Anticyclones and Heat Domes

Syllabus: GS1/ Geography

Why in News ?

June 2023 was the hottest June on record globally, according to US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), marking the highest temperatures in 174 years of record-keeping.

Factors behind soaring temperatures

  • El Nino conditions have re-emerged after seven years, contributing to extreme heat events due to heat domes and anticyclones.
  • Climate change has intensified and increased the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and floods.


About El Nino

•         El Niño is the warming phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

•         It affects ocean temperatures, currents, fisheries, and global weather patterns.

•         El Niño events are irregular, occurring every two to seven years, and are not predictable like regular cycles.

What are anticyclones and heat domes? How do they produce heat waves?

An anticyclone

  • Anticyclone is a high-pressure system where air descends, leading to warm and dry weather.
  • The sinking air compresses, increasing pressure and temperature.
    • Calm winds and clear skies characterize anticyclones

A heat dome

      • It occurs when an area of high-pressure stays over a region for days and weeks.
      • It traps warm air, just like a lid on a pot, for an extended period.
      • The longer that air remains trapped, the more the sun works to heat the air, producing warmer conditions with every passing day.
      • Heat domes, if they last for a long period, may cause deadly heat waves.

Relationship with Climate change:

  • Heat domes and anticyclones have intensified and lengthened due to rising global temperatures from climate change.
  • Extreme weather events will become more frequent.
  • Exceeding 1.5°C warming may cause irreversible ecosystem damage and impact lives.
  • El Niño worsens extreme heat globally.


‘China plus one’ Opportunity for India

Syllabus: GS2/International Relation, 

Why in News ?

India can create manufacturing jobs by utilizing the ‘China plus one’ opportunity, but it’s time-sensitive.


  • A 3-5 year window exists to attract supply chains to India, emphasizing manufacturing and technology to create 15-20 million jobs.
  • Domestic consumption will drive India’s GDP during global slowdowns.

What is the ‘China Plus One’ Strategy?

  • “China plus one” strategy: Companies diversify outside China, investing in alternative destinations to reduce reliance on China and expand global operations.
  • Coined in 2013.


  • In the past three decades, Western companies heavily invested in China for low costs and access to its large consumer market, leading to an overconcentration of business interests in China.

What are the issues/ concerns?

  • US-China trade tensions drove diversification from China.
  • China’s strict data privacy law led to foreign tech companies reducing presence. Geopolitical distrust and cost advantages were factors.
  • China’s Zero-Covid Policy caused supply chain disruption, pushing US and Europe to explore other locations for reliable supplies and production cost advantages.

How can India benefit from China Plus One strategy?

  • Global supply chain dynamics led to a shift in China’s production strategy.
  • Scarcity of cotton yarn increased interest in man-made fibers.
  • India may see increased demand in textiles with potential Capex of ₹120 billion.
  • Indian pharmaceutical players can replace Chinese API imports.
  • India’s footwear sector sees new opportunities due to Chinese competitors shifting focus.

Challenges ahead:

  • India’s declining participation in global value chains is due to protectionist trade policy and reluctance in forging preferential trade agreements.
  • Reorienting trade policy can benefit from the China-plus-one strategy and attract manufacturers and multinational corporations seeking to de-risk their supply chain.



Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)


Why in News ?

Health Ministry launches e-cigarettes violation reporting portal.


  • E-cigarettes banned in India under PECA Act 2019.
  • Despite ban, availability persists. Online portal to report violations launched.

Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)

  • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid containing nicotine and flavorings.
  • They are also called e-cigs, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
  • They are considered less harmful than regular cigarettes due to fewer toxic chemicals.

Problems with the E-cigarettes 

  • E-cigarettes can explode and cause accidental consumption of the liquid, leading to death.
  • They may contain harmful substances like nicotine, heavy metals, and cancer-causing agents.
  • They lack proper health warnings and are often sold as quit-smoking aids on e-commerce websites.

India’s Position

  • E-cigarettes are not regulated under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003.
  • The Indian e-cigarette industry had a compound annual growth rate of 63.38% from 2013 to 2019.



Self Healing Metals

Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology, 

Why in News ?

  • Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and Texas A&M University discovered “Self-Healing Mechanism” in metals.


  • Scientists witnessed metal self-healing, termed “cold welding,” without human intervention.
  • Healing occurred during fatigue damage at the nanoscale using an electron microscope.
  • Observed in 40nm thick metal pieces of platinum and copper.
  • Simulations suggest self-healing possible in other metals and alloys like steel.

Fatigue damage

  • Metal fatigue leads to microscopic cracks in metal parts due to repeated stress or motion.
  • Catastrophic failures occur in aviation and infrastructure, costing billions of dollars annually in the U.S.


  • Discovery may lead to self-healing engines, bridges, and airplanes, enhancing safety and longevity of structures.


  • Self-healing observed in nanocrystalline metals in vacuum.
  • Implications for fatigue in space vehicles and subsurface cracks not exposed to the atmosphere.


Biofortified Foods

Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology, Economy  GS2/ Health, Government policies & interventions.

Why in News ?

  • Global market demands separate branding for biofortified foods, similar to “organic” products.

What are Biofortified foods?

  • Biofortification: Increases vitamins and minerals in crops through breeding and agronomic techniques.
  • Fortification: Adds nutrients during processing.
  • Biofortification selects high-nutrient crops; fortification adds nutrients to processed foods.

Why do we need Biofortification?

  • India’s food security challenges:
  • 9% live in extreme poverty, 15.2% are undernourished.
  • High rates of child stunting (38.4%), wasting (21.0%), and underweight (35.7%).
  • Prevalent iron deficiency in 70% of children, zinc deficiency in 38.4%.
  • Iron deficiency leads to mental retardation, maternal death risks; zinc deficiency affects immunity, growth, and health.

Benefits of Biofortification

  • Biofortification benefits in India:
  • Targeting undernourished in rural areas.
  • Enhancing nutrition in Mid-Day Meal Scheme and PDS.
  • Sustainable as seeds retain improved traits.
  • Cost-effective for farmers with improved seed variety.

Challenges related to Biofortification

Concerns with biofortification in India:

  • Resistance to accepting biofortified foods due to color changes, like golden rice.
  • Time needed for viable crop development.
  • Widespread adoption by farmers.
  • Implementation may face upfront cost challenges.

Initiatives of the Government

  • ICAR published biofortified crop types rich in micronutrients like iron, zinc, and beta-carotene.
  • Examples include vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes (Bhu Sona), high-zinc wheat (WB 02), and iron-zinc rice (DRR Dhan 45, CR Dhan 310).
  • Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) act as agricultural innovation hubs for biofortification information and resources.
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) supports finance for biofortification development, research, and marketing.


Open Network for Digital Commerce Academy

Syllabus: GS3/ Economy

Why in News ?

  • The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) recently introduced the ONDC Academy.

About ONDC Academy

  • ONDC Academy is a DPIIT(Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) initiative to aid small retailers in digital commerce. Collaboration with NSE Academy.
  • A repository of educational content in various Indian languages for e-commerce guidance.
  • No platform, but specifications for open networks.
  • Content stored on ONDC website and YouTube with NSE’s assistance.
  • Enables certification after assessment completion.

About ONDC 

  • ONDC is a DPIIT initiative to democratize digital commerce.
  • It develops the ONDC Protocol, promoting interoperability among compliant platforms.
  • Buyers and sellers can trade goods/services across platforms.
  • ONDC Registry helps find compliant platforms.
  • Benefits: Lower entry-barriers, fair competition, and new business opportunities in digital commerce.



Solar Technology Application Resource Centre [STAR C] Initiative

Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology

Why in News ?

  • India plans to expand its solar STAR-C initiative to Pacific Island countries under the International Solar Alliance (ISA).


  • Solar STAR-C initiative aims to enhance solar power ecosystems in poor countries, including Pacific nations like Tonga.
  • India focuses on economic development, connectivity, and climate change in its efforts

About Solar Technology Application Resource Centre [STAR C] Initiative 

  • STAR centres: Hubs of solar energy knowledge and expertise.
  • ISA and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with French funding implement the project.
  • Objective: Enhance solar energy infrastructure in ISA Member States, especially least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).



Fact-Check Unit


Why in News ?

  • Fact Check Unit (FCU),, set up for identifying ‘fake news,’ will not be notified until September 4 by the Union government.


  • Fact Check Unit identifies false or misleading content related to the government.
  • Intermediaries must remove such content to maintain legal immunity under Section 79 of IT Act.


  • Criticism from journalist bodies, activists, and internet freedom advocates over approaching censorship.
  • India ranked 161st in press freedom, may worsen with this move.

Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023

  • Amendments aim for greater due diligence by online gaming and social media intermediaries.
  • Focus on online games and fake information related to Government business.

Amended rules

  • Online games must be verified by self-regulatory bodies to protect users.
  • Safeguards against harmful outcomes and user harm ensured.
  • Rules for games involving real money and prevention of fake information.
  • Multiple self-regulatory bodies and conflict-free Board for regulation.
  • Obligations apply once sufficient bodies are designated for compliance.


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