May 20, 2023
18-May-2023 Current Affairs
May 20, 2023
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17-May-2023 Current Affairs

GS I- Indian Geography

Onset of Monsoon

The arrival of monsoon over the Kerala coast will likely be delayed by a few days, the India Meteorological Department. Instead of its normal date of June 1, the monsoon is expected to arrive by June 4.

What does the ―onset of monsoon‖ mean?

o The onset of the monsoon over Kerala marks the beginning of the four-month — June-September —

southwest monsoon season over India, which brings more than 70 per cent of the country‘s annual rainfall.

According to the IMD, the onset of the monsoon marks a significant transition in the large-scale atmospheric

and ocean circulations in the Indo-Pacific region, and the IMD announces it only after certain newly defined

and measurable parameters, adopted in 2016, are met.

o Broadly, the IMD checks for the consistency of rainfall over a defined geography, its intensity, and wind


o Neither early nor late onset of the monsoon is unusual.

o Rainfallo The IMD declares the onset of the monsoon if at least 60% of 14 designated meteorological stations in Kerala

and Lakshadweep.

o The 14 enlisted stations are: Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam,

Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kasaragod, and Mangaluru.

o It records at least 2.5 mm of rain for two consecutive days at any time after May 10.

o In such a situation, the onset over Kerala is declared on the second day, provided specific wind and temperature criteria are also fulfilled.

Wind field

o The depth of westerlies should be up to 600 hectopascal (1 hPa is equal to 1 millibar of pressure) in the area

bound by the equator to 10ºN latitude, and from longitude 55ºE to 80ºE.

o The zonal wind speed over the area bound by 5-10ºN latitude and 70-80ºE longitude should be of the order of 15-20 knots (28-37 kph) at 925 hPa.


o According to IMD, the INSAT-derived Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) value (a measure of the energy

emitted to space by the Earth‘s surface, oceans, and atmosphere) should be below 200 watt per sq m (wm2).

o This is measured in the box confined by 5-10ºN latitude and 70-75ºE latitude.


What is Monsoon?

o Monsoon connotes the climate associated with a seasonal reversal in the direction of winds. India has a hot

monsoonal climate which is the prevalent climate in the south and southeast Asia

o The Indian summer monsoon typically lasts from June-September with large a.reas of western and central

India receiving more than 90% of their total annual precipitation during the period, and southern and

northwestern India receiving 50%-75% of their total annual rainfall.

o Overall, monthly totals average 200-300 mm over the country as a whole, with the largest values observed

during the heart of the monsoon season in July and August.


Causes of Monsoon –

o During the summer months, sunlight heats the surfaces of both lands and oceans, but land temperatures

rise more quickly due to a lower heat capacity.

o As the land‘s surface becomes warmer, the air above it expands and an area of low pressure develops.

o Meanwhile, the ocean remains at a lower temperature than the land and so the air above it retains a higher


o Since winds flow from areas of the high-pressure area to low, this deficit in pressure over the continent

causes winds to blow in an ocean-to-land circulation (a sea breeze).

o As winds blow from the ocean to the land, moist air is brought inland. This is why summer monsoons cause

so much rain.


Importance of Monsoon for India –

The Monsoon is one of the most important single variables in the Indian economy as a good monsoon can

reduce the burden on the government, while a bad one can make it spend more.


Positive effects of Monsoon .

o The agricultural prosperity of India depends very much on time and adequately distributed rainfall. If it fails, agriculture is adversely affected particularly in those regions where means of irrigation are not developed.

o Regional variations in monsoon climate help in growing various types of crops.

o Regional monsoon variation in India is reflected in the vast variety of food, clothes and house types.

o Monsoon rain helps recharge dams and reservoirs, which is further used for the generation of hydroelectric


o Winter rainfall by temperate cyclones in north India is highly beneficial for Rabi crops.


Negative effects of Monsoon –

o Variability of rainfall brings droughts or floods every year in some parts of the country.

o Sudden monsoon burst creates a problem of soil erosion over large areas in India.

o In hilly areas, sudden rainfall brings landslide which damages natural and physical infrastructure

subsequently disrupting human life economically as well as socially.


Issues with Prediction of monsoon in India –

Prediction of the exact behaviour of monsoon is very difficult and this makes it a problem for the Indian

Metrological Department (IMD) as every year millions of Indians are dependent on its forecast.

o The topography of the Indian subcontinent makes the monsoon system very complex. Tropical weather is

difficult to predict because weather systems in the tropics aren‘t understood very well.

o The weather systems destabilise faster in the tropics than they do in the extra-tropics, where they persist for

longer durations.

o Since it is difficult to predict the exact amount of rainfall, IMD relies just on a probabilistic forecast.

o A major problem has been to identify a small set of stable and independent parameters that influences the

monsoon rainfall and the bulk of its variance. Many of the once strongly influencing parameters have

declined in their correlations over the years – Hence, the search for a minimal set of stable and strongly

enforcing parameters thus remains a constant one.

o Presently, the lack of enough and quality data (the IMD collects weather data like temperature, humidity, wind and precipitation through automatic weather stations, surface observatories, radiosonde or weather

balloons, radars and three satellites) is one of the biggest challenges. There are also major data gaps, like

those involving dust, aerosols, soil moisture and maritime conditions.

o Further, the automatic weather stations are of sub-standard quality. The upkeep of instruments is a major


o Another issue is that dynamical models require a huge number of computations, for which supercomputers

are required. As such, the need for an increased number of supercomputers remains a challenge for India.

o The correlation between El-Nino and Indian monsoon is still under research. And it is difficult to forecast

exactly how much the El-Nino will affect.

o In addition to this, Global warming has also emerged as a factor that affects the monsoon forecast.


Two models for monsoon predictions –

1)Statistical model: This is specific to the monsoon and is based on 16 parameters determined by IMD, for which data is collected and fed into models. These models calculate the numbers based on mathematical equations. Statistical models‘ try to match prevailing conditions with historical records to see how the monsoon had behaved in years when similar conditions had prevailed.

2) General circulation method/Dynamic model: This model makes continuous observation of some selected physical phenomena, and notes how the conditions for monsoon behave over a period of time. It then follows those changes to extrapolate for the future, and comes up with a forecast. IMD has recently started using this model for weather forecasts. However, this model has its own limitations.


GS 2 : Polity and Governance

Violation of Model Code of Conduct

During the recently concluded Karnataka Assembly elections, there were potential instances of violations of the model code of conduct, particularly in relation to Sections 171(E) and 171(F) of the Indian Penal Code.


Section 171(E): Punishment for Bribery in Elections

o This section focuses on the consequences of bribery during elections and emphasizes the seriousness of such actions. By using illegal means, bribery undermines the principles of fairness and equality, aiming to sway the election outcome.

Section 171(F): Undue Influence and Personation in Election

o Section 171(F) addresses the issues of undue influence and personation in elections. It prohibits any unlawful attempt to influence voters or impersonate someone else with the intention of influencing their voting decision. Such violations undermine the democratic process and erode public trust in the electoral system.


Disqualification of Candidates under the Representation of the People Act, 1951

o If a candidate is found guilty of offenses described in sections 171(E) or 171(F), they can face disqualification according to the Representation of the People Act, 1951.


Model Code of Conduct (MCC)

o The MCC refers to a set of guidelines created by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

o It serves as a regulatory tool for political parties and candidates in the run-up to elections.

o The primary objective of the MCC is to enable the EC to fulfill its constitutional mandate of supervising and conducting free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.


Duration and applicability:

o The MCC becomes operational from the date on which the election schedule is announced

o It remains in effect until the date of the result announcement.


MCC (Model Code of Conduct) for political parties and candidates:

Campaign Conduct –

o Political parties can criticize opponents based on policies, programs, past records, and work only.

o Prohibited activities include using caste or communal feelings, criticizing candidates based on unverified reports, bribing or intimidating voters, etc.

o Political parties must inform local police authorities of the time and venue of any meetings to allow for adequate security arrangements.

o Parties should establish contact to avoid clashes between processions of multiple candidates.

o Carrying and burning effigies representing members of other political parties is not allowed. Polling Booth and Identity

o Only voters and those with a valid pass from the EC can enter polling booths.

o Authorized party workers at polling booths should wear suitable badges or identity cards.

o Identity slips provided to voters by party workers should be on plain paper without symbols, candidate names, or party names.

Conduct of Party in Powers –

o Ministers cannot combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same.

o The party in power cannot advertise at the cost of the public exchequer or use official mass media for publicity to improve election chance

o The party in power cannot announce financial grants, promise construction of roads or provision

of drinking water from the time of election announcement until the end of the election process.

o Public spaces and rest houses cannot be monopolized by the party in power.


Election Manifest –

o Manifestos should not contain anything against the ideals and principles of the Constitution.

o Political parties should avoid making promises that may influence voters or vitiate the purity of the election process.

o Manifestos should indicate the rationale and ways to meet financial requirements for promises.

o Manifestos cannot be released during the prohibitory period prescribed under Section 126 of the  Representation of the People Act 1951.


Recent Additions to the MCC:

o Regulation of opinion polls and exit polls during the period notified by the ECI.

o Prohibition of unapproved print media advertisements on polling day and one day prior to it.

o Restriction on government advertisements featuring political functionaries during the election period.

Legally Enforceable MCC

o The MCC does not have statutory backing but is strictly enforced by the EC.

o Certain MCC provisions can be enforced through corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the IPC 1860, CrPC 1973, and RPA 1951.

o The Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice recommended making the MCC legally binding in 2013

o The ECI is against making the MCC legally binding, citing the short duration of elections and the length of judicial proceedings.


Criticisms of the MCC –

Limitations and Failures of the MCC:

o The MCC has not been effective in preventing various forms of electoral malpractices such as hate speech, fake news, money power, booth capturing, voter intimidation, and violence.

Challenges with New Technologies and Social Media:

o The ECI faces difficulties in dealing with new technologies and social media platforms, which enable the rapid and extensive spread of misinformation and propaganda during elections.

Non-Binding Nature of the MCC –

o The MCC is not a legally binding document, and its implementation depends on moral persuasion and public opinion, which makes it less effective in preventing electoral malpractices.

Implications on Policy Decisions and Public Interest –

o The MCC places certain limitations on policy decisions, public spending, welfare schemes, transfers, and appointments, which can have implications for development activities and public interest.

Criticism of Application Timing:

o The ECI has been criticized for applying the MCC too early or too late, which affects the timing of development activities and public interest.

Lack of Awareness:

o The MCC is not widely known or understood by voters, candidates, parties, and government officials, which may lead to non-compliance with its provisions.


GS 3 : Environment and Ecology

Carbon Dating

Recently, the Allahabad High Court allowed the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct Carbon Dating of a Shivling‘ inside the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

What is carbon dating?

o Carbon dating is a widely-used method applied to establish the age of organic material, things that were once living.

o Living things have carbon in them in various forms. The dating method makes use of the fact that a particular isotope of carbon called C-14, with an atomic mass of 14, is radioactive, and decays at a rate that is well known.

o The most abundant isotope of carbon in the atmosphere is carbon-12 or a carbon atom whose atomic mass is 12.

o A very small amount of carbon-14 is also present. The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the atmosphere is almost static, and is known.

o Plants get their carbon through the process of photosynthesis, while animals get it mainly through food.

o Because plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere, they too acquire carbon-12 and carbon-14 isotopes in roughly the same proportion as is available in the atmosphere.

o But when they die, the interactions with the atmosphere stops.

There is no further intake of carbon (and no outgo either, because metabolism stops).

o Now, carbon-12 is stable and does not decay, while carbon-14 is radioactive. Carbon-14 reduces to one-half of itself in about 5,730 years. This is what is known as its ‗half-life‘.

o So, after a plant or animal dies, the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the body, or its remains, begins to change. This change can be measured and can be used to deduce the approximate time when the organism died.

What about non-living things –

o Though extremely effective, carbon dating cannot be applied in all circumstances. Specifically, it cannot be used to determine the age of non-living things, like rocks, for example.

o Also, the age of things that are more than 40,000-50,000 years cannot be arrived at through carbon dating.

 This is because after eight to ten cycles of half-lives have been crossed, the amount of carbon-14 becomes almost negligible and undetectable.

o There are other methods to calculate the age of inanimate things, but carbon dating can

also be used in an indirect way in certain circumstances.

For example,

o The age of the ice cores in glaciers and polar regions is determined using carbon dating by studying the carbon dioxide molecules trapped inside large ice sheets.

o The trapped molecules have no interaction with the outside atmosphere and are found in the same state as when they were trapped.

o How long a rock has been at a particular place can also be determined using similar indirect methods. If there are organic materials, dead plants or insects trapped beneath the rock, they can give an indication of when that rock, or any other thing, had reached that place.

Is there anything that cannot be dated –

o Though a variety of methods exist to know the age of a certain object, not everything can be dated. The accuracy of the different methods also varies.

o Though the petitioners in the Gyanvapi case have asked for carbon dating, it is not clear as of now whether carbon dating can be applied in this case, or if some other methods would be suitable.

o Some methods, like looking for trapped organic material beneath it, might not be feasible for practical reasons because that would involve uprooting the structure or making some other disruptions that are not desirable.


GS 3 : Indian Economy

Unique Economic Offender Code

The government plans to introduce a new mechanism whereby companies and individuals accused of economic offences will be assigned a unique code called the ‘Unique Economic Offender Code’.

Unique Economic Offender Code: An Overview

Alpha-Numeric and System-Generated Code:

o The code assigned to economic offenders will be a combination of alphabets and numbers.

o The code will be automatically generated by the system.

Issuance of the Code –

o The National Economic Offence Records (NEOR) will issue the code.

o NEOR will receive offender data from the police or central investigative agency.

o Once the data is received, NEOR will assign a unique code to each offender. Linking the Code:

o The code will be connected to the offender‘s Aadhaar number (for individuals) or PAN (for


o This linkage ensures that the code is specific to each offender.

Efficient Multi-Agency Probes:

Swift Launch of Probes:

o Authorities can initiate multi-agency investigations promptly with this system.

o They are not required to wait for chargesheets to be filed before commencing a probe. Comprehensive Offender Profile:

o The unique code, when combined with NEOR, will create a 360-degree profile of the economic offender.

o This profile will contain detailed records of the offender‘s economic offenses.


About National Economic Offence Records:

National Economic Offence Records (NEOR) is a comprehensive database or repository that centrally stores information about economic offenses. Here are the key details about NEOR:

Purpose and Function:

Central Repository of Economic Offenses:

o NEOR serves as a centralized system for storing data related to economic offenses

o It collects and maintains information on various economic offenders.


Sharing Data with Intelligence and Enforcement Agencies:

o NEOR facilitates the sharing of data concerning economic offenders with both central and state intelligence and enforcement agencies.

o This sharing of information enables collaboration and coordinated efforts in dealing with economic offenses.

Development and Implementation:

Coordinated Project by Central Economic Intelligence Bureau

o The Central Economic Intelligence Bureau is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the development of the NEOR project.

o The bureau works in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre to complete the project successfully.

Migration of Data from Central and State Agencies –

o Once the NEOR project is completed, data from both central and state agencies will be transferred to the national repository.

o This migration process utilizes API (application programming interface) software, minimizing the possibility of manual intervention.

o The use of API software ensures seamless and efficient data transfer.



Centralized and Consolidated Data:

o NEOR facilitates the consolidation of economic offense-related data from various agencies into a single repository.

o This centralized data allows for better analysis, monitoring, and decision-making in tackling economic offenses.

Enhanced Collaboration and Coordination:

o By sharing data across intelligence and enforcement agencies, NEOR promotes collaboration and coordination in addressing economic offenses.

o It enables agencies to work together efficiently and take prompt actions against economic offenders.

Reduced Manual Interference

o The implementation of NEOR, coupled with the use of API software, reduces the scope for manual  interference in data migration.

o This automation ensures accuracy, reliability, and streamlined processes in managing economic

offense-related data.