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:
- The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement
GS Paper 2:
- Governor-Chief Minister confrontation
GS Paper 3:
- Over 100 changes in Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
- Resurfacing of extremism in Punjab
- Militarisation of space
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
- Cellular agriculture
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- Guru Tegh Bahadur
- Mahatma Jyotiba Phule
- Tamil Nadu’s Cumbum grapes
- Abuse of preventive detention law
- Livestock Insurance Scheme
- Frame menstrual hygiene policy
- Copernicus programme
GS Paper 1
Syllabus: World History
Context: The US President is to visit Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
What is the Good Friday Agreement?
- Signed on April 10, 1998, between factions of Northern Ireland and the governments of Britain and Ireland, to end 30 years of the violence known as ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland.
- The Agreement has been hailed as a model deal to end long-standing conflicts and fetched a joint Nobel peace prize.
What were ‘The Troubles’?
- Northern Ireland was created in 1921 and in 1922 the rest of Ireland gained independence from the British (the today’s Republic of Ireland, with its capital in Dublin).
- Northern Ireland remained with the UK, but tensions simmered between those who wished to remain with the UK (Protestants) and those who wanted to join Ireland (Catholics).
- By the 1960s, the Protestants had become more powerful and the Catholics started facing discrimination.
- The violence erupted between both factions – The Troubles, claiming the lives of more than 3,500 people.
Terms of the Good Friday Agreement:
- Northern Ireland would continue to be a part of the UK.
- It could join Ireland if a majority of voters on both sides supported it in a referendum.
- People born in Northern Ireland could have Irish or British nationality or both.
- Northern Ireland would get a new government, which would have powers over local matters, while the UK government would look after security, foreign policy, tax laws, immigration rules, etc.
- On May 22 1998, a referendum was held in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the agreement was approved by 94% of voters in Ireland and 71% in Northern Ireland.
What is the status 25 years on?
- The most important achievement of the Agreement has been an end to bloodshed and enduring peace in the region.
- However, Brexit has created an obstacle paralysing the agreement for more than a year.
- This is because Northern Ireland shares a land border with an EU country – Ireland. As the EU and the UK have different product standards, checks would be necessary for sending goods from Northern Ireland to Ireland.
- Britain’s intelligence agency (MI5), recently increased the threat level in Northern Ireland from domestic terrorism to “severe”.
- Several pro-Union political parties in N. Ireland (like the DUP) started boycotting the agreement.
Steps taken to solve this crisis:
- Checks would be conducted between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
- The UK and the EU reached an agreement known as the Windsor Framework – which seeks to address the aforementioned disruptions to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.
Why is the US so enthusiastic about the Agreement?
- The US had played a key part in negotiations building up to the agreement.
- The USA’s current President (Biden) is descended from Irish immigrants (second after John F Kennedy) and is vocally proud of his Irish heritage.
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Polity – Governor
Context: The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly has passed a resolution urging the Union Government and President to issue instructions to Governor R.N. Ravi to give his assent to bills passed by the Assembly (nearly 20 bills are pending) within a specific period.
Other Examples of Governor- CM conflict:
|Arunachal Pradesh crisis (2016)||The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh dismissed Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, and appointed another member of the assembly, as the Chief Minister. This led to a political crisis and eventually resulted in the imposition of the President’s rule in the state. The Supreme Court later overturned the Governor’s decision and reinstated Tuki as the Chief Minister.|
|Tamil Nadu||In 2017: The Governor of Tamil Nadu, C. Vidyasagar Rao, initially delayed the appointment of a new Chief Minister after the death of the incumbent Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa.
The deadlock between the Tamil Nadu government and Governor’s assent to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exemption Bill are instances of a tussle.
|West Bengal crisis (2019)||The Governor of West Bengal had a series of clashes with the Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, over issues such as law and order, the appointment of police officers, and the holding of elections.|
|Puducherry political crisis (2021)||The Governor of Puducherry, Tamilisai Soundararajan, recommended the imposition of President’s rule in the union territory after the Chief Minister, V. Narayanasamy, resigned ahead of a confidence vote.|
|Kerala||Governors acting as chancellors is a point of conflict.|
|Delhi||The conflict between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor over the appointment of bureaucrats|
- There are no clear provisions for the manner in which the Governor and state government must engage publicly when there is a difference of opinion.
- Constitutional loopholes in case of appointment of the Chief Minister or dissolving the Assembly or for how long a Governor can withhold assent to a Bill.
- Critics refer to governors as the ‘agents of the Centre’: Politicians and former bureaucrats affiliated with the ruling party have been appointed in several instances as Governors
- Governors have passed negative remarks on state administration, law and order, and political violence, which has led to conflicts with state governments.
- There is no clear distinction between the constitutional and statutory roles of the Governor
|Punchhi Commission||The impeachment procedure for the President can be adapted to impeach governors as well. The convention of Governors serving as Chancellors of Universities and holding other statutory positions should be abolished.|
|2nd Administrative Reforms Commission||The Inter-State Council should formulate guidelines on how governors should exercise discretionary power.|
|Rajamannar Committee||The governor of the state should not consider himself an agent of the centre but play his role as the constitutional head of the State.|
|Sarkaria Commission||Governor should be from outside the state. Article 356 should only be used in very rare instances when it is impossible to prevent a breakdown of constitutional machinery within a State.|
|Venkatachaliah Commission||Governors should be allowed to complete their five-year terms ordinarily. The central government should consult with the Chief Minister before removing them before the end of their term.|
|SC (Nabam Rebia Judgement (2016)||It ruled that the exercise of the Governor’s discretion Article 163 is limited and not arbitrary.|
|NCRWC||Governor should be appointed by a committee comprising the PM, Home Minister, Speaker and CM of state. Punchhi Commission|
Whether the Supreme Court Judgment (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and the elected government of Delhi? Examine. (UPSC 2018)
Discuss the essential conditions for the exercise of the legislative powers by the Governor. Discuss the legality of the re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature. (UPSC 2022)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism
Context: The extremist threat seems to be resurfacing in Punjab, three decades after sectarian conflict devastated the region.
Signs of extremism resurfacing in Punjab:
- Pro-Khalistan protests in areas of the globe where a sizable concentration of the Sikh diaspora exists (Australia, Canada, the UK and the US).
- The emergence of self-styled Sikh extremist preachers (like Amritpal Singh).
|The real cause for concern|
|Lessons from the Past||The current security dispensation does not appear to have learnt the right lessons from past mistakes.
For example, proper handling of the Bhindranwale phenomenon well before 1984, could have avoided violence → ‘Operation Blue Star’ → the damage caused to Akal Takht.
|Low Awareness||All serious threats develop from misreading sentiments that remain unheeded by those in authority.
|Intelligence analysis has low priority.
|Intelligence analysis involves gathering information → thoroughly evaluated by professionals → projected to decision-makers.|
|India has clearly failed in its diplomatic efforts:
|To convince the world of the true nature of the radicalist Khalistan threat.|
What needs to be done?
- Stop treating the issue as a foreign conspiracy (of Pakistan’s ISI, drug mafias, etc).
- Facing up to the reality that this may be more than a mere emotional outburst of the Sikh extremist fringe.
- Prioritising intelligence analysis:
- The central and State intelligence agencies cannot miss signs of
- Growing insecurity among sections of Sikh youth
- Discontent prevailing among the Sikh peasantry over the decline in their economic conditions, and
- The threat posed to the Sikh religion by conversions to other religions, such as Christianity.
- Sharing intelligence with friendly intelligence agencies, especially in countries where the Sikh diaspora is present in strength.
India should not yield to the temptation of resorting to strong-arm methods. It needs to ensure a greater sense of unity within the country while upholding due respect for individual dignity and human progress.
What are the determinants of left-wing extremism in the Eastern part of India? What strategy should the Government of India, civil administration and security forces adopt to counter the threat in the affected areas? (UPSC 2020)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Indigenization of Technology/Awareness in the Fields of Space/Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.
Context: According to the CDS (General Anil Chauhan), the very nature of warfare is on the cusp of major transformation with space being used to enhance combat capabilities in land, sea and cyber domains.
|Transformation of Warfare|
|Indication of this transformation:
|Militarisation of space; Steady progress towards weaponisation|
|The aim of this transformation:
|Developing dual-use platforms; Incorporating cutting-edge technology|
|What will aid in this transformation?
|Expansion of NAVIC constellation; Providing agile space-based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and; Ensuring secure satellite-assisted communications|
Initiatives by India towards the militarisation of space
- In 2019, India concluded the first table-top joint war game called ‘IndSpaceEx’ – run by the military and space scientists.
- Demonstration of India’s Anti-Satellite (ASAT) capability under Mission Shakti.
- Establishment of the new tri-service Defence Space Agency (DSA) – tasked with operating the space-warfare and Satellite Intelligence assets of India.
- Mission DefSpace was launched in 2022 for the development of innovative solutions in the space domain by the industry.
- Indian DefSpace Symposium, organised by the Indian Space Association (ISpA) and the DRDO under Mission DefSpace, to create a platform for all stakeholders who have a keen interest in boosting India’s military space capability and plans.
- Indian Space Association (ISpA) is a voluntary association of leading space industries established with the objective of providing advisory and advocacy support to the space industry in India.
- The need to explore the field of miniaturisation of satellites and reusable launch platforms to mitigate cost challenges and accelerate the pace of augmenting India’s space-based capabilities.
- Enhancing space situational awareness capability to safeguard assets with counter space capabilities.
- Building resilience and redundancy in a space-based infrastructure.
- Working very closely with industry as well as academia right from the development stage.
- Space is the future for all action and capabilities – the real force multiplier. Therefore, the time to invest more and prepare is now.
- “Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur.”
GS Paper 3
Context: The EIA Notification, 2006 has been amended over 100 times in the past five years (as per the records of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change)
What is EIA Notification 2006?
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, is the governing legal instrument to grant green clearance for the establishment or expansion of an industry on the basis of the expected environmental impact of the project.
- The notification was introduced in 1994, and after several amendments, was revised in 2006.
Major changes introduced in the EIA Notification, 2006 over the past five years:
|Change Introduced||Potential Impact|
|Star Rating System for state environment impact assessment authority’s (SEIAA) Performance||The SEIAAs may be pressured to fast-track clearances without due diligence, potentially leading to a decrease in the quality of environmental assessments|
|Compliance module for projects granted environmental clearance||It will help in streamlining the compliance and monitoring process and avoiding delays in the submission of environment compliance reports (by industries).
However, it’s unclear if these reports and supporting documents will be accessible to the public.
|Allowing 20% expansion in production in the mining of minor minerals on the basis of public consultation||Public consultation may not adequately capture the concerns of local residents, potentially leading to negative impacts on their health and livelihoods|
|In the case of legacy mining leases that were granted environmental clearance under the 1994 EIA notification||These projects now only have to conduct public consultation, not follow the entire process of the public hearing|
|Reducing the time limit for public consultation and appraisal of projects from 45 days to 30 days||It may result in inadequate consideration of the environmental and social impacts of projects|
|Allowing for post-facto clearance of projects||Projects may be constructed or expanded without obtaining environmental clearance, leading to irreversible damage to the environment|
|Exempting certain categories (highways of strategic importance, thermal power plant upto 15MW etc.) of projects from the public consultation||Projects that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment may be exempted from public consultation, leading to inadequate consideration of their environmental and social impacts|
For the significance of EIA for India: Click here
The way forward and Conclusion:
EIA Notification changes were made without public consultation and could harm the environment, disturbing the balance between ecology and development. Upgrading the status of the EIA from a notification to a rule under the Environment Protection Act will ensure parliamentary scrutiny and maintain the integrity of the assessment process.
Environmental Impact Assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before a project is cleared by the Government. Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at coal pitheads. ( UPSC 2014)
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
|Context||It is a way of producing animal-based products, such as meat, milk, and eggs, without the need for raising and slaughtering animals. Instead, these products are grown from cells in a laboratory using techniques such as tissue engineering and fermentation.|
|This technology has the potential to greatly reduce the environmental impact of animal agriculture, such as greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water consumption.
|Perfect Day, a start-up in California uses genetically-engineered fungi to produce milk proteins, such as whey protein, without the need for cows. TurtleTree Labs in Singapore is the first company to use stem cells from mammals to make milk in large bioreactors.
|We can use these examples in the agriculture/ environment questions to balance the need for animal-based foods with environmental sustainability challenges facing the food industry.|
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of the Sikhs, is being celebrated on April 11.
What is Prakash Purab?
Parkash Purab is a term used in Sikhism to refer to the birth anniversary celebrations of the ten Sikh gurus. “Parkash” means “illumination” or “light,” while “Purab” means “day.”
About Guru Tegh Bahadur:
Tegh Bahadur was born in Amritsar in 1621 to Guru Hargobind and Mata Nanki. Tegh Bahadur’s writings are housed in the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ as 116 poetic hymns. He founded the town of Chak-Nanki and played a key role in setting up preaching centres throughout the Indian subcontinent. However, he was executed in Delhi in 1675 under the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
About Ten Gurus of Sikhism:
Context: The Prime Minister has paid tribute to the great social reformer, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule on his birth anniversary
About Jyotiba Phule (1827 to 1890)
|Ideology||Liberty, Egalitarianism, Socialism. Phule was influenced by Thomas Paine’s book titled The Rights of Man|
|Major Publications||Tritiya Ratna (1855), Powada: Chatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle Yancha (1869), Gulamgiri (1873), Shetkarayacha Aasud (1881)|
|Related Association||Founder of Satyashodhak Samaj in 1873 with the aim to attain equal social and economic benefits for the lower castes in Maharashtra|
|Municipal Council Member||Served as commissioner to the Poona municipality until 1883|
|Title of Mahatma||Bestowed with the title of Mahatma in 1888 (by a social activist Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar)|
|Social Reformer||An advocate of gender equality, he opened the first school for girls in Pune; established an ashram for young widows, and worked for the abolishment of untouchability and the caste system. He believed that the only solution to combat social evils was the enlightenment of women and members of the lower castes. He along with his wife opened the first indigenously run school for girls in Pune (1848) where they both taught.|
Context: The Cumbum grapes recently earned the Geographical Indication tag or GI tag.
About the grapes:
Cumbum Panneer Thratchai, also known as Cumbum grapes, is a variety of grapes grown in the Cumbum Valley located at the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu, India.
- The grapes are medium to large in size, compact, and suitable for making wine, spirits, jams, canned grape juice, and raisins.
- Introduced in Tamil Nadu in 1832 by a French priest, these grapes are rich in vitamins, tartaric acid, and antioxidants, and reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Context: SC has said that “Preventive detention laws in India are a colonial legacy that has great potential to be abused and misused by the State and any slightest error in compliance of procedure by authorities should result in favour of the detenue”
Previously the Court had observed that:
- The State should not arbitrarily resort to “preventive detention” to deal with all and sundry “law and order” problems
- Preventive detention could be used only to prevent public disorder.
- Courts must analyse cases arising from such laws with extreme caution to ensure there are checks and balances on the exercise of the power of the government.
- Every procedural rigidity must be followed in its entirety by the government in cases of preventive detention.
- Preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21(due process of law) read with Article 22 (safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention) and the statute in question.
About Preventive Detention:
|Definition||Detention of a person without trial and conviction by a court to prevent future offences|
|Legislative authority||Parliament has exclusive authority to make a law of preventive detention for reasons connected with the defence, foreign affairs, and security of India.
Both Parliament, as well as state legislatures, can make a law for reasons connected with the Security of a state, Maintenance of public order and Maintenance of supplies and services.
|Constitutional Provision||Article 22 (3) (b) of the Constitution allows for preventive detention and restriction on personal liberty for reasons of state security and public order.
|Maximum detention||Detention of a person cannot exceed three months unless an advisory board reports sufficient cause for extended detention.|
|44th Amendment Act of 1978||The Amendment reduced the period of detention without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board from three to two months. However, this provision has not yet been brought into force, hence, the original period of three months still continues.
|Protections||Protection against arrest and detention under Articles 22 (1) and 22 (2) is not available to a person arrested or detained under preventive detention laws.|
|Worst performer||Tamil Nadu topped the country (2011-21) in preventive detentions.
One reason is that its ‘Goondas Act’ covers offenders who range from bootleggers, slum grabbers, and forest offenders to video pirates, sex offenders and cyber-criminals.
Context: After the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) pointed out ‘zero insurance coverage’ of livestock in 2022-23, the central government is considering a comprehensive livestock insurance scheme modelling the Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana.
- The proposed Comprehensive livestock insurance will replace the present Livestock Insurance Scheme (LIS)
Less than 1% of the country’s cattle population is currently insured, with the average yearly premium at 4.5% of the insured amount.
- Waive off premiums for cattle rearers from Scheduled Caste-Scheduled Tribe communities
- Reduce premiums so that more farmers can enrol in the scheme
- Ensure maximum coverage of livestock to protect them from pandemics such as lumpy skin disease.
About Livestock Insurance Scheme (LIS)
|Aspect the LIS||Information|
|Year of Launch||2008-09|
|Implementing Agency||Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries|
|Coverage||Implemented in 100 selected districts|
|Beneficiaries||Crossbred and high-yielding cattle and buffaloes (having a yield of 1500 litres or more per lactation)|
|Insurance Coverage||Maximum of current market price|
|Cost of Subsidy||100% borne by Central Government|
|Benefit||Maximum of 2 animals per beneficiary for a maximum of three years|
|Implementation||All states have implemented the scheme (except Goa) through the State Livestock Development Boards of their respective states.|
Context: The Supreme Court has called for a “uniform national policy” to ensure menstrual hygiene for girls in schools.
What is menstrual hygiene?
Menstrual hygiene refers to the practices and conditions that help maintain menstrual health and well-being. It includes using clean and safe menstrual products, washing and changing them regularly, having access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and managing menstrual pain and discomfort.
- The policy should include provisions for sanitary pads, disposal mechanisms, and exclusive washrooms for girls.
- SC emphasized the importance of sanitation and menstrual hygiene in government-aided and residential schools
- It called on States and Union Territories to submit menstrual hygiene plans within four weeks.
Context: March 2023 saw variations on several meteorological fronts, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) (data gathered from the satellite under the Copernicus programme)
What is C3S?
The C3S is a monthly climate bulletin of the European Commission to report the changes observed in global surface air temperature, sea ice cover and hydrological variables.
About Copernicus programme
|About||Copernicus is the Earth observation component of the European Union Space Programme (started in 2014)|
|Purpose||To provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security|
|Launched by||European Commission (EC) in partnership with European Space Agency (ESA)|
|Services provided||Land management, Marine environment, Emergency response, Security, Climate change|
|Satellites||Copernicus is served by a set of dedicated satellites (the Sentinel families of satellites)|
|Launch||Sentinel series of satellites (starting from 2014 and will place a constellation of almost 20 more satellites in orbit before 2030)|
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