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22nd August 2023

Extreme Heat in Mediterranean Sea


Extreme heat has plagued the Mediterranean for weeks ending with wildfires across nine countries in the region from Algeria to Greece. This increasing heat has impacted the marine life as well.

  • So, let us see how?

Why are high sea temperatures a problem?

  • Lesser dissolution of gases: Gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide dissolve better at colder temperatures, so that means the warmer the water; the less oxygen is available to breathe.
  • Higher rate of respiration in marine organism: Higher temperatures also cause an increase in metabolism, which in turn means animals have to breathe even more than usual.
  • The rise in temperature accelerates metabolism, and the organisms need more food to maintain this metabolic rate.
  • More Algal blooms: They are more common in hotter waters. Such blooms can further deplete oxygen levels and produce toxins harmful for fish, marine mammals and birds.

What species and ecosystems are worst hit by marine heat waves?

  • High water temperatures are most harmful for animals living at the bottom of oceans, lakes or rivers.
  • These benthic species include corals, mussels, sponges, starfish and plants like sea grasses, and are often attached to rock or solid ground.
  • Scientists observed mass deaths of benthic species along thousands of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline between 2015 and 2019.

What does extreme heat in the Mediterranean mean for people?

  • Affecting fishing activities in the area: Fishermen are catching fewer familiar species and instead are finding more invasive fish which they have difficulty selling.
  • Increase in invasive fishes: Some are even poisonous, like the puffer fish migration is seen in the region.
  • Habitat loss: It could also lead to an overall decline in fish populations, while disappearing seagrass.

What is the phenomenon behind heat trap in oceans?

  • Ocean Heat Content (OHC): It is the amount of energy absorbed by and stored in the oceans. It is measured in joules.
  • When sunlight reaches the earth, oceans absorb this energy and store it as heat.
  • While the heat is first absorbed at the surface of the water body, some of it is eventually disbursed throughout.
  • Water has a higher heat capacity than air, which means that it can store much larger amounts of heat.
  • GHG emissions - These gases trap heat in a blanket around the earth, not allowing it to escape, thus raising the temperature of the earth’s surface and leading to global warming.

Why Mediterranean Sea is significant for global temperatures?

The Mediterranean Sea has significant implications for global temperatures due to its role as a "climate amplifier." This phenomenon is referred to as the "Mediterranean Effect" or "Mediterranean Climate Amplification." Here are the reasons:

  • Heat Absorption and Release: The Mediterranean Sea has a lower heat capacity compared to the vast oceans, such as the Atlantic or Pacific.
    • As a result, it heats up and cools down more quickly. During the summer months, the Mediterranean Sea absorbs heat from the sun, leading to warming of the surrounding land areas.
    • In winter, it releases the stored heat, moderating temperatures in nearby regions.
  • Warm and Dry Summers: The Mediterranean region experiences warm and dry summers, which are conducive to high evaporation rates from the sea's surface.
    • This process results in the release of latent heat into the atmosphere, contributing to the warming of the air.
  • Atmospheric Circulation: The temperature contrast between the relatively warm Mediterranean Sea and the cooler landmasses during summer leads to the development of low-pressure systems over land.
    • This creates a pressure gradient that drives winds from the sea to the land, bringing warm, moist air with it. This warm air can further increase temperatures over land areas.
  • Feedback Loops: The warming effect of the Mediterranean Sea can lead to feedback loops. Warmer land areas result in higher evaporation rates, which in turn contribute to the amplification of temperature rise.
    • This cycle of heat absorption, release, and evaporation intensifies the Mediterranean Climate Amplification.

Tamil Nadu-Karnataka Cauvery Dispute


According to a recent update, Chief Justice of India (CJI) has assured Tamil Nadu that he would constitute a Bench to hear the State’s plea for the release of its allotment of Cauvery river water for the month of August.

  • Tamil Nadu has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of Cauvery water forthwith from its reservoirs at Billigundulu starting from August 14.
  • Tamil Nadu also asked the court to direct the Cauvery Water Management Authority to ensure that the directions issued to Karnataka to release water to them were “fully implemented and the stipulated monthly releases during the remaining period of the current water year are fully given effect to by the State of Karnataka”.

Cauvery River Water Dispute:

  • The dispute involves 3 states and one Union Territorye. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry).
  • The genesis of the dispute is 150 years old and dates back to the two agreements of arbitration in 1892 and 1924 between the then Madras presidency and Mysore.
  • It entailed the principle that the upper riparian state must obtain consent of lower riparian state for any construction activity viz. reservoir on the river Cauvery.
  • To resolve the matter, the CWDT (Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal) was established in 1990 which took 17 years to arrive at the final order (2007) on how Cauvery water should be shared between the 4 riparian states in normal rainfall conditions.
  • CWDT was constituted by the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 4 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.

Cauvery River and its Tributaries:

  • The Cauvery River (Kaveri) is designated as the ‘Dakshi Bharat ki Ganga’ or ‘the Ganga of the South’.
  • Origin: The Cauvery River rises at an elevation of 1,341 m at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range near Cherangala village of Kodagu (Coorg) district of Karnataka.
  • The total length of the river from origin to an outfall is 800 km.
  • It flows in a south-easterly direction for 705 km through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “garden of southern India”
  • The Cauvery basin extends over states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Union Territory of Puducherry draining an area of 81 thousand Sq.km.
  • Its Tributaries:
    • Left Bank: the Harangi, the Hemavati, the Shimsha, and the Arkavati.
    • Right Bank: Lakshmantirtha, the Kabbani, the Suvarnavati, the Bhavani, the Noyil, and the Amaravati join from the right.
  • The river descends from the South Karnataka Plateau to the Tamil Nadu Plains through the Sivasamudram waterfalls (101 m high).

Role of Cauvery Water Management Authority (CMA):

  • It has been created as per the Cauvery Management Scheme earlier framed by Centre and approved by Supreme Court.
  • The CMA will be to secure implementation and compliance of the Supreme Court’s order in relation to “storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters”.
  • CMA will also advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency.
  • It will do so by promoting use of micro-irrigation, change in cropping patterns, improved farm practices and development of command areas.
  • The CMA will also prepare an annual report covering its activities during the preceding year.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 131: This article grants the original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of India in disputes between two or more states or between the Government of India and one or more states.
  • Such disputes can pertain to legal, constitutional, or any other matter.
  • The disputes brought under this article bypass the jurisdiction of any other court.
  • Article 262: This article deals with disputes related to water resources between states or between the Government of India and states.
  • It empowers Parliament to enact laws for the adjudication of disputes related to waters of inter-state rivers or river valleys.
  • However, if a state requests, the dispute can be referred to a tribunal for adjudication.
  • Interstate Council (Article 263): Although not directly dealing with disputes, Article 263 provides for the establishment of an Interstate Council to promote coordination and cooperation among states.
  • The President can establish such a council if it appears that a subject of common interest has arisen or is likely to arise in two or more states.

ICSSR to study socio-economic impact of Centre’s schemes


In a view to Indianise methodologies to study country’ societies, the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) is going to study the socio-economic impact of center’s schemes on society.

  • ICSSR has invited research award proposals to study the impact of various schemes and public policy initiatives of the Union government.
  • Around 500 researchers will get funding for the studies based on field work focused on a specific geographical region.
  • The ICSSR also plans to develop “Indianised research methodology tools” to study the country’s social and economic changes.
  • The schemes and policy initiatives for empirical research include the PM Ujjwala Yojana, PM Awas Yojana, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana, PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Year of Millet 2023, Ayushman Bharat, Jan Aushadhi Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Make-in-India, PM Gati Shakti, New Education Policy 2020, Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, and the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 among others.

Why there is a need for Indianised way of socio-economic analysis?

  • To study the socio-economic realities of specific communities of the country, the paradigms so far used primarily originated from the U.S. or Europe.
  • Same yardsticks cannot be applied to study communities of various regions.
  • India has its own intellectual and philosophical traditions which have social concepts and analytical frameworks in them.

What is Social research?

  • Social research refers to the study of individuals and societies and is often used to identify regularly occurring social patterns in social life.
  • It can be defined as the systematic understanding of social facts or phenomena. It is used to gather information on the social world, in order to come up with a course of action or simply to develop new knowledge.

How it is helpful?

  • Social research helps to acquire knowledge of human society. The dynamic nature of society makes it challenging to understand to move towards progress and welfare. Social research enables us to analyze social behavior, understand the causes, and accelerate its evolution.
  • Social research expands our knowledge to drive discovery and innovation. It contributes to the growth and development of a nation or the entire human society.

What are tools to assess the research data?

  • An academic research tool is a software or platform that helps researchers organize, analyze, and manage the various components of their research projects.
  • Some examples of academic research tools include reference management software, data visualization software, and survey design tools.

Significance of social research:

  • Can predict social behavior: Social research helps us understand different people and societies. Information gathered from the research can help us predict the behaviour of certain individuals or groups. When we have a good understanding of a social phenomenon, we may have a better idea of how to govern or guide it.
  • Helps expand or rectify current knowledge: Social research adds to the knowledge we currently have. It can also be used to test or very old social fact or beliefs and how it impacts on people’s life.
  • Provides an understanding of social life: Social research is used to gather information on social phenomena. It provides us with an understanding of the life of different social groups.
  • Structural changes: The data collected can be used to bring planned structural changes to social life. It can help you understand the current needs people have and develop an action plan to meet those needs.
  • Precipitates social progress: Social research helps us obtain appropriate and reliable knowledge on social structures and groups. This information can be used to disintegrate prejudices, misconceptions, and superstitions, precipitating social progress and creating a more inclusive society.
  • Formulates new theories: Social research allows us to formulate new theories in different fields of study. There are many existing theories on leadership, motivation, and human behaviour that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for social research.
  • Helps develop methodologies: Social research has been used over time to create methodologies to deal with social problems such as drug addiction, worker ethic, leadership style, child labour, and is continually used to revise old methodologies or to create new ones.

Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR):

  • Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) was established in the year of 1969 by the Government of India to promote research in social sciences in the country.
  • ICSSR provide grants for projects, fellowships, international collaboration, capacity building, survey, publications etc. to promote research in social sciences in India.
  • ICSSR has developed ICSSR Data Service to serve as a national data service for promoting powerful research environment through sharing and reuse of data among social science community in India.

India is becoming a young country but with an ageing workforce


As per an analysis from CMIE’s Economic Outlook data, shows that while India may be the country with the most youthful population, its workforce is rapidly ageing.

What does the ageing population means to India?

  • An ageing workforce basically means that if one looks at all the employed people in India, the share of young people is going down while the share of those closer to 60 years of age is going up.
  • In CMIE’s data, youth is defined as those belonging to ages above 15 years and below 25 years.
  • However, since the PM has talked about those under 30 years as the youth.
  • The report has divided the workforce into three groups:
    • Those aged 15 years or more but less than 30 years,
    • Those aged 30 years or more but less than 45 years, and
    • Those aged 45 years and older.

  • The data shows that the oldest age category however has grown its share from 37% to 49%.
  • In other words, just in the past seven years, the workforce has aged so much that the share of people 45 years and older has gone from one-third to almost one-half.

Why is India’s workforce ageing?

  • Simply put, even though its numbers are swelling up, the youth is getting driven out of the job market.
  • A good way to track this is from “Employment Rate”.

The Employment Rate (ER) for any population or age group tells us what proportion of that age group or population is employed.

  • So, if there are 100 people in the ages 15 to 29 and only 10 are employed then the ER would be 10%.

How demographic dividend can change into ‘demographic curse’?

  • Challenge to harness the demographic dividend: As India definitely has large youth population as compared to other developing nations, however, if India remains unable to give them employments can make the situation more worse.
  • Burdening economy: If situation prevails for unemployment, poverty and other social impacts then, economy of India is burden even more.

Impacts of ageing population:

Economic Challenges:

  • Labor Force Decline: As the older population increases, the working-age population shrinks, leading to potential labor shortages and reduced productivity.
  • Increased Healthcare Costs: Aging populations require more healthcare services, leading to higher healthcare expenditures, which can strain public budgets.
  • Pension and Social Security Pressures: A larger elderly population puts pressure on pension and social security systems, potentially leading to financial sustainability issues.

Healthcare and Social Services:

  • Higher Healthcare Demand: Older individuals tend to have more chronic health conditions and require more medical care, leading to increased demand for healthcare services.
  • Long-Term Care Needs: Aging populations require more long-term care services, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Caregiver Stress: The burden on family members and informal caregivers can increase, impacting their mental and physical well-being.

Policy and Planning:

  • Healthcare Infrastructure: Aging populations necessitate investments in healthcare infrastructure and geriatric care facilities.
  • Pension and Social Programs: Governments may need to reform pension and social programs to ensure their sustainability.
  • Labor Market Policies: Governments may need to implement policies to encourage older individuals to stay in the workforce or facilitate their transition to retirement.

Short News Article

Polity and Governance (GS-II)
Adivasi ooru

Though, Kerala was the first State in the country to declare the right to Internet as a basic right, as many as 189 Adivasi ooru (tribal colonies) spread over 12 districts in the State still have no access to Internet and mobile connection, affecting the prospects of over 5,000 tribal students in these colonies.

What are Adivasi ooru?

  • En Ooru is a tribal heritage village which showcases the vibrant culture and tradition of tribal communities of the state.
  • A cluster of traditional tribal huts roofed with hay and against the backdrop of towering hills has become a major tourist attraction in the region.
  • Managed by tribal communities and with the aim of enhancing their livelihood options, the village hosts cafeterias that serve ethnic dishes and a tribal market.
  • It is a joint venture of the Departments of Tourism and Scheduled Tribe Development, the village also takes the lead in preserving traditional knowledge on food processing and other related areas, and takes up training in organic farming.

Science and Technology (GS-III)
Agnibaan SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator (SOrTeD)

Chennai-based start-up AgniKul Cosmos recently commenced the process of integrating its cutting-edge Agnibaan SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator (SOrTeD) at its private launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota.


  • Agnibaan SOrTeD is a single-stage launch vehicle powered by AgniKul’s patented Agnilet engine, which is an entirely 3D-printed, single-piece, 6 kilonewton (kN) semi-cryogenic engine.
  • Unlike traditional sounding rockets that launch from guide rails, Agnibaan SOrTeD will lift off vertically and follow a predetermined trajectory to perform a precisely orchestrated set of manoeuvres during flight.
  • Features:
  • It is a customisable launch vehicle that could be launched in one or two stages.
  • The rocket stands 18 metres tall and has a mass of 14,000 kg.
  • It is capable of carrying payloads up to 100 kg to an altitude of 700 km in five different configurations.
  • The rocket's first stage could have up to seven Agnilet engines, depending on the mission, which are powered by Liquid Oxygen and Kerosene.
  • The rocket is also designed for launch from more than 10 different launch ports.
  • The Agnilet engine, which powers the entire operation, is the world’s sole single-piece 3D-printed engine.

Environment (GS-III)
Matti Banana

Tamil Nadu’s Kanniyakumari Matti Banana has finally received the GI tag, making Tamil Nadu the region with the highest number of GI tagged products.

About the variety:

  • The banana type known as the “Matti Banana” is widely cultivated in southern India.
  • The majority of the time, matti bananas are little and slightly curved in shape.
  • When ripe, their unique yellow skin develops brown patches throughout.
  • The Matti banana’s creamy white flesh has a tart and sweet flavour.

Benefits of Matti banana:

  • Health of the digestive system: The fibre in Matti bananas helps encourage regular bowel movements and lower the risk of constipation.
  • Cardiovascular health: Matti bananas’ potassium concentration may help lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • The Vitamin C in Matti bananas can assist maintains a strong defence mechanism and lowers the risk of infection.
  • Matti bananas include vitamin B6, which aids in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls mood and sleep.

Environment (GS-III)
Butterflies of India consortium

Butterflies of India consortium, a collaboration of research institutions, NGOs and citizen science groups anchored the study on India’s butterfly populations.


  • The Butterflies of India is a large consortium of amateur and professional naturalists and research scientists.
  • The data on this website are contributed by hundreds of contributors, whose butterfly images and other contributions to this national butterfly database should be acknowledged.
  • Maharashtra became the first State in the country to have a 'State Butterfly'.
  • It declared the Blue Mormon (Papilio polymnestor) as the State Butterfly.
  • It is the second largest butterfly in India after the Troides minos commonly known as the Southern Birdwing.


India's digital economy and financial inclusion take a giant leap


Recently, while virtually addressing the G20 Digital Economy Ministers’ Meet, the Prime Minister highlighted the scale and pace of India’s digital transformation and several schemes that benefitted & expanded the financial architecture of India and brought financial inclusion to almost every adult.

Government’s Efforts

  • Government’s Digital Economy Address: PM highlighted India's digital progress, 850 million internet users, Aadhaar's impact, UPI success, and DBT savings.
  • PMJDY Financial Inclusion: Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) launched in 2014, world's largest financial inclusion scheme with 500 plus million accounts, emphasizing accessibility and gender sensitivity.
  • PMJDY's Success Metrics: PMJDY boasts 81% operative accounts, average deposit rise to Rs.4, 076, 67% rural coverage, 56% women account holders, and minimal zero-balance accounts.

Story so far for financial Inclusion

  • Banking and Digital Integration: Public sector banks lead with Rs.1.55 lakh crore deposits, 340M RuPay cards issued, and increased digital transactions.
  • Expanded Benefits and Micro-Finance: PMJDY extended insurance schemes, enabling micro-credit and investment plans, boosting financial inclusion.
  • Technological Advancements: PMJDY addresses tech challenges, leverages RuPay's global reach, showcasing Modi government's proactive approach to digital progress.
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The Saudi Arabia-UAE divide becomes public


The Saudi Crown Prince was irked by the absence of the UAE ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit meeting with the visiting Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

Relation overview

  • Strategic partners- The two royals bonded their countries as strategic partners. They were partners in the war in Yemen, worked together to strengthen al­Sisi’s regime in Egypt, and viewed Iran as a regional threat.
  • Role in Sudan- In 2019, they also subverted the nascent democratic process in Sudan by backing the armed forces against the civilian Prime Minister.
  • Competition rather than cooperation- In future, Competition rather than cooperation is likely to de?ne the ties between the two neighbours in political, economic and logistical areas.

Difference between the two countries

  • Rejected OPEC+ Proposal- In July 2017, the UAE abruptly rejected the proposal to cut oil production put forward by “OPEC +”
  • Dumping Arab Peace Initiative - The UAE also normalised ties with Israel in August 2020, thus publicly dumping the Saudi Sponsored Arab Peace Initiative
  • Backing different government- In Sudan, the two Gulf neighbours are now backing di?erent generals while the kingdom supports Army chief al­Burhan, the UAE is backing militia leader Dagalo, thus prolonging the destructive civil con?ict.
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China’s gallium monopoly a red flag for U.S & its allies


Beijing’s active role in creating a flourishing domestic ecosystem for gallium-based chips has already benefited China’s military development.

Present stance on Gallium exports

  • China's Gallium Export Restrictions: China's new export restrictions on gallium highlight its dominance in production and intentions to wield critical minerals for geopolitical leverage.
  • Gallium's Importance: Gallium, crucial in electronics and defense sectors, holds unique properties for semiconductors in advanced systems, making supply disruptions concerning.
  • S. Response: China's gallium monopoly poses risks to global defense industries; addressing vulnerabilities through diversification and strategic partnerships is essential.

Why Gallium is important?

  • Gallium's High-Performance Applications: Gallium-based wide bandgap semiconductors power advanced military equipment, offering smaller, faster, and more efficient capabilities.
  • DARPA's Influence: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) support led to gallium arsenide (GaAs) and gallium nitride (GaN) developments, driving advances in radar, GPS, and precision weapons.
  • Revolutionizing Defense: GaN-powered radar systems enhance threat detection, integrated into key platforms like missile defense, F-35 fighters, and naval vessels.


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