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 in 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. Overcoming the Aryan-Dravidian divide
GS Paper 2:
1. Issues with India’s public examination System
2. Supreme Court: Places of worship act can’t be enforced within the same religion
3. Need for a new legal framework governing telecommunication in India
Content for Mains enrichment (Ethics/Essay)
1. Data points
Facts for Prelims:
1. Craft Villages
2. Pryushan Parv (festival)
3. The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill 2022
4. Education Initiatives by Government
5. Seekho aur Kamao (Learn and Earn) scheme
6. UN declares access to a clean and healthy environment as a universal human right
7. Aridity Anomaly Outlook Index
8. Agriculture Census
9. FDI in India
10. India International Bullion Exchange (IIBX)
11. Aid for Trade (A4T)
12. India’s jute economy is faltering while Bangladesh’s is flourishing
13. No New construction in ‘Core Areas’
14. Earth Overshoot Day
15. Loktak Lake
16. Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
18. INS Vikrant
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Indian Culture
Source: The Hindu
Context: Governor of Tamil Nadu was recently criticised for his views on the Aryan-Dravidian divide.
Direction: Although not a very important topic, however, UPSC can ask about language and culture-related themes based on this issue.
Aryans and Dravidians
- View of historian P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar: He maintained that cultural differences existed between the Vedic and non-Vedic people.
- Contribution of Caldwell to Dravidian languages: Caldwell (in 1856) gave the idea of the Dravidian language family as a scientific entity.
The pattern of migration from ancient times and the evolution of languages
- Prehistoric migration:
- First Indians: The first modern humans arrived in India around 65,000 years ago as part of an Out of Africa migration. The genetic lineage of these first migrants still dominates the Indian population and accounts for 50-65% of the Indian ancestry today.
- 2nd major migration ( 9000 to 5000 years ago): Agriculturists from the Zagros region of Iran moved into India’s northwestern part and mixed with the First Indians and helped speed up the farming ( esp. wheat and barley). It laid the foundation for the Harappan Civilisation (2600 BCE to 1900 BCE). Although, the pictorial script of Harappans has not been deciphered yet.
- 3rd major migration (around 2000 BCE): When farming-related migrations originally started from the Chinese heartland overran south-east Asia and then reached India, bringing the Austro-Asiatic family of languages, e.g. Mundari and Khasi spoken in the eastern and central parts of the country.
- 4th major migration (2000 to 1000 BCE): It brought central Asian pastoralists, who spoke Indo-European languages and called themselves Aryans.
- Ancient India migration:
- Iron Age: The use of iron enabled settlement in interiors, into the Ganga valley and Central India. Further, the formation of Maha janpads led to the formation of empires e.g. Nandas, Mauryas, and constant tussle for land and control, which led to the further intermingling of people. This led to the spread of Sanskrit, and Prakrit to different parts of India and even to south-east Asia (through Buddhism)
- 200 BCE to 300 CE: Invasion of Indo-Greeks, Central Asian rulers (e.g. Kushans, speaking various Indo-European languages): led to the cultural intermingling of Greeks, central Asian traditions with the Indian culture.
- Sangam age: By the 3rd century BCE, the Megalithic people migrated from the uplands into the fertile river basins and reclaimed the marshy deltaic areas. They formed three powerful kingdoms, the Cholas, the Pandyas, and the Cheras. They helped in the spread of Tamil languages in South India and South-East Asia.
- Trade: Silk Road and Spice trade, Christianity mission (e.g. Thomas the Apostle sailed to India around the 1st century CE.), etc. carried goods, ideas, and languages between the ancient civilizations of the World and India.
- Medieval India:
- In the medieval period, Indians and Indian languages were influenced by the Islamic conquest from central Asia (e.g. Ghaznavids and Ghurids), Arabs (in western India), Turkic dynasties, invasion of Mongols, and Mughals from Fergana Valley (modern-day Uzbekistan). They brought in various dialects e.g. Turkic, Persian, Arabic, etc.
- India’s northeast Ahom kingdom (originally from Yunan province in China) and their subsequent invasion by Burma led to the spread of Siamese-Chinese culture and languages.
- Modern India:
- European traders and missionaries led to the introduction of various European languages, Western Culture, and Renaissance Ideas into India.
Waves of migration over millennia have left their mark on what we speak and how we speak, but over time indigenous languages have also continued to survive (India has 453 ‘living’ indigenous languages in the world). Also, the outmigration of Indian ideas, religion, people, and languages has had a profound impact on other countries esp. East and Southeast Asia.
Q. Discuss in what ways Sanskrit Literature has imparted diversity and richness to Indian Literature. (10M)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Government Policies and intervention
Source: Indian Express
Context: Editorial by Varun Gandhi in which he highlighted how the recruitment process for some government posts never ends. It’s diminishing the demographic dividend. As per CMIE data, India needs to create 20 million jobs annually
Direction: Non-political articles by Varun Gandhi are generally good with sufficient data and points and can be followed. Just go through the article to understand the issue. No need to make notes.
- Delayed recruitment:
- g. recently 4,500 candidates in Andhra Pradesh who cleared a district selection committee exam in 1998 have finally been offered regular jobs as teaching staff in government schools. With 24 job-seeking years, most of them reach close to retirement.
- Railway exams of 2019 have seen over 1,000 days of delay for exams to be conducted
- Delayed recruitment cycle of SSC exams
- High tuition cost:g. tuitions costs can vary from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 for minor posts, to Rs 1.5-2.5 lakh for UPSC coaching (excluding living costs).
- Higher expenses due to delay: If such exams get delayed, then the youth will suffer financially and mentally.
- Reforms in the Examination Schedule:
- Each ministry should ask all departments to prepare an existing vacancies list within three days from the defined zero date.
- The departments should ideally advertise the approved list of existing vacancies within seven days of the approval of such a list
- For each week of delay beyond 30 days, the defaulting department could be liable for a small reduction in their administrative expenses
- Final examination results should be announced within a defined period.
- In the event of cancellation of examinations, compensatory attempts shall be provided to all applicants by relaxing age norms.
- Reform the examination process: E.g.
- a waiver of examination fees
- removing a barrier for candidates from economically challenging backgrounds
- providing travel and lodging allowances if the examination centre is not within a specified distance
- all examination centres must have the basic infrastructure (biometric attendance, cloakroom) and adequate security (guards, invigilators, CCTV cameras) to ensure a fair process
- An integrated examination calendar for all major educational institutions and recruitment to PSUs should be published while ensuring minimal overlap.
National Recruitment Agency (NRA): NRA is a national testing agency which would conduct the Common Eligibility Examination (CET) for non-gazetted Group B and C posts. In the initial years, NRA will conduct the recruitment examinations for Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs), Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) and Staff Selection Commission(SSC) and would gradually expand its operations in other examination process as well.
India needs to face the challenge of job creation and upskilling of youth for the labour market to ensure that India’s demographic dividend does not become a demographic disaster.
Q. With more young adults entering higher education and increasing job aspirations not matching their educational profile, the new National Employment Policy must accommodate these trends. Discuss (250 Words)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Indian Constitution- evolution, features
Sources: Hindustan Times
Context: SC has rejected a petition by a sect of the Jain community under Art 32 to enforce the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 against the alleged conversion of its religious places by another sect of the same religion.
What do the places of worship act, of 1991 say?
- The act prohibits conversion of any place of worship and provides for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on 15th August 1947.
- The Act states that a place of worship’s religious nature must remain the same as it was on August 15, 1947.
- It says no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
- It declares that all litigation, appeals, or other proceedings ongoing before any court or authority on August 15, 1947, involving converting the status of a place of worship, will cease as soon as the law takes effect. There will be no more legal action taken.
The following are exempt from these provisions:
- Ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sitesand remains (covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958)
- Any case, which has been finally settled or disposed of (the act will not apply to that case)
- Doesn’t apply to the place of worship – Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
Criticisms: It has been challenged on the ground that it bars judicial review and imposes an “arbitrary irrational retrospective cutoff date”, and also abridges the right to religion of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs.
SC observation about the Act: SC ( during the 2019 Ayodhya verdict) said that the law manifests the secular values of the Constitution and prohibits retrogression. It protects the secular features of the Indian polity.
Q. Enactment of the Places of Worship Act, 1991 in its current format damages the liberty of belief, faith and worship to all. Critically examine. (250 Words)
GS2/GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Governance/ S&T
Context: Given emerging technologies such as 5G, IoT, etc., the Ministry of Communication has underscored the need to have a legal framework for these technologies.
Direction: Just go through it once. This is just a draft framework and may change in the future.
Proposals of the New Law:
- Recognition of exclusive privilege of the government over telecommunication
- Simplification of regulatory framework related to spectrum allocations.
- Effective policy for the Right of Way (RoW): Right of way is the legal right, established by a grant from a landowner or long usage, to pass along a specific route through property belonging to another.
CAG on Spectrum allocation:
- CAG criticized that Spectrum allocation in India is conducted on an ad hoc basis (2012-2021); the spectrum allocated to the government is not optimally used.
What is a spectrum?
Energy travels in the form of waves known as electromagnetic waves. These waves differ from each other in terms of frequencies. This whole range of frequencies is called the spectrum. In telecommunication like TV, radio and GPRS, radio waves of different wavelengths are used.
Mobile phones use two technologies based on different parts of the radio spectrum— GSM (global system for mobile communications) and CDMA (code division multiple access). Most of the radio spectrum is reserved in countries for defence. The rest is available for public use. But following an increase in the number of phone users and new services, countries started auctioning the frequencies to telecom companies.
Q. Discuss the advantages that 5G technology holds as compared to previous mobile technology. (10M)
Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)
India’s rural areas are catching fast with urban areas. Around 37% of the rural population has internet ( Internet and Mobil Association of India). Goa has maximum while Bihar has the least internet penetration ( due to lack of awareness and low digital literacy)
- Kerala Assembly holds 61 sittings in 2021, the highest in the country
- The State promulgated 144 ordinances despite holding sittings for 61 days
- Kerala, which slipped to the eighth slot in holding the sittings of the State Assembly during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, got back to first place in 2021, with its House sitting for 61 days, the highest for any State.
Facts for Prelims
Context: Under the programme “Linking Textile with Tourism”, eight craft villages have been taken up to promote craft and tourism at a single location.
Aim: It will develop handicrafts as a sustainable and remunerative livelihood option for artisans in the cluster.
Pryushan Parv (festival)
Context: Jain festival in which Jain Monks and Nuns stay with the community and provide them instructions and guidance. It is also a festival of “Forgiveness”.
- It is usually celebrated in August or September (rainy season)
- During Paryushan, Jains increase their level of spiritual intensity often using fasting and prayer/meditation to help.
- The five main vows are emphasized during this time- Ahiṃsā(Non-violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Non-stealing), Brahmacharya (Chastity), Aparigraha (Non-possession)
- Pratikraman is also performed by many Jains during the festival. The word Pratikraman is made from the combination of two words, Pra meaning return and atikraman meaning violation
The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill 2022
Context: Statutory cover has been provided to family courts in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland
- The bill has amended the Family Court Act 1984, which provided for the establishment of family courts by states to deal with disputes related to family and marriage.
- Why the amendment is needed: For the Family Courts Act to come into force, the central government must notify it for different states. However, it had not done so for Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
- There are 715 Family Courtsin 26 States and UTs.
About Family Court Act 1984:
The act was enacted for the establishment of Family Courts in order to promote conciliation and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs and related matters. The judges are appointed by the State government in concurrence with the High court. The state government may provide for Social welfare agencies or individuals working in the field of social welfare, to be attached to Family Court for help in mediation and conciliations.
Education Initiatives by Government
Context: On the occasion of 2 years completion of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the central government has launched several educational initiatives
Direction: NEP is important (keep a not on it handy). Just go through these schemes ( no need to learn by heart as there are 100s of such smaller schemes; the cost-benefit ratio is low)
- Indian Knowledge System: Will help in technology demonstration (under Ministry of Education innovation Cell)
- Introduction of 75 Bharateeya ( Indian) games in school
- Kalashala initiative: To promote and support local arts
- IGNOU will partner with Skill India: To help students attain livelihood opportunities
- Vidya Amrit Portal: Help in making school education better
- Virtual Lab in Science and Maths and skilling e-labs: for simulated learning environment ( will be set up in 2022-23)
- National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic advancement (Nishtha): To help train teachers in Anganwadis
- School Innovation Policy: To promote creativity, innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship skills of students
- Higher education Portal: for students in rural areas
Seekho aur Kamao (Learn and Earn) scheme
Context: The scheme has nearly 59% female trainees (far greater than earmarked 33%) in 2020-21.
About the Scheme
Nodal ministry: Central Sector Scheme under the Ministry of Minority Affairs (since 2013-14)
Aim: Upgrading the skills of minority youth (14-35 years age group) and ensure 75% placements, out of which 50% should be in the organized sector. Post placement support of Rs. 2000/- per month is provided to placed trainees for two months as placement assistance.
Implementation: Through selected Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs).
Other Schemes of Ministry of Minority Affairs:
- Naya Savera Scheme (to provide free coaching to minority students for the various competitive exam)
- Padho Pardesh Scheme (interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas higher studies)
- Nai Udaan Scheme (supports students clearing Prelims of UPSC, SPSC or other exams )
- Nai Roshni Scheme ( Leadership development of women belonging to minority communities)
- USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development)
- Nai Manzil Scheme (for formal school education & skilling of school dropouts)
- Hamari Dharohar (to preserve the rich heritage of minority communities of India)
UN declares access to a clean and healthy environment as a universal human right
Context: At a meeting of the UN General Assembly, India voted in favour of the UNGA resolution for a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right. Previously it was not included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
Status: It is not legally binding
UN Human Rights Council has already recognized access to a healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right (2021)
Constitutional Provision in India:
- Article 21: Right to life ( clean environment, free of disease)
- Article 48A (protect the environment and safeguard forests and wildlife)
- Art 51-A(g) (Duty to protect and improve the natural environment)
Aridity Anomaly Outlook Index
Context: Recently Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) released the Index for the month of July
Direction: Remember the percentage of India under dry land and their locations.
- Nearly 660 of 756 districts (85%) were facing different degrees of aridity, while only 63 are non-arid.
- At least 196 districts are in the grip of a ‘severe’ degree of dryness and 65 of these are in Uttar Pradesh
- Nearly 69% of India is dry land
- Applications: Impacts of drought in agriculture, especially in the tropics where defined wet and dry seasons are part of the climate regime. Both winter and summer cropping seasons can be assessed using this method.
Large Arid regions are found in the desert of Rajasthan, Rann of Kutch and semi-arid regions of Punjab and Gujarat, rain shadow areas of Western Ghats.
What can be done: Further intensify drought-prone area programme (DPAP), crop diversification, cultivation of traditional varieties, mulching, intercropping, micro-irrigation, etc.
Three types of drought: Meteorological (actual rainfall is significantly less than the climatological mean); Hydrological (a marked depletion of surface water); Agriculture ( low soil moisture leading to acute crop stress)
Context: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched the 11th Agriculture Census (2021-22)
Background: The census is part of the World Census of Agriculture of FAO and has been conducted every 5 years from 1970-71.
Unique feature of the 11th Census:
- Data collection will be conducted on smartphones and tablets
- Use of digital land records like land title records and survey reports
Aim: It will provide updated information number and area of operational holdings, their size, class-wise distribution, land use, tenancy and cropping pattern, etc.
Operational holding is defined as “all land which is used wholly or partly for agricultural production and is operated as one technical unit by one person alone or with others without regard to title, legal form, size or location”. It is taken as a statistical unit for data collection in Agriculture Census.
10th agriculture census (2015-16): As per the census, the land holding was inequitably distributed, Small and marginal farmers (less than two hectares of land) accounted for 86.2% of all farmers but owned just 47.3% of the crop area.
World Census of Agriculture (WCA): Started in 1950 by FAO. Unlike FAO’s definition, Indian operational holding doesn’t include holdings under livestock, poultry, fishing, etc.
FDI in India
Context: As per the Ministry of Commerce, the total FDI received in 2021-22 was the US $ 84bn (highest annual inflow)
- Top Source: Singapore>USA> Mauritius
- Top Destination state: Karnataka> Maharastra >Delhi
- Top sectors receiving FDI: Computer and IT> Services Sector> Automobile
- Increase in FDI in Manufacturing (by 76%) to the US $ 21bn in comparison to last year
FDI: A foreign direct investment is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country. It is thus distinguished from a foreign portfolio investment by a notion of direct control.
India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Routes
|Category 1||Category 2||Category 3|
|100% FDI through Automatic Route (no need for RBI’s or government’s approval e.g. 100% FDI allowed on Medical devices and thermal powers||Up to 100% FDI through Government Route ( will need government’s permission) e.g. Core Investment Company (100%), Multi-brand retail trade (51%)||Up to 100% FDI through Automatic + Government Route|
India International Bullion Exchange (IIBX)
Context: PM launched India’s 1st IIBX at International Financial Services Centres (IFSC) at GIFT City (Gujarat)
Bullion is a metal that has been refined to a high standard of elemental purity. The term is ordinarily applied to the bulk metal used in the production of coins and especially to precious metals such as gold and silver.
Bullion Exchange: It is a market through which buyers and sellers trade gold and silver as well as associated derivatives. E.g. London Bullion Market is known as the primary global market trading platform for gold and silver.
- IIBX was 1st introduced in budget 2020 for easing gold import by Jewellers in India
- Bullion can sometimes be considered legal tender and is often held as reserves by central banks or held by institutional investors.
- Recently, Zimbabwe’s central bank has introduced gold coins (‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’)that it hopes will ease citizens’ demands for foreign currency.
- India is the world’s 2nd biggest consumer of Gold after China.
Significance of IIBX:
- Help in standard gold pricing in the country
- It will help dealers and jewellers to trade in precious metals
About GIFT City
It is a multi-service Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which houses India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and an exclusive Domestic Tariff Area (DTA).
Fig: Zimbawawe’s Gold currency
Aid for Trade (A4T)
Context: India has been the highest recipient of aid from developed countries in 2020 and WTO’s Aid for Trade Initiative (launched in 2005)
A4T is aimed at promoting trade for poverty reduction, by helping developing countries (esp. least developed countries) in addressing issues e.g. Supply-side and trade-related issues.
Developed countries provide grants and concessional loans (as part of Official Development Assistance) — targeted at trade-related programmes and projects e.g. Trade Portal and Trade Repository ( Myanmar) provides helpful information to exporters and importers has been assisted by USAID.
India’s jute economy is faltering while Bangladesh’s is flourishing
Direction: Not very important, just go through it once
India is still the largest producer of jute but in terms of acreage, Bangladesh is the largest cultivator. It also accounts for nearly 75 per cent of the global jute exports, while India’s share is just 7 per cent.
Reasons: Lack of market, government procurement and diversification, poor infrastructure as well as the sorry state of Indian jute mills is responsible for this.
For more on Jute click here
No New construction in ‘Core Areas’
Context: This is in continuation of yesterday’s article.
NTCA has said that No new construction will be carried out in the Core areas of the Tiger Reserve.
Tiger comes under Endangered (IUCN), Schedule I (WPA 1972) and Appendix I (CITES)
Earth Overshoot Day
Context: This is marked as the day when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. This year it falls on 28th July (last year it was 29th July)
It is calculated by Global Footprint Network ( an international research organization)
Context: Manipur government’s Loktak Development Authority (LDA) issued a notice to remove/dismantle all ‘athaphums’ (circular fish culture ponds) and huts on ‘phumdis’ (floating organic mass) from the lake, in order to safeguard the environment and biodiversity of the lake.
About Loktak Lake
- It is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis floating over it. Keibul Lamjao National Parkis also situated in the same lake. The National Park is the only floating national park in the world and is the last natural refuge for endangered Sangai deer.
- The lake serves as a source of water for irrigation, drinking water supply and hydropower generation. The lake comes under both Ramsar Site and under Montreux record.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Context: The government is promoting the production of Vitamin B1 under the “Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Bulk Drugs”
Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin, an essential micronutrient, which cannot be made in the body. It is found in food and commercially synthesized to be a dietary supplement or medication. Food sources of thiamine include whole grains, legumes, and some meats and fish. Beriberi is a deficiency of thiamin.
Context: World Hepatitis Day (July 28)
Theme: “Bringing hepatitis care closer to you”
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.
- Causes: Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis.
- Types: It is caused by a group of viruses known as the “hepatotropic” (liver-directed) viruses and can be of type A, B, C, D and E. It may also be caused by ‘Varicella Virus’ (which is responsible for Chickenpox)
- Treatment: Hepatitis A and E go away on their own) and require no specific antiviral medications. For Hepatitis B and C, effective medications are available. The vaccine is available for Hepatitis B.
Severity: It can be
- Acute(inflammation of the liver that presents with sickness — jaundice, fever, vomiting)
- Chronic(inflammation of the liver that lasts more than six months, but essentially shows no symptoms)
India has 11% of the estimated global burden of Hepatitis cases. Hepatitis B has been included in India’s universal Immunization Programme to provide free-of-cost vaccination.
- Global Target is to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
- Integrated Regional Action Plan for viral hepatitis, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection STIs 2022–2026 (by WHO)
- COBAS 6800: To detect viral Hepatitis B and C along with the Corona virus
- India’s neighbours: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand have successfully controlled Hepatitis B
Context: India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant was handed over to the Indian Navy
- Built by: Cochin Shipyard lt. (CSL)- a public sector shipyard (Ministry of Shipping)
- Naming: It is named ‘Vikrant’ as a tribute to India’s first aircraft carrier, Vikrant (built by the UK) which played a crucial role in the 1971 war.
- It will join the Russian-made INS Vikramaditya
- As per the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, by 2027,India ought to have about 200 ships but currently, India has just 150 ships and submarines.
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