Everything you need to know about: Tropical Cyclones.

Recently, Vardah , a tropical cyclone had hit India causing asset destruction in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Here is a precise dose of awareness about the tropical cyclones for you to understand the various aspects related to it.

What are tropical cyclones?

These are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to the coastal areas bringing large scale destruction caused by violent winds, storm surges ,and very heavy rainfall.

What are the preconditions for cyclone formation?

  • Sea Surface Temperature: 27 degree C.
  • Presence of Coriolis force(an inertial force which act on the objects in motion w.r.t rotating reference frame).
  • Small variations in vertical wind speed.
  • Pre-existing low-pressure area or low-level cyclonic circulation.
  • Upper divergence above the sea level system.

How does a tropical cyclone look like?

  • Eye:
    • A region of calm with subsiding air–>around the eye is eye wall, where there is strong spiraling ascent of air to greater height reaching the troposphere.
  • From the eye wall, rain bands may radiate and trains of cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds may drift into the region.

Image result for tropical cyclone definition

  • Energy to the cyclone is provided by continuous process of evaporation . With continuous supply of moisture from the seas, it is further intensified.
  • When the supply of mositure from the seas is cut off, the cyclone falls. This is called landfall of a cyclone.

What is the impact of the cyclones?

  • Widespread destruction in terms of life and assets.
  • Ecological imbalances and a huge loss to the environment.
  • Wide deviation of life from normalcy.

How are cyclones named?

In 2004, an international panel on tropical cyclones decided that countries from the region would each put in names, which would be assigned to storms in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.

  • Eight countries — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – participated and came up with a list of 64 names.
  • In the event of a storm, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre, New Delhi, selects a name from the list.

Some guidelines for naming are:

  • A name, for instance : short and readily understood 
  • Neutral–> not culturally sensitive and not convey some unintended and potentially inflammatory meaning

This is the system in the region given above.

The cyclones are known by different names in different places:

  • Hurricanes:North America
  • Typhoons:China
  • Willy Willies: Australia

Which regions of the world are vulnerable to tropical cyclones?

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Why India’s east coast is more vulnerable than the West coast?

  • Bay of Bengal
    • Cyclones that form over the Bay of Bengal are either those develop insitu over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining Andaman Sea or remnants of typhoons over northwest Pacific and move across south China sea to Indian Seas.
    • As the frequency of typhoons over northwest Pacific is quite high (about 35% of the global annual average), the Bay of Bengal also gets its increased quota.
  • Arabian sea:
    • The cyclones over the Arabian Sea either originate insitu over southeast Arabian Sea (which includes Lakshadweep area also) or remnants of cyclones from the Bay of Bengal that move across south peninsula.
    • As the majority of Cyclones over the Bay of Bengal weaken over land after landfall, the frequency of migration into Arabian Sea is low.
    • In addition to all the above the Arabian Sea is relatively colder than Bay of Bengal and hence inhibits the formation and intensification of the system.

How can the impact of the cyclones be mitigated?

  • Early Warning Systems.
  • Cyclone shelters.
  • Cyclone resistant infrastructure.
  • Displacement and Rehabilitation of people living near the coasts to faraway places.
  • Planting deep and strong rooted trees on the coast to impede the strength of the cyclone.
  • Building embankments along the coast.




November 24: Factual Knowledge Dose

1.)The Top civilian honor of the United States of America:

  • Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Recently awarded to Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro.

.2.)Know the facts about Lokpal here: Lokpal.

3.)Carnatic Maestro Mangalampalli Balamurakrishna passes away.

4.)Comptroller and Auditor General of India:

  • Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
  • Constitutional Authority.
  • Article 148 to Article 151.
  • Appointed by the President(this actually means on advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister) with warrant under his hand and seal.
  • Term: 6 years period / 65 years of age whichever is earlier.
  • Removal: By President on grounds of “proved misbehaviour” or “incapacity”.
  • Functions:
    • He audits:
      • expenditure of Consolidated Fund of India, states/UTs.
      •  expenditure of Contingency Fund of India, states/UTs.
      • all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts kept by any department of Central and State governments.
      • receipts and expenditure of centre and state.
      • government companies.
      • authorities related to central and state governments.

5.) Heart of Asia Conference:

  • Objective: Bringing peace and stability in the region of Afghanistan.
  • Began in : New Delhi.
  • Total conferences: 6
  • 7th conference to be held in Amritsar, Punjab.
  • Part of the Istanbul Process.
  • A number of countries meet to deliberate on host of issues like extremism, terrorism among others.
  • Supporting countries:
    • 14 in number:
    • Russia, China, India, Pakistan , Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tazikistan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, UAE, Turkey.
  • Supporting countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK and US.
  • Supporting organisations: UNO, NATO, SAARC, SCO, OIC
  • Aims to rebuild Afghanistan through investment and connectivity.
  • Investments in Energy, Infra etc.

Know your right: Freedom of Speech

Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression is one of the cornerstones of the Indian democracy.

Here is all you need to know about this fundamental right of yours.

What is the right to freedom of speech and expression?:

  • It is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) (read as: Article 19,section 1, subsection a).
  • Article 19 gives every citizen the Right to Freedom

Image result for right to freedom of speech and expression

What all aspects are covered under the ambit of Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression?

  • It includes:
    • Right to propagate one’s views.
    • Freedom of Press.
    • Freedom of commercial advertisements.
    • Right against tapping of telephonic conversations.
    • Right to telecast.
    • Right against bandh called by parties.
    • Freedom of silence.
    • Right to know government activities.
    • Right against imposition of pre-censorship on newspapers
    • Right to demonstration and picketing but not the right to strike

Are there any restrictions on this right? If yes, what are they?

Article 19(2) imposes certain “reasonable restrictions” on the Right to Freedom of Speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) on the following grounds:

  • Compromising:
    • Sovereignty and integrity of India.
    • Security of the state.
    • Friendly relations with foreign states.
    • Public order.
  • Against Decency and morality.
  • Contempt of court.
  • Defamation
  • Incitement to offence.

What are the various instances in recent times or any persistent ones which threaten these rights?:

The following are just a few of them:

  • Wendy Doniger’s book : The Hindus: An Alternative history was tortured to be pulped due to religious opposition.
  • Killing of Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi.
  • Protest against films like Bajirao Mastani and Jodha Akbar.
  • Perumal Murugan gave up writing due to protest against his work.
  • The arrest of comedian Kiku Sharda for imitating Ram Rahim.

What is Heckler’s veto?

Heckler’s Veto means : “by threatening public disorder or disturbance, socially powerful groups can shut down the critical or inconvenient speech by simply cowing the writer as well as police into submission.”


Image result for heckler veto

How does the government try to curb the free speech?

There are many cases when the government misuses its authority of construing a law to curb free speech.

Some of the Indian Penal Code provisions are:

  • Section 124(a): Sedition.

words either spoken or written or by visual representation or otherwise, brings or attempt to bring hatred  or contempt, dissatisfaction or provoking violence” against the central or state government

  • Section 295a: arrest for presumably “outraging” the government sentiments
  • Section 153a : insult of religion.
  • Section 499: Criminal Defamation, that is, criminalizing the act of defamation. Such a provision can lead to self-censorship of opposition to the government.

The broader thing is that use of ambiguous language in an act makes it a tool in the hand of government and can often be misused in their favor. A recent example was the Section 66(a) of the I-T act,2000 which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court as it could have a “chilling effect” on the free speech.

What should be done to preserve the free speech?:

  • A healthy atmosphere of debates and discussions need to be developed.
  • Rationalizing the laws of the “colonial era”.
  • Laying down an objective code regarding the restrictions on free speech in order to avoid violation of the right.
  • Rulings of the Supreme court and High court must be taken into consideration.
  • Preventive and Punitive measures for those who are found in contradiction with the fundamentals of free speech. This would counter Heckler’s veto.






Comprehensive Current Affairs Dose

  • What is the Regional Connectivity Scheme(or UDAN scheme)?:
    •  Background:
      • The Civil Aviation Policy, 2016 introduces a scheme called Regional Connectivity Scheme.
    • Purpose:
      • To make possible/viable the usage of air routes for the common man by making the flights affordable enough.
      • To reinvigorate unserved and under-served airports.
      • Increasing the air traffic. P
    • Provisions
      • Also called UDAN scheme, that is, Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik.
      • The scheme caps the airfares on the routes of duration :
        • 1 hour : Rs.2500.
        • 1/2 hour: Rs.1200.
      • N0-frill airports in small and remote areas through a fund of Rs.50-100 crores.
      • 2% levy on airline tickets to fund the Regional Connectivity Fund.
      • Viability Gap Funding(VGF)* to airline operators. Ratio of centre to state contribution–> 80:20.
        • *Viability Gap Funding is the one which is offered to the infrastructure projects that are economically legitimate but fall short of finances.
      • Tax incentives to airlines for working on the underserved/hinterland routes.
      • Tax exemptions and reductions to airlines for increasing viability of running routes from regional airports. These include excise on Aviation Turbine Fuel, service tax reduction and airport charges among others.
    • Advantages:
      • Better inter-state trades.
      • Boost to Make in India.
      • Revolutionary boost to the aviation sector’s growth.
      • A push to Make in India by boosting the manufacturing industries related to the aviation sector.
      • Also, it would allow greater FDIs as the policies will become conducive through measures like tax exemptions and reductions.
      • Huge employment generation.
  • What is BIMSTEC?:
    • BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation.
    • Members:
      • Bangladesh.
      • Bhutan.
      • India.
      • Sri Lanka.
      • Nepal.
      • Myanmar.
      • Thailand.
    • Purpose and areas of cooperation:
      • Economic cooperation:
        • Trade and Investment.
        • Transport and Communication–>connectivity which would enhance the first point.
        • Fisheries–>this is obvious as the name includes “Bay of Bengal”.
        • Energy: Must for economic development as it acts as a prime mover of all the sectors especially, the manufacturing sector.
        • Agriculture.
      • Technology: mentioned in the name. Gains importance as it plays a key role in the overall development of each and every economic stratum of the society.
      • Social Development:
        • Public Health.
        • Poverty Alleviation.
      • Cultural Development:
        • People-to-People contact.
        • Cultural links.
      • Terrorism:
        • Counter-terrorism and trans-national crimes.
      • Environment:
        • Climate change.
        • Environmental and Natural Disasters Management.
    • Summits:
      • 1st summit :Bangkok,Thailand(2004).
      • 2nd summit: New Delhi,India(2008).
      • 3rd summit: Naay Pyi TawMyanmar(2014)
      • 4th summit: Goa, India(2016).

Objective Current Affairs Dose(Q and A pattern): BRICS

  • What is BRICS?
    • An association of five emerging economies , namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
    • These are the fast growing economies of the world in terms of industrialization and advancement.
    • Initially BRIC, South Africa was inducted in the year 2010.
  • Who gave this name?
    • Jim O’ Neil , a British economist.
  • What is the purpose of BRICS?:
    • The major purpose remains economic co-operation .
    • Apparently, financial self-sufficiency has also emerged as one of the major objectives of the grouping.
  • What are the few key figures related to BRICS?:
    • Represents population of 3.6 billion people.
    • Approximately 30% of the world GDP, 43% of the world population.
  • When and how it was formed?
    • Jim O’ Neil coined the term in 2001.A
    • A meeting was held on the sidelines of UNGA in 2006 in New York.
    • However, the first formal meeting was held in 2009.
  • When was the first summit of the BRICS held?
    • In the year 2009.
    • Place: Yekaterinburg, Russia.
    • This time around , it was BRIC.
    • South Africa, as mentioned earlier, was induced in 2010.
  • How many summits have taken place till now and where were they held?
    • It is held every year.
    • Till now 8 summits have been convened.
    • The list of the countries in chronological order is as follows:
      • 2009-Yekaterinburg, Russia.
      • 2010-Brasilia,Brazil.
      • 2011-Sanya,China.
      • 2012-New Delhi,India.
      • 2013-Durban,South Africa.
      • 2014-Fortaleza,Brazil.
      • 2015-Ufa,Russia.
      • 2016-Goa, India.
  • What is the New Development Bank?
    • Also called BRICS Development Bank.
    •  Objective:
      • Promote infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
      • Seen as a counter to the Bretton Woods Financial institutions, that is, World Bank and IMF. Those are accused of being dominated by the Western developed nations led by the U.S.
    • The bank shall support public and private projects through loans, guarantees, equity partnerships and other financial instruments (text from the agreement itself).
    • Will also provide support to the other developing and least developed nations.
    • Voting rights: Equal , that is, 20% voting rights to all the members.
    • Authorised capital : $ 10 billion each.
    • Governance structure:
      • Board of Governors
      • Board of Directors.
      • President and Vice President.
    • HQ: Shanghai, China.
    • First President: K.V. Kamath(India); will be appointed on rotational basis.
  • What is the Contingency Reserve Arrangement?:
    • A framework to provide support against the liquidity pressures and Balance of Payment(BoP) Crisis.
    • Seen as a competitor to IMF.
    • Ratified and entered into force after the 7th BRICS summit at Ufa, Russia.

Objective Current Affairs dose(Q and A format)

1.) United Nations General Secretary:

Q.)Why in news ?

A.)New UNGS has been appointed recently.

Q.)What is the name of the General Secretary?

A.)Antonio Guterres(Former Head of Portugal )

Q.) How is a UN General Secretary appointed?:

A.) Two bodies have a role here: The United Nations Security Council(UNSC) and UN General Assembly(UNGA). According to Article 97 of the UN charter(a code which governs the functioning of UN and its organs), UNGS is appointed by the UNGA on the recommendation of UNSC.

Q.)What is the term of the General Secretary?

A.) 5 Years. It is extendable conventionally up to 2 terms.

Q.)By the way, who did Antonio succeed?

A.) Ban-ki Moon.

Q.)What are the powers of the Secretary General?:

A.)He/She is the “chief administrative officer” of the organization who shall perform such other functions as entrusted to him in that capacity by any UN organs like UNSC among others (Source:www.un.org) .

2.)Global Hunger Index

Q.)Why in news?

A.)Recent rankings revealed.

Q.)Who releases this index?:

A.)International Food Policy Research Institution(IFPRI).

Q.)What are the parameters of calculation?:

A.)It takes four considerations(with weightage):

  • Undernourished Population(1/3rd).
  • Child wasting(1/6th). (wasting means low weight for height).
  • Child stunting.(1/6th)(stunting means low height for age).
  • Infant Mortality rate(1/3rd).

Q.)What is the scale of rating?

A.)It is calculated at a scale of 100, 100 being the worst and 0 the best.

Q.)Where does India stand?

A.) At 97 out of 118 countries. India’s hunger situation is described as “serious”.

Q.)What are the key findings with respect to India?

A.)Following are a few important findings w.r.t India:

  •  15% of under-5 children are wasted and 39% are stunted.
  • Under -5 mortality rate is 4.8%.
  • 15% of the population is undernourished.

Q.)Why India ranks so low?

A.)The reasons are:

  • Inadequate health care services, that is ,lack of access and affordability.
  • Lack of sanitation facilities.
  • Poverty and unemployment.
  • Lack of safe drinking water.

Q.)What about India’s position vis-a-vis other nations?

A.)All the neighbours of India ,except Pakistan, are placed above India. These include Sri Lanka(84), Nepal(72), Bangladesh(90), Myanmar(75) and China(29).


Did You Know ?


~ Frogs can’t swallow with their eyes open

~ Lightning strikes the Earth 6,000 times every minute

~ Your brain uses between 20 – 25% of the oxygen your breathe

~ The Grand Canyon can hold around 900 trillion footballs

~ The sentence “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the English alphabet