iClub Daily Current Affairs : 29 April 2019

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Pre-monsoon rainfall sees 27% dip: IMD

Topic : GS Paper-1 Geography

Pre-monsoon rainfall from March to April, a phenomenon critical to agriculture in some parts of the country, has recorded 27% deficiency, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

More in news:

• The IMD recorded 43.3 millimetres of rainfall across the country from March 1 to April 24 as against the normal precipitation of 59.6 millimetres.This was 27% less than the Long Period Average (LPA) in the same period.

• The highest deficiency of 38% was recorded in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

• This was followed by a deficiency of 31% in the Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Puducherry, Goa and coastal Maharashtra.

What is the difference between Monsoon and Pre-Monsoon Rain?

Listed below are few characteristics and differences between the two in Peninsular India:


• Pre-Monsoon season is synonymous with heat and humidity with uncomfortable conditions throughout the day and night. However, fairly stronger winds bring down temperatures to a comfortable level during Monsoon in India.


• Clouds are more of vertical in nature during the pre-Monsoon season and mostly come up during late afternoon and early evening hours. They are triggered by high temperatures and towering clouds build up.

• On the other hand, the Monsoon season is known for stratiform clouds, mainly sheet-like continuous layers of clouds. Depths of these clouds are less but the layers are thick and moisture laden.


• Pre-Monsoon rain is sharp and intense and gets over for the day, after just one spell.

• But, the Southwest Monsoon brings longer spells of rain which are also recurring in nature.


• In the Monsoon season, rain can commence in Peninsular India during any time of the day, though the preferred time is generally late evening.

• On the other hand, pre-Monsoon rain occurs in the late afternoon and early evening hours.


• Pre-Monsoon showers are accompanied by squally winds leading to dust storms but during Monsoon, winds are persistently strong.


• Due to differential heating and huge diurnal variation of temperatures, the sea and land breeze remains prominent before the arrival of Southwest Monsoon in India. But, with the available humidity and overcast skies, the breezes are not that marked during Monsoons.

• Moreover, pre-Monsoon rain is patchy in nature but Southwest Monsoon covers large areas and the weather remains similar in vast pockets. Chill in the air persists irrespective of the terrain, be it Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad or Bangalore. Chennai being on the rain shadow area of Tamil Nadu does not receive as much rain as other places.

Pre-Monsoon shower examples:

1. Tea Shower or Bardoli Chherha in Assam

2. Kalbaishakh in West Bengal

3. Mango Shower in Kerala and Coastal areas of Karnataka

4. Cherry Blossoms/ Coffee showers in Kerala and some part of Karanataka

Cyclone Fani won’t hit Tamil Nadu coast: meteorological department

Topic : GS Paper-1 Geography

Indian Meteorological Department said that Cyclone Fani will not hit the Tamil Nadu coast.

More in news:

• The cyclone will not make landfall in Tamil Nadu. But it get some moderate rainfall in northern parts of the State when it nears the coast of northern Tamil Nadu.The sky will remain partly cloudy.

• The storm now lies about 910 km off and it is likely to bring in only moderate rains to some parts of northern Tamil Nadu.

• The cyclone may get as close as 300 km off the Tamil Nadu coast on April 30 and after that, there may occur a change of direction too.

• Cyclone Fani is likely to turn into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’. This may develop into an ‘extremely severe cyclone storm.

• Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea from April 29 to May 1. Also, fishermen in deep sea have been asked to return at the earliest.

Corridor linking India, Myanmar no longer under BRI framework

Topic : GS Paper-2 International relations

India’s decision to skip the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) may have led to the exclusion of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor from the list of projects covered by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) umbrella.

More in news:

• In an annex tagged with the Joint Communiqué of the Leaders’ Roundtable of the BRF, which concluded in Beijing on Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry website has not listed the BCIM as a project covered by the BRI the giant connectivity initiative speared by China to revive the ancient Silk Road across Eurasia and Africa.

• Instead, South Asia is covered by three major undertakings — the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC); the Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network, including Nepal-China cross-border railway; and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

India’s non-participation

• Citing “sovereignty” concerns, India, for the second time, did not participate in the BRF, as the CPEC passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor:

• The 2,800-km BCIM corridor proposes to link Kunming in China’s Yunnan province with Kolkata, passing though nodes such as Mandalay in Myanmar and Dhaka in Bangladesh before heading to Kolkata.

• Last September, the BRI had got a high octane boost when Myanmar inked an agreement with China to establish the CMEC. The 1,700-km corridor provides China yet another node to access the Indian Ocean.

• The CMEC will run from Yunnan Province of China to Mandalay in Central Myanmar. From there it will head towards Yangon, before terminating at the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Bay of Bengal.

Spain’s snap election sees good turnout

Topic : GS Paper-2 Constitution and Polity

Spaniards flocked to vote on Sunday in a tense snap general election that could see the far-right make a dramatic entrance in Parliament.

What is Snap Election?

• A general election that is called earlier than expected.

• A snap election refers to a swift and often unforeseen decision by the party in power to initiate a general election sooner than the fixed-term deadline.

• It’s usually to gain advantage of an exclusive electoral opportunity or to decide an important issue. Since, the power to call ‘snap elections’ lies with those in power, it usually results in increased majority for the party.


1) NDA-1 called for an election 5 months before the next due election in 2004.But NDA lost.

2) Indira in 1971 dissolved the Lok Sabha and called for elections one year early. And she again won the elections for the second time.

Karnataka’s Ishad mango is becoming rare

Topic : GS Paper-3 Economic Development

A local mango variety called Ishad is facing the threat of becoming rare in its homeland, Ankola in the Uttara Kannada district, thanks to competition from hybrid varieties.


• It is mostly used for the pulp which has been extracted for over a century for making value-added products.

• Oriental Canneries and Industries set up a unit in Ankola in 1908 to extract pulp from Ishad for making value-added products.

• The pulp could be an ingredient in preparing 48 recipes, and was being used in the United States, Australia and Sri Lanka.

• The mango has two variants — Kari Ishad, which has thin skin, more pulp and is sweeter, and Bili Ishad, which has thick skin and has less pulp and sweetness.

• Some farmers did try to grow it outside Ankola taluk, but failed. But in Ankola, the Ishad yields abundantly.

Drop in production

• The production of pulp dropped from 20,000 tins a year a decade ago to between 10,000 to 12,000 tins now, owing to shortage of mangoes, as the trees are becoming rare.

• The mango, harvested from mid-May, has a short shelf life of not more than two or three days. But its pulp lasts more than a year. The main demand for the pulp is from Mumbai and Hubballi.

Public sector banks’ long-term strategy on Jan Dhan begins to pay off

Topic : GS Paper-3 Economic Development

Public sector banks stand to earn as much as ₹5,000 crore due to the increasing quantum of deposits placed in Jan Dhan accounts, and can vastly monetise this resource once they start implementing advanced analytics and begin lending to these customers, according to industry players and analysts.

More in news:

• Over the last three years, the number of Jan Dhan beneficiaries has risen from 22 crore to 35 crore, as of April 10, 2019. This represents a growth of nearly 60% over the three years.

• The growth in the number of accounts has been pretty steady over the last three years, with the demonetisation year of 2016-17 seeing the fastest growth of about 27%, which then subsequently slowed to a nevertheless robust 10% in 2017-18 and 12% in 2018-19.

• Deposits, however, have seen a much stronger growth rate over this period. The total quantum of deposits in Jan Dhan accounts has grown from a little more than ₹36,000 crore in April 2016 to ₹98,400 crore in April 2019, a growth of more than 2.5 times.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY):

• It was launched on 28 August 2014 to ensure affordable access to financial services viz. Bank accounts, remittance, credit, insurance and pension.

It provides:

• All households across the country – both rural and urban are to be covered under the scheme. Bank accounts will be opened for 15 crore poor persons.

• All bank accounts opened under the scheme are to have an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 for Aadhar-linked accounts after satisfactory operation in the account for 6 months.

• Issuance of RuPay Debit Card with inbuilt Rs 1 lakh personal accident insurance cover provided by HDFC Ergo and a life cover of Rs 30,000 provided by LIC.

• A minimum monthly remuneration of Rs 5,000 to business correspondents who will provide the last link between the account holders and the bank.

Christina Koch will stay on the ISS for 11 months

Topic : GS Paper-3 Science and Technology

Astronaut Christina Koch will set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman when she completes her 11-month-long mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in February 2020. Her long stay on the ISS has to do with NASA’s preparation of human missions to the moon and Mars.

More in news:

• Ms. Koch’s mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman, NASA said.

• Her planned mission duration will be just shy of the longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut 340 days set by former astronaut Scott Kelly during his one-year mission in 2015-16.

Lack of data

• The mission became necessary as the majority of data available is on male astronauts. But male and female bodies respond differently, and health conditions occur at different rates in male and female populations.

• With this mission, researchers hope to better understand astronaut adaptability over long periods of space exposure and better support the development of effective countermeasures to maintain crew health.

• NASA last month accepted a challenge from the Donald Trump administration to return humans to the moon by 2024, four years ahead of the U.S. space agency’s earlier set target.

• Meanwhile, NASA’s Human Research Programme continues to lay the groundwork for future one-year missions on the space station and has selected 25 proposals to investigate biological, physiological, and behavioural adaptations to spaceflight.

• With information gained from the selected studies during future missions, NASA said it aims to address five hazards of human space travel — space radiation, isolation and confinement, distance from Earth, gravity fields (or lack thereof), and hostile/closed environments that pose great risks to the human mind and body in space.

Social media fraud rose 43% in 2018: report

Topic : GS Paper – 3 Security

In a sign that platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp are emerging as new public square for criminal deception, a study has found that social media fraud increased 43% in 2018.

More in news:

• The results suggest that cybercriminals are increasingly relying on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other legitimate social media and messaging platforms to communicate with each other and sell stolen identities, credit card numbers and other ill-gotten gains.

• According to the researchers, fraud in the mobile channel has grown significantly over the past several years, with 70% of artifice originating in the mobile channel in 2018.

• In particular, fraud from mobile apps increased 680% between 2015 and 2018, said the study, adding that the use of rogue mobile applications to defraud consumers was on the rise.

Editorial Section :

An ineffectual angel – The Hindu

No more leeway – The Hindu

Dangerous, debasing and deplorable – The Hindu

Downbeat diesel – The Hindu

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