Four New Corals Recorded From Indian Waters


Scientists have recorded four species of corals for the first time from Indian waters.


GS-III: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Dimensions in the Article:

  • Key Points
  • What are Coral Reefs?
  • How do they feed themselves?
  • Significance of Corals

Key Points:

  • New species of Corals were found off Andaman and Nicobar Islands and they all belong to the same family,Flabellidae.
  • These new species of azooxanthellate corals. These are group of corals that do not contain zooxanthellae and derive nourishment not from the sun but from capturing different forms of planktons.
  • They are deepsea representatives with the majority of species being reported from depths between 200 metres and 1,000 metres.
  • They are also reported from shallow waters unlike zooxanthellate corals that are restricted to shallow waters.
  • They are a group of hard corals and the four new species recorded are not only solitary but have a highly compressed skeletal structure.
  • Significance of the Findings:
  • Most studies of hard corals in India have been concentrated on reefbuilding corals while much is not known about nonreefbuilding corals. These new species enhance our knowledge about nonreefbuilding solitary corals.
  • The new species not only enhance the national database of biological resources of India but also define the expansion of scope to explore these unexplored and nonreef building corals.

What are Coral Reefs?

  • Corals are marine invertebrates or animals not possessing a spine.
  • Each coral is called a polyp and thousands of such polyps live together to form a colony, which grows when polyps multiply to make copies of themselves.
  • Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system stretching across 2,300 km.
  • It hosts 400 different types of coral, gives shelter to 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc.
  • Corals are of two types — hard coral and soft coral:
    1. Hard corals, also called hermatypic or ‘reef building’ corals extract calcium carbonate (also found in limestone) from the seawater to build hard, white coral exoskeletons.
    2. Soft coral polyps, however, borrow their appearance from plants, attach themselves to such skeletons and older skeletons built by their ancestors. Soft corals also add their own skeletons to the hard structure over the years and these growing multiplying structures gradually form coral reefs. They are the largest living structures on the planet.

How do they feed themselves?

  • Corals share a symbiotic relationship with single-celled algae called zooxanthellae.
  • The algae provides the coral with food and nutrients, which they make through photosynthesis, using the sun’s light.
  • In turn, the corals give the algae a home and key nutrients.
  • The zooxanthellae also give corals their bright colour.

Significance of Corals

  • Coral reefs support over 25% of marine biodiversity, including fish, turtles and lobsters; even as they only take up 1% of the seafloor.
  • The marine life supported by reefs further fuels global fishing industries. Even giant clams and whales depend on the reefs to live.
  • Besides, coral reef systems generate $2.7 trillion in annual economic value through goods and service trade and tourism.
  • In Australia, the Barrier Reef, in pre-COVID times, generated $4.6 billion annually through tourism and employed over 60,000 people including divers and guides.
  • Aside from adding economic value and being a support system for aquatic life, coral reefs also provide protection from storm waves.
  • Dead reefs can revive over time if there are enough fish species that can graze off the weeds that settle on dead corals, but it takes almost a decade for the reef to start setting up again

Digital Wearables Can Expose Users To Cyberattacks


Digital wearables, smartwatches and fitness trackers pose unique threats to the security and privacy of customer data, warned the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a global outfit for technical professionals.


GS II- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. What is Cyber Attack and Cyber Security?
  3. Types of Cyber attacks
  4. Challenges of Cyber Security in India

Key Points:

  • By connecting a wearable to an extended ecosystem, one is exposing a larger attack surface.
  • Cybersecurity experts look at this as a supply chain that includes a data generator, an analytics engine and a service provider. Each link in the chain, including the connecting networks, presents a potential risk.
  • Most criminal intrusions of computer networks have a financial motive.
  • Often people conclude that wearables have a low cybersecurity risk.
  • But, wearables data, especially in healthcare settings, is often tied to financial information.
  • Stolen health data can be extremely valuable because it often includes so much personally identifiable information – including birthdays, email addresses and other login information, that can be used for identity theft purposes.
  • This can be a cause of concern as India has been witnessing a massive adoption of wearable technology in the recent years.
  • The wearables market in India had clocked a record breaking, double digit growth in the first quarter of 2022, with shipments surpassing 13.9 million devices.

What is Cyber Attack and Cyber Security?

  • Cyber attack is an assault launched by cybercriminals using one or more computers against a single or multiple computers or networks. A Cyber Attack can maliciously disable computers, steal data, or use a breached computer as a launch point for other attacks. Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to launch a Cyber Attack, including malware, phishing, ransomware, denial of service, among other methods.
  • Cybersecurity means securing the cyberspace from attack, damage, misuse and economic espionage. Cyberspace is a global domain within the information environment consisting of interdependent IT infrastructure such as Internet, Telecom networks, computer systems.

Types of Cyber attacks:

  • A zero-day is a computer-software vulnerability unknown to those who should be interested in its mitigation. Until the vulnerability is mitigated, hackers can exploit it to adversely affect programs, data, additional computers or a network.
  • Ransomware is malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organization’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access.
  • Phishing is a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers or to deploy malicious software on the victim’s infrastructure like ransomware. It occurs when an attacker, masquerading as a trusted entity, dupes a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message.
  • Spear phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information.

Challenges of Cyber Security in India

  • Data colonization: India is net exporter of information however data servers of majority of digital service providers are located outside India. Also, data is being misused for influencing electoral outcomes, spread of radicalism etc.
  • Digital Illiteracy: Widespread Digital illiteracy makes Indian citizens highly susceptible to cyber fraud, cyber theft, etc.
  • Substandard devices: In India, majority of devices used to access internet have inadequate security infrastructure making them susceptible to malwares such as recently detected ‘Saposhi’. Also, rampant use of unlicensed software and underpaid licenses make them vulnerable as well.
  • Lack of adoption of new technology: For example – The Banking infrastructure is not robust to cop-up with rising digital crime as 75% of total Credit and Debit card are based on magnetic strip which are easy to be cloned.
  • Lack of uniform standards: There are variety of devices used with non-uniform standards which makes it difficult to provide for a uniform security protocol.
  • Import dependence: Import dependence for majority of electronic devices from cell phones to equipment’s used in power sector, defence, banking, communication and other critical infrastructure put India into a vulnerable situation.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure and trained staff: There are currently around 30,000 cyber security vacancies in India but demand far outstrips supply of people with required skills.
  • Under-reporting: majority of cases of cybercrime remains unreported because of lack of awareness.
  • Unsynchronised Agencies: Lack of coordination among various agencies working for cyber security. Private sector, despite being a major stakeholder in the cyberspace, has not been involved proactively for the security of the same.
  • Anonymity: Even advanced precision threats carried out by hackers is difficult to attribute to specific actors, state or nonstate.

BRICS Business Forum


Prime Minister of India recently addressed the BRICS Business Forum that was held ahead of 14th summit of BRICS.


GS II- Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests., GS III-Growth & Development

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. What is BRICS?

Key points:

  • The Prime Minister while addressing the BRICS Business Forum said that the Indian Economy is set to grow at 7.5% this year. He said that a key pillar of India’s current economic growth recovery is technology-led growth.
  • The value of Indian digital economy will reach 1 trillion dollars by 2025.
  • The growth of the digital sector also encouraged the participation of women in the workforce. There are approximately 36 % women out of 4.4 million professionals working in our IT sector.
  • Also, India has one of the best eco-systems in the world for innovation, which is reflected in the growing number of Indian start-ups. There are more than 100 unicorns in over 70,000 start-ups in India, and their number continues to grow .

What is BRICS?

  • BRICS is the international grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • This was set up as a move towards greater multi­polarity; hence the spread across three continents and both hemispheres.
  • In terms of GDP, China occupies the second position; India the fifth; Brazil the ninth; Russia the 11th; and South Africa the 35th.
  • In terms of growth rates, China grew at 6%; India at 4.5%, Russia 1.7%, Brazil 1.2% and South Africa 0.1%.
  • BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • The BRICS seeks to deepen, broaden and intensify cooperation within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development.
  • BRICS takes into consideration each member’s growth, development and poverty objectives to ensure relations are built on the respective country’s economic strengths and to avoid competition where possible.
  • BRICS is emerging as a new and promising political-diplomatic entity with diverse objectives, far beyond the original objective of reforming global financial institutions.

High Inflation – ‘A Major Concern’


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das has said as “high inflation continues to be the major concern.


GS-III Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. About Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)
  3. Repo rate
  4. Reverse Repo rate

Key Points:

  • The Governor of RBI said that “high inflation continues to be the major concern”.
  • RBI is set to go for a further increase in the policy rate to effectively deal with inflation and inflation expectations as per the recommendations of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
  • The MPC, which hiked the policy repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) to tame inflation in its meeting, has committed to bring down the inflation to the RBI’s tolerance level.
  • The Russia-Ukraine war has globalised inflationary pressures across geographies, and there are increasing risks of long-term inflation expectations getting unanchored.

About Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is the body of the RBI, headed by the Governor, responsible for taking the important monetary policy decisions about setting the repo rate.

  • Repo rate is ‘the policy instrument’ in monetary policy that helps to realize the set inflation target by the RBI (at present 4%).

Membership of the MPC:

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is formed under the RBI with six members.

  • Three of the members are from the RBI while the other three members are appointed by the government.
  • Members from the RBI are the Governor who is the chairman of the MPC, a Deputy Governor and one officer of the RBI.
  • The government members are appointed by the Centre on the recommendations of a search-cum-selection committee which is to be headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

Objectives of the MPC:

Monetary Policy was implemented with an initiative to provide reasonable price stability, high employment, and a faster economic growth rate.

The major four objectives of the Monetary Policy are mentioned below:

  • To stabilize the business cycle.
  • To provide reasonable price stability.
  • To provide faster economic growth.
  • Exchange Rate Stability.

Repo rate:

The central bank has retained the repo rate – the rate at which the RBI lends funds to banks – at 4 per cent to boost growth.

  • This means banks won’t hike lending and deposit rates and EMIs on loans will remain unchanged.
    • The RBI has reduced key policy repo rate by 115 bps to 4.0 per cent and reverse repo rates by 155 bps to 3.35 per cent since February 2020.
  • Banks had since then reduced their interest rates (both deposits and lending) significantly.
  • The large size of the FY23 market borrowings, and with no progress on the inclusion of Indian debt market in the global bond indices, might have prompted the RBI to delay the liquidity normalisation in an effort to keep the cost of large borrowings programme under control, said an analyst.
  • It also retained the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate, and kept the Bank Rate unchanged at 4.25 per cent.

Reverse repo rate:

Contrary to expectations of a hike, the RBI has retained the reverse repo rate – the rate at which the RBI borrows money from banks – at 3.35 per cent.

  • Bond yields had spiked after the government announced higher market borrowing of Rs 14.95 lakh crore in the next fiscal.


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