state-level civil servant building new primary health centres can easily find and integrate three public datasets:
- Health department’s Management Information System (MIS): List of communities with existing PHCs
- Economic Census from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI): To get a list of communities with private health facilities
- The Population Census from the Registrar General of India (RGI): To prioritize villages based on size
With NDAP, the decision-maker can access the data from all three sources seamlessly linked into a single dataset, saving time and effort. NDAP can leverage data to strengthen good governance by making it easier to access and analyze public data.
Significance of NDAP
- Enables linking and use of several types of data at once.
- The standardized dataset enables merging and cross-sectoral analysis.
- Simplifies the data for it to be used by the government, academia, journalism, civil society, and the private sector
- Customizes data as per the need: Users can create flexible tables and visualizations
- Quality benchmark datasets: Data shown has to meet NDAP’s in-house 5-star rating framework.
- Enables data-driven governance and programme outcomes for the common public
To know about Data gathering by public agencies: Click here
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s policy around open data
- The Open Government Data (OGD) PlatformIndia (by National Informatics Centre (NIC))
- National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) 2012: To provide proactive access to government-owned shareable data along with its usage information.
- India currently houses more than 1.6 lakh data resourcesand has published over 4,015 application programme interfaces (APIs) from across 100-plus departments.
To know about Open Data Government: Click here
NDAP was developed in the spirit of cooperative federalism, ensuring that all states are equal partners in the journey of becoming champions of data-driven policymaking. NDAP has now been included in the curriculum of officer trainees at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. It will enable incoming government officers to develop a data-driven decision-making mindset from their first field job. Overall, NDAP has the potential to be an open data platform that can play a vital role in facilitating data-driven governance in India.
MeitY invites proposals to estimate the size of India’s digital economy
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has invited proposals for estimating the size of India’s digital economy and the rankings and measurement of the share of states in this area.
- The government released a report in 2019 stating that digital transformation could create $1 trillion in economic value in 2025, with $390-500 billion coming from digital applications in core sectors like agriculture, health, and education.
Stats on digitalization:
- India is among the top three global economies in the number of digital consumers.
- India has one of the fastest rates of growth in digital adoption.
- Restricting cash-based transactions can efficiently expel the black economy.
What is the CyberDome Project? Explain how it can be useful in controlling internet crimes in India. (UPSC 2019)
In addition to fingerprint scanning, which of the following can be used in the biometric identification of a person?
- Iris scanning
- Retinal scanning
- Voice recognition
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
India’s R&D estimates are an incomplete picture
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Science and Technology
Context: India’s R&D expenditure-GDP ratio of 0.7% is very low when compared to major economies and is much below the world average of 1.8%.
Main reasons behind India’s low R&D expenditure-GDP ratio:
- Low investment by the corporate sector: While the corporate sector accounts for about 2/3rd of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) in leading economies, its share in India is just 37%.
- Low investment by MNCs: For example, US-based MNCs spent $9.5 billion (₹649.7 billion) on R&D in India in 2018, which increased to $9.8 billion (₹690.2 billion) in the following year.
Issues with the current system:
- The National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS) of the DST is the agency that compiles GERD statistics in India.
- The NSTMIS relies on the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) list of recognised R&D units and the database of the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd. for this purpose.
- It is easier to gather information on R&D from the government sector, the higher education sector and public sector enterprises, but not for the private corporate sector.
Key factors making the official R&D estimates grossly inadequate:
- The DSIR list may not have many of the actual R&D performers since they may not be inclined to register themselves for two reasons:
○ They consider government incentives are not attractive enough
○ Some firms are sensitive about sharing critical information
- Some R&D firms in services such as software find it difficult to meet the requirement of having separate infrastructure for R&D to distinguish it from their usual business.
- Some of the leading Indian enterprises in new technology areas and foreign R&D centres are not covered.
- For example, SigTuple Technologies, which is a leading start-up in India focusing on AI-based HealthTech, is unlisted in both databases.
Way ahead for transforming India’s R&D statistics:
- The NSTMIS should use the patents granted data, in addition to its current method to identify R&D-performing enterprises.
- Annual R&D estimates can be prepared from mandatory disclosures that the enterprises are required to make to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
- Technologies can be used like in the case of revamped IT return forms where various sections are interlinked.
- Proper disclosure of information to regulatory agencies.
The third patient is cured of HIV: How did this happen and what are its implications?
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Science and Technology: Biotechnology
Source: Indian Express, Nature
Context: The man referred to as the “Dusseldorf patient” became the third person to have been “cured of HIV” after a bone marrow transplant carrying a specific HIV-resistant – CCR5 delta 32 genetic mutation.
What is CCR5 mutation and how does it fight off HIV?
- HIV mainly targets and damages CD4 immune cells in the body, reducing the body’s ability to defend against infections. The virus enters the CD4 cells through CCR5 receptors on their surface, but the CCR5-delta 32 mutation prevents the formation of these receptors, making it impossible for HIV to enter the cells. (Refer to the infographic given below)
- Only 1% of people worldwide have two copies of the CCR5-delta 32 mutation, while 20% of people have one copy of the mutation, which is more common in those of European ancestry. People with the mutation are highly resistant to HIV infection.
Current treatments for HIV:
- There are no cures for the infection at present, but the disease can be managed using antiretroviral therapy.
- These medicines suppress the replication of the virus within the body, allowing the number of CD4 immune cells to bounce back.
- If left untreated, the virus destroys a person’s immune system and they are said to be in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome stage (AIDS) where they get several opportunistic infections that may result in death.
Earlier works on the CCR5 gene:
- A Chinese scientist edited the genomes of twins to remove this CCR5 gene in an attempt to make them immune to HIV. Their father was living with HIV.
- He faced immediate backlash from the scientific community and legal action. This is because guidelines for genetic editing prohibit germ-line editing – editing a genome that can be passed from one generation to the other – as the editing techniques are not very precise and the long-term consequences of such editing are unknown.
Why is there so much activity in the field of biotechnology in our country? How has this activity benefitted the field of biopharma? (UPSC 2018)
What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology? How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of society? (UPSC 2021)
Prelims Link: UPSC 2020
Consider the following statements:
- Genetic changes can be introduced in the cells that produce eggs or sperm of a prospective parent.
- A person’s genome can be edited before birth at the early embryonic stage.
- Human-induced pluripotent stem cells can be injected into the embryo of a pig.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
Examples of Sustainability
Example 1: Mud Brick Home
Jegatheesan A, a civil engineer from Tamil Nadu, India, built a mud brick home called ‘Thaimann Veedu’ which means mother earth in Tamil, to preserve traditional mud houses and showcase their strength as a building material.
- He used recycled materials such as wood and metals for the construction of his sustainable home.
- The house is designed to keep it cooler in summer and warmer in winter, with breathable walls that minimize the usage of ACs or fans.
- The house also has a 20,000-litre rainwater harvesting tank, a terrace garden, and an oxide floor.
- Maximum use of Natural light, hence reducing the cost of electricity bills to as low as Rs 20 or Rs 30 every two months.
- The 1,000 sqft two-storied house is made without cutting even a single tree, and all the window frames, doors, etc are made from reused wood.
Example 2: Packaging
Global beverage brand Pernod Ricard in India announced in May 2022, the removal of permanent mono-cartons from their packaging.
- They have launched an environment-first campaign #OneForOurPlanet that is inspiring consumers to make eco-conscious purchase decisions about Biodegradable packaging or no packaging
Usage: Both examples can be used for sustainable living and recycling.
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: Classical dance legend Kanak Rele and the Mohiniyattam exponent passed away
- She was known as one of India’s most inventive classical dancers and pioneering dance educationists
- She brought a systematic structure, academic veracity and much currency to Mohiniyattam
- She propagated female roles in Kathakali
- In 1977, she earned her PhD in dance, the first in India
- She was awarded the first Guru Gopinath National Puraskaram by the Government of Kerala
- She was awarded various awards including Padma Shri (1989), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1994), M. S. Subbulakshmi Award, Kalidas Samman (2006), and Padma Bhushan (2013)
What are the Sansad Ratna Awards?
Context: The PM of India congratulated fellow Members of Parliament (MPs) who will be conferred the Sansad Ratna Awards 2023.
The Sansad Ratna Awards:
- They were instituted in 2010, inspired by the teachings of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who launched the first edition of the Award function in Chennai.
- They seek to recognise and felicitate the top-performing MPs on the basis of their work in the apex legislative body.
- Its jury committee comprises eminent Parliamentarians and members of civil society and was chaired by the MoS, Parliamentary Affairs and co-chaired by T S Krishnamurthy (Former Chief Election Commissioner of India).
- The Awards are not given by the Government of India. It is the Prime Point Foundation which runs the awards show.
Extension of 22nd Law Commission
Context: The government has approved the extension of the term of the twenty-second Law Commission of India up to August 31, 2024.
- The 22nd law panel was constituted for three years on February 21, 2020
Neutral citation system
Context: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) announced that the SC will adopt a “neutral citation system” for its judgments.
What is a “citation”?
- A case citation is essentially an identification tag for a judgment and it would contain a reference number, the year of the judgment, the name of the court, etc.
- For example, for the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case, the citation is AIR 1973 SC 1461.
What is a neutral citation?
- A neutral citation would mean that the court would assign its own citation (distinct from those given by traditional Law Reporters), enabling a uniform citation.
- Law Reporters are periodicals or annual digests that publish judgments, often with an editorial note to make it accessible for lawyers to refer to precedents.
- The Delhi, Kerala, and Madras HCs have already introduced neutral citations.
Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
Context: The National Health Authority (NHA) under its flagship Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) introduced the Scan and Share (QR-code-based) service for faster OPD registrations in 2022.
How has this initiative performed?
Within five months of its launch, the service has been adopted by 365 hospitals and has helped over 5 lakh patients save time by drastically reducing wait times.
MOU between IFC-IOR and RCOC
Context: In order to further the existing cooperation in the realm of maritime safety and security, IFC-IOR signed an MoU with Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC), Seychelles.
Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean region (IFC-IOR):
- It is hosted by the Indian Navy and was established by the Government of India at Gurugram in 2018.
- It seeks to enhance collaborative maritime safety and security in the IOR in line with India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
- To enable better correlation, compressed information cycles and timely inputs, IFC-IOR also hosts International Liaison Officers (ILOs) from partner nations.
The Maritime Security Architecture in the Western Indian Ocean: It is implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and is supported by –
- The Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC),
- The RCOC and
- The national centres of the seven signatory countries (Comoros, Djibouti, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles).
Virtual trade corridor
Context: India and the UAE are exploring creating a virtual trade corridor to facilitate the quicker clearance of shipments
- Under the proposal, approvals and clearances related to customs will be given online on both sides.
- It will allow the customs authorities of the two countries to access pre-arrival information for cargo movement, thereby making cross-validation of information significantly faster and facilitating the pre-clearance of goods.
What is a Virtual Trade corridor?
A virtual trade corridor is an online platform that enables faster and more efficient customs clearance for international trade between two countries.
- It will complement the bilateral comprehensive free trade agreement signed between India and the UAE in 2022
- The agreement immediately eliminated duties for 90% of India’s exports in value terms covering sectors like gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, and engineering goods.
- The two countries estimate non-oil trade to reach $100 billion over the five-year period after the implementation of the free trade agreement
- It will cut the cost and time for customs clearance and speed up bilateral trade.
As per RBI, after Russia, trade settlement in the Indian rupee will soon be possible with the UAE, Malaysia and Nigeria.
For more information on trade settlement in Rupee: Read Here
Context: Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is deliberating on allowing permanent capital vehicles (PCVs), evergreen or perpetual funds.
What are Perpetual Funds?
Unlike traditional funds which have a finite tenure, perpetual funds don’t have a maturity date. These funds are aimed at long-term investors such as pension funds and insurance firms which do not want the return of capital but regular income.
- PCVs can be of various types, including limited partnerships traded publicly on an exchange, real estate investment trusts, closed-ended funds, interval funds and variable funds such as annuities and life insurance.
Social Stock Exchange
Context: The National Stock Exchange of India has received final approval from SEBI to launch a Social Stock Exchange (SSE) as a separate segment of the NSE.
- Aim: To provide new avenues for social enterprises to finance social initiatives, provide them visibility, and bring in increased transparency in fund mobilisation and utilisation.
- Eligibility: Any social enterprise, Non-Profit Organization (NPOs), or For-Profit Social Enterprise (FPE) that establishes its primacy of social intent can get registered/listed on the SSE segment.
- The SSE will allow social enterprises to raise capital as equity, debt, or as units like a mutual fund.
- The minimum issue size is set at INR 1 crore, and the minimum application size for subscription is INR 2 lakhs for Zero Coupon Zero Principal (ZCZP) issuance.
What is ZCZP?
These are financial instruments that any non-profit organisation can use to raise funds. The borrowing entity does not have to pay interest—therefore zero coupon—and it does not have to pay the principal (zero principal) either.
BSE had already got approval for the SSE as a separate segment (in 2022)
The idea of SSE was first floated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her 2019-20 Budget speech.
1st indigenously developed ATS system
Context: India launched the first ever indigenously developed Train Control and Supervision System.
- India becomes the sixth country which has its own ATS products
What is i-ATS (Indigenous-Automatic Train Supervision) system?
It is a computer-based system that will manage train operations such as running and halting.
- It is part of the CBTC (Communication-Based Train Control) Signalling system.
- The system has been launched by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on its first corridor
Blue foods can help India improve nutrition, livelihood: Study
Context: According to a new study- blue food, sourced from aquatic environments, can reduce nutritional deficiencies, and contribute to employment, and export revenue in India.
Benefits of Blue Food:
- Reduce dietary environmental footprints: Compared to terrestrial meat, blue foods generate lower emissions.
- Contribute to the health, nutrition, well-being, and livelihoods of rural communities.
- India can use aquatic foods to address B12 and omega-3 deficiencies
What is B12?
Vitamin B₁₂, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in metabolism. It is one of eight B vitamins. It is required for DNA synthesis and in both fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to a reduction in healthy red blood cells (anaemia)
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 fatty acids are “healthy fats” that support heart health (help prevent heart disease and stroke). One key benefit is helping to lower your triglycerides. A deficiency of essential fatty acids—either omega-3s or omega-6s—can cause rough, scaly skin and dermatitis.
6 Monster galaxies
Context: According to a new study James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has discovered six extraordinarily massive first-generation galaxies, formed roughly 500-700 million years after the Big Bang.
- These galaxies challenge our current understanding of galaxy formation, as they should not have existed so early in their life.
- The team spotted the six monster galaxies using the Cosmic Evolution Early 44 Release Science programme of JWST. The programme studies the formation of the earliest galaxies when the universe was less than five per cent of its current age.
- Despite having the same mass as the Milky Way, one of the galaxies is 30 times smaller.
Environment Ministry seeks report on Kaziranga rhino estimation
Source: The Hindu
Context: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has sought a “factual report” on the rhino population enumeration, conducted in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in March 2022.
- The information was requested as Ministry received complaints alleging anomalies in the estimation of the rhinos in the national park.
- According to a global report by the International Rhino Foundation in 2022, the total population of rhinos in India and Nepal stands at 4,014
- Assamis home to the largest population of greater-one-horned rhinos, with more than 90% in Kaziranga National Park.
Context: The 18th UIC World Security Congress, jointly organized by the Railway Protection Force(RPF) and the International Union of Railways (UIC), concluded today with the adoption of the Jaipur Declaration by the attendees.
- “Jaipur declaration” outlines an actionable agenda to help Railway organizations achieve their long-term goal of safety and security
Unique work done by Railway Protection Force
- Operation Nanhe Farishtefor the rescue of children
- Operation AAHT for rescuing women and children from the clutches of traffickers
- The Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) has rescued over 1,600 children from trafficking and facilitated the arrest of 337 alleged traffickers in collaboration with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in Rajasthan during the last two years.
- People at all major railway stations were being sensitised about the issue of child trafficking.
The UIC (est. 1922, HQ: Paris) is the worldwide professional association representing the railway sector for research, development & promotion of rail transport.
RPF (est. 1957) is the prime security and law- enforcement organization in the field of Railway Security in India. It is responsible for the security of railway property, passenger and passenger zones.
IE: How vikasvaad has lost out to the centralisation of government
(revamping bureaucracy )
LM: “India at a crossroads: Reduce the risks of economic concentration
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