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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 2:

  1. Article 355 and Article 226
  2. The problem of manual scavenging in India
  3. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit


Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Mo Jungle Jami Yojana
  2. Infochemicals


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Plea to make Scheduled Caste status ‘religion-neutral’
  2. SWAMIH Investment Fund
  3. Regulation of the Digital Market
  4. Release of Treated Water into the Sea at Fukushima
  5. Ferocious black holes reveal ‘time dilation’ in the early universe
  6. Gravity Hole
  7. CMV and ToMV
  8. Nature Restoration Law



  1. Taiwan 
  2. Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine)



Article 355 and Article 226

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Indian Constitution/ Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States/ Functioning of the Judiciary


Source: TH

Context: A High Court, under Article 226 (its writ jurisdiction) of the Constitution, does not have the power to issue a direction to the Centre to invoke Article 355.

Article 355 of the Indian Constitution

[Part XVIII (Article 352-360) – “Emergency Provisions”]

Description It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every state in India against external aggression and internal disturbances and to issue directions to any state to ensure compliance with the Union’s laws and regulations.
Significance The provision is designed to ensure that the government can act swiftly and decisively in the event of any disturbance or threat to the peace and security of the state/country. Recently, it was invoked in Manipur.
Article 355 vs 356 Article 356 empowers the President to impose President’s Rule in a state in case of a failure or breakdown of constitutional machinery in a state.
Under Article 356, all of the state machinery is taken under the centre’s jurisdiction. However, under Article 355, only the state’s law and order (a state subject) is taken under the centre’s jurisdiction (duration not specified in the Constitution).
Recommendations to prevent misuse S.R. Bommai’s case (1994), which held that the power of the President to dismiss a State government (under Article 356) is not absolute.
Sarkaria Commission Report, which had explained a whole range of actions on the part of the Centre possible under Article 355.


Writs in the Indian Constitution:

  • Meaning: It is a legal document issued by the court that orders a person or entity to perform a specific act or to cease performing a specific action.
  • Constitutional provisions: Issued by the Supreme Court under Article 32 and by the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
  • Types: Habeas Corpus (to have a body of), Mandamus (we command), Quo Warranto (by what warrant(, Certiorari (to certify) and Prohibition.
  • Article 32 vs 226:


The ruling:

  • The Madras HC passed the ruling while dismissing a writ petition which claimed that the constitutional machinery had broken down due to the attack on IT officials by a mob.
  • The HC held that Article 355 appeared to have been inspired both by the US and the Australian Constitution.
  • The scope of Article 355 enables the Union to render all assistance, even if the State Government has not made any specific request.
  • The incident of IT officials being mobbed would not qualify as an internal disturbance under the purview of Article 355.
  • The expressions –
    • ‘internal disturbance’ could only refer to a sense of domestic chaos (could take the colour of a security threat) and
    • ‘external aggression’ would require a large-scale public disorder (endangering the security and administration of the State).


Insta Links:

Article 355


Mains Links:

Under what circumstances can the Financial Emergency be proclaimed by the President of India? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force? (UPSC 2018)


Prelims Links: UPSC 2022

With reference to the writs issued by the Courts in India, consider the following statements:

  1. Mandamus will not lie against a private organisation unless it is entrusted with a public duty.
  2. Mandamus will not lie against a Company even though it may be a Government Company.
  3. Any public-minded person can be a petitioner to move the Court to obtain the writ of Quo Warranto.


Which of the statements given above are correct?

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


Ans: 3

The problem of manual scavenging in India

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of Vulnerable Sections


Source: TH

 Context: According to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), all unsanitary latrines had been made sanitary under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and the problem of manual scavenging is eliminated.


The practice of manual scavenging in India:

  • Meaning: Manual scavenging includes the disposal of human excreta manually from dry latrines, and public streets and the maintenance and sweeping of septic tanks, sewers and gutters.
  • Prevalence in India:
    • As many as 58,000 people worked as manual scavengers as of 2018.
    • In 2022, 48 people died due to hazardous cleaning of sewers in 2022. This number was 49 in 2021, 19 in 2020, and 117 in 2019.
    • The practice, which is considered the worst remaining evidence of untouchability, is most prevalent among people from lower castes/Dalits.


Attempts to abolish manual scavenging:

Salient features of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013:

  • It bans manual scavenging.
  • It widened the definition of manual scavengers by including it in all forms of manual removal of human excreta.
  • It lays a key focus on rehabilitating manual scavengers by organising training programs (at a stipend of Rs. 3000) and offering scholarships to their children.
  • It makes the offence of manual scavenging cognizable and non-bailable.
  • It makes it obligatory for employers to provide protective tools to the workers.


Other efforts:

  • The scheme for rehabilitation of manual scavengers: Under this, ~58,000 identified sewer workers have been given a one-time cash payout of ₹40,000 each.
    • In addition, ~22,000 of them have been connected to skills training programmes.
  • NAMASTE scheme: For 100% mechanisation of sewer work. The scheme (launched in 2022) for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers has now been merged with the NAMASTE scheme.



  • Lack of funding: The Union Budget 2023-24 showed no allocation for the rehabilitation scheme and ₹100 crore allocation for the NAMASTE scheme.
  • Less than half of the identified sewer workers are connected to skills training programmes.
  • Despite all efforts, manual scavenging is still practised in India. Just 520 districts across the country had declared themselves free of manual scavenging.


Way ahead:

  • The immediate focus of administrations should be to ensure zero deaths due to hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.
  • All local bodies must identify and profile all septic tank/sewer workers in their respective areas.
  • Provide them with occupational training and safety equipment.
  • Sign them up for health insurance under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.


Best practices:

  • The Bandicoot Robot is the world’s first robotic scavenger, developed as a Make in India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative by the startup Genrobotics.
  • Kerala became the first state in the country to use robotic technology (Bandicoot) to clean all its commissioned manholes.


Insta Links:

Manual scavenging

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit

GS Paper 2


Syllabus: Multilateral bodies


Context: The recent Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marked India’s first time hosting the event as a full member.


Outcomes of the Summit (New Delhi Declaration):

Outcomes Significance
Inclusion of Iran as the ninth member of the SCO Expansion of the SCO’s membership, bringing in additional regional dynamics.


Note: Other 8 members of SCO are– China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Agreement on countering radicalization Cooperation among member states to address activities of terrorist, separatist and extremist groups, preventing the spread of religious intolerance, aggressive nationalism, ethnic and racial discrimination, xenophobia etc
Joint statement on digital transformation Sharing of expertise and cooperation in digital technologies and payment systems
SCO Year of Environment Members agreed to declare 2024 as the SCO Year of Environment.
Criticism of non-UN sanctions Rejection of non-UN sanctions that negatively impact other countries
Exploration of national currencies for payments Potential reduction of dependence on international dollar-based payments
India’s Initiatives
Five new pillars of Cooperation within SCO Pillars include: Startups and Innovation, Traditional Medicine, Youth Empowerment, Digital Inclusion, and Shared Buddhist Heritage
Engagement with People Enhancing engagement among people through SCO Millet Food Festival, Film Festival, International Conference on Shared Buddhist Heritage etc.
Culture Varanasi was declared the first tourism and cultural capital of SCO
India’s abstention from endorsing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Reflects concerns over China’s influence and projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir



India’s decision to join the SCO was driven by its economic significance, regional security concerns, and the opportunity to engage with Central Asian markets and resources. However, the SCO summit initially planned as an in-person event but later turned into a virtual summit, may have been impacted by various factors, including the Prime Minister’s U.S. State visit and concerns over tensions with China and Pakistan. With India’s SCO chairpersonship ending, it is feared, there may be a sense of diminishing returns from its engagement with the SCO



Despite the constraints of SCO, the present outcomes highlight the significance of India’s chairing of the summit, the expansion of SCO membership, cooperation on key issues, and India’s stance on regional security concerns.


For details about SCO, How India gains from SCO, Challenges: Click here (India and SCO)


Insta Links:



Mains Links

SCO serves India’s quest for geopolitical balance and regional engagement, however, any benefits from it are cancelled out by the presence of China and Pakistan. Has India gained anything substantial from the SCO? Critically examine. (15M)

Mo Jungle Jami Yojana

Content for Mains Enrichment

Source: DTE

Context: The Odisha government has announced the launch of the “Mo Jungle Jami Yojana” (MJJY) scheme, aimed at effectively implementing the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.

If successfully implemented, Odisha will become the first state to be fully compliant with the Forest Rights Act, covering

  • individual forest rights
  • community forest rights
  • habitat rights for particularly vulnerable tribal groups
  • conversion of forest and unsurveyed villages

The scheme will provide land ownership and access to forest resources, improving livelihoods and food security for the Scheduled Tribe and forest-dwelling population. It includes the digitization of records, conversion of unsurveyed and zero area villages into revenue villages, and the establishment of Forest Rights Cells for monitoring and review.

Usage: The scheme can be used as an example in the Indian Society/ Anthropology Paper



Source: DTE

Climate change is impacting chemical communication in the animal world, with significant consequences for ecosystems and human well-being. Chemical signals, known as infochemicals, play a crucial role in interactions between organisms and regulate ecological processes. Climate change is altering the production of these chemicals, such as pheromones, affecting various species and disrupting vital functions and behaviours.


  • Example 1: Warming temperatures decay the pheromones used by some ant species, making it difficult for them to follow trails.
  • Example 2: Rising CO₂ levels in water affect the evasion abilities of water fleas, while coral reef damselfish lose their ability to recognize predators.
  •  Example 3: Climate change-associated stressors disrupt chemical interactions across entire ecosystems, with implications for disease-causing pathogens and their hosts.


Understanding these impacts is essential for mitigating the effects of climate change on communication and preserving ecological balance.

Usage: The examples can be used in Environment Paper

Plea to make Scheduled Caste status ‘religion-neutral’

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: The SC has taken on board a plea to stop using religious identity as a criterion to afford or deny communities a place within the Scheduled Caste bracket.


The petition:

  • Has challenged the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 issued under Article 341(1) of the Constitution.
    • Article 341 (1) authorises the President to declare certain castes and classes as Scheduled Castes in a State (after consultation with the Governor) or a UT.
    • The 1950 Order mandates that anybody who is not a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist cannot be granted Scheduled Caste status.
  • Since the word ‘religion’ does not even exist in Article 341(1), the ban concerning Christians and Muslims in the 1950 Order should be deleted.


Scheduled caste status for Dalit converts:

  • The Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission (2007) recommended that Scheduled Caste reservation be provided for Dalit converts to Christianity and Islam. The Centre had rejected the report.
  • A new Commission (under G. Balakrishnan) was established in 2022 to report on the question of granting SC status to persons who have historically belonged to the SC but have converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

SWAMIH Investment Fund


Source: PIB

 Context: The PM has congratulated new homeowners in Bengaluru’s first project under SWAMIH Fund which has helped more than 3000 families in owning their dream homes.


What is the SWAMIH Investment Fund?

  • The Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing (SWAMIH) is a social impact fund specifically formed (in 2019) for completing stressed and stalled residential projects.
  • The Fund is sponsored by the Ministry of Finance and is managed by SBICAP Ventures Ltd – a State Bank Group company.
  • It is considered the lender of last resort for distressed projects since it considers –
    • First-time developers,
    • Established developers with troubled projects,
    • Developers with a poor track record of stalled projects,
    • Customer complaints and NPA accounts, and
    • Even projects where there are litigation issues.
  • The Fund’s presence in a project often acts as a catalyst for better collections and sales primarily in projects that were delayed for years.
  • It has raised Rs 15,530 crore so far with an aim to provide priority debt financing for the completion of stressed, brownfield and RERA-registered residential projects that fall in the affordable, mid-income housing category.

Regulation of the Digital Market

Source: HBL

Context: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and the Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY) in India have clarified their respective roles in the regulation of the digital market, to remove the duplicity of regulations on digital markets.

Demarcated Roles:

Ministry Role
Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) Oversees all competition issues in the digital market.
Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY) Handles sector-specific and technical issues in the digital market.


Status of India’s digital market: 

  • India’s digital market is experiencing rapid growth and transformation. It encompasses various sectors such as e-commerce, digital payments, online services, social media, and digital advertising. It is expected to touch $ 1 trillion by 2025-26.
  • The government is working towards introducing legislation including Digital India Act and Digital Competition Law to regulate the growing digital market.

Ferocious black holes reveal ‘time dilation’ in the early universe


Source: IE

 Context: Scientists conducted a study using observations of quasars, powerful black holes, to demonstrate “time dilation” in the early universe.

  • The study showed that time passed only about a fifth as quickly as it does today, around 12.3 billion years ago when the universe was much younger.


About Quasars:

  • Quasars are tremendously active supermassive black holes millions to billions of times more massive than our sun, usually residing at centres of galaxies.
  • They devour matter drawn to them by their immense gravitational pull and unleash torrents of radiation including jets of high-energy particles, while a glowing disk of matter spins around them.



  • This supports Einstein’s theory of relativity, which states that time and space are intertwined and that the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.
  • Time dilation means that if one could travel back to that time, a second would still feel like a second, but from the perspective of a person today, a second back then would unfold in five seconds. This study adds to previous evidence of time dilation based on observations of supernovas, and it highlights the complexity of time in modern physics.

Gravity Hole


Source: Hindustan Times

 Context: A recent study suggests that the colossal and mysterious “Gravity Hole” in the Indian Ocean may be the remnants of an ancient sea that disappeared millions of years ago.


What is Gravity Hole?

A “Gravity Hole” refers to a large gravity anomaly, an area where gravity is significantly different from the surrounding regions. It is characterized by a substantial decrease in gravitational pull compared to the expected value based on the Earth’s normal gravitational field.

The causes of gravity holes can vary, including geological structures, variations in mass distribution, or other factors that affect the gravitational field in a particular area.

The phenomenon is estimated to have formed approximately 20 million years ago and is expected to endure for millions more.


More about the News: 

The Gravity Hole is a massive region in the Indian Ocean, about 1,200 kilometres southwest of the southernmost tip of India, and has such a low pull of gravity that the sea level of the Indian Ocean over the “hole” is around 106 metres below the global average. This pronounced dip in the ocean is called Indian Ocean geoid low (IOGL) and was discovered in 1948


  • Known as the Indian Ocean geoid low (IOGL), this vast depression spans over 2 million square miles and lies more than 600 miles beneath the Earth’s crust.
  • The study proposes that the IOGL consists of slabs from the Tethys Ocean, which was a sea that separated the supercontinents of Gondwana and Laurasia.
  • The Tethys Ocean is believed to have influenced the African Large Low Shear Velocity province, generating plumes beneath the Indian Ocean.

CMV and ToMV


Source: IE

 Context: Tomato growers in Maharashtra and Karnataka have reported crop losses due to attacks by two different viruses: the cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) in Maharashtra and the tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) in Karnataka and other South Indian states.

  • Both viruses belong to different viral families and spread through different means.
  • ToMV primarily spreads through infected seeds, saplings, and agricultural tools, while CMV is transmitted by aphids.
  • High temperatures followed by intermittent rain create favourable conditions for CMV spread.


Controlling these viruses involves following biosafety standards, treating seeds, discarding infected material, and practising good agricultural practices. CMV has a wide range of hosts, making control more challenging, while ToMV can remain dormant in weeds and plant remains.

Nature Restoration Law


Source: DTE

 Context: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has called on the European Union (EU) to invest in nature restoration, emphasizing the long-term economic impacts of failing to do so.


What is Nature Restoration Law?

The Nature Restoration Law is a proposed legislation aimed at restoring and conserving natural areas and ecosystems. It sets legally binding targets for nature restoration in various sectors such as agriculture, forest, marine, freshwater, and urban systems.


EU’s agreement:

  • In May 2023, the IUCN urged the EU to come up with a targeted and meaningful restoration for strengthening the resilience and sustainability of the EU economy.
  • The EU Council recently agreed to restore 20% of its land and sea by 2030 and pledged to restore entire ecosystems by 2050.


Importance of Nature restoration:

  • The IUCN highlights the impressive returns of financing nature restoration, with every Euro spent having an eight-fold return and benefits worth 38 Euros.
  • Nature restoration is important for resilience, climate and biodiversity targets
  • It plays a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems in achieving these goals.


About IUCN: 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (HQ: Gland, Switzerland, Founded: 1948) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education.



Source: TH

Taiwan has announced the opening of its third representative office in India, in Mumbai, in a move aimed at strengthening economic linkages between the two countries. Despite not having formal diplomatic relations, India and Taiwan have made progress in various domains such as economics, trade, and technology.


Taiwan produces 92% of the world’s most advanced logic chips and 70% of smartphone chipsets, among other critical components.


Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a country in East Asia. It is located at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the People’s Republic of China to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.

Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine)


Source: TH

The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, currently in a war zone, faces several risks to its safety and operation. The plant has VVER-1000 reactors and incorporates safety enhancements implemented after the Chornobyl and Fukushima accidents.


Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest European country after Russia. It is also bordered by Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; and by Romania and Moldova to the southwest; with a coastline along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south and southeast


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