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 1:
- Smart Cities Mission
GS Paper 2:
- The goal of zero hunger
GS Paper 3:
- “Risk-based” regulation for artificial intelligence (AI)
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
- NITI Aayog’s Compendium on Best Practices in Social Sector 2023
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- Article 142
- WEF: “Future of Jobs” Report
- Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi’ campaign
- Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR)
- Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA)
- ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME) 2023
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies
Context: The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry (MoHUA) has extended the deadline for the Smart Cities Mission from June 2023 to June 2024.
What is the Smart Cities Mission?
- It is an initiative of the MoHUA launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on June 25, 2015.
- To promote cities that provide core infrastructure, and a clean and sustainable environment, 100 cities (to be developed as Smart Cities) have been selected through a two-stage competition (from January 2016 to June 2018).
- 66 of the cities are small (less than 1 million population) and are implementing two-thirds of the projects.
It aims to:
- Drive economic growth through comprehensive work on social, economic, physical and institutional pillars of the city and
- Improve the quality of life through smart solutions.
- Focus on sustainable and inclusive development by the creation of replicable models which act as lighthouses to other aspiring cities.
The six fundamental principles on which the concept of Smart Cities is based are:
What kinds of projects were proposed?
- The project includes making certain stretches of pedestrian-friendly roads into more capital-intensive ones like laying water pipelines and constructing STPs.
- In addition, some PPP infrastructure projects like multi-modal transport hubs, common mobility cards and public bike sharing are included.
- All 100 cities have also constructed Integrated Command and Control Centres to monitor all security, emergency and civic services.
- During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, these were converted into emergency response units by many of the cities.
What is the status of the projects?
- The projects were supposed to be completed within five years, but in 2021 the Ministry changed the deadline for all cities to June 2023.
- As of March 2023, the 100 cities have issued work orders for 7,799 projects worth Rs 1.80 lakh crore.
- 50 out of the 100 cities have completed 75% of the projects and would be able to complete the remaining works by June.
- However, they would need more time to carry out the documentation, dissemination and institutionalisation of the best practices and innovations.
Significance of extending the deadline to June 2024: It will enable all 100 smart cities to not only complete their projects but also document and disseminate the learnings from the mission.
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Issues Relating to Poverty and Hunger
Context: To achieve the goal of zero hunger, India should have a special and immediate focus on India’s youngest children.
Why India’s youngest children need urgent attention?
- According to the WHO, a minimum of 33% of the daily calorie intake is expected to come from food (at six months of age).
- The child obtains the remaining calories through “on-demand” breastfeeding.
- According to the NFHS-5, 18% of mothers reported that their child (between ages 6-23 months) did not eat any food/“zero-food” in the 24 hours preceding the survey.
- Close to 40% did not eat any grains (roti, rice, etc) for an entire day, and six out of 10 children do not consume milk (“zero-milk”).
- This raises serious concerns related to severe food insecurity.
Impact/extent of nutritional deprivation among young children:
- The percentage of children short for their age (stunting) or
- Weighing less given their height (wasting)
- Mission Poshan 2.0: The flagship programme dedicated to maternal and child nutrition.
- National Food Security Act 2013
- Zero Hunger Programme: Began in 2017 to improve agriculture, health and nutrition.
- Eat Right India Campaign
- Food Fortification
- PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
- Zero-food underscores that achieving sufficiency in food production (the world’s leading country in milk production) does not necessarily mean attaining food security.
- Deficiency in data (food-based metrics) related to food and dietary consumption to effectively monitor and assess the performance of government initiatives.
- The rising burden of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases in India.
- Disruptions in global food production and distribution systems, accentuated by the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian conflict.
What needs to be done?
- Given their multifactorial nature with regard to what causes stunting or wasting among children, the specific nature of the deficiencies must be assessed.
- For this, assessments using household-level food insecurity modules developed by the FAO can be adapted.
- This will constitute the foundation for any evidence-based policy.
- Multiple (not single) ministries/departments of the Government of India should take responsibility for designing, implementing and monitoring policies.
Conclusion: To achieve the SDG (2) of zero hunger, India should consider a strategic initiative aimed at eliminating food insecurity by ensuring adequate-affordable-accessible-nutritionally diverse food, with a special and immediate focus on mothers and children.
There is a growing divergence in the relationship between poverty and hunger in India. The shrinking of social expenditure by the government is forcing the poor to spend more on non-food essential items squeezing their food-budget – Elucidate. (UPSC 2019)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Science and Technology
Context: The Group of Seven (G7) has proposed a “risk-based” regulation for artificial intelligence (AI) tools, which could be a first step towards creating a template to regulate AI such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
What is AI?
AI stands for artificial intelligence, which is the ability of machines to learn and perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and language understanding.
What is GPT?
Concerns related to rising AI software and chatbots:
|Privacy||There is a risk that personal and sensitive information data could be used for unethical purposes, such as for targeted advertising or for political manipulation.|
|Responsibility||Since AI models can generate new content, such as images, audio, or text it may be used to generate fake news or other malicious content, without knowing who is responsible for the output. This could lead to ethical dilemmas over responsibility.|
|Automation and Lowering of Job||AI has the potential to automate many processes, which could lead to job displacement for people who are skilled in those areas.|
|Bias and Discrimination||AI can be trained on biased data, which can result in the algorithm making decisions that unfairly disadvantage certain groups. This can perpetuate societal inequalities and lead to discrimination.|
|Lack of Transparency and Accountability||There are concerns about who should be held responsible for the actions of AI systems – creators of the AI systems, the companies that deploy them, or the governments that regulate them.|
Various steps taken by countries to regulate AI are:
|G7||The EU’s “risk-based” regulation of AI refers to the proposed AI Act that seeks to regulate artificial intelligence tools based on their level of risk. The act categorizes AI systems into four categories:
· Unacceptable risk (e.g., in case of critical infrastructure)
· high risk
· limited risk
· minimal risk (e.g., spam filters, word processing)
The level of risk determines the degree of regulatory scrutiny and compliance requirements that the AI system would be subject to.
|EU||The proposed AI Act segregates artificial intelligence by use-case scenarios based broadly on the degree of invasiveness and risk. The AI Act is due next year.|
|Italy||Became the first major Western country to ban Open AI’s ChatGPT out of concerns over privacy.|
|UK||Adopts a ‘light-touch’ approach that aims to foster innovation in the AI industry.|
|Japan||Takes an accommodative approach to AI developers.|
|China||Drafted a 20-point draft to regulate generative AI services that are likely to be enforced later this year.|
|India||ICMR releases guidelines for artificial intelligence use in the health sector; Niti Aayog’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and the Responsible AI for All report. India is not considering any law to regulate AI currently. India’s AI penetration factor at 3.09, the highest among all G20, OECD countries|
|US||Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights that proposed a nonbinding roadmap for the responsible use of AI. The Blueprint spelt out five core principles to govern the effective development of AI systems.|
Although the risks of AI are widely known, it remains unclear how the proposed AI Bill of Rights would address these risks and how grievances would be remedied. Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and over 15,000 others have called for a six-month pause in AI development, and for shared safety protocols to be implemented by labs and independent experts.
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
Source: Niti Aayog
Every day in this section we will be bringing best practices from each section. Today’s best practices will cover ‘AGRICULTURE’
Initiatives in tabular format:
|Crop Cluster Development Programme – Innovation in Haryana||A program that provides on-farm facilities to farmers for proper aggregation, grading/sorting, and processing of products in Haryana.|
|Organic Large Cardamom Production- Nagaland||A program that aims to develop a value chain for organic large cardamom in Nagaland and facilitate partnerships between farmers and organic businesses.|
|The direct and full benefit of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers||A program that transfers the Minimum Support Price directly to farmers’ accounts in Haryana and Punjab, eliminating exploitation by middlemen.|
|Dr YSR Rythu Bharosa Kendralu – a one-stop solution for farmers||A program that provides quality inputs, knowledge transfer, and capacity building for agriculture and allied sectors in Andhra Pradesh.|
|Climate resilient rice-fish farming in Assam||A program that encourages pisciculture in paddy fields, taking advantage of the symbiotic relationship between rice plants and fish in Assam.|
|Odisha Millets Mission||A program that promotes the production and consumption of millets in Odisha to preserve indigenous culture.|
|Black Rice Initiative in Chandauli-Uttar Pradesh||The initiative involved promoting black rice farming among a small group of 300 farmers. The branding of black rice was done, and it was sold at a much higher price than common rice, leading to a rise in the income of farmers.|
Usage: These examples can be used in Mains answer as innovative solutions/way forward
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The archaeological site of Pattanam, on the southwestern coast in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, is believed to be part of the ancient port city of the Muziris.
|About||Ancient harbour and an urban centre|
|Location||Malabar Coast. The exact location of Muziris is disputed. Excavations suggest somewhere near Pattanam, Kerala.|
|Evidence||Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Sangam literature, Pliny the Elder [in his Natural History, hailed Muziris as “the first emporium of India]|
|Importance||Key to the interactions (trade and commerce) between South India and Persia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the (Greek and Roman) Mediterranean region|
|Commodities exported||Spices, semi-precious stones, pearls, diamonds, sapphires, ivory, Chinese silk, etc|
|Commodities imported||Gold coins, multicoloured textiles, sulphide of antimony, copper, tin, lead, coral, raw glass, wine, etc.|
|Decline||Roman trade declined from the 5th century AD, the port attracted the Persian, Chinese and Arab traders until the devastating floods of Periyar in 1341.|
|Recent findings||DNA analysis suggests that the site was first occupied by the indigenous and ‘Megalithic’ (Iron Age) people. A continuous inflow of traders exemplified multicultural mixing in ancient South India.|
Context: Researchers at the Pune-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in India have decoded copper plates revealing that the celebrated Sanskrit poetess Shilabhattarika was a daughter of the “Satyashraya” Chalukyan ruler Pulakeshin II.
- Previously, it was thought that she was the wife of the 8th-century Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva
- The title of “Satyashraya” (patron of truth) was associated with Chalukyan Emperor, Pulakeshin II of Badami
Works of Shilabhattarika:
It adheres to the Panchali style that calls for a balance of words with its meaning. She inspired the Sanskrit poet-critic Rajashekhara (who lived in the 9th-10th century CE) and was the court poet of the Gurjara-Pratiharas and noted Marathi poetess, Shanta Shelke drawn inspiration from Shilabhattarika’s verse to compose one of her most iconic songs— toch chandrama nabhat (translated as ‘it is the same moon in the sky’).
What are Copper-plate charters?
They are ancient inscriptions on copper plates that were used as legal documents in India during the medieval period. These plates were used to record land grants, donations, and other royal decrees. This charter had five plates, held together by a copper ring bearing a beautiful Varaha (boar) seal (trademark of the Badami Chalukyas)
Context: The report, titled “Future of Jobs,” reveals that the Indian labour market will see a 22% job churn (movement of jobs in an economy), compared to 23% globally.
|About the report||The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its fourth edition (bi-annual) report on jobs and skills, which explores how jobs and skills will evolve between 2023-2027.|
|Focus of Report||The report tracks the labour-market impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, green energy transitions, supply-chain shifts, and more.|
|Key Findings||New Job-creation will be driven by green transition, and localization of supply chains, whereas job destruction in the coming years will be due to slower economic growth, supply shortages and the rising cost of inputs, and the rising cost of living for consumers; 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years; 23% of jobs in the next five years are expected to change.|
|Threats to labour-market:
|Clerical or secretarial roles including bank tellers, cashiers and data entry clerks expected to decline the fastest|
|Workforce Strategies 2023-27)||The report recommends investment in learning and training on the job, accelerating automation of processes, expanding the use of contract work, hiring significantly more permanent staff, etc.|
|Way forward||Governments and businesses must invest in supporting the shift to the jobs of the future through education, reskilling and social support structures. Training workers to utilise AI and big data need to be prioritised.|
|About World Economic Forum (WEF)||The World Economic Forum (est. 1971; HQ: Cologny, Switzerland) is an international non-governmental and lobbying organisation for multinational companies. It was founded on 24 January 1971 by German engineer Klaus Schwab|
Context: The Supreme Court of India has ruled that it can directly grant divorce to couples under Article 142 (1) of the Constitution, which allows it to do “complete justice” in any cause or matter.
What did SC say?
The court can waive the mandatory six-month waiting period for divorce under The Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955, and allow the dissolution of the marriage on grounds of an irretrievable breakdown even if one of the parties is not willing.
Significance of the decision: The decision enables couples to bypass the time-consuming process of obtaining a decree of divorce through family courts, which have a large number of similar cases pending.
About Article 142:
|Article 142 (1) provides discretionary power to the Supreme Court as it states that the SC in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
|Application||Release of AG Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case; Cleansing of Taj Mahal and granting justice to many undertrials; Ayodhya dispute case|
|Significance||It has been invoked to protect the rights of different sections of the population and serves as a check on the government, acting as a system of checks and balances with the legislature. It provides complete justice to various deprived sections of society or protects the environment|
|Example of judicial overreach||Ban on the sale of alcohol along national and state highways where the court extended the ban to State highways as well|
|Negative Impact||Article 142 has some negative aspects such as ambiguity, promoting judicial overreach, and unaccountability. The phrase “complete justice” is still unclear and judgments passed by the Supreme Court have created confusion.|
Context: The government plans to focus on early childhood care and education in 14 lakh Anganwadi centres, reimagining them as pre-schools providing early learning opportunities, according to the ‘Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi’ campaign launched by the Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani in September 2022.
About the “Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi” campaign for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE):
|Target Age Group||Children under 6 years, especially under 3 years|
|National Education Policy||Prioritizes foundational literacy and numeracy with emphasis on Child’s Mother tongue|
|Recommendations of High-Level Task Force on ECCE (2022)||“Rebranding of anganwadis” with upgraded infrastructure; Re-designation of Anganwadis workers as Anganwadi teachers, and helpers as childcare workers; Creche facilities for children under 3 years; Develop common curriculum across different models and emphasis on education in child’s mother tongue.|
|What is Early Childhood?||It refers to the formative stage of the first six years of life, with well-marked sub-stages and age-specific needs.|
|What is Anganwadi?||Anganwadi is a type of rural child care centre that serves as a crucial link between the government and the rural population, particularly pregnant women, new mothers, and children under the age of six. Anganwadi centres provide basic health care, nutrition, and early childhood education services to women and children in their respective villages.|
Context: A wild tusker named Arikompan was successfully translocated to an area near Seeniyaroda under the Mullakkudy forest section under the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Thekkady.
About Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR):
Context: An Assam-based insurgent group – Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA) – signed a peace agreement with the State Government and the Centre.
About Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA)
|DNLA is an Assam-based insurgent group formed in 2019, that seeks sovereign territory for Dimasa tribals in the area around Dima Hasao district.
|Peace Agreement||· Completely end the insurgency in the region
· The government of Assam will establish the Dimasa Welfare Council to protect the social, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Dimasa people.
· A commission will be appointed under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to examine the demand for the inclusion of additional villages contiguous to the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council with the council.
· A Special Development package of ₹500 crore each will be provided by the Government of India and the Government of Assam over five years, to rehabilitate the surrendered armed cadres of DNLA
|The recent success of Insurgency in N-E||70% reduction in insurgency incidents and an 80% drop in civilian deaths between 2013-19|
|Major Agreements Signed||Bodo Accord (2020), Bru-Reang Agreement (2020), National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) Agreement (2019), Karbi Anglong Agreement (2021)|
|Challenges||Differences in demands of various insurgent groups, resentment against non-locals, ethnic and tribal rivalries, economic stagnation, and broken peace accords|
Context: India is set to participate in the inaugural ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME), which will take place in the South China Sea from May 2-8.
Aim: The exercise aims to strengthen India’s military cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Location: Singapore and the South China Sea
Vessel: INS Delhi, India’s first indigenously-built guided missile destroyer and INS Satpura, an indigenously-built guided missile stealth frigate will take part in the exercise.
Follow us on our Official TELEGRAM Channel HERE
Subscribe to Our Official YouTube Channel HERE
Please subscribe to Our podcast channel HERE
Official Facebook Page HERE
Follow our Twitter Account HERE
Follow our Instagram Account HERE
Follow us on LinkedIn: HERE