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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. Colonial Legacy of the Netherlands


GS Paper 2:

  1. Can a governor dismiss a minister?
  2. Criminalisation of politics
  3. India-Africa ties


Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Climate counsel


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Hul Diwas
  2. Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, 2023
  3. Recovery of the Ozone Layer
  4. Newborn genome-sequencing
  5. TEJAS 



  1. Pangong Tso lake



Colonial Legacy of the Netherlands

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Colonization and Decolonization


Source: IE

Context: The Netherlands has issued an apology for its historical involvement in slavery, marking the 150th anniversary of its abolishment in Suriname and Dutch colonies in the Caribbean.


The acknowledgement:

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged the country’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and expressed remorse for the atrocities committed against enslaved people and their descendants.

  • The government has committed to raising awareness, addressing the present-day effects of slavery, and incorporating its history into education.



However, some critics argue that the apology falls short and has called for reparations and greater recognition of modern-day racism and discrimination.


Ethical Viewpoint:

The Netherlands’ acknowledgement of its colonial history, including slavery, reflects an ethical standpoint of taking responsibility for past wrongdoings. By apologizing and seeking forgiveness, the Dutch aim to address the moral implications of their actions and promote reconciliation and justice. This acknowledgement also highlights the importance of recognizing historical injustices and working towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society.


What was Slave Trade?

The slave trade between colonies refers to the transportation and trading of enslaved African individuals from Africa to European colonies, primarily during the era of European colonialism.

The slave trade was driven by economic interests and resulted in the exploitation, suffering, and loss of millions of African lives.


Colonial History of the Netherlands and its Impact:

History Impact
16th – 19th Century: Dutch East India Company The company established trade networks and colonies in Asia, particularly in present-day Indonesia. The Dutch gained control over valuable spice trade routes and exploited resources.
The Dutch colonized and exploited the resources of the Indonesian archipelago. They imposed forced labour, plantations, and harsh policies, leading to local resistance and eventual independence struggles.
17th – 19th Century: Dutch West India Company (WIC) The WIC focused on the Atlantic slave trade, establishing colonies in the Caribbean and South America. It profited from the enslavement and trade of Africans.
Dutch Golden Age (17th Century) The Netherlands experienced economic prosperity, cultural achievements, and scientific advancements due to colonial trade and dominance. Amsterdam became a major global trading hub.
Suriname and Dutch Caribbean colonies The Dutch established colonies in the Caribbean, including Suriname, Curacao, St. Eustatius, and others. These colonies relied on enslaved labour for plantations and contributed to the Dutch economy.
Cultural Influence and Legacy The Dutch colonial period left a lasting impact on language, architecture, legal systems, and cultural practices in former colonies. The history of Dutch colonization is a subject of ongoing discussions on racism, reparations, and education.

Map of former Dutch colonies

History of Dutch Colonialism in India

 Dutch colonialism in India was characterized by the presence of the Dutch East India Company, which established trading posts and factories in various parts of India, including the Coromandel Coast, Bengal, and Surat (1620s). The first factory founded by Dutch in India was at Masulipatnam in 1605. Their primary focus was on trade, particularly in textiles, spices, and other commodities. They also conquered Sri Lanka from the Portuguese and built forts along the Malabar coast. However, their influence in India declined in the 18th century due to the growing power of the British East India Company. The Battle of Colachel in 1741 marked the end of the Dutch presence in South India. Eventually, through the Anglo-Dutch treaties (1812 and 1824), the Dutch lost most of their trading posts in India, further diminishing their colonial presence in the country.


Danish Occupation of A&N Islands:

Settlers from the Danish East India Company arrived in the Nicobar Islands on 12 December 1755. Denmark’s presence in the territory ended formally on 16 October 1868 when it sold the rights to the Nicobar Islands to Britain, which made them part of British India in 1869.


Insta Links

Mains Links

Defining colonialism, examine the social and economic impact of colonialism on India. (15M)

Criminalisation of politics

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Governance


Source: TH

 Context: The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has approached the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking action against political parties that fail to publish details of candidates’ criminal antecedents as ordered by the Supreme Court.


Meaning of Criminalization of Politics:

The criminalisation of politics refers to the phenomenon where individuals with criminal backgrounds or pending criminal cases actively participate in politics and hold positions of power.

It signifies the infiltration of criminal elements into the political system, compromising the integrity and functioning of democratic institutions.


Status of Criminalization of Politics:

  • Increase in the number of MPs with criminal charges: In 2004, 24% of parliamentarians had pending criminal cases, which rose to 43% in 2019.
  • According to data compiled by the Amicus Curiae, a total of 4,984 criminal casesinvolving legislators were pending in various courts across the country as of 1st December 2021.
  • In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 159 MPs had declared serious criminal cases against them, including those of rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women.


Causes of Criminalisation of Politics:

Causes Examples
Vote Bank Politics Candidates and parties engaging in vote-buying and other illegal practices to secure votes
Political leaders maintain close ties with criminal elements to mobilize support and win elections
Corruption Politicians involved in bribery, embezzlement, and other corrupt practices for personal gains
Misuse of power and resources for personal enrichment, leading to a culture of corruption in politics
Vested Interests Voters prioritise caste, religion, or community affiliations over the criminal records of candidates
Election of politicians with criminal backgrounds based on narrow community interests rather than merit or accountability
Muscle Power Use of muscle power, intimidation, and violence to control elections and suppress opposition
Politicians with criminal backgrounds employ “goondas” or hired muscle to influence voters and secure electoral victories
Money Power Influence of black money, illegal funding, and mafia connections in financing election campaigns
Politicians use illicit funds to buy votes, manipulate election outcomes, and sustain their political dominance
Weak Governance Lack of stringent laws and regulations to deter criminal activities in politics
Inadequate enforcement of election laws, allowing politicians with criminal records to participate and win elections



Impact of Criminalisation of Politics:

Impact Description
Erosion of Democratic Values Candidates with criminal backgrounds winning elections undermines the principles of free and fair elections, limiting voter choice
Weakening of Governance Law-breakers becoming law-makers hampers effective governance
Compromised Integrity of Institutions Normalizes corruption and erodes public trust in government
Increased Criminal Activities Politicians involved in organized crime or protection rackets e.g., Recently deceased former MP Atiq Ahmed of Uttar Pradesh had several charges of being involved in Criminal activities
Social Disharmony Violence and unrest due to the influence of criminal politicians, Political clashes and violence during elections
Deterioration of Public Perception Decreased faith in the political system and public disillusionment led to lesser participation in the democratic process
Undermining the Rule of Law Politicians involved in criminal activities create a culture of impunity
Hindrance to Development Diversion of resources for personal gain rather than public welfare
Threat to National Security Politicians with connections to terrorist groups or organized crime networks


Suggestions against the Criminalization of Politics:

Aspect Summary
ADR Recommendation ADR recommends permanent disqualification of candidates convicted of serious criminal offences from contesting elections. ADR has also asked the ECI to publish a list of defaulting parties.
Legal Aspects ·        Indian Constitution does not specify disqualification criteria due to criminality.

·        Representation of Peoples Act 1951 (Section 8) disqualifies individuals punished with a jail term of more than two years from standing in elections for six years after the jail term has ended.

Law Commission The 244th report (2014) recommends the disqualification of individuals with charges framed against them at least one year before the scrutiny of nominations for an offence punishable with a sentence of five years or more.
Government Initiative The Union government started a scheme in 2017 to establish 12 special courts for a year to fast-track the trial of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs.
Supreme Court Judgements ·        Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India (2002): Candidates must declare criminal and financial records along with educational qualifications.

·        Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2013): MPs or MLAs convicted of a crime and sentenced to a prison term of two years or more are disqualified from holding office.

·        Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India (2019): Political parties must publish candidates’ criminal records on websites, social media handles, and newspapers.


Other suggestions:

  • State Funding of Elections: Committees on electoral reforms, such as the Dinesh Goswami and Inderjeet Committee, recommend state funding of elections to reduce the use of black money and limit the criminalization of politics.
  • Strengthening Election Commission
  • Voters need to remain vigilant and report any misuse of money, gifts, or inducements during elections.
  • Proactive Role of the Judiciary: Fast-tracking the judicial process can help eliminate corruption and criminal elements from the political system. It requires a time-bound justice delivery system, stronger actions by the Election Commission, and necessary amendments to relevant laws.
  • Amending the Representation of Peoples Act (RPA) of 1951 to disqualify individuals with pending serious criminal charges from contesting elections.



The criminalization of politics poses a serious threat to democracy and good governance. It undermines the principles of free and fair elections, affects the integrity of public servants, causes social disharmony, and erodes public trust in the government. Addressing this issue is crucial for the health and functioning of democratic systems.


About ADR:

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an electoral watchdog established in 1999 by a group of professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad to pursue electoral reforms in India.


Insta Links:

Criminalization of Politics


Mains Links

It is often said that ‘politics’ and ‘ethics’ do not go together. What is your opinion in this regard? Justify your answer with illustrations. ( UPSC 2013)

India-Africa ties

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Bilateral, Regional Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests


Source: TH

 Context: India’s rise as a global player is inevitably linked to the kind of partnership it enjoys with Africa.


India-Africa ties – Background:

  • India enjoys historical, political, economic, and cultural connections with the African continent for a long back.
  • India’s links with the struggle for freedom and justice in South Africa date back to the period during which Mahatma Gandhi started his Satyagraha movement in South Africa.
  • India worked consistently to put the issue of apartheid on the agenda of the UN, NAM and other multilateral organisations.


India-Africa ties – Current Status:


  • India’s Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) has been a useful medium for promoting cooperation in the development of human resources.
  • In the past 15 years and especially since 2014, India-Africa relations have developed steadily but more progress is achievable.
  • In this context, the Africa Expert Group (AEG) – established by the Vivekananda International Foundation, presented the ‘India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2030’.


Highlights of the India-Africa Partnership (Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2030):

  • Transitions unfolding in Africa: It is slowly heading toward regional integration and is devoted to democracy, peace and progress, even as countries (like Ethiopia, and Sudan) continue to battle insurgency, ethnic violence and terrorism.
  • Sharpening competition among external powers: Countries such as China, the US, Japan, Türkiye, and UAE are competing for strengthening their relations with Africa to ensure –
    • Market access,
    • Gain energy and mineral security, and
    • Increase political and economic influence.


Challenges for India:

  • No clear Strategy/Vision
  • Africa is not the prime focus of India
  • Competing powers in Africa: For example, China enjoys consistent and robust relations with the continent since 2000 and is currently its biggest economic partner.
    • China’s role in Africa is recognised as ‘the infrastructure developer’, ‘the resource provider’, and ‘the financier.


Recommendations to strengthen India-Africa ties:


Political and diplomatic cooperation:

  • It should be strengthened by restoring periodic leaders’ summits through the medium of the India-Africa Forum Summit (not held since 2015).
  • A new annual strategic dialogue between the chairperson of the African Union (AU) and India’s External Affairs Minister should be launched in 2023.
  • Forging consensus among G-20 members on the AU’s entry into the G-20 as a full member.
  • The MEA should have a secretary exclusively in charge of African affairs to further enhance the implementation and impact of the African policy.


Defence and security cooperation:

  • The government needs to increase the number of defence missions deployed in Africa, widen the footprint of maritime collaboration, and expand lines of credit to facilitate defence exports.
  • More can be done to enhance cooperation on security and defence issues like counter-terrorism, cyber security and emerging technologies.


Economic and development cooperation:

  • India-Africa trade of $98 billion in FY22–23 can go up if access to finance through the creation of an Africa Growth Fund (AGF) is ensured.
  • A special package of measures
    • To improve project exports and build up cooperation in the shipping domain has been suggested.
    • To promote trilateral cooperation and deepen S&T cooperation.


Socio-cultural cooperation:

  • It should be increased through greater interaction between universities, think tanks, civil society and media organisations in India and select African countries.
  • Setting up a National Centre for African Studies will be the right step.
  • ITEC and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships awarded to Africans should be named after famous African figures.
  • Visa measures for African students should be liberalised and should also be given work visas for short periods.


Way ahead:

  • A special mechanism for implementing the ‘Roadmap 2030’.
  • Clear Strategy for African Development
  • Continue the current focus on capacity building
  • Harness Indian civil society organisations, NGOs, and the Indian diaspora
  • Promote development-friendly private investments
  • Timely completion of projects
  • Address concerns about the academic experience in India
  • Improve the experiences of Africans in India



  • To cater to the needs of a large continent like Africa, India must build partnerships with other countries along the lines of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor – an economic cooperation agreement between India, Japan and multiple African countries.
  • India has a substantive partnership with Africa and a rich fund of goodwill, but it is essential for New Delhi to review its Africa policy periodically and place a razor-like focus on its implementation.


Insta Links:



Mains Links:

“If the last few decades were Asia’s growth story, the next few are expected to be Africa’s.” In light of this statement, examine India’s influence in Africa in recent years.  (UPSC 2021)

Climate counsel

Content for Mains Enrichment

Source: DTE

The Maharashtra Onion Farmers Group, consisting of around 2,000 farmer members, has been using social media platforms and in-person gatherings to share localized weather warnings and agricultural strategies to cope with climate change.

The group helps farmers anticipate and prepare for extreme weather events and other impacts of climate change. They also share traditional and new cultivation methods to build climate resilience. The initiative aims to combat the biggest threat to small and marginal farmers’ livelihoods posed by climate change.

Usage: The example can be used in Environment/Agriculture paper

Hul Diwas

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE

 Context:  Hul Divas is observed annually on June 30 in memory of tribal leaders — Sidho and Kanhu Murmu — who led the Santhal hul (rebellion) on June 30, 1855, at Bhognadih in Sahebganj district (now Jharkhand)


About Santhal Rebellion:

Topic Information
What is Santhal Rebellion? Santhal rebellion (also known as ‘Hul’) (1855-1856) was a revolt against both the British East India Company and the zamindari system by the Santhal. The rebellion was led by the four sibling Brothers – Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand and Bhairav.
Santhals and their Migration The Santhal people migrated from the Birbhum and Manbhum regions of Bengal to modern-day Santhal Pargana. The British relocated them to the forested area of Damin-i-Koh as part of their revenue collection strategy.
Reasons behind the Hul The Santhals rebelled against the British due to extortions, oppressive extractions, dispossession of property, false measurements, and other illegalities.
Organization of the Hul Contrary to popular belief, the Hul was a well-planned and organized political war. Preparations included guerrilla formations, military teams, detectives, secret bases, logistics, and a network of message carriers for coordination. Non-Adivasi Hindu castes also participated in the rebellion.
Contribution of Women Phulo-Jhano, two sisters, led an army of 1,000 women who played crucial roles in the rebellion. The East India Company’s army was defeated twice during the uprising.
End After the rebellion started, martial law was proclaimed by the East India Company which lasted until January 3, 1856, when martial law was suspended and the rebellion was eventually suppressed by the Presidency armies.
Lasting Impact of the Hul The Santhal rebellion inspired future uprisings, such as the Santhal involvement in the 1857 mutiny. It symbolized resistance against British colonialism and laid the foundation for subsequent movements in Jharkhand.

Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, 2023


Source: PIB

Context: The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, has authorized Public Sector Banks and eligible Private Sector Banks to implement the Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, 2023.


About the scheme:

Feature Description
Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, 2023 (introduced in this year’s budget and started on 1st April 2023) is a one-time savings scheme to provide financial security to girls and women in India.
Purpose To provide financial security to every girl and woman in India
Eligibility Women can open the account for themselves or on behalf of a minor girl child
Tenure Two years
Interest Rate 7.5% per annum, compounded quarterly
Investment ₹1000 min to 200,000 maximum
Maturity Period Two years from the date of opening the account
Partial Withdrawal Up to 40% of the eligible balance can be availed after one year from the date of opening the account
Significance Promotes financial independence and empowerment of women
Encourages women investors, especially in rural areas

Recovery of the Ozone Layer


Source: DTE

Context:  World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has released a bulletin (after 7 years gap) indicating a steady recovery of the ozone layer, particularly over the Antarctic region.


About Ozone Layer:

The ozone layer or ozone shield is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It contains a high concentration of ozone (O3) in relation to other parts of the atmosphere, although still small in relation to other gases in the lower part of the stratosphere (15-35 Km above the surface of the earth)


Key findings:

  • Montreal Protocol and its amendments are successful in eliminating up to 99% of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) (long-lived man-made chemicals which destroy the protective ozone layer)
  • It highlights the impact of climate change, which is slowing down the recovery process and affecting the lower atmosphere’s climate.
  • The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano (in the southern Pacific) in January 2022 increased water vapour content in the stratosphere, leading to reduced ozone in the lower stratosphere of the southern hemisphere.
  • This additional water vapour is expected to result in more polar stratospheric clouds, enhanced ozone depletion, and larger and longer-lasting “ozone holes” in the future.
  • It highlights the importance of monitoring and protecting the ozone layer due to its crucial role in shielding life on Earth from harmful solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation.



Source: PIB


Context: The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) called Tejas has completed seven years of service in the Indian Air Force.


About Light Combat Aircraft (LCA):

The LCA programme was started by the Government of India in 1984  to replace ageing Mig 21 fighter planes. The government established the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) (under the Department of Defence Research and Development) to manage the LCA programme.
Designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA)


Manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Features Lightest, smallest, and tailless multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
Designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided weapons.
Air-to-air refuelling capability, carefree handling, enhanced manoeuvrability, multi-mode airborne radar, and self-protection suite
Maximum payload capacity of 4000 kg.
Maximum speed of Mach 1.8.
The range of the aircraft is 3,000 km.
Variants Tejas Trainer: 2-seater operational conversion trainer for training air force pilots.
LCA Navy: Twin- and single-seat carrier-capable for the Indian Navy.
LCA Tejas Navy MK2: Phase 2 of the LCA Navy variant.
·        LCA Tejas Mk-1A: Improvement over the LCA Tejas Mk1 with a higher thrust engine.

·        LCA Mk2 is an upgraded version of the LCA Tejas Mk1. It will replace Jaguars, MiG-29s, and Mirage 2000s. The General Electric GE-414 engine  (from the USA) will power the LCA Mk2.

Pangong Tso lake


 Source: TH

Both India and China have ramped up infrastructure development on the north bank of Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh and western Tibet. China is constructing a bridge to connect the north and south banks of the lake, while India is building a black-topped road on its side of the north bank.

The ongoing tensions between the two sides have led to gridlock in Corps Commander-level talks, with remaining friction points at Depsang and Demchok.

Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake (bodies of water that do not flow into an ocean or a sea) spanning eastern Ladakh and West Tibet situated at an elevation of 4,225 m. It is 134 km long and divided into five sub-lakes. It is the world’s highest saltwater lake. Its water, which seems to be dyed in blue, stands in stark contrast to the arid mountains surrounding it. One-third of the Pangong Lake lies in India and the other two-thirds in China.

Can a governor dismiss a minister?

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Issues & Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure


Source: TH

 Context: The Governor of Tamil Nadu (RN Ravi) has dismissed a Minister (V. Senthilbalaji) in the Council of Ministers of TN and later backtracked on his decision keeping the dismissal order in abeyance.


About the minister and his dismissal:

  • The minister was facing serious criminal proceedings in a number of cases of corruption and was arrested by the ED earlier.
  • He was dismissed on the pretext that he will adversely impact the due process of law, including a fair investigation that may eventually lead to the breakdown of the Constitutional machinery in the State.


Criticism of this unprecedented act of the governor:

  • Dismissing a Minister of a government which enjoys an absolute majority in the State legislature, without the recommendation of the Chief Minister of the State, is going to set a dangerous precedent.
  • It has the potential to destabilise State governments putting the federal and whole constitutional systems in danger.


Power of the Governor to dismiss a minister: 

The Government of India Act 1935: The appointment, summoning, determination of their salaries and the dismissal of Ministers shall be exercised by the Governor at his discretion.


What does the Indian Constitution say?

  • According to Article 164 of the Constitution, the CM is appointed by the Governor (without any advice from anyone) and the individual Ministers are appointed by the Governor only on the advice of the CM.
  • This implies that the Governor cannot appoint an individual Minister according to his discretion.
  • So the Governor can dismiss a Minister only on the advice of the CM.


The reason is simple:

  • The CM alone has the discretion to choose his Ministers. He also decides who will not remain as a Minister in his Council.
    • This is a political decision of the CM, who is ultimately answerable to the people.
  • The Governor is a mere constitutional head and there is no executive function which a Governor can perform independently under the Constitution. (BR Ambedkar)
    • Article 163: A Council of Ministers (led by the CM) shall assist and advise the Governor in the discharge of his duties, except when the Governor is compelled to exercise his discretion under this Constitution.
  • The pleasure doctrine is a formal act: This has been brought into the Constitution of India from the Government of India Act 1935.
    • But these words simply refer to issuing the order of dismissal (by the Governor), but only on the advice of the CM.


Judicial clarification:

  • In Shamsher Singh vs State Of Punjab (1974), the SC declared the President and Governor as the custodians of all executive powers, who exercise these powers in accordance with the advice of their Ministers (except in exceptional situations).
  • In Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker (2017), the SC reaffirmed the law laid down in Shamsher Singh and the discretionary powers of the Governor are limited to the postulates of Article 163(1).
    • The Court also set aside the decisions in the Mahabir Prasad Sharma (1968) and Pratapsing Raojirao Rane (1999) cases, where it was held that the Governor can exercise power under Article 164 in an unfettered manner.


Conclusion: In sum, the dismissal of a Minister of the TN Government by the Governor of the State without the advice of the Chief Minister is constitutionally wrong.


Insta Links:

Governor-Chief Minister confrontation


Mains Links:

From the resolution of contentious issues regarding the distribution of legislative powers by the courts, the ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ and ‘Harmonious Construction’ have emerged. Explain. (UPSC 2019)


Prelims Links: (UPSC 2014)

Which of the following are the discretionary powers given to the Governor of a State?

  1. Sending a report to the President of India for imposing the President’s rule
  2. Appointing the Ministers
  3. Reserving certain bills passed by the State Legislature for consideration by the President of India
  4. Making the rules to conduct the business of the State Government


Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4


Ans: 2

/ 03 Jul 2023, Today's Article


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