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17th May 2023

Tropical Cyclone Mocha


The first cyclone of the season, ‘Extremely Severe Cyclone Mocha’, is brewing in the Southeast Bay of Bengal with favourable atmospheric conditions.

What’s the big deal with this common phenomenon?

  • The month of May is conducive for cyclogenesis in the Indian Ocean. Therefore cyclone Mocha's formation is a seasonal pattern. However, what is uncharacteristic is the rapid intensification of these storms.

Most vulnerable states prone to cyclonic impact - West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Puducherry (UT) and Gujarat

  • Intensification of Cyclones: Due to global anthropogenic warming and rise of sea surface temperature in the northern India ocean basins (the Arabian Sea and the BOB), more number of intense cyclones are being witnessed which may increase further.
  • Slow cyclones: Another concern is the observed global slowdown (by approximately 10%) of translational speed. Slow cyclones stay over the same area for longer and create more devastation by surges – tides or rain.

What are Cyclones?

  • Cyclones in India are powerful weather systems characterized by low-pressure areas accompanied by strong winds and heavy rainfall.
  • This wind system rotates inwards (counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere) around a strong low-pressure centre.
  • They are natural phenomena characterized by rotating winds and atmospheric disturbances. In India, cyclones commonly occur in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

Low pressure area

  • A low is an area where air pressure is lower than it is in the areas surrounding it. It is a storm.
    • Examples: Hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes
  • A low pressure area usually begins to form as air from two regions collides and is forced upward.
  • The rising air creates a giant vacuum effect. Hence, a zone of low pressure is produced with the lowest pressure near the center of the storm.
  • As a storm approaches a particular area, the barometric pressure will lower.

Formation of Cyclones

Factors responsible for cyclone formation -

  • Warm temperature at sea surfaces
  • Coriolis force impacts the area that forms a low-pressure zone
  • Atmospheric instability
  • Increased humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere
  • Low vertical wind shear
  • Pre-existing low-level disturbance or focus
  • Creation of low-pressure zone: Warm and moist air over the ocean rises upward due to less density, leaving less air near the ocean surface, as a result, it starts to create a low-pressure zone.
  • Formation of cycle: Due to the surrounding high-pressure areas, air flows into this low-pressure and eventually warms up, forming a cycle.
  • Growing: With the constant heating rising of the warm air and evaporation process, the entire cloud and wind system starts to spin and grow.
  • Eye-formation: With acquiring more speed, the eye of the cyclone starts to form in the centre. This central zone signifies the lowest air pressure area and is calm and clear. Further, the high-pressure air from above flows towards this region.

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Agreement


Fourteen countries have been engaged in negotiations in Singapore over the third round of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Agreement.

What is IPEF?

  • In regular trade agreements, all members prepare and exchange the negotiating texts. In IPEF, the US alone has chosen the negotiating subjects and prepared the texts. Member countries are negotiating around these.
  • The IPEF was launched by US President Joe Biden in May 2022.
  • Four pillars of the Framework:
    • Trade
    • Supply Chains
    • Clean Economy
    • Fair Economy
  • Members: Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the US and Vietnam. These nations account for 40% of the world's GDP.
  • The IPEF partners aim to contribute to cooperation, stability, prosperity, development, and peace within the region.
  • The framework helps partners boost their economic activity and investment, promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and benefit workers and consumers across the region.
  • The IPEF is not just limited to economic domain and spans into international politics and security – QUAD.

Issues with India

  • India is not a full member of this group yet due to differences over data and privacy.
  • India and the US are in agreement over three pillars of the IPEF which includes tax, anti-corruption and clean energy.

The World needs to shift to a circular economy: UNEP


Global plastic pollution can reduce by 80 per cent by 2040 if countries and companies make deep policy and market shifts using existing technologies and shift to a circular economy, according to a new report launched by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Key-highlights of the Report

  • Title:Turning off the Tap: How the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy
  • Circular economy approach: The report urged governments and businesses alike to adopt a circular economy approach for tackling the problem of plastic pollution.
  • Cut down on plastic: Countries need to eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic uses.
  • Shift: They need to make three market shifts — reuse, recycle, and reorient and diversify.
  • Even with the above measures, 100 million tonnes of plastics from single-use and short-lived products will still need to be safely dealt with annually by 2040 — together with a significant legacy of existing plastic pollution.
  • However, any delays in executing the necessary shifts will mean higher costs and an additional 80 million tonnes of plastic pollution by 2040.

How would this shift benefit the economy?

  • Savings: Overall, the shift to a circular economy would result in $1.27 trillion in savings, considering costs and recycling revenues.
  • Reduced expenditure on externalities: A further $3.25 trillion would be saved from avoided externalities such as health, climate, air pollution, marine ecosystem degradation, and litigation-related costs.
  • Increased employment opportunities: This shift could also result in a net increase of 700,000 jobs by 2040.

What is Circular economy?

  • Circular economy is an economic model that aims to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency by keeping products, materials, and resources in use for as long as possible.
  • It is a departure from the traditional linear economy, which follows a "take-make-dispose" pattern.
  • In a circular economy, resources are kept in circulation through strategies such as recycling, reuse, remanufacturing, and sharing, creating a closed-loop system.

Environmental Benefits

Economic Benefits

Social Benefits

  • Reduced Resource Extraction and Pollution
  • Preservation of Biodiversity
  • Mitigation of Climate Change
  • Cost Savings and Increased Efficiency
  • Job Creation and Local Economic Development
  • Enhanced Business Resilience and Competitiveness
  • Access to Affordable and Quality Goods
  • Improved Working Conditions and Labor Rights
  • Community Engagement and Empowerment

Government recent initiative to promote circular economy and sustainable growth

The Union Budget 2023-24 has put the focus on sustainable development and a circular economy

  • GOBARdhan: The scheme aims to promote a circular economy by setting up 500 “waste-to-wealth” plants across the country, including 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants and 300 community-based plants. The goal is to convert waste into valuable resources, reducing the country’s carbon footprint and promoting sustainability.
  • Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI): MISHTI aims to preserve and restore the mangrove ecosystem and provide livelihood opportunities for local communities.
  • Promoting Conservation Values: Amrit Dharohar: It aims to promote the conservation of wetlands in the country.
  • Plastic Waste Management (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022: They mandate to increase in the thickness of plastic carry bags to over 120 microns, and the phase-out of some single-use plastic products.

What are the present challenges?

  • Limited Infrastructure and Technology
  • Complex Supply Chains
  • Policy and Regulatory Hurdles
  • Consumer Mindset and Behavior

Carbon Dating Method: Issues & Solution



A new study shows a way to use calcium-41 the same way carbon-14 has been used in carbon-dating, but with several advantages.

What is Radiometric dating?

  • Radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of organic materials by measuring the decay of radioactive isotopes present in them.
  • Specifically, carbon-14 dating is a commonly used radiometric dating technique for estimating the age of once-living organisms.
  • When an organism is alive, it absorbs and loses carbon-14 atoms through various biological processes.
  • However, once the organism dies, the intake of carbon-14 ceases, and the existing carbon-14 begins to decay.
  • By comparing the relative abundance of carbon-14 in the remains of the organism with the expected amount, scientists can estimate the time of death.

What is the issue with this method?

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,700 years, so the carbon dating technique can’t determine the age of objects older than around 50,000 years.

  • A significant early issue with the method was to detect carbon-14 atoms, which occur once in around 1012carbon atoms.
  • Calcium-41 is rarer, occurring once in around 1015calcium atoms.
  • In the new study, researchers pitched a technique called atom-trap trace analysis (ATTA) as a solution.
    • ATTA is sensitive enough to spot these atoms; specific enough to not confuse them for other similar atoms; and fits on a tabletop.
    • In ATTA, a laser’s frequency is tuned such that it imparts the same energy as required for an electron transition in calcium-41.
    • The electrons absorb and release this energy, revealing the presence of their atoms.

Expected credit loss (ECL)


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is preparing for a major change in the banking system and will implement expected credit loss (ECL) on banks soon.

What is Expected Credit Loss (ECL)?

  • ECL is a method of accounting for credit risk based on the loss likely to occur on a loan or portfolio of loans. 
  • It is used to get an understanding of the potential future losses on financial assets and how those losses can be identified and addressed in the financial statements. 

Public sector Banks have travelled a long distance since 2017 when they posted a net loss of Rs 85,390 crore to a profit of Rs 66,539 crore in FY22 

  • Thus, through ECL, banks can estimate the forward-looking probability of default for each loan, and then by multiplying that probability by the likely loss given default, the bank gets the percentage loss that is expected to occur if the borrower defaults. 
  • The resulting value multiplied by the likely exposure at default is the expected loss for each loan, and the sum of these values is the expected loss for the entire portfolio.
  • Significance: The new mechanism will recognise problems ahead of time and make the banking system more resilient in the long run.

Short News Article

International Relations (GS-II)

International Organization for Migration

The U.N. migration agency elected Amy Pope of the United States as its director general. She will be the first woman to head the International Organization for Migration.


  • Established in: 1951
  •   IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.
  •   IOM is part of the United Nations system, as a related organization.

Economy (GS-III)

Unsponsored depository receipts (UDRs)

The International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA), the regulatory body overseeing GIFT City’s international financial services centre, is considering permitting unsponsored depository receipts (UDRs) for Indian shares.


  •   Depository receipts allow investors exposure to equities of foreign companies, with custodian banks facilitating the transactions by purchasing shares and issuing receipts.
  •   These receipts can be traded on designated stock exchanges, similar to regular shares.
  •   Sponsored depository receipts are initiated by companies themselves, while third parties introduce unsponsored depository receipts.


New Washington Consensus


Initiatives taken by the US president Joe Biden are being dubbed as efforts to build “New Washington Consensus”.

What is Washington Consensus?

  • Reduced states role: It reduced the government’s role in the economy and pushed an free-market agenda of deregulation, privatization, and trade liberalization.
  • Western-style capitalism: It led to the domination of the Western-style capitalism. It was firmly promoted by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • Objective: It advocate free trade, floating exchange rates, free markets and macroeconomic stability. 

Issues with Washington Consensus

  • US industrial base: The older approach that markets know best led to the hollowing out of the US industrial base. Its promise that deep liberalization would help American export goods remained unfulfilled.
  • Privileging some sector: Earlier notion of “all growth was good growth” led to the privileging some sectors like finance while other sectors like semiconductors were at disadvantage.
  • China Challenge: Earlier idea was that brining china into the WTO in 2001 would incentivize her to adhere to its rules. However, economic integration didn’t stop china from expanding its military ambitions in the region.
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