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:
1.Sexual Harassment in Sports
GS Paper 3:
1 .Roadmap to energy justice
2. Debt-for-climate swaps
3. Maoist challenge: Needs political understanding, not securitisation
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
1. SOCIAL WELFARE: NITI Aayog’s Compendium on Best Practices in Social Sector 2023
2. Return to Roots
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- Northern Lights In India
- World Press Freedom Index 2023
- Clearing corporations
- Startup India Seed Fund Scheme
- Listeria monocytogenes bacteria
- Biosynthetic clock
- ADB’s IF-CAP
- Fit for 55
- International Leopard Day 2023
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Indian Society: Social Empowerment
Context: An investigation has revealed that as many as 16 out of 30 national sports federations in India don’t comply with the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act, which mandates an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to create a safe workplace environment for women.
What is Internal Complaints Committee?
The ICC is the first port of call for any grievance under the PoSH Act, and it needs to have a minimum of four members with at least half of them women and one external member, preferably from an NGO or an association that works for women’s empowerment or a person familiar with issues related to sexual harassment, like a lawyer.
Status of various federations on ICC:
|Gymnastics Federation of India, Table Tennis Federation, Handball Federation, Wrestling Federation, Volleyball Federation,||No ICC|
|Judo Federation of India, Squash Rackets Federation, Billiards & Snooker Federation||ICC has only three members|
|Badminton Association of India, Archery Association, Basketball Federation, Indian Triathlon Federation||ICC has no external member|
Common issues faced by women in sports:
|Lack of funding and support||For example, the US women’s soccer team has won more titles than the men’s team but has been paid less.|
|Gender-based discrimination||Female athletes may face discrimination based on their gender, such as being told they are not as strong or capable as male athletes.
E.g., Indian sport is characterised by a dangerous combination of political nexus and male domination of positions of power.
|Sexual harassment and abuse||Tennis player Ruchika Girhotra from 1990 dared to raise her voice against the then president of the tennis federation and IG Haryana Police;
Chinese Tennis star Peng Shuai accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault (2018); USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal
|Lack of media coverage||Women’s sports events are often given less media coverage compared to men’s events, which can limit their visibility and opportunities for sponsorship.|
|Decreased Quality Training||Inferior facilities and equipment, lack of quality trained coaches|
|Stereotyping and objectification||Female athletes may be objectified and stereotyped based on their appearance rather than their athletic abilities.|
|Social Attitudes and Disfigurement||Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, negative performance evaluations, and loss of starting position|
|Ethical Issues||Some of the ethical issues faced by sexual harassment of women in sports include abuse of power, violation of trust, infringement of human rights, and the creation of hostile and unsafe environments.|
Steps needed and those taken to address the issues faced by women in sports:
|Education and Awareness||For instance, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athlete365 program offers educational resources on a range of topics including athlete safeguarding.|
|Policy and guidelines development||Sports Authority of India has issued guidelines that mandate female coaches to accompany female athletes during travel.|
|Reporting and complaint mechanisms||Sexual Harassment Electronic Box (SHe-Box) provides single-window access for women to register their complaints of sexual harassment.|
|Accountability and enforcement||National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Union Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India on the reported inappropriate behaviour of a coach.|
|Support and empowerment||Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Khelo India Scheme in 2018 to promote sports at the grassroots level, with a special focus on encouraging the participation of girls.|
Major Provisions of POSH Act 2013
|Sexual harassment defined||Sexual harassment includes “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behaviour” committed directly or by implication: Physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.|
|Obligation||Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.|
|Complaint Committees||ICC has powers similar to those of a civil court in respect of summoning and examining any person on oath and requiring the discovery and production of documents.|
|Time||The complaint must be made “within three months from the date of the incident”.|
|Conciliation||The ICC may (at the request of the aggrieved woman) allow the matter to be settled through conciliation (but no monetary settlement allowed)|
|Punishment||Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine of up to Rs 50,000.|
|Compensation||Compensation is determined based on five aspects: suffering and emotional distress caused to the woman, loss of career opportunity, her medical expenses, income and financial status of the respondent, and the feasibility of such payment.|
|Domestic Worker||Domestic workers are protected under the Act and have the right to seek redressal from the Local Complaints Committee (LCC) when they are sexually harassed at their workplaces.|
To address the issues faced by women in sports. It will require a concerted effort from various stakeholders, including governments, sports organizations, and civil society, to create a safe and equitable environment for women in sports.
- How has women’s participation in sports changed over time? Enlist the challenges and limitations that women in sports face and measures taken to empower them.
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Energy, Environment, Conservation
Context: India’s energy strategy is presently recognised as being pragmatic and balanced since it is motivated by assuring energy access, availability, and affordability for its vast population.
What is energy justice? Energy justice envisions elements of a global energy system that fairly distributes both energy services’ benefits and burdens and can be used as a framework to identify energy injustices.
Short-term actions towards ensuring energy justice in India:
- Massive cuts in excise duty and VAT rates of petrol and diesel.
- An export cess on petrol, diesel and ATF.
- Windfall tax on domestically produced petroleum products to prevent refiners and producers from profiteering at the cost of domestic consumers.
- Subsidised administered pricing mechanism (APM) gas for the city gas distribution sector was drastically increased.
- Revising the New Domestic Gas Pricing Guidelines 2014 to rationalise and reform APM gas pricing.
- Prices of diesel in India have gone down in the last year: This is when petrol and diesel prices went up by 35-40% in global markets, India imports over 85% of its crude oil requirements and 55% of its natural gas requirements.
- No shortage of fuel anywhere in India: This is when several neighbourhood countries have had dry outs and power cuts to manage demand.
Long-term actions towards ensuring energy justice:
- Expanding the network of crude oil suppliers: This strategic decision not only ensured affordable energy for Indian consumers but also had a calming effect on global petroleum markets.
- Strengthening ties: With countries like the US (energy trade has gone up 13 times in the last four years) and Russia to ensure a reliable supply of crude oil.
Expanding petrochemical production:
- India is a global exporter of petroleum products and its refining capacity is the fourth largest in the world after the US, China, and Russia.
- Efforts are underway to further enhance this capacity to 450 MMT by 2040.
- Innovation and investments in exploration and production (E&P): India wants to boost its net geographic area under exploration from 8% to 15% (0.5 million sq km) by 2025 and has reduced the prohibited/no-go areas in EEZ by 99%.
- Energy transition: However, as demonstrated at Glasgow, India is committed to becoming net-zero in emissions by 2070.
- Moving towards a gas-based economy:
- By increasing the share of gas from the current 3 to 15% by 2030.
- India has connected more than 9.5 crore families with clean cooking fuel in the past nine years.
- PNG connections have increased from 28 lakh in 2014 to over 1 crore in 2023.
- The number of CNG stations in India has gone up from 938 in 2014 to 4,900 in 2023.
- Since 2014, India has increased the length of its gas pipeline network from 14,700 km to 22,000 km in 2023.
- Biofuel revolution:
- At the recent India Energy Week 2023, India launched E20 – 20% ethanol blended gasoline – which will be expanded across the country in the next two years.
- India’s ethanol-blending gasoline has grown from just 53% in 2013-14 to 10.17% in 2023.
- India is also setting up five 2nd generation ethanol plants, which can convert agricultural waste into biofuel → reducing pollution due to stubble burning → generating income for farmers.
- Developing the entire green hydrogen ecosystem:
- The National Green Hydrogen Mission has been launched with an outlay of Rs 19,744 crore to accelerate India’s efforts towards –
- 4 MT of annual green hydrogen production and
- Rs 1 lakh crore of fossil fuel import savings by 2030.
- An integrated path for transitioning India’s future mobility pathways:
- Along with green hydrogen and biofuels, India is also supporting electric vehicles through a production-linked incentive scheme.
- India is targeting the installation of alternative fuel stations (EV charging/CNG/ LPG/LNG/CBG etc.) at 22,000 retail outlets by May 2024.
- According to IEA estimates, India will account for ~25% of global energy demand growth between 2020-2040.
- As India aspires to become a $26 trillion economy by 2047, implementing a unique strategy for ensuring energy security and achieving energy independence is the need of the hour.
Insta Links: The Road to Energy Atmanirbharta
- “Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. (UPSC 2018)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment, Conservation
Context: In the past decade, debt-for-climate swaps have grown relatively popular among low- and middle-income countries.
|Meaning||It is a debt restructuring device between the creditor and a debtor by which the former forgoes a portion of the latter’s foreign debt/provides its debt relief, in return for a commitment to invest in specific environmental mitigation and adaptation projects.|
|Who will be benefitted?||Low and middle-income countries, small island developing states (SIDS).
Example – Caribbean SIDS: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a 73% drop in international tourist arrivals in 2020, and has aggravated the region’s debt crisis.
|Need||These countries are most vulnerable to climate change and are least able to afford the investment to strengthen resilience due to their debt burden.
The signatories to the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) have a commitment to provide financial assistance to developing countries to build clean, climate-resilient futures.
|Advantages||Dual objectives: to promote specific investment and policy action (that aims to combat climate change) on the one hand and some debt relief on the other.
Seeks to free up fiscal resources → Governments can improve resilience without triggering a fiscal crisis or sacrificing spending on other development priorities.
Developed countries can fulfil their commitments (to support developing countries) through this attractive and transparent instrument.
|Swap vs condition grants||Swap: Offer debt relief above what is needed to finance the climate investments (net debt relief), leading to a higher fiscal transfer and the creation of fiscal space.|
|Conditional grants: Cover the cost of an investment and require economic dislocation → diversion of resources from planned development programmes.|
|In 2017, this small African country announced the successful conclusion of negotiations for a debt-for-adaptation swap under a tripartite model.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a US-based environmental organisation, bought $22 million of its debt in exchange for a promise to create 13 new marine protected areas.
|Way ahead||Countries like Sri Lanka [ranked as highly vulnerable to climate change catastrophes and also reeling under the sovereign debt crisis] can seek the help of these instruments.|
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism
Context: The efficacy of the Maoist movement needs to be gauged in terms of their declining social base, not on the basis of how many violent incidents occur.
|Maoist movement in India|
|Current approach||Expected outcome||Issues|
|Use of Force||The use of force (including specially-trained forces such as the Greyhounds) has led to a decline in Maoist presence and the use of more force will end its remaining influence.||The use of more force only helped the Maoists recruit from the local tribal population.
The Maoist movement moved from the leadership of outsiders (mostly from Telangana) to that of local tribals.
Such internal changes led to local support for the movement from tribals in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
|Development||Welfare and development as part of the “strategy” to calm down and make the Maoists irrelevant.||The D Bandyopadhyay Committee (2006) stated that land alienation and poverty among STs and Dalits, and lack of access to basic forest resources contributed to the growth of Naxalism.
The state’s model of development has resulted in the displacement of tribals → leading to the peaceful Pathalgarhi movement in Jharkhand
What led to the failure of the above approaches:
- Declining Maoist presence/violence could well be a political strategy of the Maoists to go silent/underground and wait for lapses on the part of the security forces.
- Eminent Domain doctrine, argues that all resources belong to the nation and can be extracted in the “national interest”.
- Development is seen as a zero-sum game by either side leads.
- A single conception of development to address the various, occasionally incompatible demands of oppressed groups.
- The securitisation paradigm is also insufficient to comprehend social exclusion.
- Both Ambedkar and Gandhi were of the view that social exclusion and caste cannot be addressed through violence.
- To end the social exclusion of tribals there is the need to understand that development is a multi-faceted process.
Insta Links: LWE
- The persisting drives of the government for the development of large industries in backward areas have resulted in isolating the tribal population and the farmers who face multiple displacements with Malkangiri and naxalbari foci, discuss the corrective strategies needed to win the left-wing extremism (LWE) doctrine affected citizens back into the mainstream of social and economic growth. (UPSC 2015)
The Australian High Commission in India announced its Government Grant for a project in Kargil called “Return to Roots.” This project aims to integrate traditional knowledge with the current school science curriculum in alignment with the goals of the National Education Policy, which includes increasing scientific engagement among school children of the tribal background.
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bengaluru recently captured a rare occurrence of aurora in Ladakh, India, on camera. This is the first time that such an occurrence has been witnessed in Ladakh
Context: India has slipped in the World Press Freedom Index 2023 rankings, coming in at 161 out of 180 countries, indicating a decline in press freedom.
About the Press Freedom Index
|World Press Freedom Day||Celebrated every year on May 3rd, to raise awareness about the state of press freedom globally|
|Origin||It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993. 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day (and the 1991 Windhoek Declaration adopted by UNESCO)|
|Windhoek Declaration||It is a statement of principles related to independent, pluralistic, and free press. It was adopted on May 3, 1991, in Windhoek, Namibia.|
|The theme for this year||“Shaping a Future of Rights: freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights”|
|World Press Freedom Index||It is published every year since 2002 by Reporters Without Borders (an independent NGO based in Paris).|
|Scoring Criteria||Each country or territory’s score is evaluated using five contextual indicators:
· Political context
· Legal framework
· Economic context
· Sociocultural context
100 is the highest possible level of press freedom, and 0 is the worst
|Freedom of Press in India||Freedom of the press is not expressly protected by the Indian legal system but is impliedly protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. However, restrictions apply under Article 19(2) related to the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.|
|Observations of the report this year||India’s press freedom has gone from “problematic” to “very bad,” with the country slipping 11 ranks to 161 out of 180 countries.|
|Reasons cited for the decline||Media takeovers by “oligarchs” close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that have jeopardized pluralism|
|Indian Govt. reaction||The Indian government does not agree with the country rankings of the World Press Freedom Index due to its low sample size, little or no weightage to fundamentals of democracy, and a questionable methodology|
|Topper||Norway ranks first on the Index for the seventh year in a row, with Ireland ranking second, and Denmark third.|
Context: The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is conducting a third-party impact assessment of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme to evaluate its performance in benefiting the startup community.
About Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS):
|SISFS was created by DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2021. It aims to provide financial assistance to start-ups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization.|
|Eligibility||Startups recognized by DPIIT incorporated not more than 2 years ago at the time of application, have not received more than Rs. 10 lakhs of monetary support under any other Central or State Government scheme.|
|Preference||Startups create innovative solutions in sectors such as social impact, waste management, water management, etc.|
|Grants and Support||Grants of up to Rs. 5 crores are provided to eligible incubators, which in turn provide grants of up to Rs. 20 lakhs to startups for validation of proof of concept, prototype development, or product trials.|
|Estimated Beneficiaries||3,600 entrepreneurs through 300 incubators in the next 4 years|
|What is Seed funding?||Seed Funding is an early stage of investment in a start-up or a new business idea to help the company reach a point where it can secure additional rounds of funding or generate revenue to become self-sustaining.|
Context: The United Kingdom Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a recall for several Cadbury-branded dessert products due to potential contamination by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
What are Listeria monocytogenes bacteria?
Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria that can cause infection in humans and animals. It is commonly found in soil, water, and some animals’ intestines. Listeria is typically spread through contaminated food, particularly ready-to-eat foods such as cooked meats, dairy products, and fresh produce.
Symptoms: Symptoms of a Listeria infection can include high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick, and diarrhoea.
Impact: Listeriosis, the illness caused by Listeria infection, can lead to serious complications, such as meningitis, sepsis, and miscarriage.
Context: The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Union’s financial markets regulator and supervisor, has derecognised six Indian central counterparties (CCPs) from April 30, 2023.
What are Clearing corporations (CC)?
CC is an organization associated with an exchange to handle the confirmation, settlement, and delivery of transactions in a prompt and efficient manner.
Examples of CCs:
The CCPs are The Clearing Corporation of India (CCIL), Indian Clearing Corporation Ltd (ICCL), NSE Clearing Ltd (NSCCL), Multi Commodity Exchange Clearing (MCXCCL), India International Clearing Corporation (IFSC) Ltd (IICC), and NSE IFSC Clearing Corporation Ltd (NICCL).
Why has ESMA derecognized Indian CCs?
The decision to derecognise Indian CCPs came due to ‘no cooperation arrangements’ between ESMA and Indian regulators – the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
As per the European Market Infrastructure Regulations (EMIR), a CCP in a third country can provide clearing services to European banks only if it is recognised by ESMA. With the withdrawal of recognition, these CCPs will no longer be able to provide services to clearing members and trading venues established in the EU.
Government’s stand – ESMA’s threat is unreasonable since all clearing corporations are well-regulated in India.
Context: Scientists have discovered that the ageing process of cells is controlled by a genetic regulatory circuit that can be manipulated to extend their lifespan.
This circuit functions like a clock, guiding the cell through two distinct pathways of ageing. By manipulating this circuit, scientists have been able to generate a negative feedback loop that slows down the cell’s degeneration, leading to a significant extension of cellular lifespan.
Significance: This research may have important implications for improving human health and treating age-related diseases in the future.
Context: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced the Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific (IF-CAP) program to accelerate climate change financing in the region.
|IF-CAP is the first-of-its-kind multi-donor financing partnership facility with the goal of scaling-up finance for accelerated action against climate change in Asia and the Pacific.|
|Launch||Announced on 2 May 2023|
|Owner||Asian Development Bank (ADB)|
|Initial Partners||Denmark, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States|
|Benefits||1. The multiplier effect of up to $5 in much-needed climate finance for every $1 of guarantees (model of ‘$1 in, $5 out’)
2. Financing will help vulnerable countries in Asia and the Pacific region meet their mitigation and adaptation goals.
3. Support ADB’s raised ambition for $100 billion in climate finance from 2019-2030.
|Financing Mechanisms||Global Environment Facility (GEF), Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund, and Loss and Damage Fund|
|Funding Sources||Bilateral and multilateral sources, the private sector, and philanthropies including the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet|
|Amount||The initial ambition of $3 billion in guarantees could create up to $15 billion (model of ‘$1 in, $5 out’) in new loans for much-needed climate projects across Asia and the Pacific.|
|About ADB||The Asian Development Bank (est. 1966; HQ: Manila, Phillippines) is a regional development bank committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.|
Context: The Fit for 55 packages is a set of proposals aimed at revising and updating EU legislation and implementing new initiatives to align EU policies with the climate goals agreed by the Council and the European Parliament.
- The package is named after the EU’s target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
- Some of the initiatives include– Extension to emissions from maritime transport. Reduction of emissions allowances. Implementation of the global carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation. Increase funding for an innovation fund. Revision of the market stability reserve.
Context: International Leopard Day is a new annual event that was officialized on May 3, 2023, with the launch of a dedicated portal, “internationalleopardday.org” by the Cape Leopard Trust (CLT).
Read the CA in PDF format here: Daily Current Affairs + PIB Summary (4 May 2023)
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