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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. Public interest immunity claims
  2. How is a ‘national party’ in India defined?
  3. Indus Water Treaty


GS Paper 3:

  1. Draft ‘Sagarmala Innovation and Start-up Policy’
  2. Building a blue economy: What India can learn from China
  3. Tiger Census 2022 and International Big Cat Alliance


Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. The Language Friendship Bridge
  2. River rejuvenation


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. UN Democracy Fund
  2. Changing definition of Rural-Urban areas in India
  3. Dakar Declaration
  4. State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2021-22
  5. Blockchain project to explore the potential of Web3
  6. Detecting toxic pollutants
  7. Exercise Kavach



Public interest immunity claims

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Indian Judiciary


Source: IE

 Context: Recently, SC set aside an order from the central government imposing a broadcast ban on the Malayalam news channel MediaOne. It has also formulated a procedure for “public interest immunity claims”, a less restrictive alternative to ‘Sealed cover jurisprudence’ for deciding claims involving state secrets.


What is “Sealed cover jurisprudence”?

It refers to a legal practice where certain sensitive documents or information are presented to a court in a sealed envelope or cover (to protect the confidentiality of the information), which only the judge or authorized persons can open and view. The judge will then decide whether the information can be used as evidence, remain confidential or be disclosed.

  • While a specific law does not define the doctrine of sealed cover, the Supreme Court derives its power to use it from Rule 7 of Order XIII of the Supreme Court Rules and Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.


What are “public interest immunity claims”?

It refers to situations where the disclosure of certain information in a legal case might harm national security or other important public interests. In such cases, the government or other parties can seek to withhold or redact such information.


Test for “public interest immunity claims” (as given by SC):

A claim involving national security considerations must be based on the test of:
(i)               whether there is material to conclude that the non-disclosure of information is in the interest of national security

(ii)              whether a reasonably prudent person would draw the same inference from the material on record

(iii)            Even if the non-disclosure is in the interests of national security, the means adopted by the government should satisfy the proportionality of action.


Benefits of “public interest immunity claim” over the “sealed cover jurisprudence” for justice:

DimensionPublic Interest Immunity ClaimSealed Cover Jurisprudence
Standard of reviewStructured proportionalityNone (so more restrictive)
Impact on Principles of natural justicePartialIt infringes on the principles of natural justice as well as the principles of open justice- thus has a wide impact.
Disclosure of information to the partiesYesNo, the information  remains undisclosed
Safeguard of amicus curiaeYes- amicus curiae helps in balancing the concerns of confidentiality with the need to preserve public confidence in the objectivity of the justice delivery process.Optional



What is “Structured Proportionality”?

In simple terms, it is a standard used by courts to evaluate a case and ensure that decisions about confidentiality are made fairly and with due consideration for all relevant factors.


The process of appointing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”):

 The court-appointed amicus, or impartial advisor, is allowed access to materials that the state is trying to keep confidential. The amicus can talk to the person requesting the information and their lawyer before the court hearing to understand their case and help them argue why the information should be disclosed. However, once the hearing begins and the lawyer has seen the information, amicus cannot talk to them anymore. The amicus must do its best to represent the interests of the person requesting the information and cannot disclose the information to anyone else.



The debate on Public Interest Immunity Claims and sealed covers should focus on how to strike a balance between the public’s right to know and the necessity to preserve national security.

For more about “The SC on sealed cover jurisprudence”: Click here

Article 145 of the Constitution says that all judgments (decisions) made by the Supreme Court must be given in an open court where anyone can watch or hear. This means that the decisions cannot be made secretly.

According to Article 145(4), the court cannot give a judgment or report the opinions of judges in secret, it must be done openly in front of people.

Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872: Under this act, official unpublished documents relating to state affairs are protected and a public officer cannot be compelled to disclose such documents.

Insta Links: 

Sealed cover jurisprudence

How is a ‘national party’ in India defined?

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Pressure Groups and Formal/Informal Associations and their Role in the Polity


Source: IE

 Context: The Election Commission of India (ECI) recognised the AAP as a national party while revoking the status of the All-India Trinamool Congress, NCP and the CPI.


Other decisions taken by ECI:

  • Revoked the state party status granted to RLD in UP, while recognising NCP and Trinamool Congress as state parties in Nagaland and Meghalaya respectively.
  • Granted “recognised state political party” status to the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) in Nagaland, etc.
National parties in IndiaState parties
Criteria: As per the ECI’s Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968 [amended from time to time], a political party would be considered a national party if it fulfils any one of the below conditions:

●       It is ‘recognised’ in four or more states as a state party [AAP fulfils this criterion]; or

●       Its candidates polled at least 6% of total valid votes in any four or more states in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections and has at least four MPs in the last Lok Sabha polls; or

●       It has won at least 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from not less than three states.


To be recognised as a state party, a party need:

●       At least 6% vote-share in the last Assembly election and have at least 2 MLAs; or

●       Have a 6% vote share in the last Lok Sabha elections from that state and at least one MP from that state; or

●       At least 3% of the total number of seats or three seats, whichever is more, in the last Assembly elections; or

●       At least one MP for every 25 members or any fraction allotted to the state in the Lok Sabha; or

●       Have at least 8% of the total valid votes in the last Assembly election or Lok Sabha election from the state.

Benefits: If a party is recognised as a National Party/State Party, they can avail following benefits under the RPA 1951,

●       It is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates throughout India (for the national party) in the State in which it is so recognised (for the state party).

●       Need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled to two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls.

●       Their candidates get one copy of the electoral roll free of cost during the General Elections.

●       They get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.

●       A recognized National or State party can have a maximum of 40 “Star campaigners” [registered unrecognised party – 20].

Parties recognised: BJP, Congress, CPI(M), BSP, National People’s Party (NPP) and the AAPExamples: DMK in Tamil Nadu, BJD in Odisha, YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh, RJD in Bihar, or TRS in Telangana



Insta Links:



Prelims Links: (UPSC 2017)

Consider the following statements:

  1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
  2. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and bye-elections.
  3. Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognised political parties.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 3 only


Ans: 4

Indus Water Treaty

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Bilateral Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests


Source: DTE

 Context: Indus Water Treaty (IWT) seems to be struggling to gain support in the J&K region.



  • One of the few instances of a significant international river basin conflict being resolved in South Asia is the IWT, signed by India and Pakistan in 1960.
  • However, the J&K region’s residents claim that the treaty prevents them from utilising their own water resources, significantly impacting the UT’s growth.
  • This indicates the widespread resentment among the residents over the existence of IWT.


Reasons for resentment: It is due to the perception that the treaty has resulted in a loss of water resources, which has had a detrimental impact on the UT’s potential for –

Agriculture●       Jammu and Kashmir’s economy is mainly dependent on agriculture. Nearly 70% of the people here depend on agriculture for their income, directly or indirectly.

●       The UT’s irrigation system has merely improved over the years. In Kashmir, the primary irrigation method (canal) has seen a dismal development.


Power generationThe region’s hydropower potential, which will give its economy a powerful boost, is not fully realised.

●       Of the potential hydropower capacity (20,000 MW), only 3,263.46 MW/19.80% have been used so far.

●       IWT only allows for run-of-the-river projects that do not affect the riparian rights of Pakistan.



What residents want and the steps taken:

  • Abrogation of the treaty.
  • Quantify the losses incurred to aid the UT in seeking compensation.
  • Consequently, the government started the process of quantifying the losses.


Conclusion: As the issue of IWT is again in the spotlight due to India’s appeal to Pakistan to modify it, the people of J& eagerly expect policymakers to pay attention to their concerns.


Insta Links:

The Indus Waters Treaty, and why India has issued notice to Pakistan seeking changes

Draft ‘Sagarmala Innovation and Start-up Policy’

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Indian Economy


Source: PIB

 Context: The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has released a draft policy called the ‘Sagarmala Innovation and Start-up Policy’ to promote and nurture start-ups and entrepreneurs in India’s growing maritime sector.


Aim of the policy: To create a strong ecosystem for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in key areas for start-ups to flourish, including decarbonization, data optimization, maritime education, and cybersecurity.


Implementation: Through the development of Maritime Innovation Hubs (MIH) that will offer incubators and accelerators, and help to attract investment and facilitate access to global experts, entrepreneurs, and investors.

Features of the draft policySignificance
Digital portal-based selection of startupsEnsures a transparent process for selecting startups and promotes fairness in the selection process.
Grants for creating a minimum viable product/service (MVP)Provides financial support to startups to help them create a minimum viable product or service, which can help them attract investors and scale their business.
Creation of ‘Launch pads’ at PortsProvides startups with a space to carry out trials, pilot projects, and work on solutions.
Annual Start-up Awards in the maritime sectorRecognizes and rewards the efforts of innovative startups in the maritime sector.
Guidance to Non-Registered Start-ups and IndividualsProvides guidance and support to individuals and startups with promising ideas in the maritime sector.
Regulatory support in Tenders and Sub-contractingProvides regulatory and legal support to startups in the tendering and sub-contracting process.
Legal and accountancy backup to start-upsProvides legal and accounting support to startups, which can help them with tasks such as filing patents, registering their company, and annual filings.
Development of Maritime Innovation Hubs (MIH) for the promotion of Start-UpsThese hubs provide a range of facilities and support for startups, including incubators and accelerators, centralized repositories, and entrepreneur development programs.



These features can help to create a strong ecosystem for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the maritime sector in India, which can drive sustainable growth and employment opportunities.

About Sagarmala Programme:

The Sagarmala Programme (approved: 2015), aims to develop port infrastructure along the country’s 7,516-km long coastline through modernisation, mechanisation, and computerisation. The program seeks to reduce logistics costs, boosting India’s merchandise exports to USD 110 billion by 2025 and creating an estimated 10 million new jobs (four million in direct employment)

Other programmes for the maritime sector: Sagarmala – Sagartat Samridhi Yojana (for improving coastal infrastructure, tourism and life of communities); Maritime India Vision 2030

Insta Links


Mains Links:

Sagarmala project provides an opportunity for improving carrying capacity and developing ports as a key contributor to economic growth. Discuss. (250 words)

Building a blue economy: What India can learn from China

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Economics of Animal-Rearing/Food Processing and Related Industries in India


Source: IE

 Context: Like China, India must raise its own deep-water fishing fleet and build modern harbours to further its economic and security goals.


Importance of the fishing sector for India: 

  • Fish is an affordable and rich source of animal protein → an option to mitigate hunger and malnutrition.
  • Since Independence, India’s marine fishery has been dominated by the “artisanal sector” – delivering only 2% of marine fish to the market [98% – caught by mechanised craft].
  • Commercial fishing has shown steady growth and has become a major contributor to foreign exchange: India – is a leading seafood exporting nation.
  • Fisheries provide a livelihood to about 15 million fishers and fish farmers at the primary level and generate almost twice the number of jobs along the value chain.
  • These figures could have been much higher had India invested in a deepwater fleet, which
    • Is an important component of the sea power of the state.
    • Ensures a solution to the acute food problem facing mankind.


Need for a deepwater fleet for India:

  • Fishing is being undertaken in coastal waters → Fishermen have to compete with those of neighbours, Sri Lanka (Palk Strait) and Pakistan.
  • Rich resources in India’s EEZ remain underexploited → catch taken away by the better-equipped fishing fleets of other Indo-Pacific countries.
  • Neighbours indulging in illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing → has serious security and environmental implications.
  • Fishing vessels drifting unknowingly into foreign waters leading to prolonged imprisonment of the crew.
  • India’s fisheries exports are at a low level of value addition.


Lessons to be learnt from China:

  • It has mobilised the fishing industry to meet the rising demand for protein and had begun distant deepwater fishing in 1985.
  • With an eye on “protein and profit”, China struck contracts to fish in the EEZ of other Asian and African countries.
  • Consequently, China is a “fishery superpower” today, owning the world’s largest deep-water fishing fleet, with boats that stay at sea for months or even years.
  • China also uses a part of its fishing fleet as a “maritime militia”, which assists the navy and coast guard in their tasks.


Initiatives of the Indian govt:

1.      PM Matsya Sampada Yojana (2020): A flagship scheme for sustainable development of India’s fisheries sector with an estimated investment of Rs 20,000 crores over the next five years.

2.    Indo-Sri Lankan Fishing Corporation (under the above Yojana), with a deepwater fishing fleet and dedicated fishing harbours,

○       Could not only provide a huge boost to the fishing industries of both nations,

○       But also remove an unwanted irritant in bilateral relations.

3.   SAGAR: Security and Growth for All in the Region.


To evolve a long-term vision for its fishing industry, focus areas for India:

  • Mechanisation and modernisation of fishing vessels by providing communication links and electronic fish-detection devices.
  • Developing deep-water fishing (DWF) fleets, with bigger, sea-going trawlers equipped with refrigeration facilities.
  • A DWF fleet around the “mothership” concept, wherein a large vessel would accompany the fleet to provide fuel, medical and on-board preservation/processing facilities.
  • Development of modern fishing harbours with adequate berthing and post-harvest facilities, including cold storage, preservation, and packaging of fish.


Insta Links:

Deep sea fish conservation must not go adrift

Tiger Census 2022 and International Big Cat Alliance

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment Conservation


Source: DTE

 Context: The fifth cycle of the All-India Tiger Estimation (2022) was released to mark 50 years of Project Tiger


Major highlights of the Report:

Highlights of Details
Tiger population in India3,167 in 2022, up from 2,967 in 2018 (growth by 200)
Growth rateAbout 6.7% (from 2018 to 2022)— significantly slower than the 33% growth rate during 2014-2018.
Significant increaseShivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains saw a significant increase in the tiger population
New areasUttar Pradesh’s Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary and northwest of Yamuna in Himachal Pradesh.
Decline in occupancyTiger occupancy in the Western Ghats declined, with significant declines observed in the Wayanad landscape and in the Biligiriranga Hills


Tiger occupancy in Northeast Hills, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana showed a decline.

High conservation priorityThe genetically unique and small population of tigers in Simlipal is of high conservation priority.
Best maintained TRPeriyar Tiger Reserve (TR), Kerala is the best-maintained of all TRs followed by Satpura TR (Madhya Pradesh), Bandipur and Nagarhole (Karnataka)
Largest tiger populationThe Nilgiri cluster (Nagarahole to Biligiriranga Hills) is the largest tiger population in the world.


To know about Tigers and 50 years of Project Tiger: Click here

About Tiger Census 2022

  • Period: Once every four years (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
  • Conducted by: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) conducts tiger censuses in partnership with state forest departments, conservation NGOs, and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
  • Census methodology:
    • The double sampling method (introduced in 2006, after the pugmark surveys were found to be unreliable) is used in the national tiger census, which involves ground-based surveys and camera-trap images.
    • Phases 1 & 2 collected signs of tiger presence, such as scat and pugmarks.
    • Phase 3: the information was plotted on a forest map prepared with remote sensing and GIS. In the last phase, the data were extrapolated to areas where cameras could not be deployed.


About Global Alliance for big cats:

 Context: India has proposed to launch a mega global alliance to protect big cats and assured support over five years with guaranteed funding of $100 million (over Rs 800 crore).


About International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)

The Language Friendship Bridge

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: TH

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has launched a project called ‘The Language Friendship Bridge’ to train people & create a pool of experts in 10 languages (like Kazakh, Uzbek, Burmese, and Sinhalese) that are spoken in countries with which India has historical & cultural ties: Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Indonesia.


Significance: This move is significant as it reflects India’s interest in expanding its cultural and economic footprint in nations with whom it has historical ties, and also recognizes the importance of promoting language learning and cultural understanding in order to strengthen ties with neighbouring countries.


Usage: The example can be used in International Relations/ Arts and Culture questions.

River rejuvenation

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: TH

The 7.2 Km Kuttamperoor River in Alappuzha, Kerala has been rejuvenated after over a 6-year effort through public participation and government intervention.

Previously, the River died a slow death around 2005 due to years of waste dumping and encroachments.


Collaborative effort: The Major Irrigation department removed encroachments, deepened the channel, and constructed bunds on both sides to revive the river.


Impact: Its revival is expected to boost tourism in the region and help control floods.

Other examples of successful river rejuvenation: Rhine River (Europe); Singapore River Clean-up, Singapore; Thames River Restoration, London, UK; Ganga Action Plan, India

Usage: The example can be used in the environment/governance question as a successful example of River rejuvenation.

UN Democracy Fund

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE

 Context: The UN Democracy Fund is a fund set up by the United Nations to support projects that promote democracy around the world.

About the fund:


Type of fundUnited Nations General Trust Fund
ContributionsVoluntary contribution from many countries, including India (India was the founding member).
AimThe fund supports NGOs and other organizations that work to strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, and encourage citizen participation in political processes.
AdministrationThe fund is overseen by an Advisory Board (19 members), which includes representatives from various countries (including India) and civil society organizations.


Current IssueIndia and the US were instrumental in the establishment of the UN Democracy Fund in 2005, with India contributing $5 million to the fund in its early years. However, India’s funding for the UNDEF has dwindled since 2012.


Also, India has not objected to the UNDEF giving grants to NGOs funded by George Soros. However, it has put the same NGOs on the watchlist in India.


Changing definition of Rural-Urban areas in India


Source: ET

 Context: Economic Advisory Council to the PM has suggested tweaking the definition of rural-urban areas.


Issues with current classification:

 Current classification uses a combination of administrative definition and census criteria, which are often inadequate in capturing the speed and scale of urbanization in India. As a result, urban areas are often governed by panchayats, which are less efficient in the provisioning of public goods than urban local bodies



  • The definition should be tweaked by including technological indicators like night-time light intensity
  • Establishing a trigger mechanism to allow automatic transition from rural to urban settlement after the prescribed threshold is reached.
  • Government should revisit the assumption of creating schemes based on the rural-urban divide

Current Definition

As of 2017, any settlement that is not considered ‘urban’ is automatically considered ‘rural’.


Two types of urban settlements:

  • Administratively urban settlements: They are those that are governed by an Urban Local Body (ULB).
  • Census Urban Settlements: They are those that have a population greater than 5000, 75% of the male population working in non-agriculture, and a density of 400 people per sq. Km.

State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2021-22

Source: LM


Context: The Ministry of Power has released the State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2021-22.

About State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI)Description
SEEI 2021-22 has an updated framework of 50 indicators aligned with national priorities to track outcomes and impacts of state-level energy efficiency initiatives.


ObjectiveDriving decarbonisation efforts in states and outlining recommendations to help states drive change in energy efficiency, which will contribute towards the fulfilment of SDGs and NDC.


Developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in association with the Alliance for an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE)
PeriodAssesses the annual progress of states and UTs in energy efficiency implementation for FY 2020-21 and 2021-22
Front Runner Category (>60 points)Karnataka (Top performer), Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana
Achiever Category (50-60 points)Assam (Top performer), Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab
About BEEBureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE, est. 2022, under Energy Conservation Act, 2001; HQ: New Delhi) to assist in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles. The Energy Conservation Act provides for regulatory and promotional functions.

Blockchain project to explore the potential of Web3


Source: ET

Context: The Indian Union government is conducting a research project in Blockchain technology to develop a unified blockchain framework for offering national blockchain services and the creation of a blockchain ecosystem.

The aspect of the ProjectDetails
NameDesign and Development of a Unified Blockchain Framework for offering a National Blockchain framework
The objective of the projectTo evolve the blockchain technology stack and enable Open APIs for seamless integration and offer blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS)
UnderNational Strategy on Blockchain (2021, under MeITY), which encompasses major technology components required for Web3 to create a trusted digital platform by evolving a national Blockchain infrastructure
What is BaaS?Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) refers to third-party cloud-based infrastructure for companies to build, host and use their own blockchain apps, smart contracts and functions on blockchain technology.
Benefits of BaaSFacilitate wider adoption of blockchain technology, reduce the cost of infrastructure for smaller companies promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and enable better security compliance by ensuring supply chain traceability
What is blockchain?Blockchain is a secure and decentralized way of storing information, where each transaction or data is verified and recorded in a block, creating a chain of blocks that cannot be altered or deleted once added to the chain.

Prelims Links:

With reference to Web 3.0, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)

1.  Web 3-0 technology enables people to control their own data.
2. In the Web 3.0 world, there can be blockchain-based social networks.
3. Web 3-0 is operated by users collectively rather than by a corporation.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

[A] 1 and 2 only [B] 2 and 3 only [C] 1 and 3 only [D] 1, 2 and 3


Answer: D

Detecting toxic pollutants

Source: DST

 Context: Scientists from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) have developed a new low-cost substrate that can increase the sensitivity of Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), to help detect pollutants particles such as N-nitroso diphenylamine (NDPhA), a potent carcinogen and a severe threat to mankind


What is Raman spectroscopy?

Raman spectroscopy is a scientific technique that helps to identify and study the properties of different materials. It works by shining a laser beam on a sample and measuring the scattered light that comes back. This scattered light contains information about the chemical composition and structure of the material being studied, which can be used to identify different molecules and compounds.


Sir C.V. Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his work on Raman spectroscopy.


Exercise Kavach

Source: PIB


Exercise Kavach is a joint military exercise involving the assets of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard conducted at Andaman and Nicobar command.



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