Current Affair




1. Context

Gucchi mushroom hunters are facing distressing circumstances for the second consecutive year as a result of unpredictable weather patterns, early springs, and above-average temperatures, leading to another season of low yield.

2. Guchhi Mushrooms

  • Guchhi mushrooms belong to the Morchellaceae family of the Ascomycota fungi. They are pale yellow with distinctive pits and ridges on the cap, supported by a white stem.
  • These mushrooms are prized for their unique flavor and are known for their high market price.
  • Guchhi mushrooms cannot be cultivated commercially and are found in conifer forests across temperate regions, including Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Harvesting guchhi mushrooms is a labor-intensive process that takes months. Villagers collect them, dry them, and bring them to market.
  • Guchhi mushrooms typically grow in clusters on decaying wood, leaves, or humus soil. They may not appear in the same location the following season, making collection challenging.
Image Source: Web

3. Health Benefits of Gucchi Mushrooms

  • Rich in Potassium: Gucchi mushrooms are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, maintain proper muscle and nerve function, and support overall cardiovascular health.
  • Abundant in Vitamins: These mushrooms provide a range of vitamins, including vitamin D and various B vitamins. Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and immune system function, while B vitamins play a role in energy metabolism, brain health, and overall well-being.
  • Copper Content: Gucchi mushrooms contain copper, a trace mineral important for various physiological processes, including the formation of red blood cells, collagen production, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Gucchi mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Antioxidants neutralize harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body, potentially lowering the risk of conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
  • Supports Heart Health: The antioxidant and potassium content in gucchi mushrooms may contribute to heart health by reducing inflammation, regulating blood pressure, and improving overall cardiovascular function.
  • Diabetes Prevention: Antioxidants in gucchi mushrooms can help lower oxidative stress, which is associated with diabetes. Incorporating these mushrooms into the diet may contribute to better blood sugar control.

It's important to note that while gucchi mushrooms offer these health benefits, they are typically enjoyed in moderation as a delicacy due to their high market price and limited availability. Including a variety of nutritious foods in your diet, along with these mushrooms, can contribute to a well-rounded and health-conscious eating plan.

For Prelims: Gucchi Mushrooms, Morchellaceae family of the Ascomycota fungi.


Previous year Questions

1.With reference to “Gucchi” sometimes mentioned in the news, consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2020)

  1. It is a fungus.
  2. It grows in some Himalayan forest areas.
  3. It is commercially cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of north-eastern India.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

Answer (b)

Source: The Indian Express



1. Context

As the United States confirmed Wednesday that President Joe Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, ahead of the G20 Summit over the weekend.

2. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)

  • The Quad, short for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a strategic forum comprising four major Indo-Pacific countries: the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.
  • The Quad was initiated in 2007 but was relatively dormant for several years before experiencing a revival and increased prominence in recent times.

3. Objectives

  • The Quad aims to promote a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Its core objectives include ensuring regional security, stability, and economic prosperity.
  • It seeks to uphold the rules-based international order and address common challenges such as maritime security, infrastructure development, economic connectivity, and disaster response.

4. Member Countries

  • United States: As a major Pacific power, the U.S. plays a central role in the Quad, emphasizing its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region's security and stability.
  • Japan: Japan is a key member, contributing its economic and technological prowess, and advocating for a rules-based international order.
  • India: India brings its strategic location and growing influence in the Indo-Pacific to the Quad, strengthening regional security cooperation.
  • Australia: Australia is a significant player, contributing to maritime security efforts and championing economic development in the Indo-Pacific.

5. Meetings and Engagement

  • The Quad holds regular meetings at various levels, including ministerial meetings and consultations among senior officials.
  • It engages in dialogues on a wide range of regional and global issues, from security and defense to infrastructure development and technology cooperation.

Regional Implications:

  • The Quad has been viewed as a response to China's rising influence in the Indo-Pacific. However, member countries emphasize that it is not an alliance against any specific country but rather a platform for cooperation on shared interests.
  • Some view the Quad as a potential counterbalance to China's assertive behavior in the South China Sea and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure projects.

Expanding Partnerships:

  • The Quad has sought to expand its partnerships with other countries in the Indo-Pacific, including Southeast Asian nations. This approach reflects its commitment to inclusivity and regional engagement.

6. Significance of QUAD for India

The Quad holds significant importance for India due to several strategic, economic, and geopolitical reasons:

Countering Regional Challenges:

  • The Quad provides India with a platform to collaborate with like-minded countries, such as the United States, Japan, and Australia, to address common regional challenges. These challenges include maritime security, territorial disputes, and economic concerns in the Indo-Pacific.

Strengthening Regional Security:

  • As a member of the Quad, India gains access to enhanced security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and joint exercises. This bolsters its ability to protect its interests and contribute to regional stability in the face of security threats.

Balancing China's Influence:

  • India views the Quad as a mechanism to balance China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific. It helps deter aggressive actions and assertive behavior by China, particularly in areas like the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean region.

Economic Opportunities:

  • The Quad promotes economic connectivity and infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific. India can leverage these initiatives to enhance its trade, investment, and connectivity in the region, which is vital for its economic growth.

Strengthening Ties with Key Allies:

  • The Quad allows India to deepen its strategic partnerships with key allies, such as the United States and Japan. These relationships have resulted in increased defense cooperation, technology sharing, and economic collaboration.

Regional Leadership Role:

  • Participation in the Quad elevates India's status as a regional leader in the Indo-Pacific. It aligns with India's "Act East" policy, reinforcing its commitment to the stability and prosperity of the broader region.

7. Challenges

  • China's Territorial Claims: China claims that it has historical ownership over nearly the entire region of the South China Sea, which gives it the right to manufacture islands. However, the International Court of Arbitration rejected the claim in 2016.
  • China's Closeness to ASEAN: The ASEAN countries also have a well-knit relationship with China. The Regional Cooperation Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a recent example of China's increasing influence over ASEAN nations.
  • Economic Power of China: Considering the economic might of China and the dependence of QUAD nations like Japan and Australia on China, the QUAD nations can not afford to have strained relations with it.
  • Convergence among Quad Nations: The nations in the Quad grouping have different aspirations, and aims at balancing their own interest. Therefore, coherence in the vision of the Quad nation as a grouping is absent.

8. Way forward

The Quad represents a forum for strategic cooperation among four major Indo-Pacific nations, with a focus on regional security, economic development, and upholding the rules-based international order. Its evolving role in the region will likely be a subject of ongoing geopolitical interest and debate.
For Prelims: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), South China Sea, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Indo-Pacific region, ASEAN, and Regional Cooperation Economic Partnership (RCEP).
For Mains: 1. Discuss the evolution, objectives, and geopolitical significance of the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) in the context of the Indo-Pacific region. Analyze the challenges and opportunities it presents for the member countries, particularly India. (250 words).
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
The Supreme Court set aside the “entire election process, initiated pursuant to” the notification issued by the Ladakh administration for elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) and directed that a fresh notification be issued within seven days
2.Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act

The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Act is a significant legislative framework that governs the administration and governance of the Union Territory of Ladakh in India. Ladakh, located in the northernmost part of India, was previously part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir until August 5, 2019, when Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was abrogated, and the state was reorganized into two separate Union Territories: Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1995, plays a crucial role in the administration of the Ladakh region. Here are some key features and provisions of the LAHDC Act:

  1. Establishment of Autonomous Hill Development Council: The Act establishes the LAHDC, a local self-government body, in the Ladakh region. The purpose of this council is to promote socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and the overall well-being of the people of Ladakh.

  2. Composition of the LAHDC: The LAHDC consists of elected members who represent various constituencies within the Union Territory of Ladakh. The council members are elected through a democratic process.

  3. Powers and Functions: The LAHDC is granted specific powers and functions related to local governance, development planning, and management of resources. These powers include making laws on certain subjects, levying taxes, and overseeing local administration and development activities.

  4. Financial Autonomy: The LAHDC has financial autonomy, which means it can generate revenue through local taxes and fees and utilize these resources for local development projects and initiatives.

  5. Executive Committee: The LAHDC has an Executive Committee responsible for the day-to-day administration of the region. The Executive Committee members are elected from among the council members.

  6. Cultural and Environmental Preservation: The LAHDC Act recognizes the unique cultural and environmental significance of the Ladakh region and emphasizes the preservation of Ladakhi culture and traditions.

  7. Special Provisions: The Act may contain special provisions for the socio-economic and cultural advancement of Scheduled Tribes and other marginalized communities in Ladakh.

  8. Governor's Role: The Governor of the Union Territory of Ladakh plays a role in the administration, coordination, and cooperation between the LAHDC and the Union Territory government.

  9. Relations with the Central Government: The LAHDC Act allows for cooperation and coordination between the LAHDC and the central government of India to facilitate development activities and address the specific needs of the region

3.Article 224 of the Indian Constitution

Article 244 of the Indian Constitution provides for the administration of certain tribal areas in India. It empowers the President of India to issue regulations for the peace and good governance of these areas. This article is particularly relevant to the administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas in various states.

Here are the key provisions and details of Article 244:

  1. Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas: Article 244 primarily deals with the administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas within the states of India. These areas are inhabited predominantly by Scheduled Tribes (indigenous tribal communities).

  2. Power of the President: The President of India is authorized by Article 244 to issue regulations that apply to these Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas. These regulations are intended to provide for the peace, good governance, and welfare of the tribal communities living in these areas.

  3. Governors' Role: While the President has the authority to issue regulations, these regulations are typically made after consulting with the Governor of the state. The Governor plays a crucial role in the administration of these areas.

  4. Application of Laws: The regulations issued under Article 244 can specify the manner in which laws passed by the state legislature apply to the Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas. It can also specify the extent to which laws made by the Parliament of India apply to these areas.

  5. Conflict Resolution: Article 244 allows for regulations to be made to resolve conflicts and disputes between different tribal communities within these areas.

  6. Extension to Fifth Schedule Areas: Article 244 extends to the Fifth Schedule areas of India, which are those areas specified in the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. These areas have a higher degree of protection and autonomy for the tribal communities residing there

4. Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution

The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution pertains to the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. It provides special provisions and safeguards for the protection of the rights and interests of the tribal communities living in these regions. The Sixth Schedule is a significant component of India's federal structure and recognizes the distinctive cultural, social, and historical characteristics of these tribal areas. Here are some key features and provisions of the Sixth Schedule:

  1. Areas Covered: The Sixth Schedule covers specific tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. These areas are known as "Scheduled Areas" and are inhabited by various indigenous tribal communities.

  2. Tribal Autonomous District Councils (ADCs): The central feature of the Sixth Schedule is the creation of Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) within these tribal areas. These ADCs have significant powers and responsibilities for local governance, including legislation on matters such as land, forests, and local customs and traditions. Each state has its own ADCs, known by different names, such as the "Autonomous District Council" in Assam and "District Council" in Meghalaya.

  3. Composition of ADCs: The ADCs have a defined number of seats reserved for tribal members, and they also include nominated members. These councils are responsible for formulating and implementing policies related to education, health, and socio-economic development within their areas.

  4. Governor's Role: The Governor of the state is empowered to appoint the District Councils' members, but they must be from the tribal communities. The Governor also has the authority to modify the boundaries of the Scheduled Areas after consulting with the state's legislature.

  5. Protection of Tribal Customs: The Sixth Schedule safeguards the customary laws and practices of the tribal communities in these areas. It ensures that the traditional institutions and customs of these communities are respected and preserved.

  6. Land Rights: The Sixth Schedule provides a degree of protection to tribal land rights, making it more difficult for non-tribal individuals or entities to acquire land in the Scheduled Areas.

  7. Exclusion and Inclusion of Areas: The Sixth Schedule allows for the inclusion or exclusion of areas from the Scheduled Areas through a formal process, which typically involves consultation with the tribal communities affected.

  8. Amendment: The Sixth Schedule can be amended by the Parliament of India. Any changes or amendments must be approved by a two-thirds majority.

For Prelims: Fifth Schedule, Sixth Schedule, Autonomous distric council
For Mains: 1.Explain the significance of the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution in the context of tribal governance. How does it protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes?
2.Discuss the provisions and objectives of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. How does it impact the governance of tribal areas in the Northeastern states?
Previous Year Questions
1.What is/ are true in relation to Autonomous Districts (CGPSC 2021)
1. Each Autonomous District Council has 30 members
2.24 members of the Autonomous District Council are elected via voting and rest 6 are nominated by Governor
3.Rights to direct the Acts passed by the Parliament of India is Autonomous. Districts of Assam lie with Governor
A.1 , 2 and 3
B. 1 and 3
C. 1 and 2
D. 1 Only
Answer (B)
2. Based on the Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution, with respect to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram  (DSSSB PRT General Section Officer 2019)
Which of the following can the Governor of a State do?
1. Can create a new autonomous district
2. The area of atonomous district can be increased
A. 1 Only
B. 2 Only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer (C)
Source: indianexpress


1. Context
Greeting G20 leaders in front of Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan this weekend will be a magnificent 27-foot Nataraja, the tallest statue of Lord Shiva’s dancing form in the world
The statue is an ashtadhatu (eight-metal alloy) piece of art, crafted by sculptors from Swamimalai in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu
Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja) | Indian (Tamil Nadu) | Chola period  (880–1279) | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
2.Nataraja Statue

The Nataraja statue is a famous and iconic representation of Lord Shiva, a principal deity in Hinduism. It is one of the most recognized and revered sculptures in Indian art and culture. The Nataraja statue depicts Lord Shiva in a dynamic and cosmic dance pose, symbolizing various aspects of Hindu spirituality and philosophy.

Key features and symbolism of the Nataraja statue include:

  1. Dance of Creation and Destruction: The Nataraja dance is believed to symbolize the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. Lord Shiva, in this form, is often referred to as "Nataraja," which translates to "Lord of the Dance." His dance represents the continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth in the universe.

  2. Tandava and Lasya: The dance posture can be divided into two main aspects: the "Tandava" and "Lasya." The Tandava represents the fierce and masculine aspects of Lord Shiva, associated with destruction, while the Lasya represents the gentle and feminine aspects, associated with creation.

  3. Fire and Destruction: Lord Shiva is often depicted with flames surrounding him, signifying his control over fire, symbolizing both the destructive and purifying aspects of fire in Hindu belief.

  4. Cosmic Circle (Aureole): The Nataraja statue is often encircled by a circular aureole or ring of flames, representing the cyclical nature of time and the universe.

  5. Raised Foot: In some depictions, one of Lord Shiva's feet is raised above the demon Apasmara, symbolizing the triumph of divine knowledge (Shiva's dance) over ignorance (represented by the demon).

  6. Four Arms: Lord Shiva in the Nataraja form typically has four arms. The upper right hand holds a "Damaru" (drum), representing the sound of creation. The upper left hand holds Agni (fire), symbolizing destruction. The lower right hand is in the "Abhaya Mudra" (fear-not gesture), signifying protection, and the lower left hand points to the uplifted foot, directing devotees to seek salvation.

  7. Crescent Moon: A crescent moon is often depicted on Lord Shiva's matted hair, symbolizing the passage of time and the waxing and waning of the moon.

3. Cholas and Nataraja
  • All three temples the Bharat Mandapam Nataraja statue is inspired from were originally constructed by the Cholas, who at their peak around the 9th-11th centuries AD, ruled over much of peninsular India
  • The Cholas were great patrons of art and high culture
  • Chola art and architecture in South India was a product of a prosperous, highly efficient empire during the period of its greatest territorial expansion
  • The Cholas were devout Shaivites, building elaborate Shiva temples (like the one in Thanjavur) across their territories
  • Among icons which form the most important part of Chola sculpture, Shaiva figures predominate…although very fine Vaishnava and Jain images are not unknown
  • Although Shiva was first portrayed in sculpture as Nataraja in the fifth century AD, its present, world-famous form evolved under the Cholas
  • The Nataraja image in its various forms…holds the first place among Chola bronzes
  • While stone images of Nataraja are not uncommon, it is the bronze sculpture that has had the greatest cultural resonance through the years.
4.Shiva as the Lord of dance
  • Shiva, as he is worshipped today, evolved from the Vedic deity Rudra. In many ways, he is the most complex god of the Puranic pantheon
  • Shiva is also the ‘Lord of Dance’ or Nataraja, who is said to have “invented no less than 108 different dances, some calm and gentle, others fierce, orgiastic and terrible
  • In a typical portrayal, Nataraja is encompassed by flaming aureole or halo, which Sastri interpreted as “the circle of the world which he [Nataraja] both fills and oversteps”. The Lord’s long dreadlocks flare out due to the energy of his dance, and he strikes a rhythmic pose with his four arms
  • In his upper right hand He holds a damru (a hand drum), whose sounds “draw all creatures into his rhythmic motion”, and in his upper left arm, he holds agni (fire), which he can wield to destroy the universe
  • Beneath one of Nataraja’s feet lies crushed a dwarf-like figure, representing illusion, which leads mankind astray
  • Yet, amidst all the destructive symbolism, Nataraja also reassures, and shows Shiva as the Protector.
  • With his front right hand, he makes the ‘abhayamudra’ (a gesture that allays fear), and with his raised feet, and with his front left arm he points to his raised feet, asking his devotees to seek refuge at his feet.
Source: indianexpress



1. Context

Recently, the apex banking regulator the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued guidelines enabling a borrower to transition from a floating interest rate-based loan to one with a fixed interest rate. According to RBI, the endeavour was to address borrowers’ grievances pertaining to the elongation of loan tenure and/or an increase in the EMI amount in the event of an increase in the benchmark interest rate. 

2. RBI's Instructions on Loan Rate Mechanisms and Transparency

Switching to Fixed Rates:

  • Borrowers can switch from floating to fixed interest rates on loans.
  • Lending entities must have a board-approved policy for this.
  • Policy should specify the number of times this switch is allowed during the loan tenure.
Transparent Communication:
  • Lenders must transparently communicate all relevant charges, including service and administrative costs during the rate transition.
Impact Clarification:
  • Lenders must clearly explain the impact of switching rates (floating to fixed) at the time of loan sanction.
  • Borrowers can choose to enhance EMI, extend tenure, or a combination of both.
Prepayment Options:
  • Borrowers can prepay the loan partially or in full during the tenure.
  • Prepayment may incur foreclosure charges or pre-payment penalties.
Quarterly Statements:
  • Lending entities must provide borrowers with quarterly statements.
  • Statements should include principal and interest recovered, EMI amount, remaining EMIs, and annualized interest rate for the entire loan tenure.
  • Statements should be simple and easily understood by borrowers.
  • These instructions apply to equated installment-based loans with some variations based on the loan's nature.

3. Fixed Interest Rate

A fixed interest rate is a type of interest rate that remains constant throughout the entire duration of a loan or financial product. In essence, it does not change with fluctuations in market interest rates or economic conditions during the loan's term. Here are some key points to understand about fixed interest rates:

  • Rate Consistency: With a fixed interest rate, borrowers know exactly how much they need to pay in interest for each installment throughout the life of the loan. This predictability can be advantageous for budgeting and financial planning.
  • Protection Against Rate Increases: Borrowers benefit from protection against rising interest rates. Even if market rates increase significantly, the fixed-rate borrowers continue to pay the same rate they initially agreed upon.
  • Higher Initial Rates: In some cases, fixed interest rates may be slightly higher than the initial rates offered for variable or floating-rate loans. This higher starting rate provides the lender with a degree of insurance against potential market rate increases.
  • Limited Benefit in Falling Rate Environments: While fixed interest rates protect against rising rates, they may not take advantage of falling rates. Borrowers with fixed-rate loans will continue to pay the same rate, potentially missing out on lower interest costs that variable-rate borrowers could enjoy.
  • Common Applications: Fixed interest rates are commonly found in various loan products, including mortgages, personal loans, auto loans, and certain types of bonds. They are particularly popular for long-term loans, such as 15- or 30-year mortgages.
  • Duration: The duration of the fixed interest rate varies based on the terms of the loan. It can range from a few months for short-term loans to several decades for mortgages.

4. Floating Interest Rate

A floating interest rate, also known as a variable or adjustable interest rate, is an interest rate that is not fixed but fluctuates over time based on changes in external factors, typically benchmark interest rates or market conditions. Here are key points to understand about floating interest rates:

  • Rate Fluctuation: Floating interest rates change periodically, often in response to movements in a specified benchmark rate, such as the prime rate, LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), or a government bond yield. These fluctuations can occur monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the terms of the loan or financial product.
  • Initial Lower Rates: Floating interest rates often start lower than fixed rates, making them attractive to borrowers initially. This can result in lower initial monthly payments on loans.
  • Exposure to Market Conditions: Borrowers with floating-rate loans are exposed to changes in market interest rates. When the benchmark rate rises, the interest rate on the loan increases, leading to higher monthly payments. Conversely, when the benchmark rate falls, borrowers benefit from lower interest costs.
  • Risk and Uncertainty: The main disadvantage of floating rates is the uncertainty they bring. Borrowers may face challenges in budgeting and financial planning due to the potential for fluctuating monthly payments.
  • Caps and Limits: Many floating-rate loans include caps and limits to mitigate the impact of interest rate fluctuations. These caps set maximum interest rate levels beyond which the rate cannot rise during a specific period. Similarly, floors set a minimum rate below which the rate cannot fall.
  • Common Applications: Floating interest rates are often associated with various types of loans, including adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), certain student loans, and credit card accounts. They are also used in financial instruments like floating-rate bonds.

5. Fixed vs. Floating Interest Rates: Key Differences

Interest Rate Stability:

  • Fixed Rate: Remains constant throughout the loan tenure, providing predictability.
  • Floating Rate: Fluctuates based on market conditions and benchmark rates, leading to potential variability in payments.
Initial Rate Comparison:
  • Fixed Rate: Typically starts higher than floating rates.
  • Floating Rate: Often begins with lower initial rates, making it attractive initially.
Market Dynamics:
  • Fixed Rate: Offers security and certainty, shielding borrowers from rising interest rates.
  • Floating Rate: Reflects market dynamics, where rate changes can lead to both savings and increased costs for borrowers.
Prepayment Penalties:
  • Fixed Rate: This may involve prepayment penalties or fees.
  • Floating Rate: Typically does not impose prepayment penalties.
Planning and Budgeting:
  • Fixed Rate: Easier for budgeting and financial planning due to rate stability.
  • Floating Rate: Requires borrowers to adapt to rate fluctuations.
Customer Awareness:
  • Borrowers should consider their financial situation, risk tolerance, and market conditions when choosing between fixed and floating rates.
  • Financial literacy and credit counseling are essential for borrowers to make informed decisions.

6. RBI Guidelines on Borrower Repayment Capacity

  • RBI has instructed lending entities to assess the repayment capacity of prospective borrowers.
  • This assessment aims to provide borrowers with enough flexibility for loan tenure extension or EMI increase.
  • Key parameters include the borrower's payment capacity and consideration of how long this capacity will last, factoring in the borrower's age.
  • Governor Shaktikanta Das emphasized the need to avoid excessively long loan tenure extensions, which could mask underlying financial stress in a loan.
  • Extensions should be for a reasonable period, and banks should make commercial decisions based on these broad guidelines.
For Prelims: Reserve Bank of Inda, Fixed exchange rate, Floating exchange rate, Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), and LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate).
For Mains: 1. Compare and contrast a fixed exchange rate system with a floating exchange rate system. Analyze the implications of each system on a country's monetary policy, trade, balance, and economic stability. (250 words).

Previous year Question

1. With reference to the Indian economy, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)
1. An increase in the Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) indicates the appreciation of the rupee.
2. An increase in the Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) indicates an improvement in trade competitiveness.
3. An increasing trend in domestic inflation relative to inflation in other countries is likely to cause an increasing divergence between NEER and REER.
Which of the above statements are correct?
A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: C
Source: The Hindu


1. Context
Iran recorded a scorching heat index of 70 degrees Celsius in the coastal part of the Country, a metric which Survival of life is unfathomable if not possible
The country had also declared Public holidays 
2. What is the heat index?
  • The heat index, also known as the "feels-like" temperature or the "apparent temperature," is a measure used to assess how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. In other words, it takes into account both temperature and humidity to estimate how warm or hot it appears to the human body
  • When humidity is high, the body's ability to cool itself through the evaporation of sweat is reduced, making it feel hotter than the actual temperature. Conversely, when humidity is low, the body can more effectively cool itself through sweat evaporation, so the heat index tends to be closer to the actual temperature.
  • The heat index is typically expressed in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, just like regular temperature. Weather forecasts often include the heat index during hot and humid conditions to provide a better understanding of the potential heat-related risks, such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke
3. Calculating heat index

The heat index is calculated using the following formula:

Heat index = (95.0 + 0.55(actual temperature) + 0.01(actual temperature)(relative humidity) - 3.5(1013.25/(pressure in millibars)) + 0.12(actual temperature)(relative humidity)^0.15)


  • Actual temperature is the air temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Relative humidity is the percentage of water vapor in the air.
  • Pressure is the air pressure in millibars.

The heat index formula is valid for temperatures between 80 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidities between 0 and 100%.

There are also online heat index calculators that can be used to calculate the heat index for a given set of conditions.

It is important to note that the heat index is a subjective measure and may vary from person to person. Some people may feel hotter than others in the same conditions. Additionally, the heat index does not take into account other factors that can affect how hot it feels, such as wind speed and clothing

4.Importance of measuring heat index

The importance of measuring the heat index is that it provides a more accurate measure of how hot it feels to the human body than the actual temperature. This is because the heat index takes into account the humidity, which can make it feel much hotter than the actual temperature

Measuring the heat index is important for several reasons, primarily related to public health, safety, and overall well-being:

  1. Heat-related Illness Prevention: The heat index provides a more accurate representation of how hot it feels to the human body compared to the actual air temperature. This information is crucial in preventing heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. High heat index values can alert people to take precautions, like staying hydrated, seeking shade, and avoiding strenuous activities during extreme heat.

  2. Risk Assessment: The heat index helps individuals and communities assess the risk associated with hot and humid conditions. It provides valuable information to local authorities, healthcare providers, and emergency responders, enabling them to plan for and respond to heatwaves and other extreme weather events effectively.

  3. Vulnerable Populations: Certain groups, such as the elderly, young children, and people with pre-existing medical conditions, are more vulnerable to extreme heat. Measuring the heat index allows communities to identify periods when these vulnerable populations may be at higher risk and take specific measures to protect them.

  4. Outdoor Activities: The heat index is important for outdoor enthusiasts, athletes, and workers who are exposed to high temperatures. It helps individuals make informed decisions about outdoor activities, whether it's for recreation, sports, or outdoor labor. High heat index values can indicate when it's necessary to reschedule or take additional precautions.

  5. Energy Conservation: The heat index also has implications for energy usage. During heatwaves, higher heat index values can lead to increased energy demand for cooling systems. Utilities and energy providers can use this information to anticipate and manage energy consumption, reducing the risk of power outages during extreme heat events.

  6. Urban Planning: Urban planners and architects can use heat index data to design cities and buildings that are more resilient to extreme heat, incorporating features like shading, green spaces, and cooling systems to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

  7. Agriculture: Farmers and agricultural experts use the heat index to assess the potential impact of hot and humid conditions on crops and livestock. Extreme heat can stress crops and animals, affecting agricultural yields and food production.

  8. Travel and Tourism: Tourists and travelers can benefit from heat index information when planning trips to destinations with hot and humid climates. It helps them prepare for the weather and make informed choices about activities and accommodations.

5.High Humididty effects on Human body
High humidity can have several effects on the human body, particularly when combined with high temperatures. These effects are primarily due to the body's reduced ability to cool itself through the evaporation of sweat
High humidity can affect the human body in a number of ways. It can make it harder for the body to cool down, which can lead to heat-related illnesses. High humidity can also make it difficult to breathe, especially for people with asthma or other respiratory problems.

Here are some ways in which high humidity can affect the human body:

  1. Heat Stress: High humidity makes it more difficult for sweat to evaporate from the skin. Since evaporation is one of the body's primary mechanisms for dissipating heat, this can lead to increased heat stress. When the body cannot effectively cool down, it may struggle to maintain a normal core temperature. This can result in symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and in severe cases, heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

  2. Discomfort: High humidity can make people feel uncomfortable and sticky. Sweat does not evaporate as efficiently, leaving the skin feeling moist and clammy. This discomfort can lead to irritability and a decreased tolerance for hot weather.

  3. Dehydration: In high humidity, people may not realize how much they are sweating, as the sweat tends to evaporate more slowly. This can lead to inadequate fluid intake, potentially resulting in dehydration. Dehydration can cause symptoms like thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, and, if severe, can lead to heat-related illnesses.

  4. Respiratory Issues: Some individuals, particularly those with respiratory conditions like asthma, may find that high humidity exacerbates their symptoms. Humid air can make it harder to breathe and may trigger asthma attacks or worsen other respiratory issues.

  5. Sleep Disturbances: High humidity can make it difficult to sleep comfortably, as the body may struggle to cool down during the night. This can lead to restlessness, poor sleep quality, and disrupted sleep patterns.

  6. Increased Risk of Heat-Related Illnesses: As mentioned earlier, high humidity can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These conditions can be life-threatening if not promptly treated.

  7. Decreased Physical Performance: Athletes and individuals engaged in physical activities may experience a decrease in performance in high humidity. The body has to work harder to regulate its temperature, which can lead to fatigue and reduced endurance.

  8. Skin Issues: Prolonged exposure to high humidity can sometimes lead to skin issues, such as fungal infections or skin irritation. Moisture and sweat can create an environment conducive to these problems.

6.What is a Dew Point?
The dew point is the temperature to which a given volume of air must be cooled to become saturated with water vapor. This temperature depends on the pressure and water content of the air. When the air is cooled below the dew point, its moisture capacity is reduced and airborne water vapor will condense to form liquid water known as dew. When this occurs through the air's contact with a colder surface, dew will form on that surface

Here's how the dew point works:

  1. Saturation: When air becomes saturated with moisture, it can no longer hold all the water vapor it contains. At this point, the air is said to have reached 100% relative humidity (RH). Further cooling of the air at this saturated state will cause excess moisture to condense into water droplets, forming dew on surfaces, fog in the air, or clouds in the sky.

  2. Dew Point Temperature: The temperature at which this saturation and condensation occur is called the dew point temperature. It is expressed in degrees Celsius (°C) or degrees Fahrenheit (°F) and represents the temperature at which the air becomes saturated. When the air temperature cools to or below the dew point, visible moisture (dew, fog, or clouds) begins to form.

  3. Relative Humidity: The relationship between the air's current moisture content and its capacity to hold moisture at a given temperature is expressed as relative humidity (RH). When the air temperature equals the dew point temperature, RH reaches 100%. If the air temperature is higher than the dew point, RH is less than 100%, and if the air temperature is lower, RH is greater than 100%.

7.Way forward
To mitigate the effects of high humidity on the body, it's essential to take precautions when the weather is hot and humid. These precautions may include staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, seeking shade or air-conditioned environments, wearing lightweight and breathable clothing, and avoiding strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day. Monitoring the heat index, as mentioned in a previous response, can help individuals and communities make informed decisions to protect against heat-related health risks during periods of high humidity and temperature.
Previous Year Questions
1. Which one of the following reflects back more Sunlight as compared to the other three? (UPSC CSE 2010)
A. Sand Desert
B. Paddy Cropland
C. Land Covered with fresh snow
D.Prairie Land
Answer (C)
Source: The Hindu


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