Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-1 : India’s Looming Water Crisis: A Dry Spell Threatens Economy

GS-1 : Geography

Revision Notes

Question : Explain the role of El Niño in exacerbating India’s water crisis, particularly its effects on rainfall patterns and agricultural productivity. Compare and contrast El Niño and La Niña phenomena, highlighting their respective impacts on India’s monsoon season and the strategies policymakers can adopt to mitigate the adverse effects of these climatic events.

The Challenge:

  • Below-average monsoon rains for two consecutive years.
  • Reservoir water levels at historic lows (28.2% capacity).
  • Southern states particularly affected (15.7% capacity).
  • Nagarjuna Sagar, Somasila, and other key reservoirs nearly empty.

Impact on Agriculture:

  • Lower production due to insufficient water.
  • Government rice procurement down 5.7% year-over-year.
  • Wheat procurement sluggish, expected to fall short of target.
  • Retail prices of pulses, vegetables significantly higher.

El Niño’s Role:

  • Contributed to lower rainfall and higher temperatures.
  • Warmer November-December hindered wheat growth.
  • Scorching summer linked to El Niño.


El Niño and La Niña: Pacific Ocean’s Impact on Weather

El Niño vs. La Niña:

  • Both caused by variations in Pacific Ocean temperatures (El Niño-Southern Oscillation or ENSO cycle).
  • El Niño: Warming of eastern Pacific (warm phase of ENSO).
    • More frequent than La Niña.
    • Lasts 9-12 months (sometimes longer).
  • La Niña: Cooling of eastern Pacific (cool phase of ENSO).
    • Lasts 1-3 years.
    • Associated with above-average rainfall in India.

Current Situation:

  • El Niño weakening, expected to become neutral by June.
  • Potential transition to La Niña during monsoon season (positive for India’s rainfall).


  • Post-election government’s initial challenge might be managing food inflation if monsoon disappoints.
  • Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.




Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-1 : Covishield and the Rare Case of TTS

GS-1 : Geography

Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the significance of the thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) in the context of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, particularly its manifestation in the Covishield vaccine in India. How has the occurrence of TTS impacted vaccine confidence and public health decision-making in India?

Post-Covid Risk: Rare Blood Clot Side Effect

  • Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine linked to TTS (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome).

Covishield in India:

  • Manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) under brand name Covishield.
  • Vaccinated nearly 80% of India’s population (1.75 billion doses).
  • Potential lawsuit against SII by family of woman who died after Covishield vaccination.

Understanding TTS:

  • Also known as VIPIT (vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia) or VITT.
  • Rare syndrome in adenoviral vector COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Caused by immune response to the vaccine’s vector.
  • Symptoms: blood clots (thrombosis) and low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) 4-42 days after vaccination.
  • Two Tiers:
    • Tier 1: younger age groups, severe cases, higher mortality risk, uncommon thrombosis sites (brain, gut).

Why Trials Missed TTS:

  • Expedited COVID-19 vaccine development due to public health emergency.
  • Clinical trials not designed to detect very rare events like TTS.

Is TTS a Serious Threat? Examining the Data and Decisions

TTS Reporting Rates:

  • Range widely: 0.2 – 17.6 cases per million doses (every 21 days).
  • Lower rates in Asia and Brazil compared to Nordic countries.

Fatality Rates:

  • Similar variation: 0.1 – 1.3 deaths per million doses.
  • Higher rates in Europe (Australia, Spain, France) compared to Asia and Brazil.

Possible Reasons for Variations:

  • Lower overall reporting in some regions.
  • Vaccination strategies prioritizing younger, female healthcare workers in some countries.
  • Environmental and ethnic factors potentially influencing susceptibility.

Vaccine Suspension Decisions:

  • South Africa suspended AstraZeneca use in February 2021 (one of the earliest).
  • Over 20 European countries followed suit by mid-March 2021, focusing on younger adults.
  • Canada suspended it in March 2021.
  • AstraZeneca withdrew its US application despite stockpiled doses.

Divergent Views on Vaccine Safety:

  • Vaccine safety experts advocated for pauses to investigate.
  • Public health authorities prioritized managing the pandemic.

EMA’s PRAC Committee:

  • Reviewed 25 TTS cases in Europe (20 million vaccinated).
  • Concluded on March 18, 2021, that benefits outweighed risks.
  • Emphasized sharing information about rare side effects.

WHO’s GACVS Committee:

  • Reviewed data from Europe (20 million doses) and India (27 million doses).
  • Agreed with EMA’s assessment of a positive benefit-risk profile on March 19, 2021.


  • Pandemic creates ethical dilemmas for courts regarding vaccine safety.
  • WHO’s criteria for vaccine confidence: trust in effectiveness, safety, and policy maker motivations.


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