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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 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:

  1. The importance of women-led digital solutions
  2. Indian Diaspora: The roots of global success


GS Paper 3:

  1. Odisha reports 542 forest fires in last 7 days, highest in India: FSI


Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Women in Mining
  2. Group Captain Shaliza Dhami
  3. Rashsundari Devi


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Attukal Pongala
  2. Glacial Retreat
  3. Govt to develop 23 river systems
  4. SEBI framework for adopting cloud services
  5. Har Payment Digital Mission
  6. 3-year approval to nano-DAP
  7. Special proteins to repair damaged heart cells
  8. Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) and BrahMos



Odisha reports 542 forest fires in last 7 days, highest in India: FSI

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Geophysical phenomenon


Source: HT

Context:  Forest fires continued to remain unabated in Odisha after the state recorded 542 such cases in the last seven days making it the highest among all states in the country.


Forest fires in India:

Causes of a Forest fire:

  • Natural: Such as lightning, high atmospheric temperatures, and dryness (low humidity) offer favourable circumstances.
  • Man-made: When a source of fire like naked flame, cigarette, or bidi comes into contact with inflammable material.


Types of a forest fire:

  • Surface fire: Spread along the surface litter (leaves, twigs, dry grasses) on the forest floor.
  • Ground fire: Fires in the subsurface organic fuels, such as duff layers under forest stands, burn underneath and are often ignited by surface fires.
  • Crown fire: A crown fire is one in which the crown of trees and shrubs burn, often sustained by a surface fire.



  • Helps in the evolution of forests (such as dry deciduous forests and savannahs),
  • Landscape/disease management (indigenous people like the Soligas have used controlled forest fires to reduce incidences of tick-borne diseases),
  • Controls the growth of invasive species, etc.
  • However, forest fires can have lasting negative impacts on biodiversity (loss of flora, fauna, ecological services), the economic stability of many communities that live in forests, etc.



  • ~65% of Indian forests are prone to occasional/frequent forest fire events.
  • Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh were the most impacted states and Gadchiroli, Kandhamal, and Bijapur were the most impacted districts.
  • The youngest mountain ranges of the Himalayas/chirr (Pine) forests (Western > Eastern as E. Himalayas grow in high rain density) are the most vulnerable stretches of the world.
  • There has been a 10-fold increase in forest fire incidences in the last two decades.
  • According to the MoEFCC, the country reported 3,45,989 forest fire incidents during (Nov 2020 and June 2021) and the state of Odisha reported 51,968 – the highest in India.


Impact of climate change:

  • It might lead to more wildfire-inducing ‘hot lightning’ strikes.
    • Hot lightning or long continuing current strikes (which can last up to a third of a second) are more likely to ignite wildfires than typical lightning strikes.


Preparedness and mitigation measures: Forest fires are usually seasonal. Hence, fires can be prevented in the summer –

  • Through the removal of forest litter all along the forest boundary (“Forest Fire Line“).
  • By creating firebreaks/ ditches in the forests.
  • The FSI is using satellite imaging technology
    • To set up fire alert systems (MODIS, SNPP) and analyse fire-affected forest areas
    • To better understand the ecology of forest fires for restoration and fire prevention efforts


Related topic: Landfill fires

Source: TN

Context: Landfill fires are becoming a big challenge for India’s urban civic bodies (recently in Kochi)

Recent incidents: Ghazipur, Delhi’s Bhalswa, and Chennai’s Perungudi

What triggers landfill fires?

●        A landfill site is a site for the disposal of waste materials and is the oldest and most common form of waste disposal.

●        The landfill sites in India are not scientifically planned.

●        The wastes are not segregated due to which the landfill sites receive mixed wastes which include organic waste/ignitable material/plastics.

●        The anaerobic decomposition (breakdown of organic waste in the absence of oxygen) generates methane gas and heat.

●        As soon as the methane gas comes in contact with oxygen, the combustible materials at the dumping site catch fire easily.

Challenges: The landfill fires take time to exhaust due to several factors which include –

●        Multiple ignition points,

●        Lack of constant water supply and

●        The danger involved in climbing the tall mounds of garbage.

Way ahead: The Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 state that only non-recyclable, non-biodegradable, and non-combustible waste should go to a sanitary landfill.


Insta Links: Forest fires

The importance of women-led digital solutions

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Social Justice – Welfare of vulnerable sections


Source: The Hindu, Live Mint

Context: The theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.


Data on Digital Disparity:

  • According to a UNICEF report, as many as 90% of the jobs in the world today have a digital component. These jobs, however, are available only to the digitally able, and to more men than women.
  • According to the report, in developing countries, only 41% of women have access to the internet compared with 53% of men.
    • Women are 20% less likely to own a smartphone and are more likely to borrow phones from a male family member.
  • Another report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revealed that the gender gap in internet use is widening. Software development remains a male-dominated field, with women comprising only 15% of software designers.


Examples of how digital literacy helps in tackling issues:

  • The FoSafMDM application by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the Governments of Odisha and Rajasthan has rolled out technology-based training modules
  • This helps in strengthening the capacity of the community in ensuring that proper hygiene and safety measures are followed so that children reap the full benefits of the nutrition that these school meals offer.
  • Young women known as ‘Digital Sakhis’ from Madhya Pradesh are upturning discriminatory social norms through the use of smartphones.


Indian situation:

  • India accounts for half the world’s gendered digital divide given that only a third of all Internet users in the country are women.
  • In Asia-Pacific, India has the widest gender gap of 40%. Less than 32% of women in India own a mobile phone compared to over 60% of men.



  • Women can harness digital tools for improving nutrition schemes and initiatives, while also using them to create economic opportunities that ensure long-term food and nutrition security.
  • Women20—the G20’s official engagement platform to promote gender equity—identifies “bridging the gender digital divide” as one of its five priorities that need to be mainstreamed as part of the G20 agenda this year.


Insta Links:

Consequences of the growing digital divide

Indian Diaspora: The roots of global success

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: International Relations –Indian Diaspora


Source: Business Standard

Context: In times when it is difficult for an immigrant to succeed, we notice the remarkable presence of Indians in the leadership of global organizations: IBM, Google, Microsoft, and now the World Bank.

TechnologyPlayed a crucial role in the development of Silicon ValleySundar Pichai, CEO of Google, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
MedicineLeading medical practitioners, researchers, and academicsDr Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
EntrepreneurshipFounders of successful startups and businessesVinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo
ArtsAchieved global recognition for their creative worksMira Nair, film director, Ravi Shankar, musician, Padma Lakshmi, model, actress and author
LiteratureAward-winning authors, poets, and academicsSalman Rushdie, Booker Prize-winning author, Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Amitav Ghosh, literary critic and novelist
PoliticsElected officials and influential policymakersRishi Sunak (UK Prime Minister), Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, Nikki Haley, former Governor of South Carolina, Ami Bera, Congressman from California


Reasons behind this:

  • Education: Indians place a strong emphasis on education, and many Indian leaders have received top-notch education from prestigious institutions around the world
  • Diversity: This diversity has helped Indian leaders develop a broad perspective and a deep understanding of global issues.
  • Work Ethic
  • Networking: Indians have a strong network both within and outside the country,
  • Multilingual: Many Indians are multilingual, which has helped them communicate effectively with people from different countries and cultures.


Implications of its people having top leadership positions in global organizations for India:

  • Increased Global Influence
  • Reduce asymmetric informationand thus improve global engagement with India.
  • Improved Reputation
  • Economic Benefits
  • Access to Information
  • Capacity Building
  • National Pride


Insta Link:


Mains Link: UPSC 2017

Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South East Asian countries’ economies and societies. Appraise the role of the Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context.

Seven Liberation Destinations of India

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: PIB

 Context: Ministry of Tourism is promoting tourist destinations in India, including the Saptha Moksha Puri (Seven Liberation destinations).

What is Saptha Moksha Puri?

 Name: Sapta means seven; Puri means city and Moksha means liberation from the cycle of birth and death

In Hindu Mythology, seven such places have been named where renouncing the body is considered valuable and one is said to attain liberation. These are:

  • Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi (Varanasi) in Uttar Pradesh
  • Maya (Haridwar) in Uttarakhand
  • Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu)
  • Avantika (Ujjain) in Madhya Pradesh
  • Puri (Odisha) and
  • Dwaravati (Dwaraka, Gujarat)


Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Women in Mining

Source: TH

Eastern Coalfields Ltd. (ECL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd. (CIL), is one of the top employers of women in traditional male-dominated mining activities.

  • In 2019, the Central government opened underground mining for women.

Usage: The example can be used as women achievers, breaking stereotypes, promoting gender quality in work


Group Captain Shaliza Dhami

Source: IE

The Indian Air Force has announced the appointment of Group Captain Shaliza Dhami as the first woman officer to command a missile squadron in the Western sector facing Pakistan.

  • Previously, Indian Army cleared as many as 108 women officers for the rank of Colonel, making them eligible for command roles.
  • Currently, there are over 10,000 women officers serving in the armed forces, with the majority serving in the medical services.
  • Also, Captain Shiva Chouhan has become the first woman officer in the Indian Army to be deployed at the Siachen glacier


Rashsundari Devi

Source: IE

Rashsundari Devi’s “Amar Jiban” (My Life) is the first full-scale autobiography written by an Indian woman, published in 1876. Rashsundari was an upper-caste Bengali woman who had no formal education and was not allowed to learn to read. However, at the age of 25, she taught herself to read in secret.

Her book was an act of rebellion against social norms and a means to understand what women of the 19th century were thinking about their everyday lives.

Usage: The example highlights how women have challenged the absurdities of society and risen against its various challenges to their progress and upliftment.


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Attukal Pongala

Source: The Hindu

Context: The Attukal Pongala falls on the ninth day of the annual ten-day festival at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram.

  • It is one of the world’s largest gatherings of women.

About Pongala:

  • Pongala is a ten-day-long festival of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.
  • The festival commences with the musical rendering of the story of the Goddess (Kannaki Charitam) during the “Kappu Kettu ceremony”.
  • The story invokes the presence of Kodungallur Bhagavathy and the slaying of the Pandyan King. This festival commemorates the victory of Good over Evil, by the slaying of the Pandyan King.

About Attukal Bhagavathy temple:

  • Dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy.
  • Also known as, “the Sabarimala of Women”, this temple attracts the biggest set of women devotees for the annual Attukal Pongala festival.


Glacial Retreat

Source: PIB

Context: A recent study by scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology found that change in debris cover plays a critical role in the glacier surface lowering, shrinkage, retreat, and mass balance.

  • The study also confirmed that the glacier retreat rate is controlled by climate change, glacier topography, and morphology

What is Glacier Retreat?

Glacial retreat is when glacial melt occurs faster than new seasonal snow and ice have time to accumulate.

  • Out of the total water on Earth, 2.1% is in glaciers while 97.2% is in the oceans and inland seas.
  • 91% of the Glaciers are in Antarcticaand 8% are in Greenland. They occupy about 10% of the world’s total land area.
  • Firnification: The process of formation of Glaciers by snow compacting into glacial firn (dense, grainy ice)


Govt to develop 23 river systems

Source: ET

 Context: Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has announced that as many as 23 river systems will be developed for cargo and passenger vessel movement

Aim: To utilise inland waterways to improve cargo and passenger vessel movement at cheap transportation costs.


What are National Waterways?

Any major navigable body of water, having commercial and strategic importance is declared a National waterway (thereby Central government holds the responsibility of developing it).

  • As per the National Waterways Act 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs).
  • Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System (Allahabad to Haldia) was first NW declared in 1986.

Need: Inland waterways contribute only around 2% of India’s internal freight movement. India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.


  • Lower cost of freight movement (The cost of freight movement by road is Rs 2.50 per ton-Km, compared with Rs 1.36 per KM in the case of Railways and around Rs 1.06 per KM in waterways, as per RITES Report of 2014)
  • Eco-friendly and reduced air pollution
  • Less maintenance
  • Better connectivity to the hinterland

Government Initiatives:

  • Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)(on the Haldia-Varanasi stretch of Ganga (part of NW-1)
  • Integrated National Waterways Transportation Grid (to link many of the national waterways to each other and also to roads, railways and major ports)
  • Recently, NW-68 between Panjim to Vasco on the Mandovi River in Goa was completed.
  • Inland Vessels Act, 2021 replaces Inland Vessels Act, 1917
  • PANI (Portal for Asset & Navigation Information) platform for river navigation and infrastructure information.

About IWAI

Inland Waterways Authority of India (statutory, est. 1986, HQ: Noida) is in charge of the waterways in India. It was constituted under IWAI Act-1985 by the Parliament of India.


Har Payment Digital Mission

Source: RBI

Context: RBI has launched the ‘Har Payment Digital’ mission during Digital Payments Awareness Week (DPAW) 2023.

About the Mission

Under the mission Payment System Operators (PSOs) will adopt 75 villages across the country and conduct camps in each of these villages with an aim to improve awareness and onboard merchants for digital payments ( thus making them Digital payment enabled villages)

About PSOs:

PSOs are entities (currently there are 67 PSOs e.g. NPCI) authorised by RBI to set up and operate a payment system.


SEBI framework for adopting cloud services

Source: IE

Context: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has unveiled a framework for the adoption of cloud services by stock exchanges, clearing corporations and other regulated entities (REs) including depositories, and stock brokers.


Keypoints of the framework:

  • It highlights the key risks and mandatory control measures that REs need to put in place before adopting cloud computing.
  • It also sets out the regulatory and legal compliances by REs if they adopt such solutions. The framework covers Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC), selection of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), data ownership and data localisation, etc.
  • The document will come into force immediately for all new or proposed cloud onboarding assignments or projects of the REs.
  • Existing REs that are currently using cloud services, should comply with the framework within 12 months.


What is Cloud Service?

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power.



  • The cloud delivers more flexibility and reliability, increased performance and efficiency, and helps to lower IT costs.
  • It also improves innovation, allowing faster time to market and incorporating AI and machine learning use cases into their strategies.
  • It gives the advantages of being ready to scale, ease of deployment, no overhead of maintaining physical infrastructure etc.

Concerns: cyber security risks, deployment issues, awareness,


3-year approval to nano-DAP

Source: ET

Context: Ministry of Agriculture has allowed IFFCO and Coromandel International (a private company) to start production of nano-DAP (Di-Ammonia Phosphate) for three years.

  • Also, DAP has been notified in the Fertilizer Control Order, thus paving the way for its early commercial release for farmers.
  • In 2021, IFFCO launched Nano-Urea
  • The government will also launch nano-potash, nano-zinc and nano-copper fertilizers in future


Concerns regarding the use of Nano DAP:

  • May lead to nanoparticles contamination in soil and crops from continued nanoparticles use
  • This may lead to health Hazards from nano-size particles at higher concentrations.


About IFFCO:

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) (est. 1967, HQ: New Delhi), is a multi-state cooperative society, that is wholly owned by the Cooperative Societies of India. Society is engaged in the business of manufacturing and marketing fertilizers.


About Fertilizer Control Order(FCO):

The order lays down quality, specification, licensing and other requirements for fertilizers in India. It has been issued under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 and administered by the Ministry of Agriculture.



Consider the following statements regarding Nano Urea Liquid (UPSC 2020)


  1. Nano Urea Liquid was first developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
    2. India is the first country globally to start commercial production of Nano Urea

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

[A] 1 only [B] 2 only [C] Both 1 and 2 [D] Neither 1 nor 2


Answer: B


Nano Urea Liquid has been developed by IFFCO. India is the first country globally to start commercial production of Nano Urea


Special proteins to repair damaged heart cells

Source: The Hindu

Context: A group of scientists, at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, has come up with a solution where healthy skin cells from an adult can be converted into heart cells using special proteins.

More about the technology:

  • According to scientists, converting cells from one form to another – a.k.a. cellular reprogramming – involves specific proteins, called transcription factors, that alter the “expression of genes within a cell and direct it to take on a new cellular identity”.
  • They developed a toolbox, which consists of six recombinant proteins: GATA4, MEF2C, TBX5, ETS2, MESP1, and HAND2.
  • Each of these proteins plays a significant role in reprogramming fibroblasts – a type of cells that provides structure to tissue – into cardiomyocytes.
  • The advantage of recombinant proteins-based cell conversion is they work their miracle inside the nucleus and eventually disappear over time without leaving behind their toxic waste, unlike their genetic counterparts. Thus, they are very safe for reprogramming compared to other approaches


Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) and BrahMos

Source: TH, IE

Context: The Indian Navy has carried out a successful test-firing of a Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) and a ship-launched version of BrahMos missile

About BrahMos:

BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile (two-stage missile —Solid+ Liquid propellant) that can be launched from a submarine, ship, aircraft, or land having a range of 450 km.

  • It is a joint venture of India and Russia and it’s named after the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva.
  • Operates on Fire and Forgets principle


About MRSAM:

MRSAM weapon system which is also called the ‘Abhra’ Weapon System is a state-of-the-art medium-range air defence weapon system and is a joint venture of DRDO and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and produced at Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

It is designed to destroy hostile aircraft, helicopters cruise missiles and drones at a 70km range


The test firing validated the capability to engage the weapon as an anti-ship missile

they said.

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