Warmer Summer in India Likely Due to El Nino (IMD Forecast) (GS-1 Mains, Geography)

Summer Forecast (March-May):

  • Above-normal maximum and minimum temperatures expected due to El Nino.
  • Warmer start to the season anticipated.
  • Above-normal rainfall possible in March.

Normal Ocean-Atmosphere System:

  • Trade winds blow west, pushing warm surface water from South America to Asia.
  • Cold water rises near Indonesia (upwelling).
  • Warm surface water creates low pressure, leading to cloud formation and rainfall.
  • Airflow helps build the monsoon system bringing rain to India.

El Nino Conditions:

  • Weakens trade winds, pushing warm water back towards Americas.
  • Cold water near Asia is reduced.
  • Impacts on India:
    • Low rainfall (droughts).
    • Increased temperatures.
    • Higher risk of forest fires.
    • Water scarcity.
    • Impacts on fisheries.

La Nina (Opposite of El Nino):

  • Stronger trade winds push warm water towards Indonesia.
  • Eastern Pacific Ocean colder than normal.
  • Impacts on India:
    • Typically brings good monsoon rainfall.


Regulatory Sandbox Framework (RBI) (GS-3 Mains, Economy)

About Regulatory Sandbox (RS):

  • Allows testing new financial innovations in controlled environment.
  • Aims to:
    • Foster responsible innovation.
    • Promote efficiency and consumer benefit.
  • Entities with minimum net worth of ₹25 lakh can participate.


  • Controlled environment for live testing.
  • Regulatory relaxations (may or may not be granted).
  • Collaboration among regulators, innovators, financial institutions, and customers.

Recent Updates by RBI:

  • Increased timeline for completion of stages (9 months from 7).
  • Requires compliance with Digital Personal Data Protection Act (2023).

Benefits of RS:

  • Fosters innovation through live testing.
  • Promotes efficiency and ‘learning by doing’ for all stakeholders.
  • Allows risk management during testing phase.
  • Enhances consumer protection with wider product range and access.
  • Provides regulatory compliance framework for innovative solutions.

Challenges of RS:

  • Balancing flexibility and time for innovators.
  • Potential for regulatory ambiguity.
  • Ensuring risk containment within the testing environment.
  • Addressing data confidentiality, customer protection, and cross-border legal issues.
  • Need for legal safeguards for investors.


  • Careful management of challenges is crucial for successful RS implementation.
  • Proposed FinTech solutions should address existing gaps and benefit consumers/industry.


International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) for Big Cat Conservation (GS-3 Mains, Environment)

About IBCA:

  • A multi-country alliance of 96 big cat range countries for conservation.
  • Focuses on seven big cats: tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar, cheetah.
  • Headquartered in India.


  • Assembly of Members.
  • Standing Committee.

India’s Support:

  • ₹150 crore one-time grant for five years (2023-24 to 2027-28).

India’s Big Cat Conservation Efforts:

  • Project Tiger (1973): Tiger habitat protection & community involvement.
  • Project Cheetah: Reintroduction from Namibia and South Africa.
  • Transboundary cooperation: Terai Arc, Kanchenjunga (Nepal), TraMCA (Bhutan), Sundarbans (Bangladesh).

The Seven Big Cats:

  • Lion (Panthera Leo): Vulnerable. Mainly sub-Saharan Africa, with some Asiatic lions in India (Gir National Park).
  • Tiger (Panthera Tigris): Endangered. Found in 13 Asian countries.
  • Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia): Vulnerable. Mountain regions of 12 Central Asian countries.
  • Jaguar (Panthera Onca): Near Threatened. Mostly in Amazon rainforest and Pantanal (South America).
  • Cheetah (Acinonyx Jubatus): Vulnerable. Currently in eastern/southern Africa and a small population in Iran.
  • Puma (Puma Concolor): Least Concern. Found in North, Central, and South America.
  • Leopard (Panthera Pardus): Vulnerable. Found in Africa, parts of the Middle East, and Asia.


Development of Agaléga Island: India-Mauritius Cooperation (GS-2 Mains , IR)

India’s Vision:

  • Strengthen strategic partnership with Mauritius (historical & cultural ties).
  • Enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean (regional stability).
  • Assist Mauritius through SAGAR initiative (capacity building).

Significance of Agaléga Island:

  • Strategic location: projects power & influence in key maritime routes.
  • Improves maritime security & surveillance (monitoring sea lanes).
  • Potential access to underwater resources (oil, gas, minerals).
  • Suitable for naval & maritime operations (airstrip, jetty).
  • Deepens India-Mauritius relations through joint development.

About Agaléga Island:

  • Two-island group (26 km²) in the Indian Ocean.
  • Belongs to Mauritius, located 1,050 km north.

Setting Up Semiconductor Plants in India: Boosting Domestic Production (GS-3 Mains , Sci. & Tech.)

Government Approval:

  • Three new semiconductor units planned in Gujarat and Assam (₹1.26 lakh crore investment).
  • Plants by:
    • Tata Electronics & Powerchip Semiconductor (Gujarat)
    • Tata Group (Assam)
    • CG Power & Renesas (Gujarat)

What are Semiconductors?

  • Complex chips enabling electronic devices to process, store, and transmit data.
  • Made of transistors, diodes, capacitors, and resistors on silicon wafers.

Global Chip Manufacturing Scenario:

  • Dominated by East Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, China).
  • US and Japan have a significant presence.
  • Limited chip design and manufacturing capabilities in India.

Challenges for India:

  • Competition: Attractive incentive schemes by other countries.
  • Talent gap: Shortage of skilled workers for factory operations.
  • R&D limitations: Weak focus on chip design innovation.
  • Power supply: Uninterrupted power crucial for chip manufacturing.
  • Water usage: High water consumption for chip production.

Significance of the Project:

  • Job creation: Opportunities for skilled engineers and technicians.
  • Reduced import dependence: Self-reliance in chip production.
  • Export potential: Generate revenue and improve trade balance.
  • Strategic importance: Control over supply chain for critical sectors.

India’s Semiconductor Initiatives:

  • India Semiconductor Mission: Develops long-term strategies.
  • Production Linked Incentive Scheme: Provides incentives for design and packaging.
  • QUAD Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiatives: Collaboration for supply chain security.

Way Ahead:

  • Increased global influence in technology.
  • Attraction of foreign investment and fostering innovation.
  • Stimulus for electronics, telecommunications, and IT sectors.
  • Significant contribution to India’s GDP growth.


National Urban Co-operative Finance and Development Corporation Limited (NUCFDC) (GS-3, Mains , Economy)

Establishment and Goal:

  • Launched by Ministry of Cooperation (March 2024).
  • Aims to modernize and strengthen Urban Cooperative Banking (UCBs).


  • Raise capital:Target ₹300 crore to support UCBs.
  • Specialized services:Financial assistance, consultancy, capacity building for UCBs.
  • Shared technology platform:Reduce costs and widen service range for UCBs.
  • Facilitate communication & regulation:Bridge between UCBs and regulators.

Current Status:

  • Registered as Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) and umbrella organization by RBI.
  • Allowed to function as Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) for UCB sector.


  • Modernization:UCBs can upgrade technology and offer new services.
  • Improved services:Enhanced UCB capabilities lead to better financial services for urban customers.
  • Stronger cooperative banking:Contributes to financial inclusion and competitive services.
  • Grassroots development:Potential for empowering communities across India.

Cooperative Banks in India

  • Small financial institutions in urban and non-urban centers.
  • Play a vital role in financial inclusion.
  • Over 1,500 scheduled and non-scheduled UCBs with 11,000+ branches.
  • Deposit size of over ₹5.33 lakh crore and lending of over ₹3.33 lakh crore.

Regulation and Supervision:

  • Dual regulation:
    • RBI:Licenses, capital adequacy, regulations (Banking Regulations Act 1949).
    • State Governments:Registration, governance,

Types of Cooperative Banks:

  • Primary Cooperative Banks (PCBs)
  • State Cooperative Banks (SCBs)
  • National Cooperative Banks (NCBs)

Significance of Cooperative Banks:

  • Financial inclusion in rural and underserved areas.
  • Support agriculture through credit and financial services to farmers.
  • Promote savings habits among rural and semi-urban populations.
  • Cater to specific local needs with loans for businesses,housing,

Challenges Faced:

  • Limited capital base restricts lending capacity.
  • Concerns regarding governance practices in some banks.
  • Increased competition from commercial banks and microfinance institutions.
  • Lag in adopting modern technologies can hinder efficiency and customer service.

Way Ahead:

  • Address challenges,embrace technology, and adapt to the evolving financial landscape.
  • Continue to play a significant role in financial inclusion and contribute to economic development.



PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana: Free Solar Power for Homes

About the Scheme:

  • Provides up to 300 units of free electricity per month to 1 crore families.
  • Aims to promote sustainable development and reduce reliance on traditional energy sources.
  • Investment: Over ₹75,000 crore.


Financial Assistance:

  • Up to 40% subsidy on solar panel cost.
  • Central funding:
    • 60% for installing 2 kW systems.
    • 40% for 2-3 kW systems.
  • Higher wattage systems not eligible for subsidy.

Other Features:

  • Model Solar Villages to encourage rural adoption.
  • Incentives for Urban Local Bodies & Panchayati Raj Institutions for promoting rooftop solar.
  • Payment security for renewable energy service companies.
  • Fund for innovative rooftop solar projects.


  • Free electricity for homes.
  • Reduced electricity costs for government.
  • Increased renewable energy usage.
  • Reduced carbon emissions.
  • Job creation in related sectors.


PM-JANMAN: Uplifting Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

About the Scheme:

  • Launched in 2023 for FY 2023-24 to 2025-26.
  • Aims to provide essential services to PVTG families and communities.

Key Interventions (11):

  • Pucca houses (permanent housing).
  • Connecting roads for better accessibility.
  • Piped water supply for clean drinking water.
  • Community water supply for additional water needs.
  • Mobile medical units with medicines for healthcare access.
  • Construction of hostels for education opportunities.
  • Vocational education and skilling for livelihood development.
  • Construction of Anganwadi Centres for early childhood care.
  • Construction of Multipurpose Centres (MPC) for community needs.

About PVTGs:

  • Identified by Dhebar Commission (1973) as a vulnerable subgroup within tribal communities.
  • Characteristics:
    • Primitive traits, geographical isolation.
    • Low literacy, negative population growth.
    • Dependent on hunting and pre-agricultural practices.
  • Population: 10.45 crore (2011 census) across 18 states and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Highest concentration: Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

Current Challenge:

  • Slow implementation due to data collection of beneficiaries.


Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND)


  • Central agency under Ministry of Finance (established 2004).
  • Analyzes and disseminates information on suspicious financial transactions.
  • Coordinates efforts against money laundering and terror financing.
  • Reports to Economic Intelligence Council led by Finance Minister.

Recent Action:

  • Fined Paytm Payments Bank ₹5.49 crore for violating money laundering prevention rules.


National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID)


  • Development Finance Institution (DFI) for long-term infrastructure financing in India (established 2021).


  • Bridge financing gap in infrastructure sector.
  • Enable credit flow through innovative instruments (longer loans, blended finance, etc.).

Recent Update:

  • Finance Minister reviewed NaBFID’s performance on business, finances, and development initiatives.
  • NaBFID operational in public and private sectors.
  • Target: Sanction ₹3 lakh crore by March 2026.

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