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La Nina and El Nino

GS1  Important Geophysical Phenomena

In Context

    • La Nina, also known as the “Triple Dip” La Nina, is continuing for a record-breaking third year in a row, causing India to experience a colder winter than usual.
    • Predictions for the fall and winter of 2023 indicate that there is a greater than 50% chance that El Nio will occur.


    • Increase in the planet’s average surface temperature:
      • An El Niño year creates a global-warming crisis in miniature:
    • This is due to a significant amount of heat being released into the atmosphere by the warm water moving throughout the tropical Pacific.
    • The average surface temperature of the world might rise by more than 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels if an El Nio occurs this year.
    • Transition of La Niña to El Niño:
    • The highest deficit in the monsoon has historically been associated with the change from a La Nia winter, which is what we are currently experiencing, to an El Nio summer.
    • As a result, an El Nio year is typically characterised by weaker pre-monsoon and monsoon circulations.
    • Weaker vertical shear:
      • The vertical shear, which is the change in intensity of winds from the surface to the upper atmosphere, tends to be weaker as well.
      • This in turn can favour enhanced cyclogenesis, i.e. cyclone formation.
    • Monsoon Deficit & dry events:
    • o India is likely to face a shortfall monsoon in 2023 if an El Nio state does develop by the summer.
    • Extreme wet and dry conditions will accompany the monsoon deficit.
    • o There are probably some lone patches of strong or extremely heavy rainfall, even though the yearly total may be insufficient generally.
    • Affecting weather worldwide:
      • Both phenomena affect the weather worldwide and can have drastic effects on economies that depend on rainfall.

More about the El Niño, La Niña & ENSO

    • El Niño:
      • About:
      • El Nio is a periodic warming of the saltwater in the central-east Equatorial Pacific.
      • The trade winds, which are east-west winds that blow close to the equator, diminish and surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific rise during an El Nio.
      • Typically, trade winds from the Americas move eastward towards Asia. They sputter and alter course because of El Nio, becoming westerlies and carrying warm water from the western Pacific to the Americas.
      • Outcomes:
        • Disruptions in the food chain:
        • • El Nio reduces the phenomenon of upwelling, in which nutrient-rich seas rise to the surface.
        •  The result is a decrease in phytoplankton. As a result, fish that consume phytoplankton are impacted, then organisms further up the food chain.
        • Disruptions in the overall ecosystem:
          • Warm waters also carry tropical species towards colder areas, disrupting multiple ecosystems.
        • Alterations in wind & weather patterns:
          • Since the Pacific covers almost one-third of the earth, changes in its temperature and subsequent alteration of wind patterns disrupt global weather patterns.
          • El Niño causes dry, warm winters in Northern U.S. and Canada and increases the risk of flooding in the U.S. gulf coast and southeastern U.S. It also brings drought to Indonesia and Australia.
    • La Niña:
      • About:
      • La Nia is the antithesis of El Nio. Sea surface temperature (SST) is lower than typical during La Nina in the equatorial Pacific.
      • Stronger than average trade winds are driving warmer water towards Asia.
      • Outcomes:
        • On the American west coast, upwelling increases, bringing nutrient-rich water to the surface.
        • Pacific cold waters close to the Americas push jet streams — narrow bands of strong winds in the upper atmosphere — northwards.
        • This leads to drier conditions in Southern U.S., and heavy rainfall in Canada.
        • La Niña has also been associated with heavy floods in Australia. Two successive La Niña events in the last two years caused intense flooding in Australia, resulting in significant damage.
    • ENSO:
    •  The El Nino Southern Oscillation is the result of the interaction of El Nio, La Nia, and the neutral zone between the two opposing impacts (ENSO).
    • Large-scale shifts in sea level pressure in the tropical Pacific region are known as southern oscillations.
    • Effect of El Niño & La Niña on India’s monsoons:
      • In India, El Niño causes weak rainfall and more heat, while La Niña intensifies rainfall across South Asia, particularly in India’s northwest and Bangladesh during the monsoon.
      • At present, India, like the rest of the globe, is witnessing an extended ‘triple dip’ La Niña.
      • This is why India saw surplus rain in September, a month that usually sees the monsoon retreat, for the third year in a row.

‘Triple dip’ La Nina

    • India is seeing an extended spell of the La Nina, called a ‘triple dip’ La Nina which is a phenomenon lasting across three winter seasons in the northern hemisphere.
    • This is only the third time since 1950 that a triple-dip La Nina has been observed.
    • Cause:

·         The effects of naturally occurring occurrences like La Nia are amplified by human-induced climate change, which is also changing our weather patterns.

o    o Under extreme greenhouse gas emission scenarios, the frequency of extreme El Nio and La Nia events may rise from one every 20 to one every 10 years by the end of the twenty-first century.

Source: TH

Scheme to Adopt a Heritage

GS1 Art and Culture GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions

In News

    • The Dalmia Bharat Group developed the Red Fort as part of the Center’s “adopt a heritage” programme, adding a museum and a sound and light display to the 17th-century structure to tell tourists about its past.

Adopt a Heritage Scheme 

    • The Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India, launched the “Adopt a Heritage: ApniDharohar, ApniPehchaan” programme.
    • On September 27, 2017, World Tourism Day, the programme was unveiled.
    • The Adopt a Heritage Scheme permitted both public and private sector businesses to purchase India’s most important heritage sites and expand tourism there.
    • The sites/monuments are chosen based on visitor traffic and visibility, and commercial and public sector businesses and people, known as Monument Mitras, are allowed to adopt them for an initial period of five years.
    • According to the most recent reports, the Adopt a Heritage programme has covered 106 tourist destinations, with almost 600 Monument Mitras registered and 27 Memorandums of Understanding signed.
    • If rules and/or expressions of interest (EoI) are not followed, or for any other reason, the MoU of Monument Mitras may be terminated by the Ministry of Tourism.

Objectives of the Scheme

    • Creation of a foundational tourism infrastructure around and around tourist attractions, historical sites, and natural areas.
    • Improving the visitor experience by adding amenities and facilities to tourist attractions, historical sites, and natural and historical sites.
    • Promote and raise awareness of the nation’s cultural and historical importance.

Advantages of Adopt a Heritage Scheme

    • Corporate management of some monuments and heritage sites ensures that operations and maintenance be handled more expertly.
    • Promote the development of sustainable tourism infrastructure and guarantee its optimal use and upkeep.
    • An agency will have the chance to link pride to their CSR efforts if they have the greatest vision for the heritage property.

Also, the business would only receive a little visibility on the grounds and on the Incredible India website.

    • In areas around popular historical, natural, and tourism destinations, create jobs and aid local economies.

Challenges Involved

    • It may undermine local communities and their relationships with historical sites.
    • Retaining the ethical values of the monuments while doing the beautification and conservation.
      • There are some monuments selected for the scheme that are not protected by the ASI and are in States without Archaeology Directorates, in this case  businesses that sign agreements with the Union Ministry of Culture to adopt these monuments will be able to alter their historical character without much opposition.
    • Monitoring of progress on various development initiatives undertaken by adopters.


    • It is important to make sure that only specialists carry out conservation initiatives.
    • The use of CSR funds to buy new equipment that emits fewer noxious gases that darken and corrode marble buildings and discharge fewer effluents into rivers is one way industrial houses can support the meaningful conservation of heritage buildings. Another way Monument Mitras can help citizens understand why monuments matter is by allocating CSR funds for grants for studying, writing, and publishing high-quality textbooks and coming up with creative ideas.


The PEN/Nabokov Prize

GS1 Miscellaneous

In Context

    • Vinod Kumar Shukla, a well-known author of Hindi, just awarded the 2023 PEN/Nabokov Prize for excellence in international literature.


    • Following decades of producing famous books like Naukar Ki Kameez (1979) and poetry collections like Sab Kuch Hona Bacha Rahega, he was given the PEN America award for lifetime achievement in literature (1992).
    • Lagbhag Jai Hind, a collection of poems, was his debut publication. It was followed by Vah Aadmi Chala Gaya Naya Garam Coat Pehankar Vichar Ki Tarah (1972). (1981).
    • His debut book was Naukar Ki Kameez. He also received the Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literary Festival Novel Award and the Sahitya Akademi award.

PEN/Nabokov Award

    • The PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature is awarded biennially by PEN America (formerly PEN American Center) to writers, principally novelists, “whose works evoke to some measure Nabokov’s brilliant versatility and commitment to literature as a search for the deepest truth and the highest pleasure— what Nabokov called the ‘indescribable tingle of the spine’.”
    • It is one of the most coveted literary prizes worldwide. The winner is awarded $50,000.
    • The award is financed by the Vladimir Nabokov Foundation, founded by Dmitri Nabokov. It has been called one of the most prestigious PEN prizes.
    • The PEN American Center awards have been characterized as being among the “major” American literary prizes.


Security Assurance

GS 2 GS 3 Internal Security Governance

In News

    • Reliance Industries’ CMD Mukesh Ambani and his family must have Z+ security coverage both inside and outside of India, according to a Supreme Court order.

There are mainly six categories of security cover provided by Government

    • The Prime Minister and his immediate family are the only members of the SPG (Special Protection Group). To anyone about whom the federal or state governments have information about a threat, additional protection categories may be offered.
    • One gunman typically guards the person in X category security.
    • For mobile security, Y has one shooter, and for static security, Y has one (plus four on rotation).
    • Y+ has two police officers for mobile security (plus four on rotation) and one (plus four on rotation) for home security.

Z has two (plus eight) gunmen for home security and six for mobile security.

    • Z+ has two (plus eight) security officers for residential security and ten (plus eight) for mobile security.

Source: TOI

German-Indian Relations

GS 2 India & Foreign Relations

In News

    • Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, recently paid a bilateral visit to India.


    • The visit of the German chancellor is significant because it occurs towards the end of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict’s first year and follows the recent Chinese spy balloon incident, which sent shockwaves across global geopolitics.

Key outcomes of the bilateral meeting   

    •  Green and Sustainable Development Partnership (GSDP):
    • o The GSDP is an umbrella organisation that offers political direction and leadership to strong ties in SDGs and climate action.
    • o In accordance with this, Germany will devote an additional €10 billion to its portfolio of development cooperation in India.
    • A vision statement to improve cooperation in innovation and technology was adopted by Germany and India.
    • o Under the framework of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on ‘Cooperation in Scientific Research and Technological Development’, the two countries share a long history of cooperation in science and technology, research and innovation.
    •  Cooperation in Green Hydrogen
      • For this, the Indo-German Green Hydrogen Task Force was constituted in September 2022
    •  Triangular Development Cooperation:
      • India and Germany agreed to work on development projects in third countries.
    • Both sides concluded agreements on “Digital Transformation, FinTech, IT, Telecom and Supply chains’ diversification”.

Indo- German Ties

    • About:
    • India and Germany’s collaboration aspires to benefit humanity and is steadfastly led by their mutual respect for and adherence to democratic values.
    • India?
    • Trade and business ties form a fairly solid foundation for relations with Germany.
    • A “Strategic Partnership” has existed between Germany and India since May 2000. With the introduction of Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) in 2011, this has been further strengthened.
    • The aspirations of the G4 countries—Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan—for permanent seats on the UN Security Council are supported by one another.
    • Trade and economic relations:
    • Germany is India’s top trading partner in Europe, accounting for 17.4% of the European market and totaling USD 21.07 billion in trade in 2020–21.
    • Since April 2000, Germany has been India’s 7th-largest foreign direct investor. Germany invested $11.9 billion in FDI in India overall from 2000 to 2019.
    • Through the EU, Germany and India have a bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA).
    • Institutional Relationship:
      • The Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) is a unique mechanism which brings together  ministers and officials from both sides, to engage in bilateral discussions on cooperation and partnership across a range of areas. The focus areas for the IGC included global security policy issues and common efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
        • During the last IGC in may 2022 following several agreements were signed
    • A Track 1.5 Strategic Dialogue has also been formed to improve mutual understanding of national, regional, and strategic objectives.
    • Green and Sustainable Energy Partnership; Agro-Ecology Collaboration; and Triangular Development Cooperation Projects in Third Countries.
    • Defence co-operation:
    • The 2006 India-Germany Defence Cooperation Agreement establishes a foundation for cross-border defence cooperation.
    • The Arrangement on Implementation of the Agreement Concerning Bilateral Defense Cooperation was signed by both nations, allowing them to exchange sensitive information.
    • In the Indian Ocean, German and Indian navy ships frequently engage in anti-piracy operations.
    • In 2024, the first-ever Franco-Indian-German military exercise is anticipated.
    • Science & Technology:
      • Bilateral Science and Technology cooperation is implemented under Inter-Governmental Agreement on ‘Cooperation in Scientific Research and Technological Development’. An apex Indo-German Committee on S&T, coordinates the implementation of activities.
      • The jointly funded Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) was set up in Gurgaon in September 2008.


    • Germany’s low trade: Less than 10 percent of Germany’s trade with China is with India.
    • Restrictive Policies: Germany has an advanced defence manufacturing  comparable to that of france, but the defence exports are less than potential because of restrictive arms export policy
    • The potential for trade between the two nations is hampered by the absence of a separate bilateral investment pact.
    • Germany supports more lenient labour laws because it is sceptical of India’s trade liberalisation efforts.

Way Forward

    • With more than 20% of German trade conducted in the Indo-Pacific neighbourhood and India’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific, strong ties between the countries are mutually beneficial.


Internet Shutdowns in India and Globally

GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions

In Context

    • Access Now, a group that promotes digital rights, has published a report on the likelihood of internet outages worldwide in 2022.
    • According to the data, there were approximately 187 internet blackouts in 2022, with India accounting for close to half of them.
    • A nation’s government frequently imposes communications restrictions for security reasons.

Major Findings of the Report


Indicators Findings
Report on India
    • In 2022, India imposed the greatest number of global internet shutdowns.
    • India has been at the top of the list for five years running.
    • Out of the 187 internet outages that Access Now tracked internationally, 84 occurred in India, including 49 in Kashmir.
Reasons for Shutdowns in India
    • Due to political unrest and bloodshed, authorities in Kashmir cut off internet connectivity.
    • In Kashmir, militants have fought against Indian control for more than three decades.

Shutdowns in Other Countries
    • • After invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Russian military cut off internet service there at least 22 times, placing Ukraine second on the list.
    • In its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military deliberately destroyed communications infrastructure and cut off Internet access.
    • Iran ranked in third with 18 internet shutdowns enacted in 2022 in reaction to anti-government protests.


Major reasons for internet shut-downs

    • The government of India frequently shuts down the internet as a management or law-and-order action.
    • It’s done to prevent the spread of rumours and false information that could worsen law and order conditions.
    • In times of crisis, turning off the internet contributes to community peace.

Laws governing Shutdowns in India

    • Section 69A of the Information Technology Act of 2000 (IT Act) grants the Indian government the authority to issue directives to block public access to any information through any computer resource in situations such as:
    • Interest of India’s sovereignty and integrity; defence of India; security of the state; friendly relations with foreign states; public order; or to prevent incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence related to the above.
    • The Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 gives the national government the authority to cut off or intercept communication services when it is in the public’s interest, India’s sovereignty and integrity, defence, state security, cordial relations with other nations, or public order.
    • The “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” also provide for the ordering of temporary suspensions.

Impact of Internet Shutdowns

    • Economic impact: The impact of internet outages on a variety of industries, including e-commerce, online learning, and firms that rely on the internet for their operations, is enormous.
    • Disruption of public services: Access to vital public services including healthcare, emergency services, and communication is disrupted by shutdowns.
    • Social impact: Shutdowns impact the ability of citizens to communicate with their loved ones, access information, and exercise their right to free speech. It is also against democratic rights as it curtails freedom of speech and expression which are constitutionally protected under Article 19.
    • Political impact: Shutdowns are often used to control the flow of information during political unrest, protests, or elections leading to a lack of transparency and accountability in the democratic process.
    • Psychological impact: Internet shutdowns can cause stress, anxiety, and mental health issues, especially for those who rely on the internet for their livelihood or to stay connected with family and friends.
    • International reputation: Regular and protracted internet outages harm India’s reputation as a democratic and technologically advanced country abroad.
    • Legal implications: Shutdowns may also violate fundamental rights protected by the Indian Constitution and international human rights legislation, which could have legal repercussions.
  • Source: LM

Windsor Framework

GS 2 India & Foreign Relations 

In News

    • The UK government and the European Union (EU) recently came to a historic agreement over the post-Brexit trade arrangements that will apply to Northern Ireland.

About ‘Windsor Framework’

    • The Northern Ireland Protocol will be replaced by the “Windsor Framework,” which was one of the most complicated consequences of Brexit, leading to issues on both the political and economic fronts.

Crucial aspects

      • • the implementation of a goods-only Green lane and Red lane scheme
      • Green lane: The green lane at the ports will be used by British goods bound for Northern Ireland, and they will be subject to the fewest formalities and inspections possible.
      • Instead of the current routine checks, physical inspections will be done if the goods are thought to be suspect.
      • Also, it is now simple for residents in Northern Ireland to order products from Britain online.
    • Red lane: Items that are going to Ireland or the rest of the EU must use the red lane, which comes with additional checks such as customs.
    • the ‘Stormont Brake’: It allows Northern Ireland lawmakers and London to veto any EU regulation they believe affects the region adversely.
      • It means the democratically elected Northern Ireland Assembly can oppose new EU goods rules that would have significant and lasting effects on everyday lives in Northern Ireland.
      •  For this, they will need the support of 30 members from at least two parties.
        • The British government can then veto the law.

Objectives and Need

    • Trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland was complicated by the checks, and food products in particular lost shelf life while they waited for clearance.
    • Because of EU regulations, several tax and expenditure plans of the UK government could not be implemented in Northern Ireland.
    • The sale of medications was further hampered by conflicting British and EU regulations.
    • With the Windsor Framework, Prime Minister Sunak wants to appease the strong Brexiteer wing of his Conservative Party while strengthening economic and other links with the EU.

Response of stakeholders 

    • Reactions to the new deal in political circles has been cautious, but not negative.
    • Most leaders have said the agreement on the face of it looks promising, though they would properly comment only after studying it in detail.
    • Industry associations have openly welcomed the deal.
    • The US has also welcomed the deal.
The Northern Ireland Protocol 

  • While the Republic of Ireland (or Ireland) is a member of the EU, Northern Ireland is the only region of the U.K. that borders the EU on land. Before goods to transit from Northern Ireland to Ireland, border inspections would be essential since the EU and the UK have separate product requirements.
  • Nonetheless, there has long been fighting between the two Irelands; the Belfast Agreement, commonly known as the Good Friday agreement, only brought about a difficult peace in 1998.
  •  It was determined that inspections would be made between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) (which together with Great Britain forms the United Kingdom).
  •  The Northern Ireland Protocol was the name given to this.
  • The treaty stipulated that Northern Ireland would continue to be a part of the EU single market and that trade and customs checks would be conducted at its ports along the Irish Sea on goods coming from the United Kingdom.



Portal for the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC)

GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions

In News

    1. In accordance with the IT Regulations, 2021, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) portal.

About the portal 

    • It will be a virtual, online platform where all aspects of the appeal process—from filing an appeal to receiving a decision—would be handled electronically.
    • The National Informatics Center created it (NIC).
    • It will provide consumers the opportunity to have one of the three Committees established by the government hear their complaints about content takedown requests made to social media corporations.

The Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC)

    • • The Center announced the creation of three GACs in January 2023 in accordance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which were recently updated.
    • A technique for online conflict settlement is the GAC. Digital technology is used throughout the whole appeals process, from filing to decision. GAC makes an effort to decide appeals in a 30-day window.
    • Composition: It consists of a chairperson and two whole-time members appointed by the Central Government, of which one will be a member ex-officio and two will be independent members.
    • Roles and Responsibilities 
      • The GAC deals with the appeals of users (Digital Nagriks) aggrieved by decisions of Grievance Officers of social media intermediaries and other intermediaries on complaints of users or victims against violation of the IT Rules and any other matters pertaining to the computer resources made available by the intermediaries.


Source: TH

Taking the lead

GS 3 Indian Economy & Related Issues

In News

    • SEBI recently prohibited 21 organisations in the front-running Axis mutual fund case.


    • Front running is the unlawful act of buying a securities using insider knowledge in order to profit from the ensuing price movement.
    • Example: 
    • Every mutual fund has fund managers who decide which equities to purchase.
    • After deciding what he wants to buy or sell, the fund manager contacts his dealer, who is then responsible for carrying out the trades on behalf of the fund house.
    • The trader must enter the market minutes before the fund house places its order if he hopes to make money. Large orders are typically placed by mutual funds on the stock market. Such orders have the power to significantly alter stock price.
    • In this case, the dealer purchases or sells the stock minutes before a mutual fund executes a buy or sell order.
    • The goal is to make money by purchasing or selling shares in response to the major investor’s actions.
    • Differences with Insider Trading
      • Insider trading is when a company insider, an official, employee or a senior executive, takes advantage of unpublished price-sensitive information (UPSI) to trade in the company’s stock and make profits from such transactions.

                                  Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)

    • The Securities and Exchange Board of India’s primary responsibilities are to safeguard the interests of investors in securities and to promote and oversee the securities market. SEBI is a statutory body established in accordance with the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
    • The SEBI Board, which is a quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial body with the authority to create regulations, conduct investigations, pass judgements, and impose penalties, is made up of a chairman and full-time and part-time members.