Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.


October 20, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm



The southwest monsoon season has concluded, and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) anticipates the onset of the northeast monsoon, also known as the ‘retreating monsoon,’ within the next 72 hours. The northeast monsoon is expected to be weak.

Delayed Withdrawal

  • The withdrawal of the southwest monsoon typically begins in Rajasthan, but it takes until early to mid-October for the full withdrawal and the transition to the northeast monsoon.
  • Officially, monsoon rainfall in India is recorded from June 1 to September 30.

Rainfall Statistics

  • As of September 30, India had received 94% of the expected rainfall from the four monsoon months, slightly below the forecast of 96%.
  • This deviation is still within the IMD’s error margin. Rainfall ranging from 96% to 104% of the long-term average is considered ‘normal.’
  • The presence of El Nino led to a dry August, but this was balanced by more-than-expected rain in September.

Northeast Monsoon Forecast

  • The IMD has predicted a ‘normal’ northeast monsoon from October to December, with ‘normal to above-normal rainfall’ in extensive areas of north-west India and the southern peninsula.
  • Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and parts of Andhra Pradesh receive substantial rainfall from the northeast monsoon, contributing around 11% of India’s annual rainfall.

Cyclone Precursors

  • The IMD reported the formation of two low-pressure areas, which are precursors to cyclones.
  • These formations occurred in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and are expected to become ‘depressions’ by October 21, although it remains uncertain if they will intensify further.



In recent times, Afghanistan has experienced a series of significant earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.3 quake on October 15, following earlier quakes that claimed numerous lives in the Herat province. This raises questions about the frequency and causes of earthquakes in Afghanistan.

Historical Perspective

Afghanistan has a history of earthquake-related destruction. Notable events include a 2015 earthquake in the northeast that killed over 200 people, a 6.1-magnitude quake in 2002 that claimed about 1,000 lives, and a devastating 1998 earthquake that resulted in the loss of at least 4,500 lives.

The Anatomy of Earthquakes

  • Earthquakes occur due to the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates and the release of stress accumulated along fault lines.
  • The point of origin for this fault movement is called the hypocentre, and the point directly above it on the Earth’s surface is the epicentre.

Geological Complexities

Afghanistan’s earthquake activity is attributed to its location over several fault lines, notably at the convergence of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. Here’s why earthquakes are frequent in the region:

  1. Plate Boundaries: Afghanistan straddles the Indian Plate colliding with the Eurasian Plate. Western Afghanistan witnesses subduction of the Arabian Plate northward under Eurasia, while eastern Afghanistan experiences similar subduction of the Indian Plate.
  2. Himalayan Uplift: The northward movement of the Indian Plate leads to the uplift of the Himalayas, transmitting tectonic stress across the region, including Afghanistan.
  3. Active Fault Systems: Afghanistan is crisscrossed by active fault systems like the Chaman Fault and the Main Pamir Thrust, further contributing to seismic activity.

In summary, Afghanistan’s geological complexity, situated at the junction of multiple tectonic plates, leads to frequent earthquakes and significant tectonic stresses, often resulting in seismic events.



Multi-State Crackdown

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted a widespread operation, “Chakra-II,” targeting organized cyber-enabled financial crimes. This operation spanned 11 states, including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and more. It involved the collaboration of national and international agencies and major private sector entities.

Key Cases and Seizures

The operation centered around five cases, two of which were registered based on complaints from tech giants Microsoft and Amazon. The Financial Intelligence Unit-India provided vital information. During the operation, CBI seized various items, and Multiple bank accounts linked to the accused have been frozen.

International Tech Support Fraud Scams

  • Notably, the operation unveiled two instances of international tech support fraud scams. These scams involved impersonating global IT majors and multinational corporations, with nine call centers operating across multiple states and union territories.
  • These fraudulent activities targeted foreign nationals, particularly from the U.S., U.K., and Germany, using international payment gateways to move illicitly acquired funds.

The CBI’s operation exposed an intricate web of deceit, shedding light on cyber-enabled financial crimes and international fraud activities.



ISRO has planned the testing of a flight vehicle abort mission for the Gaganyaan program, a significant milestone aligning with India’s ambitions of establishing a domestic space station by 2035 and undertaking a lunar mission with astronauts by 2040. However, it’s imperative for ISRO to remain committed to its foundational mission alongside these ambitious endeavors.

ISRO’s Original Vision

  • ISRO’s original vision is to act as a technological innovator in expediting India’s industrial progress.
  • It has been one of the few countries with comprehensive space capabilities.
  • ISRO’s satellites have positively impacted various aspects of Indian life, including communication, environmental monitoring, and archaeological preservation.
  • The agency’s patents have contributed to advancements in multiple fields, including technology, electronics, and materials science.
  • ISRO has been transferring technology to Indian companies since the 1980s, fostering innovation in various sectors.

 Balancing Ambitious Goals

  • ISRO’s current goals include establishing an Indian space station and sending an astronaut to the Moon.
  • While these goals are crucial, ISRO’s core mission remains focused on creating innovative technologies that enhance the quality of life for Indians.
  • The recent establishment of IN-SPACe is a positive step to enhance ISRO’s impact on the Indian economy.
  • Balancing ambitious space exploration with its original vision is necessary for ISRO’s continued success.

ISRO’s original vision involves using technology and space capabilities to drive India’s industrial progress. While ambitious goals like a space station and lunar exploration are essential, it’s equally important for ISRO to continue its mission of technological innovation and positively impacting the lives of people in India. The establishment of IN-SPACe is expected to contribute to this balance.

Government’s Palm Oil Expansion Plan

The Union government has revealed plans to establish palm oil plantations across an area larger than the state of Sikkim in six northeastern states. This initiative falls under the National Mission on Edible Oils and aims to expand edible oil production. Three companies, Patanjali Foods Private Limited, Godrej Agrovet Ltd, and 3F Oil Palm, are actively engaged in palm oil processing and plantation in the northeastern region.

Environmental Impact and Biodiversity Concerns

  • The proposed expansion has raised significant concerns regarding its environmental impact and potential harm to biodiversity.
  • Palm oil plantations have previously been linked to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and environmental degradation, particularly in Southeast Asia.
  • Such monocrop plantations have resulted in human-animal conflicts and water resource issues, making it crucial to evaluate their suitability in the context of the northeastern states.

Cautious Approach by Some States

  • Meghalaya has opted to abstain from participating in the palm oil plantation initiative due to concerns over biodiversity and opposition from local farmers.
  • The ecological and socio-economic implications of palm oil cultivation, particularly in Mizoram and Assam, have led to a firm decision against pursuing this venture.

Environmental Impact Assessment Needed

There is a growing demand for an environmental impact assessment to determine the potential consequences of large-scale palm oil cultivation in terms of groundwater, local biodiversity, and environmental health. Currently, these concerns are being addressed in a limited manner.

Government’s Perspective

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research – Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research (ICAR-IIOPR) and companies involved in palm oil cultivation emphasize that, unlike other countries, India cultivates palm oil predominantly on agricultural lands, avoiding deforestation.
  • The government’s role is as a regulator, and farmers are incentivized to transition to palm oil cultivation, with the responsibility for farming resting on smallholders.

Small-Scale Approach

  • India’s approach to palm oil cultivation largely involves small-scale farm holders.
  • Companies cannot buy or lease land, and the government, as the regulator, provides incentives to farmers for the initial years when they may not receive income from the crop.

Environmental Sustainability

Supporters of the initiative argue that oil palm plantations, if managed properly, can contribute to carbon sequestration and offset carbon emissions, akin to planted forests.

Human Consumption and Economic Importance

Palm oil has been consumed by humans for thousands of years and holds economic significance. It is widely used in various food products and cooking oils and has no cholesterol, similar to other vegetable oils.

Unique Approach in India

Unlike Southeast Asia, where large estates manage palm oil plantations, India’s approach involves small farm holders. This differentiation underscores the cooperative effort between farmers and the government to drive palm oil cultivation within the country.



The Odisha government has launched its independent tiger census within the Similipal Tiger Reserve, located in Mayurbhanj. This census is an independent effort conducted by the state government, distinct from the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) recent tiger count.

Dividing Similipal Tiger Reserve for Census

To facilitate the counting process, the Similipal Tiger Reserve has been divided into three blocks: Block-1, Block-2, and Block-3. The counting will take place across these blocks, continuing until October 25, 2023.

State Government’s Discrepancy with NTCA Count

The state government has contested the NTCA’s tiger count, asserting that it is inaccurate. Hence, they have initiated their own census in specific divisions within Similipal Tiger Reserve, including Shimilipal South, North, Satkoshia, Bishoi, Kaptipada, and Baripada.

Census in Kendujhar District

Simultaneously, a tiger census has also commenced in Kendujhar district. A total of 75 teams have been deployed for the counting process, and 55 cameras have been strategically placed in various locations. This tiger census in Kendujhar will extend until November 15, 2023.

About Tiger census:

Every four years, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) collaborates with state forest departments, conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to conduct the nationwide tiger census.

This census employs a dual sampling technique that combines data from on-site surveys with imagery obtained from camera traps.



Geologist unearths coral reef fossils at 18,000 feet in Ladakh, specifically in the Burtse area. This discovery sheds light on the geological past of the region.

Insights into Geological Past

  • Ancient Underwater World: The coral reef fossils reveal that Ladakh, known for its high-altitude desert landscapes, might have been an entirely different geological entity. It likely hosted a vibrant marine ecosystem, complete with coral reefs and beaches.
  • Climate Records: Coral reefs are not just geological marvels but also store precious information about Earth’s climate history. They hold records of past climate conditions, such as sea surface temperatures and sea level fluctuations.

Potential Impact

  • Climate Insights: The study of these coral reef fossils can provide valuable insights into Earth’s climate history, aiding in a better understanding of climate change processes.
  • Geological Parallels: The geological history of Burtse appears to resemble the coastal regions of Rameshwaram or the Andaman and Nicobar Islands today.


October 20, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: