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:
- Understanding IMF bailouts
GS Paper 3:
- Will mega textile parks help boost the sector?
- Parliamentary panel calls for notification of e-commerce policy to address sector’s ‘strategy vacuum’
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
- Moore’s law
- Children’s Champion Award 2023
- Children’s use of social media
- UAE Food Bank
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- South Atlantic Anomaly
- The doctrine of “guilt by association”
- GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)
- National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP)
- Successful launch of LVM3 with 36 @OneWeb satellites
- What is Biotransformation technology
- Weapons containing depleted uranium
- Aravalli Green Wall Project
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora – their Structure, Mandate
Context: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed a $3 billion bailout plan for Sri Lanka’s struggling economy and is also in negotiations with Pakistan for a $1.1 billion bailout plan.
- The IMF was set up in 1945: as an outcome of the Bretton Woods conference.
- The primary goal of the IMF back then was to bring about international economic coordination to prevent competing currency devaluation by countries trying to promote their own exports.
- Eventually, the IMF evolved to be a lender of last resort to governments of countries that had to deal with severe currency crises.
Why do nations seek an IMF bailout?
- Central banks mismanagement → forced by governments (populist spending) → create fresh money → rapid rise in the money supply → prices rise → exchange value of the currency drops → destroy confidence in the currency.
- A country’s domestic economic policies (that imperil productivity) can also have an adverse impact on its currency’s exchange rate and foreign exchange reserves.
- Bad luck can also contribute to a crisis. For example, a decrease in foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka led to a steep fall in the flow of U.S. dollars into the nation.
- In such a scenario, many countries (facing a major macroeconomic risk/currency crisis) are forced to seek help from the IMF to meet their external debt and other obligations, to purchase essential imports, etc.
How does the IMF help countries?
- The IMF basically lends money, often in the form of special drawing rights (SDRs), to troubled economies through a number of its lending programs such as the
- The extended credit facility,
- A flexible credit line,
- Stand-by agreement, etc.
- SDRs simply represent a basket of five currencies, namely the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Chinese yuan, the Japanese yen, and the British pound.
- Countries can use the SDRs for various purposes depending on their individual circumstances.
Strings attached to an IMF bailout:
- The IMF usually imposes conditions on countries before it lends any money to them.
- For example, a country may have to implement certain structural reforms as a condition to receive IMF loans.
The Pros and Cons of IMF’s conditional lending :
|● Too tough on the public
● Influenced by international politics
|● Essential for the success of IMF lending
● Throwing money without reforming policies that caused the crisis/corruption does not make sense
● Ensures independence of its central bank
Insta Links: IMF
The World Bank and the IMF, collectively known as the Bretton Woods Institutions, are the two inter-governmental pillars supporting the structure of the world’s economic and financial order. Superficially, the World Bank and the IMF exhibit many common characteristics, yet their role, functions and mandate are distinctly different. Elucidate. (UPSC 2013)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2019)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment
Context: The central government announced that 7 mega textile parks would be set up under the ₹4,445-crore PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM MITRA) scheme in the first phase.
Textile and Apparel Sector in India:
|Significance of PM MITRA
● The MSME sector controls ~80% of the textiles and apparel currently made in India
● Indian textile products and export (~65%) are cotton-based
● Exports have stagnated at around the $40-billion mark (target – $100 billion by 2030)
● Price competitiveness
Govt. schemes to support the development of common infrastructure:
● Apparel Park Scheme (2002)
● Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (2005)
|● Launched by the Ministry of Textiles in 2021 to streamline the textile value chain (by setting up mega textile parks) into one ecosystem, taking in spinning, weaving and dyeing to printing and garment manufacturing.
● The parks will be established in two stages – The selection of Sites, Development of the Park.
● Proposals to set up such parks are prepared by the State Governments.
● States must have contiguous parcels of a minimum of 1000 acres → transfer land to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV with 51% equity shareholding of the State and 49% of Central Government).
|● A unique initiative with differentiating factors –
○ Large-scale production, provision of plug-and-play manufacturing centres, joint implementation Central-State governments, located in States that have inherent strengths, etc.
○ Each park will have effluent treatment plants, skill training centres, etc.
● Enable scale of operations
● Reduce logistics costs by housing the entire value chain at one location
● Attracting investment worth ₹70,000 crore
● Generating employment (~20 lakh) and augmenting export potential.
● Leverage the PPP model.
● In line with the 5F vision – Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign
- Expanding the fibre and product line from the current 5%.
- Taking a cue from countries such as Turkey where integrated textile parks are highly efficient.
- Encouraging MSME units to invest in the PM MITRA parks and scale up. The government can combine PLI scheme II with PM MITRA to support the MSME players.
- Giving thrust to the PM MITRA parks for sustainable and cost-effective solutions for pollution control.
Parliamentary panel calls for notification of e-commerce policy to address sector’s ‘strategy vacuum’
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Economy – Liberalisation after 1991
Source: Business Line
Context: A Parliamentary panel report ‘Promotion and Regulation of E-Commerce in India’ suggested that a national e-commerce policy needs to be notified by the Government at the earliest as the absence of a dedicated policy had resulted in fragmented and ineffective regulation and created a strategy vacuum for the sector.
- Electronic commerce or e-commerce is a business model that lets firms and individuals buy and sell things over the Internet.
Need for the policy:
- Ensure protection of consumer rights and privacy and include anti-counterfeiting, and anti-piracy measures.
- Pro-customer framework
- Skill development strategy – by gauging the various requirements in the e-commerce value chains.
- Proposed framing of suitable social security schemes related to insurance, working conditions, disability and other benefits by the government.
- Appropriate labour laws relating to working hours, and holidays. minimum pay, etc., for gig and platform workers, should be framed and e-commerce must be mandated to extend these benefits,
- The committee further recommended that the DPIIT should develop appropriate mechanisms for the enforcement of rules related to Intellectual Property Rights in the e-commerce space in consultation with the relevant Ministries/Departments.
- Need to notify e-pharmacy rules and formulate comprehensive guidelines with regard to e-pharmacy/e-health platforms.
- Government should issue a separate e-commerce export policy. Such policies in countries including China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, have helped many firms sell globally.
- Redefining responsibilities of sellers; simplifying payment reconciliation and processes; developing business ecosystem; and setting up a National Trade Network for the medium.
Mains Link: UPSC 2015
What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in developing the food processing industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming these bottlenecks?
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
Significance of the law:
- It played a crucial role in the development of the digital revolution of the 20th century.
- The prediction has helped guide the semiconductor industry, governments, and militaries in their investments and technological targets.
- Cultural expectations of technology: It has created an expectation of continuous improvement and innovation, which has driven consumer demand for newer and more advanced products.
Children’s Champion Award 2023
An Assam-based NGO named Tapoban has won the Children’s Champion Award 2023 in the health and nutrition category for their consistent efforts to provide quality care to special and autistic children.
Work: Tapoban provides speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, music, and other skills for specially-abled children apart from creating awareness about their needs.
Values: Compassion and empathy for children with special needs, Importance of education and awareness, Community involvement and support
About the Award:
The award was instituted by the Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and received 1,100 nominations from individuals and organizations across the country.
Children’s use of social media
Usage: Such examples can be cited as legal measures to minimise the impact of social media on children
UAE Food Bank
The UAE Food Bank, in partnership with various organizations, is launching a campaign to distribute three million meals and food parcels to disadvantaged individuals and families during Ramadan, in line with the National Food Security Strategy.
Aim: Raise awareness about the importance of reducing the wastage of food and promoting sustainable practices, as well as encouraging volunteer participation.
Values: Social Responsibility, Sustainable Practices, Community Empowerment, Compassion for poor
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
South Atlantic Anomaly
Source: Science alert
Context: NASA is monitoring South Atlantic Anomaly in Earth’s magnetic field between South America and southwest Africa.
|South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA)
|A region on the Earth’s surface where the intensity of the magnetic field is particularly low.
|Cause of SAA
|Earth’s inner Van Allen radiation belt comes closest to the planet’s surface, causing an increased flux of energetic particles. This leads to the penetration of solar energetic particles deep into Earth’s atmosphere.
|Effects of SAA
|Poses severe problems for airplanes and Global positioning systems as well as spacecraft electronic systems.
|Van Allen Radiation Belts
|It is a zone of energetic charged particles, most of which originate from the solar wind, that are captured by and held around a planet by that planet’s magnetosphere.
The doctrine of “guilt by association”
Context: SC has restored the doctrine of “guilt by association” in criminal jurisprudence in India.
|About the Judgement
|What did SC say?
|Mere membership in a banned organization is a crime under UAPA
|Meaning of “Guilty by Association”
|One can be guilty of association if they have involvement with a person who has committed a crime
|SC has overruled its own judgement of 2011 (Mere membership of a banned organization cannot be a crime)
|Section 3 of UAPA
|Empowers Central Government to declare an association “unlawful activity”
|SC affirmed Section 10(a)(i) of UAPA
|Continued membership in a banned organization is a crime punishable by up to 2 years of jail
|India’s main law against terrorism and unlawful activities, enacted in 1967
|Meaning of “Unlawful activity”
|Any action intended to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India
|Major features of the Act
|· Absolute power to the central government to declare an activity unlawful
· Both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged (even outside India)
· The highest punishment includes the death penalty and life imprisonment
· Individuals can be designated as terrorists on certain grounds
· The Director General of NIA can grant approval for the seizure or attachment of property
· Officers of the NIA can investigate cases of terrorism
GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)
Context: The Lok Sabha passed Finance Bill, 2023 including the setting up of the GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) (see infographic)
Other changes through the Finance Bill 2023:
- Short-term capital gains tax: Taxation of mutual funds have less than 35% invested in equity shares of an Indian company will be taxed as short-term capital gains.
- Short-term capital is the profit one makes when the individual sells their ‘Capital assets’ within one year. (Long-term: More than one year)
- A committee under Finance Secretary on the pension system will be set up to address employees’ needs and maintain fiscal prudence.
- Proposal for Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) payments made through credit cards for foreign tours be considered under LRS and be subject to Tax Collection at Source (TCS)
Context: Rubber Board has launched a mobile app–CRISP–to inform growers about rubber cultivation and provides solutions online.
- CRISP (Comprehensive Rubber Information System Platform) has been developed by the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) in collaboration with the Digital University of Kerala.
National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP)
Context: The Central Government has launched the National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP) for the prevention and control of Rabies.
The Strategies of the National Rabies Control Program are as follows:
- provision of rabies vaccine & rabies immunoglobulin through national free drug initiatives
- training on appropriate animal bite management, prevention and control of rabies, surveillance and intersectoral coordination
- strengthening surveillance of animal bites and rabies deaths reporting
- creating awareness about rabies prevention
Successful launch of LVM3 with 36 @OneWeb satellites
Context: ISRO’s heaviest payload rocket, GSLV-Mk3/LVM3 carrying 36 OneWeb satellites onboard took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota, under the OneWeb India-1 mission.
About the OneWeb India-1 mission:
- It is a Network Access Associates Limited, UK (Bharti-backed OneWeb Group Company) and the NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) joint mission to launch 72 satellites to Low-Earth Orbits (LEO).
- In its second mission, LVM3 placed 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites totalling about 5,805 kg recently.
- It will open the door for India to advance toward gaining access to LEO connectivity and the spread of space-based internet.
What is Biotransformation technology
Context: A UK-based startup claims to have developed a technology – “biotransformation” – that could alter the state of plastics and make them biodegradable.
- India generates 5 billion kgs of plastic waste annually and the per capita plastic waste generation has also doubled in the past five years.
- The Indian government –
- Introduced a plastic waste management gazette to help tackle the ever-growing plastic pollution caused by single-use plastics.
- Imposed a ban on single-use plastics to bring a stop to their use in the country.
- The National Dashboard on Elimination of Single-Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management brings all stakeholders together to track the progress made.
- An Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) portal helps in facilitating ease of compliance reporting in relation to EPR obligations of the producers, importers and brand-owners.
What is Biotransformation technology?
- It is a novel technology that would digest plastic waste naturally with the help of microbes and biodegrade the waste without leaving behind any microplastics.
- Food packaging and healthcare industries are the two prime sectors that could use this technology to reduce waste.
- This will ensure that plastics escaping refuse streams are processed efficiently and broken down.
Alternatives to reduce plastic waste:
- A switch to jute or paper-based packaging could potentially cut down plastic waste.
- The Government of Tamil Nadu showcased alternatives made using coir, bagasse, rice and wheat bran, etc.
Weapons containing depleted uranium
Source: Indian Express
Context: British government recently said that it would provide Ukraine with armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.
Though they aren’t considered nuclear weapons, they emit low levels of radiation and can cause severe diseases.
What is depleted uranium?
- Depleted uranium is a by-product of the process of creating enriched uranium, which is used in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. In comparison to enriched uranium, depleted uranium is much less radioactive and is incapable of generating a nuclear reaction.
- However, due to its high density — it’s denser than lead — depleted uranium is widely used in weapons as it can easily penetrate armour plating.
Which countries have depleted uranium munitions?
- Apart from the US, Britain, Russia, China, France and Pakistan produce uranium weapons, which are not classified as nuclear weapons, as per the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons.
What are the risks of using such weapons?
- Ingesting or inhaling quantities of uranium – even depleted uranium – is dangerous: it depresses renal function and raises the risk of developing a range of cancers.
- Moreover, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, depleted uranium munitions which miss their target can poison groundwater and soil.
Where have depleted uranium munitions been used?
- 1991 Gulf War to destroy T-72 tanks in Iraq.
- 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and,
- During the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Aravalli Green Wall Project
Context: The government recently launched the Aravalli Green Wall Project, a major initiative to green the 5 km buffer area around the Aravalli Hill Range in four states at a function organised to celebrate the International Day of Forests in Haryana.
About Aravalli Green Wall Project
- The Aravalli Green Wall Project is part of the Union Environment Ministry’s vision to create green corridors across the country to combat land degradation and desertification. The project covers the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi – where the Aravalli hills landscape span over 6 million hectares of land.
- The project will involve planting native species of trees and shrubs on scrubland, wasteland and degraded forest land, along with rejuvenating and restoring surface water bodies such as ponds, lakes and streams.
- Improve the ecological health of the Aravalli range
- Prevent the eastward expansion of the Thar Desert and reduce land degradation
help in carbon sequestration and mitigate climate change
- Promote sustainable development and livelihood opportunities by involving local communities in afforestation, agro-forestry and water conservation activities that will generate income, employment, food security and social benefits.
- Contribute to India’s commitments under various international conventions such as UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification), CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) and UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
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