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:
- COVID-19 is no more a public health emergency of international concern
- India-Maldives Relations
- Buddhism: India’s soft power projection tool
GS Paper 3:
- New ESCAP Study on Natural Disasters
- EU’s carbon border tax
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
- Skill development: NITI Aayog’s Compendium on Best Practices in Social Sector 2023
- ‘Shuttle Diplomacy’
- Digital Tripura project
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- Samarth Ramdas and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
- Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT)
- National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG)
- Programmes for Social Security Cover
- National Programme for Prevention & Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD)
- Space Science and Technology AwaReness Training (START)
- Central Asian Flyway (CAF)
- Credit Suisse-Ecuador Deal for Galapagos Conservation
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services Relating to Health
Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 was no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
When was it declared PHEIC?
COVID-19 was announced as a ‘PHEIC’ by the WHO on January 30, 2020.
What is the current status of COVID-19?
It has acquired the status of other endemic diseases (from the pandemic). India reached the COVID-19 endemic stage a year ago.
Trends during COVID-19 spread in India:
- ‘COVID deniers’ at the beginning of the pandemic: Resulted in the spiking of the COVID-19 cases in India.
- Misinformation during the 2nd wave: A third wave in India would affect children resulting in the deprivation of schooling and learning of children.
- Policy interventions missed factoring in the local context: Local context determines the epidemiological pattern, spread of disease and proposed interventions.
Lessons from COVID Pandemic that India must embrace and implement:
- Invest in healthcare (HC) infrastructure.
- India needs National HC Services Regulatory Authority: To check rampant black marketing of critical drugs, artificial shortage and discrepancies in the cost of the same.
- India needs more doctors, paramedics and hospitals.
- Revamp Primary health centres with the PPP model.
- Bring the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under PMO to enhance proficiency in predicting future pandemics.
- Better pay and training of ASHA workers: They played a critical role in creating awareness in rural India – allaying fake apprehensions regarding vaccines.
- Fight disinformation in mission mode.
- A strategic reserve of critical medicines.
Steps taken by India towards Covid-19 prevention:
- Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Surveillance Consortium (INSACOG) for genomic sequencing and tracking the evolution of variant strains of SARS-CoV-2.
- The National Biopharma Mission (NBM) and the Ind-CEPI Mission have enabled the strengthening of the national vaccine development ecosystem.
- Mission COVID Suraksha was launched as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 for promoting the R&D of Indian COVID-19 vaccines.
Some best practices in India:
- “Har Ghar Dastak” campaign: Aims at awareness, mobilisation and vaccination of all eligible beneficiaries.
- Training of healthcare professionals: The Government of India has utilised the iGOT (Integrated Government Online Training) platform to train various personnel.
- COVID-19 has ‘officially’ transitioned from a population-level challenge to more of an individual health concern.
- The government should offer formal training courses in epidemiology to prepare India for future outbreaks and epidemics and to curb misinformation.
- Integrate the COVID-19 response to general health services. There is no role for universal measures against COVID-19 to be enforced.
- It is time to drop the COVID-19 fixation and move on to tackle other more pressing health challenges in the country.
Critically examine the role of WHO in providing global health security during the COVID-19 Pandemic. (UPSC 2020)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2022)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Bilateral Relation
Context: India and the Maldives have marked a milestone in their defence ties with the laying of the foundation stone for the Coast Guard ‘Ekatha Harbour’ in the Uthuru Thila Falhu atoll.
About the project:
|Purpose||To strengthen the capability of the Maldivian Coast Guard and facilitate regional humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts|
|Significance||The project is among the biggest Indian grant-in-aid projects in the Maldives; a major step in growing defence cooperation between India and Maldives|
|Other Developments||India gifted an additional landing craft to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF); India had gifted a Dornier aircraft, patrol vessel, and coastal radar system to the Maldives in previous years|
|Controversy||Allegations that the project was a cover for Indian military presence in Maldives; led to an “India Out” campaign backed by opposition leader Abdulla Yameen|
Importance of Maldives for India: Long-standing ties with the Maldives; strategic location in the Indian Ocean; beneficial to India and other nations in the region with common maritime interests; in the backdrop of growing Chinese attempts to expand its influence in the region
Various Dimensions of India-Maldives Relations:
|Historical||The Maldives has a history intertwined with India, including conquest by Rajaraja Chola’s Chola dynasty (Maldives’ northern atolls). It became a British colony and gained independence in 1965, leading to political unrest.|
|Security Partnership||Joint Exercises – “Ekuverin”, “Dosti”, “Ekatha” and “Operation Shield” (begun in 2021). India provides the largest number of training opportunities for the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), meeting around 70% of their defence training requirements.
Maldives occupy an important position in India’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and ‘Neighbourhood First’.
|Economic Cooperation||India is Maldives’ 2nd largest trading partner. Afcons, an Indian company, signed a contract for the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)|
|Infrastructure Projects||Hanimaadhoo International Airport Development project under an Indian credit line. National College for Policing and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) was inaugurated by India’s External Affairs Minister (2022)|
|Grant Assistance||Grant assistance of 100 million Rufiyaa (currency of Maldives) for the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) scheme.|
|Sports and Education||Development of a sports complex in Gahdhoo, and academic collaboration between Maldives National University and Cochin University of Science and Technology.|
|Rehabilitation Centre||A drug detoxification and rehabilitation centre in Addu was built with Indian assistance.|
|China Factor||China’s strategic footprint in India’s neighbourhood has increased. The Maldives has emerged as an important ‘pearl’ in China’s “String of Pearls” construct in South Asia. Given the uncertain dynamics of Sino-Indian relations, China’s strategic presence in the Maldives remains a concern.|
Challenges in India-Maldives relations:
- Political Instability: For instance, the arrest of Maldives’ opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed in 2015 and the subsequent political crisis strained India’s relationship with Maldives.
- Radicalisation: The increasing number of Maldivians being drawn towards terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS) and Pakistan-based jihadist groups is a concern for India.
- China’s Strategic Presence: China’s increasing strategic presence in Maldives is a challenge for India. The Maldives has emerged as an important ‘pearl’ in China’s “String of Pearls” construct in South Asia, which is a concern for India’s security.
- China’s dominance: In 2018, Maldives cancelled an agreement with India to develop a key naval base on the island of Marao.The move was seen as a result of China’s growing influence in the Maldives.
- Political actions: Maldives cancelled a $511 million contract awarded to Indian company GMR to develop Male International Airport in 2012, which strained the relationship between the two countries.
- Domestic Politics: The India Out campaign in Maldives, which seeks to create anti-India sentiments among the people of Maldives
India needs to play a crucial role in ensuring regional security in South Asia and surrounding maritime boundaries by actively participating in the Indo-Pacific security space. Effective communication and convincing Maldivians about India’s intentions behind its projects on the island nation are essential to avoid any changes in the domestic political situation in Maldives.
Discuss the political developments in the Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause for concern to India? ( UPSC 2013)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: International Relations
Context: India recently hosted a global Buddhist summit in New Delhi, which saw the participation of key figures from the global Buddhist community, including the Dalai Lama.
What is soft power diplomacy?
Soft power is the ability to obtain preferred outcomes by attraction rather than coercion or payment. Soft power diplomacy refers to the use of cultural, social, and economic means to influence the attitudes and behaviours of other countries, rather than relying solely on military or economic coercion. The concept of soft power was coined by Joseph Nye in the 1990s.
- Examples of soft power diplomacy include cultural exchanges, educational programs, humanitarian aid, and public diplomacy campaigns.
Importance of Buddhism for India’s soft power diplomacy:
|Historical and Cultural Ties||India’s cultural and historical ties with Buddhism can help strengthen its soft power diplomacy with Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.|
|Promoting Religious Harmony||As the birthplace of Buddhism, India can use its Buddhist heritage and teachings to engage with countries like China, which has a significant Buddhist population, to promote dialogue and understanding between the two nations.|
|Economic Benefits||India is currently home to seven of the eight most significant Buddhist sites in the world. The Indian government has been developing the Buddhist Circuit, a tourist trail that connects them.|
|Pan-Asian presence||97 per cent of the world’s Buddhist population lives in the Asian continent, and a number of countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka conceive of Buddhism as intrinsic to their national values and identity|
|Soft Power Projection||India can use its Buddhist cultural diplomacy to improve its relations with Southeast Asian countries and increase its influence in the region.
· India has tried to provide an alternative to contested global politics, with morality as the guiding principle.
· India’s Panchamrit principles include “Sanskriti Evam Sabhyata” which means cultural and civilizational links
Comparison of India’s approach to using Buddhism for soft diplomacy with that of China:
|Approach||India has been promoting Buddhism as a soft power tool since the 1950s.||China has been using Buddhism as a tool of soft power diplomacy for over two decades, particularly in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.|
|Objectives||To counter China’s growing influence, and promote India’s cultural heritage.||To promote Chinese culture and expand China’s influence in the region and beyond.|
|Key strategies||India has focused on restoring ancient Buddhist sites, building new ones, supporting scholars and monks, and promoting Buddhism through cultural exchanges.||During the Cold War, China effectively used Buddhist diplomacy to engage with its neighbouring countries, and it continues to employ this approach to gain legitimacy for its Belt and Road Initiative.
Also, China has invested heavily in building Chinese Buddhist temples and monasteries abroad.
|Film Link||India has not been able to effectively utilize this domain||China, with its influence over Hollywood, has completely dominated the narrative around Buddhism through cinema.|
|Examples of initiatives||Restoration of the ancient Nalanda University, organizing the International Buddhist Conclave, 1st global Buddhist summit and promoting Buddhist circuit tourism in India.||China has established the World Buddhist Forum, which brings together Buddhist leaders from around the world. Support the restoration of ancient Buddhist sites, such as the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.|
India faces several challenges in promoting soft power through Buddhism, including:
- Many of India’s ancient Buddhist heritage sites are in a state of disrepair, which makes it challenging to attract visitors and promote Buddhist tourism.
- Competition with other countries: Despite being home to a number of key Buddhist sites, such as Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar, India has struggled to attract Buddhist tourists, who tend to favour sites in Thailand and Cambodia.
- Fragmented Buddhist community: The Indian Buddhist community is fragmented and divided along sectarian lines, which makes it challenging to create a unified approach to promoting Buddhism.
- India’s soft power is often overshadowed by its economic and political power, which means that its cultural influence, including that of Buddhism, is not always recognized on the international stage.
There is a need of promoting connections with other Buddhist schools of thought, such as Nagarjuna Buddhism, which is largely unexplored in academic study. Also, emphasize the need for effective implementation of the Nalanda University project and proper management of tourist sites for the success of the Buddhist Circuit Project.
Quote: “India has not given ‘Yuddha’ to the world but ‘Buddha’.” –PM Modi
Conclusion 2: As Buddha was the first diplomat of peace, his teachings of peace and cooperation in these tough times can become the guiding light of Indian diplomacy on the world stage.
Analyze the significance & challenges of India’s soft power diplomacy through Buddhism. (250 Words)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment, Conservation/Disaster management
Context: According to a new study by the ESCAP, most countries in Asia-Pacific (AP) are inadequately prepared to manage the rising challenges of extreme weather events and natural disasters.
Highlights of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) study:
- The AP region accounts for more than half of the world’s GHGs.
- Over the past 60 years, temperatures in the AP region have increased faster than the global mean.
- Extreme, unpredictable weather events and natural hazards (like Tropical cyclones, heatwaves, floods and droughts) have become more frequent and intense.
- Damaging people’s health, immense loss of life and displacement.
- Food systems here are being disrupted, economies damaged and societies undermined.
- Leading cause of poverty and inequality across the region by disproportionately burdening poor and marginalised groups.
Most vulnerable: China, India, Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation are projected to suffer the greatest losses under the worst-case climate scenario.
- The AP region is one of the most rapidly developing regions of the world, with a significant proportion of the global population.
- The region is also home to most of the world’s low-lying cities and vulnerable small island states.
- Overlapping crises of climate change and climate-induced disasters are increasingly threatening development in AP –
- Undermining hard-won development gains.
- Imperils Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- Lack of necessary data as well as means to support adaptation and mitigation efforts.
- The current financing is insufficient to meet the region’s requirements for investment in climate action or to contain global warming at 1.5°C.
The emissions gap in three key sectors – energy, transport and international trade and investment – needs to be closed.
- A rapid increase in renewable energy by restructuring national energy systems, new technical capacities, etc.
- The need for cross-border electricity grids to increase the share of renewable energy.
- Energy efficiency codes must be aligned with net-zero goals to reduce carbon footprint in the building sector.
- Climate-proofing energy systems.
- The transport sector: Should be shifted to a low-carbon pathway by reducing transport distance through integrated land use, planning, shifting to sustainable transport modes, as well as improving vehicle and fuel efficiency.
- International trade:
- Integrate climate considerations into regional trade agreements.
- Trade must be climate-smart.
- The private sector must be encouraged to work towards a low-carbon pathway and sustainability should be ingrained into business operations.
Some best practices:
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s Interests
Context: The European Parliament – the legislative body of the 27-member EU, reached a political deal on the carbon border tax – Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).
- CBAM was first introduced as a part of the European Green Deal, which serves as a guide for both tax and non-tax policy initiatives in the EU to achieve its ambitious target of becoming climate neutral by 2050.
- This was followed by a proposal for a regulation on CBAM in 2021 as part of the “Fit for 55” policy package, aiming to reduce GHG by at least 55% by 2030, from the levels of 1990.
What is the CBAM?
- It plans to impose a tariff/import duty on a set of carbon-intensive imports, which will have to be paid by EU importers and companies who export such goods to EU countries.
Need for CBAM:
- To prevent “carbon leakage”:
- Carbon leakage is when companies relocate the production or manufacturing of carbon-intensive materials to countries with less stringent climate rules.
- This is to avoid restrictions on carbon emissions in their home country.
- To nudge behavioural change:
- According to WB, less than 4% of global emissions are currently under carbon pricing regimes as envisioned by the Paris Agreement.
- Most levies aren’t high enough to effect an actual change in polluter behaviour.
|Old vs proposed regime in the EU|
|Emissions Trading System||CBAM|
|Industries have to buy carbon certificates if the number of emissions crosses the cap.||Will Phase out free carbon allowances to domestic business, so that it doesn’t get in a tangle with the WTO’s rules.|
Significance: By setting the price for the carbon content of goods regardless of where they are produced, it will create a level field for businesses inside the bloc and those outside.
Why are developing countries/India opposing CBAM?
- BRICS have opposed the measure, describing it as a unilateral, protectionist trade weapon that could lead to market distortion.
- For example, India has contended that the CBAM will translate into a 20-35% tariff on India’s exports, which now attract an MFN duty of less than 3%.
- Economic shock for countries reliant on one/more of the targeted industries.
- For example, Mozambique’s GDP would drop by about 1.5% due to the tariffs on aluminium exports alone.
- 27% of India’s exports ($8.2 billion) of steel, iron and aluminium products head to the EU.
Way ahead: Funds from the sale of the CBAM levy can be diverted to support climate action efforts in less developed countries. This will guarantee both climate justice and the achievement of carbon emission targets.
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
Source: Niti Aayog
Every day, in this section we are bringing best practices from each category. Today’s best practices will cover the ‘Skill development’
|Initiative Name||Objective||Implementing Agency|
|Project Excel – progress of the Marginalized in Gujarat||Empower marginalized communities to access government schemes and entitlements through a tech platform.||Village council body and a cadre of soochna sathis (Information Friends)|
|Strengthening of handloom culture in Sahaspur (Uttrakhand)||Enable handloom weavers and local artisans for market-oriented skills, quality standardization, and branding||Uttarakhand and UNDP India|
|Rural Self-Employment Training Institute in Goalpara||Provide training to rural youth in entrepreneurship development||District Administration, Goalpara, Assam, and Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India|
|Navpravartan: A Startup Zone in Chanpatia, West Champaran||Launched in May 2020 and with support from the Bihar government ‘Zila Audyogik Navpravartan Yojana’, Navpravartan startup zone provides innovative solutions to the returnee migrants||The district administration, West Champaran (Bettiah), Bihar|
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
Shuttle diplomacy refers to a type of diplomacy where a mediator travels back and forth between two or more parties in order to facilitate negotiations and resolve disputes. It is often used when direct talks between the parties are not possible due to political, geographical, or security reasons.
E.g., Efforts made by then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt. Kissinger flew back and forth between Jerusalem and Cairo, meeting with leaders from both sides, in order to broker a ceasefire and ultimately the Camp David Accords.
Present context: More recently, the term “shuttle diplomacy” has been used to describe the efforts made by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to mend ties between their two countries.
Usage: Such terms can be directly asked in prelims or can be used in Mains in International Relations/Essay paper.
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
The Digital Tripura project aims to provide training to the Nodal Officers of all government departments to make all administrative work transparent, fast, and paperless.
Other examples of paperless governance projects are e-Office (Andhra Pradesh), e-Tendering (Maharashtra), M-Governance (Kerala) Online Land Records System (Haryana), e-Stamping (Karnataka) etc.
Usage: such examples can be quoted in Governance/Essay Papers to show how technology can be used to bring positive changes in the lives of citizens by providing smart and people-friendly governance.
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The NCP has demanded an “unconditional apology” from a religious leader (Jaggi Vasudev) for making the claim that Saint Samarth Ramdas was Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji’s guru.
Who was Samarth Ramdas/Sant Ramdas?
- Samarth Ramdas (1608 – 1681) was a Hindu saint, philosopher, poet, writer and spiritual master.
- A devotee of Lord Ram and Hanuman, he has influenced Hindu nationalist thinkers across the years like Lokmanya Tilak, KB Hedgewar and VD Savarkar.
- His Maruti Stotra is still commonly recited by school children as well as wrestlers akharas across Maharashtra.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
- Shivaji Bhonsale I (1630-1680), popularly known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was a Maratha ruler from the Bhonsle clan.
- From the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur, Shivaji carved out his own independent kingdom, laying the foundation of the Maratha Empire.
- At Raigad Fort in 1674, he was formally crowned Chhatrapati (Emperor) of his empire.
What do historians say?
- Shivaji Maharaj and Samarath Ramdas were
- Shivaji Maharaj gave donations to temples of Samarth Ramdas as well as other people and religions.
- There is no historical evidence to verify the fact that Samarth Ramdas was the guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
- This may be done for the maintenance of Brahmanical supremacy.
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) under the Union Ministry of Education is working on creating technical and scientific terminology in 10 underrepresented Indian languages.
More about the Initiative:
|Objective||To create scientific and technical terminology in 10 Indian languages so that textbooks can be developed in these tongues|
|Languages Covered||Bodo, Santhali, Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Nepali, Manipuri, Sindhi, Maithili, and Sanskrit|
|Focus area||To create fundamental (basic) dictionaries with 5,000 words per language in digital, searchable format, free of cost. 1,000-2,000 copies will be printed in each language|
|Disciplines covered||Cover 15 disciplines including journalism, public administration, chemistry, botany, zoology, psychology, physics, economics, Ayurveda, mathematics, computer science, political science, agriculture, civil and electrical engineering|
|Distribution||State education boards, universities, engineering institutes, and the National Testing Agency|
|Significance||To address the paucity of study material created in regional languages primarily because of a lack of words to describe scientific phenomena and technical terms.
Also, the move is in line with the National Education Policy 2020 which promotes the use of regional languages as a medium of education in both school and college
|About CSTT||CSTT (est. 1961; HQ: New Delhi) was established under clause (4) of Article 344 of the Constitution of India, with the objective to evolve technical terminology in all Indian Languages.|
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) in India is expanding its capacity to train more civil servants from different countries due to increased demand for its programs in public policy and governance.
|NCGG is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, previously known as the National Institute of Administrative Research (NIAR).|
|Establishment||Set up in 2014|
|Mandate||Work in areas of public policy, governance, reforms and capacity building of civil servants of India and other developing nations|
|Governing Body||It is governed by a Governing Body, under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary.|
|National Good Governance Day||Observed annually on December 25|
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) complete 8 years of providing social security cover
The three schemes were launched on May 9, 2015. The objective of these schemes is to ensure affordable insurance and security for people from the unorganized sector of the country.
Comparison of the three schemes:
|Scheme||Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana||Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana||Atal Pension Yojana|
|Type of Scheme||Accidental insurance||Life insurance||Pension scheme. The minimum pension is guaranteed by the Government.|
|Objective||To provide insurance against accidental death and disability at affordable rates||To provide life insurance at affordable rates||To provide a pension to unorganized sector workers|
|Eligibility Criteria||Age between 18 to 70 years||Age between 18 to 50 years||Age between 18 to 40 years|
|Insurance Coverage||Rs. 2 lakh for accidental death and full disability, Rs. 1 lakh for partial disability||Rs. 2 lakh for natural or accidental death||Depends on the contribution made by the subscriber|
|Premium||Rs. 12 per annum||Rs. 330 per annum||Depends on the age and contribution of the subscriber|
|Tax Benefits||No tax benefits are available||Tax benefits available under Section 80C||Tax benefits available under Section 80CCD|
|Achievement||More than 34 crore enrolment||More than 16 crore enrolment||More than 5 crore enrolment|
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has banned five entities, including an employee of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), from the securities market for ‘front-running’
Front-running is an illegal practice in the stock market where an individual or entity trades based on advanced information obtained from a broker or analyst before it is made available to their clients.
For example, suppose a broker receives a large order to buy shares of Company X from a client. Before placing the order on behalf of the client, the broker may purchase shares of Company X for their personal account, knowing that the client’s order will drive up the price of the shares. Once the price of the shares rises, the broker can sell their shares at a profit.
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched an online training programme named Space Science and Technology Awareness Training (START) for postgraduate and final-year undergraduate students of Physical Sciences and Technology.
|Domains Covered||Astronomy and Astrophysics, Heliophysics and Sun-Earth interaction, Instrumentation, and Aeronomy|
|Application||Through the Jigyasa portal|
|Purpose||To provide introductory-level training in Space Science and Technology to build human capacity for future Space Science and research|
|Other Training Programmes||Remote Sensing Data Acquisition and Remote Sensing Data Processing courses conducted by the ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) through the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP)|
|About ISRO||The Indian Space Research Organisation (est. 1969; HQ: Bengaluru; founder: Vikram Sarabhai; Parent organization: Space Commission) is the national space agency of India, operating under the Department of Space.|
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: Eleven countries have collaborated to strengthen conservation efforts for migratory birds and their habitats in the Central Asian Flyway (CAF).
- The meeting was conducted by The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme/Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS).
About the Flyway:
|What is a flyway?||A flyway is a geographical region within which a single or a group of migratory species completes its annual cycle i.e. breeding, moulting, staging and non-breeding. Migratory birds from 3 flyways (CAF, East Asian Australasian Flyway and Asian East African Flyway) visit India.
|Central Asian Flyway (CAF)||Covers a large area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans. One of the nine most important flyways for migratory birds around the world.|
|Limits||It extends from the northernmost breeding grounds in the Russian Federation (Siberia) to the southernmost non-breeding (wintering) grounds in West and South Asia, the Maldives and British Indian Ocean Territory.
|Importance||Approximately one in five of the world’s 11,000 bird species migrate, some covering enormous distances. Conserving migratory birds requires cooperation and coordination along the entire flyway between countries and across national boundaries.|
|Treaty||Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention: an intergovernmental treaty (under the aegis of UNEP; signed in 1979 in Bonn, Germany, and entered into force in 1983) is the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats, and migration routes.|
|Major Species using this flyway||Species such as the Baer’s pochard (CR); northern bald ibis (CR), greater adjutant (EN) and black-necked crane (Vu), Indian skimmer (Vu) etc.,|
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: Credit Suisse has announced buying Ecuadorian bonds worth $1.6 billion (€1.45 billion) in a debt-for-nature swap that cost the Swiss bank just $644 million.
Purpose: Ecuador has committed to spending (for 20 years) on the protection of one of the world’s most precious ecosystems – The Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Islands:
- The remote islands – home to some of the most unspoiled nature in the world – are a UNESCO world nature heritage site.
- Their animal life was crucial to Charles Darwin’s research before publishing his theory of evolution.
Significance of the deal:
- The buyer (Credit Suisse) has recently been taken over by Swiss banking giant UBS in a bid to calm the financial markets amid a banking crisis.
- The seller (Ecuador) has been mired in a political crisis as the country’s National Assembly seeks to impeach President (Guillermo Lasso) for alleged embezzlement.
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